Letters to the editor - 9.16

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By The Staff

Anderson sidestepped dog ordinance ‘disaster’

To the editor: 

Having lived in rural Kentucky, I understand the difference between city dogs and country dogs. 

That said, I presently live in Jefferson County where, several years ago, a much longer version of the recently proposed Anderson County dog ordinance was passed into law.

Both ordinances can be traced back to the same source. Both ordinances were touted as cures to communities ravaged by dog attacks.

In our case, panic prevailed before we discovered that existing KRS statutes already address dangerous dog issues at the state level. 

Far from a cure, our ordinance has created more problems than it solved. Our county has been sued twice — once over how the law was enacted (in violation of state open meeting regulations), and a second time over multiple violations of existing state and federal laws contained within the ordinance. The outcome of that lawsuit could open us up to millions in potential legal fees and settlements.

In an attempt to cover increased costs due to additional hiring that was necessary, the ordinance has been used to punish responsible dog owners through fines and fees, leaving owners howling. 

Our overhead for enforcement of this ordinance has ballooned like a tick on a coonhound, and our shelter is stuffed to the rafters — often carrying as many as 600 animals in a facility designed to hold 200.

Because of the overcrowding, disease at the shelter is chronic, and many who adopt animals bring them home to find they require critical veterinary attention and the bills that go with it.

Our euthanasia numbers have skyrocketed. Last month alone our shelter put down over 900 animals. Staff morale at the shelter has suffered as they try to cope with the unintended consequences of this ordinance.

The big question, though, is has it achieved its goal? Sadly, our bite numbers here in Jefferson County have actually increased since the ordinance was passed.

Seems that nobody figured out that dogs can’t read.

I’m just happy to know that Anderson County has sidestepped what, for us, has been a complete disaster. You saved yourselves a mess of trouble and a heap of expense. 

Barbara Haines


Magistrates wrong about dog ordinance

To the editor:

The magistrates speaking against against the proposed dog ordinance because it was breed specific were correct on that one point. My experience causes me to state the ordinance should apply to all breeds.

I was nearly attacked [on a recent] morning by [a dog] on my property. I was listening hopefully for a command from [its owner] to bring the dog under control, but it came down to me and the dog.

The large dog, barking loudly and aggressively, advanced to within 6 feet from where I stood. It was a frightening experience.   

Do we need to wait until someone is attacked before we determine a dog should be restrained or is vicious? 

If the dog and I could repeat our experience for the magistrates who voted against the ordinance, maybe they’d have a clue pertaining to the need for an ordinance to protect our people in this county. 

The ordinance should provide for our safety while allowing responsible dog owners to enjoy their dogs.  

Victor Brown


Don’t allow dogs to use soccer fields

To the editor:

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Anderson County judge-executive and members of the fiscal court.

The article in The Anderson News regarding the use of soccer fields for dog use has caused concern with the members of Anderson Independent Youth Soccer Association (AIYSA).

We address you now in hopes of persuading you into an alternative to where dogs can run freely at the county park.

First, we would like to address that in the article it was suggested that the fields could be used when not in use for soccer. Here is a glimpse at our annual calendar and when we are using the fields or preparing the fields for use. Field preparations for spring season begin around the end of February; our season runs from March through the end of May; we begin preparing for camp in June and host camp the last week June; we begin preparing the fields for our fall season in July; fall season begins in August and runs through the end of October.

While we are not using the fields daily every week, we most certainly use them multiple times a week during the season and the weeks leading up to each season.

From our schedule, the suggestion of using the fields while not in use would limit it to the months of November through January.

Secondly, we’d like to point out the safety risk that could potentially come along with the fields being used for dogs. It is inevitable that some dogs dig, and potentially dig a lot. For the safety of the children playing on the fields we, and the county, cannot run the risk of having holes in the fields for children to trip in, twist an ankle or cause much worse injuries.

We have roughly 300 players registered with AIYSA this season alone. With each player come families and friends that come out each week to cheer on their favorite soccer player. That is an easy 500 people that are on the soccer fields on any given weekend as a player or spectator and this is just taking account the local players.

We have players come in for games from all over central Kentucky. That could potentially add another 100 people on the fields for games.

We have eight to 10 weeks for each season. Doing the math of 500 and spectators per weekend, that creates the potential of 4,000-5,000 injuries each season.

Finally, we have to look at the health risk that would come with having dogs use the soccer fields. As it has already been proven with the playground, AIYSA and the county cannot rely on dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

Not only is it disgusting to think that children would have to play in and around piles of dog feces, and potentially fall in it, but the health risk is too great.

We ask that you please, for the safety of our soccer children, reconsider the use of the soccer fields for dogs.

AIYSA officers

and board of directors

Marching Bearcats continue to amaze

To the editor:

As a proud band parent and member of the Anderson County High School Band Boosters Executive Board, I would like to express my gratitude to this community for their undying support of our beloved Anderson County Marching Bearcats.

It never ceases to amaze me how hard these kids work. Under the leadership of our new band director, Mr. Patrick Brady, these kids have improved with leaps and bounds.

As good as they are now, after only a couple of months of his tutelage, I have such high hopes for their future.

I don’t see any reason that we can’t make it to state finals.

The goal of the boosters is to support the band in any means possible. Not just monetarily through fundraisers but also through hard work and good old fashioned stick-to-it-ness. If it weren’t for the parents and sometimes grandparents and siblings, our band members would be marching around in ill fitting, wrinkled and sometimes torn and dirty uniforms.

