Skip to content

Community News

August 18th, 2022

 Bubblegum Blowing Contest in Stearns – 1950

If any of our readers can identify the young man or woman please contact

VIP train

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Earlier this week, the McCreary County Heritage Foundation hosted a VIP train ride on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway.  Passengers riding the train during the special event included local and state officials and leaders. Guests were able to learn about recent improvements on the railway and future plans for Historic Stearns. 

August 11th, 2022

4-H Expo


Photos by Eugenia Jones

On Saturday (8-6-22), McCreary County 4-H youth presented their 4-H Expo at the Sand Hill RV Camp

August 4th, 2022

Photo submitted

Left to right: Elloree Akin, 2nd place with 565 boxes and Jade King, 1st place with 747 boxes. Absent when photo taken, Aleighana Cotton, 3rd place with 548 boxes. Honorable mention goes to Haley Duncan, 4th place with 532 boxes.


Forest Service explores possibility of municipal water at Great Meadow Campground

The Stearns Ranger District has partnered with the McCreary Co. Water District to conduct a feasibility and cost analysis for providing municipal water supply to Great Meadows campground.  Officials are just wrapping up the feasibility and cost analysis and currently are nearing completion of the NEPA and environmental review requirements. 

A decision on the project is expected in a couple of weeks.  When the proposal decision is signed, the District can move forward looking for suitable funding avenues.  Currently, the District has no funding identified for this proposal so implementation will be contingent on finding suitable funding in the future.

 “If the project is implemented, having a municipal water supply and replacing the waterlines in the campground will ensure that potable water is available for users well into the future,” Reed commented.  “It will also eliminate the need for our current storage tank and well system which is aging and requires a great deal of regular maintenance.”

July 28th, 2022

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Walking to the McCreary County Courthouse will be a bit easier when workers from Gary Clark Construction and Concrete complete new sidewalks on both sides and in front of the building.

June 30th, 2022

Photo by Eugenia Jones

A McCreary County citizen, Dwayne  Watson, addressed members of the McCreary County Tourism Commission about his willingness to help organize local car cruise-ins.  Members of the Commission accepted Watson’s offer to help and are currently making plans to host a cruise-in.

June 23rd, 2022

Photos by Eugenia Jones


The McCreary County Public Library hosted their “Touch a Truck” event on Saturday.  Children were able to touch, explore, and learn about a variety of trucks and special vehicles including fire trucks, dump trucks, ambulances, big rigs, tractors, and more.


SKED/The Kentucky Wildlands Announce Designation of Tourism Growth Fund

Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) announces the designation of a $1 million loan program designed to give the region’s tourism-related business owners the financing and free business counseling they need to get their projects off the ground and on the road to success.

 SKED is partnering with regional tourism marketing initiative – The Kentucky Wildlands, to market the new loan program called Destination Thrive – a Southern & Eastern Kentucky Tourism Growth Fund. Together, the regional nonprofits hope to get more capital into the hands of tourism entrepreneurs for investments they need.

It is a partnership that melds both of their missions, including encouraging economic development in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers says Destination Thrive is one more way to build on our region’s tourism economy.

 “The Kentucky Wildlands is quickly becoming a destination for families and individuals who enjoy outdoor adventure and exploring the beautiful Appalachian Mountains that our unique wildlife call home,” Rogers said. “As tourism grows, the demand increases for more restaurants and local businesses, and thanks to SKED, they will now have the resources necessary to get started. This is a great example of how organizations can work together to impact the future of our region.”

SKED Executive Director Brett Traver says the tourism loan fund is a natural progression of growth for some of Kentucky’s most scenic areas.

 “Our work with small business owners covers a wide spectrum of commercial, manufacturing, and retail areas,” said Traver. “We’ve never targeted a specific business field before, but we feel the need is here, the potential is great, and we have the money to lend. It’s a partnership I believe will make a difference in the region’s tourism economy.”

Qualifying business owners and entrepreneurs will receive Destination Thrive Tourism Growth Fund loans and free business counseling and technical assistance from SKED staff to ensure their project is completed and successful, Traver said.

The Kentucky Wildlands Director Tammie Nazario calls the project a win for the region’s tourism industry.

 “This loan fund will empower local entrepreneurs who are key to building the infrastructure needed to meet our great potential as a regional tourist destination,” Nazario said. “There are opportunities for businesses to improve access to our natural and cultural assets, which are exceptionally appealing to visitors.”

She cited examples such as adventure tourists wanting to hire local guides and outfitters to help them explore the region’s terrain and history buffs who want to interact with local artisans and restaurateurs for an authentic experience.

Those interested in applying for a loan should visit

To learn how SKED helps small business owners do business better, visit or call (606) 677-6101. 


Jerry Grundy named to Roane State Dean’s List

Jerry Grundy of Pine Knot, KY made the Dean’s List at Roane State Community College for the Spring 2022 semester.

The Dean’s List recognizes full-time students (those completing 12 or more semester hours of college-level courses) who attain a quality point average of 3.50-3.99.

The President’s List and Dean’s List are the official mediums for the institution to recognize outstanding academic achievement by students. The lists are compiled at the end of each academic semester by the Registrar’s Office and are noted on the student’s academic transcript.

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge.

For more information, visit or call 866-462-7722.

Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Tennessee Reconnect grant. Learn more at


Photo Courtesy of MC Adult Ed Facebook-Dave Gilreath 

Three of the 2021/22 McCreary County Adult Education/GED graduates recently participated in the McCreary County Adult Education graduation ceremony. Those participating in the ceremony were:  Cynthia Crabtree, Barbara Neal, and Elizabeth Hackler.

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Vehicles clocked high speeds during McCreary County’s latest “Airport Attack” held at the McCreary County Airport in Pine Knot.  Proceeds from the events go to upgrade the airport.  The next “Airport Attack” is scheduled for July 16, 2022.

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Firefighters battled a house fire in Pine Knot during the recent heat wave which sent heat indexes soaring to 100 degrees and above.  Both residents were at work when the blaze began.  Regrettably, firefighters were unable to rescue a pet dog trapped inside the home by the blaze.  South McCreary Fire Department and McCreary County EMS were among those who responded to the fire.

June 16th, 2022

Courtesy of McCreary Tourism

The Big South Fork Blazin’ Bluegrass SpringFest provided music, food, fellowship, and fun for those attending the annual June event.  This year’s Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival will be held at the Sand Hill RV Camp on September 15-17.

June 9th, 2022

Save A Lot Grand Reopening

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The Whitley City Save a lot hosted a grand reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The store has undergone significant renovations and features daily specials.  The ribbon cutting was attended by many local officials and store employees.

Jeeps for Jesus

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The Jeeps for Jesus event featured a variety of jeeps and was hosted by Grace and Truth Tabernacle in Pine Knot


Daniel Boone National Forest Waives Fees for Get Outdoors Day, June 11

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, the Daniel Boone National Forest will waive fees at all Forest-operated recreation sites in honor of National Get Outdoors Day. This waiver does not apply to recreation sites operated by concessionaires or reserved group-use areas.

“I hope that our visitors take this opportunity to explore a new trail or enjoy a new activity on the Forest,” said Daniel Boone National Forest Supervisor H. Scott Ray. “National Get Outdoors Day, or ‘GO Day,’ was established as a way for both experienced outdoor enthusiasts and complete newcomers to get out and explore all the opportunities their public lands have to offer.”

Fees are waived at all Daniel Boone National Forest recreation areas, except concession-operated sites and reserve group-use areas.

Day-use sites – no recreation fee is required on Saturday, June 11 at the following locations:

Cave Run Lake – all boat ramps outside of developed campgrounds

Laurel River Lake – all boat ramps outside of developed campgrounds

Bee Rock Boat Ramp – Laurel County

Clear Creek Boat Ramp – Bath County

Billy Branch Day Use “Picnic” Area – Rowan County

Natural Arch Scenic Area – McCreary County

Appletree Shooting Range – McCreary County

Keno Shooting Range – Pulaski County

Whitman Branch Shooting Range – Laurel County

Redbird Crest Trail – Clay and Leslie counties

White Sulphur OHV Trail – Bath County

 Campgrounds – camping fees are waived for Saturday evening, June 11 at the following locations:

Backcountry camping in the Red River Gorge – Menifee, Powell and Wolfe counties

Bee Rock Campground – Laurel and Pulaski counties

S-Tree Campground – Jackson County

Great Meadows Campground – McCreary County

Barren Fork Horse Camp – McCreary County

To learn more about the Daniel Boone National Forest, see the Forest website at or find them on Facebook and Twitter @DanielBooneNF.

June 2nd, 2022

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary Countians are pleased to know paving prep work has begun on the McCreary County side of the soon-to-be-completed State HWY 92 from Pine Knot to Williamsburg.


Photo by Eugenia Jones

Hope for All Pets recently arrived to do on-site spay/neuter of all the dogs housed at the McCreary County Animal Protection League shelter in Strunk.  If anyone is looking for a best  four-legged friend, check out the shelter.

May 26th, 2022

For the third time this year, local firefighters and other emergency responders arrived shortly after midnight at the scene of a fire at B & C Townhouse Apartments on Pigskin Road.  South McCreary, North McCreary, and Whitley City Fire Departments along with McCreary EMS, Sheriff’s Office, and KY Fish and Wildlife arrived to find flames blazing through the roof of one set of apartments.  Twenty-eight firefighters and eight fire vehicles responded.


Shoot Hoops Not Drugs Camp

By Steve LeMaster

LONDON — Operation UNITE will host five free regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps in June. Camps will be held from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at the following locations:

Monday, June 6 – Breathitt County

Monday, June 13 – Johnson Central High School, 257 North Mayo Trail, Paintsville.

Tuesday, June 14 – McCreary County Middle School, 180 Raider Way, Stearns.

Thursday, June 16 – Jackson County

Monday, June 20 – Harlan County

An informational program on the “Truth About Vaping” will be held for parents/guardians at each camp.

Shoot Hoops camps provide school-age youth an opportunity to interact with positive role models, receive positive life-skill and self-esteem messages that emphasize the importance for them to stay drug-free, all while receiving basic basketball skills instruction.

All participants in the UNITE-sponsored camps receive specially designed event T-shirt, a regulation autographed Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball, and are entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals that are given away at the conclusion of each camp location. (You must be present to win.)

Water and food are provided to everyone attending each camp.

As part of each camp, parents and guardians are invited to attend a brief education program.

The 2022 program will provide information about the dangers associated with vaping.

Since inception, 2,601 adults have attended these awareness sessions.

Some of the best volunteers at camp have been the residents and staff from residential treatment facilities located within UNITE’s service region. Their enthusiasm for helping youth make good choices, stay positive, and headed in a drug-free direction has added an extra spark to the skills instruction.

In addition, members of the host county’s UNITE Community Coalition provide much-appreciated support by assisting with registration, food preparation and service, and event cleanup.

Former University of Kentucky point guard and four-time All-SEC Academic Team member Jarrod Polson conducts the Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps.

A native of Wilmore, Polson set the Kentucky High School Athletic Association record for free throws attempted and made in a January 2009 game in which he tallied 50 points. As a senior, he helped lead West Jessamine High School to the second round of the Sweet 16 state tournament and was named First Team All-State. He finished his high-school career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points.

Originally a walk-on at UK, the 6-foot-2 point guard quickly impressed Coach John Calipari, who gave him a full scholarship before his freshman year began. Although receiving only limited playing time during his first two seasons – which included a National Championship during the 2011-12 season – Polson proved himself in the 2012-13 season-opening game against Maryland. After being inserted for an ailing teammate, he logged 10-points, a key steal, and clutch free throws in the waning minutes of the game to solidify his spot in the rotation.

Over his four years at UK, Polson played in 94 games, scoring a total of 140 points with a .424 field goal percentage (.313 three-point percentage). In the spring of 2014, the West Jessamine Colts retired Polson’s jersey – the first time that distinction had been awarded in school history.

Polson, who assisted with several camps in 2015 and 2016, took over the camps from Shoot Hoops Not Drugs founder Jeff Sheppard in 2017.

For more information, visit

Five McCreary County students selected for The Center for Rural Development’s youth programs

The Center for Rural Development has selected five McCreary County students to particiapte in its summer leadership programs.


Rogers Scholars


Two McCreary Central sophomores will join high school students from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky this summer for the 25th annual Rogers Scholars youth leadership program. Tate Sandidge is the son of Michael and Suzanne Sandidge, of Stearns. Isabella Hammons is the daughter of Steve and Stacey Hammons, of Pine Knot.     

Rogers Scholars, The Center’s flagship youth program, was established through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) that “no young person should have to leave home to find his or her future.”

The intensive one-week summer program provides valuable leadership skills and exclusive college scholarship opportunities for high school students in 45 Kentucky counties to build their skills as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

“The Center’s Youth Programs are unique opportunities for our young leaders to explore what’s next for them in education and through service to their communities,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “The programs give them the tools they need in order to thrive in their personal goals and how to make an impact in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”

 Each graduate of the Rogers Scholars Program earns potential access to exclusive scholarship opportunities from some of the state’s top-ranked colleges and universities. To be eligible, students must complete a community service project in their hometown.

The 2022 Rogers Scholars Program will take place on June 5-10 on the campus of Morehead State University and July 24-29 on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College. There is no tuition charge to attend the program and lodging and food is provided at no cost to participants.


Rogers Explorers


Three 8th graders from McCreary County Middle School were selected for the 17th annual Rogers Explorers Program – Bryce Hammons, Callie Shook, and Jackson Winburn.

Hammons is the son of Steve and Stacey Hammons, of Pine Knot. Shook is the daughter of David and Beverly Shook, of Stearns. Winburn is the son of Dwayne and Brenda Hamlin, of Pine Knot. 

Rogers Explorers is open to eighth-grade students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky who have a strong interest in developing their skills in leadership, team building, community service, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of study. 

Explorers is a three-day and two-night program on a leading Kentucky college campus where experts will guide them through hands-on assignments. The program is provided at no cost to eligible students within The Center’s 45-county primary service area.

Rogers Explorers is presented by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with Lindsey Wilson College, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Asbury University, University of the Cumberlands, and Union College.

For more information about The Center’s youth programs, contact Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator at The Center, at or call 606-677-6000.


Photo by Eugenia Jones

Approximately, 1,000 people visited McCreary County to either participate or cheer for their favorite runners during the Yamacraw Trail Runs held last weekend throughout McCreary County’s Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork Scenic Area.  This year, as a way of giving back to the local community, Yamacraw Trail Run organizers presented $3,000 dollars to the McCreary County Athletic Department. One local hotel reported having a “fantastic” weekend as his rooms were booked up by visiting racers.


May 19th, 2022

Head Start Palooza

Photos by Submitted

Lake Cumberland Head Start recently hosted its ‘Head Start Palooza’ at the McCreary County Park.  The May 13th event, supported by a multitude of vendors, including the McCreary County Public Library’s bookmobile, McCreary County Extension office, and KYNECT, included inflatables, face painting, giveaways, treats, and more.  There is still time to enroll 3- and 4-year-old children for the 2022-23 school year.  Applications are available at the head start office at 1941 N HWY 27, Whitley City KY 42653 or online at  For more information the number to call is: 606-376-5437


May 12th, 2022

the Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County was awarded $15,350 through the State Set-Aside process under Phase 39 and $47,437 under phase ARPA-R of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs.  The McCreary County Christian Care Center will use the funds to provide food through the Christian Care’s Food Pantry.  Pictured left to right are:  Brent Stephens, Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene, McCreary County Christian Care Center Director Sue Singleton, Cheryl Dunkin, and Kay Morrow.  Pamela Ball is not pictured.


Grandparent Essay Contest

Photo by Eugenia Jones

During their recent spring meeting, the McCreary County Retired Teacher Association (RTA) presented Miss Kourtney Musgrove with a certificate of award for being the county winner of the AARP/KRTA Grandparent Essay Contest. For the contest, the student was to write an essay telling why their grandparent or surrogate grandparent should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year. Kourtney chose to write her essay about Mrs. Wanda Monroe who she considers to be “like a grandparent”.  Kourtney is pictured with Wanda Monroe and retired teacher, Joan Hamlin-Hughes.


National Day of Prayer

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County residents recently gathered on National Day of Prayer to pray at the McCreary County Courthouse.


Yamacraw Runners will be in McCreary this weekend

Photo by Eugenia Jones

This weekend, McCreary County residents and businesses can expect to see visitors and racers from the Yamacraw Trail Runs.

By Eugenia Jones

Residents and local businesses can expect to see an influx of trail runners this weekend as the annual Yamacraw Trail Runs kick off again in downtown Stearns.  The event, headquartered out of Stearns and featuring the 50K, 20K, 10K, and Kid’s Race, begins on Saturday (May 14) with registration and a pre-race meeting on Friday evening.

The 50K race begins at the 7:30 a.m. at the Lick Creek Trailhead on Saturday morning and ends at 6:30.  The 20K race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m.  The 10K and Kid’s Race will take place at Blue Heron on Sunday morning.

During the 50K race, runners will race slightly over thirty-three miles through the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork Scenic Area.  With a modest route elevation gain of 3,809 feet, the Yamacraw 50K offers some challenging climbs and water crossings as it takes participants through breathtakingly beautiful scenery.  

Slots for the Yamacraw 50K, 20K, and 10K races are currently sold out. 

The Yamacraw Trail Runs are organized by race directors Brian and Shelley Gajus of Ultranaut Running, a small, grass-roots organization located in Knoxville, TN.


Outstanding Achievement


Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County Middle School student, Guy Kidd, was recently recognized for outstanding achievement during a meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education.  As a sixth grader, Guy has already successfully completed all of the i-ready assessments for grades 6-8.  Guy is pictured with McCreary County Middle School Principal, Susan Tucker.


McCreary Farmers Market opens for 10th season

Shoppers will find locally grown vegetables, meat, eggs, and more

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Farmers Market has opened for their tenth season.  This year’s market features even more farmers, crafters, and wares.

By Eugenia Jones

It’s easy getting to “know your farmer” while shopping at the McCreary County Farmers Market, now open through early fall on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (or until sold out.)    Along with fresh country eggs, local crafts, and other wares, shoppers can buy plenty of locally grown produce and USDA certified pork, chicken, and beef while enjoying friendly conversation with local farmers, crafters, and other shoppers.  

All produce and meat sold at the Market is grown and harvested in McCreary or an adjacent county.  The variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs offered at the Market typically increases as the local growing season transitions into summer.  In addition to fresh produce, herbs, meat, and eggs, shoppers can find locally produced crafts, soaps, candles, jellies, jams, and baked goods.

Farmers, added value vendors, and crafters are encouraged to join the McCreary County Farmer’s Market.  Vendor applications are available at the Soil Conservation and County Extension Offices.  The regular vending fee for an entire season is $40.00 with a discounted fee of $20.00 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students (high school age and under.)  There is a fee for one day set up with those fees accumulating toward a full season fee.  Each vendor who pays to set up for the season has access to one table, table cloth, and produce baskets.  Scales are available for weighting produce.  

The Market participates in the SNAP Double Dollar and Senior Voucher programs.  Vendors at the Market accept cash (small bills appreciated), and some vendors process debit/credit cards.  Shoppers are advised to arrive early to get the best selection of fresh vegetables, meats, baked goods, and other wares.  The Market is located adjacent to the McCreary County Soil Conservation Office on Cabin Creek Road in Stearns.

May 5th, 2022

700 bags of trash collected during Cumberland Falls PRIDE Spring Cleanup

Photos by Eugenia Jones

CORBIN – When you enjoy the scenic drive to Cumberland Falls, you can thank 270 volunteers who picked up 700 bags of trash during the annual PRIDE Spring Cleanup, held on April 30, in a campaign across 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, which is sponsored by Outdoor Venture Corporation and Fibrotex, USA.

The bulk of the trash was collected along Hwy. 90, but volunteers also cleaned below the falls. In addition to the bags of trash, volunteers pulled out 48 tires, a freezer, a car fender liner and a plastic wading pool.

“I commend the leadership by McCreary County and Whitley County governments in recruiting volunteers and providing EMS, law enforcement and litter pickup services to support the event, as well as McCreary County Schools for providing the school bus that took volunteers to cleanup sites along Hwy. 90,” PRIDE CEO Tammie Nazario said.

Whitley County won the coveted Volunteer Cup, which goes to the county with the most volunteers. Whitley County was represented by 147 volunteers, McCreary County had 115 volunteers, and eight volunteers were from other counties.

The two largest community groups were from McCreary County. Pleasant Ridge United Baptist Church won 1st Place with 26 volunteers, and New Liberty Church was the 1st Runner Up with 16 volunteers.

The event was a partnership among PRIDE, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, McCreary County Fiscal Court 109 Board, Whitley County Fiscal Court, US Forest Service, McCreary County Tourism, Whitley County Tourist Commission.


$3.8M in Education Funds Heading to McCreary County Schools

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 3, 2022) – House Majority lawmakers are prioritizing funding Kentucky classrooms at historic levels, with the House and Senate version of the state’s budget—HB 1—sending funding to McCreary County Schools for the local career and technical center.

The state spending plan includes funding for Local Area Vocational Education Centers (LAVEC) revitalization and renovation projects that did not receive funding from the grant program last year. Among the funded projects is McCreary County Schools, which will receive $3,888,400 for the LAVEC facility.

“Local vocational centers play a significant role in ensuring all Kentuckians have accessibility to fair and equal employment opportunities,” said Representative Ken Upchurch. “This is a wonderful opportunity for members of our community who choose to pursue a career in a skilled trade area.”

Upchurch also credited the legislature for swiftly appropriating funds to aid the school district, noting vocational schools across the state play a major role in ensuring all Kentuckians have accessibility to fair and equal employment opportunities.

Most programs are either connected to or housed in area high schools or need repairs and renovations to be a safe and accessible environment. The School Facilities Construction Commission—an independent agency created to provide an equitable distribution of state funding for the construction and technology needs of Kentucky’s 171 school districts—allocates the funds.

In addition to funding for LAVECs and other school construction projects included in the budget, the House Majority Caucus continues its commitment to educating the next generation of Kentuckians with record-high investments in per-pupil funding and workforce education and training programs.

The measure, HB 1, is the result of countless hours of deliberations and months of stakeholder input and contains provisions from both the House and Senate versions of the spending plan. Visit the Legislative Research Commission website for more information.


Collection of arbitration award for steam engine will be difficult

By Eugenia Jones

With a jury’s return of six guilty verdicts against plaintiffs John Eldon Rimmasch and Wasatch Railroad Contractors in United States District Court for the District of Wyoming in Case No. 21-cr-00138-ABJ, the McCreary County Heritage Foundation (MCHF) now faces almost unsurmountable odds in recovering any of the money owed from Rimmasch and Wasatch Railroad Contractors as a result of court-ordered arbitration in a case that was separate and unrelated to the Wyoming case.  In the McCreary County Heritage Foundation’s case, the Wyoming based Wasatch Railroad Contractors and its senior corporate officer, John Eldon Rimmasch were ordered last year to pay more than $700,000 as a result of the company’s breach of contract in failing to complete (to operational condition) the restoration of the K & T Railway No. 14 steam locomotive in Stearns, KY.  The MCHF has yet to receive any payment on the award.

Subsequently, Rimmasch and Wasatch Railroad Contractors were indicted in November 2021 by the United States of America on charges, including four counts of wire fraud and one count of knowing endangerment.  According to the indictment, Rimmasch allegedly acted within the scope of his duties as corporate officer of Wasatch to devise a scheme to defraud the Nation Park Service (NPS) and obtain money from them.  As part of the scheme, Rimmasch allegedly induced the NPS to enter into a contract with Wasatch for restoration of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Suburban Coach #1021 in accordance with requirements of a Scope of Work.  Allegedly, Rimmasch did not intend for Wasatch to abide by all the requirements of the contract.  Furthermore, Rimmasch reportedly caused and permitted work to be performed without adhering to requirements of the Scope of Work, including the removal of asbestos from the coach by Wasatch employees without proper safety measures.  Additionally, Rimmasch allegedly then caused invoices to be submitted to the NPS seeking progress payments under the pretense of partial performance, when in fact, Rimmasch allegedly knew Wasatch had not performed and was not entitled to payment.

A forfeiture notice was attached to the indictment, and according to the notice, if Rimmasch and Wasatch Railroad Contractors were indicted on wire fraud charges, they would be required to forfeit to the USA any property, real or personal, which constituted or was derived from proceeds traceable to the offenses.

Sentencing is set for July 5, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.  The Defendant, John Eldon Rimmasch, remains on bond.


Steam engine No. 14, as seen above when it was Ol’ No. 77, made regular daily runs around a 2 ½ mile track through the forest near Cumberland Falls at Tombstone Junction.  No. 77, with its distinctive whistle, chugging sound and belching smoke, was a major attraction for young and old alike when Tombstone Junction was in operation.



Photo by Eugenia Jones

Restoration work on the boiler of K & T # 14 (steam engine) was being conducted as early as 2013 (pictured above.)  The boiler still does not meet FRA guidelines.


TSA Kentucky State Conference

Photo submitted

McCreary Central High School’s Technology Student Association (TSA) chapter participated in the Kentucky state conference this week, where TSA students from around the state compete in design and technology related events.  Raider TSA is Sponsored by Mr. Casey Whitworth. This year 58 high schools participated.  Our Raiders brought home 4 awards: 1st Place Dragster Design – Connor Stephens, 2nd Place Flight Endurance – John Jones, 2nd Place Animatronics – Tony Murphy, John Jones, Connor Stephens, & Brianna Gibson, 3rd Place Architectural Design – Caden Bryant & John Combs, 4th Place Dragster – Jazmine Reagan.


Forestry Competition

Photo submitted

McCreary Central FFA recently competed in Lexington for the Forestry State 4H Competion.  Central netted several awards including the following: State Champion in Tree Measuring – Emily Watters, 2nd place in Tree Measuring- Abigail Sumner, 3rd place in Maps- Koltin Shelton, 3rd in Insects and Diseases- Koltin Shelton, 3rd place in Tree ID- Jonny Starrett, Koltin Shelton and Abigal Sumner tied for 3rd place in Compass and Pacing. Team 1 placed first in the competition and will compete in West Virginia this summer.  Team 1 members are: Connor Swartz, Devin Daugherty, Jonny Starrett, Koltin Shelton, and Abigail Sumner. Team 2 placed second in the competition.  Team 2 members are Emily Watters, Logan Creekmore, Deavon Shelton, and Devon Sexton. McCreary Central Advisor is Cameron Lee and Tracie Goodman is the 4H Agent.


Volunteer Spirit

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The United Way of South Central Kentucky has received a grant to enhance volunteer efforts.  Those wishing to volunteer or non-profits requesting volunteers can sign up through a portal on the group’s website.  Pictured left to right:  President Board Member Reci Shook, Judge Greene, United Way South Central KY Executive Director Crystal Cox, and Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels.



Photo by Eugenia Jones

For the second time in less than three months, firefighters were called to a structure fire with extensive damage at B & C Townhouse Apartments on Pigskin Road in Revelo.  McCreary County Fire Departments, EMS, Sheriff’s Department, and others responded to the scene.


April 28th, 2022

It’s Getting Closer

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Election Board inspect voting machines in preparation for the upcoming May Primary on May 17.


Flag retiring ceremony

Photo submitted Judge Greene, Thomas Corder, Sam Perry, Anthony Miller are pictured during last week’s flag retiring ceremony at the McCreary County Courhouse.

Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene signed a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.McCreary County had 101 official cases of child abuse or neglect last year.Pictured left to right are: (DCBS) Ann Grundy, Delilah Hall, Amy Heath, (Adanta) Santana Morgan, Judge Greene, (Entrust) Casey Daugherty, and (Adanta) Nicky Davis, Staci Meadows.

Shoe donation


Commander Thomas Vogan and representatives of the American Legion Legion Post 115 Kinne-Slaven and the orgaizations Ladies Auxiliary of Stearns are pictured with Missy and Bobby Strunk and Whitley City Elementary School’s Family Resource Coordinator Lacie Shelton. The Strunks and the veterans organizations donated 56 pairs of shoes to the school resource program.

Cumberland Falls PRIDE Spring Cleanup this Saturday


Book Signing

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County native and newly published author, Misty Shepherd, found lots of fans at the McCreary County Library during her recent book signing event.  Shepherd’s first published book, Find Me, has received rave reviews.

April 21st, 2022

Impressive Wins

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary Central’s Raider Theatre group scored impressive wins at the EKDAS competition held in Clay County.  Central’s Construction and ech class brought home the  Best Set Award. Jacob Miller was awarded Best Supporting Actor with 

Summer Ross achieving All-Mountain Cast.  For the first time ever, Central came home with a Mr. EKDAS honor  in McCreary Central’s Waylon Lyons! Congratulations to Raider Theatre!

April 14th, 2022

Girls Nigh Out

Photos by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County Girl Scout Troop 2321 celebrated the Girl Scout Soiree on Saturday, April 9 at the Shaolin School of Martial Arts.  The girls and guests enjoyed refreshments and memories as they reminisced about recent Girl Scout Badge projects and activities including the cemetery walk, parade, Girl Scout Way Badge project, jewelry badge project, food drives, basket weaving, Christmas festivities, self-defense, ceramics, father-daughter dinner, Pigeon Forge rewards trip, and more. Individual badges, patches, and cookie sale trophies were presented to troop members, and Scout Kourtney Musgrove was “bridged” to being a Cadette.   The girls also recognized adults who have acted as role models and leaders to them.  All of the troop members participated in the candle lighting ceremony.  Troop 2321 members are:  Adalynn Hubbard, Addison Sumler, Danielle Buis, Katelyn Musgrove, Kourtney Musgrove, and Xadriana Taylor.

Election Update

By Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Election Board met on Tuesday (April 12, 2022) to continue preparing for the upcoming May 17 Primary Election.  Points of interest gleaned from the meeting include the following:

  • Post cards will be sent out to all households informing voters of the locations of the six county-wide voting centers. McCreary County voters from all precincts will be able to vote at any of the county-wide centers. The polls will be located at Pine Knot Elementary Building 2, McCreary County Middle School, Whitley City Fire Department, Wolf Creek Fire Department, North McCreary Fire Department, Eagle Community Center.
  • Early excused absentee voting (voter out of town, has dr. appointment, etc.) will be on May 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 11 from 8:30 until 4:30. Unexcused early voting (for anybody) will be from 8:30 until 4:30 on May 12, 13, and from 8:00 until 4:00 on Saturday, May 14. Absentee and early voting will take place at the McCreary County Courthouse.  Three separate voting machines will be used for excused absentee voting, unexcused early absentee voting, and mail-in voting.
  • The election board anticipates conducting their inspection of the voting machines on April 20, 2022.
  • Training for poll workers is scheduled for April 26, 2022.

Clean Up Pride

Photo by Eugenia Jones

As is tradition, District 3 Magistrate Bobby Strunk is pictured working alongside crews from the County Road Department and Litter Abatement/Solid Waste as they unloaded unwanted items from  McCreary County vehicles during the County’s  free solid waste Bulk Item Drop Off Days.  Several others from the Judge Executive’s Office and County Government also assisted throughout the two day event.

April 7th, 2022

A Dream Come True

County native, Misty Shepherd, publishes first book, Find Me

(Shepherd’s book, Find Me, can be purchased through Amazon.  Her book signing, which truly is a dream come true for Shepherd, will be at the McCreary County Public Library on April 21, 2022 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and her book will be available for purchase during the signing.)

By Eugenia Jones

Misty Shepherd’s love of books and writing blossomed at a very young age.  Now, the McCreary County native is excited to be returning soon to the place where that love began-at the McCreary County Library-to host a book signing for her first published book, a suspense thriller entitled Find Me.

“My grandmother worked at the McCreary County Library during most of my childhood, so at a very early age, I developed a hunger for books and fell in love with the art of storytelling,” Shepherd recalled.  “As a McCreary County native, I found there was magic within the county lines that many people never see.  Even as a little girl, I was inspired to write my first story sitting next to my grandfather as he fished on the river near Alum Ford.”

Today, that tow-headed, little girl who wrote as her grandfather fished on the river is all grown up with a family of her own and enjoying rave reviews for the authorship of her very first published book. Shepherd’s Find Me, which was released in paperback and Kindle on Amazon in March 2022, quickly found itself  on Amazon’s Top Bestselling Suspense list during the same month it was released and is currently ranked five stars on both Amazon and Goodreads.

“I’m over the moon!” Shepherd exclaimed excitedly in regard to the book’s success.  “I enjoy both romance and suspense so I combined the two as a thriller in Find Me.  The story primarily takes place in Kentucky.  I’ve read a lot of books describing the crashing waves on an East Coast shoreline or the bustling sounds of a city; however, it was very important to me, that my first shared book be set in the gorgeous foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  I needed to do this.  I come from and live in a gorgeous place with wonderful people.  So many people never give us or our home a chance.  Kentucky deserves to be in fairy tales, so I put the bluegrass state in one of mine.”

Although Shepherd originally followed in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a nurse, she eventually left nursing due to a back injury.

“I always knew I was supposed to be a writer,” Shepherd reflected.  “It was my lifelong dream.  After I left nursing, I found myself writing in between spending time with my husband, Patrick, and our four children.  However, this time, I didn’t let the story be forgotten like so many others I have written throughout the years.  This one, I wanted to share with the world.”

Shepherd is constantly writing-even when she doesn’t have pen or pencil in hand.

“It’s as if a large part of my mind and heart is always partially in a fantasy world, allowing my imagination to run wild,” Shepherd explained.  “I’m writing all of the time.  When I’m in the car, I speak into my Notes app and record ideas. If my notebook isn’t handy, I jot tons of thoughts onto the back of old mail, envelopes, or receipts.  Then, when the house is quiet after my husband and son leave for work and school, or after everyone goes to sleep for the night, I write for as long as I can.”

She grinned before continuing.

“Both of those require a lot of sweet cream with a little coffee!”

In writing her book, Shepherd wanted to give readers the opportunity to experience a wide range of emotions-from laughter to sadness to anticipation.  Spanning not only one time period, Shepherd’s work guides readers from the past to present in the world of two sisters who are very close to each other.

“One of the most important things for me a child, raised in Stearns, KY, was family and friendship,” Shepherd reminisced.  “As a child, I didn’t realize the significance of just how blessed I was to have siblings to run barefoot with on a late summer evening as the sun was setting or to have a childhood best friend whose grandmother lived across the street from us.  That friend and I learned the true meaning of loyalty, trust, and love in the short distance between her grandmother’s front door and mine.  My book has many bits and pieces of those unforgettable moments that are imprinted on my soul forever.”

Shepherd says in a perfect world, she would write every day.  However with their children mostly grown, she and Patrick are enjoying opportunities to travel.  Currently residing in Pulaski County, the couple love boating on Lake Cumberland and adore spending time their new granddaughter, Willow.   Despite her busy schedule, Shepherd manages to still find time for her writing.

“If the quiet finds me, I’ll be writing, and hopefully, people will want to read my work,“ Shepherd remarked with a smile.

She offers practical advice to budding writers.

“A writer can feel it in their bones,” Shepherd remarked.  “Words, sentences, and paragraphs are like magical spells that mesmerize you.  You feel everything, all the time, and you remember everything.  Everything.  If that describes you, write and never stop.  Share your writing with others if you want or don’t.  But write.  When you are ready to be vulnerable and brave enough to let others’ eyes read your collection of imaginary greatness, do the work and make it happen.  Sometimes, I’m working on two computers, using my phone, and my husband’s iPad at the same time.  Writing is the easy part.  When you get to the hard stuff, don’t quit.  Don’t stop until you run your hand over the cover of your book.  Then you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, and keep on writing.  You’ll be so happy that you did!”

Shepherd extends her thanks to all who have supported her.

“I never expected so much support and kindness from so many different people,” she said.  “To everyone who has offered words of encouragement, shared or posted on social media about Find Me, or bought a copy of my book, thank you!”

Vanover graduates from Police Academy

By Eugenia Jones

McCreary County’s Angie Vanover recently graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, KY and has now fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a police officer.  The Department of Criminal Justice Training program consists of 800 hours of extensive training including firearms, vehicle operations, defense tactics, patrol procedures, criminal law, traffic and DUI, criminal investigations, physical training, and tactical responses to crisis situations.

Vanover began her training in June of 2021; however, she developed shin splints during the training.

“It was very tough for me physically, especially the running,” Vanover noted.  “The doctors thought I had fractured my shin, but thankfully, it was not fractured.  However, I did have a stress reduction injury that could have led to something more serious.”

Although the injury forced her to put her training on hold for a time, Vanover bounced back and returned to the Academy on January 16, 2022 to complete her training.  She accomplished her goal and graduated on March 10, 2022.

Vanover has been interested in law enforcement for her entire life.

“I was raised to respect the rules and laws and to treat people how I want to be treated,” she commented.  “I want to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

Vanover’s family, especially her children, are very proud of her accomplishments.

“My time in Richmond was not always easy for them,” she said with a laugh.  “I could be difficult to live with at times.  I want my children to know to never give up on their dreams.  You can accomplish anything if you want it and are willing to work for it.  My family has supported and pushed me every step of the way.”

At some point, Vanover hopes to return to McCreary County to protect her home community and has even given much thought about someday seeking the office of Sheriff.

Vanover is currently employed with the Williamsburg Police Department where she has worked since October of 2020.  She is responsible for patrolling the University of the Cumberlands and assisting with calls in the city of Williamsburg.

Mccreary County Has Been Awarded Federal Funds Under

The Emergency Food And Shelter National Board Progam

McCreary County has been awarded $15,350.00 through the State Set-Aside process under Phase 39 and has also been awarded $47,437.00 under phase ARPA-R of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by a National board that is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, and National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army, United Jewish Communities and The United Way of America.  The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

The Local Board made up of leaders of local government, local leaders of churches and charitable organizations will determine how the funds that are awarded to McCreary County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area.

Under the terms of the grant from National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) have an accounting system, 3) practice nondiscrimination, 4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.  Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

McCreary County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with The McCreary Christian Center, Inc. in Whitley City  participating.  This agency was responsible for providing an estimated 422,240 meals.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Sue Singleton at the McCreary Christian Center  Monday thru Thursday 8am to 2pm (606) 376-8742 for an application.  The deadline for applications to be received is April 25, 2022.

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary County’s Waste Tire Collection event was a success as hundreds of waste tires were dropped off for proper disposal.  The free event gave residents ample opportunity to properly dispose of waste tires.

March 31, 2022

McCreary County proclaims: April is PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month

Judge-Executive Jimmie W. Greene II has proclaimed April as PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month in McCreary County. Throughout April, citizens are encouraged to volunteer to pick up litter across the community.

The proclamation encourages McCreary County residents to participate in the PRIDE Spring Cleanup. It said that the area’s natural beauty is a treasure for residents and tourists, and it benefits the health, enjoyment and economic prosperity of all. The PRIDE Spring Cleanup is an opportunity to be good stewards of this important resource.

McCreary County volunteers are encouraged to participate in the annual Spring Cleanup at Cumberland Falls on Saturday, April 30. Volunteers will pick up litter along Hwy. 90 and other roads near the falls. More details are available at


To volunteer, please contact McCreary County PRIDE Coordinator Nathan Nevels at 606-376-2413 or

The annual PRIDE Spring Cleanup is hosted by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education, as well as economic development through tourism, in 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. The 2022 PRIDE Spring Cleanup sponsors are Outdoor Venture Corporation and Fibrotex, USA.

“I want to thank Judge Greene for his leadership in promoting April as Spring Cleanup Month,” said Tammie Nazario, PRIDE President/Chief Executive Officer.

“April will be the perfect time to get outdoors with friends and family, working together to make sure your favorite spot looks its best,” Nazario said. “Please consider picking up litter near your home, school, church or business.”

To learn more about the Spring Cleanup, please visit

March 24th, 2022

Photos by Eugenia Jones

McCreary Center (Somerset Community College) Director Jill Lawson updated members of the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce about several recent advancements made at the local off-campus center during the Chamber’s March luncheon meeting.

4th Grade Student Art Contest

Fourth grade classrooms and students are invited to participate in an art contest at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area to earn their Every Kid Outdoors Pass.

As part of the commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them, the Every Kid Outdoors initiative allows fourth graders nationwide to go to and obtain a pass for free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year.

Submit entries to the park by April 8, 2022, by mail or drop off at park headquarters at the address at the top of this news release.  Every student entering the contest will receive an Every Kid Outdoors Pass.  All artwork entered will be displayed on the park’s social media pages and at Bandy Creek Visitor Center during the 22nd annual Spring Planting and Music Festival on Saturday, April 30, 2022, where visitors may vote for “People’s Choice Awards.”

For more information about the art contest, visit:, or call the park at 423-569-9778.

March 17th, 2022

Joe and Nancy (Gilreath) Stephens Family c. 1915

Photo submitted

Joseph (Joe) Miles Stephens and his wife, Nancy Belle (Gilreath) Stephens owned and operated the Stephens Mill for many years. Joe was a large landowner and highly respected member of the Pine Knot community. First Row L-R: Madge Lee (Stephens) Kidd, Nancy Belle (Gilreath) Stephens-mother, Norman Joe Stephens, Joe Stephens-father, Mary Marie (Stephens) Webb Back Row L-R: Ann (Stephens) Buck, Della M. (Stephens) Wilson, Lonnie Stephens Another daughter, Hazel Alice (Stephens) Chumbley was born in 1917.

Republican Meeting

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Republican Party recently held the first quarterly meeting of 2022.  Republican candidates running for office this year who spoke at the meeting are:  (left to right) Gary Clark, Jr., Craig Jones, Clayton Worley, Bill Hale, Cathy Prewitt, Tommy Trammell, Seth Reeves, and Cody Stephens.

March 10th, 2022

SCC’s McCreary Center will implement WKU Elementary Education transfer program

By Eugenia Jones

McCreary Countians will soon have even more educational and career training opportunities available to them locally as Somerset Community College (SCC) through its University Center of Southern Kentucky begins a new partnership with Western Kentucky University (WKU) to bring a Bachelors in Elementary Education Program transfer cohort program to SCC’s main campuses and four off campus centers including the McCreary Center in Whitley City.  The transfer cohort with WKU’s Elementary Education program will begin in Fall 2022.  The program will be a 2 plus 2 program pathway with students earning their Associate degree programs in Elementary Education at SCC, then completing their final two years through WKU through the University Center of Southern Kentucky at the SCC campus.  Students will earn their Bachelors degrees from WKU through this program.  Some classes will be online, but there will be classeds offered at all SCC campuses and Centers, including the McCreary Center.

This latest offering will be funded through the United States Department of Educations Rural Postsecondry and Economic Development (RPED) grant for $1,070,000 grant awarded to SCC over a three year period of time.

The three-year, nearly 1.1-million-dollar supplementary grant fund the “Rural Outreach:  Opportunities toward Success” project will implement a secondary to post-secondary transition support system.  The grant will allow SCC to hire four new positions that will be located and engaged in local communities.  These individuals will champion the project and encourage students and their families to take an active interest in their future educational and career endeavors.

McCreary Center Director Jill Lawson observed SCC has always enjoyed support from McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene and noted Deputy Judge Executive Nathan H. Nevels II provided a letter of support for the grant.  McCreary County Public Library Director Grady Wilson was also instrumental in supporting the grant.

“SCC is committed to the communities in McCreary County and is dedicating more support through the addition of another SCC staff member,” Lawson shared.  “The new full-time position will be based at the McCreary Center to serve the area.”

The new staff member will reach out in collaboration with Lawson to brainstorm partnerships and how to create sustainable career pathways in McCreary County.  Additionally, the new staff member will engage the local community through planned activities in the county and be a presence as requested at local events and meetings.  The individual will be on-hand to help anyone interested in learning more about going to college, how to get there, and will be a resource for students taking courses through the Elementary Education program.

Lawson stated the program will have some emergency funds available to help McCreary students pursuing education through SCC.  A Student Fellow program will also be avaailbable to McCreary County students pursuing the WKU Elementary Education transfer program.  The point of contact for the Fellow program will be Sandra Standish.  Interested students can contact her via email at

The cohort program is for two years and will offer the following to students:

  • $1,500 per year scholarship.
  • $100 per month stipend (August-May) for living expenses or essentials)
  • Laptop (to keep)
  • Internet hot spot if needed
  • $100 toward testing fees and $100 toward professional development
  • Focused support and training along with a dedicated faculty and staff specific to the group.

“The success of every student is the most important thing to us at SCC,” Dr. Clint Hayes, senior vice president of Academic Affairs emphasized.  “This grant will help us to remove student barriers and transform the lives of many members of the communities that we serve.”

McCreary Center Director Lawson reiterated by noting the new program supports the mission of SCC and the University Center of Southern Kentucky by providing high quality, affordable, and accessible education and training to create student success, economic growth, and enhanced quality of life.

In addition to the upcoming opportunities for students seeking a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, SCC has recently introduced several successful programs at the McCreary Center.

The LPN to ADN Nursing program offered at the McCreary Center began January 2022 and currently has fourteen students in the cohort.  The next cohort will begin in Fall 2023, so LPN students planning to apply to the RN program will have time to complete any required pre-requisite classes before the next class is admitted.

The SCC-McCreary Center will also offer a NAA 100-Nursing Assistant Skills Class beginning March 17, 2022 on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  If you are a current SCC student, contact your advisor to enroll, call 606-451-6841, or call the SCC-McCreary Center at 606-376-7505 for more information.

Dual credit students at McCreary Central High School can enroll in Welding at SCC-McCreary Center.  For the spring 2022 sememster, students are currently taking blueprint reading for welders as they work towards completing furter certifications in Welding.

The Summer/Fall 2022 class schedules became available last week on Tuesday, March 1.  Current students interested in enrolling in Summer of Fall classes can contact their SCC advisor to enroll or new students can contact the McCreary Center at 606-376-7505 to schedule an appointment with an advisor at the McCreary Center.

February 24th, 2022

United Way South Central Kentucky Receives $10,000 Grant from United Way Worldwide’s  COVID-19

Community Response and Recovery Fund

United Way of South Central Kentucky announced a $10,000 grant award from United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

This grant was awarded to 175 United Ways across the United States and is intended to increase internal capacity and crisis response preparedness, including critical areas such as business continuity planning, IT infrastructure, data security and digital communication platforms.

To date, United Way of South Central Kentucky has provided ongoing support to the community in response to the impact of COVID-19 and will use the grant funds to improve technology and internal operations so that staff and volunteers can continue to serve from home should the need arise.

“United Way of South Central Kentucky is grateful to have the support needed to increase its capacity to better respond to community needs around COVID-19 and other emergencies and disasters,” said Crystal Cox, Executive Director for United Way of South Central Kentucky. “It’s not often that organizations receive grant funding that focuses on vital back office tools such as IT improvements, software upgrades and digital communication platforms and this will allow us to be more agile and responsive to the needs of our agencies, donors, volunteers and the communities we serve.”

United Way Worldwide established the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund in 2020 to meet the unprecedented human services needs that appeared simultaneously in communities around the world because of the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. To date, $57.3 million has been raised and distributed to more than 650 Local United Ways to serve immediate needs in their communities, impacting more than 20 million lives.

To learn more about United Way of South Central Kentucky or to give, advocate or volunteer, please visit: or Facebook: UWSCKY.

Photo submitted

Board President, Reci Shook and Crystal discussing grant

February 17th, 2022

Photo by Voice Staff

The King and Queen of Hearts were chosen during Horizon Adult Health Care’s Valentine party on Monday. Brian was chosen as The King of Hearts and Kristina was chosen as the Queen of Hearts. Runners up were Sheila and Dakota. All the participants enjoyed Valentine themed food, decorations and activities.

February 10th, 2022

Love is in the air

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching (on February 14 for those of you who need a little reminder!), we asked our readers to share the most romantic gesture they’ve ever received from a significant other.  Their responses are romantic, loving, and definitely creative.  We hope you enjoy the responses.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

♠ “He surprised me with a spa package from the Woodhouse!”

Andrea Camille Wright

♠ “My husband Mack visited me at work on a snowy February day in 2015.  I left work several hours later to find this beautiful heart outside in the snow.  I was so touched.  This is truly one of my sweetest memories.”

– Ila C. Freeman

♠ “I remember a few days before Valentine’s Day in 2012, my husband came home with a set of beautiful diamond earrings for me-but that wasn’t all he had bought.  My grandpa Ken was really sick (he passed away in March of that year), and he couldn’t get out to get my grandma anything for Valentine’s Day. Grandpa had never missed getting her something.  My husband bought Grandma a beautiful ring that had diamonds in it when he bought my earrings.  He got exactly the size she wore without knowing.  My husband told me to take it and slip and give it to my and grandpa and tell him that was his to give to my grandma for Valentine’s Day.  My grandpa did exactly that!  My grandma didn’t find out until about five years ago.  I thought this was such a good Valentines story and a good example of love.  To see the smile on my grandpa’s face when I gave it to him and told him what my husband said and then see the happiness on my grandma’s face was priceless!”

Tonya Turner 


♠ “Gave me three kids!”

Terry Baker

♠ “Left!”

– Brandon David Singleton

♠ “She stood by my side through it all.”

James Tapley

♠ “Robert would stop the tractor and get off to pick me little violet purple flowers in the field he was plowing or bush hogging.”

Wanda Duncan

♠ “Romance is viewed differently by everyone.  It may be flowers and candy for one, dining at your favorite restaurant, or gift certificates to relaxation.  My husband is definitely not a flowers and candy fella.  He is, however, a great provider, best friend, and he is nice to look at!  My favorite Valentine’s was a homemade card from him and my babies with a locket full of charms representing our family-two hearts for us, two little boy charms, and two little girl charms.”

Keysha Hasty

♠ “My husband has made me a cup of coffee as soon as I wake up.  He has done that for years.  I love him so much.  Just that simple thing is so special to me.”

Marie Hale

♠ “My husband fixed me a cake once and even decorated it with roses.  Every year except for the last couple, he’s taken me to a dinner at Preston’s and a movie.”

– Joyce Cannada

♠ “When my 50th birthday was approaching, my husband asked me how I would like to celebrate.  I told him to let me think on that for a bit.  After giving it thought, I told him I had never really had the chance to be a Princess or have anything fancy.  I grew up on Dobbs Mountain and I was used to farm life-pulling weeds and picking beans with my weather worn hands.  My big day arrived and Gary drove us to Gatlinburg-one of my favorite places.  But that wasn’t all!  He had arranged for me to have a princess party complete with ball gown, tuxedo, stretch limousine, and everything.  Even a hot air balloon ride!  My ball gown he chose was my favorite color of Tiffany blue, and he even ordered my cake to have fifty flowers that matched the color of my gown!!  We spent the most magical weekend ever.  Never did I feel so pretty, so special, and so loved!!  I was a princess for a day!”

 – Teresa Lynn Kidd

♠ “He picked me!”

 – Cheryl Lynn Dunkin

♠ “Took me on safari (photo) to Kenya for my 50th birthday. True romance is feeling protected when there is only an electric wire between you and roaring lions and raucous hyenas in the middle of the night. It was the most amazing trip we have ever taken.”

– Trish Taylor

New Opportunity School for Women welcomes two new board members

The New Opportunity School for Women, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of women in Appalachia, welcomes Angie Weaver and Yoko Nogami to its Board of Directors.

NOSW works to remove barriers to education and employment for under-resourced Appalachian women. Residential and online programs focus on self-esteem and wellness, career and education, and arts, culture and community. All programs are free, and no prior education is required.

“Angie and Yoko both bring a wealth of experience and insights that will benefit our work with women,” said Sister Robbie Pentecost, executive director.

Weaver, who serves as a victims’ advocate with the City of Williamsburg, has 23 years of experience within the criminal justice system working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Nogami brings more than 30 years of experience as an artist and educator. She is an independent consultant on arts and healing, artistic community development, arts education advocacy for marginalized populations, and advocacy for traditional arts and music preservation. She recently served as the artistic director at the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman.

Weaver and Nogami join the board this month and will serve three-year terms.

To learn more about the New Opportunity School for Women, visit

Soil sample early this year

Soil tests are the only way to ensure your ground has the nutrients it needs for the upcoming growing season, and with the current high input costs, it could help you save money. We are encouraging producers to submit these samples to us as early as possible this year to ensure your results are back before you need to make your first spring application. The University of Kentucky is down a soil testing lab due to the Dec.10 tornado that destroyed the Research and Education Center in Princeton. UK’s Lexington Soil Testing Laboratory will be analyzing all samples until further notice. As March is expected to be extremely busy, earlier submission of samples to the lab is highly encouraged.

Depending on what you plan to produce, you will need to take different kinds of soil samples. Production agriculture fields, lawns, gardens, fruit trees and ornamentals all have unique fertility and soil pH requirements. Collect at least 10 soil cores in small areas. Larger fields may need at least 20 soil cores. Soil samples will also have different depths depending on the tillage system you use. Samples from tilled areas, gardens, ornamentals and fruit trees, should be taken at least 6 to 8 inches deep. Collect soil samples about 4 inches deep in no-till fields and home lawns.

Your local extension agent can help you collect the proper samples and may even have sample bags and soil probes that you can use. Upon submission, soil samples are sent to UK for testing and your agent can help you interpret the results. Good news for McCreary County residents- soil testing is FREE through McCreary County Extension! For more information, contact our office at 606-376-2524 or pay us a visit at 141 College St., Whitley City, KY 42653.

Source: Frank Sikora, UK director of laboratories and soils program

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

February 3rd, 2022

New Opportunity School for Women announces first residential session since pandemic

BEREA – The New Opportunity School for Women, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of Appalachian women, will offer its first residential session since before the pandemic this summer in Berea.

“The New Opportunity School turns 35 this summer, and we’re excited to observe this milestone with our first two-week residential session since 2020,” said Sister Robbie Pentecost, executive director.

The New Opportunity School works to remove barriers to education and employment for under-resourced women. Twice this year, in June and October, NOSW will bring 12 women to Berea for two weeks of classes and enrichment on self-esteem and wellness, career and education, and arts, culture and community. The summer session will be June 18 through July 2.

The organization also offers three-day programs and online workshops throughout the year. All programs are free, and no prior education is required. Originally, NOSW focused specifically on middle-aged women, but now it also serves younger women and women in recovery.

“As our region continues to be impacted by an ailing economy and an opioid epidemic, women are often cast in the role of caregiver for families and whole communities, even as they themselves don’t get the care they need,” said Pentecost. “Our program is here to help women who are ready to rebuild their self-esteem and regain agency in their lives.”

To learn more or apply for the residential session, visit Or contact program coordinator Jennifer Walden at

NOSW was founded in 1987 by Jane Stephenson, wife of then Berea College president John Stephenson. Though the formats have evolved, the original mission to provide women with tools to build a better life for themselves and their families has continued.

Lccaa Bids Farewell To Retiring Executive

Director And Welcomes New Executive Director

Alicia K. Polston, CPA, is retiring as Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, Inc.’s Executive Director after almost eight years in the position.  Ms. Polston began her career with LCCAA in 1997 serving as Finance Director for 13 years before transitioning to the Head Start Director’s position in 2009.  Ms. Polston was selected to step into the Executive Director role in 2014 upon the retirement of LCCAA’s inaugural Executive Director, Bruce B. Brown.

Ms. Polston stated that she will greatly miss LCCAA, and the relationships built over the years with co-workers and Board members, community partners in the Lake Cumberland area, and colleagues in the Commonwealth and Southeastern United States.  She is looking forward to exploring new career opportunities and spending more time with her family.  LCCAA Board Chair, Cumberland County Judge/Executive John A. Phelps, Jr., stated that the Board of Directors greatly appreciates Ms. Polston’s service and dedication to the agency.

Ms. Polston will be handing the agency reigns over to Mr. Nicholas J. Shearer on January 1, 2022.

Mr. Shearer brings over 17 years’ banking experience and seven years’ community development and grant administration experience gained during his tenure as Mayor of Jamestown to LCCAA. Mr. Shearer stated that he is excited to have the opportunity to work with such a dynamic, multi-faceted agency.

Judge Phelps stated that the Board of Directors is looking forward to working with Mr. Shearer and providing support during his tenure as Executive Director.

Fire Crews Prepare for 2022 Prescribed Fire Season

Oneida, Tennessee: During the spring months of 2022, fire crews will conduct a series of prescribed fires within Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Prescribed fire, as defined in the approved Fire Management Plan, will be located within the boundaries of the park. Locations to be burned are as follows:

  • Approximately 800 acres along Darrow Ridge Road is scheduled to be burned, on the west side to Proctor Ridge Horse Trail on the east side down to the creek.
  • There are approximately 858 acres to be burned along Divide Road, from Fork Ridge to Terry Cemetery Road and along the wagon trail.
  • In Kentucky, there are approximately 120 acres along the Bear Creek Road (Newtie King area) that will be burned.

As priority, fire crews are now working on prepping these units to burn safely and effectively. The expectation is and will be to initiate the prescribed fire as soon as possible. Local communities can expect minimal smoke and visibility impacts. During the burns, some park roads and trails may be closed temporarily for visitor safety.

Implementation of burn operations is dependent upon a variety of conditions. Prescribed fires are conducted within specific parameters including temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture, and wind speed to name a few. One of the benefits of the treatment is to reduce the risk of wildland fire.

Fire is an essential, natural process, having shaped the landscape for thousands of years, releasing, and recycling nutrients tied up in vegetation, duff, and organic soil layers, improving the overall health of plants and animals. During the planning of these prescribed burn units, areas of historical, cultural, and ecological importance are protected.

Please call 423-569-9778 for the latest information on the current status of any burn or associated closure.

January 27th, 2022

Getting ready for spring

By Eugenia Jones

Earlier this winter and prior to tackling the job of clearing county roads during recent winter storms, the McCreary County Road Department was busy working to make spring and summertime travel to Rock Creek and Bell Farm a bit safer by installing a culvert at Bell Farm on Rock Creek Road.

The culvert arrived in multiple pieces and was assembled on site by the company that built it.  The County Road crew did preparation and follow up work prior to and after installation of the culvert. Troxell’s Tree Service was responsible for crane work.

Prior to installation of the new culvert, the prior culvert would actually flex as vehicles drove over it when travelling on the Rock Creek Road.  The new culvert installation was funded by the Bridging Kentucky state grant program which funds bridge repairs and purchases of extremely large culverts.  The Bridging Kentucky program also funded the culvert recently installed on the Holloway Cemetery Road.  Both the Rock Creek and Holloway Cemetery Road culverts are classified as being long lasting 100 year culverts.

January 20th, 2022

Museum Memories

Excerpt from the

 McCreary County 

Record May 12, 2942

Dr. W.E. McWilliams, formerly of Brodhead, KY, has pitched his tent with us for the practice of his profession and will be associated with Dr. R. M. Smith and Dr. James Blackerby. Dr. McWilliams comes highly recommended as a gentleman and a physician.

He was born and reared in Pulaski County and, after completing common school and high school, he attended three years of college at Georgetown after which he entered the medical department of the University of Louisville where he graduated with honor in 1911. He then took post graduate work in the Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

In 1927, when war blew its shrill bugle, he was one of the first of his profession to answer the clarion call of his nation, leaving a large and lucrative practice to volunteer his services under the Stars and Stripes. He was commissioned first lieutenant in the Medical Corps and served for eight years as designated examiner for the government when the war was over.

He has had considerable experience in mining rescue work, having served as camp physician for two years at the Creech Coal Cam

Eighth Annual Photo Contest

ONEIDA, Tennessee:  The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area would like experience your vision of the park.  Use the park’s spectacular views in any season, historic sites, recreational opportunities, and diversity of life at Big South Fork and document your park as you see it.  Images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, historic areas, weather, or people interacting with nature at the park.  All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area has set the deadline for submitting entries for the park’s seventh annual photography contest at 4:30 PM (ET) on July 31, 2022.

