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Bears can be found in the windows of several downtown Paintsville businesses, like this one at Lynette & Laurel.

The Johnson County community has rallied to make this time of social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis a little sweeter for youth. Community members have begun placing stuffed animals, namely bears, in windows and around the properties of their homes and businesses so that children can go on a “bear hunt.”

There is a public Facebook group, “It’s a Bear Hunt! Johnson County,” consisting of more than 200 members dedicated to the activity, and administrator Cassandra Mollette described the reasoning behind the effort, stating, “As we continue to practice social distancing for the next few weeks and do our part to flatten the curve, let’s go on a bear hunt,” she said. “Put a teddy bear (or bears) in your window or on your porch for children to see while on walks or car rides through the community. Let’s see how many fuzzy friends we can find.”

Many participants have posted photos and updates to the group and several people have reported finding more than 100 bears in the same day. Communities such as Cross Creek, West Van Lear, downtown Paintsville, Stoney Brook, Hidden Valley, John’s Creek and Riverview Drive have reported bears to be discovered. Even Johnson County Judge/Executive Mark McKenzie has joined in on the fun — a bear can be spotted in the front window of his home in Paintsville.

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