Kentucky editorial roundup

Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:

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Feb. 21

Lexington Herald-Leader on two U.S. Congressmen’s comments about gun issues:

The National Rifle Association wields a big mailing list and “hunter orange” postcards to control legislators. A bad word from the NRA showing up in voters’ mailboxes is the kiss of political death in rural and some suburban districts.

It’s worth paying attention then when a politician from rural Kentucky is willing to risk the NRA’s ire.

Rep. Chris Harris, a Democrat from Pike County, did just that last week. In a speech on the House floor, Harris said he remains a “strong advocate for the Second Amendment” while also calling for “common sense” lifesavers, specifically a ban on the sale of assault rifles and bump stocks, closing the gun-show loophole for background checks before gun purchases, and holding adults responsible for securing firearms out of the reach of children.

Harris said he was going public with his “change of heart” despite advice from friends back home who warned that an NRA attack could cost him his seat.

We would bet, though, that most Kentuckians, including most gun owners, are with Harris, on the side of common sense, just like most Americans.

Two-thirds of U.S. voters say they support stricter gun laws, including half of gun owners, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of 1,249 voters who were questioned Feb. 16-19.

The poll found 67 percent of voters support a ban on assault weapons and a whopping 97 percent want universal background checks. Eighty-three percent support a mandatory waiting period for gun purchases. The poll found that support for gun restrictions has increased by 19 points over the last two years.

Another rural Democrat, Rep. Will Coursey, isn’t running for re-election so has less to lose than Harris. But his words on the House floor last week carried special weight because he represents Marshall County, scene of a Jan 23 school shooting. A 15-year-old boy is charged with killing two teenagers and wounding 14 other people.

Coursey said he aggressively sought A ratings from the NRA because he wanted his constituents to “get the little orange card” saying “I’m a sportsman.” But, he said, there’s nothing sporting about high capacity magazines, clips and other “gadgets” designed not to fell a deer or pheasant but to kill people.

Quoting from the Bible’s Book of James, Harris said faith without works is hollow and that he is tired of “prayers without action” after mass shootings. “We should ban the sale of assault rifles,” Harris said. “These are tools of war, made for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill human beings.”

Harris said no restrictions would stop all shootings or maybe even most. But, noting the start of Lent, when many Christians practice self-denial, Harris said, “I’m giving up my NRA rating, most likely on a permanent basis. But if it means one less life is taken senselessly in this country or commonwealth, it will be worth it.”

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump ordered a ban on gun modifications like bump stocks. Even the NRA, which spent more than $30 million to elect Trump, backed such a ban after the Las Vegas sniper used a bump stock to up his body count.

But, overall, the NRA remains an enemy of common sense, spreading hysterical distortions and fantasies of gun confiscations and lost liberties. When the little orange card shows up, voters should use their common sense and read with skepticism.

Online: http://www.kentucky.com/

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Feb. 20

Bowling Green Daily News on a jail ordering more than $100,000 in camera equipment:

As a city and county, we are blessed to have a safe and secure jail and a competent staff to house and watch the inmates serving time there.

Through the years, the Warren County Regional Jail has grown in size and has seen many positive changes. And while jails are supposed to be safe places that keep criminals away from law-abiding citizens, there are always more ways to provide additional safety measures and to give those working in the jail a better view of what is going on inside the facility.

That is why we are happy the jail has ordered $134,755 in camera equipment after the purchase was approved by Warren County Fiscal Court on Friday. Currently, the jail has just over 100 cameras throughout the facility. The upgrade will add 86 new cameras and improve the server system that holds all digital imagery.

What is significant about these cameras is that they cover blind spots. The purchase also puts a camera in every housing unit.

Currently, the jail’s main control room is the central area for viewing activity captured by jail cameras. Deputies monitoring pods have mostly obscured views into the residential units. When the new cameras are installed, each deputy monitoring a pod will be able to see nearly everything happening inside that pod. This means the deputies will have eyes in every cell, which can only be a positive.

“Multiple assault investigations would have resulted in a quicker resolution and identification of the aggressor if these cameras had been in place,” Warren County Jailer Stephen Harmon said.

“I think inmate behavior will be drastically affected for the positive and when there is a critical incident, it provides us evidence that is irreplaceable, aiding us with inmate safety and prosecution,” Harmon said.

We couldn’t agree more with Harmon.

This is great news for the jail and we applaud fiscal court for voting to allow the purchase of these much-needed cameras that will make a big difference in the safety and security at the jail.

Online: http://www.bgdailynews.com/

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Feb. 20

The Daily Independent of Ashland on local native Jim Host winning a lifetime award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

Ashland native and University of Kentucky alumnus Jim Host has added another achievement to his already impressive list of lifetime accomplishments: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Saturday that Host is one of two winners of a 2018 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.

Host founded Host Communications in 1972, and he started the first collegiate corporate marketing program with the NCAA in 1985. Host grew up in Ashland. He attended UK?on a full scholarship. A press release from The Basketball Hall of Fame said in 1975, Host secured groundbreaking NCAA broadcasting rights which led to a lucrative business relationship that spanned decades and the development and implementation of the first collegiate corporate marketing programs in 1985.

After recognizing inconsistencies in universities teams’ media and marketing rights, Host Communications partnered with the NCAA to create the NCAA Corporate Partner Program, transforming the way universities utilize media and naming rights, marketing, entertainment, fan engagement, and other assets, the Hall of Fame said. With this streamlined approach, Host Communications represented multimedia assets for over 90 universities, conferences, and venues.

This is hardly the first time Host has been recognized for his accomplishments. He is a member of multiple distinguished alumnus groups and is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

On the eve of the start of another “March Madness,” it is only fitting that Jim Host is being recognized for the pivotal role he played in making the Division I college basketball the big-money sport it is today. Simply put, without ever playing a single gamer of college basketball, Jim Host forever changed the game and how it marketed.

Online: http://www.dailyindependent.com/