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Sun, Jul 05, 2015 09:56 PM
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.
Letters- except those written to thank individuals-should focus on public issues, not on either private disputes or the individual religious beliefs of the writers.
Letters should not promote hate and bigotry. Neither should they be obscene or libelous or make personal attacks on individuals.
Letters must be signed and include a verifiable address and telephone number of the writers.
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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Skeans: ‘Killings’ on U.S. 23 at Bull Creek must stop


I, Floyd Skeans, moved to the Multon Fork of Bull Creek in the winter of 1993, living at the intersection of Town Branch Road and U.S. 23. I have lived here approximately 22 years. I consider myself to be well qualified to make a good solid decision on the killings taken place over the last 40 years on this strip of U.S. 23.

My first encounter with the killings was right outside my window in 1995, when an entire family was killed. The only person surviving the wreck was a six-year-old baby. I went to District 12 then and offered to help buy a traffic light. They shunned me and ran me off. This problem is not just at Town Branch. I have watched the killings at the Allen intersection, and the killings at the foot of Abbott Mountain at that intersection. These killings were replaced with red lights, and it stopped the deaths.

We need red lights, caution lights and 45-mile-per-hour speed limits from the red light at Allen to the red light at Abbott Mountain. Just like they have in the north by-passing Louisa, and just like they have in Pike County going south on U.S. 23.

Will the District 12 Highway Department try to fix this problem by putting up another stone wall? Will they stone wall the front of Mann Toyota, Pops Chevrolet, Quality Motel, Auto Brokers, and Bull Creek Trade Center on this section of the highway? If they put up a stone wall, they are destroying these investments and destroying jobs and growth in our county. Millions of dollars of tax money will be lost, many good jobs will be lost, and many businesses will go under.

The killings must stop. We need a real fix, not one that destroys what little good paying jobs we have left here. The red lights put in have stopped the killings at Abbott Mountain and stopped the killing at Allen. It will stop the killing at Town Branch. Dropping the speed limit through this very busy section of road will stop the killings all along it and let this section grow jobs. Red lights, caution lights and a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit from Allen to Abbott. Tear down the walls!! Let us grow!!

Floyd Skeans
City, State: Bull Creek
May 26, 2015

State senator responds to legal case


I have taken a few days to reflect upon the outcome of the legal accusations against me and in that time, a few things have become clear.  Primarily, faith will get you through the toughest trials and secondly, the truth will prevail.

I want to begin by thanking the hundreds of family, friends, constituents and strangers for their outpouring of support throughout this ordeal.  There have been many naysayers, some angry and threatening, but there have been just as many supportive words, kind letters and calls, and heads held high in solidary with my family and me as we fought the untrue charges brought against me.

In January, I was pulled over for speeding in the capital of Frankfort.   Of this, I am and was found guilty.  It is not my first speeding ticket, I assume it will not be my last speeding ticket, and it is something anyone who spends as many hours driving as I do understandably struggles to correct.  I was, however, not drunk or drinking and driving.  This is undeniably clear.

As a legislator, especially one in rural Kentucky, we spend hours on the road.  This particular 36 hours was spent driving to Lexington for meetings, back to Hazard to spend the last night before the 2015 Legislative Session began with my wife and youngest daughter, and back to Frankfort. I attended a full day of legislative meetings, voted on the Senate floor and then joined family as we packed up boxes for a loved one who had moved into a nursing home.  For anyone who has undertaken this task, it is emotional and exhausting but well worth the effort to make those close to you comfortable.  We laughed and shared stories and I made an early night of it, stopping at a convenience store before heading to my legislative apartment to get a good nights rest. Or so I thought.

I will spare you of the details of the arrest and short time at the jail because I have the upmost respect for the law and law enforcement officers.  I will not say a negative thing about the arresting officer because it is not my job to judge his actions and I thank him for his service to our Commonwealth.

