Letters to the Editor
Thanks from local girl scouts
Realizing that in Girl Scout cookie season, “There’s more to Girl Scouts than what’s in the box,” businesses throughout the Big Sandy Region opened their storefronts to Girl Scout troops from the Johnson and Martin County Service Unit, helping individual scouts and their troops reach their sales goals by selling 17,268 boxes of cookies this cookie season!
This season, Scouts sold Shortbread cookies, Peanut Butter Patties, Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Caramel deLites, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemonades, and a new flavor of cookie, Mango Crèmes. Cookie sales help scouts to learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. These valuable skills are the building blocks for developing leaders and for ensuring success in life. By participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program a girl learns that by putting her mind and energies into something, she can do anything.
The Johnson and Martin County Service Unit would like to thank the following businesses and their managers for allowing our unit to set up in front of their stores. We’re already looking forward to returning next year! Those that helped include: Lowe’s, Kmart, Peebles, Aaron’s Rental, Dollar Discount, Treasures on Main, Hutch Chevrolet, IGA of Salyersville, Copley’s Market, Shop Rite, and Dollar General of Inez. Also, a special thanks to the Johnson County Buddy Ball League and the Johnson County Fishing Swap Meet for allowing girls to set up at these events. Girls will once again be selling cookies in the winter of 2014 so look for a booth and help a girl meet her goals and build skills that will last a lifetime!
Regina Hall McClure
The Johnson County Fiscal Court, Judge R. T. Daniel and staff extend thanks and appreciation to all businesses and individuals who supported the efforts of volunteers during Commonwealth Cleanup Week.
Special thanks to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, McDonalds, Louisa Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Papa John’s Pizza, Arby’s, East Kentucky Beverage, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Food City, Senior Citizens Center, Subway, East End Pizza, Wilma’s Restaurant, Mandarin House Restaurant, Jerry Rice and Little Debbie Cakes, Southeast Telephone, Bob Evans, Ramada Inn, Porky’s Pizza, David from Family Dollar Store, Kmart, Walmart, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Little Caesar’s Pizza, United Valley Bell, and all others for donations for food, food items or drinks. Thanks also to David Lusk, Apple Valley Sanitation, for his help and cooperation during this and other cleanup projects.
The 2013 Commonwealth Cleanup was co-sponsored by the PRIDE Program of Eastern Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Highways. They were assisted in their cleanup efforts by the Johnson County Road Department, The division of Waste Management, Johnson County Jailer, Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, Little Sandy Correctional Complex and other volunteers.
Judge Daniel said, “We appreciate the donations of time, food equipment and supplies by businesses and individuals. We have had excellent support during this and previous cleanup efforts. Let’s continue to show our PRIDE in Johnson County.”
Before its too late
Here in Kentucky, there are children living in deplorable conditions in their own homes – victims of child abuse and neglect. Sometimes we hear their stories when it’s too late. Other times, they are rescued because a concerned family member or neighbor reports the suspected mistreatment and the children are removed from these homes.
When removed, where do these children go? Is there a warm bed, a good meal and a loving family that awaits to comfort them after their ordeal? Thanks to foster parents around Kentucky, there is.
May is National Foster Care Month and it’s an opportunity to show our appreciation for the wonderful people who welcome these hurting children into their homes and into their lives. Sunrise Children’s Services has been offering a refuge for hurting children since 1869, and today we have a statewide network of foster parents who provide a safe, loving environment for children in need.
Foster parents are equipped with compassion, patience and a desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Sometimes the child is in a foster home for only a short period, and other times the arrangement leads to an adoption. Regardless of how long the relationship is, foster parents have an opportunity to model loving, responsible and productive family relationships to children who may never have witnessed how families are supposed to function.
Abuse and neglect show no signs of significantly decreasing in Kentucky, meaning the demand for foster parents continues to be high. As you read this, there are children in dire need of a home like yours where they can lay their head without pain, without fear, and without hunger. If you would like more information about how to become a foster parent, or support those who are, visit us at www.sunrise.org, or call us toll-free at 1-855-33icare.
