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Johnson County Extension Office presents Green Eggs and Ham breakfast
A group of attentive pre-schoolers watch the Johnson County Extension Office’s performance of “Green Eggs And Ham” while enjoying the titular breakfast on Thursday morning.

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

The Johnson County Extension Office hosted a “Breakfast with Dr. Seuss” Thursday morning as part of the University of Kentucky’s Early Childcare Council school readiness initiative.
Parents and children enjoyed a breakfast of locally-sourced green eggs and ham prepared by Elaine Burton, the SNAP Education foods assistant, while Brenda Cockerham, Johnson County Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences, performed as Sam-I-Am and Nancy Price, volunteer, played the part of the of depressive picky eater in Dr. Seuss’s iconic “Green Eggs And Ham.”
Families also learned more about 99 tips to help parents and caregivers teach their pre-school children what they need to know before entering kindergarten. A Kentucky Early Childhood Council study has shown that 55 percent of pre-school aged children are not ready to enter kindergarten. Cockerham hopes these tips will help raise those numbers.
“I work with the Early Childcare Council and one of our priorities is to support local families in seeing that our pre-schoolers get a good start in life,” said Cockerham.
Cockerham went on to say that each parent who comes in with their preschooler to the Extension Office will receive a free book or activity that supports one of the five categories of readiness, along with a booklet and supporting information. This was made possible by a grant through the Johnson County Early Childcare Council.
Parents were also educated as to the availability of the popular Literacy Eating and Activities for Primary program (LEAP) was mentioned. “Green Eggs And Ham” is one of the 35 books in the LEAP series available in this free program.
“If families are interested in participating in the free nutrition program, they should contact the Extension Office at (606) 789-8108,” said Cockerham.

Area Briefs
Front Porch ‘Pickin
The Country Music Highway Museum in Staffordsville is hosting Front Porch Pickin’ every Thursday at 7 p.m. Performances are open microphone nights for area musicians held at the museum and broadcast online at under the Front Porch Pickin’ tab. For more information, call Joanne Litteral at (606)297-1469.

Veterans’ Service Needed
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) need men or women willing to give back to the community by being part of the Honor Guard. The Honor Guard provides the 21-gun salute at gravesites when a brother passes on. The DAV will furnish uniforms and transportation. All you need to provide is your commitment and DD 214. Your community needs you now. For more information, call Commander Ballard Shepherd at (606) 889-8629 or Adjutant Robert Trador at (606) 789-6124.

Grief Support Group Meetings
Appalachian Hospice Care will host Grief Support Group Meetings every first Thursday, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. at two locations. The Hager Hill Office is located at 1520 KY Rt. 1428, phone (606) 789-3841. The Pikeville Office is located at 1414 S. Mayo Trl., phone (606) 432-2112. Light refreshments will be served. Open to everyone.

Caregiver Support Program
National Family Caregiver Support Program helps people who are taking care of loved ones who are 60 years or older or grandparents who are raising grandchildren. Services include: Educational information on various topics, free training for caregivers, support groups, temporary respite services to “give caregivers a break,” and other types of assistance. The program links caregivers with any community resource that may be available to them and helps some caregivers with supplemental services like: building a handicap ramp, buying supplies or providing transportation. For more information, contact Tara Little at 1-800-737-2723 or

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. 800-431-1754 or

Foster Parent Orientation
Interested in becoming a foster parent? Learn how. Benchmark Family Services will be conducting foster parent orientation classes daily. Classes are FREE. Please contact us at (606) 886-0163 to schedule an appointment. Our location is 91 Oak Ridge Court, Prestonsburg. Open your heart and your home to a child who needs them today!

July 16:
Carry & Concealed Weapons Class: A Carry and Concealed Weapons Class will be held on July 16 at 8 a.m. Suzi Sherer will instruct the class and demonstration at the range. Upon completion, participants will receive their certification. Participants need to bring their own weapon and ammunition. Cost is $75, with limited seating available. Call (270) 498-9577 for more information.