Surmise it to say that, knowing my innocence the whole time, I complied with every request of me and asked only for the rights allotted to every citizen of this nation.  I was released within a short amount of time and taken to my truck, which had been impounded.  The incident was short but I must confess, innocent or not, being in the situation was a surreal and alarming experience I hope you nor a member of your family ever have to experience.

The sequence of events that followed was equally as surreal.  As a public figure, I understand that I am fair game for the media.  And the media came to play.  The sensational media firestorm of the accusation, motion filed by my attorney without my knowledge and subsequent removal of that motion at my request was stunning.  It is not in vain that I assure you there were more important things going on in the world; In the state; In this county; Probably even in your own homes!  However, this was a "top" story and because of the slanted coverage, the blowback was fierce.  Hateful emails, letters, and calls bombarded my house and office.  Innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past; Guilty until proven innocent is the new normal.  However, my family and friends, trusting in the man they knew at heart, took it with dignity and grace of which I am in awe and am eternally grateful.

Some friends, however, even encouraged me to admit guilt to something I truly had not done.  Admit guilt, pay a nominal fine, loose your license for a few weeks and this will all blow over they said.  And, in some of my weakest moments, in times I wanted dearly to protect my family and my district, I considered it.  But at last, I could not.  My pride would not let me and my faith directed me out.


I am a proud man.  I do not think that is a sin.  I am proud of my children, proud of my wife and marriage, proud of my legislative record and two decades worth of service to the mountains and people I love.  I could not let them down and I could not let lies define me.  Because of this, I surrendered my license for 4 months awaiting a "speedy" trial, hired attorneys with my personal money and fought these charges. 

It took the jury less than 10 minutes to find me not guilty.  Not because they were ill prepared or unsure, but because it was the evident truth.  Putting your fate and reputation in the hands of 6 strangers and a judge is frightening.  But my faith in God and my faith in the justice system in this country led me through those months and that day.

 I owed you an explanation.  Maybe you heard the story on the radio, saw it on the news, or read about it in the paper but chances are what you learned wasn't the whole truth.  As an elected official, I owe it to my constituents to be the best that I can be.  As a father and husband, I owe it to my family to do just the same thing.  And you have my word I will continue to do that.

Brandon Smith
City, State: Hazard, Ky.
May 26, 2015

Johnson taxpayers to receive additional bill


In an effort to make known the most recent and correct information, I want to inform you that in the coming weeks, you will be receiving a tax bill from the Johnson County Clerk's Office for the additional recallable nickel tax (5.7 cents per $100 of assessed value on real estate.) As many of you know, Judge Preston ruled back in February that the recallable nickel tax was collectable, and on Friday, May 1, ordered that bills on the additional tax be sent out. Additionally, the Kentucky Department of Education has indicated that Johnson County Schools proceed with collection of the recallable nickel.

As with all tax bills, they will be paid at Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price's office on the schedule indicated on the tax bill.

I also wish to correct a misconception. The recallable nickel tax is ONLY on real estate property. Items such as vehicles, boats, ATVs, utilities and other such services are NOT taxed.

Johnson County Schools continue to be the most efficient district in the local area and provides the lowest tax rate of 45.3 cents per $100 of assessed value on real estate. Other local district tax rates include Paintsville Independent, 88.7 cents; Floyd County, 59.6 cents; Lawrence County, 52 cents; Magoffin County, 47.7 cents; Martin County, 76 cents; Pike County, 63.2 cents; Morgan County, 52.9 cents; and Pikeville Independent, 71.8 cents.

The recallable nickel will enable Johnson County Schools to continue to offer our students and community with buildings that are the envy of other districts and stand out as the safest and most modern facilities in our region. As we go forward, the vision for future facilities may include such projects as a new Meade Elementary School, a renovated or new high school, and the most up-to-date HVAC, electrical and energy schools and buildings.

Our Johnson County Board of Education, and I as auperintendent, as well as each of you, have great expectations for our district in academics, athletics and all educational endeavors allowing our students to be college and/or career ready; along with being contributors not only today but in the future growth for Johnson County as a community and society. The modernization of current and new educational programs in our district such as STEM, biomedical, technology and other career oriented programs will allow our students to be the most prepared and workforce ready in the region, if not the state.

