The good news is there are plenty of jobs available for people who are willing to work. The bad news is that employers in Kentucky are experiencing a lack of people who can fill the open positions.

The Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center published a slew of statistics that explain the state’s current workforce position. Their research shows that more than 81 percent of Kentucky businesses are planning to expand in the next three to five years and that 80 percent of those businesses say they can’t fill those positions. Kentucky also has a low workforce participation rate, meaning the available people who are both eligible to and do work, is lower than average.

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Before Johnson County Schools return to classes next week, administrators are working with law enforcement to ensure faculty and staff are prepared for anything.

Hoping the worst never happens, or denying that it could happen in a small town like ours, is not an option. Reality has proven time and time again that hope and denial are not viable strategies.

Being proactive and opening the discussion about what to do is the only way to head off or mitigate a mass shooting tragedy. 

Over the years, you have heard me say that in order to tackle our state’s opioid epidemic, it’s going to take all of us coming together as a community. That everyone has a role in building a better future.

One of my efforts to build that future is the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, which provides drug deactivation pouches to help Kentucky families safely dispose of the dangerous unused medications sitting in their medicine cabinets.

I can proudly say that in the last year we have grown the program’s reach to more and more Kentuckians thanks to tireless efforts of our partners, including local law enforcement, nonprofits, churches, senior citizens centers, governments and schools.

A story on the City of Paintsville and the Paintsville Tourism Commission, comparing the last fiscal year’s actual revenues and expenses with those of the year’s budget, is not exactly exciting stuff. We know that. 

But it’s important, because with a new fiscal year already started, we have budgets on the books for these agencies, and as taxpayers, we need to know how close they came to hitting their marks, because it helps us know if the new budget is realistic. 

Well, I hope our city leaders are satisfied. The vines have taken over our historic swinging bridge, so now no one can see it even exists.

It seems as if no one in our city or county administration cares anything about trying to get any new jobs in here or not, so long as they can get paid and socialize with their fishing, hunting, golfing, gambling, drinking buddies.

In a world of dwindling coal severance funds and austere county budgets, every dollar counts. 

When there’s a way to save taxpayer dollars without cutting important services, that’s the holy grail. Sometimes, those decisions are made somewhere other than a county fiscal court.

Graduation of first group of welders for SilverLiner from local education program a sign of healthy commerce

SilverLiner was one of the first companies to commit to locating in the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park, targeting the park’s Speculative Building for its initial facility.

Thursday, the company’s partnership with Big Sandy Community and Technical College and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program resulted in the graduation of 12 individuals from a program that will result in the company benefiting and those individuals being at the forefront of Eastern Kentucky’s new manufacturing vanguard.

Depending on who you ask around here, the announcement last week that $118 million in federal money was being set aside for flood control efforts in humble Johnson County is many things: A blessing; a necessity for moving forward; perhaps even overdue.

The announcement from U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Sen. Mitch McConnell comes three years after deadly floods in Flat Gap and Staffordsville. This small town tragedy was no doubt front-and-center for the consideration of national lawmakers who approved the budget bill containing Johnson County’s $118 million.

It has become common knowledge now that President Trump doesn’t read or won’t read. This is something that should not be dismissed out of mind, for it is an important clue into his mentality: he doesn’t comprehend what most school children know significantly—that reading is fundamental. Read…

The week of June 25, we hosted our fourth year of Johnson County Sheriff’s camp.  28 Johnson County students that ranged from the 4th grade to the 6th grade attended a week filled with fun and various learning activities.  

Sheriff Camp has two goals.  One is to ensure campers have a positive experience with law enforcement officers.  The other is to help establish a network of friends during an age where students will soon transition to middle school.  Those friendships can create a bond among Sheriff Campers that makes transitioning schools easier.  Campers know other campers that may already be in middle school or are from other schools going into middle school.  

Dear Editor,

Why does one party, the Democrats, have more concern for people of other countries than they do about their own citizens? Illegal aliens have no right to come here unless we permit it by law.

