Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials

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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

Oct. 24

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on U.S. benefiting for Nazis being an outrage:

Those who have committed war crimes or who are suspected of committing them must answer for them.

War criminals kill innocent people for various reasons, whether it's over religion, ethnicity or ideology. Whatever their reasons, there can be no justification for their actions.

One of the most well-documented and horrendous cases of war crimes occurred during World War II when former German dictator Adolf Hitler and his henchmen tried to exterminate the entire Jewish race along with others they considered inferior or undesirable. Because of their orders and orders being acted upon by leaders and soldiers in the concentration camps, nearly 6 million innocent Jewish people were murdered.

There are a few officers and guards from those concentration camps who are still alive and have evaded capture or trial for their despicable acts.

To add insult to injury to the families of victims massacred in the camps, it has been disclosed that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards received millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States.

The payments, underwritten by U.S. taxpayers, flowed through a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S.

If they agreed to go or simply flee before deportation, they could keep their Social Security benefits.

There is a lot of blame to go around here, but the bottom line is these men are suspected war criminals who need to be tried for their alleged crimes in a court of law, rather than receiving money from U.S. taxpayers.

Shame on those who were responsible for letting this happen. Perhaps this injustice can still be corrected.


Oct. 23

The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on state having students ready:

A state report earlier this year measuring kindergarten readiness of youngsters sent up a red flag around Kentucky. It said about half of the children were considered not ready to start school based on testing.

In Hardin County, elementary schools in our local school districts, Hardin County Schools and Elizabethtown Independent Schools, reflected the state numbers with percentages ranging from a low of 31 percent at Howevalley Elementary School to a high of about 60 percent at Creekside Elementary School.

EIS and HCS with help from United Way are making sure as many children as possible get started on the right path when it comes to learning at an early age with the help of some major financial contributions.

Two bornlearning Academies in the county — at Panther Academy and North Park Elementary School — are pushing students academically at an early age to prepare more students to enter kindergarten.

Bornlearning Academies are for students and parents, people HCS Superintendent Nannette Johnston calls "our most powerful teachers, the first and life-long teacher of our children." During an introduction session at North Park, among the things parents learned was the best ways to interact with children to assist in their learning.

The programs are provided by the United Way.

The findings from the first statewide implementation of the common Kindergarten Readiness Screener indicated the gap in achievement for students who are black, disabled and receiving free and reduced lunch begins at the preschool level, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said.

Teachers administered the BRIGANCE K Screener to 50,532 kindergarten students in every state school districts at the beginning of this school year.

The screening assessed whether students were ready to start their education right away.

Appropriately named, the bornlearning Academies are ideal starting points for young students and their parents.


Oct. 28

The Independent, Ashland, Kentucky, on mine inspections:

State Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, and former state mine reclamation inspector Kelly Shortridge have not been convicted of any crimes and we will reserve judgment until they have had their day in federal court. However, the charges issued against the pair by a federal grand jury in London are serious enough to shake public confidence in the integrity of mine inspections.

Hall, 55, a Pike County Democrat, was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2000 and was elected to seven two-year terms until being defeated by Pike County magistrate Chris Hall in the May Democratic primary. According to the indictments, Hall secretly paid $46,343 to Shortridge from May 2009 to December 2010 to ignore repeated violations at Hall's Pike County surface coal mines.

Hall was indicted on a bribery count in U.S. District Court in London and could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. Shortridge, 54, was indicted on charges of bribery, extortion and lying about his involvement in the alleged scheme to FBI agents during an interview in July. Shortridge, who resigned his state job in February, could face up to 20 years in prison on his most serious charge.

Grand jurors said Hall and Shortridge set up a shell company, DKG Consulting. Prosecutors say Hall then used a company he owned, S&K Properties, to funnel the $46,343.

During this year's legislative session, Hall was chairman of the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee and vice chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, posts that allowed him to help regulate the coal industry in which he owns companies. He is accused of using his position to enrich himself.

Hall's ex-wife, Stephanie Keene, said the lawmaker and the mine inspector were on good terms until they fell out a few years ago.

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported in June 2013 on a history of unresolved safety and environmental violations at Hall's mines and on his dealings with Shortridge. Hall complained in 2012 to Billy Ratliff, the state's director of mine reclamation and enforcement, that he had paid Shortridge an undisclosed sum, but the inspector was demanding more.


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