July’s regular meeting of the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center board saw two major shakeups that will affect the jail’s finances: The hiring of additional staff and a cut to per diem costs for housing county inmates.

During Administrator F. D. “Pete” Fitzpatrick’s report on the prior few months’ population, bills and employee overtime costs, multiple board members expressed the need to fix an excess of overtime. 

Appalachian Newspapers recently named its All-Mountain Teams.

The All-Mountain team will consist of Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, First-Team, Second-Team, Third-Team and Honorable Mentions.

The All-Mountain Teams consist of players from Mingo County, Pike County, Floyd County, Johnson County and Perry County and entire 15th Region coverage areas. 

The All-Mountain Team was voted on by Appalachian Newspapers sports writers: Randy White, Cory Vance, Steve LeMaster, Trevor Thacker, Mike Muncy and Cody Davis.

With tanker manufacturing facility SilverLiner set to open its doors in Pikeville in November, the combined efforts of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program and Big Sandy Area Community Action Program are making sure the company will have a full staff of skilled employees.

The various agencies and company officials joined together Thursday celebrating as the first 12 students of the SilverLiner program at BSCTC’s Mayo Campus were celebrated with a graduation ceremony..

Like others around the state, nonprofits in Johnson County are now subject to a six percent sales tax for admissions fees, even for fundraisers. The effects, representatives said, have been varied.

Mountain Homeplace manager Russell Honeycutt said that, for the living historical museum near Paintsville Lake, applying the tax has been a smooth transition.

A Johnson County grand jury handed down 29 indictments Wednesday, among them an indictment against a Thelma man alleged to have committed charges including rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of a minor.

Marvin P. Martin, 34, of Thelma, is alleged, in the indictment, to have committed the offense of second-degree rape by “knowingly and unlawfully … engaging in sexual intercourse with a person less than 14 years of age,” second-degree sodomy by “knowingly and unlawfully … engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 14 years of age,” and second-degree sexual abuse by “knowingly and unlawfully … subjecting a person less than 14 years of age … to sexual contact” between 2017 and this year. 


The Johnson County Jeep Club held its first National Jeep Day event Saturday and lined the streets of downtown Paintsville with more than 70 Jeeps as participants braved the heat to enjoy the company of other likeminded enthusiasts, according to a statement from JCJC Vice President Connie Blevins.

The event included a show with prizes, vendors and a family atmosphere that welcomed Jeep clubs from anywhere to celebrate with the Jeep enthusiasts of Johnson County, the statement said.

A fundraising effort is underway for the family of a Paintsville man badly burned in an accident last month.

Willie Owens suffered extensive burns over half of his body June 16 when a lawnmower overturned and spilled gasoline. Since then, his aunt Joanna Owens has said, he has been recovering at Cabell Huntington Hospital, and infections have kept him on hemodialysis and forced doctors to amputate both his legs and part of one arm.


Saturday at the University of Kentucky, Johnson Central sophomore Savannah Ratliff earned the state championship in her category of the 4-H Communications Contest.

Johnson County UK Cooperative Extension 4-H Agent Dianna Reed said Ratliff worked her way to the state contest after county and district competitions. At state, she earned the championship for the 15-year-old’s speech category. 

Two Johnson County women were indicted by a Pike grand jury recently in connection with what prosecutors are saying was a plan to defraud merchants across multiple counties with forged payroll checks.

Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley said the separate indictments of Rebecca Ratliff, 36, of Ky. 1428, Hager Hill, and Megan Stacy, 24, of Ky. 825, Swamp Branch, appear to be connected and may be part of a fraud scheme that has now been identified as operating in Pike, Johnson, Floyd, Clark and Fayette counties.

Paintsville Tourism has recently begun a project to bring music to Main Street, with the first phase placing speakers above the awning of The Historic Sipp Theatre and already complete, according to a statement from Tourism Director Josh Johnson.

“If you are on Main Street around the SIPP you will hear oldies music playing. Phase two work will start soon as we will be expanding out further into downtown,” Johnson said.


