Darts & Laurels
Laurel: Kudos to everyone who helped make the 2017 Paintsville Spring Fling a success! Thank you for all your hard work getting the city cleaned up and letting Paintsville shine.
Dart: We’re sorry to see Scott “Shoes” Hale step down from the position of interim Tourism Executive Director, however we can’t blame someone for following their passions. The Paintsville Recreation Center is that much richer for having him back full-time.
Laurel: Congratulations to all 2017 graduates for completing High School. Take a little time to enjoy this moment, because it is the first step to the rest of your life.
Dart: The sheer number of traffic tickets written for expired Kentucky registration receipts, expired licenses, and not having insurance cards means a reminder to make sure all this information is up to date would be useful to Johnson County drivers. Make sure to double-check your expiration dates and to take your information with you when driving.
Laurel: A laurel to the volunteers who went out to plant flowers in downtown Paintsville, who volunteered to collect trash and clean up our roads, and who cleaned up the Mountain HomePlace Amphitheater. All your hard work has been noticed and appreciated. It is obvious that Paintsville is loved and that love shows!
Paintsville Tourism could be so much more
By Elaine Belcher
As a reporter, I get to cover a lot of public meetings. While some of you out there may think that this is boring, I actually find them interesting because I get a good feel for the people and how they feel about their jobs. I can tell when someone is deeply passionate about what they do and when striving towards a goal.
During the Paintsville Tourism meeting on Monday, a clear example of a growing trend was shown. For those of you who saw the meeting from the video on YouTube, or from reading my account of the meeting in the Wednesday edition of The Paintsville Herald, you got a chance to see what has been apparent for a while.
Certain members of the commission have little or no respect for the people they are representing.
When a public meeting is taking place, there is an informal contract that is abided by both sides. The public is quiet and listens while information is being presented or when listening to debates, and the organization’s representatives listen when the public presents an issue or opinion and allows the speaker the time to present their views. This is their role as public servants.
Most of the people who work in tourism are passionate, intelligent and enthusiastic about Paintsville and Johnson County. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, and draws people from all walks of life into participating. The rich culture and history of the area begs to be shared. Fresh and new ideas and events are blooming all the time and they deserve to be heard by a commission who will listen.
When a tourism commission is unable to comply with this common practice, what does it say about our town? When businesses are looking to come into Johnson County – why would they bother when they see that their issues will not be taken seriously? Why would visitors contemplate taking a trip to Spring Fling or Apple Days, when reviews keep popping up of bad experiences or problems ignored, or in some cases, caused by tourism commission members?
As I have gone about my business, I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people, and again and again I hear of events, people or businesses taking their business elsewhere because of behavior just like what we saw on Monday.
When the ongoing behavior of tourism representatives is impacting business development because of personal grudges, then something needs to be done. When members of the tourism commission cannot act like grown adults and conduct themselves as befitting their position, then they need to be replaced with someone who can.
We deserve a commission who will listen when a business owner has concerns. We deserve a commission who will hear ideas presented and take appropriate actions. We deserve a commission made up of members who are able to overcome their own issues and desires to do what is best for the city and county.
Darts and Laurels
Laurel: Congratulations Johnson Central High School Class of 2017! Your hard work and dedication has paid off. Enjoy your summer months before college begins.
Dart: The number of tickets issued for driving with a revoked or suspended licenses has spiked in recent weeks. Take this as a reminder, that if you are not sure of the status of your driver’s license, take a moment to make sure everything is in order.
Laurel: Kudos to Chief Michael Roe, sworn in as Paintsville chief of police during the Paintsville City Council meeting on Monday. Roe, a long time officer, takes the reins from Bill Holbrook who departed to take a position with the Kentucky State Police.
Dart: According to a study by the Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, while Johnson County is more in line with the national average, counties surround us with the lowest life expectancy in the nation. Time to look at the facts and start to take our health seriously!
