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Speak Your Piece

Tell us what's on your mind. No need to give your name. Call 633-7508 from 9 am Tuesday to 9 am Friday.


Tell us what’s on your mind. No need to give your name.
Call 633-7508 from 9 am Tuesday to 9 am Friday.

E-m@il
address
In addition to the telephone and the U.S. Mail, The Mountain
Eagle accepts comments to Speak Your Piece by electronic mail. Our address is:
mteagle@tgtel.com

I would like for Kentucky to offer a special license plate that would show support for the military. Sincerely, Goebel Craft, Lexington.

To a certain person: I would like to know why you tell so many lies. I see that you must have forgotten that you have taken your best friend’s life and destroyed your own life. The only thing that I did wrong was fall in love with you. I have never hurt anybody in my life. You can say whatever you want to say about me, because everybody who has met me or knows me will tell you that I am a good person and will give the shirt off my back to help anybody.

I do not want to inhale your cigarette smoke. This year’s cram-packed Mountain Heritage was miserably unenjoyable for those of us who do not practice this disgusting habit. As an adult, I can physically remove myself from the gross contaminated stink. However, this is not the case for children. I watch adults smoke in their homes, vehicles and other places in the presence of innocent children. I have witnessed persons with a child in one hand and a cigarette in the other. These children cannot remove themselves from the danger that lurks around them (and should not have to). The windows of a smoker’s home and vehicle are covered with a yellow film of poison. This is the same poison that collects on the walls of our lungs when we have to be near your cigarette. According to the surgeon general, the risks of secondhand smoke to a child is low birth weight, SIDS, asthma, respiratory infections, coughing, wheezing, dental cavities, nose and eye irritation, and ear infections. In fact, it is estimated that there are around 250 cancer-causing toxins in secondhand smoke. If a child is in a smoke-filled room for one hour, he or she could possibly inhale toxins equivalent to smoking ten cigarettes. Children are developing and are the most vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Stop contaminating everyone around you. There is NO risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure! It is time for everyone, especially our children, to be protected and provided with smoke-free air to breathe.

Reward offered for male Shih Tzu dog missing since the afternoon of Monday, October 8. Dog was last seen in the Ermine area, between Ted Cook’s Body Shop and the Exxon station. Dog is white, black and gray. The reward for his safe return is $500, no questions asked. Call 633- 7579 or 634-4614 anytime day or night.

The nurses who are striking at ARH portrayed themselves as being professional people who were caring and compassionate and yet they erected a ‘wall of shame’ listing the names of those who chose to continue working after they resigned themselves from the union. They even listed one nurse’s name on their socalled wall of shame as she was at her dying sister’s bedside, and then as she attended her funeral before she ever crossed the picket line. Does this sound like compassionate caring nurses to you? I bet they failed to mention this at the fiscal court meeting. The real shame is on those who erected this structure and the officers of this great union who allowed this to go on for days. Shame on you, KNA.

You see comments all the time about the problems plaguing our county – police brutality, grand jury tampering, jail conditions, misbehavior by politicians, etc., but none of the newspapers in this county ever write a word about these very serious issues and problems. On the jail issue, for instance, a Kentucky professor has just written a very important book on the incarceration issue in the state and what our current policy has created. The issue was discussed on ‘Comment on Kentucky’, which has a statewide audience. The Letcher County Jail is one of the outstanding examples of such problems, but you never read a word in the paper about it. A local TV show interviewed the new Jenkins police chief and had the courage to at least ask about the brutality issue. Our papers have never made a peep. Why aren’t our papers covering these serious issues? Why do we have to hear about them in Speak Your Piece? Has any one of the three papers that serve this county ever done an investigation to determine the validity of the police brutality charges, or even done a single interview with Jenkins officials? Has any one of the three ever sat down with the Commonwealth’s Attorney or the Circuit Judge and asked why they removed a grand jury foreman, and assessed whether that was proper? Is our problem that we only want to print good news but not problems? I hear complaints that the news is all bad but there’s a good reason for that. The most important purpose of a free press is to act as a balance against powerful government and powerful coalitions. The first step in bringing that balance is shining the light of day on the bad things that go on. If nobody brings problems into the open, they will never be fixed. A free press is the best way to bring them into the open. Our newspapers need to step up to the plate on this.

(The fact is, if it hadn’t been for the reporting of this newspaper you never would have heard about any allegations of police harassment in Jenkins. The allegations occurred during a city council meeting and we reported on it. The overcrowded conditions in the Letcher County Jail have been well documented in this newspaper, too. And there’s no secret about what’s causing the overcrowding, either. When the new jail was designed to hold 56 prisoners in the late 1990s, the problem with narcotics addiction and the crime that goes with it was nowhere near the level it is today. OxyContin wasn’t even on the market then. Today, the jail almost always has a population of a hundred or more prisoners, most of them drug offenders. What’s the jailer supposed to do with the extra prisoners? Turn them loose? Are the police supposed to stop arresting people who break the law?)

The good things in Letcher County come from hard work and private initiative – the Pine Mountain Grill, Las PeƱas restaurant, Highlands Winery, the medical helicopter service, and Calvary Campus. The impractical things come from the Letcher Fiscal Court – one of the world’s great boondoggles (the old Jenkins High School), an obscure amphitheater (a real dinosaur), museums for everything, and an obsession with sustaining cultural things that became obsolete for good reason. Let’s think about these things and have some priorities.

The word is that a UNITE official has formed a new merger with the media. Interesting.

Hello. I just want to say that I love WMMT and I think a lot of people should appreciate the station that plays good bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, old-time music and much more. I love the ‘Hillbilly Hayride’ with Little Debbie. Her show is so refreshing and has some great information about bluegrass music. I also like the other shows like ‘Bluegrass Express’ with Angie Hall and Little Willard and the ‘Sunrise Show’ just to name a few. I just wanted to give a shout out to all the folks at WMMT and all the DJ’s and say thank you for a great little community radio station in the hills of eastern Kentucky. WMMT, you rock. Thank you.

