Letters to the editor

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By The Staff

La Grange fee higher than others

To the editor:

I found out the hard way – proof that procrastination does not pay off – that La Grange Utilities has a reconnection fee of $50. Mind you, it is my fault for putting it off, but life got in the way, and I was five hours late paying my water bill after the second payment deadline.

It seems the penalty is rather substantial, considering reconnection fees for other utilities are only $20. I took the liberty of calling LG&E and KU after my incident I understand the reasoning for the fees being in place, but the disparity in the amounts is screaming for an explanation. I can assure the residents of La Grange that funds aren’t used to train employees on improved customer relations.

I’d like to hear from others, and perhaps get an explanation from the utility company that would justify this rather large difference in fees.

Rebecca Bailey, La Grange

LG&E should suffer revenue loss from storm like other businesses

To the editor:

Residents have the opportunity to contact the Kentucky Public Service Commission in Frankfort before the December request by LG&E for customers to pay for the recent storm expenses.

Keep in mind, LG&E is owned by a German for-profit corporation (e.on), distributes money only to executives and shareholders and is in the business of energy services. LG&E is not a non-profit, community agency or co-operative as utilities can be.

Where’s the Kentucky commission to restore restaurant, salon or shop owners’ losses from this storm? Businesses lost 1.3 percent of their annual revenue if they closed five days. LG&E should expect to lose 1.3 percent of their revenues as a result of this ‘act of God’ just like the rest of us. That would equal about $18 million when calculated on what they billed in 2007. Yet it sounds to me like they expect us to reimburse them 100 percent for expenses to repair and restore their services. Tell the commission, after that $18 million fair share, then we start calculating customer charges to re-pay LG&E.

As we see now with Wall Street, government behavior suggests corporations are entitled to full consideration for operating their for-profit businesses (just like oil companies). Tell them it is a new day. When corporations are for-profit, “free market” operations then don’t expect monopolized customers to guarantee profits through hurricanes and blizzards. If you want that, it’s called socialism and it comes with ownership, executive compensation regulation and/or a customer’s stake in the profits. If LG&E doesn’t accept $18 million as their fair share to restore infrastructure and continue billable services, they need to pay all who could not operate their business due to failure of LG&E to provide service. No excuses, we’re entitled. Is the claim on LG&E’s Web site that they are “good corporate citizens” actually true? If they hold us ‘over a barrel’ then we see who really weathers the storm with us – or expects to hit Germany’s profit projections come rain or shine.

Doreen Carlson, Goshen

Oldham County residents weathered the storm well

To the editor:

When remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through the Prospect/Goshen area, I watched as large sections of my neighbor’s roof peeled back and blew away.

As a longtime Prospect resident, I knew our electricity would soon be out. Since the mid 1970s, whenever a storm came through, the power went out but usually only for a few hours.

LG&E assessed damage and said it could take 10 to 14 days to return the record number of customers to full power.

The damage was unprecedented.

I bristle when I hear folks complain Valhalla got preferential treatment because it’s in a “more affluent” area. I also bristle when I hear Oldham residents make similar comments when it comes to power restoration in our area.

My family, like many, was without power for eight days. Judge-Executive Duane Murner and several others in county government also lost power. These folks, along with countless others, contacted LG&E numerous times for updates on restoration. It was an event no one could’ve anticipated. Eighty mile per hour winds, combined with power lines and trees are a recipe for big problems. Crews battled rough terrain, impassable roads and dangerous scenes to restore power.

I commend Emergency Management Director Kevin Nuss and Road Superintendent Brian Campbell for launching a debris removal plan Monday morning. Nuss contacted The Courier-Journal offering several updates on the recovery process, and Judge Murner was on the radio with several updates as well. Crews did an outstanding job, under trying conditions, working very long hours. Some unlucky area would be near the end of the restoration process. This time it was us.

