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Opinion

  • It was around 11:30 on Monday night when I was roused from my most peaceful slumber by incoming fire that must have sounded like the cacophony that careens through the ears of foxhole dwellers. The booms were loud and persistent, the echoes long-lasting. Diving under the covers did no good.
    In fact, the blasts were so thunderous I wanted to record them and play them for my Marine son to ask him if this is what it was like during his recent tour in Afghanistan.
    I’ve never been to war, but it sounded like the music.

  • Sheriff Mike Armstrong’s reticence about the details of the shooting of a family’s pet dog by one of his deputies continues to trouble us, but we are willing to be patient with Mr. Armstrong’s office for a few more days.

    That’s because we think it’s a good idea that Mr. Armstrong launched an internal investigation about why Deputy Brian Miller used deadly force as his first option when confronted by a Labrador in the backyard of a house he was checking for break-in.

  • The choice of Bobby Hudson to head Shelby County’s United Way campaign is a terrific one for those who want to raise money to help community service organizations in Shelby County.

    Mr. Hudson, the popular and capable CEO of the Shelby County Industrial & Development Foundation, certainly knows his way around our boardrooms, corporate offices and public leadership ladder.

    With decades spent in banking, business development and luring new companies and jobs to the county, Mr. Hudson is known by almost everyone who makes decisions on any level.

  • There are places that are emblazoned into our hearts and souls as if seared there before birth, a match for us and our time that we would learn only through life’s tumultuous passage.

    Home certainly is primary, the place where we planted our roots and grew among our nourishing family and friends, but there are others, unique plots on a map to which we are drawn and driven by strands of our DNA and the forces that propel us.

  • The tragic intersection last week of a family pet protecting her home and a Shelby County Sheriff’s deputy investigating a blaring alarm has left us more sad and concerned about the silence after the alarm than the grisly details of what happened while it was sounding on July 18.

    Certainly there’s our sadness for the family of Bart and Renee Lewis of Shelbyville, who lost their beloved pet dog Daisy as a horrible byproduct of an event that can be all too frequent in any neighborhood.

  • Beth Newton has vivid memories of her school days...memories that are nightmares starting with the eighth grade. “I didn’t do any work. I didn’t care....My family didn’t care, so why should I care?”

    Moving to Louisville intensified the situation. “I didn’t know any of the subjects and felt stupid,” she said. “So I would check in first block and then leave. They never noticed I wasn’t there the rest of the day.”

  • Three events have aligned in the galaxy these past few months to accomplish something that I thought never would happen in my lifetime:

    Todds Point is now on the sphere of relevance.

    If that sounds sort of mean and flip, I don’t mean it to be.

    Todds Point has been an enigma to me for as long as I can recall: a name on a map, a reference point for a road, a hamlet of friends and acquaintances.

    But, to borrow from Gertrude Stein, there was never any “there, there.” And she was talking about Oakland, Calif.

  • The hiring last week of Chip Minnis as the new police chief of Simpsonville was a victory on many fronts.

    Certainly it was a great victory for Minnis, who has toiled for decades in the police departments of Shelbyville and Simpsonville.

    Certainly it was a triumph for the city of Simpsonville, which basically not only was able to keep its police department intact during a leadership change but also able to hire a native son, a person who knows the community so well, to police its streets.

  • Another month has brought another really good idea to help the people of Shelby County get in better physical shape.

    We speak, of course, of the plan under way to add adult exercise stations to the trails in Red Orchard Park. What a valuable and wonderful new tool this would be to fight the obesity that is consuming our population.

    By adding some muscle-strengthening options to a wonderful walk through nature, Shelby County Parks & Recreation is placing emphasis where it belongs – providing an attractive option to stay fit.

  • Why spend $160,000 on summer school? Is it worth that much money? Yes.

    However, if you don’t believe me, ask Kara or Dakota.

    These elementary children attended the 4-week session last summer and have reaped the benefit this school year as a second-grader and fourth-grader, respectively.

    What benefit? The ability to read.

  • On a sunny Friday afternoon, the damnations of work behind you and the blessings of a weekend settling large on your horizon, you find yourself winding down a road that is as familiar as the scars in your own skin, one whose hills, dales and dusty side trails you can see perfectly with your eyes shut and nothing but motion to plot its passage.
    Each fencepost is a milestone of your journey, a dot on your mind’s map so large and bold that you can name generations of people – their nicknames, their offspring, their ancestors – who lived behind them.

  • It’s really a positive in a community when decision-makers listen to public input and respond appropriately.
    That’s why it was refreshing to hear last week about the aggressive changes that the Shelby County A&M board had adopted for the upcoming Shelby County Fair.
    Last year the fair had come under significant criticism because of its high prices for admission and ride bracelets and for its restrictive gate practices.
    Those complaints were well-founded and – much  more importantly – well-received.

  • The swift and positive reaction by Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits and the county’s magistrates to an opportunity for new business will provide an important infusion of cash into a county budget that is becoming difficult to balance.
    Waits was quick to respond earlier this spring to a brief openinig to secure a $600,000 contract with Anderson County to house its inmates.

  • In communities across the nation, cemeteries are dying.
    That’s what happens when the living fail to honor, preserve and restore their local cemeteries. It’s also the result when cemetery boards fail to keep the cemetery alive and vital by investing in surrounding property for the future and providing opportunities for the living to honor and preserve the resting place of the dead.
    Grove Hill Cemetery in the center of Shelby County is alive and well.

  • Citizens in Mount Eden, on both sides of the Shelby and Spencer county lines, are putting up the good fight against what ultimately may be the most overpowering opponent other than death that any of us will face: the United States government.
    They fear – and with good cause – that they will lose their venerable post office to the aggressive cost-cutting plan that the United States Postal Service is employing to combat the diminishing income of its once great monopoly.

  • It should be automatic to celebrate the quick and forthright repairs made to the intersection of U.S. 60 and KY 55, a problem area long before the opening of the Shelbyville Bypass and an excruciatingly worse one since.
    State transportation officials responded purposefully to the public outcry generated through these pages and escalated with the firm voices of state Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) and retired state Sen. Gary Tapp (R-Shelbyville).

  • For the first time in nearly four decades, Shelby County Public Schools graduated two classes of  seniors on Saturday.
    Though these teenagers traversed the threshold from child/student to adult in a simple march across a podium and in the gentle grasp of an administrator’s hand, the final understanding of how far they have come, how much they learned and can accomplish, won’t be on life’s diploma until, oh, a few decades from now.

  • I was in Freedom Hall the night Anderson County played for the state basketball championship. It was the place where I heard Muhammad Ali say he wanted to fight George Foreman and Joe Frazier on the same night.

    I saw Julius Erving, then of the Virginia Squires, do things with a basketball that I had never seen and still can't describe. I have been to several concerts there, and I watched Richie Farmer make string music at the state finals 23 years ago.

  • An old colleague, basketball executive, author and many times Boston Marathoner Pat Williams, used to open speeches by saying:
    “I’m going to speak first to those of you who are smokers, in as much as you have less time to live than the rest of us.”

    And today I am addressing you smokers.

    But this isn’t a pray-for-you evangelism about the evils of inhaling the incineration of an unctuous weed whose fumes are so toxic that they do nothing but spread death through your body.

  • This Saturday more than 400 seniors will gather for commencements at Shelby County and Collins high schools in celebrations of accomplishment defined by perseverance, commitment and pursuit of excellence.

    Many of them will have exceeded expectations and withstood obstacles great and small to achieve their levels of success. Some will have created a legacy for academic excellence that will stand for their rest of their lives. Others will be happy just to be there.