I have to say I’ve had my doubts about some of the members of the fiscal court, but after reading ARH’s threatening letter in The Mountain Eagle, all I can say is good job, men. Keep up the good work. ARH is not the first to try to intimidate people who support workers’ rights. At least part of Letcher County has a proud history with organized labor, and some of the rest have tasted the bitterness of companydominated unions and unionbusting corporations. So long as the court supports working people, I will support the court. The first fiscal court member who caves to ARH will never get my vote, though.

It is so sad to see that so many people don’t have a clue about why the registered nurses are on strike. There is so much gossip going around – stories that are not true. People think that we are getting ‘rich’ at ARH, that we are making lots of money. I make decent money there. It pays my bills, supports my family and allows me to have a pretty good life, but this is not the only place I can make decent money. I have received job offers from other hospitals, some local, some out of town, that pay more than ARH does. Some of you sound jealous that we make the amount we do. Everyone has the opportunity to get a college degree and choose a well-paying career. When I decided to go to college and become a nurse, I had nothing. I was on food stamps, did not qualify for a medical card or any other assistance, but I did not let that stop me. I wanted a better life for myself and my child. I am proud to stand on the picket line, knowing that I am standing up for what is right and for better working conditions. I have worked for ARH many years, and have seen the decline in this hospital towards its employees over the past five years or so. Their main concern is not patient care, it is money. We are asked to reuse disposable supplies on patients. Sometimes there is not even the equipment that is needed to do a procedure. There are so many things the public does not know. Comments that we are uncaring are so untrue. If we didn’t care, we would not be out there, fighting for more staff to be able to adequately take care of the sick and wounded. Until you have walked in my shoes, don’t judge me.

Witnessing mountaintop removal mining is like watching your own mother being gang raped. With a few men and powerful machinery, large corporations are systematically destroying our natural beauty, befouling our environment and breaking the Appalachian spirit. The A.T. Massey Company, whose slogan is ‘Doing the Right Thing With Energy,’ recently talked about planting their millionth tree, a magnanimous gesture for the several million oaks, hickories and other native trees they have destroyed. A gigantic mountaintop lake of toxic waste water has been created by mountaintop mining in Pike County which, in the event of a breakage, could annihilate the communities of Jonancy, Virgie and Long Fork, making the Buffalo Creek disaster look like the aftermath of a spring rain. The fact that beneficiaries on the local, state and national levels are allowing such atrocities is criminal. It is just as inconceivable that an organization called CEDAR is deceiving students in eight eastern Kentucky counties into believing that this hell-on-earth method of mining is not only practical and honorable, but offers them careers in mining. What CEDAR fails to tell them is that at the rate coal is being mined, current employment in the industry will be short-lived. In reality, a future based on coal promises a world not unlike that faced by the Dust Bowl Okies of the 1930s. Our misguided youth may be forced to learn, firsthand, the sad legend of Route 66.

First of all, I am a registered nurse at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, and yes I’m on the picket line. ARH was built by the union, for the union, and if I have anything to do with it, it will always be a union hospital. I have several things to comment on. First, I would like to respond to the caller in last week’s Speak Your Piece: Yes, I do get paid $45,000 to $60,000 a year, but I am paid for the hard backbreaking work that I choose to do. I went to college to get the degree and you have the same opportunity to do the same. This is America, and the same freedom you and I have to go to college is the same freedom I have to stand on that picket line for my rights as a nurse. Go to college yourself and you too can make $45,000 to $60,000 a year. As for ARH giving me a job, if you think ARH is the only hospital where I can work you and ARH better think again. That RN license gives me the right to work anywhere in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. If you think I make too much money for what I do, then think about the scabs, the replacement workers. They are making double what I make with free housing. ARH is also feeding them for free. Now that should make you really mad, because it sure does me. When I went to nursing school the first thing they taught us was that we as nurses are patient advocates. That is what this strike is about – safe care of the patient, understaffing and very tired nurses. As for the pay raise ARH offered in proposal contract, I was very satisfied with that. The problem is ARH wants to pick what, where and when you work, switching your shift if they give you 21 days in advance, placing you in areas where you are not qualified to work, and taking your seniority away. I chose to work at ARH for the benefits the union offered, not what ARH can take away from me. If you or anyone in the public would like to see the proposed contract, stop by the picket line anytime day or night, any day you want, and we will be there to show you. Now for my fellow co-workers that chose to cross the picket line: The wall of shame says it all. I am ashamed of you for crossing and not standing with your fellow coworkers and your union. If you are proud of your decision to cross, then the wall of shame should not bother you in the least. The last thing I want to say is I went to school to be a RN because I wanted to help my community and take care of my patients in a manner they deserve. My mother was a nurse at WARH for many years. When I was younger I used to ask her, ‘How do you do that job – bathe people, help them to the restroom, etc.?’ She would say, ‘Remember that the patient in the bed may not be your mother or sister, but it is somebody’s mother, sister and aunt.’ That is what got me through nursing school and to the job I do. For the simple fact that if me or my family gets sick I hope that we all get the care we need from a nurse that loves her job and patient as much as I do mine. I want to work, I want to help my community and my family as well as you and your family, but not understaffed and over-tired. Thank you very much for your comment, and thank God for America and the freedom for you and me to say, print and comment on – as well as picket for – what we believe in. Thank you, from a very over-tired nurse on the picket line.

