Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


December 16, 2012

In Your View


ASHLAND — Charity should begin at home

While dining at a local Ashland chain restaurant, I was asked if I would like to give a donation to a charity to “help the children.” There were stockings hanging all over the restaurant showing that the community had been very generous. After reading the paper I was given, I decided to check it out first. Their website convinced me it is a legitimate nonprofit charity, but all the money collected would go to children in 12 West Virginia counties.

When exiting a big box store, a gentleman asked me to donate to help feed the hungry and homeless. I was curious since I belong to a local Hunger and Homeless Coalition task force. He assured me he was with a non-profit and admitted he was from Columbus and really didn’t know where the money would go.

I have no reason to doubt that these are well-meaning individuals with legitimate non-profit organizations.  I do, however, believe we have local charities that are struggling to meet the need of local children as well as hungry and homeless people.

I encourage you to give generously to local agencies to help local people. I have volunteered with United Way on review panels reviewing the requests of many of these local agencies, and I am totally convinced that “Charity should begin at home.”

Support Helping Hands, the Community Kitchen, Safe Harbor or one of many local agencies. You might also cover them all by making a generous donation to United Way of Northeast Kentucky.

R. J. “Bud” Matheny, Flatwoods

Why keep system that’s inefficient?

Why maintain a system and technology that has a known and obvious life expectancy built in? Coal is a natural resource that requires an enormous amount of energy to harvest and process. Plus, it is limited in both quantity and geographic availability.

Duke Energy’s successful operation of a “coal gas” generation plant has been touted as a “milestone for the company as well as Indiana.” Such a statement couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the process that is used to produce “coal-gas” leaves enormous questions lingering: What are we doing with the residuals of the gasification process?

Gasifying coal extracts, at best, 85 percent of the available energy from coal, but significant quantities of arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metal remain in the waste. The process leaves these toxins in a form that is easily adapted for industry purposes. Traditional pulverized systems produce soot that can be filtered in various forms to capture the toxins for use across multitudes of manufacturing and research project. The remaining material can be easily mixed with ammonia to produce farm grade fertilizer.

Attempts at moving the power industry to “coal gas” have been seen before and failed for the very reason that threatens the current attempt: oil price fallout.

Our aging power system should take a page from the past to build and revitalize our infrastructure through sound planning. We should take a note of Walmart, which is in the process of installing solar panels to offset the cost of electricity on every store in the country. How about providing incentives for them to cover the store’s parking lots? 

It’s time we built an infrastructure that can adapt to advances in technology and not adapt technology to its stagnation.

 Benjamin Vaughan, Electrical engineer, Louisville


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