Letters to the Editor
Honoring the past with Christmas present
Fifteen years ago, Clyde Bowling started “Christmas in the Highlands.” He loved children so much and always looked for ways to help them year round. Just before he passed away, he asked his son, David Bowling, to keep it going so the children of Johnson County would always have a gift under the tree. David has honored his father’s wishes. He, along with the help of his wife Nikki and daughter Quin and some dear friends, have kept the event going and it has turned out to be a success each year.
David books the talent and generates advertising for the show. Jim O’Bryan, a family friend, is the auctioneer. After the show, Nikki and Quin reach out to local schools and donate toys. All of the money that is taken in goes to buy clothes for middle and high school students.
The show this year will be at the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. There will be an old-fashion cake walk, a 50/50 drawing, an auction, dancing and concessions. Bring the kids because Santa will be there, too.
The bands that will be performing are C.J. the D.J., Turning Ground, Coal Town Dixie, Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain, The Highland Bluegrass Quartet, and The Kevin Prater Band. Admission is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy. For more information, please call 606-367-1056. We do this show in memory of Clyde Bowling and George Ramey.
The stress is felt
Funding for state public retirement system
Recently, the latest financial stress felt by two of the state’s public retirement systems, the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System (KTRS), has been highlighted in the media. The funding level for the KERS Non-Hazardous pension plan at the end of fiscal year 2014 (FY14) dropped to 21 percent. As this news broke, KTRS was presenting a plan for a Pension Obligation Bond to better shore up its 52 percent funding level. Both of these issues will land in the lap of the General Assembly when it meets again in January.
Legislative action in the 2013 Regular Session provided the framework of intent for additional funding of KERS. This was ratified in the current biennium budget by the Governor and the General Assembly when full funding of the Actuarially Required Contribution (ARC) was included. Just five months into this fiscal year, it is too early to tell whether or not this will halt the funding slide, but even the 15.5 percent return on investments from FY14 shows that great investment returns alone will not solve the funding problem.
KTRS made a strong case for the use of bonds to improve their pension fund. Would this work for KERS as well? We are hopeful such direct infusion into the system will be seriously studied and considered. Finding a source of continued, steady, and dedicated funding to shore up KERS would be welcomed news to tens of thousands of current and future retirees who are depending on their guaranteed pension to put bread on the table.
In addition, continued full funding of the ARC should become a commitment of the General Assembly and the gubernatorial candidates as they present their platforms in next year’s campaigns. This is an obligation that has been too often ignored over the past two decades.
Kentucky Public Retirees (KPR) looks forward to working with the Kentucky Retirement Systems, our lawmakers and leaders to find a viable solution to avoid insolvency of KERS.
Paul R. Guffey, President
Kentucky Public Retirees (KPR)
Letters to the Editor
I am trying to find a picture of my grandfather, George W. Blair (Born 3-9-1873, Died 3-15-1928. He was married to Matitta Catherine Blair, the daughter of Samuel R. Blair. Does anyone have his picture?
Letters to the Editor
A veteran remembered
As another Veterans Day passes, let’s all continue to respect our brave military: present, past and future. These are the warriors who defend every right that so many Americans take for granted without scant concern; these men and women of the armed services have protected this great nation since the beginning of the republic. God bless those who have served and are currently serving to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. What would America be without the one per cent of military personnel who have put their lives on the line so that we can worship as we please, enjoy free speech, start businesses, go to ball games, and wear scrap iron in our tongues while having pink hair; all basic rights have been won by the blood of the fallen. These thoughts of military service and the devotion for past veterans led to a beautiful experience for me over the weekend.
On October 21, the oldest World War II veteran in the U.S. died in Owingsvill. His name was Roscoe Cassidy, a PFC during the war; he served with a combat engineer company from 1942 until 1945 in four major campaigns across Europe; he earned four Bronze Stars for his valor and devotion to his country. Men like him and his generation of selfless others are why we don’t speak German or Japanese today. Those men who fought the brutal fascist thugs to defeat, in a world war which claimed more than 50 million people, were both honorable and humble. Long before President Kennedy, 20 years later, uttered his famous words, “Do not ask what your country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your country,” this man met the call of America. Mr. Cassidy didn’t flinch when he was summoned to war; he simply asked what he could do for his country and did it without question. He joined the U.S. Army at 38 years of age, an advanced age for a new recruit. I did not personally know him but as a combat veteran of Vietnam’s 1st Cavalry Division, I wanted to pay my respects to an American patriot on learning of his passing.