To the public: The nurses on the picket line at this time are members of the KNA – the Kentucky Nurses Association. The people at ARH that were on strike earlier in the year were members of the United Steelworkers union, the USW. These are two different unions, both united for safe patient care, community and employee fairness. We are not lazy, money-hungry, cold-hearted people. If we were we wouldn’t be doing the jobs we do. We are mothers, wives, sisters, fathers, brothers, husbands and friends trying to support our families by giving them safe, quality care. Remember that next time you go by our picket line. Chances are some member in your family has worked for or been a patient at our hospital. Thanks again for those who are supporting the RN’s at KNA.

The Whitesburg Mayor is doing a fine job. He is showing the energy, initiative and imagination needed to get things done. This leadership is sorely needed in county government and in the county legal system. It is to be hoped that he can be convinced to go to a job that will benefit the whole county, and not just Whitesburg, when the opportunity arises. The best choice for his talents would be for him to do what he did better than anyone else has ever done in Letcher County, and that is to prosecute criminals. If not that then how about becoming Letcher County’s judge/executive and providing some badly needed direction and guidance for the fiscal court?

To the United Steelworkers at ARH: I would like to thank you for your support during our strike. We will stand tall outside while you guys stand tall on the inside. Thanks again for supporting the registered and KNA. Kim Lucas, RN.

Speak Your Piece accounts of erratic spur-of-the-moment funding decisions by the Letcher County Fiscal Court are very disturbing. A review of some of the projects that have absorbed hundreds of thousands of dollars makes one despair for there ever being improvement of the way of life in Letcher County. None of these projects seem very urgent, so why don’t they allow a period of time for presenting them to the public and allowing public comment? Many federal agencies are required to do this. The fiscal court shows no sense of priority. This area has severe needs for basic services like water and sewer that are taken for granted in most of the rest of the state.

To the person who wrote about Little Miss Felon: I think I know her too, ’cause she caused me some blues./Got the boyfriend who looks like a scarecrow/ tattoos and goatee for show./Out of jail and now on the street/for singing about us all so sweet./When is it that she is due?/ So I can speak my piece so true?

My mother, an RN, stands on the picket line to stand up for what she believes is right. I didn’t really understand it at first, but I do now. It is so heart wrenching to drive by that hospital and look at the RN’s standing there in the rain, heat and cold with their signs held high trying to fight for what is right for them. My mother told me that some nurses crossed the line. That literally made my stomach turn upside down. You people should be ashamed. I don’t care if your mother is a boss or you are a nurse practitioner’s daughter, you should feel an inch tall if you cross the picket line. Do you all really like the proposed contract? Even if you did and you are an RN, you should be down there with them. It is not fair that you guys get to go to work and get paid while our mothers are down on the road fighting for not only their rights, but also for the rights of you who are so heartless. If they agree to settle with the RN’s, you who cross the line will get everything they got for you, but you failed to help them get it. That is sick, cruel and sad to me. I hope the money you are getting right now is so worth it, especially when you look at the recruited nurses’ checks and they are double what you are making. That would make me hop my little embarrassed behind right down there to help your co-workers. Is it fun to be a scab? What is it they’re sneaking you – extra money to stay? You are pathetic. Get real and help support what is right, because deep down you know what’s right, and that is not getting that paycheck. Money comes and goes, but your conscience will eventually eat you alive, I would like to see the day it does. To my mother and the other RN’s on the picket line: Stay strong and stand for what you believe in. I am all for you, heart and soul. If things don’t go your way don’t get down. There are plenty of hospitals that will gladly hire you. ARH is not the only one in the world. So good luck and have faith.

Rogues have figured out that there is a level below which they can work without being bothered by prosecutors. If you call one of these offices with anything much less than a murder complaint, you will probably not get very much attention and you may be treated rudely and quickly dismissed. Despite their faults, most criminals are not so dumb they can’t figure this out, and they will continue and expand their criminal activity. Yet prosecuting lesser crimes has been shown to have a dramatic effect on the number of serious crimes committed in many states. The official indifference provides an umbrella of immunity that just raises the number of more serious crimes.

I am glad I didn’t vote for Jim Ward for county judge or vote for the magistrate in District Three. They have done nothing but try to get rid of my job since they have been in office. Now they are getting rid of our much needed women’s center. Yes people, when they take money away from ARH they are taking the jobs and a place close to home to be cared for. I am tired of being told how bad it is on the hill without the RN’s. There are 44 registered nurses on the picket line, but over 20 RN’s have come back to work. I applaud the nurses who have the courage to go against people who do not care whether they pay their bills or not. Has the judge asked the RN’s on the picket line how many have jobs somewhere else? Would it surprise people that these women who can’t work overtime and more than four days a week for ARH work at other hospitals for almost double the money on their precious days off? Don’t tell me they care about resting up. They just can’t work here because they are at Pikeville or Holston Valley working. And they call the girls who crossed the picket line cowards and greedy? Will the magistrates pay their bills and take care of their children if they stay out? The union sure won’t. It is about time that the fiscal court remembers there are people – good hardworking people – on this hill and we are tired of them calling us inadequate. You get sick and see how happy you are to see some of those familiar faces working on you. As far as I am concerned, my vote will be for anyone who runs against people who think that 44 are more important than 300.

I just got a brochure on cigarette smoking saying that taxes have been raised 80 percent since the year 2000. It says to call Congress and speak your mind. In my opinion that dirty dozen won’t be any different than the four over at Whitesburg. If there are any comments, state your name please. I would just like to know how many people feel the same way I do about rights being taken away. Please print this. Thank you, Stanley Pack.

To David, Angel and Megan, my darling children: From the moment I held each one of you in my arms, I knew that God had sent you from the heavens for me – that God had granted me the blessing of being a mother times three. The twinkle in your eyes, the rose in your cheeks, these are the memories I carry with me. Your first word, your first step, your first day of school, and now you are grown standing next to me. Even though we are apart, you are forever in my heart. I thank God for giving me three of the most beautiful and smart children a mother could ask for. So on your journey through this life, always remember I’ll be by your side through thick and thin. My love is there unconditionally, because I care. Love, your mom Rose Mary.

