Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials

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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

June 28

The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on one family's tragedies:

David and Tonya Taylor don't know what closure is in the tragic death of their youngest child last June in a drunken driving crash.

They never will.

The act of one person — Michael Todd Hilton — changed their lives forever with his actions June 22, 2014. It was on that night, with his twin brother in the passenger seat, that Hilton drank heavily, got behind the wheel of his truck, drove on Deckard School Road and failed to stop at the then-recently opened Patriot Parkway intersection. Instead of slowing down, he accelerated his vehicle into the intersection.

Hilton essentially was in control of a missile ready to strike anything that came into his path. It happened to be an orange Mustang heading north on the parkway with two teenage girls in it returning from a fishing adventure.

Brianna Taylor, 17, and Mickayla Harig, now 19, had graduated from high school just weeks before the crash. And then, in a split second, their lives were changed forever and nothing — not even the recent guilty verdict of murder for Hilton — will ever change that.

Taylor died hours after the crash. Harig was seriously injured and has been on the road to recovery ever since.

The trial, the verdict and the sentence are one chapter in the unending story for the Taylor and Harig families.

A week after Brianna's death, on the way home from a memorial service for her at a neighbor's residence, the Taylors' other child, Brice, was struck by a deer on his ATV and died from injuries he suffered five days later. In a span of 12 days, the parents lost their only two children ... To this day, Tonya says a few times a week she wakes up and thinks she and her family have lived out a bad dream. Then reality sets in and the sadness is paralyzing.

Hilton was given what he deserved for taking someone's life and seriously injuring another person: The jury recommended a life sentence for the murder charge, 35 years for first-degree assault, 10 years for second-degree assault and 30 days for the DUI charge. The sentences are recommended to run concurrently ...

Hilton's sentence merely serves as a reminder that at least in a small way, he paid a price for his actions.

But so did many more.


June 28

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on child nutrition program:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should lift the absurd veil of secrecy from a $6.8 billion child nutrition program.

Not only would transparency deter fraud and abuse, it could also advance the Obama administration's goal of alleviating food deserts ...

Nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood has lifelong effects, which is the rationale behind the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC, which provides access to food and infant formula.

In Kentucky, 112,000 pregnant women and young children participate in the program that also encourages breast feeding and provides nutrition education, at a cost to taxpayers of $83 million a year.

The about 750 stores that are approved WIC vendors in Kentucky can be penalized for such things as overcharging, selling expired food, not stocking the required food (including fresh fruit) and letting customers use WIC cards or vouchers to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

The Herald-Leader's John Cheves was able to ferret out that at least 16 Kentucky stores appeared to get WIC disqualification letters during 2014 for a variety of violations.

But because of the silly rule, the stores' names and locations are secret. The justification is unclear since participating stores post WIC signs in their windows; also, all kinds of government inspections and penalties levied against other businesses are public records.

The USDA, which oversees WIC, is revisiting the regulation. While protecting some proprietary information may be justified, the blackout on information about disqualifications is counter to the public interest ...

Knowing where stores are falling short of WIC's mission would also help those working to expand access to healthful food ...

Federal investigations in other states found that businesses that should have been disqualified for violations continued to collect millions of dollars from WIC.

But as long as the data are secret, there's no way for the public to know if there are problems in their neighborhood stores ...

USDA nutrition programs should be a driving force in combating the epidemic of diabetes and other diet-related diseases. The taxpayers who support them have a right to know how those programs are working.


July 1

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on same-sex marriage:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in a very tight vote Friday allowing gay marriage in all 50 states was a disappointing one.

In a 5-4 decision, with Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with the more liberal members of the majority, the court struck down gay marriage bans that encompassed 14 states.

The U.S. Supreme Court couldn't have gotten it more wrong on this particular case.

Chief Justice John Roberts made some very good arguments in his dissenting opinion, but one of the most compelling is that the issue of marriage is not included in the U.S. Constitution.

In other words, the decision to allow gay marriage should have been left to the states, not the U.S. Supreme Court.

States are much better at deciding what is best for individuals by allowing them to vote on issues through the amendment process during elections. Kentucky, for example, spoke loud and clear in 2004 when 73 percent of Kentuckians voted to pass a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

That same year, more than a dozen other states passed very similar amendments supporting traditional marriage and banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

In all, 14 states had laws on the books that specifically said same-sex marriages and civil unions would not be performed or recognized in their states.

What part of the will of the people and what they wanted in their respected states did the majority of the court not understand or maybe not want to understand?

Public opinion on the issue has shifted somewhat since more people are becoming more accepting of two people of the same sex marrying each other.

We continue to believe that marriage is between one woman and one man, and we stand by that opinion. We do realize that we are a nation of laws and as a nation of laws we must respect the law of the land, however much we disagree with it.

But at the end of the day, this issue would have been much better handled by the states. In the past 10 years, many states either by referendum or legislature have voted to allow same-sex marriages or civil unions ...

We are very disappointed in the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court's interjecting itself into a matter that individual states had decided.

We also are very disappointed in our own state Attorney General Jack Conway who recently said, "As attorney general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I did my duty and defended Kentucky's constitutional amendment." ...

When an appeal was to be filed to the U.S. Supreme Court on a lower court's ruling allowing for same-sex marriage, Conway was derelict in his duty and said he would not appeal the lower court's decision. Gov. Steve Beshear had to hire out-of-state counsel to appeal the ruling to the high court ... make no mistake, he didn't defend the will of the people on the constitutional amendment, and voters who disagree with gay marriage should remember that on Election Day ...


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