- Fun Day and Back To School Bash: Chestnut Grove Enterprise Baptist Church in Lowmansville is hosting a Fun Day and Back To School Bash on Saturday, July 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Games, food and much more promise a fun time. For more information, call (606) 331-3339.

- Christmas in July: The Johnson County Public Library will host “Christmas In July” family fun day on Sat. July 16 from 10 a.m. to noon. The program will feature holiday crafting such as ornament making and making other gifts for the holiday season. The event is free and open to the public at 444 Main St. in Paintsville. To register, or for more information call (606) 789-4355.

July 18:
- Coffee and Crayons: The Johnson County Public Library will be hosting Coffee and Crayons – Coloring for Adults as well as In Living Color – Storytelling and Coloring for Kids on Mon., July 18 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Adults get to enjoy coffee, relaxing coloring and good conversation while the kids enjoy storytelling from Christie Cook with juice and cookies. Coloring materials are provided. For more information, call (606)789-4355.

- Oil Springs Vacation Bible School: There will be a Vacation Bible School at the Oil Springs U. Methodist Church from July 18 through July 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening. For questions or more info call (600) 297-3915.

July 19:
- AARP Drivers Safety Class: The Johnson County Extension Office is hosting an AARP Drivers Safety Class on Thursday, July 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the extension offices. Learn the current rules of the road and how to adapt to changing driving environment. Call (606) 789-8108 for more information and to reserve your spot.

July 21:
- BSCTC Free Kids College: The Big Sandy Community and Technical College will be holding a free kid’s college at the Mayo campus in Paintsville on Thursday, July 21 starting at 10 .m. Registration at the Mayo Park gazebo is required as parents or guardians escorting participants to the camp. Campers will learn about careers, meet new friends and participate in activities and games. For more information, call Dr. Fallon Watson at (606) 788-2886, or email

- OSCAR Art Classes: The Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation Center will be teaching how to make woodcraft wall hanging with Aimee Norman on July 21 at 5 p.m. Call (606) 789-8108 for more information or to register.

- OSCAR Art Classes: The Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation Center will be hosting a painting class for kids with Vicki Rice on July 21 at 12 p.m. Call (606) 789-8108 for more information or to register.

July 22:
- Keys to Healthy Living: The “Safety” workshop will be held on Friday, July 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Johnson County Extension Office. The Extension Office is hosting a comprehensive workshop series to explore key strategies to help everyone live fuller, more rewarding lives. Prize drawing at meeting. For more information, contact the Extension Office at (606) 789-8108.

- Kids College: Big Sandy Community and Technical College will host a FREE Kids College in its Mayo Campus on July 22. The event will start at 10 a.m. and is open to children ages four and five years old. For more information, call Fallon Watson at (606) 789-5321 or email

July 23:
- Levisa Fork Paddle Fest: Paintsville and Prestonsburg Tourism invites everyone out to a kayak and canoe Paddle Fest on the Levisa Fork. Launch in the river behind Billy Ray’s in Prestonsburg and paddle up to the old water plant in Paintsville. Watercraft rentals will be available from Legends Outfitters or Jenny Wiley State Park Resort. Shuttle transportation back to your vehicle in Prestonsburg. $10 per person covers lunch and shuttle service. Register in advance by calling (606) 886-1341. For more information, call (606) 297-1469.

- Free Sports & School Physicals: Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center will be holding free sports and school physicals on Sat. July 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Immediate Care of Paintsville at 520 Mayo Trail. No appointments necessary, all students and athletes welcome. For more information, call (606) 789-3188.

- Oil Springs Fire Department Car and Bike Show: The Oil Springs Fire and Rescue Station is holding its first Car and Bike Show from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on July 23 at the station at 576 Ky. Rt. 2275 in Staffordsville. First 5 cars to register will receive dashboard plaques. Entry fee for cars is $10 and bikes $5. For more information, call (606)297-4600.