To a certain lady in a neighboring county: Why did your husband change jobs? Was it because after all these years you finally caught him cheating on you? Are the ladies he left behind going to miss the flirting, waving, stalking, and him riding on their bumper? If so, please respond.

To the women in jail: Did you know you are living with a true cheese eater? Fact: She ratted out a certain man. Fact: She wore a wire that day. Fact: She was the only female he sold to that day. Fact: It’s on paper. Fact: This same woman has ratted out other men. Fact: She ratted out a certain girl and blamed it on another girl and laughed about it. Fact: This woman would perform a sex act for a 12-pack of Natural Light, a pill, or a shot ‘to take a trip to the moon.’ She is not going to change. I was in there only a couple of months and I saw it. She has shared needles to shoot up OxyContin. She’s a needlejunkie drunk in jail. Come on, she’s not fooling everybody.

Little Miss Felon, pregnant and yellin’. I am no poet, but I heard you only spent five days in the Letcher County Jail. How in the world did you manage that? Guess when you squeal like a pig you get less time. Sentenced to three months in Pike County, grunting and squealing, you just did two. You can’t stay clean, you can’t stay sober, so you’ll get caught again. When you do you’ll sing like a canary once more. You sure as heck did not get what you deserved in this country. The locals know who you are and what you are. Watch out for the cheese.

Concerning the story that was done last week concerning the garbage situation in downtown Neon, I think it’s about time that the council, mayor and the proper officials step in and force their hands in cleaning it up. It still needs to be cleaned up better than what it is. And how stupid was Mr. McCarty’s statement on television: ‘I won’t do anything about this, only go home and tell the Lord on them.’ By the way, does the Bible say that we must follow the laws of the land? He sure wasn’t following the laws, because he was warned and asked numerous times in the four years to clean up. I know that he has the room inside the building for those clothes and tables. It would be nice for this organization to get rid of those vehicles that don’t run, along with those pallets and old freezers, and have a nicer place.

Maybe now that the pillhead is going to jail, Mom will see that the man up there was right all the time. I would really be ashamed of myself if I was you for taking her side. He was the best thing that ever happened to you and her. Now look. Maybe now you can make that look on your face more evil looking than when I saw you there. I sure hope he never lets you come back down there.

The excuse most often heard from people who don’t vote is that they don’t have a worthwhile choice. That, in many cases, is hard to dispute. Many of the candidates are pretty marginal. Even worse, there are many times no choices at all because so many of the incumbents are unopposed. This is certainly not because of their popularity; many of those who are unopposed are disliked and disrespected. They are not the people’s choice; they are there simply because no one ran against them. A big part of this problem is the structure of the Republican and Democratic county committees. They are both a shambles. Their leaders are ineffective and have no credibility. Responsible citizens need to fill in this vacuum and recruit honest, respected people to fill the committee posts and honest, respected people to replace what we have in office. Give the people some appealing choices and there will be a jump in the number of people voting and a corresponding increase in the quality of Letcher County officials.

I agree with an earlier caller who noted a change in Speak Your Piece to a more serious, more important tone. There is now a discussion and investigation of the most basic problems affecting the readership of The Mountain Eagle and a building demand for improvement in our way of life. I believe this is becoming one of the most constructive forces in this community and that, along with other forces, it will result in surprising and beneficial changes in the political and business makeup of the county.

It’s really sad that the ‘powers that be’ will not let their ‘subjects’ use public property to register more ‘subjects’ so they can vote. I wonder why this is. I did hear a small rumor that a few churches might let their churches be used to register more voters. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice to have churches do something for the people? That won’t happen. Nothing is going to happen. Next election another bunch of bad people will get elected. That would probably be the ones that were just voted out a few years ago. They take turns.

I wish someone would get brown eyes out of jail so he and blue eyes could run away to Oklahoma or some other place.

‘Depression,’ by Crazi Poet: Depression/You’re my obsession./ You’re like a drug/With you I play tug of war./I need a savior/ Can’t help but think I’m a rotten apple./I’m sitting here fighting a battle with my own body/And I’m hardly thinking I’ll make it out alive./It’s just like when people say they won’t drive while they’re drunk or high/But you get so high you feel like you could fly./It doesn’t matter what you said, now you’re too high to know where you may go./So you start your car/You don’t know and don’t care where you are./ You’re just driving fast down the road/The big truck couldn’t stop but slowed./Still it squashed you like ants/I liked you, but not what you did/In my mind your memories still prance./So never say never/You may be too high/You may have too much hurt and anger./ Too much to hold/And before you know it you explode./ You may hurt so much/To not feel the slightest loving touch./ You may hurt so much that you’re not thinking clearly/And may just end up doing something you’ve always thought was eerie./ Some people hurt so much they don’t think right/And they give up the fight./They’ve tried and tried/But in the end they commit suicide.

I get The Mountain Eagle by mail. I have been reading about the county judge kicking a voter registration group out of the senior centers. I don’t think that is legal, and I wonder why the fiscal court members outside the judge aren’t doing something about that. Twenty years ago, the county was riddled with corruption and a lot of people went to jail. We got a new judge as a result of that clean sweep. Now he is gone, and it sounds like Letcher County is back to its old corrupt ways. While I haven’t lived there in a while, I still am concerned about the county and the family I have left there, and would like to see somebody doing something about the way this new government is apparently acting.

