Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 5, 2012

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Simpson article quite inspiring

These comments relate to the article penned by Fred Simpson as published recently in a Sunday edition of The Independent.

First, we applaud Fred for sharing his experineces and style of adaptations to his physical and mental changes. His vivid descriptions and poetic quotes underscore his daily trials, his strong motivation, and his positive outlook as he faces a progressive disease.

Next, on a personal level, my husband and I have been on Fred’s long list of friends for many years. Fred, who is just a great guy, is very social and can talk at length to anyone at any time on any given topic.

Oh, and what about his talents in basketball? To our knowledge, Fred was a star shooter and high point man in most games he played in schools, including Holy Family. He holds a distinction of being one of the best players emerging from our region. One would never  hear about his record when talking to Fred. His modesty is obvious.

Finally, we thank Fred for this article. We believe that those who read Fred’s article will feel inspired, if also afflicted, to face diseases like Alzheimer’s with persistent courage and daily faith.

John and Wanda Huffman, Ashland

Panel needs full access to records

It is preposterous that the Child Fatality Review Panel set up by executive order July 16, 2012, by Governor Beshear to review child abuse deaths and critical injuries will receive redacted files. These are the same records any citizen can receive if they submit an open records request. The panel needs enough detailed information about the case to determine if the case was handled properly and, if not, how can the child protective service processes be improved to protect the lives of Kentucky’s children. Redacted files do not provide that level of information.

Between 50 percent and 60 percent of the child fatalities and near fatalities that occur in Kentucky annually have had prior contact with the Cabinet. This means the Cabinet has received at least one complaint on the child’s caretaker for abuse and neglect and completed an investigation that determined abuse or neglect had not occurred.

The death of 2-year-old Watson Adkins, who was found dead in the home of an aunt and uncle on Sept. 29, 2011, is a case where two investigations had been completed by the Cabinet prior to the child’s death. Neither of these investigations found substantiated abuse.

After the fatality, The Mountain Eagle in Inez made an open records request on Watson’s case. Gary Ball, the newspaper’s editor, said, “What I got was so heavily redacted that I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.” These are the same redacted records the Child Fatality Review Panel will receive.

It’s clear the 2013 Kentucky Legislature needs to adopt legisation to improve upon the governor’s executive order. At a minimum, the legislation needs to give the panel full access to the children’s files who have died from abuse and neglect. There needs to be provisions in the legislation to ensure this level of transparency.

Jerry Cantrell, Louisville


EDITOR’S NOTE: Jerry Cantrell is the retired executive director of Bellewood Home for Children.

Jim Fout helped feed thousands

Last week, Ashland lost a great man, Mr. Jim Fout.

Mr. Fout was a retired Ashland Oil employee who saw a need in the community and worked to address it. He and his fellow retirees founded River Cities Harvest, a local food recovery and distribution agency.

Through his years with River Cities Harvest, Jim was responsible for helping to feed thousands of Tri-State area residents.

Until recently, Mr. Fout continued to be an active volunteer for River Cities Harvest, overseeing the Post Office Food Drive in May and also the Feed the Children delivery in July.  Mr. Fout’s tireless dedication and strong sense of community helped to make him an invaluable part of the River Cities Harvest organization.

On behalf of the board of River Cities Harvest and its many volunteers, we salute Jim Fout and the work he has done throughout the years.  He will be missed by all who knew him but his legacy of giving will live on.

 Kristy Gross, President, River Cities Harvest, Ashland

Ashland parade sharply criticized

I had the experience of attending the Ashland Christmas parade this year, and it was so bad that Ashland should be ashamed to even have a Christmas parade if it is going to be like this last one.

In the past, I have seen so many people there that they were five to six deep from the curb, but this year you could easily just walk right up to the curb with no problem as they were only two or three deep. The Ashland Christmas parade has become so boring that everyone is starting to go elsewhere to find something more interesting and enjoyable.

They won’t allow the police cruisers or fire trucks to blow their sirens that children and adults love because of just a handful of people who wanted to whine and complain about the noise hurting their ears. Well those people should just stay home and watch it on television and quit ruining it for the majority of the people.

You can go to Russell and Flatwoods parade and the one in Ironton and they all sound their sirens and everyone loves it. That is what makes a parade and they was way more people there than at the one in Ashland. Two of our major schools in this area were not even in the parade, Russell High and Greenup County High, and I can see why they were not interested in being there!

It’s a shame that the city leaders of Ashland let just a few ruin it for the majority, and everyone wonders why Ashland doesn’t grow or prosper. This is just one of the narrow-minded things that keep it from growing. Wake up, Ashland leaders, do your job for the good of the majority of the people, not just a few.

Leonard Stevens, Flatwoods

No more turkey for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day we had the usual Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimmings with six side dishes.

There was my son Keith, his wife Betty, their granddaughter, Sadie, and me. I had encouraged the rest of the family to go to the other parents/grandparents and to come here for dessert.

The awful truth hit me Friday morning when I opened the refrigerator, looked in and felt like gagging. I really don’t like turkey!

I called the family and said, “If you ever want turkey again you will cook it or go to a restaurant. I prefer spaghetti, fish, ham, chicken, hot dogs. Best taste, less mess.”

I love the side dishes but who needs eight side dishes at one meal? Side dish food tastes better and looks better when fresh cooked. I will miss my fried mashed potatoes for Friday morning breakfast with scrambled eggs and bacon.

I already feel 100 percent better. The turkeys will love me.

Helen Adkins, Flatwoods

Letters invited

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