Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader on state sandhill crane hunting:
No strong interest in the second year
Kentucky's second sandhill crane hunting season is under way and, like last year's inaugural hunt, it seems to be pretty much of a bust.
Like last year, only 332 people applied to be in the lottery for the 400 hunting permits allocated.
Last year a total of 50 of the huge migratory cranes were killed even though the new regulations allowed for up to 400.
The season began on Dec. 15 this year and by the end of the day on the 19th, 29 sandhills had been harvested, to use the euphemism preferred by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, compared to 26 after the first four days last year. ...
What it has attracted, though, is a huge volume of negative sentiment and publicity from people who like to watch birds in general and these birds in particular.
Sandhills are beautiful birds, standing as tall as 5 feet with wingspans that can reach 6 feet or more. They have a distinctive red forehead. They can live up to 20 years and remain in stable pairs to raise their young.
Those pairs engage in what's known as unison calling, in which they stand together and sing out a set of coordinated calls.
The pairs also engage in dances, for mating and not, in which they swirl and often rise off the ground. No wonder people travel hundreds, sometime thousands of miles to see them.
It is well established that bird-watchers far outnumber, and outspend, bird hunters. If one goal of the department is to increase the number of people who come to Kentucky to enjoy our wildlife resources, then it would be wise to let this experiment quietly end after next year's season.
Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer on methamphetamine production:
There can be no letting our guards down when it comes to methamphetamine use.
It's a lesson we found out the hard way recently as local and state law enforcement continue to battle individuals who try to manufacture the cheaper "one-pot" method and those bent on dealing the higher-grade crystal meth made in sophisticated labs hundreds to thousands of miles away from the streets of Owensboro.
A week after the Owensboro Police Department reported that it was staring at a reduction in meth labs for the year, a major bust seized $100,000 in crystal meth from two Owensboro homes...
Along with the drugs, three handguns, five rifles and a total of $30,000 in cash were taken into evidence.
Knowing those drugs won't reach the street brings relief.
However, it shows how meth dealers adapt and find other ways to introduce their addictive, deadly drugs into cities.
Because Kentucky restricts the amount of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine in a year and tracks its buyers, the hope is the "one-pot" meth labs — a method that uses a two-liter soda bottle with fewer chemicals and less pseudoephedrine — will decline in due time.
And as of early December, OPD had 38 labs on the books for 2012 compared to 42 in 2011. Although it was only a slight drop, it beats the increases that we had become accustomed to.
However, it stands to reason that the state could see a greater influx of crystal meth manufactured outside its borders. ...
But it also lets us know that meth — no matter how it's manufactured — is still a drug in demand. And for that reason alone, citizens and law enforcement must keep their guards up.
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., on state drug treatment:
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway have the right words to say when it comes to the state's scourge of prescription-drug addiction.
The Governor has called it a "corrosive evil."
And Conway recently told Courier-Journal reporter Laura Ungar, in the sixth and latest installment of a two-year series, "Prescription for Tragedy," that "We absolutely do not have the treatment we need. Not even close."
Both officials worked with the Kentucky General Assembly to pass legislation to close so-called "pill-mills." And the governor's spokeswoman, Kerri Richardson, insists that the Beshear administration has sought to maintain funding for substance abuse, despite cuts of up to 40 percent at other state agencies during a tough economy. ...
The pain of Ungar's latest findings is that all too often, when people ask for help, they can't get it.
As five-year addict Rachelle Autry, a 30-year-old mother of three, said, "I almost died waiting for treatment. I couldn't stay clean."
She eventually got into The Healing Place, after a 21/2-month wait.
Others aren't as fortunate.
Annual deaths blamed on prescription drug abuse in Kentucky now reaches nearly 1,000, a number that outpaces traffic fatalities.
Kentucky has so many health, welfare and environmental problems, and state government has correspondingly so few resources, that it might be easy to throw one's hands up in despair.
But a state task force has been studying ways to modernize Kentucky's tax structure to generate more revenue for a cash-starved budget and it has emerged with the recommendations would raise about $690 million.
It won't be enough to solve all our problems. Money never is. But as The Courier-Journal has editorialized before, the task force nonetheless has produced some ideas that, if enacted, could at least steer the state toward solvency.
If nothing else, the "Prescription for Tragedy" series has shown why tax reform is necessary and why it should be taken seriously in Frankfort this winter.
This is also an all-hands-on deck moment for all segments of Kentucky society, from government to religious institutions to the nonprofit sector, to schools and to families.
We know what to do. We just need to muscle a way to make it happen.