AS WE SEE IT: Letting the sunshine in

Sunshine laws are one of the cornerstones of a properly functioning democracy. In addition to requiring government meetings to be open to the public, and limiting the number of elected officials in a body who can meet without declaring an open meeting, sunshine laws include access to records of proceedings and other information about government … Read More

How did English poet Alexander Pope know about the Cincinnati Reds?

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” When Pope wrote that sentence in 1732 as part of his “Essay on Man”, he obviously didn’t know that diehard fans of the Cincinnati Reds would need that hopeful reminder at the start of each baseball season. Those of us who have endured the few highs and many … Read More

Can we give women pockets, already?!?

Last week, while delivering papers and listening to the morning news programming on Morehead Public Radio, I heard a piece about a young girl who wrote to Old Navy about the pockets in her jeans. The seven-year-old girl told the company that she not only wanted pockets in her jeans, but just how ridiculous she … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: End of the line

After a long, troubling year this spring feels like more than your typical season of rebirth. The ability to get outside again, the blossoms, and the budding green leaves are speaking to us like they always do. But on top of that there is another budding; one of hope that, with the escalation of the … Read More

Realities of life commonplace in country music

We’ve been warned for years that some rock music, if played backward, would bring forth a dangerous, even devilish, message. On the other hand, some folks say they believe that if you play a sad country song backward, you’ll likely get your job back, your doublewide trailer will be returned by the bank, your wife … Read More

Lending a hand

It feels like there is a theme to this week’s paper. It wasn’t intentional. It just sort of happened. One of those things that the more esoteric minded will call “the universe speaking to us” and the more skeptical will attribute to coincidence and the fact that the human brain is designed to look for … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: County should support paid firefighters in city departments

Two weeks ago Jeremy Rodgers, from the Olive Hill Fire Department, and Kyle Morgan, with the Grayson Fire Department, went before the Carter County Fiscal Court to ask those courts to support the cities in their efforts to add more paid staff to their fire departments.  The two cities already employ a part time staff … Read More

Some youthful habits can last a lifetime

Folks usually react with a quizzical look when I tell them my lifelong fascination with old movies began when my brother left home for the Navy. Dave and I shared a bedroom and we slept in bunk beds while we lived there. He was two years older and believed that seniority entitled him to the … Read More

Turkeys, toddlers, and the great outdoors

Spring is not my favorite season. That’s reserved for fall, with the changing of the leaves, the final harvest of a summer’s worth of work, pawpaws, squirrel and turkey season, and apple cider. The sorghum molasses doesn’t hurt either.  Fall is my favorite, but spring is a close second If fall is the culmination of, … Read More

Editorial: Frankfort’s assault on the Constitution and transparency

By: Jon Fleischaker and Michael Abate Although it was only a “short” session, this year’s iteration of the Kentucky General Assembly was an unprecedented assault on transparency and the constitutional guarantees of free speech and freedom of the press. As counsel for the Kentucky Press Association (KPA)—one of whom was a primary author of the … Read More

My feisty little grandmother was a great fundraiser

I’ve been a fund raiser for nearly 50 years but the best fundraising idea came from my dear late grandmother, Minnie, who lived to be 100. Her simple yet brilliant idea was tied to her birthday and the fact that – to the amazement and admiration of all who knew her – she enjoyed an … Read More

Another spring, another chance to trace circuits

In the fall of 2019 we had a robot lawn mower put in and the thing is amazing. He runs continuously. When he’s low on power he returns to his charging base, charges up, and resumes mowing. He even mows in the dark, and has a little set of head lights.  We call him Yard … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Good apples

Last fall, Black Lives Matter protesters from Louisville visited Olive Hill at the prompting of former KCU student and activist Dee Garrett. Garrett cited an internet article calling Olive Hill the “most racist city in Kentucky.” Olive Hill earned this distinction because – at one time – the city had an active Ku Klux Klan … Read More

O joy, we may get to keep our local post offices after all?

When Louis DeJoy was appointed postmaster general during the Trump Administration last summer, he pledged to modernize the U. S. Postal Service and end its annual operating losses of about $30 billion. However, the millionaire businessman said postal services would cost more and deliveries would be slower as a result of a 10-year master plan … Read More

Learning to let things go? Nah!

I tend to hold on to a lot more than I probably should. This isn’t just stuff we’re talking about – though my pack rat status is confirmed. This inability to let things go includes obsessing on something I said at a party in 2003, or that time I laughed at a mean joke in … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Patience

The Carter County Fiscal Court have met in special session several times now to discuss plans for cleanup in the aftermath of devastating ice storms. On Monday night they met again in regular session and ER Assist – the company that is helping the county organize their cleanup efforts – was on the agenda there … Read More

Will the flood of 2021 be the last hurrah for the old homeplace?

