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Thumbs up, Thumbs down June 19

Real conversation on guns

The Women’s Network held a valuable meeting last week on the topic of guns in Kentucky and more locally in Danville.

The conversation was wide-ranging and productive; participants focused on facts and actual, feasible solutions. The event stands in stark contrast to the useless “debates” we see all too often on TV.

When the national cameras turn on, the intelligent parts of people’s brains sure seem to turn off fast. A complex and nuanced issue like guns gets dumbed down into a black-and-white argument between political nemeses, who fire lobbyist-approved talking points at each other until it’s time for the next ad break. No one ever changes their mind; no one ever tries to find common ground.

Last week’s meeting in Danville was an incredibly refreshing reminder we can still speak to each other with respect and come together with a shared goal of understanding each other and finding common ground.

We need more meetings like this, where facts aren’t captured and abused for one political agenda or another. Maybe everyone should turn off their TVs and talk with their neighbors more often.

Researching impact of historic battlefields

Thanks to a joint resolution from the Kentucky legislature during this year’s General Assembly, we’re going to learn in better detail than we have now how important historic battlefields are to local economies throughout the state.

The resolution instructs the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet to work with historical and preservation organizations to identify Civil War battlefield needs, and study a report from the Civil War Sites Association and the American Battlefield Trust.

That work is going to result in the publication of information about the economic impact of historic Civil War battlefields around Kentucky, including Perryville Battlefield here in Boyle County.

The economic impact study will include data points like how many people visit each of Kentucky’s Civil War battlefield locations each year, how long they stay and where they spend money while they’re visiting.

Perryville Battlefield is a truly a significant location in Civil War history — the Battle of Perryville is considered a landmark battle that turned the tide of the war in Kentucky. In the aftermath of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War — a war known for its bloodiness — Confederate troops withdrew from the state and never returned.

The significance of the spot is not lost on the many people who help maintain and protect the historical site with their volunteer hours and their donations; nor is it lost on the thousands who attend the annual commemoration of the battle.

There’s no doubt the Perryville Battlefield attracts a large amount of tourism activity. In fact, it may be the largest single attractor of tourism in all of Boyle County. We’re sure the economic impact study will reveal astounding figures for how much good Perryville Battlefield does for local businesses.

Perhaps once that information is released, it can lead to increased funding and a strengthened focus on Perryville’s historic assets in the future.