• By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Friday marked the first day of the annual U.S. 23 Yard Sale, which is one of many similar events across the United States set for Memorial Day weekend, according to a statement from Paintsville Tourism.

Johnson County residents can set up to peddle their wares all along U.S. 23, according to the statement, but Paintsville Tourism is also offering rental space in the Country Music Highway Museum parking lot, with rates varying based on one-day or three-day use. 

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

As Memorial Day is just around the corner, the Paintsville City Pool is set to open for another summer. 

Paintsville Recreation Director Scott “Shoes” Hale said the pool will open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 at 1 p.m. with free admission. After Monday, regular admission rates will apply: $3 for those 16 and up, $2 for those 15 and under, and free for kids 3 and under. 

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Firefighters with the Van Lear Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire midday Thursday that Chief Chuck Wetzel described as a “total loss.”

The home, near Hyden Branch, was engulfed in minutes, and Wetzel said firefighters spent the entire afternoon just working to keep it contained. No injuries were reported.

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

The Paintsville Tourism Commission did not vote on its annual budget at its regular May meeting Monday, but instead, opted to convene a committee to continue taking in public opinion and reevaluate the budget before approving it. 

Monday’s meeting, commission chairperson Bobby McCool said, was opened for public comment, much of which surrounded the large portion of the tourism budget being turned over to the City of Paintsville for tourism-related enterprises, including the golf course and recreation center. 

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Johnson County voters largely aligned with voters from surrounding counties in electing candidates to state and national races on Tuesday. 

The 97th State House District includes Johnson, Wolfe and Morgan counties. With incumbent Rep. Scott Wells not seeking reelection, Johnson County’s own Bobby McCool and Russell Halsey of Pine Ridge in Wolfe County faced off for the Republican nomination, while Craig Lindon of Campton and Isaac Allen of Grassy Creek squared off for the Democratic ticket.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

After a total of approximately 4,943 ballots were cast, incumbents fared well in the primary elections in Johnson County Tuesday, with Republican Johnson County Judge-Executive R.T. “Tucker” Daniel, Democratic Sheriff Dwayne Price and other incumbents surviving the primary to continue the race against new challengers in November. 

Daniel won the primary election for the judge-executive race by a narrow margin of approximately six percent against opponent Lyndon Butcher, who received approximately 38.58 percent of the Republican party vote, and a larger margin against George Burton Spriggs (Spriggs received approximately 17 percent of Republican votes). Daniel will now be poised to go up against unopposed Democrat Mark McKenzie in November for the position. 

  • Paintsville Herald Photos by Waylon Whitson

The regionally-touring pop-rock band Wicked Peace performed at the Paintsville Spring Fling for a special homecoming performance alongside other local acts, including Clarke Sexton, Seth Ferguson, Sarah McCoart, Luke Trimble, Katelyn Fitch and Kynzie Gray. This year’s Spring Fling featured more than 63 vendors, games, face painting, body marbling, the first use of the new train recently acquired by Paintsville Tourism, inflatables, raffles, movies and ended the evening with live music performed at the Historic SIPP Theatre. 

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  • By Chase Ellis Appalachian Newspapers

As law enforcement officers prepared to gather with their friends and families at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Tuesday, Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley was preparing his office to file to seek the death penalty against the man charged with the killing of Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton in March.

Bartley took to the stage during Tuesday’s National Peace Officers Memorial Day event to announce that motion has now been filed in Pike Circuit Court, notifying the defense team of John Russel Hall, 55, of Hurricane Branch, Pikeville, that the Commonwealth would seek additional penalties in the case, including, but not limited to, the death penalty.

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

A Johnson County grand jury issued indictments Wednesday, with charges against seven individuals including credit card fraud and drug trafficking.

According to court documents, Brian Chase Cantrell, 26, of Thelma, was indicted in complicity with Jessica Conley, 28, of West Van Lear, on a charge of fraudulent use of a credit card with a value of more than $500 but less than $10,000, a class D felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

  • A Paintsville Herald Staff Report

This week, Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse announced the indictment of an Eastern Kentucky eye center owner and his former wife on theft and Medicaid fraud charges, according to a statement released by the AG’s office. 