Dr. William Smithwick
President and CEO
Sunrise Children’s Services
Politicians often talk about creating jobs and boosting investment in the American economy, but ultimately an elected official’s policies must speak louder than words. Unfortunately in the case of President Obama, his policies continue to fall short of his soaring rhetoric. He is routinely guilty of delivering eloquent speeches while simultaneously proposing budgets that will reduce domestic investment in American industry. Just take for example his effort to repeal a key tax deduction for the American energy sector.
This proposal, included in President Obama’s FY 2014 budget, would reduce investment in the development of domestic energy resources such as oil and gas, thus weakening our national security and our economy. This policy would cripple job growth in an industry that supports over 9 million American jobs and contributes over $1 trillion to our economy. And with the American economy on the ropes these past few years, new energy taxes are the last thing that President Obama, Congress or anyone should be considering.
It’s time to end this hostility towards American businesses. Levying new energy taxes will only hurt growth, hamper long-term energy production and send gas prices higher. Tens of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars in investment hang in the balance. Instead of raising taxes on the American oil and gas industry, President Obama should be pursuing more fundamental tax reform, making the system fairer and encouraging businesses to invest.
W.O.W. sends sincere gratitude
All the members of Whiskers or Wags (W.O.W.) want to extend our sincere gratitude to some very special people who advocated for two voiceless cruelty victims. Even though these victims were animals, the following individual’s determination for justice was no less dedicated.
Thank you Johnson County Attorney Michael Endicott, Johnson County District Judge Susan Johnson, Paintsville Mayor Bob Porter, Paintsville Police Sgt. Mike Roe, Paintsville officers Paul David Witten and Nathan Caudill, members of the Paintsville Fire and Rescue, Highland Veterinarian Joe Salyer, Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Blair, and all of the concerned citizens that called in reports of two dogs trapped in a van.
In December, two boxers were left unattended for several days bound within the confines of a locked van with the windows rolled completely shut. Several concerned citizens contacted Mayor Porter who in return contacted officers with the city police. Upon arrival, Sgt. Roe and officers Witten and Caudill made every effort to document the condition of these defenseless animals. At nearly the same time, Deputy Blair searched and located the owner of the vehicle. Officers also notified our group of the location of the dogs so that they could get veterinarian treatment and find a loving foster home until a verdict on the criminal case regarding custody of the dogs could be de reached. Mr. Endicott prosecuted and successfully won the case in district court. The jury recommended that the dogs were not to be returned to the owner. Further jurors recommended that the owner pay a $100 fine and court costs. The total out of pocket expense this owner was out was $253. This was the first cruelty to animals’ trial ever held in Johnson County.
This victory would not have been possible without the efforts of all of these heroes. Thank you for your commitment in rescuing and protecting these wonderful pets.
With much thanks,
Whiskers or Wags
(The Johnson County Animal Shelter Project)
Letters to the Editor
National Travel and Tourism Week
By Marcheta Sparrow
It’s May and Kentuckians everywhere are celebrating the return of spring and beautiful weather in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky has much to be proud of, especially when it comes to natural beauty and the outdoors. When travelers from other parts of the United States and other countries visit, they often tell us how lucky we are to live here.
We are also celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week May 4-12 and I want to use this occasion to call attention to one of those wonderful places in Kentucky: Lake Cumberland.
In 2007 the water level was lowered while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made important repairs on Wolf Creek Dam. That complicated and challenging engineering work was necessary for public safety. The work included using more than 300,000 cubic yards of concrete to form a barrier wall.
Unfortunately, the lower water level hurt tourism in the Lake Cumberland region.
The good news is that the repairs to the dam are complete and the water level at Lake Cumberland has been increased by 20 feet for this summer. The Corps plans to return the lake to its normal level in 2014.
