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Kentucky editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm •  Published: June 17, 2015

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


June 13

The Independent, Ashland, Kentucky, on refinery preparing to better process oil-rich shale:

When Robert E. Yancey Sr. was president of Ashland Oil Inc. in 1980, he picked up a fist-sized rock that was on his desktop in his Russell office and asked a reporter, "Do you know what this is? It's shale, and it holds the future to the oil industry in this country. This region has lots of shale. All we have to do is find a way economically extract the oil from the shale."

At the time, Yancey seemed to be telling a fairy tale from a science fiction novel. Sure, there may be some oil in shale, but how was it possible to separate the oil from the rock without breaking the bank? If we did not know Yancey to be an excellent executive and an extremely smart man, we would have dismissed his comments.

The future Bob Yancey was talking about has arrived and the Catlettsburg Marathon Petroleum refinery is investing about $140 million in a new system to allow workers to better use American shale resources for fuel and other resources.

Marathon Petroleum officials made the announcement of the huge investment last week. The highlight of the day was a new system that delivers a crude form of oil to the Catlettsburg facility by river barge, with capacity to store the material until it is time to be processed in the new "splitter" unit.

The three-year project represents a tremendous investment in local system capacities, and helps assure the refinery will continue to be a major employer in this region for years to come.

"We love $140 million dollar days," one local economic development official whispered with a grin as Catlettsburg plant general manager Rich Hernandez welcomed a crowd, including many Marathon workers who've been involved with the project since the first of 4,135 construction drawings was passed around for approval.

Hernandez explained the company has invested a total of $250 million in Catlettsburg as well as Canton to increase capacity to process fuel-rich shale that is mined in several parts of the country, including Ohio. Another official explained the project was divided into three major components — barge facilities, tanks and the "splitter" which uses heat to allow separation of the shale's components. The compounds split from the condensate can be used in the manufacture of fuels such as diesel and gasoline, as well as useful gas components.

Local labor and resources were used whenever possible since the project began three years ago, Hernandez said.

"With nearly all of the construction labor and some construction materials sourced in the Tri-State area, the splitter project at the Catlettsburg refinery has already positively impacted the local economy. Additionally, four new full-time positions have been added at the refinery to operate the new equipment," Hernandez said.

The project involved more than 1,000 construction workers, with about 600 on site during peak construction, with 39 different construction firms supervising aspects of the job. The project had 84 engineers, used 13 miles of 6-inch pipe, required 400,000 tons of rock to be installed — about the same amount removed during construction of Mount Rushmore — with more than 3,000 cubic yards of concrete, 555 tons of steel, and 48 miles of wire in 10 miles of conduit, according to Marathon officials.

As we read about the huge investment Marathon is making and has already made to process shale, memories of that long-ago interview with Bob Yancey Sr. came rushing back. Not being well-trained scientists, we did not know then whether Yancey was predicting the future or talking nonsense. Now we know. He was talking about the future and the future has arrived.



June 16

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on police shooting of Sudanese refugee:

Two very different lives.

Two paths to a tragic event.

Two men quite probably equally afraid.

Two pair of shoes.

Perhaps all it takes is an editorial cartoon to convey in a simple image and two short sentences the bigger message of what this community needs at a time like this.

As the people of Louisville work to understand the shooting death of Sudanese refugee Deng Manyoun by police Officer Nathan Blanford on Saturday, it is fitting that our contributing editorial cartoonist, Marc Murphy, reminds us that we should walk a mile in each of their shoes before we proceed as a community.

Yes, over the coming months we should re-examine the policies and training we give our police — and whether we're willing to spend more tax dollars to ensure we have the best trained force.

Yes, over the coming months we also should reconsider how we treat mental illness and addiction — and whether we're willing to spend more tax dollars to help those in need.

And, over the coming months we should discuss how we welcome refugees into our "compassionate city" as our population grows more diverse.

But we will only get to the right answers if we begin by walking a mile in many sets of shoes.

Taking that walk now also could reduce hasty conclusions that are spreading rapidly, especially on social media.

We've taken the unusual step of putting this cartoon and editorial on the front page to encourage all readers to walk in others' shoes and start a conversation that is civil and productive.



June 17

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on an epic canoe trip to raise funds for the fight against diabetes:

There's an old saying that you are only as old as you feel.

Age doesn't have to slow you down.

As people get older, staying busy and active keeps them going. It adds excitement and adventure to their lives.

Dale Sanders of Memphis, Tennessee, is one of these people.

The 80-year-old man is doing something incredible. He is in the process of paddling solo the entire length of the Mississippi River - about 2,230 miles.

On his 80th birthday Sunday, Sanders marked his first month paddling the trek, which started in Itasca State Park, Minnesota, and is expected to end in August at the Gulf of Mexico.

Sanders will average 28 miles a day.

This is no small accomplishment, even for someone much younger than Sanders, but he is determined to reach his goal.

Not only is Sanders trying to become the oldest man to solo paddle the length of the river, he is trying to raise $20,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Sanders' great-niece, Anna Silvey, 11, of Olmstead, suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Her family, with the help of others, started Crusin' for a Cure in 2009 in Bowling Green to raise money for diabetes research. On June 8, Anna's birthday, an unnamed donor offered to match any money raised over 48 hours. The campaign helped Sanders reach 60 percent of his goal. The most recent count has donors contributing $12,463.88.

It speaks volumes about Sanders that he is dedicating his canoe trip to such a great cause. He will speak to groups along the river about Anna and her need for a cure.

Sanders, who named his canoe, AnnA, is on schedule and getting into warmer climates after starting May 15 in freezing temperatures. He even paddled through snow one day as part of his long journey. While Sanders is in a canoe by himself, there are others with him. Richard Sojourner and Tom Graves, both of Memphis, and a film crew called Adventureitus are along for the adventure.

It has to be helpful to have friends with him on such a long journey.

Thus far, it sounds like Sanders has had a neat trip. He even got to go through a lock that was being closed permanently in Minnesota called the Upper St. Anthony Lock, a series of three locks that lowers paddlers about 75 feet over 2 miles. Sanders signed on the wall. "Rest in Peace," and included the date.

What Sanders is doing is absolutely fascinating. Not only will he hopefully break a record of being the oldest man to paddle the whole river, but he is helping raise funds to help people like Anna and other diabetics.

We wish him the best on his trip and his fundraising.