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Letter to the Editor 1-23-15

January 23, 2015 Letters, Opinion

A recent editorial and political cartoon in The News suggested that citizens who voiced their concerns about a controversial issue to the city council “speaks volumes about the negativity people still experience.”  Exactly who experienced negativity because of these comments is unclear.  Concerned citizens of Murray simply shared their concerns with their elected representatives.  How did those communications “speak volumes” about anything and how did they come across as negative?

The News’ editorial stated “to say that LGBT members should be discriminated against … is hateful and counterproductive,” and that “to turn them away and stifle their opportunities not only hurts them, but hurts the community as well.”

What we have here is a fictional narrative about life in Murray.  The implication is that any opposition amounts to bigotry and hate and that Murray is a town full of human rights abusers.

It should be clear to college level students and aspiring journalists that disagreement does not equal discrimination. Significant policy proposals should be accompanied by robust debate, mutual respect and an attempt at better understanding.

Demonizing and caricaturing the opposition as a political cartoon recently printed in The News isn’t helpful or constructive toward those ends.

  Consider that the proposed ordinance essentially elevates sexual identity and sexual orientation to civil rights status on par with race and ethnicity. It would make it illegal to make a judgment on sexual orientation or gender identity regarding housing, employment and public accommodations. While nobody should condone ugly or bigoted treatment toward a fellow human being, several questions should be answered before the city council takes action.

Good journalists would ask, “why is this ordinance needed?” They would point to documented cases of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination (there are none in Murray). Good journalists would ask, “how does this ordinance affect those opposed to it?”  (It has been used in other cities and states to punish business owners who refuse to materially participate through their products or services in gay weddings).

We were once told that somebody’s private sexual life is nobody’s business. Should this ordinance pass, it drags one’s sex life into the hiring process and politicizes the workplace. Here’s how: if employers shouldn’t ask about somebody’s private sex life during an interview and the prospective employee doesn’t bring this up, then how can an employer be held accountable for failing to hire somebody based on their sexual orientation?

Truth is, most business owners are having trouble finding hard working and qualified employees. They are most concerned about finding reliable workers who contribute to their team.  

No credible employers are going out of their way to look for a reason not to hire an otherwise well-qualified employee. Unfortunately, The News failed to report on both sides of the story.  If you disagree with their position, you will be considered intolerant.

If you don’t support this ordinance, in their opinion, you don’t understand basic human rights.  Such rhetorical thuggery is polarizing and hinders serious discussion of important policy considerations.

We trust the Murray City Council to thoroughly consider the implications of this issue and not be bullied into passing an ordinance that amounts to bad public policy.

Letter from Richard Nelson, Executive Director Commonwealth Policy Center, and Andy French, President Commonwealth Policy Center

Service Day held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 23, 2015 News
Hannah Fowl/The News Jeff Yokum, associate minister at First Baptist Church in Springfield, Ill., speaks as the keynote speaker during the Jan. 19 breakfast.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Jeff Yokum, associate minister at First Baptist Church in Springfield, Ill., speaks as the keynote speaker during the Jan. 19 breakfast.

For the fifth year in a row, community members rallied together to donate their time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by volunteering in the area.

Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day was hosted by Murray State Jan. 19 in honor of the civil rights activist and opened at 9 a.m. with a breakfast in the Curris Center.

“It was an amazing event with very powerful speakers including President Davies and Dr. Yocum,” said Gina Winchester, executive director of Murray State’s Office of Regional Outreach.

Jeff Yocum, the keynote speaker at the breakfast, is an associate minister for First Baptist Church in Springfield, Ill.

The King Day of Service turns King’s life and teachings into community service, helping to solve local problems.

Service projects during this day strive to strengthen communities, empower individuals and bridge barriers, according to Murray State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day website.

“As a traditional day off from work, we encouraged the faculty, staff and students to make it a ‘day on’ for community services in keeping with the ideals Martin Luther stood for,” Winchester said.

Winchester said she believes volunteers gain personal growth and satisfaction knowing they helped others.

Jenny Rohl/The News Christina Morgan, graduate student from Murray, volunteers at Need Line during the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Christina Morgan, graduate student from Murray, volunteers at Need Line during the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day.

The experience also teaches civic responsibility, she said.

Those wishing to volunteer could sign up online at Murray State’s volunteer webpage. Some of the volunteer events included Need Line in Murray, donation collection for the cancer society Hope Lodge, painting sets at Playhouse in the Park and helping a family with yard work.

Last year, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., more than 250 volunteers contributed, completing 1,250 hours of community service, Winchester said.