July 25:
- BSCTC Vocal Camp: Big Sandy Community and Technical College and the Mountain Arts Center (MAC) will host a summer camp featuring Ron and Cheryl Brendel on July 25-28 at the MAC, including a public performance on July 28. The camp is open to kids entering 9th grade through 12th grade, with registration costing $100. For more information, call Clayton Case at (606)886-7388 or email

- Homemaker Leadership Toolbox Conference: A Homemakers Leadership Toolbox conference is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Paintsville Ramada for a cost of $20. Deadline for registration is July 25. To register, send checks to Marena Nelson, 961 Stephens Branch Rd., Martin, Ky 41649, or contact the Johnson County Extension Offices at (606) 789-8108 for more information.

- OSCAR Art Classes: The Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation Center will be hosting a painting hydrangeas on picture frames class with Brenda Cockerham on July 25 at 1 p.m. Call (606) 789-8108 for more information or to register.

- Highland Elementary Kinder Camp: Highland Elementary is currently registering incoming kindergarten students and transfer students. A Kinder Camp Luau is scheduled for July 25 fro 9 a.m. to noon for incoming kindergarteners. For questions or more information, call (606) 297-3674.

July 26:
- Eastern KY Military Strong Bond Group: The Eastern KY Military Strong Bond Group will be meeting Tuesday, July 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Veteran’s Referral Center on Euclid Ave. The group will be discussing color personality analysis and how it relates to PSTD issues. Free dental screening and blood pressure screening will be available from The Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition and Big Sandy Healthcare, Inc. To register, call (270) 498-8338.

July 28:
- American National University Healthy Fun Fair: The American National University in Pikeville is hosting a Healthy Fun Fair on Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on campus at 50 National College Blvd. Free diagnostic exams, health screenings, school physicals and many others will be available free of costs with food, games and prizes. For more information, call (606)478-7200.

- BSCTC Free Kids College: The Big Sandy Community and Technical College will be holding a free kid’s college at the Mayo campus in Paintsville on Thursday, July 28 starting at 10 .m. Registration at the Mayo Park gazebo is required as parents or guardians escorting participants to the camp. Campers will learn about careers, meet new friends and participate in activities and games. For more information, call Dr. Fallon Watson at (606) 788-2886, or email

- OSCAR Art Classes: The Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation Center will be hosting a glass painting class with Brenda Cockerham on July 28 at 1 p.m. Call (606) 789-8108 for more information or to register.

July 29:
- Don’t Charge, Take Charge: This free “Lunch & Learn” session provided by the Johnson County Extension Office is geared toward helping people learn how to manage their money wisely during tough economic times. The session will be held 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29. Each month you attend, your name will be entered for a drawing for prizes. Come as you need, but you must preregister. For more information, call (606) 789-8108.

- Kids College: Big Sandy Community and Technical College will host a FREE Kids College in its Mayo Campus on July 29. The event will start at 10 a.m. and is open to children ages four and five years old. For more information, call Fallon Watson at (606) 789-5321 or email

- KSP Post 9 Trooper Island Golf Scramble: Kentucky State Police Post 9 will be hosting the 2016 Trooper Island Golf Scramble on Friday, July 29 at the Stone Crest Golf Course in Prestonsburg. The entry fee is $65 per person or $260 per team, and includes lunch, green fees, cart and drinks. The four person scramble opens for registration at 10 a.m. For more information, call Trooper Steven Mounts of KSP Post 9 at (606) 433-7711.

Relay for Life “Touch a Truck” Fundraiser
Kids explored rescue vehicles and talked with fire and rescue crews at the Relay For Life Touch a Truck Fundraiser on Saturday, July 9.

