Call for change in county leadership

All Hardin County voters need to consider who they want to elect this fall. Judge-Executive Harry Berry and all the magistrates will be up for re-election.

Judge Berry and all eight magistrates have approved negotiations which could lead to the sale of Hardin Memorial Hospital.

A source has told me the hospital is going to be sold for financial reasons. They have spent millions building the North Tower, renovating the emergency room, other renovations and buying out its competition. Examples of competition bought out would be The Surgical Center, doctor’s offices and many health facilities in Hardin and surrounding counties.

According to other sources, Hardin Memorial Hospital is doing great and Baptist East is doing a wonderful job managing it. Many articles in The News-Enterprise the past few years have told us how well financially the hospital is doing. Employees of the hospital are told they are really doing good.

Who’s telling the truth? Judge Berry and every magistrate needs to be asked that question.

If our Fiscal Court truly believes selling our hospital is a good deal, Hardin County residents need transparency. We need to know the following:

1. What is the hospital’s true financial condition?

2. What is the amount of money the county will receive?

3. Hospital employees need to know how their retirement, salaries and benefits will be affected?

4. Will the cost of surgeries and other procedures be competitive with Louisville hospitals?

Personally, I believe Judge Berry and all eight magistrates are good people. I think each and every one of them failed to be good trustees of our hospital. Please file to run for their positions before the deadline at 4 p.m. Jan. 30.

Gary C. Linder

Eastview

Raise cigarette tax to improve health

It’s well known that tobacco use causes cancer, especially lung cancer. But smokers, including cigar and pipe smokers, also have a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Smoking also can make it hard to do some of the things that are good for our heart health, such as exercising.

Yet nearly a quarter of Kentuckians smoke. In fact, Kentucky has the second-highest tobacco use rates in the nation.

Even though Centers for Disease Control studies tell us most smokers want to quit, too many still find it difficult to kick their addiction.

It has been shown that the most effective policy measure to reduce smoking, especially among price-sensitive youth, is to raise the price of tobacco products. It’s an incentive to quit that actually works.

The governor and Kentucky legislators can help our state get healthier by adding $1 or more to the tax on cigarettes and by raising the tax on other tobacco products as well.

As a cardiologist, I support this measure because I have experienced the tragic consequences of tobacco use in close family members and patients.

It’s time for Kentucky’s lawmakers to get serious about reducing tobacco use by supporting an increase in our tobacco tax of $1 per pack of cigarettes, with parallel increases in the taxes for other tobacco products.

Juan Villafañe, M.D.

Louisville

Attention boosts financial literacy

I just wanted to thank all of The News-Enterprise staff for covering financial literacy over the last eight to 10 years. I am confident the various bills would not have moved at all, if you all had not shined a spotlight on them.

Education bills do not come from teachers, parents and students. They traditionally come from the top down. This legislation would break that trend and the newspaper’s coverage has been vital.

Thanks again to all.

Alex Todd

Elizabethtown High School

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