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Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Issue

Letters to the Editor

The Big Sandy News welcomes letters to the editor. To have your letter published, please follow these guidelines: Letters should be limited to 300 words.
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Letters should be delivered to our office at 115 Louisa Plaza, Suite 4 in Louisa Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., mailed to us at P.O. Box 766, Louisa, KY 41230 or faxed to us at (606) 638-9949. Letters may be e-mailed to
We reserve the right to edit letters for length, grammar, spelling and clarity.
Letters to the editor are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Big Sandy News.

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Apple Festival chairman says thank you


On behalf of the Kentucky Apple Festival Board of Directors and myself, I want to send this letter to personally thank the individuals and businesses who supported the 50 non-profit organizations during this year's festival. By doing so, you helped these non-profits meet or exceed their budgets for the upcoming year.

A debt of gratitude to the following: the Johnson County Public Library, Bev Scarberry, Paul Pelphrey, Advanced Auto Parts, Dr. Randall Mann, Dr. Dustin Devers, Bruce Ritz, Danny Hamilton, Williams Floral, Bill Holbrook, Dwayne Price, Rick Ratliff, Gary McClure, Sally Holbrook, Wildcat Adventure Rentals, Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center and staff, Sandy Daniels, Johnny Lemaster, Joe Collins, W. R. Castle and Rockhouse Volunteer Fire Departments, Maggard's Security, EQT Corporation, U.S. Bank, Citizens Bank of Kentucky, Mike Blevins, The Paintsville Herald, Our Lady of the Mountains School, P.D. Pelphrey, McDonald's of East Kentucky, WYMT Television, EKB Television, Mountain Enterprises, Apple Valley Sanitation, City of Paintsville Sanitation Dept., Kentucky Power Company, BSCTC Skills USA students, Jerry Price, Allen Central ROTC, Pepsi Cola Bottling Group, Kenny Wright, Kenny Mullins, Salyer Law Office, Osborne, O'Bryan and Butcher Law Services, Richard Meek, Paul B. Hall Wound Healing Center and Highlands Foundation.

If you know any of these businesses or individuals, please give them a standing ovation.

The board and I look forward to working with each of you again in celebrating our 55th annual festival in 2017. If there are any individuals or businesses wishing to join this group next year, please feel free to contact me.

Again, I wish to say thank you. We couldn't have done it without your support.

Ray Tosti
City, State: Kentucky Apple Festival, Inc.
October 12, 2016

Questions about cemetery in Lawrence Co.


I am writing because I am concerned about the Greenlawn Cemetery in Louisa.

It is a disgrace for it to be in the shape that it is in. It has been way over a month since it has been mowed. The last time it was mowed, they blew grass up on the monuments and the flowers that were in vases on each side of the tombstones, and left it that way. There is still all kinds of grass on front and back of the tombstones, some stones you can't even make out their names.

I spent two days cleaning Anna Hammond's gravesite and flowers, I also planted grass seed on her grave. It came up really pretty and when they mowed they scalped it right down to the dirt.

When you plant grass, they should give the grass a chance to come up good before mowing like they did. I guess some people just don't care. I have tried calling Jane Branham, who is in charge of the cemetery, but she won't answer the phone, let's her answering machine pick up.

Also, I would like to know if there is a cemetery board for Greenlawn, and if so, who are the representatives?

Bonnie K. Williams
City, State: Louisa, KY
October 12, 2016

Memorial ride organizers say thanks



The organizers for the Josh Ferguson fundraising/memorial ride would like to thank the following for their generous support.  Without them, this would not have been possible.  They are Louisa Tire and Auto, Brown Foodservice, Auto Zone, Randy Thompson-Snyder Chips and Candy, Advance Auto Parts, Do It Best Hardware, NAPA-Phil Carter, Three Rivers Food Mart, Dock's Pizza, Quality Car and Truck Sales, Toro Loco, Ashley's Hair Salon, Giovanni's of Louisa, No Limits Fitness, individuals that gave monetary donations, Robert Waybright, BOTW, David and Tina Ferguson, Doug and Vera Stiltner, Jimmy and Amy O'Brien, Rebecca Muncy, Pam Stiltner, Lisa Fannin, Betty Diamond, Brent Hall, and everyone who participated in the ride. We sincerely thank each of you.

Josh Ferguson Memorial Ride Organizers
City, State: Louisa, KY
August 17, 2016

Allens thank community for help finding lost dog


On June 23, a friend came to the house to put a couple of our dogs inside because there had been tornado warnings and neither my husband or I were home.  Somehow because of the storm one of our dogs, Pebbles, slipped through the door and got away.

We searched the rest of the day and evening and searched morning and everyday until today July 12.  Friends put pictures and information on Facebook where it was shared among many people. We printed flyers and put them in mailboxes.  We also put big banners on the main entrances to town.  Ads were put in the newspapers.

Pebbles was found recently by Jim and Marsha Shannon on their farm on Five Forks.  We are so grateful that they called us after seeing a glimpse of her coming out of one of their barns. 

I went this morning with her brother and she immediately came to us.

We are so happy and thankful for the efforts that everyone in the community made to help us find our dog.

Jim and Leonika Allen
City, State: Louisa, KY
July 26, 2016

Congratulations given to scholarship winners


The family of Billie Jean Osborne and the Mountain Arts Center would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2016 Billie Jean Osborne Memorial Scholarship.

The winners of this year's scholarship were Jacob Thacker of Shelby Valley High School and Sarah McCoart of Johnson Central High School.

The scholarship is now in its second year. The 2015 recipient was Brandon Hatfield of Phelps High School.

Applicants were required to submit an application, an essay and two letters of recommendation. Additionally, applicants must be from the Eastern Kentucky area and have a desire to major in music. It was the dream of "Miss Billie Jean" to keep music alive in the "hills of eastern Kentucky," and with this scholarship we hope that will help to continue her dream.

If anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the scholarship, contact the Mountain Arts Center for information.

Kay Hall
City, State: Paintsville, KY.
June 29, 2016

‘Together, we can be a Community in Action’


For over 50 years, our region has stood at the center of President Lydon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty." For over 50 years, Big Sandy Area Community Action Program has taken up the call to fight against and bear witness to the complicated problems of poverty in our region. In May, our nation celebrated Community Action Month.

We remain steadfast in our belief that Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. That is our promise.

I would like to take a moment to thank our board members, our employees, our community partners, and our allies for ensuring that programs such as Head Start, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, Weatherization, and job training services are available to our people. Each person on our team and everyone who seeks our services is helping eastern Kentucky beat back poverty and bring the talent and work-ethic present in these mountains to the forefront.

We encourage all of our friends and neighbors to be a light in our communities. Whether it is volunteering, giving a donation to a local cause, or simply offering a few extra vegetable from their garden to a neighbor in need, each of us, no matter our income, can serve another and move our region forward. And, together, we can be a Community in Action.

James Michael Howell, Executive Director
City, State: Big Sandy Area Community Action Program
June 01, 2016

Thanks for Stapleton visit


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

Contact local lawmaker about Senate Bill 80


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 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.

Dixie Moore
City, State: Lexington
March 22, 2016

Ohio resident praises event in Paintsville


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!

Yolanda Dallas
City, State: Columbus, Ohio
December 15, 2015

Business collecting toys, food for underprivileged


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.

Garry McNabb
City, State: Cookeville, TN
December 01, 2015

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