I am disgusted by the failure of the news media, including most of the female anchors and commentators on Fox News, and certainly all of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and the leftwing MSNBC along with most major newspapers to note the following concerning the child separation issue at the border: 

With new laws going into effect, do you know where you stand?

In legal circles, the Latin phrase, “ignorantia legis neminem excusat” is a commonly-known sentence.

Its meaning is simple: “Ignorance of the law excuses no one.” As anyone who has attempted to use the “I didn’t know the speed limit” excuse to get out of a speeding ticket will attest, the lack of that knowledge does not excuse the breaking of the law.

Downtown Paintsville weathered a microburst storm Wednesday evening, right between our daytime festivities and our nighttime fireworks. 

First and foremost, with winds gusting as fast as a hurricane, it is miraculous there were no deaths or injuries reported. 

Though the damage was confined to buildings, trees, power lines and roads, it was nonetheless extensive. But it was also an opportunity to see the best in Paintsville.

This Independence Day promises to be a welcome respite from the work week, with celebrations planned all over Paintsville, but the holiday itself is actually a couple days late.

The Second Continental Congress voted to officially and legally approve its resolution of independence from British rule on July 2. 

Opening of distillery a good step to funnel funds into local economy, 

but only one step of many that’s needed

 

After lots of waiting, Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery finally opened its doors in Pikeville Wednesday, making it the furthest eastern destination on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, and we could not be more excited for what it has to offer this community and the rest of of Eastern Kentucky.

In addition to bringing visitors to Pikeville to spend money on food and drinks at the distillery, those visitors will need other accommodations. Those same visitors need lodging, gasoline, multiple daily meals and refreshments, and guess what? We have some of the best there is to offer right here. 

Five newspaper employees are dead in Annapolis, Maryland after a man with a shotgun barged into the offices of the Capital Gazette and opened fire.

The alleged shooter in custody reportedly had a years-long resentment toward that newspaper.

It’s an idiom old enough and trite enough to be in the hall of fame for clichés: Practice makes perfect.

It is thanks to the hard work and training from our own Oil Springs Fire and Rescue that we are running a story this week about a kayaker being rescued rather than something more tragic. 

These are first responders who saw the need for water rescue capabilities in Johnson County and answered the call in a big way, obtaining certifications and the necessary equipment to keep watercraft enthusiasts safe.

You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t want the U.S. to be the world’s police organization, then you can’t criticize the way we run our country.

What’s happening at the southern U.S. border is a tragedy — a tragedy for which no one really has an answer. But when we try to enact our laws we get criticized by our own citizens and the rest of the world for being cruel and inhumane.

The problem manifests outside our borders, while the results happen at our border. Where is the outrage and news coverage in third-world countries that are treating their people so terribly that they lose hope and will risk their lives and the temporary surrender of their children to illegally enter the U.S.?

What’s black and white and blue all over?

A newspaper that’s blue in the face lecturing on the same few points every edition from the soapbox of the opinion page. 

Longtime readers will know these recurring themes: Governmental transparency and accountability. Judicious use of tax dollars. Local, interdepartmental and regional cooperation. Opening the floodgates of a revolution to Eastern Kentucky’s economy, while stemming the tide of the drug crisis. Stop littering, wear a seatbelt, and as Bob Barker would say, don’t forget to spay or neuter your pets.

If you aren’t from around here but happened to pick up this edition of The Paintsville Herald, you might come away with the impression that this is an area that’s big on neighbors helping neighbors.

You’d be right. 

It seems almost a requirement that any discussion about the differences between the sexes must first touch base with the story of Adam and Eve. In a close reading of this story what immediately becomes apparent is that Adam needed corrective surgery, that he required an operation; the result of which, of course, was Eve. So as the old-time farmer’s admonition goes, God had to go back and lick his calf. In other words, He had to go back and complete His task or do it over; and in this case, create a companion for Adam, one who would become as one flesh with him, his equal. Here it is important to note that it wasn’t until after the apple incident that God arbitrarily had Adam rule over Eve and become subservient to him. 

