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Wow! What a fantastic week for the people and area of Johnson County and East Kentucky!
As a Ram Nation volunteer, I would like to thank the companies and people that I am aware of who assisted to create and help with the Chris Stapleton visit and concert.
A very heartfelt "thank you" to Ram Trucks for sponsoring this event. I would also like to thank Jeff Summers, head of advertising for Ram Trucks, Christa Shaloub, Ram Brand Advertising, and Eileen Wunderlich, manager of marketing and communications, for their presence and support of our town and this event.
Thank you to Ann Kingston, Coran Capshaw and Zach Peters of Red Light Management for the initial contact in January and their persistence to ensure the event was a success.
Thank you to Andre Gaccetta, Lauren White, and Kristy Marcy of G7 Entertainment Marketing for orchestrating the week's events and ensuring that everything went smoothly.
Thank you to Paul Freundlich and Asha Goodman, who were instrumental in publicizing the activities before, during and after the event.
Thank you to Danny Clinch and associates for photographing Chris and Morgane Stapleton, the crowd, activities and our area.
Thank you to Tricia Steel, program director for Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, for being on hand to present the $57,000 worth of musical instruments which were made possible by Ram Trucks and Chris Stapleton. A special thank you to Martina Lutz, JCHS band director, for introducing Chris before the concerts.
Thank you to Bosch Tools for supplying many of the power tools and equipment used to construct the "Golden Eagle Stage" powered by Ram Trucks. Thank you to Terry Bowling's carpentry students at JCHS for working alongside John Thompson, general contractor, and several volunteers to construct the stage that was built and dedicated in honor of Chris. Subcontractors and suppliers who assisted were Scott Blanton of Blanton's Concrete; Bobby Spradlin of BS Electric; Joe VanHoose of FS VanHoose Lumber Company, and Tim Hall of American Electric Company.
Thank you to Johnson County Schools Superintendent Tom Salyer for his leadership and direction on this project. Thank you to Russell Halsey for coordinating activities at JCHS; to the entire maintenance and janitorial staff for all their help and especially to the students, teachers and administrators for making this such a special homecoming for Chris and Morgane.
Thank you to Jane Streeter from Streeter Film for coordinating the filming locations and to the area businesses that opened up their doors for filming. Thank you to Sheriff Dwayne Price and his staff as well as the Paintsville City Police for the security they provided throughout the week. To Darl Music and the staff of The Ramada Inn for their hospitality. And thank you to Angie's Catering for providing such great food at all events.
Thank you to the following RAM Nation volunteers: Chessi Price, Brandon Pack, Larry Stacy, Mitchell Pack, Jim O'Bryan, Tom Hutchison and Curtis Music.
A huge thank you to the very talented Chris Stapleton and his lovely wife, Morgane, for sharing their time and music, and most importantly, for coming back home and allowing us to share in this event with you.
Last of all, I would like to thank the late Herb Stapleton and his wife, Carol, for raising their three fine individuals (Herb, Chris, and Melanie) and teaching them the value of family, hard work, community and never forgetting your East Kentucky home.
Bob Hutchison, Ram Nation Volunteer
City, State: Paintsville, KY.
April 06, 2016
Senate Bill 80, a safer passing law for bicycles, is an important bill for increasing cycling tourism in Eastern Kentucky and on the Dawkins Line. Several years ago as secretary of the Kentucky Rails to Trail Council, I actively supported the creation of the Dawkins Line RT. Now Paintsville and Prestonsburg are applying for trailtown status and want to encourage cycling tourism. The Tourism Department supports SB 80, which is at. The bill is at http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/16RS/SB80/bill.pdf. SB 80 passed the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously and the Senate with a vote of 33 to 4. It is now in the House Transportation Committee, chaired by Rep. Hubert Collins.
