Editorial Roundup: Kentucky
Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
Richmond Register on calls for justice reform in Kentucky:
“Thank you for caring about these children.”
“It’s all for the babies. I’m happy someone cares.”
Those were just some of the comments about how the Glover Foundation gave an early Christmas present to children with parents locked up at the Madison County Detention Center.
Several families whose members are incarcerated in the jail got to see their children and spouses, exchange gifts and visit with Santa Claus with help from the Glover Foundation recently.
Russell Glover, the creator of the foundation and a Madison County sheriff’s deputy, said he got the idea for the foundation just thinking of all the people in jail spending time away from their families.
“People judge when they don’t know the situation, I try to not judge, and these kids don’t need to be punished. They were so very happy, very happy to see their parents,” Glover said.
While the event is amazing on numerous levels, it also shined a spotlight on the many who are locked up and will be spending their time away from family this holiday season despite not necessarily being a threat to society.
In the detention center, which is currently crippling Madison County’s budget due to severe overcrowding, 80% of inmates are awaiting pretrial hearings, according to Ashley Spalding, a policy analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Development. She shared recently with community members that only 42% of people who receive money bail in the county are able to pay it to get out.
Spalding reported, at the detention center, the most common charges amongst inmates are drug offenses and that 76% were labeled as low-to-moderate risk for committing another crime.
Tayna Fogle, ex-felon turned democracy fellow for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, shared her story with community members. She begged and pleaded with local policy and decision makers in the room to do something fast.
“Pay attention to the statistics, I know it is a lot, and they said them fast, but please read the material. Don’t wait before it hits your family before you move on it. Don’t let it be when that opioid crisis creeps in your backyard that you decide you want a recovery center. These people are not even considered guilty yet, but what happened to fast and speedy trial? That is supposed to be the law.”
As numerous jails around the state are overcrowded and draining county and state budgets, our leaders need to make smart decisions fast. They need to realize what we’ve been doing for years of locking people up isn’t working. It’s only costing us money and lives.
It’s time for a change to the entire justice process.
The State Journal on Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman:
Though not what she expected, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman’s quick ascent in Kentucky politics while visibly pregnant and simultaneously juggling a family has struck a familiar chord with many across the state — ourselves included.
A former high school girls basketball coach and mother, Coleman certainly doesn’t fit the mold of a hardened politician, but perhaps that is what makes her so relatable. Already a “bonus” mom to husband and Frankfort High School boys basketball coach Chris O’Bryan’s two sons, Will and Nate, the family’s adoption of daughter, Emma Young, (became) official on Monday, and the newest family member, Evelynne, is due in February.
In fact, when she announced her pregnancy via Twitter in August, Coleman wrote, “Most of the blessings in my life have been completely unexpected.”
We agree. Whether anticipated or not, the new lieutenant governor has been thrust into a leadership role and is an inspiring example for all Kentucky women, but especially those of the younger generation. She is proof that women can hold prominent positions while being a mother and raising a family.
While Coleman readily admits there is “no playbook” for the future, she does hope more mothers take on leadership positions.
“We certainly need more moms — women certainly, but also moms — helping to shape public police because it affects our kids,” she told a State Journal reporter last week.
But the road to the Capitol wasn’t lined with roses for Coleman either. In 2014, she lost an election for a House seat that her father, Jack Coleman, held to Republican Rep. Kim King.
But she didn’t take the defeat personally and got back on the proverbial horse, perhaps taking a piece of advice from former fellow coach John Wooden, who said, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
Bowling Green Daily News on a grant to spay and neuter feral cats:
It’s a real shame that more people don’t take the time to spay or neuter their pets.
It is a relatively inexpensive and quick procedure, which is why we have a hard time figuring out why more people don’t have it done. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t even be an issue, but obviously we don’t live in a perfect world.
A problem that our community is having with feral cats was spotlighted in a Daily News story in October. The Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society has been working on a “Community Cat Program” in which feral cats are caught, spayed or neutered and then released back to the outdoors.
The humane society received a $90,000 grant this year from the Petco Foundation to start the program and end the practice of cat euthanasia, which officials said hasn’t been effective in decreasing the feral cat population.
The fact that there has not been a significant decrease in the feral cat population emphasizes why this program is needed.
Thankfully, the Bowling Green City Commission has approved a trial period for a program to help address the city’s feral cat population. The trial period will go to June 30, 2021, at which time the commission could extend the program or amend the city’s code of ordinances to allow the program to run permanently.
We believe this was a wise move by the city commission – not only to cut down on the amount of euthanasia, but also to control the population of cats that run wild in our area.
We appreciate the city and the humane society for being proactive on this most important issue.