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Darts & Laurels

A laurel to the Oil Springs Fire and Rescue Station who held a Car and Bike show on Saturday, raising $231 toward the new Oils Springs Fire and Rescue Station #2. They also plan on holding a poker tournament on Aug. 8 to raise more funds. Way to go guys!

A dart to juvenile delinquents. It must be time to head back to school – too much time to waste has juvenile delinquents making prank calls to area businesses in Paintsville.

A laurel to the Wal-Mart Foundation State Giving Program for donating $40,000 to the Johnson County Senior Center to help support their mission of community support. The donation was given at lunchtime before an appreciative group of approximately 60 seniors.

A dart to stealing from our veterans. The VA Referral Center in Paintsville was robbed overnight Sunday. Robbers broke in and stole a collection of antique weapons and the contents of the donations box. The Center is offering a $200 reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of the robbers. Calls concerning the investigation can be directed to the Paintsville Police Department at (606) 789-2603.

A laurel to the Johnson County Public Library who held a party to celebrate the summer reading program on July 20 for all the kids who participated. Children pre-school and kindergarten age attended a two-hour session at Paintsville’s Bounce Off The Walls, while older students attended a party at the Archer Park Skating Rink in Prestonsburg.

Darts & Laurels

A laurel to Johnson County’s Marlana Vanhoose for singing the National Anthem at the 2016 Republican Convention. Born blind, this vocal powerhouse has also had the honor of singing at Carnegie Hall in NY City.

A dart to tensions that are running hot across the U.S. – especially if you are wearing a uniform. It really makes us glad to live someplace like Johnson County! As for the protestors, or those who lash out, it really doesn’t matter what race, color, gender or sexuality you are – the rules apply to us all!

A laurel to all those who protect and serve. Out of all the racial tension and conflicts with law enforcement, we just want to take a moment to say, “Thank you!” to all first responders for risking your lives on a daily basis to do your jobs. We appreciate you and all you do.

A dart to not paying attention to your surroundings. Pokemon Go is a popular phone app that has people so obsessed with catching digital ghosts on their phones, that they are leaving their brains at home. Two men in California walked off a cliff and one girl outside Pittsburg walked into traffic so far, and numerous car accidents and minor injuries here at home lay the blame directly on not paying attention to the real world despite repeat warnings. Watch out around the Paintsville Library, a pokestop, for oblivious players trying to catch Pikachu!

A laurel to various organizations who have come together to organize back-to-school bashes to ensure that students are prepared to greet the school year fully supplied. Johnson School District goes back to school Aug. 2 and Paintsville Independent School District returns on Aug 11.

Jul 20, 2016, 07:39

Guest Editorial

Don’t fan fear in already tragic deaths

By the Lexington Herald-Leader

Multiple murders by one troubled black man does not constitute a race war.
A political movement spotlighting police violence and legal unfairness has not morphed into a militant threat.
And citizens do not have to choose between objecting to unnecessary police violence and fighting crime within poor communities.
Such common sense is getting lost in the hyperbolic analysis of last week’s tragedies in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and Dallas. The country is still reeling from the senseless loss of two men by police hands and the ambush murders of five officers working a peaceful protest.
Yet many are so eager to put these horrors into ominous historical context, comparing them to the late 1960s, when poverty, racial conflict, the Vietnam War and political assassinations whipped up a toxic culture.
It is more constructive to discuss ways to avoid fanning those flames rather than to generate more fear and misunderstanding.
That has led to even more demagogic criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. The loosely knit, millennial-led activist group gains broader support with each new video of questionable police conduct. Its tactics have been political protest, demand for criminal-justice reform and the push for political accountability — democracy, in other words.
The Dallas sniper sought to associate with small black nationalist groups that threaten violence, police said. But even those groups rejected him as a member, according to recent reporting.
So, using his actions to taint Black Lives Matter is not only unfair but potentially undermining of peaceful protest. That could fuel a sense of hopelessness that would further strain community accord.
Another talking point gaining traction has been that black-on-black crime is more of a danger than police brutality to black men and boys.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani even insists on making the outrageous argument that black parents are not warning their children about lawlessness in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. But he and others rarely acknowledge that if people thought police officers cared about keeping them safe they would work more closely with them to fight crime.
At any rate, law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to decide who they fear most: criminals or the police.
The Dallas police department, by many accounts, works hard to partner with its citizens, focus on community policing and reduce citizen complaints.
The sniper, an Army veteran who demonstrated mental problems while in Afghanistan, had been planning an even deadlier attack for a while, police discovered. He just took advantage of the timing of an event that put so many officers within his sights.
So, it makes no sense to exaggerate the situation or create more bogeymen. Nor does it help to throw rhetorical bombs that distract from core issues of policing and race relations.
What we need most is the commitment and urgency to implement change that helps all.