Photographs may be submitted into one of seven categories:

  1. Dark Skies – expansive and dramatic views of the night sky within the boundaries of the park.
  2. Flora & Fauna – animals in their natural habitat, including close-ups of invertebrates, or plants in their natural habitat, including close-ups of flowers, fungi, lichen, and algae.
  3. Human History – photographs that illustrate historic or culturally significant structures.
  4. Kentucky Landscapes – expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Kentucky park boundaries.
  5. Recreation – photographs of people participating in legal recreational activities.
  6. Tennessee Landscapes – expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Tennessee park boundaries.
  7. Youth – entries in any category by photographers under 18 years of age.

Entries will be judged on technical excellence, originality, creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit. Judges’ decisions are final.  Selected images will be printed for an exhibition at Bandy Creek Visitor Center that will open on Friday, September 2, 2022.

“The beautiful photos entered into this annual event are used to showcase the beauty of the park for online viewers all over the world,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas.  Images are frequently displayed on the official park website, social media pages, park-produced publications, and more.

For more information about the annual park photo contest, and how to participate, click here:

For more information about Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, call (423) 569-9778, or visit online at

The Kentucky Wildlands wins awards for promoting southern and eastern Kentucky

SOMERSET – The spotlight is shining on southern and eastern Kentucky as a tourist destination, thanks to The Kentucky Wildlands regional marketing initiative. The Kentucky Wildlands website, social media campaigns and print advertising are designed to draw attention to the region every day, and they recently attracted praise from leaders in marketing and tourism.

The Kentucky Tourism Industry Association presented both a Gold and Distinct Traverse Award for Excellence in Tourism Marketing to The Kentucky Wildlands social media debut, as well as a Silver Traverse Award to the first-ever print ad for The Kentucky Wildlands.

The Kentucky Wildlands tourism website ( received a Gold MarCom Award from the international Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

“It is humbling and validating to know that industry leaders have put their seal of approval on The Kentucky Wildlands campaign,” said Tammie Nazario, who directs the campaign by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc. “We are grateful to the local tourism leaders across the region who have partnered to make this vision a reality.”

“For our small staff at The Kentucky Wildlands, this region is our home, and it is a labor of love to sing its praises to potential tourists, so we are so proud to know this marketing initiative is successful,” she added. “We were able to accept the KTIA awards in person at a ceremony in Louisville, and tears were flowing for sure! It was so special to see our region take centerstage at a statewide tourism event.”

The KTIA Traverse Award competition was judged by a panel of out-of-state travel and tourism industry experts. Award criteria include concept, creativity, results and impact. Over 110 entries were submitted from across Kentucky.

According to KTIA president and CEO Hank Phillips, “This year’s Traverse Awards are especially significant since they were not presented last year because of the cancellation of our conference due to the coronavirus. Therefore, the awards span a pre-pandemic period as well as the period during which the tourism industry was being devastated by the pandemic economic crisis. Whether before or during the pandemic, the entries reflected the enormous creativity and marketing savvy that has propelled tourism to being a premier driver of the Kentucky economy and the source of jobs and enhanced quality of life for Kentucky families.”

The MarCom Awards honor excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals. MarCom is one of the largest, most-respected creative competitions in the world. The Kentucky Wildlands website was among more than 6,000 entries from the United States, Canada and 39 other countries.

SOMERSET – The spotlight is shining on southern and eastern Kentucky as a tourist destination, thanks to The Kentucky Wildlands regional marketing initiative. The Kentucky Wildlands website, social media campaigns and print advertising are designed to draw attention to the region every day, and they recently attracted praise from leaders in marketing and tourism.

The Kentucky Tourism Industry Association presented both a Gold and Distinct Traverse Award for Excellence in Tourism Marketing to The Kentucky Wildlands social media debut, as well as a Silver Traverse Award to the first-ever print ad for The Kentucky Wildlands.

The Kentucky Wildlands tourism website ( received a Gold MarCom Award from the international Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

“It is humbling and validating to know that industry leaders have put their seal of approval on The Kentucky Wildlands campaign,” said Tammie Nazario, who directs the campaign by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc. “We are grateful to the local tourism leaders across the region who have partnered to make this vision a reality.”

“For our small staff at The Kentucky Wildlands, this region is our home, and it is a labor of love to sing its praises to potential tourists, so we are so proud to know this marketing initiative is successful,” she added. “We were able to accept the KTIA awards in person at a ceremony in Louisville, and tears were flowing for sure! It was so special to see our region take centerstage at a statewide tourism event.”

The KTIA Traverse Award competition was judged by a panel of out-of-state travel and tourism industry experts. Award criteria include concept, creativity, results and impact. Over 110 entries were submitted from across Kentucky.

According to KTIA president and CEO Hank Phillips, “This year’s Traverse Awards are especially significant since they were not presented last year because of the cancellation of our conference due to the coronavirus. Therefore, the awards span a pre-pandemic period as well as the period during which the tourism industry was being devastated by the pandemic economic crisis. Whether before or during the pandemic, the entries reflected the enormous creativity and marketing savvy that has propelled tourism to being a premier driver of the Kentucky economy and the source of jobs and enhanced quality of life for Kentucky families.”

The MarCom Awards honor excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals. MarCom is one of the largest, most-respected creative competitions in the world. The Kentucky Wildlands website was among more than 6,000 entries from the United States, Canada and 39 other countries.

January 13th, 2022

“I’d Ruther Go to Druther’s”

Ruth Vanover is pictured with her best friend and husband, Dr. Gilbert VanOver.  The VanOvers married in 1954.  Ruth recently passed at the age of 84

By Eugenia Jones

(In noticing the passing of Ruth VanOver, we looked to a 2019 issue of The Voice to reminisce about a conversation we had with Ruth in 2019.  We thought our readers might be interested in reading a few excerpts from that January 2019 article.  Although the article focused primarily on Mrs. VanOver’s entrepreneurial achievements, we realize Ruth’s love for her family and husband, Doctor Gilbert VanOver, was her greatest achievement.)   

McCreary Countians of a certain age can remember dining at Druther’s Restaurant in Whitley City in the 1980s. Whether enjoying a Friday night fish dinner, chowing down on a Royal Burger with a side order of onion rings, or gathering inside to catch up on local gossip with friends while enjoying a scrumptious country breakfast complete with biscuits made from scratch, Druther’s Restaurant in McCreary County was definitely the place to be. Equally as important as the food in making the Whitley City Druther’s an inviting place to eat, the friendly and dedicated staff, particularly manager Ruth King VanOver of Stearns, made sure the restaurant’s customers felt welcome while they enjoyed full meals or just “sat a spell” with a good cup of coffee. VanOver, with her winning ways, would go on to climb the corporate ladder, overseeing a total of sixty-nine restaurants while accomplishing other achievements that included being the first woman regional director of Druther’s, becoming a Vice President of Druther’s International, and being recognized in Who’s Who in Restaurant Management.

VanOver’s introduction to food service began at a relatively early age. As a teenager, Ruth married the love of her life, Gilbert VanOver, and the couple traveled ‘round the world as he pursued his military career. Food service was a very accessible career path for a military wife, and as Ruth began to work with food service, she grew to love the field.

Surprisingly, it was when the couple returned to the United States that Ruth initially had the most difficulty excelling in her career.  As a woman in the United States., Ruth faced politics and discrimination.

Determined to succeed, VanOver decided to break out of her comfort zone in full food service by stepping into the world of fast food for the first time at the age of 42.  That decision led to VanOver’s rapid climb on the corporate ladder.

Despite being retired, VanOver remained passionate about what she views as a lack of local opportunities for women to excel in their careers. If Ruth had her “druthers,” McCreary County women would have a more significant role in local decision making and business.

A full obituary for Ruth Vanover will be in next week’s edition of The Voice.

January 6th, 2022

Banquet of Blessings

Photos by Eugenia Jones

McCreary Countians enjoyed a holiday feast on Christmas Eve during the 2021 McCreary County Banquet of Blessings.

December 23rd, 2021

Cram the cruizer

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Kroger in Whitley City, Kentucky State Police, and the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office collected approximately 1,100 pounds of donated food items in the annual Cram the Cruiser food drive.  McCreary County Christian Care Food Pantry workers and volunteers are pictured as they received the food from McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters and Kentucky State Police Trooper Matt Ridner.

Shop with a cop

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Kentucky and Tennessee law enforcement officers joined together to make Christmas a little brighter for lots of boys and girls during the 2021 Shop with a Cop event at Walmart in Oneida, Tennessee.  Children enjoyed Christmas shopping sprees with law enforcement officers and staff from the Kentucky State Police, Sheriff Randy Waters and the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Law Enforcement with the U.S. Forest Service Stearns Ranger District.

American Legion delivered goody bags

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The American Legion delivered goody bags to the clients at Horizon Adult Health Care.  In total, the American Legion delivered 400 candy/fruit bags to nursing homes and health facilities throughout the county.

Stearns Santa Workshop

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Children enjoyed pictures with Santa, gifts, and making crafts during the Santa Workshop at Stearns.

The American Legion gifted approximately 250 McCreary County children with toys for Christmas.

Photos submitted

The American Legion gifted approximately 250 McCreary County children with toys for Christmas.  They also provided more than $3,000 worth of toys for children in western Kentucky who are victims of the recent tornadoes.  The group donated $3,000 to the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund and $1,000 to support service dogs for veterans.  The American Legion accomplishes their community projects through fund-raising and donations.

Santa and Mrs. Claus

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Santa and Mrs. Claus recently stopped by the McCreary County Tourism Office to visit with all the good boys and girls who wanted gifts and photos.

The Peacemakers distributed goody bags to the 41 residents and 14 staff members at Cumberland Manor.  Each bag was filled with a 4×4 throw, thick pair of socks, candy, and a Christmas card.  The McCreary County Peacemakers are a patriot group of men and women dedicated to community service, etc.

December 16th, 2021

Shop with a cop

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Troopers from Kentucky State Police Post 11 spent an exciting evening shopping with children from four counties within their region, including twenty children from McCreary County.  Officers Keegan Bray, Shayler Jones, Harrison Wells, Jason Browning, and Scottie Pennington were among the officers who were at the Somerset Walmart to give the participating children gift cards to use during their very own Christmas shopping spree.  Prior to shopping, the children enjoyed sharing pizza and other treats with the officers.

Lighting Up Stearns

By Eugenia Jones

This year, corporate sponsors pitched in to help light up the town of Stearns during the Polar Express season.  Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC), Fibrotex USA Inc., Highland Telephone Cooperative, and United Cumberland Bank (UCB) each donated one fourth of the approximate $25,000 cost.  This year, the Celebration Lighting company from Corbin was hired to do the lighting of the town.  UCB President Michael Laxton said recently retired UCB President Jim Johnson, prior to his retirement, made the decision for UCB to donate toward the lighting.

“We are a community bank and always want to help our community,” Laxton commented.  “It’s important to be involved.

Dustin Lay, marketing and sales for Highland Telephone Cooperative, agreed with Laxton.

“We want to give back to our community,” Lay reiterated.

OVC’s JC Egnew, who lives in Stearns and is vice-chair of the McCreary County Heritage Board, first stepped forward to donate from OVC and then approached the three additional corporate sponsors to help with the project.

“I am pleased our corporate sponsors came together to light up the town of Stearns during Polar Express,” Egnew stated.

Thus far into the season, the Stearns Polar Express has sold over 11,000 excursion tickets meaning that McCreary Countians and visitors from all across the nation have been able to enjoy the festive lights upon their arrival in Stearns.  This year’s Polar Express season continues through December 23.

Representatives of corporate sponsors for the lighting are pictured left to right:  Eyal Malleron-CEO Fibrotex USA, Inc.;  Michael Laxton-United Cumberland Bank President; Adi Blum-owner Fibrotex Technologies Limited and Fibrotex USA Inc.; JC Egnew- Chairman/CEO Outdoor Venture Corporation;  Dustin Lay-Highland Telephone Cooperative Marketing and Sales; Mark Patterson-Highland Telephone Cooperative CEO.

Deer harvest


SKRECC Seeking Rate Adjustment

Submitted by SKRECC

The mission of South Kentucky RECC remains “for people, not profit.” The co-op board of directors, management and employees take great pride in this mission and strive to do everything within their power to provide member-owners with reliable, low-cost power.

South Kentucky RECC is committed to be as efficient as possible; however, the co-op’s current rates are based upon costs from more than ten years ago. Continued inflationary pressures on costs related to materials and technology needs have driven the need for a rate adjustment. Based on these needs, South Kentucky RECC has begun the process of applying for a rate adjustment from the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).

SKRECC has not increased its rates in 10 years, and CEO Ken Simmons says it is not a decision that is made lightly. According to Simmons, roughly 71% of the co-op’s total cost is to purchase power from its power supplier, East Kentucky Power. Simmons says the remaining 29% of the co-op’s total cost is what remains for operations.

“We do all we can to operate as efficiently as possible and delay the need for an increase as long as we can. This has been an ongoing challenge while having minimal growth and continuous price increases on materials used by the co-op to keep power flowing to our members. Compared to other goods and services, South Kentucky RECC has been able to keep its rates affordable.”

South Kentucky RECC has filed an application with the PSC requesting an overall revenue adjustment of 7.7%.  As proposed, the increase would take place over a two-year period in an effort to lessen the full effect of the adjustment on South Kentucky RECC members. The first year, as proposed, would increase the average residential account by about $4.74 per month. The second year, an average residential account would increase approximately $4.75 per month.

“Filing for a rate increase is an extensive and very demanding process that takes time,” Simmons explained. “We have to compile a great deal of information—both financial and member usage; do a cost-of-service study that looks at every type of electric account we have [such as residential, commercial, industrial] and what our exact costs are for servicing them; and determine what our rates need to be on each type of sale.”

Our rates must generate enough revenue to meet the requirements of our primary lending agency, Rural Utilities Service (RUS, formerly known as REA). Co-ops like South Kentucky RECC are required to generate enough revenue to service the debt requirements and to adequately operate the electric system.

If the Kentucky Public Service Commission approves the adjustment, a 30-day notification period will follow before the new rates go into effect. Members can therefore expect to see the adjustment, if approved, on their bills sometime mid-2022.

South Kentucky RECC offers an array of programs that can help members manage their usage and save money. These include energy-efficiency programs, such as Button-Up, free home energy audits, Virtual Energy Assessment (an online energy audit), building energy-efficient homes and energy-saving tips.

The co-op also offers a levelized billing option, which will assist members when budgeting for their electricity costs, and PrePay, which gives members control regarding when and how often they pay for electricity.

Visit the co-op website,, for more information.

Simmons says while members need to always be on the lookout for ways to use electricity more efficiently, the co-op will also continue looking for every possible way to reduce operating costs in an effort to keep rates as low as possible.

“It will always be our goal to keep rates as low as possible while maintaining reliable electric service to our members—that’s what we’re about.”


December 9th, 2021

Deer Harvest

Overall, McCreary  County Hunters seem to have had successful hunts thus far. We will be sharing some of their harvest photos this month with our readers. Remember, modrn gun season has now ended. Muzzleloader season is December 11 – 19, and bow season ends January 17.


Happy birthday, Cecil!

Photo submitted

Cecil Walker of Parkers Lake celebrated his 90th birthday last weekend.  As Cecil’s t-shirt proclaims, “It took Cecil 90 years to look this good!”

Daniel Boone National Forest

Extends Trail Feedback

The Daniel Boone National Forest trail planning team has extended online public feedback on the Forest trails system through Wednesday, December 15, 2021. The team, composed of employees from the Daniel Boone National Forest and specialists from Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Kay-Linn Enterprises, is conducting a holistic analysis of the Forest’s sprawling trail system that will result in a guiding document that provides a vision for future management of the Forest’s trail system.

The team conducted on-the-ground assessment of more than 600-miles of trails, including popular local trails like the Natural Arch Loop and the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, and is extending its public feedback period through a virtual public engagement hub. From the hub, Forest trail users can drop pins on a virtual map to identify problem areas or spots for potential improvement. They can also fill out a short survey that shares more general information about what they want from their trail system.

Learn more about the Daniel Boone National Forest trail planning project or share your experiences on the hub at

Learn more about the Daniel Boone National Forest on the Forest’s website, Facebook.

Airport TakeDown

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The Air Attack 2 event at the McCreary County Airport drew lots of speeding vehicles and spectators.  Speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour were clocked as hot rodders sped down the runway.  The event was sponsored by McCreary County Airport and Backroads of Appalachia.

Whitley City Agent Receives Top Honors from Big I Kentucky

Louisville, KY – Big I Kentucky (BIG I KY), the state’s leading insurance trade association, awarded the 2021 Customer Service Representative of the Year Award to Lisa West of Whitley City. She received the award during the association’s 125th Anniversary Convention & Trade Show on November 11, 2021 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY.

The Customer Service Representative of the Year Award is given to an individual working in a Big I Kentucky member agency as a customer service representative, who typifies the ideals of service.

West is a Personal Lines Customer Service Representative with Crabtree Wilson Insurance Agency in Whitley City. During her tenure, she has earned her Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR).

“Everyone has what they think is an exceptional person in their office but Lisa is truly exceptional,” said Buddy Wilson, President of Crabtree Wilson Insurance Agency. “She not only does her job at processing policies, waiting on clients, taking payments and the normal CSR functions…but she does it with great empathy for her clients. She goes above and beyond in trying to make sure her clients are taken care of both in having the right coverages as well as assisting with claims, even after its turned over to the adjuster.”

Big I Kentucky, formerly the Independent Insurance Agents of Kentucky (IIAK), is the largest insurance trade association in the state, with more than 300 insurance agencies, employing more than 3,000 people as its members. Independent agents offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. These agents provide all lines of personal and business insurance, including – property, casualty, life and health, and employee benefit plans and retirement products. The organization was founded in 1896.

Eligible Kentuckians can apply for affordable water

subsidies funded from federal sources

FRANKFORT – As part of an ongoing effort to address the financial impact of COVID-19, Gov. Andy Beshear has announced that Kentucky will receive over $18 million in federal aid to help households that have fallen behind on paying their water bills and face disconnection of service or have already been disconnected.

The funding – $18,684,749 – will come from the federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (L1HWAP). Kentuckians can apply starting today, Dec. 1.

“Every Kentuckian deserves access to fresh drinking water,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are pleased to announce this funding that will provide Kentuckians in need some relief by helping them continue to access critical water services.”

The funding will allow for benefit payments made directly to water vendors, covering delinquent water bills, past-due charges, fees and taxes for drinking and waste water services. EMAIL (

LlHWAP is a federal program funded through the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander thanked legislators for recognizing the financial impact of the COVIO-1 9 pandemic on low-income households.

“If you are a Kentucky resident who qualifies for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LlHEAP, you may be considered for LlHWAP help as well,” Friedlander said. “You can simply apply for LlHEAP and LlHWAP at the same time – all within one application – and provide your most recent bill.”

Friedlander emphasized that LlHWAP is a temporary emergency water/wastewater program intended to help low-income households and families during the COVIO-19 pandemic.

“This benefit for eligible households who have been disconnected or are on disconnect notice from water/wastewater services or arrearages for water/wastewater services is funded through September 2023 or until funds run out,” he said.

The program will be administered through Kentucky’s Community Action Agencies that serve all 120 counties. Kentuckians will be able to apply by contacting their local Community Action Agency. To locate the nearest agency, visit the resources area of (https:/ language=en_US) or key in your zip code here (https:/

Learn more about LlHWAP here: https:/ (h lips :/

December 2nd, 2021

Overall, McCreary County hunters seem to have had successful hunts thus far. We will be sharing some of their harvest photos this month with our readers.  Remember, modern gun season has now ended.  Muzzleloader season is December 11-19, and bow season ends January 17.

Super Welders

Photo from Facebook SCC-McCreary Center

Five Somerset Community College/McCreary Central High School dual credit welders earned their 2G Certification in Shielded Metal Art Welding (SMAW).  McCreary County’s super welders pictured above are:  Cole Andrew Tucker, Noah Gibson, Caleb Murphy, Nicklaus Ridner, and Charles Smith.

First Annual Big South Fork Knife Show is This Weekend

By Eugenia Jones

The first annual Big South Fork Knife Show sponsored by Preacher Man’s Knives and Antiques and Tony’s Knives & Collectibles (Bronston) is scheduled for this weekend with vendors setting up today (Thursday).  The show begins tomorrow (Friday) and continues through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free to the general public.

William Kilby (Preacher Man) is excited about hosting a knife show in McCreary County.

“I’ve been fooling with knives ever since I was kid,” Kilby said with a laugh.  “I’ve been carrying a pocket knife ever since I was old enough to know I had a pocket!  When I was a teen-ager I was constantly trading knives-sometimes even with my teachers!”

Kilby has his own “Preacher Man Knives and Antiques” Facebook Group Page where, in addition to regular posts and comments, he also conducts intriguing live Facebook auctions with participants bidding on knives.

Kilby noted recent knife shows held in Pigeon Forge and Cave City.

“Knife shows are big events,” Kilby said.  “Knife shows can bring people into our county.”

Kilby hopes the Big South Fork Knife Show will be a reoccurring event each December in McCreary County.  Already, the show has purchasers and vendors coming to McCreary County from fourteen states.  States that will be represented at the event include Florida, Illinois, Missouri, West Virginia, and Alabama.  One participant is driving eight hours to attend.

All proceeds (vending fees and concession profits) go to Grace and Truth Tabernacle where Kilby is pastor.



Photos from Tony’s Knives and Collectibles Facebook


November 25th, 2021

Strunk elected Chairman

Photo submitted

James O. “Hap” Strunk, owner of Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home was unanimously elected Chairman of the Board by members of the Kentucky State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors during their October meeting.  Strunk is a graduate of Mid-America College of Funeral Service and is certified by the National Conference of Funeral Examining Boards.  Hap and his wife Tracey, have owned Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home, since 1987.  Hap began his career in 1979, making him the most experienced, longest serving funeral director and embalmer in our community.

Photo submitted

Road Department Supervisor Tony Kidd noted during this month’s Fiscal Court meeting that three paving crews have been in McCreary County working on roads.  Magistrate Randy Maxwell is pictured above with Miller and Sons Paving as they work on roads in District 4.

November 18th, 2021

McCreary Central High School JROTC conducted this year’s

Veterans Day Ceremony

Photo by Eugenia Jones

McCreary Central High School JROTC conducted this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony at the McCreary County Courthouse.

SK RECC Provides Continuing Education

South Kentucky RECC employees who may be working on or near busy roadways/highways, recently attended required Work Zone/Flagger Training, presented by Charlie Lewis, Safety Instructor for Kentucky Electric Cooperatives (KEC).

Lewis said he believes that flagging in a work zone is one of the most dangerous jobs, and he cautioned SKRECC employees to follow all safety rules when flagging. He stressed the importance of using proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as bright, fluorescent, light-reflecting vests. Lewis told employees to leave plenty of space between traffic and workers, as well as themselves; to make sure that work zone signs are placed properly – not too close, nor too far from the work; and that cones are properly used to block the work zone.

In the photo, KEC Safety Instructors Charlie Lewis, left, and Jeremy Swift, Center, work with Construction Crew Foreman Jon Slavey on the proper distance to place cones to create a work zone.

Continuing education is considered a very important aspect of the job at South Kentucky RECC, where the goal is to get everyone home safely to their families at the end of the day.

Five tips for saving energy and money

LG&E and KU offer tips to help customers prepare for the winter season

With national factors driving higher heating costs and cooler temperatures setting in, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are reminding customers of simple tips to help manage energy use and energy bills. Weather is a major factor in energy use, with heating your home accounting for approximately 42% of your energy bill, according to

To keep the warm air in and cold air out this winter, here are five easy steps that can help make a difference:

Maintain your system – Have a certified professional give your furnace a tune-up to make sure it’s operating efficiently and ready to perform at its best. Don’t forget to change your filter each month or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Set your thermostat – If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it lower when no one is home to maximize energy savings. Setting the thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting can help, and even just one degree can make a difference.

Close up gaps – Take time now to caulk, spray foam or use weather-stripping to seal leaks and gaps around windows, doors and duct work.

Use your ceiling fans – Set ceiling fans to run clockwise on low speed in the winter to circulate heat more efficiently. This creates an updraft that helps move warm air near the ceiling back out and around the room.

Don’t block the heat – Open curtains and blinds on sun-facing windows to allow the sun’s rays to help naturally heat your home. Make sure registers are not blocked by drapes or furniture so warm air can easily circulate.

“During the cold weather months, it’s especially important that our customers know we are here to help,” said Vice President-Customer Services Eileen Saunders. “From energy-saving tips, our budget payment plans and access to community assistance programs, we want to empower our customers with every tool and resource possible.”

LG&E and KU encourage customers to contact them right away if in need of assistance managing their monthly bill. The utilities offer convenient self-service options online, with the mobile app, or through their automated phone system – access is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – for scheduling payment arrangements or signing up for services such as a budget payment plan.

Financial assistance may be available to customers to help them catch up on their monthly bill with the help of community assistance programs. Resources and available programs can be found at

McCreary county 3rd district Constable Cody Stephens

Photo submitted McCreary county 3rd district Constable Cody Stephens recently made a donation of new clothing items to the Christian Care Center to assist individuals within the community.  Stephens is pictured with Christian Care Center Director Sue Singleton and volunteers from the Center.

Daniel Boone National Forest Requests Public Feedback on Trails

The Daniel Boone National Forest has partnered with Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Kay-Linn Enterprises to conduct a holistic analysis of the Forest’s sprawling trail system. After months of on-the-ground assessment of more than 600-miles of trails, the Daniel Boone National Forest trail planning team is now seeking public input through a virtual public engagement hub. This input is vital to creating a guiding document that provides a vision for future management of the Forest’s trail system.

“We’ve known for a while that we need an overall master plan for the Forest trail system,” said Matt Able, Daniel Boone National Forest Trails and Dispersed Recreation Program Manager. “Our trails are busier than ever and the growth of private and local trail initiatives across the region presents new opportunities to support trail users all over eastern Kentucky.”

The Daniel Boone National Forest trail planning team has spent months hiking, biking, and riding the entire Forest system to document current conditions and assess the issues and opportunities present in the field. They have also met with trails staff and decision makers from each Ranger District to better understand the unique issues present in each area of the Forest. This painstaking documentation of the current system will form the basis of the public engagement process and the starting line of planning for the future.

“What we need now is to hear from all the folks who use our trails. Whether you join us at a meeting or simply respond to the survey, we want to hear your take on the Forest trails in your area,” said Able. “After all, our trails aren’t just a Forest product. They are a resource for a diverse group of users and are a part of a growing system of trail and transportation networks spread across eastern Kentucky.”

Get involved with the Daniel Boone National Forest trail planning project by visiting the virtual public engagement hub. From the virtual hub, Forest trail users can provide general feedback through an online survey, comment directly on an interactive map, and RSVP to Ranger District specific meetings. These resources will remain available through November 2022.

For more information on the Daniel Boone National Forest, visit their website at, Facebook page at, or Twitter at

November 11th, 2021

Stolen ATV recovered

An ATV reported stolen from Monticello, KY was recovered by Sheriff Randy Waters and Deputy Stuart Bryant on Monday. The ATV was located in the Skull Bone Tower area of the county. The ATV was returned to the owner the same day it was recovered.

Harmon Releases Audit of County Clerk’s Fee Account

State Auditor Mike Harmon today released the audit of the 2020 financial statement of McCreary County Clerk Eric Haynes. State law requires the auditor to conduct annual audits of county clerks and sheriffs.

Auditing standards require the auditor’s letter to communicate whether the financial statement presents fairly the receipts, disbursements and excess fees of the McCreary County Clerk in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The clerk’s financial statement did not follow this format. However, the clerk’s financial statement is fairly presented in conformity with the regulatory basis of accounting, which is an acceptable reporting methodology. This reporting methodology is followed for all 120 clerk audits in Kentucky.

The auditor noted no instances of noncompliance.  The auditor also noted no matters involving internal control over financial reporting and its operation that were considered to be material weaknesses.

The county clerk’s responsibilities include collecting certain taxes, issuing licenses, maintaining county records and providing other services.  The clerk’s office is funded through statutory fees collected in conjunction with these duties.

The audit report can be found on the auditor’s website.

Something for everyone

Lots of special events planned in McCreary County over the next few weeks.   

By Eugenia Jones

Lots of special events, including the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m., will take place in McCreary County over the next few weeks.  This year, the parade theme is “Under the Stars,” and line-up for the parade will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Lord’s Gym.  For safety reasons, organizers caution parade entrants to not arrive for line-up prior to 5:00 p.m as line-up will be drop off only-no parking.  The parade will include entries from the following categories:  pageant winner, classic vehicle, organization, business, school, elected official, sport, and church.  There is no entry fee for the parade; however, an application must be submitted to McCreary County Tourism prior to the event.  Parade entrants are asked to not include Santa Claus as part of their parade entries since Santa will make a grand entry at the end of the parade.  The annual Christmas Tree Lighting on the Courthouse lawn will follow the parade, and parade winners will be announced after the tree lighting ceremony.  This is a rain or shine event and will not be rescheduled due to weather.

In the days leading up to the parade, several other interesting McCreary County events are planned.

The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lord’s Café will be served on Saturday, November 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00.  Everyone is invited.  There will be dine-in meals this year with carry-out primarily for shut-ins or with donation.  This year will be the 11th year for the Crossroads Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The WinterFest Beauty pageant will also be on November 20 at 1:00 at McCreary Central High School.

On November 27, Air Attack #2 will be brought to you by Backroads of Appalachia, McCreary County Airport Authority and McCreary County Tourism. All proceeds will go to United Way and McCreary County Airport Authority for updates to the facility. Entry fee is $25 to enter the attack and all participants must sign a waiver at Registration.  Admission is $10 for Spectators with children 12 and under free.  The Air Attack is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

McCreary County’s State Senator Max Wise (and possible gubernatorial candidate) will address the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce at their regular monthly lunch meeting at 12:00 noon on November 18 (Thursday.)  The meeting will be held at the Heritage Hall in Stearns, and lunch will be catered by Knife of the Party Catering.  Lunch will be $8.00.  Everyone is invited, and the meal is optional.

Finally, the first annual Big South Fork Knife Show (BSFKS) will be held at the McCreary Community Center Building at the County Park on December 3 and 4.  The BSFKS is sponsored by Preacher Man’s Knives & Antiques and Tony’s Knives & Collectibles.  Admission is free to the public.  Knife vendors have a fee of $50.00 for a 6 ft. table or $65.00 for an 8 ft. table.  Set up 2-7 p.m. on December 2 or 9:00 a.m. each morning.  For more information, contact or call 606-354-3501,


Answers to common agriculture tax exempt questions

Tracie Goodman, Agent


Source: Jerry Pierce, coordinator for the Kentucky Farm Business Management program

In extension, we have received a lot questions about the agriculture sales tax exemption law since it was passed by the 2020 Kentucky legislature.

Legislators passed this law to help ensure only those actively farming receive the 6% sales tax exemption on qualifying purchases. It also creates an online database that gives businesses a one-stop-shop to verify that a farmer is sales tax exempt.

Exempt items are not changing from past years, but what is changing is that you will have to apply for a sales tax exemption number from the Kentucky Department of Revenue before Jan. 1. You can get this application, Form 51A800, online at the Kentucky Department of Revenue’s website ( Just type 51A800 into the search bar and it will be the first option to pull up. The application is short. You will need your driver’s license number and proof that you farm using one of the following documents:

  • IRS Schedule F, Profit or Loss from Farming
  • IRS Form 4835, Farm Rental Income and Expenses
  • Farm Service Agency number
  • Other documentation that establishes your agricultural activity

It is important to note that the Department of Revenue prefers you submit the IRS Schedule F, if possible. If approved, you will receive a letter from the Department of Revenue containing your agriculture exemption number.

Sales tax exempt items include many materials used to produce crops and livestock for human consumption. It is important to note the words “human consumption.” This is the reason why horses and horse-related items and lawn care tools like zero-turn mowers are not tax exempt.

You will need to have the agricultural sales tax exemption number and the Farm Exemption Certificate, Form 51A158, for farm and machinery purchases. For the construction of farm facilities, use your tax exemption number along with the Certificate of Exemption for Materials, Machinery and Equipment, Form 51A159.

Beginning Jan. 1, you should provide a completed exemption certificate containing your agriculture exemption number to each of your agricultural suppliers.

After that, you can use the agriculture exemption number as evidence of an exempt purchase for as long as the number is valid. The agricultural sales tax exemption is valid for three years after the day it was issued. After that date, you will have to reapply for the exemption.

For more information about agricultural sales tax exemptions, contact the McCreary County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Banjos and Bears

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Ranger Jordan Hughett informed and entertained those attending the Banjos and Bears presentation at the Blue Heron Campground.

Hospice palliative care

Photo submitted

Sherry Sabine and Julie Coffey are pictured with Judge Greene as he signs a proclamation declaring November as Hospice/Palliative Care Month.


Photo by Eugenia Jones Those attending the Edsel Blevins Tribute at the Heritage Hall in Stearns enjoyed sharing memories about Edsel and listening to live music-including many of Edsel’s favorites.  Blevins was a beloved McCreary County banjo picker who passed last year.

November 4th, 2021

In Memory of Melvin “Red” Trammell

By Eugenia Jones

Hills and Hollers Ministry formally dedicated their New Life Health and Hope Center as part of The Melvin “Red” Trammell Ministry Center in memory of Melvin “Red” Trammell.  Trammell is remembered not only for operating his service station across from the former Pine Knot Middle/High School for years but also as pastor of Round Top Church and as an avid supporter of the Pine Knot Community.  The New Life Health and Hope Center now occupies Melvin’s former service station.

With the late Melvin Trammell’s wife and son present during the ceremony, Pastor Jim Cmolik remarked, “Melvin’s service station will still serve…just with a different kind of service.”

The New Life Health and Hope Center provides support and resources to new mothers, foster mothers, single mothers, and grandparents who are caring for a grandchild.

Pictured left to right during the ceremony are:  Rita Cmolik, Scarlet Jasper, Kathy Rouse, Ingrid Trammell, Daniel Trammell, Joe Ward, Tim Wilson, Jim Cmolik.


November is American Diabetes Month

Photo submitted

November is American Diabetes Month. Pictured is Judge Executive Jimmie Greene signing the proclamation for November Diabetes Awareness Month in McCreary County and Vicky Albertson, RN Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist. Recent data shows McCreary County with 17% of adults with Type 2 diabetes. Learn more about how to prevent diabetes and how to manage diabetes at the free diabetes education classes offered by the McCreary County Health Department. For more information please call 606-376-2412 Ext 1158.

Dump Day

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Last week’s two free dump days netted approximately forty dump trucks full of “throw away items.”  Several county workers, including the Recycling Crew, Magistrates Bill Hale and Bobby Strunk, Road Department, and Judge’s Office, busied themselves with unloading various trucks, cars, and trailers.

Banjos & Bears Program at Blue Heron Campground on November 6

Oneida, Tennessee:  Join a Ranger on Saturday, November 6 at 4 pm ET at the Blue Heron Campground Circle for a fun and enjoyable Banjos & Bears program.   Music is an important part of Appalachian culture. It has been used for many years to tell stories, record history, and entertain.  Bring a lawn chair and join Ranger Jordan Hughett as he plays the banjo and sings about some of the special animals that live in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

This program coincides with McCreary County, Kentucky’s celebration of Edsel Blevins Day in Stearns, Kentucky that honors the memory of Edsel Blevins who for years sang and played banjo twice a day for passengers of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, performing both at the Stearns depot in the morning, and at Blue Heron mining camp in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

For more information, please contact Big South Fork NRRA at 423-569-9778.

October 28th, 2021

Fall colors in McCreary County, Kentucky

With so much sickness, death, and sadness happening around our county and the world, one of our readers asked to share a few words (and photos) about McCreary County’s beauty and the wisdom we can “glean from these hills.”

The mountains are now beginning to display their “fall” fashions.  The forest is dressed out in its finest firs.  The apple orchards are a lovely mixture of green, yellow, and red.

The multi-colored leaves are beginning to form patterns with evergreens along the mountainsides.  Take it from one who now lives in these hills.  This is the time of year to visit McCreary County.

Autumn in the mountains-there are few lovelier sights anywhere in all of God’s creation.  This panorama of color from the hands of The Master Painter will grow even lovelier as October links days with November.

In these days when so much is being said about what is wrong with the world, it might do us all good to escape to Nature’s colorful cyclorama.  “We” exchange the constant reminders of poverty for a few miles of peace.  “We” swap the sharp barbs of political pro and con for nature at its best.  And perhaps, in the midst of our prophet of doom, we gain insight into the meaning of Genesis and its proclamation that, following creation, God “Saw that is was very good.”

There is an irony evident in The Mountains in autumn.  Families come to these hills to marvel at the beauty of that which is passing from the scene-nature, in part born in the spring, now returns to the earth which produced it.  When we see what is happening, many of us make a special effort to see it and say that it is lovely!  For we know that it will be reborn in the spring.

Yet when human existence comes to the autumn of its life, we see no beauty.  “We” mourn over something that is passing away, failing to realize that the autumn of this life ends in an everlasting spring to those living in faith.  It is just of life’s lessons we might glean from these hills.

-Written in the fall of 1964 by Peggy Murphy Wilson after the death of her sister Mary Lenis Murphy Hill and submitted to The Voice in October 2021

Park Improvement

PhotoS by Eugenia Jones
Bill Taylor and Bobby Strunk recently went to work erecting new interpretative signs at the McCreary County Park. The signs were approved by the Park Board and funded in part by a RECC grant obtained by Strunk. Both Taylor and Strunk are members of the Park Board.

Photo by Eugenia Jones James Tapley of Stearns raised a bumper crop of muscadines this year. Tapley has six vines at his house and plans to get several more started next year. Tapley began raising muscadines 20-25 years ago with just one wild vine he dug up and transplanted. He now has a few wild muscadine vines and a few tame. Tapley and his wife usually make jelly from their harvest and often give muscadines to their neighbors. Tapley said one of his vines broke his record this year by bearing so many muscadines.

ROTC pick up

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Members of McCreary Central’s JROTC showed their pride in McCreary County by picking up litter along a stretch of HWY 27.

Photo submitted

McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters, Daugherty’s Drug employee Kasey Stephens, and Project Unite’s Roger Owens along with Tom Smith (not pictured) “took back” unwanted medications from individuals who brought their medicines out for disposal.  Ten pounds of medicine were collected for disposal during the event at Daugherty’s Drugs.  The event was sponsored by Project Unite.

October 21st, 2021

Red Cross Women of McCreary County 1917-1930

In 1917 the United States was simultaneously dealing with WWI and the Spanish influenza outbreak when Kentucky organized a chapter of the American Red Cross. Women throughout the U.S. were knitting socks, making bandages, and raising money and public awareness. The courageous women of McCreary County stepped up to serve as needed, including volunteering with the American Red Cross.

In 1929 newspapers in McCreary County and across the state reported a devastating flood that swept through parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. Several of the Stearns Company’s mining communities were affected with Worley losing thirty-four structures, including homes. McCreary County women with the Red Cross provided aid and comfort to those affected by this flood as well as distributing seed packets and Irish potatoes to citizens in 1931 after a severe drought that left families without sufficient food.

The Stearns Company office building was the site of many Red Cross meetings and in 1931 the McCreary County Red Cross Chapter was in the American Legion Office above Store #1. Thanks to the leadership and commitment of Mrs. H. C. Trent, membership in the McCreary County Red Cross Chapter reached 250 in 1931. In 1943, during WWII, the number of women in the McCreary County Red Cross reached 350.

McCreary County women have always done what was necessary in times of need. To all those who volunteer now, and in the past, we offer our deepest appreciation.

Marisa Dawn Strunk

Deborah Kidd-Trammell

Photo submitted Front Row L-R: Stella McDonald, Osa (Stephens) Alexander, Beulah (Brammel) Monroe Strunk, Jessie (Alexander) Marcum, and Della McDonald. Back Row L-R: Mae (Pennycuff) Stephens, Nell Slaven, Margaret Bowerman, Ida (Stephens) Stanley, and “Bert” Roy.

Chamber awards

There’s No Place Like Home

Young entrepreneur enjoys sharing McCreary County’s heritage.

By Eugenia Jones

Victoria Smith absolutely loves her “hometown” of McCreary County.

“I love that we all know each other,” Smith said passionately.  “I love putting my feet in the creek, I love driving down gravel roads, I love hiking, I love the woods, and I love our history.  What I don’t love is the lack of businesses here.”

Earlier this year, Smith put her intense love of McCreary County to work by establishing her own business focusing on designing and selling items for tourists as well as items McCreary County locals find appealing.

“I have designed items our locals can connect with because the items are all influenced by places in McCreary County and things we grew up with,” Smith said.  “We never had much, but when we had something here it was amazing.”

Smith had more than one objective in mind when she established her business, The Moonbow Market.

“I wanted to create a business benefiting my family and also impacting McCreary County,” Smith shared.  “I thought how important it is to continue to educate people who live in McCreary County about its history, heritage, and unique location within the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.  I wanted to create a business that would inspire pride in the local residents of McCreary County as well as help with tourism.”

The Moonbow Market is currently an on-line business, but Smith has also purchased and is restoring a 1961 Shasta Airflyte to use as a mobile store.

“With my business, I hope to spread awareness of all the great adventures you can find in McCreary County,” Smith said enthusiastically.  “With the Shasta Airflyte, I will be able to travel to local vendor events and help promote county treasures such as Natural Arch, Yahoo Falls, Buzzard Rock, and many more!”

In establishing The Moonbow Market, Smith was inspired by her past experience working at the Cumberland Falls State Park gift shop.

“Cumberland Falls is home to one of the few remaining moonbows in the world,” Smith noted.  “Because of my love for the gift shop, I wanted my store to have gift shop and souvenir type items.  I currently have t-shirts, magnets, stickers, walking stick medallions, keychains, and a few other small items.  Most of my items are designed by me and are influenced by places in McCreary County.  Some items are inspired by our county’s past treasures such as Skateland in Whitley City.”

Smith admits she is a “history nerd.”  Her love of history, including that of McCreary County, is reflected in the retro aesthetics of her business.  From a designer’s perspective, Smith is influenced by the 1950’s and ‘60’s era.  All of the color palettes, fonts, and drawing style of items designed by Smith have a mid-century influence.

Smith has always been creative and driven by art.

“I grew up always being called “the artist,” she remarked with a laugh.

In high school, Smith was heavily influenced by tattooing and the art of designing tattoos.  As a high school student, she entered a Doodle for Google contest with the theme, “when I grow up, I want to be….” Smith designed an image of a hand holding a tattoo gun inking the Google logo.

Smith’s entry ended up as one of the two chosen by Google as Kentucky’s winning entries.

“That was a real honor and one of my proudest accomplishments as a young artist,” Smith recalled.

A whole new world opened up when Smith discovered water activated body paint while shopping.

“It looked like fun, so I bought it to try out at home,” Victoria recalled.  “That night I created a Frankenstein and thought how cool it was!”

Smith learned different cosmetic techniques by watching YouTube videos and eventually going to Cosmetology school.

“During that time, I was fortunate to work on sets for commercials, photo shoots with different photographers in Kentucky, and even on a music video.”

Smith’s cosmetic career took a back burner when she and her husband, Codey, started their family.

“I was OK with ending my makeup career because I wanted to be a stay at home mom and raise our babies,” Smith explained.  “They were my only priority.  My run at the makeup world was great, and I look forward to telling my kids about the neat things I experienced while I had the job as a makeup artist.”

Smith began pursuing a new passion after her husband gifted her with an iPad.  The gift led her into the world of graphic design where Smith was able to work at home and establish a business designing and selling personal digital artwork from Etsy, create a steady sell market from Facebook and Instagram platforms, and create business logos and marketing materials.

“That was really inspiring for me as a stay at home mom,” Smith declared.  “I was able to contribute income while staying with our children.”

Although, Smith enjoyed creating unique, individualized artwork for her customers, it was time consuming.  She eventually decided that establishing a store with items designed specifically by her made much more sense and would allow her to grow even more as a digital artist.

Smith’s latest venture paired her up with another young McCreary County native, Heidi Greer.  The two collaborated on the children’s book, “Hey There, Little Dreamer,” written by Greer and illustrated by Smith.

“When Heidi reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in illustrating her book, I was happy to accept her offer,” Smith commented.  “No matter where you are from, I think it is so important to never stop dreaming and never think a dream is too big.  To me, that is what the book really teaches.”

Victoria is currently working on two additional books-one which is her very own.

“My own book is an adventure journal, and I’ll be so excited to share it with everyone when it is finished,” Smith remarked.  “Heidi and I also plan to work together again in the future.”

Of all her projects, Smith’s favorite is designing and illustrating her stickers.

“I come up with concepts for my stickers based off of locations within McCreary County, sayings and phrases from Southern Appalachia, and anything else I think people will enjoy.

Smith explained.  “After I think of a design concept, I start drawing my sticker in the Procreate app.  After finalizing the design, I print and cut my artwork to make individual stickers.”

Smith also enjoys designing The Moonbow Market packaging.  The Market’s business cards, thank you cards, backing cards for stickers and magnets are all designed by Smith.

“I enjoy taking the time to carefully plan each detail,” Smith shared.  “It helps tell my story as a retro inspired business.”

As a twenty-eight year old entrepreneur, Smith truly cares about McCreary County and wants to see her hometown prosper.

“Small businesses are the key to a healthy community,” Smith stated.  “It is our responsibility as a county to give those businesses the support they need to flourish.  Local businesses are critical for continued growth in McCreary County.  The success of one local business can inspire other entrepreneurs and other small business owners.  Success ultimately leads to more jobs and revenue in our community.  Plus, you are supporting someone’s dream, and that is priceless.”

Smith is excited about her future with The Moonbow Market.

“I look forward to taking my Shasta out in town and meeting locals and tourists,” Smith said eagerly.  “I’ll get the opportunity to network with other amazing small businesses in our community.  When I worked at a salon in Somerset, people would ask me where I was from, and I’ll be honest, I was always hesitant to say I was from McCreary County because people would tease me about it.  I hated feeling that way because I’ve always loved our county.   No matter where we are from, we should never feel like a dream is too big.  I hope that being from a small town never stops anyone from chasing their dreams, no matter how big that dream is.”

(To shop for items from The Moonbow Market, visit the Artisan Shop in Downtown Stearns or shop online by becoming a member of The Moonbow Market Facebook group or The Moonbow Market on Etsy.)

October 14th, 2021

Toys for Tots

Williamsburg Marine Corps League will coordinate Toys for Tots in McCreary County

By Eugenia Jones

 This year, the Marine Corps League detachment of JC Paul #1448 in Williamsburg, KY will include McCreary County children in its Toys for Tots outreach at Christmas.   The Marine Corps League is affiliated with the National Toys for Tots organization and will now coordinate the Christmastime Toys for Tots program in four counties:  Laurel, Knox, McCreary, and Whitley.

The group anticipates having McCreary County drop off boxes and/or coin banks in place soon to receive donations of money or new, unwrapped toys at several locations including United Cumberland Bank, South McCreary Fire Department, School Resource/Youth Centers, Big M Hardware, R & J Game Room, Drew’s Barbershop, Jones Farm Supply, and Lumber King.  More locations are expected.

The group anticipates serving 2,000 McCreary County children ages from birth to 14 years old.  Last year, the project served 5,700 children in three counties.  Organizers noted donations of toys for children ages birth to three years old and ages 11 to 14 years old are usually in short supply.

Collection of new toys and monetary donations for purchase of toys will continue until the week of December 15, 2021.  The vast majority of toys collected by the Marine Corps League will be distributed through the McCreary County School District Family/Youth Resource Centers.  Banners will be displayed during distribution recognizing the Marine Corps League’ Toy for Tots project.

Interested families can contact their local school Resource Centers to register or register on-line at  During distribution of toys in December, parents must present a current, active KY ID and birth certificates or court ordered custody papers for each child receiving a gift.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks with the support of members of his Los Angeles Marine Corps Reserve unit collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.  Hendricks program was so successful that in 1948, the Marine Corps adopted it and expanded it nationwide.  In the intervening years, Marines have conducted successful Toys for Tots campaigns each year, collecting and distributing nearly 548,000,000 toys.

The Marine Corps League JC Paul 1448 is a nonprofit organization of local former Marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen that band together to join in camaraderie and fellowship and to promote the image of the United States Marine Corps.  Chartered in 2017, members of JC Paul 1448 provide a variety of services throughout Whitley, Knox, and Laurel Counties as well as surrounding communities.

Photo by Eugenia Jones

The Laurel Creek Reservoir now offers visitors a handicapped accessible fishing dock and picnic area.

Photo submitted

The McCreary County Fair Board sponsored another community outreach giveaway. Approximately 500 people were served. The Fair Board plans to continue their monthly community outreach giveaways and will announce details on The McCreary County Fairboard Facebook page. Assisting with the giveaway were (pictured):  Maryann Walters, Abby West, Chris Maxwell, Judi Hamm, Michelle Ross, Joann Ross, and Dan West.

Photo contest showcases fall colors of southern and eastern Kentucky

SOMERSET, KY – The #FALLinlovewithTKW photo contest is underway to showcase the legendary fall colors of southern and eastern Kentucky.

“As fall colors sweep across The Kentucky Wildlands, this is the perfect time to journey into the great outdoors with a camera or phone,” said Tammie Nazario, President/CEO of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, which is sponsoring the contest as part of its tourism initiative, The Kentucky Wildlands.

“Our Grand Prize winner will be treated to a two-night getaway at the historic Benham Schoolhouse Inn, including meals at local restaurants,” Nazario said. “This one-of-a-kind resort is a gem in our region, and we are grateful to the inn and restaurants for making this prize package possible.”

“We created a map of peak color zones across the region, and we asked local photographers to share their advice,” she explained. “You can find the map and those photography tips in our blog at”

“We invite you to share your fall photos through social media with #FALLinlovewithTKW, so everyone can enjoy the scenery,” she said. “To officially enter your photo in the contest, visit the contest web page.”

The photo contest web page, which has the rules and submission instructions, is:

The #FALLinlovewithTKW photo contest will run through Nov. 15, 2021. Photos must be taken in The Kentucky Wildlands after Jan. 1, 2019, with subjects that fit one of six categories: natural world, travel, people, The Kentucky Wildlands experience, altered images and mobile.

The Kentucky Wildlands will select three finalists per category, a winner for each category and a Grand Prize winner from the finalists. The public will vote for a People’s Choice winner through social media.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a two-night stay at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn, as well as vouchers to local restaurants. The Kentucky Wildlands gear, such as clothing, will be awarded to the Grand Prize winner, category winners and People’s Choice winner.

For more information, please call 888-577-4339 (toll free) or email

October 7th, 2021

Adams appoints McCreary native to KY Registry of Election Finance

Secretary of State Michael Adams has appointed Shelbyville attorney and McCreary County native, Jessica A. Burke, to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, the Commonwealth’s campaign-finance regulatory body.  Burke is a native of Stearns, KY. and is the daughter of the late Michael Burke and Loretta Burke of Stearns.

“Jessica Burke is an experienced professional who has proved herself as an invaluable public servant,” Adams said. “Having been a candidate for public office, a political law attorney, and a high-ranking official in state government, Jessica is highly qualified to help ensure the integrity of Kentucky’s elections.”

KRS 121.110 empowers the Secretary of State to appoint one member of the seven-person board.

“I am honored to be appointed by Secretary Adams to the Registry of Election Finance,” Burke said. “I’ll work to keep Kentucky’s elections fair and transparent.”

Reeves Announces Candidacy for District Judge

Seth Reeves has announced his candidacy for District Judge, Division I, of Whitley and McCreary Counties.  The District Court Judicial race will be held November 2022.

Reeves is a Whitley County native who attended Corbin High School, and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University, before obtaining his law degree from Salmon P. Chase College of Law. He resides in Whitley County with his wife, Sarah Tipton Reeves, and their two-year old son, Wyatt. Reeves practices law at his firm Reeves and Reeves in Corbin with his aunt, Sandra Reeves.

In May 2020, Seth Reeves was appointed by Circuit Court Judges, Dan Ballou and Paul Winchester, as the Domestic Relations Commissioner, where he presides over family court cases in Whitley and McCreary counties.

Learn & Grow with

McCreary County Cooperative Extension

Tracie Goodman, Agent


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

If you have hemlock trees on your property that are discolored and losing needles or having difficulty producing new growth, you may have an issue with the hemlock woolly adelgid. Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a small insect that threatens the health and survival of eastern hemlock trees (mainly Tsuga canadensis).  Woolly adelgids were introduced from Asia in the 1950s and have spread to Kentucky, particularly the southeastern region. HWA was declared a public nuisance to Kentucky’s forests in 2011.  HWA has killed a large number of hemlocks in infested areas and there appears to be little resistance to the insect in our native hemlocks.

What is it?

HWA, Adelges tsugae, are very small insects that develop a distinctive shelter of white wool-like hairs as they mature, making them look like very small cotton balls attached to the undersides of hemlock needles.  These insects attach to the bark at the base of needles and, similar to aphids, suck sugars from the trees.

What does HWA do?

Insects feed on the starch in the sap of trees, robbing the tree of energy. Their feeding causes needles to dry up, turn a grayish color and fall then off.  In addition, because they kill the apical buds, HWA prevents the tree from producing new growth. Because infestations are so severe, HWA can kill a tree within 4 to 10 years.  In addition, infestation can weaken trees making them highly susceptible to other problems.

How can you stop it?

Homeowners and private landowners have two treatment options: 1.) spray foliage with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil at the proper times during the HWA life cycle, or 2.) use a systemic insecticide that moves with the tree sap and is consumed by the adelgids as they feed. Systemic treatments typically last longer and are easier to apply, particularly for larger trees. To learn more about this insect, the options for treatment and how to apply it, come join the McCreary County Extension Office and Kentucky Division of Forestry professionals for Hemlock Demo-Days! We will be spending the day in the field helping save some local trees. Our FFA/teens training day is October 7th and the adult training day is October 9th, from 10am-3pm EST. This event is free and open to all members of the public. For more information and to register, call the McCreary County Extension office at 606-376-2524 or email

Source: UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability. University Of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, U.S. Department Of Agriculture, And Kentucky Counties, Cooperating.

Photo submitted The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Plaza Hair in the Big M Plaza in Whitley City. Plaza Hair, owned by James and Allie Jones and operated by Allie Jones, recently opened under the shop’s original name. The shop opened as Plaza Hair in the 1970s/80s under a different owner and in the years since has operated under several other names. Jones said she wanted to open her shop in the Big M Plaza, Whitley City by “going back to the roots” and using the name of the shop when it originally opened. The salon has six stylists and a massage therapist with a lash technician expected soon. The full service hair salon offers cuts, perms, makeup, formal styles, wax treatments, and a wide array of hair products and other retail.

County Water District Recognized for Outstanding Service

Photo submitted McCreary County Water District employees pictured (left to right in center) are David Kilby, Jennifer Whitaker, and Stephen Whitaker. The three McCreary Countians are pictured with the Acting USDA Executive Director (left) and the Kentucky Rural Waters Executive Director (right.)

Each year, ten water and wastewater utilities are announced during Kentucky Rural Water Association’s (KRWA) Member Appreciation Breakfast as Wooden Bucket finalists and honored for their outstanding service during the past year.  Traci Vaught, Acting State Director, USDA-Rural Development, was on hand to present all the honorees with plaques of recognition. Utilities honored included: Cadiz Water & Sewer System, Cannonsburg Water District, City of Cynthiana, Grayson Utilities Commission, Green River Valley Water District, Hardin County Water District #1, City of Harrodsburg, McCreary County Water District, City of Mt. Vernon, and Todd County Water District. From this list, one utility is singled out to receive Rural Water’s highest honor, the prestigious Wooden Bucket Award.

The Wooden Bucket Award is presented to water and/or wastewater utility that has made substantial and lasting improvements in providing high levels of customer service and high-quality drinking water and wastewater services in its community, also included in the list of achievements are having shown exceptional efforts in meeting the needs of their communities, enhancing their operations, and complying with regulatory requirements. While Cadiz Water & Sewer System was named as the utility mostdeserving of this year’s award, it is a great honor for McCreary County Water District to be recognized as one of the ten nominees.

The Awards Ceremony was held during KRWA’s 42nd Annual Conference and celebration of 42 years of Helping Utilities…Help Themselves. Nearly 700 representatives of Kentucky’s public drinking water and wastewater utilities gathered for this annual event which provides attendees great opportunities to network with their peers, tour Kentucky’s largest exhibition of products and services available to public utilities, and hear from informed speakers on issues impacting the water industry.

The Kentucky Rural Water Association is a statewide, non-profit association that provides training, on-site technical assistance, advocacy, and other services to all utilities, including over 365-member public drinking water and wastewater utilities, in Kentucky. With offices in Bowling Green and Frankfort, KRWA has been fulfilling its mission of helping water and wastewater utilities help themselves since 1979.

September 30th, 2021

Church Groundbreaking

Photo submitted

The Whitley City Church of God with Pastor Bruce Dixon broke ground for construction of a new church building last Sunday.  A special groundbreaking service was held at the site in Strunk (Toewad.)  The Whitley City Church of God was established 100 years ago in 1921




11-year-old Logan Strunk donates $100 to PRIDE

Photo submitted

PRIDE President/CEO Tammie Nazario accepted Logan Strunk’s $100 donation for environmental cleanup projects.

PINE KNOT –  Eleven-year-old Logan Strunk earned a $500 prize for picking up 414 bags of trash from McCreary County roads in April. Rather than keeping the money for himself, Logan donated $100 to PRIDE, the nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup activities across 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky.

Now a sixth grader at McCreary County Middle School, Logan was a fifth grader at Pine Knot Elementary when he won the $500. It was the 1st Place prize in the school’s #3BagChallenge, which rewarded fifth-grade students who picked up roadside litter. Students collected a total of 1,458 bags of trash during the contest.

“I already was proud of all the students who worked so hard to clean McCreary County’s roads during the contest, and then Logan told me he wanted to donate $100 toward other cleanup events,” said PRIDE’s Tammie Nazario.

“I just don’t have the words to fully express my gratitude and respect for this young man’s selfless gesture,” Nazario said. “Logan is willing to invest his time and hard-earned money to make a difference, and we all can learn a lesson from him. I want to thank Logan for this donation and his leadership during the #3BagChallenge.”

“It is important to take care of the environment because a clean environment keeps us safe and healthy,” Logan said. “It also helps make our community and world look better, which makes us feel better and proud of the area we live.”

Logan’s mother, Aimee Strunk, was not at all surprised when he wanted to donate some of his prize money. She said, “He is very generous and always looks for ways to help others. It was never about winning money for him. It was about helping to make the community he lives in a better place.”

Pine Knot Elementary teacher Tara Tucker organized the #3BagChallenge for fifth-grade students. The students were rewarded with cash prizes, a pizza party, T-shirts and medals, thanks to donations from local organizations and individuals. PRIDE provided the trash bags, gloves and safety vests for students.

Outlaw Express

Photos submitted

Passengers boarded the Outlaw Express at the Big South Fork Scenic Railway and journeyed back in time to 1930 when labor strikes were happening all around the country.  Workers bristled against low wages and terrible working conditions.  After departing Stearns, the passenger train approached Barthel where outlaws overtook the train, demanded money from the passengers, and kidnapped  Amelia Stearns.  Amelia’s mother, Mrs. Stearns, had to pay the outlaws a hefty sum of money for her daughter’s safe return. Local volunteers and horse riders performed during the event.  The Outlaw Train event will return on special dates in 2022.

