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Letters to the Editor
Paintsville High School “then”

Dear Editor,
I read with interest Lawrence Marsh’s letter to the editor entitled “Coal based economy faltering”. What drew my attention and interest was the first line of paragraph three: “Paintsville High School was a top school “then” as it is “today”. I don’t know about “today”, but I do know about “then”.
As a 1954 graduate of Paintsville High School, I too, second Marsh’s assertion! I thank educators like Principal Oren Teeter (he of the infectious laugh) as well as teachers Mrs. Wiley, Mrs. Archer, Miss McClafferty and others for the education I gained at PHS. That education has provided me with the educational background for not one, but two career choices. One as a 25 year insurance claim adjuster and two as a 34 year (and counting) Southern Baptist Pastor, graduating from Boyce Bible School of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I might add that prior to my employment of a claim adjuster, I had to take an aptitude test. I don’t know how many applicants did so, but I was later told that I had achieved the top score. Thank you PHS!
To the current PHS students, I advise you to take all the courses you can because one never knows what he or she will need in life. While at PHS, I took all the required courses I could the first three years with the idea of “skating” my senior year. I then took typing, speech, and drama classes thinking I’d never use them. But, just consider my two careers that required (you guessed it) typing, speech and some drama!
In an age when it is reported that so many high school grads cannot read, write, ignorant of American history, and cannot find the United States on a world map, I am so grateful PHS for providing me with that ability. I am so grateful!

James R. Butcher
Wheelersburg, OH

Letters to the Editor
Misquotations, petty phrases exaggerated to false stature, half-truths, and outright lies

Dear Editor,
In the arena of genuine importance, the misquotations, petty phrases exaggerated to false stature, half-truths, and outright lies that Hillary Clinton, other politicians, and pundits have attributed to Donald Trump equate in total value with a 3-dollar bill.
With reference to our insane debt ($19.3 trillion), insane interest bill ($229 billion in 2015), 50 million citizens living in poverty, the increasing numbers of working poor, the vanishing middle class, and our profit-driven, calamitous foreign policy, the latest Trump put-down was a sterling endorsement in disguise, and it also contained indisputable justification for voters who wish to cast an intelligent vote in November.
The usual put-downers reported with relish:  “Trump only raised $1.3 million and Hillary raised $43 million.”  Honestly translated, that simply means Clinton is already selling out our “Oval Office” to big business.  If she dupes enough voters to win the presidency, profiteers with policy-making voices will have a say in “Our Office” and not one of them will be elected by “We the People....”
Currently, America is in the intensive-care unit and could be moved to hospice care any day now.  Hasn’t she suffered enough self-serving status quo, voters?  Only you hold the medicine that can restore her health.

Shafter Bailey
Lexington, KY

Letters to the Editor
Thank You

Dear Editor,
The week of June 24, we hosted the second Johnson County Sheriff’s camp. Thirty Johnson County students attended and had a week filled with fun and various learning activities. This camp builds on relationships with officers. It also establishes friendships during an age where students will soon transition to middle school. Those friendships will continue for years to come.
I would like to thank those who volunteered their time to help make this a success. Without the volunteers, this camp would not be possible. They are there in the heat, the rain, handling accidents, feeding campers and being full time camp parents. Amazing people!
I would like to thank the presenters who came to the camp shine or rain and did various activities with the students. Our campers had presenters that were local as well as state, regional and nationally known for their work. Each presenter did an excellent job and also introduced to students to different jobs that they may never have thought of before. Sheriff Camp Presenters were outstanding!
I would like to thank the jail staff, Judge Preston, Circuit Clerk Adams, and County Attorney Endicott for also being a part of camp. I know their schedules are full but their time, interest and talks were much appreciated. This was a day that I believe the campers will remember for a long time. To see jail life and hear about it from guards and an inmate. Then to meet the judicial staff that has the job of convicting or sentencing people. An experience that they can talk with their parents about and learn from.
Lastly, I would like to thank our Camp Champions: Mason Coal, Wade Smith Inc., Castle’s Cub Cadet, Van Lear Historical Society, Rite-Temp Refrigeration, Big Sandy Wings Chapter, Paintsville Lake State Park, Seth and Stephanie Myers, Foothills Communication, McDonald’s of East Ky., Paintsville Rotary, Fannin’s Grocery, Penix Transport, Food City of Paintsville, Expresso Café, Peking Restaurant, B & C Design, Pelphrey Rentals, Wendy’s of Paintsville, Subway of Paintsville, Sandy Valley Transportation and Sheffield Photography. The Camp Champions make the difference in the level of ‘camp’ we are able to have. I thank them for their confidence in our camp program.
We are already planning for Johnson County Sheriff Camp 2017. Thanks again to everyone that helped make 2016 a success.