A southern televangelist is making a plea for $54 million so he can spread the word of the Lord in a brand new, private jet plane. His begging for this excessive luxury is criminal and abusive. Sadly, some poor saps will give their last dollar so this clown can get a free ride.

The beauty is, this is a free country and people can do crazy stuff like that and get away with it. On that note, some people might want to help this poor preacher man spread the word to the less fortunate and spend their money that way. They might call it “spiritual development.”

There’s something special about Johnson County’s kids. 

Even in just this one edition of The Paintsville Herald, you can read about kids from Paintsville Independent being honored for bringing home state and regional baseball titles, and kids from Johnson County schools earning international accolades and championships for their problem-solving skills and projects.

This just marks the latest chapter in a very long story of humble Johnson County, Kentucky, producing world-class talents. 

This past month, Paintsville celebrated the Spring Fling Event put forth by Paintsville’s Main Street Association. The volunteers that work with the organization put on a wonderful event. The work that The Paintsville’s Garden Club has done was praised by many visitors as well that I spoke with. From local musical talent being showcased to 60+ vendors, our streets were full. There are positive things happening right here in Paintsville. No matter how successful an event like this was, or how well attended events such as these are, there will always be those that simply cannot see anything in a positive light. If looking for negativity is one’s sole goal, I’m sure it can be found in any community in Kentucky. I am going to choose to look forward, not behind. As a Mayor, the buck stops here. I can’t point fingers. I can’t distract by blaming someone else. If it’s something I set in motion it is something I am accountable for. Issues and problems that arise cannot be solved properly through gossip nor through the new norm, social media. Issues need not only to be addressed in the light but also solved in the light for everyone to see. Many times by addressing and solving issues transparently it will lead to productive communication an eventually trust.

It’s June. Go outside.

The most oppressive heat of summer is still far ahead of us, but the unpredictable rains of spring are almost fully behind us. Now is the time to get out in the garden, fix up your fences and take in all the wonder that Johnson County has to offer.

We all use that same winter-long excuse: we’ll do this project or that activity once the weather breaks and it warms up a little bit. 

With the recent graduation of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s 2018 class, we are reminded that it is important to honor those who have worked so hard to further their education.

For many, graduating high school can sometimes be a difficult feat to accomplish. But for those pursuing their GED that difficulty can sometimes be ratcheted up — especially when considering that some of these folks haven’t been dealt the easiest hand in life and many of them struggle to continue their education against all odds and for many different reasons. Many of these graduates had to work one, two or maybe even three jobs and raise children while attending classes, but still managed to put in the hard work and do what was necessary to ensure their children weren’t left to the same fate. That is commendable and should be rejoiced by the community as an example of the spirit that emboldens the people of our city, county and region to constantly improve and create a better future for our children.

“America is facing a full-fledged crisis in our democracy,” Hillary Clinton said to the 2018 graduates at Yale College.  What democracy were you referring to, Hillary?  The democracy that paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for his speech in Moscow shortly after the “Uranium One” deal and the $750,00…

In 2018, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. On June 3, 2018, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease. 

Social Security supports people who are fighting cancer. We offer support to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program. People with certain cancers may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance. Compassionate Allowances are cases where individuals have medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information. 

It’s that time of year again. We will see another class of bright eyed young people who are anxious to get the heck out of school and move on to the next part of their lives. 

It happens every year, kids grow up and want desperately to graduate. It isn’t until a few days later they realize the greener grass is over the septic tank. What most graduates don’t realize is that they just finished the best year of their lives as they were BMOC with very few worries. 

The primary is over. 

Did you lose? Now, as much as ever, your voice is needed. Stay active, stay engaged with the community, and help ensure that the candidates running in the general election know your position on the issues that got you to run in the first place. Your loss in this primary is in no way an indictment of your ideas and your platform. Keep working at what you do, and rally your supporters behind the candidate that most closely represents the changes you hope to see in Johnson County. 