I support the striking nurses 100 percent and hope they get everything they can. I think nurses everywhere should get a lot more in relation to doctors. The nurses are in good shape, though, compared to the average worker around here. What about the single mothers who are waiting tables and clerking at stores, working two and three jobs and not even getting minimum wage pay? What about the people who have worked for less than subsistence wages for 15 years and have never had a pay raise? How about those who work for half of what they should be paid for people so wealthy they and their families could never spend all their money in several lifetimes? Letcher County may not have a corner on greed but it certainly looks that way at times.

I just heard about two timber thefts in Floyd County. The victim has tried to get help from the sheriff, with no luck. The sheriff apparently dismissed the severalthousand dollar theft by asking, ‘What murder do you want me to stop investigating to look into this?’ I haven’t heard of that many murders in Floyd County, and l bet they find time to chase people buying five-dollar bags of marijuana, but they can’t be bothered with timber theft. This is giving these criminals a license to steal. Essentially, law enforcement, when they refuse to investigate and prosecute, are becoming accessories after the fact. This is clear misfeasance, if not malfeasance. Just be thankful we have Danny Webb, and watch your and your neighbors’ timber.

Attention: Only in Letcher County, which is a dry county, can you be a bartender and sell beer and liquor at a veterans’ club, live in an apartment that’s supposed to be for people on fixed incomes, plus shoot a man with intent to kill and get out of jail on some rinky-dink bond just because of family connections. I’m waiting to see the outcome of this case. Thank you.

I would like to thank God for saving my soul. I would also like to say Jesus loves you to the boys down there in the Letcher County Jail.

This is for a man who lives at Payne Gap: How could you be so cruel as to run a woman and three little children away from a home and leave them with nowhere to go? He says he does not care, just get out. How can a person be so cruel-hearted? They’ve been together for five years. As long as the mother was able to work and help pay bills and help pay his child support, all was fine. Now that she’s no longer able to work he tells her to take the children and get out. How can any man run his family off and say mean and cruel things to the little children and make fun of them? It is so wrong. Could you please not be so cruel-hearted and run little children away from their home?

To a girl who works in the courthouse: If I said something about you, I am sorry. I am apologizing to you, but you don’t need to believe every lie you hear about me. Just like my mom goes around making up stories about me just because she believes our rotten next-door neighbor who likes to tell lies. So I am apologizing for whatever it is I said about you.

Letcher County Central High School needs to do something about the traffic problem. In the mornings kids are forced to be late and are getting tardies because of the line of traffic created by parents letting kids out. They need to take some of that money and make two different lanes from which to let kids off. This one lane is not working, and kids are being tardy because of it. Something needs to give.

‘Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord, O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.’ From Psalms 140. Amen in Jesus Christ’s name.

I’m an RN in the Lexington area and I receive your local paper. The headline ‘nurses strike’ caught my eye. I noticed that ARH published the nurses’ wages at $40,000 to $60,000 a year, but failed to tell how many overtime hours were included in that. Also, we didn’t see the ARH administration’s wages published in the paper. The CEO has said the nurses didn’t accept the contract because of the benefits. But did he mention they had to work 10- and 12-hour shifts? Did he mention how many of those long shifts they have to work in a row? We want our nurses to be rested and well cared for and to have good benefits. When a nurse is tired and pulling 50 to 60 hours a week she doesn’t do her best job.

Why do all the people bellyache so much down there? I lived down there until I was 17 years old and we had it harder than what they’ve got it now. My name is Pauline, and I don’t care who knows my name.

To a certain deputy sheriff: I gave you a jar of honey so we could be friends. I didn’t know you were going to start claiming I told you lies about something that went on. If you want to know the truth, you know where I live. Stop in and pay me a visit like somebody instead of hiding from me. If you want to know the truth, I’ll tell you about it. But you’re going to have to stop listening to those lies people are telling. I’m always home.

This is for Jim Ward and the magistrates: I hope the 30 or less families who are on strike have large families and can vote for you during the next election, because the 300-plus families on the inside of the hospital will not.

To the nurses on the picket line: If there is such a nursing shortage, why don’t you go somewhere else and work so the people in the community will have a hospital where they can go to get treatment?

I guess it’s hard to work six days in a row for ARH when two of those days you should be in Prestonsburg or at Holston Valley working for double the money.

To the people of Letcher County: Take a look at your hospital and see who does all the caring for the patients there. It is the LPN’s. When you go to the nurses’ station and ask an RN for water, ice, or a bedpan you will be told, ‘Let me see if I can find someone.’ They won’t even get out of the chair.

You need to just leave me alone. If you can’t do that, then somebody with higher authority than me is going to take care of you just like he did the other one. So stay off my back and quit walking up and down in front of my house.

The most important thing other than life itself is eternal life. Every other breath you take is in the future. The future is not that far off. Eternity is forever. What is keeping you from the way, the truth, and the light? Nothing but Satan himself. He’ll hold you in the past, control you in the present, he’ll destroy you in the future. He likes you the way you are. He’ll make you dumb, dumber and dumbest if you’ll let him. People, look what he has done to you through drugs, alcohol, Biblical illiteracy and traditions of man. Time is running out. When you stand before God, remember me. I have given you warning many times. Think about it. God bless.

You are such a trashy tramp for saying such stupid things. You are truly stupid.

I am calling on behalf of the RN’s on strike at the Hazard ARH hospital: We would like to thank the Letcher Fiscal Court for taking the stand they made in support of their nurses. We wish our fiscal court would do the same. Jim Ward and Wayne Fleming are our new heroes. We really appreciate what they were quoted as saying in the paper.

To a certain person: Where was your concern for your patients when you were rocking the boat out in the hospital parking lot?

To the ignorant fool who called in quoting Ben Franklin: Did you not know the nut flew a kite in a lightning storm, too? Lightning kills.

To a certain lady who gave her children away at birth: What you did is so low down. You should have left Letcher County and the state of Kentucky.

