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Letters to the editor

Think carefully Editor, The Sun: We need to really think hard before we tear up and use all the beautiful farmland we are blessed to live in. Once it is destroyed and taken away, we cannot get it back. Many of us moved to this peaceful area to escape city life and all that goes with it. Some people were blessed to grow up and live here all their lives. For almost 20 years, I have been fortunate to live on Williams Lane. We love our community and have been happy to enjoy our quiet walks and sharing with the thousands of bike riders who have ridden through over the years. We feel our very way of life is being increasingly threatened. Yes, we do have some flooding on our street. We have learned to tolerate it and appreciate the added quiet it brings from less traffic on occasion. Problems are occurring and we have grave concerns for our safety, the safety of our children and our homes. The recent potential land development at the intersection of Paynes Mill Road and industry on Big Sink Road (which has already been raised once due to flooding) is very concerning. The amounts of flood water and the lengths of time they take to recede have been increasing in the last 10 years. The natural water table and the long underground caverns we live among have become more and more burdened. There is a reason that some areas of land are left open – farmers long ago were smart and allowed for drainage and flood control. We ask that the people of the community think wisely and consider the potential damage and destruction this future land development can lead to. We have been asking for years to build up or reroute our entrance on the corner of Williams Lane and Big Sink Road. We have addressed frequent flooding issues there. Now, potential construction on Paynes Mill Road, which has also begun to flood more frequently in recent years, is threatening to cut off both ends of our road. This will drastically increase the amount of emergency response time to get to us again. Big Sink Road is also a major access to Midway and those who commute to Lexington via Old Frankfort Pike. This development must not be done hastily. We ask that the land and water of the area be carefully evaluated with geological studies and water flow calculations. Woodford County is a wonderful place to live that we all need to treasure. Lori Fusting Friends for Williams Lane Invest in hemp Editor, The Sun: I celebrated Groundhog Day by preparing the ground for my family’s first industrial hemp crop in over 50 years. The prospects of adding industrial hemp as a crop on Kentucky farms is quickly becoming a reality, and Woodford County has the potential to be an industry leader. The outlook for local farmers is exciting. Kentucky’s universities and KDA are committed to the research and they are modifying equipment that our farmers already use for producing tobacco and hay. Additionally, Kentucky’s next generation of farmers is already exploring ways to add industrial hemp in rotation for small farmers, market gardeners and other landowners. And that’s not all. For industrial hemp to succeed as a crop, a new processing infrastructure needs to be built for turning the raw yields into myriad products that can be made with hemp: health food, animal feed and bedding, fuels, mulch, industrial composites, body care products, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, plastics, and yes, fiber for clothing, paper, and rope. It’s most efficient to process the crop near the harvest site, and Woodford County’s growing conditions are some of the best for industrial hemp in the entire world. Each application for hemp requires different processing methods. Just imagine the potential for local industry with family farms forming the foundation. We hold in our hands the ability to add another unique export to our economic mix rivaled only be our world-class bourbon and superior thoroughbreds. This opportunity won’t simply fall into our laps, though. We will have to make it a primary objective for our community’s future. We must set goals and make plans. We have to invest in it. This will require local leaders with courage and a vision for our community’s future that involves promoting our farm economy and nurturing local entrepreneurs. Jane Marie Watts Frankfort Fix the lot Editor, The Sun: I am writing about the poor shape the parking lot is in Woodford Plaza. It’s a very dangerous place to drive. Old concrete poles are falling over. There are potholes, no striped parking spaces, and no arrows for direction. Whoever owns it should keep the parking lot up because a lot of people shop and do business there. Ida Smith Versailles Save pensions Editor, The Sun: As a Kentucky Retirement Systems stakeholder, I am gratified by Gov. Matt Bevin’s recognition of the existential threat to the Kentucky employees’ and state police pension plans. His general fund budget proposal for the upcoming two fiscal years allocates revenue above the full employer contribution to begin addressing this threat. The advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees has communicated regularly with legislators over the past several months seeking support for our concept called “ARC+,” that is, the full actuarially required contribution plus additional revenue to attack the pension funds’ alarming asset depletion. The response has been underwhelming. Most General Assembly members have said they will commit only to paying the full employer contribution. We are not public-finance policy experts, so we have no firm position on how Frankfort decision makers find more money. But we do expect legislators to either adopt Gov. Bevin’s ARC+ proposal or pass another funding solution at least comparable in scope. Failure to do so will further jeopardize pension plans that provide benefits for tens of thousands of Kentuckians. Jim Carroll, co-founder, Kentucky Government Retirees Frankfort

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