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March 4, 2014

Lazer editorial 

There comes a time when an issue deserves discussing. And this week we ran into one of those.

It seems that during the storm last week our law enforcement, firefighters, emergency crews, county and state road crews, street maintenance and city water crews and others had to work in sub-zero temps in order to keep traffic moving, repair damaged infrastructure and all the "outside" jobs that came up.

And they answered the call, in fine fashion. We appreciate their work and believe they should have been paid double time for braving the weather to do their jobs.

One of the workers wrote a comment in The Lazer that he did not think it was right that they had to endure the elements to get paid while clerks, secretaries, assistants and other "inside" workers got paid right along even though the courthouse wss closed. And the "inside" workers make about a third more than most of the "outside" workers to begin with.

Then one of the "inside" workers wrote a comment that said they were working from home on their computers during the time and earned their money, too. 

That statement makes us wonder why they come to the courthouse to work at all. They should just work from home and let an answering service answer the phones. The "inside workers" are very valuable and the county and city governments could not operate without them, but there are a lot of them that make a lot of money considering their education and other qualifications for their positions. This is true in most east Kentucky politics centers, 'er counties.

It is understandable why the courthouse had to be closed duting the Code 3 alert issued by EMS director Michael Woods was in effect. It meant that only emergency workers were to be on the roads. But those days and the work that wasn't done during those times can and should be made up.

School system employees must make up days they miss and medical personnel and those who work at local businesses certainly have to be there to get paid and the list goes on and on.

We think it is unfair for these "inside" workers to be paid their regular salaries while sitting at home while the "outside" workers fight the elements to earn their checks. So, it is up to the fiscal court and city council to make sure employees are paid fairly and according to their work - and not if they are men or women or well connected.

We ask that these outside workers be paid double time for the hours they worked in the freezing, icy weather and the 'inside' workers be required to work Saturdays until the snow days are made up.

What is good for the goose must be good for the gander.

 

February 25, 2015


Militant Crazy Religion, Avoid The Damage

By Glenn Mollette

Glenn Mollette Faith has been a major part of my life for a long time. Belief in God, the Bible and church involvement go way back for me. There is so much about all of it that has shaped and impacted every fiber of my life. A faith relationship with God is peaceful, hopeful, helpful, positive and life changing in so many ways. I've written a lot about faith in articles, books and public messages.

At this juncture of my life I can say with confidence that my faith is as great as ever but I detest militant religion. I guess we are all religious in some areas about some things. However, religion does not always connote faith and relationship, especially militant religion.

Some people have the marriage religion but they don't have much relationship in their marriage. They lack happiness, fulfillment, peace, rest and hope. Mostly they just go through the rituals of marriage. Some are very unhappy in marriage but put on a good face. They go through the daily perfunctory and keep up appearances but are lacking quality relationships.

Militant religious people are not happy people unless they are imprisoning or hurting someone else with their rules and regulations. The crazy militant Isis crowd takes pleasure in imprisoning, torturing and beheading people - all in the name of their perverted religious views.

Last year there was a national story about a Middlesboro, Kentucky preacher named Jamie Coots who died from handling a rattlesnake during a religious worship gathering. Coots who became famous on a reality television show, practiced snake handling as a part of his religion. His religion was dangerous and cost him his life. Religion can be crazy.

Remember David Koresh and the Waco, Texas religious disaster? He and 75 others were killed when their compound was raided and burned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I believe the massive loss of life at Waco could have been avoided but that's another article. The story of Koresh and his followers is another episode of religion gone crazy.

What about Jim Jones who led 913 people to their deaths in Guyana, near Georgetown in South America? Most of these people were led to commit suicide after Jones' followers murdered Congressman Leo Ryan and four others near the airport in Georgetown, Guyana. Jones was crazy as were many of the people who had been duped into leaving America to live at the People's Temple Agricultural Project. Jones was a militant, crazy, controlling religious fanatic who duped hundreds to their death.