According to the statement, optician Marcus S. Minix, 67, of Lexington, and Amy K. Slone, 34, of Prestonsburg, have each been charged with one count of theft by unlawful taking of property over $10,000, a class C felony, and one count of devising or engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medical Assistance Program of $300 or more, a class D felony. 

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies said they seized a large sum of cash Tuesday when a deputy noticed expired registration tags on a vehicle traveling along Ky. 40, according to the citation, and performed a traffic stop that led to the discovery of suspected methamphetamine and suboxone. 

JCSO deputy Byron Fairchild performed the stop after seeing the vehicle had registration plates that expired in April, the citation said, and made contact with the driver, Everett Haney, 56, of Prestonsburg, who Fairchild said appeared to be very nervous, “shaking and appeared to be sweating profusely.” Fairchild continued, stating that Haney had slurred speech and appeared to be under the influence of something. 

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Numbers pulled from public records at the Johnson County Judicial Center show that though methamphetamine production is on the decline in Johnson County, possession and trafficking in meth are still very much on the rise. 

The figures were pulled for meth-related charges filed in both Johnson County District and Circuit Court. Some of the cases are redundant graduations of a felony case from the district to circuit level; many other circuit cases began with a presentment of evidence directly to a grand jury. Most of these charges were disposed with guilty pleas or convictions, while others were dismissed or amended down. 

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies netted a 31-gram meth bust Monday while patrolling the Stave Branch area of Staffordsville, according to a statement released by the JCSO.

According to the statement, JCSO deputies Lauren O’Bryan and Jerry Wiley were patrolling in the area around 1 a.m. when they noticed a Jeep parked in the rear parking lot of the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum. 

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

A registered sex offender was found living in a vehicle at Thealka Park Monday after Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies noticed an extension cord coming from the vehicle plugged into a shelter outlet at the public park, according to a statement released by the JCSO.

The statement said JCSO deputies Lauren O’Bryan and Jerry Wiley were patrolling Thealka Park when they noticed the vehicle and made contact with the driver,  Jessie Ward, 40, and noticed that Ward had “bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and delayed responses.”

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  • A Paintsville Herald Staff Report

A Sitka man was arrested Thursday after Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a collision at the intersection of Ky. 8518 and Ky. 201, according to a statement released by the JCSO.

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Kentucky State Police said home visit conducted by Johnson County probation and parole officers Wednesday afternoon led to the arrest of four individuals after Kentucky State Police detectives joined the officers to follow up on information discovered during an active investigation.

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Mountain Manor in Paintsville hosted a book reading and signing on Wednesday with resident James Melvin Rudd, a Korean War veteran, whose story is told in “Massacre at Hill 303” by author Basil Clark.

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

After damage found at the Paintsville Recreation Center playground, Paintsville Recreation Director Scott “Shoes” Hale said efforts are being made to increase security at the facility.

Hale said soccer nets are routinely found hanging off the frame, possibly due to children hanging from them, and a tube slide has been closed due to serious damage making it unsafe.

  • Paintsville Herald photo by Waylon Whitson

Students and faculty at Johnson County Middle School, alongside parents and local politicians, gathered Tuesday in the JCMS gymnasium to recognize and celebrate the JCMS Academics, Future Problem Solving and Community Problem Solving teams for their successes in recent Governor’s Cup competitions. The JCMS Academic Team celebrated its 15th Overall State Championship this year, including first place finishes in FPS and quick recall, and the JCMS CmPS team won the state-level competition in their division as well. 

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

The name change is official: Paintsville’s downtown tennis courts are now the Ken Fuller Tennis Courts, after the unveiling of the newly installed sign on Monday.

 “I don’t think I deserve it, but I appreciate it,” Fuller said. 

Fuller said  the tennis program has grown in the years since its inception, and currently has more than 100 students. 

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies interrupted a suspected theft in progress on Ky. 580 near the Pickle Fork area, resulting in the property owner recovering his items, according to a statement released by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday.

According to the statement, late Monday evening, the property owner called in a complaint of a theft in progress, stating that he heard a suspicious noise coming from some work equipment on his property. When JCSO deputies Lauren O’Bryan and Jerry Wiley arrived, the statement said, they were able to hear at least one individual, possibly more, fleeing the scene into the hills near the property.

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

An Oil Springs man was arrested with some help from civilians after Walmart asset protection staff contacted the Paintsville Police Department with complaints of a shoplifter last Friday, April 27, according to court documents.

