Commonwealth Journal


September 29, 2011

Our Library is a Good Investment

Somerset — Dear Editor:

Of all the investments I make through my local taxes, none is better spent than at our Pulaski County Public Library.  Although writer Charles Bullock sought to criticize the library's miniscule increase in revenue (a whopping 6.3 cents from 6.0 cents per $100 value of real estate and 7.6 from 6.3 cents per $100 for personal property--that's PENNIES we're talkin' about, folks), I don't know of anything in our county that is a better BUY--OR more essential to our residents, especially people with limited means who count on the library for its services.

Examples are numerous:

1.  I love to read but I can't afford to buy books.  Check them out free at the library.

2.  I love to listen to audiobooks but the cost is prohibitive.  Check them out free at the library.

3.  I want my children to have enriched learning opportunities--Infant, toddler & pre-school classes for children ages 6-18 months through toddlers and elementary school age--Music, storytime and parenting classes--free at our local library

4.  What can teens do at the local library?--come explore a whole Teen Room with programming for ages 13 to 19 in their own digs in the basement...everything from Wii, to style, to cooking, games and books. Cool stuff at the library.

5.  I need to use a computer but don't have one, let alone internet access--Come to the library for not just online access but learn how to prepare a resume, do online job hunting, how to do well in an interview, how to buy or sell on Ebay

6.  I'm a senior citizen on fixed income, how can the library help me?--Lots of free classes and clubs from Mystery Book Clubs, free movies, coupon classes, saving seeds, author forums and more

7.  I need a free community space for a meeting--Come to the local library to hold your organization's meeting...tables and chairs...projectors and help to use to serve refreshments and even table cloths, dishes and real silver ware.  You do have to supply the food and the clean up, but the rest is free.

8.  I want my community's historical heritage to be preserved.  No problem--Pulaski County Historical Society is in the basement.  Come check it out.

9.  Friends of the Library also have a bookshop in the basement where great books of all kinds can be bought from 25 cents to a dollar.  Wow!--who knew?  Now you do.

10.  I live out in the county and it's hard for me to get into town to check out books.  No problem--there are library locations in Nancy and in Burnside--AND there is a Bookmobile to bring books right to wherever you live!

Books, arts and crafts, programming for both children and adults, public meeting space, historic preservation, author's forums, community computers and online internet access--all in a state of the art building that is equal to any in the Commonwealth--or beyond.

Pulaski County Public Library is a community treasure that will bless generations to come in this community.  It was entrusted to us to maintain and preserve for the future and that cannot be done without all of us doing our small part.  For the pennies we each invest, we get thousands of dollars in return.

I'm thankful to have a job--unlike some who are not as fortunate; but on the other hand, I haven't received a raise in 3 years and my husband is now retired.  So we both are on a fixed income as it were.  But that doesn't mean I wish to shirk my duty to pay needed taxes to support valuable services in my community.

Although Oliver Wendell Holmes acknowledged the power of taxes to destroy, he also said "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

Taxes well spent, preserve our heritage and our children's future.  Taxes withheld get us a bridge over the Ohio River between KY and IN that has to be closed because maintenance and repair was not done--costing the economy millions.

I thank the Board of Directors of Pulaski County Public Library who voted to do as recommended by the state and ask for the small increase necessary to meet the needs of our local library.  It is the public space in this county of which I am most proud, and which I feel gives back the most to its citizens.


Gloria Sams

Somerset, KY

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  • When the parties are over, who will pick up the pieces?

