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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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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. 

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.

School violence, campus shootings and threats are becoming the norm, and we must act to turn that back

This week, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers’ office announced the Social Security Administration is planning a second round of redeterminations for former clients of Eric C. Conn. While the first round initially targeted approximately 1,500 individuals, with more than half of them losing their benefits,…