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PHS Alumni Association holds induction ceremony
Alan Burton

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

The Paintsville High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) held its All-Alumni Weekend on Saturday, seeing many members catching up on high school memories and others being inducted in the PHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and Hall of Distinguished Alumni in the Argand Room at Ramada Inn.
Among those honored were Paintsville mayor and former PHS basketball coach and all-round athlete, Bill Mike Runyon, recognized for his exemplary career as a basketball, football and baseball player who made a career of sports from high school play through to professional baseball and the late Fran Jarrell, former executive director of the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, who was recognized for her community service on many councils and boards as well as her long-career of self-employed entrepreneurship in her chosen field of hair-dressing.
Inductees were honored for high achievement in their chosen fields at least 10 years after graduation, according to Jim Blevins, past-president and founder of the PHSAA.
Also inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame were:
• Paul David Brown, a 1976 PHS graduate whose legacy as a baseball player was prolific in the time period and Jeremy Slone, a 2002 graduate who was an outstanding baseball player at PHS before moving on to play college baseball at St. Catherine Junior College and Marshall University, breaking the school record for strikeouts in a single game, with 14 at Marshall.
• Ashley Hall Lemaster, a 2005 graduate known for her high school basketball achievements, reaching 1,500 points in her senior year before moving on to a college academic career of excellence, achieving a Master’s Degree from University of Alaska Southeast and graduating with a 4.0 grade point average was also inducted.
• Mike Bailey, a 1958 graduate who played baseball and basketball at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, before graduating and joining the United States Marine Corps and becoming an accountant, between also assistant coaching the basketball team at Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, North Carolina, to five total state championships over a 24-year period.
• William “Don” or “D.J.” Jarrell, a graduate who was well known for his football career at PHS, scoring several All State honorable mentions and racking up impressive stats as a linebacker. Jarrell was inducted posthumously, his award accepted by his son Ryan Jarrell.
The Hall of Distinguished Alumni saw several notable inductees as well, with Alan Burton, a 1968 graduate honored for his contributions to local radio (several groundbreaking advancements including the first digital broadcast system at WKLW 94.7 FM) and exemplary entrepreneurship recognized alongside Breanna Roe Kingsbury, a 1995 graduate who was recognized for her contributions to government, working as a political aide to multiple legislators and in several notable military projects, including Wreaths Across America, a program with the mission of honoring fallen service members by placing wreaths on their graves, and has had the distinction of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Nathan Haney, a 2002 graduate, was inducted for his prominent roles in the Republican Party of Kentucky and achievements in practicing law before being tapped to be the deputy transition director for Gov. Matt Bevin and finally returning to eastern Kentucky as Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for Braidy Industries, which has recently announced a $1.3 billion investment in Appalachia by manufacturing aluminum sheet and plate for the auto and aerospace industries. Billy Ditty, a 1985 graduate, was inducted for his career of accolades in the performing arts including singing in locales ranging from New York to Japan and Paris, and has landed him as the costume shop manager and costume designer for The Nashville Ballet.
Lynn Dorton Mullins, a 1968 graduate and secretary-treasurer for the PHSAA, was also given the PHSAA President’s Award for “outstanding service to PHSAA and the Paintsville Independent School System.”

Trail Town committee holds hike and bike event

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

The Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee (Trail Town) held its third hiking event, “Hike and Bike with Trail Town,” on the Dawkins Line Rail Trail on Sunday, seeing participation from more than 28 community members.
As its name implies, the event was inclusive of both foot traffic and those wishing to bike the trail, and a shuttle was available for those who did not wish to travel back to the meeting place at the Jenny’s Creek trailhead.
Not only seeing participation from locals, but from regional visitors, these events are helping to bridge the gaps between counties in our region and bring more attention to the adventure tourism opportunities these trails provide, according to Trail Town officials.
“It was an excellent gathering of different people who were clearly riding for fun and health reasons. The variety of bicycles was tremendous! Some rode classic beach cruisers with pedal brakes and only one gear, while others rode mountain bikes with full suspension and some pedaled skinny-tired road bikes,” said Tim Preston, editor for the Grayson Journal-Enquirer, who traveled to Paintsville for the ride. “The trail itself had almost no trash along the way and provided plenty of scenery, without being a great physical challenge. Our little group pulled off in the shade a few times to catch breath and adjust seats.”
The Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee has not yet announced its next ride or hike.
For more information about planned activities, search for the Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee on Facebook.

