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60th Annual Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce Awards dinner honors entrepreneurs
Photo By Images By John Michael Business Person of the Year V. Burton Bellamy, CEO and president of Citizens Bank of Kentucky

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

The Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce held their 60th annual Awards Dinner on Monday night at the Ramada Inn to honor area businesses.
Special keynotes speaker was Ankur Gopal, founder and CEO of Interapt, who had just celebrated their ribbon cutting at the Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Mayo Campus earlier that day.
Gopal was born and raised in Owensboro, and despite his high school guidance councilor encouraging him to go into banking or medical field; he pursued his dreams of starting his own technology business. He moved to Louisville with the eventual plans to move to Silicon Valley, Ca., however those plans melted away with the encouragement of the Louisville business community.
“That is all it takes – someone offering you an opportunity,” said Gopal. “We’re making an important statement by being in eastern Kentucky. I am challenging you to look at how technology is going to affect your business and ask, why can’t we do it here?”
Gopel is quick to credit his partners on this endeavor, Congressman Hal Rogers, BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson, the SOAR conference and many others, with the drive and work put into developing this technological landscape for eastern Kentucky.
After a warm round of applause from the audience, Fran Jarrell, executive director of the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce took the podium to announce the winners of this year’s awards.
The award for Large Business of the Year went to Fannin Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.
Small Business of the year went to Merle Norman and the Monogram Shop.
Business Person of the Year was awarded to V. Burton Bellamy, CEO and president of Citizens Bank of Kentucky.
The award for Community Service was given to Wags N’ Whiskers for their efforts rescuing animals throughout Johnson County.
Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Doug Pugh.
The O.T. Dorton President’s Award was tearfully presented to Nicholas Hazelett, grandson of Ed Hazelett who passed away on Sept. 15. Hazelett was lauded for his years of dedication to the education of Johnson County students and for his work maintaining and sharing the history of Paintsville and its surrounding communitites.
Finally, Jarrell introduced the 2016 members of the Leadership Johnson County Class; Sheena Blair, Tashi Johnson, and Allison King of the Carl Perkins Training Center; Mark Shortridge and Cindy Tackett of Paintsville Independent Schools; Laura Castle of Castle’s Closeouts; Faith Copley or First Commonwealth Bank; Danielle Franklin of Highlands Health Systems; Hiran Patel of Citizens Bank of Kentucky; and Michelle Staniford of BB&T.


Cash Express presents 9/11 salutes to first responders
Tarah Spriggs, Anna Lyons and Cassie Bays of Cash Express in Paintsville presented a cake to Paintsville Fire Station Firefighters on Sept. 11 to express their appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Staff Report

On Sunday, Sept. 11, teams from Cash Express in Johnson County delivered cakes to firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement personnel in Paintsville to show their appreciation for their actions throughout the year.
Where the tradition of delivering a meal to first responders on the anniversary of 9/11 started at Cash Express is a mystery, but Garry McNabb, CEO of Cash Express is glad it did. “It started out of someone’s caring and appreciative heart and spread from employee and location to location until stores all over Kentucky and Tennessee were involved,” he said.
“No one ever imagined that taking a meal to first responders as a way of showing our appreciation would turn out to mean so much to the people in our company. As more and more people and locations became involved, a simple gesture became an annual Salute to First Responders,” said McNabb
The term “first responders” was around before 9/11, but wasn’t commonly used. It caught on because it succinctly and accurately captures not only what these public servants do as well as describes who they are. First responders are people willing to respond without question or hesitation when the community needs them. These heroes are men and women willing to make someone else’s emergency or crisis their own and to put their lives on the line doing it.
“There is one memory we hold on to, one that is cherished as the deepest and most lasting of Sept. 11, 2001. It is the memory of the heroism and selflessness demonstrated by law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians who went about their business that day without concern for their own safety and without consideration for the magnitude of what they were confronting,” said McNabb.
“Most of us have always had an appreciation for first responders whether we called them that or not. At one time or another, what little boy or little girl didn’t want to grow up to be a police officer or a fire fighter?” said McNabb. “As time passes and most of us go on to do other things with our lives, we tend not only to outgrow our hero worship, but also to start taking things for granted. Then some tragedy happens and our attention is drawn to them again.”
“We value the opportunity to show our appreciation to first responders. One of our goals is to encourage others in the community to be involved as well,” said McNabb. “Using the 9/11 anniversary as an opportunity to refresh and rekindle our feelings for first responders is a good thing. It’s a simple but meaningful way to say, “Thank you first responders. We salute you.”


