Negatives of casinos outweigh positives

Gov. Steve Beshear claims casino gambling is the answer to Kentucky’s budget woes and will be good for the commonwealth. I contend that this represents a lack of willingness to deal with tough economic issues and will be bad for our state.

Gambling is predicated on the losses, pain and suffering of others. For people to win at gambling, others must lose.

Gambling will bring to a community such negative, corruptive and debilitating outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime and suicide.

More than 15 million Americans struggle even now with a gambling problem, and the number will only grow with expanded gambling. Gambling preys on the desperation of the poor.

Studies reveal a large percentage of gamblers are those with $10,000 or less income. People gamble to win money, but only the few win. So, gambling is an attempt by a few to obtain the resources of others without providing anything of value in return.

The proponents of gambling paint a rosy pictures of the revenues from gambling, but here are a few things they don't tell us:

Casinos stack the odds against winning.

New Jersey has 17 casinos and recently had to shut down state government to a budget crisis.

If casinos are good economic developments, why then does the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Business Journal, both editorialize against casinos?

Studies reveal that within 50 miles of a casino, one of every 20 people become gambling addicts. (1999 NGISC report.).

I hope all of us will demand a full, unbiased study of casinos as a reputable business and that we study carefully the real effects of such establishments on the people around them. Let's get back to a work-ethic society — where you work for what you earn.

Phillip Haney, Ashland

Give Big Run gift to the community

In reading the Sunday Independent story on the Big Run Land Fill order of ODER, I discovered a different aroma with the same stench as always.

I understand that everyone involved except the people who have to smell the garbage are in agreement on a solution to the problem. It appears the agency and the company reached a median by which both can operate.

Being a good business neighbor, the landfill will make a donation to the Southwestern High School Conservation Club and Raptor Center. What a grand jester! This fits in the category of Texas sending $7,000 to Mexico for hats so illegal aliens won’t get sun stroke when crossing the border.

Don’t get me wrong. This club and bird center do a great work and service in returning injured and sick birds back into the wild. But, let’s look at the smell here. Why should anyone other than the people or agency in the immediate area of this odor problem receive compensation? Big Run’s donation will in no way can help resolve the stink.

This state agency has totally turned its back on the community that has to live with the problem.

Even our good government passed out commodity cheese, floor, powdered eggs and milk in bad times. One would think passing out air fresheners would be more in order than with the $7,000.

We need landfills and the funds they generate, but take care of the families around the problem. Boyd County Abatement Officer and Solid Waste Coordinator Steve Sturgill can only enforce what the state mandates. Put the $7,000 where it belongs: In the community that has to breathe the odor.

Rick Wilson, Flatwoods

How are schools being well-served?

In his recent letter, the Lawrence County school superintendent said we are being “well-served” by our school board members.

So, lets see who has been and is being “well-served.”

Is it the central office personnel who recently had their offices refurbished and were given huge pay increases?

Or was it because school board members, except for one, let the superintendent sign a contract 10 months before his present contract was up? The board also gave him a $9,000 pay increase.

The board had already approved the hiring of a Corbin lawyer for $95 per hour, plus expenses, for their legal help with the Office of Education Accountability charges. The Lexington Herald-Leader recently cited the Lawrence County School System as one of the biggest spenders of taxpayers money being used to hire legal firepower to thwart the OEA in its investigation.

Taxpayers’ money is going toward keeping the schools mismanaged. Lawrence County ranks 167 out of 175 districts. The Louisa Middle School is still not meeting Federal NCLB standards. Blaine is ranked 10th from the bottom and LCHS ranks 12th from the bottom, the lowest performing high school in the region.

The county is second from the bottom in absenteeism. More than 200 students have transferred to other counties. The board CPA told the board members they were treading on quicksand financially.

The OEA stated in its report that its investigation gave a “clear picture of a board which does not understand its duties and responsibilities.”

We’ve no leadership and our children are the losers. The Kentucky Department of Education and the Office of Education Accountability have made it clear that the failure of a school system lies directly at the hands of the school board. Board members have many reasons to ask for the superintendent’s resignation.

James R. Burton, Blaine

Boyd class plans 50-year reunion

The Boyd County High School class of 1958 will be celebrating its 50-year reunion in September. We still need information on these classmates: Rosa Lee Cumpston, Margie Gray, Virginia Jones, Dock Ronk, Jewel Sturgill, Phil Wooten and Doris Vanhoose.

If you have an address or phone number of any of these classmates, please call Harold Bush at (606) 325-9660.

Harold Bush, president, Class of 1958, Boyd County High School

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