It was related that Mr. Cassidy always said he didn’t fear death, but was more afraid that he would have no one at his funeral; he mused that all the people he had known, over the last 100 years, were dead. He was wrong in his fear of not being remembered! He had a beautiful funeral fitting for any man of honor and courage. His funeral service was handled by three ministers, four community leaders, and attended by local citizens and scores of veterans from different wars. All military branches were represented as were members from the VFW and the American Legion. Many funny stories were told and from the tales told, one could tell that he was a gentleman, a joy, and a real character. There were whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, and young and old there for his send-off. Everyone was there for the same reason: to say goodbye and thank him for being a good man. The mourners paid their last respects to a member of what Tom Brokaw referred to as the “Greatest Generation.” The feeling in the room, during that celebration of life, is what Americans should feel every day: togetherness, respect, and mutual support. The spirit of what made America the great nation that it is radiated with us on Saturday as we honored a good man.
Two U.S. Marines, in their best dress uniforms, stood at each end of his coffin during the three hour service. A Color Guard of U.S Army soldiers in dress blues served as pallbearers. The mayor of Owingsville read a city proclamation, the Kentucky General Assembly sent a proclamation, Congressman Andy Barr read an insert that will be entered into the Congressional Record, and the Patriot Guard, too numerous to count, each approached the gentleman’s coffin to render slow reverent salutes. The ceremony would have moved any citizen to a feeling of great pride in seeing the honors bestowed on Mr. Cassidy. Tears were running as the salutes kept coming for more than thirty minutes. America’s oldest veteran was then carried to his resting place by Amish men on a farm wagon; it was a fitting honor for the boy who grew up in rural Bath County and lived there his entire life. The sounds of the wagon, on the uneven pavement, made sounds surely familiar to him as a boy. The noises made by the clanking wheels seemed appropriate for a man born when Teddy Roosevelt was president. The entire funeral procession of veterans, community leaders, local citizens, and active military members followed slowly behind his cortege for the brisk walk to his burial ground.
At the gravesite, the Army Color Guard laid him to rest with much care, soft manner, and precise dignity as a bagpiper played a beautiful hymn in the distance. The 21-gun salute pierced the pristine day with a sharp jolt as the bugler played Taps for another American soldier. The flag was folded and softly presented to the family; as they sat there in silence, Mike, his son, gently stroked the flag of the greatest nation on earth. Mr. Cassidy had been remembered by a grateful nation, just as all veterans should be remembered and honored. U.S. military members serve, and some die, for the same American freedoms for which he served. Veterans proudly served to protect citizens who are kept secure so they may enjoy the sacred blessings of freedom. Military members have always sacrificed so that others would not have to bear the horrors of battle which Mr. Cassidy witnessed. We’ll always remember Mr. Cassidy as our oldest veteran but he was no different than other veterans, he just lived longer than most. He loved his country like all veterans love their country. Please remember all our veterans each Veterans Day and throughout each year, as well; you owe them much! God Bless America and the remaining veterans of the “Greatest Generation.” Goodbye Mr. Cassidy, you were a good man and you were remembered, Sir!
Commander 7/13th Artillery Association Vietnam 1967-68
All creatures great and small
Winter is now upon us and it is time to feed the birds and care for our animals.
Hopefully, the much needed animal shelter will become a reality as it is desperately needed. It is time to thank all those who have worked so hard to make Johnson County’s dream come through.
I would like to ask anyone who has care of dogs (family pets or hunting dogs) to please make sure they have a collar with your phone number, name and address on it. Otherwise, if found, they might not be returnable to you.
Folks do call in to our Swap Shop on WSIP (many thanks, WSIP) for help in finding an owner.
Some lucky dogs do make it to the county garage and hopefully do get claimed.
Please, collar and tag your dogs.
The shelter will be a much needed sanctuary for the dogs and cats it will care for.
On behalf of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the “Community Cares Committee,” we would like to thank all of our sponsors and community members who volunteered to make our, “Community Cares: Honoring Our Military: A Celebration of All Members of the Military Community,” held on September 20, 2014, a success. Thanks to our generous sponsors, we were able to honor our brave men and women who served or are currently serving in the military along with military widows and parents and children of deceased veterans with entertainment, plaques and roses for recognition along with dinner and drinks.
The event was coordinated by committee members who volunteered their time and efforts to show their love and support to those who bravely went to foreign countries, wars, and waters to make our great nation safe.