When I was a young child I heard a preacher spend an hour telling the church about all the things we shouldn't do. He told the men they shouldn't wear short sleeve shirts. He told us we should keep our hair cut short. Men, he continued, should never wear short pants. Of course he proceeded to tell the women how they should wear their hair, how long their dresses should be and that they shouldn't wear makeup. We were told we shouldn't dance, watch movies, watch television, listen to rock n roll music, drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes among other things. I don't remember what he told us we could do. I remember the negatives. Needless to say his sermon did not encourage my faith.

There is nothing wrong with sensible, common sense, enthusiastic church preaching that warns people about the danger zones of life. We all need to know where the markers are that could hurt us. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount still work very well for a functioning world. While the Old Testament has some weird stuff in it I get the message of the Bible and am grateful.

However, in my maturing years I have come to understand that faith liberates us.
Faith does not imprison us. Jesus said, "The truth shall set you free," John 8:32. Some ministers and religious types have devoted their years of clergy service to making people feel guilty about every move they have ever made. Real faith is about life, energy, joy and forgiveness of mistakes and guilt.

A mean religious crowd crucified Jesus. Jesus did not bind or stone people. Jesus was about liberation, joy and life. Jesus enjoyed life. Mean, militant religious types are often turned off by anyone having too much fun.

I would encourage everyone to pursue a life and walk of faith in God. We all need eternal guidance and internal strength from above. Public worship is not always about what we want to hear. However, we don't need the shackles of a religion that bind and hurt people. If your church, synagogue, temple, mosque or anyplace that you worship is not helping you to experience freedom and joy in your life then I recommend that you find a different place of worship before the damage is too great.


Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author. He served as a senior pastor for over 35 years and is the founder of Newburgh Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana. He is a graduate of numerous schools including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He was elected President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention by acclamation in 1991. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.

Like his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlennMollette

FEBRUARY 23, 2015

The all too familiar photo of president Lyndon Johnson visiting Martin Co. in 1964 to launch the War on Poverty.The Appalachian Regional Commission "has helped county economies grow with nearly $4 billion in spending, but the region still lags in key measures of educational, economic and physical well-being," according to a study done for the commission's 50th anniversary, Jonathan Drew reports for The Associated Press. President Lyndon Johnson signed ARC into law on March 9, 1965 as part of his War on Poverty. (AP photo: Johnson visiting Eastern Kentucky in April 1964)

The ARC's mission is to bring Appalachia to socioeconomic parity with the rest of the nation. It has a long way to go. While poverty rates in the region have fallen by about half, "researchers noted that other problems persist, including disproportionately high mortality rates and dependency on government checks," Drew writes. "The commission’s leaders acknowledge that even after half a century, the need for aid is as great as ever, a sentiment echoed by heads of charities in the region." Earl Gohl, the commission’s federal co-chair, told Drew, “We have serious work to do.”

In 1969, Appalachia's per-capita income was 78.7 percent of the national average, with many Central Appalachian counties under 50 percent. (Click on map for larger version) In 2012, the regional percentage was 81.1 percent of the national, "but that’s at least partly because safety-net programs such as Social Security and unemployment make up about 24 percent of personal income in the region, compared to 17 percent nationally," Drew writes.


The report focuses no attention on the neediest part of the region, Central Appalachia, which has been hard-hit recently by job losses in the coal industry. The executive summary of the report doesn't even mention "Central Appalachia," and the subregion gets only three mentions in the 181-page technical report. Central Appalachia as defined by ARC is the counties in yellow on the map above.

Health remains a serious problem, and the region is "losing ground," the report says. Infant mortality rates in the region have dropped significantly, but overall mortality rates remained the same while mortality rates nationally have dropped. "The report cites higher rates of obesity and diabetes in Appalachia as possible contributors," Drew writes. 

"Researchers did find that county employment and income levels in the region grew faster than a control group of similar counties elsewhere in the country," Drew reports. "Over the 50-year period, counties that received ARC investment averaged 4.2 percent higher employment growth and 5.5 percent higher per capita income growth than the control group counties."

