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Letters to the editor, Feb. 4

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By The Staff

Marion County's youth stepped up during ice storm

I would like to commend all the young men who volunteered their own trucks, saws and labor during our recent disaster. From everything I witnessed, we older people will leave Marion County in great hands and good hearts.

Magistrate Jackie Wicker

Bradfordsville   Thankful for emergency personnel

My husband and I want to express our gratitude to all the many people who are helping in this winter emergency. We are so thankful for all the emergency personnel, fire fighters, government workers, law enforcement, hospital personnel, military and utility crews. Many people are working around the clock to help us all have power, water, emergency services and many other services. Their families are also sacrificing while the workers are out in this weather. We grumble and complain but where would we be without all the hard work these people are providing.

Sometimes it takes a disaster to remind us of so many things we take for granted. Things like electricity, water, phone service, fuel and mail service. I have been to third world countries. Each time I come back, I realize how much we have to be thankful for in our country. Many countries have no clean water, no power of any kind. I was in a large city in Central America last summer that had no postal service. It still boggles my mind that I cannot mail a letter to those people. We have learned what a problem it is to get a drink of water here. Imagine never having a clean drink of water.

So, thanks again to all of you who are working very hard to meet our basic needs in this trying time. You and your families have been in our prayers continually. Let us say thank you to any of these persons we meet and thank God that we live in a country that has all of these services and people willing to work in difficult times.

Ellen Kessler New Market

To the citizens of the 11th Judicial Circuit:

It is with great regret that I have resigned my position as Circuit Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit in order to enter the Senior Status Judge Program. It has been a pleasure to serve the citizens of Washington, Marion, Taylor and Green Counties as your judge for the past 25 years, 14 as your District Judge and the last 11 years as your Circuit Judge. It has been a very humbling experience for me and I hope that I served you with distinction during that time.

I have already been appointed as a Special Judge to continue serving in my circuit and I anticipate that I will serve in that position until an appointment is made to fill my seat. There will be no change in service to the people of the 11th Judicial Circuit and I will continue to hold court as scheduled.

The Senior Status Program is an outstanding program wherein Senior Status Judges are appointed to fill in for other judges where there may be vacancies or conflicts in that area. I know firsthand the importance of the program having served as Chief Regional Circuit Judge of the Cumberland Region and having used Senior Status Judges to fill in on numerous conflict cases. A Senior Status Judge does not receive his judge's salary but rather receives his retirement benefit. To receive this benefit a Senior Status Judge is required to work 120 days per year for five years.

The Senior Status Judge Program expired on Jan. 31, 2009, and 21 very experienced judges entered the program prior to it lapsing. This will leave the state with a very inexperienced judiciary. The Judges Association tried on numerous occasions to make changes to the program to get it extended but to no avail. The Kentucky House passed a bill making changes to the program and extending it but the Kentucky Senate refused to allow the bill to be called for a vote. The Judicial Retirement Board sponsored a bill this year to allow the bill to be called for a vote. The Judicial Retirement Board sponsored a bill this year to allow the judges eligible for the program to defer entering the program so that there would not be such a drain on the retirement fund at one time but this too went nowhere with the legislature.

There have been many changes over the last several years and the caseload in the circuit has increased significantly. Many new projects and programs are now under way. New judicial centers are under construction in all four counties in the circuit. These facilities are badly needed and long overdue and should serve the people in our circuit for the next 75 years. I appreciate the opportunity to have served on three of those project development boards that planned the design of the facilities. We began Drug Court in 2008 and that program has provided help and guidance for many people who are experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol.

I want to show my appreciation to the many people that assisted me over the years and I will cherish the friendships that I have made over the last 25 years. I'm so thankful that you had the trust and confidence in me and for allowing me to serve as your judge.

Doughlas M. "Dodie" George Lebanon   Lebanon needs a new seafood restaurant

Here's a suggestion for all you local capitalists: Lebanon needs another seafood restaurant.

For many years prior to Lebanon's recent industrial expansion, our community successfully supported a Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppe. When Long John Silver's closed down several years ago, there went at large part of my weekly fish diet. Many others say they miss it as well.

Lebanon could use a new Long John Silver's of Captain D's, or maybe a more sophisticated Red Lobster or Louisville-style Kingfish Restaurant.

A well-placed, well-managed seafood franchise would probably thrive here, especially since fish plays a large role in the local Christian experience.

Andrew January Grundy III

Lebanon