I am a concerned parent in the Jenkins Independent School District. I would like to make a statement about a comment in Speak Your Piece where someone said the people in the administration had no backbone. The people in central office have more backbone in their little finger than the high school staff has altogether.

I pay taxes in the Jenkins Independent School District. If I owned a fancy car and I worked in the school system I would buy a license in Kentucky just like the people who pay taxes to support this school system do. People in Virginia get enough tax money from us. We want some of it back. Thank you.

Scabs are safe, caring, amazingly beautiful souls who are going to save ARH.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but talk just doesn’t bother me.

I know this rat you are talking about. She got me busted. She made a deal – names for short time. I saw her at the courthouse a while back, and who she was with gave me the facts. She got two months in jail and now she’s out on the street. I guess if you’re pregnant and you squeal they let you make many a deal. I’ll probably get buried when my trial comes up. I hope she enjoys her time out right now, because payback is what I want. I know stuff on her and I’m not a singer, but when it comes to her I think I’ll sing a song about her and let them know what she’s mixed up in. When you sing like a canary you get a deal from the judicial fairy. My trial doesn’t come up until spring. Before it does I want to know why she sings. February seems like a long time chat to the on-the-street and out-ofjail nine-eleven rat.

KNA nurses sit flat on their behinds, get paid big salaries, whine and cry, and expect us to support them. You made your little tent, now lie and play in it. Thank you.

Judge Jim Ward, I would like to ask you one question. How many KNA nurses called you prior to the strike against ARH to complain about the care of a patient? I called to complain about a situation and you answered the phone and pretended to be someone else. That’s how much you cared then. Why all at once are you so worried?

To the nurses who decided to walk out on their patients on October 1: You guys are holding signs saying you want safe patient care. What does that say about you when you walked out on all of those patients? What if something had happened to one of your patients? Sounds like you guys are the ones who don’t care, not ARH.

The people in the emergency room at Whitesburg ARH need to be more kind and show more respect to the patients than they do. If they can’t, then get someone who can. If they don’t they are going to lose a lot of business. A lot of people are going to get tired of being treated the way they are. Thank you.

Those RN’s on strike claim they are short-staffed and overworked. One ICU nurse was quoted in the October 10 edition of The Mountain Eagle for standing up at the fiscal court meeting and saying nurses are so overworked she was brought to tears because she didn’t have enough time to get her patient some ice. I would bet anything that she had enough time to talk on the phone to her family that day or take an extra smoke break or two. So why cry because she didn’t have enough time to get that patient some ice? Sounds like she needs to reevaluate her priorities and quit whining.

To the people bragging on the police force in Jenkins: To me, they are still harassing people the same way they always have been, if not worse. Things are worse now than ever.

I would like to give a shoutout to all of the traveling nurses. You are doing a great job. Thanks for being there and allowing ARH to keep the doors open for the citizens of the community and for those standing on the picket line who might want to have a job to come back to. You are angels of mercy.

To the members of the fiscal court: Hopefully before you decide to revoke the money promised to ARH for the women’s center you will do some research. You can read and hopefully understand the contract proposed to the RN’s on the ARH web site. I would welcome everyone to do so. In doing your needed research, please feel free to interview the ‘pill prostitute scabs’ at ARH so that your judgment will be fair and balanced. I also challenge anyone and everyone to please compare the wages and benefits offered to the RN’s with other hospitals in the region. You may also research their wages comparatively nationwide to the cost of living. To say that this strike is not over wages and benefits is untruthful. Those who deny it are trying to avoid being accused of being greedy. Please, in your research, also compare staffing ratios with other hospitals locally and nationwide.

Imagine what our community would be without our hospital. Imagine the nurses and their families without jobs. I also want to encourage those who have had a positive experience at ARH to raise their voice. Call Speak Your Piece and support our hospital, and say thank you to the courageous, unselfish nurses taking care of my family right now. Thank you.

I would like to pass a little information to the Letcher County officials, especially the garbage warden. There has been an illegal garbage dump for years at Mayking. Something needs to be done about it. When the wind blows the trash is everywhere. Thank you.

This message is for a woman in Neon who told a family member of hers that my family is white trash: I’ve got news for you. I raised my children and still have a good relationship with them. I didn’t give any of mine away like you did. What you really call white trash is when your husband is seeing another woman and has been for years. You need to be worrying about your own life instead of going around calling other people white trash.

Recently an accident occurred next to my house. Fourteen different vehicles with lights and sirens appeared before an ambulance or police. When the dust had settled the police had to order the so-called rescue workers to leave him alone so he could do his job. It has become dangerous to be on the road. And you sure don’t know who to pull over for. Thank you.

When I came by the courthouse today, I saw parked in the wheelchair-only space one of our remarkable county officials. He must own the courthouse. I snapped a picture of him getting out of his vehicle. If anyone wants a copy, please respond in next week’s Speak Your Piece. Thank you.

I want to tell my boyfriend that I love him with all my heart and miss him while he’s at work, and that I love him. Love always, Nicky.

So I saw in last week’s Mountain Eagle that the City of Jenkins is on a water shortage advisory. Way to go, Charles Dixon. Could that be because one of your friends living on Lakeside is hooked up to free water? Think about that.

(A more plausible cause of the water shortage is that the region is well over 20 inches short of rainfall so far in 2007. How is that Mayor Dixon’s fault?)

I read Speak Your Piece today and saw in there where someone said a certain man in Jenkins was the fourth man his wife had left. I don’t know about four, but I know for a fact he’s the third one. Her first husband is part of my family and she did him the same way. She did her second one the same way, too. She took everything they had and they divorced her just like you are doing.