The citation said PPD Officer Zac Mitchell responded to the call from asset protection, who reported that a man had concealed batteries and drain cleaner while in Walmart and had passed by all points of sale. When confronted by asset protection staff, the man, John Andrew Lewis, 51, of Oil Springs, dropped the concealed items and fled the store, the citation said.

  • By Chase Ellis Appalachian Newspapers

PIKEVILLE — A Johnson County man who was working as a land developer in Floyd County when he was charged as part of a federal bank fraud case last year was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay restitution in the case during a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Pikeville.

Paul Fannin, of Van Lear, former owner and developer of StoneCrest Properties, had faced a penalty that could have included between 15 and months in federal prison on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Instead, U.S. Chief District Judge Karen K. Caldwell ordered Fannin to have credit for time served, to serve 180 days of home incarceration and to have five years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay a restitution amount of $248,368.60, payable to BB&T.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

The Johnson County Board of Education received an approximately $125,000 check from Kentucky Power Wednesday as part of an incentive program related to a recently-completed series of renovations throughout the district. 

The cash incentive from Kentucky Power was aimed at persuading schools to take steps to reduce their environmental footprint and increase their energy efficiency – however, the program was one of those discontinued by Kentucky Power after a recent decision by the Kentucky Public Service Commission for Kentucky Power to reduce its charitable donations and general expenditures rather than seeking a rate increase, according to Johnson County Schools Superintendent Thom Cochran.

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  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

The Paintsville/Johnson County Garden Club has teamed up with Johnson Central High School’s Future Farmers of America and other agriculture students to set up spring planters in the City of Paintsville.

  • A Paintsville Herald Staff Report

After an exhaustive search, the Johnson County School District has announced that funding required to install a school resource officer at the Johnson Central High School and Johnson County Middle School campus has been secured, according to a statement from Johnson County Schools Superintendent Thom Cochran.

The statement said Cochran and Johnson County Schools Board of Education Chairman Bob Hutchison received approximately $49,907.94 from the Johnson County Judge-Executive R.T. “Tucker” Daniel and the Johnson County Fiscal Court. 

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Whiskers or Wags hosted its annual Bow Wow Meow Luau on Saturday at the Paintsville Country Club, and in the process, raised more than $5,700 for the Johnson County Animal Shelter.

The event featured musical performances by Troy Burchett and the Postmen and Alan Burton, tropical drinks and a buffet and desserts catered by Smokin’ Butts BBQ and Angie’s Catering.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Children from Once Upon a Child Care Center, participants at the Johnson County Senior Citizens Center and members of the Paintsville/Johnson County Garden Club came together Friday to celebrate Arbor Day, alongside representatives from the Kentucky Department of Forestry.

The groups planted two trees in Preston Park, situated between Broadway Street and Ky. 321, with the children planting a tree to represent the future and senior citizens planting a tree to represent the past, before both groups walked to the Stafford House for the official commemoration of a holly tree that bore witness to the Civil War. 

  • A Paintsville Herald Staff Report

The Johnson County Sheriff’s office has concluded their investigation into the death of a Boonscamp man, according to a statement released Tuesday, and found no foul play in connection with the incident.

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  • By Waylon Whitson and Aaron K. Nelson

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers conducted tours of local advanced manufacturing endeavors during a visit to Paintsville Monday, praising both for their contributions to helping stimulate a recovering economy and workforce in the region.

Rogers’ first stop in Johnson County was at the Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, where director Kathy Walker introduced him to the current class of students learning computer-guided machining.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

A Wittensville woman was arrested Thursday after Paintsville Police Department officers responded to a call from VIP Fuels on Ky. 40 about a woman paying for items with counterfeit bills, according to the citation.

When PPD Officer Zac Mitchell arrived, the citation said, he observed a $20 bill with the words “for motion picture purposes” written on it, which management staff told Mitchell they recovered. Mitchell spoke to the cashier on duty, the citation said, and was advised by the cashier that she did not see the marking at the time of the transaction on Wednesday, and that Melissa Terry, 35, of Wittensville, had given her contact information to the cashier at that time. 

