Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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Oct. 19

The State Journal on racial diversity at workplaces in Frankfort, Kentucky and Kentucky's Franklin County:

As a whole the United States may be a racially diverse country, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is evidence of “the melting pot” everywhere.

For instance, California and Texas were named the most diverse states in a WalletHub study released last month, while West Virginia and Maine finished 49th and 50th. Kentucky was 45th, and Frankfort and Franklin County are prime examples of why achieving more diversity in the workplace can be challenging.

Last week, a State Journal analysis of the combined workforces of the City of Frankfort, Franklin County and municipal-owned Frankfort Plant Board revealed that 93.5% employees are white and 6.5% are minorities.

The racial makeup of the workforce is not representative of our local U.S. Census Bureau population data, which found that the capital city’s white non-Hispanic population is 74.3% and the county’s white non-Hispanic population is 81.5%.

That’s a far cry from the racial/ethnic and gender makeup of area government workforces provided to this newspaper, which found:

• 359 (93.5%) of the City of Frankfort’s 384 employees are white. 23 employees are Black and two employees are Hispanic.

• 235 (96%) of Franklin County’s 245 employees are white. Five employees are Black, four are Hispanic and one is listed as “two or more races.”

• 208 (90.8%) of the Frankfort Plant Board’s 229 employees are white. Eleven employees are Black, five are Hispanic and five are listed as other races.

“We know that lack of representation within the local government workforce changes the way services are delivered to residents in cities,” Dr. Kendra Smith, a researcher and consultant at the University of Houston’s College of Medicine, said. “... Fundamentally that’s a problem. That’s not to say that there needs to be an even split, but there should be some diversity in a workforce.”

Local governments’ human resource specialists agree that work to increase the racial diversity of the workforce needs to be done but advised that a low applicant pool and getting minority candidates to apply for jobs makes it even more difficult.

According to Frankfort Human Resources Director Kathy Fields, the non-white applicant percentage in 2018 was roughly 5%, however, that number has risen slightly in the years since.

We understand that building a more racially diverse local government workforce that is more reflective of our community doesn’t happen overnight. It is citizens’ responsibility to let elected city and county leaders know that Frankfort and Franklin County government workforces should be more inclusive of minorities.

Online: https://www.state-journal.com

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Oct. 15

The State Journal on the upcoming municipal election in Frankfort, Kentucky:

Frankfort’s yards and intersections are crammed with campaign signs vying for voters’ eyes, ballots are being signed and sent in the mail and this week social-distanced folks started lining up for early in-person voting in the Franklin County Election Headquarters at the former Frankfort Plant Board building on West Second Street. With just 18 days until the November general election, campaign season in is well underway in the capital city.

City residents have a lot riding on the election. With Mayor Bill May and incumbent commissioners Scott Tippett and John Sower off the ballot, Frankfort residents will be electing a new mayor and at least two new city commissioners.

In the mayoral race, will voters side with the newcomer Layne Wilkerson or will veteran commissioner Tommy Haynes prevail?

The seats of two incumbents — Katrisha Waldridge and Eric Whisman — are being challenged on the city commission ballot by Harry Carver, Kelly May, Anna Marie Rosen, Diane Strong, Kyle Thompson and Leesa Unger.

With significant decisions regarding the Parcels B and C downtown redevelopment project and the coronavirus pandemic looming in the balance, right off the bat the new city commission will face issues of historical proportion that will influence the future of Frankfort for many years to come — which makes voting in the upcoming election all the more important.

As has been our policy, The State Journal continues to refrain from endorsing specific candidates. However, we do encourage registered Franklin County voters to perform their civic duty by casting a ballot in this critical election — whether through the mail-in absentee, in-person on Nov. 3 or via early voting.

For those who have not yet returned their mail-in ballots, they must be postmarked by election day and received at the county clerks office by Nov. 6. For those concerned about postal delays, Franklin County Clerk Jeff Hancock has made two convenient drop boxes available in the city — one at his office, 315 W. Main St., and a second at election headquarters, 317 W. Second St.

Early in-person voting began Tuesday at election headquarters and is open Monday through Friday until Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays through Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to noon.

On election day, a school in each of the six magistrate districts (1-Collins Lane; 2-Hearn Elementary; 3-Franklin County High; 4-Peaks Mill Elementary; 5-Western Hills High; and 6-Westridge Elementary) will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

With so many voting options available, there is no excuse not to participate in this crucial upcoming election.

Online: https://www.state-journal.com

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Oct. 14

The Daily Independent on a fire that happened at an apartment building in Kentucky:

Rallying around a cause is a beautiful thing. It happens all around us in this area. Some of us may even be directly impacted by these good deeds, whether it’s the giving or receiving side.

In a world that can seem so awful at every turn, there’s a flip side to the coin that’s often unseen. The good people do just isn’t always as visible, probably because they’re not doing these things for attention or figurative gold stars. They’re doing these acts out of the kindness of their hearts.

Tragedy struck in Greenup on Tuesday morning. Fire and smoke ravaged a building where people dwell. So many who call Stone Side Apartments their home were in search of other places to lay their heads on Tuesday evening.

First, we must commend the firefighters for responding so quickly and adeptly. Everyone evacuated safely as first responders from Greenup, Wurtland, Flatwoods and Russell worked tirelessly to extinguish the flames. The fire scene was active for more than eight hours.

The community immediately came together to assist those affected by the flames.

“Greenup County Strong” rapidly became the rallying cry. As we reported, local churches were among fast-to-react organizations in this desperate time of need.

Social media can be a useful tool — it’s not always evil — and that was evidenced on Tuesday. Word of the news quickly and widely circulated, and people pounced on the opportunity to help.

We are thankful no one lost his or her life in amid this tragedy, and we are grateful to be in a region where the good in people rises to the surface during tough times. We wish the best for those impacted by the fire.

Contact American Red Cross in Greenup (606-473-9594), the Greenup County Clerk’s Office (606-473-7394) or the Greenup United Methodist Church (606-473-9236) if you’d like to help these families.

Online: https://www.dailyindependent.com