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Speak Your Piece

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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

NOTE: Because of the now total malfunction of an answering machine, many comments phoned into Speak Your Piece over the past two weeks were not recorded. Please accept our apology, and please phone again.

It’s a wonderful world. Life is good. Appreciate what you have.

Breaking up the old regime that ruled with an iron fist and heartless soul, the reign of terror is over. There appears to be a lot of finger pointing. And you know when you point a finger at someone else there are always three pointing back at you. Just who is it that is supposed to be teaching our children and providing services for them? Now let’s talk about your spineless, hide behind ‘Speak Your Piece’ character. Reflect upon the defects of your character, thoroughly realize their evils and the transient pleasures they give you, and firmly will that you shall try your best not to yield to them the next time.

The grand jury foreman and grand jury members have made a bold and much needed move to provide some protection to hapless timber owners, who have had no defense before. This may be one of the most sincere efforts by government to help common citizens in the history of the county. The seven recommendations are very well thought out. If they were put into effect, they could virtually stop this major crime wave, and could provide a turning point in the abuse of innocent people. Reprehensible thieves have had it too easy for too long. There is nothing lower than a person who will take the property of another. The timber thieves have taken thievery even lower though, by preying largely on the elderly, the sick, and the disabled. Their equally reprehensible lawyers attack the timber theft victims, not with the law but by trying to portray the victims as the offenders. They are aided by county attorneys, who are far too generous with known criminals. A man from Ohio came to Knott County because land he owned there had been stolen. When he got there he was charged with a crime himself. He finally got the charge dropped after more than a dozen trips from Ohio. A lady from Indiana came to check on her land after getting word timber was stolen, and was threatened by the law and went back to Indiana. Letcher County has had numerous cases, and some of the most victimized people. The timber theft lawyers use intimidation, bullying, violation of civil rights, and frivolous lawsuits, routinely. This uncivilized situation, which would not be tolerated in many third-world countries, must be stopped, and the way to do it is enact these recommendations.

In answer to request in Speak Your Piece for a ginger biscuit recipe, I found this in a 1919 White House Cookbook: White Ginger Biscuits — 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 5 cups sifted flour, enough to roll out soft. Cut out like biscuits, brush tops with a white rag dipped in egg whites while hot. Bake at 325 degrees like biscuits. This is the only recipe in any cookbook that I have ever seen.

The grand jury recommendations on timber theft should be put into force in the upcoming legislative session. They would virtually force the law to do its job. Too many people have suffered from the thieves and compliant politicians. All too many of the few victims who did manage to get their cases into court have died while lethargic, indifferent courts have let the cases drag on for six, or eight, or 10 years. Others couldn’t get past county attorneys to even get to court. This grand jury should be hailed and applauded for an honest effort to turn this miserable situation around.

It is only out of ignorance that people are cruel, because they really don’t think it will come back. Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.

Belated happy birthday, Kathy Jean!

The excuses rogue loggers give for their thievery are ridiculous. Anyone who can tell a ridge from a drain on a map can tell boundary lines well enough to keep from getting on the wrong land. They and their attorneys have wrapped themselves up in the criminal intent issue, though, and a lot of the loggers are as savvy as the lawyers. The grand jury recommendations would put a big hurt on them, though. I really admire whoever wrote that. The recommendations show a lot of very thoughtful analysis and look like a way to eliminate this curse. They would also stop the involvement of another group who has been key to this crime wave — the lumberyard operators. Those people know better than anyone which loggers are crooks and which are straight. They’ve been allowed to be fences for stolen timber for a long time, and have profited handsomely from it. There comes a time, though, when there is an accounting and it’s getting close for some of these birds.

You were not selected the superintendent of Knott County and they masterminded your exodus. Reminiscent of many that came beforehand, you journeyed to Jenkins. There was no devotion to Jenkins Independent or loyalty to Jenkins that guided you here. The community of Jenkins still cannot fathom why you were chosen superintendent over a man that was born and raised in Jenkins and truly loves our district.

