With Thanksgiving approaching, I am thankful for the things we so often take for granted: food on our tables, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. However, Thanksgiving is also a time to think about the less fortunate who don’t have these essentials. As a member of ONE, a grassroots organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, I instantly think of the food crises that have been ravaging Africa for years. Our response has been to treat the problems as they arise by doling out food and services when needed. This is vital yet inefficient. All of the money spent on this method could be saved if we simply invested in the development of agriculture in African nations. By providing the nearly two-thirds of Africa’s population who are farmers with essential tools, we could not only help Africans help themselves, but save money in the long run, which puts us one step closer to closing our deficit. This Thanksgiving, helping the less fortunate is as easy as calling your congressperson and urging them to support full funding for the 2011 U.S. plan to end hunger.
Megan Schweizer, Highlands
No More Frickled Pickles
An era ended this month: Genny’s Diner closed. After numerous injunctions, a fire, attorney’s fees, court costs, home incarceration, not to mention a horrific amount of stress, owner Frank Faris is beaten. He has thrown in the towel. Is that what the preservation committee wanted? Maybe. Did this become a personal issue? Maybe. Should other restaurant proprietors have marched in the street? Maybe.
Was all the venom from the committee truly justified? Was there ever an offer from the committee to assist in any way? Did they ever pony up a low-interest loan to help? Did they offer to share the financial expense to rehab a building that is falling down? If it was so important, why not buy the building or offer some financial assistance? Faris is a good citizen, he employed people, paid taxes and helped those who were down on their luck. He also paved the way for other restaurants and businesses on Frankfort Avenue.
I don’t view Frank Faris as an angel any more than I view the committee as a non-compassionate group that likes to beat up on small-business owners, condo-dwellers and others. But it saddens me when I think that the committee has the power and authority to beat and hammer someone who perhaps, just perhaps, could not afford to carry the financial burden of this vast project (children in school, etc.). Unfortunately, the authority of the committee overshadows compassion for an individual.
For many in the Clifton area, Genny’s Diner was a landmark in its own right. A word to the wary: Be careful of the buildings you purchase in Clifton. If it happened to Faris, no one else is safe from the same treatment.
In an odd way, Faris was inadvertently the leader of the slogan “Keep Louisville Weird,” and no doubt we will see that entrepreneurial spirit rise again — we will hear from him again, and his loyal customers will support him as much as before.
Pauline Perkins, Upper Highlands
Fostering a Need
November is National Adoption Month, a time set aside each year to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This is also an ideal time to highlight the tremendous efforts put forth to improve the lives of children in foster care and to stress the growing need for quality foster parents in our community. More than 6,800 children in the state of Kentucky are in foster care. The reasons why vary.
•Some biological parents aren’t able to give appropriate physical and emotional care or supervision.
•Some parents and some children can’t control their behaviors.
•Some families have temporary crises, such as health problems or loss of income and housing.
•Some parents have serious parenting problems due to drug abuse, mental illness or other conditions.
•Some parents voluntarily place their children up for adoption.
The why isn’t as important as the fact that children and youth — particularly teens — need safe, nurturing homes where they can get their feet under themselves and begin to heal and grow.
Research has shown that a safe, nurturing home can help repair the damage caused to children and youth because of abuse and neglect, helping them go on to lead normal lives.
The shortage of foster parents in our community makes it a challenge to find homes for our kids in the area. When there is no local home available, the child often has to leave the community in order to be placed in a safe environment elsewhere. So not only do our kids have to deal with having been removed from their biological family, he or she also had to adapt to being away from their known school, friends and other support systems.
Please consider becoming a foster parent. You don’t have to be married, rich or perfect. You just need to be willing to parent a child in need. Help us guide our children today, which helps us have a better future tomorrow.
Jerianne Strange, regional trainer, New Beginnings Family Services
Down the River
As someone who pays attention to the goings on at meetings of the tolling authority, I’m very often asked what is the tolling scenario the 14-member unelected authority is leaning toward to finance our Ohio River Bridges Project, and when will they vote on it?
To the first question, I don’t know which scenario they are leaning toward. They don’t plan to release it until the week they’re voting on it. Nice, eh?
As you probably guessed from the recent flurry of pro-toll (posing as pro-“three-legged stool”) commercials, they’ll be voting on it very soon. In fact, the authority plans to vote on their yet-to-be-released plan at their public meeting on Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Kentucky International Convention Center, Room 109.
It is the hope of the Bridges Astroturf … I mean, Bridges Coalition, that you will trust them to choose the tolling scenario that’s right for you. It’s my hope you will not.
Please join me at the meeting, and watch as our public leaders either exercise good stewardship of the public trust or sell us down the river with tolls on existing bridges, as well as Spaghetti Junction.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands
As I read the post-election comments of President Obama in which he blamed communication as the reason for the overthrow of the Democrats — instead of the policies and tactics of his administration — I am reminded of the Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in which the knight, having had all four limbs severed, is defiant in utter defeat. The words of the Black Knight could almost be President Obama’s words: “‘Tis but a scratch,” “I’ve seen worse,” “It’s just a flesh wound” and, best of all, “I’ll do you for that.”
My question is, is President Obama so out of touch with the reality of what happened that he is either unwilling or unable to acknowledge that it is his policies and vision of America that have been repudiated by the American voters across the United States? And is he so deeply a product of the dirty politics of Chicago that defeat only means retaliation?
Ralph Koslik, Highlands
After analyzing Egyptian mummies, ancient literature, and medical studies of human and animal remains going back to the age of dinosaurs, two researchers recently concluded that cancer is largely caused by modern-day, man-made factors, including pollution and diet. Shocking, huh?
Researchers who study modern-day humans also agree that unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause cancer. We can reduce our risk for this deadly disease by exercising, not smoking and eating a healthy vegan diet. Vegan foods not only taste great, most are low in fat and high in fiber and phytochemicals, which knock out carcinogens and fight inflammation. Studies show that vegans are much less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters are.
There’s no reason to let cancer be the death of us when we can prevent or control it by choosing veggie burgers instead of cheeseburgers, chickpeas rather than chicken, eggplant over eggs, and soy sausage over pork sausage. For product suggestions and wholesome vegan recipes, see www.peta.org.
Heather Moore, PETA, Norfolk, Va.