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

Fire and Rescue crews from Oil Springs and Thelma came out to the Mountain HomePlace in Staffordsville to support fundraising efforts for Johnson County Relay For Life on Saturday. Pumper trucks, EMT vehicles and a car from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office with officers were there to answer questions from kids at the event.
The event welcomed more than 200 people and raised funds for the Paul B. Hall Team toward the Relay For Life.
“Relay for Life supports cancer survivors and their families during the most trying moments of their lives,” said Shea Lykins, coordinator, Johnson County Relay for Life. During the relay, survivors are recognized and their families thanked for their support. Teams and volunteers take turns walking laps in memory of cancer victims as well as to celebrate survivors. “We walk together to show our support in their fight,” said Lykins. Food, music and games make it an evening of fun for survivors and their families.
“Relay for Life has been a part of Johnson County for more than 20 years now,” said Joshua Johnson, area coordinator.
Teams throughout the county compete throughout the year to raise funds for the annual relay. “It used to be that there were only a few teams during better economic times,” said Lykins. “Now we have 13 teams, and we have to get creative and work together to raise money.”
“It is important for us to be here to support this cause,” said Justin Daniels, Captain, Oil Springs Fire and Rescue. He and others arrived with their trucks, pumper truck and EMT vehicle after battling a blaze overnight.
Some of the youngest kids, however, were much more interested in the inflatable slides than looking at emergency vehicles. “I like the bouncy slide,” said Weston Johnson, age 5. “It’s fun to get to the top and whoosh down.”
“We would like to thank everyone who volunteered, and everyone who came out to support Relay for Life.” Said Lykins. “The Oil Springs and Thelma fire crews, the Lakeside Baptist Church who provided all the delicious food – without all your help, this would have been impossible.”
The Relay For Life is scheduled for Aug. 5 from 6 p.m. until midnight at the Paintsville Recreation Center. The money raised by teams supporting the cause throughout the year goes toward this annual relay to make it a celebration for the fight against cancer.

Good Neighbors reaches out a helping hand

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

Good Neighbors, Inc. of Hagerhill coordinates hundreds of volunteers throughout the year to come from schools and church groups across the nation. They come at his call to the hills of eastern Kentucky to repair the homes of a group of people who are usually overlooked because they don’t normally ask for help - the working poor.
Good Neighbors was founded in Johnson County in 2005. Dedicated toward helping the people of Johnson County, they are a small non-profit running on a shoestring budget from donations and volunteer groups. The Good Neighbors staff is made up of people who are committed to our mission of showing God’s love to working-poor families, including two previous-volunteers and two previous-recipients of their assistance.
Groups come and go throughout the summer. This week, a group of 66 volunteers from St. Joseph’s church in Mendham, N.J. came in to work for the week on seven simultaneous projects throughout Johnson County. The work included repairing and re-shingling two roofs, replacing rotted sub flooring/beams and digging drainage ditches for two homes, drywall and kitchen cabinet replacement, major interior and exterior repairs for a flood victim, bathroom and kitchen overhauls, and building a room addition.
One of the projects is to rebuild the home of Maggie Salyer in Thealka. Each family or individual Good Neighbors assists, like Maggie, is employed and normally self-sufficient, but has run into a situation where they are unable to afford the repairs necessary for a dry, safe and warm home.
In many situations, the fact they are employed making $8-$10 per hour automatically disqualifies them for assistance from other programs. The Good Neighbors selection process includes identifying the urgency of the situation, taking into account the amount of effort the family has already put into the project themselves, and matching the type of work needed with the skills of our volunteer leaders.
Salyer inherited the house from her mother-in-law and had been working to slowly restore the home, when in 2001 a fire ravaged the building. Unfortunately, the flooding in July of 2015 compounded problems with the home, undermining the foundation and washing away most of the insulation under the house
“We ended up having to rip out all the drywall in the house because of mold,” said Veronica Marcum, Good Neighbors team leader. “Parts of the floor were rotted out from the water damage.”
The groups of teens and their escort worked hard throughout the week. “We’re working on trying to finish the drywall and maybe get a little paint on the walls,” said Pam Frigo, volunteer and group chaperone. “We are focusing on getting the kitchen cabinets hung, the doors and windows reframed and in place before we have to go home on Friday.”
“They are the sweetest people, every one of them,” said Karen Potter of Flat Gap. One of the teams replaced a bedroom floor and the center support beam under her home. “I want to thank all of them for all the hard work and dedication. They have been a blessing to me.”
“It is the most beautiful thing in the world to see the families we help and our volunteers work side-by-side and build relationships!” said Jason Benedict, director of Good Neighbors, Inc. “By the end of the week, everyone feels like family and has a newfound respect for each other and their cultures. Everyone develops a higher level of confidence and empowerment.”
“Donated materials are a huge help to our efforts.” said Benedict. “We appreciate everyone who has donated items such as lumber, doors, windows, siding, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, roofing materials, cabinets, tools, etc.”
If you have construction-related items left over from a project, or have completed a renovation and have old materials in good usable condition, please feel free to bring them to the Good Neighbors office on the corner of KY Hwy 321 and Route 1107 or contact their office at 606-887-0082. Donation receipts for tax purposes are available upon request.

