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Image 4 of The Anderson News May 9, 2012

Part of The Anderson News

OPINION A4 | Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | The Anderson News EDITORIALS Rent pulling track to shut up critics G ood weather and large crowds mean last weekend’s truck and tractor pull will result in a hefty donation for the county park. Just how hefty that donation will be is unanswerable, and not ecause receipts from the gate and concessions are still being ounted. And that’s a problem. The Anderson County Fiscal Court needs to adopt a hardnd-fast policy on using the county park for events of any kind, ncluding those designed to be fundraisers. Despite many meetings, anonymous innuendo and downright alsehoods, the current policy leaves the fiscal court and truck ull promoter Eddie Carey wide open for those criticisms and orse. This isn’t a screed against Carey. We’ve said before and still aintain that Carey’s idea to bring these pulls to Lawrenceburg is great one if for no other reason than that they draw thousands f visitors and their wallets to our fair city. One would think the nearly invisible city/county tourism uthority — does that still even exist? — could do the same. We’ve also said it’s wonderful that Carey’s stated intention rom the time these pulls started was to donate net proceeds from hem to the fiscal court in an effort to improve the park. But therein lies the rub. The pope could make that claim and, without independent accounting of gate and Those criticisms, nearly concession receipts, there would be all made anonymously some who question if all the money via online message is actually being donated. Carey has apparently lived up to boards or by lunchhis word. He has donated thousands counter prophets not in cash, and with his own labor men enough to do so in installed what he says is over $13,000 in perimeter fence around the pullpublic, will not stop as ing tracks — which he also paid to long as no system is in have built. place to shut them up. Also, it’s Carey who fronts upwards of $20,000 from his own pocket to promote the pulls — money e risks losing if the weather or crowds conspire against him. For his efforts, Carey gets accused of all sorts of underhanded actics, including lining his pockets and those of Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway, who Carey and his family financially supported during the 2010 election. Both strongly denied profiting from the pulls during last week’s fiscal court meeting. Those criticisms, nearly all made anonymously via online message boards or by lunch-counter prophets not men enough to do so in public, will not stop as long as no system is in place to shut them up. The options, as we see them, are two. First, the fiscal court could hire workers to collect money at the gate and concessions. Second and more appropriately, the fiscal court could manage the pulling track the same way it does other park assets: rent it. Be it Carey’s truck and tractor pulls or the frequent truck tugs and lawnmower pulls, the fiscal court could establish a fee to rent the track, as it does the pavilions or Stratton building. What the group that rents it does with its net proceeds after that becomes its business, not the fiscal court’s. Of course that may be a tough sell to taxpayers, some of which almost certainly will reject the notion of public property being used for commercial gain, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that until the fiscal court concocts a way to eliminate at least most of the skepticism, the rumors, lies and innuendo will continue, and give an otherwise tremendous event repeated black eyes. Comment at Fix these problems, too W e’ve had several calls and comments from readers who were none too happy with the tractor and truck pulls, particularly because of the late-night noise and litter. Screaming engines at 10 p.m. on a Friday night are one thing, but when they’re howling after midnight, it’s understandable that some folks are going to object. We checked, and the city’s 911 dispatch center said it received three calls Friday night, but none Saturday when the pulls ended much earlier. For future pulls, the fiscal court would be wise to request that they be finished by 11 p.m., or so. As for litter, we heard from some very unhappy folks who complained about beer cans and other trash strewn about the park. One person was particularly bothered that debris had to be removed from the walking track Saturday morning for Relay for Life’s 5K race, and that the youth soccer field near the track was “littered with beer cans and cigarette butts” Sunday morning. Beer cans were spotted throughout the park, including in the middle school parking lot. Big crowds typically create messes, but additional trash cans in parking areas would be a good way to start. As for the beer cans, it’s not surprising that folks hanging out for several hours of truck and tractor pulling might want an adult beverage. And given that there are no signs forbidding them to bring alcohol into the park, expecting visitors from other communities to know that regulation just doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the best solution is to enlist a vendor, get a weekend permit and have beer sales inside the event. That way consumption would be monitored and hopefully contained. It’s unreasonable to think that event organizers can or should monitor parking areas outside of their gates, and even more unreasonable to expect city police officers or deputies to patrol the areas outside of the event in hopes of catching someone drinking a beer. It wouldn’t be the first time beer has been served on government property. The city council allowed beer sales a couple of summers ago during its concerts on the Green, and by our count everyone lived through that. So some suds at a tractor and truck pull shouldn’t draw too many objections, either, as long as it’s done inside the track. The bottom line is that these truck and tractor pulls are an overall plus to Anderson County. They bring in revenue for the park as well as local businesses during a time when revenues are slight. Rather than attacking them, the fiscal court would do well to address the problems as they arise and encourage these types of activities. Comment at LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Truck pulls benefit community I To the editor: n response to the article in last week’s paper regarding the truck pull event sponsored by Eddie Carey, as a Lawrenceburg resident and a participant of the truck pull, we voice our support for the event. We’d be disappointed to see Lawrenceburg lose this event to a surrounding county. Folks are losing sight of what this event does for the community. These events draw participants and their families from around