Local tourism officials report that fishing has been great this spring and that the news of the higher lake level has created a buzz throughout the Midwest boating and angling community. Local businesses are optimistic that tourism will pick up as the lake level goes up.
Visitation to this lake plays a major role in the economy for many communities. For many families around Lake Cumberland, tourism dollars put food on the table.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will stock 150,000 more walleyes and 150,000 more striped bass than normal this year at Lake Cumberland. Altogether, the department will add 1 million walleye and striped bass to the lake this year to give fishing a boost.
The department also plans to jump-start the trophy trout fishery in the Lake Cumberland tailwater by stocking 10,000 trout larger than 15 inches next winter.
Kentucky is blessed when it comes to water and recreation. Kentucky has nearly 90,000 miles of rivers and streams, giving the state more flowing water than any state other than Alaska. There are plenty of beautiful lakes across the state, from Kentucky Lake in the west to Yatesville Lake in the east and Laurel River Lake near London to Taylorsville Lake, just outside of Louisville.
The water level at Lake Cumberland isn’t the only thing going up.
Gov. Steve Beshear and I are announcing this week that tourism had an economic impact of more than $12.2 billion in Kentucky in 2012, an increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year. The tourism industry was responsible for 174,000 jobs – 4,078 more than the previous year. Those jobs provided more than $2.7 billion in wages during 2012, an increase of $117 million from 2011.
Tourism in the state also provides $1.2 billion in tax revenues, which helps pay for many services for our citizens.
Many Kentucky communities are developing adventure tourism attractions, and several will be designated as official “Trail Towns” as part of our effort to promote and encourage the development of trails for hiking, cycling, horseback riding and canoeing. We want to tie these trails to these communities and encourage the development of Main Street businesses, restaurants and services to guests.
More than 30 communities have expressed interest in this program, and we are encouraged by their ideas and plans. The state is also developing the Dawkins Line, which will be the longest rail-to-trail project in Kentucky. The first 18 miles of this eastern Kentucky trail is expected to open this year and will be open to hikers, cyclists and horseback riders.
I’d like to encourage you to spend some time traveling in Kentucky this year, and hope you’ll consider a getaway to one of our great Kentucky State Parks, many of which are located on a major lake. Whether it’s a houseboat vacation, a camping trip to your favorite fishing spot or a visit to one of our inviting lakeside communities, I hope you will take the time to relax and see for yourself why we say “There is only one Kentucky.”
Marcheta Sparrow is secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Letters to the Editor
Response to Mr. Melvin’s letter
In response to Chuck Melvin’s “Thank You, Thank You” letter to the Herald that appeared in the April 17th issue regarding the acquisition of golf carts, I would like to say that the first three-fourth’s of its content read like historic poetry; it provided some much needed info about the importance of Paintsville’s oldest and most beautiful tourist attraction. But I came away from the letter a little puzzled about Melvin’s “thank you” as to who it was directed towards and what exactly it was for. He called every member of the Paintsville City Council who voted “yes” on the issue by name and literally gushed over them as if they were Crusaders returning from the Holy Land. He even gave them credit for “allowing this facility (the golf course) to continue serving our community as a tourist attraction as it has done since 1929.”
Really? Is that what the city council voted for? I bet they were surprised when they read that statement. Because as the issue was put to them, they were not voting FOR or AGAINST the golf carts or any other matter, let alone “allowing” the country club to continue to do anything.
For those who have followed this little soap opera concerning the golf carts, it started this way: it was determined that the new golf carts (40 of them) were needed for all the upcoming golf course activity this summer. Being as the Golf Course and Country Club are considered tourist attractions, Paintsville Tourism was approached for help. Tourism voted to purchase the golf carts, but instead of their usual procedure of just buying them outright from their own funds someone came up with a plan to borrow the money from a local bank at 3 percent interest (an additional amount measured in thousands of extra dollars above and beyond the cost of the actual golf carts that has to be paid back by the tax payers). However, Mayor Bob Porter would have to sign a permission document called a CCU1 in order to OK the loan his members of tourism wanted; but he first had to have a majority vote of the city council for the approval of the signing of said document.