Thank you,
Sheriff Dwayne Price

The true “Oldest House in Johnson County”
Dear Editor,
There has been a historical travesty committed in Johnson County.  The sign in front of The Stafford House in Paintsville advertises Circa 1840, “The Oldest House in the County”.  But this fact is not correct. It is NOT the oldest house in the county. 
The true oldest house in Johnson County is located at Offutt at what is locally known as “Old House Branch”.  The original portion of the house is a saddlebag style two story log cabin with a chimney in the center. The house has been modernized through the years but the interior of the house still exposes the cuts of the hand hewn logs in the support beams.
The property was deeded to the Ward family in 1803.  The house was likely built circa 1805 when the property taxes were increased, presumably due to the house being erected on the land.  The house and property have remained with the heirs of the Ward family ever since and are currently owned by the Burl Ward heirs.  
So I ask you, when is a lie, a lie and a truth, a truth?  The answer is when there are facts to prove the lie or prove the truth.  The facts speak for their self that The Stafford House is NOT the oldest house in Johnson County.  The sign should be corrected to state the historical truth. It may be ONE of the oldest houses in the county, but it is certainly not THE oldest house in the county.
Erma L. Ward
Paintsville, KY

Letters to the Editor
Together, we can – and must – SOAR
Dear Editor,
When it comes to innovation, the Big Sandy region is gaining national attention for its collaboration in community, workforce and economic development.  Just weeks after the SOAR Innovation Summit, our college is entrenched in a variety of projects that promote innovation and job creation.
And it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
At Big Sandy Community and Technical College, we are building a team of entrepreneurial leaders and thinkers.  What does that mean?  That means we are focused on the future, thinking innovatively and entrepreneurially, acting progressively and proactively, and seeking opportunities before they become obvious to others.
That’s why we continue to build partnerships with organizations such as SOAR, One East Kentucky, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), the Big Sandy Area Development District, our local and regional chambers of commerce, and business and industry and elected officials at the local, state and federal levels.  These relationships have created meaningful dialogue and allowed us to understand the challenges – and opportunities – that lie in front of us. 
Our most valuable natural resource is our people.  It was our workforce that fueled the industrial revolution of this country in the mining industry.  It’s that same passion, loyalty, work ethic and commitment to faith, family and community that will serve as a catalyst of new and innovative investments in eastern Kentucky.
During the SOAR Innovation Summit, EKCEP announced a new partnership with us, SOAR and Interapt, a Louisville-based technology firm to begin the TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) program on our Mayo campus in Paintsville.  This partnership will allow eligible participants to earn paid training as computer coders and transition to positions with Interapt.
As the region’s first choice in higher education, it is imperative we are actively engaged in community, workforce and economic development.  If we aspire to truly transform our region one student, one person, one opportunity at a time, it will take a spirit of collaboration, one that promotes a spirit of unity and a unified approach.  We must not focus our attention on “who gets the credit” but rather on the significant positive outcomes we realize together and how far we move the needle of transformation.
In the coming months, Big Sandy Community and Technical College will break ground on the state’s first Advanced Technology Center.  Located on our Pikeville campus, the facility will be the state’s first fiber-to-the-desk facility and will house our state-of-the-art fiber optics training program and be home to our Broadband Technology associate degree program, just the third program of its kind in the United States.  This project would not be possible without the collaboration of the University of Pikeville, City of Pikeville, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Department of Local Government and the United States Economic Development Agency. 
This facility will serve as a hub for high-wage, high-speed jobs across the southeastern United States and a constant reminder of the possibilities that await throughout the mountains and valleys to compete and thrive in a global economy. 
So, let’s remain positive, solutions focused and inspired by the passion we all share for a better Eastern Kentucky.
-Dr. Devin Stephenson is president/CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College and the SOAR liaison for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System

Letters to the Editor
Half of the whole truth

Dear Editor,
In her presumptive-nominee, victory speech, Hillary Clinton said, “I’ve got your backs.”  She left out half of that whole truth.  “I’ve got your backs” if my political skin is not in jeopardy.  The latter is the missing half.
For example, a machine answered Hillary’s telephone the night four heroic Americans were killed defending the American consulate in Benghazi.  Their pleas for help went unheard.  Where were Hillary and Obama during the attack?  Easy question.  They were hunkered down in a political bomb shelter waiting for the all-clear siren.
Subsequently, Hillary employed rank hypocrisy in the presence of four flag-covered coffins fresh from Benghazi.  She lied to their loved ones.  Her self-serving lie spawned a second revelatory display of her unfitness for public service.  At the Benghazi hearing, she angrily thumped the air to stress each callous word of:  “What difference does it make!”
Moreover, when Hillary is caught in a verifiable lie, her standard defense is:  “But I didn’t break any laws.”  Goldman Sachs, a Global Investment Bank, and U.S. Bancorp, a Financial Services Holding Company, paid Hillary $1.8 million for only six hours of overt work.  No eight speeches are worth that enormous amount of money, especially to profit-makers, unless the speeches contain a cure for cancer, but “she didn’t break any laws.”
America is in a fix.  She desperately needs a fixer, not a slick talker who has lost the ability to feel any difference between truth and lie.  Sadly, another eight years of unconscionable talk will take our beloved America down for the count.

Shafter Bailey
Lexington, KY

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