copyright Bill Widener 2000

Go Matt

I don't know Matt Dacey ["He Wanted to be a Millionaire," May 17] but I thoroughly enjoyed his "performance" on national television. I'm sorry he didn't win a million dollars, but he seemed poised and smart and well-spoken the entire time he was on the show.

It may be a shame that it took two Kentuckians on game shows (including Roger on "Survivor") to help us put a dent in our image as barefoot hillbillies, but I'm glad they were there.

And I don't watch the show (haha) but I liked reading Matt's "insider" story at abc.

Maybe he could shut up those dodos on"Weakest Link" now that he's a pro.

Becky Evans

Meet Nurse Mary Jane

I hope you believe, as I do, that a sick person's best ally in the fight against illness is his or her doctor. State law, however, forbids patients from following the advice of physicians when it comes to marijuana. There is no medical exception to the which punish marijuana users.

A doctor, not the government, should determine what treatments are best for patients with debilitating conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, or chronic pain.

And if doctors inform some of their patients that marijuana may be beneficial in the treatment of a serious condition, surely those patients should not be subject to arrest and imprisonment for medical marijuana.

Regrettably, medical marijuana was not on the Kentucky legislature's agenda this year. I hope that medical marijuana is not ignored next year. We should trust a doctor's judgment and allow treatment decisions to be made in his or her office, not by government officials.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of patients across Kentucky are already using medical marijuana to treat a serious, debilitating medical condition. Of course, they do this in secret, fearful that if caught they can be punished by the state.

Unfortunately, current law treats patients who use marijuana for a legitimate medical need no differently than it treats all other drug users. What a shameful consequence of the war on drugs. Patients should not be penalized simply for trying to cope with their illness...

I regret to report, however, that the Kentucky legislature did not consider any bills this year to protect medical marijuana patients. In fact, Kentucky is just one of 15 states that has never had a law recognizing marijuana's medical benefits.

I urge all Kentucky residents to contact their state legislators to demand that medical marijuana be on the legislature's agenda in 2002. It is time to protect patients who have a legitimate medical need to use marijuana.

In March 1999, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine released a landmark report on medical marijuana, which found that marijuana is medically beneficial in treating a number of serious medical conditions, including cancer, AIDS, and chronic pain.

This report, which was commissioned by the White House drug czar's office, recognized that it would require millions of dollars and decades of time before the FDA would consider making marijuana available by prescription. Consequently, IOM recommended that patients be given immediate legal access to medical marijuana.

Because the federal government refuses to heed the recommendations of the IOM report, states across the country continue to enact laws to protect patients from being punished under state law for using medical marijuana.

Kentucky should do the same. However, no state legislators introduced bills to protect medical marijuana patients this year. While it is too late to pass a medical marijuana law this year, it is never too late to plan for next year.

If you believe that patients who use medical marijuana upon the advice of their doctors should not be punished, I urge you to contact your state legislators to let them know that Kentucky should follow in the footsteps of the eight states that have already removed penalties for medical marijuana....

In the next legislative session, I hope Kentucky's lawmakers will join the aforementioned states in allowing the legitimate use of medical marijuana. It is time to provide legal protection for the state's medical marijuana patients.

Ken Barnhill

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Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


How Rumors Get Started

Contrary to a rumor I heard no less than five times in a one-week span, Actors' Guild is NOT closing.

Fortunately, I ran into Deb Shoss at Farmers' Market, shortly after this one made the rounds and asked, with some trepidation, "Is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"That Actors' Guild is closing?"

First, she looked completely mystified - as if maybe I'd just asked her if Actors' Guild was relocating to the moon.Then she got (righteously) indignant, and quickly reassured me that NOTHING could be further from the truth.

I invited her to set the record straight in this space, and she sent me the following statement: "Actors' Guild is thriving in the midst of its most successful season ever! More than half of our 84 performances so far have sold out... The 2001/02 season ...will be announced on June 14. Also in June, AGL begins STAGES, a program for at-risk youth to find their voices through playwriting and public performance."

