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 Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
a bad bet
To the Editor:
Kentucky Retirement Systems invested $100 million in a hedge fund that has failed and will be closing. Arrowhawk Capital Partners of Darien, Conn., could not raise enough money to honor the claims the company had made.
In June, KRS made the decision to invest in Arrowhawk, which was linked to a New York placement agent named Glen Sergeon Jr. He has been one placement agent who has been involved more frequently than others. The frequent use of one placement agent gives the appearance of preferential treatment; however, based upon the audit test performed, no evidence was discovered that would indicate impropriety.
It will take months for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to complete its investigation – prompted by Christopher Tobe, a KRS employee.
According to counsel Edward Siedle, Tobe in 2010 contacted the SEC upon learning of the existence of placement agents involved in certain KRS investments. Tobe filed a whistleblower complaint and entered into an agreement to voluntarily provide information to the SEC in September 2010.
In August 2010, KRS internal auditors presented a draft audit report regarding the use of placement agents in the hiring of KRS external investment managers. The audit report, which is deeply flawed, focused on use of placement agents for the period July 1, 2004, through Sept. 30, 2009.
Doesn’t it seem strange that a representative for a placement agent would be asked to approve the investment of $100 million by Kentucky Retirement Systems under the advice from an unproven investment group? Knowing Arrowhawk was a startup company, why did the Kentucky Retirement Systems risk that much in an unproven firm? For unknown reasons someone was apparently confident Arrowhawk, was financially healthy even without a background check.
If KRS knew it was a startup company,it seems a chief financial officer would have enough staff and investment knowledge to investigate or ask Attorney General Jack Conway to obtain the most recent report and history of the company. Who was putting up the money? Who are the investors in Arrowhawk? What are their assets?
KRS investments with Arrowhawk Capital Partners of Darien, Conn., are in serious jeopardy. Arrowhawk funds were to come from other investors, which Arrowhawk would acquire. We now know that was not possible as Arrowhawk is dissolving for failure to attract investors.
Jim Anderson Stivers
it saves lives
To the Editor:
For anyone who complains about getting a ticket for not buckling up when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, here’s a crash course in reality:
n721 people were killed on Kentucky’s roadways in 2011.
n58 percent of those killed were not wearing a seat belt.
When worn correctly, seat belts are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.
While those may sound like just statistics, those of us at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office know from personal experience that those numbers are the actual faces of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and friends right here in Kentucky. We tell too many families about losses that may have been prevented had a loved one only worn a seat belt.
This goes to the heart of our mission to protect the public. That is why we have joined with thousands of state and local law enforcement and other highway safety agencies nationwide to support the 2012 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization running May 20-June 3.
The good news is Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased with the passage of the primary law from 67 percent in 2006 to 82 percent in 2011. However, that is still below the national usage rate of 84 percent. Seat belts save lives, but must be used to do so.
People often ask, “Aren’t there more serious criminals on the street other than those who simply are not buckling up? They’re not hurting anyone but themselves.”
To the contrary, the people who choose to disobey the law by not wearing their seat belts are taking a chance with not only their lives, but the emotional and financial health of their families, friends and our community.
Death may be the ultimate consequence for not wearing a seat belt, but even for those who escape a fatal crash, the economic costs of injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are staggering. Every year motor vehicle crashes cost our country an estimated $230.6 billion. That equals more than $800 per person per year!
Yes, this is a national problem, but law enforcement and first responders see the local faces at too many crash scenes. So, it begins right here in Kentucky. Law enforcement will be out in force to show our dedication to solving this problem. We want 100 percent of motorists to buckle up. Buckling up costs you nothing, but the costs of NOT buckling up may be a ticket, or worse — your life. Treat this as a tough and potentially life-saving reminder: Click It or Ticket!
Franklin County sheriff
To the Editor:
I’m flattered that Mark Henry mentioned my name in his remarks via Sunday’s paper. Surely I didn’t get under his skin with my “tripe scale” line.