We’ve got a great bunch of parents all willing to do whatever it takes to keep the show going. This includes building and painting props, getting them on and off the competition field as well as the equipment that doesn’t march, also known as “The Pit.”

Our Color Guard has also grown and improved in ways that most of us could not have imagined. Kudos to Mrs. Christina Brady. No, it is not a coincidence; she is the lovely bride of our director.

If it weren’t for local businesses allowing us to use their facilities to have car washes, our job as boosters would be so much harder. Take the time to come check them out at one of the home football games — you won’t be disappointed.

I’m even betting most of you will be surprised and awed.

Patty Ross

Band Booster treasurer

Suitable septic system ordinance needed

To the editor:

As a civil engineer that provides consulting services for water and wastewater systems I’ve read with interest a few of the recent articles and letters regarding the Anderson County Health Board’s septic system ordinance.

It appears the board needs to develop a more scientifically defensible ordinance, but I believe increased regulation of septic systems is desirable.

Septic systems on relatively small lots (up to 1.5 acres) in subdivisions are not a sustainable technology. They last only a fraction of the expected life of a home. My experience has been that 90 percent of septic system owners never pump their tanks until sewage rises to the surface. By the time that happens 15 to 30 years after the system is installed, the lateral field is partly clogged with solids and the damage has been done.

Homeowners with problem systems are very resistent to installing new lateral lines and politically its difficult for health boards to force improvements to be made. Sometimes there simply isn’t room for more lateral lines. The result is usually a call for a taxpayer-funded grant to replace the septic systems with sewers and that is very expensive in an existing subdivision with 1-acre lots.

When grants are available they are seldom enough to build the sewers so utilties have to raise rates to their exising customers to help pay for the sewers for the septic tank owners that did not pump their tanks.

Some have questioned that raw sewage running over the surface of the ground causes disease. I doubt you could find a medical professional that would not agree that overflowing septic systems can cause serious disease. The overflows ususally occur in spring when the ground is wet and the sewage sometimes is carried onto other properties during rainfall events.

Septic systems have a limited life, but a properly constructed and maintained septic system could probably last 50 years or more. Pumping the tanks every five to 10 years (depending on family size) at a nominal cost to the homeowner could do a lot to protect public health and the taxpayer’s wallet.

The only feasible way to get most existing septic tanks pumped is to require that they be pumped at some interval. A well-designed ordinance is probably needed to accomplish that.

Ultimately the best solution for Anderson County would be to require that sanitary sewers be provided for all new subdivisions with lot sizes less than a couple of acres. That is the only sustainable solution.

Steve Vogelsberg

Anderson County

Cap needed for cap and trade legislation

To the editor:

Already some members of our electric cooperative are having trouble paying their electric bills, coping with rising mortgages, the cost of health care and — hardest of all — the loss of jobs in the many communities we serve.

 As Congress continues to address climate change, we’re starting to hear a wide range of estimates on what the actions of lawmakers will cost American consumers.

The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan arm of Congress that prepares fiscal estimates and budgets, claims the increase in energy costs will be about the same as a postage stamp a day for the average homeowner.

Other estimates are much higher.

If Congress believes climate change legislation won’t increase your rates by more than a postage stamp a day, they should put measures into place to protect that promise.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission estimates our state will need the equivalent of 10 new power plants by 2025 to meet growing demand. Energy efficiency is essential to holding that growth in check. For years, Blue Grass Energy has been a leader in providing energy efficiency programs that work for Kentucky, such as home energy audits, incentives for making improvements to HVAC systems and insulation, and compact fluorescent light bulb giveaways.

Our direct load control program, SimpleSaver, offers bill credits to members who allow us to manage their air conditioning unit or water heater during times of peak demand. By cycling these units on and off when energy demand is at its highest, the system as a whole saves energy in the long run, which delays construction of new generating units.

BGEnergy’s power supplier, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, was the first utility in Kentucky to generate its own renewable power. Today, EKPC generates more green power than any other utility in Kentucky, thanks to five power plants fueled by methane from landfills. The sixth will be operational soon. EKPC is working with the University of Kentucky and a group of farmers to explore the viability of switchgrass as a viable power plant fuel. The bottom line is finding renewables that are affordable, reliable and work for Kentucky. We continue to search for such alternatives.

Even with new energy sources and efficiency programs at BGEnergy and its 15 sister co-ops throughout the EKPC system, additional generating capacity will be needed to meet growing demand.

Blue Grass Energy has a responsibility to provide more than 55,000 member-owners with affordable, reliable electricity. Fulfilling that responsibility will safeguard jobs and the economy by ensuring that businesses have the power they need.

But we need help. If the U.S. Senate approves a cap-and-trade system as part of a climate change bill — something the House did this summer — we need to make sure there’s a cap on the bill itself, a limit to how much electricity prices can rise. We need a guarantee from Congress that prices won’t rise beyond the reach of the average American household.

How can we do this? Policy experts say there’s a tool to fix this potential problem — an economic safety valve. A safety valve would keep prices from rising above the level Congress expects, effectively promising consumers access to affordable power in the future.

Access to affordable electricity is critical for all of us. If an economic safety valve helps keep electric bills affordable for consumers, Congress should adopt it.

Join the “Our Energy, Our Future” grassroots awareness campaign at www.ourenergy.coop and tell Congress to put a cap on cap-and-trade.

Dan Brewer

President and CEO,

Blue Grass Energy