Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


Jan. 18

The State Journal on lowering the speed limit on a highway in Kentucky:

Following yet another motor vehicle accident on KY 151 (Graefenburg Road) last week, perhaps now is the time for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to review the posted speed limit on the thoroughfare that many motorists use to bypass U.S. 127.

On Wednesday, 45-year-old Christopher Rogers, of Frankfort, pulled his Ford Explorer out of the Valero gas station on KY 151 near Interstate 64′s Exit 48 in front of a Dodge pickup truck that was southbound, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. He was airlifted from the scene and later died at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington.

In 2016, the transportation cabinet performed a safety study on the stretch of KY 151 from I-64′s Exit 48 through Alton to the intersection with U.S. 127 South in Anderson County and concluded that the posted speed limit of 55 mph is appropriate.

However, the main focus of that study was commercial vehicle use of the road following a five-year period in which 19 of 177 motor vehicle accidents on KY 151 involved commercial vehicles. At that time, more than 800 commercial vehicles traveled KY 151 daily as a shortcut from I-64 to U.S. 127 and the highest concentration of commercial vehicle crashes occurred between Alton and the Anderson-Franklin County line.

“After a deliberate review of all safety factors and recommendations, it is incumbent upon the Cabinet to take immediate action limiting the amount of truck traffic on Graefenburg Road,” then-KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas said. “We have also met with local industry leaders and determined this action will have a minimal impact on their businesses.”

The transportation cabinet has since banned commercial vehicles with a trailer length of 53 feet or 8½ feet wide from traveling KY 151 and received authorization from the Federal Highway Administration to delete the road from the National Truck Network. Box trucks, farm and construction vehicles, garbage trucks and local deliveries are exempt from the action.

We believe lowering the speed limit on KY 151 will not only deter commercial vehicles from using the road as a shortcut, but lower the number of motor vehicle accidents and lives lost. We call on local leaders to urge KYTC officials to reexamine the 55 mph speed limit.



Jan. 17

The News-Enterprise on a Kentucky county's recycling program:

It’s safe to say 2020 gave us far too much to be concerned about.

Worries about health and safety risks because of COVID-19 dominated the mindset of many. The emotional well-being of elderly parents and grandparents because of necessary social isolation added to anxieties. Unease also surfaced regarding possible lasting impact on our children’s education related to all the necessary changes in teaching and learning protocols.

Business lockdowns and restrictions dealt heavy blows to commercial and industrial segments. Displaced workers have worried about slow unemployment benefit checks. Others fortunate to still be working remain nervous about the future.

As vaccines were approved, distributed and are being administered, reports of confirmed cases of morphed strains of coronavirus raise new concern about the effectiveness of these medicines.

As if all these frets haven’t been enough, social disruption and political disturbances have done nothing more than add to the agonies of even the most casual of observers.

With all this mental turmoil brewing, the last thing anyone wants to have to think about is their household trash. But for those with a mind and desire to reduce the amount of solid waste going into our county’s landfill, we have concerns.

Late last March, Hardin County Government suspended its recycling program when the governor stopped inmate community work programs to mitigate risk of prisoner infections and the threat of spreading the virus in the confined jail environment. The county used Hardin County Detention Center inmates to sort recyclables.

Until such programs are allowed to resume by the state, Hardin County Solid Waste Director Stephanie Givens has said the recycling program will remain shuttered.

And even when it does resume, plastics and certain paper materials such as magazines may not be accepted as they once were, Givens warns. And the pandemic is partly to blame. As more people have remained at home during the past 10 months of the pandemic, household waste has increased.

At the same time, domestic and global markets for recycled materials have broken down. It’s a figurative perfect storm of consumer garbage.

Our problem with garbage and how it’s handled predates the pandemic, however.

Nearly 270 million tons of trash is generated in the U.S. each year. The average American tosses out seven and one-half pounds of garbage every day.

Unfortunately, most of it ends up compacted and buried in county landfills such as our own Pearl Hollow facility. Lowering the tonnage that’s hauled and packed down in the ground cells of the landfill is not only better for the environment but for our collective pocketbooks, too, in energy, raw material and landfill management savings.

That’s where the “3 Rs” of recycling come into play. Reducing the amount of domestic waste we produce, learning how to reuse and repurpose things that would normally be tossed into the trash and recycling as much of our plastics, paper, glass and aluminum debris as possible becomes more important each year.

Disruption to existing recycling chains or the absence of such services get folks out of important sorting habits at home and work, and won’t establish any in others who toss their garbage without thought or care.

Givens has encouraged Hardin County residents to keep an eye on the county’s Solid Waste and Recycling department web page for updates.

In the meantime, she recommends hauling household recyclables to Meade County Recycling Center in Bran­den­burg. Meade also maintains a dropoff site in the parking lot at the Flaherty fire station.

But most won’t bother with the inconvenience of doing so.

The pandemic’s end may be in sight thankfully. Unfortunately, our problems with the collection and disposal of garbage and recyclables won’t.



Jan. 13

The Daily Independent on a manatee found with “Trump” drawn on its back in a Florida river:

Someone has assaulted a manatee by writing “Trump” on its back.

The manatee was seen in Florida’s Homosassa River with the president’s name on its back. One report stated the name was carved into the animal’s back.

Someone will pay for this travesty.

This isn’t a political statement. It’s a humanitarian one.

Carving letters into an animal is cruel and interferes with nature. This is why the Center for Biological Diversity is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Manatees, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act, are gentle creatures who should be left alone, as most wild animals are and should be.