Do you think the families of Copperhead Road have forgotten about your mean greediness? You never worked a day in your life, and lived on the coattails of your father. How will you explain this later when you have to atone for your life? — ‘I kept people from water because I wanted a nickel.’ Hey, county judge and magistrates, is there something you can do? Yes there is and you know what it is — do it.

It seems to be a bad season for crooks. The feds do sneaky things sometimes like watching people for several years before letting them know. Those who do things like sticking $100 bills in other people’s shirt pockets for votes might ought to be looking over their shoulders.

Although nearly half of the nation’s electricity is coal powered, there was no attempt in the 1980s by the national government to save the mining industry. There certainly wasn’t a call for U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill to fix a problem caused by poor company management and greedy union workers. Where was the concern for the American worker then? Many lifelong salaried employees of Bethlehem Steel Corp. working in the Beth- Elkhorn coal mines of eastern Kentucky were left in the end without a job and none of the promised retirement. The company was allowed to simply shutter its mines with no consequence. This left numerous middle-aged workers with no pension and no obvious way of supporting themselves of their families. Many of the workers affected by the Bethlehem Steel collapse feel much of the blame can rest on the shoulders of the United Mine Workers and their unwillingness for compromise. Just as the UAW is doing now, the mine workers union refused concessions even if it meant the mines closing for good. That is exactly what happened. The mining industry did survive in eastern Kentucky. It has little resemblance to the industry during the 1970s and early ’80s. Many of the mines in operation today do not have an affiliation with the UMWA. But for the workers willing and able, there are jobs to be found in the industry that pay well and have good benefits. There is no doubt the auto industry will undergo vast changes in the next few years if they expect to continue to exist. This will happen with or without money from the taxpayers. They already have a working template in the Japanese companies. Giving bailout money will only prolong the current practices in Detroit and make it that much longer before true innovate changes occur that can lead the American automotive industry through the next century.

M.A., thanks for the birthday wish. I heard that we have really missed some beautiful scenery. See you soon. K.J.

To the person asking about if you were Bobby Bob or not: Well, if you have to ask then I guess you are not him. Bobby Bob knows who he is. And if you must know where he lives, it is in my heart.

We want to wish Brock a very happy first birthday. We love you very much, little man. Love from your Nana, Meme, Aunt Dede, Star and Michelle.

First of all, common sense would tell you that a fire truck should never leave the firehouse headed to a fire with no water on the fire truck. And in this case, that is exactly what happened. Also, I take offense to you portraying that I was being negative toward volunteer firefighters. My husband has been a volunteer firefighter for 17 years now. And I can assure you, neither he nor any firefighter at his volunteer station has ever gone to a fire without water on the truck. Also, it has never taken them 45 minutes to arrive on scene, no matter how far away the location might be. Again, that is what happened in this case. And, when our firefighters leave a scene and return to the firehouse, they do not go home without make sure the fire trucks are filled back up with water for any future runs. They do not assume there will always be a fire hydrant nearby. As a matter of fact, on most fire runs there are not fire hydrants nearby at all. Hence, do not leave the station without water on the truck, period. You acknowledge that this fire was at a cabin up on a mountain, so why would any firefighter assume there would be fire hydrants up there? That makes no sense. Also, you question the information they were given by the dispatcher. I think the word ‘fire’ kind of speaks for itself that you need to come as quickly as possible with water on the truck. You also stated that there are times you lose money on your paycheck because of being a volunteer firefighter. I can assure you, most volunteer firefighters do not call off from work or miss work to make volunteer fire runs. At least not in the state I live in, which is Ohio. Next, let’s address the whole 45 minutes to arrive on scene that you talked about. Where we live, when your pager goes off you are to be out of the door en route to the firehouse within three minutes. The first truck rolls out of the firehouse within seven minutes. They are on scene within 15 minutes, and that is even if it is a location far away from the fire station. And before you even say it, yes, my husband’s fire department covers a very large area as well. You also state that volunteer firefighters do not get paid. That is not true. My husband gets paid for every fire run he makes and every training. Our fire department chooses to give them their check once a year, and the other volunteer fire departments in our area get paid once a month. But yes, volunteer firefighters do get paid. Where we live, if you live more than three minutes from the firehouse, you join a different station, period. You don’t put people’s lives and homes in jeopardy by waiting for someone who lives 15 minutes away from the station. And yes, I am aware of the area where this happened. We vacationed in this area over the summer and there was another house that was completely lost because yet again, it took the fire department 45 minutes to respond, and yet again, they brought no water. Maybe it is time to reevaluate and retrain this local volunteer fire department. For those of you reading this who live in the area we are referring to, please take note, if your home is on fire, evidently it will take them 45 minutes to get to you, and when they get there, they won’t have any water to put out the fire. But oh wait, that’s because they weren’t real sure what the dispatcher mean when he said ‘fire’. From the wife of a volunteer firefighter.