"The report’s authors estimate that more jobs were created by the ARC in its early years when it received higher funding from the government," Drew writes. The Reagan administration wanted to abolish the agency, but Congress refused. However, "The funding levels changed dramatically, and with that the commission changed dramatically as well," Gohl told Drew. "We moved from large appropriations funding big public works projects. And it’s now, I would say, a leaner commission that focuses on developing strategic partnerships.” (Read more) For the full report, click here.

Written by Tim Mandell

February 24, 2015

 

LEGISLATIVE COLUMN

By State Representative Jill York 

General Assembly Reaching Halfway Point of 2015 Session, Much Work Left to Do...

The Kentucky General Assembly was set to reach the halfway point of the 2015 Regular Session this past week, that is if the snow and bitter cold covering Kentucky doesn’t continue to force cancellations and delay us from reconvening in Frankfort.

Despite the winter weather playing havoc with our schedule, the House has passed several key pieces of legislation under consideration for this year.  One of those bills is the statewide smoking ban bill, House Bill 145, which passed the House last week and moves on to the Senate.  If the bill becomes law, it would ban smoking in all public and government owned buildings.

Another key bill that passed the House last week is House Bill 1, which is commonly referred to as the local option sales tax bill, or LIFT Kentucky.  This legislation, if signed into law, would place a Constitutional Amendment before voters to decide whether to allow the Commonwealth in joining 37 other states that allow for local option sales tax that could be used for funding of infrastructure improvements.  The local option sales tax would be placed before voters in those communities that propose it for funding services, and the tax would end once the project is paid for and completed.

You will recall in past articles, I described the ways the general assembly in Kentucky has been dealing with the scourge that heroin is placing on families and communities across our Commonwealth.  Two bills, House Bill 8 and Senate Bill 5, that seek to address the heroin problem, have passed in their respective chambers.  While both bills are similar there are some minor differences which more than likely will be worked out in conference committee so we can send the Governor a bill he can sign into law.

We still have several major bills to address between now and the end of the 30-day session in March, including a proposal to fully fund our teachers’ retirement system.  Our schools play an important role in the economy of our Commonwealth by educating the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to honor our commitment to our teachers by making sure their retirement system is solvent.

In addition to the issues I mentioned, I'm sure there are ideas and concerns important to you that need to be addressed between now and the end of the 2015 session.  I encourage you to contact me by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call our toll free number at 1-800-372-7181.  

Date: 02-20-2015

Kentucky is one of only four states in the U.S. that don’t allow victims of dating violence to seek protective orders unless they have been married to or lived with their abuser, or they have a child together. Our current law leaves very little to no protection for many young adults, including teens and widowed senior citizens, who may be in dating relationships that have gone bad.

This year, co-sponsors of the HB 8, Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville and Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, hope that Kentucky lawmakers finally get the message that human lives are at stake. The bill, which would allow dating couples to seek civil protective orders in cases of domestic violence, abuse, sex abuse or stalking, passed the House and has been sent to the Senate. If the bill passes and becomes law, a victim would be able to file an emergency protective order and their abuser’s name would instantly be added to a nationwide database.

It appears that there is momentum this legislative session to get the bill passed, and rightly so, as domestic violence prevention advocates say this is a growing problem in Kentucky that needs to be addressed. State officials say that Kentucky’s number of domestic violence victims is much higher than the national average and women ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be victimized. Research has proven that domestic violence can be a problem long before couples move in together, particularly with teens and young adults in their early 20s.

By expanding protective orders to those who are just dating, society will reduce the violence over time, so we can break this ugly cycle of domestic violence.

Some opponents worry that this new law could be a costly measure, literally, in dollars and cents. But a University of Kentucky study showed that for every $1 spent in the protective order system, $31 is saved in other costs. The study estimated that Kentucky could save $85 million per year, on average.

Dating violence is costing our society money. Victims are calling the police and clogging up the court system for long-term protection — because they have no other course of action. Giving dating victims access to emergency protective orders is desperately needed for not only their well-being and safety, but to curb society’s costs associated with this tragic evil.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of unhealthy and abusive relationships, seen the tears and witnessed the fear that these victims encounter. Emergency protective orders won’t be the complete answer, but having that option could mean life or death for dating violence victims and a chance to experience healthy relationships.

The Kentucky Standard