2016 Sheriff’s Camp
Deputy Terry Tussey, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department faces off against a fierce foe across the checkerboard on Wednesday.

By Elaine Belcher
Staff Writer

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office hosted 30 kids at the 2016 Sheriff’s Camp at the Paintsville Lake from June 20 to June 24.
The camp, created by Sheriff Dwayne Price and his wife Nancy, allowed students from across Johnson County to come together to explore new experiences while forming lasting friendships.
“The kids get to spend a full week with law enforcement officers, and the officers have fun with the kids,” said Sheriff Price. “The goal is they grow to be drug free. Not bully others and learn to be mentors and leaders.”
“We fully intend to do Sheriff Camp as long as Dwayne is sheriff,” said Nancy Price, Sheriff’s Camp Coordinator. “Yes it is a lot of work. Yes it does take a lot of sponsors. Yes we do need many volunteers, however, the return is worth the investment.”
Attendees this year experienced a wide variety of activities geared up to explore possible career fields. Monday was dedicated toward making disaster preparedness kits and learning about the weather from a representative of the National Weather Service and Gary McClure, director of Johnson County Emergency Management. “The kids all went home with their kits, including weather radios,” said Nancy. “Every single one of these kids was touched in one way or another by the flooding last year. This went a long way to helping them cope.”
Tuesday saw campers visiting the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center to speak with an inmate about how he ended up incarcerated before continuing to visit the Johnson County Circuit Court to visit Judge John David Preston and Clerk Penny Adams before finishing at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to speak with Sheriff Price and Michael Endicott, City Attorney to have a better understanding of how the judicial process works.
“I was most impressed by the courthouse,” said Zander Richardson, 10, of East Point. “I think we should spend more time there next year. I think it’s important for kids to know how things work.”
Wednesday was dedicated toward a visit from Dr. Gwen Henderson, University of Kentucky, showing the kids how archeologists approach and process artifact discovery. Thursday was dedicated to fishing in Paintsville Lake and Friday was arts and crafts from the Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation Center.
“The camp is awesome!” said Brooklyn Workman, 11, of Chestnut. “The counselors are nice. I like meeting new people and making new friends. We’re going to stay in contact with each other after this.”
“I think the biggest thing is that they see the Sheriff’s Office and the Deputies as friends and as a safe outlet,” said Bob Hutchison, owner operator of McDonald’s of East Kentucky, Johnson County School Board member and camp volunteer. “The camp builds relationships in a positive manner and creates new friends while enjoying outdoor activities.”
“I liked the archeologist. She talked about how they use new technology to find artifacts,” said Richardson.
“This was a fantastic camp and Nancy is a great director,” said Workman. “She makes sure everyone knows what to do. She never got mad if someone messed up, she is always calm and helped us figure out what to do. The camp counselors help us get whatever we need. I’m grateful to be here.”
When asked for suggestions for next year, Richardson said, “I want to go fishing off a boat.”
“I would like to do more crafts, to try new types of crafts. I’d like to try target shooting or a swimming day,” said Workman.
“We have a lot planned for next year,” said Nancy. “I appreciate everyone that helped make Sheriff Camp possible. Couldn’t have done it without community support!”

  • City of Paintsville
  • Paintsville Independent Schools
  • Johnson County Schools
  • Our Lady of the Mountains

  • Johnson County Fiscal Court
  • Johnson County Public Library
  • Paintsville Tourism
  • Chamber of Commerce
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