There you have it.

Prior to the untrue prediction of Actors' Guild's demise, in the wake of the closing of a few extremely prominent local restaurants, I was recently greeted at the door of Ed & Fred's Desert Moon by owner Judy Eifert.

The first words out of her mouth were, "TELL ME you have NOT heard that we're closing."

"Gosh, are you CLOSING??" was my sympathetic response.

"NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!" she exclaimed emphatically. "But that RUMOR is going around. I just want you to help put a stop to it!!"

I assured her I'd do what I could.

No sooner had I gotten back to the office than two staff members informed me that it was a good thing I'd gotten in when I did - since Desert Moon would be closing its doors for good at ANY MINUTE.

I responded that I'd JUST talked to the owner, and that this was a COMPLETE fabrication.

(The buzz was SO rampant that I even noticed a few line denial on it in the food column of the daily paper that Friday.)

Heck, while I'm on the rumor mill, I'll take another second to dispel the myth that the band Barnhouse Effect is breaking up. (A member IS relocating to Maryland, but the band already has a June gig at High on Rose.)

Maybe I take these incidents personally because I know how hard these people work.

The sheer day to day minutae of running this company is the most exhausting thing I've ever tackled in my life, and that's to say nothing of the particular kinds of enemies one curries in ANY segment of the Media (where you break a lot of eggs). Not to mention the occasional animosity that's directed toward ANYONE who owns ANY business large or small (from competitors, disgruntled former employees, and so on).

When Village Voice Media bought Ace last year, the first rumor we had to dispel was that all current employees would be axed and replaced. Didn't happen.

In the fall, the word on the street was that VVM would be closing Ace instead of naming a new publisher. Again, didn't happen.

(Are you sensing a theme yet?)

During their subsequent reorganization (some positions were eliminated; others were added, for example - an experience that's always wrenching), I received at least one call a week from the daily paper just asking me (very politely) to confirm or deny whatever wackadoo rumor they'd gotten on their answering machine that day - mostly speculation about the new publisher. At one point I heard Gatewood was taking over my job. Another rumor that's refused to die (to this day) is the "new policy" that all our content "would be generated in Nashville and New York."

Here's the scoop: Ace has been running syndicated material (like Real Astrology) for at least ten years. We also occasionally pick up features from our fellow weekly papers - JUST AS THEY PICK UP OURS (Reality Truck has run everywhere from Santa Fe to Sacramento) - because sometimes (as all my fellow AAN editors freely admit), another paper or another editor runs across a piece that we all want to share.

And of course, when I bought the paper from VVM in January, that was still more grist for the mill.

The only thing that really surprises me is that the rumors never really change in either substance or tone - and in fact, they're actually the SAME things I've been hearing about Ace since I started freelancing here in the early 90s.

Four years ago I ran into someone in SANTE FE who ASSURED me Ace was on the skids (according to his "reliable source").

We're proud of our 12-year track record of growth, without being remotely cocky about the occasional bumps we've encountered along the way.

We work especially hard to constantly improve our award-winning art and content. Our pool of freelancers includes everyone from local musicians to teachers to professors to bartenders and artists and lawyers and even bankers. This week's cover story is written by a beloved member of UK's English faculty.

Our annual summer movie preview is written by staffer Rob Bricken - one of his last features for us - as he prepares to depart for the Big Apple, and a job as Associate Editor at ToyFare Magazine. Before the tom-toms start drumming: the Listings job here is most commonly a one-to-two year stepping stone to a larger market (Rob "Big City" Hulsman is now in Boston, for example). We will miss him, but we are VERY proud. (Rest assured, his successor, longtime Ace freelancer, Chris Webb, has deep roots in the local A&E community.)

After 12 years of slow but steady progress - and all the growing pains that accompany that lengthy history - there's really no choice but to develop a thicker skin, and trust in our readers, our writers, our artists, our advertisers, and our staff - the people who've been making this place what it is for the past dozen years. And to trust they know the meaning of the phrase: consider the source.

We look forward to the next dozen. -Rhonda