The office of U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers announced Wednesday that $200 million in federal funds will be coming to Eastern Kentucky to help with flood control projects, including $118 million for Johnson County.

The funds derive from the “Storm Supplemental Appropriations for Disasters 2018 Package,” a part of the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use the $118 million in Johnson County for a detailed report and plan for flood mitigation, which could possibly involve the incorporation of a flood wall or levee.


The Johnson County Public Library is undergoing renovations, and other Paintsville institutions have stepped up to help.

According to statements from JCPL programming director Christy Terry, the renovations will include updates to the children’s and teens’ areas, a fresh new look, and an all-new multipurpose room.

Local agencies Goggans Construction and Bocook Engineering are contracted for the renovation.

A Nicholasville man was arrested in the Nippa community Friday, July 6 after, court documents said, a Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call of an individual breaking into a residence on Hilltop Road with a firearm.

JCSO deputy Cory Cook responded to the call, the citation said, and found the caller had taken her five-month-old child into a bedroom within the residence and locked the door. When Cook arrived, no one would answer the door, leading to Cook going around the house to find another way inside, the citation said. 


The Paintsville City Council’s regular meeting Monday included two agencies requesting additional funds and a city department seeking consent to pursue a Kentucky Infrastructure Authority loan.

Paintsville Utilities general manager Bob Pack said the utilities board is hoping to move forward with improvements to the water system, and has approved, pending the city’s authorization, pursuing a $2.01 million KIA loan to do so. 

The Paintsville Independent Schools Board of Education heard an update from architect Bill Richardson Monday during its regularly scheduled meeting, learning that the Paintsville High School gym and roofing renovation project undertaken by the board last year is about two weeks behind schedule. 

That, officials said, will force the district to use the Paintsville Elementary School gym for the upcoming volleyball season.


Many Johnson County agencies and nonprofits are still standing strong this week, despite having lost an upstanding pillar in the passing of James “Jim” Kelly on Friday.

Kelly touched many lives in his time since graduating Van Lear High School and serving as a U.S. Army Military Policeman. He worked as a teacher in Johnson County and later worked with the Social Security Administration all across the eastern U.S., before serving as Eastern Kentucky Social Security District Director.

A prisoner escaped from the custody of the Martin County deputy jailer Monday after taking control of the jailer’s vehicle, according to a statement from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the statement, Mark Allen Crouch, of Lovely, was in transit with the jailer from Martin County to Big Sandy Regional Detention Center and cuffed with his hands in front of him. Crouch became combative near the intersection of Ky. 40 and Ky. 321 around the area of Premier Motors, the statement said, eventually forcing the jailer out of the vehicle and assuming control of the gray Ford Crown Victoria. 


July 4 festivities in Paintsville were interrupted Wednesday by a thunderstorm producing a microburst, damaging businesses, residences and churches downtown.

Tree branches and other debris littered the roads and yards across downtown, and the powerful winds also uprooted or broke multiple trees. 

The steeple of First Baptist Church of Paintsville was blown off the building, and wind removed a portion of the roof from the office of optometrists Conley and Cottrell.


Even after weathering a massive storm, the City of Paintsville decided the show must go on. The 10 p.m. fireworks display followed a busy evening of debris removal across downtown Paintsville, and a day of events around town that included food and games at the historic Stafford House sponsored by Paintsville Tourism and Paintsville Main Street.

Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon attended the weekly meeting of the Paintsville Rotary Club Tuesday to share with its members a proclamation denoting June 28 “Rotary Day,” in honor of the group’s many community projects and its long-running service of 96 years in Paintsville.

A Johnson County native who came under fire this week following a 2017 African game hunt has told The Paintsville Herald that her critics do not have the full story.

Tess Talley, originally of Johnson County, took part in a hunt in Africa in the summer of 2017 that included her shooting an 18-year-old giraffe. Only when the Africland Post shared photos of her with the dead giraffe on Twitter in June 2018, calling her a “white American savage,” did the story become viral, including stories from Time, CBS, Fox News, USA Today and numerous international outlets.

