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Kentucky editorial roundup

The Associated PressMay 22, 2019

Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:

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May 19

Daily News on officers’ memorial:

We should always remember all law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty with the highest respect.

Those who have fallen in the line of duty were brave officers who put their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis to protect the citizens of this city and county.

Sadly, many of them were taken from their families way too young at the hands of cold-blooded killers. This is very sad indeed.

We believe that in any chance a citizen has, they should take time out of their day to approach a law enforcement officer and thank them for the valuable service they provide our community on a daily basis.

We’re certainly very proud of the valuable and vital services they provide our city. We also think that it’s very appropriate that each year their fellow officers gather to honor them at their final resting place.

For years now, Kentucky State Police Post 3 has held annual ceremonies to honor area officers who lost their lives while on duty, laying wreaths at their graves.

On Tuesday, they gathered at Fairview Cemetery to honor their brothers in arms.

Former KSP state trooper and Warren County Sherriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tommy Smith was one of those officers who gathered to pay respects to his father, KSP Trooper Lt. William C. Smith, who was shot Nov. 10, 1972, in Warren County while attempting to serve a warrant on a murder suspect. He died from his injuries April 26, 1973, at age 45.

Lt. Smith was taken from Tommy Smith and his family at way too young an age. But we hope that it gives the family some solace in going to events like this to pay tribute by laying a wreath to honor a man who put his life on the line every day after becoming a state trooper in 1948. It must comfort them to know that events like this will help keep his memory alive.

Ceremonies were also performed at the graves of the following officers: Patrolman James P. Hays and Patrolman Robert Rowland, who were members of KSP’s predecessor agency, the Kentucky Highway Patrol. Hays and Rowland were shot and killed Dec. 21, 1935, while attempting to question two brothers about a stolen automobile at the garage they operated in Franklin. Hays is buried in Cave City, and Rowland is buried in Franklin.

KSP Trooper William Barrett was shot in Warren County in 1971 outside his home in an ambush. The shooting remains unsolved. Barrett is buried in Woodbury, Tenn. KSP Trooper Walter Thurtell, died in a crash in 1972 in Logan County while responding to a call for assistance. He is buried in Adairville. KSP Detective Darrell Phelps, was shot and killed in 1981 while investigating a marijuana growing operation in Edmonson County. Phelps is buried in Butler County.

We salute all of these fallen officers and commend their colleagues for remembering them in this way every year. They would be very proud of them.

Online: www.bgdailynews.com

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May 18

The News-Enterprise on aligning community college with workforce opportunities:

Aligning the efforts of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College with the community — and in particular workforce opportunities — has been a key focus and repeated message of Juston Pate,

It’s been his message from day one.

Shortly after an initial meeting with staff and faculty upon being named the fourth president in the college’s history, Pate said this: “Being engaged with the community is not just something to put on the wall or something to have in our name, it truly has to drive us.”

A lot has happened to back up those words. The college has conducted surveys and interviews to determine business and industry needs. Pate has conducted many of those exploratory conversations personally. Connecting students with training to address real-life opportunities is a win-win and a clear focus of the college.

Other changes include a proactive approach to student recruitment, embracing and securing massive gifts and endowments to address current needs and secure the community’s future, revising and upgrading the library’s technology, and providing an outlet for a community theater group.

The physical plant also is receiving attention. Most notably have been revisions and a refocus for the Student Center and upgrades in the campus’ original structure, now known as the James S. Owen Building after the college’s first president.

The next step is in the planning stage and recently won approval of the college’s board of directors.

In its continued efforts to connect students with careers, ECTC is pushing for a significant upgrade of its Occupational Technical Building - the former vo-tech school at the lower end of ECTC’s hillside campus.

The building has been described by some as stepping back into the 1960s. That’s not the best way to win confidence of manufactures with 21st century needs or students with high-tech sophistication and talents.

The centerpiece of the college’s six-year budget outline is a $25 million request to upgrade the building, which houses many of its technical programs.

Pate describes it as the college’s No. 1 need.