In our conversation last week, Rep. Collins was not convinced it was a good bill for his district and should be called for a vote. As I understand his concern, in his district there are some very narrow roads with no room to give 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicycle, which SB 80 requires, and limited or no shoulders for a cyclist to use to move off the road. Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia have similar laws and narrow roads, and no problems have been reported to my knowledge. According to Rep. Collins, if SB 80 encouraged more cycling, then it could be more dangerous for parts of his district. In my opinion, I think there would not be a significant increase in bicycles on the roads away from the Dawkins Line and Jenny Wiley State Park. Any increase in cycling would be around tourist locations such as Paintsville and the Dawkins Line trailheads, which would be a plus economically.
I encourage the residents of District 97, Johnson, Morgan and Wolfe counties, to contact Rep. Collins and ask that he let SB 80 be heard in committee. The legislative message line is 1-800372-7181.
City, State: Lexington
March 22, 2016
Just a quick email to let you know what a fantastic event (Christmas on the Country Music Highway Half Marathon on Dec. 5) this was.
The man that I am dating started doing half-marathons in 2014. I have been his cheerleader for eight events (in seven different states). He is usually the last place finisher. I have seen events where they run out of Gatorade and water. I have seen events were they remove the timing strip and pack up. I have seen events were there are no bananas at the end of the race.
This summer at age 50, I started doing half marathons. Now I am the one who finishes last (but I do finish!).
The volunteers and organizers at your event last Saturday were wonderful.
Let's start with Santa and the hot chocolate at the starting line. The weather was so cold but everyone in Kentucky was so warm.
The aid station at the 5k split was staffed with the most encouraging people, the Johnson Central and Paintsville Interact Clubs organized by Tammy Haney. We joked and laughed each time I passed by. The best part was that they stayed in place until I came around for the final time.
The course was very well marked! As I was the last one walking, from mile four through mile 10, I used the signage to keep me moving forward . . . on to the next mile marker.
The kind man, Densil Baker, at the halfway turn around gave me a high five. I thanked him for staying and waiting for me.
At the finish line, I was greeted by the late runners who were just ahead of me and the remaining volunteers, and had the finishing medal put on me by Rotary District Governor Cindy Legg. The Tri State Racer team sent me a text immediately with my time and place. That was a very cool feature!!!!
Thank you all again for staying until the very end while this "walker" finished her event. Your hospitality was tremendous! During the past seven days, I have told everyone I know about this wonderful experience!
City, State: Columbus, Ohio
December 15, 2015
In this time of economic stress and uncertainty, many people need help. For the eleventh consecutive year, Cash Express, LLC, located at 263 West Spring Street, Cookeville, Tenn., is collecting toys, canned food and coats for the underprivileged. Cash Express, LLC has teamed up with an organization in your community to distribute these items. Anyone in need of help can contact Cash Express at 999-868-0674 and we can refer you to the distributing organization.
Anyone wishing to drop off items can do so at Cash Express locations. Used coats will be cleaned by Cash Express.
Historically the response from the local community to this effort has been heartfelt and with open arms. The generosity of the community continues to show what the true meaning of Christmas is.
During the last ten years, the Cash Express toy, canned food, and coat drive has helped hundreds of thousands of families in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. For more information, please call Cash Express at 888-899-0399.
City, State: Cookeville, TN
December 01, 2015
Does anyone remember the reset button an arrogant Barak Hussein Obama was going to hit with Russia when he became president? Now all the world can see his ineptitude and the hollowness of his claim. He either does not know how to conduct foreign relations from a position of strength that earns the respect and trust of other nations in this world, or he hates our strength and sees us as the "evil empire" which needs to be weakened so everybody is equal in the world and that way we will all work together without the intimidation of our power. I rather agree with Dinesh D'Souza who wrote the book The Roots of Obama's Rage at the beginning of Obama's presidency. In it he compared himself with Obama as children of immigrants and found that while he, D'Souza, loved this country with all of it's opportunities and freedoms, he analyzed Obama as hating the USA and identifying with his father who was a Kenyan that was bitter against the West, the UK and the USA which has inherited the power position of the UK. Barak's father saw the UK and the USA as imperialists and he hates that and is determined to destroy it as any left-wing liberal wants to do.