September 23, 2021

Photo submitted

McCreary County Fairboard donated approximately 100 blankets to McCreary County EM Director Stephen McKinny to help McCreary residents who are in need of extra winter supplies this winter.  Fairboard Chairperson Dan West is pictured donating the blankets.

Photo submitted

McCreary County author Charles Worley presents a copy of his book “Catch a Falling Star” to 94 year old McCreary County Senior Citizen, Kathleen Marnhout.

Photo by Eugenia Jones

Boy Scout Troop #2014 and #2020 from Richmond, Kentucky got a taste of the good life in McCreary County as they spent a weekend camping on the banks of Marsh Creek.  Vernon Gilreath, owner of local cattle farm, Vernsway Farm, welcomed the troops to a campground site on his farm located in the southeastern section of McCreary County.  The young visitors to McCreary County included twelve boys and six girls, ages 12 to 18.  The youth were accompanied by six adult leaders with at least one of the adults being a native of McCreary County.  While in McCreary County, the youth learned about poisonous plants and native wildlife.  They also enjoyed whitewater rafting, campsite meal preparation, and even spotted a feral hog not far from their camp area.

February 4th, 2021

Photo by MCSO
Roger Owens of Operation UNITE presented the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office with two portable breath test kits to be used when a driver is suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Pictured above with Owens (center) are Deputy Tom Smith and Sheriff Randy Waters receiving the breath kits.

County Awarded Federal Funds Under The Emergency Food And Shelter Progam

McCreary County has been awarded $4,489.00 through the State Set-Aside process under Phase 38 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
The selection was made by a National board that is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, and National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army, United Jewish Communities and The United Way of America. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

The Local Board made up of leaders of local government, local leaders of churches and charitable organizations will determine how the funds that are awarded to McCreary County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area.
Under the terms of the grant from National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) have an accounting system, 3) practice nondiscrimination, 4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.
McCreary County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with The McCreary Christian Center, Inc. in Whitley City participating. This agency was responsible for providing an estimated 591,240 meals.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Dr. M.A. Winchester at the McCreary Christian Center or call Sue Singleton at (606) 376-8742 for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is February 18, 2021.


Tourism Commission Meets

By Eugenia Jones

The “Light It Up” winners for December 2020 were Joy Chaney for residence and Bubba’s Mow and Go for the business. Initiated by the McCreary County Tourist Commission, the “Light It Up” promotion for Christmas 2020 was an effort to encourage residents and businesses to decorate and “light up” for Christmas so local and visitors alike could enjoy driving through McCreary County while viewing festive holiday displays. Speaking during the McCreary County Tourist Commission January meeting, local Tourist Commission Director Michelle Perry said she would like to see the event become an annual one-perhaps under the name of “Tour of Lights” Perry said both winners of the competition were pleased to place first in their “Light It Up” categories.
In other business, Perry reported collecting $163.36 for December and $1,641.52 in November for transient taxes. Transient taxes collected for the year of 2020 totaled $14, 063.93.
The following items were also discussed during the meeting:
-Kentucky Visitor Guides are now available. McCreary County’s advertisement can be seen on page 61.
-Local tournament fisherman, Mike Casada, will assist with McCreary County tourism promotion by distributing county tourism brochures as he travels to fishing tournaments.
-McCreary County Tourism is now a member of Kentucky Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau (KACVB.)

The next regular meeting for the McCreary County Tourism Commission is February 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the McCreary County Tourism Office.

Moments in Time

Kathleen Marnhout Foley shares more of her memories from the 1930s

By Eugenia Jones

“In the winter, we wore long stockings with no shoes and walked along a wooded path in deep snow,” Kathleen recalled of her early school days at Gilreath. “When we got to school, we dried at a cast iron stove. The teacher cooked a pot of beans for lunch on that same stove.”

A poignant memory of Kathleen’s father is still etched in her mind.
“I remember when they came to tell my dad that his father had died,” Kathleen said sadly. “Grandpa Crabtree was hit by a train as he moved from one track to another. When Dad found out about it, he went to the barn, and I followed behind him. I remember seeing him weep. It was the first time I ever saw someone weep that way. I still remember the sound.”
Times were still hard when the family moved to Revelo, but the family remained happy.
“I remember us getting three pennies for picking potato bugs off of the potato plants,” Kathleen chuckled. “We put the three pennies in a tobacco sack and buried it for a period of time. When we finally dug it up, I think we probably bought candy!”
Kathleen attended Revelo School in first and second grades. She recalls her father getting a truck when he worked as a night watchman for a lumber company. She also remembers him becoming a deputy for the elected sheriff, Tommy Roundtree.
“Being a deputy didn’t pay much,” Kathleen said. “But it did garner a certain amount of recognition. Mom helped by doing laundry for a family that was well-off. The family paid Mom a dollar. I remember the wash tub and carrying water to do the laundry.”
Kathleen listened to her first radio broadcast at an aunt’s house.
“The broadcast came out of Nashville,” Kathleen recalled. “My uncle kept turning the dial because there was so much static.”
Eventually, the family left Revelo and moved to the Meadows Grove area.
“Dad traded our milk cow for a piece of property on Meadow’s Grove,” Kathleen shared. “We all cried because we lost our milk cow.”
Kathleen has many memories of attending Gilreath School for third through sixth grades.
“In the winter, we wore long stockings with no shoes and walked along a wooded path in deep snow,” Kathleen reminisced. “When we got to school, we dried at a cast iron stove. The teacher cooked a pot of beans for lunch on that same stove.”
Kathleen’s father died from a ruptured appendix at the end of the Depression Era. He was taken to the Corbin Hospital where he passed away.
“I remember my aunt telling me he was dying,” Kathleen said sadly. “I remember getting the children dressed because mom was at the hospital with him. It was a heavy load for a thirteen year old. I remember my uncle coming out to us at the hospital and shaking his head. I knew what that meant. I felt like cold water had been poured over me.”
The community reached out to comfort the family during their time of sorrow.
“In those days, it was the norm for family and community to come together to support families during their losses,” Kathleen observed. “The support of prayer, church, and community when my father died was amazing. They brought Dad home in a wooden casket made by a neighbor. We had the visitation in our family room at home and the funeral service at Kingtown Church where he is buried. It gives me comfort to know he is in Heaven.”
(The Voice will share Kathleen’s memories of the 1940s and World War II in a future edition.)


January 28th, 2021

Moments in Time

Kathleen Marnhout Foley reminisces.

By Eugenia Jones

(Born on December 27, 1926, Kathleen Crabtree Marnhout Foley is the oldest of five children (Kathleen, Jim, Betty, Maxine, and Leroy) born to Cora Wilson Crabtree Cooper and Franklin Crabtree. Kathleen was just thirteen years old when her father, Franklin, passed away at the age of thirty-two. After his death, Kathleen’s mother, Cora, was elected McCreary County Court Clerk for two consecutive four year terms. Always an outgoing extrovert, Kathleen credits the time she spent with her mother on the campaign trail as being instrumental in teaching her how to shake hands and interact with others.
After graduating from high school, Kathleen continued her studies and graduated as a registered nurse (RN) from the Good Samaritan nursing program. She pursued a successful career in health-related positions and helped break the ‘glass ceiling’ for women by becoming an administrator at Pleasant Valley Hospital in West Virginia. In her position, Kathleen was one of the first two women hospital administrators in the state.
Kathleen was married to William (Bill) H. Marnhout for thirty years and gave birth to sons Gary, Michael, and Randy. Later in life, she married the late Vernon Foley from Russell Springs, KY. She has seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Now, at ninety-four years old, Kathleen looks back on her life and knows she is blessed.
“I experienced poverty growing up,” she mused. “But I always knew I was loved. I’ve had a career and family and friends. I’m definitely blessed.”
Throughout her long life, Kathleen has experienced firsthand many of the great moments in history. During the coming weeks, “The Voice” will share Kathleen’s life story and memories of moments in time that are part of the rich tapestry of McCreary County and our nation.)

Born in 1926, Kathleen was a child during The Great Depression (1930-1936.) Although times were tough during the Depression, Kathleen always knew she and her siblings were loved.
“I was just three years old when my brother, Leroy was born,” Kathleen recalled. “I didn’t like him-I didn’t like him at all! I thought he was ugly!”
Kathleen remembers standing by her mother’s bed and crying to be held. Kathleen’s wise mother picked up her daughter, sat her on a chair, and placed baby Leroy in his sister’s arms. Needless to say, Kathleen and her little brother bonded from that point forward. The two maintained a close relationship throughout life.
Kathleen recalls seeing her first car as it traveled down one of the dirt roads of Kingtown where the family lived. She also remembers looking forward to seeing the mailman as he traveled his route riding on horseback.
“The mailman had to cross Paunch Creek, and he carried the mail in saddlebags,” Kathleen said with a chuckle. “We always looked forward to getting the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. It was wonderful to look in the catalogue and wish for things, but it made great toilet paper for use in the outside toilet, too!”
Kathleen has fond memories of her grandparents during the Depression Era.
“We walked everywhere,” Kathleen shared. “I remember walking to my grandparents’ house. I picked wildflowers and sarvis berries to take to Grandma. One of the limbs had a lizard on it, and I carried it all the way to Grandma’s house and never even knew it was there! I always loved pretty flowers. My great grandma, Elizabeth King, had the most beautiful flower garden. It had a decorative fence with a gate and a pathway running through the flowers.”
Kathleen was happy when she got her hair cut for the very first time.
“My great grandpa King asked mom to not cut my hair,” Kathleen recalled. “I was eleven years old before my hair was cut. I aggravated Mom so much that she finally gave in and let me cut it. I liked the short hair.”
Burl Wilson, Kathleen’s grandfather on her mother’s side of the family, had a store at Kingtown.
“There was no refrigeration in the store, so he kept warm block cheese and crackers on the counter,” Kathleen said. “That tasted so good. The candy cases in the store had dividers and were filled with hard, mixed candies. There were different kinds of candy- the grocer’s mix, little cream figures that looked like people, and of course, chocolate drops.”
(“The Voice” will share more of Kathleen’s memories from the Depression Era and beyond in future editions of the newspaper.)




November 26th, 2020

Grocery Give-away

Photos by Eugenia Jones Pine Knot Southern Baptist Church’s pastor, Don Simmons, and volunteers from the congregation distributed more than fifty bags of groceries to those in need during their recent grocery give-away.


Photo submitted The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation selected the McCreary County Public Library as a recipient of the Foundation’s 2020 Bookmobile Grant Program! The grant provides $3,000 for the purchase of children’s books for the bookmobile. Jodi Watson, our Bookmobile Librarian, is excited for this opportunity to replenish the bookmobile’s collection of children’s books. Pictured: Jodi Watson (Bookmobile Librarian), Grady Wilson (Library Director), and Rhonda Kendziorski (Assistant Librarian).

November 12th, 2020

Searching for Elusive Hellbenders

By Eugenia Jones

A group from Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and Indiana’s Purdue University recently joined some local wildlife experts to spend a day surveying some of the creeks in McCreary County in search of Eastern hellbenders and nests of Eastern hellbender eggs. Hellbenders are the largest salamander in North America and can reach lengths of up to 29 inches and weigh as much as five pounds.
Although the group did not find any hellbenders during their visit to McCreary County, they were pleased to learn a hellbender has been spotted on three separate occasions in one of the surveyed creeks. The local visit was one of several made throughout Kentucky by KDFWR and Purdue University students as part of a conservation effort. In addition to identifying the locations of populations of hellbenders, the effort also consists of a head starting program. In head starting programs, hellbender eggs are hatched in captivity and then released back into native habitats. Prior to their arrival in McCreary County, the group surveyed creeks in Morehead, Kentucky and found 626 eggs in one hellbender nest. The eggs were sent to the Indianapolis Zoo to be hatched and released back into several Indiana and Kentucky Rivers. After surveying McCreary County creeks, the group moved on hoping to find hellbenders and their eggs in Bell and Harlan Counties.
According to, Eastern hellbenders are aquatic amphibians that spend their entire lives in water. The giant salamander has short limbs, a wide flattened head and body, and a wrinkly appearance. The Eastern hellbender ranges in color from greenish to yellowish brown. Despite their size, hellbenders are not commonly spotted since they spend most of their time hiding beneath large, flat rocks during the day. At night or on cloudy days, hellbenders actively search for food by walking along the bottom of creeks and rivers exploring crevices for prey. The Eastern Hellbender feeds mostly on crayfish, and occasionally, small fish and aquatic insects.
Eastern hellbenders prefer cool, swift-running creeks and cool, shallow rivers where they can live under large rocks or boulders that are partially buried but not embedded in sediment or silt. Since the hellbender does not have gills and gets oxygen from water by “breathing” through its skin, clean water is vital to its survival.
As one of the few salamander species to externally fertilize eggs, the male Hellbender plays a protective role. As the female deposits eggs, the male releases sperm to fertilize the typical clutch usually made up of 100-300 eggs beneath the male’s nest rock. After eggs are laid, the male drives off the female and protects the eggs from predators, including other hellbenders. Eggs hatch into 1-2 inch larvae after 55-75 days. The larval stage lasts approximately two year until the young undergo a partial transformation by absorbing their gills and starting to breathe through their skin. It then takes another three to four years to reach sexual maturity. The larval stage of the life cycle is typically when the young are most susceptible to predators. It is not uncommon for hellbenders to live more than thirty years.
The Purdue University website also notes hellbenders are thought to be declining in part due to human influences such as erosion, accidental capture by fishermen, and unlawful sales of hellbenders in pet trade. Diseases, such as the chytrid fungus and Ranavirus, are also thought to be major threats to the survival of the hellbender.
To learn more about the Eastern Hellbender and how to help it, visit Resources for children/students who wish to learn about the Eastern Hellbender are available at:

A Dog’s Best Friends

Photo submitted
Members of the Pine Knot Fire Department (PKFD) were called out last weekend to A. King Road off of Roundtop Road to rescue man’s best friend. Fire department rescuers took high angle gear and went into the woods walking along a creek bed for about a mile. The rescuers finally found the dog’s owner up against the cliff side with the dog approximately twenty-five feet or more up on the cliff. The dog had been missing for a week. After working for nearly an hour, Chief Tim Cox and Asst. Chief Barry Boyatt were able to bring the dog down the ladder to safety. The dog was happy to be reunited with its owner and showed gratitude to her rescuers by “loving” on the firefighters and letting each of them pet her on the head. Pictured above are: (front) Trenton Cox, the rescued canine, PKFD Chief Tim Cox, Assistant Chief Barry Boyatt, and (back): the dog’s owner, Lloyd, with firefighters Cody Pryor, Luster “Peanut” Bryant, and Zack Starrett.

Work Resumes on Reservoir Recreational Project

By Eugenia Jones

Local officials and volunteers are ramping up to complete the Laurel Creek Reservoir Project in the near future. Although a new road, boat ramp, and suspension bridge crossing the body of water have been completed, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress on other parts of the project. Funded in part with a federal Recreational Trails Program grant of just over $76,000, certain aspects of the project, including a hiking trail, must be completed by September 2021.
Former Deputy Judge Executive Andrew Powell, who, along with former Judge Executive Doug Stephens, initiated the Laurel Creek Reservoir Project project in 2017/2018, met last week with a group of volunteers and local officials including current Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels, Magistrate Bobby Strunk, McCreary Water District Supervisor Stephen Whitaker, and Tourist Director Michelle Perry.
With a 65 ft. bridge crossing the old dam at the reservoir now complete, remaining grant funds will focus on the construction of a handicap accessible fishing pier and a 1.5 mile loop trail around a portion of the lake. Once completed, the trail will be suitable for hiking and mountain biking. Primitive camping sites will also be added. At a later date, donations and additional grant funds may be used to add picnic tables, bird houses, and benches. McCreary Water District Supervisor Stephen Whitaker noted that certain areas of the reservoir will be open for swimming in the near future. One of the primary goals of local officials has been to develop the area at little or no direct cost to residents.
Recruitment is underway for volunteers (groups and/or individuals) to help clear and develop the 1.5 mile trail. Organized groups currently pledging to help with trail development are: Pine Knot Job Corps (when students return to campus), local Boy Scout Troop # 170, and the Boone’s Trail Coalition (a network of volunteers dedicated to the preservation and management of the natural, scenic, historic, and cultural resources associated with the recreation areas primarily in and around McCreary County, KY.)

Parking Lot Improvements

Photo submitted
Judge Greene has started the process of having the back parking lot of the courthouse re-paved. This was a much-needed improvement because the 6” gutter drain had emptied into the parking lot just to the right of the rear entrance, forming a large sheet of ice each winter directly in front of the back door. The water did not drain off quickly because it had to either evaporate or seep through the worn pavement. Tony Kidd and the McCreary road department started the process by running new drain lines across the parking lot to the main drain near the jail. The parking lot will have new pavement and be re-striped this week. The parking lot lines had long since faded, making it very confusing for those who parked at the back of the building. This project will increase the safety for the employees of the courthouse, local judges and their staff, and the sheriff’s department employees.

Active Cases continue to rise

Voice Staff Report

The number of active Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the ten county Lake Cumberland District and across the state. McCreary County is reporting 28 active cases with 3 hospitalized and is the only county in the ten county area currently in the Orange/Accelerated level of community spread. The remaining nine counties in the District are all in the Red/Critical level of community spread.
Pulaski is reporting 202 active cases with 5 hospitalized, Taylor is reporting 127 cases with 1 hospitalized and Adair is reporting 107 cases with 5 hospitalized. Of concern is Clinton reporting 47 cases and 11 hospitalized. In the LCDHD area a total of 753 active cases are being reported with 43 hospitalized.
The Lake Cumberland District Health Department reports due to the surge in new cases and high numbers of contacts with each case, several hundred cases are not reported because their investigations are not finalized. The health department is hiring additional staff to keep up with the volume of cases and contact tracing. LCDHD reports the most common places of community spread are schools, businesses, family and long-term care/residential facilities and that 23% of the cases cannot be traced back to another known case.
The ten county district has experienced a cumulative total cases of 5,358 with 92 deaths. Statewide 2,120 new cases were reported Tuesday with 1,189 hospitalized, of those 286 are in I.C.U. The cumulative total number of confirmed cases statewide is 125,538 and 1,590 deaths. Scott County Tennessee is reporting 164 active cases.
Governor Beshear is advising Kentuckians to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings with people who do not live in your household due to the statewide surge in Coronavirus cases. Additional holiday guidelines are on the web site and to check daily area counts visit or The Voice’s Facebook.

Remote Hunt

Photo by Eugenia Jones COVID-19 precautions touched this year’s Beaver Creek Wildlife Management Quota Hunt as hunters “checked in” and “checked out” by dropping cards at remote locations.

November 5th, 2020

Photo by Eugenia Jones “The Voice” recently shared the story of Buddy and Gail Wilson’s McCreary County banana trees. We want to update our readers by letting them know Buddy is busy preparing the trees for winter. Each year after the first frost, all of the huge leaves are stripped off of the banana trees. The trees are then uprooted and placed in the sun to dry. After the trees dry out, they are placed in the couple’s garage for the season. Come spring, after danger of frost has passed, the couple will dig holes and replant their banana trees for the coming year. The Wilsons recently gathered their first harvest of bananas and placed them inside on a table to ripen. The couple is eager to taste some of their home-grown bananas.

McCreary County Water District Receives
Additional Grant Funding

McCreary EMS recognized for receiving funding for ambulance

Photos by Eugenia Jones
McCreary County Water District Manager/Supervisor Stephen Whitaker and Water District Board Member Randy Kidd along with McCreary County EMS Director Jimmy Barnett and Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene accepted plaques from USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg.

By Eugenia Jones

Coming on the heels of receiving $444,940 of ARC grant funding in October, the McCreary County Water District welcomed USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg’s announcement awarding them a $180,710 grant and a $542,000 loan to replace approximately six miles of aged, deteriorating, undersized water line along Marsh Creek road with new 6-inch water line to eliminate potential public health hazards.
In addition, the water district received a $204,750 grant and a $615,000 loan to rehabilitate three water storage tanks whose exterior and interior protective coating systems are deteriorating due to age.
According to McCreary County Water District Manager/Supervisor Stephen Whitaker, the funding will be used to provide better service to 700 customers in the southeastern portion of the district. The area served begins at the Strunk tank and extends to Bethel, the 3C Road, and includes 150 customers in Whitley County.

“This was a community effort,” Whitaker said. “I want to thank Judge Greene for his leadership and for those in the community-including Roscoe Stephens, Judy Redden, and Jimmy Stephens-who went door to door getting support. The community really got behind this project. We had more people attend the public hearing for this project than any other hearing we’ve had in the past. Many of these customers-especially those at our highest point in Corder Flats-lose service whenever there is any type of problem. They’ve been really patient, and we’re glad this will help the community avoid loss of service in the future.”

Rural Development Kentucky Director Legg made the announcement during a ceremony on Monday at the McCreary County Water District Office in Whitley City. During the ceremony, Whitaker and Water District Board Member Randy Kidd accepted a plaque from Director Legg in recognition of the funding. Additionally, McCreary County Judge Executive Greene and EMS Director Jimmy Barnett accepted a plaque in recognition of grant funding received previously by McCreary County EMS for the purchase of a new ambulance. Director Barnett expects the new ambulance to arrive in the county next week.

Appointees Will Fill Vacancies

Appointees will be named for District 2 Constable and District 1 Board of Education.

By Eugenia Jones

As a result of the recent deaths of two elected officials, McCreary County has two vacancies to fill. Both vacancies will be filled by appointees determined at the local level.
McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene will appoint an individual to fill the District 2 Constable vacancy created by the passing of Bradley Waters.
By law, Judge Greene has thirty days to fill the vacancy with an appointee. Greene has created a five person board (including himself) to interview all individuals who ran for the constable position during the last election. An appointee to the position will be chosen from those interviewed. Judge Greene expects to announce the individual who will fill the District 2 Constable position later this week.
The second vacancy will likely be filled by the remaining members of the McCreary County Board of Education when they appoint an individual to fill the District 1 School Board Member vacancy created by the passing of Nelda Gilreath.
The statute (Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 160.190) governing the appointment of an individual to the vacancy is, in part, as follows:
“Any vacancy in any board of education shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the local board within sixty days after the vacancy occurs. Within thirty (30) days of the vacancy, the local board shall, for two (2) weeks, have solicited applications by posting a notice announcing the vacancy on the district’s Web site and by placing an advertisement in the newspaper of the largest general circulation in the county. An applicant shall file a letter of intent with the local board affirming that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements as established by KRS 160.180 and shall submit with the application a transcript evidencing completion of the twelfth grade or results of a twelfth grade equivalency examination. After the two (2) weeks of advertisement on the district’s Web site and in the newspaper, the local board shall select from the applicants under this subsection to fill the vacancy. (2) If the local board fails to make an appointment under subsection (1) of this section, then the chief state school officer shall fill the vacancy within sixty (60) days of the failure. (3) The member chosen under this section shall meet the eligibility requirements as established by KRS 160.180 and shall hold office until his or her successor is elected or appointed, and has qualified. (4) Any vacancy having an unexpired term of one (1) year or more on August 1 after the vacancy occurs shall be filled for the unexpired term by an election to be held at the next regular election after the vacancy occurs. The elected member shall succeed the member chosen under subsection (1) or (2) of this section to fill the vacancy.”

In filling the District 1 vacancy, the McCreary County School Board must follow all relevant Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) and all relevant District policy.

USP McCreary cases put County in Red

Voice Staff Report

McCreary County has been placed in the Red/Critical level of community transmission due to a reported increase in active Coronavirus cases at USP McCreary. McCreary County is reporting 39 active cases with one hospitalized. The cumulative total number of cases reported for the County since the pandemic started is 309 and one death.
The Lake Cumberland District Health Department is reporting nine of the ten counties in the district are in the Red/Critical level of community spread. Only Russell County is in the Orange/Accelerated range of community spread. LCDHD is reporting 644 active cases in the district with 34 hospitalized, the most active cases ever reported. The cumulative total number of cases for the ten county area is 4,712 and 83 deaths since the pandemic started.
Kentucky reported 1,795 new cases on Tuesday. Statewide across all 120 counties in Kentucky there have been a total of 111,902 confirmed cases and 1503 deaths since the pandemic started. Scott County Tennessee is reporting 81 active cases and a cumulative total number of cases of 5,923 with 5 deaths.
Lake Cumberland Health Department advises – “At this point, the safest thing to do would be for everyone to assume that you are going to encounter a positive case. Therefore, please, let’s all continue to do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing our face coverings, avoiding crowds (especially in confined spaces), social distancing when around others, increasing our hand hygiene, increasing our general sanitation, and by avoiding the touching of our faces.”
Daily updates are on line at or The Voice’s Facebook.

Christmas Parade Cancelled

Another event cancelled due to COVID-19 Precautions.

By Eugenia Jones

During their October meeting, the McCreary County Tourist Commission voted to cancel this year’s Christmas Parade due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Christmas Parade is just one of many traditional events cancelled this year due to the pandemic.
Additional updates and actions during the October meeting include the following:
-Formed a brochure committee to work on the McCreary County tourism brochure. Quotes for production of the brochures are being collected.
-Approved Kentucky Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (KACVB) membership for Director Michelle Perry. KACVB is an organization for Directors offering support, guidance, and education on a variety of tourism-related matters. The group meets quarterly.
-Collected $2,557.06 in transient taxes for September and $839.90 in transient taxes for August.
-Regional Assessments and Advertisement is a “pay to play” situation. McCreary County will be advertised as part of a region. McCreary County’s cost is $1,004 and lets the county be advertised on social media and rack cards given out at travel shows, etc.
-The new McCreary County Tourism website is up and running. Director Perry noted she has already had a tourist brag on the site.
The next regular meeting of the McCreary County Tourism Commission will be November 19 at 6:00 at the McCreary County Tourism Office.

KSP Post 11 Traffic Safety
Checkpoint Announcement

The Kentucky State Police, London Post which provides coverage for Clay, Laurel, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Wayne and Whitley counties, will be conducting periodic traffic safety checkpoints at approved by the Kentucky State Police Policy and Procedures Manual. These checkpoints will be conducted in an effort to enforce the traffic laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Special attention will be paid to occupant protection (seatbelt adherence). Sobriety, insurance and registration violations.
A complete list of traffic safety checkpoints location can be found at

Road News

On Monday, following a closure due to a mudslide earlier this year, KY 700 in McCreary County opened to through traffic at mile point 1.4 (Lucky S Road). Crews completed all repairs and removed barricades and signage on Monday.
McCreary Countians are also reminded that on Thursday, Nov. 5, traffic traveling KY 92 to and from Williamsburg will be shifted from the current driving lanes onto the newly constructed realigned portion beginning at Newman Campbell Road (mile point 1.6) and extending west of Jellico Creek (mile point 3.3). Motorists are advised to slow down and pay close attention to signage as they travel through the work zone. The date scheduled for the traffic shift may be adjusted for inclement weather or other unforeseeable delays.
Motorists can access travel and traffic conditions at or contribute their own reports at or via the Waze mobile application.
Traffic information for District 8 counties (including McCreary) is also available at or by following us on Twitter at

SCC Honors Program announces new cohort for 2020-2021

Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, outstanding students from across the Somerset Community College (SCC) service region applied for a seat in the SCC Honors Program for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Sixteen applicants were chosen for this selective-admission program designed to encourage academic excellence, campus and community engagement, cultural awareness, and personal growth among highly motivated students.
This year our new and returning honors students are forging ahead with studies that extend beyond the typical classroom experience, including research projects ranging from mental health to aviation safety.
Honors Program Director, Dr. Amanda Waterstrat, says, “I am so proud of the way these students are persevering as scholars. They are pursuing great projects with a diverse range of interests. One of my favorite aspects of the program is that it provides students with an outlet to pursue their interests, in any discipline, while working closely with a faculty mentor.”
The SCC Honors program is open to all degree-seeking students who meet eligibility criteria and can commit to participation in all four semesters of the program. To be eligible prospective high school students should meet one or more of the following criteria: 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA, top 10% of the class, ACT of 24 or higher, two strong letters of recommendation.
Students who may have already earned college credit may apply for the program and should have a 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA in college coursework and/or two strong letters of recommendation.
To learn more about the program visit or contact Dr. Amanda Waterstrat at

October 29th, 2020

Highland Telephone To Award Scholarships Again For The 2021-2022 School Year

The Highland Telephone Cooperative, Inc., (HTC) Board of Directors is proud to announce its plans to award scholarships to area high-school seniors again for the twenty-first consecutive year.
HTC initiated a scholarship program in 2001, awarding a $1,000 scholarship per Board Director to a high-school senior in that Director’s electorate. Any high-school senior with post-secondary education plans may enter and any post-secondary institution meets the requirements of the scholarship endowment. (Relatives of Highland Telephone Cooperative employees and Highland Telephone Cooperative Directors or relatives of Highland Communications Corporation employees and Highland Communications Corporation Directors are not eligible to enter.) A total of 11 scholarships are available to seniors throughout the Highland Telephone territory, including McCreary, Scott, Morgan, Campbell and Anderson counties.
Entrants are judged on a typed, 500-word essay on the topic of Technology for Telecommunications. Impartial judges from local schools serve as judges. The essays are judged by a teacher outside the said Director’s county of residence and are rotated throughout and between schools each year. Recipients of the scholarship must present proof of enrollment and incurred fees at the post-secondary institution of their choice to receive the funds.

The guidelines are as follows for the 2020-2021 school year, and students may begin submitting their essays anytime.
1.One (1) scholarship per Board Director in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded this year to a high school senior in that Director’s electorate.
2.Any high school senior with post-secondary education plans may enter, provided they have service with Highland Telephone, regardless of the school they attend. Relatives of employees and HTC Directors and relatives of HCC employees and HCC Directors are not eligible to enter.*
3. Any post-secondary education institution meets the requirements of the scholarship endowment.
4. Entrants will submit for judging a 500-word, double-spaced essay on the topic of Technology for Telecommunications.
5. Judging will be conducted by an impartial judge (teacher) from a school outside the said Director’s county of residence. Judges will be rotated throughout the school and between schools each year. Judges should not be acquainted with the students’ whose essays they are judging. Schools of the judges will receive a $500 contribution to be spent as the school deems appropriate.
6. Recipients of the scholarship must present proof of enrollment and paid receipts of eligible incurred fees at the post-secondary institution of their choice to receive the scholarship funds. For liability reasons, funds will not be paid to the institution or any person or organization other than the recipient. The money must be used within one year of the award.
7. All essays for entry must be received at the Sunbright office by 5 p.m. March 19, 2021.
8. Recipients will be awarded the scholarship by May 15 each year, with the Manager of Highland Telephone making the presentation to the recipient(s).
9. HTC reserves the right to change rules as necessary. All decisions are final.
Remember, you must have your essay at the Sunbright Office no later than 5 p.m. on March 19, 2021.

*“Relatives of employees and HTC/HCC/HMC Directors’ include spouse, brother, sister, parents, children, stepchildren, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, niece, nephew, grandparents, spouse’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles.

October 22nd, 2020

McCreary Bulk Garbage Drop-off Days

McCreary Fiscal Court is again sponsoring our Fall cleanup free garbage days on November 6th from 8:00am until 4:00pm and on November 7th from 8:00am until Noon. You must be a current garbage customer with Scott Solid Waste in order to drop off items. We will take old furniture, old appliances, mattresses, and other large items. We can not accept household garbage or contractor waste: insulation, shingles, lumber. We also can not take hazardous liquids, oil, paint, etc. We will have workers to unload your vehicle or trailer. If you show your picture ID along with your most recent Scott Solid Waste bill, we can keep the line moving faster. If you have questions, please email the Deputy Judge at:

The first local wine-tasting

October 15th, 2020

What are your thoughts on the Vice Presidential Debate

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Lisa Jones – Harris won, pence never really answered the questions, Harris answered straight forward , course pence did have his pet fly with him.
Mark Vanover – Lisa Jones are you going to pack the supreme court…………..
Lisa Jones – Mark Vanover why not trump has .
Mark Vanover – Lisa Jones so… President Trump packed the Supreme Court ? .. did you get your facts from the H*?
Hope Spradlin Daugherty – curious are you referring to Sen. Harris as a “ H*”?
Debbie Taylor – Lisa Jones Harris lied when she did answer like Fracking. She and Joe have both said they would ban fracking. She has been voted the most progressive Senator even more than Bernie. Just trying to hide it and appear more moderate which she is not.Joe wouldn’t be President for long she would and there would go the wonderful nation we know and a turn to socialism and dismantling the constitution and losses of our basic freedoms and the second amendment.
Mark Vanover – Hope Spradlin Daugherty yes
Lisa Jones – Mark Vanover if trump gets this woman on as judge that makes 3 he’s put on, check it for yourself.
Lisa Jones – Debbie Taylor that’s nothing compared to all trumps lied an covered up in 4 years.
Mark Vanover – Lisa Jones. So what difference does that make.
Mark Vanover – Lisa Jones lets not get started with Obama Hillary, and Hair plug Joe their lies and corruption..
Mark Vanover -What has Trump lied about ?

Lillian Frasure Taylor – Harris evaded answering several questions and outright lied on others.
Hap Strunk – Lillian Frasure Taylor even the fly chose Pence.

Fran Branscum Gay – I thought Harris was very unprofessional and embarrassing. Pence really out did her.
Mike Phillips – Like comparing ribeye to crow. No comparison. Pence for the win!
Imogene Thomas – Pence. Calmly laid out the Facts.
Becky West – Lies, lies and more lies.
Chelsea Bryant – Pence!!!
Teresa Lynn Kidd – Vice President Pence was amazing with his calm composure and knowledge base of the questions presented. Harris smirked the entire time like a petulant child. It was easy to see she was uncomfortable rightfully so. She blatantly lied several times. Her demeanor suggest to me she is not fit or ready for the White House. Pence on the other hand was amazing. He is a Vice President we can respect and admire.
Debbie Taylor – Pence was great.
Brian McKee – Harris did very good
Wanda Duncan – Trump and Pence debates were awesome. They had to debate the candidates and the moderators. Go Trump/Pence 2020.
Dee Ball – Pence 2024!!!
Gerry Stephens – Pence did a great Job !!!!
Kathy R. Gibson – Vice President Pence was Awesome he told the truth Harris didn’t. Trump/Pence will give us another 4 great years I honestly don’t know how anyone could support killing babies like Biden will do…….TRUMP 2020!!

Hope Spradlin Daugherty – Senator Harris was phenomenal! She kept VP Pence on his toes . This area should be especially thankful Republicans want to strike down the Affordable Care Act. If they succeed, you could have to pay for mammograms, cancer screenings, and birth control. Young adults aren’t guaranteed being on their parents’ plans. Seniors could pay more for prescription drugs. It’s all at stake-
BelindaTerry Wilson – I was very embarrassed how Harris acted. Her facial expressions, smirks and eye rolls made me feel like I was watching a scene from “mean girls”. My children know better and were taught not to act like that in public.
Shane Gilreath – The Vice President about summed up the night when he said to Senator Harris, “you are entitled to your opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Diana Winchester – The fly was hysterical! I can see we have a lot of Political Science majors on here! People see what they want to see. Personally, I thought Pence was robotic and his answers were memorized and rehearsed and I expected more from Harris. Neither one did a good job of answering the questions, but you really had to know the issues in order to tell which one was really lying about things, and on that note, Pence did a great job…he won the lying portion of the debate. Harris is capable of much more and probably didn’t want to make Pence cry on national television.
Wanda Duncan – Diana Winchester lol really
Trish Taylor – Vice President Pence is the epitome of leadership with his unflappable professional demeanor. I was very embarrassed for Senator Harris.

Larry Goldman King – All the Democrat socialists can do is name calling. I can’t believe people would want to turn our Great Country over to someone like Harris. Biden wouldn’t make it 6 months as President. Biden has dementia bad anyone with common sense can see it.

October 8th, 2020

Photo by Eugenia Jones The McCreary County Farmers Market recently wrapped up this year’s season by proclaiming it one of their most successful seasons. Carl and Arlene Jones, above, are pictured with their homegrown mammoth sunflowers-dried and ready to feed the birds.

A Simpler Time

Charles (Dan) Worley publishes book, “CO-OP Coal Community and House 52.”

By Eugenia Jones

Worley’s book, CO-OP, can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Copies can also be purchased at the McCreary County Library and McCreary County Museum. Signed copies can be purchased from Worley.

Charles Dan Worley recently took pen in hand to make the memories and history of the community of Co-operative, KY come alive through words and illustrations shared in the pages of his recently published book, “CO-OP Coal Community & House 52.”
In his book, Worley dives into the community of Co-op, a coal mining camp built one hundred years ago by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company. Worley, who was born and raised at Co-op, went to school there until his seventh grade year in 1963 and, in the book, shares his family’s story up until the point of his own birth. From there, Worley shifts the focus of his book to the story of growing up in a poor community. He incorporates the stories of many of the families who lived in and around the area and sheds light on the hardships and struggles parents endured as they raised their families. With his words, Worley paints the joyful picture of a young boy growing up free from most outside influences.
Worley’s sister Wanda, who spent her career teaching English, was a major player in encouraging Worley to write his book.
“Over several years of phone conversations, we talked a lot about our upbringing,” Worley reminisced. “I told her some of the things I remembered, and she encouraged me to write down my memories. After I filled roughly one hundred pages, I decided to write my story. I felt Co-op deserved to be revisited-not just for myself but also for all the families who lived there long ago and those who still have a connection there today. I didn’t want my memories of Co-op to die a second death simply because I wouldn’t tell the story.”
As a young man, Worley studied at Cumberland College and received a B.S. degree in Art. Hoping to teach school Art, Worley still remembers an interview with a local superintendent.
“He couldn’t see Art being taught pass the third grade,” Worley said sadly. “I moved on and spent the majority of my life working with insurance and owning a restaurant with my wife. I didn’t let anything stop me. I always feel I can do anything I want by focusing and being determined.”
It was in one of his English classes at Cumberland College that Worley discovered a love of writing poetry.
“Having to rely on my deep inner thoughts was new to me,” Worley recalled. “Using those inner thoughts as the basis for constructing a group of words in a way that’s pleasing to read is something I enjoy. I’ve continued to write poetry throughout the years.”
Along with his poetry, Worley wrote a Western in the early 1980s.
“All of that is still sitting on a shelf,” Worley said with a grin. “The book of CO-OP is my first published work.”
Worley still does art and framing, and he illustrated his book, CO-OP. However, when he began seriously writing in 2019, his drawing and painting were, to a large degree, put on pause.
“Writing and Art are very much similar,” Worley shared. “The need to express comes from a place within me.”
Worley doubts there is a formula that suits all writers.

“I think each writer is different,” Worley expounded. “I think each writer has to find what works for them. For example, some writers can write every day. Others can’t. I can write every day when I’m immersed in a thought or a story.”
Worley has practical advice for anyone with the desire to write.
“Write and keep writing,” Worley recommended. “Let your writing come from the place that satisfies and pleases you. After you are grounded and know you love your particular form of expression, getting a bad critique will not stop you.”
Worley hopes readers of the book, CO-OP, will gain an appreciation of a particular place and time in our local history.
“People were free to raise their families the way they saw fit,” Worley explained. “They did it without any government assistance and without being bombarded with all of the materialism we deal with today. Our mom and dads worked very hard, but they were still happy people. They had good moral compasses, and they passed that on to their children. In the time of CO-OP, people helped and visited one another. The children spent most of their days outside filling their time with things to do and games to play. The love of family overshadowed the hardships and struggles they faced. My story is not the whole story, but I do shine a light on Co-operative-the place I still call home.”

KSP Recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

KSP Program Assisted Over 1,000 Victims

The month of October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time set aside to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for the victims. Domestic violence is prevalent in any community, including many places in Kentucky, and affects people of different gender, age and race.
“Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate between socio-economic status, race or location whether you’re rural or urban. One in four women and one in seven men will be a victim of domestic violence,” says Victim Advocacy and Support Justice Program Administrator Danielle Perkins.
In response to the high number of crime and domestic violence victims, Kentucky State Police (KSP) employed sixteen victim advocates to provide support services and resources to crime victims across the Commonwealth. KSP is among the first state police agencies to implement this program on a statewide basis.
The program, called Victim Advocate Support Services (VASS), launched in the fall of 2019 with a dual purpose. Advocates administer care to crime victims, or those involved in traumatic events, connecting them with immediate resources, such as mental health services, crisis intervention or legal support. These skilled professionals also serve as liaisons between law enforcement and the victim, simultaneously helping victims navigate the system while allowing detectives to focus more on the details of the case.
Since the inception of the program, KSP Victim Advocates have assisted 1,058 individuals since November of 2019.
“We provide our victims with the support they need whether it’s assisting with a protective order, navigating the court system, providing resources with community based services or offering emotional support,” adds Perkins. “In some cases, the best thing we can do for victims is listen.”
One advocate is assigned to each of KSP’s 16 posts throughout the state. They work with community partners to provide fair, compassionate and sensitive treatment of victims, families and witnesses from the investigative stage of a crime through a follow-up period after the case has been adjudicated. Providing these services in the first hours following a crime is not only vital to healing, it also helps victims secure available compensation funds for out-of-pocket expenses.
If you or someone you know needs assistance through the VASS program, please contact your local post and request to speak to the victim advocate. To find the nearest post, visit

Photo by MCSO Sheriff Randy Waters, Deputy Stewart Bryant and KSP Trooper Shaler Jones made a significant discovery while arresting a subject on a bench warrant last Wednesday night. Sitting in the passenger seat of the stopped vehicle the officers found approximately 9 grams of a white, crystalline material, scales and bags. The subject was arrested on charges of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense. The McCreary Sheriff’s Department and the Kentucky State Police are in charge of the investigation.

Veteran Deer Hunt

Over the weekend, five veterans from Kentucky and Florida, along with five veteran guides, gathered at the Veteran Camp in Bear Creek for a deer hunt. Each veteran received hunting related items and weighted blankets made by Sleep Armor in Shepardsville. This hunt marked the first time a female veteran has participated.

OVC donates tents to the McCreary County School District

The Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC) recently donated eight tents to the McCreary County School District. The tents are valued at $17,000 and will be used when temperature checks are taken as part of the School District’s sceening protocol for in-person classes.

October 1st, 2020

Old Glory

Photo by Eugenia Jones
After the U.S. flag was stolen from the McCreary County Courthouse flagpole Thursday night or early Friday morning, it was quickly replaced by members of the Charles E. Moore Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5127 in Whitley City. Thanks to the VFW, McCreary County was able to fly the flag at half mast to show respect and grief following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday. Anyone having information about the stolen flag should contact Judge Greene at his office or Sheriff Randy Waters.

Ceiling sheet rock falls into apartment

Voice Staff Report

Monday evening, September 28, 2020, the tenant of Unit 28 at the Tuscany Pines Apartments on Hwy 1651 in Stearns may have thought the sky was falling. The ceiling sheet rock came loose and fell into the apartment where the tenant was located.
The Whitley City Fire Department, McCreary County EMS and McCreary County Sheriff’s Department answered the 911 call. Upon arrival the Fire Department used manpower to move items and worked to clear a path to extricate the tenant from the debris. McCreary County EMS transported the tenant to the hospital to be checked out, but there were no apparent significant injuries reported that evening.
The two building apartment complex, formerly known as The Esau Ross Apartments, was purchased in December, 2016 by Tuscany Pines, LLC of Richmond, KY. A representative for the company stated that both buildings were under construction and renovation for improvement and it was their goal to have both buildings fully renovated from their current condition.

Repair of Big Creek Road to Begin October 5

Beginning October 05, 2020, Big Creek Road will be temporarily closed for necessary repairs to a section of embankment and roadway.
Included in this closure are the road, boat launch, picnic area and Sheltowee Trace Trailhead, located within Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
Repairs are estimated to be complete and the area reopened by the end of October 2020.

American Legion Post 115 Hosts Health Fair and Military Museum Free to Public

Voice Staff Report

This Saturday, October 3, 2020, the American Legion Post 115 will host a Health Fair and a Military Museum free for the public. The Health Fair will feature free flu shots from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone who hasn’t had their flu shot.
For Veterans needing to file claims, Randy Fisher of Lexington will be on hand to help with the claims paperwork. Fisher, with more than 20 years of experience, is well known to Veterans in need of help filling out the paperwork for V.A. claims.
The GHQ Military Museum will be set-up on site and open to the public for viewing at no charge from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exhibits on display will range from items from World War I through the Gulf War. The mobile museum was the brain child of Robert Dymek, a retired veteran who served in two branches of the Armed Forces, the Navy and Army, and deployed twice during the Gulf War.
Dymek’s challenge was to preserve our military history and heritage by saving as much as he could for public display so that the lessons of history would not be lost or forgotten. Hundreds of items including C-Rations, military uniforms, guns and a restored WWII Jeep, among other noteworthy items will be on display Saturday.
The Health Fair, the V.A. claims paperwork specialist and the GHQ Military Museum are all free to the public this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the American Legion Post 115 on West Hwy 92 in Stearns, KY.

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, almost 1 in 5 Americans experience mental health concerns each year, while more than 100 die by suicide every day. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Now with the COVID-19 crisis, precautions introduced such as social distancing and self-isolation, coupled with the fear of medical emergencies and growing anxiety about the prolonged nature of the crisis, could amplify the number of people suffering from mental health concerns across the US. It is estimated that over 40% of the population has seen a decrease in their mental wellness since the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Pandemic Crisis Services Response Coalition has designed a website to make it easier for Americans to prevent a mental health crisis while accessing available treatment when it is necessary.
The website,, includes three main sections: guidance for people in crisis wishing to access support, guidance for helping a loved one in crisis, and resources for health care professionals.
According to the American Association of Suicidology website, how do you remember the Warning Signs of Suicide? Here’s an easy way to remember: IS PATH WARM?
I – Ideation, S Substance Abuse
P – Purposelessness, A Anxiety, T Trapped, H Hopelessness
W – Withdrawal, A Anger, R Recklessness, M Mood Changes

Warning Signs of Acute Suicide Risk

The following are not always communicated directly or outwardly:
• Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
• Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

Warning Signs:
• Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
• No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
• Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
• Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
• Hopelessness
• Withdrawal from friends, family and society
• Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
• Dramatic mood changes
• Giving away prized possessions or seeking long-term care for pets
If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral, or text “HOME” to 741741 to reach the crisis text line.
Suicide ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-34-year-olds. Visit the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide for youth-specific warning signs and risk factors.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

September 24th, 2020

COVID-19 Update

As of Tuesday, September 22, McCreary County had at least 15 active cases of COVID-19, 1 of which was newly reported on Tuesday. The newly reported case was a thirteen year old female. Of the 15 active cases, 1 was hospitalized and 14 were self-isolated. As of Tuesday, McCreary County had reported 142 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. McCreary County is currently classified yellow indicating community spread with a seven day average rate of 8.29 per 100,000. Currently, cases of COVID-19 are being seen in the Lake Cumberland 10 county area (including McCreary) via the following: Schools-22.2%, Businesses-19.2%, Family-13.1%, Medical Facilities-12.1%, Long-term Care-8.1%, Places of Worship-7.1%, Recreation-6.1%, Restaurants, Jail/Prison Related, and Government-2% each.
Statewide, as of 4 p.m. Sept. 22, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 62,731 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 824 of which were newly reported Tuesday. One hundred and thirty-four of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, 22 of which were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was 6 days old.
“Not only do we have more cases than I’d like today – 824, and 134 are kids under 18 – but our positivity rate is back up over 4%, at 4.52%,” said Gov. Beshear.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported seven new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 1,119 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
Daily COVID-19 updates for the Lake Cumberland area, including McCreary County, can be found at .

Crossing the Road

A McCreary County bear, weighing approximately 225 pounds, did not survive after running into a car traveling south on HWY 27 in Strunk.
Tim Hicks was traveling home to Scott County, TN from his work in Somerset when a bear attempted to cross the highway and ran into his car, catching the fender and rolling down the side.
“The bear just decided he was going to cross,” Hicks said. “It startled me. I tried to slow down, but there really wasn’t anything I could do. There was traffic everywhere. I hate it for the bear, but I hate it for my car, too.”
McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputy Stuart Bryant worked the accident with KSP Officer Keegan Bray and state highway workers also responding to the scene.

September 3rd, 2020

RAM Set to Bring Free
Clinic to Oneida

Appointments slots open next week for free medical, dental, and vision services

Remote Area Medical- RAM® – a major nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics delivering free, quality, dental, vision, and medical care to underserved and uninsured individuals – is bringing an appointment-only free clinic to Oneida, TN, September 12-13, 2020.

Remote Area Medical- RAM® – a major nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics delivering free, quality, dental, vision, and medical care to underserved and uninsured individuals – is bringing an appointment-only free clinic to Oneida, TN, September 12-13, 2020.
The free clinic will provide dental, medical, and vision services to patients by appointment only. Appointments can be booked beginning on August 31 through September 11, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm ET, or until appointment slots are full. Patients interested in receiving care should call (865) 500-8555 to book an appointment.
Services available at the RAM clinic will include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams, and general medical exams. Free colon cancer screening test kits will also be available. All RAM services are free and no ID is required.
“We are glad to be bringing this much needed care once more to the Oneida, Tennessee community,” said Jeff Eastman, RAM CEO. “RAM staff and volunteers have been hard at work developing new procedures for our clinic operations, so we can provide these services to those in need during this time.”
The RAM free clinic will be held at the Boys and Girls Club located at 17025 Alberta St, Oneida, TN 37841. Patients should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment time. Patients will be seen only at their scheduled appointment time. In some situations, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations, or other circumstances outside of RAM’s control, appointment slots and schedules are subject to change.
In response to COVID-19, the organization has incorporated and developed new disinfecting and safety processes, including the shift from tickets to appointments.
All patients will be required to wear a face covering and must undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the clinic. Guests and family members of patients will not be allowed to enter the building. New air flow, sterilization processes, and capacity limitations have also been put in place to ensure the safety of patients, staff and volunteers.

RAM is still in need of general volunteers to help on set-up day, as well as providers on Saturday and Sunday for the Oneida clinic. For more information about RAM’s mobile clinics or to volunteer, please visit or call 865-579-1530.

Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival Set for Sept. 17-19

restrictions and guidelines will be implemented during event.

By Eugenia Jones

Blazin’ hot bluegrass music will once again fill the air at the Sandhill RV Camp during the 2020 Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival on September 17, 18, and 19. This year, in addition to a top notch line up of gospel and bluegrass performers, there will be a host of COVID-19 precautions and restrictions implemented throughout the three day event.
According to Fred Patrick, Blazin’ Bluegrass Board President, the goal for 2020 is to conduct an enjoyable event as safely as possible. Patrick said festival organizers have worked with the Health Department to make sure this year’s festival fulfills all of the COVID-19 precautions and guidelines.
“We will be following the CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 as closely as possible during our festival,” Patrick declared.
Festival goers can expect the following COVID-19 precautions during this year’s Blazin’ Bluegrass.
-Signage for a self-check health screening with be posted at the gate and will direct those who are sick or have been in close contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive in the past fourteen days to not enter the festival.
-Signage will direct attendees to social distance at least six feet apart and wear masks. The requirement for face mask coverings will be enforced when social distancing is not implemented. Organizers have worked tirelessly to ensure social distancing within the large festival area by placing six feet markings at the gate, restrooms, and vendor sites.
-Hand sanitizer and masks will be available, and extra cleaning and sanitizing of restrooms will take place throughout the festival.
-Only a limited number of people will be allowed in the hospitality room at a time; however, there will be outside eating areas distanced by six feet. Vendors will take extra precautions to ensure everyone stays six feet apart.
-In addition to the shelter, there will be tents on the sides and back of the shelter so everyone can safely spread out to enjoy the music.
-Organizers will be taking names and phone numbers of all attendees, volunteers, and workers in case contact tracing is needed.
“It is of the upmost importance to us, to keep everyone involved in our festival, and all our special people who come out to support this festival each year, safe and well during this time,” Patrick noted.
This year’s Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival once again boasts an impressive line-up of performers including Host Band C.F. Bailey and Shadow Ridge, Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver, Carolina Blue, The Primitive Quartet, Deeper Shade of Blue, Dave Adkins Band, The Baker Family, Open Rail, Double Portion, Branded Bluegrass, Lacy Creek, and Joyful Noise. In addition to music, the Festival offers a wide array of food and craft vendors as well as a Veterans Ceremony on Saturday from 11:00-11:30.
The Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival began in July 2003 and has continued to grow annually. Despite this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, organizers are optimistic about this year’s attendance particularly since all eighty camp-sites for the Festival are booked.
Admission prices for this year’s Festival are as follows: Thursday night (5:00-10:00)-$10.00, Friday (11:00 AM-10:00 PM)-$15.00, and Saturday (11:00 AM-10:00 PM)-$20.00. A three day pass can be purchased for $35.00. Group rates for twenty or more adults are $7.00 TH, $10.00 FR, and $12.00 SAT.
More information can be found at the Festival’s website or on the Facebook page, Blazin Bluegrass Music Festival in the Big South Fork. Festival organizers can be contacted at 606-310-1242 (Fred Patrick) or 606-382-5005 (Doris Slavey.)

Free training valuable to water and wastewater operators

Clean water is important to all Kentuckians, and it is serious business for local water and wastewater utility operators. These professionals have been able to stay at the top of their game during the pandemic through a free training program, which will continue into 2021.
State regulations require water and wastewater utility professionals to earn continuing education hours each year. The nonprofit organizations PRIDE and Kentucky Rural Water Association began partnering in 2015 to provide free continuing education training for them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Services funds the workshops.
So far, 3,837 participants in the 56 free PRIDE/KRWA workshops have earned a total of 20,967 continuing education hours.
Workshop reviews show that participants have learned new tasks and skills, picked up information they needed for their job, and refreshed their memory on skills they use less often. They appreciate the hands-on demonstrations of equipment. They particularly praise the quality of instructors, who have years of experience in the field.
“Participants have been very positive for these trainings, so we are so pleased to announce that the program will continue into 2021,” said Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of PRIDE, which promotes environmental cleanup and education in 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. “We are grateful to USDA for this investment in rural communities and to KRWA for delivering top-notch training.”
“The pandemic could have shut down the free trainings, but KRWA pivoted quickly to transform the in-person workshops to webinars,” Nazario said. “The webinars have been effective and very popular, with more than 90 percent of participants saying they preferred the virtual format. The webinars actually reached more people, since they could participate from their offices.”
“We are excited to partner with Eastern Kentucky PRIDE to provide quality training at no cost to water and wastewater utility personnel,” said Gary Larimore, Executive Director of KRWA, which fosters professionalism in the state’s water and wastewater industry through training, technical assistance programs and advocacy.
“As the regulatory environment becomes more complex and costly, this type of continuing education offering becomes more essential for utility personnel to stay up to date with the latest technological advances without placing an additional strain on their limited resources,” Larimore continued. “A better trained workforce translates into a more efficient operation that provides a quality product and service that the public expects and deserves.”
Upcoming workshops will be held virtually. For a schedule, please send an email to or watch for announcements at or
This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Utilities Programs, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service.

August 27th, 2020

Important information for parents

Families of Schoolchildren Encouraged to Apply for Food Benefits Before Deadline

Frankfort – Feeding Kentucky and The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy are joining together with partners across the state to encourage families to apply for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits before the August 31st deadline.
P-EBT helps households with eligible students who missed school meals in March, April and May 2020 by providing a benefits card that families can use to buy food. Families can receive up to $313.50 for each child who received free or reduced price meals at school prior to COVID-related school closures.
While many have already benefited, there are roughly 117,000 Kentucky students who qualify but whose parents or guardians have not yet applied.
“Kentucky families and kids who benefit from free and reduced- price school meals to make ends meet missed out because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karena Cash, Advocacy Coordinator at Feeding Kentucky, “Pandemic EBT gives these families some cushion, providing them with the much needed funds they need to ensure their kids have enough food to eat.”
Martina Leforce, a mother and aunt of Berea Community School students, said, “P-EBT is our government acknowledging that it is hard to make ends meet at this time. It is not just for me, it’s also for those 87 percent of children in my district who were getting free lunch until the schools closed. There is a lot I have to worry about, and food security at this time, is one less worry thanks to this program.”
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy estimates that if all 117,000 families applied, Kentucky’s economy would receive a boost of over $35 million.
“Programs like these are so important in local communities,” said Tod Griffin, executive director of the Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association. “It helps ensure families receive meals while schools are closed, but it also helps provide local jobs and economic resources for local grocers and retailers.”
Any student who received free or reduced price meals at school prior to COVID-related school closures is eligible. There is no income limit to participate in the program. P-EBT does not impact the public charge rule.
Benefits should have been added automatically for families with an EBT card. Families without a current EBT card or who haven’t received these benefits yet need to apply at
For more information about requirements and qualifications, visit
A recording of a media event hosted by the partners on Monday 8/24/20 is available at

Wi-fi Hotspots Available to County Students

Photo submitted Keenan and Wesley Vanover, MCHS students, received chrome books on Wednesday to start the school year. High School teacher Tammie Starrett is shown instructing both students how to log in with a pass word and use the chrome books for their classes. Each student in the school district will receive a chrome book to facilitate distance learning until in-person classes are held.

The McCreary County School District is partnering with Highland Telephone and ACCESS Cable to provide multiple internet hotspots throughout the county to ensure quality internet access for their students. This technological outreach was also made possible by partnerships with local businesses, ministries, charitable organizations, and local government. Telephone Wi-Fi hotspots which can be accessed with school-issued devices between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM are listed below. The District will announce the ACCESS Cable Wi-Fi hotspots in the coming days.
• Eagle Child Development Center (Eagle School)-70 Eagle School Road.
• Integrated Community Ministries (Rattlesnake Ridge)-Fordie Coffey Road.
• Kroger (Whitley City)-1187 N HWY 27.
• 4H Camp (Sandhill)-221 Elmer Boggs Road.
• McCreary County Park (Whitley City, Senior Center Building) 2255 N HWY 27.
• Spec Building (Pine Knot) 217 Meadows Grove Rd.
School system network is also available at the following locations:
McCreary Central High School Parking Lot, Whitley City Elementary School Parking Lot, and Pine Knot Elementary School, Building 1 Parking Lot.
Additional free internet access is offered as follows:
The McCreary Center of Somerset Community College has publicized that they are making their internet access free and available to the public.
The McCreary County Public Library has free internet access which can be accessed from their parking lot.
If you have questions, feel free to call your child’s school or the McCreary County School District Technology Department at 376-5754.

