A public memorial service is being held Saturday after one of Johnson County’s most tireless ambassadors passed away last week at the age of 83.

Herman Webb, of Van Lear, is survived by four sisters, including Grammy-winning  country singers Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, three daughters, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Webb frequently directed tours of the family’s famous “Butcher Holler” homestead, and managed the family-owned Webb’s Grocery.

A man convicted of rape and sodomy involving a minor in Johnson County will become eligible for parole this October.

According to a 2007 Kentucky Supreme Court decision, Timothy Dwayne Morman was initially indicted by a grand jury on twelve counts of second-degree rape, twelve counts of second-degree sodomy, one count of using a minor in a sexual performance and one count of first-degree being a persistent felony offender after “Morman’s admitted sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl.”


Staff at Johnson Central High School and Flat Gap Elementary School came together Wednesday at the JCHS campus to take part in the Kentucky State Police’s Safe Schools Active Shooter Survival Program’s “level four” training, where staff sat in on a seminar and also took part in drills simulating what it would be like if they were caught off guard by a shooter in the halls of the school. 

According to Post 9 Squad Sgt. and Safe Schools Coordinator Jason Joseph, KSP troopers Sheldon Thomas, Jarrett Fields, Joe Weddington, Colt Stumbo and Jamie Rose were on-site to assist with the training. The program began with a seminar delivered by Joseph, which outlined likely scenarios and the responses that would be appropriate if a staff member found themselves in a situation where they heard gunfire while at the school. 

The 12 Baskets Food Pantry at the Paintsville First Church of God added an extra day to its usual distribution schedule to give away a truckload of fresh produce on Tuesday.

Pastor Dan Heaberlin said the pantry is usually only open on Tuesdays, but the produce arrived on Wednesday. The food was organized, bagged and given away with the help of HOPE, an American Legion Youth Group that operates from Paintsville’s Veterans Center.


Local singer and songwriter Waylon Nelson held a release party for his new album, ‘Appalachian Sound,’ Friday at the Historic SIPP Theatre in downtown Paintsville.

Appalachian Sound released in June, according to Nelson, and has been steadily gaining momentum. Nelson, of Pikeville, said many of the songs have been written for years, but the hard work and gracious contributions of several musicians since August in the studio at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg made it possible.

More than 100 professional and amateur golfers took to the links in Paintsville over the weekend for the annual Paintsville Invitational Tournament.

Adam Crum, with the Paintsville Golf Course said this marks the 78th year of the tournament, with 114 participants gathering to play in a two-day tournament following a Friday Pro-Am.

Crum said participants this year came not just from Johnson and surrounding counties, but other six states including Ohio, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, West Virginia and South Carolina.

The Paintsville High School Alumni Association announced a new format for its annual All-Alumni Weekend event and also announced a Hall of Fame wall at the Paintsville Independent Schools’ central office building in a statement Monday.

According to the statement, three new PHS alumni will be inducted into the association’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame during the All-Alumni Weekend event, including Jayme Runyon, class of 1975, Marty Preston and Scott Bradley, both of the class of 1992. The event will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1 in the ballroom of the Ramada Inn in Paintsville.

When Johnson County Middle School and Johnson Central High School return to classes next week, students will be hearing about a new program available to them to bolster their academic and personal success.

The Johnson County School District is launching “Eagle Enrichment” Aug. 27, a before-school and after-school program open to them to focus on ways they can improve in classes, work on student success skills or just find new enrichment opportunities.


The Paintsville Rotary Club’s first Trivia Night is in the books after Kim O’Bryan’s team, Les Quizerables, took home a victory over 16 other teams registered for the event, earning themselves $170 and bragging rights until next month’s event.

The event brought in a much larger turnout than originally anticipated, according to Rotary Club President Brandon May, who said they had originally told the staff at JB’s Sports Lounge to prepare for 15-20 patrons for the night and thanked them for seeing to an actual attendance of nearly 70 competitiors.

Kentucky State Police reports that a Johnson County man died in a motorcycle crash in Floyd County Thursday.

KSP spokesperson Trooper William Petry said that Dakota Hampton, 24, of Wittensville, died in a crash that occurred on U.S. 23 in Ivel at approximately 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Hampton was not wearing a helmet, Petry said, and was traveling northbound toward Prestonsburg when he fell off the motorcycle. 

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy has released its 2017 Overdose Fatality Report, including county-by-county statistics on drug overdose deaths as well as statewide numbers.

According to the report, 1,468 residents nearly 97 nonresidents died from overdoses in the state in 2017, an increase from 2016.

Financial statements obtained by The Paintsville Herald for the City of Paintsville’s actual revenues and expenses for the 2017-2018 fiscal year show multiple city departments operating under budget and over $1 million in grants.

Despite that, however, the Paintsville Tourism Commission did not see a similar financial result, something officials said came despite tourism growth.


Johnson Central High School hosted the tenth annual Awaken concert and conference Friday evening, which saw the return of Grammy-winning recording artist Zach Williams to the stage.

Other Christian artists, including The Collective, Sidewalk Prophets and Inside Joke also performed for the crowd of approximately 1,500.

Though it is perhaps best known as one of the region’s biggest annual Christian rock concerts, First Christian Church pastor and Awaken Ministries president Ben Stephens said the Awaken conference is much more.


Businesses in the Mayo Plaza in Paintsville came together Saturday with the support of Paintsville Tourism to host a “sidewalk sale” where several vendors set up outside and invited the community to come out and shop and get child fingerprinting done by the Paintsville Police Department, acc…

Two Thelma residents were arrested Friday night after the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office reported deputies found drugs and evidence of drug use in a residence in which children were present.

A statement from the sheriff’s office said that when JCSO Deputies Jesse Mullins, J.P. Primm and Cory Cook responded to a call which alleged that Virginia Shepherd, 47, of Thelma and Timothy S. Moore, 57, also of Thelma, had the children of the complainant inside their residence and refused to allow the custodians and police entry. According to the statement, after some time, deputies were able to convince Shepherd to allow them inside the house.

As part of the agenda last Wednesday, the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center board approved a working budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 

The prospective budget operates on 7.5 percent more in revenue and expenses than the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, up from $2,652,000 to $2,852,000. 

This increase comes despite steep projected losses in revenue from Elliott County (down from $100,000 to $30,000) and Morgan County (down from $240,000 to $100,000) due to the anticipated opening of a new Rowan County Detention Center in Morehead. The budget anticipates significant increases in income from Lawrence and Magoffin counties and state inmates to more than accommodate these losses.

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.