At the City Council Meeting of April 9th, in which the vote was to be taken, Tourism Chairman Todd Meade explained that the City of Paintsville would not be responsible for the loan and that Tourism would pay it all back in three years (at 3 percent interest of course).
My wife, Sara Blair, was the only council member to voice a question: “Why is Tourism taking out a loan with interest when they could just pay for the golf carts outright from their own funds?”
Sara, as far as I know, is the only member of the City Council who has also served on the Tourism Commission. In fact, she was the co-signer of all the checks paid by Tourism during her tenure. She knew every destination for every dollar for every project; she was privy to all the meetings and executive sessions, and she understood on a level not shared by the other city council members about how Tourism works to budget their money and pay their bills. (By the way, she is currently the only city council member who regularly attends the tourism meetings).
When Sara made her inquiry, the spokesman for the Tourism Commission repeated the stance he had previously taken at a prior tourism meeting. In defense of not having to spend their own money he said something to the affect of, “Well, my Daddy once told me to put back a nest-egg in case of a rainy day.”
That may be good financial advice on a personal level, but when you are responsible for other people’s money and are supposed to be acting in their best interest, my own Daddy told me, “If you have the money to pay for something, go ahead and pay for it rather than take out a loan, especially one whose interest is going to have to be paid back by your neighbors. Later on, if that rainy day ever does come along, then you can take out a loan —- but only as a last resort!”
When Sara asked if other avenues of paying for the golf carts had been explored the moment proved to be a little awkward. She had expected that at least one of the other council members would have had similar questions, but it soon became apparent that she was standing alone. And, as witnessed before on city council, if you disagree or question the popular opinion, you can be dealt with in a negative manner. In the end, she also stood alone in saying “Nay” to a loan that, from her experience on the Tourism Commission, was unnecessary.
Then along comes Chuck Melvin’s “Thank You letter” wherein he named every member of the city council who voted for Mayor Porter to sign the CCU1, but only mentioned Todd Meade’s name along with the Tourism Commission whose names were left out. I think Melvin slighted the Tourism members, who, after all, are responsible for acquiring the golf carts. That’s akin to having the high school quarterback running a 100 yard game winning touchdown and then giving all the credit to the cheerleaders. I think maybe he should have included something like “In addition to Todd Meade I want to thank tourism members Lyda Ward, Jim Gamble, Chet Crace, Andrea Dixon, and Daryl Music. And I especially want to thank Paintsville Mayor Bob Porter for his support in this endeavor.”
In conclusion (and I hope this irony will not wasted on any of the interested parties) if Paintsville had the same Tourism Commission they had 15 months ago, those golf carts would already be sitting over there at the golf course paid for and with no interest to the taxpayers —- just like last time Melvin requested golf carts and the request was granted within 48 hours —- without floating a loan.
I agree, as does Sara, the golf course and country club (now called The Hall in honor of its original benefactor, Paul B. Hall), is one of Paintsville’s greatest assets. I love the place and have filmed documentaries and commercials touting it as both classic and classy. My grandfather, Asbury Ward, provided the stone used to build that hallowed structure and the fences out of his own land along Davis Branch River Road —— and he wasn’t paid a cent for it. But for some reason an insinuation is being made that my wife voted against the golf carts (which she did not!) and, therefore the golf course itself.
Melvin’s letter also mentioned that people who are against the golf course may have a hidden agenda; but that does not apply to Sara. (I’m still trying to figure out what kind of agenda, hidden or otherwise, would prompt the Tourism Commission to think that a loan carrying thousands of dollars of interest to be paid back by the people they represent was the best way to go; five former commission members and two former directors can’t figure it out either).
