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Celebrating life, joy, and remembrance Johnson Co. Relay for Life

By Sarah Hill
Staff Writer

“A burden is easier to bear when you don’t have to do it alone,” said Pastor Phillip Ramey at the Survivor’s Dinner of the annual Johnson County Relay for Life held Friday evening.
The Survivor’s Dinner, which honored those whose lives had been touched by cancer, was held just before the Relay began. Pastor Ramey shared his story with fellow survivors and encouraged the crowd, filled with people of all ages and circumstances, to remember the love, strength, faith, and resilience that everyone is capable of.
Ramey was diagnosed with cancer in October and said he has “been beating cancer ever since.” He said that “Beating cancer has nothing to do with not dying. You beat cancer when you refuse to stop living.”
And enjoying life and community is exactly what the Relay for Life offered to this year’s participants.
Our hometown girl who is making headlines, Marlana Vanhoose, was on hand to deliver her stunning rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” before survivors were honored with medals for their determination and took the opening lap of the Relay.
At the decade-themed campsites, teams from local businesses offered food, fun, and door prizes to visitors. The team from Mountain Manor gave 80’s makeovers complete with wild hair and makeup to participants standing next to their rubik’s cube decorations. Wal-Mart sponsored a 70’s-style dance floor and disco ball for people ready to move. Redd, Brown, and Williams Real Estate offered a 50’s-themed “Rockin’ a Cure at the Jail House” campsite. Citizens National Bank gave away great door prizes and water to keep everyone hydrated.
The Paintsville Rotary Club also offered the traditional luminaries that lined the walk way. The luminaries offer people a way to honor their loved ones and remind people of the journey that those diagnosed with cancer must face, moving from darkness into light, and learning to love life as it comes.
Pastor Ramey summed up the evening’s celebration of life saying, “If I go back to UK and they give me bad news, please don’t think I lost to cancer. If you open up the newspaper and see my obituary, please don’t think I lost to cancer. Because my name is Phillip Ramey, and I’ve already beat cancer.”

Area Briefs
Superhero Summer Reading Program
The Johnson Co. Public Library will be hosting a summer reading program on Wednesdays in July. Meeting days are July 1, 8, 15, and 22. The “Every Hero Has a Story” program for ages birth through children who finished kindergarten will meet 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. The “Every Hero Has a Story” program for children entering 1st-6th grades will meet 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. The “Unmasked” program for youth entering 7th - 9th grades will meet 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. For more information, please contact the library at (606) 789-4355.

Kindergarten University
Paintsville Elementary School will have its annual Kindergarten University in late July. This camp will introduce our new Kindergarten students to their teachers and the school. To sign up for the camp your child must be enrolled as a Kindergarten student for the 2015-16 school year. To enroll your child call 789-2651 or stop by the elementary office from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Addiction Counseling
Narconon reminds families that abuse of addictive pharmaceutical drugs is on the rise. Learn to recognize the signs of drug abuse and get your loved ones help if they are at risk. Call Narconon for a free brochure on the signs of addiction for all types of drugs. Narconon also offers free screenings and referrals. 1-800-431-1754 or

Kentucky Homeplace Health Services
Kentucky Homeplace is operated by the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health and currently has offices located in Paintsville and Salyersville. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance with getting medication, eye glasses, low cost dentures, hearing aids, or has questions about Medicare, contact you local community health worker. Kentucky Homeplace offers assistance with disease self-management for clients who want to take control of their chronic disease. For an appointment, please contact Judy Bailey at (606) 789-4232 or (606) 349-8842. Services are offered at not cost to clients.

Women Serving Christ: Women’s Ministry Meetings
Intercessors of Eastern Kentucky will host a series of meetings every Monday in July at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn, East Room. The meetings (July 6, 13, 20, 27) are centered around women leading women, worship, teaching, prayer, and ministry. For more information, call Linda Webb at (606) 298-5166 or Intercessors of Eastern Kentucky at (606) 454-0984.