I’m just calling about the drug raids at Mayking. I just don’t understand why the sheriff’s office isn’t getting the big people. Why don’t they stop the cocaine dealers in Mayking? Everybody knows where the pills are coming from. All you have to do is go sit on Pound Mountain and stop the Jeeps and vans with Tennessee tags on them. If you do that you’ll catch them all. Instead, they come over here and get these people here to sell it for them. The people here keep ten dollars out of a hundred, and the people bringing it in get ninety dollars. They come in here two or three days a week to haul their money out. Meanwhile, these people trying to make a dollar to pay their electric bill go to jail because no one ever bothers the big fish. I think it’s time the sheriff’s office does something about it. They’re hauling drugs out of Georgia, too. Everyone knows who it is, but the police won’t do anything about it. The police are just after the little fish.

To the guy who wrecked the two guys in the Camaro: You need to be a man and fess up to what you did instead of denying it to the police. If you’re man enough to do it then be man enough to admit it. If anyone else agrees with me, please respond in next week’s paper.

To a guy in Whitesburg who now has a wife and kids: You are such a psycho. I hope you don’t treat your wife like every other girl you’ve dated. You tried to ruin my life but you didn’t succeed. And you never will. May I remind you of a little thing called karma? What comes around goes around. And you know who you are, loser.

We are two females wondering where all the good guys have gone in Letcher County. I guess all the decent ones are taken, gay, or no longer in this county. If there are any good ones left between the ages of 17 and 27, please respond in next week’s paper. Thank you.

To the person talking about someone flipping them off: Yes, I am big – as big as your ears.

To the slut who took my boyfriend away from me five years ago: You will get yours one day.

To my brother who is nothing but a thief: You should ashamed to steal from me for pills after all I’ve done for you. Now you have everyone in the family hating you.

To a certain man: Happy anniversary on October 19. Thanks for the best two years of my life and our little boy. I hope there are many more years to come. Love, Margaret.

To the smart-aleck fat lady who works at a certain grocery store: You better watch what you say to people, because one day you won’t be able to speak.

I think a certain man who keeps getting out of jail after being busted for drugs is narcing everybody else out. He should move out of town.

Where is all the cross-country and track team stuff in the paper. What’s wrong with the cross-country and track program at Letcher County Central High School? There’s no mention of those sports anymore. It’s just all about basketball and football. I would like to see more about the cross-country and track teams.

(We would like to see more about cross-country and track, too – as well as more about all of the so-called ‘minor’ sports at Letcher County Central High School and at Jenkins High School. It’s been said in this column many times in remarks just like this one, however, that in order to provide coverage of sporting events we have to have the proper information submitted to us, including game or event statistics. Every newspaper in Kentucky, ranging in size from The Courier-Journal in Louisville to the smallest weekly, has to depend on coaches or parent volunteers to provide the necessary information for doing round-ups of local sports. Help from anyone interested would be greatly appreciated.)

I would like to commend the nurses standing on the picket line. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in. I know it’s hard, but unlike those who have crossed the lines you have not compromised your belief of what is right just for the sake of going on a simple cruise. The community needs to get behind these nurses. If you or a family member or loved one is not having an emergency, stop using ARH until this strike is settled. All that these ladies are asking for is good quality patient care, which is what you in the community deserve, and to get the same contract that the United Steel Workers got in the spring. How hard is it to treat all of your employees equally and give them all the same benefits whether you are nurse or the grass cutter? Treat everyone alike.

Al Gore has won a Nobel Peace Prize. What prize will President Bush ever win? The most unpopular president in history?

Business is not as usual, as we are led to believe, at the ARH hospital while the nurses are on strike. A friend of mine who needed a procedure had to endure a long wait before she could find someone to do it. They were running all over the place trying to find someone to do the procedure. If this shortage exists on the first floor, what is it like upstairs where the patients need constant care? How can a handful of new nurses not familiar with the hospital routine and overworked LPN’s filling in deliver quality care? I hope I do not need to be hospitalized while this is going on. Thank you.

I have a solution for all of the celebrities in Hollywood who have been getting into trouble for DUI’s and getting their kids taken away. If Britney Spears and Kiefer Sutherland and Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie and all of them would come to Letcher County and have their cases heard here they would get probation. Britney Spears would even get her kids back. I have seen it happen with my own eyes – kids given back to homes with drug-addicted parents. Just bring the celebrities to Letcher County and all will be fine with them.

Happy birthday, Elizabeth Ison. From your daddy, Jason Ison. Daddy loves you.

To Magistrate Wayne Fleming: Where did you get your expertise about unions? All you county workers need to get together and see if Wayne can get you covered under one.

(Magistrate Fleming helped county workers during their successful drive to unionize several years ago.)

Just wanted to say hi to Beavis and Butt-head at the slope. Now that was easy.

I wish a certain woman in the Neon area would quit trying to fool around with my man. She’s just jealous because he’s with me and not her. She needs to tell her daughter to quit giving me dirty looks, too. If you have anything to say about it you can reply in next week’s paper.

I can’t believe that a certain hospital employee’s husband would threaten the nurses standing on the picket line, and that her son-in-law would take along and allow his child to witness such an act. What does ARH think of this? Isn’t there some form of discipline that needs to be taking place here from ARH? The city police and state police need to step in here and do something, also. There is such a thing as terroristic threatening, and the local law enforcement better be doing something. When a nurse is hurt up there on the picket line, then what? Step up to the plate, city officials and law enforcement, and do something.

ARH says it will punish striking nurses as soon as they return to work. They say the punishment will be the result of the ‘sign making’ on the picket line. We have done nothing without advice from legal counsel. These signs are not illegal, are not on ARH property, and definitely not being done on ARH time. A certain local man, the husband of a hospital employee and father of an RN that crossed the picket line, happens to be harassing the striking nurses on a daily basis. Some of this harassment is being performed on ARH property. Is ARH aware of and permitting this?