The Story Patch Theatre preserves stories and heritage through plays

By Amber Wilcox
Staff Writer

The Story Patch Productions is Johnson County’s first annual cultural preservation play series, taking stories from across Kentucky and turning them into a show.
The production was set up after a group went to training in Berea where ideas were made on how to bring in and implement community activities to help promote economic growth.
The Story Patch did their first play three years ago and continues to perform stories every year. This year the group decided to perform a comedy themed play that has the perfect mixture of funny and serious aspects titled “Stitches in Time”.
“Stitches in Time” was written by 22 authors throughout five Kentucky counties and weaves together different stories that are all based on real life.
Vicki Patch who is both a writer and actor in the plays said that the stories used are based from all over and everyone is welcome to submit their own.
“Everyone has a story, and we’re always looking for new ones,” said Patch.
Patch also stated that the plays have helped bring in tourism from different areas and hopes that more people get out to see the production this upcoming weekend.
“It preserves peoples stories, one of our goals is to preserve the stories, heritage, and to help with economic development,” Patch said when asked what she thought the important aspects of having the production were.
Not only do the productions help local stories be told but it also provides a way to “give a lot of kids an outlet to learn about acting,” said Patch. Patch stated that she has kids throughout the area that participate in the event, either by playing a role or by running the technical side of production.
The Story Patch Productions will have shows this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Both Friday‘s and Saturday’s show will begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s will start at 3 p.m.
Shows are held at the OSCAR Center in Oil Springs. To reserve your tickets you can call 606-789-8108.
The OSCAR Center is located on Route 40 in Oil Springs.


Redbush Fall Festival brings in families and fun
Bobbing for apples is a great way to stay cool in the summer heat! This Flat Gap Elementary student managed to grab onto a crisp gala apple for her troubles.

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

The Redbush Community Center held their annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10 bringing in locals and visitors from across Johnson County.
“It’s a good opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and learn things,” said Frankie Ferguson. “We want to generate more interest and eventually hold more events.”
The Fall Festival kicked off with pony rides for kids, provided by Donald LeMaster, who gently led the ponies around the area. A booth set up to bob for apples was particularly popular during the heat of the afternoon and was run by Ashley Vanhoose and Hollyn Shepherd.
A cheerful crowd gathered around the Pie Booth, waiting to cast whipped cream pies into the faces of volunteers. Melanie Cantrell supervised the toss and made the pies fresh to order for throwers. “Don’t you know that whipped cream is good for the complexion,” she laughs as a volunteer tries to remove pie from her ears.
Inside the community center, Naomi Fyffe called bingo numbers as guest circulated around the entries for the chili-cook-off and casts their votes on which was the tastiest. After the game was finished, Fyffe proudly presented her brother John Fyffe with a ribbon for his winning chili entry.
The hot dog eating contest was manned by four contestants, Bobby King, Robert Moore, Frankie Ferguson and John Fyffe who each had three minutes to choke down as many hot dogs as humanly possible. Frankie Ferguson won the contest by downing six dogs in three minutes. He sat back and relaxed as the remaining contestants went on to the hot pepper eating contest. The trio had three minutes to down as much in the way of chopped jalapeño, habanero and hot banana peppers as possible. Bobby King came out on top, not even breaking a sweat.
“We want to thank everyone who came out and supported us today,” said Naomi Fyffe. “We loved having everyone join us and hope they can come again soon.”


Summer stroll on the Kiwanis Trail
Shawn Smith walking his dog enjoyed the nice weather by taking a stroll on the Kiwanis Trail.

By Amber Wilcox
Staff Writer

As society turns to healthier living many believe that the only way to achieve their healthy life style is by joining a gym. Many forget about the trails that are accessible around our community that offer a gorgeous view, fresh air and will also save you some money.
The Kiwanis Trail, located at Paintsville Lake, is a 1.6-mile trail perfect for beginners. The trail offers a smooth path through the forest that takes you along the edge of the lake, offering a spectacular view of glittering water and towering trees that provide a refreshing shade.
While walking along the trail on a warm summer morning I ran across mother and daughter, Thelma Terry and Kris Cole, who have been walking the trail for a few years now.
“We love it, and we walk it every morning,” said Cole.
Cole said that the trail offers multiple terrains as you have both level ground and small hills mixed in, offering different views as you walk the trail. Her favorite thing about the trail is that “you get to see nature,” said Cole.
Cole and Terry walk the trail in the mornings during the warm weather whenever they can. “It’s something different, and there’s something for everyone,” said Cole.
The trail was developed in 1990 and is maintained by the Paintsville Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club services everything from repairing signs, cleaning up the area, and keeping up with the gazebos around the trail. Volunteers perform all the work on the trail and anyone who would like to participate is encouraged to join.
Tyler Crum, president of the Kiwanis Club, stated that they plan on adding more gravel and woodchips to the trail and hope to add more informative signs identifying plants and trees along the trail. Offering not only a beautiful view, but also an educational opportunity as well as learning about the plants and trees that are planted along the way.
The Kiwanis Trail offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature while getting in your daily exercise.



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