July 1:
The Boons Camp Church of God will host a yard sale in the basement of the church on July 1, 2, and 3, starting at 9 a.m. The church is located on KY Rt. 40 East.

July 2:
- Inaugural Bob Miller Memorial Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at 201 Speedway. $10,000 to win. Open Wheel Modified.

July 4:
- FREE Swimming at the Paintsville Pool: The Paintsville Pool at the Paintsville Recreation Center will be open 3 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Independence Day and will be free for all visitors.

July 7:
- FREE Kids Art Camp at the OSCAR, Tuesday July 7th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for children ages 6 and older. Children will be instructed about painting on canvas and other items as well as polymer clay sculptures. Bring a white or neon tee shirt to paint. Lunch will be provided. This camp is being sponsored on Leslie Equipment. To register, call (606) 789-8108 or Cindy at (606) 297-3915, or private message on the OSCAR Face Book page or You must register no later than July 6th at noon.

July 9:
- The Johnson Co. Public Library will be discussing the book Summer of the Dead, on Thursday, July 9, 12:10 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. Please bring your own sack lunch and drink. To reserve a book or for more information, call the library at (606) 789-4355.

- Tie Dye Fun: The Johnson Co. Public Library will host a tie-dying event on Thursday, July 9, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. One large adult t-shirt will be provided. If you would like to dye one additional item, please prewash the item without fabric softener and bring it with you. You must register for the event by calling the library at (606) 789-4355.

July 10:
- Christmas in July: The Johnson Co. Public Library will host a “Christmas in July” program on Friday, July 10, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. For more information and to register, contact the library at (606) 789-4355.

July 13:
- Johnson Co. Extension District Board Open Meeting: The Johnson County Extension District Board will have a board meeting on Monday, July 13, 5 p.m. in the Johnson County Extension Office located at 826 F.M. Stafford Ave. Open meeting rules apply. For more information, call (606) 789-8108.

July 14:
- 150th Anniversary Civil War Commemoration Event: The Johnson County Public Library will host a discussion of the book Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner on July 14th. This discussion will be led by Judge John David Preston on July 14 at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Books are available for checkout now and participants may want to begin reading early, as Reconstruction is roughly 750 pages long. Stop by the library to get your copy of the book or call (606) 789-4355 to place one on reserve.

- 4-H Adult Council Meeting: The 4-H Adult Council meeting will be held Tuesday, July 14 at 6 p.m. at the Johnson Co. Extension Office. For more information, contact Dianna Reed at (606) 789-8108.

July 17:
- How to Balance a Checkbook: The Johnson Co. Public Library will host a “How to Balance a Checkbook” program on Friday, July 17, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. For more information or to register, contact the library at (606) 789-4355.

August 1:
- Childers Family Round-Up: Descendants of Abraham Childers and Elizabeth Preston are invited to “turn yourself in” to the Childers Family Round-Up on Saturday, August 1, at the Highlands Church of Christ Social Hall, 821 Euclid Ave, Paintsville. Registration starts at 11 a.m. Chow time is at “high noon.” Bring a covered dish and cold drinks. An item for auction will be appreciated. To claim your reward, contact Glen J. and Donna Childers at (606) 793-7221 or Donna Cox at All Childers lines and Preston cousins are welcome!

- 3rd Annual Hatfield & McCoy Feuding 50 at the 201 Speedway. $5,000 to win. Super Late Models.

- 2nd Annual Thunder in the Mountains at the 201 Speedway. $3,000 to win. Open wheel modified, bombers, and four cylinder stocks.

September 3:
- 6th Annual Roger Breeding Memorial Revolution Race Cars Iron Man Speedweek at 201 Speedway. $3,000 to win. Super late models. Iron Man Modified Speedweek presented by American Race Tires South. $1,000 to win. Open wheel modified; Regular show bombers and four-cylinder stocks.

October 2:
- 4th Annual Halloween 50 at 201 Speedway. $3,000 to win. Super late models, open wheel modified, bombers, four-cylinder stocks.

Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office helps kids enjoy the great outdoors
Campers check out Deputy Sheriff Terry Tussey’s police cruiser.

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It takes practice to be a princess

Turning Pointe Dance Center holds First Annual Recital

Turning Pointe Dance Centre held their First Annual Dance Recital, June 13th at Paintsville High School Gymnasium. The spectators enjoyed the production theme “Dancing Disney” performed by students from several surrounding counties such as Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, & Lawrence.  
Alli Wireman Adams is the owner/instructor of TPDC and began dancing at the age of eight. She is a 2010 Graduate from Paintsville High School and a 2013 Graduate from Radford University with a degree of BA in Dance. Alli, also danced for the Radford University Rockers Dance Team which is a NCAA DIVISION I School and competed at NDA Collegiate Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla. for three years.
Turning Pointe Dance Centre opened in August 2014 offering Pre-Ballet, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, & Hip-Hop located at Starfire Hill, Paintsville. They will be offering a Summer Dance Camp July 13-17 and Fall Registration will begin July 20-23. You may call the studio at 606-264-7045, visit them on Facebook or website for more information.

BSCTC, EKSC names planetarium in honor of Dr. Mahendra Varia
PRESTONSBURG – Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and the East Kentucky Science Center (EKSC) held a dedication ceremony on Saturday, June 6 for the Dr. Mahendra Varia Planetarium.
Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of BSCTC, said it isn’t often that you experience benevolence and philanthropy in such a strong way and that the “Varia spirit of giving and selflessness” is a model we can all follow.
“Dr. Mahendra Varia and the Varia family have an unwavering dedication to education and to children, and they clearly understand the value of education in our contemporary society,” Dr. Stephenson told the crowd. “It is a stairway to the stars of success; a skywalk to promise; and a light beam to a bright future.”
Dr. Varia served as a member of the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc. for more than 30 years.  He was also a councilman for the city of Martin from 1998 until his passing in 2014.
A veterinarian by trade, the Varia Family Foundation and the American Veterinarian Foundation held an animal clinic last year, the first of its kind in eastern Kentucky, providing free medical services to pets.  A mountain in Martin was also named in Dr. Varia’s honor.
The Varia Family Foundation made a $100,000 gift to BSCTC’s BuildSmart project in December.  The project is the planning phase of an expansion of the college’s Pikeville campus, including a 60,000 square-foot building and a parking garage.
Dr. Henry Webb, superintendent of Floyd County Schools, spoke of his relationship with Dr. Chandra Varia, Dr. Mahendra Varia’s wife, and their family.
“You don’t truly know someone until you know their heart,” he said. “Dr. Chandra [Varia] loves her family, her community and the children of this region.”
Anand Doshi, the nephew of Dr. Mahendra and Dr. Chandra Varia, said his uncle was dedicated to science and math.
“He was well-rounded,” said Doshi. “My uncle would be proud that his name is on a building that is committed to education.”
Satya Mehta, Dr. Mahendra and Dr. Chandra Varia’s grandson, told a story of frequent visits to his uncle’s library.
“He had a book of astronomy that had a piece of meteorite in it,” Mehta said. “It was the only book that I wanted to read. I have the book and I often look at it when I visit my parents.”
Sheel Mehta Slone, the granddaughter of Dr. Mahendra and Dr. Chandra Varia, read a quote: “Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”
Dr. Chandra Varia spoke her husband with eloquent words.
“He was my soulmate and my best friend,” she said. “We would often watch the sky together. He would be proud of this today.”
Steve Russo, director of the EKSC, and John Rosenberg, a member of the EKSC’s advisory board, offered remarks on the facility’s state-of-the-art technology and the history behind the formation of the center.
Dr. Stephenson closed his remarks with a poignant statement: “May the Dr. Mahendra Varia Planetarium serve as a shining example for students to dream to achieve and to shoot for the stars.  May we all never forget that it is important for us to continue to shoot for the moon, and even if we miss, we’ll land among the stars.”

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