SCC Creates WiFi Parking Lot Zones for Students

Somerset – Somerset Community College is helping students overcome one of the main obstacles to distance learning—quality Internet service—by providing Wi-Fi hotspots in the college’s parking lots.
As SCC shifted to additional distance learning due to the COVID-19 virus, so did the need to provide students with access to the technology required for remote studies. And that’s where outdoor wireless Wi-Fi comes into play.
The free service can be accessed by anyone night or day and is the same high-quality Internet that is available inside SCC buildings. Anyone not attending or associated with the college can sign in as a “KCTCS-guest.” The service is operational at all SCC locations except the Clinton and Casey Center, where it will be available soon.
“A lot of times people have a device, either computer or phone, but they might not have the service they need,” says Dr. Bruce Gover, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at SCC. He noted that this could also include “faculty and staff.”
And, while the system is already available for the Fall 2020 semester and provides “min-imal coverage,” Gover says the college has already put in an order for 15 more ports and that they should be operational “by the middle of the fall semester.”
“The ultimate goal is that if a student drives into a main parking lot area (at SCC) they should have it (Wi-Fi),” he said. Chris Roberts, SCC Information Technology Project Manager, says that the additional ports will be installed as they come in and agrees that Internet access should be “available everywhere in all (SCC) parking lots” in the coming months.
Signs are posted in parking lots at the college showing where the service is currently available. Locations of the Wi-Fi hotspots are:
• Somerset Campus—Southeast corner of Stoner Hall parking lot.
• Laurel Campus—Building 2 parking lot.
• McCreary Center and Russell Center—Anywhere in their parking lots.
• Clinton Center and Casey Center—Coming soon to the parking lot.
This service is important because over a third of students in Kentucky don’t have adequate access to the Internet at home, according to a recent study by Common Sense Media, a national advocacy group focused on digital access and safety for children and families. The study puts Kentucky as the eighth-worst state in the nation for student Internet access.
Gover said the benefits of the Wi-Fi access go beyond support during the pandemic. “This helps the COVID response, but it also provides a service in non-COVID ways,” he said. “In other words, students’ in-between classes can sit in the convenience of their vehicle and do their coursework without having to go to a computer lab. And, faculty, the same way. It’s a good service for our college to provide.”
Classes start August 17 and there is still time to enroll. SCC will be offering late starting fall classes that run 12 weeks starting September 14, 2020, or the second 8 week session starting October 12, 2020. If you have been delayed in getting back to school this is your chance to still get all or most of your classes in this fall! We have 8, 12 and 16 week options ongoing all year long.
Somerset Community College is a comprehensive two-year institution of higher education. SCC has campuses in Somerset and London, and centers in Clinton, McCreary, Casey, and Russell counties. For admission and program information, visit our website at

OC Tax up for July

The Occupational Tax collected in July, 2020 showed an increase in collection of $17, 589.51 over the same period last year. The total collected in July was $277,021.31. The same month last year (2019) reported $259,431.80.

The increase in collected OC Tax reflects a growth in reported wages and/or profits of $1,172,600 for the month of July for the County. July typically reflects some of June’s tax due to late reporting for the month of June, but the increase in collections over the same time period in 2019 should be noted.

Of the $277,021.31 reported, $92,340.43 was deposited in the Jail Fund, an increase of $5,863.19 from July a year ago. The General Fund received $184,680.88, an increase of $11,726.35 more than 2019 July OC Tax.

Crappie USA Travels to Lake Cumberland

Participants will compete in amateur and pro divisions at the
September 18-19, 2020 crappie tournament sponsored by Somerset-Pulaski County CVB

Louisville – Crappie anglers from several states will travel to Lake Cumberland at Somerset, KY for a Crappie USA Tournament event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Local and traveling anglers will be vying for cash, prizes, and an opportunity to compete at the 2020 Crappie USA Classic which will feature a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
Anglers fishing the September 18-19, 2020 Super Event will be testing their crappie fishing skills against other anglers and whatever Mother Nature has in store.
Lake Cumberland is known for good populations of nice sized crappie and a good weigh-in is expected. A total of 67 boats fished the popular event in 2019.
Last year’s Pro Division Winners were the B’n’M Poles team of Jake Hengstler from Botkins, OH, and Jason Koesters from New Bremen, OH. They weighed a two-day bag of 22.33 pounds.
On the Amateur Division side, Scott and Tresa Carrier took the top spot in 2019. They had 21.21 pounds to earn the win. They caught around 60 fish on the day.

How to Enter

Teams may consist of one or two anglers, with a third member allowed if the angler is under the age of 16 years old. Early registration can be accomplished on the CUSA website at Teams may also enter by calling (502) 384-5924 or by entering at the mandatory pre-tournament seminar on the night before the tournament begins. Entry fees vary by length of tournament. All fees are posted on the website linked above. Late entries are subject to a $25.00 late fee.
Participating anglers must be a member of the American Crappie Association (ACA).
Sign up at where the various levels of membership are available. Each membership will include a subscription to the Crappie Digest, the official publication of Crappie USA, and one of the top crappie fishing publications in the nation.
Coronavirus Response
Anglers will sign up at registration, be given a copy of guidelines for social distancing, be given a copy of the rules, and be given their weigh-in voucher. At that point, they will leave the registration site.
At the weigh-in, social distancing will be maintained in the weigh-in line and only allow a few teams at a time will be allowed to be in the line. Other anglers can wait in vehicles and boats. All staff will be wearing facemasks and we encourage all anglers and spectators to do the same.

Registration and

Late registration and a pre-tournament seminar will be held the day before the tournament at Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 50 Stevie Lynn Drive, Somerset, KY 42503.
Late Sign-in begins at 5:00 pm and runs to 7:00 pm. A National Sponsor Field Test Product Drawing accompanies the seminar starting at 7:00 pm local time. This seminar is open to the public. Those not fishing the event are encouraged to attend this meeting and meet some of the region’s top crappie anglers.
The Weigh-In Site
The tournament weigh-in will be held at Pulaski Co Park, 1200 Hwy 3189, Nancy, KY 42544. The weigh-in begins at 3:00 pm and all anglers are required to be in line by 4:00pm. This is the perfect opportunity for non-competitors to learn how the big ones are caught. Interviews of the top 5 teams are conducted following the weigh-in.

Somerset-Pulaski County CVB welcomes all Crappie USA anglers and their guests to the area and hope they take the opportunity to enjoy the local attractions. They are also a national sponsor of CUSA. For more information on the area visit their website or call 800-642-6287.

Host Lodging Site

Host lodging is provided by:
[1] Holiday Inn Express, 50 Stevie Lynn Dr, Somerset, KY 42503, 606-425-4444
[2] Hampton Inn, 4141 So Hwy 27, Somerset, KY 42501, 606-676-8855
The number of rooms in the area may be limited. It is recommended that participants make their reservations early.
Crappie USA “Free Crappie Kids Rodeo”- Suspended for 2020
The normal Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeos will not be held for the remaining 2020 event schedule due to coronavirus concerns.

The Classic
The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 22 – 24, 2020 at Green River Lake, Columbia, KY. The 2020 Crappie USA Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.

National Sponsors
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Cumberland Crappie Double Seats, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Somerset-Pulaski Co CVB, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, WavePro, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Allegro Marinades, and Aftco Clothing.
For more information on the Classic and other CUSA events visit the website at and Crappie USA Tournament Trail Facebook Page.

August 20th, 2020

Uncle Buck’s Beer Wine and Spirits grand opening

Earlier this week, Uncle Buck’s Beer, Wine, and Spirits hosted their grand opening event. Pictured are Barbara Edwards (employee), Anthony Magliano, Mehg Marshall and Eric Vanselow (co partners and owner), ABC Director Brenda Blevins, McCreary County Tourism’s Michelle Perry and McCreary County Chamber of Commerce Board Member Shane Gilreath, and Gen Hamilton (employee.) The store is located in Marshes Siding on HWY 27 in the former ZZ’s Restaurant building.

Nominations Accepted for Chamber Awards

Nominate now for 2020 Citizen, Volunteer, Educator, Student, Business, and Lifetime Achievement.

By Eugenia Jones

Do you know a McCreary County citizen, volunteer, educator, student, business, or lifetime achiever deserving of special recognition? If so, now is the time to recognize that individual or business by nominating them to receive a McCreary County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) award for 2020.
Although the annual Chamber Banquet, during which MCCC awards are traditionally presented, has been cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, former Chamber President Holly Daugherty said the organization will still recognize outstanding individuals for the year in the following categories: Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Educator of the Year, Student of the Year, Business/Business Person of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement.
“Presenting these awards to our citizens and businesses is special,” Daugherty said of the longstanding awards process which began approximately thirty-five years ago. “It allows us to give them the special recognition they deserve and show them how deeply we appreciate them and the services they provide to McCreary County. We love getting public input about the businesses or individuals. We already know McCreary County is great, but reading about it through the eyes of our fellow McCreary Countians makes us understand things on a much bigger and more personal level.”
According to Daugherty, the MCCC Board of Directors meet after all award nominations are received to discuss and vote on the nominations. All nominations are reviewed and honorees finalized by majority board vote.
This year’s completed nomination forms must be submitted no later than September 11, 2020 and mailed to The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 548, Whitley City, KY 42653.
Nomination forms can be found online at the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or picked up at the following locations: United Cumberland Bank, Kristina’s Kitchen, and McCreary County Public Library.

If your child told you they were sexually harassed or abused by faculty in school, would you report it to the school or police and why

Below are the responses from our
facebook questions.

Courtney Creekmore – State police not county!
Willie Wilson – 100%

Ronnie Hamlin – Reporting anything to anybody in our school system, be it a principal, vice principal, or someone at the board office will will get you nothing.
Cindy Denyes – Ronnie Hamlin – how true is that statement.

Danny Myers – The police, then if nothing got resolved, the coroner
Codey Smith – Considering the school knows about it and continues to move around predators that will still be around children, I’d say police.
Heather Tucker – Codey Smith – exactly.

Amber Hogeland – Let my kids come home and tell me someone made them uncomfortable and EVERYBODY gonna know. Mama don’t play that bulls**t.
Lonnie Brown – I’d call the police first and the person better hope they get to the school first
Jackie Gregory – Neither but they ALL gonna know about it when I get a hold of em’
Debbie Perry Shelley – Both, the school needs to beware that no child is abused by staff or anyone in the school. The police needs to investigate and arrest.
Lisa Frye – Police and DCBS!!!
Kasey Higginbotham – I would go straight to the police and file a report because the school system is just a joke, they just sweep it under the rug like nothing happened.
Jessica Bryant – Mc being such a small town most things are all about who you know.. it would be best to start with the police in my opinion.
Veine Boggs – Go to FBI. Local cops or the school system won’t do anything because they would cover it up to protect the person not the child
Heather Tucker – Judging from the post made by a fb friend, I would totally bypass the school and go straight to the police. So many people have reported incidents to the schools to be turned away and sent back to class over the last 20 yrs.
Pamela N Russell Bryant – The police would always be first.
Marissa Leeann Crabtree – Definitely not the school, obviously. I’m even iffy on the police, county or state might as well take matters into your own hands, honestly. I know one particular judge that’s alittle crooked too, so what good would it do you? Really.
Jennifer Butler – Well my baby has 3 big brothers so if anyone ever even thinks about touching or sexual harass my daughter they better hope and pray the law gets them before this momma bear and big brothers get a Hold of them….
Kelly Stephens – The way the police is in this county, and the school system, id take care of it myself.
Cheryl Ramey – Let my kids come home and tell me something like. Cause it’s gonna be like war world 20 in that school.
Lisa Parks – Why? Our systems completely corrupt.. There are no good guys anymore… Be better off taking matters in your own hands
Nicole Duncan – Would it do any good? Would going to the police or school system really result in action?
How many things in this country are ‘forgotten’ about or swept under the rug, because of who they know or the amount of money in their pocket, (not just about sexual abuse, but all kinds of things)?
My predator, at the time, was a school bus driver. He never once saw a jail cell. He lost the bus driving job, but was allowed to coach little league.
It’s hard for anyone to feel safe knowing that.
Eric Spencer Shoopman – Man, I’m half tempted to come back to McCreary County and run for office just so someone will actually give a shit about this. Everyone there either knows or is related to these people, from the schools to the courthouse to the police. Nothing will get done, just like nothing was done for the past 20 years.
Cindy Jeffers – I’m knocking down everybody’s door! The whole state will be aware!
Branscum Smichelle – Most definitely
Felicia Bertram – I’m going straight to the police….same if a teacher hits my kids, which happens more often.
Beverly Shook – The police if I knew about it. The problem is, sometimes it’s so subtle the students aren’t aware that the behavior is inappropriate until they’re grown and may not tell their parents at the time it is occurring. Once they have graduated, I’m not sure what can be done about it?

Meghan Parman – Honestly no, nothing would be done by faculty. I would simply just pull my child from school and homeschool them. I’ve watched it time and time again. No action is ever taken. It’s never taken seriously.
Cindy Denyes – Meghan Parman – unless your child is special needs. They took me to court so I couldn’t homeschooling. My child’s dr. Pulled him from the crooked school. School board is a joke. Went to Frankfort over their heads.
Meghan Parman – Cindy Denyes – I was in court because I tried to pull out at 18 and homeschool so I know that too. They made me stay because I was 7 days unexcused
Cindy Denyes – Meghan Parman – It’s who you know in the county. Especially if you’re an outsider. Glad I am out of that crooked county.
Meghan Parman – Cindy Denyes- my kids will not attend school here when I have them. I know what happens in the Highschool with teachers and it’s just not happening
Cindy Denyes – Meghan Parman – good for you. Homeschooling is the way to go in this day and age.

Dovie Dobbs – What about the bus drivers?

Victoria Smith – A Facebook post was made about inappropriate behavior within the school system. It has over 200 comments from past students who knew of teachers sleeping with students, teachers texting students, having contact with teachers outside of school in an inappropriate way, sexual comments were made to students, teachers touching students bodies, and even students reporting to counselors and principal that their teachers where making them uncomfortable in the classroom but was sent back to that class despite their complaint. The proof is in the comments of that post. I think everyone in this county can agree that the school system here is so political and some employees simply care about their pay checks more than they would ever care about a under age student complaining of a teacher being inappropriate with them. If we as kids knew of incidents and inappropriate behavior in the school then no doubt other employees knew what was going on and saw it yet turned a blind eye. Telling a student to just ‘stay away from them’ is not doing anyone good. Especially a victim of sexual assault.
Heather Tucker – Victoria Smith – you would think the school board would want to investigate the post considering there were so many to post about their experiences while attending mchs.
Victoria Smith – Heather Tucker – I’m guessing they aren’t saying anything in hopes that everyone just forgets about the comments. If you are reading this and have had an inappropriate experience/relationship with an employee while in school- do not be afraid. You where a minor and you where takin advantage of. We are here and support you. Please message me or my husband Codey Smith.

Major Painting Project to Begin at Blue Heron Outdoor Museum

Stearns – Beginning Tuesday, August 18, 2020, the National Park Service will prepare and paint the open metal shell buildings, referred to as “ghost structures,” and the train depot at the Blue Heron outdoor museum in Stearns, Kentucky. Crews will close and paint one ghost structure while all others will remain open to minimize visitor impact to the area. The Blue Heron train depot will remain open during the duration of the project, but small sections of the depot will be closed to perform necessary painting tasks. The project is expected to be completed by early November 2020.
Updates on this closure will be posted online at,,, and

leaking oil

Photo by MCSO
Friday morning a tanker truck loaded with motor oil wrecked near the Holly Hill Fire Department. The driver was unhurt except for some scrapes and bruises. Hazmat was called to clean-up leaking oil from the truck and cleared the area around 4:00 pm that afternoon. McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, Holly Hill and Pine Knot Fire Departments assisted on the scene.

August 13th, 2020

Top Girl Scout Cookie Sellers

Photo by Michelle Ross Left to Right: 1st Place – Lily Marnhout, 710 boxes, Troop 7102. 2nd Place – Nichole Ross, 401 boxes, Troop 7102. 3rd Place – Kinslee Jones, 231 boxes, Troop 2968.

McCreary’s Covid-19 Cases continue to increase

Voice Staff Report

McCreary County Covid-19 cases continue to increase with the latest active cases reported at 10 and one hospitalized bringing the county’s cumulative total to 46 cases. The surrounding 10 counties in the Lake Cumberland District Health Department have seen a slight decrease in active cases to a cumulative total of 233 and 12 hospitalized, of those cases 48 are asymptomatic.

Pulaski County continues to be a hot spot at 68 active cases and three hospitalized, a small decrease from last week. Taylor County has 32 active cases with three hospitalized, Russell has 29 cases and two hospitalized, Adair has 25 active cases and two hospitalized, Casey has 13 cases and Wayne has 20 active cases and each have one hospitalized, Clinton has 13 cases and Cumberland County has 15 cases and no hospitalizations, and Green County reports 8 active cases.

Scott County Tennessee is reporting 66 active cases and a cumulative total for the pandemic of 124 cases and 1 death.
The Lake Cumberland District Health Department now reports a cumulative total for the ten counties at 1,357 cases and 45 deaths. Statewide, all 120 counties, current active cases reported are 3,731 for a cumulative total of 35,928 cases with 783 deaths.
Due to the uptick in active cases, Governor Beshear is recommending that schools postpone in-person classes until the end of September. LCDHD is urging everyone to help slow the spread of this very contagious virus by following the guidelines and practicing safe health. The health department believes the virus to be widespread regardless of case counts.
For more information and daily updates on this area go to


The Center for Rural Development offers both online and in-person training courses for individuals and businesses

The Center for Rural Development is offering both online and in-person training courses for individuals and businesses in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to enhance their workforce skills.
All of the training courses, provided by The Center’s Business & Community Training Center, are taught by professional instructors and include step-by-step instructions to help you get started learning a new skill or advancing your career training.
The following courses have been added to the August/September training schedule:
• Microsoft Office Teams: Aug. 13 (9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.) and Sept. 10 (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.)
This online course will help users get started with Teams, use messages and channels, communicate in different ways, and customize Teams settings. By the end of the course, participants should be comfortable using the Teams app in their day-to-day work flow. Cost: $49
• Becoming Your Best in the Workplace: Aug. 13 (1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
Unemployed and underemployed individuals who live in Bell, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, McCreary, Perry, Pulaski, and Whitley counties are eligible to receive this online training at no cost. Topics covered include how to communicate effectively; prepare for a job interview; be a team player; solve problems that arise on the job; professionalism in the workplace, and more.
• Keep Going with Intuit QuickBooks: Aug. 19 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Keep Going with QuickBooks is recommended for students already familiar with Intuit QuickBooks and want to advance their skills and improve performance. In this online course, QuickBooks users will learn how to memorize transactions, customize forms, and share files with an accountant. Cost: $149
• Microsoft Office Excel Part 1: Aug. 21 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Learn how to organize, calculate, analyze, revise, update, and present data in this online training course. Students will explore the basics of Microsoft Office Excel 2016 and start building their skills. Cost: $149
• Get Going with Intuit QuickBooks: Sept. 2 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Students will use the basic features of QuickBooks to record and track business transactions. This training course is scheduled to be held in-person, on-site at The Center for Rural Development unless specified otherwise. Cost: $149
•Front Desk/Help Desk training consists of four modules listed below that may be taken individually or together to earn a Front Desk/Help Desk certificate. All classes will be held virtually from 10 a.m.-noon on Microsoft Office Teams. The cost is $29.99 per module or $99 for all four training modules.
• Customer Service: Sept. 9
The Customer Service training module will introduce students to aspects of customer service at a front desk/help desk setting that can be utilized in any service industry. Topics covered include the importance of customer service, examples of both good and bad customer service, customer service environments, diversity in the workplace, and ADA compliancy.
• Professional Communications: Sept. 16
The Professional Communications training module will cover active listening and questioning, phone chat, and email etiquette.
• Productivity and Time Management: Sept. 23
The Productivity and Time Management module will cover decision-making, problem-solving, project management, time management, goals, autonomous work, teamwork, workflow processes, office procedures, stress management, and coping skills.
• Technology and Digital Information Literacy: Sept. 30
The Technology & Digital Information Literacy training module will introduce basic computer hardware and software, the basics of living and working with online environments, and will provide students with a basic understanding of information literacy, copyright, and effective search strategies.
• Microsoft Office Excel Part 1: Sept. 15 and Sept. 17 (5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.)
This online training course is split into two evening sessions and held over two days. Students will explore the basics of Microsoft Office Excel 2016 and start building their skills. Cost: $149
• Microsoft Office Excel Part 2: Sept. 29 and 30 (1 p.m.-4:30 p.m.)
This course is scheduled to be held in-person, on-site at The Center for Rural Development unless stated otherwise. The training course will be split into two afternoon sessions and held over two days. Students will build upon their knowledge of Microsoft Office Excel 2016 and create advanced workbooks and worksheets. Cost: $149.
To register or for more information about these and other training courses, please call 606-677-6000, email or visit
The Center for Rural Development is located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset, KY.



August 6th, 2020

Spec Building Repairs Complete

According to McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels, Gary Clark Construction recently completed repairs on the Spec Building off Meadows Grove Road in Pine Knot. Updates include repair of the roof, repair of leaks and guttering, installation of moisture resistant drywall, installation of a new 15,000 lumen LED lighting in the bay area and LED lighting in the office, and installation of moisture barrier in the floor. The McCreary County Spec Building is now listed on Zoom nationwide listing of available buildings and land.

Healthy Eating on the Run: A Month of Tips

1. Think ahead and plan where you will eat. Consider what meal options are available. Look for restaurants or carry-out with a wide range of menu items.
2. Take time to look over the menu and make careful selections. Some restaurant menus may have a special section for “healthier” choices.
3. Read restaurant menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content. Menu terms that can mean less fat and calories: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, and steamed.
4. Menu terms that can mean more fat and calories: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, and breaded. Choose these foods only occasionally and in small portions.
5. Order the regular or child-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more than you need. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer in place of a main course.
6. It’s OK to make special requests, just keep them simple. For example, ask for a baked potato or side salad in place of French fries; no mayonnaise or bacon on your sandwich; sauces served on the side.
7. Hunger can drive you to eat too much bread before your meal arrives. Hold the bread or chips until your meal is served. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Think about your food choices for the entire day. If you’re planning a special restaurant meal in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch.
9. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink for women and two for men. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without any nutrients.
10. Tempted by sweet, creamy desserts? Order one dessert with enough forks for everyone at the table to have a bite.
11. Split your order. Share an extra-large sandwich or main course with a friend or take half home for another meal.
12. Boost the nutrition in all types of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers or other vegetables.
13. A baked potato offers more fiber, fewer calories and less fat than fries if you skip the sour cream and butter. Top your potato with broccoli and a sprinkle of cheese or salsa.
14. At the sandwich shop, choose lean beef, ham, turkey or chicken on whole grain bread. Ask for mustard, ketchup, salsa or low-fat spreads. And, don’t forget the veggies.
15. In place of fries or chips, choose a side salad, fruit or baked potato. Or, share a regular order of fries with a friend.
16. Enjoy ethnic foods such as Chinese stir-fry, vegetable-stuffed pita or Mexican fajitas. Go easy on the sour cream, cheese and guacamole.
17. At the salad bar, pile on the dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers and other fresh vegetables.
18. Lighten up on mayonnaise-based salads and high-fat toppings. Enjoy fresh fruit as your dessert.
19. Eat your lower-calorie food first. Soup or salad is a good choice. Follow up with a light main course.
20. Ask for sauces, dressings and toppings to be served “on the side.” Then you control how much you eat.
21. Pass up all-you-can-eat specials, buffets and unlimited salad bars if you tend to eat too much. If you do choose the buffet, fill up on salads and vegetables first. Take no more than two trips and use the small plate that holds less food.
22. Load up your pizza with vegetable toppings. If you add meat, make it lean ham, Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp.
23. Look for a sandwich wrap in a soft tortilla. Fillings such as rice mixed with seafood, chicken, or grilled vegetables are usually lower in fat and calories.
24. Build a better breakfast sandwich: replace bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or ham and order your sandwich on a whole grain English muffin or bagel.

25. Be size-wise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has more than twice the fat and calories of the regular size.
26. Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.
27. Refrigerate carry-out or leftovers if the food won’t be eaten right away. Toss foods kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
28. Grabbing dinner at the supermarket deli? Select rotisserie chicken, salad-in-a-bag and freshly baked bread. Or, try sliced lean roast beef, onion rolls, potato salad and fresh fruit.
29. Always eating on the go? Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in your purse, tote, briefcase or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Some suggestions are peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, a piece of fresh fruit, trail mix, single serve packages of whole grain cereal or crackers.
30. For desk-top dining, keep single-serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, soup, or tuna in your desk for a quick lunch.

July 30th, 2020

High Ranking Photographs

Photo by Eugenia Jones Rob Givens, a retired Brigadier General, US Air Force and State Director for KY’s U.S. Senator Rand Paul, presented autographed photos of President Donald J. Trump and Senator Paul to American Legion Post 115 Commander Scottie Morrow. The photos were presented to Post 115 in honor of the Post’s outstanding service to the community.

The last of the old time butchers

Photo by Kaitlyn Wilson “I’m probably one of the last old-school meat cutters left,” Bruce Trammell, the long time butcher at Earl Anderson’s Grocery, commented when asked about his upcoming retirement. Trammell is set to retire this Saturday, August 1, on his 66th birthday.

By Kaitlyn Wilson

Anyone who has been in Earl Anderson’s grocery can tell you that stepping inside is much like stepping back into the past, between the wooden floors and old registers. Earl’s is even keeping the classics alive right down to the way they sell meat. Everything is as fresh and non-prepackaged as possible, from the freshly ground hamburger to the white butcher’s paper they use to wrap meat instead of plastic bags. Stores like Earl Anderson’s, who have their own service case for meat, are becoming increasingly rarer in modern times. While these mom-and-pop stores may have trouble competing with bigger chains, long-time butcher Bruce Trammell said that they have the upper hand when it comes to meat. He processes as much as he can himself, meaning they can be cheaper on most of the meat products whereas big stores cannot sell quite as cheap. This also affords for better quality, because he’s involved in the entire process and can tell when something is bad. “If I wouldn’t take it home, I wouldn’t put it in the meat case,” Trammell pointed out.
For the past 45 years, butcher Bruce Trammell has been a community staple at Earl Anderson’s, a mom-and-pop grocery store in Pine Knot. It all started in 1971, where during his sophomore year in high school Trammell began carrying groceries for $1 an hour. Back then, he worked after school, Saturday’s, and would often reach 60 hour work weeks during the summer. Trammell recalled hitchhiking to school and to work, noting that a lot has changed in the world since then.
He graduated high school in 1973 and moved on to working different odd jobs, before returning to Anderson’s in 1974 as a bagger and stocker. In 1975, Trammell began cutting meat and hasn’t quite stopped ever since. With most big stores moving to pre-packaged meat, Trammell believes that he may be one of the last old school meat cutters left.

“It’s more personal,” Trammell said. “I know everyone, they know me and they trust me. They know they can expect quality.” He turns 66 this Saturday, his last day before retirement. He mentioned that he had been training someone new, an up and coming 21 year old butcher, but it takes a long time to learn the cuts well enough to produce the same skilled speed that Trammell has from years of experience. “No two meat cutters are going to be exactly alike,” he laughed. “It’s hard to make a meat cutter change his ways.”
A customer who recently learned of Trammell’s retirement reminisced back on the 40 years she had been purchasing his products to feed her family. “You could depend on him,” she said. “I always knew of him as a quality butcher and all around friendly face.” Bruce will be sorely missed by the community, but we’re sure the new guy will catch on fast.

How do you feel about the first five weeks of school being done through distance learning, no in person classes

Below are the
responses from our
facebook questions.

Jennifer Butler – I am doing to virtual learning first half of the year I hope and pray that this virus has died down to where I can she my daughter back to school after Christmas break cause she wants to go now but I know she more than likely wouldn’t wear her mask the whole time.

Jill Newman – I look for it to be online for the entirety of the year. But would like to see teachers doing live stream teaching rather than have kids watch slides & videos. Too many (not all) were out shopping & getting paid for it while janitors, cooks & bus drivers continued to work & had sick days taken away if they missed during the pandemic.

Cindy Jeffers – Well, I opted for virtual learning for the first half anyways.

Linda L. Jones – We were doing the distance learning, anyway.

Lindy Smith-Sellers – I chose it for the first half but overall i think its the best thing for community right now.

Regina Stephens Ball – Its sad….

Sheila Bowen Massengale – I’m glad they did.

Debbie Dobbs – That is what I chose to do the first nine week to see how it worked out.

Kelly Williams – It’s what I chose to do the first half anyways. It’s for the best.

Anna Fischer – 100% I was Doing distant learning anyways with my kids.

Congressman Rogers Announces Funding to Support KY Wildlands Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) applauds Eastern Kentucky PRIDE for earning a $250,000 competitive grant from the Economic Development Administration for the new Kentucky Wildlands initiative to promote tourism in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
“For years, PRIDE volunteers have cleaned up our hillsides, lakes and streams to preserve the beauty of our Appalachian region. The Kentucky Wildlands initiative is the next natural step to let the world know that we are working hard to make this a destination hotspot for outdoor adventure and wildlife enthusiasts,” said Congressman Rogers. “I’m incredibly proud of our leaders at PRIDE for dreaming big and creating partnerships to make our region an exciting and beautiful place to live.”
The Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Foundation serves 41 counties. This project will implement a marketing initiative with destination branding as, “The Kentucky Wildlands, Elevate Your Play,” which will leverage the region’s natural assets and strong cultural heritage to promote new or enhanced traveler experiences that increase tourism spending and strengthen tourism as an economic driver for the region.
“We are so grateful for EDA’s support of this initiative. Our tourism industry has been among the hardest hit during this pandemic. Our region is poised to be the place to visit, especially for social distancing. With our vast landscape, hundreds of waterfalls, miles upon miles of hiking trails. The Kentucky Wildlands has it all,” said Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of PRIDE. “This grant will allow us to extend our media marketing efforts beyond that provided by the current ARC POWER grant of $1.15 million, providing the help our small communities need as we work to recover from the current events.”
“This welcome grant funding will continue tapping into the heritage and potential of Eastern and Southern Kentucky. I was proud to work with my good friend Congressman Rogers to help deliver these federal resources,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Kentucky Wildlands Initiative will continue encouraging growth across the Appalachian region, helping families and communities prosper. I’m delighted to support Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, and I look forward to the future exploration of this wonderful area.”
The Kentucky Wildlands is projected to impact 54 designated Opportunity Zones located in the service area to create jobs and spur economic development in a region hit hardest by the downturn of the coal industry. Congressman Rogers was proud to join Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to usher legislation through Congress last year that directs the National Park Service to complete a study to determine whether Kentucky’s Appalachian region meets the requirements to become the Kentucky Wildlands National Heritage Area, which would be Kentucky’s first such designation.

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application’s merit, the applicant’s eligibility, and the availability of funds. More information on EDA’s grant and investment process can be found at

July 23rd, 2020

Photos by Kaitlyn Wilson Tuesday, June 21, 2020 members of the Whitley City and Pine Knot Fire Departments responded to the call of a fire in a single family residence. Once there, they found possible electrical issues with an AC window unit that caught fire in a bedroom, but the fire was contained to the single room. McCreary County EMS was on scene on standy.

Auditor of Public Accounts Declines Request For Audit

By Eugenia Jones

After receiving and considering a request from McCreary County Fiscal Court for an audit of the McCreary County Extension Office, the Auditor of Public Accounts based in Frankfort, KY declined to conduct an audit citing their own limited resources, the fact that the Extension Office received an audit for the year ending June 30, 2018, and matters involving the former extension agent have been addressed previously by the University of Kentucky.

The McCreary County Fiscal Court voted, in a meeting on June 26, to submit a request to the state auditor requesting an Extension Service Audit. The vote came after the University of Kentucky released documents from an internal audit concerning alleged conflicts of interest against Greg Whitis, who served as Extension Agent for McCreary County for 28 years.

28th Annual Haunting in the Hills Storytelling Festival

The 28th annual “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival is scheduled for September 17-19 at the Twin 27 Drive-In Theater in Somerset, Kentucky. Enjoy three fun-filled evenings of stories. This annual event is free and open to the public. Thursday evening will be general storytelling with Friday and Saturday evenings the popular Haunting in the Hills ghost stories. So come and join us and listen from the comfort of your vehicle and be part of a 28-year tradition.
Storytelling has always been an important part of the Big South Fork community. What started as a small program for local schools 27 years ago has turned into a full day long festival with professional storytellers from around the world.
Featured storytellers for 2020 are: Michael D. McCarty, Charlotte Blake Alston, Pam Faro, and Katie Knutson.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information call the park at (423) 569-9778 or go to:

Free Covid-19 Testing

Hundreds of McCreary County residents took advantage of the drive-through testing in May. LCDHD, the McCreary County Fiscal Court and South Fork Medical will host the free Covid testing on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Free Covid-19 testing for citizens of McCreary County will be conducted on Wednesday July 29th at the South Fork Medical Clinic on Medical Lane in Whitley City from 8 am to 6 pm. The testing will be conducted in a drive through setting with people waiting in their cars to be tested.
No appointment is needed and there is no cost to local citizens who want to be tested. There is a 48 to 72 hour return time for results of the test. People are encouraged to take advantage of the free test since more asymptomatic cases are being detected in the Lake Cumberland Area. Asymptomatic cases show no signs of having the virus but can easily transmit the disease to others.
The free testing day is being brought to the County by the McCreary County Fiscal Court, South Fork Medical and the Lake Cumberland Health Department. For more information call 606-376-7212.

Question of
the week

What do you think of the Governor’s mandate to a wear a mask?

Below are the responses from our
facebook questions.

Tim Cindy Higginbotham – No!! They say China is where the virus came from yet mask are made in China put a China mask on get a China virus, I think it should be your choice to ware one or not if you feel safe not wearing it then by o means don’t, if you feel safer with one on then ware it and I think it says on the side of the box the mask DOES NOT prevent Covid anyways.
Davey Crockett – No
Kasey Higginbotham – I think its stupid especially in a restaurant situation you wear the mask to walk in then take it off 10 foot from the door to eat how’s any of it make sense how’s the mask helping when it doesnt have to be a specific type of mask its government using their power to control people it’s not about safety it’s about compliance and see how far they can push people how much will we give before we stand up and say no more.
Stephania Faith Bolin – I thinks it’s crazy it’s just going to make people more sick in my book.
Lisa Jones – I agree nothing wrong with wearing a mask, while in a store other states are doing the same thing.
Brian McKee – Governor Andy Beshear is Doing a Good job and keeping the people safe unlike The Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Alesha Tapley – It’s great so glad to see he cares about the people and not just himself now if all will do it this crap will end and everyone can have a life.
Stan Wethington – I think it just another way of taking away our rights and free will… Its about like how there’s a coin shortage can you say bs?

July 16th, 2020

Cleaning Up

Photos by Nathan H Nevels
On Friday and Saturday, McCreary County residents took advantage of the opportunity to dump bulk items for free at the Stearns Transfer Station. With Tony Kidd and the road department, the recycling crew, County Attorney Austin Price, magistrates, Judge Greene and Deputy Judge Nathan Nevels among those helping with the bulk drop off event, folks were able to get unloaded and on their way home much faster this year.

County Continues Issuing New
Alcohol Licenses

With twelve businesses already selling alcohol, more businesses prepare to go wet

By Eugenia Jones

Although some local businesses are reporting slower sales of alcohol presumably due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the number of McCreary County locations selling alcohol continues to climb. Currently, there are twelve stores actively selling alcohol with Dollar General in Pine Knot, Poppa’s Liquor, and Uncle Buck’s all awaiting final inspections and expecting to begin sales soon. Additional businesses are preparing for future alcohol sales by remodeling or working on new construction.

Since issuing the first alcohol license earlier this year, McCreary County has collected $11,380.00 in licensing fees and $21,506.45 in regulatory fees. Both the county and state receive revenue from fees charged for licenses. Additionally, the County collects a 6% regulatory fee from all alcohol sales.
Revenue coming from local alcohol sales is deposited in the County’s General Fund where it, as mandated by Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control, must go to administration or enforcement of alcohol policies, including the sheriff’s department. McCreary County’s 2020/21 budget reflects an anticipated $80,000 of revenue from alcohol sales with $35,000 earmarked for administration (including salaries) of the local Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office.

Highland Telephone Announces Annual Scholarship Winners

Photos submitted Makamie Jean Phillips, 376 exchange, Family Christian Academy, with Shelva Jo Jones, 376 Director, and Tony Kidd, Secretary/Treasurer.


Kelsie Hammons, 354 exchange, McCreary Central High School, with Sam Byrd, 354 Director. (Not pictured is Bryson Bryant, 376 exchange, McCreary Central High School).

The Manager and Board of Directors of Highland Telephone Cooperative, Inc., (HTC) presented this year’s scholarships to winning seniors June 29, 2020, at Company headquarters in Sunbright. This is the twentieth year the scholarships have been awarded by HTC to high-school seniors judged to be the winners of their essay contest. The deadline for turning in the essays was March 13, and the winners were announced today. The essay was entitled “Technology for Telecommunications” and was judged by an impartial panel consisting of local teachers. Each judge reviewed essays from a county other than their county of residence.
The awards presentation was held outside at Company headquarters in Sunbright, and the CDC guidelines for social distancing were followed.
Recipients of the scholarship must present proof of enrollment or incurred fees at the post-secondary institution of their choice to receive the scholarship funds. Students may use the scholarship at any post-secondary institution.
There were nine (9) $1,000 scholarships awarded. The winners are as follows:

• Samuel Howard, Wartburg Central High School, 346 exchange, Donald Jones, Director
• Olivia Hudson, Coalfield High School, 324 exchange, Max Spurling, Director

• Jaelyn Phillips, Oneida High School, 569/286 Exchange, Ms. Dorothy Watson, James E. Terry, Directors
• Jacob Manis, Oneida High School, 569/286 Exchange, Ms. Dorothy Watson, James E. Terry, Directors
• Lauren Pennington, Scott High School, 663 Exchange, Jan Byrd, Director
• Lily Cross, Scott High School, 627 Exchange, John Tate, Director

• Kelsie Hammons, McCreary Central High School, 354 Exchange, Mr. Sam Strunk, Director
• Makamie Jean Phillips, Family Christian Academy, 376 Exchange, Ms. Shelva Jo Jones, Mr. Tony Kidd, Directors
• Bryson Bryant, McCreary Central High School, 376 Exchange, Ms. Shelva Jo Jones, Mr. Tony Kidd, Directors
Also receiving checks were three area school districts that provided judges for the grading of the essays. Their respective schools received a $500 contribution in appreciation for their time and effort in judging the essays. The money may be spent as the school deems appropriate. The judges included Ms. Tammy Shannon, Sunbright High School; Mr. Eric Henry, Scott High School; and Mr. Michael Wilson, McCreary Central High School.
The response for the HTC Scholarship Fund was good this year, even in the middle of a pandemic. HTC still believes this is an excellent way to promote education among our young people and hopes that even more graduating seniors will again take advantage of this easy opportunity to win a scholarship next year.
HTC thanks everyone for his or her participation and support.

Court approves disbursements for C.A.R.E.S.

Act Relief funds

By Kaitlyn Wilson

On Thursday, July 9th, 2020 the Fiscal Court held a short meeting.
Outside of routine business such as approving minutes and transfers, the court handled very few items. The court approved disbursements to be made to the County Clerk and Sheriff’s Office, for their portions of the C.A.R.E.S. Act Relief funds once they are received, at the request of EMA Director Stephen McKinney.
The C.A.R.E.S. Act Relief funds come from the state, who received the money from the Federal Government. $300 million was allotted to the State of Kentucky, who has decided to reserve $50 million. This left $250 million to be dispersed among the counties based on population, with McCreary County receiving $586,650. This money is to be used to purchase personal protective equipment, cover sanitation costs, and pay for extra law enforcement and EMS calls during the pandemic. These funds are available to our county from July until December, or until we reach the amount. It should be noted that this is why filling out the census is so important for our community, because a more accurate population count would mean more money would be allotted for our county. You may take the census at

Also covered during this meeting was the appointment of Eric Branscum as Commissioner of the West McCreary Fire Protection District. This was voted in unanimously with no discussion, and his term will run from July 9, 2020 to June 21, 2021. There was also a unanimous vote regarding the appointment of Debbie Sue Corder to the McCreary Board of Assessment Appeals. Debbie is replacing Terry Lawson as his term has expired and her term will run from July 9, 2020 to June 12, 2023.
Judge Green reported that Kroger has obtained their malt beverage package license and has since started selling, and the Big South Fork Motor Lodge has obtained their license, allowing them to serve motel guests. Pine Knot Dollar General should receive their license at any time. Uncle Buck’s in Whitley has received their license and will be ready to sell upon completion of the remodel. The All Sports Liquor Store in Pine Knot is now licensed and near completion. During the month of May, the county collected $7,642 in regulatory fees and $800 in new license fees. In the month of June the county earned $4,371 in regulatory fees and $400 in new county licenses for liquor sales. As of the Thursday meeting, the county has collected $11,380 in licensing fees and $21,506 in regulatory fees.
EMS and 911 Director Jimmy Barnett reported that they received 1,075 calls and performed 426 EMS runs. One ambulance has been sent off after logging 242,615 miles and transporting 3,406 patients. With a $50,000 grant, the ambulance will be returned with a new 2020 chassis.
During the meeting, Attorney Austin Price mentioned that during the warmer months, citizens should be aware of letting their pets roam. If you own a dog and your neighbors don’t want it on their property, then it is your duty to keep it on your property. However, if a dog that is not yours is on your property, you can not shoot it unless it is a threat to a human being or to livestock.

The meeting was adjourned and the next regular meeting of the Fiscal Court will be held on August 13, 2020.

July 9th, 2020

Board Meets Briefly in Special Session

By Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Board of Education met briefly in a special called meeting on June 29 to approve four actions by consent. During the meeting, the Board:
1. Awarded the bid for Bank Depository to United Cumberland Bank, Whitley City, KY.
2. Approved the second reading of Drug Testing Policy and Procedures.
3. Authorized the Board Attorney to file suit to quiet title to Smithtown Elementary Property if necessary pending Superintendent approval. A quiet title action is taken to clear up any issues regarding title to property.
4. Created two new teacher mentoring stipends in the amount of $4,000 each for 2019-2020 school year (one year only.) This action was taken retroactively to correct an error made when the stipends were originally created.
The McCreary County Board of Education meets in regular session on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Office.

Accentuate the Positive

“Ashley Moore is a firm believer that it only takes one person to make a difference.”

Photos by Eugenia Jones Ashley Moore wants to spread happiness through her chalk paintings. Moore has “chalked” several drawings with words of encouragement on sidewalks and pavement throughout McCreary County.

By Eugenia Jones

When the impact of COVID-19 hit McCreary County, Ashley Moore realized nothing in her hometown was the same.
“People who were normally beaming with smiles and joy were closing their business doors,” Moore reflected. “They were consumed with stress, panic, and fear. It didn’t just affect one or two people-it consumed us all.”
Moore wanted to do something to help her friends, family, and neighbors cope during the pandemic.
“I wondered what I could do to help,” Moore said. “I wanted to make a difference. I work here, I live here, I was raised here, and my family and friends are here. I knew I had to do something even if it was something small.”
With the local schools closed due to COVID-19, Moore recognized the pandemic’s impact on children. As a result, she wanted to reach out to McCreary County’s youth.
“An idea suddenly came to me-I was thinking about expression and chalk,” Moore said enthusiastically. “I picked up a basic pack of chalk and just started doodling simple stick figures with simple messages. I did my first “chalking” at Pine Knot Elementary Building 1 because I wanted the kids to realize they were missed at school. I knew my idea was working when someone shared that first “chalking” to the school district’s web page where I knew parents could see it and show it to their kids.”
With the success of her first “chalking,” Moore felt led to continue.
“I have friends who were forced to close their business doors,” Moore noted. “I wanted to reach out to them, too. I wanted to give them a ray of hope, a bit of encouragement, some light.”
Moore got busy leaving beautiful and colorful chalk drawings along with positive messages and words of encouragement throughout McCreary County. Young and old alike just had to smile when they saw the cheerful images on sidewalks at the schools, post office, telephone office, extension agency, public library, banks, and HWY 27 overpass at Pine Knot. To date, she has completed about thirty chalkings throughout the county.
“I did my chalking at a lot of high traffic locations where children and the elderly would be more likely to see them,” Moore noted. “One grandmother who only left her house once during the pandemic saw one at a beauty shop and said it just lifted her spirits. People started taking photos of the drawings and posting them to Facebook. Little kids got their parents to take them to the different chalking locations to get photos made with the drawings. One lady said she was having a really bad day and couldn’t help but smile when she saw the Genie chalking at UCB in Whitley City. A total stranger on Facebook thanked whoever was responsible for the chalk images and words of encouragement. All of this makes me feel good because a smile is what it is all about. I feel blessed to share my gift with others in such a positive way.”
Moore plans to continue chalking Disney characters throughout McCreary County.
“The positive feedback alone gives me the desire to continue,” Moore reflected. “When I finish a chalking, I have a sense of pride that although this something small, the outcome is much greater.”

Fsa Reminds Producers To Complete Crop Acreage Reports By July 15

Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce reminds farmers and ranchers that the deadline to report most crops is July 15th.
The first step to become eligibe for many u-s-d-a programs is to file an accurate crop acreage report.
F-s-a can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings.
Because of the pandemic, f-s-a is waiving the late file fee for producers who file their acreage reports within 30 days of the deadline.
To make your report, call your local f-s-a office to make an appointment. To find local office information visit farmers.G-o-v.

Peacemakers Militia

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The Peacemakers Chapter 1, a fledgling McCreary County militia organization, recently held their first organizational meeting. The informal meeting was held to determine interest in forming a local militia and to discuss guidelines for the group. Organizers stressed the militia group is to be peaceful, loving, and will welcome all patriotic members regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. The first meeting netted twenty interested individuals. The group will hold their first formal meeting to elect officers on July 15 at 7:00 p.m. For more information, interested individuals can contact the organizers (pictured left to right): Greg Ball (606-516-2016), Jon Morgan (606-310-3640), and/or Ronnie Shelley (606-310-2877.)

Receives Promotion

Jennifer Burdine-Mullins has been promoted to the position of Vice President of the Department of Community Based Services, at the Home of the Innocents in Louisville, Kentucky.
A former resident of McCreary County, she graduated from McCreary Central High School in 2005 as Salutatorian and received both her Bachelors of Criminal Justice in 2009 and a Masters of Education in 2011 from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. She has been with Home of the Innocents since 2012.
Home of the Innocents is a not for profit provider of children’s services including foster care and adoption. It has operated in the Louisville area since 1880.
Jennifer is the daughter of Greg and Jeanetta Burdine of Pine Knot and currently resides in Louisville.

Cumberland Falls Cleanup rescheduled for July 11

CORBIN – Volunteers are invited to pick up litter at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, including the overlook below the Falls, on Saturday, July 11, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Volunteers must pre-register by July 8. To pre-register, contact Olivia Immitt at or 606-528-4121, extension 413.
To promote social distancing, families and small groups will be separated into different areas throughout the park.
“We’re back! We know volunteers look forward to this popular event each year, so we have been eager to reschedule it as soon as safely possible after postponing it in March,” explained Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, which is one of the event organizers.
“There will be a door prize drawing for volunteers, but we have scaled back the event in other ways,” Nazario said. “For example, there will be no lunch and no buses dropping off volunteers along the roads leading to the Falls.”
“If there is a particular spot along the roadway you’d like to cleanup, please plan to drive there after you pick up your cleanup supplies near the Gift Shop,” she said.
On the day of the event, volunteers should meet in front of the Gift Shop to collect their protective gear and bags.
The event is a partnership among PRIDE, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, McCreary County Fiscal Court 109 Board, Whitley County Fiscal Court, US Forest Service, McCreary County Board of Education, Whitley County School System, Corbin Independent Schools, Pine Knot Job Corps, Corbin Tourism & Convention Commission, and Sheltowee Trace Outfitters.
The Cumberland Falls Cleanup is part of the PRIDE Spring Cleanup campaign across 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, which is sponsored by Outdoor Venture Corporation and Walmart.
For more information, please call the PRIDE office, toll free, at 888-577-4339. To invite friends to volunteer, look for the “Clean up at Cumberland Falls” event on Facebook.

July 2nd, 2020

McCreary County Farmers Market Open for Summer

By Eugenia Jones

June Williams would like to see all McCreary Countians visit their local Farmers Market adjacent to the Soil Conservation Office on Cabin Creek Road in Stearns on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until noon (or until vendors sell out.) The Market opened for its 2020 season on June 6 and will continue until the end of September. Plans for opening a weekday afternoon market with drive by service on Main Street in Whitley City has been discussed but has not been finalized.
Williams, who is the volunteer manager for the McCreary County Farmers Market, is excited about the 2020 season. Her excitement is warranted as the Market offers fresh locally grown produce (including organic), jams, jellies, baked goods, herbs, fresh eggs, plants, hand woven baskets, succulent planters, ceramics, plants, embroidered flour sack towels, masks, and more. All produce and wares are grown, harvested, or made in McCreary County or an adjacent county.
Williams, who offers vegetables, crafts, and honey at her own booth, enjoys watching things grow in her garden and keeping her hands busy with crafting. She also tends her own honey bees. Having a convenient place to sell her wares is an added bonus.
“I enjoy being here at the Market,” Williams said. “The Market is a good business for McCreary County, and we definitely want to keep it going.”
The Market is strictly following protocol for COVID-19 prevention. Vendors wear masks. Shoppers are encouraged to social distance and wear masks. Drive up service, by parking on the market’s west side near the porta potty area, is available for anyone preferring to remain in their vehicle.
The Market participates in a Senior Voucher program which provides low income seniors with better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Qualifying seniors may complete applications at the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency housed in the former Maloney’s building in the Big M Plaza in Whitley City. Eligibility for senior participants requires proof of age (60 and older) and proof of income (less than or equal to 185% of the poverty level.)
Shoppers are advised to visit the Market early to get the best selection of fresh vegetables and other locally produced wares. Some vendors accept debit/credit cards; however some require cash.
Farmers, added value vendors, and crafters are encouraged to join the Farmers Market. Vendor applications are available at the Soil Conservation Office and County Extension Office. The regular vending fee for an entire season is $40.00 with a discounted fee of $20.00 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students (high school age and under.) There is a $5.00 fee for one day set up with those fees accumulating towards the full season fee. Each vendor who pays to set up for the season has one table. Scales are available for weighing produce.

Activists Investigate Reports of Local Rooster Fighting

By Eugenia Jones

Members of the nonprofit organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), were recently spotted as they investigated reports of organized rooster fights in McCreary County. In addition, SHARK also notified law enforcement about the allegations. Currently, the allegations are under investigation by KSP. County Attorney Austin Price stated KSP consulted with his office for clarification on the KY statutes and laws concerning rooster fighting. Based on a 1994 appelate case, Price said rooster fighting is considered illegal under KY’s animal cruelty statute.
The Illinois based animal protection group is dedicated to preventing animal abuse locally and worldwide. Having already taken a stand against rooster fighting by using drones to film suspected rooster farms in Illinois and California, SHARK recently launched a nationwide campaign called “Crush Cockfighting” in an effort to expose illegal animal fights and hold those involved accountable under the law. SHARK is also working to strengthen state laws against rooster fighting. Individuals with the organization are pictured in McCreary County (above) with a drone used by the group to document alleged animal cruelty.

Stearns Wind

Photos by Eugenia Jones Strong winds on Monday night brought the Stearns Trail Town sign tumbling down. The winds also caused some tree damage.

June 25th, 2020

County Teenager Receives Donated Kidney

Tyler Lay is doing well and looking forward to life as a normal, healthy teenager.

By Eugenia Jones

Readers of “The Voice” will be happy to know that Tyler Lay, the McCreary County teenager who needed a kidney transplant, received a compatible, donated kidney last week during an operation conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We are happy to report Tyler is doing well in his recovery.
When Tyler spoke to “The Voice” from the hospital less than a week after his surgery, joy was evident in his voice.
“I’m recovered,” Tyler said enthusiastically. “I’m already walking on my own!”
We first met and introduced Michael Tyler Lay to our readers in December 2017. In 2018, we updated our readers about Tyler’s condition and, unfortunately, had to report Tyler’s condition was worsening as he awaited a compatible kidney. At that time, Tyler was feeling worse, struggling with high blood pressure, and his kidney function was decreasing. Due to his deteriorating condition, Tyler was forced to begin daily peritoneal dialysis treatments at home.
Eventually, Tyler and his grandparents/caregivers, Roy and Marie Hale, received a call summoning them to the hospital for a kidney. Unfortunately, after testing, the doctor informed Tyler and his family that the kidney was not a match. Tyler and his family were heartbroken.
Happily, last week’s call about a possible transplant worked out perfectly. After approximately two years on dialysis, Tyler with a new kidney is now steadily improving. His family and doctors are pleased with his progress. Tyler will continue to heal as doctors monitor for any organ transplant rejection. He faces another surgery for removal of a port in about six weeks.
Tyler and his family want to thank everyone for the love and prayers that have been sent their way. His grandmother asks people to continue to pray for his recovery.

2020 Mercy Award Winner

Courtney Clarke, RN, recognized for demonstrating
compassion and unwavering commitment to helping others

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital recently announced that Telemetry Care Unit Nurse Manager Courtney Clarke has been recognized as the hospital’s 2020 Mercy Award winner. The Mercy Award recognizes one employee from each of LifePoint Health’s hospitals who profoundly touches the lives of others and best represents the spirit and values on which the company was founded.
The Mercy Award is an annual recognition program established in 2002 to honor the life and contributions of Scott Mercy, LifePoint’s founding chairman and chief executive officer. The award is considered the highest honor a LifePoint employee can receive.
“At Lake Cumberland, we share LifePoint’s commitment to making communities healthier, and we recognize this is supported by the good work and service of our employees on and off the job,” said Robert Parker, CEO of Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. “We are extremely proud to recognize Courtney for her efforts on behalf of our patients and our community. She goes above and beyond each and every day to ensure that every person she encounters receives the highest level of care and compassion.”
Courtney embodies the mission, vision and values of Lake Cumberland. She is unwavering in her service to patients, involves herself willingly in many inter-service department projects, and leads her team as a terrific coach and cheerleader. Recently, after encountering a patient family in need, Courtney pulled together childcare, resources, transportation, and a network of support to help. In this instance, her efforts were recognized in a personal letter from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, thanking her for her service to the community.
During another encounter, after discovering a former staff member was in a desperate situation, Courtney again rallied other members of her team to provide home furnishings, groceries, bedding and a TV for the family, renting a U-Haul herself to pick up and deliver the items personally. Courtney combines positivity, kindness, determination to selflessly accomplish goals and rally those around her in support of the greater good.
Courtney is a native of McCreary County, she lives in Somerset with her husband Corey, who is the Senior Director of Cardiovascular Services at LCRH, their two daughters, Chanley (age 4) and Carstyn (age 6), and their doodle, Henry.
Each hospital winner, including Clarke, will be considered for LifePoint’s 2020 company-wide Mercy Award. The company-wide winner will be announced this summer and honored during a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., in October, to which Clarke and all hospital winners are invited to attend.

June Is Scoliosis Awareness Month

Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder in which there is a sideways curvature of the spine, or back. People of all ages can have scoliosis, but adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis of unknown cause) is the most common type and typically occurs after the age of 10. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. Because scoliosis can run in families, a child who has a parent, brother, or sister with idiopathic scoliosis should be checked regularly for scoliosis by the family doctor. An x ray of the spine can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis.
Many children who are sent to the doctor by a school scoliosis screening program have very mild spinal curves that do not need treatment. When treatment is needed, the doctor may send the child to an orthopedic spine specialist.
The doctor will suggest the best treatment for each patient based on the patient’s age, how much more he or she is likely to grow, the degree and pattern of the curve, and the type of scoliosis.
The doctor may recommend observation, bracing, or surgery.
• Observation. Doctors typically follow patients without treatment and re-examine them every few months when the patient is still growing (is skeletally immature) and the curve is mild.
• Bracing. Doctors may advise patients to wear a brace to stop a curve from getting any worse in patients who are still growing with moderate spinal curvature.
• Surgery. Doctors may advise patients to have surgery to correct a curve or stop it from worsening when the patient is still growing, has a curve that is severe, and has a curve that is getting worse.
Although exercise programs have not been shown to affect the natural history of scoliosis, exercise is encouraged in patients with scoliosis to minimize any potential decrease in functional ability over time. It is very important for all people, including those with scoliosis, to exercise and remain physically fit. Girls have a higher risk than boys of developing osteoporosis (a disorder that results in weak bones that can break easily) later in life. The risk of osteoporosis can be reduced in women who exercise regularly all their lives. For both boys and girls, exercising and participating in sports can also improve their general sense of well-being.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can
lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

A strong showing at Mill Springs Battlefield and Cemetery

Photos submitted Left to right: Jon Morgan, Ricky Allen, Justin Alexander, Matthew King and Bart Canfield

By Ronnie Shelley

The said bus of protesters was pictured turning around near The Mill Springs Area.

It was a strong showing at Mill Springs Battlefield and Cemetery. Armed Citizens side by side with State Police, Federal and Local Authorities gathered to protect The Hallowed ground where so many Veterans lay.
We gathered not as a political group or affiliated with any group or under any flag other than The American Flag. We gathered as respectors of any group’s Constitutional Right to peacefully assemble but in defense of desecration of any Veteran’s resting site.
There was no derogatory language or disrespecting of any race. The threat of damage was credible as the strong show of police and authorities came in force.
There was never any intention of stopping a protest, just Patriots standing arm in arm ready to stop any damage or desecration to the area as we have seen so much of across our great America.
We were honored to represent McCreary Co and our area. as a solid show of Americanism. God Bless America and stand tall my friends and fellow Patriots.

Annual Fireworks Display in Stearns Planned for July 3

Those attending traditional event encouraged to follow COVID-19 prevention precautions including social
distancing and wearing of masks.

By Eugenia Jones

The Stearns Fireworks and Homecoming event is scheduled for Friday July 3. Activities currently planned for the event include a flag raising ceremony on the lawn of the McCreary County Museum with vendors (crafters) opening in downtown Stearns at 10:00 a.m. Traditional fireworks will occur at dark. Ten thousand dollars has already been raised locally to cover the cost of fireworks.
According to McCreary County Heritage Foundation Board Member Michelle Wilson Jones, organizers sought guidance from the local Health Department in regard to COVID-19 prevention precautions mandated to host the event. Wilson said those attending are encouraged to practice social distancing (at least 6 feet), wear masks, and practice other COVID-19 prevention precautions.
Updates regarding the Stearns Fireworks and Homecoming are posted on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway Facebook page and website.

June 18th, 2020

OC Tax numbers down, still ahead of last year

By Greg Bird

Collections for the McCreary County Occupational Tax were slightly down from last year, but overall totals surpassed last year’s numbers according to the latest data from the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office.
Collections for May totaled $116,018 for the month, about $50,000 behind last year’s collections for the same time. Undoubtedly the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shutdowns have severely impacted local businesses over the past few months. Despite the decrease, May 2020’s collections still were the second -highest for the month since 2017.

Last year through the first 11 months of the fiscal year just $1,107,194 had been added to the General Fund through the tax. Thanks to some better than average months over the current cycle, the revenue through the tax have just about met budgeted projections set forth in the current budget.
A total of $1,674,443 has been generated through the tax to date, while the current budget estimated just over $1,687,000 in collections. One third of overall collections is dedicated to the Jail Fund ($558,150) with the remainder ($1,116,300) going to the General Fund.
Those numbers are good news for the current budget as June typically has low collection totals due to most businesses not reporting end-of-quarter numbers until the second week of July.

It remains unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the budget for the next fiscal year.

Highway 92 Progress Continues

Photo by Eugenia Jones The Kentucky Department of Transportation (KDT) District 8 continues to oversee Hinkle Contracting Services and their construction of the remaining stretch of highway completing KY HWY 92 East. When completed, the new highway will provide a much straighter and quicker route from Pine Knot to I-75 in Williamsburg. Most of the remaining section of highway in McCreary County has already been excavated, and the bridge at Marsh Creek is nearing completion. According to Amber Hale with KDT, nothing has interfered or delayed the project thus far and completion/opening is on schedule for 2021.

Summer feeding program at Eagle Community Center

The summer feeding program at Eagle Community Center will begin June 22 and run through July 31. Some changes to the program, due to Covid-19, have been put into place. This summer free meals for supper and a snack can be picked up on Thursdays between 11 a.m. and noon. The Center is mirroring the school program which also delivers breakfast and lunch on Thursdays. Seven days of meals will be provided. Any child 18 years of age or younger and any person 18 to 21 who has a mental or physical disability and still participates in a school program may receive free meals.
The free meals, supper and snacks, will be prepared in the kitchen by the trained staff at the Eagle Community Center. The meals will be packaged in brown paper bags to ensure food safety. To reserve meals please call Joseph Beaudoin at 606-376-3272. The child does not have to come into the building to receive the meals if pre-registered. The staff will bring the meals to the car if they know ahead of time. Meals are also available to children who just show up to pick up a meal.