Laurel: Kudos to Paintsville City Councilman Justin Lewandoski for working to involve the community to repair the Bill Litteral Memorial Bridge across Paint Creek in downtown Paintsville. His public meeting on Wednesday night shared information on the repair process and reported progress on a grant for funds to pay for repairs. His efforts are an inspiration to us all.
A disappointing vote from our representative
By the The Mountain Eagle
For years, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has been known for bringing what we have often considered very needed projects and money to eastern Kentucky.
But in voting for the Republican-pushed “Trump Care” last week, rather than bringing home the bacon, Congressman Rogers served his constituents a poison meal of spoiled chitlins. The tenderloin and the center-cut chops went to corporations, which will benefit by the ability to deny insurance coverage to their employees, and to insurers who will be able to charge astronomical premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.
The bill cuts $880 million from Medicaid, on which many in Letcher County rely, and it will likely result in the loss of nearly 100 jobs at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation alone, which operates clinics across eastern Kentucky.
No Democrats voted for the bill, and 20 Republicans voted no as well.
Rogers tagged along with nearly all of the other Republicans in the House of Representatives, voting for a bill that hospitals, insurers, doctors and patient advocates alike hate. There is so much to hate in this bill that Republican Senators have already vowed to rewrite it entirely.
The only two Kentucky Congressmen to vote against it were District 3 US Rep. John Yarmuth (D, Louisville), and District 4 US Rep. Thomas Massie (R, Vanceburg).
Kentucky’s other four representatives marched in lock step to pass the measure, which the Congressional Budget Office had not even finished analyzing when Speaker Paul Ryan called for a vote.
The bill is similar to an earlier version that Republican leadership pulled from consideration after the CBO estimated it would cost 24 million Americans their health insurance. The Trump White House, which supported the bill and twisted arms in Congress to get it passed, estimated even more would lose insurance – 26 million.
This bill appears poised to have similar ill effects, denying coverage to sick people all over the United States, and especially in eastern Kentucky, where lung cancer rates are up to 80 percent higher than in 1980. Six of 10 counties with the highest cancer death rates in the nation are here, in Rogers’s district, one recent study shows.
For 37 years, Rogers has represented eastern Kentucky. He has proven himself to be better than this. Yet, when the vote was over, Rogers could be seen celebrating with other Republican House members in a video of President Trump’s speech lauding it as a victory.
The question is, a victory for whom? Certainly not sick people. Certainly not Republican members of Congress who must now face voters to explain why they want to take away their insurance coverage. Rogers had the opportunity to talk to residents about their concerns, but held not one town hall meeting that we’re aware of to hear how the Affordable Care Act has helped his people. The people who voted for him. The people who put him where he is, and kept him there since 1980.
We are now in the rare and discouraging position of relying on Senator Mitch McConnell to stop this partisan insanity. Perhaps we will be surprised. We fear we won’t.
Darts and Laurels
Laurel: Farewell to Chief Bill Holbrook, Paintsville Police Department, who departs to take on a position with the Kentucky State Police. In turn, we also welcome Chief Michael Roe on Monday during the Paintsville City Council Meeting.
Dart: Opinions are flying fast and furious over the upcoming special election to vote on the school board tax on May 23. While it is nice to see people so invested in the issue, please remember to keep discussion civil.
Laurel: Hometown hero Chris Stapleton performed on the CBS Late Show with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday night showing off his comedy chops with a new rendition of the ZZ Top classic “Legs.”
Dart: Wet weather leads to slippery roads - just ask anyone who hydroplaned on the road on Tuesday why speeding while it is raining is a bad idea. Be careful out there!
Laurel: The Johnson County Chamber of Commerce celebrated five Paintsville High School seniors and nine Johnson Central High School seniors with their 2017 Ethics Luncheon. Each student was presented with a custom chamber work ethics medallion at the luncheon for demonstrating and fulfilling the requirements in nine standards throughout the school year.