Kentucky editorial roundup
Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:
The Independent of Ashland on the partial government shutdown:
It is beyond ugly in Washington D.C. these days (what’s new) as the nation lurches through a partial government shutdown with apparently no end in sight.
On one side of the wall, quite literally, are Donald Trump and conservative Republicans, who want $5 billion for a border wall. On the other side are Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who are opposed to the wall.
We will get to the merits of building such a wall in a moment. But the primary thought we have today is the obvious: that our system is hopelessly broken due to the sharp political divides that have so harmed this nation. On both sides of this political wall are extreme forces: on the left, political supporters and causes that are, in our view, in support of open borders and welcoming lots of immigrants with few questions. On the other side of the wall are hardliners who want to build a wall and shut down the inflow of people who are coming into the country illegally.
Our humble view is the need for secure borders is obvious. We believe both sides would agree on this. Yet there are complexities at hand that hardliners aren’t taking into consideration. One very blatant example are the American border cities that are economically dependent on the back and forth flows of people and goods and services across the border on a daily basis. Taking a lock down approach will have huge consequences on this commerce. Taking a firmer approach to immigration also has caused a lot of headaches for the American agriculture industry.
We also believe, however, that Trump and conservatives are right in that there needs to be a secure border and more strict enforcement of border policies, which send the message that the only way to come into the United States is through legal means. There are legitimate national security concerns that come with open, porous borders. Are they at times overstated? We believe so. No one, for example, is proposing a wall on the Canadian border but certainly, if a terrorist was set on coming into the United States over rough, remote terrain, the Canadian border is just as viable an option. So is getting into the country by sea or air. Would it be as easy as coming in from Mexico? No, but it is most certainly possible. The question then becomes, where does this end?
Do we fence in the whole nation?
In theory a wall along the southern border has merits, but in our view the proposed solution seems very old fashioned and outdated. Could it help solve people coming into the country illegally? Yes, it could. Is it a practical, economically feasible solution when we have so much technology available to us? We don’t think so, but we could still be convinced otherwise.
Herein lies the problem: The wall is a political mantra. “Build the wall.” This is a simplistic approach to a very complex problem. The nation clearly needs secure borders. We suspect the answer, though, is found not in a “Build the Wall” approach but instead in technology, strategic deployment of people, and maybe a partial wall that stretches through the most difficult areas to patrol. Another part of the solution is finding a manageable way to enhance legal options for immigration — ones involving adequate screening — and which make the idea of sneaking into the country illegally a foolish cause.
All of this points to thoughtfulness and the need for bipartisanship aimed at furthering the nation’s best interests. Given the recent events in Washington D.C., though, hoping for these types of thoughtful, cooperative solutions has become the equivalent of wishing upon a star. None of this will change until we all agree to put down our political ideologies and demand bipartisanship from all our elected officials.
The Daily News of Bowling Green on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources collecting used Christmas trees:
Christmas trees are truly beautiful, especially live ones. They brighten up your home, get people in the Christmas spirit and are a place for family to gather on Christmas Day to open their presents.
But now that Christmas is over and you’re pondering what to do with your Christmas tree, we have an idea that you might be interested in instead of simply throwing it out to the curb.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is collecting used Christmas trees to sink in area lakes for fish and nesting habitat.
The process in which these fish and wildlife officers have been doing this for decades is pretty neat.
To create the aquatic habitats, called “brush reefs,” staff members tie a few trees together, secure weight to the bottom of the wooded pile and place the trees upright in the mud - usually about 10 or more feet underwater.
Trees are placed in multiple depths at multiple sites to accommodate the rise and fall of water. That could include any state lake in the 16-county area - such as Barren River Lake, Shanty Hollow Lake and Green River Lake.
The wooded structures become homes to small fish and invertebrates and also provide a nesting and rearing habitat for fish. When fish hatch, for example, they’re small and can quickly get eaten by predators higher up on the food chain. The sunken trees give them a place to hide and give them a chance to grow and become part of a new generation of fish.
The brush reefs also offer another place of access for fisherman to catch fish. For those who don’t do much fishing, fish are attracted to structures such as stumps, rocks and sunken or partially submerged trees. These types of structures are what fisherman look for when they begin fishing in our lakes.
The department typically will receive 600 to 1,100 trees. This might sound like a lot, but staff placed 400 trees alone one year in the relatively small Shanty Hollow Lake.
That is a lot of trees to put into one lake with not a whole lot left over considering the large bodies of water in Barren River Lake and Green River Lake, which is all the more reason to donate your trees to this great cause.
Those interested in donating their trees for fish habitat need to remember to remove all tinsel, lights, ornaments and any other type of décor.
We do hope that people will participate in this program.
It keeps the tradition of fishing going, which is something that older anglers and their children really appreciate.
The Independent of Ashland on a wish list for 2019:
... We thought we’d take this time to put into writing what we’d like to see happen in the Tri-State and Kentucky in 2019, so here we go.
— A University of Kentucky national championship in basketball. Certainly possible given the talent on this team. Would bring a lot of joy to the Commonwealth.
— A bipartisan solution to Kentucky’s pensions crisis. The time has come to set aside our differences and work towards a resolution that benefits all and is reasonable. It’s time.
— Continued economic growth in the Tri-State. This includes the success of Braidy Industries. Their success translates into success for our region and our families.
— More funding for education, both our local public schools and institutions of higher education.
— Reform of the state’s tax code that simplifies and modernizes the state’s antiquated approach to collecting revenues.
— Enhancement of the riverfront stretching through the Tri-State. This is a major selling point for the region and holds great promise for tourism, recreation and community events.
— Even more progress on making the Tri-State a hub for artistry. We’ve talked about this before with Ashland being a city of the arts, so to speak. There are so many talented artists already here doing great work. We think there is great promise for furthering economic growth in Ashland and surrounding communities through the arts.
— Expansion of the Industrial Parkway. We think this would be very good for the region. There is a lot of movement on this front in Frankfort lately. We hope it continues.
— To use a line from the late George Herbert Walker Bush, a kinder, gentler nation. We all need to, as individuals, respect each other more with kindness. We can see the world differently and we can disagree, but most importantly, we are all Americans.
Here, however, is what we want most:
We want the best for you. We want everyone to have a wonderful 2019. May it be a happy, healthy, prosperous and blessed year for you and your family.