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  • Paintsville Herald photo by Aaron K. Nelson

The Mountain Homeplace Farm spent a sunny Saturday hosting a pig roast featuring live music, guided tours and plenty of food, including a hog raised on the farm. Manager Russell Honeycutt said the Mountain Homeplace is taking steps, including renovations to the gift shop, to gear up for an upcoming grand re-opening event.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

The Johnson County Board of Education recognized the achievements of several students at its regular meeting Monday from both Johnson Central High School and Johnson County Middle School, including the JCMS band, who was recently recognized as a distinguished-level band.

According to Martina Lutz, band director for Johnson County Schools, the band traveled to the assessment, held by Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) on April 13, and this year marked the first time the band has been recognized as distinguished in at least 15 years.

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

The Paintsville City Council convened a special meeting Wednesday with only one item on the agenda: To permit the Paintsville/Johnson County Garden Club to proceed with a grant application for a community greenhouse.

Paintsville has always made an effort to display flower arrangements, as “a community decorated in the floral grandeur of the seasons is always the most desirable community in which to live, work, visit and engage in commerce,” the resolution said.

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

The Johnson Central High School Players drama troupe premiered its latest offering at the SIPP Theater in downtown Paintsville beginning Thursday morning, marking the third production of the 2017-2018 school year.

The group’s newest show is “The Little Mermaid,” which director Emily Warne said is the group’s largest production yet, having the largest cast and crew of any JCHS Players show to date. 

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

A Johnson County grand jury handed down 39 indictments Wednesday, including one against a man who was arrested in February after allegedly attempting to fight Kentucky State Police troopers.

KSP Trooper M. Haney and KSP Trooper Dustin Thompson responded to a residence on Ky. 40 in Staffordsville on the evening of Feb. 21 and encountered a male subject who advised the troopers, according to the citation, that his name was Josh Lewis and he provided the troopers with a date of birth. The citation said that when the troopers entered that name and information into their system, the photo did not match the man, Shawn Easley, 27, of Salyersville.

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Four individuals from Floyd and Johnson counties were arrested on meth trafficking charges after a traffic stop on Ky. 321 Saturday led to the discovery of drugs and paraphernalia in the vehicle, according to court documents.

The citation said Paintsville Police Department officer Zac Mitchell observed a black Nissan Altima travelling southbound on Ky. 321 and was unable to locate a registration plate on the vehicle. After making contact with the driver of the vehicle, Kayla Simpkins, 28, of Prestonsburg, Mitchell wrote that he found a temporary registration plate in the lower left corner of the rear window, but was unable to make out the numbers on the plate through the glass.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

A traffic stop on Friday led to an investigation into vehicle identification number alteration after Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Prestonsburg man on U.S. 23, according to a statement released by the JCSO.

According to the statement, JCSO Deputy Jesse Mullins stopped the vehicle, a Chevrolet Blazer, for speeding near Witten Lane on U.S. 23, and, upon examining the registration plate on the vehicle, Mullins said, the plate did not

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  • Paintsville Herald photo by Aaron K. Nelson

W.R. Castle Fire and Rescue, joined at the scene with mutual aid from the Paintsville Fire Department, Oil Springs Volunteer Fire Department, and Rockhouse Fire and Rescue responded to help battle a fire at this home on Rule Branch on Little Mud Lick Road in Staffordsville Monday morning, PFD officials said. The cause of the fire has not been released.

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

The Paintsville radio stations WKLW and WSIP spent Thursday and Friday hosting their 13th annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Radiothon. 

WKLW programming director Adam Preece said last year’s radiothon raised nearly $60,000.

  • By Aaron K. Nelson Editor

Three Johnson County sheriff’s deputies have begun to share duty as school resource officers.

Deputy Tim Clark, Deputy Kevin Pelphrey and Deputy Terry Tussey will rotate duty across Johnson County schools, with a focus on Johnson Central High School and Johnson County Middle School but with periodic visits to local elementary schools as well.

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  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

Johnson County teachers once again traveled to Frankfort to protest, gather and show their support for the public education system Friday, according to statements released by both Johnson County Schools and Paintsville Independent Schools, which detailed why the schools would be closed on this next-to-final day of the 2018 General Assembly. 

  • By Waylon Whitson Staff Writer

The Johnson County Circuit Court handed down a two-year sentence Friday for a Floyd County man arrested in August in connection with a meth bust at the Days Inn Motel, according to court documents. The documents said that bust resulted in the seizure of 1,000 grams of methamphetamine.

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