The primary election is nearly upon us here, and on Tuesday, Johnson County residents will go to the polls to choose both national and local officials to represent them.

It is every able American’s duty to vote, and we hope others agree and find their way to the polling places.

In recognition of National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week, May 6-12, and on behalf of Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, I want to share my appreciation for our nurses who make it possible for us to be a health care resource for our community. We thank them for their continued dedication to providing high-quality care and improving the overall health of the Big Sandy Region.

“If you build it, they will come” is not very conventional wisdom. For Ray Kinsella in “Field ofDreams,” it sounded like lunacy at first.

But that wisdom is true, and for Eastern Kentucky, the pieces are coming together. Slowly.

Already, between the Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute and the American Metal Works facility downtown, humble Johnson County is home to some of the nation’s most advanced computer numerical control training and equipment. 

Uncertainty is never a good thing. And that’s especially true when it comes to essential services provided by government bodies such as schools.

Reliability is not just expected, but necessary, to ensure the proper operation of these kinds of agencies.

However, what we’ve seen in the days and weeks since legislative actions led to teacher walkouts and protests is a level of distrust and unease which is neither healthy nor conducive to the operations of our schools.

For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. Although it was a foundational part of Kentucky’s heritage and today you can buy products made with hemp at stores across the country, most farmers have been barred from planting it in their fields. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles in place and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production.

Thanks to a dedicated team of superheroes, one particular form of plight and suffering is being combatted across Paintsville and Johnson County.

The problem is unspayed, unneutered strays and pets being kept outdoors and others released as strays. Left unchecked, the problem would be much worse than it is. 

Most people don’t vote. 

In 2015, with 17,787 registered voters in Johnson County and Kentucky’s governorship up for grabs, 4,726 turned out in November and a scant 2,360 showed up in May. Things were a little better in 2016, with presidential candidates on the ballot, with 9,701 of the 17,877 registered voters showing up for the general election, though only 3,038 voted in the primary.

The Kentucky General Assembly began with a focus on full funding for public pensions that teachers and state workers rely upon for retirement, and we ended with a final two-year budget that commits historic funding levels to those pension systems, along with all-time high funding for education. 

In order to fund pensions and education in the record-levels we did, we passed a revenue measure based on comprehensive tax reform to deliberately move in a direction to lower, and one day possibly eliminate, income tax rates while broadening the sales tax base by adding consumption-driven services. The changes made to the tax code, in order to fund the budget, signify the first in decades and will be responsible for more than $450 million over the next two years. 

Last week’s town hall meeting may have been a breakthrough for the City of Paintsville.

It was refreshing to see the idea of an open, public meeting with nearly every city agency present to update the public on their purposes and goals. It was refreshing to see the meeting go from a concept discussed a month ago to fruition so quickly. It was refreshing to see dozens of people in the audience, and the interest sufficient for there to be another such meeting later this year. 

There are numerous questions which remain, and may forever remain, surrounding the death of Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton in a shooting incident at Hurricane Road Tuesday night. What happened? Why? Why did it happen to him?

“Actions have consequences.”

Many people have heard this saying or are inherently aware of its truth. However, in today’s society, it seems almost a foreign concept. 

Billy Graham was the only TV preacher I ever trusted. Nicknamed “God’s Machine Gun,” he once told president Obama that the president’s pursuit of restrictions on guns would do nothing to change gun violence. I’d like to think that had he not passed last week, he’d agree that pursuit of senseless restrictions on coal mining is just as misguided.

Good, stable, high-paying jobs.

The promise of attracting them to the region is at the crux of every promise for politicians from the federal level all the way down. Jobs are at the heart of the debate about Kentucky Power’s rate increases, as they have invested a great deal of money in economic development in the hopes of jump-starting local industry and creating a broader customer base. Jobs are the other half of the opioid crisis Catch-22: If we had a surplus of great-paying jobs, there would be fewer people turning to drugs, but it is difficult to attract jobs to a region with the stigma of addiction hanging over it.

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