Aerial photos of flooding taken with a drone camera caught my attention on Facebook. To my dismay, I suddenly realized they were showing my old school in Hitchins and the nearby neighborhood where I grew up. My heart sank when I saw those century-old, clapboard houses in the Blue Camps under water for at least … Read More

Fatherhood and the joy of naps

I remember reading somewhere that, in Japan, napping on the job is not frowned upon. It’s taken as a sign that the employee has been working so hard they literally need to take that break to recharge. While I don’t like the idea of anyone working so long and hard they literally collapse from exhaustion, … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Extra hoops to transparency

Most of you probably didn’t notice, but the Kentucky House made some changes to open records requests rules last week that give government departments an extra couple of days to respond to record requests, among other changes. In addition to extending response time from three days to five days before a department has to decide … Read More

Like him or loathe him, Rush Limbaugh changed our lives forever

When Rush Limbaugh died recently, a veteran reporter wrote that the people who loved him were mourning and those who disliked him were rejoicing but that Limbaugh himself would love all of the attention. I agree that, as one of the original “shock jocks”, he was the father of conservative talk radio and that Fox … Read More

Teaching old dogs new tricks

In a typical mentor relationship an older, more experienced individual shares the benefit of that hard-earned experience with a younger person. Recently, however, I read an article about older folks taking on younger mentors. These younger folks were providing their older mentees with unique insights into digital cultural and other changing social norms.  It was … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Looking for the helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers This quote from Fred Rogers has been on our minds a lot during the recent ice storms across our area.  … Read More

How about a show featuring our missing country music heroes?

Sometimes, I come up with strange ideas about different things. Be warned that this could be one of them. Communications has been my life’s work so part of the blame goes to my chosen profession. But then it might be a consequence of being 78 years old and realizing on a daily basis how many … Read More

Hot meals on cold days

Survival expert Les Stroud promotes the importance of little things, like a warm drink, in keeping your morale up during a survival situation. Keeping that advice in mind I did my best over the past week to make sure my family had at least one hot meal a day, and that Nicole and I had … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Black history is American history

February is Black History Month. It’s that time when students are taught about notable African-American men and women, and their contributions to American society.  They’ll listen to musicians like Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins and John Coletrane. Read writers like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. They might hear speeches from civic leaders … Read More

Braving the storm

Last week was an interesting week, which may end up changing the way we do retail deliveries going forward – at least for some of our locations. I was really concerned about the ice storms predicted for Wednesday morning. Even after they pushed the warning time back from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. I was … Read More

‘Ditch Mitch’ didn’t work, so should we now ask ‘Which Mitch’?

U. S. Sen. Mitch McConnell now is trying to make us Kentuckians even prouder of his 36 years of service in Washington.  In fact, it appears the Louisville Republican is trying to achieve something that has never been done successfully by a member of either house of Congress. In short, he is trying to be … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: People before politics

This week the Kentucky General Assembly decided to push back against Governor Andy Beshear, with the Republican supermajority in the House and Senate overriding several of his vetoes with a simple majority vote.  Those overrides included passage of House Bill 1 (HB1), Senate Bill 1 (SB1), SB2, HB2, HB3, and HB5. Most of these bills … Read More

Best. Use. Ever.

I got Nicole an air fryer for Christmas. It was something she asked for and that I didn’t quite think we needed since I do a fair amount of the cooking in our home and I just couldn’t think of a single use that our convection oven and range top couldn’t meet. Granted, she’s correct. … Read More

Children of all ages learn from what we say

I was sitting in a physician’s waiting room when a young father came in with a boy about four years old. The little boy wanted to wander around but quickly climbed onto a chair when his father said in a threatening tone: “Get back up on this chair or I’ll have that nurse give you … Read More

Yes, virtue is its own reward…but it also can bring sweet surprises

Painfully shy, the old man had been a loner most of his life. Reared by his widowed mother from the age of 13, he had made few friends in high school, in college, in the Army or during his career in government.  He didn’t marry until his early 50’s and then again in his 60’s … Read More

The blessing of friends

The other day I heard a program about how hard it is for adult men to make and keep friends after the age of 30. The assertion was that it is easier for women to make and keep friends because they are more likely to make time to get together for no other reason than … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Equitable internet access needs addressing now!

