Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down for Feb. 28

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Kentucky will highlight its 225th birthday at Constitution Square

The state of Kentucky turns 225 years old on June 1, and Danville gets to host the birthday party.

We already have a tradition of celebrating the founding of the commonwealth at Constitution Square, where founders first met to begin hashing out Kentucky’s Constitution.

This year, a special state commission that’s at work promoting the 225th anniversary will be involved with a larger-than-usual celebration at Constitution Square.

On June 1, Danville will definitely be in newspapers and on TV across the state, and perhaps a few national media outlets will also feature the event.

This will be a great chance for Danville and Boyle to get some recognition as the “Cradle of the Commonwealth,” as Judge-Executive Harold McKinney has nicknamed us.

Many people, even many Danville residents, are unaware that when the movement for Kentucky to separate from Virginia and become its own state first got legs, the first constitutional convention on the matter was held in Danville. That convention was held in 1784; after many more conventions were held, Kentucky became a state in 1792.

That’s a big piece of history that often doesn’t get much attention. We’re glad to see it getting some now.

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More possible overdose deaths

While final confirmation is pending on what caused three deaths last week, officials say all signs point to three more drug overdose deaths.

Whether it’s three deaths, or two, or one, we know that opioid drug use is posing a continuous threat of death within our community.

These deaths are a painful reminder that the drug problem is not hypothetical. It is not something that can be solved by armchair quarterbacks or magical thinking.

No one should be sitting around saying things like, “It’s the drug dealers that need to be dealt with more harshly,” or “It’s drug users own fault because they won’t clean up their acts.”

We can no longer afford to sit around and blame others for the problem — we know that doesn’t work because it hasn’t worked for decades.

We must continue to move forward with the many bold initiatives our community is leading.

We must do a better job of helping those fighting addiction rather than stigmatizing them. We must do a better job of showing compassion and caring for our fellow men and women so fewer have reasons to turn to drugs. We must educate our children so they never use opioids or other lethal drugs. And we must improve access to jobs so more people can have good incomes and stable lives.

These most recent deaths should further galvanize us to eschew our old ways of thinking and take action in radical, transformational ways.