Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Frankort State Journal. June 21, 2022.

Editorial: County, state need to recognize Juneteenth as paid holiday

President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday last year and the Frankfort City Commission followed suit, voting unanimously last June to make the holiday, which marks the emancipation of African American slaves in the U.S., a paid day off for all city staff. But not every government entity — such as the county and state — is on board. It’s time to change that.

During the Juneteenth festivities hosted by Focus On Race Relations-Frankfort (FORR) held last Saturday at Lakeview Park Gov. Andy Beshear stressed that he is hoping the state will recognize the holiday starting next year.

Juneteenth is held to commemorate June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that enslaved people were freed – 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the U.S. and is widely considered to be the longest-running African American holiday in the country.

“It’s a day where we stand united in acknowledging the end of our nation’s great injustice, though it took about six more months for it to happen in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “But, it’s still a day we celebrate the strength and courage of African Americans and the contributions they have made to our country and to this commonwealth.

“Today is also a day that we acknowledge that we have a long way to go to true equality not just here in the commonwealth, but all over the country.”

Texas became the first state to designate June 19 as a holiday in 1980. In the time since, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have recognized the day, but only 24 states and Washington, D.C., have made it a public paid holiday.

In June 2021, Judge-Executive Huston Wells issued a proclamation making the date National Freedom Day, but no action or vote has yet been taken by the Franklin County Fiscal Court to make Juneteenth an official holiday when employees have the day off.

We believe that June 19, 1865, was a significant day for African-Americans and the history of our country and should be recognized as a holiday locally in the same way we mark another independence day — July 4.

We encourage our readers to reach out to state legislators and local elected county leaders to ensure that in 2023 and every year after Juneteenth is a day we honor and reflect on the significant roles that African Americans have played in the history of our country, state, county and city.

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Ashland Daily Independent. June 18, 2022.

Editorial: Staying cool a matter of life or death

While so many problems besiege the world right now, perhaps the most immediate is the heat.

The Center for Disease Control reports hundreds die every year in the United States because of extreme heat.

While this weekend we’re cooling off a bit, it’s still hot, and there’s more intense heat to come, so we want everyone to understand how to combat the heat and humidity and stay safe.

Yes, high humidity brings its own complications. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.

In addition, consider your personal factors, like age, weight, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn and mental illness can put you at risk. In fact, the CDC says those at highest risk are people 65 or older, children younger than 2 and those with chronic diseases or mental illness.

Check out side effects of any prescription medication. You might be advised to stay out of the sun.

While a boat drink might seem like the right beverage to sip by the pool, alcohol can decrease your ability to cool off in hot weather.

Of course, everyone should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you likely already are getting dehydrated.

Don’t rely on a fan to stay cool in weather this hot. Air conditioning is a must; it’s the No. 1 way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If you don’t have AC, spend time in public, air-conditioned facilities or stay with a relative or friend who does have it.

Avoid using the stove or oven to cook; it will make your house easier to keep cool.

If you are out, wear loose, light-colored clothing; avoid the time when the sun is most intense, which usually is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and use sunscreen liberally.

Take frequent breaks; seek medical care right away if you have symptoms of heat-related illness, which are heavy sweating, muscle cramps, extreme weakness and/or fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness, headache, fainting and a weak or fast pulse.

Of course, do not let a child or pet in a car. It is a death sentence, even when temperatures aren’t as high as they are now.

And check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you. We all need a little help sometimes.

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Bowling Green Daily News. June 17, 2022.

Editorial: Waterway designation is great news

”I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune.” – Daniel Boone

Kentucky’s natural beauty enchanted early explorers like Boone, and it has done the same for many generations since then. From the mountains of eastern Kentucky to the Mississippi River in the west – even as housing or business developments have erased many natural assets – our state offers stunning God-given views that have thrilled Kentuckians and out-of-state visitors alike.

And here in southcentral Kentucky, we are pleased to see new steps are being taken to refocus our attention on this beauty while also giving the region a potential economic boost.

Government leaders and others gathered recently at Mammoth Cave National Park’s Green River Ferry to celebrate a milestone: Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway has been named Kentucky’s first national waterway.

Now that the 36-mile Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is one of 33 members of the National Water Trails System, it is featured on the National Park Service website and in its promotional materials as an “exemplary” waterway, the Daily News’ Sarah Michels reported.

And that’s expected to lure more locals and tourists.

Edmonson County Judge-Executive Wil Cannon, whose county was a partner in the waterway project, sounded a bit like Boone as he talked about his home and the potential this designation brings.

“We (have) the most beautiful place in the world, and Mammoth Cave National Park, Nolin Lake and the Green River splitting right in the middle of it. And the possibilities of tourism expansion are just limitless,” he said. “This is a huge step in that direction for us on the west side of Mammoth Cave National Park.”

Turning Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway into a national waterway was a years-long effort, according to Rachelle Wright, Cave Country Trails executive director. The application process involved extensive historical and biodiversity research, assurances of adequate safety measures and public access, detailing of the outdoor recreation offerings in and around the waterway and an explanation as to how the waterway impacts its communities, she said.

This designation will be particularly helpful as more and more Americans search for outdoor recreation opportunities. Since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in 2020, the percentage of Americans participating in outdoor recreational activities has increased four percentage points, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Touting the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway, the NPS website notes: “Spending the day along the Blueway will bring visitors to one of the most biodiverse river systems in the nation, hosting over 80 species of fishes, about 350 species of macroinvertebrates and more than 50 species of freshwater mussels. It is this biodiversity and overall river health that makes these rivers significant both nationally and internationally. On the rivers, visitors can explore river islands, springs, overhangs and other unique features. There are 18 trips available ranging from 29 miles to two miles. Trip details and maps along the Blueway are available from Cave Country Trails.”

Vanessa Ulm, executive director of Edmonson County Tourism, celebrated the fact that this designated area will no longer be “a hidden gem.” And we agree with her that the grueling application process will be worth it, not only because of how the designation will benefit the surrounding communities, but also because of the experiences it will allow those communities to share with outsiders.

“You really necessarily want people to know what you have,” Ulm said, “and our natural landscape here is what we celebrate. It’s our backyard. So we want people to come and play in our backyard.”

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