Kentucky editorial roundup

Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:

Aug. 11

The Commonwealth Journal on state law in Kentucky regarding children and school buses:

It's August and that means local schools will be buzzing with activity as they commence another year of educating our children.

What that means for local drivers is that it's time to be aware of school buses and school children as you make your way to work in the mornings and back home in the evenings.

Kudos to Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield and his staff for announcing that his office will "aggressively prosecute" citations involving school-bus arms violations.

Naturally, local law enforcement isn't on hand to see every infraction. So Hatfield is asking school bus drivers to seek criminal complaints through his office against motorists who commit such violations.

This is serious business.

It's real simple — if you see a bus stopped, with its sign arm out, you stop, too. And that's the law. It is designed to prevent impatient motorists from wheeling around buses — and possibly striking a child trying to get across the street.

"Kentucky law states all motorists must stop any time a school bus is loading or unloading children and its stop sign arm is extended from the side of the bus," Hatfield explained last week. "Motorists are to remain stopped until that arm is retracted. While many motorists may want to proceed as soon as the students have stepped on the bus, bus drivers must wait for the students to be seated before retracting the stop sign and putting the bus back into motion."

From a practical standpoint, the penalties are stiff for violators. Minimum penalties for the first offense include a fine of $100-200, 30-60 days in jail, or both; and six points assessed against the violator's driving record. For subsequent violations within a three-year period, the penalties substantially increase.

"Every motorist in the county must be very vigilant each morning and afternoon as our students are being transported to and from school," Hatfield stated. "Do not just be watching the big yellow bus with the flashing red lights, but be aware of the little children that may rush and dart into the roadway from around the bus."

It's all about the children. There are 10,000 of them in Pulaski County who began a new adventure last week.

Let's all help them have a safe and joyous school year.



Aug. 9

The State Journal on Kentucky's worst cities for driving:

Kentucky placed 10th best in the nation in a recent QuoteWizard study of the country's best and worst driving states. However, when the research team took a closer look at the 50 largest cities in the Bluegrass State, Frankfort didn't fare well.

In fact, with its wonky one-way streets and a heavy flow of state government traffic that funnels into and out of the city each weekday, Frankfort placed ninth worst in the state for driving.

Perhaps our town — especially with all the construction detours on East Main Street and near the Capital Plaza redevelopment project — is more difficult to navigate than we thought. Plus, when you throw in a vast number of morning and evening commuters and visitors who don't understand the ever-changing downtown street patterns, things can get a bit messy.

If it makes us feel any better, the capital city's traffic is not nearly as bad as Fort Campbell North, which sits on the Kentucky-Tennessee line and earned the title of worst driving city. Fort Thomas, Lyndon, La Grange and Jeffersontown rounded out the worst five and nearby Lawrenceburg earned 15th.

Ironically, Lexington with its notorious Nicholasville Road — known for traffic backups, congestion and accidents — was 24th worst on the list.

The study evaluated driver quality based on 2018 data of more than 43,000 insurance quotes to find the rate of overall incidents in each city — including accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations.

Despite being about a stone's throw from Fort Campbell North (the city with the worst drivers), Hopkinsville, in Christian County, was named the best driving city. Winchester took second, followed by Middlesborough, Franklin and Somerset. Also ranked among the top 25 best driving cities were Shelbyville (10), Georgetown (15), Louisville (19) and Versailles (25).

Frankfort's traffic woes extend farther than a two-way West Main Street will fix, although that change will help a lot. Situated in a valley with a river running through it, the capital city, unlike Hopkinsville and Winchester — the two top driving cities in the state — does not have routes and bypasses encircling the city. Even with the East-West Connector, Wilkinson Boulevard and West Frankfort Connector, there is no continuous traffic flow for the mass of weekday commuters.

But perhaps there is a silver lining to being named among the 10 worst cities for motorists — it may drive more people to reside here rather than commute in from elsewhere.



Aug. 9

The News-Enterprise on what could boost the success of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame:

During a grand weekend of celebration, the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame held center stage.

Since the Hall of Fame organizers selected Elizabethtown as its home, the induction ceremonies have been a first-class event. Visitors have up-close access to their hardwood heroes during a red carpet reception before the formal recognitions. A dozen more names were added to the distinguished Centennial Class.

The introduction of the Night of Champions also was a hit. NBA coach Dwane Casey provided a first-rate keynote speech and Bluegrass basketball royalty from all levels of play were on hand to swap old stories and engage their fans.

The weekend is fun and festive. The Hall of Fame itself, situated downtown in a converted church building, needs an infusion of the same atmosphere if it is to survive.

The Hall of Fame received a financial infusion from the Night of Champions auction.

It's become clear in the short time the exhibits have been open that foot traffic alone will not generate enough income and fundraising efforts are being made.

For example, the upstairs office space remains available for rent and there's talk of a casual coffee shop being established in the lobby to provide revenue.

The Hall of Fame still needs to build a stronger relationship with the Elizabethtown Sports Park to tap into the sports tourism traffic it generates. It also needs event programming to boost its profile and give locals a reason to repeatedly visit.

But most of all, this tribute to champions needs its own champions.

The Hall of Fame must find the right leader to build the enthusiasm and support needed to survive its growth period. No child should be left alone to survive and this nonprofit infant must do more than unlock its doors four days a week. It must become part of the community and the downtown resurgence.

Even more desperately, it needs a financial champion. Without the resources to employ the right people and to implement a dynamic business plan, it will continue to suffer.

Its board would be wise to tap the knowledge and resources of the Central Kentucky Community Foundation and immediately explore access to philanthropic opportunities and establishing an endowment as it seeks out resources vital to its continued operation.

It was a wonderful weekend. But the year has (358) additional days until the next induction celebration. There's a lot to be accomplished in that time.