Monday, November 28, 2005

Hey everybody! It's us again!

The Tracker: November 2005

* Kentucky ranks in the top ten poorest states in the United States.

* Rates of smoking are highest in states with higher poverty.

* Medicaid recipients have approximately 50% greater smoking prevalence than the overall U.S. population. In 2002, Kentucky was 1 of 15 states which did not include medication coverage for tobacco dependence treatment under Medicaid.

* In 2004, Kentucky had the highest adult smoking rate in the country at 28%.

* The local adult smoking rate (18 and older) is 26%. The local youth smoking rate (8th-12th graders) is 24%.

* From 2001-2003, the percent of adults that tried to quit smoking in Owensboro-Daviess County was 56%. The state percentage was 48%.

* In 2004, the number of local manufacturers offering smoking cessation programs to their employees was 52%. The state percentage was 48%.

* According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, during 1997-2001, cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke resulted in approximately 438,000 premature deaths in the United States, 5.5 million total years of potential life lost, and $92 billion of annual losses in worker productivity.

* In 2003, the percentage of local schools banning smoking on school grounds was 64%. The state percentage was 42%.

* In 2003, the percentage of local restaurants that were smoke free was 57%. The state percentage was 45%.

* In 2002, Kentucky had the fifth highest age-adjusted death rate in the United States. Out of 50 states, citizens in 45 live healthier and longer than Kentuckians.

* The four leading indicators of death in the Kentucky are 1) heart disease; 2) cancer; 3) stroke; and 4) chronic lower respiratory disease.

* Cigarette smoking is the single most common preventable cause of death for the four leading indicators of death.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hey everybody! Well, it looks like we will be closing on our new house in late December! We are so excited. This is a preliminary picture. Can't wait until you can visit us!

Friday, November 4, 2005

The Profound Role of Leadership: by Gary Hall

All of us have been positively influenced by leaders throughout our lives.

Whether they were a Little League coach, youth minister, an inspirational teacher or a wise grandparent, our perceptions and character are formed by these personal relationships.

We also have been affected by leadership. Think of how American's collectively feel when it is perceived no one is at the helm of the ship in Washington, D.C..

The challenge of leadership is to successfully bring a critical number of people to a unified conclusion resulting in support for action.

Research has shown that the critical number of people needed to cause community change is surprisingly a minimum of thirty percent. When Americans fought and won independence from the British, interestingly enough, it was not by means of unanimous support. In fact, the population was bitterly divided into three equal camps. There were the Tory's, those loyal to the crown, the Revolutionaries fighting for independence, and those who were neutral in the entire matter. Eventually, they all were benefactors of those few leaders who did not wait to gain the support of the majority but garnered enough support to accomplish what was right for the new nation.

In August of this year, a survey was conducted of registered voters in Owensboro/Daviess County revealing that sixty-five percent of respondents favored an ordinance restricting smoking inside many public buildings and businesses. This survey had a confidence level of 95% + 5%. Results were published in the Messenger-Inquirer on October 5.

One question surrounding the jointly written ordinance is, "Does passive smoke harm those who are exposed? Too many studies have repeatedly shown that second-hand smoke does have adverse effects on adults and especially children.

The issue of whether or not individual rights of smokers would be infringed is also important to consider. Does a smoker have the right to exhale smoke in an enclosed space shared also by nonsmokers and children? Many years ago, cities saw the need to pass ordinances to restrict snuff/tobacco chewers from spitting on city sidewalks. Why? Because it was smelly, unsightly with ambeer staining the soles of pedestrian's shoes.

Although not as visible, passive-smoke is inhaled clinging to the lungs of non-smokers.

Smoking restrictions do not infringe on the rights of smokers, it actually provides specific guidelines where one can smoke while also protecting the rights of the non-smoking population.

Dr. Howard Gardner, professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education defines leadership this way: "A leader is an individual (or, a set of individuals) who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of a significant number of individuals." Having verifiable strong community support, the next step is for our city/county officials to carry out their responsibility as duly elected leaders. With the authority their offices hold, they must move to support a comprehensive ordinance protecting as many of our members of our community as possible.

Gary Hall, 2415 North Stratford Drive, Owensboro