July will be a busy month for the Paintsville Recreation Department, but Sunday also marked the beginning of the department collecting state sales tax on certain admissions, rentals and fees.

The new sales taxes, which went into effect July 1, include not only facility and event fees such as the swimming pool the Paintsville Recreation Department manages, but also bowling alleys, skating rinks and fitness centers.


Fourth of July festivities kicked off in downtown Paintsville Saturday as Paintsville Tourism, in partnership with Community Trust Bank hosted the Rockin’ in the Fourth event, featuring live music from local talent, train rides and food.

The event kicked off with a performance from singer and songwriter Benjamin Boggs, a Lexington native who sings country music unaccompanied and covers hits from the past and present.


With the help of some local sponsors and volunteers, Van Lear’s Rucker Park is looking brand new again. A small ceremony of thanks was held Friday afternoon for those volunteers.

Tina Webb with the Van Lear Historical Society said Lowe’s of Paintsville donated volunteer time and equipment to construct a new bridge over Miller Creek, new playground equipment for the park, and acquired a contractor to remove and replace the shelter area, complete with four new picnic tables. The area was also mowed, weeded and pressure washed.

Two Johnson County men are facing meth trafficking charges after allegedly being arrested in a car with more than 13 grams of methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Capt. Jonathan Holbrook with the Paintsville Police Department noticed a vehicle Thursday evening in Paintsville after seeing the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. Holbrook reportedly turned around to pull the car over, and found it parked with its occupants on foot on Madison Avenue.


The Johnson County Schools Board of Education continued its monthly practice of recognizing staff for their contributions to the school system at its regular meeting Monday, this time honoring two retirees, one certified staff member and one classified staff member.

“Last month, we began honoring our retirees for the current school year,” said Superintendent Thom Cochran. “Since that time, we’ve had two additional people, our family members and staff members who have decided to take that plunge, make us all jealous and go into retirement.”


Children signed up for the 2018 Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Day Camp over the past week have enjoyed several activities and events, including a visit Thursday from Letcher County Extension Office Program Assistant and master falconer Mitchum Whitaker.

Whitaker, who has been working with raptors for more than 30 years, brought a variety of birds to a program at the Paintsville Lake State Park for the campers to get an up close look and learn about their role in the ecosystem.

At special meeting held earlier this week, the City of Paintsville adopted a strategic plan as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System.

Mayor Bill Mike “Coach” Runyon said the plan’s adoption on time is part of the city’s efforts to gain points and bolster the city’s CRS, in an effort to lower flood insurance rates for citizens. 

The City of Paintsville is ready to celebrate Independence Day in a big way this year.

Starting Saturday night, Paintsville Tourism is hosting “Rock in the 4th” at Paint Creek Park, featuring live music from the Seth Ferguson Experience.

That event will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and admission will be free.

On Wednesday, July 4, a full slate of activities is set, starting with “Food and Fun” at the historic Stafford House from noon to 3 p.m.

After a second reading during a special-called meeting of the Johnson County Fiscal Court Monday, the county budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year has been approved.

The $10.6 million budget includes appropriations of $4.9 million for the general fund, $3.4 million for the road fund, $631,500 for the jail fund, $309,400 in the Local Government Economic Assistance fund, and $1.3 million in other funds, including four industrial development authorities, the Johnson County Judicial Center and a $400,000 grant to Mountain Comprehensive Care.


The Johnson County Schools Board of Education recognized students from across the district Monday during its regular meeting, ranging from elementary students competing in Community Problem Solving to the Johnson Central High School Junior Varsity Quick Recall team that participated in national-level competition in Orlando, Florida earlier in June.

“Every school in our district was blessed to represent us at international competition in Lacrosse, Wisconsin for community problem solving and future problem solving,” said Thom Cochran, JCS superintendent.

Oil Springs Fire and Rescue is doubling down on training Moving Water Rescue technicians and making use of that training, according to a statement from the department which said, in addition to being present for the Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee’s Chatterwha Trace River Run, the department also rescued a kayaker who was pulled away from her party by strong currents Saturday.

