A little bit about a lot

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By Calen McKinney

A few topics have been weighing on my mind lately, so I thought I would address them all at the same time.

First up, the Fiscal Court contracting with Campbellsville Baptist Church to operate Veterans Memorial Park.

I have to say that when I first heard that magistrates wanted to investigate whether leasing the park could save them some money, I immediately thought, don't we have bigger - and more costly - issues to worry about?

The VMP budget was only $60,000 a year. I say "only" because the jail's budget tops out at more than $2 million and will be about $600,000 short this year.

Don't get me wrong, $60,000 is a lot of money. But it's just a drop in the bucket when you have to figure out a way to come up with $600,000.

I believe the Court should leave VMP operations as they were. The park always looked nice, and former VMP Director Mark Pike did a good job, was interested in the position and knows what it takes to do it well.

My only issue with Campbellsville Baptist Church operating the park is whether any group - church or otherwise - should operate a public anything.

It's also kind of disappointing that we, as a County, can't afford to operate our own park.

I am sure Campbellsville Baptist will do a fine job with the park, and I understand that the magistrates were just looking for a way to save some dollars. I don't fault either group in any way.

But what is that old saying? "If it's not broken, don't fix it."

My suggestion for magistrates: How about we include finding a way to take back operation of the park in the upcoming budget discussions? Really, what's another $60,000 when we need about $600,000?

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Next, I'll address a book I read recently about the terrible death of Katie Autry, a student at Western Kentucky University.

The book, "Bluegrass: A True Story of Murder in Kentucky" by William Van Meter, reads like a play by play of the events leading up to Autry's death in 2003, full of interviews with key players involved and written as if the reader is listening to what they were actually thinking.

Autry was raped, stabbed and set on fire in her dorm room at WKU in Bowling Green, the school where I first attended college in May 2001.

Stephen Soules was eventually arrested and charged with committing the terrible crimes, and he will spend the rest of his life in prison for them. Luke Goodrum was also charged with the crimes, but a jury found him innocent of any involvement.

I enjoy reading books about true-life events, but this one bothered me. Maybe it was because I could mentally picture where Autry was killed - my door room looked exactly like hers did.

Autry's death shook the WKU campus to its core. Someone actually being killed on the WKU campus? No one thought it would happen "here."

I found myself bothered by the details of the book. I appreciated that the author took the time to get all the facts, though it was a little odd that he wrote what Autry was "thinking" during the night she died.

If you think you can handle reading about something so disturbing, give the book a chance. It's a good book.

After reading it, though, I'm even more unsure who exactly is to blame for Autry's death. Was it really Soules? He says that Goodrum played the key role in her death. Is that true? I guess we'll never know, and that bothers me.

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Lastly, let me give you my thoughts on the movie "Confessions of a Shopaholic."

I begrudgingly saw this movie and my opinion of it after seeing it stayed the same as before I saw it. Who wants to sit through 104 minutes of dialogue about how bad credit cards and debt are? I can tell you that in one breath and certainly don't want to pay to be reminded of it. Is this the kind of entertainment people pay for in today's economy?

I left the theater feeling bad about having thrown away the money to see the movie.