    The City of Somerset recently voted to sell alcohol by drink and through store outlets. We believe that a number of city management members were quite pleased by this outcome by the support this vote received prior to that election. It means that the city will receive a boost in tax revenue, a big boost that will aid the city's financial picture greatly.
    A number of other Somerset citizens lament that vote because they have a number of realistic concerns regarding the consequences of that monumental decision. They are afraid, with reason, that the incidence of alcohol addiction will increase in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.We tend to share those concerns. Accidents, auto crashes, addiction related illnesses and social dysfunction related to alcohol will, by its nature increase.
    This vote comes at a time wherein methamphetamine and other drug addiction continues to soar. It seems that every issue of your paper carries stories about drug related violence, crimes, assaults and felonies of all description. How do you think the addition of an increasing alcoholism population will effect those numbers and this community? I am sure that the members of Somerset City management have considered that question and are seeking responsible solutions.
    We would like to suggest one: Help give Somerset something she has needed for decades, an effective and viable alcohol/drug treatment program. It is very doable and would prove to be very cost effective within a short period of time. We have all been misdirected to believe that we need to wage a "war on drugs" except that wars don't often have winners and America is far from winning the one we've been involved with since President Reagan declared it.
    Alcoholism and drug addiction are identical as disease entities, they share the same symptoms, pathology and, sadly, the same prospects of morbidity. On the positive side, they respond favorably to specific treatment.
    Localities where addiction was viewed realistically and treated effectively report high recovery rates and significant cost savings. The airline industry stated, in 1979 that they realized that they received $15 back for every dollar invested in employee addiction treatment. Sending addicts to prison is far more costly than sending them to treatment. Treatment works.
    I do not know what the projected sales of alcohol by the drink is, the city managers do, I'll bet. Well, if the city levied a 5-cent tax on each ounce of distilled alcohol, beer serving, and 4 1/2 oz. glass of wine, they would be able to fund a freestanding residential as well as an intense outpatient facility that would serve some 1,300 Somerset persons including their family members a year. Other funding would come from self pay, insurance, state and federal formula funds and court referrals.
    If readers of this letter care to discuss this issue further we give the editor of this newspaper permission to share our e-mail addresses to interested parties.
    We thank you for publishing this letter.

    Delbert Dyar
    Bronston, KY. 42518

    Alden R. Phelps
    Bronston, KY. 42518

    August 30, 2012

  • '... Salt in the Wound'

    Dear Editor:
    As a Christian, local pastor and one who worked very hard with K.I.D.S. of Somerset in the recent local option election, I would like to express my disgust with the distasteful cartoons on your editorial page in the June 29 issue of the Commonwealth Journal.
    When the results of the local option election were announced on June 26 both sides of the issue were represented at the courthouse. I was pleased with how civilized both sides were in their reaction to the outcome. David Carr and I stood with Pastor Ed Amundson, spokesperson for K.I.D.S., as he was interviewed by CJ reporter Chris Harris.
    Bro. Amundson was very conciliatory in his response to all questions.
    In conversation with Mr. Harris after the interview Bro. Amundson was very careful to make sure there were no hard feelings remaining from the election in which passions ran very high on both sides of the issue.
    We had said we would and we did accept the result of a fair democratic process. My FB posts that night and the following day thanked those with whom I had labored in the process. I stated that I would pastor in a new Somerset with the same passion I have had since I came to Somerset almost 16 years ago. The city of Somerset had spoken loudly and I accepted the result.
    Mr. Weddle with Progress Somerset has been very gracious in his comments. As I stated earlier when the result was announced both sides conducted themselves in a very civil manner. The election was over so let’s move on. Then the editorial board of the CJ decides to rub a little salt in the wound.
    On Friday as I read the editorial page I found this very distasteful cartoon with the heading “Caution ‘Wet’
    Paint.” I must assume by this they are ready to paint the town, a term that I, in my mind, associate with drunken revelry. The first cartoon made light of the fact that we deemed the consequences of this vote serious enough that we would pray about it. The second cartoon seemed to insinuate that the only way we could handle defeat is to drown our sorrows in a very dry martini.
    Why would the CJ, which should have had a primarily journalistic interest in the Local Option Election, be taking a victory lap?
    Why belittle a group of people who simply had strong reservations about the benefit of legalized alcohol sales?
    Why make light of people who believe in prayer and of the God to whom they pray?
    What is the purpose?
    Does the CJ have more interest in stirring the caldron of division in our community than being responsible and fair reporters of the events that affect the everyday lives of all of our citizens?
    Could it be that the CJ has cast off the restraint of journalistic integrity and objectivity to we are not just happy to report the results but we are also happy with the results?
    By this very action the CJ has said that people who believe in God, people who pray and people who were against the legalization of alcohol in Somerset are worthy only of our ridicule and nothing more.
    It is very true that we, who were on the No side, were soundly defeated and I tip, not my glass, but my hat to you on the other side of the argument for the effectiveness of your campaign.
    To the CJ I say if your actions with these distasteful cartoons are a reflection of your excitement about the final tally or an attempt to make those of us on the No side irrelevant, I leave you with this: We are still here, not just sober and praying, but soberly praying, for the city we love and call home. 2,167 Yes, 1,464 No is the reality of June 26, but only history can reveal the true winners and losers on that day.
    Thank you,
    Johnny M. Dunbar
    Somerset, KY 42502

    July 19, 2012

  • Group opposed to alcohol at Eagle’s Nest

    Dear Editor:
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    Dear Editor:
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    I am a living historian and travel from Florida to Virginia taking part in approximately 30 events per year; thus, I do know something of which I speak.

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