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September 9, 2009

Inbox — Sept. 9, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Correction

The season schedule for Floyd Central High School Theatre Department was incorrect in last week’s A&E Guide. Here is the correct lineup:

Studio One Series

• “Almost Maine” — Oct. 9-18.

• “Nunsense” — Feb. 5-14.

Mainstage Series

• “Oliver” — Nov. 6-15.

• “Little Women, the musical” — March 5-14.

• “Celtic Dreams” — April 8-11.

Bravo for Braille

Thank you for your recent story “Behind the Learning Curve” (LEO Weekly, Aug. 26), which gave readers an inside look at a prison Braille program — KCI Braille Services at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW) in Pewee Valley.

As you reported, this program is life-changing for inmates, and it also fulfills a need in our society that benefits another population — people who are blind and visually impaired. There is a critical shortage of Braille transcribers across the country today. Since the number of blind and visually impaired students attending local schools has increased significantly in recent years, there is a growing demand for more Braille textbook titles in all subjects.

Unfortunately, current Braille production capacity across the country is unable to keep pace with the increasing demand. The time and expense involved in Braille production — the level of expertise needed to produce quality textbooks and the transcriber shortage — combine to create serious challenges for Braille suppliers. The National Prison Braille Network is helping to fill this void and put textbooks in the hands of blind and visually impaired students.

KCIW is one of 36 prisons across the country that engages inmates in this unique program. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville is coordinating a national effort designed to promote and support these programs, and opening the lines of communication among facilities. As part of this effort, the National Prison Braille Network has recently published a “National Prison Braille Directory.” Within the next few weeks, a booklet entitled “Guidelines for Starting and Operating Prison Braille Programs” will be published as well.

On Oct. 14, APH will host the ninth annual National Prison Braille Forum, which will be attended by about 50 professionals from across the country who are interested in this issue.

There is no doubt prison Braille programs bring about positive change on all fronts. Inmates learn, develop critical job skills and give back to the community for the wrong they have done. Professionals in corrections and the field of blindness link arms to utilize their resources and address a critical need. Most importantly, people who are blind are gaining access to many Braille materials that they would not have otherwise. This can make all the difference in the world for a blind adult determined to function independently, or for a blind child — not only to become literate, but to have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential.

Nancy Lacewell, Director of Government and Community Affairs, American Printing House for the Blind

 

Rules of the Road

I am writing in reference to the column in the Aug. 19 LEO Weekly titled “Bicycling safety and the law” by Jackie Green. Although I think this is an excellent subject to be investigated in LEO, as a number of citizens concerned for the environment and their wallet turn to bicycles for transportation, I believe this article just adds to the problem. The article focuses on the excerpt of the Metro law that states that bicycles are subject to the traffic code “except those provisions of this traffic code which by their very nature can have no application,” but the author seems to completely ignore the fact that it still says that “every person riding a bicycle on any roadway shall be subject to the provisions of this traffic code applicable to the driver of any vehicle.” That means if a cyclist comes to a stop sign, they must stop. If they come to a red light, they must stop. If there is a yield sign, they must yield. That is the law.

I agree with the article that cyclists are different from other drivers, but instead of blaming it on “the medicated, the angry, the infirm and the stupid” drivers (whom you will never be able to get rid of or change), why doesn’t the author remind cyclists how they are often hard to see, can maneuver quicker and easier than cars, and honestly scare most drivers just to be around? It seems to me that all the author is doing is empowering cyclists to ignore road rules, further endangering themselves and others. Both drivers and cyclists need to start being more aware and following the rules of the road to make it safer for everyone. The last sentences of this article, and the most disturbing ones, say to the cyclist: “Focus on the threats — motor vehicles and road conditions — not the signs and the lights. Lights and signs do not kill cyclists, motor vehicles do.” With that logic, our roads will soon be littered with injured cyclists who ignored the signs and lights to then be struck by oncoming traffic. And it won’t be the driver’s fault, either.

Susan Doyle, Clifton

 

Rim-Shot Response

This letter is a response to Michael Butterworth’s response (LEO Weekly, Aug. 26) to my response to Mike Cooper’s response to Joe Phelp’s column:

Dear Michael Butterworth,

Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13, King James Version)

You are correct that a literal interpretation of this sentence is in line with Jainism. In fact, you illustrate my point beautifully. It is a Christian text. A Christian living a literal interpretation could easily be mistaken for a Jain.

But very few modern American Christians are confused for Jain because they choose to interpret their Bibles how they see fit. Or they choose interpretations of the Bible that fit their natural sensibilities like New Living Translation, New International Version, Standard American Version or any of the 20 other English translations. If the Bible had not been “heavily edited and revised,” there wouldn’t be so many versions, right? All of this is cherry-picking, and that is my point.

In this country, Joe Phelps is free to interpret the ideas of his faith however he chooses. As is Mike Cosper and yourself. I am also free to come to the defense of someone else’s religious freedom, even though I choose no religion for myself. That is what makes America great.

I’m sorry that my “ignorance of careful scholarship” is so annoying to you. You obviously aren’t used to reading what you don’t already agree with. How does one type a rim-shot?

Rob Crehan, Cherokee Triangle

 

Clear the Air

Regarding “cherry-picking” doctrines, as has been discussed in previous letters, a couple of principles of interpretation are vital. First, to whom is any given verse specifically addressed? It will be to one of three groups of people (see 1 Cor 10.32). If your individual distinction (again, one of those three) is not attached to that verse or context, then it is only applicable to you to the extent that it agrees with those verses that are specifically addressed to you. Verses not addressed to you can be and are intended to be “for our learning” (as in Rom 15:4). Secondly, there are also seven major different time frames covered in the Scriptures. What applied in one era may or may not apply in a later day and age (see Rom 3:19). Cherry-picking implies an arbitrary choosing based upon personal preference. But some “picking,” or distinguishing, must be made based upon sound understanding of specifically targeted audiences in different dispensations. Otherwise, one cannot make sense of the Scriptures. There are more keys to sound hermeneutics, but these two can go a long way to clearing the air.

Dave Tench, South End

 

Not So Dead

I was very confused after reading “The kids on the bus” article in the Aug. 19 LEO Weekly. Specifically, I would like to respond to Gina Gatti’s comment about Engelhard Elementary feeling “dead.” I wonder if she visited the same school where I’ve been a reading volunteer since last fall. When I go there each week, the kids are engaged, well-behaved and learning. The school is clean and well-kept. The teachers I’ve encountered use creative approaches in their lively classrooms and seem sincerely interested in helping students learn.

There’s no doubt that many of the students at Engelhard look different and come from different backgrounds than the kids at Walden School, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Engelhard is dead or that it’s a bad school. Lastly, I would encourage Ms. Gatti to withhold judgment regarding the home lives of the Engelhard families until she has a better basis for making such a conclusion.

Rod Githens, Old Louisville