I ask our community to resist the urge to place blame and seek comfort that lives weren’t lost, properties weren’t destroyed to the point of being uninhabitable and our safety wasn’t compromised. We were inconvenienced but OK.

In the coming days we’ll take what we’ve learned from this event and make plans for the future. But there will never be a contingency for every unforeseen circumstance.

We should all be thankful we live in a place secure enough that our utility workers didn’t have to worry about roadside bombs and snipers taking pot shots at them while completing their work. All in all, we are pretty fortunate.

Steve Church, District 1 magistrate

Reader disappointed in The Era’s coverage of football game

To the editor:

On Sept 19, the biggest high school rivalry football game in Oldham County was played. It was between Oldham County High School and South Oldham High School. It’s a game that is looked forward to all year by both schools for ‘bragging rights’. All three TV stations in Louisville had videographers there for the 11 p.m. news. The Courier-Journal even had a reporter there interviewing players. The Oldham Era was there, too.

The next morning, we were very excited to see a big article on the front page of the sports section of the Courier-Journal, “Interception return lights Colonels’ fire.” It was great to finally see an article in the Louisville newspaper highlighting what great football teams that we have in our county.

Then, on Thursday when I picked up the Oldham Era, I was extremely disappointed to see the tiny sidebar article about the biggest football game in the county. Shame on our hometown newspaper for dropping the ball on this game. At least the game was covered by a real newspaper.

Vicki Fleitz, La Grange

Consider regional salary schedules as teachers struggle to make ends meet

To the editor:

I am privileged to teach at South Oldham High School.

Our faculty works above and beyond the call of duty, with classroom duties and before and after school activities.

There is no more committed group of employees than the dedicated professionals at South. Unfortunately, I see young teachers and seasoned teachers struggling to make ends meet.

Parents are proud of the progress that their students make at our fine secondary school. The pay should be commensurate with other teachers in the region who also work as diligently as our certified staff.

While it is important to reward a job well done by the superintendent, the effort of the entire staff should also be considered. It is important for the school board to consider the other salary schedules in the region, and raise teacher compensation accordingly.

Kate Nitzken, SOHS

Teachers need a community-supported referendum

To the editor:

Paul Upchurch does an excellent job deserving the recognition and respect his level of compensation indicates. He runs a top-performing school system. His pay should be equivalent to those of other achieving counties. However, by not providing compensation to all employees that is equal to surrounding and high achieving counties, there is an implicit message.

I believe the OCBE and superintendent would love to work with the OCTA bringing staff compensation to a level commensurate with the recognition and respect they deserve. The only block to this is the collective community members of Oldham County. OCBE members representing the community have lobbied for increased funding for staff. It’s time for the community to rise up and pass the referendum needed to fully fund schools showing staff the respect they deserve by finally compensating them at the appropriate level.

Some argue we don’t get enough from the state. It’s my understanding the state’s funding is based on per capita income and property values. Oldham has the highest per capita income and property values, so we do receive less funds. The expectation is the community picks up the difference since we can. This does not happen in Oldham like it does in other counties with similar SEEK funds.

This community expects a Lexus, Brooks Brothers, Disney cruise-caliber education at Kia, Wal-Mart, Carnival Cruise prices. They’ve been getting this deal for years because of outstanding teaching and paraprofessional staff, outstanding board, superintendent, principal leadership and parents that bridge gap every day. It’s time for the community to pay for what they get. They get first-class schools yet have some of the lower taxes in Kentucky. Where will those property values be if the schools loses the core of their success?

I encourage everyone to work together: the OCBE to listen as staff express frustrations, staff to be professional and positive in your expressions and mostly parents and leaders to support the outstanding OCBE you’ve elected, the staff that work with your children daily and your children by finally providing respect and recognition overdue to their teachers.

The bottom line in Oldham is “What’s best for kids?” I can tell you what’s best. It’s best for your kids to have educators who are respected and recognized at the level they deserve.

Jed Turner, NOMS