West Van Lear Fire Department personnel called for assistance Saturday evening, advising the moving water rescue technicians from OSFR of two kayakers in the water and in trouble in the Powell Addition area of the Levisa Fork, the statement said. WVLFD personnel arrived on-scene and learned that a party of four was kayaking down the river when one less-experienced female kayaker was, according to the statement, caught up in the current and pulled away from the rest of the kayakers.

At a special-called meeting Monday, the Paintsville Utilities Commission adopted a working budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The budget plans for three percent higher operating revenue, up to $8,693,000, and eight percent higher operating expenses, at $6,280,346.

With $1,654,352 in debt service and reserves, $612,500 in net capital expenditures, $160,000 in other expenses and $15,000 in interest income, that leaves the 2018-2019 balance with a net positive position of $802.

The Paintsville Tourism Commission is working closely with other agencies to plan a summer packed with events.

At Paintsville’s Town Hall, Tourism Executive Director Josh Johnson reminded attendees of the regular events that tourism helps plan and sponsor. 

Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. will be a showing of “Jaws” as the monthly movie night at the Historic SIPP Theatre, where $5 buys admission as well as popcorn and a drink. Next month, “Top Gun” will play July 21. Every week there is Front Porch Pickin’ at the Country Music Highway Museum at 7 p.m., and there is a dinner club at the museum every second Friday of the month with rotating themes, including “Kahoot Night” July 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Following the success of the first such meeting in March, the City of Paintsville hosted its second town hall-style meeting with various city departments and agencies Tuesday evening at the Historic SIPP Theatre.

Mayor Bill Mike Runyon welcomed audience members and introduced city department heads, including Paintsville Tourism Commission Executive Director Josh Johnson, Mark McKenzie with the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, Paintsville Recreation Director Scott “Shoes” Hale and Catherine Castle and Lara Pack with the Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee.


According to Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Jesse Mullins, two vehicles — a Chevrolet pickup and a Honda Accord — collided in a curve on Ky. 1107 near the intersection with Ky. 321. All three occupants of the vehicles, including two in the pickup and one in the sedan, were transported from the scene for apparent non-life-threatening injuries, Deputy Mullins said. The wreck remains under investigation by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

A Paintsville man was arrested Wednesday, June 13 on charges including indecent exposure and DUI after Paintsville Police Department officers were approached by a female subject stating that the individual had exposed himself while urinating in Preston Park, between Broadway Street and Ky. 321, according to court documents.

PPD Officer Zach Mitchell wrote, in the citation, that he and PPD Captain Holbrook were performing stationary observation on Broadway Street and were approached by the woman, who advised them that Michael Jennings, 53, of Paintsville, had exposed himself in Preston Park while urinating. According to the citation, Mitchell then observed Jennings as he crossed Ky. 321 on his bicycle and stated that he observed Jennings “almost fall off (of) the bicycle and fall into traffic” on the roadway. 


The Paintsville Food City held its third annual charity car show on Saturday to raise money for the Johnson County Animal Shelter.

Paintsville Food City Human Relations Coordinator Nikka Shell said that hosting the show is a win-win for car enthusiasts to support a good cause. Even with attendance down from last year, the show was still able to raise around $500.

Shell said using a car show to raise funds for the local animal shelter was a no-brainer.

The Johnson County Salvation Army operates five days a week, but most customers may only be aware of the work going on up front in the thrift store. Behind the scenes, the staff there work to improve the lives of the people of Johnson and Martin counties in myriad other ways.

Director Susan Gannon said that in an office space in the back, the local service unit exists to help those in need.

Donations are being gathered for Willie Owens, a Paintsville man who suffered extensive burns in a serious accident over the weekend.

According to his aunt Joanna Owens, Willie was involved in a lawnmower accident Saturday. The mower overturned, spilling gasoline that resulted in a fire. Owens rolled down the yard and into a nearby creek to extinguish the flames, but suffered burns over 58 percent of his body, approximately one-fourth of which are third-degree burns.


The Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee hosted its first “Chatterwha Trace River Run” of the 2018 season, following up on last year’s inaugural kayaking event in Paintsville.