County residents, business can qualify for disaster loans

By Greg Bird

McCreary County businesses and residents who were affected by severe storms from Feb. 3 through Feb. 29, 2020 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help recover from damages due to the storms.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced the availability of the loans for residents of Bell, Harlan, Whitley Clay, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, McCreary and Perry counties in Kentucky; Campbell and Claiborne counties in Tennessee; and Lee and Wise counties in Virginia who were impacted by the storms.
The SBA made the loans available in response to a letter from Kentucky
Gov. Andy Beshear on May 27, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Kentucky with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Carranza. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
Three types of loans are available through the program. The Business Physical Disaster Loan provides funding to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible. Eligible businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million through the program.
An Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.
Finally, a Home Disaster Loan is for homeowners or renters to repair disaster-damaged real estate and personal property – including automobiles.
“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Interest rates are as low as 3.75 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. The loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA will operate virtually through a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application at Customer support representatives will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can also be reached via telephone at 470-363-5611, 571-422-6078 or 571-422-7312.
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is July 31, 2020. The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 1, 2021.

Forest Service Responds to Kentucky Heartwood Logging Allegations

By Eugenia Jones

Photo by Eugenia Jones Prior to final approval for the project, environmental advocates and community members joined representatives from the United States Forest Service, Kentucky Heartwood, and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for an educational field trip concerning the Greenwood Vegetation Management Project.

As a result of allegations made by Kentucky Heartwood, a non-profit, forest advocacy organization, that too many trees have been or will be harvested through the Greenwood Vegetation Management Project (GVMP) in McCreary/Pulaski Counties, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has resurveyed the areas in question and created reports detailing their findings. Consequently, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has determined that timber identified for removal within the GVMP area does fall within the parameters originally prescribed by the Greenwood project decision for retention of residual trees.
Via a letter sent from the Kentucky Resources Council to the USFS Stearns Ranger District earlier this year, Kentucky Heartwood registered concerns regarding perceived deviations between prescriptions originally approved for the GVMP on the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF) and actual implementation of the project thus far. The letter, along with an April 27, 2020 Kentucky Heartwood report, outlined two main concerns. First, Kentucky Heartwood felt some streams classified as ephemeral (transitory or quickly fading) should be classified as intermittent which would result in a change of timber harvest area. Secondly, Heartwood declared too many trees have been harvested or are currently marked for harvest in the area.
In regard to concern about stream classification, DBNF District Hydrologist Mac Cherry and District Biologist Frank J. Metzmeier reviewed the two timber stands with streams in question. As a result of their review, one segment of stream (about 250 feet) in stand 5062-40 was reclassified as intermittent rather than ephemeral. As a result of the stream’s reclassification, the DBNF will remark the area so no trees within fifty feet on either side of the segment of stream will be harvested. It was determined that segments of stream in the second stand (stand 5072-09) were accurately identified and marked. No changes are necessary to the prescribed treatment for the second timber stand.
In response to Kentucky Heartwood’s concerns about possible overharvest of timber, DBNF certified silviculturists and timber cruisers conducted a statistically valid random plot survey. The results of the surveyed units were within the parameters prescribed for the GVMP, and it was determined the timber identified for removal is consistent with the project’s initial analysis and the original decision issued for the Greenwood project.
Despite the USFS investigation of Kentucky Heartwood’s concerns finding no need for significant changes in implementation of the Greenwood project, USFS Public Affairs Staff Officer Tim Eling thanked Kentucky Heartwood for expressing their concerns.
“We appreciate Kentucky Heartwood for their interest in forest management on the Daniel Boone National Forest,” Eling stated. “We welcomed the opportunity to review their April 27, 2020 report outlining logging concerns within the Greenwood Vegetation Management Project.”

Students named to Dean’s List at Cumberlands

In recognition of academic performance, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of the Cumberlands has announced the students named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2020 semester.
To be eligible for the Dean’s List, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 and be in good academic standing.
Students from your local area who made this semester’s Dean’s List include:
Kaylie Baird of Strunk (42649), Jonathan Ball of Strunk (42649), Kelsie Ball of Pine Knot (42635), Breanna Clark of Whitley City (42653), Katelyn Duvall of Pine Knot (42635), Ashley Gabehart of Stearns (42647), Dylan Gilreath of Whitley City (42653), Lauren Holbrook of Parkers Lake (42634), Stacey House of Pine Knot (42635), Caleb Jones of Strunk (42649), Kristen Kilby of Pine Knot (42635), Emily Loredo of Pine Knot (42635), Diane Maya of Stearns (42647), Logan Mills of Pine Knot (42635), Lucas Murphy of Strunk (42649), Aryn Stephens of Strunk (42649), Taylor Sumner of Marshes Siding (42653), Tyler Taylor of Whitley City (42653), Lucas Worley of Pine Knot (42635).
University of the Cumberlands is the largest and most affordable private university in Kentucky. Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at

JUNE 11TH, 2020

Congressman Rogers Announces $1.8 Million Grant for McCreary County

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) announced a nearly $1.8 million grant for the McCreary County Water District from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to improve wastewater infrastructure and boost business growth. The funding will be invested in a designated Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, which will be matched with nearly $445,000 in additional federal funding to help support the economic expansion and partnership with Outdoor Venture Corporation and Fibrotex USA.
“It’s exciting to see business growth in McCreary County,” said Congressman Rogers, who helped secure the federal funding for this grant opportunity. “Job creation is dependent upon the resources and infrastructure we have in each county, and this EDA grant will provide a much-needed upgrade to the local sewer system to support business growth for 150 new jobs that were recently announced.”
“The Trump Administration is working tirelessly to champion areas around the country that have been adversely impacted by the downturn of the coal industry, such as in McCreary County,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will support the growth of a local manufacturer in an Opportunity Zone and attract new business ventures to the region.”
“EDA encourages investment in Opportunity Zones to not only enhance return on investment for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed communities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD). EDA funds LCADD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
The funding goes to one of Kentucky’s 144 Opportunity Zones. Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.

Experts give advice on teaching children to wear face masks.

By Jenna Cook and Ashley Rapske

Child life specialists, Kentucky Children’s Hospital
It can be a difficult adjustment for kids to wear a face mask. Many kids may not be used to seeing others wearing a mask in public, let alone having to wear one themselves. Here are some tips for kids over the age of 2 that may help:
Kids will react differently to wearing a mask depending on their age. Start by explaining what a face mask is, why we need it and when we need to wear it. Use developmentally appropriate language, be honest, and use simple words. You can say “A face mask helps to keep us safe and healthy by stopping germs from getting into our body when you cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe that can make you or someone else sick.”
Allow your child to ask questions about wearing a face mask. Ask your child what they know about the coronavirus and wearing a mask to assess their understanding and what they might be fearful of. Talk about other things we already do that also help stop germs and keep us healthy such as washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough and social distancing.
Model wearing a face mask. This will help to normalize the mask and familiarize the child with what a mask looks like when put on the face. Remind your child you can still see people’s eyes and they are smiling underneath the mask. Talk about how they can still talk, play and have fun while wearing a mask.
Teach your child how to put on and take off the mask. Allow your child to look at itself in the mirror when wearing a mask. Practice wearing the mask at home around the house first before going out in public.
Explain that wearing a face mask is a rule right now and make it apart of your child’s routine. Talk about how other people will also be wearing face masks. Show your child pictures of other kids, friends, or family members wearing a mask.
Kids love to play and learn best through play. Put a mask on your child’s stuffed animal, action figure, or doll. Pretend to be a mask wearing doctor, animal, or super hero. Draw, color, or write a story about people wearing face masks.
Kids do well with choices and feeling as if they are in control. Let your child help pick out their favorite color, pattern, or character that will be on their face mask. You can also use fabric markers, fabric paint, or stickers to allow your child to decorate and personalize their mask.
It may take time, patience, and practice as your child adjusts to the changes of wearing a mask. Accept and comfort the reactions your child may have to wearing a mask. Provide positive encouragement, emotional support, and lots of praise when your child successfully wears their mask.
Ask your child what the hardest thing about wearing a mask is. Validate their feelings, provide active listening, and allow them to ask questions. Share your own feelings about also needing to wear a mask.
The face mask may bother the back of your child’s ears. An easy solution for this is attaching two buttons to a hat, head band, or ribbon. Put the mask straps over the buttons rather than over the ears. A pipe cleaner also works well to hold the mask on the back of the head.
Invite your child to engage in fun and normal play activities. This will help your child express their feelings, reduce stress, learn, support developmental growth, and better cope with change.

Bridge work to begin on Marsh Creek

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced that traffic on KY 478 will be reduced to one lane starting next week to allow for a bridge rehabilitation project on the bridge over Marsh Creek.

Beginning Monday, and lasting for approximately nine weeks, traffic on the road will be reduced to one lane at mile point 8.3 with traffic signals on either side of the closure to alert motorists. Drivers are advised to expect delays and allow extra time if traveling though the area.

The Bridging Kentucky program is a commitment to improving safety and soundness of the Commonwealth’s bridges by rehabilitating, repairing, or replacing critical bridges throughout the state. The program is designed to open closed structures, improve bridge lifespans, ensure appropriate weight capacities are met and improve access and mobility for all Kentuckians.

Motorists can also access traffic information for the District 8 counties at and at

County awarded federal funds under the
emergency food and shelter national board progam

McCreary County has been awarded $29,049.00 through the State Set-Aside process under Phase Cares of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county. McCreary County has also been awarded $5,734.00 through the State Set-Aside process under Phase 37 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
The selection was made by a National board that is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, and National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army, United Jewish Communities and The United Way of America. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.
The Local Board made up of leaders of local government, local leaders of churches and charitable organizations will determine how the funds that are awarded to McCreary County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area.
Under the terms of the grant from National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) have an accounting system, 3) practice nondiscrimination, 4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.
McCreary County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with The McCreary Christian Center, Inc. in Whitley City participating. This agency was responsible for providing an estimated 591,240 meals.
Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Dr. M.A. Winchester at the McCreary Christian Center or call Sue Singleton at (606) 376-8742 for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is June 25, 2020.

Attorney General Cameron Joins 51-State and Territory Coalition in Filing Lawsuit Against Generic Drug Manufacturers

Frankfort, – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today joined a 51-state and territory coalition in filing a lawsuit, resulting from an ongoing antitrust investigation, into generic drug manufacturers. The lawsuit, which is the third suit filed by the coalition, names 26 corporate defendants and 10 individual defendants in a conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices for over 80 generic dermatological drugs sold across the United States.
“It is unacceptable for Kentuckians to be forced to pay more for generic drugs because of illegal price-fixing by drug manufacturers who should be providing affordable alternatives to brand name products,” said Attorney General Cameron. “Our office is fighting to restore free-market competition within the industry to ensure quality generic drugs are available to Kentuckians at a fair price.”
The topical drugs at the center of the complaint include creams, gels, lotions, ointments, shampoos, and solutions used to treat a variety of skin conditions, pain, and allergies. The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
The lawsuit stems from a multistate investigation built on evidence from several cooperating witnesses, a database of over 20 million documents, and a phone records database containing millions of call records and contact information for over 600 sales and pricing individuals in the generics industry.
Between 2007 and 2014, three of the generic drug manufacturers named in the lawsuit, Taro, Perrigo, and Fougera (now Sandoz), sold nearly two-thirds of all generic topical products dispensed in the United States. Results from the coalition’s multistate investigation uncovered evidence that drug manufacturers attempted to ensure “fair share” of the market for each competitor and to prevent “price erosion” due to competition by entering into unlawful agreements. The agreements among drug manufacturers minimized competition and increased some topical drug prices up to 2,000 percent.
This complaint is the third to be filed in an ongoing investigation that has been referred to as possibly the largest domestic corporate cartel case in the history of the United States.
Attorney General Cameron joined attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Territory of Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin in filing the lawsuit.


Tobacco: A Winnable Battle

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Tobacco killed one hundred million people worldwide in the 20th century — and if current trends continue, it will kill one billion people in the 21st century. Every year, tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans and six million people worldwide.
We know how to win the fight against tobacco. Science and experience have identified proven, cost-effective strategies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.
These strategies include:
• Higher tobacco taxes
• Laws requiring smoke-free workplaces and public places
• Well-funded programs, including mass media campaigns, that prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit
• Increasing the age of sale for tobacco products to 21
• Regulation of the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products These proven solutions save millions of lives and billions in health care costs.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

Big South Fork NRRA is Increasing Recreational
Access to Blue Heron Campground, Alum Ford Campground, Bear Creek Horse Camp

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning Thursday, June 11, 2010, Big South fork National River & Recreation Area will reopen access to Blue Heron Campground and Bear Creek Horse Camp and reservations can only be made at at this time. Big South Fork will reopen access to Alum Ford Campground and campsites and are available on a first come, first serve basis. With public health in mind, the visitor centers remain closed.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Big South Fork, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Updates on park operations will continue to be posted online at;;; and Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

June 4th, 2020

County Leaders Busy Laying
Groundwork for Future Tourism

By Eugenia Jones

The warm, sunny days of spring typically herald the beginning of tourism season both locally and across the nation. However, this year’s executive orders relating to the COVID-19 epidemic put a chill on the tourism industry as nonessential businesses temporarily closed and folks basically “sheltered in place.” As a result, McCreary County has, thus far, experienced a temporary shut-down of the Big South Fork Scenic River and Recreation Area (BSFSRRA), delays in the opening of local Daniel Boone National Forest campgrounds, and the delay of passenger excursions on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) in Stearns.
Despite, the disappointing spring tourism season, local McCreary County leaders are making good use of the unexpected down time by laying the groundwork for an expansion of the local tourism industry.
In a significant move, the McCreary County Industrial Development Authority (MCIDA) recently voted in favor of committing to the KY Wildlands Project and endorsed moving ahead with submission of an ARC Grant Project seeking funding for construction of a regional Cultural Center at the site of the old Ford Building in Stearns. If constructed, the center will serve as an information and welcome center with rental space available for tourism-related businesses. Construction of the cultural center is viewed as an important first step toward revitalizing Stearns as a major southern gateway community welcoming tourists to the 41 county region in Southern and Eastern Kentucky known as the Kentucky Wildlands. The Kentucky Wildlands region will be heavily targeted as part of a new regional tourism marketing campaign. The MCIDA is working hand in hand with the McCreary County Heritage Foundation (owners of the downtown properties and BSFSRY in Stearns) on the project. In addition to the MCIDA ARC grant application, the MCHF is in the process of applying for several grants for revitalization of Historic Stearns.
In related tourism news, the MCHF continues to move ahead with plans for the upcoming Big South Fork Scenic Railway season. Originally, the railway’s passenger season was scheduled to open on April 2; however, due to COVID-19, excursions aboard the scenic railway are now expected to begin June 10. Foundation members are pleased with the replacement and upgrade of 24,000 track feet of rail laid by Queen City Railroad Construction and anticipate adding 300 additional track feet leading to Blue Heron. Foundation members are also cautiously optimistic that a bicycle/pedestrian lane can be added to the existing railway bridge crossing over to Blue Heron. Locomotive upgrades for primary Engine #106 and back up Engine #102 are nearing completion but have been slowed down due to COVID-19. When the upgrades are completed, both engines will be ready to power ahead. The MCHF obtained funding for the track repair and locomotive upgrades via Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants.
MCHF Chair Ray Moncrief announced the BSFSRY will continue working with the Barthell Coal Mining Camp in 2020. The train will take passengers to/from Barthell for a tour of the camp town. Additionally, passengers will be able to purchase separate tickets for a tour of the mine at Barthell. Food service will also be offered. Traditional BSFSRY holiday events (Halloween, Polar Express) will also take place at Barthell.
At least for the beginning of this passenger season, the BSFSRY will not take passengers past Barthell to Blue Heron due to track damage resulting from a weather related earth slide. Currently, the MCHF is working through AML to secure funding for repair of the slide area. State AML officials have already held a pre-bid conference and expect bids in by the end of May. A bid award is anticipated by early June.

The Heritage Foundation also announced their latest administrative team with Rachel Hinkle as Executive Director and Crystal Taylor as Assistant Director.

Photo courtesy MCSO
A tractor-trailer caused traffic problems in Pine Knot Wednesday after the trailer buckled while hauling a load and blocking traffic.

Megan Privett named to Campbellsville University’s
President’s List Spring 2020

CAMPBELLSVILLE – The academic honors’ President’s List for the Spring 2020 semester has been announced by Dr. Donna Hedgepath, Campbellsville University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The following student has been named to Campbellsville University’s President’s List for Spring 2020:
Megan Privett, from Whitley City, KY.
The academic honors’ list recognizes students who achieve a grade point average of 3.50 or above for the semester with a course load of at least 12 hours. The Spring 2020 academic honors’ list includes a total of 968 students, with 479 named to the President’s List for achieving a 4.0 grade point average, and 489 named to the Dean’s List for achieving a 3.5 to 3.99 GPA.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 11,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region. The website for complete information is

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.

United Cumberland Bank and ICBA Offer
Advice for Graduates Entering the Workforce

Whitley City – As college graduates finish their studies in preparation to enter the workforce, United Cumberland Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) want to remind them of the importance of planning for their financial future.
“For soon-to-be graduates, transitioning from the classroom to the real world can be exciting and overwhelming,” said Jim Johnson, President & CEO at United Cumberland Bank. “As a trusted financial advisor, call on UCB to help put your finances in order and create a financial plan that incorporates your short- and long-term financial goals.”
ICBA and United Cumberland Bank remind new graduates that the financial decisions made during their wealth-building years can affect them years down the road and set them on the path to financial independence. Take control of your finances and keep these strategies in mind:
• Start a budget. Learn about our online services available to help you manage your finances and track spending remotely.
• Pay off student loans. It may be tempting to make the minimum monthly payments, but a more aggressive repayment plan can save you thousands in the long run. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating benefits with prospective employers.
• Plan for retirement. Automate your savings so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into a savings account. Take advantage of your employers’ 401(k) plan and any matching contributions, if offered.
• Spend responsibly. Shopping and weekend getaways are a great way to recharge from the work week but can eat away at your budget. Do your research and comparison shop before major purchases.
• Establish an emergency fund to cover life’s unexpected events and give you greater peace of mind. You can start small with a 52-Week Money Challenge (in a year’s time you’ll have socked away $1,378) or be more aggressive and start out with a lump sum and build from there. A good goal is three to six months of net pay.
“This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “ICBA and United Cumberland Bank congratulate this year’s graduating class and wish them a prosperous financial future.”

May 28th, 2020

Sheriff recovers stolen trailer

McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters’ Facebook posting has helped him solve a theft and recover a trailer valued at over $8,000 within 48 hours of it being reported stolen.
Sheriff Waters stated the trailer was stolen from the Pine Knot Cemetery some time Saturday morning. After it was discovered missing the Sheriff posted a photo on the social media site asking for anyone with information regarding its possible location to contact him.
On Sunday he received word that someone had attempted to sell the trailer to an individual in Somerset, but the buyer was informed of the posting and contacted the Sheriff to report the offer. Sheriff Waters used the information to track down and recover the trailer.
Sheriff Waters said he intends to seek indictments against two individuals he believes were involved in the theft.

May 21st, 2020

Daniel Boone National Forest recreation site reopening schedule announced

WINCHESTER – The Daniel Boone National Forest will begin reopening recreation sites in June using a site-by-site approach, including assessment of facility cleanliness, maintenance status, and health and safety of recreation areas.
Most day-use sites, such as picnic areas and shooting ranges, are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, June 3. Within the Stearns Ranger District, the June 3rd tentative opening includes Alpine Picnic Area, Appletree Shooting Range, Hemlock Grove Picnic Area, Keno Shooting Range, and Natural Arch Picnic Area.

Most developed campgrounds, including Barren Fork Horse Camp, Barren Fork Picnic Area, Bell Farm Horse Camp, and Great Meadow Campground within the Stearns Ranger District, are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Thursday, June 11.
Those with existing campground reservations through will be notified via email and/or text message if there are any changes.
These projected opening dates may vary depending on circumstances, and it may be necessary to not open or to close areas again if conditions change. Most boat launches, trails and the general forest area, have remained open to hiking, biking, boating, dispersed camping, hunting, fishing, etc. “Closing any site for any reason is not one we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are approaching re-opening with safety in mind,” said Daniel Boone National Forest Supervisor Dan Olsen. “We are looking forward to seeing our recreation sites being enjoyed by the people from the communities we serve.”

Although not accepting in-person visits, offices remain open and operational. Visitors are encouraged to contact their local Forest Service office for general information or assistance in obtaining maps and passes.
The Daniel Boone National Forest continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Please review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with local and state guidelines for social distancing and cloth face coverings.
For up-to-date information and the projected opening schedule on the Daniel Boone National Forest, visit or the forest Facebook page at or on Twitter at

National EMS Week

Photo submitted The McCreary County EMS crews showed off new shirts to wear in honor of National EMS Week.

May 14th, 2020

Celebrating 100 Years

Lola Smith celebrated her 100th Birthday this past weekend with a visit from her family and a surprise parade of emergency vehicles to commemorate the momentous occasion.

Kentucky Heartwood Calls for Halt and Investigation of Timber Sales in Greenwood Vegetation Management Project

By Eugenia Jones

The United States Forest Service (USFS) Stearns Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF) has received a letter from the Kentucky Resources Council on behalf of Kentucky Heartwood, a non-profit forest advocacy organization established in 1992 to protect and restore the integrity, stability, and beauty of Kentucky’s native forests, calling for an immediate halt to logging connected with the Greenwood Vegetation Management Project (Greenwood project.) The suspension is requested to allow time for an investigation into what Kentucky Heartwood has identified as apparent deviations of timber harvest prescriptions approved for the Greenwood project and actual implementation of the project thus far.
According to the “Greenwood Vegetation Management Project-Vegetation Report” (prepared by silviculturist John Hull), the project is part of the DBNF’s efforts to improve forest health by reducing competition, increasing hard mast production, restoring shortleaf pine as a component in the ecosystem, diversifying wildlife habitat, and providing forest products for public use. In short, the project is designed to diversify vegetation conditions within the project area.
Development of the Greenwood project began in 2013 with an assessment of the DBNF’s Beaver Creek Wilderness and Wildlife Management Area located in the community of Greenwood and encompassing adjacent areas of McCreary and Pulaski Counties. Major revision to the project plan occurred in response to comments and input from the public. A few other smaller changes also occurred during the formal objection process. The project, with 17 management actions including five commercial timber harvest prescriptions, was ultimately approved on October 31, 2017. Timber harvesting began in 2019 and is ongoing.
Kentucky Heartwood Director Jim Scheff became alarmed over what he feels are significant discrepancies between management actions approved as part of the Greenwood Project and actual implementation of the project when he and his wife, Tina Marie Johnson, were doing something they love to do-exploring a remote section of McCreary county in the Beaver Creek Wilderness of the DBNF. During their hike in early March, Scheff and Johnson noticed lots of blue paint on trees which, according to Scheff, “was sad to see while out hiking, but not surprising since Greenwood was happening.”
When the couple’s route took them through a marked stand, Scheff decided to pull up a project map to check the approved prescription for the stand and compare it with his own “eyeball assessment.” To Scheff’s dismay, the marked timber stand appeared to be marked heavier than the project map’s approved prescription. Upon returning a week later to do proper surveys of several sites within the Greewood project, Scheff became even more alarmed when he estimated that the Forest Service had sold somewhere between 6,000 and 20,000 more trees than what was approved. Some of the trees had already been logged.
“Afterwards, I asked a friend with a forestry degree to go down and check some of the stands to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating,” Scheff commented. “His numbers pretty well matched mine. I’ve had to make some assumptions and extrapolations to come up with our estimate of how many extra trees they sold, which is a little over 13,000 trees. I think our findings are credible, and the details are in our report. The findings were pretty consistent across the stands we surveyed for the Forest Service’s Woodland Establishment management prescription. After all the time we all spent talking with the Forest Service about the project during its development, it’s really frustrating that they would ignore it all to cut a bunch more trees. I really do want an explanation.”
Scheff noted trees have been cut that shouldn’t have been, and trees are marked for cutting that shouldn’t be.
“Most of the marked, uncut trees have already been sold to loggers,” Scheff observed.
In addition to his concerns regarding the overharvest of timber, Scheff found many trees marked for harvest within riparian corridors-strips of vegetation along streams which filter sediment, protect against erosion, and provide wildlife habitat. The DBNF Plan requires that no timber harvest occur within 50 ft. of intermittent streams unless riparian function is improved or cable corridors are needed for adjoining prescription areas. Scheff observed breaches of this stipulation in tributaries flowing directly into Beaver Creek in the Beaver Creek Wilderness, home of the federally-threatened blackside dace.
For their part, USFS officials responded they are looking into the issues and information contained within the letter received on behalf of Kentucky Heartwood. When asked if logging will continue during their investigation, agency officials noted prior to any logging activity on national forests, the USFS marks and appraises the timber to be offered and then interested parties bid on the package. The winning bidder then pays for the value of the trees and enters into a contract for harvesting. USFS officials stated they will take appropriate actions regarding logging based upon the findings of their investigation.
The Forest Service and other federal agencies are required by the National Environmental Policy ACT (NEPA) to consider the potential environmental impacts of proposed actions and any reasonable alternatives before undertaking a major action. USFS officials stated they believe the Greenwood project has been carried out in accordance with NEPA and the approved plan.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19th is

Designated Hepatitis Testing Day

Hepatitis or inflammation of the liver can be caused by viruses, medication, toxins, excessive alcohol intake but most commonly by viruses named Hepatitis A, B or C.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. People who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks to several months but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected and can be spread when someone ingests the virus, usually through eating contaminated food or drink or through close personal contact with an infected person. Hepatitis A is very contagious and people can even spread the virus before they get symptoms. However, hepatitis A is easily prevented with a safe and effective vaccine, which is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at risk, including travelers to certain international countries.
Since the hepatitis A vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of hepatitis A in the United States have declined dramatically. Unfortunately, adult vaccination rates remain low and in recent years the number of people infected has increased as a result of multiple outbreaks of hepatitis A across the United States. While hepatitis A can affect anyone, certain groups are at greater risk of being infected in these outbreaks. To help stop the outbreaks, CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccine for people who use drugs (including drugs that are not injected), people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men, people with liver disease, and people who are or were recently in jail or prison.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. Some people who become infected, especially young children, can go on to develop a chronic or lifelong infection. Over time, chronic hepatitis B can cause serious liver damage, and even liver cancer. Hepatitis B is common in many parts of the world, including Asia, the Pacific Islands and Africa.
Hepatitis B is preventable with a vaccine. Hepatitis B can be passed from an infected woman to her baby at birth, if her baby does not receive the hepatitis B vaccine. As a result, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and adults at risk. Unfortunately, many people were infected before the hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. That’s why CDC recommends pregnant women, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, household and sexual contacts of someone infected, anyone born or whose parents were born in areas where hepatitis B is common, and others with certain medical conditions get tested for hepatitis B. Treatments are available that can delay or reduce the risk of developing liver cancer.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease which results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It is transmitted through contaminated blood, as when sharing needles or through blood transfusion prior to 1992 (since 1992 all blood and blood products have been screened for Hepatitis C). While more uncommon, hepatitis C can also spread through healthcare exposures, sex with an infected person, birth to an infected mother, and tattoos and body piercings from unlicensed facilities or informal settings.
Acute Hepatitis is a short lived illness which may have no symptoms or cause symptoms such as nausea, jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue and fever. Unfortunately, about 60-70% of infected individuals will progress to Chronic Hepatitis, some of whom will develop cirrhosis and /or liver cancer. Although Hepatitis C infection may not produce symptoms and decades can pass before symptoms of chronic liver disease may develop, infected individuals are still contagious. It is thought that half of all people infected with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected- the only way to find out, is to get tested. Treatment stops the progress of liver disease and lowers the possibility of transmission.

Some Facts:

• Hepatitis C is the most common bloodborne infection in the US with estimates between 2.7-3.9 million people living with the disease.
• 80% of patients with hepatitis C have no symptom, so testing is the only way to know if you are infected.
• 80% will have chronic infection. Fortunately, treatments are available that can cure Hepatitis C. Once Diagnosed, most people with Hepatitis C can be cured in just 8 to 12 weeks, reducing liver cancer risk by 75%
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving
your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.


Sand Hill Park
Campsites open back up

Starting Wednesday May 13, 2020 the Sand Hill Park Campsites will be opening back up with the attached guidelines due to coronavirus.
Guidelines for camping (for the duration of the state of emergency).
1. Renting out every other camping space.
2. Bathroom facilities in the main building will be opened for campers only.
3. You must follow Guidelines as set forth at and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
4. No gatherings in the common areas (community building, stage, shelters, etc.)
5. For reservations please contact Park Manager Melissa Vanover (606)376-7275.
6. There will be an officer coming by once a day to strictly monitor these regulations. Please help follow guidelines to keep campsites open. Please help us keep it clean.

May 7th, 2020

SCC announces plans for summer and fall terms

Somerset – Beginning August 17, fall term classes at Somerset Community College (SCC) will be offered in a variety of formats (barring any further disruption from the pandemic).
SCC will offer fully online classes as well as face-to-face classes and some options that are a mixture of both. Face-to-face classes will have a strong online or remote instruction part, so if in-person classes must move online for a while the transition will be easier for students. SCC also will offer a variety of scheduling options, including 16-week, 12-week and 8-week sessions.
SCC is developing plans to meet social distancing and health requirements and strengthening virtual student support for online and remote classes.
Summer classes will begin soon and are available in an online-only format, with a few hands-on classes tentatively scheduled for July based on Gov. Andy Beshear’s timelines for facility use. Students and prospective students can enroll online at or call 606-679-8501 for more information.
SCC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow the governor’s guidelines regarding higher education for the fall term.

April 30th, 2020

Scammers Target SK RECC Members

Electric cooperatives across Kentucky, including South Kentucky RECC, are reporting a surge in scammers attempting to exploit members amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began its spread, members from South Kentucky RECC have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to work for the local electric co-op and threatening to disconnect service without immediate payment.
In March, South Kentucky suspended disconnections for non-payment and fees for late payments. SKRECC cautions that these temporary measures do not relieve members of the obligation to ultimately pay bills in full, and SKRECC is working with members to help keep their bills as current as possible.
South Kentucky RECC urges members to avoid arranging payment or divulging account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the phone unless you are certain you are speaking to SKRECC. If you are unsure, hang up and call the local office or (800) 264-5112. When making online payments, always double-check to ensure that you are on the correct website before submitting credit card information – .
SKRECC members who suspect a scamming attempt should contact their local office or (800) 264-5112 and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office:
Online scam reporting form:
Consumer Protection Hotline: 1-888-432-9257
Below are some tips South Kentucky RECC members should follow to protect themselves:
• Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID are legitimate. Caller IDs can be spoofed.
• Never share your personal information, including date of birth, Social Security number or banking account information.
• Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
• Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts – especially those asking for your account information.
• South Kentucky RECC will NOT require members to purchase prepaid debit cards or money orders to avoid an immediate disconnection.
• If you receive a call that sounds like it may be a scam, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up, call the police, report the incident to your SKRECC office, and report the call to the Attorney General’s Office.

World Immunization Week

World Immunization Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, polio, measles and whooping cough were mostly wiped out in the US through excellent immunization programs. Unfortunately some of these are coming back as more parents choose to withhold vaccines. Whooping cough and measles outbreaks in recent years exemplify this problem.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a very contagious disease that can be deadly for babies. It is spread from person to person, usually by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. Babies are most at risk before they are fully immunized themselves, so those caring for them should be immunized. Tdap vaccine (tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) can be given to anyone 7 years and older. Also pregnant moms-to-be should be vaccinated during their pregnancies at around 30 weeks gestation so as to maximize passive antibody transfer to the infant. The level of pertussis antibodies decreases over time, so Tdap should be administered during every pregnancy in order to transfer the greatest number of protective antibodies to each infant.
You may be hearing a lot about measles lately, and wondering why it has returned what you as a parent need to know about this disease. CDC has put together a list of the most important facts about measles for parents. Measles can be serious. Some people think of measles as just a little rash and fever that clears up in a few days, but measles can cause serious health complications, especially in children younger than 5 years of age. There is no way to tell in advance the severity of the symptoms a child may experience.
• About 1 in 5 unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized
• 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to brain damage
• 1 to 3 out of 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurologic complications.
• Measles may cause pregnant women who have not had the MMR vaccine to give birth prematurely or have a low birth weight baby.
Some of the more common measles symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Measles rash appears 3 to 5 days after first symptoms. Measles is very contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not immunized. An infected person can spread measles to others even before knowing he/she has the disease—from four days before developing the measles rash through four days afterward.
Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 thanks to utilization of a safe and effective vaccine. That means that the disease is no longer constantly present in our country.
• From January 1 to December 31, 2019, 1,282* individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states. Of these cases, 128 were hospitalized and 61 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.
• This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992. More than 73% of the cases were linked to recent outbreaks in New York. The majority of cases were among people who were not vaccinated against measles. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
Worldwide, an estimated 10 million people get measles and 110,000 people, mostly children, die from the disease each year. Even if your family does not travel internationally, you could come into contact with measles anywhere in your community. Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers (Americans or foreign visitors) who get measles while they are in other countries. The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Your child needs two doses of MMR vaccine for best protection:
• The first dose at 12 through 15 months of age
• The second dose 4 through 6 years of age
If your family is traveling overseas, the vaccine recommendations are a little different: If your baby is 6 through 11 months old, he or she should receive one dose of MMR prior to leaving. If your child is 12 months of age or older, he or she will need 2 doses of MMR vaccine (separated by at least 28 days) before departure.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Become a Citizen Scientist with NASA!

By: David Prosper

Ever want to mix in some science with your stargazing, but not sure where to start? NASA hosts a galaxy of citizen science programs that you can join! You’ll find programs perfect for dedicated astronomers and novices alike, from reporting aurora, creating amazing images from real NASA data, searching for asteroids, and scouring data from NASA missions from the comfort of your home. If you can’t get to your favorite stargazing spot, then NASA’s suite of citizen science programs may be just the thing for you.

Jupiter shines brightly in the morning sky this spring. If you’d rather catch up on sleep, or if your local weather isn’t cooperating, all you need is a space telescope – preferably one in orbit around Jupiter! Download raw images straight from the Juno mission, and even process and submit your favorites, on the JunoCam website! You may have seen some incredible images from Juno in the news, but did you know that these images were created by enthusiasts like yourself? Go to their website and download some sample images to start your image processing journey. Who knows where it will take you? Get started at

Interested in hunting for asteroids? Want to collaborate with a team to find them?? The International Astronomical Search Collaboration program matches potential asteroid hunters together into teams throughout the year to help each other dig into astronomical data in order to spot dim objects moving in between photos. If your team discovers a potential asteroid that is later confirmed, you may even get a chance to name it! Join or build a team and search for asteroids at
Want to help discover planets around other star systems? NASA’s TESS mission is orbiting the Earth right now and scanning the sky for planets around other stars. It’s accumulating a giant horde of data, and NASA scientists need your help to sift through it all to find other worlds! You can join Planet Hunters TESS at:
Intrigued by these opportunities? These are just a few of the many ways to participate in NASA citizen science, including observing your local environment with the GLOBE program, reporting aurora with Aurorasaurus, measuring snowpack levels, training software for Mars missions – even counting penguins! Discover more opportunities at and join the NASA citizen science Facebook group at And of course, visit to find the latest discoveries from all the research teams at NASA!

April 23rd, 2020

2019 Rogers Scholar Marah Hamlin collected items for Family Resource Center Backpack Program

2019 Rogers Scholar and McCreary Central High School student Marah Hamlin collected food for the Family Resource Center Backpack Program in February. Hamlin reached out to churches and community members to collect items and then donated them to the local school district.

“The project helped me know that students don’t have to worry as much about food on their kitchen table,” Hamlin said. “This meant they didn’t have to go to school the next day hungry. I feel very blessed to be able to help with this program.”
“Marah’s generous contribution to McCreary Central High School’s backpack program will provide food for over 50 participating students. The backpack program offers shelf-stable food to assist students through weekends and holidays. Her leadership is making an immediate and positive impact in the homes of our community – nutrition for the heart and soul,” said Sharon Ross-Privett, Principal of McCreary Central High School

Each graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program is required to complete a community service project. For more information about Rogers Scholars, visit

McCreary County Historical and Genealogical Society

By: Lorella Wood

I am pleased to have this opportunity to tell you about our Society and all the ones who have helped for all these years. We have a great group that has tried to collect stories and information about the history of our county and our ancestors. We don’t want any of this information to be lost forever.
We started this journey on March 15,1996. A group of 17 interested citizens got together and with the help of five members from the Pulaski County Historical Society visited our gathering and explained what we needed to get started. We appreciate them so much. On April 15, 1996, we had our first meeting. Officers were elected and the third Monday of each month was selected as our meeting date.
We have done a lot to try and preserve history and stories and the customs of our forefathers, their trades, wealth, religion, politics, education, lifestyle, transportation and just the way of life of the people who for so many of us have become ‘Just a memory’ and will be lost for the future generations. We have helped a lot of people find their long lost relatives. We have joined with the library and other groups to sponsor events, such as Heritage Day, having guest speakers, historians and authors, such as David Dick, an author and former CBS correspondent, Lynwood Montell a professor of Folk Studies and Kentucky’s well known Historian, Dr. Thomas Clark.
We collected family histories and the history of the beginning of McCreary County and printed the book “McCreary County Kentucky History and Families”, where families entered their stories. We printed “McCreary County, Kentucky Images From Its Past”, a pictorial history. One of our members copied and we had printed the McCreary County marriage records. A member gave us the 1920 census and another member gave us the 1930 census to have printed.
The library and our members have had Cemetery Walks, where some of the members have researched and told about former residents that contributed to the making and history of our county. We hope to tell more about this in the future writings.
We have interviewed some of our senior citizens and recorded their stories.
We have been blessed with members that were willing to contribute a lot of time in our efforts. We have lost a lot of good members and they are truly missed. There is not many of us that are still trying to continue and we need younger interested members to carry on this venture.

Alcohol revenue starting to trickle in

By Greg Bird

The first full month of legalized alcohol sales in McCreary County resulted in over $4 thousand in regulatory fees according to ABC Commissioner Brenda Blevins. While still early in the new reality of legalized sales in the county, the first month is probably not a proper indication of how much revenue could be potentially generated once restrictions are lifted and more establishments open sales.
For March a total of $4,114.32 was collected from the 6-percent regulatory fee imposed on all beer, wine and liquor sales in the county. The COVID-19 outbreak has limited sales, as some establishments have not been able to sell due to closure orders. In February $375.17 in regulatory fees were collected.
Since the end of March $2,300 in license renewal fees have been received, with an additional $1,700 in new license fees. The Licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 of every year, so the seven licenses that were issued prior to April all had to be renewed. The renewal fee can be deducted from regulatory fees.
The revenue generated through regulatory fees are to be dedicated toward the ABC Administrator salary, operating costs for the office and the remainder is to go toward law enforcement.
To date there are seven active licenses under the county ordinance: Ron’s Market, Larry’s Mini Mart, Poppa’s Quik Stop (formerly Wilson’s), A&M Grocery, L&S Grocery, the American Legion and Santa Fe Restaurant. Additional license applications have been submitted, including for liquor stores in Pine Knot and Whitley City. During the initial wave of applications there were two submitted for liquor package stores – those applications are still pending. Due to population size there are a total of seven possible licenses for liquor stores in the county.

Four McCreary County Students Selected for The Center for Rural Development’s Youth Programs

The Center for Rural Development honors four McCreary County students for being selected for its annual youth programs, Rogers Scholars and Rogers Explorers.
“We hope our communities will join us in congratulating the students on their selection for these highly competitive programs,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development.
Macy Daughtery, a sophomore at McCreary County High School was selected for the Rogers Scholars program. She is the daughter of Jimmy and Holly Daughtery, of Whitley City.
Three McCreary County Middle School students were selected for the Rogers Explorers program.
• Isabella Hammons, the daughter of Steve and Stacey Hammons, of Pine Knot.
• Tate Sandidge, the son of Michael and Suzanne Sandidge, of Stearns.
• Tera Strunk, the daughter of Melissa and Crisman Strunk, of Strunk.
Due to the nature of the COVID 19 pandemic, The Center has had to make the difficult decision to forgo plans to host all of its summer camps during the summer of 2020, but still want to honor the students for their achievement.
“The Center’s youth programs are near and dear to my heart,” Lawson said. “This was not an easy decision to make and we did not make it lightly. Due to the state of emergency restrictions and the severe nature of this crisis, we feel it is in the best interest of all of our staff, the students, and their families, that we do not take any risks. The health and wellbeing of our students has always been a top priority when we conduct our summer programs. We had optimistically hoped that we could find a way to proceed normally, but we do not feel that is possible. We recognize all of the hard work and dedication our students put into their applications for these programs and we hope they continue working towards their goals for a successful future.”
Rogers Scholars is a youth leadership program targeted towards rising high school juniors throughout The Center’s 45-county service area. Students spend a week on one of two college campuses — Lindsey Wilson College and Morehead State University. They are introduced to topics such as leadership, community service, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, technology and more. There were 62 students selected for this year’s program.
Rogers Explorers is a youth leadership camp targeted towards rising high school freshmen. Students spend three days on one of seven college campuses through Kentucky including Asbury University, Eastern Kentucky University, Lindsey Wilson College, Morehead State University, Union College, University of the Cumberlands, and University of Pikeville. Students focus on topics of leadership, community service, and STEM career pathways such as chemistry, biology, health sciences, engineering, space science, agriculture sciences, and more. There were 210 students selected for this year’s program.
Since 1998, more than 3,000 middle and high school students from Southern and Eastern Kentucky have graduated from The Center’s Youth Programs. Rogers Explorers and Rogers Scholars are provided at no cost to students.
For more information about The Center’s Youth Programs, contact Amy Ellis, Executive Assistant at The Center, at or call 606-677-6020.

March 26, 2020

A New Chapter

County Public Library Director Kay Morrow is retiring after forty-four years of service.

By Eugenia Jones

Kay Morrow, after forty-four years as McCreary County’s Public Library Director, is retiring and turning the page on that chapter of her life.  With her last official work day scheduled for March 31, 2020, Morrow plans to still work sporadically through June as she sorts and organizes her more than four decades of work at the library.  Morrow’s efforts will pave the way for new director, Rhonda Moore Kendziorski.

“I could stay,” Morrow said.  “But I know it’s time.  It’s time for someone younger and fresher with new ideas to get a chance.  I’m excited about retirement but a bit antsy.  I plan to travel, stay involved with my church, and spend time with family and friends.  I’m definitely not going home to clean!”

Morrow has been the face of the McCreary County Public Library since its beginning. Hired as Director in November 1975 at the age of twenty-three, Morrow was instrumental in establishing McCreary County’s first public library in the basement of the Courthouse.

“I can’t believe I got access to this at the age of twenty-three,” Morrow remarked with a laugh.  “I had a degree in social work but hadn’t found a job in that field.   Actually, I was driving a food truck serving lunches for Milt when I was hired for the library!”

Three years later in l978 and coinciding with the opening of the newly built, consolidated McCreary Central High School, the library moved across the street from the Courthouse and opened in the old theater building.

“The building had last been used as a dance hall so there was a lot of work to do,” Morrow recalled.  “We even had to put in a septic system.  We moved everything from our former location in the Courthouse.  I’ve still got the first scissors and the first stapler.  The green shelving used where our adult fiction is now came from the original library in the Courthouse.”

In the late 1990s, the library began getting computers for staff access.  When the Gates Foundation donated computers to libraries across the nation, Morrow realized that times were changing.  Public access to computers at the McCreary County Public Library marked a significant advancement.

“The Gates Foundation donation opened up the world for us,” Morrow commented.  “We knew we had to get on board.”

The library building’s expansion in December 2007 significantly improved public access to computers at MCPL.  When a corner building adjacent to the library was donated by Joe Jackson to McCreary County’s fiscal government, McCreary County’s Judge Executive Blaine Phillips offered the library first dibs on the space.  Morrow and the library board jumped at the opportunity to expand.

“We used the new space to enlarge and house our children’s section and increase public access to computers,” Morrow remarked.  “And of course, we were very happy to get windows!”

Working with architect, Charlie Porter, on the library buildings was a learning experience for Morrow.

“I didn’t know anything about buildings,” Morrow noted.  “However, throughout the years, I’ve learned quite a bit.”

Morrow considers the library’s viability and sustainability within the community as its most important accomplishment.

“The fact that people here saw the worth and value of the library and, forty-four years later, still consider it important is significant,” Morrow observed.  “People take pride in this library and consider it a necessity.”

Morrow’s favorite projects throughout her years at the library include seeing the library expand and developing the McCreary County Pictorial History located in the community room on the second floor of the library.

“It was so interesting to go through photographs donated by the Hume family and choose the ones we would use to depict McCreary County’s history,” Morrow shared.  “People still enjoy looking at the photographs.”

As Morrow reminisces about the last four decades, she recalls many moments of satisfaction derived from her interaction with library patrons.

“It’s always a good moment to help people with genealogy,” Morrow said.  “And it’s always great to see kids come back as adults and bring their children.  It’s extra nice when they come back to see us after moving away and tell us that their current library doesn’t treat them the same.”

Good moments also come from going the extra mile to help a patron in need.  Morrow did just that when she helped a young man in his forties track down a treasured book he had repeatedly “checked out” and read as a youngster.

In her leadership role at the library, Morrow has always encouraged the “human touch” for everyone.  Her “human touch” included establishing the library as a safe place where children could be watched over and helped when not in school.  She also encouraged community involvement noting that people know the library staff because of their involvement in the community.

“Our library is about so much more than just books,” Morrow declared.  “It’s about being part of the community and showing goodness towards everyone.”

Despite her retirement, Morrow still plans to visit and be involved with the library.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she said with a grin.  “I’ll be around.  I just won’t have to show up every day to open the door!”


 March 19th, 2020

Closings and Cancellations for McCreary County

• The McCreary County School District will be closed from March 16 through
April 10. All extracurricular activities are suspended until further notice.

• The McCreary County Senior Citizens Center will be closing for meals and activities. All who receive home-delivered meals will continue to get them. Those who are picked up and transported to the center will begin receiving home-delivered meals. Those who drive themselves to the center will have pre-prepared meals available at a designated time for pick up.

• The PRIDE Spring Clean up event scheduled for March 28 has been canceled.

• The McCreary County Public Library will be suspending all children’s programming and outreach from March 14 through April 1. Online version of Storytime will be offered on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Bookmobile will continue to run through this time.

• The McCreary County Courthouse will be limiting access to citizens to the building beginning Wednesday. Citizens are urged to call the office they wish to visit, or courthouse security personnel will be on hand to deliver paperwork as needed.

• The May Primary Election has been postponed until Tuesday, June 23.

• The McCreary County Park building and Sandhill Camp will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14 until further notice.

• Somerset Community College (McCreary Center): • Online classes currently in progress will continue as usual. • Second 8-week bi-term online classes will start on Wednesday, March 18. All face-to-face and hybrid courses delivered on campus will be cancelled Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 and will be transitioning to online delivery. Converted face-to-face and hybrid courses will start on Wednesday, March 18.

• The Kentucky Court of Justice has canceled all in-person appearances for civil and criminal cases. Emergency matters, domestic violence hearings and evidentiary hearing will still be ongoing. Video conferencing may be used when applicable for arraignments and other issues.

• The Yamacraw Trail run, scheduled for next month has been postponed until November 21-22.

• The McCreary County Republican Party, in conjunction with RPK, has made the decision to cancel this weekend’s mass meeting, originally scheduled for 20 March 2020. Under emergency rules, the McCreary County Republican Committee will nominate county delegates to the district and state conventions.

• South Kentucky RECC has closed the lobbies at all locations, but will maintain drive-through service. The Co-op has also suspended disconnecting customers due to non-payment as well as cancelling late fees for customers during the situation.

• The McCreary County Water District has also closed the lobby at their office, but drive-thru service will still be available.

• As of Wednesday all lobbies at branches of United Cumberland Bank remain open, but there remains a possibility that those will be closed. If that occurs, drive through service will remain. UCB is also offering payment assistance to loan customers affected by the coronavirus. Customers with monthly mortgage payments on their primary residence can apply for deferrals for up to three months. Business customers will be able to request up to six months of interest only payments on commercial loans.

• The Pine Knot Job Corps will be initiating a break for students between March 16 through April 14. All students will be provided transportation home, or provided alternative living arrangements if they have no residence to return to.

• The McCreary Mountain Craft Center has decided to close for a few weeks due to the major concerns of the COVID-19 virus. We will also be cancelling our 2020 Spring Fling event that was scheduled for Saturday March 21, 2020. We will reschedule it for a later date this Spring.

2020 Yamacraw Trail Runs Rescheduled

By Eugenia Jones

Presumably, the month of April will still bring blossoming redbuds and wildflowers; however, thanks to the Corona 19 Virus (COVID-19) pandemic, another rite of April bringing hundreds of visitors to McCreary County will not occur as originally scheduled. Brian and Shelley Gajus, of Knoxville’s Ultranaut Running organization and race directors for the Yamacraw Trail Runs held annually in Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area sections of McCreary County, optimistically explored many options in hopes of not canceling or postponing this year’s race. However, after receiving the recommendation to cancel/postpone the event from the Kentucky Public Health Commissioner as well as the state epidemiologist and CDC field officer, the couple made a difficult decision to postpone the April 4-5 races.
“After much deliberation and consultation with community organizers and state health experts, we feel we must announce the following change for this year’s race,” the Gajuses shared with runners on the Yamacraw Facebook page. “In concern for you, your family, and the community in which we hold Yamacraw, we have decided to reschedule the 2020 Yamacraw Trail Runs to November 21-22, 2020.”
As of March 12, there were no plans to cancel or reschedule the Yamacraw. However, registered runners received an official email (and Facebook posting) detailing extensive safety precautions to be implemented during the 2020 Yamacraw in regard to COVID 19. Precautions included food handling changes, the recommendation to use hand sanitizer at aid stations, and provision of personal protection equipment such as gloves to volunteers.
However, after continuing to deliberate and consult with community organizers and state health experts over the next twenty-four hours, race directors felt compelled on March 13 to announce the rescheduling of the 2020 Yamacraw Trail Runs to November 21-22.
With the originally scheduled Yamacraw race only three weeks away and race costs already accrued by host/organizer Ultranaut Running, the more than 650 runners registered for the 2020 Yamacraw currently have three options regarding their prepaid registration fees:
1. Run the rescheduled race on November 21-22, 2020.
2. 100% deferment and guaranteed spot into the 2021 race (projected at a new date for May 2021.)
3. Withdraw and receive a twenty-five percent refund.
Current waitlisters are on hold until after the deferral period ends on May 16, 2020. Registration for the 2021 Yamacraw Trail Runs will open on October 1st at 12:00 a.m. EST.

March 12th, 2020

By Eugenia Jones

Photo by Eugenia Jones The McCreary County Extension Agency has recently undergone a major change with the hiring of several new employees. The McCreary County Extension Agency offers a variety of classes, programs, activities, and individual assistance to McCreary County residents. A class about the use of electric pressure cookers (pictured above) is just one of many programs hosted by the local Extension Agency.

In recent months, the McCreary County Extension Agency has taken on a new look with eighty percent of the staff hired since last fall. Although Lisa Musgrove remains in her position as SNAP Education program assistant working with nutrition education throughout McCreary County, all other employees are recent hires.
Danielle Barrett was hired as McCreary County’s latest Family Consumer Science (FCS)/4-H agent in November. Danielle grew up in Whitley County as the fifth generation on her family’s farm. As a youngster, Barrett was active in 4-H and attended Homemakers with her granny.
“Between 4-H, Granny, and my nutrition major at UK, I figured out I could be an extension agent,” Barrett said with a smile.
Barrett, who also has a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Utah State, served five years as FCS agent in Knox County.
Barrett decided to apply in McCreary County because she is excited by the challenge of building a long-lasting FCS program. Realizing McCreary County’s FCS has lacked consistency since the passing of long time FCS agent Kathy Brannon, Barrett looks forward to restoring the program.
Barrett, an avid hiker and nature lover, is also excited to be in an area where she is just minutes away from outdoor hiking. She is actually so impressed with McCreary County that she, husband James, and her shelter dog, Cookie, have bought a home in Pine Knot.
“I believe you need to live where you want to make an impact,” Barrett stated in regard to her move to McCreary County. “Everyone here has been so nice to me, and everyone seems excited about what the future can hold.”
Barrett’s passion is nutrition, and she wants to help people figure out how to have healthier lifestyles through food. She is particularly eager to support programs dealing with diabetes management and education and is teaching a series of classes dealing with diabetes. For McCreary County’s young people, Barrett dreams of establishing the “Superstar Chefs” 4-H Cooking Club and competing at the state fair level.
Although she is passionate about food and nutrition, Barrett describes her role as FCS agent as being like a “home economics teacher for the community.” She plans to offer lots of new programs and classes and is available to the public for assistance and advice regarding a variety of household topics including family budgeting, clothing, cleaning, child development, and nutrition.
Ashley Moore is a hometown girl from Pine Knot who is excited to be McCreary County’s latest 4-H program assistant. Ashley grew up participating in 4-H, being involved with horsemanship at the regional and state level, and serving as reporter for her high school FFA. Moore obtained a major in Art Education at the University of the Cumberlands and has experience with greenhouses, farming, and construction. Her hobbies include hiking, photography, reading, horseback riding, camping, and being an advocate for nature. Moore is fond of her shelter rescue fur baby-a cat named Tuxedo.
Moore, who is happy to have found employment in her home county, can’t say enough good things about McCreary County.
“I love that you can drive twenty minutes and be at a hiking trail that offers wonderful photography opportunities,” she remarked. “I love the history and the heritage here. My family is from here, and this is where I was raised.”
Moore will assist the FCS and Agriculture agents with 4-H but will also branch out on her own. She is particularly interested in getting the equestrienne program back in the county and hopes to start a photography club. Moore feels her background in Art will be helpful in developing an impressive 4-H program for McCreary County.
Tracie Goodman is the Agriculture and Natural Resource/4-H Youth Development Agent replacing former agent, Greg Whitis, in McCreary County. Goodman is originally from Pine Knot and attended the University of the Cumberlands where she received a Science Education degree. She later attended the University of Tennessee to obtain a Master’s degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources. Goodman and her husband, Bobby, live in a cabin and have three dogs. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, gardening, and being involved with anything concerning the outdoors.
Goodman has always been interested in environmental science and recalls growing up in Pine Knot as a child and pursuing her favorite pastime-climbing to the top of pine trees and wearing sap in her hair for days at a time.
Goodman, who was hired in January, wants to focus on sustainable agriculture and developing programs for girls interested in Agriculture and Environmental Science. She also has a special interest in helping those who wish to grow their own food. Goodman is looking forward to continuing the Extension Agency’s partnership with the McCreary County Farmers’ Market, Cattleman’s Association, Big South Fork Bee Club, Bee School, Bee Field Day, and other local groups and activities.
“I’m excited to be here,” Goodman remarked. “I want to talk with and help as many people as possible. Since I’m from here, I’m familiar with their needs.”
Jessica Musgrove became the McCreary County Extension Agency staff assistant, replacing Laurie Johnson, in September. Born and raised in McCreary County, Musgrove wears many different hats in her role. As she answers the phone, helps with programs, assists the public, and manages the office, Musgrove is the glue that holds the busy extension agency office together.
Musgrove stays busy as a foster parent and notes her primary hobby as keeping her kids busy in karate, gymnastics, and other activities. She and her husband, Michael, are beekeepers, gardeners, and keep chickens. Musgrove also collects daylilies, and at last count, had 200+ varieties of daylilies.
Musgrove was active in FFA as a teenager, and after having previously worked for sixteen years at OVC, finds she is enjoying her new job working with the public and children involved in 4-H.
“In this job, I get to do a lot of what I naturally enjoy,” Musgrove noted.
In addition to developing new programs, the McCreary County Extension Agency will remain active with the McCreary County Farmers’ Market, Big South Fork Beekeepers, Cattleman’s Club, Basket Guild, Homemakers, Healthy Hikes, and other local groups. The agency is located in the McCreary Center of Somerset Community College in Whitley City with a phone number of 606-376-2524.

Lincoln appears in Stearns

Photo by Eugenia Jones Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Dennis Boggs, recently made an appearance at the Community Center in Stearns. Boggs presented an informative look at the life of the 16th President as it might have been told by Lincoln himself. The presentation was sponsored by the Mill Springs Battlefield Association.

Rogers Invites Students to
Artwork for
Congressional Art Competition

Congressman Hal Rogers invites all high school students in Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District to participate in the 2020 Congressional Art Competition. One student will be selected to represent Southern and Eastern Kentucky in Washington, DC.
The winning artwork from each congressional district is displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year and the artist will receive two free airline tickets to Washington for a national awards ceremony. The winning artist may also be eligible for a college scholarship.
“We have incredibly talented young artists in our region and this competition puts their work in the national spotlight, where it belongs,” said Congressman Rogers. “I take great pride in seeing the winning artwork from our region on display in the Capitol Building where more than three million people visit every year.”
Last year, Payton Martin from Prestonsburg High School won the district competition with his incredible pencil portrait of President Abraham Lincoln. He had the opportunity to visit with Congressman Rogers and see his own artwork on display on Capitol Hill.
For competition guidelines and to download a student release form, visit The artwork must be two-dimensional. Framed work cannot exceed 26” x 26” x 4” and cannot weigh more than 15 pounds. Unframed artwork will be accepted in the congressional office; however, the winning artwork must be framed by the artist before being displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building. Artwork will be accepted in Congressman Rogers’ district offices in Hazard, Prestonsburg and Somerset until Monday, May 4, 2020.
For more information, visit or contact Danielle Smoot in Congressman Rogers’ Somerset district office at 606-679-8346 or

Coronavirus sparks worldwide concern

The dawn of 2020 ushered in many newsworthy headlines, but few have turned the heads of the masses as sharply as the arrival of a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. In late 2019, Chinese authorities identified the new virus, which has resulted in scores of confirmed cases in China, and additional cases identified in a growing number of international locations.
Both the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have closely monitored the coronavirus, which was named COVID-19 in mid-February 2020. The public is understandably concerned, but educating oneself about COVID-19 and coronaviruses in general can assuage some fears.

What is a coronavirus?
Medical News Today reports that coronaviruses typically affect the respiratory tracts of mammals. Coronaviruses are responsible for between 15 and 30 percent of common colds. They’re also associated with pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.
Coronaviruses were given their name based on the crown-like projections on their surfaces (in Latin, “corona” means “halo” or “crown”). Coronavirus antibodies do not last or work for very long, so a person who becomes ill can catch the same virus again a few months later. Also, antibodies for one strain of coronavirus may not be effective against other strains.

What is COVID-19?
In 2019, a new type of coronavirus not previously identified was discovered in China. Like other coronaviruses, this virus, COVID-19, can be spread easily from person to person, particularly through respiratory droplets acquired when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes. Most often people need to be within six feet of the infected person for contraction. The CDC says that COVID-19 also is believed to be spread from animals to people. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his oer her own mouth, nose or eyes.
Those confirmed as having the virus reported illnesses ranging from mild symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath to more severe illness. Reactions to COVID-19 can differ from individual to individual. It’s believed that symptoms of COVID-19 can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. Those who have been in China or around others who have visited from China and are experiencing cold or flu symptoms are advised call their physicians.

