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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.

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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.