Editorial Roundup: Kentucky
Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
The Ashland Daily Independent on the passing of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant:
Kobe Bryant’s death has evoked a universal reaction. He was one of nine killed in a helicopter crash in California on Jan. 26. His daughter, 13-year-old Gianna, also died.
What an absolutely tragic, devastating, crushing situation.
Many of these reactions across the country and around the world contain a similar message: Life is short, so cherish every moment and love everyone while you’re here on Earth.
While those are excellent messages, it’s sad that we need tragedy to bring forth these periodic reminders.
If Bryant and company had journeyed safely to Mamba Academy for basketball practice, would we view life differently?
Why do we need tragedy to occur to put everything into perspective?
Life indeed is short, and Bryant’s impact was indeed universal. He was poised to accomplish so much more post-career. His daughter was an up-and-coming hoops phenom and, by all accounts, a good person as well.
We must remember all other seven victims and their families, too.
Our hope is that, going forward, we can have a renewed way of viewing our own and others’ precious lives every single day rather than needing such sad occurrences serve as reminders to not take life for granted.
May all nine victims of that awful crash rest in peace.
The Bowling Green Daily News on a House bill that would establish a veterans nursing home in southcentral Kentucky:
We are thankful that Warren County’s entire delegation to the state House of Representatives backs a bill to secure funding that could be the final step toward turning a local nursing home for military veterans from a wish to reality.
The nursing home plan, which has spent nearly five years on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs list of priority projects, now needs $2.5 million in state appropriations to begin the design and preconstruction phase. Previously, the VA has committed to paying $19.5 million of the facility’s estimated $30 million cost, and legislation passed in 2017 sets aside $10.5 million in state bond funding.
In order to actually get that federal funding, though, those bonds must be issued and the design work must be complete. That means the $2.5 million sought in a bill filed this session by state Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, and co-sponsored by all of the county’s House members, represents what project backers hope will be a final hurdle in the long process to finally bring the 90-bed facility to land at the Kentucky Transpark that was donated by the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority.
The need for such a facility in southcentral Kentucky is well established. The Bowling Green nursing home would be the state’s fifth such facility, but existing homes in Hazard, Hanson, Wilmore and Radcliff simply cannot serve the high number of veterans and their families in our part of the state. A few years ago, a study commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs determined that a 20-county area surrounding Bowling Green had the highest need for such a facility, with about 40,000 veterans in southcentral Kentucky.
Malcolm Cherry, commander of Bowling Green’s American Legion Post 23, told the Daily News that the state’s current four veterans nursing homes are unable to serve the Warren County area as well as needed.
“They’re pretty well covered in eastern Kentucky,” Cherry said. “We have people from this part of the state in those nursing homes. Their families have a hard time visiting them. We have nothing in southcentral Kentucky.”
It is time for that to change. When it comes to providing services that honor our military veterans, the government bureaucracy can be frustratingly slow. That’s why we are appreciative of our local legislators’ persistent efforts to push this project forward, and we encourage them to stay the course until the facility’s final brick is laid.
We are optimistic that this bill will ultimately win passage in the General Assembly. We doubt many southcentral Kentucky taxpayers object to public money and energy being applied to the establishment of a veterans nursing home that serves our communities, and we join them in looking forward to the day when this facility finally opens its doors to our brave service members and their families.
The Glasgow Daily Times on a House bill that would change how local bodies disclose public information:
A bill sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Miller drastically changes how local governments, school boards and other taxing districts provide important information to the public
Instead of having to advertise such matters as tax increases, school budgets, contract bids, and property auctions in newspapers, the legislation shifts this requirement to infrequently visited local government websites.
The only thing newspapers would print is a brief item telling readers where they can find the public notices in the snarl of government bureaucracy.
What this means to taxpayers is searching multiple websites in quest of information they are used to conveniently reading in local newspapers and their websites, including the Glasgow Daily Times.
Miller says this switch to government sites is no big deal in an era when the public accesses websites for dinner reservations, places to shop and where to get a haircut. Besides, he contends it will save money local governments now spend on public notice advertising.
What he doesn’t say is moving notices from newspapers to government websites will effectively restrict distribution to those who have a special interest in the details.
This approach is contrary to the current law’s purpose to widely inform the public about how their tax dollars are being spent, and what they can do about it. And that includes people, especially those in rural counties, without good or reliable Internet service. ProPublica this week reported on the struggles of KentuckyWired and the issues with high-speed internet access in rural Kentucky.
Newspapers and their websites serve the notice law’s public awareness purpose in print and online. They’re also members of the Kentucky Press Association that posts local newspaper public notices on a central website (https://kypublicnotices.newzgroup.com/), searchable everywhere by date, city, county or newspaper title.
Rep. Miller’s bill is a veiled attempt to limit government transparency. It allows local government to be the sole distributor of its public notice activities and financial transactions. That’s akin to putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.
We urge the public to contact their state legislators to oppose House Bill 195 in the interest of the people’s right to know about transactions and activities of their local governments.