Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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March 15

The State News Journal on free COVID-19 tests:

For the past year The State Journal has worked with the Franklin County Health Department on a daily basis in order to give our readers the most up-to-date coronavirus statistics and the latest information.

So when a local senior citizen raised concerns last week about area pharmacies now charging for COVID-19 testing — a service that had previously been free — the newspaper reached out to Health Department Director Judy Mattingly, who said her staff has the ability to test for the coronavirus but lately have been busy vaccinating county residents against the virus.

“We are so swamped with vaccine events that we’ve not been able to schedule large testing events,” she explained. “As long as we have vaccines we will continue to prioritize vaccine distribution.”

However, after hearing about the lack of free COVID-19 testing and that none of the 12 no-cost testing sites sponsored by the Kentucky Department for Public Health were in Franklin or neighboring counties, Mattingly reversed course.

On Thursday the health department announced it will offer a free weekly testing clinic from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on Wednesdays at its 100 Glenns Creek Road location, across from the Frankfort Cemetery. Registration is required and appointments may be made at fchd.org/covid19testing

We commend FCHD for being responsive to the needs of Franklin Countians, especially during this global health pandemic. When Mattingly heard there that local residents were being charged $60 or more for COVID-19 testing, she and her staff didn’t delay — they got busy addressing the issue to come up with a solution.

It’s a pattern we have seen repeatedly over the past year. Health department staff have worked tirelessly to keep our community safe and informed about the coronavirus while also juggling the regular services it provides to local residents.

We thank Mattingly and her staff at the health department for putting the needs of the community first. We are fortunate to have them in Franklin County.

Online: https://www.state-journal.com/

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March 12

The News-Enterprise on winter weather and potholes:

There’s a price to pay when the landscape is covered by a picturesque snowfall.

And with repeated wet weather.

Or the constant pounding of the pavement.

Roadways, like people, sooner or later will break down.

Welcome to the time of year when potholes are dodged by drivers daily.

They pop up everywhere – main roads, cul-de-sacs, side roads.

Unlike many recent winters which been mild and free of ice and snow – and free from the use of salt and brine – what we experienced for 10 days last month took a toll on our blacktop byways.

It’s been a team effort of various road departments throughout the county to patch, at least temporarily, many of the potholes appeared.

In one day, for instance, the Hardin County Road Department filled 738 asphalt divots, using about 45 tons of Coal-Mac for the patching alone.

Potholes are costly, whether it’s to fill them up or for drivers who damage tires, and sometimes more, when they strike an unfilled hole.

In a 2018 report, the American Automobile Association said pothole damages to U.S. motorists totaled about $3 billion per year, $300 per driver with a damaged vehicle.

In Elizabethtown, there have been at least 100 potholes repaired by the city road department and that doesn’t include more heavily traveled state-maintained roads such as U.S. 31W and U.S. 62, for instance.

For most road departments, pothole repair is a two-step process: Create a temporary patch and then go back to put on more permanent patches when asphalt plants open next month.

So if you see a road crew out and about, be careful driving near their vehicles and especially around their workers.

And be thankful that we have road departments who value county residents and their vehicles by trying to make roads as pothole free as possible.

Online: https://www.thenewsenterprise.com/

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March 11

The State News Journal on March Madness brackets for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament:

March Madness is upon us, and while the University of Kentucky won’t be in the field for the first time since 2013, the NCAA Tournament is shaping up to be a fun one. Morehead State is already in the big dance giving Kentuckians more than a passing interest in this year’s NCAA tourney.

If you’re like us, you likely participate in one or more bracket contests, doing your dead-level best to pick as many winners as possible in the 68-team event. And if you’re like us, that bracket is usually a mess after the first round, with many more airballs than swishes, leaving you out of contention for the grand prize.

The State Journal has some good news. In a twist on our annual bracket contest, readers this year can participate in our 3 in 1 College Basketball Challenge, courtesy of Whitaker Bank and other sponsors. After the first two rounds, a new, second contest will begin for the Sweet 16, with every contestant getting the chance to pick again, regardless of how you did in the first two rounds. And, finally, there will be a third contest once the Final Four is set.

The goal is to keep participants engaged throughout the tournament, and we hope you like it. Shortly after the 68-team field was announced Sunday evening, our bracket contest went live at https://frankfortstatejournalcollegehoops.upickem.net/ We encourage you to register and make your picks before the first games are played Friday (March 19).

In another exciting addition this year, we’ve joined a network of other media outlets across the country to offer a $1 million prize to any contestant who picks a perfect bracket from the Round of 64 to the championship game next month. Other national prizes include a PlayStation 5 and gift cards.

The State Journal reader who picks the most games correctly throughout the tournament will win $250. Smaller prizes will be awarded to the winners of the second and third phases of our 3 in 1 Challenge.

Picks must be submitted by 10:45 a.m. Friday, before the first-round games begin. Again, if your picks bomb out in the first two rounds, don’t worry — you can pick a fresh bracket beginning with the Sweet 16 and Final Four, with new prizes for each reset.

Besides competing against people in Frankfort and across the country, you can also set up groups among friends or colleagues to see who can pick the best bracket. So if you want to pick a bracket based on who has the cooler mascot or uniforms, go right ahead. It’s all free.

Online: https://www.state-journal.com/