Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:
The Bowling Green Daily News on a new university campus that plans to serve Kentucky in a unique way:
It is no secret that the region's economy and overall quality of life are greatly enhanced by the presence of Western Kentucky University.
So while the new Indiana Tech location coming to downtown Bowling Green may be significantly smaller than the campus on the Hill, it is nonetheless a positive development.
As reported exclusively in the Daily News this week, Indiana Tech, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., will open a location this year at Stadium Park Plaza.
The school has about 9,000 students spread across 19 locations in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. The roughly 4,000-square-foot Bowling Green facility will feature offices, a computer lab and classroom and tutoring space.
The school, which offers associate, bachelor and advanced degree programs at its campuses and online, is gearing the space for use primarily by those taking online classes.
Online education continues to grow, and while there is no shortage of schools that offer online degree programs, Indiana Tech's local facility will offer something unique: a chance for students to enroll, get support and even take some classes in a physical location.
"Especially working adults need a lot of support ... it can be difficult" for adults who have not been in a classroom for many years, said Steve Herendeen, Indiana Tech vice president for enrollment management.
The facility will be staffed initially by two admission representatives, support staff and adjunct faculty, and when the classrooms are not being used, they will be available to use as corporate training and meeting spaces.
Another plus for Bowling Green is that the Indiana Tech facility will be on the third floor of Stadium Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green. The plaza is owned by the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, and the Indiana Tech facility will bring additional Tax Increment Financing district revenue and people to downtown. With new apartments and a $4 million renovation underway, Bowling Green's thriving downtown continues to take positive steps.
Bowling Green is a higher education hub for southcentral Kentucky with WKU, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine-Bowling Green campus. Indiana Tech is a welcome addition to that mix.
The News-Enterprise on a problem affecting many farmers who grow hemp in Kentucky and across the nation:
An Elizabethtown farmer licensed to grow industrial hemp has fallen victim to a growing trend across Kentucky and the nation.
James Jenkins, owner of Highland Sod Farms, reported theft of some of his 525 acres of the legalized plants. Hemp farming now is legal in 46 states with more than 16,800 individual licenses approved for production capacity exceeding 511,000 acres across the U.S. While the hemp industries these farming operations will serve are varied, a commonality among many is theft of portions of their crops.
Jenkins says he'll be ready should future trespassers encroach upon his local croplands attempting to lift his hemp. He's investing in security surveillance cameras and considering hiring guards to protect his agricultural investment. Jenkins also is offering a reward for information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of thieves who made off with his plants.
We hope local law enforcement is successful at tracking down the culprits who invaded Jenkins' hemp fields. Sneaking onto another person's farm and pulling plants from the ground under cover of darkness — or in broad daylight as Jenkins has reported — should be treated no differently than breaking into their home to steal their jewelry and other personal valuables. Thievery is a crime.
These thieves probably believed they'd stumbled across an easy score of weed — pun intended. It's likely the miscreants vandalizing Jenkins' crop mistook hemp for marijuana.
There are many commonalities between hemp and marijuana. Both share the genus cannabis in the plant family cannabaceae among the major group angiosperms or flowering plants. Both plants are classified as Cannabis Sativa.
To the casual untrained eye, the two cousins resemble one another, too. Close inspection reveals marijuana is a bushy plant with broad leaves, while hemp is leaner with shinier leaves.
There's another significant difference between hemp and marijuana. Most varieties of hemp genetically contain less than 0.2 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the chemical that gives users of marijuana the euphoric high they seek. By itself, cannabidiol or CBD, in hemp won't get a user high.
Hemp has many uses. The plant's seed, root system, stalk and leaf fibers, buds and oil extracts are processed as raw materials for a wide variety of industrial and consumer uses. But smoking, ingesting or vaping hemp to get high isn't one of them.
No matter how much of the hemp buds these thieves smoke, it's quite likely the only "trip" they'll experience will be to the county jail.
The State Journal on a proposal to allow live winter racing events in 2020 at Churchill Downs:
Forget Kentucky Derby dresses and fancy hats. If Churchill Downs receives state approval to add live winter racing events in 2020, track-goers will be bundled in down coats and beanie hats.
Late Thursday night, the parent company of the famous Louisville track known worldwide for its famous race on the first Saturday in May — Churchill Downs Inc. — announced plans to ask the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to do just that.
The powerful racing and gaming company wants to host a winter racing meet from January through March and in December of next year, but in order to do so it would take over dates historically awarded to Turfway Park, a northern Kentucky track owned by JACK Entertainment that is being sold to Hard Rock International.
Mark Dunkeson, CEO of JACK Entertainment, said Hard Rock International has committed to investing more than $100 million at the track, including adding historic racing machines, building race purses and other significant enhancements. He claimed that Churchill Downs Inc.'s attempt to relocate 2020 winter racing dates is an effort to "interfere" with Turfway's sale and vowed to fight to keep the dates.
However, Churchill Downs Inc. called the request a "critical, short-term measure" to support the state's thoroughbred industry until it builds New Latonia Racing & Gaming — a $200 million racing and year-round training facility it intends to construct in the potentially lucrative northern Kentucky market. Once New Latonia is built, the company hopes to relocate the winter racing dates there.
Although a specific location for the track has yet to be announced, the proposal includes a historical racing facility with up to 1,500 slot-style machines, a clubhouse, 1-mile synthetic main track, stables and possibly a hotel.
And while the company claims the project would create roughly 400 full- and part-time jobs in the area, we hate to see it at the expense of Turfway, a park that has been a significant part of region for more than 60 years. After all, it's competition that drives the industry.