Kentucky editorial roundup
Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:
The Daily Independent on a court program that helped a veteran get a fresh start:
There was a very inspiring story in Sunday’s Daily Independent about the Veterans Court in Boyd County.
The story by reporter Carly Carver documented how a local Marine, James “Jim” Blankenship, is getting a fresh start thanks to the specialized court program led by circuit court judges in conjunction with the Veterans Administration.
Through the program Blankenship graduated and had all criminal charges against him dismissed. Blankenship was originally charged with trafficking in a controlled substance but graduated Veterans Court after being enrolled since last year and successfully met all requirements with no complications or setbacks.
“It gives me great pleasure to enter an order this afternoon that dismisses the criminal charges against Mr. Blankenship, dismissed due to his participation and completion of the Veterans Court program,” Boyd County Circuit Judge John Vincent said.
The official title is called the Veterans Justice Outreach Program. It helps veterans find their footing often after they’ve had an encounter with the criminal justice system. By working to better themselves through therapy, counseling or diligent reform the veterans are given a chance to start over without incarceration.
In a state and nation where jails are overcrowded to the extreme, this is a good thing. In a nation where the care of our veterans has shortcomings, this is a good thing.
“It’s designed to work with local justice system partners to identify veterans that enter the justice system and are in need of treatment services rather than incarceration,” Boyd County Circuit Judge John Vincent said.
Angela Miller, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist with the VA Medical Center, said the program aims to help those with criminal charges work on appropriate treatment, not just incarceration, and treat the deeper root issue.
“Every veteran gets an assessment, and those who are a good fit for veterans court gets treatment,” Miller said. “We link them to the appropriate service for the underlying issue.”
Boyd County Circuit Judge George Davis has been a leader of this program.
We commend all those involved in this endeavor. It is an amazing accomplishment. We also wish the best to Mr. Blankenship — your work has earned this graduation and we suspect life ahead will reward you for your hard work.
The Bowling Green Daily News on the state’s annual wine tasting event in Bowling Green this month:
Wine tastings are fun events.
They are not only chances for people to try wines from different wineries, they are opportunities for people to spend time with friends and meet new people. They also give winery owners a chance to mingle, trade ideas and get feedback on their product.
Anyone who has never been to a winery is really missing out. Visitors have the chance to taste delicious, unfamiliar wines and compare them to their favorites.
For those who haven’t been able to go to a wine tasting — or for those who have been and are anxious to go to another one — we highly recommend the upcoming one at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum. On July 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., attendees will have the chance to try wine from 12 wineries across the state as the RailPark is partnering with the Kentucky Wineries Association.
The Kentucky Wineries Association has hosted similar events in other cities around the state, but this one will be the first of its kind in Bowling Green. The goal is to keep the first event “small and under control” so organizers can get feedback and make it better in the years to come.
This is very exciting.
Not only will there be a wine tasting inside in the air-conditioning, there will also be live music and food outside the venue. Patrons will get to enjoy live music all day long from BandZaZZy — a local collective that plays music from the 1960s through today. An on-site food truck — Pop’s Street Eats — will also be available.
Jamie Johnson, executive director at the RailPark, made a good point about wine and the venue:
“There’s a lot of people that are not aware of what’s available right here in their own backyard,” Johnson said. “Really, the thought behind putting this festival together is to bring it right here so that it’s easily accessible for people. A lot of times when people think about wine, they think they’ve got to go to California or they’ve got to go somewhere else — they don’t think about what’s right here. Our goal is to try to make it easy access for them so they can try it and learn to love what they can easily get a hold of.”
Johnson is absolutely right. Why travel to other cities and states and spend money there when we’ve got a great venue for a wine tasting in our city?
We see no reason to. Of course, people will go to other cities and states for wine tasting, but we’re all about keeping it local if possible.
We’re very hopeful that this inaugural event is a success at the RailPark so that future events can come to this historic venue that also hosts many other events throughout the year. We really are looking forward to seeing how it goes and urge people to turn out for what should be a neat experience.