The event was a huge success with your generous support and the volunteer’s great dedication, all of which we deeply appreciate. Our sponsors included: 202nd Army Band of the KY National Guard, Appalachian Wireless, Barker Mobile Homes, Big Sandy Community & Technical College, Brown’s Foods Services, Castle’s Jewelry, Chad Woody, Community Trust Bank, Democratic Executive Committee, Democratic Women’s Committee, Sheriff Dwayne Price, First Commonwealth Bank, Food City, Lawrence County High School ROTC, Little Divas, Kim Naugle, Paul B. Hall Medical Center, Peace of Mind Therapeutic Services, Pepsi, Big Sandy RECC, Signature Events, Wal- Mart, Western Construction, WKLW – KLITE, and WSIP.
Also, a huge thanks to our Community Cares Committee Members who volunteered their time - Tammy Ball, Martina Lutz, Tammy Barker, Heidi Shanley McCarty, Amanda Blevins, Regina Hall McClure, Kayla Cantrell, Nancy Price, Darlene Caudill, Charly Ann Sholty, Tabitha Pelphrey Curnutte, Michelle Blanton Spriggs, Cheryl Endicott, Lisa Lea Roberts-Trusty, Tammy Keel, Tonya Wallach, Gary Lafferty, and Tina Webb.
Sheriff Dwayne Price
Nov 12, 2014, 07:41
Letters to the Editor
The 2014 Red Ribbon Week concluded on October 31, 2014. The event at both Johnson County Schools and Paintsville Independent Schools was an overwhelming success. Along with the Paintsville Ministerial Association’s speakers: Omega Force, the Growing Up Safe (GUS) Organization and the Paintsville Police Department gathered up Drug Free Pledge cards from the students during their lunch periods. The drug free pledge cards were then entered into a drawing for prizes. On October 29th at Paintsville Independent Schools the drawing winners were: 1st Place with a $100.00 gift card from Walmart was Libby Ashbrook, 2nd place with a $50.00 gift card from Walmart was Holly Haunhorst and 3rd place with a $25.00 gift card from Walmart was Andre Faria.
On October 31, 2014 at Johnson County Schools a drawing was held for the winners with the following results. 1st place, a $100 Walmart gift card going to Harley Kilgore, 2nd place a $50.00 Walmart gift card was awarded to Tiffany Blevins and 3rd place, a $25.00 Walmart gift card was awarded to Lindsay Wetzel.
The Growing Up safe organization would like to take this time to thank, from Johnson County Schools: Mrs. Karen Salyer and Mr. Russell Halsey; from Paintsville Independent Schools: Ms. Elizabeth Bruner and Mr. Chuck McClure for all their support for this program. Growing Up Safe would also like to thank Steve Sluss and officer Danny Smith with the Paintsville Police Department and Mr. Bob Hutchison and McDonalds of Eastern Kentucky for all their support for this event year after year.
Growing Up Safe, President
Letters to the Editor
Washington doing little to stop Ebola
Ebola in America is another avoidable crisis created by inept leadership. Our elected leaders in Washington could have handled the deadly virus responsibly without medical advice. An ounce of commonsense was sufficient to safeguard and “promote the general welfare.”
For example, Ebola did not develop in three nations simultaneously. It started in one nation and traveled to other nations. Medical experts have not reached a consensus about how the virus travels from here to there. Their failure to reach agreement clearly identified the responsible measure. Travelers from West Africa may not enter and contaminate another nation.
Incredibly, our tax-paid, bureaucratic doctors have opposed a travel-ban. They justified their opposition with petty rationalizations that callously included their economic concern for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. They topped their gobbledygook with: “Ebola has been stopped in its tracks.” Two days later, the first of two Dallas nurses contracted the virus from a patient who had traveled to America from West Africa.
The bureaucratic doctors then advanced the Ebola discussion to the next lowest level, diminishment. “Only three cases in a nation of 300 million.” That brand of stupidity disregards the undeniable fact that there used to be only one case of Ebola in all of West Africa.
Moreover, with millions of illegal aliens roaming America at will, pertussis (whooping cough), tuberculosis, measles, and mumps; diseases eradicated 50 years ago, are making a comeback due to declining living standards among the working class. Sadly, that is another undeniable fact.
The “State of the Union” is in critical condition and the outlook is grim. Its downward spiral will continue as long as voters permit elected politicians in Congress and in the White House to demonstrate self-serving, irresponsible, incompetent, dishonest, and lawless conduct right out in broad daylight with no fear of arrest or accountability.