July 12, 2011: Our readers write

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Ceci Mitchell, Shirley Westergren

Golden cranes
Sandhill cranes are the “golden goose” for local communities
State officials will cause state and local communities to lose valuable financial assets by allowing the hunting and killing of sandhill cranes.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows that “wildlife-associated activities” in Kentucky far exceed participation in hunting and fishing.
The greater economic benefit to Kentucky is from “associated” activities such as bird watching, hiking and photography, etc., commonly called “eco-tourism.”
An estimated 30,000 tourists visit a wildlife area outside Jasper, Ind., each year just to watch sandhill cranes; 15,000 flock each spring to the Rowe Sanctuary in Kearney, Neb., pumping millions of dollars annually into the town’s economy. About 9,000 crane watchers pour into tiny Socorro, N.M., each November for the Festival of the Cranes. Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency has Hiwassee Crane Viewing Days to “celebrate the rich Native American and wildlife heritage.” And all Kentucky officials can promote is killing cranes? Really?
Kentucky officials should be encouraging the support of wildlife watchers.
Everywhere cranes gather, people come to watch them. Promoting a hunt on a species  such as the sandhill crane at a time when wildlife watching is exploding and hunting is declining is an odd and divisive action for Kentucky to take.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stated it received more than 2,000 comments in support of crane hunting. The federal wildlife service reports Kentucky has 820,000 licensed hunters and anglers, so a tiny fraction is driving the effort to kill 400 cranes annually. The wildlife service also reports Kentucky has 1.5 million wildlife watchers.
Kentucky should do more to encourage interests in wildlife conservation and “exploit” the cranes without killing them. A public comment period on crane hunting is open until Aug. 1 and a public hearing is July 21 in Frankfort at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Ceci Mitchell

Supports P’Pool
I have just one thing to say about the upcoming race for attorney general: Hit the road, Jack.
In the past four years what has Jack Conway done for us besides taking a year to run for the U.S. Senate and losing?
Our small farmers are being squeezed with FDA regulations, Jack Conway has done nothing. Our coal industry has been destroyed by the EPA, again Jack sits back. Obamacare threatens to bankrupt this state by expanding Medicare, and Jack defends it.
Todd P’Pool has promised to stand up for Kentucky against Washington, D.C., and Obamacare. Todd P’Pool will finally take serious action about this state’s drug problems with a faith-based approach he used in Hopkins County. On Nov. 8, I ask that you join me in voting for Todd P’Pool and finally tell Conway to hit the road, Jack.
Shirley Westergren