This year approximately 150 people worked Monday afternoon, she said. The volunteers were comprised of students, faculty, staff, community leaders and families who brought their children to the event.

One of this year’s volunteers, Jordan Mitchell, graduate student from Irvington, Ky., said it was a day to reflect on what King did.

“I feel that this day meant reaching out to others and giving back,” he said. “I also believe, as responsible people, we need to help those less fortunate.”

Derek Stine, sophomore from Sparta, Ill., helped to organize and package food at Need Line in Murray.

“I volunteered because I want to show there are people out there who want to look out for others’ best interests,” Stine said.

Volunteering meant giving away some of your time to help and better others, he said.

“The poor and the needy still need food to sustain themselves, and I wanted to do something to help them,” Stine said.

Further activities will take place throughout the spring semester in honor of King and the Civil Rights Movement.

The full list of events can be found online at www.smore.com/4btk9.

Story by Sara Gantz, Contributing writer

Students improve local skate park

November 7, 2014 Features
Jenny Rohl /The News McCartney Scarborough, community member, performs a trick at the Lions Community Skatepark.

Jenny Rohl /The News
McCartney Scarborough, community member, performs a trick at the Lions Community Skatepark.

In 2010, Murray community members petitioned to have a skate park built for the area.

Though the Lions Club Community Skatepark was completed in October 2012, students and community members are working to add more ramps and rails.

Since the skate park’s opening, students and community members donated money and volunteered their time to aid in the development of the skatepark.

Initially, McCoil said Murray’s vote to pass the Park Referendum would be an extra step toward progressing in the project.

However, the results of Tuesday’s election showed the tax did not pass.

Falwell said it would take approximately $100,000 to outfit the skate park with the half-pipe and other ramps.

“We will have to continue working out of private funds and donations as well as hold fundraisers to support the project,” Falwell said.

In September, engineering students at Murray State installed two large ramps and two rail sections.

Bryan McCoil, senior from Long Island, N.Y., saw the improvements to the skate park as an opportunity to do something for the community, as well as his son.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some community outreach for the engineering department,” McCoil said. “My son, who also skates, and I have been waiting on the ramps to be installed for a year since we heard about it, and that weekend was actually my son’s birthday and I thought that would be awesome for him to see that happen.”

McCoil worked with his brother Pete and four electromechanical engineering students, Moe Maghrabi, senior from Murray, Dustin Patton, senior from Murray, Majid Alotibi, junior from Murray and Sean James, senior from Pleasureville, Ky.

McCoil’s 7-year-old son Will also helped the group with smaller tasks. McCoil said this portion of the project took more than 12 hours to complete.

“We started at 8 a.m. and were there until almost 10 p.m.,” McCoil said. “We had to assemble the parts piece by piece. There were bags of bolts and brackets and no instructions. The first one was quite a puzzle, but once we got the hang of it, the rest of the assembly went smoothly.”

Since the construction of these ramps and rails, there has been more talk of improvements made to the skate park.

Leaders of the project, Murray Lions Club and Matt Falwell, owner of  Gear Up Cycles, are continuing efforts to raise money to have more sections of ramps installed.

One of these sections includes a large half pipe.

Story by Hunter HarrellFeatures Editor

Students volunteer for local causes – Community benefits from plentiful service

October 25, 2013 News

As the old saying goes, to help another is to help yourself. Murray State students frequently help the local community.

Students are taking advantage of the many volunteer opportunities the city of Murray has to offer.

Whether they prefer helping animals, adults or youth, Murray has several ways for students to volunteer their time toward a good cause.

Angela Survant, senior from Princeton, Ky., enjoys volunteering with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, at West Kentucky Mentoring, which helps underprivileged children within the community.

“As a student who volunteers, the benefits are countless,” Survant said. “You have the opportunity to help children grow into responsible young men and women who are well-rounded, as well as developing networking and professional skills for yourself.”

Matthew Hamblen, executive director of the Calloway County Red Cross chapter, said there are several ways for students to give their time in a variety of events within the Red Cross.

Hamblen said students usually volunteer for Red Cross-sponsored services such as blood drives and health and safety fairs.

He said there are several other opportunities available, such as disaster relief teams for different catastrophes such as tornados and house fires.

Hamblen said another option for students is the Holiday Hero mail campaign, a venture for active service members of the U.S. military.

“Anyone can take as many cards as they wish, decorate them or write a message inside and return it to our office around the week before Thanksgiving and they will be delivered overseas to members of our military,” Hamblen said. “This is a simple way for students to give back to soldiers who cannot be home with their families during the holidays. Students can solidify the hours they need for whatever reason, but volunteering also gives the ‘feel-good’ vibe that comes with helping someone.”