In response to last week’s comments about the Jenkins principal, Teresa Bentley, I am pleased to say that, m’am or sir, you sound ignorant. As a former student at Jenkins who graduated with a 4.0, high 20’s on my ACT, and Distinguished on my CATS scores, it is obvious to me that a proper education is available to those students who wish to obtain it. As principal at Jenkins, Mrs. Bentley can’t hold every teacher’s hand while they are teaching on a daily basis in the classroom. That is preposterous for her to have to assume full responsibility for the low test scores. Yes, there is improvement needed, but test scores are not the most important thing in high school. To me personally, I feel that being prepared for college courses is of far more importance. My CATS score played zero role in college admission and furthermore, teaching the test does not prepare anyone for a career or for life as a college student. So perhaps our school system needs to re-think their curriculum. Or maybe we should worry about teachers that don’t do their jobs rather than a principal that stayed at the school six nights a week until midnight. I don’t understand what anyone has against Mrs. Bentley, other than the fact that she is opinionated and a force to be reckoned with because she cares about her students and faculty.

Hi Mammaw, it’s Crystal. I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday on December 17. There’s no better time to celebrate a birthday than in the Christmas month, huh? Me and you got lucky on that. Hope you have a good one. To the rest of the family, merry Christmas and have a happy New Year. See y’all soon.

I used to say without a care/I hate my hair/Just because it wouldn’t do right/ Some say they hate their hair because it’s too short or too long, too thick or too thin, too straight or too curly, or too dark or too light/So many of us take things for granted/I know I really didn’t mean what I said/ For we must be careful of what we say/So what if we have a bad hair day/At least we got hair/But for some nothing’s there/Just baldness/Once it’s gone it’s something we’ll surely miss/We don’t know how lucky we really are/Just to have made it this far/ So many would love to have their own hair/But wigs is what they wear/We take things for granted, we don’t realize just how precious/ They are to us/So careful what you say/So what if it’s old and gray/One day it could be our scalps that are bare/So I don’t care if it’s messy, uncombed, tangled, or gray, I love my hair.

Howdy. Brushey Bill here. I see times is gittin’ bad for the working folks around these parts. It’s just like the Depression of 1932 and the French Revolution. Anytime the poor people git poorer whilst the rich git richer without working for it the country goes belly up and usually goes into civil or revolutionary war. Unless you grow it, mine it or make it, your job doesn’t put no wealth into the country’s wealth. Now folks like teachers, cops, doctors, delivery people and such are absolutely essential to make things work, but they don’t add no money to the economy. Then there’s the slimy bottom-feeders what feed off’n the backs of hardworking folks. The worthless parasites I refer to are the lawyers, investment bankers, stock brokers, CEOs, Wall Street speculators, politicians (especially Congressmen), and other leeches that should be eradicated off the face of the earth like smallpox. I heard one of them Congressmen grilling an automaker for doin’ a bad job whilst drawing a big salary. Look in the mirror, Congressman, you’ve been doin’ the same thing for years. At least he’s makin’ us some cars. Don’t bail out anybody. Let water seek its own level. Nobody bailed out old Brushey Bill when the revenuers chopped down my still. At today’s copper prices, I’ll never recover from an unnatural disaster like that without some of that ‘bailout’ money. My house burnt down a few years ago and it caused my property taxes to go up 80 percent, but I still got by without any help. With the Pine Mountain Trail finished, I expect tourism to get me by. I’m goin’ to open up a blanket and breakfast, kinda like that feller at the Seco Company Store, except my drinks will be a mite stronger. I can’t buy the kids nothing for Christmas, so I went out and shot my old squirrel gun into the air last night and told the kids that Santa Claus committed suicide. I give the old lady $5 and told her to go to the Dollar Store and buy herself something nice. I remember years ago when Daddy bought us kids this box for Christmas. It was real heavy, and we couldn’t hardly wait to open it. When we opened it Christmas morning it was full of walnuts and five hammers. It was the best gift I ever got. You all have a happy New Year and a merry June. That’s about when you’ll get your Christmas bills paid off. Merry Christmas, Brushey Bill.

