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The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to rherron@state-journal.com.
County should
ban smoking
To the Editor:
When I moved to Frankfort with my parents almost eight years ago, I went with them to the courthouse for their new drivers’ licenses. I waited on them to fill out the paperwork and a man behind one of the desks struck up a conversation with me. He asked if I liked my new school and commented on my Southern Little League Pee Wee Ball T-shirt. Before we left the courthouse that day, Ted Collins had given me a warm welcome to Frankfort, lots of batting tips and a softball, which he autographed.
I doubt that Mr. Collins would recognize me today, but I would like to shake his hand and thank him for bringing the idea of a countywide smoking ban back to the Fiscal Court’s agenda. Since it is a scientifically proven fact that secondhand smoke is harmful to all people, it only stands to reason that the county should follow the example of the City of Frankfort and enact an ordinance prohibiting smoking in all public places. It is a fact that restaurants do not lose business and their profits do not decrease where smoking is banned. It is a fact that the health and wellness of citizens improves and recovers once smoking bans are enacted. It is a fact that tobacco use is decreasing as more people are realizing how dangerous it is to their health. It is also a fact that school systems, along with government agencies and private entities are disallowing smoking to protect people who would fall victim to noxious secondhand smoke.
I believe Cracker Barrel demonstrated a good decision to remain a non-smoking restaurant (despite being located in the county). This is an indication of the growing trend of establishments choosing to make clean air a priority for customers and employees. Other restaurants have nothing to fear in joining their ranks.
I hope our county magistrates will carefully consider the opportunity before them as they hear the first reading of the county’s smoke-free ordinance on April 12. I hope other residents of Franklin County who believe we are better off without secondhand smoke will join me in making their position known to our elected officials. I hope I get to see Ted Collins’ signature on the county’s clean air ordinance – and thank him for his signature on my softball.
Mary Elizabeth Wood
Frankfort
A sad model
for our kids
To the Editor:
I was appalled and disappointed to see pictures of teachers at Bondurant Middle School dressed as characters from the book and film “The Hunger Games” on the front page of the March 23 State Journal. One teacher was dressed as the lead character Katniss and included a bow and arrows as part of her costume. The character in the book uses this weapon to help her kill the other children in the games. 
I know that the film stars two Kentucky natives and has received a lot of hype from the media including Good Morning America and other TV programs, newspapers, educational organizations and the Paul Sawyer Library.  I wonder how many of these people have read this book and really understand it is a book about children killing other children.
The plot involves a futuristic community controlled by the wealthy people who live in the “Capitol.” Everyone else lives in the 12 impoverished areas of the country. Once a year the “Capitol” conducts a lottery to select two children from each area to compete in the “Hunger Games.” These children are then forced to leave their homes and are trained by the “Capitol” to kill the other children. These games are designed by the sponsors (the “Capitol”) for their amusement. Only the winner receives any type of monetary benefits.  The other families receive no compensation for the death of their child.  The game has lots of twists and turns that are very violent and cruelly designed to entertain the sponsors. After training, the children are placed in an enclosed area where they must kill or be killed until only one person survives.
The people of the 12 communities are forced to continuously watch the participants being killed on big screen TV. How would you like to be forced to watch your child being killed for the amusement of others?  Every night the participants can look at the sky to see pictures of all the children killed that day.
Also, in the March 25 paper there were interviews with adults and children who had read this book.  One student stated it was the first book that she/he had completely read. If your child reads just one book do you want it to be a book about children killing other children?
I am a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a  retired teacher. Has the classroom changed so much in the last few years that we no longer teach children to respect themselves and others?  In this time, when violence and bullying is everywhere, do we as parents and educators want to send the message that violence is OK?  I sure hope this is not the message we are sending to our children.
I know there will be people who disagree with me and cite the merits of this book, such as a big sister’s love for her sister, but the plot is about children killing other children. Can we not find more appropriate role models for our children?  I sure hope so.
Linda Atwood
Frankfort
Legislature
under guard
To the Editor:
I cannot imagine why armed guards, roped-off rooms and closed blinds are needed by our General Assembly to discuss the Commonwealth’s budget. Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute has pretty much explained the actions, but who can justify – in America, in our Commonwealth – guards for budget discussions? That does not communicate transparency and openness.
The hallway leading to Room 131 of the Capitol Annex, where the state budget conference committee was meeting, was roped off with a guard preventing reporters from entering the room.
“Armed guards, roped-off rooms and closed blinds do not communicate transparency and openness. If taxpayer funds are being respected and spent responsibly, then why not get rid of the ropes, blinds and guards?” asked Logan Morford, vice president of transparency for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank.
Reporters were forced to watch the proceedings, which are broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television, outside the room in which budget negotiations were being held.
“One public-TV camera doth not transparency make,” said Waters. “Would politicians rushing to finish their budget work so they can get to New Orleans and watch a Final Four basketball game be content with staying home and watching the game on TV?”
What a misguided, non-functional group, our General Assembly.
Jim Anderson Stivers
Frankfort
The power
of prayer
To the Editor:
I am really fascinated at some of the letters that are being published in The State Journal. A recent article by Mr. Greer really takes the cake, “Did prayer shift a tornado?” How in the world is someone so vain to write this as an editorial, much less to publish it? There have been a few articles that I have sent in about miscellaneous issues that were never published and this editorial would go in the paper.
It was wonderful to see a video about a lady having enough faith to pray to God as a storm was approaching and the tornado cloud receded into the sky during her prayer. Praise God. It had nothing to do with how someone prayed, what church they went to, how much they put into the offering plate. It strictly had to do with her having enough faith in God to instead of panicking and hiding and thinking she could fix it herself, she knew and didn’t care who saw, that she needed God to help her through the storm. There are plenty of storms in everyone’s life and too many times when we could and should do the easy thing and pray to God for guidance but we choose to handle it ourselves. To criticize the woman that was on a video is just pathetic. If each and every one of us would have a faith like this in our daily lives the world would be a much better place.
It is terrible for all that damages and loss of life were incurred during these storms. The loss of life is always tragic but discrediting the lady praying and discrediting God is also tragic. I realize issues like this are controversial, and sitting around and bickering about why God didn’t do this and why God let this happen, we would be good to remember a time when Jesus was on the cross and those same questions arose: “If you’re really the king of kings, save yourself.” But Jesus knew why he was there and what his job was and that they just didn’t understand. Just like then, he still sees the “big picture.” We don’t know why bad things happen, or why it looks like to us he could’ve made things better but chose not to. We just have to know and believe and have faith that he has a plan and he knows better and that we don’t understand but trust that he does and we will know all the answers soon enough.
Jerry Blackburn
Frankfort
Bagdad will
honor heroes
To the Editor:
I am writing to inform the public of a community event that will honor Kentucky’s military  heroes.
On May 12, Bagdad Days, sponsored by Bagdad Baptist Church, will celebrate 20 years. As part of this celebration, the community will pay special honor to those Kentuckians who have served in military combat for our country. The Bagdad Days parade at 10 a.m. will showcase all active and veteran military personnel from World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War and the War on Terror. We invite all Kentucky past and present combat military individuals to this event to be recognized as a hero. If you are interested in being a part of the Bagdad Days parade, please contact me at 502-633-9444.
In addition to the military recognition, several other activities are planned, including a community quilt show at 9 a.m. If you have a personal quilt or one made by a deceased relative with connection to the Bagdad community and would like to display it, contact Kathy Marion at 502-220-3999.
Jeanna Foster
Shelbyville

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