Actually, Mark is a very good writer. He’s smart too, by not submitting materialtoo often, thereby tempting the majority into skipping over his writings.
I’d like to meet Mark sometime. I have a mental picture of him: age about late 50s to early 60s, thin build, round wire-rimmed glasses, hair in a “pony tail,” drives a vintage Volvo. We could have coffee at Poor Richard’s and talk about the weather, music, women, stuff like that. I have a number of liberal friends, and we get along just fine. Ring me up sometime – I’ll buy!
To the Editor:
Franklin County Fiscal Court deserves praise for the recent passage of the clean-air ordinance to protect the health and welfare of those who live here, work here or visit our community! Regulating the use of tobacco products in buildings open to the general public sends a clear message that ours is a progressive, health-conscious community. This policy demonstrates concern for those who work in these facilities as well as their patrons, as secondhand smoke is deadly.
According to the 2012 National County Health Rankings, the Franklin County adult smoking rate is 28 percent, compared to a 27 percent rate statewide and a national benchmark of 14 percent. I am optimistic that next year’s data will be more encouraging, through this Fiscal Court action and the continued mobilization of the 70-plus partners in the Frankfort-Franklin County public health system through the entity known as MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships). Through these coordinated efforts we are coming closer to a combined vision - “Franklin County will be a community where all may thrive and enjoy wellness.” Our Fiscal Court is moving the health needle in a positive direction toward that vision!
a big success
To the Editor:
I’d like to commend the fine people who made the recent State Senior League Tennis Championship Tournament such a success.
The tournament was held here on the weekend of May 18. Nearly 700 players from across the Commonwealth came to town for this prestigious competition. Some had never spent time in Frankfort before, seeing it only from the highway as they passed between Louisville and Lexington. Many of those senior players stayed in our hotels, ate in our restaurants, shopped, bought gasoline and generally boosted the local economy.
The tournament was wildly successful, with satisfied players commenting that they looked forward to coming back to Frankfort.
The United States Tennis Association awards these tournaments on a two-year contract, but Frankfort did such a wonderful job in 2010 and 2011, the USTA actually asked that the tournament be held here again for an unprecedented third year in an row.
One gentleman from Ashland was overheard suggesting to USTA officials that Frankfort be named a permanent site for the tournament due to its location, the facilities and the friendly people.
Credit for this enterprise falls to the Frankfort Tennis Association’s Board of Directors: Leony Barroso, Sandra Watts, Jill Smith, Don Jeffers, Gheorghe Ignat, Molly Jones, Jim Woodrum and Sonya Harward. These members worked for months to assure that everything that could be done to make this tournament run smoothly and efficiently was done.
All their efforts have earned some positive attention; the Frankfort Tennis Association has been named the best community tennis association in Kentucky twice in the past four years. And for the first time ever, the local FTA has been nominated as the Best Community Tennis Association in America for 2012.
Let me also praise Jim Parrish, Jim McCarty and Mike Hockensmith of the Frankfort Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Department for their unflagging support in making the tournament possible. Also, Athletic Directors Craig Fry of Western Hills High School and Tracy Spickard of Franklin County High School for the use of their courts and Director of Auxiliary Enterprises Harold Hayes of Kentucky State University for allowing the KSU courts to become a favored tournament site.
Finally, commendations to all the good people in Frankfort who encountered men in short pants and ladies in colorful tennis outfits and were especially nice to them. A lady from Paducah told me “I swear, Frankfort has the friendliest people. Everyone’s so nice!”
Kind words, indeed.
To the Editor:
I want to compliment the Y on an excellent under-10 soccer coach, Brandon Presley.
Brandon coaches the Comets. He has volunteered in a way that helps the program. He represents the Y’s positive Christian values: honesty, respect, caring, responsibility and, let’s not forget fair play.
Brandon has built an outstanding team. Each child is given an equal opportunity to play. This team has worked hard to become the team it is. The Comets truly know the meaning of teamwork. They also play indoor soccer in Lexington.
The comets respect their team coaches, the officials and the opposing teams and their coaches. They don’t have attitudes.