Merry Christmas, Doug, Kelly and family in Louisville. Love to you all, Mom and Dad.

It’s a shame how younger wives cheat on their husbands. I feel sorry for him. He’s such a nice man; he deserves better. Guess he thought he was getting it when he married her. I don’t think he even suspects she’s cheating, but it now explains why he took up drinking.

What are we looking for in a relationship? I think each of us just wants to find someone who we can be comfortable with, someone who shares our hopes, likes, dislikes, and dreams — one we can be honest with about what we need in life. It’s very rare to find someone in this day and age. Most men who really know how to appreciate this kind of woman are already happily married, or are trapped in a now loveless marriage, his wife having turned into a nag. She figures I got the paper that says he’s mine and I’ve got the purse strings, so I don’t have to care how I treat him. She knows he’ll always be there, because he won’t risk her wrath to be free. Most men who are in the second marriage are terrified of a divorce, especially if they got the shaft in the first divorce. They’re willing to put up with a lot to keep from going through that again. Men under the age of 60 are only looking for a quick relationship that includes sex and lots of women. Only women who have no respect for themselves will go with men like this. Aren’t there any men out there who would like to spend time with a woman just talking, going to the movies, her cooking for him, listening to music, enjoying each other’s company, going for rides, walks in the parks or side roads? I think these men no longer exist, in Kentucky anyway. Curious Callie.

Life at times seems so empty, bitter and cold,/Is it because youth has passed and now we’re growing old?/We struggle in this life to make it through each day/ The trials we face grow harder as we go on our way./Many times we wonder what are we going to do/At these times God is there to show us a way through./God will never leave us to face things on our own,/God is only a prayer away, He will never leave us alone./When life’s burdens seem too great and you don’t know where to go,/Have a talk with Jesus, He will bring comfort to your soul. C.A.C.

Never suspected my neighbors of cheating on each other. Thought they were a very happy couple. They’ve only been married a few years. I saw him in a parking lot with a woman. She looked good with that red hair and him with his silver white hair. Made them a good looking couple. Then a few days later I went to school to pick up the kids. Coming out of a vehicle were his wife and another man. She never noticed me, she was too busy straightening her clothes. Classes were going on inside. The school should pay closer attention to their employees at school. I never dreamed my neighbors would cheat like this. Maybe now they can work it out. We never really do know our neighbors, but I know one thing, I am a busybody. If they want to cheat, OK, but not where kids might catch them doing it.

They would not let you coach. What makes you think they would let you teach? They sure don’t want two of you teaching at their school. You should not have told everyone that your wife had to take your teaching test for you because you couldn’t do it.

To a man and his mama: It’s a shame that you are going to destroy a little boy’s life because you don’t want to destroy your image. It’s too late. You don’t go 11 months without seeing or calling about your son, then just because the person who has actually been trying to be his father for the past five years wants to adopt him you go and file a visitation petition. I will make sure everyone knows about you. You need to leave that family alone and let them be happy. Don’t try to act like you are a good dad and a good grandma when you know you are not.

To the Jenkins City Council member with a flair for the dramatic: What are you going to do to show your behind at the next meeting? At the last meeting you said your life had been threatened. Let me guess what is next — you were kidnapped by aliens and taken for a ride on their spaceship. If you continue your outrageous behavior some little men will come and get you and put you in a straightjacket and take you to the funny farm.

Is anyone going to investigate a female teacher being forced to resign because she had relationships with boys up there? It’s been going on for some time. Just thought it was something you might want to look into.

Dear Santa: It’s beginning to look a lot like well … you know.


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