Leftists are usually based philosophically on Marxist theory which increasingly people these days do not know at all, but let me just say that Marx hated our way of life, from believing in God and the Judeo-Christian society we have built as a result, the holding of private property, capitalism which enables enterprising people to use their ability and free enterprise to take risks and develop new products and become wealthy as a result while creating jobs for others and raising our standard of living, and the liberty which formed us from the beginning of this nation.
As a result of our weakness under Obama, we are increasingly ignored by countries in the Middle East and other parts of the world that had looked to us for security and stability. A recent headline in the Wall Street Journal was "Afghans Reach Out to Russia" and many others are doing the same. Putin, the bully, has taken part of Georgia, and surely everyone knows he has pushed the Ukrainians out of part of their country while we stood by and offered them MRI meals but not weapons to defend themselves, although we promised to guarantee their security when they gave up their nuclear weapons several years ago. Why would anyone trust us? And do I need to point out the expansion of China, the threats with nuclear weapons of North Korea and now Iran getting a deal that threatens allies like Israel? We begin to look like the kid with the sign on his behind that says "kick me". This reminds me of the period before WWII as Hitler bullied and pushed others around and we as well as Britain and France, did nothing to stop it. The result was catastrophe! Lets hope we can get a new president who knows what he/she is doing before things fall apart and a real disaster takes place.
City, State: Staffordsville, Ky.
December 01, 2015
This is an open appeal to all Martin County churches: Please help the animal shelter and the little animals.
We have some women who are volunteering their time, working to get dogs and cats off the roadways and into loving homes. Yes, there is someone paid a yearly salary of about $26,000, and one of his positions is to pick up stray animals. I have not been able to get in touch with him. Perhaps you have?
What we need is to pay half of this amount for the upkeep of the shelter and the women volunteers will do the work free. At least they will answer the phone and pick up the strays. This is not an easy task, but they are willing to take this job upon their shoulders and carry this load. They are doing most of it now.
Magistrates and some other elected officials voted to kill animals after 15 days. That is hardly time to find adopted homes for these pets. We need a few good-hearted, God-loving and God-serving people to boldly step up and help.
This is where Christian churches need to get involved and help. God has blessed our county churches with talented people; like carpenters, masons, roofers, plumbers, electricians, painters, cementers, doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, and others with specialties.
"If you do not use your talent for the Lord's work, Satan will use it to play with."
Likewise, our business owners should share their blessings by donating materials, fencing and animal foods. Remember, these are God's creatures and man's responsibility. We need men and women to step up and wade in.
The benefits will be keeping strays off the roads and private properties, while slowing down the reproduction of unwanted animals and diseases. And, you will be blessed.
If you agree, get involved. It is the Christian thing to do. Make this saying true: "Where there is a need, Christians are there."
Set up a meeting and help build this county a working animal shelter we can be proud of. Make it a welcome center for animal pet adoptions.
Pray about it. I believe you know the answer already.
May God burden His people with the cross of conscience.
Mary Kirk Blanton
City, State: Martin County
September 29, 2015
McDonald's pledge last week to start using cage-free eggs is only a small step in preventing staggering suffering endured by millions of birds.
Hatcheries that annually supply 200 million female hens for U.S. egg production, including cage-free, also kill the same number of male chicks at birth by grinding them up alive in industrial macerators or suffocating them slowly in plastic garbage bags. The female laying hens endure a lifetime of misery, crammed with 5-6 others, in small wire-mesh cages that cut into their feet and tear out their feathers.
Eggs are common carriers of food-borne bacteria, including Salmonella, Campylobacter. Listeria, and Staphylococcus. USDA estimates that Salmonella alone accounts for 1.3 million U.S. illnesses and 500 deaths annually. Eggs contain saturated fat and cholesterol, key factors in incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. They are a common cause of allergies in children. Waste from millions of egg-laying hens ends up in waterways, rendering vast areas unsuited for recreation or water supply. The good news for compassionate, health-conscious, eco-friendly consumers is that our local supermarket offers a number of delicious egg substitutes and egg-free food products. Entering "egg-free" in a search engine returns tons of recipes.