the state. What does that do for our community? They eat in our local restaurants, purchase fuel at our gas stations, stay in our hotel and visit our stores. The article stated, “[Magistrate David] Montgomery, who chairs the fiscal court’s events committee, said Carey gave $4,300 to the county following one year’s pull, another $3,000 from another pull and constructed $13,000 in fencing.” That’s extra revenue the community would miss out on should the event be moved. We also think the truck pull provides an entertainment source for the youth of our community, providing them with something to do in town rather than traveling to Frankfort or Lexington. If you’ve ever been to one of the pulls, you’d see how many young people turn out to support the event. Mr. Carey does a wonderful job organizing and promoting this event for Lawrenceburg. It’s nice to have a pulling event in our hometown that we can be proud of and that helps our local merchants. We hope our local government and community will support the event. Chuck and Holly Thompson Lawrenceburg CASA thanks volunteers tin Taylor, TJ Taylor, Mike Fitzpatrick and some of his Band of Brothers — Seth Carmichael, Chris Fitzpatrick, Mackenzie Morris, Ethan Kelly, Matt Sprague and Spencer Ruggles. Sue Ritchey CASA To the editor: C ASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) organized a Stop Child Abuse fund raising event April 7 by having CASA volunteers, and some other very special volunteers, collect money at various intersections in the city. After being specially trained and sworn in, CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children by collecting and reviewing confidential information from a number of sources and bringing this information to the Family Court Judge in a written report. This carefully researched information focuses on the child’s best interest which is ensuring that the child is in a safe-permanent home. CASA is proud to be a voice for these children who are in the court system through no fault of their own. Because CASA receives no money from federal or state government, it operates mostly on money received from grants, donations and fundraisers. CASA would like to thank the following community volunteers for coming out early on a cold and windy Saturday morning to raise money and awareness for CASA: Natalie Nichols, Aus- Leaders should follow the rules, too To the editor: W hen some business tenants of mine were forced to obtain a conditional use permit, they pointed out that one of our county officials, Jason Denny, doesn’t have one for his own home-based business. Denny, our county clerk and a former magistrate, has operated his lawn care business for years from his home. It seems to me that it would be virtually impossible for him not to know he needed a permit to operate a business from his home. When someone takes on the role of elective office they are held to a higher standard, and this kind of smacks of how locally and nationally, our leaders apply the laws, but don’t have to follow them. From insider trading in Congress to right here in Lawrenceburg, why can’t our leaders be the example instead of the burden? Jess Thompson Lawrenceburg Editor’s note: According to a legal notice in this week’s paper, Denny has requested a conditional use permit through the Board of Zoning Adjustments. This tree hugger now has six new trees I have trees in my kitchen. Yes, I know it’s not what you’d expect to find, even on a farm, but the mower can’t get to them inside. Since Earth Day, I’ve acquired six new trees, and they’re all babies. You knew I was a tree hugger, right? They’ll go into Cheryl the ground just as Steenerson soon as I decide Columnist where they’ll be happy. I will also put a little mulch and wire around them, to ensure that I don’t drive over them with the mower. Placement of trees is important to a landscape. They don’t just add to the value of your home, they add to the value of your life. We all like to live, right? A healthy environment adds value to your life in several ways. The sight of a beautiful tree puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart. It also helps to shade your house, reducing your electric bill and keeping a little green in your pocket at the same time. Trees provide food, sometimes for you and sometimes for the other wildlife calling this planet home. Trees are the lungs of the planet. They take in the carbon dioxide we release through our bodies and machines, and turn out oxygen, via photosynthesis. A mature tree can take in 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. My six new trees will eventually take 288 pounds out of the atmosphere each year. My truck and I will average 10,000 miles of driving this year, contributing 10,500 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. That means I need about 219 trees to clean up after me. Fortunately, I have 17 acres and most of them are covered in mature trees. I can offset my carbon footprint for both my car and my house and a neighbor or two. Even if you live in town, you can help improve your air by planting a tree. Besides removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generating oxygen, trees also reduce air pollution, recycle water and control soil erosion. My new trees will also provide me with food (two are walnuts), spring color (two redbuds and one magnolia) and fall color (one yellow poplar), as soon as I decide where to plant them. Trees grow healthy when given what they need, good soil, appropriate water and correct light. Knowing how big they will get also helps. I don’t want something that could take out the roof of the house, if it comes crash- ing down during a storm. I do want to be able to enjoy admiring it’s colors, nuts and flowers throughout the year. I don’t want it to be a pain to mow around. I actually hope to plant them where it already is a pain to mow. I have a couple of spots in mind. The walnuts have to be in a special place. They emit hydrojuglone into the soil, eliminating any other competitors that might try to grow around them. The dropping nuts need to be out of the way, but easy to gather. Now, maybe you can understand why I still have trees in the kitchen. Eventually, they will all find a happy home here on the farm. They’ll provide more value to my life and the planet’s. I’ll also get a free work out and a tan while putting them in the ground. I’ve heard that people actually pay for those two things. I’ll give you several free sessions, if you’d like. I’ll even throw in a live action animal exposition. Spanky and Tiller can be very entertaining. Now get outside and make the world a better place. In the end, you might just find smile on your face. Happy growing. Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.

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