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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Oct. 25

Thumbs Up

Interior Journal fighting for government transparency

The Interior Journal in Stanford recently brought to light emails that show members of the Lincoln County Ambulance Board held discussions of board business via email and in private telephone and in-person meetings.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear let the ambulance board off easy by finding that the emails, which The Interior Journal obtained through an open records request, didn’t provide quite enough evidence of wrongdoing to prove that illegal meetings occurred.

Beshear’s less-than-stellar record in enforcing government transparency aside, The Interior Journal is doing what newspapers are designed to do: holding the powerful accountable.

Staff members at newspapers around Kentucky like the IJ educate themselves on open records and open meetings, even when the government officials who have to run those meetings and maintain those records do not. No other media outlets regularly and consistently suss out government misdeeds and make them public knowledge like newspapers do.

It’s only when newspapers do their jobs that the public can really trust their governments to act appropriately, because the watchdogs are ensuring everything is above-board and visible.

For fulfilling this most important aspect of being a newspaper, The Interior Journal deserves more than one thumb — we’re giving them two thumbs up.

Thumbs Up

Deaf protesters provide positive message

The members of the deaf community who stood at Fourth and Main Thursday were all smiles, even though they were there because of a problem. Or rather, because of multiple problems.

People who are deaf face enormous challenges in our society today that extend beyond simply not being able to hear. They get treated differently than other people in many ways, from education to employment. It’s not because they are really all that different, but because everyone else sees them as different. Many people subconsciously discriminate against deaf people by assuming they are less intelligent or incapable of doing things that hearing people do.

But as one of the protest signs held up during Thursday’s rally read, “Deaf can do anything except hear!”

The protesters are absolutely right that we ought to do better at educating deaf people so they can have just as many opportunities as hearing people already have. And we ought to be doing a better job of providing jobs for deaf people.

Part of the problem is a feedback loop. Deaf people aren’t given jobs and aren’t seen as being an integral part of society, so people assume they don’t need jobs and aren’t really as big a piece of the population as they are, which leads to a continued lack of jobs and absence of awareness.

Hopefully Thursday’s protest helped break that cycle and make at least a few people think about deaf people in a way they haven’t before.

Thumbs Up

Danville ‘Most Spirited’ Bourbon Chase community

Congratulations to Bourbon Chase volunteers in Danville, who helped the city win the 200-mile race’s “Most Spirited Community” award for 2016.

According to our news archives, this is the third time Danville has won the award since the Bourbon Chase began in 2009. Its other victories came in 2009 and 2013. Stanford has also won three times — in 2012, 2014 and 2015. And Perryville won the award in 2011, meaning the “Most Spirited” community has been in Danville or within a 15-minute drive seven out of the eight years that the Bourbon Chase has been run (Lebanon won in 2010, according to various running blogs on the Internet).

Clearly, there’s something about the people living along U.S. 150 in Boyle and Lincoln counties that make them excellent hosts. Hopefully, the area can “eight-peat” in 2017.