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Opinion

  • The names Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth will forever be linked in the first-ever assassination of a U.S. President.

    Not so well remembered are the eight co-conspirators in the assassination -- one of whom grimly became an historic first herself.

    It was 144 years ago Tuesday in Washington that, alongside three of the other conspirators (George Atzerodt, David Herold and Lewis Powell), Mary Surratt became the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government.

  • The visit to Shelby County this Friday by Rep. Brett Guthrie is an opportunity in democracy that most Shelby Countians don’t typically have and even less often grasp.

    Too frequently these days our national politicians don’t show up in their districts until they need money, votes or, typically, more of both.

    That’s why Mr. Guthrie’s stop here is such a uniquely wonderful moment for all of us.

  • Many of you read Scott McDaniel’s recent story on Mary Surratt (“The Story of the First Woman to be Hung by U.S. Government” 7/8/2009) who was found guilty of conspiracy to murder President Lincoln.  I dare say, however, that only a handful of people know of the Shelby County connection to Mrs. Surratt. The connection is my great-great grandmother Emily Barry, but first, you need some history of the Surratts. 

  • My family loves Disney World. One of the things they love about it is pin trading.

    For the uninitiated, pin trading is a sport at Disney World where you buy pins that depict various Disney characters, rides or experiences and then you display them on a lanyard that is worn around your neck (or held by your dad when you’re riding a roller coaster).  Then you take the pins you have purchased and trade them with other people. 

  •  Bekaert Corporation’s introduction recently of a new processing system that eliminates lead and replaces it with water was a clear example for all local industry and our community as a whole.

    Making our county “greener” was on The Sentinel-News’ list of goals for 2009. We challenged our governmental and industrial leaders to take up this challenge and make improvements this year.

  • Where was your student at noon Tuesday? Was he or she in a classroom or assembly watching on television as President Obama offered encouragement about our young people’s commitments to education?

    Was he or she listening to the wisdom of the person we so overwhelmingly chose last year to be our spokesperson to all mankind, being inspired by one of the most talented orators of our times?

  • Last year, amid the incredible learning moments I observed in classrooms and conversations with parents, teachers and community members, I heard one thing clearly: “We all want to move our students to attain even higher levels of achievement.”

  • My last trip to the State Fair probably came on a vacation about the time Jimmy Carter was figuring out he might not get re-elected.

    Growing up I had attended frequently, great times with my grandparents and, when old enough, my friends, but as I became more entrenched in the demands of career and family in another state, my personal calendar never really coincided with the fair’s.

    So as we often do when transition scoops up our lives and deposits them in cones of change, I replaced tradition with memory.

  • We know this wasn’t the case, but we have to say that we think those original new zoning boundaries for Martha Lane Collins High School looked like they were created using a dartboard from a school board member’s game room.

    Those dots that identified specific neighborhoods from which students would be shipped across town to the more remote high school seemed arbitrary and perhaps ill-conceived.

    We understand there are many demands on a school district, and geography does not always solve the most routine problems.

  • As a fifth-year teacher in Shelby County Public Schools, I've been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of faculty, staff, and administration. I think we're fortunate to have a good school district. After hearing Superintendent [James] Neihof’s opening-day challenge to SCPS staff to push for our school district to move from good to great, I offer up the following six suggestions.

  • How much is a life worth?

    I recently contemplated this question as I was considering increasing my life insurance. Many people (especially insurance agents) might say “you can never have too much insurance” or that having a large insurance policy is the best way to protect your wife and kids in the event of some tragedy. But they’re not fooling me.

  •   One of the most popular channels on television is the Food Channel.

    You can tune in and watch experts produce perfect dishes with immaculate presentation in less than 30 minutes. In an hour you can get a seven-course meal.

    These are, of course, creations of pure genius using the bark of the elm tree, the juice of the maple and a wild herb that only grows in Lithuania, which the cook picked up at Kroger on a Senior Citizen Day discount. I mean, there’s nothing to this stuff.

  • There seems a tragic irony that in the year that Shelby County’s greatest sports star and ambassador, Mike Casey, left our world, the young man who one day may have succeeded him has left the county.

    Casey was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1966 and led Shelby County High School to its first state championship. He went on to a storied college career at UK and became a symbol for achievement among Shelby Countians.

  • A few months ago I wrote in this column about my search for the perfect mattress and about how difficult it was because of all of the choices.

    Well, boys and girls, now I’m stepping it up a few notches – I’m looking for a new truck.

  • Once upon a time in Shelbyville, people went to a little place called Taco Bell for Mexican food.  To placate a “friiiiiieeeed iiiiice cream” temptation, a few daring souls made the 20 mile drive to Chi-Chi’s in Middletown.  Then came Marimba’s. What a relief it was to have Mexican food right at our doorstep.

  • Now that we know for sure the Shelbyville Bypass will not be completed in 2009, we are left with a lot of fundamental questions, far more miles of them than there are of concrete poured on this roadway.

    But one question we don’t have is this: Who is in charge?

    State officials made the answer to that one abundantly clear last week when they explained that our bypass is being built under a so-called “working days” contract, which allows contractors to control the time frame, the work schedule and, ultimately, the completion date for the project.

  • One letter arrives as if sucked into the vortex of another, something like two powerful thunderheads colliding over the middle of the county, creating all sorts of wind and havoc.

    They speak of data and experts and opinions. They portend great insight, laying out  science and history in detail. They are doused with perspective and seasoned with rancor.

    But these letters don’t address our heaviest matters, such as war, healthcare or human rights.

    No, their topic is climatology or, more specifically, global warming.

  • If Alice Cooper had recorded his heavy metal anthem “School’s Out” in the new millennium rather than decades ago in the old one, its reprise may not have resonated for the nearly 40 years it has.

    Because judging from what I see, school really isn’t out for the summer.

    We’re now two weeks from the first bell of the fall – another fallacy of today – and it hasn’t seemed to be much of a vacation for the kids, much less the adults.

  • Remember in It’s A Wonderful Life when George Bailey says he’s going to “lasso the moon”? It gave us a sobriquet for what later became the cliché “reaching for the stars.”

    Well, on Monday, we could celebrate two men who did reach for the stars, one of whom did lasso the moon in a manner of speaking and another who just missed.

    One gave us a moment to study the past and what it has meant to the present and our future.

  • Last week we implored you to call or e-mail Kay & Kay Contracting and ask those in charge why they aren’t here working on the Shelbyville Bypass.

    You are the taxpayers whose dollars are funding this project, and you have a right to know why nothing is happening. We told you that the contractors have a moral obligation to reply.

    Some of you took our suggestion, but the heavy equipment remains just as idle as it was last week.