Prevention and

The WHO says that if a person is healthy, he or she only needs to wear a mask if this person is taking care of another with a suspected COVID-19 infection. One also should wear a mask if he or she is coughing or sneezing.
Doctors advise that frequent handwashing, and in the absence of warm, soapy water, alcohol-based sanitizers that are at least 60 percent alcohol can be effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Currently there is no specific antiviral treatment for the disease; people should receive supportive care for symptoms. However, research into antiviral drugs, such as those for HIV and influenza, are being tested for their potential efficacy against COVID-19, Research into developing a vaccine for this novel coronavirus also is ongoing.
Concerned individuals should speak with their healthcare providers for accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19 as global health organizations continue to monitor conditions and treatments.

March 5th, 2020

McCreary County EMS Director Jimmy Barnett submitted this article to further inform the people about the latest information on the coronavirus.
With the current outbreak of the coronavirus, we wanted to help the public be aware of what information we have and steps they can take to help avoid the outbreak.
Becoming proactive concerning different situations has the power to make us feel like we are in control. With that in mind, the Voice has agreed to allow us to write some articles to help us become better prepared for different disasters which might come our way.
We have all heard about the flu this year, and it has claimed around 10,000 lives across the U.S. Now we are hearing about the coronavirus, which leads me to this topic. What is our greatest defense against both the flu and the coronavirus?

There is a correct way for us to be washing out hands: not just putting a little soap on our hands and washing it off – but truly washing our hands.
1. Wet your hands thoroughly to the wrist. It does not have to be extremely hot water.
2. Apply soap – enough to cover both hands. Plain soap is fine.
3. Lather your hands by rubbing them together palm to palm.
4. Rub your right palm over the back of your left hand, interlacing your fingers, then switch left over right.
5. Rub your palms together with fingers interlaced, scrubbing the backs of your fingers and fingernails.
6. Scrub your thumbs by turning and rubbing them on your palms.
7. Scrub your palms with clasped fingers.
8. Rinse with running water.
9. Remember, wet hands can carry germs, so dry thoroughly with a single-use towel.
Wondering of you have washed them long enough? Sing your ABC’s or Happy Birthday twice.
Some useful advice on when to wash your hands: after using the bathroom, before you eat, any time your hands are dirty, after handling meat, more often if you have a cold or flu, after blowing your nose, after feeding or playing with a pet, after treating a cut or wound, after disposing of trash or garbage, when you go to the store, wash your hands when arriving home, after touching door knobs, handrails, tabletops, and grocery carts, after going to the doctors office, after shaking hands.
We touch our faces about 150 times a day, try and get out of the habit of touching your face and get in to the habit of washing your hands.
Medical sources say washing your hands isn’t a guarantee against infections of coronavirus or any other disease. It will, however, provide a stronger first defense against illness.

Five things about the coronavirus
1. it is a new strain.
2. 83% that get it will only get a mild strain (children are at 1%).
3. It’s hard to tell the difference between the flu and the coronavirus.
4. At the present time there are no definitive numbers.
5. How to stay healthy- go to
An analysis of 22 earlier studies of similar coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, published this month in the Journal of Hospital of Hospital Infection, concluded that human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature. However, they can quickly be rendered inactive using common disinfectants, and may also dissipate at higher temperatures. It is not yet clear, however, whether the new coronavirus behaves in a similar way.
“On copper and steel it’s pretty typical, it’s pretty much about two hours,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told U.S. lawmakers last week, referring to how long the new coronavirus may be active on those types of materials. “But I will say on other surfaces, cardboard or plastic, it’s longer, and so we are looking at this.”
The agency said there is likely a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.
A CDC spokeswoman said the agency is still looking into how contagious the virus can be when deposited on more common, everyday surfaces.
The Food and Drug Administration this week said it has no evidence that COVID-19 had been transmitted from imported goods, but the situation remains “dynamic” and the agency will assess and update guidance as needed.

How does it spread?
From person to person through a sneeze, handshake or cough. Touching anything an infected person had touched and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

In contrast to the flu virus
Flu viruses survive less on porous surfaces, such as clothing, paper and tissue, experts say. Most flu viruses can live one to two days on nonporous surfaces, and 8-12 hours on porous ones.
We would like to thank the individual for their time and research on this subject, who would like to remain anonymous.

February 27th, 2020

Photo by Greg Bird
Judges Paul Winchester (left) and Dan Ballou (right) swore in Robert Stephens as the new Master Commissioner for McCreary County Monday. Stephens, who had previously served as Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, replaces Tim Lavender at the post.


Cumberland Falls PRIDE Cleanup set for March 28th

With just one month until spring, planning is underway for the annual PRIDE Spring Cleanup at Cumberland Falls.
The volunteer event will be held Saturday, March 28. At 9 a.m., volunteer registration will begin at the gift shop beside Cumberland Falls. From 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., volunteers will pick up litter along Hwy. 90 and other roads near the park. At noon, volunteers will return to the gift shop area for a free picnic prepared by Culinary Arts students from Pine Knot Job Corps.
“We invite volunteers of all ages to join the Spring Cleanup so we and our visitors can enjoy the scenic drive to Cumberland Falls, instead of seeing trash along the roads,” said Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, which is one of the event organizers.
“You can be one of the volunteers who pushes us past the 5,000 mark on total volunteers for this event since it began in 2008,” Nazario said. “More than 500 volunteers joined the 2019 event, which brought our volunteer total to 4,578.”
“We also invite businesses and individuals to support the Cumberland Falls Spring Cleanup by making donations toward the lunch and door prizes, which reward our hard-working volunteers,” she added. “All donors will be recognized at the cleanup, so this will be a good opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to community service.”
All volunteers will be eligible for door prizes, in addition to enjoying the free picnic.
Awards will be given to the school group and community group that bring the most volunteers. In 2019, those winners were the Whitley County JROTC and McCreary County ATV & OHV Club.
The Volunteer Cup trophy will be presented to the county with the most volunteers participating. Whitley County has won the cup six times, and McCreary County has won it five times.
The event is a partnership among PRIDE, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, McCreary County Fiscal Court 109 Board, Whitley County Fiscal Court, US Forest Service, McCreary County Extension Service, McCreary County Board of Education, Whitley County School System, Pine Knot Job Corps, Corbin Tourism & Convention Commission, and Sheltowee Trace Outfitters.
The Cumberland Falls Spring Cleanup is part of the PRIDE Spring Cleanup campaign across 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. The region-wide PRIDE Spring Cleanup is sponsored by Outdoor Venture Corporation and Walmart.
For more information, please call the PRIDE office, toll free, at 888-577-4339. To invite friends to volunteer, look for the Cumberland Falls Spring Cleanup event on Facebook.


February 20th, 2020

Photos by Greg Bird
Representative Ken Upchurch visited with residents of KY 1470 Saturday to get a first-hand look at the flooding caused by construction of the new KY 92. Work on the new road has caused issues for families as rainwater no longer drains as quickly as it had in the past, causing flooding. Upchurch, Chair of the House Transportation Committee, said he would meet with engineers working on the road to try and find a solution to the problem.

January Occupational Tax receipts

By Greg Bird

A total of $210,977.18 was collected in January, with two-thirds directed to the General Fund, and the remaining third to the Jail Fund.
For the General Fund a total of $134,651.45 was added for the month, about $8,000 ahead of last January. That total is about average for the month since monthly totals were reported beginning in 2012.
Through January the Occupational Tax has generated $672,613 for the General Fund, about $50,000 ahead of the same point in the last fiscal year.
Through seven months of the fiscal year complete, the average monthly collection has risen to just over $96,000. If that trend persists the projected final total for the General Fund would be about $1.15 million.
The Jail Fund added $67,325.73, bringing the year-to-date total for the fund to $336,306.

Native McCreary Countian Recognized for Service

Allan Ball, originally from McCreary County, along with additional members of the South Whitley County and Pleasant View Fire Departments was recently awarded a certificate of appreciation for tireless and selfless service to the citizens of Whitley County during the February 2020 flooding. Ball is pictured receiving his certificate from Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White.

Diabetes Day At The Capitol

Photo submitted Vicky Albertson, RN, CDCES and Janet Cowherd, RN, BSN, CDCES – Diabetes Educators for LCDHD join Senator Max Wise for Diabetes Day at the Capitol.

February 13th, 2020

Photo submitted On February 11th, 2020 MCHS Sophomore Macy Daugherty had the great honor and privilege to be invited by Kentucky State Representative Kenneth H. Upchurch to serve as his Youth Page for the 25th Legislative Day for the 2020 Regular Session and represent McCreary County. Macy assisted Ken with voting for House Bill 340 and assisted Ken with other Page duties.

Puppy Love

By Eugenia Jones

Oh, they call it puppy love-not because we’re in our teens but because we truly do love our four-legged, canine sweethearts!
Readers of “The Voice” provided proof of a puppy love epidemic by sharing their puppy love photos and stories. The response was so overwhelming that we were forced to make a “ruff” call and were only able to print some of the puppy photos due to a lack of newspaper space. We’ve tried to share as many of your doggy love stories as possible.
Thanks for sharing. We, at The Voice, fully agree. There’s no love quite like puppy love!

“My grand fur babies sometimes come stay with their grandparents when their dad has to work. Dappered dachshunds, Otto and Heidi, are spoiled! Orie, who is such a joy, loves his blanket!” – Rose Griffis and Otto and Heidi

“Mom sure loves Snoopy. He is eight years old and 134 pounds. He sure gets fed good. Mom and Dad keep him inside their house. I think they love him more than me!” – Lynn Dobbs with Snoopy

“A person’s best friends are their four legged friends. These two love to be together so much, they made a heart while sleeping!” – Billy and Pansy Vaughn

“Clyde is my big baby! He will be two in April and is an American Bully! He is a gentle soul and has a goofy side. He thinks he is a little lap dog and always makes me smile. All 75 pounds of him! Izzy is my baby girl who made me fall in love with dogs! Who would have thought I would have a dog in the house and now I have two?? Izzy is an American Pit Bull, and people often misjudge the breed. She is loyal and loving and has made my life so much better! She is smiling as soon as I get home from work. Izzy thinks she is human, and she loves to sit on a bar stool and drink coffee with me every morning!” – Lisa Frye and Izzie and Clyde

“Gizmo is my girl’s best buddy!” – Beverly Shook and Gizmo

“Fur therapy is the best remedy after another stressful day in surgery. Seeing the fur babies lined up at my bay window when I pull up in my driveway makes me smile every single time!” – Trish Taylor and Dixie Rose, Jackson, and Sydney

“I’ve had Puggylee for 15 years now. He is a big baby and still loves to play. He wants more ice cream-eats everything we do! He is a good boy!” – Linda Gilreath and Puggylee
“Bella has been such a comfort and the best medicine for us especially to my daughter Kaitlyn since her brother, Darren’s, accident. Kaitlyn says that God sent Bella when she truly needed her the most. Nothing like puppy love!” – Gwen and Blaine Keith

“Minnow is my best little buddy. After a hard, stressful day at work, he is always excited to see me. His love is unconditional.” – Chad Starrett and Minnow

“I wrote a song about my dogs and how every time I come home they make me feel like a Rock Star-especially when I get home at the end of the day after getting kicked in the teeth!” – Darlene Price and her pack

“Bandit is my “therapy” dog. He stays and watches over me on my bad days. He can sense when my Parkinson’s is causing me trouble.” – Missy Strunk

“Sugar (a blonde lab) took care of Spot (chi mix) as he recovered from carbon monoxide poisoning.” – Elizabeth Heath and Sugar and Spot

“Our puppy love story may be different than most. We don’t have a puppy in our home every day. However, Four years ago, my in-laws brought this sweet little guy into our lives, and he completely melted our hearts. I never in my life thought we would all love a dog the way we do Noot. My ten year old daughter, Caylyn, instantly fell in love with him, and they have a bond like no other. Noot has truly become the family dog as we all love to cuddle and love on him. He may not be “our” dog, but he is our borrowed puppy love puppy.” – Holly Daugherty and Noot

“My sweet boy has no idea he isn’t a human. He has more personality than any animal I’ve ever owned. He’s dramatically emotional when he doesn’t get his way. He loves everyone. If you come to our home, he jumps to kiss you. He chipped a friend’s tooth doing this once so we say ‘Watch your face’ as soon as anyone comes inside!” – Tammy Nazario

“Puppy breath isn’t always pleasant, but we kiss them anyways!” – Rebecca Trammell

“We raised this sweet girl from six weeks old to almost seventeen years old. Our Maggie Girl filled our hearts with unconditional love. Some people could learn a lot from dogs.” – Trish, Ray Ball and Maggie Girl

“This is my sweet baby girl, Maya. Last year, I was going through a really rough time. I was having a lot of tests done, and the results were not good. Maya became my rock. She knew when I didn’t feel good and somehow always knew when I needed her. She truly is such a blessing to me, and everyone who meets her. I’m so thankful for my puppy.” – Lakeisha Jones

“Sheba is a special dog because she is a service dog. She goes almost everywhere I go. She knows all my highs and lows. She even knows when I’m sleeping if I’m breathing right because I quit breathing some times while I’m sleeping. She keeps me going. That’s why I give her my best because she gives me her best.” – Denzil Keith Hicks and Sheba

“Katie and Alyssa met Rocky and Zoey as pups at Christmas Day when Katie was five years old. Now she is graduating high school, and Katie’s love for them sparked a desire to go into vet and animal science in college. Of course, they had to join her for senior pictures! The dogs greet Katie home from school with wagging tails which she reciprocates with lots of hugs and petting. As part of the family, Katie has grown up with Rocky and Zoey and them for her.” – Lori Taylor and Rocky and Zoe

“Calijo was a rescue from a puppy mill. She had twenty-seven puppies in a short time. After bringing her home, he has been the light of our lives. She is very sassy and lovable. She knows when you are sad and not feeling well. She is our biggest blessing and the best therapy and friend we could have ever asked for.” – Karen Cecil and Calijo

“My sweet Sir has been not only my best friend but the best friend of my children for their whole life.” -Tabitha Roberts and Sir

“This is my daughter, Whitney and her fur baby and best friend, Mia Payge! She has been such a blessing to Whitney through some very hard times! When I needed a friend, I found your paw.” – Whitney West and Mia Payge

Flu cases in Ky. show a slight uptick, with three more deaths reported

New cases of influenza saw a slight uptick in Kentucky during the week ended Jan. 25, and three more Kentuckians were reported dying from it, one under the age of 18. So far, 33 Kentuckians have died from the flu this season, according to the state Department for Public Health.
The latest weekly report shows in the week ending Jan. 25, Kentucky counted 1,739 new cases for a total of 13,287 this season. The actual number is higher because not all flu cases are counted; flu does not have to be reported, and eight counties did not contribute to the latest report.
Health officials recommend that everyone over 6 months of age get an annual flu vaccination. It is not too late, since the season usually runs through May.
It’s also important to practice good hygiene, covering your cough and making sure you are washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible, and if not, to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. And because flu germs linger on surfaces, it’s also important to wash your hands after coughing, touching a door knob or handrail, or shaking hands.

School districts across the state continue to close due to the flu. Lexington’s WKYT-TV reported Jan. 31 that more than 20 school districts canceled classes Friday and Monday due to illness.
Hotspots continue around the state. Perry and Pike counties continue to see some of the highest flu numbers in the state. In the week ending Jan. 25, Pike saw 126 new cases and Perry 93, for respective totals of 649 and 808. Barren County was also hit hard, with 120 new cases, for a total of 595. Warren added 86 new cases, for a total of 502; Allen added 41, for a total of 220; Knott added 37, for a total of 211; and Letcher 33, for a total of 186.

Citizens National Bank
Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Citizens National Bank has been a keystone business in Pulaski County for a century, turning 100 years old this year on February 14, 2020. From its opening day those many years ago to today, Citizens National Bank has striven to offer quality customer service to the people of Pulaski County. That’s why we are very excited for the opportunity to celebrate our milestone 100th year with those who have made it possible – our customers.
Citizens National Bank was founded during the growing economic boom of the 1920s, with a mission that has carried over to this day: to be a leader in the community among banks in the area, fostering customer relationships and excellent customer service. To that end, the bank has grown to accommodate the needs of its customers, leading to robust growth into the 1970s with its first branch opening at Somerset Plaza. Since then, CNB has continued to expand, with the bank now serving customers at seven locations in Pulaski County, as well as in surrounding counties – Wayne County, Jessamine County, and Russell County. Today, CNB has grown to over $400 million in assets, which is most impressive when taking into account that this was achieved without any acquisitions or mergers, and while remaining a locally-owned financial institution.
This success has allowed CNB to be a business that has proven itself time and again to be able to thrive in Pulaski County, punctuated with increased profitability and job growth throughout the course of its 100-year history, achieved by a solid underpinning of offering banking services in such a way that maintains the same integrity and commitment the bank devotes to its employees. And while Citizens National Bank has flourished in terms of commerce, it has always made a concerted effort to give back to the community it serves. The bank’s contributions to Pulaski County extend beyond the walls of its branches, from donating monetarily to the county’s civic and nonprofit organizations to volunteering time to the community’s churches and schools.
Come celebrate our 100th anniversary with us on Friday, February 14th from 11 am – 2 pm at any of our CNB branches. Each branch will serve delicious food and have great giveaways. Every hour, on the hour, each branch will give away $100 in cash. At the conclusion of all the celebrations, every entry slip from all the branches will be combined to draw for the grand prize of $1,920! Special Centennial Celebration commemorative coins will be given away to attendees, but supply is limited. Finally, there will be a ceremony at the Main Office in Downtown Somerset at Noon. We would like to invite all our friends to join us in the Centennial Celebration on Friday, February 14th! After all, we could not have accomplished this without you.

February 6th, 2020

Cattleman’s Meeting

Photo submitted UK Extension Beef Specialist, Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, conducted an excellent program at last night’s McCreary County Cattleman’s Association meeting. Interpreting forage test results, nutrition, and winter feeding needs were among the topics discussed.

Nadene Heth Unveils Latest Work of Art

Photos by Eugenia Jones
Local artisan, Nadene Heth, recently unveiled her latest painting (left). She is pictured (center) with one of her blue ribbon paintings and (right) one of her many creative projects.

By Eugenia Jones

Nadene Heth, who will be ninety-eight years old on March 4, is a well known local artist and former McCreary County school teacher. Her latest painting is shown above. Heth began working on her most current painting almost three months ago. With health failing, Heth called on the talents of Mary Ross and Arnold Stephens to assist with the final strokes of painting. Heth said she felt the Lord was leading her to do the painting and plans to donate it to Kings Highway Church of God in the Jellico, TN area.
The ninety-seven year old painter and retired schoolteacher was born at Hayes Creek in 1922 as one of five children born to Frances and Lula Gilreath Creekmore. She is the widow of Arthur Heth who was a local school teacher and Army combat veteran of World War II.
She recalls growing up, especially during the Depression era, in McCreary County.
“We took in fifteen dollars per month from a schoolteacher who boarded with us,” Heth remembers. “That’s all we had. We used that money to buy flour, sugar, baking soda, and such. We raised the rest of our food in a big garden and kept chickens, pigs, and cows.”
Each year, Heth’s family grew an “early garden” and a “late garden” to provide year round food for the family. She recollects shelling her daddy’s crowder peas, raising pumpkins, and enjoying the crunchy heads of cabbage her mother retrieved from a hole in the ground where the cruciferous vegetables were kept buried and preserved for winter meals. The family canned food including beans, tomatoes, and meat. Nadene remembers her father raising and slaughtering young beef for canned veal and the yearly fall ritual of slaughtering pigs and salting the meat down in the smokehouse.
Although money was tight, Heth didn’t go hungry as a child and strongly feels living a long life has much to do with the type of food eaten during childhood. With her own childhood diet consisting of meats and vegetables served fresh or preserved without artificial preservatives, Heth is concerned about the health and longevity of recent generations who have grown up consuming artificial preservatives and additives in their childhood diets.
In addition to raising their own food, Heth recalls her father making a cotton gin and her mother raising cotton.
“We would sit on each side of the gin and catch the cotton,” Heth explains. “Mom would card the cotton and use it to fill her handmade quilts.”

Heth has been drawing pictures ever since she was old enough to hold a pencil in her hand. She painted with crayons as a youngster and, during the lean days of the Depression, journeyed to a nearby creek to gather small rocks to paint her pictures. By rubbing the small creek rocks on her drawings, Nadene deftly colored her masterpieces with nature’s very own reds, yellows, and grays.

Throughout her life, Heth has been active in the Big South Fork Art Club. She served as secretary for the club, and meetings were regularly held at her home.
Heth, who paints primarily with oil, has artwork on display throughout McCreary County including the public library, churches, and the courthouse. One of her favorite projects consists of six 30×30 paintings featuring highlights from the life of Jesus, including portrayals of the birth, crucifixion, and ascension. The six majestic paintings are displayed at the East Pine Knot Tabernacle Community Hall.
Heth has no idea how many paintings she has completed throughout her lifetime and regrets she didn’t keep a record of her many masterpieces. She is primarily a self-taught artist but did take a few classes as an adult.

In addition to her passion for art, Heth was a McCreary County teacher for thirty-two years. She began her teaching career in the one room schools of Marsh Creek and Ball and taught grades one through three for about fifteen years in the two room school at Hayes Creek. She spent the remainder of her career as a first grade teacher at Pine Knot Elementary.

Photo courtesy MSCO
Sheriff Randy Waters, Deputy Tom Smith and United States Marshals arrested Brassfield Coffey Jr. and Greg Norris Thursday afternoon after the men were named in a federal indictment on drug charges. The suspects were lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center.

January 30th, 2020

Report Finds State’s Budget Bucket Still Leaking, Calls For Pro-Growth Tax
Reform, More Revenue

FRANKFORT – Kentucky continues to struggle to slow state spending in key areas that are diverting funds from investments in education, according to a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
The Leaky Bucket: 10 Years Later, released Tuesday, is an update of the Chamber’s original report that identified corrections, Medicaid and public employee benefits as major budget leaks that were consuming tax dollars at a rate that was growing faster than the overall state budget. These leaks accounted for more than half of all growth in the budget from 2000 to 2010, with money being allocated to them at a much higher rate than for education.
Since the first Leaky Bucket was published, several bipartisan policies have been enacted in an effort to curb the disturbing spending trends and, for a while, it appeared that the policies might slow, if not stop, some of the leaking.
“Unfortunately, this has not been the case,” noted Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts. “With the opioid epidemic plaguing our state and the resulting growth in the prison population, escalating costs associated with Medicaid, and continuing challenges with the pension systems, Kentucky is still struggling to fix the leaks.”
The latest update examined spending trends from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2020 and found:
Total General Fund spending grew 14.5%.
Corrections spending increased by 15.9%.
Medicaid spending grew 25.6%.
Public employee health insurance grew by 5.5%, a notable improvement.
Pension spending has doubled.
K-12 education funding increased by 1.2%; spending on non-SEEK items has grown by 30.8%.
Postsecondary education funding decreased by 6%.
The report concludes more revenue is required in addition to continued program reforms, representing a significant departure from the Chamber’s earlier Leaky Bucket reports.
“The Commonwealth cannot reform or cut its way out of current funding challenges without falling further behind in areas critical to our future,” the report noted. “We must ‘look beyond the bucket’ to generate additional revenue. Kentucky needs pro-business tax reform that improves the Commonwealth’s competitiveness while producing new net revenue to support education and develop a modern workforce.”
For more information, contact Kentucky Chamber Communications Manager Sawyer Coffey at 502-848-8752 or

UK College of Nursing, University Center of Southern Kentucky form partnership

SOMERSET, KY.– The University of Kentucky College of Nursing and the University Center of Southern Kentucky (UCSK) joined together to sign a Memorandum of Agreement announcing their new hybrid RN-to-BSN bachelor’s degree program.
The new program provides a track for students who earn an Associates Degree in nursing from Somerset Community College to go on and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UK without having to leave the Somerset campus.
The UK College of Nursing is the latest school to partner with the UCSK, which serves as catalyst to provide four-year degree programs from participating schools across Kentucky. The Center is uniquely located within the Somerset Community College Campus, which makes it easier for students who have earned two-year degrees from SCC to continue their education without commuting.
The UCSK opened in Fall 2019 and was created based on community demands, workforce needs, and student access. SCC service area high school graduates now have the option to stay close to home to get a four-year degree at an affordable rate, and local non-traditional students have an option to further their educational goals.

Act Now for Free GED Testing

By Eugenia Jones

In an effort to support education and enhance employment opportunities throughout Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear and Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced earlier this year that Kentucky Skills U, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC), will waive testing fees for Kentuckians seeking to earn a GED. The GED test fee of $120 for all four courses ($30 per course-Language Arts (reading and writing)/Math/Science/Social Studies) is one of the most common barriers facing adults lacking education in Kentucky.
With the EWDC allotment of $600,000 in state funding to waive test fees across the Commonwealth, staff at the local Kentucky Skills U encourage anyone interested in seeking a GED to act now while free supplies last. Formerly known as McCreary County Adult Education Center, the local Kentucky Skills U program is housed in Whitley City at the McCreary Center of Somerset Community College (SCC.)
According to McCreary County’s Kentucky Skills U Adult Education Specialist, Martha Ball, the local center offers both the GED and the GED Plus programs.
“Our goal is to get our people in and ready to test,” Ball said. “We want to get them to college or in a job as soon as possible.”
The GED (General Education Development) is a system of standardized tests giving those who pass documentation equivalent to completion of high school. The GED Plus program offers the GED plus a college certificate in Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation/Logistics, Business Services/IT, or Construction/Trades. Certain criteria is required for entrance into the GED Plus program.
Kentucky requires the GED Ready Practice test be taken prior to the GED exam. The GED Ready test is available at no cost through Kentucky Skills U or individuals may take the test online at for a fee.
Individuals interested in the GED or GED Plus programs can call 376-7506 or visit Skills U on site in the McCreary Center of Somerset Community College. Hours are Monday-Wednesday from 8:00 until 5:30 and Thursday from 8:00 until 5:00. Appointments can be arranged after hours if needed. McCreary County Skills U staff includes Instructors Allan Wright, Joan Waters, Beverly Murphy (Data Assessment) and Adult Education Specialist Martha Ball.

Photo by Eugenia Jones
McCreary County FCE Extension Agent Danielle Barrett recently hosted the “Not Your Granny’s Pressure Cooker” class about electric pressure cookers.

School Board approves purchase of new busses

By Greg Bird

The McCreary County Board of Education voted to approve the purchase of six new busses Monday night, continuing their efforts to replace the aging fleet.
Following a brief discussion, the Board approved spending $645,832 to purchase the vehicles, but they will pay for a portion of the total cost with a $120,000 grant through the EPS School Bus Rebate Grant program.
One special needs, 52-passenger bus, four 72-passenger buses, and one 78-passenger transit bus will be purchased.
Before voting on the purchase, Board member Lori Foster asked if purchasing more of the larger capacity busses would help cut down on doubling routes. Transportation Director Stuart Shepherd said that it may help, but he has had 16 applicants for vacant driver positions in the past few months, which may help with the routing. Superintendent Corey Keith said the possibility of adding larger busses would be seriously considered when making future purchases.
For the past several years the Board has been working to replace the older busses, which are no longer on warranty and whose maintenance costs have increased dramatically. In the recent past the Board had opted to lease the new busses, but recently decided the outright purchase of the vehicles would be more cost-effective.
A special tribute to the members of the Board was presented Monday night in honor of School Board Recognition Month. McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie Greene II read aloud a special proclamation, which was followed by a video presentation featuring the families of the Board members describing what makes their Board member special.
The Board also honored the McCreary Middle School cheerleaders for their accomplishments, including their recent championship in Corbin. Middle School Choir members were recognized for their participation in the All State Choir, and the McCreary Central High School BETA Club was honored for their outstanding performance at the state competition last week.
There was a minor shake up at the onset of the meeting as the structure of the Board slightly changed as it reorganized, which it is required to do at the beginning of each year. Dustin Stephens was unanimously re-appointed as Chair of the Board, while Braxton King was similarly voted to the Vice-Chair position – replacing Deborah Gibson, who had served in the role since 2018. The Vice-Chair conducts the meeting in the event the Chair is not able to attend.
The Board also voted to keep the same meeting date, the fourth Monday of every month, but changed the time of the meeting to 6:00 p.m. from 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Central Office until August, when the Board will hold meetings in school libraries on a rotating basis.
The Board will meet again in regular session on Monday, February 24 at 6:00 p.m.

Grand Jury indicts pair

By Greg Bird

The McCreary County Grand Jury had a light docket for January, releasing only two indictments against a pair of individuals.
Braxton Goins and Daniel Perry, both of Parkers Lake, were each named in the two indictments for Receiving Stolen Property of the Value of $500 or more.
Both cases, presented by Sheriff Randy Waters, alleges Goins and Perry committed the offenses for knowingly and unlawfully receiving and possessing miscellaneous tools stolen from two separate individuals on November 22 of last year.
The Voice would like to remind our readers that an indictment is not an indication of one’s guilt or innocence, but represents that enough evidence exists in a case to pursue the matter in a court of law.

January 23rd, 2020

Crafters and Volunteers Invited to Participate in the 20th Annual Big South Fork Spring Planting and Music Festival

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be hosting the 20th annual Spring Planting and Music Festival on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Traditional arts and crafts as well as music will be included as part of the festival throughout the day. This park would like to extend an invitation to all interested crafts persons, musicians, and volunteers to participate in this year’s festival.
National Park Service policy regarding arts and craft sales does allow for the sales of demonstrated arts and crafts. A one-time fee of $25 is required for craft vendors interested in selling crafts or for musicians who wish to sell their music items during this one-day festival. This fee can also be applied towards an application to be a part of other park-sponsored events such as the Storytelling Festival on September 19, 2020. All crafters and musicians will need to bring their own tent, table, chairs and equipment. Generators are not permitted.
If you are interested in selling your craft and/or music items during this year’s event, contact Letitia Neal, Fee Program Manager, at (423) 569-7321, or Applications are available online at
Volunteers are always welcome to demonstrate their craft and/or skills. Volunteers are also needed to assist with event activities. Please contact the park’s volunteer coordinator at (423) 569-9778, or via email at:
For additional information on this special event as well as other events, call us at (423) 569-9778, or visit online at:

Extension Agency Has New Staff

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Extension Service recently introduced Tracie Goodman as its new Agriculture and Nature Resource/4H Extension Agent during a “Meet and Greet” reception welcoming her to the agency. During the reception, McCreary Countians were also able to meet the new 4H program assistant, Ashley Moore. Danielle Barrett recently joined the local Extension Service as Family Consumer Science/4H Agent. Pictured left to right: Ashley Moore and Agriculture Agent Tracie Goodman.

January 16th, 2020

Wise seeks to amend SRO bill

By Greg Bird

Senator Max Wise, who was the driving force behind the new legislation governing school resource officers last year, has introduced a new bill that will further define the position and include language that will allow SRO’s to carry handguns in schools.
Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Wise and ten other Senators, seeks to amend language in Senate Bill 1 – passed last year that called for school districts to hire more school resource officers and mental health counselors.
The new bill amends Senate Bill 1 to permit SRO’s, regardless of their status in a school district, to be armed. It also requires districts to have a mental health counselor for every 250 students.
School Districts had two options to comply with the law passed last year: either enter in to a n agreement with the local Sheriff or Police force to have deputies serve as SRO’s, or employ SRO’s as their own employees.
Most school districts in Kentucky utilize deputies from their local County Sheriff’s Department or City Police officers as SRO’s, with the districts reimbursing the local law enforcement agency for salaries and benefits. This relationship is beneficial to both parties as the SRO’s come under the bond of the Sheriff or Police force, and the officers are fully sworn officers – with all the power and responsibilities as a deputy on patrol. The bond is a surety taken out by the Sheriff as his office is held liable for any acts or omissions by deputies under his command.
The McCreary County School District chose to follow the second path, having the officers operate as District employees and opt not to enter into an agreement with the McCreary County Sheriff.
Sheriff Randy Waters rescinded the bond he carried on the SRO’s as a result of the action, prompting the District to pick up the costs and responsibility of the bond. The District employs the officers as Special Law Enforcement Officers, but under the current statute they only have law-enforcement powers while on school grounds.
The bill was introduced on the Senate floor Monday.

Are zoning laws in McCreary’s future?

By Greg Bird

A routine Fiscal Court meeting Thursday ended with a surprise declaration from Magistrate Roger Phillips, who said if the citizens want full alcohol sales, such as Sunday sales and bars, then the Fiscal Court should consider passing zoning ordinances to protect the county.
Near the end of the session, during the period when Magistrates can bring issues to the Fiscal Court, Magistrate Roger Phillips addressed the crowd concerning the recent passing of the alcohol ordinance, and the exclusion of a special Sunday sales license in the bill.
Some citizens have been highly critical of the omission, noting the Fiscal Court went against the “will of the people” who voted for alcohol sales.
Phillips said the idea to include Sunday sales and allow bars and taverns to operate, as he feels some of the advocates are calling for, opens a host of problems for the County.
“We have to look at everybody,” Phillips said, noting the Fiscal Court has the responsibility of representing all citizens of the County, not just a few.
Phillips said if the County wanted to include all possibilities for selling alcohol, the Fiscal Court should implement some planning and zoning laws to prevent people from opening bars next door to their neighbors, bringing property values down.
“I never thought I’d say it, but I think it is high time we look at it,” Phillips said.
Much of Phillips’ comments were directed at Tony Hansford, who submitted the initial petition to get alcohol sales. Hansford said Phillips was taking his words out of context, noting he did not want bars, but did support Sunday sales – which, he believed, would attract potential sports bars to the area and would enhance the tourism aspect of the county.
Hansford said if the Fiscal Court was going to promote McCreary County as a tourism destination, they needed to allow Sunday sales.
The Fiscal Court also approved a resolution declaring McCreary County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, meaning they oppose any laws that would restrict gun-rights for the citizens. As of Wednesday 70 Kentucky counties have passed similar resolutions, with many more scheduled to vote on the issue in the coming weeks.
Aaron Tucker was approved to be hired as a part-time Deputy Sheriff, paid by the Fiscal Court. Tucker will move in to the slot occupied by Tyler Watkins, until he is able to return to duty.
County Treasurer Geraldine Laxton was approved to be hired as the Alcohol Beverage Control Clerk for a stipend of $5,000 per year. Laxton will assist the office by handling all financial transactions and recording all regulatory and licensing fees for the office.

In other actions:
The Fiscal Court heard from EMS Director Jimmy Barnett who stated the proposed plan to construct an additional bay on to the Ambulance Service building has been put on hold due to a lack of available contractors, or contractors whose bids were too high. He asked permission to use the funds allotted for the construction to remodel the interior of the building.
In citizen participation, Alan Jones, of the McCreary County Airport Advisory Board, asked for, and received permission, to sell off the old airplane fuel, as it is too old to be used for aircraft. He also requested the authority to place new locks on the hangars and collect rent.
Scottie Morrow, representing the American Legion, informed the court that the Legion has procured funding to place a memorial stone in front of the courthouse in honor of Wilburn K. Ross. The unveiling is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25.
The next regular-scheduled meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on Thursday, February 13 at 6:00 p.m.

January 9th, 2020

Banquet of Blessings

Photos by Eugenia Jones
With more than seventy volunteers organizing and working the event, McCreary County’s 14th Annual Banquet of Blessings Christmas Eve meal was a huge success with over 1100 meals served and lots of children’s gifts and fruit baskets distributed. Funded through donations and fundraising efforts, the community event is enjoyed by all who attend.

American Legion Post 115
looking back at 2019

How many people understand what Veteran means? Do our Veterans encourage people in the community to understand what Veterans stand for, as we celebrate our 100th Anniversary? Veterans Help Veterans, their families and our Communities.

V is for valor, courage and unselfish sacrifice in defense of our country.
E Every branch of the armed forces; Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, defending out proud nation.
T The Tomb… the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the MIA’s…missing still.
E Every mother’s son or daughter that ever donned a military uniform and gave for our country…
R Remembrance, the most important letter, let us as American’s NEVER, EVER FORGET what it cost to preserve our freedom.
A Armistice Day, through the grace of God, war and destruction will give way to peaceful settlements.
N Our nation, AMERICA, ONE NATION UNDER GOD indivisible, where there is truly freedom and justice for all…THANKS TO OUR VETERANS!
God Bless America — United We Stand

2019 has been a busy year for American Legion Post 115. We have been actively raising funds to support community programs such as the McCreary County High School Cheer Leaders, McCreary County High School Baseball Team, McCreary County Archery Team, and a McCreary County Little League Team. Further support has been provided to the American Legion Oratorical Contest, Kentucky Boys and Girls State, as well as, Law Enforcement Day and our Veterans and their Families in need.
In 2019 we added Law Enforcement Day to the list of Ceremonies we conduct each year, such as Memorial Day, 4th of July 9/11, Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day. Not only do we do the ceremonies at the Post, but in the community and at the McCreary County Court House. We are honored to have our elected officials involved. All our ceremonies are followed by dinner at the Post, in which the public is invited.
This year at our Flag Retirement Ceremony with Post Officers and the Honor Guard, we were honored by the Girl Scouts of America and would like to extend a special thank you to them. I would like to also thank the many volunteers who took time out of their busy schedule to place over 2000 flags on veterans’ graves throughout the county.
Our volunteers have made fish fry, crawfish boil, grilling burgers on the weekend and our annual picnic a great success. This year the Post elected to have two pig roasts. The first, on the 4th of July with fireworks and the second for the Early Bird Membership Drive. Both were great successes!
Again, last year the Post was open and serving dinner for our Veterans and their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Both dinners were catered by Murf’s Bistro. A big thank you to Jim and Debbie Murphy for doing this for our Veterans. Thanksgiving and Christmas is the time our Veterans and their families need us the most, and we want to make sure we are there for them. Veterans help Veterans! I would like to thank all the State Officers who were able to attend the many functions at the Post this last year.

Post 115 Service Officer Anthony Johnson has met with and helped 240 Veterans and their family members with obtaining their earned benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other Community Agencies. Our Service Officer will now be at the American Legion Post 115 in Stearns, KY on Monday and Thursday from 2 PM till 7 PM.
Our Legion Riders are back in action thanks to the hard work of 1st Vice James Murphy and our new Legion Riders Director Anthony Johnson. The Legion Riders have made many memorable rides including our toy run for needy children of McCreary County.
This was the 23rd year the American Legion, the Legion Riders and the 2nd Brigade has gathered toys for needy children in our community. Last year at Christmas American Legion Post 115 volunteers handed out around 400 presents to children in need. I would like to thank our Santa Claus, KY Department Sr. Vice Commander John Costigan, for providing so many kids with an enjoyable Christmas at Post 115 Stearns, KY. A special thank you to all our Legionaries, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 115, Sons of the American Legion Sq. 115 and Legion Riders Post 115 who worked to make it possible.

Scottie Morrow
American Legion
Post 115

Big South Fork NRRA Annual Photo Contest Deadline Set for 2020

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation area has set the deadline for submitting entries into the 2020 Big South Fork photography contest at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday, July 31st, 2020.
Images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, historic areas, weather, or people interacting with nature within the boundaries of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.

Photographs may be submitted into one of seven categories:
• Dark Skies – Expansive and dramatic view of the night sky within the boundaries of the park.
• Flora & Fauna – Animals in their natural habitat, including close-ups of invertebrates, or plants in their natural habitat, including close-ups of flowers, fungi, lichen, and algae.
• Human History – Photographs that illustrate historic or culturally significant structures.
• Kentucky Landscapes – Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Kentucky park boundaries.
• Recreation – Photographs of people participating in recreational activities.
• Tennessee Landscapes – Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Tennessee park boundaries.
• Youth – Category for photographers under 18 years of age. Photographs must fit into one of the categories above.
Entries will be judged on technical excellence, originality, creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit. The contest is open to all photographers, except National Park Service employees and their immediate families and household members. Each person may only submit two photos into the competition. All photos must be in a digital format. Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form with all information clearly filled out. Entry forms may be downloaded from
Entries may be emailed to or hand-delivered or mailed to the park headquarters at Big South Fork NRRA, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tennessee 37841, Attn: Photo Exhibit. All entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday, July 31, 2020.

For more information on the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, please call (423) 286-7275.

McCreary County Farm Bureau recognized for
outstanding membership and program achievement

McCreary County Farm Bureau was recognized during the 100th Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) annual meeting in Louisville for its outstanding membership and program achievement in 2019. The award honors county Farm Bureau offices who meet the company’s profitability requirements and whose insurance policy growth meets or exceeds its annual growth goal. Jeff Kidd, President of McCreary County Farm Bureau (center left), accepts the award from John Sparrow, Executive Vice President and CEO of KFB Insurance (left), Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau (center right), and Drew Graham, Executive Vice President of the KFB Federation (right), during a Dec. 6 recognition and awards program.

Ribbon Cutting

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for CareerWorx. CareerWorx is a new agency in McCreary County operating in Southeast Kentucky. CareerWorx offers pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities ages 14-22. The classes offered teach students self advocacy, interview skills, how to dress for success, workplace relationships, and how to build a resume. CareerWorx also offers supported employment services for adults with disabilities. Both services are offered through the Office of Vocation Rehabilitation with no cost. CareerWorx is located on Main Street in Whitley City across from Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home.

Candidate filings for 52nd District seat

By Greg Bird

Kentucky Representative Ken Upchurch, who serves the 52nd District in Kentucky, filled for re-election Tuesday, but already has a challenger in the 2020 Primary election in Monticello Lawyer Rhett Ramsey.
Upchurch officially filed his paperwork Tuesday morning, shortly before the opening session of the 2020 Kentucky Legislative Session.
In a press release Upchurch stated his intent to continue working for the citizens of his district, which includes McCreary, Wayne and a portion of Pulaski counties.
“I’m so honored that the people of this community have put their trust and faith in me to serve them in Frankfort, and I hope they will continue to do so. It is a responsibility that I take seriously. I’m running for re-election because I’m proud of the work we’re doing to move our state forward and put Kentucky families first,” Upchurch said. “My work as chair of the Transportation Committee is not something I take lightly, but I haven’t forgotten that the people of this district are my first priority.”
“I want to ask every single person in this district to vote ‘Upchurch for State Representative’ on May 19. Please let me continue to protect our God given freedoms, our God given children, and our God given Commonwealth.”
Upchurch, who was first elected to the seat in 1999 and served until 2010, was re-elected to the post in 2013 and has served ever since. A senior member in the House Majority Caucus, Upchurch was chosen to lead the House Transportation Committee by the Speaker of the House in 2018. He also serves as a ranking member of House State Government and Banking and Insurance committees.
Upchurch said he has helped foster community development projects in his district while in office, and wants to continue working on strengthening the economy and bringing more jobs to the state and his district.
“For generations, we’ve seen jobs and business investment go to larger cities. We all know that the best quality of life is in our rural areas, where people can raise their children in strong communities surrounded by friends and neighbors they know. Our next step is to make sure that the prosperity we’re beginning to see throughout the state grabs a foothold in our rural towns and counties,” Upchurch added. “Now is not the time to change course and start anew.”
Also filing for the seat this week was Wayne County lawyer Rhett Ramsey.
The Republican announced his filing of official paperwork in a press release this week, stating he wants to focus on economic development and finding ways for young citizens to come back to their counties to “successful futures.”
“I came home after graduating from law school because I wanted to make a difference, and I believe I can make a difference for our district if given the opportunity to serve as your state representative,” said Ramsey in the release. “I have been humbled by the support shown to me over the past several months since I announced my intent to run for this seat. The citizens of our district are ready for a change; it is time for fresh thinking and a new approach.”
Ramsey, a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky College of Law, operates a law firm, Garmon & Ramsey, PLLC in Monticello.
Kentucky House of Representative Seats are a two-year term, while the Senate term lasts for six years

65 Years of Love

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Col. Sherrill Owens and wife, Gail, recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Surrounded by friends and their sons Doug, Steve, and Greg, the happy couple exchanged vows once again during a well attended anniversary party.

December 12th, 2019

Photo by Eugenia Jones Two familiar faces with almost ninety years of dedicated service between them are leaving Whitley City’s “Lumber King” home improvement and building supply business to enjoy retirement. Despite looking forward to the next chapters of their lives, it was obvious during a retirement party hosted by coworkers that Ronnie Kidd (forty-six years) and Steve Privett (forty-one years) would miss their workplace and coworkers. Pictured above are: Lumber King President John Kayea, Ronnie Kidd, Steve Privett, and Lumber King Vice President Willie Boyatt. Also pictured are family members attending the retirement celebration: (left to right) Josh Ledbetter, Crystal Ledbetter, Connie Kidd, Ronnie Kidd, Linda Privett, Steve Privett, and Mary Privett.


Photo by Eugenia Jones The McCreary County Park Christmas event featured carols, Santa, and vendors during their annual December event.


Photo by Eugenia Jones The McCreary County Tourism Office was the place to be for a photograph with Santa as Angie Vanover volunteered to take photos. Santa and his helpers enjoyed taking photographs and giving away toys to the good boys and girls of McCreary County.

Photo by Eugenia Jones
A youngster offered cookies to Santa during the McCreary County Public Library’s Breakfast with Santa. Children enjoyed listening to a story and making crafts as well as eating pancakes and getting their picture made with Santa.

December 5th, 2019

Apply now for Toys for Tots

Photo submitted Santa’s helpers Commander Scottie Morrow and Sheriff Randy Waters will be assisting Santa give out toys on December 21st at the American Legion Post 115. For children to be eligible to receive a toy please call 606-376-9826 and register them before December 18, one application per household. Donations of a new toy or money may be made any day after 3 pm at the Post.

Stearns – American Legion Post #115 is continuing with its tradition in bringing Christmas smiles to children throughout McCreary County. Each year the Post looks to the community in supporting this effort and for families who need a little extra help in placing a special gift under the tree for their youngsters.
To be eligible for the Toys for Tots program, interested individuals must call 606-376-9826. The Post will be accepting phone calls until December 18th. Only one application per household will be accepted and the child must come to the American Legion Post on December 21st to pick up their gift.
Santa will be handing out the gifts on Saturday, December 21, 2019 from 11 am to 3 pm. To be eligible, please call and register your child then bring your child to the Post on December 21st to see Santa.
The Post is also accepting new toys and donations for the program that will be distributed to local boys and girls. Donations can be made at the American Legion Post 115 on West Highway 92 any day after 6 pm.

National Influenza Vaccination Week

Every December we celebrate National Influenza Vaccination Week to remind everyone about preventing influenza, a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Vaccination is needed every season because the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, and because flu viruses are constantly changing, which necessitates annual updates of the formulation of the flu vaccine. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
There is still a possibility you could get the flu even if you got vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including the age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and also the similarity or “match” between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community; if they are closely matched, vaccine effectiveness is higher. If they are not closely matched, vaccine effectiveness can be reduced. However, even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent or lessen flu related complications.
The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are: soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever and body aches.
Another goal of National Influenza Vaccination Week is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.
• People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.
• For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people. Flu is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death for people at high risk.
• Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including infants younger than 6 months who are too young to get the vaccine.
• Although a majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.
• About 100 deaths from influenza among children are reported each year to the CDC.

Get Vaccinated
• Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, pneumonia, need for antibiotics, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
• Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
• Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

93 Years Young

Photo by Eugenia Jones McCreary County Senior Citizens with birthdays in December were recently treated to birthday cake and ice cream by the Marnhout Brothers and Bill Taylor. The birthday celebration took place at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center in Whitley City. Kathleen Marnhout Foley, who will be 93 on December 27, is pictured above with one of her sons, Randy.


Photo by Eugenia Jones
It was a busy day of shopping during the ”Shop Local” event held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. With thirty-five local vendors set up for business under one roof at the McCreary County Public Library, approximately 550 shoppers and browsers were able to choose from a wide array of merchandise. 



Law enforcement training

Photo by Greg Bird Sheriff Randy Waters and his deputies received tourniquets training Wednesday morning from Whitley City Fire Department Chief Tony Miller. The officers were trained on how to properly apply touriquets to stop bleeding in emergency cases.


November 28th, 2019


Operation Hope 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11

Photo submitted Michelle Perry is pictured with her family of helpers during a prior Christmas dinner at Hope Lodge. Michelle’s children and husband, Barry, have been instrumental in helping prepare and serve monthly and holiday meals at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge which provides free lodging for patients travelling to Lexington, KY for treatment of cancer.

By Eugenia Jones

In October, 2014, after being cancer free for one year, McCreary County Tourism Assistant Michelle Crystal Perry finally felt well enough to act on a desire in her heart-a desire to give back and pay it forward to those undergoing treatment of cancer and staying at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Lexington. The Hope Lodge, which became Michelle’s home away from home during her own treatments, is a free service available to cancer patients ages 18 and over traveling to Lexington for cancer treatment.
Recalling that some groups occasionally brought home cooked meals to the Lodge during her stay, Michelle decided providing additional home cooked meals and fellowship would be a welcome treat to those staying at the Lodge. Determined to give back and help those battling cancer, Michelle’s decision to provide a home cooked meal served with love took on an uplifting name-Operation Hope 29:11.
Recalling her own battle with cancer, Michelle chose to incorporate a verse from the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 into the name of her Operation Hope project.
“Sometimes, I struggled and felt lost,” Michelle recalled. “Sometimes, I didn’t feel like I knew where my path would lead, but I always managed to end up where I needed to be. God had a plan. I chose the Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11, as part of the Operation Hope name because of that.”
Operation Hope 29:11 quickly became a family affair with Michelle’s husband Barry, children, mother, sister, and friend, Sara Stephens, pitching in to help. As a result, in December 2014, Operation Hope 29:11 served its first meal-a full course Christmas dinner-to patients and caregivers staying at the Hope Lodge.
That meal was only the beginning as Michelle and her helpers continued to cook and are now completing five years of serving home cooked meals (monthly and holiday) at the Lodge. The number of helpers within the project has grown to include Ginnie Waters, Tammy Meadows, and Judy Bruner’s dessert team. Michelle also receives sporadic donations from individuals and businesses. A few individuals from Wayne and Pulaski Counties who helped with some of the initial meals have now begun groups within their own counties and are busy preparing and serving additional meals at Hope Lodge throughout the year.
Michelle explained the significance of staying at Hope Lodge and the formation of friendships based on battling a common enemy-cancer.
“The folks staying at Hope Lodge are genuinely thankful when you feed them,” Michelle said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to give back and help in some way. The people staying there during their treatments become like a close knit family. After all, you eat breakfast with these people and see them before you go to bed at night. Everyone becomes a support for one another. Not only do they understand the physical side of cancer and its treatment, but they also understand the difficult emotional and mental aspects of cancer. I was glad when my treatments were complete, but it was bittersweet. I knew the people I had stayed with at Hope Lodge would go in different directions, and I would never see some of them again.”
Michelle explained why she likes to prepare enough food for leftovers so those staying at Hope Lodge can have additional opportunities to eat. She also likes to see the Lodge’s “free food cabinets” stocked with snacks.
“Sometimes, the treatments make it difficult to eat,” Michelle explained. “So it is good to have the extra food available when someone is hungry and feels like eating.”
For Michelle and those involved with meal preparations, the dinners are a special time.
“We always do a blessing over the food,” Michelle noted. “We share stories, and at Christmas, we do gift bags for those going through treatments and the caregivers staying with them. Sometimes, we play games. It is a neat experience.”
Some may think supporting the Hope Lodge in Lexington doesn’t impact McCreary County. However, Michelle is quick to point out the fallacy of that belief.
“At last month’s dinner, we fed three people from McCreary County,” she observed.
Currently, Michelle and her helpers are busy getting ready for December’s Christmas dinner and gifts. If anyone would like to donate, they can contact Michelle on the Facebook page Operation Hope 29:11 or on her cell phone at 606-516-6106.

You Can Help with Operation Hope 29:11

Having almost completed five years of home cooked meals served with love to patients undergoing treatments for cancer and their caregivers staying at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Lexington, KY, Operation Hope 29:11 is now busily preparing for the 2019 December feast and gifts. This year, Operation Hope will be feeding and collecting gift bag items for thirty-two patients and thirty-two caregivers.
If you would like to donate Christmas gifts or would like to help with food/food preparation for the December meal or monthly meals throughout the year, contact Michelle Perry by Facebook at the Operation Hope 29:11 page or call 606-516-6106.
Suggested items for the December gift bags include: blankets, socks, gloves, hats, scarves, lotion, hand sanitizer, puzzle books, coloring books, crayons/coloring pencils, playing cards, Bibles, journals, Christmas ornaments, candy, coffee cups/mugs, hot chocolate, gift cards, gas cards, Christmas cards, and even supportive, loving letters to cancer patients.

Crossroads Community Thanksgiving

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The Lord’s Café, an outreach of Crossroads Community Baptist Church, hosted their annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday. With a dedicated staff of volunteers representing seven states and all food items donated, the Lord’s Café served 1,082 meals on Saturday. With turkey, ham and all the fixin’s available, everyone enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal. In addition to the home cooked meal, participants enjoyed the companionship and fellowship of the event.

Wilburn K. Ross Monument to Become a Reality

By Eugenia Jones

VFW Post 5127 Public Relations Officer Thomas Corder was pleased when JC Egnew presented a $2,500 check on behalf of Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC) to be used for the placement of a five feet high granite monument honoring Wilburn K. Ross on the McCreary County Courthouse lawn alongside other monuments honoring McCreary County veterans. Having already received several donations from local businesses and individuals (including a student penny drive at Pine Knot Elementary), Corder said plans for the monument can proceed. Corder is hopeful the monument can be erected and unveiled in May 2020 during a special ceremony. Corder said he is glad the community has been receptive to the idea because he wants the monument to be something in which the County can take pride.
“I’d like for everyone to be involved in this,” Corder said. “I think it will be a great thing for the County. It will let other counties know we have great people here in McCreary.”
Ross was McCreary County’s Army Private who went beyond the call of duty in World War II by virtually holding off German soldiers almost single handedly for five hours. For his heroism, Ross was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the country’s highest military decoration.
Corder is shown (above) receiving the check from OVC President JC Egnew. Executive Vice President Ray Moncrief also participated in the ceremony.

Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony

December 7th
at 7P.M.
for an evening of lights and hot chocolate.

This year’s parade theme is
“Evergreen Christmas.”

After the parade, a Tree Lighting Ceremony and Christmas Carols will follow.

Sponsored by McCreary County Tourism Commission

Church Has Old Fashion Day

December 1-7 is Winter Weather Awareness Week

As we have already experienced to some extent during the past month, winter in east Kentucky can bring heavy snow, ice storms, sleet, and bitter cold. Even severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes and flash floods are possible. Now is the time to prepare for whatever winter may bring and the National Weather Service offices that serve the state of Kentucky along with the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee and Kentucky Emergency Management have designated December 1-7 as Winter Weather Awareness Week across the Commonwealth. Each year, dozens of Americans die due to exposure to the cold. Even more fatalities occur in vehicle accidents, fires caused by heaters, or due to carbon monoxide poisoning from the improper use of generators during power outages. The aftermath of a winter storm can also have an impact on a community for days, weeks, or even months. Ultimately, it is up to every citizen to be prepared for what winter may bring! Building a Weather-Ready East Kentucky starts at home and one of the most effective ways families can prepare for any disaster is to build an emergency kit. A basic emergency kit should have a three day supply of food, water and medicine, along with the essential supplies a family will need in the event of a prolonged power outage when travel is not possible. Know the risks your community faces and monitor weather forecasts. When a winter storm is in the forecast, communicate with family members and know their location and travel plans. Make sure all family members are able to get emergency alerts. While the best idea is to just stay home during winter storms, sometimes that’s not possible. Winterize your vehicle now, while the weather is relatively warm, and keep an emergency kit in your car. Weather conditions can vary greatly within short distances here in the mountains so make sure to check the forecast and road conditions along your route of travel. Road conditions and additional snow and ice information from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet can be found at Winter Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time for families, communities, schools, and businesses to review their plans and build or resupply their emergency kits. To help that effort, the National Weather Service in Jackson will share winter weather preparedness information throughout the week via the web, Facebook, and Twitter. Partner organizations and the media are also encouraged to participate. The National Weather Service has made various winter weather preparedness articles, infographics, and social media plans available for use at Organizations that would like to partner with the National Weather Service to build a Weather-Ready Nation should consider becoming a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is intended for organizations and designed to help serve the public by strengthening our national resilience against extreme weather events. For more information and to apply, go to

It Pays to Shop Local

McCreary County Chamber of Commerce “Shop Local” event will be Saturday.

By Eugenia Jones

Shoppers who wish to get a head start on purchasing unique holiday gifts while at the same time supporting local businesses will have a wonderful opportunity to do so at the 2019 “Shop Local” event this Saturday, November 30 from 10:00 a.m. thru 3:00 p.m. at the McCreary County Public Library.
With this year’s event featuring thirty-seven vendors, shoppers will be able to do one stop shopping at the public library where local artisans, small business owners, sales consultants, and nonprofits will offer a wide array of services and merchandise (ranging from home décor, jewelry, clothing, food, and more) under one roof. There will also be on the hour drawings for door prizes from the vendors from 10:00-3:00.
As part of Small Business Saturday, a national event celebrated every year on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and founded by American Express in 2010 to encourage support of small businesses, the McCreary County “Shop Local” event was first organized through the public library in 2016 by Holly Daugherty who is currently President of the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce.

“This event started with twenty plus vendors and has continued to grow every year,” Daugherty said. “We are up to thirty-seven vendors this year. During the last three years, we have had roughly 600 people shopping at each event. I’m so excited each year to see the event-it never grows old.”
Statistics indicate shopping local does make a difference. For each dollar spent locally, it is estimated that seventy-three cents stays in the local community. By supporting local businesses, our friends and neighbors who own small businesses naturally benefit. In turn, these local business owners return the favor by supporting local families with payrolls, paying local taxes, and donating funds to local charities and other nonprofits.

Outdoor Venture Honors Veterans

By Eugenia Jones

Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC) took Veterans Day to the next level by providing special recognition to veterans during the entire month of November. During Week One, OVC gave special recognition to veterans through local advertising. During week two, OVC presented shirts to the veterans of OVC, and the following week, provided cupcakes for all employees, community veterans, and active veterans. During week four, OVC conducted a drawing from the names of all OVC employees, employee military families, and community veterans who wished to participate. The drawing was for the winner of a beautiful patriotic quilt. Finally,in week four, OVC presented a $2,500 check to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars to be used for the establishment of a monument recognizing McCreary County’s Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Wilburn K. Ross.
OVC specializes in the production of military shelters and accessories.

Pictured above are OVC employee veterans: Thomas Chitwood, Brian Greene, Roger Branscum, Dennis Kiser, Charles Davis, Ray Moncrief, Balden Israil, Benny Gregory, and John Talley.

