Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Somerset Commonwealth Journal. June 5, 2021.

Editorial: The greater good: Beshear’s visit brought wonderful news

There is much division between political parties these days -- perhaps now more than ever.

But occasionally the stars align and the greater good triumphs.

Doing something for the well-being of our kids, and the people who educate them, is definitely part of the greater good.

Local lawmakers Rick Girdler and Shane Baker are well aware that traffic around Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School is a bear during school rush times.

And they have worked hard in an attempt to make that better.

Their hard work culminated last week with Gov. Andy Beshear and his senior advisor, Rocky Adkins, coming to Somerset to present Pulaski County Schools with over $1 million in infrastructure awards aimed at improving traffic safety around the high schools.

A total of $225,000 has been allocated for KYTC to design new left-turn lanes at both high schools as well connector road between PCHS and Northern Middle. The remaining $785,000 will be used for construction of the turn lanes next year.

Construction of a dedicated left turn from Ky. 1577 (Oak Hill Road) onto WTLO Road, a primary route for Southwestern High School traffic, will help reduce congestion and improve safety. Benefitting as well will be neighboring Oak Hill Elementary.

Meanwhile, a similar project — from Ky. 1575 (University Drive) onto Pulaski County High School — will improve the flow of through-traffic on the highway and reduce congestion during morning and afternoon start and dismissal times at the high school.

“What this can do for the traffic congestion around this area and getting everyone in and out of school safely is just a really big deal for us as a board,” Cindy Price, who chairs the Pulaski Board of Education, said. “We are so happy to see it all beginning.”

While Beshear was a Democrat in a Republican county, that was forgotten on Thursday -- the focus was on schools, students and educators.

“To every educator here, thank you…You all were already heroes. You were already doing one of the most important jobs there is and then we ask you to do 10 times more,” he said, referencing remote learning, meal delivery, returning to in-person instruction and more. “Our educators showed us again how wonderful they are.”

The Commonwealth Journal echoes that sentiment -- and we’re happy that Kentucky Transportation money will help free up bottle necks and remedy safety hazards in and around our county high schools.

Unfortunately, since Beshear’s appearance in Somerset, there’s been a tug-of-war over who should get kudos for this money being tossed our way.

Who cares?

President Ronald Reagan said it best: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Can we get an amen to that?

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Ashland Daily Independent. June 4, 2021.

Editorial: More money, more help

Two recovery centers in the region received state funds to go toward maintaining housing for those fighting substance abuse, which is an investment in the future of eastern Kentucky.

The Carter County Fiscal Court was awarded $200,000 for needed improvements and to supplement operating costs at the Genesis Recovery Kentucky Center.

The city of Morehead was awarded $400,000 after applying for funding in 2020 and 2021 on behalf of the Morehead Inspiration Center. The funding will be used to assist with operating and staff costs, according to the press release.

Funding was obtained through the Community Development Block Grant Recovery Kentucky Program.

Everyone in the country knows eastern Kentucky and neighboring parts of Ohio and West Virginia are areas where substance abuse is ravaging residents.

Not only does substance abuse harm a user’s health and quality of life, it often is deadly. It endangers the lives of those around the user. It puts all at risk for hepatitis and AIDS and often leads to babies born addicted and in tremendous pain.

The only way to combat the effects of substance abuse is to make help available to addicts. The number of recovery centers in the area has increased in the last several years, which is a positive, the effects of which are reflected in figures from drugabuse.gov:

• The number of drug overdose deaths in Kentucky in 2018 was 989, down from 1,160 deaths in 2017.

• Deaths from prescription opioid-involved deaths in Kentucky decreased by more than 100 from 2017 to 2018.

• Deaths involving heroin declined in Kentucky from 2017 to 2018 by half.

There is still a long way to go, but this is documented progress. However, unfortunately, those numbers climbed once again in 2020, according to early data.

If we don’t attack substance abuse in the area, not only will individuals die but the entire area will die, brought down by the socio-economic problems that feed users’ desires to numb themselves to their problems in the first place.

If that sounds like a vicious cycle, it is. To truly fix the problem, we must work on it on several fronts. Support for recovery centers is just one of those fronts.

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Frankort State Journal. June 3, 2021.

Editorial: Signage is a great way to honor Frankfort’s finest

Known usually for the politicians who pass through a few months each year, Frankfort will now be recognized as the hometown of Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky’s Mr. Football 2018, thanks to two signs that will greet visitors to the capital city.

The new signs were placed near Interstate 64 on U.S. 127 South and U.S. 60 (Versailles Road) Welcome to Frankfort signs on Thursday and were unveiled Tuesday at a ceremony at Robinson’s alma mater, Western Hills High School.

As the state’s top player, he was also the recipient of the Paul Hornung Award and named Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018.

Robinson ranks second in the state high school record books for all-time points scored (814) and touchdowns (131). He amassed 6,796 rushing yards (11th all-time) and a total of 8,554 yards combined rushing and receiving.

But even bigger than his stats is Robinson’s character. He is a role model for Frankfort youth, someone they can look up to both on and off the field.

“What matters is he’s a great young man who does the right thing at school, on the streets and at home,” Michael Hawkins, who has known Robinson for years, said at Tuesday’s unveiling. “He’s a great kid, and his character makes him who he is.”

City Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge requested the signs honoring the former Wolverine, who played his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Nebraska before transferring to the University of Kentucky in January, as part of a state program that allows cities to recognize a community member.

As part of the program, only one person can be honored at a time, but Waldridge is currently working to get signage made for another standout local athlete — recent Franklin County High School graduate Brooklynn Miles, who garnered this year’s Kentucky Miss Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year honors in girls basketball.

Miles, who has committed to play for the University of Tennessee, concluded her high school career with 2,278 points and led the Lady Flyers to the Sweet Sixteen each of the past two seasons.

We believe the signage program is a great way to celebrate the accomplishments of Frankfort’s finest, especially youth. We commend Waldridge and all those involved behind the scenes who helped on the project. It is our hope that the city continues to honor those who have made an impact on Franklin County.

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