This past Monday night Steve Beshear and Gov. Fletcher were the featured debaters on KET. As has been the case during the Fletcher administration, the Governor would not admit to any wrong doing on his part, but he was quick to blame someone else for his problems that have gotten national publicity for many months, and that kind of publicity is certainly something we would all have been better off had we not had it.
Beshear showed forthrightness during the whole debate. If he were not sure of the answer to a question, he did not bounce around in his answer: he was direct and to the point in his answers
Fletcher has just about beat the Kentucky Central Life Insurance failure to death, but he has missed the whole point. A man by the name of Burnett was head of Kentucky Central Life Insurance when it was taken over by the state’s Department of Insurance. Steve Beshear and the law firm in which he was a partner was employed by the Insurance Commissioner to help dig through the legal problems that Kentucky Central and the Kentucky Department of Insurance faced.
Kentucky is not the only state government facing problems. It has recently been made public that the state of Indiana did several million dollars in tax incentives as well as paid millions up front to lure the Honda automobile company to build a factory in a rural area of the Southeastern section of that state, and when Honda was to the point of hiring their workforce, they limited the area from which they would hire people to farming counties to assure themselves they would not hire anyone with any connections to a union. Now, the industrial areas of Indiana are raising cane, because people from their areas of the state are not even allowed to apply for a job with Honda.
Off to a totally different subject, I am anxious to see the end results of John Delpont and Bill Gorman, Jr’s work on the Sterling Hardware Building. They have already greatly improved the appearance of the building by their removal of the metal veneer that had been put on the architecturally impressive brick building. The brick work on the former Sterling Hardware Building would cost a good sized fortune if it were being done today. Such detailing is seldom seen in newly built buildings as is the case in the Sterling Building, and with the removal of the metal veneer, all of that good work can once again be easily seen.
Hazard’s Main Street is home to several beautifully built and others also beautifully maintained buildings. Certainly Peoples Bank and Trust’s buildings would be an asset to any city, no matter the size, and for some reason or other, probably age and poor eyesight, I have just recently noticed the architectural integrity of the Masonic Building on Hazard’s Main Street. That building is nothing short of a gem. And while we are thinking about Peoples Bank and Trust, they continue to make progress on their latest project, Peoples’ Park, which will be a source of attention and pride for many years to come.
Hazard continues to enjoy growth on the outskirts of the town, but no matter where and how much suburban growth we have here, the heart of Hazard will be its downtown, and the more that can be done to improve that section of town, we will long see the benefits.
As I have already said, I am terribly sorry that the Perry County Library is determined to move out of downtown, because their leaving downtown will leave a void that cannot be filled, no matter who might locate in their present facility. Expansion and added parking at their present facility could be achieved for much less money than will be spent on the new facility, but it appears that nothing is going to stop their changing of address.
While thinking about Hazard’s downtown, I understand we have the City’s First Lady, Mrs. William D. Gorman to thank for moving the signs off the stone tower next to the town’s recreation courts on Main Street.
The tower is what remains of a bridge that connected the railroad to what was formally the Railroad YMCA Building. Such a structure as the bridge’s entrance is a rarity that deserves to be shown off properly. The stonework and Gothic arch, like a good deal of the older brickwork seen along Hazard’s Main Street deserve to be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come. We all need to be grateful to Mrs. Gorman for her “good eye” and to Mayor Gorman for his “good ear” in listening to the First Lady’s thoughts about the City making sure we use and enjoy or resources.
In recognizing some people whose thoughts and efforts have and do mean much to this area, we all need to thank Perry County Judge Executive Noble for the extra efforts he has put forth to see that Perry County is clean and attractive to those of us living here as well for the guests and tourists driving through the county. No spoken words can do more for the appeal of an area than seeing the area mowed and free of litter.
To end this column this week, let me say that if any of you have not seen the church bells on the river side of the parking lot behind Peoples Bank and Trust, you have really missed something. The bells once hung in Hazard’s First Baptist Church and are displayed in memory of the Rev. A.S. Petrey, whose life was and is an inspiration to many.
The fall break for our schools is now over. With the schools back in session, let us all remember to drive carefully when we are near any of our schools or school buses.