City, State: Louisa, KY.
September 22, 2015
OK, my Cruiser Peeps, thought I would give you the run down on the entertainment for the Cruise which will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Louisa Plaza. We have a full night lined up! Music will kick off at 6 p.m.
Kicking our night off will be the Band Gypzy Roze! Next we have Lawrence County's own Jodi Mykayla Perkins, who will be singing us a few songs! Back by popular demand from our last cruise "Sweet Run"!
Gonna try to also squeeze in some open Mic karaoke for the last hour. Spaces will be limited for that, so get there a early if you want to sing and I will take the first 12 people who sign up! We also have Iheart radios own Brandon Woolum to Emcee the night! Still working on other things but I will post them later! So what a line up for the fall cruise! Going to be an awesome night! Please share! Let's get the motors running! Cruise the Plaza, Saturday, Oct. 17th! Please don't forget to take donations and drop them off at Louisa Community Bank or mail to the bank at 4393 Hwy. 2565, Louisa, KY 41230.
Thanks for your support and let's make sure we cruise in 2016.
City, State: Georgetown, Ky.
September 01, 2015
The board of directors and members of Growing Up Safe would like to thank everyone who helped make our annual radio auction a success again this year. We truly hope we will be able to bring more awareness and education about child abuse to the children and families in our community as well as helping the children affected by the flood.
We would like to thank the following business and individuals for their support: Appalachian Wireless, Delores Priode; Ramada Inn, Darl Music; Apple Valley Sanitation, Charles Lusk; Mountain Aggregates, Buz Tharp; Prestonsburg Gun & Pawn, Darrell Preston; Sears Hometown Store, Loretta Meade; Shorts Farm Center, Harry Wilson; Images By John Michael, John and Ramona Laney; Ferrell Gas, Premier Auto Sales, Bruce Ritz; Pepsi Bottling; Rite Aid of Paintsville, Steven Farler; MCCC Greenhouse, Alice Cole; All Things Personalized, Merle Norman, Jane Ann and Jim Daniels; Amy's Hallmark; Webb's Barber Shop, Justin Webb; Nordin's Eye Center, Dr. Mark Nordin; Sheriff Dwayne Price; Mudpyz N Butterflyz, Anita Watts; Big Sandy News, Tony Fyffe; Skyline Medical, Patricia and Jerry Daniels; Rockin' Rollers, Amber Vanhoose; Vicki Rice; Scurlock's Heating and Cooling, Tommy Scurlock; Porkey's Pizza, John Dalton; McDonald's of East Kentucky, Bob & Tom Hutchison; Tackett Tire, Barry Tackett; The Movies at Mayo Plaza; Foothills; Melissa Phelps; Castle Closeout, Frank Castle; Mi Hacienda, Osborne, O'Bryan and Butcher Law Firm; Castle's Jewelry, Doug Pugh; Paintsville Floral, Milton Preston; Advance Auto, Randall Greer; City National Bank, Lisa Deskins; Century 21,Jim Gambill; Paintsville Herald, Paula Halm; Savannah' Salon, Nancy Pelphrey; 1st Commonwealth Bank, Tim Deskins; Espresso Cafe, Patricia& Jerry Daniels; Home Furniture, Rocky Rowe: Paintsville Dairy Queen, Craig Delong; Tropical Isle, Thom & Cheri Deskins; Paintsville Golf Course, Bryan Balch; May's Carpet; and Scurlock's Heating and Cooling, Tommy Scurlock.