I was reading Speak Your Piece on the Internet and saw the part that someone had written about smoking at the Mountain Heritage festival. This is the best part about America. We are all entitled to our opinion. As a former U.S. soldier, I also have the right to my opinion, which is, if you didn’t like the smoking you also have the right to leave. I smoke, and if I feel like lighting up I will. I respect other people’s homes and cars and don’t smoke if they do not want me to. However, it is also my right to smoke if I choose in my house or car and it is not anyone else’s business. Smoking is legal and I am tired of people complaining about it. If you don’t like smoke, don’t get around it. It’s that simple.

I’ve been living in Letcher County for a while, and I’m not impressed with your men. I mean, you ladies look at them like they are Superman. I moved here about seven years ago, found a job, and held on to it. When I hear how they have had a bad day or how they can’t find a job or how they cheat on you, I am not impressed. Sorry.

ARH maintains it doesn’t mandate more than 2.5 hours of overtime weekly to its RN’s. Then why are they already trying to mandate the replacement RN’s after a 12-hour shift, trying to get them to stay more hours? We hear that even the replacement nurses are refusing to work the extra hours, especially at Hazard.

I support the striking nurses 100 percent. The nurses still working deserve to have their names on the ‘wall of shame’ poster for all to see. They should be ashamed to cross the picket line and let their union brothers and sisters do all the dirty work. I am sure some people on that line need their pay as bad or worse than some still working. And worse than not supporting your own union, is working with scabs that the corporation hired to replace your union members. The strikers should be able to replace their union members that did not strike, when they come back to work. I know they hate to see the members that did not strike reap the benefits of their sacrifice. What part of ‘union’ did these nurses not understand when they took a union job?

Well, it looks like several people are not happy with the woman who destroyed her children’s home for something different. I also hear this is not the first time she cheated on her husband, and that she was just looking for a ticket out. In addition, it was mentioned that when she tires of this new man she’ll trade him in, too. She did say that this man would get old and she would still be young. Playing with people’s lives, what a dangerous game.

To the person who wrote the article about all the ‘spoiled know it all’ nurses: I think that you need to get your facts straight. I am not a nurse at the hospital, but my mother who has given over 14 years of her time to ARH is a nurse there. These women and men are not standing out there because they want more money. They are there because they care about the safety and well being of the community. How do you expect these RN’s to do their jobs correctly and professionally when they have over 11 patients and have worked 16 hours straight? As for the thought that these nurses should thank ARH, you must be out of your mind. This corporation is treating these men and women horribly and showing them no respect. I would think that if you were not so small minded that you would know that ARH is not the only hospital in the state, and that there is a very high demand for nurses everywhere you go. So they do not need to beg or plead to get their jobs back. They are licensed, experienced, and educated, so these people can get a job anywhere they want. Had these nurses stayed on the floor and continued to work under the same unsafe conditions, I would be 100 percent sure to say you would be the first person on the call bell complaining because you have not seen your nurse in three hours. These nurses did not walk out. They were pushed out.

To the person who picked up my mother’s purse at Wal-Mart on October 12: Please, please return it. She is 68 and living on a very fixed income. Her money, as you know by now, was broken down into what she could spend it on with little notes and paper clips. That was every dime of her money to survive on until next month. At the very least please let her have the purse and her driver’s license and medical cards back. Thank you.

Magically delicious: There is no number on the Richter scale to measure how hard you rock my world. Love, your baby doll.

To all the people calling the nurses that crossed the picket line scabs: I think that you should think twice before calling those nurses scabs or anything else. They are hard workers who are very dedicated to their job. They want the best possible care for their patients as much as the strikers do. Most of the nurses who crossed have bills to pay and kids to feed, and if they’re striking they don’t get paid and they can’t support their families. I think the people who are calling them scabs should try to go a month or two without getting a paycheck. It’s hard – impossible for some – to get by like that. I think that if you are low enough to call nurses that may save your life, or the life of someone you love, a scab then you don’t deserve their help and you are a scab yourself. Thank you.

All I know about the voter registration scandal is what I have read in Speak Your Piece, but I would like to add my resentment to such a highhanded act by the judge. They apparently were doing the registration in a legal and impartial manner and were not paying for votes with whiskey or money in the time-honored old Letcher County tradition. Politicians should be careful. People in glass houses, you know.

The fiscal court has decided to act as Indian givers and take back their pledge to help build the new women’s center at WARH. So, citizens of Letcher County, the next time one of your family members has a baby, or a hysterectomy, and they get put into a ward with three more patients, call your local magistrate and county judge and personally thank them. The money was supposed to be contingent upon construction starting, not whether or not the KNA decided to strike.

To a certain person: You like to throw around the word immature a lot. Getting pregnant while you were still in high school doesn’t make you mature, it makes you irresponsible. What a fake personality you have. I’m glad your looks finally match how ugly you are on the inside. Is that prison you built for yourself getting smaller yet?

WARH, I figured it out. I know what the initials stand for – We Are Really Hurting. Wake up locals, if the union goes, so does the hospital. The union holds the ARH chain together. If it goes, we are expendable. So you crossing RN’s, thanks for trying to help ARH close our hospital. Also a shout-out to the doctor who got them to cross.

Thank you, Wayne Fleming for standing up to ARH. We will not forget you.

You know what gets my goat? The RN’s that work with scabs and get the same contract as the striking RN’s. I think your names should be on a billboard the size of a bus. All prounion people should boycott a certain doctor for asking RN’s to cross. Shame, shame, shame.

I was surprised at the criticism of the sheriff’s office. I have called and visited that office many times and have always been impressed with their professionalism and courtesy. From my experience they could well be used as a model for several of the other law enforcement offices to follow.




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