Jeff Vanderbeck, Publisher

Eastern Kentucky received good news from the governor’s office recently. In the wake of the recent shootings, we all could use a little good news. 

Once again, we heard of horrible shootings that killed many innocent people. That column is for another day. But, I heard both sides of the political aisle blame the other, the type of weapon, the rhetoric, racism, Twitter, Hollywood, video games and everything else.

I have yet to hear anyone blame the shooters — you know, the people who actually, with intention, loaded magazine clips with ammunition, and pulled the trigger slaughtering innocent people. We need change, but we are too far apart.  

One way to deter these shootings is to make it very public what happens when law enforcement arrives on scene and witnesses the smoking gun in the shooter’s hand. They should drop the shooter immediately and toss his or her carcass in a shallow grave.

Anyway, the good news.

Gov. Bevin announced that $15 million will be returned to the coal-producing counties. And he announced more money was being let go to work on another section of the Mountain Parkway. 

Bevin said that he is grateful to the legislators who helped direct the money back to this region. He said the funds are to be used to bolster public safety, economic development, infrastructure and other vital needs. 

I realize that this is an election year and that these funds are to be directed back to the counties in the first place. But the governor has the authority to limit the amount. By allowing 100 percent back shows that he is paying attention to the region. And, for that notion, he should be commended. 

The news about more money being freed up to finish another part of the Mountain Parkway is also a welcome bit of news. 

The parkway is a vital route to the center part of the state. And although it seems like Frankfort and the rest of the state leave Eastern Kentucky behind, having this four-lane road open, safe and easily accessible allows this part of the Commonwealth to connect with the rest of the state. 

Once that parkway is finished, not only will it be easier for us to go there, it will be easier for them to come here. Opening up the parkway will, God forbid, showcase our region’s beauty, talent and innovation to the rest of the state, and then, perhaps, they will appreciate us for more than our money we send downstate.

Local authorities need to be diligent and fiscally accountable for the spending of this and all coal severance money. And we all need to continue to unite as a region to showcase our resources to the rest of the state. It’s a perfect opportunity and it’s up to us to prove that we deserve everything we get and more. 

Thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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