November 21st, 2019

McCreary native vying for “World’s Oldest active Boxer”

By Greg Bird

A one-time McCreary County resident, Albert Hughes Jr., is preparing to contend for an unusual world record – the title of “World’s Oldest active Boxer,” next month in Indianapolis.
Hughes, a spry 70-years-old, has been training for the past year to get ready for the bout, which will be certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Once finished Hughes will claim the title from the current record holder – Stephen Ward, of the UK, who was 60-years old when he fought in 2017.
The grandchild of Florence and Henry Tucker, Hughes was born in Somerset in 1949, and as a child his family moved to Smithtown where he lived until the 60’s before moving to Indiana.
“I am related to a lot of people down there,” Hughes said during a phone interview. “The Slaveys, Keiths, Griffis’, Tuckers, Millers, and Hughes,” he said with a laugh.
Hughes said boxing has been a part of his life since high school when he would stand up for bullied children and “take care of their problem.”
At 18 he joined a boxing club, and fought some amateur bouts before joining the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army and serving three years in Vietnam.
When he was discharged he continued to box, winning the Indiana State Middleweight Golden Gloves Championship in 1974. The next year he turned pro, and fought professionally until he turned 40, when the Indiana Boxing Commission pulled his license due to his age.
Still with the love of the ring in his heart, he continued fighting out-of-state – sometimes under aliases – to try and convince the commission to reinstate his license.
He says his career record in professional bouts is 15-3-2, and has many more wins under his belt as an amateur.
Boxing runs in the family, as in 2006 he fought on the same card as his son, Al III and
Daughter Angela, with all three earning wins in the “King of the Ring” bout.
His son is the reason for Hughes stepping back into the squared circle at his age.
Last year, he said, he set out to break the record with the help of his son. The two trained together, with Al III becoming more and more convinced that his father could do what he planned to do. He even planned to fight on the same card as his dad.
Hughes world turned on its head earlier this year when his son committed suicide, just two days before his father’s birthday. That event changed Hughes’ life forever.
“I almost gave it up,” he said. “But the sole reason I am doing this is because he wanted me to do this.”
“Absolutely no one is entirely self-made,” he said. “My main driving force to accomplish this is because my son ‘Little Al’ wanted me to, and when he died I swore to him and myself that I would do this or die trying.”
To honor his son, proceeds of the fight will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “If it helps even one person, it will be worth it,” Hughes said.
Hughes will be entering the ring on December 14 at the Tyndall Armory in Indianapolis, fighting a four-round bout with each round lasting three minutes.

Hughes knows he will have a tough road ahead of him as he is slated to fight a boxer more than 30-years his junior.
“I have no illusions whatsoever,” he said. “It will be a brutal, violent bloody affair until it’s over. But, my son and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Hughes said history will be on his side as the venue is the same place he won the Indiana State Middle Weight Golden Glove Championship title on the night of February 28 in 1974.

It’s the Polar Express

Tourists from around the world are expected to board

the Stearns Polar Express.

By Eugenia Jones

The conductor will call, “All aboard,” as the Polar Express kicks off its official round-trip excursions from the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) in Stearns to the North Pole at Barthell. Beginning November 22 and running through December 22, 2019, the Stearns Polar Express train ride will be the only Polar Express production in the state of Kentucky officially licensed by Rail Events, Inc. on behalf of Warner Brothers.
According to McCreary County Heritage Foundation Director Shane Gilreath, the Polar Express production is a remarkable feat for the whole community.
“I am absolutely blown away by the support of local volunteers in all facets of the production,” Gilreath remarked. “I am contacted virtually every day by others wanting to help. Without many, many hands, none of what we do would be remotely possible. This includes the McCreary County School District and Pine Knot Job Corps, and many, many other charitable souls who are hands on participants. Thank you could never be enough.”
During the hour-long round-trip excursion from the BSFSRY Depot to the North Pole, dancing chefs and other performers bring the story of The Polar Express film, based on Chris Van Allsburgs’ classic 1985 Christmas picture book, to life for passengers. On board, hot chocolate and cookies are served as passengers read along with the classic book. Santa and his helpers merrily greet passengers at the North Pole while boarding the train and giving each child a silver sleigh bell. Chefs lead passengers in singing Christmas carols during the trip back to Stearns.
This year marks the third season of the Stearns BSFSRY Polar Express. During previous years, tourists from around the world have arrived in Stearns to board the Polar Express for their journey to the North Pole.
“Many people knew Stearns and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway before Polar, but this undertaking has become one of international proportion,” Gilreath noted. “We have seen riders from dozens of countries and virtually every state in the continental U. S.”
Exact dates, fares, and excursion times are available by visiting Ticket prices range from coach class at $40.00 to $55.00 for first class, depending on date and class of service. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride. Local community members can ride the Polar Express at no cost as part of a dress rehearsal on Thursday, November 21.

Family Christmas Experience

The Family Christmas Experience, sponsored by Family Resource Centers and Crossroads Community Baptist Church, will take place on Saturday, December 14 at the McCreary County Middle School. Every child between the ages of 2-17 years of age will receive a backpack (approximately 2,000 backpacks) filled with Christmas gifts. (Additional items available as supply lasts.)
Entry to the Family Christmas Experience will be at designated times only according to the last name on the IDs of adults accompanying children. Designated times according to last name initial are as follows: A-D/10:00 a.m., E-J/11:15 a.m., K-M/12:30 p.m., N-S/1:45, T-Z/3:00 p.m.
Those attending the Family Christmas Experience will enter through the cafeteria side of McCreary County Middle School. A photo booth will be available for having a fun photo made with miniature ponies. Your Family Fun Photo will be uploaded to Crossroads-The Lord’s Café page where you can download at your convenience. You will get your ticket for your free Christmas backpack (hang on to your ticket) when you register. After registering, receiving your backpack ticket, and having hot cocoa and cookies, you will be called to a short program and then to present your ticket to receive your backpack.
The Family Resource Centers and Crossroads Community Baptist Church would like to than Kentucky Baptist Convention and Georgia Baptist for making backpacks available.

A Helping Hand

By Eugenia Jones

If November’s cold temperatures and blustery weather are indicators of things to come, there may be individuals and families who need a helping hand this winter when it comes to staying warm and having enough good food to eat. The following is a listing of local charitable and governmental (*) organizations and agencies (not intended to be all-inclusive) that stand ready to help in times of need. Additionally, be sure to support local charities and outreaches by being generous with your donations of volunteer time, items, or money. After all, charitable donations depend greatly on local donations in order to help others.
Christian Care Center-Whitley City-offers a food pantry and outreach services including medical, personal care, and school supplies. (Food/personal care and/or monetary donations appreciated.)
Crossroads Community Church-Revelo-offers hot meals at the Lord’s Café (Tuesdays/Thursdays) along with Wednesday’s Grocery Giveaway (by alphabetical order.) Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday, November 23. (Canned items and monetary donations are always welcomed and needed.)
Hills & Hollers Ministries-Pine Knot Community Closet next to PK Family Dollar-open most T. and TH.-offers free used clothing on a year-around basis to residents of McCreary County who find themselves in need. Currently providing a limited number of winter coats, boots, hats, scarves, and gloves. The ministry also attempts to help new and expectant mothers with clothing and other items (limit to number of items) for their babies. In event of house fires and other emergencies, limits may be waived. In emergency cases, limited household items are available. 354-2095
Integrated Community Ministries-Rattlesnake Ridge-food pantry, thrift store.
Lighthouse Church-Williamsburg Street-Mike Rafferty-firewood for shut-ins or those unable to get their own wood.
Banquet of Blessings—Community Christmas Dinner on December 24. (Volunteers, monetary and/or toy donations appreciated-see Facebook.)
Blessing Boxes-located across from Catholic Church, Roundtop Church, and by Fastway Store in Stearns—contain donated items such as perishable food items, gloves, hats, etc. (Donated items can be left in the boxes for those in need.)
McCreary County Senior Citizens-low cost hot lunch for enrolled seniors-376-8811.
Missy Strunk-assistance with clothing, food, etc.
Family Resource Centers and Youth Service Centers-located in each school-provide assistance to children and families in need.
Community Action-light/heat program-currently accepting applicants-crisis program for light/heat in January-call 376-2593 for more info.
*Health Department-WIC nutritional assistance for children and pregnant women…health services…376-8775
*Family Support Office-SNAP (low income nutrition), Medicaid, Sr. citizen Medicare assistance—855-306-8959.
Several local churches also offer monthly assistance with food.

National Home Care Month

Photo submitted
By proclamation of Judge Executive Jimmie W. Greene II, November has been proclaimed National Home Care Month. Home care services provide high quality and compassionate health care services to those in need, especially at times of community or personal health care crisis. Pictured with Judge Greene (center) are Melissa Strunk, RN (r) and Sheila Heflin, RN (l) with Lifeline Home Health.

Photo’s by Eugenia Jones
Family and friends joined McCreary County Senior Citizens during their annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Senior Citizens Center at the McCreary County Park. The dinner included turkey, ham, chicken ‘n dumplings, lots of side dishes, and scrumptious desserts.

November 14th, 2019

Veterans Day Chili Supper

Photos by Eugenia Jones Veterans, friends, and families gathered at the McCreary County Park to enjoy music, fellowship, and steaming hot bowls of chili and soup during the annual Veterans Day Chili Supper.


Photo by Greg Bird The McCreary County Extension Office hosted a reception last week to welcome new Family and Consumer Services Agent Danielle Barrett (right). She is pictured with Jeff Henderson who is serving in the office until a new Agriculture Agent can be hired.

Night at the Museum

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Museum brought local history to life during its annual “Night at the Museum” event as local volunteers portrayed characters associated with McCreary County history. Performers included: the Hughett family, Beth Kilburn, Jan Reed, Christina Hollis, Deanna Matney, and Eugenia Jones. The event is organized each year by Shane Gilreath.

On Vacation with The Voice

“The McCreary County Voice” went international as it traveled ‘round the world with McCreary County’s Eric Vanselow. Vanselow is shown with his copy of “The Voice” newspaper at Boracay Phillipines and the Tokyo (Japan) International Airport. Eric owns the Big South Fork Trail Lodge in Stearns and came to McCreary County from Chicago. Don’t pass up your chance to have your name and face published in The Voice. Take us with you to whatever corner of the world you may be visiting and share your trip with other readers. Tell us your name and/or the names of your family members in the photo and give us a brief description of where the shot was taken. Email the photo and the information to or It’s that easy!

November 7th, 2019

Photo submitted
Representatives from Highland Telephone Cooperative presented Mrs. Loma Denney with a resolution recognizing her years of service as a Director. Mrs. Denney has served as a Director on the HTC Board for 27 years and recently retired from the Board. Present at the presentation were: Front L to R: Mickey Bingham, Director; Dorothy Watson, Diretor; Mrs. Denney. Back Row L to R: Steve Marcum, Atty.; John Tate, Director; Max Spurling, Director; Mark Patterson, General Manager; Sam Strunk, Director; Allen Chapman, Director; Jan Byrd, Director. HTC Board, staff, employees, and constituents all wish Mrs. Denney the best in her retirement. She will be missed.

Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It

Photo submitted
Judge Greene, signing the Proclamation for Diabetes Awareness Day, November 14th and Vicky Albertson, RN, CDE, Diabetes Educator for McCreary County Health Department.

If you have diabetes, you know the day-to-day steps needed to manage diabetes can be hard. Managing diabetes can be easier if you set goals and make a plan. This is important because research has shown that managing diabetes as early as possible can help prevent diabetes-related health problems such as kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease and stroke. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and the Lake Cumberland District Health Department want you to know that many people struggle with diabetes and you are not alone. Managing diabetes is not easy, but it’s worth it.
You do not have to make big lifestyle changes all at once. Set realistic goals based on what is important to you. Start with small changes, such as walking 15 minutes twice a day or replacing sugary drinks with water. These are small steps that can go a long way to help you manage your diabetes.
If you are having trouble coping with the demands of diabetes, ask for help. Having a network of support from family, friends, and your health care team can help you stay on track with your diabetes plan.
The NDEP has free resources that can help at
• 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life: This booklet gives four key steps to help you manage your diabetes and live a long and active life.
• Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes: This tip sheet tells you why it helps to know your blood sugar numbers, how to check your blood sugar levels, and what to do if your levels are too low or too high.
• Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart: This tip sheet provides a list of things you can do to manage your diabetes and prevent diabetes-related heart disease.
• How to Help a Loved One Cope with Diabetes: This resource offers tips on how to support a loved one with diabetes.
National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. November 14th is recognized as World Diabetes Day throughout the world, so join us by wearing blue on November 14th to increase awareness of diabetes.
Learn more about diabetes by visiting to see when the next diabetes education class is offered in your county at the local health department or simply call 1-800- 928-4416 and ask to speak to the diabetes educator. You may also want to become a friend of LCDHD on Facebook at or follow us at .
It is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

Happy Halloween
Coloring Contest Winners

Thank you to all the little ghouls and goblins that entered The Voice’s 2019 Halloween Coloring Contest. All the great entries made it hard to pick the winners! Thanks to our contest sponsors, McDonalds of Whitley City and Little Caesars of Whitley City, the winners received 3 Happy Meals or 2 Extra Value Meals and a Hot-N-Ready pizza along with their Spooky Basket filled with candy, toys, and glow bracelets to wear on Halloween night from us here at the Voice. Keep an eye out for our next fun contest for your chance to win some cool prizes. Congratulations to our 12 winners!

Modern gun deer season to open statewide Nov. 9

By Eugenia Jones

FRANKFORT – One of the favorite times of the year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians begins Saturday Nov. 9 as modern gun deer season opens statewide. The 16-day season closes Nov. 24.
The season sits squarely in the rut, when male deer are most actively pursuing does to breed.
“Our modern gun season this year starts very early in November,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The timing is perfect. We should have pre-rut, the peak of the rut and the post-rut all within the 16 days of the season. It should be a great modern gun season.”
Around 300,000 people hunt deer in Kentucky each year.
The upcoming modern gun deer season did not look rosy a month ago, as a debilitating drought gripped Kentucky. The month of September was the driest month on record in the state, with an average total rainfall of less than a quarter inch.
“We finally had rain in October, which triggered regrowth and the green-up of plants that will provide a flush of nutrients on the landscape,” Jenkins said. “This will help winter survival for deer, especially in a year with a poor mast crop.”
Dry, hot weather early in the season has affected this year’s initial deer harvest. “We had a good opening weekend for archery season and a banner youth hunt weekend,” Jenkins said. “However, we are still below the 10-year average for harvest at this time of the season, which is directly related to heat and drought.”
Deer hunters have reported more than 21,500 deer harvested so far this season.
Kentucky’s spotty 2019 crop of mast, primarily tree nuts favored by deer such as beechnuts and acorns, may help hunters by keeping deer on the move for food during modern gun season. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s annual mast survey shows low production of white oak acorns and hickory nuts.
Red oaks show better acorn production with beech trees producing the most nuts. Red oak acorns hold more tannins than white oak acorns and do not taste as good to deer.
“Red oak stands will be really good toward the end of the modern gun season and into the late muzzleloader season,” Jenkins said. “The tannins leach out of the red oak acorns over time, making them more palatable to deer. There’s not a lot of groceries on the landscape this year, they will eat the red oak acorns as the season progresses.”
The lack of acorns should produce more deer movement. “Do not give up after the first weekend of the modern gun season,” Jenkins said. “There is better chase activity with younger bucks early, but the second weekend should be the prime weekend.”
Jenkins said his favorite time to hunt during modern gun season is toward the end, when the initial deer breeding season is winding down. “I like hunting post-rut because of that last-ditch effort by the big bucks trying to find that last doe,” he said.
Hunters must check current regulations to ensure they are following all the legal requirements before going afield. Some general regulations and tips for this season include:
– Kentucky’s statewide limit is one buck per season. Harvest limits for does vary within the state’s four deer hunting zones.
– Zone 1 counties have the highest concentrations of deer; concentrations are lowest in Zone 4. The zone system allows hunters to help manage the deer herd.
– The statewide deer permit allows the harvest of up to four deer.
– Hunters may take an unlimited number of deer in Zone 1 counties with the purchase of additional deer permits. Each additional deer permit allows for the take of two deer.
– Hunters in Zone 4 counties may only take two deer. Only one may be antlerless.
– Hunters must have proper licenses, permits and hunter education certification, if required. Go online to for details.
– Hunters may not bring whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose or caribou into Kentucky from another state. Brain or spinal material of the animal is prohibited as well. This is designed to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease into Kentucky.
– Residents hunting out of state who wish to have their animal mounted should cape it and skull cap it – or have it done by a local processor or taxidermist in that state – before bringing it into Kentucky.
– Hunters pursuing any species during the modern gun deer season must wear unbroken hunter orange visible from all sides on the head, chest and back at all times while in the field.
– Licenses or permits may be purchased at any time by calling 1-800-598-2401, or visiting the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at Licenses are also available at hundreds of locations where sporting goods are sold.
– Finally, the recent cold snap has all but put an end to a minor outbreak of hemorrhagic disease in deer this year. The disease, which is transmitted by midges, concludes when a hard freeze kills the insect carriers.
Biologists have not detected the presence of tuberculosis in Kentucky’s deer, or chronic wasting disease in its deer and elk. “The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is the only place tuberculosis in deer can be found,” Jenkins said. “We do not have tuberculosis in Kentucky.”
For more information on deer hunting, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife webpage at or consult the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide, available free wherever they sell hunting licenses.

BCWMA Quota Hunt

Photo by Eugenia Jones The 2019 Beaver Creek Wildlife Management Area (BCWMA) quota hunt in McCreary and Pulaski Counties wrapped up this past weekend with nine deer harvested during the two day event. Working in partnership with the US Forest Service, workers from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are shown checking in the first harvested deer.

The final battle of Mill Springs Reenactment

Photos by Sandy Stephens
Middle School students from the Lewis and Clark group, led by teacher Tony Smith, watched the Battle of Mill Springs reenactment Saturday at Nancy, KY. On January 19, 1862 Confederate and Union armies fought amid artillery and musket fire, leaving 150 Confederate and 50 Federal soldiers dead. The battle was significant because it was the first Union victory of any size of the Civil War. Students watching the reenactment witnessed realistic cavalry charges, canon and musket fire from reenactors dressed in period attire.

October 31st, 2019

Happy Halloween Coloring Contest Winners

Photo by Eugenia Jones Characters ranging from ghastly to adorable made their appearances at last weekend’s McCreary County Zombie Walk. The event was held at the McCreary County Park/Senior Citizen building and featured food, vendors, a costume contest, and lots of opportunities for fun.

Progress Made on McCreary’s HWY 92

Photos by Eugenia Jones
A major step forward in completion of the McCreary County portion of the new state highway 92 from Pine Knot to Williamsburg is occurring as workers continue construction of the Marsh Creek bridge and adjacent roadway.

County to be Represented at Workshop

Photo by Eugenia Jones Team members, including representatives of the United States Forest Service and National Park Service, met to assess and map out McCreary County’s assets and challenges.

By Eugenia Jones

A seven member team of local officials and residents interested in strengthening the tourism component of economic development in McCreary County will be attending a three day Appalachian Gateway Communities workshop on November 5-7 in Bristol, TN. Sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission and National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Conservation Fund, the regional workshop will offer technical assistance on creating sustainable natural and cultural heritage tourism development in Appalachian “gateway” communities-those that are entry points to Appalachia’s national and state parks and forests. Communities participating in the workshop must be gateway communities in an ARC-designated distressed, transitional, or at-risk county. Communities, such as McCreary County, that border publicly owned lands such as national and state parks and forests are considered Appalachian gateway Communities.
During the workshop, experts will assist each team in developing an action plan for capitalizing on their community’s natural and cultural heritage resources and the arts. Teams will also be eligible to apply for seed grant funding to help them implement the action plan they develop at the workshop. Team members from McCreary County have already met to assess and map out McCreary County’s unique assets and challenges. Team members from McCreary County include representatives from local government, McCreary County Heritage Foundation, National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the local industrial development board.

Photo by Greg Bird
J.C. Egnew and Shane Gilreath of the McCreary County Heritage Foundation presented a $10,000 donation to the school district Monday.


Photo by Greg Bird
MCHS’ Aiden Tucker and his parents were recognized as Tucker will represent the school at the state meet.

New Taser to be used on duty

By Greg Bird

Constable Cody Stephens announced the purchase of a new Taser to be used on duty. The Taser was obtained through drug forfeiture money awarded to the officer.

“I will continue to fight the drug epidemic in the 3rd District and use confiscated money that is forfeited to purchase much-needed equipment that will assist me in better serving the citizens of the 3rd District and McCreary County as a whole.”












October 24th, 2019

Chamber welcomes new officers

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual banquet Tuesday night. During the dinner new officers for the Chamber were sworn in and began their new terms. More from the banquet will be in next week’s Voice.

Macy’s Parade Will Have Local Connection

Photo submitted
Trinity Maxwell of Richmond, Kentucky and who is part of the Madison Central High School Band, will be performing along with fellow band members at the Macy’s Day Parade in New York. Trinity’s parents are Timothy (originally of McCreary County) and Tracy Maxwell. Her grandparents are Lenville and Brenda Maxwell from Whitley City and Larry and Sherry Stucker from Taylorsville, Kentucky. Trinity’s father played flute for the McCreary Central High School Band in 1988. Trinity plays the same flute her father used during his high school band days. Trinity will play her father’s McCreary Central High School flute during the Macy’s Parade. 265 of Trinity’s fellow band members will be performing as a unit during the parade. The group has raised approximately $340,000 for the trip and are still working to raise the final $40,000. Anyone who would like to donate may send a check to Madison Central Marching Band, PO Box 616, Richmond, Kentucky 40476 or donate via paypal at

The Blue Heron Depot and concession stand, located in Stearns, Kentucky, will receive a new roof covering, skylights, and guttering. Replacement of the current 30-year-old roofing material will occur Wednesday, October 9, 2019, through February 7, 2020. During that time, no closures are anticipated due to the project.
During construction only small sections of roofing will be replaced at a time, maintaining visitor access to Blue Heron facilities. While sections of the depot will be closed for visitor safety, the remaining sections of the building will remain accessible. Other structures, hiking trails, parking areas and river access points will not be impacted for the duration of the project.

Line Workers Continuing Education

Photo submitted SKRECC McCreary County Line Technician Justin Watters performs Hurt Man Rescue on a dummy in order to be recertified.

South Kentucky RECC Line Workers are taking part in the recertification process for Hurt Man Rescue. They are required to be able to do this in a timely manner, because if they were on the job and had to get an injured employee off a pole, they need to be able to do so quickly and efficiently.
SKRECC Safety and Loss Control Manager Eric Chumbley said the goal is to be able to do this within four minutes.
“The national standard is four minutes from the time a lineman calls in a Mayday until he can have the injured individual off the pole and be performing necessary first aid, such as CPR. If you can’t get aid started within that time, there is a strong chance that the person will suffer more serious effects.”
Chumbley added that all employees that will be performing any type of line work are required to be recertified annually.

Breast health awareness

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. . It occurs almost entirely in women, but men can also have breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Death rates from breast cancer dropped 40% from 1989 to 2016.
Since 2007, breast cancer death rates have been steady in women younger than 50, but have continued to decrease in older women. These decreases are believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments.
Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an important part of breast health. Finding breast cancer as early as possible gives you a better chance of successful treatment. But knowing what to look for does not take the place of having regular mammograms and other screening tests. Screening tests can help find breast cancer in its early stages, even before any symptoms appear.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast lump or breast change checked by a health care provider experienced in diagnosing breast diseases. Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. Swollen lymph nodes should also be checked by a health care provider. Because mammograms do not find every breast cancer, it is important for you to be aware of changes in your breasts.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Visit our
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.


Bringing Home the Ribbons

Photo submitted
McCreary County did well in the 2019 Kentucky State Fair by snagging twenty-six ribbons. The following received blue ribbons: Natalie Branscum, Alyssa Cooper, MaKenna Hamlin, Walter Hasty, Kyleigh Hollis, Jaelynn King, Saralyn King, Taylor King, Keagan Musgrove, Abaigail Sumner, Olivaia Watters, and Emily Whitis. Additionally, the following received red ribbons: Weston Cox, MaKenna Hamlin, Jaelynn King, Taylor King, Keagan Musgrove, Anastazia Ross, Anastazia Ross, Makal Stephens, Emily Whitis, Lindsay Wilmot, Lindsay Wilmot. Julia Hasty and Emily Whitis received white ribbons. Kaylynn Stephens received a green ribbon. Several participants received more than one ribbon.

October 17th, 2019

River Dash

Photo by Eugenia Jones The Big South Fork River Dash 2019 drew approximately 50 entries in paddle races on the Big South Fork River at Alum Ford. The annual event consists of four, seven and fourteen mile races. The Big South Fork River Dash is hosted by the Explore Kentucky Initiative and is part of the Kentucky Waterman Series.


Some Fees at Big South Fork NRRA are to be Waived for Veteran’s Day

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be observing Veteran’s Day on Monday, November 11, 2019. Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas has authorized a night of free camping at the Alum Ford Campground as well as for all backcountry permits during this time.
Alum Ford Campground, located on the Big South Fork, offers a quiet camping experience near the edge of the Big South Fork River on the Kentucky side of the park. This campground has six sites available on a first come, first serve basis. Amenities include an accessible vault toilet as well as gravel tent pads, grills, picnic tables, food storage lockers, animal-proof garbage receptacles, and lantern hooks. The Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail traverses through this campground providing access to the extraordinary backcountry areas of the park.
On Veterans Day, or any day, honor those that have served and sacrificed for our country with a visit to a national park near you. More information may be found at

For more information, call the Big South Fork’s Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275 or visit us online at

Applications for Commercial Use Authorization at Big South Fork NRRA and Obed WSR now Accepted Year-round

: In an effort to provide as much opportunity for conducting business in the park(s) as possible, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and Obed Wild and Scenic River will now accept applications for commercial use authorizations year-round. A late fee will apply after the open period for applications, which is January 1 through March 31.
Applications received during the following dates will incur a corresponding late fee*:
1. April 1 through June 30—$100
2. July 1 through September 30—$200
3. October 1 through December 31—$300
*The above late fee is in addition to regular permit fees
Commercial use authorizations expire on December 31, annually. These changes do not apply to one-time business operations or special event vendors.
More information and applications may be found on the following websites:, or at You may also contact the Fee Manager’s Office at (423) 569-7321, or email

“After Hours” Cooking Demonstration

Photo by Eugenia Jones The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce held their “Chamber After Hours” meeting at Kristina’s Kitchen on Main Street in Whitley City. Kristina’s Kitchen specializes in serving a plant-based menu along with offering natural food and health products. Those attending were treated to samples of plant based foods including fresh salsa, guacamole, sweet potato chips, cookies, zucchini pancakes, ratatouille, and more. Kristina also demonstrated how to make easy, homemade guacamole and zucchini pancakes using mung beans. Kristina offers free plant based cooking classes at her kitchen on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00.

South Kentucky RECC Reminds
Members Heating Assistance Available

There are many joys this time of year filled with holiday seasons – it is a time of reflection on the many blessings we receive each and every day. It is also the time of year that snow and frigid cold weather enters our state, and with that, comes higher energy bills.
South Kentucky RECC reminds its members that November 4 – December 13 begins the application process for the first segment, or subsidy component, of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – the federal government’s provision, started in 1974, for helping American’s at risk of losing wintertime heat. Applications are taken in order of the last name of the head of the household.
The subsidy component helps residents of Kentucky that are at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level. Most of these recipients are elderly or disabled. The LIHEAP subsidy component is given just once per winter, and the benefit amount is determined by three factors: the percentage of poverty level of the family’s income; the size of the household; and the type of heating used.
Under the subsidy component, families are given vouchers toward their heating expense, not cash. In the South Kentucky RECC service territory, the voucher is sent directly to the provider.
Bring the following with you when you apply: 1. Proof of all household income for the preceding month (award letter, check stubs, etc.); 2. Social Security Cards or Permanent Resident Cards (Green Card) for ALL household members; 3. the most recent heating bill or verification from landlord that the heating is included on the rent; statement from electric company if you participate in PrePay Program; 4. The most recent electric bill showing the physical/service address of the home and name on the account for all heating fuel sources and electric; 5. Vendor information (including account number and name on account) for your main heating fuel, as well as electric.
For more information on when or how to apply, contact the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency in your community at:

Casey County
Clinton County
McCreary County
606-376-2593 Pulaski County
Russell County
Wayne County

2018 Rogers Scholar Kelsie Hammons organizes “A Helping Hand” fundraiser

2018 Rogers Scholar Kelsie Hammons of McCreary County organized a community fundraiser to support St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and Ronald McDonald House for her community service project.
Hammons, a graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program, personally contacted local businesses in McCreary County asking them to financially support or donate items to “A Helping Hand” fund-raising project.
Earlier this year, she raised $625 in monetary donations and more than $1,500 worth of donated items for the St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, and Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, KY.
“I have been fortunate enough to have gotten to experience what it is like to help others around me who are in need,” said Hammons, a student at McCreary Central High School. “I am overjoyed to have had the privilege of helping such great organizations.”
Hammond partnered with Outdoor Venture Corp., Daugherty’s Drug Store, Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance, Rite Aid, United Cumberland Bank, and Stephens Lumber Yard to make her Rogers Scholars community service project a reality.
“We feel very blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to give to such a great cause,” said one of the donors. “Many of us have been impacted by the devastation cancer causes. I count it a privilege to be able to help children and their families as they continue through these journeys.”
Hammons said she is blessed to have been able to make an impact on people’s lives with a single act of kindness.
“This has inspired me to be more active in helping others in my community who are less fortunate,” she said. “Thank you to the Rogers Scholars program and The Center for Rural Development for encouraging me to help my community and the lives of those around me.”
Hammons is the daughter of Steve Hammons and Stacey Hammons of Pine Knot.
Each graduate of the Rogers Scholars program is required to complete a community service project within one year after completing the program.
Rogers Scholars—The Center for Rural Development’s flagship youth program—is an intensive, one-week summer camp that provides valuable leadership experience and exclusive college scholarship opportunities to help rising high school juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky seize their full potential as the region’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.
For more information about Rogers Scholars, contact Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator, at 606-677-6019 or email Visit to learn more about the Rogers Scholars program.

October 10th, 2019

Photo by Greg Bird
The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Shayna’s Hair Salon in Pine Knot last week to welcome the new business to the county.

Seven MCHS graduates named Sen. Green Scholars

FRANKFORT – Seven 2019 graduates of McCreary Central High School have been named Senator Jeff Green Scholars by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). To earn this honor, a student must have a 4.0 grade point average each year of high school and at least a 28 composite on the ACT.
Local scholars are Hope Anderson, Noah Burchett, Gregory Duncan, Katelyn Duvall, Kobe Perry, Aaliyah Ridner and Erin Wilson.
The graduates have also earned Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) awards that they can use to pay for education after high school. They are eligible for $2,500 per year in KEES funds for up to four years of postsecondary education.
The designation honors the late state Sen. Jeff Green of Mayfield, who served in the Kentucky General Assembly from 1992 to 1997.
KEES and other Kentucky student aid programs are administered by KHEAA. KEES awards are funded by net Kentucky lottery proceeds and may be used at most colleges and universities in Kentucky. In some cases, the award may be used at an out-of-state school if the major the student is pursuing is not available in Kentucky. No application is necessary for KEES awards.
For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7214.

KHEAA also disburses low-cost Advantage Education Loans, the state’s only non-profit private education loan. For more information, visit

BULLYING: Talking to Children

Bullying affects everyone who’s involved. Children who are involved experience mental health issues, physical symptoms, and poor school performance. You can help your child recognize the signs of bullying.
Children often don’t understand when someone is being bullied. They may feel someone is joking or may not understand social norms. Children should be informed of the differences between friendly behaviors and bullying behaviors.
When talking to children about bullying parents should listen, react in ways to encourage trust from the child, be supportive, be patient, provide information that the child can understand, and discuss options for dealing with the bullying behavior.
Parents should be ready to:
• Listen. It is the child’s story; let him or her tell it. They may be in emotional pain about the way they are being treated.
• Believe. The knowledge that a child is being bullied can raise many emotions. To be an effective advocate, parents need to react in a way that encourages the child to trust.
• Be supportive. Tell the child it is not his fault and that he does not deserve to be bullied. Empower the child by telling her how terrific she is. Avoid judgmental comments about the child or the child who bullies. The child may already be feeling isolated. Hearing negative statements from parents may only further isolate him or her.
• Be patient. Children may not be ready to open up right away. Talking about the bullying can be difficult because children may fear retaliation from the bully or think that, even if they tell an adult, nothing will change. The child might be feeling insecure, withdrawn, frightened, or ashamed.
• Provide information. Parents should educate their child about bullying by providing information at a level that the child can understand.
• Explore options for intervention strategies. Parents can discuss options with their child to deal with bullying behavior.
When discussing bullying with a child use open-ended questions. Let them know they are not alone. Bullying happens to a lot of kids but it is never right for a child to be bullied.
Parents, children, schools, and the community play a role in bullying prevention. We should all work together to prevent bullying.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website, fill out your wellness profile for a chance to win $1,000.00.

New Board Member For Highland Telephone
Cooperative, Inc.

The Board of Directors of Highland Telephone Cooperative, Inc., announced the appointment of a new director for the Stearns/Whitley City area (376 exchange). The new director is Mr. Allan Chapman, replacing Mrs. Loma Denney who recently resigned.

Mrs. Denney has served on the HTC Board of Directors since 1994, when the Board appointed her to fill the remainder of her late husband Willard’s term upon his passing. She was elected to the position after that, and she has been serving ever since. She was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Board in 2013 and served as Secretary-Treasurer until her resignation.

In accordance with HTC bylaws, the Board has appointed Mr. Chapman to fill the unexpired term of Mrs. Denney. Mr. Chapman will be seeking election to that position in the upcoming November election. Mr. Chapman is retired from the McCreary County Board of Education and serves on the Lake Cumberland Development District Board and the McCreary County Health Department Board of Directors.

New state health chief cautions against all electronic cigarette use; some recent illnesses aren’t related to black-market THC

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

At her first public speaking engagement as state health commissioner, Dr. Angela Dearinger spoke about the high rates of electronic-cigarette and tobacco use in Kentucky, focusing on the recent outbreak of illness related to e-cigs, with a warning that not all of the cases have involved black-market tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
“You may have heard that this has only happened to people who use THC products bought on the black market, and that’s not the case. I want to make sure to make that point,” Dearinger said at the fifth annual Appalachian Research Day sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard Sept. 18.
“We may say that many of them did that, perhaps the majority,” Dearinger continued. “But not every single case of severe lung injury associated with vaping is due to black market THC products.”
She backed that up with numbers, saying that so far 61% of the products associated with vaping-related illness have contained nicotine, 80% have contained THC, and 7% have contained cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive product of the cannabis plant.
Dearinger said 45% of those products had both nicotine and THC; 38% had only THC; and 17% were nicotine only.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says no specific vaping product or substance has been linked to all of the cases.
As of Sept. 17, the CDC had received reports of 530 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products, and eight people had died from it, the latest a man in his mid-40s from Missouri, according to a Missouri Department of Health news release. The other deaths occurred in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.
As of Sept. 20, Kentucky had 12 cases of pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarettes under investigation, with two probable cases and one confirmed, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Dearinger said she focused much of her talk on young people because, “This is an illness that is affecting young people, predominantly.”
The CDC has sex and age data on 373 of the cases, showing that 67% of those who have gotten sick are between 18 and 34; 16% are under 18; and 17% are 35 and older. Most are male: 72%.
Patients’ symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, health officials ask that you refrain from further use of electronic cigarettes, but keep the device for possible further investigation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected health issues related to tobacco or e-cigarettes to the FDA through its online Safety Reporting Portal.

Teen e-cig use is
Dearinger pointed out reasons for concern about teen use of e-cigarettes: their rate of use nearly doubled in all age categories from 2016 to 2018.
According to the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention survey, 26.7% of the state’s high-school seniors reported they had vaped in the past 30 days in 2018, up from 12.2% in the 2016 survey.
Use by sophomores, or 10th graders, increased to 23.2% from 11.3%; researchers consider the 10th-grade figures to be the better indicator for use by high-school students. Use by eighth graders jumped to 14.2% from 7.3%, and sixth-grader use increased to 4.2% from 2.3% over 2016.
Dearinger spoke at length about teen e-cigarette use, including issues around their high nicotine content, flavorings that are appealing to teens, targeted marketing and dangerous aerosols.
In particular, she pointed out the Lokee Vape products, which she said teens like because they are more affordable than the highly popular Juul brand, while still being just as easy to conceal since they often look like a key fob that can be clipped to a key ring. Further, she said their design is easy to use with THC.
She also reminded the group that Kentucky has the second highest smoking rate for adults in the nation, 25%, adding that they are even higher in the state’s Appalachian region, with rates between 31% and 39%. The national rate is 14 %, according to the CDC.

What can be done?
As for how to decrease smoking and e-cig rates in Kentucky, Dearinger ticked off tried and true tactics: comprehensive smoke-free policies, hard-hitting media campaigns, access to smoking cessation programs and increasing tobacco prices.
“Communities that utilize all of these things have lower rates of smoking than communities that do not,” she said.
She didn’t mention taxes, but they came up in a question-and-answer session, and she said, “It absolutely works. It has been shown to work in other states. It does work.”
And it seems to work in Kentucky, too. The year after the state increased its cigarette tax by 50 cents, to $1.10 per pack, 36 million fewer packs were sold in the state, a drop of about 10%, more than the national drop of 6.1%.
Since the state passed a law to require all Kentucky schools to be tobacco-free by next July 1, unless the district opts out, 148 of the state’s 172 school districts have passed such a policy. Before the new law was passed, only 74 districts had done so.
Dearinger offered kudos to Hazard and Perry County for their recent efforts toward creating a smoke-free community. Perry is the first county in Eastern Kentucky to go smoke-free, and one of only six that have a comprehensive law that includes all workplaces and enclosed public places.
She also spoke about how to decrease teen use of e-cigs.
“When tobacco is expensive, and is not available in every store, and it doesn’t come in kid-friendly flavors, fewer teens will smoke,” she said. “If we have comprehensive smoke-free policies, fewer teens will smoke. If we have countered the marketing and promotion restrictions, fewer teens will smoke. And if we can help teens who want to quit, to quit, they will quit.”
Later, she added, “We need to work together to make this happen . . . so that we don’t have a generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine.”

October 3rd, 2019

Miss McCrearyFest 2019

Badges of Service

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Farmer’s Market wrapped up their regular 2019 season by grinding fresh corn meal from corn grown by Larry King. With Mrs. Baird claiming the first bag of meal, Doug Stephens continues grinding kernels of corn.


Photo by Greg Bird
KSP Trooper Craig Reed and Sheriff Randy Waters visited Bradley’s Coffee shop Wednesday as part of National Coffee with a Cop Day.

Understanding Mental Illness

The purpose of the following information is to provide a general understanding of what mental illnesses are, and to address some facts associated with these disorders.
What is mental
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.
Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing.
Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery.
The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
Some facts about mental illness:
• Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence.
• Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
• With appropriate effective medication and a wide range of services tailored to their needs, most people who live with serious mental illnesses can significantly reduce the impact of their illness and find a satisfying measure of achievement and independence. A key concept is to develop expertise in developing strategies to manage the illness process.
• Stigma erodes confidence that mental disorders are real, treatable health conditions. We have allowed stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness to erect attitudinal, structural and financial barriers to effective treatment and recovery. It is time to take these barriers down.
Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

September 26th, 2019

Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival

Photos by Eugenia Jones The Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival was once again a success. With lots of campers staying on site at the Sand Hill RV Camp where the festival was held, those attending enjoyed bluegrass and gospel music, food, vendors, and visiting with friends and family.


Throughout September, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department and numerous partner agencies will support emergency preparedness efforts and encourage citizens to take action to become better prepared for disasters and emergency situations.

Prepare globally. Diseases know no borders, which is why we need to work together to stop epidemics quickly and close to the source. Partners around the world are combining efforts to prevent, detect, and quickly respond to public health emergencies of international concern.
Prepare locally. In the U.S., state and local health departments play a critical role in keeping people safe from public health threats. As Zika virus spread through the Americas, state and local officials began preparing for Zika virus in the U.S. The response suddenly became local when the first cases of local transmission of Zika virus were reported in a northwest Miami neighborhood. Lake Cumberland District Health Department is also planning and preparing for potential infectious disease outbreaks, such as Zika.
Prepare together. Research shows that close-knit neighborhoods are more resilient during a disaster. We can all volunteer to help our communities prepare and respond before, during, and after an emergency. The first people who respond to an emergency don’t have to wear a uniform or have a vehicle with a siren, but they all share one quality—they want to help others who are in trouble.

Prepare yourself. One way you can prepare for emergencies is by having a kit ready to keep your family safe and healthy. It is important to have different types of kits for a variety of emergency situations: a kit for your home if you have to shelter in place, a kit with supplies for your car in case you have to evacuate, and a first aid kit in case someone is injured.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our

website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

Rock Painting Festival

Photos by Photo Nathan H. Nevels Organizer Donald Coffey and those attending McCreary County’s first rock painting festival were impressed by the artistic talents of those who entered painted rocks into the festival’s painted rock contest. Donald Coffey with the children’s winners at the rock painting festival.


Donald Coffey with adult winners from the rock painting festival.

Citizens National Bank Announces Promotion of Hope Bryant

Hope Bryant

Citizens National Bank is excited to announce that Hope Bryant has been promoted to Vice President of Business Development. Hope has 21 years of banking experience, nearly four of which have been with Citizens National Bank. Over the course of her career she has held various banking positions, including teller, branch manager and loan officer. These roles have given her a wealth of knowledge and experience which will help her to effectively serve the bank’s new and existing customers.
She is a graduate of McCreary Central High School and the KBA General School of Banking. In 2004, she graduated from the McCreary County Chamber Leadership program. Hope actively participates in the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and is currently enrolled in the 2019 Lake Cumberland Leadership program. This past year Hope served as the Captain of the bank’s March of Dimes – March for Babies team. She is a member of Marshes Siding Church of God. Hope is married to Jason Bryant, and they have one son- Alex.
“Citizens National Bank is excited to have Hope serve in this new role as VP of Business Development. Her lending knowledge and experience will be invaluable when she is meeting with customers, and I feel her new role will allow us to better serve the needs of our customers” adds Don Bloomer, President & CEO.
Citizens National Bank is a locally owned, community-oriented bank headquartered in Somerset, Kentucky. It opened for business in 1920 and has ten locations: seven in Pulaski County, as well as in Wayne County, Russell County and Jessamine County. The employees of Citizens National Bank are dedicated to providing the highest quality, personalized service to its customers.

Photo submitted
Former McCreary County Attorney Conley Chaney graduated from the Commissioned Officer Training from the USAF JAG Corps’ Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course on September 20. Lt. Chaney is currently assigned to the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB.

South Kentucky RECC Visits
Students at Whitley City Head Start

Photo submitted South Kentucky RECC recently visited students at Whitley City Head Start. South Kentucky RECC District Construction Manager, Brian Taylor, left, and Lead Line Technician Michael Crawford, far right, explained the dangers associated with electricity, what their job involves, the safety equipment that is needed for it, and the tools that they use daily.







September 19th, 2019




Got Milk?

When in operation, the Wright Dairy Farm on KY HWY 92 W was a busy place.

Dillard “Milky” Wright recalls life on the Wright Dairy Farm

By Eugenia Jones

Photo by Eugenia Jones Dillard Logan Wright can still remember getting up early as a youngster to help milk the cows.

At the age of 90, Dillard Logan Wright can still remember himself as a youngster climbing out of bed before daybreak only to fall asleep again as he sat milking cows early each morning at his family’s farm-the Wright Dairy on West Highway 92.
Fortunately for sleepy, young Dillard and the rest of his family, most of the cows were fairly well behaved.
“We really didn’t have any bad ones,” Wright recalled with a chuckle. “I got kicked plenty of times but never got hurt. I’d hold the bucket between my knees, and every once in a while, a cow would kick. Seems like they knew to kick right though and hit the bucket. I was blessed to not get hit in the face. When I did catch a kick, it would sting for a minute but you’d forget it real quick because you were so busy. There was a lot to do in that milking barn. It kept you moving.”
The Wright Dairy was established by Dillard Logan Sr. and Sylvania Wright. Their son, Dillard Logan, was the eleventh of thirteen children.
“There was a house full of us,” Wright said. “All of us, including my older brother who had polio, helped in the dairy. I got up at about 4:00 a.m. on average. My older brother would get up early and get the cows in the barn. He would get everything ready for us to milk.”
Not surprisingly, the early mornings spent milking cows took a toll on Wright’s education.
“I fell asleep a lot in school,” Wright said.
At the peak of their business, the Wright family milked as many as 72 cows. With 24 yokes in the milking barn, the family milked one group of 24 cows before releasing them and milking the two remaining groups of cows. While milking was initially done by hand, the Wrights eventually invested in milkers with electric motors. The milkers were hand held and had vacuums to force them up and down. The Wrights kept mixed breed Jersey cows along with some Holsteins. The cows grazed in the fields and also ate hay and grain.
“We kept the field mostly in orchard grass and some fescue,” Wright recalled. “We tried to keep some clover with the grass though because is made a difference in the taste of the milk. The clover gave it a sweeter taste.”
The Wrights kept cats around the barn who, in addition to acting as mousers, enjoyed an occasional squirt of fresh milk from the cows.
“We’d squirt milk into the cats’ mouths,” Wright recalled. “They’d sit about two feet away from where we were milking and wait on the milk.”
The Wrights strained, cooled, and bottled their milk at the farm. The bottles of milk were kept cold in a cooler and stacked in crates for delivery. The family drove a ¾ ton truck to deliver milk on a regular route south to Revelo and as far north as the bridge in North Whitley. When the dairy first began, milk sold for ten cents per quart and forty cents per gallon. In addition to selling milk, the family sold fresh butter churned by Wright’s mother with a dash. The butter sold for forty cents per pound.
Eventually, the dairy was forced to close as stricter regulations requiring homogenization and pasteurization were enacted. It simply became too expensive to operate the dairy under the new guidelines.
“We were always inspected,” Wright recalled. “The inspectors were very strict, and Dad was very strict about the milk and cleanliness of the dairy. We never had any problems. It just became too difficult and expensive when we were told we would have to pasteurize and homogenize.”
The dairy provided a reliable job and steady income, but it was difficult work.
“It was day in and day out work,” Wright commented. “In the winter, you were constantly working in the barn. In the summer, you had to work in the fields. In the mornings, we’d start milking about 4:00 a.m. and get finished about 7:00 a.m. After we finished milking in the morning, we’d take a shower and eat breakfast before delivering milk to our customers.”
While many ninety year olds retire to their rocking chairs, Wright remains a hard worker. He mows his yard and mows hay with a tractor. The father of three grown children, Wright is a devout Christian who goes to church regularly and serves as deacon at the Stearns First Baptist Church.
After his first wife, Wilma, passed away, Wright met Shirley Nunn Wright and the two eventually married. Appropriately enough, on their first date, Wright took Shirley to meet his cows.
“He picked up the nickname “Milky” when he was just young,” Shirley said with a grin. “He still keeps cows and when they get out of the pasture, his son helps him round them up. I’ve got to say, if there has ever been a cowboy in McCreary Count, it would have to be Dillard!”

Photo submitted The American Legion honored McCreary County first responders with a special 9-11 dinner.

Our Children – Keep Them at a Healthy Weight

One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department encourages your family to make healthy lifestyle changes together.
• Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
• Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
• Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.
Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.
It is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

OC Tax receipts down slightly

By Greg Bird

After a strong first month of collections for the McCreary County Occupational Tax August receipts are down slightly from the previous year and below the average for the past five years.
According to data released by the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office a total of $123,639.20 was collected in the second month of the fiscal year, with $82,426.13 dedicated to the General Fund. That total was the lowest since August 2014 when only $53,949 was collected. Over the past five years August collections have averaged about $105,000.
Despite the lower than average numbers, total collections for the year are ahead of the pace of last year by about $2,500 thanks to a strong month of collections in July. Last year $252,703 was added to the General Fund over the first two months, while this year’s totals stand at $255,380.
Historically the month of September is one of the weakest in terms of overall receipts. Over the past five years an average of just $33,000 comes in September. This low total is typical as the month is the last of a fiscal quarter, and most businesses report their quarterly earnings the next month.

Blue Heron Storytelling

Photos by Eugenia Jones The Blue Heron Ghost Train Storytelling event kicked off at Blue Heron on Saturday night with live music. After the music, National Park Service staff led groups of visitors through the darkness of night with only the flicker of lanterns to this year’s storytellers. Storytellers participating in this year’s event were McCreary County’s Beth Kilburn and Robert E. Stephens and Tennessee’s Angela Morrow, Joan Rodgers, and Jim Buck.

Immediate Enrollment Opportunities At The Pine Knot Job Corps Center

PINE KNOT, Ky. (Sept. 12, 2019) – The Pine Knot Job Corps Center has immediate openings for individuals seeking free career training in the nation’s leading industries, including advanced manufacturing, automotive repair, construction, hospitality, information technology, and renewable resources.
Offered by the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps is the largest nationwide residential career technical training and education program in the country and has been operating for more than 50 years. The program helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, earn college credits, train for meaningful careers, and connect with employment, apprenticeship, military, or higher education opportunities. Job Corps centers also provide on-campus housing, nutritious meal options, basic medical care, uniforms and class supplies, and enrichment and recreation activities.
“The basic eligibility requirements for entering Job Corps are simple,” said Debra Carr, acting national director of Job Corps. “The applicant must be 16 through 24 years of age, have a low income, and have educational and employment barriers or deficits. The program strongly encourages any individuals who meet these requirements, and are seeking opportunity to further their education and career pathway, to learn more about the many benefits Job Corps offers.”
Job Corps is an open-entry and open-exit program that accepts new students on a weekly basis. To obtain additional information about the specific training programs and educational opportunities offered at the Pine Knot Job Corps Center, interested individuals can contact Job Corps by visiting, or by calling (800) 733-JOBS.
Job Corps is a federal career technical training and education program for young people who aspire to higher-paying careers and higher education. With 123 residential and nonresidential locations nationwide, training is available in the nation’s fastest-growing industries to eligible 16- through 24-year-olds.


September 12th, 2019

“Murder at the Midnight Hour”

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The McCrearyFest Committee sponsored local dinner theater in an effort to raise money for this year’s McCrearyFest. Local performers presented “Murder at the Midnight Hour” with dinner catered by Murf’s Bistro.

Roaring through Mud

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Fair Board hosted a mud bog event at the McCreary County Fairgrounds. Those attending enjoyed food, music, and an abundance of vehicles competing to be the best at roaring through mud. Proceeds from the event will support the McCreary County Fair.

The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for Clarity Counseling located at 510 HWY 1651 Whitley City. Clarity Counseling offers a variety of clinical services including individual and group peer support, individual and group counseling, domestic violence services, couples/relationship counseling, case management services, drug/alcohol counseling and other forms of counseling. Clarity will soon offer DUI services and Intervention in relation to domestic abuse. Clarity Counseling serves all ages from children to adult. The office accepts all major insurances and electronic forms of payment. Clinical Director and Counselor Brandy Corder and Administrator Charles Walters are pleased to serve McCreary County and the surrounding area.




September 5th, 2019

It’s Beginning to Look Like…Polar!

Photo by Eugenia Jones Members of the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, Big South Fork Scenic Railway staff, and volunteers recently donned Polar Express costumes to greet members of the public who responded to a casting call for the 2019 Polar Express. Auditions are expected soon.

From Miners to Tourists




South Kentucky RECC Employees Providing Storm Relief

Photo submitted Following a safety meeting before the crews left, they paused for prayer of safety and deliverance.

South Kentucky RECC, which is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, has sent three, four-man construction crews and a mechanic to aid with restoration due to Hurricane Dorian, currently a category 4 and expected to become a category 5 hurricane. The crews are headed to Satilla REMC, headquartered in Alma, Georgia.
SKRECC’s contract crews were released prior to the storm making landfall to be in place to deal with the turmoil left by Hurricane Dorian.
South Kentucky RECC Interim CEO Kevin Newton says, “In addition to the crews, South Kentucky RECC has sent several pieces of much-needed equipment including several large bucket trucks, small bucket trucks, a digger and an ATV. These crews will assist at Satilla REMC, if needed, or will transfer to a location that they are needed.”
Newton says that he can’t express his appreciation enough to the employees and their families for making the sacrifices they make to help fellow cooperatives when they are in crisis situations.
“One of the greatest benefits of being a Touchstone Energy Cooperative is the aid that we can get from our sister cooperatives when the need arises. It is also just as important that we provide assistance when called upon, and we are proud to assist. South Kentucky employees are among the best and are always ready and willing to go when asked. I know this makes it difficult on them and their families, but they always go without hesitation. For this, we are grateful.”

Newton is unsure how long crews will remain on duty in the south. It will depend on the damage that Hurricane Dorian inflicts.


August 29th, 2019

A New Chapter in McCreary Tourism

Target date for the Big South Fork Scenic Railway to begin making destination stops at
Barthell Coal Mining Camp is Labor Day weekend.

By Eugenia Jones

A McCreary County tourism dream has finally become reality as KBMT (Koger Barthell Mining Town) Inc. and the McCreary County Heritage Foundation’s Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) are set to combine forces providing tourists with breathtakingly beautiful scenic train rides along Roarin’ Paunch Creek and historic destination stops, complete with guided tours, at the historically reconstructed Barthell Coal Mining Town.
“I think it’s a great thing,” said KBMT Inc. Director of Operations, Richard Koger, with a smile. “This will help us and the BSFSRY. It will also help McCreary County.”
According to Ray Moncrief, Vice Chairman of the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, talks between the two entities began in April when a slide and wash- out on the lower end of the BSFSRY track prevented the train from making its normal run and destination stop at Blue Heron Coal Mining Camp in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
“I kept hearing people talk about Barthell, but I really didn’t know what it was,” Moncrief elaborated. “After the slide, someone said we should make Barthell our destination stop. Richard Koger and I had a conversation, and then Brian Koger got involved. Next, we had conversations with KBMT President Dwight Koger. Mrs. Marilyn Koger, Dwight, Richard, and Brian all came together. By working together, refining the proposal, and working through modifications, we were finally able to sign a proposal.”
According to Moncrief, the proposal is a perpetual agreement requiring adequate notice be given should either party decide to terminate the agreement. The proposal creates a schedule for “Destination Barthell” on Fridays (one run), Saturdays (two runs), and Sundays (one run.) The train will also make one run on Labor Day Monday. The agreement also includes a provision for Halloween events to take place at Barthell. Additionally, the Polar Express North Pole will be located at Barthell. According to Richard Koger, this year’s Halloween event will be similar to Halloween events held several years ago at Barthell.
“The haunted house will be on the pavilion,” Koger explained. “Folks will enter and go through different rooms-like the Dracula room-before exiting.”
Tourists riding the train will be able to choose how they wish to spend their time at Barthell. Those who wish to pay for just a round trip train ticket will be able to see the front building at Barthell which includes the main office, Barber Shop, Bath House, Doctor’s Office, and snack bar. Those who wish to pay an additional $15.00 for a guided tour will be able to choose between two tours-either a tour of the mine or a tour of the Barthell coal camp town. A maximum of 50 people per train will be able to tour the mine while the coal camp tour will accommodate an unlimited number of participants. Barthell is one of few locations where visitors can actually enter a mine. Visitors will spend approximately two hours at Barthell before riding the train back to the Depot in Stearns.
Visitors can also find lodging at Barthell in one of several reconstructed coal camp homes built on original home sites and featuring historically correct outward appearances. Despite the authentic outer appearances, each rental provides modern conveniences such as central heat/air, queen size bed, carpet, full bath, and mini kitchen with microwave, toaster, refrigerator, and coffee maker. There are no stoves, but guests may bring grills.
With the Daniel Boone National Forest and BSFNRRA bordering Barthell, the coal town is a blend of both natural beauty and intriguing history.
As the first Stearns coal mine, Barthell was built in 1902 at the same time as the company town of Stearns. The first train load of coal came out of Barthell Mine 1 in June 1903. The Stearns Fourth of July celebration and carnival took place days later and served a celebration of the company town’s first successful load of coal. After that first celebration of coal, the 4th of July carnival became an eagerly anticipated tradition for those in Stearns and all of town’s surrounding coal camps.
Harold “Sonny” Koger purchased the Barthell property in 1984 from Frank Thomas who was given the responsibility of selling Stearns Company land to the government.
“Dad wanted to preserve the history and restore Barthell to the coal camp town it originally was,” Richard said of his father. “In order to get the property, Dad had to agree to rebuild the camp historically correct. Although there were photos and some people alive who remembered the camp, it was still difficult to pinpoint the exact locations of buildings. The area had a lot of vegetation growth with only three remaining original foundations-foundations of the bathhouse, machine shop, and motor house.”
Sonny Koger hired the University of Kentucky (UK) to do an archival study of Barthell. Experts from UK did extensive research and eventually compiled the book, “Barthell-a Background Archival and Oral Historical Study of Barthell.”
The study succeeded in determining the exact locations of all of the original buildings and houses. The study also revealed the original types of lumber and colors of paint used during original construction.
“Hemlock was used in construction along with poplar lap siding painted white with green trim,” Richard noted.
Upon completion of the archival study, reconstruction of Barthell began in 1993. Six years later, the coal mining town opened to tourists and is currently celebrating its twentieth year of operation.
Since coal mining played such a significant role in the Koger family’s heritage, the desire to preserve the history of coal mining was important to Sonny Koger.
“Dad grew up in Cooperative until his family moved to Smithtown,” Richard shared. “He worked in the mines for a short time. Dad’s father, Austin Koger, worked for forty-eight years in the mines-mostly at Worley. I can’t imagine working forty-eight years at one job-let alone coal mining. Joseph Cain, my grandfather’s father-in-law, worked as superintendent at Worley. Joseph was an immigrant from Wales who came to America through New York and travelled on to Michigan where he hooked up with the Stearns family. The Stearns family really didn’t know much about coal mining so most of the early coal miners were European immigrants who had experience and knowledge. When you know the history of the Koger family, it’s really not hard to see why Dad wanted to preserve our coal mining heritage.”
Undoubtedly, if Sonny Koger were alive today, he would be proud to see the renewed interest in Barthell. His dream of preserving the history of coal mining will take on new life, while at the same time, boosting the railway and tourism and economic development in McCreary County.
“I’m so glad KBMT’s President, Dwight Koger, opened the door for this to happen,” MCHF Vice Chair Ray Moncrief said enthusiastically. “Everyone is excited about this opportunity. We’re excited to hold hands, lock arms, and work together. It’s a new chapter for McCreary County tourism, and it’s only going to get better!”

Artist Spot Light

The McCreary Mountain Craft Center is glad to honor Glenda Hurd as our Artist of the Month for August. Glenda has been a member of our art association since the 1980s. This month we have a special display of some of her hand made jewelry in the entrance room of the Center.
This display includes some of her jewelry, magnets and various small items. The lovely hand-beaded necklaces are a design her mother taught her when Glenda was about 10 years old. Glenda is a former manager of the Craft Center from the mid to late 1980’s. She kept these cabins full of lovely quilts and hand-made crafts at that time for several years.
Today she has focused more on her jewelry making but still includes some of her amusing nutty boards and something for the person who has everything, belly button brushes! Glenda also has a web page named Moonbow Treasurers where she’ll soon highlight some of her other collection of fantastic jewelry.
Glenda is a regular volunteer as store keeper for the day, usually on Monday. We thank Glenda for her dedication and years of volunteering to help us continue on our mission of sharing the art and history of this Appalachian area.

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

According to the American Association of Suicidology website, how do you remember the Warning Signs of Suicide? Here’s an easy way to remember: IS PATH WARM?
I – Ideation, S Substance Abuse
P – Purposelessness, A Anxiety, T Trapped, H Hopelessness
W – Withdrawal, A Anger, R Recklessness, M Mood Changes
A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show warning signs of acute risk such as: threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or, looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or, talking or writing about death, dying or suicide. These might be remembered as expressed or communicated ideation.
Other warning signs can include: increased substance (alcohol or drug) use; no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life; anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time;
feeling trapped – like there’s no way out; hopelessness; withdrawal from friends, family and society; rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge; acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking; or, dramatic mood changes.
If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1- 800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

August 22nd, 2019

Stories Beneath the Stars

Photo by Eugenia Jones
It was an evening filled with stories beneath the stars in downtown Stearns as local storytellers Beth Kilburn, Lounicia Smith Hughett, Jordon Hughett, Karen Hughes, and Ellen Baker entertained by telling stories that were humorous, poignant, and sometimes downright scary. Sammie and Daniel Suggitt kicked off the “bring your own chair” event with a live musical performance. Shane Gilreath welcomed those attending. Job Corps students and Ken Barclay ran the sound system while food vendor offerings for the event included hotdogs, fried Oreos, funnel cakes, potato ribbons, and fresh squeezed lemonade.