It’s also should be the community’s No. 1 objective. This is an urgency which local legislators should be championing. It’s an emphasis industry and the business community should be touting.

Pate and his staff shouldn’t be the only ones pushing for this upgrade. It is vital to our local economy and the opportunity provided to ECTC students.

ECTC tried to get this done previously. A $14.9 million renovation for the Occupation Technical Building was requested in 2017, but it was not funded by the state legislature.

The problem grows more urgent each year and the cost will continue to escalate.

And in case you think the focus on employability has caused ECTC to turn its attention away from academics, the college also is connecting with multiple colleges to offer more four-year degrees locally.

Western Kentucky University has its own satellite operations on ECTC campus. Eastern Kentucky University recently came on board. WKU, Spalding University and Northern Kentucky University already have agreed to be partners and the college is in talks with other regional state universities.

Again, these opportunities are focused on careers and unique programming such as EKU’s criminal justice degree, for example. It’s a practical idea which also addresses ECTC’s core mission while serving the community and providing affordable, convenient and relevant education for students.

And it’s a reminder of another statement Pate made when being introduced locally in 2016.

“If we are offering relevant programs and we’re running as many people through them as we can, and we become excellent at what we do, then we are going to add value to people’s lives,” he said. “And that value will be returned to the community. That’s what we are here to do.”

ECTC appears focused on those words.

Online: www.thenewsenterprise.com

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May 19

The Daily Independent on community improvements:

We see a lot of positives taking place in Catlettsburg. We believe they are good for the long-term future of the city.

The first — and the least controversial — is the paving on Highway 23 and Ky 168. The Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 said the US 23 paving is part of a nearly $3 million Transportation Cabinet improvement project and the KY 168 work is part of a $400,000 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet highway improvement project. US 23 paving encompasses six miles of US 23 and will be done in sections between I-64 at Catlettsburg and the Greenup-Winchester Avenue split at Ashland.

A recent drive to Catlettsburg already shows huge improvements on Highway 23. It is now a smooth ride on fresh new pavement. This is a critically important, positive development for Catlettsburg, Boyd County and surrounding neighborhoods. The way the road was before was unacceptable. The highway was a pothole laden mess. Imagine you are considering starting a small business or you are an industrial type looking to relocate to eastern Kentucky. What would your impression be if, at first glance, a main thoroughfare was in such sorry shape?

The state gets a big pat on the back today for carrying out these improvements. They are a welcome, vital upgrade. Nice work.

The second issue we tackle this morning is the tear down of the downtown building at 2600 Louisa Street. Locals know the building as the Giovanni’s Building. City officials said it was crumbling and posing a threat to the health and safety of residents and the people who traveled through the city. The property in question was purchased by a local developer and businessman, J.C. Williams. Williams, a native of Catlettsburg, said he had professionals look at the building and that there was no saving it.

“They told me that nobody had enough money to save it, because it was unsavable,” he told reporter Charles Romans. “The footer itself was deteriorating. The engineer kicked the foundation with his foot, and stones fell out.”

The only practical course of action was to demolish two of the three buildings he had purchased in the same block.

“It broke my heart, but it was the best thing to do,” Williams said. “I still want to renovate it; I wanted to fix it for my daughter to live there, but there just wasn’t any way to do it.”

A third adjacent building saved. Williams is looking at spending in excess of $200,000 to get the properties cleaned up and on the right track.

We are aware that these buildings are a very important part of Catlettsburg history. We are also aware that there was work being put into analyzing whether someone could come up with some grants to try and restore these buildings. Some in Catlettsburg really would rather see the buildings restored.

We respect that opinion greatly. Our community histories are important.

Our view driving by these eyesore buildings is they definitely needed to come down. Catlettsburg, with improvements in its downtown, can soon be positioned to benefit from what we expect to be an economic revival in the area. We think Williams and the city got it right on this one even though moving forward without these historic structures in place is painful for longtime Catlettsburg residents. We respect those who disagree and honor their thoughts on this difficult issue.

Online: www.dailyindependent.com

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