Right when you think you’re catching a break…

From the Publisher Jay Nolan
From the Publisher
Jay Nolan

Nearly 200 high paying local jobs depend on us having an Acute Care Hospital here in Knox County. In addition, the lives of many local residents, literally, are saved each year because of the hospital. So, during the announcement this week that Appalachian Regional Hospitals (ARH) may be purchasing the assets and leasing the facilities of the current Knox County Hospital, it was time to cheer!

Administrator Ray Canady, the doctors and all the staff at Knox County Hospital have done a great job of providing quality health care, given very limited resources. But financially, it’s no secret that small, stand-alone rural hospitals are failing all over Kentucky. So, to hear that our local hospital will, hopefully, soon be part of the ARH system is a huge blessing. Even better, we’ve been told the staff of our hospital will be offered jobs with ARH.

So, I’m thinking, we finally caught a break. But before we could celebrate the good news that our 200 hospital jobs may be saved for the long term, it was announced that up to 225 positions at the CSX railroad repair yard will be permanently lost. (180+ CSX employees, plus others from the GE division supporting the Corbin railroad repair yard will be lost.) So much for catching a break!

Well, now what do we do about this?

First, be sure you vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3. You see, who we elect matters. Kentucky needs a governor that will help grow, promote and protect business interest, large and small. Simply put, especially here in Eastern Kentucky, we really need jobs. Please get out and vote for whichever candidate you believe would be most likely to bring job growth to our economy.

Secondly, even after voting for pro-job, pro-growth candidates, don’t wait on any politician, or government, to solve our problems! Our local business, civic and education leaders need to get serious about working together.

I believe we have some smart, talented people in our area. Unfortunately, most are busy doing their own work and minding their own “back yard” so to speak. Most do not seriously spend much time looking out beyond their own organization or company. Normally, that’s OK.

But, what would happen if we started setting up meetings and conversations between these smart, talented people who are key community and business leaders? What ideas could be generated if we focused them exclusively and extensively on developing economic opportunities right here at home? Would we be able to help ourselves? Could this work?

Given the CSX announcement, I think it clearly is at least time to try. What do you think?