Sara Blair stood alone and did what she was elected to do with no agendas or political motivation . She was right, and I’m proud of her.
Ronnie D. Blair
Letters to the Editor
Thank you! Thank you!
I would first like to thank The Paintsville Herald for covering the April 9th, 2013 City Council Meeting with a fair and accurate account of the events and discussions that transpired. No malter what side one finds themselves on with that particular issue, the facts and numbers are hard to argue. The Paintsville Golf Course was built in 1929 and throughout the years has been a major draw for tourism to our community before the word “tourism” was even coined. The fact our community had a municipal golf course was appealing to companies such as American Standard when they first looked at possible areas of eastern Kentucky to locate their business in. The course itself has hosted many, many major tournaments, state amateur events and high school events. A large number of both men and women high school athletes from Johnson County Schools and Paintsville Independent Schools have fine tuned their talent at this municipal golf course. Due to their work ethic and access to a municipal golf course their hard work and dedication paid off with the opportunity of a college golf scholarship. A lot of those scholarships came at a time when the Paintsville Golf Course was one of the only courses in eastern Kentucky.
Junior Golf Programs have been an enormous success at our facility since the course opened and have thrived over the last few years. Dr. Paul B. Hall and the entire Hall family have held the Junior Golf Program close to their hearts. Several times throughout the year volunteers, high school golf coaches, professional athletes and other concerned citizens host learning camps for the youth of our community as well as surrounding counties. Annual high school tournaments and matches hosted by both of our wonderful school systems have brought numerous schools from outside our region here. While they were here I am sure their students ate in our restaurants and drivers fueled their buses with our local business owner’s fuel.
Charitable events have been a staple at this facility over the years. Many, many charitable organizations host a fundraising golf event each year, some more than once. These events bring people wanting to support the charities that they hold close to their hearts here to our community that might not come for any other reason. Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, Highlands Regional Medical Center, Our Lady of the Mountain School, Boy Scouts of America, The United Way, Kentucky Sheriff’s Boy’s and Girl’s Ranch and several boosters’ organizations from local high schools depend on annual events such as these events to fund their growing financial needs. Again, while these participants are here in our community they spend money, whether it is a hotel stay, a fill up at the local convenient store or a snack at one of our local restaurants. These monies collected by our local businesses are monies that would not have come in had it not been for these annual events.
The upcoming annual K-Day event brings several hundred participants from as far as Florida to our community. The event bring coaches, alumni and fans of the University of Kentucky here for two days, showcasing what our community as well as all of eastern Kentucky has for the rest of the country to discover.
Unless one has a hidden agenda or just refuses to look at the numbers, it is very clear the Paintsville Golf Course is a great example of tourism. Along with other wonderful entities we have in our community such as the Mountain HomePlace, the Country Music Highway Museum and the SIPP Theatre, just as these other attractions the Paintsville Golf Course too brings in people from outside the confines of Johnson County to our proud community.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Paintsville Tourism Commission and Chairman; Todd Meade, Paintsville City Council members: Bill Mike Runyon, Mark McKenzie, Jim Meek and Tommy Trimble, for allowing this facility to continue serving our community as a tourist altraction as it has done since 1929.
Chuck Melvin, Chariman
Paintsville Golf Course Board
Letters to the Editor
It was great to see some new faces at the Johnson County Early Childhood Council meeting. It lifts my heart to know that so many people care about the children of Johnson County.
We have scheduled our next meeting at the Ramada Inn on April 24th at noon for a working lunch.
If you know of anyone who would like to join us please feel free to invite them. Also if you or your orginization has any ideas that we can add to the grant please let us know. We are writing the grant toward literacy, kindergarten readiness and childhood obesity. Also if you have anything you would like added to the newsletter that is passed out at our Great Beginnings event please email them to me.
Again thanks for your support. It means a lot to the children of Johnson County
Janet Butcher, Chair
Johnson County Early Childhood Council