Again, as a distinguished school district, the recallable nickel tax will ensure that our students and teachers will have the facilities and resources to continually meet the high expectations set forth by our community and enable our students to compete in the global workforce.

As citizens of Johnson County, I hope you will help educate our community in the understanding that our students deserve the best and should always be our primary focus in investing in Johnson County and Kentucky's future. As employees, parents and property owners of Johnson County, I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Tom Salyer
City, State: Superintendent, Johnson County Schools
May 12, 2015

Tournament says 'thanks'

To the Editor:

The Corey Ryland Benefit Tournament would like to thank the following people and businesses for their donations. Without these caring individuals and businesses it would not have been a success. Again from the bottom of our hearts we truly thank you.

Case Mart, Todd Case Trucking, Dave and Michelle Combs, Eddie Dixon, Bo Brumfield, Andrea Cyrus, Alonzo Christian, Fetherolf Photography, Auto Zone, Wellman's Hardware, KFC, Advance Auto, Marcia Crabtree, Clifford Grocery, Food City, Andy's BBQ, Marcia Mills, Debbie Fitzpatrick, Fort Gay United Methodist Church, Joe Wayne and Carol Compton, Louisa Freewill Baptist Church, Aaron and Andi Sluss, Gene and Nancy Endicott, Burger King, Wendy's, Cash Express, Toro Loco, Three Rivers Food Mart, Louisa Coca-Cola, Giovanni's, Down Home Grill, Taco Bell, Young Funeral Home, McDonald's, Save-a-Lot, Champions Barber Shop, My Lil' Doodlebug, Louisa Car Care, Brown's Food Service, Napa, Katie Marskell, Tractor Supply, Hostetter's Trophies, Louisa Hardware, Gallie Isaac, Jr. Dawson Pennzoil, Fort Gay Grill, Manning Furniture, Nails by Melissa, and Glitzy's Bows-n-Clothes.

Corey Ryland Benefit Tournament
City, State: Louisa, KY.
April 21, 2015

Thanks for Arnold Young benefit


To all family, friends, churches, gospel music groups, and businesses that were a part of the benefit for Arnold Young on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Fallsburg Community Center, we truly thank you. We greatly appreciate your love, prayers and support. We thank everyone that worked so hard to bring the benefit together and for every contribution that was given. Most of all we thank our Lord for answered prayers and all His blessings.

Arnold, Pat, Mike and Kayla Young, Amber and Dathan Bathon
City, State: Louisa, KY.
March 17, 2015

Lent offers 'superb' opportunity


Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry.

But meat-free Lent is much more than a symbol of religious devotion to Christ. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation, and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated, and shocked.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ's powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent an beyond.

After all, it's the diet mandated in Genesis I-29 and observed in the Garden of Eden.

Our supermarket offers a rich array of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering "vegan recipes" in our favorite search engine offers more products, recipes, and transition tips than we can use.

Braydon Sumner
City, State: Louisa, Ky.
February 18, 2015

Harless issues thanks to residents


I, Nathan Harless, would personally like to take the time to say thank you to all the constituents of District 1 in Martin County for their support and prayers in this endeavor. Our mindset was always focusing on our people and not for personal gain.

As I began the journey to pursue a political position here in Martin County, it was very enjoyable from the sit down table conversations to holding hands and to pray over many different situations. 

As this journey continued, I found myself being elected as Martin County magistrate of District 1. I was extremely humbled by the outcome. Being faced with many tough decisions over the last few weeks, my family and I spent time in prayer, asking God for direction. There were a lot of sleepless nights and heartfelt conversations with different people from all over this county. My goal was to never hurt, make life harder, or bring hardship to any family.

It has been made clear to me what God has for my life. The Bible teaches us that we know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brother. My family and I love Martin County, especially our people, and we hope for the best outcome for all. However, at this time, I believe it is in the best interest of our family to resign as your magistrate. Our ultimate goal in life is to share God's love and to tell people about Jesus and his amazing grace.

