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Image 3 of The Advocate Messenger April 16, 2012

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MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012 A3 THE ADVOCATE-MESSENGER WWW.AMNEWS.COM LOCAL/STATE Where the wildflowers grow Wildflowers, including wild geraniums, bottom left, and daisy fleabane, bottom right, bloom Saturday at Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge. Photos by Ben Kleppinger bkleppinger@amnews.com Amish families carry clout in Kentucky politics By ROGER ALFORD Associated Press FRANKFORT (AP) — With his broad-brimmed straw hat and long beard, Jacob Gingerich drew strange looks as he walked the marble corridors of the state Capitol alongside powerful men in shiny shoes and expensive suits. e Amish man and several of his neighbors were on a mission to change a longstanding state law that they felt compelled to disobey because it violated their religious beliefs. ese old-fashioned Christians spent time in jail for what many people might have considered a trivial issue — whether the state should force them to attach orange safety emblems to the back of their horse-drawn buggies. “Our church forbids the bright, loud and gaudy colors,” Gingerich said. “erefore, we cannot in good conscience use the slowmoving-vehicle emblem.” For Gingerich and his Amish neighbors — several of whom served jail time rather than use the emblems — it was an issue worth fighting for. And they won. ey watched last week as Gov. Steve Beshear signed a bill into law that allows them to use reflective silver or white tape on their buggies rather than the traditional fluorescent signs that makes the slower-moving buggies more visible to approaching motorists. “I think we were able to fashion a solution that helped folks with their religious issues but at the same time still maintained the standard of safety that we have to have on our highways,” Beshear told reporters. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said the Amish victory should be encouraging to others who may need the legislature’s help on an issue. “I think it affirms that any group of people, if they are willing to become involved, can effect change,” Moore said. “Obviously, the Amish don’t want to be involved with the goings on of politics, but they felt very strongly and so they got engaged.” Gingerich, a Mayfield area farmer, was credited with helping the Amish cause by sending personal, handwritten letters to Kentucky lawmakers. One senator heralded Gingerich’s letter as “quite possibly the best example I’ve ever seen of citizen advocacy.” Moore said he, like the majority of state lawmakers, believed granting the Amish an exemption from the longstanding traffic safety law was the right thing to do. Beshear and lawmakers were left to weigh religious rights against traffic safety in implementing the law, which carried an emergency clause that made it go into effect immediately. Not all lawmakers favored the law. A handful feared that exempting the Amish from using the orange emblems may make it more difficult for motorists to spot the drab buggies on Kentucky highways. Rep. Fred Nesler, D-Mayfield, said that while the reflective tape would work well at night by reflecting car headlights, it will do nothing to make the buggies visible during daylight hours. In Amish communities nationwide, fatal collisions between automobiles and buggies aren’t uncommon. e most recent one in Kentucky involved a SUV that crashed into the back of a buggy in Cub Run last November, killing the 18-yearold Amish driver, according to authorities. Several months earlier, officials reported, a tractor-trailer ran into the back of a buggy near Hopkinsville, killing an Amish child and injuring three others. Winters said the Amish already have been doing what the legislation requires by voluntarily outlining the backs and sides of their buggies in the reflective tape, as well as putting the tape on the front left corners of the buggies. ey’ve also already adopted a provision of the bill that sets parameters for lanterns used on the buggies, requiring one on the left side to be a foot taller than the one on the right. at wasn’t their only victory in this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers also killed a measure that would have barred the Amish from driving steel-wheeled tractors and farm implements on highways unless they have a strip of rubber to keep the metal from digging into the blacktop. e Amish, riding a wave of goodwill among Kentucky lawmakers, had little reason to worry that the measure would pass. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, didn’t even call it up for a vote. Industrial marketers getting creative HENDERSON (AP) — With fewer financial resources coming from state coffers, Kentucky counties are having to rely more and more on regional economic panels to attract industrial development. Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward, told The Gleaner his organization has begun partnering with others, including the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., to attract industries. Last fall, the two organizations hosted a luncheon in Chicago that drew 19 con- sultants. “We got several (prospective industry) projects out of it,” Sheilley said. “It’s one of the most cost-effective things we can do.” Sheilley said industrial prospects used to come from state officials, but continuing budget cuts have shrunk how much the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development can do. “If we are to attract business, we can’t count on Frankfort to go out and tell our story,” Sheilley said. “We have to go out and tell our story.” He said the organization would be able to do that with $2.7 million in pledges over the next five years from local governments and private investors. He said Northwest Kentucky Forward will continue meeting with site selection consultants to tell them about the virtues of the area — like the availability of competitively priced electricity, the number of aluminum companies and the closeness of major cities like Chicago and Detroit. “What we’ve found is that consultants didn’t have negative thoughts about Kentucky — they didn’t have any thoughts about it,” he said. “They know Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky basketball. That’s all.” In addition to seeking new industries for Henderson, Union Webster and McLean counties, Northwest Kentucky Forward also has a staffer in charge of making sure the needs of existing industries are met and someone who works with companies and local schools to make sure students are offered the education and skills that industries need. NEWSbriefs Senior citizens menu e Boyle County Senior Citizens menu this week is as follows: n Tuesday: hotdog with chili, ranch beans, chuckwagon corn and banana. n Wednesday: beef patty with brown gravy, green beans, fiesta potatoes, orange and whole wheat bread. n ursday: turkey pot pie, herbed carrots, broccoli with lemon sauce, cranberry fluff and wheat bread. n Friday: chicken pomodoro, peas with onions, cauliflower with carrots, citrus lime mold and wheat bread. Meetings Mercer County Board of Education — 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Harrodsburg Area Technology Center conference room. An executive session will be held to interview finalists for vacant superintendent position. Danville Boyle County Parks and Recreation Board — 4 p.m. Wednesday at Millenium Park Rotary/Kroger shelter to discuss soccer fields. Boyle County Democratic Women’s Club — 7 p.m. ursday at Danville Bowlarama. Boyle County JudgeExecutive Harold McKinney will speak about the transfer of Constitution Square State Historic Site. e public is welcome. 25-year lag in toxic cleanup concerns residents LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville residents who live near a former insecticide plant want to know why it took officials about 25 years to test their soil for contamination. Tim Hubbard, assistant director of the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, told The Courier-Journal that he doesn’t know why the testing wasn’t completed sooner. It was only when the site’s owners sought permission to 18 19 Actual: 77 | 58 put in housing that the Division took soil samples. Those found high levels of pesticides, including the nowbanned DDT, as well as toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. Last year the state turned the investigation and cleanup over to the EPA’s Superfund program, which deals with the nation’s most polluted properties. Results of soil test from neighboring properties likely will be made public this month. 20 Actual: 79 | 59 21 Actual: 66 | 63 Forecast: 81 | 59 Call for Your Spring Check-up Heating and Air Conditioning Refrigeration HVAC #MO4139 BOILER #1494 ME #17722 CE#17723 24 Hour Emergency Service Available 213 We 213 West Second Street • Perryville, KY le (859) 332-2705

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