Local artist takes part in KAC Kentucky-Crafted program

By Elaine Belcher
News Editor

Local artist Florence Newman, 84, of Paintsville loves working with her hands to create beautiful and colorful bags for every occasion. These finely-crafted bags are not just local treasures. They also carry the seal of approval from the Kentucky Arts Council through the Kentucky Crafted Program.
The Kentucky Crafted Program, through the Kentucky Arts Council, offers visual and craft artists the opportunity to network, take advantage of promotional and sales opportunities and offers arts business training.
“Over the years Kentucky Crafted has evolved into a more inclusive arts marketing initiative that is open to all artists and craftsmen, regardless of medium, style or genre,” said Dave Blevins, arts council arts marketing director.
Newman has been with the Kentucky Crafted Program since 2000. “I carefully maintain my membership in the program every year,” said Newman. “Every year, there is a big wholesale show, and it can be expensive with a $500 entry fee and while setting up a stall, but you can make a lot of good connections with buyers.”
In addition to the networking benefits, Kentucky Crafted artists are eligible to use the Kentucky Crafted logo on their websites and any printed material, including merchandise tags; are eligible to exhibit their work at the Kentucky Crafted Market; are eligible be included in the arts council’s online directory for artists; are eligible to sell work at the governor’s derby celebration; and eligible to take advantage of cooperative advertising opportunities.
“I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager,” said Newman. “I was working for the Job Corps in Thelma in the mid 1990’s when a woman came in with a brand new Vera Bradley purse and billfold. I was amazed at what she paid for it and thought to myself, ‘I can do that.”
She attributes the fabrics she uses as her primary source of inspiration for her work. “I make my own patterns and I love the different colors and styles,” said Newman. “Some are quilted, some are not. All are reinforced and incredibly detailed.”
Newman attributes a great deal of her success to the support of her late husband, James Thomas Newman, who encouraged her efforts to grow and develop her work before his passing in 2005. “I think the best part, for me, is when everything is done and the whole piece comes together,” said Newman.
Newman said one of the things that she learned from the program is how to better value her work as an artist.
“It is one the biggest issues in our area,” said Newman. “We’ve been sewing, crafting or woodworking here for generations and it’s considered commonplace. There are some beautiful hand-worked pieces that get ignored because we’ve somehow developed the idea that just because something isn’t mass-produced, it isn’t as good as something that is. We need to understand that hand-made does not mean cheap.”
The Kentucky Crafted program is accepting applications through Sept. 14 for new artists to join the marketplace. The program is open to Kentucky residents over 18 years old who demonstrate a high level of artistic excellence as demonstrated by a clarity of artistic vision, who show a cohesive body of work and whose work shows advanced technique and attention to detail. The program also helps artists develop marketability of their work with the Kentucky Crafted brand. For more information about how to apply, contact Blevins at, (502) 892-3120.
Newman’s work making custom-designed bags is available through the Kentucky Crafted Artists Directory as well as through her Etsy page at

Airport Day great success

JCJC and Hillbilly Christmas in July attend
By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

The Big Sandy Regional Airport (BSRA) hosted its annual Airport Day celebration Saturday, and saw a good turnout. The Johnson County Jeep Club (JCJC) and Hillbilly Christmas in July (HCJ) also attended and worked fundraisers to benefit children and those in need.
The event started at noon and saw steady attendance, with 192 people riding in airplanes, according to Gary Cox, the fixed-base operator (FBO) at BSRA. According to Cox, it was difficult to get a hard number of attendees, due to the event having no gate or cover charge. Cox said there were 21 members of the JCJC in attendance, and approximately 35 members of the HCJ non-profit organization rode their motorcycles to the event to participate.
At least 10 planes and three helicopters were at the event, with several small planes taking turns giving rides and even more planes and helicopters parked to allow visitors to inspect them.
The JCJC held a canned food drive at the event, collecting a sizeable amount of canned goods and non-perishables, according to Connie Blevins, a member of the JCJC.
The HCJ’s Ride & Fly event had 35 participants, and all proceeds from the $20 registration cost, which included the ride from Mineshaft Harley Davidson in Pikeville to the BSRA and an airplane ride, were donated to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Lexington.
“We really appreciate everyone coming out and enjoying our wonderful airport,” said Cox. “We appreciate the other groups and the work they do for charity and we hope to see everyone again next year.”

University of Kentucky’s Johnson County FCS Extension Office hosts “Preserving the Harvest” class

By Waylon Whitson
Staff Writer

The University of Kentucky’s Johnson County Family and Consumer Science Extension Office (FCS) held a class Thursday afternoon to teach prospective gardeners how to save their harvest by canning and other preservation techniques in order to avoid wasting any of the vegetables they worked to grow, according to Brenda Cockerham, Johnson County Family and Consumer Sciences agent.
The class featured canning, freezing and drying instructions, as well as preparation and cooking ideas. Along with the best practices for the preservation methods, Cockerham also detailed guidelines to ensure the safe consumption of the vegetables, including where and how long to store them to prevent broken seals or spoiling.
“The harvesting season is an awesome time of the year! There is just nothing like fresh corn from the garden, the zest of sun-ripened tomatoes, and crispy, tasty apples picked straight from the tree! Each week brings a new delightful array of opportunities for the taste buds,” said Cockerham, “So how does one make these flavors and fresh foods last throughout the year?
“Granted, you just can’t compete with fresh from the garden flavor, but armed with a few ABC’s of how to preserve foods, one can lengthen the use of produce from summer and fall’s bountiful harvest. There are even winter and spring possibilities for the most savvy of gardeners.”
This year’s class saw participation from two community members, and Cockerham said that the FCS Extension Office intends to continue hosting these classes yearly, to educate gardeners on how to maximize their financial savings and enjoyment of fresh garden-raised produce.
For more information, contact the Johnson County FCS Extension Office at, (606) 789-8108, or visit them at 826 FM Stafford Avenue in Paintsville. More information and detailed instructions on food preservation can be found at,

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