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Local teen goes to D.C. to make the future brighter for energy

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

Every year, Big Sandy Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (RECC) picks an area student for an all-expense paid trip to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Washington Youth Tour. This year, Paintsville High School senior, Taylor Bussey, 17, of Staffordsville, visited the capital as the Big Sandy RECC representative from June 9 through June 16.
Bussey and 82 other Kentucky students joined 1,800 delegates from energy cooperatives from around the nation where they get to mingle and hear featured speakers who provide insight to the important roles electric cooperatives play in their communities.
“We got a chance to tour Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello and George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon in addition to pretty much every major landmark in Washington D.C.,” said Bussey. “I think my favorite thing to see was the National Cathedral. The architecture there was beautiful.”
“We believe that students should see their nation’s capital up close, learn about the political process and interact with their elected officials,” said Natasha Wiley Big Sandy RECC member services manager. “Students gain a personal understanding of American history and their role as a citizen by meeting their Representative and Senators.”
“We want to make sure that our students from this area get the chance to have their voices heard on a national level,” said Wiley.
“We got a chance to sit down with these representatives and ask question about how they plan on incorporating rural electric cooperatives, like ours, into part of the national energy policy,” said Bussey.
Bussey first applied for the trip with Big Sandy RECC after hearing about it from several friends who had attended in previous years. “It was great to meet with kids from other states and learn so much about the first leaders of our country,” said Bussey. “We all exchanged pins from our states – Kentucky’s are little horses. I made a lot of friends that I will have forever.”

Native American History event comes to Paintsville

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

Paintsville Tourism and the Paintsville Trail Town Certification Committee (TTCC) hosted an event centered on Native American history and culture on Saturday, July 8. The event included a nationally known Navajo dancer and musician, a traditional Navajo jewelry maker and storyteller, as well as the Native American Indian Heritage Museum.
Emerson Begay, a traditional Navajo musician and dancer was in attendance, from his home in Kingsport, Tenn. Begay is an accomplished touring performer, and travels the East Coast telling stories of growing up both in his traditional family environment on the reservation in Arizona, and the experiences he had growing up with a Christian foster family, making for a diverse background and life experience.
Lauri Lake, a Navajo jewelry maker was also at the event, and had several of her jewelry items for sale, ranging from bracelets to necklaces and earrings, all handmade. Also handmade and available at the event was Lake’s genuine Navajo fry bread, which was enjoyed by most in attendance, according to Catherine Castle, TTCC’s Volunteer Committee Chair.
Ken Phillips, a Cherokee descendant, who runs the Native American Indian Heritage Museum, was also in attendance. He had items from history including tribal weaponry, dreamcatchers and historical memorabilia, including a commemorative poster about the Code Talkers, a group of Navajo language speakers who helped encode radio communications to great success in World War II.
The heritage event saw over 150 visitors, who enjoyed fresh-squeezed lemonade provided by Paintsville Tourism and the TTCC.
Event organizers and entertainers have expressed interest in hosting a similar event next year.

Paintsville Mayor signs proclamation declaring July Parks and Recreation month

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon has signed a proclamation declaring July as Parks and Recreation month, in line with the U.S. House of Representative’s designation and the recent push for community activities in Paintsville.
Paintsville Recreation director Scott “Shoes” Hale is encouraging everyone to get outside and celebrate our parks, trails and pools, and to post photos of themselves enjoying these areas to help promote our recreation. Hale also referenced a current promotional contest issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) called the #NRPAPlayChallenge.
The NRPA is encouraging visitors to our parks to upload photos to their favorite social media displaying a weekly theme that has been laid out on The first week’s theme was “P is for Park,” and the organization wanted photos posted that show how individuals play at their local parks, photos for this contest would have been uploaded July 3-9. The second theme, during the week of July 10 through 16, is, “L is for Learning,” and asks contestants to depict how they combine learning and play. Week three runs from July 17-23, and is presented as a week to show how community members advocate for parks, with its theme of “A is for Advocacy.” The final week, focused on “Y is for You,” is from July 24-30 and is focused on contestants showing off their favorite ways to play at their local parks and recreational facilities.
Hale encourages the community to engage in this contest and have fun in our local recreation areas by uploading photos with the hashtags #NRPAPlayChallenge and #PlayOnJuly. Users can upload their photos to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and be considered for a chance to win a Park and Recreation Month play prize valued at $250. These packages can include outdoor games, gift cards, and various other items.
Hale is asking that when prospective contestants upload their photos, they also include the hashtags #PaintsvilleRec and #PaintsvilleTourism.
“I encourage everyone to get our, have fun, and visit our parks, playgrounds, and city pool. This also includes our walking trails such as the Kiwanis Trail at Paintsville Lake State Park and the Dawkins Line Rail Trail,” Hale continued, “This helps us promote our recreation and it’s good for us all.”

Johnson County Quilting Master shares skills with others

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

The first artist I recommend is Sandy Salyers. Sandy has been an Extension Homemaker and volunteer for years.
She teaches classes each year as well as serves in the leadership for the Johnson County Piecemakers Quilt Guild, and an OSCAR instructor. She also helps with the library classes in textile arts, and is currently teaching embroidery classes at the Extension Office and at the OSCAR.
Sandy is one of the master artists working in the summer series of classes, with the route 23 Cultural Heritage Network. This group has a mission of saving the history, culture and arts of the region. A side note is that one of Sandy’s daughters lived in Cyprus where Sandy would visit and taught women from several parts of the world her quilting skills.
She also works throughout the 10 counties of the Northeast Area Homemakers and Quilt Guild. She serves as the Area chairperson for the annual enrichment camp where over 60 people from surrounding counties attend each year to learn these skills. The camp is held in Johnson county at camp Caleb. Sandy’s husband is Bill Salyers.

Fun and exercise on the river

Levisa Fork Paddle Fest held by Prestonsburg and Paintsville Tourism

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

Prestonsburg and Paintsville Tourism combined their efforts on Saturday, June 24 to host the Levisa Fork Paddle Fest, a 16.4 mile journey by kayak or canoe from the boat ramp behind Billy Ray’s Restaurant in Prestonsburg to the Paintsville Water Plant. There was also a shortened version of the event with a landing and launch at the boat ramp at Harmon’s Station, located near Combs Airport, where paddlers could arrive at 10 a.m. to launch, or land from the first half of the route.
The event began at 8:30 a.m. with over 30 participants accepting the challenge and all paddlers were off the river by 3 p.m. This month’s paddle was made a bit more interesting by a rainstorm the night before, according to Jesse Rudd, the first to finish.
“This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve done it. The water was up and there were a lot of trees in it, but it’s a good paddle,” said Rudd, “It’s about a two and a half to three hour trip as hard as you want to go.”
Participants could bring their own watercraft or rent them from Pro-Fitness Multi Sports, Legends Outfitters, or the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, with both kayaks and canoes available.
Help from the Paintsville Trail Town Certification Committee’s volunteer group was provided, assisting paddlers’ exit onto the boat ramp.
Almost all participants that went the full distance took advantage of a lunch and shuttle deal offered by the two tourism offices, with lunch provided by the brand-new Alley Restaurant in Paintsville in the form of a chicken salad sandwich, baked beans, and a cookie.
Tired but happy, participants then loaded up and were taken by shuttle back to the starting point to wrap up their day on the water.

  • City of Paintsville
  • Paintsville Independent Schools
  • Johnson County Schools
  • Our Lady of the Mountains

  • Johnson County Fiscal Court
  • Johnson County Public Library
  • Paintsville Tourism
  • Chamber of Commerce
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