Also, Jessica Goble; Classic Cleaners, Todd Meade; Paintsville Independent Schools, Coy Sammons; H&H Paint, Landon Butcher; Skeans Marathon, Tony and Mary Skeans; Curves of Paintsville, Lisa Caudill; Brown's Ford, Mike Brown; Anna Melvin; Country Cottage, Peggy Calhoun; Highland's Veterinary, Joel Salyer; Sabrina Scott; Poor Boy's Gun and Pawn, Mattie and Lee Crum; Capital Tire; Peebles, Kenda Howard; Roma Cucina Italian Restaurant Prestonsburg; Caudill's Wholesale, Herman Caudill; Randy's Backstage Hair Productions, Randy Trimble; Taste of Amish, Drug Testing Centers of America, Julia Barker; Dewey Bocook; S&S Signs, Nick Salyer; Hardees of Paintsville, Tracy Horton; KY Farm Bureau, Greg Meade; Heather Harrison; Fitness Plus, Thom and Cheri Deskins; The Upper Cut, Fran Jarrell; E.D. Ann's, Edde Picklesimer; William's Floral, Paula Stambaugh; City of Paintsville, Mayor Bob Porter; B&W TV and Appliances, Nick Ratliff, Malcolm Ratliff; Broadway Printers, Debra Stepp; Words N Stuff, Jim Trammell; Ol Blue BBQ, Eddie Hazelett; and Paintsville Lake Campgrounds, David Riley.
Also, Judge John David Preston; Fiesta Place, Marco Pacheco; Pig in a Poke, Rick Hughes; AutoZone; Tractor Supply; Ponderosa of Paintsville, Darla Dean; Head Over Heels, Darren Hensley; Stonecrest Golf Course, Morris Copley; Johnson Central High School, Tom Salyer; Stephanie Rodriguez; Wal-Mart of Paintsville; Treasures on Main, Michelle Hackworth; Paula's Hair Images, Paula Duncan; Penny Adams; Country Music Highway Museum; Sandy Valley Fasteners, Christy Henry; Tres Hermanos Nunez; Highlands Regional Medical Center, Kathy Rubado; Ed Hazelett; Eastern Screens and Drives, Gary Brothers; Mike Endicott; Elite Insurance Agency, Mark Grim; JML Exploration, Mike and Katie Lauffer; Jones and Preston Funeral Home, James Preston; Highland Electric, Lee Vanhoose; Judge Kevin Holbrook; Judge John Chafin; Mayor Bob Porter and Bonnie Porter; Highlands Medical Center; Kimberly Compton; Kay Grevious; Larry and Karen Blair; Robin O'Bryan; Billie Fannin; Heather Hazelett; Laura Kretzer; Margaret Burgess; Scott Ratliff, WSIP; First United Methodist Church and Robin Slone.
Again, we greatly appreciate the support from our local businesses and our community.
City, State: President, Growing Up Safe
September 01, 2015
On some anniversaries, we celebrate. On others, we reflect.
The 14th anniversary of the attack on America and New York's World Trade Center is one of the times for reflection. There is truly nothing to celebrate in the extraordinary tragedy of 9/11.
As much as I would like to forget some of them, the images from that day will never be out of my mind, nor will the victims and their families.
But, there is one memory I want to hold on to, one that I want to cherish as the deepest and most lasting of Sept. 11, 2001. It is the memory of the heroism and selflessness demonstrated by law enforcement officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians who went about their business that day without concern for their own safety and without consideration for the magnitude of what they were confronting.
I suppose the term "first responders" was around before 9/11 but I can't remember ever hearing or using it before then.
It caught on with me because it succinctly and accurately captures not only what these public servants do, but is says something about who they are.
They are people willing to respond without question or hesitation when our community needs them. Men and women willing to make someone else's emergency or crisis their own and to put their lives on the line doing it.
If that doesn't deserve our respect, nothing does.
Most of us have always had an appreciation for first responders whether we called them that or not. At one time or another, what little boy or little girl didn't want to grow up to be a police officer or a fire fighter? As time passes and most of us go on to do other things with our lives, we tend not only to outgrow our hero worship, but also to start taking things for granted. Then some tragedy happens and our attention is drawn to them again.
City, State: CEO, Cash Express, LLC
September 01, 2015