The Johnson County Fiscal Court, like other area communities, is continuing to work to dig out from the effects of a weekend of snow and severe weather.

During the court’s special meeting on Jan. 10, officials announced Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management is seeking volunteers for warming shelters to help those in the county without shelter and to respond to other needs.

Johnson County Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie addressed the court, giving an update on the warming shelter’s first year of operation and what that entailed, after the warming shelter was created last year, but was not used due to the ice storm that necessitated the opening of a larger shelter for community residents.

“I meant to mention the warming center in my announcements. As you know, we opened a warming center last winter, did not use it ... because we had the ice storm, so we actually ended up opening a full shelter because of that disaster,” McKenzie said. “We’re using the lower level of the former sheriff’s office on Second Street as a warming center, and we’ve had that open for four or five nights now, I guess, total.

“We set some criteria for when it would open, as far as temperatures and that type of thing, so we know, with the weather and the way it’s been, it’s obviously been a challenging time. So, for those that are unsheltered, we wanted to give them the opportunity to come in and get some temporary relief from the elements,” McKenzie continued, transitioning into explaining both the need for volunteers and the process by which interested parties can get involved. “As with everything, it takes volunteers, so we, once again wanted to ask that, if anyone has any interest in volunteering, to reach out to us. Regina (Hall McClure) can work with you on scheduling.”

McKenzie said that the warming center was open during the night of Monday, Jan. 10, and McClure added that the center needed volunteers that evening. According to McKenzie, it was likely the last night the center would be open before temperatures begin to fall again over the weekend.

“I think that we’re going to be open again tonight (Jan. 10) and I think, probably, the way the temperatures look, we might not have to open again until the weekend,” McKenzie said. “We still need volunteers tonight, we have three shifts and we only have the first one covered,” McClure said.

McKenzie then asked that anyone viewing the livestream of the meeting on Facebook who might be interested to reach out, before explaining that the center runs shifts from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., with two individuals needed for each four-hour shift. According to McKenzie, there was a brief orientation necessary, but it was short and could be completed remotely by McClure.

“If anyone is available wants to volunteer for that, we have a brief orientation that Regina does with you, there’s obviously some guidelines that need to be followed, but we can do that by phone or FaceTime,” McKenzie said, adding that prospective volunteers could contact them by phone at, (606) 789-3517. “We need volunteers for tonight, but we would also love to have a database, going forward, of folks who would be willing to volunteer to help provide services to the unsheltered.”

McClure added that prospective volunteers could also reach out through emergency management’s Facebook page to volunteer or for more information by searching for “Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management.”

Commissioners also thanked the county’s road department for their contributions throughout the weekend in trying to make sure that Johnson County’s roads were as passable as possible following the snow, beginning with Commissioner District 1 Kathy Adams.

“I’d just like to thank our road department for doing such a good job over the weekend,” Adams said.

“I would echo that again, as well, Kathy. It was a tough situation, tough road conditions for sure, but they go out and do their very best to clean the roads off and I thought that, given the circumstances, we were in pretty good shape by Friday evening,” McKenzie said.