Tue, May 22, 2018 10:06 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Coffee Break
Nothing new under the sun? How would we know?
by Scott Perry

In case you’re keeping score — and how could you not be — we figure it had rained during 21 of the 16 days in June as of Monday.

The forecast suggests more of the same.

To be perfectly honest, we can’t recall that last time we had two consecutive days of sunshine. We’re guessing that such a phenomenon may have occurred back in April, but that has not yet been verified.

Whatever the official statistics show, the general consensus — half-way through June, for crying out loud — is that the pre-summer season in the Big Sandy has been one continuous blah.

If we don’t see some sun soon, we may have to rewrite the opening lines to Stephen Foster’s classic and our state anthem...

“Oh the sun’s gone out, on our old Kentucky home...”

Yuck. This is more de-pressing than February.

You expect dreary weather to keep you homebound in winter.

Summer is supposed to be the pay-back for that.

We’re being cheated.


It has been a particularly gray time in Floyd County, and the rain just amplifies the gloom.

The Prestonsburg Fire Department lost its chief cheerleader with the death last week of city councilman Billy Ray Collins, and Floyd County lost one of its most avid high school sports enthusiasts with the death of Joe Back, whose voice was almost always on the air for radio broadcasts of football and basketball games in Floyd County.

Collins was as devoted a public servant as you can find in these parts, and there was never, ever any doubt about where his loyalties laid when Prestonsburg was at the center of debate or discussion.

Back was a “brought-on” who adopted Floyd County as his home, and he volunteered a lot of time and effort to giving Floyd County athletes the air time and recognition they deserved.

Both voices will certainly be missed.


A joint meeting of the Prestonsburg Community College Advisory Board and the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation Inc. will be held next Monday, June 23, at PCC.

One item on the meeting agenda could be of interest to quite a few folks in both Floyd and Johnson counties.

The PCC board will be taking action on a proposed new name for the school, which will also affect the identity of Mayo Technical College.

Mayo and PCC have been merged into a single entity, giving rise to the debate over what the new school should be called, and that has generated some friction on both campuses.

Neither school wants its identity, tradition or history to be lost or diluted through the renaming process, and that has posed some difficulties for the renamers.

We don’t know what the final selection will be, but we hope it keeps the Prestonsburg and Paintsville schools as equal partners in the name game.

It’s a little late in that game for suggestions, but suppose we just keep calling PCC, Prestonsburg Community College and Mayo, Mayo Technical College.

Together they are our college of hope, regardless of what else we might call them.


Another meeting with some hope on the line will be held Saturday, June 21, in Paintsville, when a group gathers to try to convince Paintsville school superintendent Jim Roe that the band program in the city school system should not be discontinued.

We hope they are successful, not necessarily for the sake of tradition, but because music is art, and art education and appreciation is critical to the development of young minds.

A lot of schools are struggling these days to maintain their music departments, but we’ve got an idea that will require some open minds.

Why don’t a couple of schools team up to develop a music program?

If we can get beyond the thinking that school bands exist for the sole purpose of complementing athletic teams, a couple of schools could merge their programs into one to meet the needs and the desires of students who do want to learn and to play music.

So what if we field just one marching band for two or more schools? It’s their performance we’re interested in hearing at halftime, not which team they’re there to represent.

We suspect a merger in band could produce a pretty impressive collection of musicians and some very sweet sounds. And, it would be a very welcome break from the us-against-them attitudes we force on our kids every day of every year.

If we can’t afford a band for each school, why not a band for all schools?

It’s the music that matters most, right?


And we thought we were jjinxed by the vacation gremlins...

Last summer, you may recall, we just about lost a wheel on our car on the way home from a week at the beach, but at least our troubles waited until after our vacation to begin.

No such luck for BSN page designer, web developer, Louisa news bureau staffer Jerry Pennington.

Pennington, wife Lisa, and daughter Kenzie were set to head off to a tropical isle last weekend when the family car was lost to a two-car smashup. Fortunately, Lisa suffered only bumps and bruises in the crash. Unfortunately, the car was a total loss, and the family’s backup vehicle decided about the same time to go to car heaven.

The family was last seen hitchhiking on I-64, although one report had them spotted snorkeling the coral reefs in Grayson Lake.

Just kidding.

As far as we can tell, the Penningtons reached their tropical outpost despite the gremlins.

...Or with them.


We neglected to mention last week that we lost a member of our extended BSN family.

Jody Tabor, a prepress specialist for the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, was the main liaison between the BSN composing department and our printer, and his sudden death last week was a total and complete shock to us all.

Jody could turn a fairly rotten day around with just a phone call, or he could just aggravate the heck out of us...depending on his mood at the time.

His sense of humor was pretty special.

While the bulk of our relationship was carried out over the phone, Jody had visited our shop a couple of times to help us work out some technicalities, and he was one of a rare type that just didn’t seem to have a bad day.

We’ll miss his calls for “her highness” or “her majesty,” our composing chief Tammy Goble, and we figure we’ve lost a friend.

We hope his family knows that he had friends in distant places who cared for him, too.


New UK football coach Rich Brooks was properly impressed by his first visit to K-Day, the summer convention for UK lettermen that has been held in Paintsville for as long as we can remember.

The event, which lets Big Blue boosters meet and mingle with Wildcat coaches and former greats, is generally dominated by former football players, but K-Day has always been a major “must-do” for most UK elite.

Adolph Rupp was a regular visitor to Paintsville for the summer get-together. Joe B. Hall also rarely missed, and Eddie Sutton was a regular.

But, the transformation of UK basketball from a game for the fans to a factory for minting cash may have first raised its ugly head in conjunction with the annual K-Day session in Paintsville.

Rick Pitino’s visit during the summer after his first season at UK drew the largest crowd of supporters ever to K-Day, but Pitino never came back.

He demanded an “appearance fee” for future visits, despite the fact that K-Day was an official meeting of Wildcat lettermen.

As far as we know, Tubby Smith has never even acknowledged his invitation to the annual event.

Guess he requires a self-addressed stamped envelope for such matters.

Anyway, the UK football bosses are still hooked on K-Day, as Brooks noted during the event this year...

“I’m glad to find a place where people still like to have fun,” Brooks told Paintsville’s Moonlighters, the group that has organized and sponsored K-Day since the 1960s.

And we’re glad, coach Brooks, to see that some UK officials still have some respect for their fans...with no fees attached.

Y’all come back.

Appalachian Regaional
coffee break
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