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November 12, 2008

Inbox — Nov. 12, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Churches Exempt

As a loyal reader, I wanted to commend you on Phillip Bailey’s article “God-Mart” in the Oct. 29 LEO Weekly. Not mentioned in the article, however, was one of the most interesting aspects of the ability of churches to raise such a large amount of cash — all of this money is TAX EXEMPT. Ostensibly, this is because religion is somehow always “out of bounds.” In America, religion is not supposed to be scrutinized, not supposed to be rejected and, of course, it cannot be taxed.

The Rev. Cosby’s definition of “prosperity” as having nothing to do with money in light of his church’s wealth shows the reach of cognitive dissonance. Jesus praised the poor, yet apparently if they become rich, the message can be redefined to benefit the pastor and his church.

Now that churches are gaining power and money like corporations, isn’t it time to start taxing them?

Paul Johnson, Highlands

Familiar Friends
 

Opening the Oct. 29 edition of LEO Weekly and finding an article by c d kaplan is equated to finding an old pair of slippers in the back of the closet. One missed the comfortable feel of both. You would increase the enjoyment of reading LEO Weekly by having more articles from c d kaplan in the future.

James R. DeSpain, St. Matthews

John Can Build A Bridge

What a disappointment! I recently learned that my political hero, John Yarmuth, does not support the eastern bridge. The way it came out was that he “supports both bridges, but wants the downtown bridge built first.” As a senior citizen, I now have enough experience to translate his remark into plain English: “If I have anything to say about it, there will be NO bridges built in our community, possibly in the next 100 years!”

Oh, John, say it isn’t so!
 

There are at least six good reasons to start the eastern span as soon as possible: 1) We need to be able to direct hazardous cargo around our city, not through it. We run the risk daily of an accident involving toxic materials or a terrorist event that could close down I-65 and trash our city center, particularly near the hospitals. 2) It is the will of the community. In doubt? Put it to a vote! 3) Indiana has the funds available now. How long can they keep it dedicated if there is no cooperation from Kentucky?

4) Does anyone remember how quickly we killed off Highland Park and ruined other South End neighborhoods when it was decided that we had to have an enlarged airport? The bridge is just as important to our region as the airport. It is perceived that a well-financed and determined East End group has defied the best interests of the area and has prevented bridge construction for decades. Does that make you proud to live in a city where the working-class people can be shuffled around like cattle, but the high rollers get to control our destiny? 5) Getting a quick start on the eastern bridge will let us know that Louisville can really complete projects and not always talk them to death. Look at Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville as cities within our region where change actually takes place. 6) And, finally, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill: It is better to do something, rather than do nothing, while waiting to do everything.

Come on, John, all politics are local, and we need your leadership.

Irvin Goldstein, Hikes Point

Spinned Off
 

In reference to the letter about people who open car doors without looking: In January, I was driving down Fifth Street north, which is one way. I was in the right lane when, passing a car parked by the curb, the driver’s side door opened and I took half of it off and also damaged the side of my car. I went back and took pictures of the accident and found the driver of the car, who said, “I could have almost been killed because I always get out on that side.” (In traffic?) He said I should have been driving in the other lane. I told him I could drive in any lane on a one-way street as long as it was clear. After all the “hassle,” and after his insurance company discovered the police report stated no one was at fault, although my pictures showed exactly what happened, they only settled a fourth of the cost. Not even enough to repair my car.

Lee Ebner, Louisville

Lend Me Your Ear
 

Several years ago, I decided to change careers and go into teaching. I attended the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University, graduating from the latter in 2005 with a master’s of arts in teaching special education. To this day, I am very proud of earning my degree, and I love being a schoolteacher. But in getting my degree, I accumulated a substantial student loan debt. I am responsible for this debt, and I will pay it off over a very, very long time. But I am in utter disdain that I, and many others, were told untruths that the loans, or at least a significant amount of them, would be paid off by the “Student Loan People” through their Best in Class for teachers’ program. My first couple of years in the program, some of my debt was relieved, but this past year, it was only a marginal amount, and the prospects for future debt relief is bleak.

The Student Loan People hoped to pay these loans off, but now they can’t. I understand they are one of those quasi-governmental corporations that are under the scrutiny of our state and federal government. The Student Loan People have said they can’t fulfill their desires because the state and federal funding wasn’t budgeted, and they made some bad investments. This sounds familiar. This is bad news for them, but really bad news for us left holding the loans! Basically, we got the good old shaft. I believe this situation needs to be aggressively addressed by our lawmakers, and funds need to be found for the Student Loan People to fulfill their promise. Unfortunately, I guess they can get to it after they finish with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, etc.

O. George Brownfield, Highlands

Alzheimer’s Month
 

An estimated 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease; this number is expected to reach 16 million by mid-century. Currently there are 74,000 Kentuckians affected, with an estimated growth to 80,000 by 2010.

This November, during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we note that more than 10 million family caregivers provide daily comfort and care to those living with dementia. Due to 24/7 care demands and safety challenges, individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s require especially extensive and long-term support.

Researchers are diligently searching for new treatments to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, federal funding for Alzheimer’s research has remained stagnant for the past four years.

The impact of Alzheimer’s on the aging baby-boomer population could be dramatically improved by advances in early detection and new therapies. Early diagnosis empowers individuals to participate more fully in choices about quality of life and medical care, and to access available medications, programs and services. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s also could save millions of dollars in healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid costs.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers help with care consultation, referral and a broad range of comprehensive caregiver resources for information and education.

Encourage the caregivers you know to lean on the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/kyin). Join them in advocating for increasing the pace of research and improving care and support. Let’s make this Alzheimer’s awareness and action month!

Steve Magre, Germantown