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Getting ready for Christmas at the library

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

The Johnson County Public Library hosted two “Getting Ready For the Holidays” arts and crafts classes on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We do lots of craft programs because it is important to pass on these skills,” said Christy Terry, program director for the Johnson County Public Library. “They help develop fine-motor skills for young people and helps older people maintain them. Crafting is also a social event, so it gives everyone a change to meet new people and make new friends.”
Projects, ranging from simple cloth potholders to more elaborate embroidery artwork, drew participants of all ages to learn and experiment with new skills.
“Part of what we are doing here is teaching the basic skills associated with these crafts,” said Debbie Barr of Williamsport, a volunteer instructor, as she helped a teen girl with a crochet project. “It gives participants the chance to try new things and discover it they like it without the pressure of having to purchase all the equipment.”
Library employee Christy Cook worked with another group to put together fabric patchwork Christmas tree ornaments.
“Most of these projects are designed to be completed in about an hour,” said Cook. “We wanted to have a wide variety of projects available and of various skill levels so even a more experienced participant can still learn something new without a beginner getting frustrated.”
For more information on library craft projects, visit the Johnson County Public Library Facebook page or call, (606) 789-4355, for more information.

Christmas season kicks off at the Mountain HomePlace

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

Christmas season is kicking off at the Mountain Homeplace as employees at the tourism location have started to decorate for their yearly celebrations and community events.
Manager Russell Honeycutt and Darrel Daniels have been at work for several days preparing the gift shop area of the welcome center in preparation for the upcoming events, which Honeycutt said he expects to draw their best attendance yet, barring any inclement weather.
Honeycutt said that he is working very hard to get the community up to the Mountain HomePlace for more events, and that; so far, six out of the seven months at the museum this year have been record breakers for revenue and attendance. Honeycutt said he is proud of the progress they’ve made and that, since last year, when they only had two arches for the road leading to the HomePlace, he and Daniels have added 14 new arches, all handmade, spanning more than 400 feet. According to Honeycutt, each arch is made by purchasing lights, garland and two sections of city water pipe, totaling more than 40 feet in length.
“We really appreciate any support we can get from the community,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve worked hard on this, and we’d love to see more and more people showing up (at the HomePlace) to support these events – we do it for the community, and we want to continue growing and beating these monthly records.”
All of this work is leading up to four planned events on Dec. 8 and 9, as well as Dec. 15 and 16. The events will last from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the first event featuring the lighting of the farm’s Christmas tree and all events featuring caroling on the farm, the story of Christmas at the HomePlace Church, a live nativity scene at the barn and free carriage rides and refreshments for all attendees. Admission is $5 per person and free for kids less than five-years-old.
For more information, contact the Mountain HomePlace by phone at, (606) 297-1850 or visit their website at,

Kentucky Chautauqua: Daniel Boone – The First Kentuckian
Pictured above are Marie Gravely and Shelia Plogger from Marshall University’s Appalachian Diabetes Coalition, Brenda Cockerham from the University of Kentucky Extension office, Teresa McCoart from Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Karen Salyer from Johnson Central High School, Stacy Crum representing Passport Health Plan, Anita Cantrell from Johnson Central Middle School, Christy Terry from the Johnson County Public Library, Jennifer Wilson from the Paintsville-Johnson County Health Department and Jamie Ward from the Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition gathered for a class in “gentle yoga,” a form of yoga made for those with physical limitations.

