Darts and Laurels
A laurel to the Paintsville Tourism for offering such an assortment of holiday festivities to the people of Johnson County. With the Paintsville Christmas Festival starting off the season on Dec. 11 and 12. And the Christmas in the Mountain Homeplace event following on Dec. 18 and 19 from 5-9 p.m.
A dart to intoxicated drivers who make the poor decision to get behind the wheel and put the rest of traveling people at risk.
A laurel to the East Kentucky Science Center for holding its Regional Science Fair recently.
A dart the recent case of animal cruelty in Johnson County.
A laurel to the Harman Station Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as they celebrate their 90th birthday making it one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Johnson County.
Watch out for thieves banking on season
By the Kentucky New Era
The holiday shopping season can make or break many retailers each year, including some in our own community, but it is also a potential bonanza for criminals who prey on busy consumers.
It is the season of giving — and unfortunately, it is the time for taking.
Now is a good time to think about ways to protect your bank accounts, your wallet and the personal financial information you want to keep private. During the last two months of the year, when stores are packed and online sites are busy, there is a greater potential for theft.
Bank ATMs and gas pumps are two places where digital thieves can gain access to your bank accounts. That’s why the Financial Cybercrime Task Force of Kentucky just issued a warning to consumers, banks and retailers. A skimmer attached to the device where you swipe your card can capture data from the card’s magnetic strip. Thieves can combine this with a hidden camera that records your four-digit PIN and then produce fake cards to clean out your account.
“We’re taking a proactive step to ensure community banks and credit unions are aware of the risk and keeping consumers protected,” Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Charles Vice said in a news release. “However, skimming could happen anywhere a card is swiped — not just ATMs — so it’s important for consumers to be aware of the risks.”
Consumer protection groups recommend you examine card readers for evidence of loose attachments, tape or glue.
Other risks to shoppers include email or phone calls requesting personal financial information. Don’t provide that information except in person at your bank or through a known contact in a phone call you make to your bank or credit card company.
Online shopping requires safeguards. You should never shop, pay bills or do banking when using public Wi-Fi at places like coffee shops or hotels. A thief can access your information whether you are using a laptop, tablet or cellphone.
It’s usually best to use a credit card rather than a debit card in places where you are at risk of identity theft. Credit cards generally provide more protection to reimburse you in the case of fraudulent purchases.
There’s also some risk in filling out credit applications in a store. These are generally done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, which a clerk then keys into a store computer. What’s left behind is a written record of your Social Security number and other personal information that could be used to open other accounts in your name without your knowledge.
Even with all these digital concerns during the holidays, it’s also important to remember that purse-snatching and pick-pocketing still occur. While you are out shopping and enjoying the season, be aware of your surroundings and take care of your belongings.
It only takes one successful thief to dampen your Christmastime enjoyment. Protect yourself and your money.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to local veterans, county and city officials, friends and family who gathered in the Fiscal Court room last Wednesday to celebrate and thank those who fought and sacrificed so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today. So deserved. Thank you.
A dart to bogus emails and telephone scams informing the recipient they are from the IRS. Please be informed.
A laurel to the Johnson County Middle School football team for being recognized as the 2015 State Champs. Way to go!
A dart to persistant lawbreakers still not learning from their past.
A laurel to the Governor for announcing that Johnson County Court Clerk will receive a grant from the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives to reserve and manage local government records.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to Johnson County Native Chris Stapleton for winning New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for Traveller at the Country Music Awards held last Wednesday. Your hard work and preserverance finally paid off big! Congratulations.
A laurel to the Johnson County Masonic Outreach for their 7th year hosting the Coats for Kids Live Auction held this past Saturday. These Masons work with area school’s resource centers who help them create a list of coats that need to be purchased to help our local youth.
A laurel to Paintsville Utilities Commission for approving the waiving of tap fees for the victims of the July flooding who have decided to rebuild on higher ground.
A laurel to our area Veterans on today being Veteran’s Day. We can’t say it any better than President Woodrow Wilson, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day (Veteran’s Day) will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the think from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy which peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
Food for thought
Eastern Kentucky’s work toward attracting business and making its economy stronger is an ongoing process.
However, two speakers at Wednesday’s Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues breakfast reiterated that the boots are on the ground and work is underway.
In the event at the Hilton Garden Inn, One East Kentucky CEO Chuck Sexton, and Haley McCoy, manager for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Eastern Kentucky office, both took different directions in talking about the future of the region, but also spoke of a common goal.
Sexton said his fledging organization, which is being funded by businesses, will be able to work in tandem with the Shaping Our Appalachian Region project, as well as other economic development organizations, to bring the region forward to companies looking for new locations.
SOAR, he said, has a goal of preparing the area for economic development, while One East Kentucky’s goal is to bring companies into the region based on the work done by SOAR.
“It is important for us to work together,” he said.
One East Kentucky, Sexton said, has three strategies to bring companies here, including focused business recruitment, aggressive marketing of the region and assisting local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce in meeting the shared goals they all have.
The organization will actively recruit companies, he said.
One East Kentucky will have a goal of meeting with 80 companies every year to tell them about the area, as well as use targeted materials to show the companies that there are sites and workforce numbers available to them.
The workforce aspect, he said, is important and will be shown partially by showing prospective employers the education available.
“Besides sites and buildings, one of the most important and key things that industry needs today that they cannot find is a trained, skilled workforce that will show up, not just trained and skilled, but they’ve got to show up,” he said.
One East Kentucky, Sexton said, is doing a comprehensive workforce study of the region so that, when he goes to companies, he can show them what’s available here.
While the organization has not yet met its overall funding goal of $2.7 million for the five-year goal, Sexton said, a total of 10 projects have already been submitted.
Sexton said it is important that the region work together to market itself to companies.
“We get a shot at more projects because we’re working together as a region,” he said. “We can’t just have one piece of property. We’ve got to have multiple pieces of property.”
McCoy stressed the importance of the ongoing work toward expanding broadband service in the area.
McCoy pointed to the work done in her home area of Jackson County and surrounding counties there. A telephone cooperative, People’s Rural Telephone Cooperative, she said, built its own fiber broadband infrastructure for the surrounding communities.
The result, she said, has been real. Since January, she said she recently learned, a total of 101 jobs have been created there, based on people using broadband for work.
“That’s what’s coming, that’s what’s going to be available,” she said.
McCoy said that the work being done on broadband is important.
“We do need to recruit businesses, we do need to recruit manufacturers, we need to recruit larger industry,” she said. “But, at the same time, this technology is going to have the capacity to move the needle for the local economy for their own quality of life in Eastern Kentucky. It’s not going to matter where you live. It’s not going to matter what else you have access to. You can be part of the workforce for all companies everywhere.”