Nobody could ask for a more caring and capable coach than Brandon Presley.
I feel and believe each team should stay with the same coach every season unless it cannot move up because of age. This is only fair to the children who have worked hard to become a team. I’m sure all parents and grandparents can agree with this.
I am a proud grandparent of soccer-playing children.
To the Editor:
Mr. Romney, our great presidents were not born great nor were they great when elected. Adverse circumstances unmasked their greatness.
Accordingly, stop responding to the trivial issues your critics devise or dredge up. America is in intensive care and hospice workers are on standby.
Also, do not waste any more energy or resources on President Obama. He has already revealed his shortcomings sufficiently. There are much better uses for your time and money.
For example, interest payments on the national debt and deficit will soon become tyrants that will enslave the middle class and ruthlessly punish the poor. And what about our tax code that is nothing more than a “Directory of Special Privileges” published and paid for by self-serving special interests?
Interest payments and fair taxation are only two of numerous such examples that could be cited. Congressional dereliction and unbound corruptive influences created the examples and your specific corrective measures should be the exclusive focus of your time and money.
Simply put, we do not need another white paper, commission, or blue ribbon panel, sir. The problems that await the next president are obvious and simple. Any manager of a household budget can supply the expertise, if asked.
It is not too late to change your tack, Mr. Romney. The application of simple honesty to all relevant things great and small will install greatness. In other words, let the squeaky wheels go on squeaking and speak up for America. She needs a great president as never before.
To the Editor:
This year’s Memorial Day commemoration comes during a period of questioning – about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the affordability of our government services, and which of those services were made in the nation’s best interest.
I submit that we, as a nation, have no more binding and sacred commitment than to those who wear our uniform and fight in our wars. Their selfless sacrifice on the field of battle has been a distinct hallmark, and saving grace, of this nation since before the Revolutionary War.
On this Memorial Day, we will respectfully honor all those who have served our nation in uniform – from past wars and battles through today’s 10-year conflict against international terrorism and its sponsors.
But how do we honor them best? Parades are nice – very patriotic – and the public gets to feel a sense of shared pride.
But when the parades have passed by and the music from the marching bands dies away, is our job done? Is that a true fulfillment of our commitment to our troops?
I suggest that it is not. Our most recent veterans continue to struggle once they return from the battlefield. Except this time it’s a contest fought against a backdrop of a sluggish economy and high unemployment.
According to May reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of OIF/OEF women veterans is 3 percent higher than just a year ago. Male veterans between the ages of 22 -28 are especially hard hit by high unemployment. Despite a plethora of government programs that have “veteran” and “employment” in their titles, these numbers continue to reflect failure to perform. Access to mental health treatment in a timely and effective manner is yet another commitment we owe our returning heroes. Yet the Veteran’s Administration had to backtrack its claims of 95 percent on-time access to mental health support after an investigation proved the real number is about half that.
The men and women who need mental health treatment are not numbers on a government report – these are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters to whom we made a commitment of service – in return for theirs.
So this Memorial Day, let’s all do more than picnic and party. By all means, go to the local parade and honor our military. But on Tuesday, I encourage you to be bit more attentive to if we are living up to our nation’s commitment to those who fell in battle and to all our honored veterans. If you’re not satisfied with what you see – do something about it.
William Roby Sr.
To the Editor:
Our state has just purchased one of the most expensive buildings in our history. The Drumanard Estate off Wolfpen Branch Road in Jefferson County was purchased for more than $8 million and the taxpayers are paying $270 million extra to build a tunnel under a historic garden. The nearly $280 million estate costs more than the new YUM Center in Louisville.
A property this precious and historic needs to be seen and enjoyed by the public. There is talk that it is going to be sold back to private owners after the Louisville bridges project is complete. I think your crack staff should do a feature on this Kentucky castle and historic garden. We would like to know what the property looks like and the history behind it. There may be money trees growing in the garden and all of our budget problems will be over.
Greg R. Meyer