The event drew paddlers from five states and seven Kentucky counties to enter the Levisa Fork at the Paintsville Water Plant and paddle to Tim Price Landing in Offutt for a total of six and a half miles in the water, according to PJCTTC Volunteer Chairperson Catherine Castle. According to Castle, 28 paddlers from Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina participated in the event – with Johnson, Floyd, Lawrence, Martin, Knott, Elliott and Magoffin counties represented from Kentucky. 

The Paintsville Tourism Commission convened in a special meeting Thursday at the Country Music Highway Museum to pass a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and amend the current year’s budget.

The budget enacted Thursday shows $777,044 in income, from $686,550 in restaurant taxes, $60,000 in motel taxes, $15,000 from the SIPP Theatre, $8,474 in matching funds, $2,000 for the train and $5,020 other.

A Flat Gap man was arrested Monday on burglary and wanton endangerment charges after police said a Hagerhill resident interrupted a burglary in progress and blocked the suspect in.

Kentucky State Police Trooper J. Johnson responded to the complaint Sunday evening and wrote in the citation that the perpetrator attempted to flee in a silver Chevrolet passenger car, using the car to ram the victim’s vehicle. According to the citation, the perpetrator, later identified as Steven Roy Greene, 39, of Flat Gap, fled the scene, making a left turn onto Ky. 1428 towards U.S. 23. 


Rep. Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook speaks at a graduation ceremony hosted Friday at the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center in Thelma for more than 100 students graduating with training in automotive programs, cosmetology, food service and materials management.

Inventions often come with a hope and a dream.  A world-wide market for an idea is the dream of an inventor who wants his idea to not only be a success but to make the world a better place. 

Dan Short, of Paris, originally of Paintsville, is seeing his hope and dream coming to fruition. And as he says, “Sometimes the truth makes the best story.”   Here’s the truth. 

The City of Paintsville’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1 includes several changes over the previous budget.

According to the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 budgets, the next fiscal will include $162,616 more revenue than the prior year, thanks in part to higher projected receipts from garbage collection fees, the insurance premium tax and franchise tax, emergency medical services and the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute lease.


Schools from around Johnson County were represented at the Future Problem Solving Program International Competition in La Crosse, Wisconsin, last weekend, and after a long weekend of competition, two Johnson County schools are coming home international champions. 

Highland Elementary School earned an international championship in the Human Services category for their Community Problem Solving project, “Foster Friends,” which gives kids going into foster care backpacks stuffed with school supplies, clothes, toiletries and more to help them get a start on making their new living situation feel more like a home.


At its regular June meeting, the Paintsville City Council took steps to move forward with the next fiscal year.

After the second reading, the council voted to approve a 2018/2019 fiscal year budget with projected revenues and expenses of $9,054,759, approximately 2 percent higher than those of the current fiscal year, ending June 30.

At its regular June meeting, the Johnson County Fiscal Court voted to amend the 2017/2018 budget to include a few unbudgeted receipts before the close of the fiscal year June 30.

The court had received $181 in surplus property, $1,191.19 in FEMA flood reimbursement, $18,278.30 for truck licensing, $109,928.60 for county road aid and $89,842.74 for various reimbursements. 

Johnson County has faced an unusually high number of counterfeit money cases in recent years, and Paintsville Police Chief Mike Roe said clerks in Eastern Kentucky need to be vigilant.

Roe said in cases PPD has investigated, the money is being purchased online from websites that sell it for use in movies and TV shows. The cash is typically fairly realistic, but will typically say it is only for “motion picture purposes.” Some bills, Roe said, even have noticeable writing on them in Japanese or Chinese.


No injuries were reported and no arrests have yet been made after an incident Monday in which shots were allegedly fired into the office of Robert Miller, a Paintsville attorney.

Paintsville Police Chief Mike Roe said officers are reviewing nearby security footage for cars in the area around the time of the incident, and said the round appears to have been from a .22 caliber firearm. Roe said no one was in the waiting room area at the time the shooting occurred.