Stay classy, not trashy

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By Meaghan Downs

I met Anderson County on Wildcat Road.
My father’s GPS decided to take us by this road less traveled by, and I won’t say that it made all the difference in choosing to move to Kentucky, but it was definitely my first glimpse at my new home.
That bumpy gravel road didn’t offer a smooth, comfortable ride.
It offered a lush jungle of green forests and gurgling creeks, a sore sight for eyes overloaded with endless fields of cows and corn.
Lately Wildcat Road, as well as other parts of Anderson County, resembles more of a landfill than the bluegrass.
I don’t know about all of you, but I never confused a garbage can with a river.
For some reason, I never thought they looked alike.
Apparently, this is not the case for litterers, who find no problem with dumping bags of trash and decrepit vehicles and other junk into our rivers and creeks.
This isn’t something you can attribute to abstract thought on pollution, like global warming or acid rain.
Our county, specifically Wildcat Road, is literally becoming trashy.
To show off parts of Anderson County, I took two tourists — one hailing from the wilds of Iowa, and the other a Midwest nomad like myself — on a driving tour of Fox Creek, Tyrone, and other scenic places in Lawrenceburg.
And honestly, it was embarrassing to try to explain why there were full bags of garbage lying on the side of the road.
Because I don’t know the answer.
Is the answer in closing Wildcat Road to prevent its transformation into a full-fledged dumping ground?
On the other hand, it could be dangerous for Wildcat residents not to have an alternative route in case of flooding. And it saddens me to think that other people won’t be able to see Anderson County the way that I did.
But then again, who’d want to see it in the shape it’s in now?

Let them eat pink slime
Now, onto more trash.
This time, trash we consume.  
It’s been recently reported that many ground beef suppliers — from grocery stores to fast-food restaurants to the national school lunch program — use lean finely textured beef, otherwise known by its appetizing moniker “pink slime.”
Food scares are nothing new.
One day, you’re safe to eat cantaloupes. The next day, there’s a fatal outbreak of this listeria disease you’ve never heard of.  
Even a cursory glance at the process of making “pink slime,” however, is enough to put you off your lunch.
I don’t know about you, but I hesitate to consume any meat that resembles my gelatin. Or that is an active ingredient in dog food.
Or you know, ground connective tissue and scraps boiled down and sprayed with ammonium hydroxide and re-frozen for shipping.
You’ll vow never to eat ground beef again. Or to boycott any supplier that has the audacity to mix it in with their meat.
The problem is: can you afford to stick to your food principles?
The food business is driven by the one taskmaster that drives every other industry — money.
And the higher the quality standard, the higher the price.
Want organic, grass-fed beef free of pink slime?
Expect to pay more, with some retailers charging three times the price for that desired “grass-fed” label.
Purity comes at a price, and oftentimes that price is just too high for our poorest consumers.
It’s a tale as old as time; those with the dough can afford to eat meat without filler.  
And sure, “pink slime” hasn’t killed anyone yet. Technically, the ammonium hydroxide sprayed on this meat product is supposed to protect us from harmful pathogens like salmonella and E. coli.
I just wish there was something to protect the consumer from the pitfalls of eating meat they’re supposed to be able to afford.
Including, I suppose, pink slime.