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

“Daniel Boone played a crucial role in the exploration and settlement of Ken-tucky and thus a crucial role in America’s westward expansion.”
These words in the program for the Kentucky Humanities Chautauqua per-formance of “Daniel Boone: The First Kentuckian” sum up the life and times of one of Kentucky’s forefathers. But, it was the performance of actor Kevin Hardesty that brought Boone to life for the audience at the Johnson County Public Library on Tuesday night and at a special school performance at the Historic SIPP Theater on Wednesday morning.
Hardesty, of Lexington, has played the role of Boone for the Kentucky Chautauqua for the past two years and nearly 200 performances across the state for schools, community theaters, and for other organizations.
“I spent 18 months researching Boone’s history and information, filtering fact and fiction from each other,” said Hardesty. “I really enjoy going to schools and li-braries to better share what Boone as a person was like.”
“He wasn’t necessarily an educated man – but he was intelligent. He spent his life in the woods and had a deep appreciation for nature,” he said. “Sometimes we forget that while Boone was first starting to explore Kentucky, the Revolutionary War was going on.”
Hardesty also said that he felt that while Boone was known to be an explorer and had many encounters with the Shawnee Tribe and others, Boone never sought out a fight if he could talk first.
During the 45-minute performance, Hardesty, as Boone, shared stories about his family, his adventures while exploring Kentucky while establishing Fort Boone - later Boonesborough.
Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. The Council is supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions and partners with Kentucky’s cultural, heritage, arts, and tourism agencies.
The current Kentucky Chautauqua cast includes 26 figures from Kentucky’s history ranging from John G. Fee’s fight to abolish slavery and Mary Todd Lincoln’s life as America’s First Lady, to Alice Lloyd’s struggle to bring education to Appalachia and the humorous stories of Harland “Colonel” Sanders.
For more information on the Kentucky Humanities Chautauqua and upcoming local performances, please visit, or call the Johnson County Public Library at, (606) 789 - 4355.

American Legion Youth  give back to Wounded Warriors

Staff Report

This past weekend Johnson County’s American Legion Youth Group traveled to the western half of Kentucky to Fort Campbell, Home of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division to assist with the Fisher House Fall Cleanup.
“The Fisher House provides a transitional facility to soldiers, veterans and families of wounded or fallen soldiers returning from combat or training operations around the world and/or receiving medical treatment on Fort Campbell,” said, Mark Rodriguez, ALYG coordinator
According to Rodriguez, the Youth Group planted more than 150 tulips donated by Doug and Kay Murphy, Eastern Kentucky Strong Bond Group and Davis Produce in Hagerhill to bloom in the spring to beautify the area outside the facility and assist with the wellbeing and the morale of the warriors and their family members.
“When not gardening, youth members were involved in cooking dinner and socializing with Wounded Warrior families and visited the Fort Campbell Museum to receive a tour of a combat unit,” said Rodriguez. “They also visited with soldiers and spent time at the Fort Campbell Memorial Park honoring the fallen heroes.” 
”I am very proud of these kids and what they have accomplished over the past few months, these young leaders have bonded, grew and most of all learned from their experiences gained through volunteerism,” said Rodriguez.  
Rodriguez said he wants to challenge students who want to excel while helping others and are interested in meeting new people and seeing new places. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to talk to a member or attend a meeting at Johnson Central High School.
“The youth group is rapidly growing and welcomes any youth who want to be a part of something that is focused on helping others,” he said. “The group holds monthly meetings and is open to kids as young as sixth grade in traditional, private or homeschool to attend.”

Beefin’ It Up at the Davis Farm

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

The Johnson County Extension Office hosted “Beefin’ It Up” at the farm of Gary and April Davis on Ky. Rt. 201 on the Johnson/Lawrence County line on Oct. 21, a celebration of local beef producers.
“This is a chance for everyone to speak with producers to purchase beef, to taste test the difference between breeds and the difference between local and shipped beef as well as network with professional purchasers and those who appreciate good beef,” said Brenda Cockerham, family and consumer sciences agent at the Johnson County Extension Office. “We’ve held this event over the last five years or so, and it has really grown into more of a family-friendly event.”
Local vendors were on hand with Johnson County products for sale, produced with the help of the Extension Office as well as students representing 4-H and the Future Farmers of America. More than 200 people attended the event, including hayrides, pumpkin decorating and costume contest spaced with pony rides and locally produced Kentucky-Proud food.
Winners of the costume contest were Kinsley McKenzie in first place, Tristan Spradlin in second place and Leah King in third place.
Teenagers competed in a contest to see which tractor could go the slowest, with Morgan Pelphrey taking first place followed by Daysha Burchett.
“I think the event went well this year. It is exciting to see how it has grown to this point,” said Cockerham. “The Highlands Beef-Cattle Association will start taking the lead on this annual event from this point forward, however, we will still be a part of it for years to come.”

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