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Opinion

  • Thanksgiving is the most straightforward of holidays, unencumbered by the expectations of Christmas or the letdown that often accompanies New Year's Eve. This Thursday's holiday has little buildup and virtually no fanfare: a big meal, some football and perhaps a nap.

  • In the Nov. 14 issue of the Central Kentucky News-Journal, you might have read a story about Taylor County's magistrates being approached for money by several local groups.

    At its Nov. 12 meeting, Taylor County Fiscal Court had several items on its agenda that involved local groups and organizations asking for financial contributions. While this is in no way a statement against those organizations or their importance, it is one intended to address the information many people might not have about the operation of a governmental body such as the fiscal court.

  • This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. The Farm Bill impacts every American, every day, by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.

  • Employers, colleges and vocational schools have long recognized the GED test as a high school equivalency degree. It was developed in the 1940s so American soldiers returning from World War II could use the GI Bill to advance to college. Many had left for the military without finishing high school.

  • In Fiscal Year 2008, Kentucky spent $21.7 million buying textbooks for students in the state's public school system.

    Today, free textbooks in K-12 public schools have gone the way of the dinosaur and the dodo bird. They became the extinct victims of substantial cuts in state spending on education in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

    While avoiding free textbooks' fate of complete eradication, other important K-12 programs took significant post-recession hits as well.

  • Most Americans, even those who are wary of Obamacare, do not support shutting down the federal government as a means to block funding for the health care law. In fact, polls taken in the past couple of weeks show that the majority believes this tactic makes little sense and puts partisan motives ahead of the country's financial security.

    Unfortunately, it is harder every day to make sense of Congress.

  •  

    The Kentucky General Assembly met during the past week in special session to address the difficult issue of redistricting. The process of redistricting takes place every decade following the census to realign legislative districts based on population changes. This requirement is to ensure that each district contains a similar number of people and preserve the principle of "one person, one vote."

    Without redistricting, some legislators would be representing far more people than others, and the impact of individual voters would be diluted. 

  • You hear it in today's music and movies. It's used by musicians, professional athletes and even kids in our schools. It's what we typically refer to as the "N" word.

    The word is used to express hatred and it's commonly thought of as the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in the English language, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

  • As we look for ways to increase Kentucky's competitiveness, we are also looking for ways to reduce excessive spending and keep taxpayers from being unduly burdened. 

    Last Thursday, the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation heard how other states are using Public Private Partnerships as a cost-effective strategy to repair aging infrastructure.

    According to a policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and Puerto Rico have laws enabling PPPs for highways and bridges.

  • Change is sometimes good, and we believe we are making some good changes to our website.

    The Central Kentucky News-Journal's site, www.cknj.com, has always featured news, sports, advertising and other aspects of our printed edition. Now, we want to give even more to our website visitors.

    You will notice a new format on our homepage, which includes some of our top stories when you arrive at our site. Before, one main story and a photo appeared on the homepage. Now, you'll see a larger photo, which will rotate and highlight a few of our main stories.

  • The past couple of weeks have been busy in and around Frankfort with joint committee meetings on a wide range of issues, including the DOD's planned forced brigade reduction at Ft. Knox, the possible ways to help SNAP recipients better balance their food budgets and the impact of impending federal regulations on coal.

  • While we realize the weekend verdict finding George Zimmerman not guilty of the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin is a lot more important than winning a sporting event, there do seem to be some similarities.

    Fans, and aren't we all one of those, back the coach as long as the team comes out on top. It's like the old saying, "Coach, we're behind you, win or win" when it used to be "Coach, we're behind you win, lose or draw."

    Coaches, like game officials, never win; they only lose.

  • Talk about your classic good news/bad news.

    The good news is it appears the "pill mill" legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2012 and tweaked in 2013 has made it harder to obtain pills.

    The bad news is, as law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges recently told State Journal reporter Lindsey Erdody, some drug users are simply switching to heroin.

    Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate has been on the bench 14 years, during which time he said he had seen fewer heroin cases than you could count on one hand.

  • Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, who is Kentucky's health commissioner, recently told a legislative committee that a typical smoker in the state spent $2,237 last year on cigarettes.

    Reporting to the Program Review and Investigations Committee in Frankfort, the commissioner also said 450 million packs of cigarettes were sold to about 962,000 Kentuckians age 18 and older, while children, who cannot legally buy cigarettes, are continuing to pick up the habit.

  • The tragic loss of Officer Jason Ellis recently has left our community, the Commonwealth and the nation grieving for this outstanding member of the Bardstown Police Department, who was passionate about his work and the people he protected.

    As a seven-year member of the police force, Officer Ellis was well known to all of us. He was a dedicated public servant, a devoted family man and a wonderful resident. Without a doubt, the passing of this fine, brave man is a profound loss for all of us.

  • If what investigators have hypothesized about the death of Bardstown Police Officer Jason Scott Ellis is true, there is only one way to describe the still unknown killer: diabolical.

    Ellis was shot numerous times and killed in the early hours of Saturday, May 25, at a ramp to the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County.

    Investigators theorize someone put debris, the nature of which they have not identified, across the road. When Ellis, who was off duty and on his way home, got out of his car to try to clear the road, he was shot from an elevated vantage point.

  • I've shared with you many statistics over the last couple of years about Kentucky's prescription drug abuse epidemic.

    At the time of 2012 legislation aimed at cracking down on questionable pain-management clinics or so-called "pill mills," 1,000 Kentuckians were dying each year from pain pill overdose.

    I'm glad to report that 2012 and 2013 legislation is making a noticeable difference in the amount of narcotics being prescribed - and abused - in the commonwealth.

  • Even though his jersey hangs among famed University of Kentucky Wildcat greats along the rafters of Rupp Arena, the shine on former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer’s legend and reputation is more than tarnished following his indictment on federal charges.

  • The leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and stroke. Accidents rank fifth on the list.

    Those accidents, however, are deaths caused by unintentional injuries, not by a terrorist incident such as the one that happened Monday, April 15, in Boston.

    The three most common types of accidents that result in death are car wrecks, falls and unintentional poisonings.

    As we walk through life on a daily basis, we, of course, know an accident can happen at any time.

  • Today in Kentucky, 68 people will be told, “You have cancer.”
    The American Cancer Society is in your community to save lives and create more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well by finding cures and by fighting back.
    The American Cancer Society, Taylor Regional Hospital, community partners and its legion of dedicated volunteers are all working together with the ultimate goal of eliminating cancer as a major health problem.