Nathan Harless
City, State: Inez, Ky.
January 27, 2015

Webb: Floud district in good hands


Each January, the Commonwealth of Kentucky observes School Board Recognition Month as a way to thank school board members for the many hours they devote to our communities and schools. Board members make a positive impact on the education of our children by establishing sound management policies and making the difficult but necessary decisions that ensure our students learn the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Our district is most fortunate to have Jeff Stumbo, Linda Gearheart, Rhonda Meade, Dr. Chandra Varia, and Sherry Robinson serving as members of the Floyd County Board of Education. These individuals are truly dedicated to doing what's best for our children.

Members of the Floyd County Board of Education stay focused on continued progress for our school system by monitoring our District goals: *Top 10 School District; *College and Career Readness rate of 90%; *Remain fiscally solvent and efficient; *American College Test- district score of 19.5; *KREP-district score of 76; *Attendance for Students Districtwide-96%.

The leadership of our board members has helped fuel our impressive climb from 145th among 176 Kentucky public school districts in 2005 to 12th in 2014. Other important achievements have been the implementation of our ambitious Digital Conversion, which is on pace to provide every student in grades five through twelve twenty-four hour personal use of a high quality technology device, the Floyd County Early College Academy, which this year is expected to graduate twenty-one of our students with high school diplomas and associate degrees and the implantation of a facility plan that will eliminate the last remaining Category 5 schools in our district. All of these successes required tough decisions by our board members and we appreciate their willingness to stand up for all Floyd County KIDS every day.

I am very pleased to tell the citizens of Floyd County that our educational system and our kids are in good hands with our Board of Education and that the board members deserve our support and our thanks during School Board Recognition Month and throughout the year.

Dr. Henry Webb
City, State: Floyd County School Superintendent
January 20, 2015

Samons thanks members


The students and teachers, the administrators and the service workers of the Paintsville Independent School System deserve praise for working hard in their roles. But equally deserving of praise are the members of the district's Board of Education, not only for their work but for their leadership.

Eddie Hazelett, Ken Fuller, Joe Porter, Marvin "Butch" Walker and Matt Williams are more than just elected officials. They are the link between the school districts citizens and its schools. They make some tough decisions, set policy for their district and create the conditions that enable students to succeed. When it comes to devotion to what's in the best interest of our students, no community has a finer group of citizen leaders than these five gentlemen.

As the demands of high-stakes accountability have increased for our schools, the job of our local board members has likewise become increasingly complex, requiring more time, training and knowledge. They also must ensure the safety and maintenance of school buildings and buses, support teachers by making sure they have adequate professional development, lead the charge for programs that help students of every ability level and closely monitor the finances of the school system. There is not a single aspect of overall district operation that isn't tied to the work of our board members.

I, along with the students and staff, am pleased to join with other community members in thanking the members of our Paintsville Independent Board of Education this month for what they do on behalf of our children.

Coy D. Samons
City, State: Paintsville Independent School Superintendent
January 20, 2015

Johnson school chief expresses appreciation


The members of the Johnson County Board of Education work daily to ensure our district's ability to educate our children and provide improved educational programs while monitoring finances and meeting more difficult and complex training requirements. This responsibility involves complicated assessments and considerate decision making while at the same time unselfishly burdening themselves with improving test scores, school facility safety concerns and countless other issues. Board members are involved in all aspects of district operation and their knowledge and leadership to make Johnson County Schools one of the best school districts in our state.

These are just a few reasons the Johnson County Board of Education members deserve our thanks during Kentucky's January observation of School Board Members Recognition Month.

I, along with the students and staff of the Johnson County School System, wish to express appreciation and gratitude to Bob Hutchinson, Melvin VanHoose, James Doug Wright, Bruce Aaron Davis, and William Fraley for their years of dedication and service and I urge all residents of Johnson County to join us in expressing appreciation to these outstanding public servants.

Thomas Salyer
City, State: Johnson County School Superintendent
January 20, 2015

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