As the proud son of a woman who spent more than 50 years working as an LPN, RN, Flight Nurse and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in the Tri-State, I find the recent announcement of Our Lady of Bellefonte’s pending closure particularly gut-wrenching.

I have witnessed for the better part of 50 years, as business after business and industry after industry, shuttered their doors, ALWAYS at the expense of an already crippled region. It seems, that the health care industry has been the only thriving employer for decades. This is, however, a painfully ironic fact, considering many of this area’s illnesses/injuries are due, in large part, to the very corporations that provided great but hazardous jobs. That is, of course, until the profit and loss sheets can no longer justify their existence in the Tri-State.

After years of living in Columbus, Ohio, and working in corporate America, it occurs to me that the only people who will take an interest in the success of our river cities are the people who have a vested interest in the success of our river cities, and that is us, plain and simple!

We can no longer afford to allow nameless/faceless CEOs and boards of directors to view us as expendable resources rather than priceless commodities!

Sadly my family’s very specific double-edged sword comes from the fact that not only are my mother and I grieving for the thousands of people and their families who are facing an uncertain future, but also, and especially, the tens of thousands of people and their families who have relied upon OLBH for health care for nearly 70 years — people like my mother, the nurse of 50 years, who chose a small community hospital, Bellefonte, as her team in fighting cancer.

We deserve better!

Chris Perry

Ironton

Legalized cannabis

needs to happen

I write this to express my support for multiple pieces of legislation currently in the Kentucky legislative session.

Legal cannabis can bolster an ailing community.

I have many friends that use cannabis to treat depression, chronic pain and for recreation.

There is already research being done in legal states that have shown the efficacy of cannabis on PTSD in veterans, IBS and Crohn’s Disease, and the pain-relieving effects are obvious.

In my experience, and from what I’ve seen in people I know, cannabis is less addictive than tobacco and less destructive than alcohol.

In an area ravaged by the opioid epidemic, the loss of thousands of jobs with the closure of AK Steel and now Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, we are desperately in need of development and avenues of economic growth. Decriminalized and legalized cannabis would provide some measure of relief. This would also lessen the strain of our overcrowded jails and overworked police forces.

Greenup County’s own representative, Danny Bentley, is the lead sponsor of Kentucky House Concurrent Resolution 5 that would expand cannabis research.

Representative Jason Nemes, of Louisville, introduced a bill that would legalize medical cannabis in alternate forms to smoking — edibles, oils, capsules, etc.

Even further, representative Cluster Howard, of Jackson, put a bill forward that would decriminalize possession of less than 1 ounce of cannabis, with 75% of tax revenue from sales going to the Kentucky Employees Retirement pension fund and 25% going to the Teacher’s Retirement System fund.

It’s time for Kentucky to step up and capitalize on cannabis. We need it, now more than ever.

Corey Bush

Flatwoods

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