You will be excused if you're not sure whether Kentucky ranks as a superlative or subpar place to retire.

The Sun carried two stories recently that came to nearly opposite conclusions.

In December, we reported that Kentucky ranked No. 2 in the nation on an annual list of Best States for Early Retirement compiled by the financial website

Then last Tuesday we ran a story ranking the state the ninth worst in the U.S. for retirement, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.

The unfavorable ranking of Kentucky by WalletHub was based on a broad set of factors.

They included life expectancy, health care facilities and physicians per capita, crime rates, volunteer opportunities, theaters and museums per capita, and employment opportunities for those 65 and older. While the state was ranked 16th in affordability, it was placed 49th in health care.

The favorable Kentucky rating by was based on a narrower set, almost all relating to financial advantages of retiring in the commonwealth.

It cited the state's relatively low cost of living, low housing costs, relatively low sales and property taxes, its exemption from taxing Social Security payments and a significant deduction for seniors receiving other retirement income.

The conflicting conclusions make the point that any set of rankings depends on the survey's metrics. Whether this state should rank high or low as a place to retire will hinge entirely on the factors being measured.

Where to Retire magazine used criteria that turned out well for Paducah last June when our town was named one of the top eight river cities in the U.S. for retirement.

"We searched great retirement communities that are near rivers, and Paducah just shined," said Annette Fuller, the magazine's editor.

The magazine made note of the National Quilt Museum, entertainment and community education opportunities, the city's commitment to the arts and its favorable cost of living.

"You have the Lower Town Arts District, which is an amazing success story," Fuller said. "Retirees want to live somewhere where there is artistry and entrepreneurship. And they love walkable downtowns with things going on."


We get many kinds of feedback from readers, and two very different pieces came in this week.

One was a screen shot of last Sunday's front page sent to our Facebook inbox. The top headline on the page read, "Anti-Trump marches rally over 1 million."

But the words "Anti-Trump" were crossed out and "Pro-woman" handwritten as a substitute. The "1 million" was replaced with "3 million"

The post from Amanda Lynn Jones Wilson came with just a four-word note:

"Fixed it for you."

I called Amanda, who lives in Hickory and works as an office manager, and asked what prompted her to make the revisions.

"I thought the headline was very polarizing and needed a more positive spin," she said. "I like to see stories about people coming together, and people around the world came together for this march."

I told her I agreed and liked her choice of words.

She was also right about the number of marchers being much higher than a million. That was the preliminary estimate reported in our Associated Press story, but later estimates put the worldwide total at more than three million.

The second note came from Vanessa Collins, who wrote:

"I realize in the business you are in that you receive plenty of complaints. Don't worry about that with me.

"I wanted to compliment your fine reporter Mike Stunson. I am a parent at Mayfield High School and watched as he was there for six days last week covering 14 games for the Class A Tournament.

"For a small school community, it means a great deal to us that he was there. Not only did he provide excellent coverage on Twitter in addition to his stories, but he did it all with a smile on his face.

"Student sections chanting his name and him being asked for autographs were certainly well-warranted. You have a star in your sports department, and I just wanted to let you know."

Before sharing the note with Mike, I asked if he had an aunt named Vanessa. More seriously, I said he's the first person I've ever worked with to be asked for autographs, let alone be the subject of chants.

He called the email gratifying and credits his use of Twitter (with more than 5,500 followers) for much of his popularity.

Maybe so, but it's also true that he does excellent work covering prep sports. We're proud to have him on our team.

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