Kennadie Potter, freshman from Cadiz, Ky., said she enjoys helping neglected animals in Murray by volunteering at the Murray-Calloway County Animal Shelter.

“I came here because I really miss my dogs at home, and I need some puppy therapy and they definitely need human therapy,” Potter said. “Volunteering here gives you a really good feeling, to have an animal that has been neglected trust you.”

If a student wishes to volunteer at the animal shelter all they have to do is check in with the shelter.

Animal shelter officials said all types of students come in to the shelter for anywhere between 20 minutes to three hours.

Anna Stonestreet, senior from Evansville, Ind., said she likes to volunteer at the animal shelter because it is a stress reliever and has a meaningful impact on the local community.

“Volunteering can spark a new interest or a new hobby as well giving you an advantage in your future professional life,” Stonestreet said.

Extension Agent Ginny Harper at the Calloway County 4-H Center said the center welcomes both short-term and long-term volunteers.

Opportunities range from teaching a local school 4-H club about practical living skills to helping young 4-H members at public fundraising events.

“As a college student, the more varied your experiences are and the variety of opportunities you take advantage of can definitely make you a better employee when it comes time to get a job,” Harper said.

She also said networking skills used when volunteering can make connections that can last a lifetime, even if it is something as simple as looking for someone who can write a letter of recommendation for a job.

She suggested students open their eyes to the many possibilities available to help others in their community.


Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Contributing writer


November 17, 2011 Columns, Features Columns

Charlotte Kyle
Features Editor

Thanks to Ashton Kutcher, people have lately been questioning one of my favorite things.

No, not “Two and a Half Men.” Heck no. I’m talking about Twitter, the 140-character social media site where you can follow anyone you want without getting a restraining order.

Kutcher tweeted without doing a quick Google search, prompting him to post on his blog that Twitter has changed from a “fun tool to communicate with people” to “a mass publishing platform, where one’s tweets quickly become news that is broadcast around the world.”

(Essentially his apology comes across as a giant excuse to blame the public for reacting to his tweets rather than blame himself for not reading more than a headline, but that’s just what I think.)

I don’t see why the social media site can’t be both. In fact, I think Twitter is still a fun way of communicating with people, especially those who star on my favorite TV shows.

(Again, “Two and a Half Men” and Kutcher do not make that list.) … Continue Reading

Childish Gambino shines on label debut

November 10, 2011 Features, Media Reviews

Charlotte Kyle
Features Editor

Photo courtesy of iTunes

Rapper Childish Gambino has a handful of mix tapes under his belt, but “Camp” is the first album fans will be able to hold in their hands. It’s also the first album Donald Glover, the man behind the moniker, is actually selling. It was well worth the wait and is well worth the price.

Glover, best known for his role as Troy Barnes on NBC’s “Community,” is not just an actor-turned-rapper. If you want to get technical, he’s a creative force to be reckoned with, with credits as a writer, actor, comedian and musician. One would not be crazy to suspect Glover has a time machine and that’s how he’s able to accomplish so much at the same time.

His jack-of-all-trades attitude comes off on tracks as he drops lines such as “I won’t stop until they say James Franco is the white Donald Glover.” … Continue Reading

Channel Surfing: All you can eat

November 10, 2011 Columns, Features Columns

Charlotte Kyle
Features Editor

In the past month it seems as if more and more people are commenting on my television habits and talking to me about television.

At first I took this as a compliment. “Hey, people are reading my column! People value my opinion!” I said to myself in a cheesy pilot voiceover style. Then I focused on what exactly they said and was slightly less excited.

“You watch a lot of TV,” the first person said.

This is true, I suppose. My television does get a lot of play, even if it’s background noise as I bake cupcakes or do dishes. … Continue Reading

Channel Surfing: Television memory aids

October 27, 2011 Columns, Features Columns

Charlotte Kyle
Features Editor

On “Community,” Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) uses pop culture references to recognize situations and understand the emotions of those around him.

I understand emotions – I’ve got a bucket load of them, ready to pour over the edge at the slightest nudge – but I find myself relating classwork to things I have seen on television.

Usually this helps me understand it better, or at least livens up a lecture I may have trouble sitting through under normal circumstances.

When discussing paper types in Principles of Estimating I found my brain recognizing terms used on “The Office.” I could understand the different types easier if I imagined my favorite Dunder-Mifflin salespeople trying to make a sale to a big client. … Continue Reading

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