South Kentucky RECC Employees Help Ronald McDonald House Provide Lodging, Comfort for Families

Photo submitted
Employees from Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, including South Kentucky RECC’s Tammy Cash and Joy Bullock delivered around $9,000 in money and supplies for Ronald McDonald House of Lexington. They managed to fill a room at the house.

Old Settler’s Day

Sam Perry and banjo picker Jordon Hughett are pictured at the encampment with beans being cooked on an open fire. Perry demonstrated the draw knife.


Rita Perry demonstrates the making of
rockahominy, America’s first trail food.


Photos by Eugenia Jones
Dale Stewart answers questions about blacksmithing.


Gail Hartfankft demonstrates spool knitting.

It was a beautiful day for the third annual Old Settler’s Day at the McCreary Mountain Craft Center on HWY 90, west of Cumberland Falls. The day was a celebration of the heritage of the brave families who settled the wild lands west of the Cumberland River in the 1840s and 1850s as costumed actors, crafters, and artisans of the McCreary Mountain Craft Association demonstrated pioneer skillls. In addition to demonstrations of blacksmithing, spinning, campfire cooking, crocheting, churning, cooking on an open fire, and more pioneer skills, talented musicians performed throughout the day.

August 15th, 2019

It’s a Bear

McCreary County hosts Black Bear Festival.

By Eugenia Jones

McCreary County hosted its first annual Black Bear Festival on August 10 in the McCreary County Senior Citizen Building at the McCreary County Park. Organized by Darlene Price and others, the festival featured a variety of music, food, and vendors along with bear educational programs presented by the U.S. Forest Service, KY Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service, and the Appalachian Bear Rescue group. Volunteer awards were given to the Animal Protection League, Job Corps, American Legion, and various wildlife related government agencies. Best bear woodcarving trophies were awarded to Bob’s Scroll and David McCullah. The best black bear cake award went to Debbie Campbell.
With an increasing number of black bears in McCreary County, the primary goal of the festival is to help residents and tourists learn how to coexist peacefully with black bears and to appreciate the benefits of having a thriving black bear population in the area.
While black bear populations draw tourists to areas such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Red River Gorge area of the Daniel Boone National Forest, McCreary County has yet to heavily promote the presence of its black bear population. Education for residents and tourists is key to the success of peaceful coexistence between humans and black bear.
Tips for coexisting peacefully with black bears from and the Appalachian Bear Rescue include the following:
-Never intentionally or unintentionally feed black bears. Bears are drawn to garbage, bird feeders, pet food, etc. Keep these secure. Clean and store BBQ grills.
-Keep your distance-at least fifty yards away. Never run from a bear (they can run three times faster than a human) and do not get between a mama bear and her cubs. In a sudden bear encounter, avoid abrupt movements and back away slowly.
-Be bear aware—learn to recognize bear signs and actions.
-Black bear attacks are extremely rare-but if you are knocked to the ground, fight back aggressively. Do not approach a bear. No matter how tame they might seem, they are wild animals.
-Let neighbors know about bear activity and share information on how to avoid conflict with bears.

I Saw a Bear in McCreary County

“I saw one on Tom Robert’s Road a couple of weeks ago. It was a big black bear in the middle of the road. When we got to it, it rambled off. I was excited and yelled, ‘Hey, there’s a bear!’” He just looked at us and went into the woods.”
– Myrtle Coffey

“We had bears come in the back yard. We heard a ruckus and saw two bears out there eating out of the garbage cans. They took the lids off. We hollered at them, and they just stood up like they were going to wave at us. Then they pulled the bag of garbage out of the can, ate a little bit more, and then took off with the bag. I guess they thought they had ‘take-out!’ We weren’t threatened by the bears, and they didn’t seem threatened by us.”
– Pamela Duncan

“I saw one run across HWY 27 in Whitley City. My wife’s (Holly) dad owns the old John Wright farm. The bears get the blackberries there before we do. They don’t bother anything except they used to get into the bee hives.”
– Justin Kidd
(with Baby Allen)

“I’ve seen them retreating across the road into the woods.”
– Nathan H. Nevels

“I saw one at my neighbors, and it ran off.”
– Nathan Nevels, Sr.

“We had a mom and three cubs take up residence for a couple of days at our apple trees. Big Daddy has walked through our yard for eighteen years several times a year. He has a tuft of white hair on his neck and chest. He walks right past the dogs in their dog lot.”
– Darlene Price

“One night, I thought someone was breaking into my garage away from the house. I sneaked outside on the porch and saw the bird feeder swaying. I shined the flashlight and there was a bear swinging on the porch gate. I think it scared him worse than it did me! We used to have a momma and three babies. They would play so much. They would roll down the hill, then climb back up to roll down it again. They would do bear talk. They were like little kids. They were a lot of fun to watch. They don’t bother us.”
– Tom (& Debbie) Campbell




Stearns Golf Course
Member/Guest Tournament

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Championship flight first place went to Sam Strunk and Coach Jerry Stephens; second place went to Robby Ball and Drew Boggs. First place finishers in first flight were Larry Watson and Quinton; second place finishers were Larry and Wendell Branscum. First place finishers in second flight were Dewayne Zoratser and Riley Richmond; second place finishers were Windy Summers and John Shropshire.

Blue Heron Ghost Train

September is a great time to experience traditional storytelling at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Join us on September 14 for the 9th Annual Ghost Train at the Blue Heron Outdoor Museum. National Park Service staff and volunteers will lead groups through the abandoned coal mining camp in the darkness of night by only the flickers of lanterns to local storytellers. They, through the age-old tradition of the spoken word, will share their traditional tales from around the region.
Due to heavy winter rain, the Big South Fork Scenic Railway experienced track damage and is unable to transport passengers to the Blue Heron Outdoor Museum this year. To reach the Outdoor Museum, follow the directional signs from Stearns via Kentucky Highways 92W and 1651S to 742W until arriving at Blue Heron. Free parking is available at Blue Heron, but we encourage visitors to carpool as space is limited.
We will kick off this year’s festivities with live music from Sammie Suggitt and Second Chance Revival starting at 7 p.m. (ET). Refreshments and food will be available for purchase at the concession stand. Ghost tours of the coal mining community will begin at 8 p.m. and conclude by 10 p.m. Bring close-toe shoes and a flashlight—but make sure it has a red lens—and be prepared for a fright!

For more information, please call the Blue Heron Ranger Office at (606) 376-3787.

Art in the Park

Photo Contest Winners Will Be Unveiled

The Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area will be hosting an Art in the Park reception on Friday, August 30, at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center located at 151 Stable Road in Oneida, Tennessee. The reception will start at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
The event will include a display of photographs from the recent Big South Fork photography contest. Visitors to the event may select their favorite photograph and place their vote for a “People’s Choice” award winner. During the evening, the contest’s winning entries will be revealed. Local musicians, Quinten Acres and Mark Hancock, will be performing as light refreshments are served.
The winning entries have been judged on technical excellence, originality, creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit.
For more information or directions, please call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275.

Scenic Railway and Barthell Coal Mining Community Will Work Together for Tourism

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Those present at a meeting on Wednesday with Deputy Secretary of Arts and Tourism Cabinet Regina Stivers responded with a burst of applause when it was announced the Big South Fork Scenic Railway will be adding the Barthell Coal Mining Camp as a destination stop as part of their scenic run. More information will be forthcoming.

National Immunization Month

Immunizations are public health’s great success story with the disappearance of many infectious diseases.
Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse – some are even life- threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. They protect against infections like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and
pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are also important for adults, especially those against pneumonia, influenza and shingles.
Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing antibodies to combat them. Once it does, the immune system “remembers” the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity.
Before vaccines, people became immune only by actually getting a disease and surviving it. Immunizations are an easier and less risky way to become immune.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Summer feeding program a success

By Greg Bird

The McCreary County School District’s Summer Feeding Program was a resounding success according to Food Service Director Mitzi Stephens.
With more than 4,200 meals served to children in just over two months the program exceeded expectations, and set the bar higher for next year and beyond.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback,” Stephens said. “Once word got out we had a lot more participation. This is one of the most positive things I’ve been involved in with the school system.”
With only about two months of actual operation, Stephens and her team had to quickly organize and plan for distributing free meals to children across the county. As word of the program spread, the newly decorated bus expanded their daily stops to churches and other summer programs to feed the children.

Stephens is already looking to expand the program for next year, including plans to add an awning to the bus that will allow for easier distribution of food in rainy or hot weather. Additionally she intends to add enrichment programs to the route as well, providing education along with nutrition.
With the success of the inaugural summer behind them, Stephens said she would take everything she learned and incorporate the ideas in to next year’s endeavor. She feels now that the program has demonstrated what it is capable of achieving, more church groups and other organizations will sign up to be a part of the program next year.
“I really would like to thank the Board of Education for their support for this program,” Stephens said. “And our partners the McCreary County Public Library for giving us books to distribute and Kroger for donating extra food.”
With the summer food program behind them, Stephens and her staff are focused on the new school year and bringing new innovations and food to the schools.
She is working on brining a new meal app online that will allow students and parents to view menus on their phones and also give them nutritional and allergen information.
The Meal Viewer app not only will display menus, but it will also give the students the option to vote on what foods they like and don’t like in an effort ensure the children not only get healthy food options, but also ones they will actually eat.
The app is just the latest improvement Food Service has brought in to the system over the past couple years. Stephens said their goal is to make sure the children get the nutrition they need, and the food they want.
“I think there are a lot of neat things we have done lately to make school food kid and parent friendly,” Stephens said.

She noted that any parent with a child with special dietary needs (diagnosed by a physician) should contact Food Service at (606) 354-2776 to find out how to get special meals for their student.

August 8th, 2019

Kid’s Fest

Photos by Greg Bird
McCreary County Schools Kid’s Fest served over 800 students last week at McCreary County Middle School. In addition to getting free school supplies and personal hygene products, the students were also treated with free haircuts, medical exams, dental screenings, hot dogs and a bouncy castle for entertainment.

What kids can do in the face of bullying

Many adults may recall being bullied or witnessing bullying when they were in school. Despite that, it’s important that adults, including parents and educators, not see bullying as an inevitable part of growing up. The effects of bullying can be severe, affecting those involved — including the bullied, the bullies and those who merely witness bullying — long after their school days have ended.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, bullying has been linked to various negative outcomes, mental health issues, substance abuse and suicide.
When taking steps to combat bullying, parents and educators should not overlook the benefits of enlisting children in their efforts. Kids can be great allies in the fight against bullying, and the following are some ways adults can work with youngsters who want to stop bullying.
Teaching kids to respect others, the DHHS’ website devoted to stopping bullying once and for all, notes the importance of teaching kids to treat everyone, including other children, with respect. Parents can teach kids to pause before saying or doing something that can be harmful to someone else. Bullying inflicts physical and emotional pain on its victims, so teaching kids to recognize that words can be just as harmful as fists may encourage them to think twice before saying something mean to a classmate.
The DHHS also recommends advising children to do something else if they feel an urge to say or do something mean. Walk away from a situation to watch television, play a video game or engage in another activity rather than saying or doing something hurtful.
What kids being bullied can do
Kids being bullied also can employ certain strategies to overcome bullying. The DHHS recommends teaching children to look at bullies and telling them to stop in a calm, clear voice. Laughing it off might also work for kids who find joking comes naturally to them. The DHHS advises against fighting back, instead suggesting kids walk away and stay away before finding an adult who can stop the bullying on the spot.
Encouraging students to confide in adults they trust also can help them overcome bullying and the feelings of loneliness that bullying can elicit. Trusted adults can help children devise a plan to stop the bullying. The DHHS notes that most bullying happens when adults are not around, so staying near adults and other children can help kids avoid situations where they might be vulnerable to bullies.
What witnesses to bullying can do

Bullying can have a negative impact on children who witness bullying, even if they aren’t the victims. Adults can encourage children to speak to trusted adults and to report instances of bullying. In addition, children should be encouraged to be kind to children who are being bullied, inviting them to sit with them on the bus or in the lunch room and engaging them in conversations about topics that interest them.
Bullying affects children whether they’re being bullied, doing the bullying or witnessing it. But bullying can be overcome if adults and children work together and keep lines of communication open at all times.

American Legion to hold golf scramble

By Steve LeMaster

STEARNS – The American Legion Auxiliary Scramble and Hole In One will be held at Stearns Heritage Golf Course on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Team registration for the golf event will begin at 11 a.m.
There will be cash prizes given to first-, second- and third-place finishers. The amounts of the prizes will depend on the number of teams competing in the event. Door prizes will be presented throughout the day. Murf’s Bistro will provide a meal. The Clubhouse will provide a cash bar.
A new pick-up truck will be awarded to the first golfer who sinks a hole-in-one. The Don Franklin Family of Dealerships is sponsoring the hole-in-one promotion.
unction South Band will be performing on the deck after the scramble. There will be a $5 cover charge for the public.
To reserve a spot in the scramble, call Pat Cash at (606) 310-9716.

Renovations Continue During Closure of Appletree Shooting Range

Photos by Eugenia Jones
Once completed, the renovated Appletree shooting range will include six new benches and target holders with ranges at 15, 50, and 100 yards, two new shelters, a concrete walkway, and earthen safety berms.

The concrete walkway greatly improves access to the USFS Appletree shooting range in Stearns.

By Eugenia Jones

U. S. Forest Service Stearns District Ranger Tim Reed is excited about work progressing on schedule for the renovation of the Appletree Shooting Range in Stearns.
“We’ve had no issues, and the work is coming along nicely,” Reed said. “We are pleased with the new design for the shooting range, and I think the public will be happy with the amenities as well.”
The shooting range has been closed temporarily since July 9 for renovations. Although the new renovations are expected to take several months or more, Reed is hopeful the renovation can be accomplished during one extended closure.
According to Forest Service officials, the facility upgrade, which is partially funded through an NRA Public Range Fund grant, will include six new benches and target holders with ranges at 15, 50, and 100 yards. Two new shelters, a concrete walkway, and earthen safety berms will also be added.
When the range reopens, the facility will be available for public use with fee during daylight hours only. During the reconstruction of Appletree, target shooters may use Keno Shooting Range in Pulaski County which is nearby and located off Highway 751 approximately five miles from U.S. Highway 27.
Reed reiterated his enthusiasm for the project and stated he hopes the public will help take care of the range when it reopens.
“Once the renovations are complete, the range will serve as a safer recreational sport location,” Reed remarked. “We are excited to get it open. It’s going to be in good condition, and I think folks will enjoy it.”

Local High School Students Participate in Summer Program at Big South Fork

Local high school students were selected from McCreary Central High School in Kentucky and Oneida High School in Tennessee to work on a summer program with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. These young adults rehabilitated 45 campsites at Blue Heron Campground located in Stearns, Kentucky. Students removed encroaching grass and vegetation; leveled the gravel surface of the tent pads; and repaired and/or replaced campsite features including 4’x6’ log timbers, lantern posts, and fire rings.
Additional education allowed the students to explore Yahoo Falls and Twin Arches Loop trails while gaining understanding and appreciation of wildlife, aquatic species, plants, geology and cultural landscapes. Rock climbing at Obed Wild and Scenic River in Morgan County, Tennessee, created life-long memories for everyone. Lessons were learned on the impact that their contributions will make for future generations.
Daily safety meetings were held before starting the work day to educate the students on the importance of safety in the work place including wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for the job.
“We are delighted to host the Youth Conservation Corps program at Big South Fork for the 2019 summer season,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “Participating in the YCC is a wonderful opportunity for youth to learn about and gain appreciation for our national parks while learning valuable skills. We are very proud of these students and wish them great success in the future.”
Youth Conservation Corps is a summer employment program for young men and women, ages 15 through 18, to work on projects to protect public lands. The YCC program trains young people and provides outdoor work that is supervised by trained crew leaders. Participants gain valuable professional experience working on National Park Service lands; they learn how to use tools, safe work habits, teamwork, and how conservation projects benefit the environment and protect cultural and historical resources.

August 1st, 2019

Big South Fork Aerospace Academy happy to have its own space at local airport.

By Eugenia Jones

The Big South Fork (BSF) Aerospace Academy recently landed its very own permanent lab and classroom space thanks to the generosity and help of the Egnew Foundation and Outdoor Venture Corporation. The new BSF Aerospace Academy Lab houses component stations for all aspects of aerospace providing students with opportunities to learn about aerospace design, manufacturing, operation, and maintenance. Some students are in the process of obtaining their pilot licenses. The new building includes a flight lab, general classroom, and shop area. Students also have access to a hangar with two flying aircraft.
Students who participated in this summer’s week long space camp were the first to fully occupy the Lab. During the camp, students took an airport walk, flew flight simulators, sat in the cockpit of a seventy-three year old plane, learned about all components of aerospace careers, and participated in Young Eagle flights.
The Academy recently hosted a special 50th anniversary of NASA’s Lunar Landing Commemoration Event and will have more events for the public in the future.
The Big South Fork Aerospace Academy is a middle/high school program using aerospace to help young people learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For more information about the program or to volunteer contact Tim Smith at 502-320-9490.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
Commission awards special permits

2019 Hunting and Trapping Guide

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has awarded special commission permits for the 2019-20 seasons to qualifying nonprofit wildlife conservation organizations.
Recipients must use these special permits to raise funds for projects that enhance fish and wildlife, habitats, education efforts, or related recreation in Kentucky.
By state regulation, the commission may award a maximum of 10 special permits for deer, turkey, elk and waterfowl, respectively, to qualifying organizations, which may receive up to one permit each, per year. Nonprofit wildlife organizations may apply for the special permits by May 1 each year. The commission reviews applications and its members vote at their quarterly public meeting in June.
The special commission permits awarded for the 2019-2020 seasons follow.
2020 Elk: Kentucky Houndsmen Foundation for Sportsmen’s Rights, Inc.; Kentucky Trapshooters League; League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Inc.; Northern Kentucky Quail Forever; Quality Deer Management Association (National Office); Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
2019/2020 Deer: Appalachian Outdoorsmen Association, Inc.; Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Kentucky Houndsmen Foundation for Sportmen’s Rights, Inc.; Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry, Inc.; Kentucky Trapshooters League; League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Inc.; Quality Deer Management Association (National Office); Scholastic Archery Association – Kentucky Division; The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky; Ruffed Grouse Society – Tri-State Drumming Feathers Chapter (WV, KY, OH).
2020 Spring Turkey: Appalachian Outdoorsmen Association, Inc.; Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry, Inc.; Ruffed Grouse Society – Kentucky River Chapter; Kentucky Trapshooters League; League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Inc.; Quality Deer Management Association (National Office); Scholastic Archery Association – Kentucky Division; The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky; Ruffed Grouse Society – Tri-State Drumming Feathers Chapter (WV, KY, OH).
2019/2020 Waterfowl: Appalachian Outdoorsmen Association, Inc.; Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry, Inc.; Ruffed Grouse Society – Kentucky River Chapter; Kentucky Trapshooters League; League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Inc.; Ruffed Grouse Society – Tri-State Drumming Feathers Chapter (WV, KY, OH); Scholastic Archery Association – Kentucky Division; The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky; National Wild Turkey Federation – Kentucky River Longbeards Chapter.
Commission members cast votes to award special commission permits at their most recent quarterly public meeting in June, which resulted in ties for three special permits. Because the commission adjourned its June meeting before votes were tallied, a special called meeting was subsequently held on July 12 to cast tie-breaking votes.
More information about special commission permits, including how qualifying nonprofits may apply, is available on the department website at
The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission is a nine-member board, comprised of volunteers who serve four-year terms after being nominated by active hunters and anglers, appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the Kentucky senate. The commission meets quarterly to recommend hunting, fishing and boating regulations on behalf of the sportsmen and sportswomen of the Commonwealth. It also approves department research projects and awards the special commission permits. Commission meetings are open for the public, and video recordings and approved minutes are published thereafter on the department’s website.

Annual Pow Wow Being Hosted Labor Day Weekend

Corbin – The 11th annual Labor Day weekend event sponsored by the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum will be hosted in Corbin, Kentucky, August 31st and September 1st. It is the “Honoring Our Veterans Pow Wow”, which is a competition Pow Wow featuring Native American vendors, drums, dancers, flute and demonstrations.
As a competition event, the Pow Wow will pay out more than $19,000 in prize money, including categories from tiny tots to adults, and even seniors, dancing. A drum competition with a $2,000 first prize award will also be featured during the two day event. This is expected to bring competitors and spectators from across the region, several states, and various parts of the country to the Pow Wow in southeastern Kentucky.
Also offered at the event will be a petting zoo, pony rides, and primitive camping for those planning to attend and enjoy the festivities. Free parking is offered, but seating is limited so you may want to bring your own chairs.
Something new on the Pow Wow grounds this year is a large cover that will provide relief from the heat and sun, or any potential rain, over the Pow Wow circle area. Vendors will circle the covered area with canopies, providing for a nice shaded area to enjoy the demonstrations, shop and dance. There will be food vendors offering traditional Native items, as well as treats to enjoy.
Gates will open at 4116 Cumberland Falls Highway in Corbin, Kentucky, Saturday August 31st at 10:00am and Sunday September 1st at 11:00am. There will be two grand entry ceremonies on Saturday at 11:00am and 6:00pm and a grand entry Sunday at 12noon. Admission is $7.00 per person with children 12 and under and veterans presenting ID admitted free.
The Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum sponsors the annual Labor Day weekend Pow Wow and also provides its mobile museum exhibits to schools, festivals and other events across the state and region. You can follow the Pow Wow on Facebook and also visit for information.

Celebrate the National Park Service’s 103rd Birthday

Celebrate the National Park Service’s 103rd birthday at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on Sunday, August 25. Free camping has been authorized at the Alum Ford Campground as well as for all backcountry permits for this date.
Alum Ford Campground, located on the Big South Fork, offers a tranquil camping experience near the edge of the Big South Fork River on the Kentucky side of the park. There are six campsites with grills, picnic tables, and lantern hooks as well as accessible vault toilets. The Sheltowee Trace Trail also passes through this campground.
Celebrate all America’s more than 400 national parks have to offer and try something new. Discover more experiences waiting for you at There is a lot to see in 103!
For further information, call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275.

July 25th, 2019

Heritage Foundation Moves Forward

Steam engine No. 14, as seen above when it was Ol’ No. 77, made regular daily runs around a 2 ½ mile track through the forest near Cumberland Falls at Tombstone Junction. No. 77, with its distinctive whistle, chugging sound and belching smoke, was a major attraction for young and old alike when Tombstone Junction was in operation.

Steam engine dilemma will be settled by arbitrator


Photos by Eugenia Jones

Restoration work on the boiler of K & T # 14 (steam engine) was being conducted as early as 2013 (pictured above.) The boiler still does not meet FRA guidelines.


By Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Heritage Foundation (MCHF) recently voted to move forward with the filing of an arbitration demand through the American Arbitration Association after the civil action complaint originally filed by the MCHF against Wasatch Railroad Contractors and John E. Rimmasch was dismissed by a federal judge in favor of arbitration.
As the defendants to the civil action complaint, Wasatch Railroad Contractors and Rimmasch had filed a response in the form of a motion requesting the dismissal of civil action in favor of arbitration. Their request was based largely on the presence of “a broadly worded and mandatory arbitration provision” within the original written contract between the MCHF and Wasatch.
As a result of the judge’s order to compel arbitration, an arbitrator will be selected from the American Arbitration Association. Both sides will present their cases along with witnesses. A final binding decision will be made by the arbitrator.
The case revolves around a design/build contract entered into during April, 2012 by the McCreary County Heritage Foundation with the Wyoming based contractors for the restoration and completion (to operational condition) of the K & T Railway No. 14 steam locomotive which was built in 1944 and is owned by the McCreary County Heritage Foundation in Stearns. The Foundation contracted restoration of the steam locomotive in order to use it for educational and passenger purposes with the Foundation’s tourist railroad-The Big South Fork Scenic Railway. Terms of the contract specified Wasatch would complete restoration of the locomotive to meet Federal Railway Administration (FRA) requirements within thirty-six months with the Heritage Foundation paying $695,000 for the restoration.
MCHF alleges Wasatch breached their expressed/implied warranties and their contract by performing work of poor quality with faults and defects and by failing to complete the restoration of the steam locomotive to operating condition by using original design specifications and standard practice in compliance with FRA requirements. The MCHF also alleges negligence and carelessness on the part of Wasatch in performing its contracted work, using defective materials, and supervising its employees, agents, and volunteers.

Working on the Railway

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Pictured left to right: BSFRY Track Inspector Theo Chitwood, BSFRY Railroad General Manager Tim Vanover, Consultant Bennie Garland, Railway Project Volunteer Andy West, Queen City Railroad Inc. Vice President Operations Jim Distan, Heritage Foundation President JC Egnew, MSE engineer Glenn Ross, Queen City Railroad Inc. President Mark Edmands, and Lake Cumberland Area Development District Project Administrator Waylon Wright.

By Eugenia Jones

After winning the bid and signing contracts earlier this month, workers for Queen City Railroad Construction, Inc. from Knoxville are ready to begin laying ties and replacing rail on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. Phase 1 of the railway project is being funded by 2 million dollars of federal Economic Development funds along with a $500,000 match from the McCreary County Heritage Foundation. The matching funds are a result of two $250,000 loans secured by the Foundation from the SKRECC and Lake Cumberland Area Development District revolving loan funds. The project covers 24,000 feet from just below the Depot to the slide area past Barthell by replacing 4500 ties and upgrading the existing 90 pound rail to 130 pound rail. The project is scheduled to be finished in April 2020 with construction workers working around the scenic railway’s tourist schedule.


Marshall is welcome addition to craft association

The McCreary Mountain Craft Center. Located at 6930 Highway 90 in Parkers Lake, KY would like to introduce their featured artist for the month. Pottery By Mehg of Stearns, KY will be their featured artist for the month of July.
Pottery by Mehg has been in business since 2011 in Stearns, with her shop located next door to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway Depot.
Through her membership in the Mountain Craft Center, she has found a friendly and supportive way of showcasing her hand thrown pottery techniques. Her membership in this organization also allows her to showcase her work to the many tourists that come to the area and build a reputation as an artist in different parts of the nation.
Mehg Marshall has been such a welcome addition to our craft association. This is such a fun month to highlight Pottery By Mehg. With her shop in Stearns, she was a wonderful contribution to the scenic railway’s Christmas in July celebration on July 6. Now her beautiful pottery ornaments are decorating a tree right inside the front door of our log cabin at the Mountain Craft Center for our Christmas in July open house on July 27th. Enjoy browsing her creative products at both locations.

On Vacation with The Voice

July 18th, 2019

McCreary County Christian Care
Food Pantry Needs Donations

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Volunteers and students from the Job Corps help out at the McCreary County Christian Care Center and Food Pantry. 

By Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Christian Care Center Food Pantry lost a substantial chunk of this year’s funding when it did not qualify for a federal Emergency Food and Shelter grant which the Center has consistently received in previous years.
Failing to receive notification of this year’s award, Center Director Sue Singleton reviewed a list of those who did receive awards and found McCreary County was not included. She immediately emailed the emergency food and shelter program and questioned the decision.
According to the response Singleton received, McCreary County did not meet the grant criteria based on a formula using unemployment and poverty levels. The criteria requires jurisdictions receiving the grants must have 300 unemployed individuals and either a 4.9% unemployment rate or 15.6% poverty rate. According to the response, McCreary County did not meet the criteria of having 300 unemployed individuals. McCreary County’s unemployment rate, according to, in April 2019 was 5.9%.
The response indicates there is a State Set Aside process in which the Kentucky State Set Aside Committee may allocate funds to jurisdictions not receiving a direct federal award-particularly jurisdictions such as McCreary that have qualified in the past but did not qualify this year. These allocations will be announced in about a month.
At this point, Singleton is not optimistic about how much, if any, funding the local Food Pantry will receive from the State Set Aside process.
In the past, the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Grant program awarded between $6,000 and $8,000 per year to the McCreary County Christian Care Food Pantry. Singleton noted that all of the money, including the small amount allowed for administration of the grant, was spent on food to help McCreary Countians in need.
In their last fiscal year, from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the McCreary County Christian Care Center Food Pantry serviced 15,410 individuals including 6,773 families. In addition to their regular food pantry program, the Center also administers the Senior Food program in which qualifying seniors (based on age, income, and residency) receive thirty-five pounds of food per month. This food is furnished by the government and is distributed through the McCreary Christian Care Food Pantry.
Singleton is concerned about the impact the loss of this year’s federal grant will have on their regular Food Pantry program.
“This is a blow to our program,” Singleton said. “It means we need even more private donations at a time when private donations are already lower than normal. We are seeing reductions across the board including reductions in donations made by churches and other private donors. We have one church that normally donated $1400 per month, but their amount has dropped by half. It’s a difficult time.”
Singleton is hopeful more private donors including individuals, churches, civic groups, and businesses will realize the importance of donating to the Food Pantry. She also encourages individuals and groups to volunteer.
“We always need volunteers to help lift and load food in the Food Pantry,” Singleton noted. “Volunteers can also help us organize food drives. In addition to the Food Pantry, we can always use help with routine cleaning such as washing windows, running a sweeper, etc. in the Center.”
In addition to the food pantry, the McCreary County Christian Care Center supports outreach programs designed to help those in need. Outreach services include assistance with diabetic supplies, medications, durable medical equipment, adult incontinence and personal care items, eyeglasses, baby diapers, utilities, school supplies, and assistance with emergency dental care and out-of-town medical appointments. The Center also has a small library with books for those who enjoy reading.
Donations can be made to the McCreary County Christian Care Center/Food Pantry, P.O. Box 363, Whitley City, KY 42653.

 The Moonshiner’s Run

Photo by Eugenia Jones
It was a weekend filled with classic cars, pin-up models, rockabilly music and more during this year’s annual Moonshiner’s Run car show.

On Vacation with The Voice

Photo submitted
Hadlee and her Dad, Dakota Crabtree, took the Voice on her first vacation to see her Uncle Gary in Wake Forest, North Carolina!

Don’t pass up your chance to have your name and face published in The Voice. Take us with you to whatever corner of the world you may be visiting and share your trip with other readers. Tell us your name and/or the names of your family members in the photo and give us a brief description of where the shot was taken. Email the photo and the information to or It’s that easy!

Youth Group makes Cumberland Falls their mission

Photo submitted
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Elgin Illinois Youth Group made Cumberland Falls their mission trip focus this year. Volunteering at the Park, the entire week of July 8th -13. They were able to stage materials and complete projects as repairing the railing on the Sheltowee trace Vanover Falls Bridge. The group cleared down trees on the Sheltowee Trace, and cleaning both the inside and outside of Pinnacle Knob Firetower. Repairing benches and vandalized signage also. Along with their time spent volunteering the group had a fund raiser back in Elgin to raise funds for McCreary Co school student’s school supplies to participate in Fill the Bus Project sponsored by the Limber Legged Librarians.

Military Services, To Offer No-Cost Health Care In Four Kentucky Counties

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Department for Local Government is partnering with the Air Force Reserve Command and other branches of the U.S. military to offer health care at no cost to citizens in four Eastern Kentucky counties starting August 3, 2019.
Medical screenings, non-emergency medical treatments, sports physicals, dental exams, cleanings, fillings and extractions, optical exams, and single-prescription eyeglasses will be offered.
Sites offering care will be in Annville, Barbourville, Hyden, Manchester, and Oneida. All clinics will be open August 3 – 10, and patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Called “Operation Coal Country,” this Innovative Readiness Training program, or IRT, gives military health professionals an opportunity to provide medical, dental and optical care in a field environment, much as they would when responding to a natural disaster or military operation, while offering services to citizens who are uninsured or underinsured.
“We consistently hear stories from our service members on how we’ve changed someone’s life during these IRTs, while at the same time providing vital training to our own members,” said Captain Jonathan A. Polos, U.S. Air Force, who is the Mission Commander.
Operation Coal Country is a joint-service mission comprised of about 175 military personnel from the Air Force Reserve, Navy Reserve, Army Reserve, Air National Guard, and Active Duty Navy. A similar effort, led by the Kentucky Air National Guard in Eastern Kentucky in 2018, provided more than 11,000 medical, dental and optometry procedures with an economic impact of just over $1 million.
This year’s program is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), charged by Gov. Matt Bevin to provide assistance to local governments.
“The DLG is working closely with communities and local leadership to host the participating troops and provide logistical and programmatic support”, explained DLG Commissioner Sandra K. Dunahoo.
“As the U.S. Department of Defense’s community partner, the Kentucky Department for Local
Government is working closely with local officials in Clay, Jackson, Knox and Leslie Counties to help facilitate the project’s success,” Dunahoo said.
“We’re very pleased to support a program that gives our military health-care troops essential training in field operations and logistics, keeping their skills sharp so they can be prepared to respond wherever they’re needed,” Dunahoo added. “At the same time, the program will be providing crucial services to citizens of the Commonwealth who may not have ready access to care. This is a win for everyone.”
The clinics will be open August 3 – 10. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Locations are the EXCEL Building in Manchester; Grace Covenant Ministries/Annville Institute in Annville; First Baptist Church in Barbourville; Leslie County 911 Call Center in Hyden; and Oneida Community Church in Oneida. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served walk-in basis. The clinics are open to anyone, ages two through adult, regardless of place of residence. No insurance is required, and an ID is not necessary to receive care.

DLG is an arm of the Office of the Governor dedicated to supporting local officials and communities. To learn more about opportunities available through DLG, visit

World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is recognized annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011), who discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and two years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine. Worldwide, viral hepatitis is among the top 10 infectious disease killers with more than one million people dying each year. These deaths are primarily from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by hepatitis B and hepatitis C. In fact, chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C cause approximately 80% of the world’s liver cancer.
Many of those who are chronically infected are unaware of their infection. People can live with chronic viral hepatitis for decades before having symptoms or feeling sick. So even though a person has no symptoms and may appear healthy, damage to their liver can still be occurring.
Viral hepatitis is caused by infection with one of five viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D or E. All hepatitis viruses can cause inflammation of the liver, and chronic hepatitis B and C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat with around 240 million people living with chronic hepatitis B and up to 150 million people living with chronic hepatitis C.
In order to raise awareness of this hidden epidemic, the World Health Assembly designated July 28th as World Hepatitis Day.
The good news is hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented with safe, effective vaccines. Unfortunately there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C so testing and treatment are the only current options. Hepatitis C can be cured today with medication.
In 2012, CDC started recommending Hepatitis C testing for everyone born from 1945 – 1965. While anyone can get Hepatitis C, up to 75% of adults infected with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 – 1965.
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.
While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

July 11th, 2019

The World Is My Classroom

College biology students explore local wildlife.

By Eugenia Jones

Biology students from Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College, the largest single accredited community college in the nation, along with Professor Dr. Al Rubenstein have been visiting Cumberland Falls to immerse themselves in local wildlife and heritage as a way to complete lecture/lab course requirements for a fully accredited Introductory Biology class. By putting in twelve to thirteen hours of classwork per day, the students manage to complete a semester’s worth of study in approximately a week. Dr. Rubenstein has been teaching the class at Cumberland Falls for ten years.
This year’s students represented a broad spectrum of majors including Health Science, Business, Psychology, and Education. Since it is a survey class, Dr. Rubenstein describes the class as being “a mile wide and a foot deep.”
“We hit the important points,” Rubenstein explained. “We cover the subject matter needed to be Biology literate in every type of career.”
By exploring Cumberland Falls and the surrounding area, students are able to experience biology in real life. For many, it is their first experience in the great outdoors. For those experiencing nature for the very first time, the unexpected is sometimes the most intriguing part of class.
“It’s thrilling for a student to hold a crawdad for the first time, to find salamander eggs and watch them hatch, or gaze with terrified eyes as a snake crawls away,” Rubenstein said with a smile. “These students explore hidden places in fields and streams and see critters they have never seen before.”
According to Rubenstein, the real value of the course is in making students who’ve never had the opportunity to explore nature feel comfortable with wildlife.
“They learn how to interact with nature and realize the importance of not stepping on a bug,” Rubenstein noted.
Despite the intensity of the class, the students seemed to relish the opportunity to learn in a living laboratory.
“The class is not for everybody,” noted liberal arts major, John Adams. “There is an intense amount of information given every day, and it is physically demanding. However, for those who like nature, it is a great way to learn.”
Adams’ classmate, future social worker Tracey Banks, agreed.
“For me, this is the best way to learn,” Banks said. “It’s a unique opportunity to learn, and I’ll probably never get a chance like this again.”
Early childhood education major, Kayleigh Francis, could barely contain her excitement over finding a salamander in the wild.
“This class is ideal for anyone majoring in education,” she exclaimed enthusiastically. “This is the way I will teach my students when I become a teacher!”

Photos by Eugenia Jones
Students participate in lecture, lab, and hands on activities during an intense biology survey class conducted at Cumberland Falls. The class is offered through Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College, the largest single accredited community college in the nation, and is taught by Dr. Al Rubenstein.

Recognizing the importance of educators reaching beyond the walls of classrooms, Cumberland Falls State Park offers a Recreation, Environment, and Cultural History (R.E.A.C.H.) program for students in grades k-12. The program provides opportunities for classes to participate in overnight education camps while exploring the state park. The program, offered from September through May, includes one night’s lodging, three meals, staff-led activities, and zipper pull at a cost of $65.00 per student. Group field trips (day programs) are also offered. While participating in the camps, students explore various content areas including Language Arts, Kentucky History, Mathematics, Arts and Humanities, Patterns, Scale, Systems, Energy and Motion, Structure and Function, and Stability and Change. Staff-led activities include stream studies, owl prowls, nature hikes, astronomy, geology, crafts, dancing, and more. For more information, contact Cumberland Falls State Park.

Christmas in July

Photos by Eugenia Jones
Residents and visitors were able to shop early from local crafters and enjoy music and a summer Santa during the Christmas in July event in Stearns.

2019 Top Girl Scout Cookie Sellers

Photo submitted
Lily Marnhout, 406 boxes, troop 7102, Haley Duncan, 344 boxes, troop 262, Jordian Ross, 336 boxes, troop 7102.

Family Disaster Supply Kit

Disasters and emergencies can happen at any time to anyone. It is important to think about how you will respond BEFORE something happens. With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in- place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

While at our website fill out the Health Calculator & Wellness Profile to take the first step toward personal wellness AND to be entered for a chance to win $1,000.00.

Program Helps Veterans Transition to Aviation Careers at Somerset Community College

At a time with continuing technological growth, the aviation industry faces a critical labor shortage. The Aeronautical Repair Station Association reports more than 2,500 unfilled technical positions in 2018. With the industry continuing to expand, a Kentucky program works to fill the gap while helping veterans along the way.
The Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations Initiative, known as VALLO, helps veterans transition into civilian life by helping them get Federal Aviation Administration certified.
Somerset Community College (SCC) aviation maintenance professor David Phelps said the program gives students hands-on experience.
“For veterans, getting them out there and getting them gainful employment is the number one goal for the program. That’s what we want to do. We want to assist them any way we can. They’ve taken care of us. We want to return the favor,” Phelps said.
By condensing the 18-month certification program to one semester for qualifying veterans, VALLO helps those veterans enter the workforce faster. Somerset Community College president Carey Castle went through a similar program when he retired from the Air Force.
“When I retired from the Air Force, I had 26 years of experience working on airplanes. I understood a lot of things, but I didn’t have the FAA certification to do that,” Castle said.
With the labor gap, company representatives come to Somerset Community College specifically seeking candidates. Phelps said some of them specifically request veterans in the program.
“They are already well trained. They know when and where to come to work. They know what a work ethic is and are willing to put in the work to make it the best they possibly can. For Kentucky, I think this is going to be a plus, no matter what way we look at it,” Castle said.
The VALLO program is available to eligible military veterans at Somerset Community College and Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Student veterans can register for the 2019 fall semester, which begins August 19. To submit an application to SCC, visit campus at 808 Monticello Street in Somerset, or 100 University Drive in London, or submit an application online
For more information about the Aviation Technology program, please contact Donnie Hammonds at

Tcat Student Caleb Harris Wins
National Skillsusa Welding
Sculpture Competition

Photo submitted
Caleb Harris pictured with his 2019 national winning sculpture. This sculpture also received in April the first-ever Tennessee Governor’s Choice Award presented by Governor Bill Lee.

Caleb Harris, recent Tennessee College of Applied Technology–Oneida/Huntsville graduate, WINS the GOLD in the Welding Sculpture competition at the National SkillsUSA Championship Post-Secondary competitions held June 25 – June 28 in Louisville, Kentucky. TCAT-Oneida/Huntsville President Dwight Murphy states, “Congratulations to Caleb for his wonderful accomplishment receiving the top SkillsUSA national title. I am proud of Caleb for his dedication and desire to advance and perfect his welding skills. Job well done!” Caleb remarked, “I had a GREAT time at SkillsUSA National Conference! Unfortunately, this was my last year as a competitor, but it surely paid off. Finally walked away with a national championship for TCAT Oneida/Huntsville. SkillsUSA has always been a blast, and I would like to send out a huge THANK YOU to TCAT, York Institute, and everyone else that has helped & encouraged me along the way. Dreams do come true; you just gotta have the love and dedication to carry on.” Caleb’s same sculpture previously received the first-ever Tennessee Governor’s Choice Award presented by Governor Bill Lee. Accompanying Caleb to the conference was his welding instructor Chris Chambers and the TCAT-Oneida/Huntsville SkillsUSA advisor Janet Watson. At the award banquet on Friday night, Caleb was presented his gold metal award along with $4500 worth of equipment–Lincoln 140 mig, Miller 180 Inversion stick/tig, Hypertherm 45 plasma cutter, Pferd grinder with grinding kit.
The SkillsUSA Championship competitions are for college-level students and secondary students who compete in technical, skilled, and service occupations. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It emphasizes total quality at work: high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. Workforce development; it’s what we do!

The Moonshiner’s Run

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The Moonshiner’s Run Car Show hits the streets of downtown Stearns once again this weekend. The Moonshiner’s Run main show & shine event with live rockabilly music is scheduled for Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with live rockabilly music. Friday night’s kickoff includes a cruise-in and horsepower competition beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the Rockabilly Ball beginning at 8:00 with live music, dancing, and pin-up contest.

911 gets upgrade grant

By Greg Bird

McCreary County EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett reported this week that the 911 Dispatch Center has been awarded a grant through the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to upgrade its geographic information system (GIS).
The $19,942 grant will be used to purchase an updated mapping software system for the department, allowing for more detailed information on the mapping system – including photographs.
According to Barnett the grant was written by 911 employee Lucas Murphy and will be used to upgrade the GIS equipment. It is planned to be integrated within the next two months.
Barnett also said he is working with another company to hopefully integrate texting capabilities into the 911 system. The current equipment has the capability to accept text messages, but the phone service provider – AT&T – is not able to handle the information. Barnett said the new company he is in discussion with would be able to manage texting.
He hopes it to be operational within a few months.

July 4th, 2019

Bearing Witness for Their Faith

Photos by Eugenia Jones
The Bethel Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) recently sent fifty-two handmade “Jesus Loves You” teddy bears with a missionary who will travel in North America. Gloria Perkins, Wilda Ball, and Pastor Harold and Ruth Sexton are pictured together at the conclusion of of this year’s “Jesus Loves You” teddy bear project.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church’s WMU group makes teddy bears to use as witnessing tools for children.

By Eugenia Jones

The Bethel Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) recently sent fifty-two handmade “Jesus Loves You” teddy bears with a missionary who will travel in North America. The bears will be distributed to children the missionary encounters while witnessing to them during the mission trip. The bears serve as witnessing tools to draw children to the message of Jesus Christ. The group of Bethel women worked closely with Teresa Parrett, the Kentucky Missions Coordinator of the Southern Baptist Convention, to accomplish distribution of their bears.
This is the second time talented women from Bethel Baptist Church have sent adorable teddy bears with a missionary. In 2013, the Bethel Fellowship Crafters sent seventy of the “Jesus Loves You” bears with a missionary visiting Galliano and Grand Isle, Louisiana. Additional mission projects accomplished by the WMU and Fellowship Crafters include sending one hundred stuffed Witnessing Dolls to Appalachian Reach Out in 2012 and, in December 2018, the completion (with help from church members) of forty-six Christmas Shoe Boxes for the Franklin Graham Samaritan’s Purse. Shoe boxes for the girls included pillowcase dresses made by the Bethel ladies.
Gloria Perkins, mission projects coordinator for the Bethel WMU, is pleased the Bethel ladies were able to once again complete the “Jesus Loves You” teddy bear project. Since many of the women faced health issues over the winter, Perkins had to work extra hard during the cold days to make sure the bears were completed in time for the missionary’s trip. Perkins noted the bears sent to Louisiana in 2013 were well received and shared the missionary’s feedback saying the bears were a huge hit with both kids and adults!
Current officers for the Bethel WMU include WMU Director Wilda Ball, Treasurer Donna Strunk, and Mission Projects Coordinator Gloria Perkins.

Stearns July 4th Homecoming Celebration

Photos by Eugenia Jones
This year, the 4th of July Celebration in Stearns saw the revival of an old tradition as the carnival set up in the old Stearns ball field-currently the BSFSRY parking lot. The field was where the carnival always set up in years gone by as it brought miners and their families from the coal camps, residents in other parts of the county, and those who had moved away together for an annual homecoming filled with fun and fellowship. The weekend finished with a bang as 4th of July fireworks lit up the night sky.

Dollar General Now Open In Parkers Lake

Major discount retailer will celebrate the grand opening on Saturday, July 6

Dollar General’s newest store at 36 PP Walker Lane in Parkers Lake is now open! In its new location, Dollar General will offer area residents a convenient new place to shop for everyday essentials at low prices.
Dollar General will celebrate the store’s official grand opening on Saturday, July 6 at 8 a.m. with free prizes and special deals. Additionally, the first 50 adult shoppers at the store will receive a $10 Dollar General gift card and the first 200 shoppers will receive a Dollar General tote bag with complimentary product samples, among other giveaways.
“Dollar General is committed to delivering a pleasant shopping experience that includes a convenient location, a wide assortment of merchandise and great prices on quality products,” said Dan Nieser, Dollar General’s senior vice president of real estate and store development. “We hope our area customers will enjoy shopping at Dollar General’s new location.”
Dollar General stores offer convenience and value to customers by providing a focused selection of national name brands and private brands of food, housewares, seasonal items, cleaning supplies, basic apparel and health/beauty products. The store’s fresh layout is designed to make shopping simple for customers. Seasonal products are displayed in the center of the store, departments are easily recognizable with visible signage and coolers are conveniently located at the front of the store.
Traditional Dollar General stores employ approximately six to 10 people, depending on the need. Anyone interested in joining the Dollar General team may visit the Career section at
Dollar General gives its customers more than everyday low prices on basic merchandise. Dollar General is deeply involved in the communities it serves and is an ardent supporter of literacy and education. At the cash register of every Dollar General store, customers interested in learning how to read, speak English or prepare for their high school equivalency test can pick up a brochure with a postage-paid reply card that can be mailed in for a referral to a local organization that offers free literacy services. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $168 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 10 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education. For more information about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and its grant programs, visit

Photo submitted
John Cash, Paige Neal, Chante Crabtree, and Devyn Ridner Took The Voice to Panama City Beach.

Don’t pass up your chance to have your name and face published in The Voice. Take us with you to whatever corner of the world you may be visiting and share your trip with other readers. Tell us your name and/or the names of your family members in the photo and give us a brief description of where the shot was taken. Email the photo and the information to or It’s that easy!

KY Youth Seminar

Photo submitted
Johnathan King & Aidan Tucker

These two McCreary Central High School students recently represented McCreary County at the Kentucky Youth Seminar. The seminar is sponsored by the University Of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Kentucky Council of Cooperatives.
These two students earned their way to the three day conference by participating in the local American Private Enterprise Seminar presented by the McCreary County Cooperative Extension Service. The local program was sponsored by United Cumberland Bank, McCreary County Chamber of Commerce and SKRECC.
While at the conference the youth participated in numerous educational programs and was in competition for prize money and scholarships.
Wednesday morning they toured Keeneland Race Track and a Horse Farm.
While there they took part in team and individual exercises.
Aiden’s team took second place in a team exercise.
Aiden and Johnathan tied for third place in the individual exercise.

Big South Fork NRRA Annual Photo Contest

The deadline for submitting entries into the 2019 Big South Fork photography contest is 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, July 26, 2019
Images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, historic areas, weather, or people interacting with nature within the boundaries of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. All photographs, except those submitted as artistic, should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.
Photographs may be submitted into one of seven categories:
•Action/Adventure — Photographs of people participating in recreational activities
•Artistic — Artistic compositions in nature, both natural and manipulated in post processing
•Cultural — Photographs that illustrate historic or culturally significant structures
•Flora & Fauna — Animals in their natural habitat, including close-ups of invertebrates, or plants in their natural habitat, including close-ups of flowers, fungi, lichen, and algae
•Youth — Entries in any category by photographers under 18 years of age
•Kentucky Landscapes — Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Kentucky park boundaries
•Tennessee Landscapes — Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Tennessee park boundaries.
Entries will be judged on technical excellence, originality, creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit. Judges’ decisions are final. Selected images will be printed for an exhibition at Bandy Creek Visitor Center that will open on Friday, August 30, 2019. Selected images may also be displayed on the internet and other venues.
The contest is open to all photographers, except National Park Service employees and their immediate families and household members. Each person may only submit two photos into the competition. All photos must be in a digital format. Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form with all information clearly filled out. Entry forms may be downloaded from
Entries may be emailed to or hand-delivered or mailed to the park headquarters at Big South Fork NRRA, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tennessee 37841, Attn: Photo Exhibit. All entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, July 26.

For more information on the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, please call (423) 286-7275.

June 27th, 2019

Stearns July 4th Homecoming Celebration

Crews from Fox Creek Amusement Company were busy Tuesday arriving and setting up carnival rides for the Stearns 4th of July celebration on June 28 and 29. The carnival will open Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm and Saturday from 1 pm to 11 pm at a cost of $15 for unlimited rides. New rides are featured this year with the addition of the Himalaya and the ever popular Kiddie Land.
Fireworks will light up the sky Saturday night at dark. The Whistle Stop Restaurant in the depot will feature live music from Steve Lewis from 6 until 10 pm for your dining pleasure. Vendors will be on hand offering carnival fare ranging from funnel cakes to fried oreos and shaved ice.
The train will depart the station at 11 am Friday and Saturday morning for an hour and half trip into historic coal county on the Roaring Paunch Creek Run. Saturday afternoon the July 4th Homecoming train will depart at 2:30 pm. For more information on the train departure times and the 4th of July Celebration go to

Recommended safety tips for fireworks

Below are fireworks safety tips:

• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
• Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
• A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
• Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
• Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
• Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
• Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
• Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
• Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
• FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
• Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place. Visit our website at and click the “52 Weeks to Health” banner to learn more about each of these areas.

Lost Ring Finds Its Way Back Home

Local woman uses social media to track down owner of lost ring.

By Eugenia Jones

While McCreary County’s Cristy Hill was looking for seashells in the ocean with her children during a family vacation at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, she found something much more precious floating in the water.
“We were probably about knee-deep in the water,” Hill said of a ring containing five birthstones with the names of five children inscribed beside them. “As soon as I saw it I knew it had to mean a lot to someone, so we started searching pretty quickly.”
Unsuccessful in finding the owner of the ring while in Myrtle Beach, Hill returned home and turned to social media as a way to find the ring’s owner. Hill posted on many Facebook pages and watched as her own personal Facebook post was shared more than 218,000 times.
Hill’s efforts paid off when the owner’s sister contacted her and identified the ring. The owner, Stephanie Wood, from North Carolina had lost her ring while on vacation at Myrtle Beach after just receiving the “mother’s ring” as a Mother’s Day gift from her children in May of this year.
Hill is thrilled the ring found its way back to the rightful owner and is happy to have made a new friend in the process.
“Who would have thought that someone from Stearns, Kentucky and North Carolina would connect through a Facebook post going viral over a lost ring? I’m sure we will be friends for a long time,” Hill said.

Bike Night

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Despite stormy weather, Bike Night on Henderson Street in downtown Stearns had a good turnout. Musicians moved inside the Depot when rain began. Those attending enjoyed motorcycles, classic cars, food, live music, and corn hole.


Alex Francke, granddaughter of Randell and former McCreary County Clerk Jo Kidd, and daughter of McCreary native Crinda Francke, was crowned Miss Kentucky this month, paving the way to an entry in to the Miss America Pageant. The 22-year-old also holds the titles of Miss Lexington and Miss UK.

Meade is Children’s Librarian at County Library

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Lindsey Meade is pleased to be the children’s librarian at McCreary County Public Library. Lindsey, who is “dog mom” to two special canines, loves working with children and lists Moe Williams as her favorite children’s author.

By Eugenia Jones

Lindsey Meade, the children’s librarian at McCreary County Public Library, is off to a good start since replacing Holly Daugherty who began working for the McCreary County School system. Meade, with many years of experience working in the Pulaski County Public Library and who has also taught Head Start, is excited to be working in Whitley City.
Meade began working at the Pulaski County Public Library while she was still in high school and continued to work there until 2015. While there, she worked all aspects of the library including children’s programs, main desk, and bookmobile. According to Meade, she learned many things from her mentor and long-time children’s librarian, Pulaski County’s Carol Sexton.
Meade is amazed by the welcome she received from McCreary Countians and impressed by the significant role the local library plays within the local community.
“Everyone has been so kind to me,” Meade exclaimed. “I love how this place (library) is like home to the community. McCreary Countians care a lot about their library which is wonderful because libraries are essential to communities.”
Meade’s goal is to be a part of the community in any way she can.
“I want to do great things here, and I know I have big shoes to fill,” Meade remarked. “I want to continue making the library a fantastic place. I always want it to be welcoming.”
Meade is thrilled by the number of connections and partnerships MCPL has with other agencies throughout the county including the National Park Service, Extension Agency, local businesses, etc. She emphasized the importance of community involvement to the success of any public library.
Meade’s own love of books developed as a result of her childhood experiences at the public library. She became obsessed with reading as a youngster when she and her mother would visit their local public library every Saturday.
“My mom didn’t have a lot of money so the library was a wonderful place for us to spend time together,” Meade recalled. “For me, the public library was this incredible, magical place.”
Meade got hooked on reading through the Harry Potter series. Today, her favorite childen’s author is Moe Williams.
“He nailed children’s literature to a “T,” Meade commented with a smile. “So simple yet so funny.”
Meade, who is responsible for Wednesday’s Lap Sit program at 10:00 a.m. (ages birth to two years) and Story Time at 10:30 (ages two to six years), is a huge proponent of early reading.
“If we can catch a child early and instill the love of books, we will have a reader for life,” she noted.
Meade has a busy schedule ahead of her and is now in the middle of this summer’s reading program.
“This year’s theme for the summer reading program is space,” Meade commented. “I’m really excited about that!”
Meade looks forward to developing a variety of programs for children including incorporating the use of parachutes, scarves, instruments, and music. For Meade, her work at the library is all about continuing to make the McCreary County Public Library as special and magical as the one she visited as a child.

Simple Strategies to Control Mosquitoes

Mosquitos can ruin outdoor activities in the warmer months. It may seem like a never-ending battle when you’re fighting to control the pesky insects. With mosquito-borne diseases becoming more prevalent, it’s even more important to know how to take control of these pests around your home. Learning to do a few simple things could help protect you from more than the itchiness of a mosquito bite.
All mosquitos need standing water to develop through their larval stages, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a lake or pond. It also includes bird baths, kiddie pools and even discarded soda pop cans. The key to controlling them around your home is to stop them from breeding in the first place.
Some things you can do include:
• Drain and remove trash, bottles and any debris that holds water.
• Recycle any unused containers that could collect water, especially old tires.
• Change water weekly in bird baths, wading pools, watering troughs and animal bowls.
• Fill in holes, depressions and puddles in your yard.
• Make sure your culverts and ditches are draining properly.
• Check and clean out clogged gutters to ensure drainage.
• Keep ornamental ponds stocked with fish.
• Fix leaky hoses and faucets.
• Drain water from flowerpots and garden containers.
• Turn over wheelbarrows, buckets and other items that collect water.
• Adjust tarps covering woodpiles, boats and grills to remove standing water.
• Encourage natural enemies of mosquitoes, such as warblers, swallows, martins and other insect-feeding birds.
It’s a good idea to start these practices early in the season. Just because the mosquitoes aren’t biting yet, it doesn’t mean that they’re not developing.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.



June 20th, 2019

Hook, Line, and Sinker

U.S. Forest Service sponsors annual Barren Fork Fishing Derby

By Eugenia Jones

The sun was shining, the hotdogs and burgers were on the grill, and the catfish were jumping during this month’s annual United States Forest Service (USFS) Barren Fork Fishing Derby sponsored by the USFS Stearns Ranger District. With the pond freshly stocked with 1000 pounds of catfish, 128 registered participants between the ages of five and fifteen enjoyed food, family, friends, and fun as they reeled in 265.45 pounds of fish between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
With lots of awards and door prizes presented to the participants after fishing was completed, several children received impressive prizes for reeling in the most pounds of fish in their age group.
In the 5-9 age group, Koda Altimus walked away with first place for hauling in 17.14 lbs. of fish. Annslee Ridner took second place with 13.43 pounds, and Skyler Cannada finished third with 10.07 pounds.
In the 10-15 age group, Emanuel Meadows reeled in the most with a whopping 28.46 pounds of fish. James Vaughn was close behind with 26.54 pounds. Brooklyn Meadows rounded out the top three finishers with 25.62 pounds of fish.

The fishing derby is sponsored each year by the U.S. Forest Service with the Stearns Ranger District employees donating many prizes. Contributors to this year’s fishing derby included: Orie S. Ware and Greenwood Lodge, Pine Knot Job Corps, Kroger-Whitley City, King’s Island, Creation Museum, National Corvette Museum, Walmart SuperCenter-Somerset, Cincinnati Reds Baseball, Alcatraz East Crime Museum, Knoxville Zoo, TN Smokies Bseball, Phoenix Theaters-Oneida, Dollywood, Mike Ross, Big South Fork Scenic Railway, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ale-8-One Bottling Company, Tri-County Cineplex, Snap Happy Jewelry, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources, Operation Unite-Braxton King & Roger Owens, Hollywood Wax Museum, United Cumberland Bank, Louisville Zoo, Dwayne & Andrea Wright, Curtis & Holly Daugherty, Josh King, United Trappers of Kentucky-Stacey White.

Extreme Build

By Eugenia Jones

Gordon Kidd, senior lending officer for Highlands Housing and McCreary County resident, welcomed the Vaughn family to the neighborhood during the dedication of the family’s newly constructed home. While recognizing McCreary County’s dubious title of being the poorest county in the nation, Kidd proudly spoke of McCreary County’s beautiful people and beautiful natural scenery. He thanked Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Kentucky for their efforts throughout the years in helping to provide affordable homes to deserving McCreary County families.

Bowman joins KHEAA as outreach counselor for McCreary County

FRANKFORT – Emily Bowman has joined the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) as an outreach counselor helping students and families in McCrea