Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 23, 2014

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Increased truck weight opposed

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would raise amount of weight allowed for semi-trailer trucks hauling poultry, livestock and agricultural products from 80,000 pounds to 88,000 pounds. The bill now is in the House of Representatives

The increased weight would have a substantial, negative impact on our roads and bridges, our state and local budgets and, most importantly, our safety.

The bill, SB 44, uses language that sounds rather harmless, referring to the 8,000 extra pounds as a “10-percent variance” in truck weight, but let me assure you: these heavier trucks would endanger Kentuckians, period. That’s why I’m speaking out.

As president of the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association, I know first hand the impact of big rigs on Kentucky motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 2,541 large-truck crashes in Kentucky in 2012 resulting in and, regrettably, 82 fatalities. To emergency responders, the thought of adding up to four tons to these trucks’ weight does not make sense.

More than 95 percent of law enforcement officers said in a recent analysis that adding more weight to semi-trailer trucks makes them more dangerous. Like EMS personnel, these aren’t corporations with an economic interest in the outcome of this bill; these are the men and women who keep us safe, protect us, and are looking out for the best interests of each of us.

The 2014 state budget shortfall is projected to be nearly a half-billion dollars. That’s a half-billion dollars we don’t have to repair the roads and bridges already damaged.

Allowing 44-ton trucks on our underfunded roads and bridges just so some business interests can haul their loads at cheaper rates sounds an awful lot like a subsidy paid for by Kentucky taxpayers—and at the expense of our safety.

We can’t afford to compromise the safety of Kentuckians.

Thomas Adams, Executive director, Boyd County EMS, Ashland

Law would enshrine bigotry

I’ve been reading of the Kansas Legislature’s current efforts — undoubtedly soon to be signed into law by the governor — to enshrine bigotry swathed in the cloak of religious freedom by ensuring the right to refuse service to same-sex couples.

I wonder if a search of back rooms, old barns, and musty basements in the deep South might turn up enough “Whites Only” signs that with a bit of paint might be recast to read “Straights Only.”

It’s sad to see this being pushed as a religious liberty issue. It is easy to find examples of religion being bent to the needs of bigotry.

Certainly, the First Amendment protects the rights of all to be secure in their religious beliefs.What another believes is no one’s business. The state cannot dictate any particular religion, nor proscribe one, but neither does one’s personal convictions give one the right to nullify the laws of the state regarding commerce. If a same-sex couple wants to eat in a Topeka restaurant or get a drivers license in Wichita, no one’s religious liberty is compromised.

If David Green wins his case now before the Supreme Court by successfully arguing that his own personal religious liberty is compromised by the requirements of the  Affordable Care Act and Hobby Lobby, how long can it be before a congregant of the Appleby Baptist Church of Nacogdoches, Texas,  opens a “Whites Only” diner, arguing that his religious liberty would be trampled if he had to serve anyone of color?

Personally, my religion finds it to be an affront to God to pay taxes. I’m looking for successful entrepreneurs willing to convert and relocate to Kansas.

Steve Duncan, Grayson

Can’t we silence Nugent, others?

Will someone please tell me how the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution can protect an imbecile like Ted Nugent for blasting out slanderous and crude remarks about our president without being sued to the limit of the law?

In my opinion, nearly every word he utters is slanderous.

Kitty Kouns, Ashland

Churches, beer on the same page

I cannot fail to notice the disparity of news in your front page, Feb.y 18, “A Rainbow of Beers”” and “Church-count project launched by library.”

A brewery so near to these 600 churches, what gives? It is no wonder that the alcohol vote failed this past attempt. Who knew that you had this many people who live in such a small geographical area that oppose the teachings of Jesus and Paul, (among many others) concerning wine (alcohol)? I have never understood how you can preach from the Bible but say, in essence, “Ignore this part, or that part.” Historically, since these same (similar) groups’ prohibition effort eventually failed nationally (recall of the 18th Amendment), they still campaign locally.

Four thousand years ago a young Babylon couple married and went off to themselves with a carafe of mead (wine made from honey) and promised their parents to return on the first full moon. So while enjoying each other along with their honey wine, they waited for the full moon to return home. Now we know where the term “Honeymoon” comes from. I’m sure the churches in Greenup County will say this was not mead, just honey, and the wine that Jesus made and drank (not the same) at his last supper was just “grape juice.”

I look forward to the opening of this microbrewery as I had recently decided to start raising hops and now I don’t have to ship them very far. Raising hops is probably against the local 600 churches preferences also.

I point out to Matt Bradley that there is another local area microbrewery — in Portsmouth, Ohio. The Portsmouth Brewery has been producing since 1991, in the same building that was put out of existence  because to prohibition, having started production in 1849.

Kelly Secrest,  Argentum

Low skill jobs equal low pay

In response to the Feb. 16 “In Your View”  letter  headlined ““Laziness is not cause of low pay,” the writer talks about unarmed security guards and Certified Nursing Assistants working 10-20 years at these jobs and retire still making under $10 an hour.

Those jobs pay low wages because they are low skill jobs. There is nothing wrong with working at a low skill job. There is a need for people to do these jobs. Many very successful people have worked at one of these low skill jobs while they were learning a higher skill.

Thousands of jobs pay considerably more than minimum wage. If someone does not wish to continue to work at a low skill, low pay job, then they need to learn a skill that pays more.

America truly is the land of opportunity. There are many ways to obtain the skills needed for higher paying jobs. Many of these programs qualify for financial aid and can be taken while still working full time.

If someone chooses to stay working at one of these low wage occupations for many years, then it’s not “greed or corruption” that is at fault, it’s the law of supply and demand: Low skill equals low pay, higher skill equals higher pay.

Instead of working 10 years as a CNA, become a LPN or RN. Instead of working 20 years as an unarmed security guard, become an engineer. Businesses are not to blame. They pay higher wages for the right skills. I believe Mr. Bounds’  Feb. 12 letter referred also to mentally lazy people who won’t spend the time and effort necessary to get the skills needed to get a higher paying job.

Sam Prichard, Chesapeake, Ohio

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