Darts & Laurels

A laurel to the Johnson County Animal Shelter for maintaining their record as a no-kill shelter since opening doors last year through the hard work and dedication from the volunteers and staff.

A dart to the Federal Court system moving Mayor Robert Porter’s trial date once again from Thursday, July 14 to Thursday, July 28. This is the fourth time rescheduling the trial in Pikeville since the case opened.

A laurel to the amazingly quick response time of the Oil Springs Fire and Rescue station responding to the report of a house fire on Friday evening. According to Justin Daniel, Captain, they had a four minute response time to the blaze. Unfortunately, by the time they got there, the house was fully ablaze, but not through lack of effort or skill.

A dart to the Paintsville City Council for rescheduling their monthly meeting to vote on the issue of sewage rate increases in a special session on July 18 at 6 p.m., bypassing any input from the public on this issue. It is because a quorum cannot be reached on the original date of July 11, but there are many who doubt the validity of this reason.

A laurel to Paul B. Hall and the Johnson Central School District for holding sports and school physicals free of charge to those who will be participating this fall. Check your local listings for time and date of these required physicals.

Guest Editorial

ISIL Must Be Defeated

By U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell
Like many Kentuckians, I am saddened and horrified by the tragic shootings in Orlando. I mourn for the innocent lives lost. And I stand shoulder to shoulder with all Americans in supporting the victims’ families. 
Make no mistake, this atrocity was an act of terrorism. The killer declared his allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a hateful terrorist network which has declared itself the Islamic State. And it’s not the first time that ISIL has inspired or directed attacks on innocents—as we have seen after recent attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, and the latest attacks in Istanbul which appear to carry many of the aspects of previous ISIL attacks.
We must do all we can to prevent future terrorist attacks inspired or directed by ISIL. And the best way to do that is to defeat this terrorist organization where it trains, operates, and prepares—inside Iraq and Syria.
President Obama—who in 2014 famously referred to ISIL as a “JV team”—has taken a different approach. He has led a campaign to merely contain ISIL, which has been insufficient to dislodge ISIL from its headquarters in Syria or to prevent attacks on our country. The director of the CIA recently testified before Congress that “our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” He added, “as we have seen in Orlando, San Bernardino, and elsewhere, ISIL is attempting to inspire attacks by sympathizers…[and it’s] training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks.”
The president must lead a campaign to defeat, not contain, ISIL. As the CIA Director’s testimony makes clear, ISIL is not contained. Working to defeat ISIL and prevent further attacks is paramount for both Congress and the president.
There are also other measures our government can take to help aid counter-terrorism efforts. The Republican Majority in the U.S. Senate has offered several ideas to do this. One proposed bill would give the FBI and law enforcement more resources to track down and defuse terrorist threats.
Another commonsense piece of legislation would allow law enforcement to connect the dots of terrorist communications by obtaining the records of their communications in order to better disrupt their plans. This would help law enforcement immensely as they track ISIL’s sophisticated Internet campaign to inspire and radicalize adherents. The FBI director calls this reform “enormously helpful” and declared it a top legislative priority.
Another legislative reform would help the FBI in their pursuit of so-called “lone wolves,” or ISIL-inspired terrorists who do not have direct connections to the terrorist organization but still wish to harm Americans, by enabling law-enforcement officials to obtain the electronic communications of suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. 
This is an idea that’s already passed Congress before, and we should do so again. The threat of lone wolf terrorists unfortunately is not going away; we should make sure that the tools we need to prevent attacks by them does not go away either.
All of these measures would help fight terror here at home—but ultimately the best method of preventing more attacks on the homeland is to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. I stand ready to work with the president—and his successor—to achieve this goal. We cannot allow terrorists to take more innocent lives.

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