It’s no secret that access to education hasn’t been historically equitable in the United States. Suburban school districts with a larger tax base have more resources, and send more kids to college. Meanwhile poorer urban and rural districts, with smaller tax bases, often struggle to meet basic educational needs. This is something that districts have … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: COVID care continues

Carter County’s COVID numbers on Monday were sitting at 1,735 positive cases for the county. Of those 1,498 had been released. Another 202 were isolating at their residence. Seven had been hospitalized. Two were in a nursing home.  The county had 26 deaths of people who tested positive for COVID.  For a county with a … Read More

Biden inaugural brings back memories of LBJ’s 1965 ceremony

Watching the Biden Inaugural on television last week was both entertaining and suspenseful but, most of all, it reminded me of the presidential inauguration I attended in January of 1965. As a young reporter working for the Ashland Independent, I realized that the average American knew very little about the pomp and pageantry of our … Read More

Touching hearts

Olive Hill and Carter County suffered a tremendous loss recently, with the untimely death of Ben Jordan. It’s tragic when anyone passes. Doubly so when they are so young. It’s a hard topic to broach. How do you balance respect for the grieving family with the community’s desire to know more?  In our case, we … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Remembering MLK Jr.

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day, the federal holiday set to honor the life and legacy of the famed civil rights leader.  King might be best known for his “I have a dream,” speech, a 1963 call for civil and economic rights and an end to institutionalized racism in the United States. It’s also … Read More

Have you ever said ‘it is what it is’ to someone with a real problem?

If you used that phrase and said nothing else, you probably left the impression that you couldn’t care less about what had happened and that you were helpless to do anything in the unlikely event you actually did give a damn. Workplace surveys have shown that phrase is highly disliked as being uncaring or callous … Read More

Going where the grass is blue

My uncle and I have different political views. But we don’t let this divide us. Instead of talking politics, we talk about the things that unite us. With me and my uncle that usually includes hunting, fishing, murshroom foraging, and bluegrass music.  There is a lot I could say about our relationship, but the point … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: A Nation of Laws

Last Wednesday in Washington D.C. we all watched – most of us shocked – as a crowd of protesters stormed the Capitol building, disrupting the certification of electoral college votes. At the time none of us knew just how dark a day it would become. Tragically, five people lost their lives as a result of … Read More

Finally, a new example of the advantages of growing old

After more than 300 days of self-quarantine, my wife and I emerged from our home exile last week to learn that being in our 70’s had put us on the priority list for a vaccination against COVID-19. Three of our adult children called the night before to insist that we report to our local hospital … Read More

Wiley Coyotes

The other night my sleep was disturbed by the ferocious barking of the outside dog we got when we purchased our new home. I went to fuss at her to be quiet only to notice that, off in the distance, I could hear the mournful howls and yips of a coyote pack. The dog – … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Live and let live

Last week a Wisconsin pharmacist was charged with intentionally destroying 57 vials of a COVID-19 vaccine by removing them from refrigeration and letting them sit at room temperature in excess of the 12 hour window recommended by the manufacturer. The vials, which contained a total of 570 doses, were of the Moderna vaccine. That vaccine … Read More

Perhaps you should ignore advice about cheering up in bad times

It was just last month ago in this space that I cheerfully (and hopefully) wrote about my quest to sell the manuscript of my novel to a major publishing house, thereby adding to my limited fame as a professional author of books. As a result of that misplaced optimism, I advise you to consider ignoring … Read More

Hindsight is 2020

There is an old saying that hindsight is 20/20. If you aren’t familiar with the phrase, what it means is in looking back on events that have already passed you can see things you might have missed the first time around. The 20/20, of course, is a reference to the term for perfect eyesight, being … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: If you drink this holiday, please don’t drive

For the past several weeks we’ve been running ads from the Grayson ABC office about the dangers of drinking and driving. With New Years Eve coming up, we’d like to reinforce that message, and ask you to be sure and designate a driver this New Years Eve if you plan on drinking. Or, if you … Read More

How different will our world be when the pandemic goes away?

At the risk of being accused of pretending to be a forecaster or prognosticator, I’m ready to make some predictions based on my nine-plus months of watching, reading about, and trying to survive this deadly pandemic. Many learned folks have beaten me to the punch with their own lists of how our daily lives will … Read More

Jack of all trades, master of none

There’s something to be said for being a generalist.  In the plant and animal kingdoms it’s the specialists who suffer when an ecosystem is out of balance. They may thrive when conditions are favorable, but take away that one food source they rely on, or that insect they’ve evolved to use as a pollinator, and … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Dueling over oaths

The cities of Olive Hill and Grayson both swore in their city councilpersons in the last week, both using some anachronistic language that can be a bit jarring when you first hear it. But there it is, right smack dab in the middle of a somber and serious ceremony – a pledge that the person … Read More

Could we use public funds to finance political campaigns?

Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in last month’s presidential election. About $150 million is expected to be spent in the special election on Jan. 5 to fill two U. S. Senate seats in Georgia. Take a few minutes and think of all of the good that much money could buy in terms of … Read More

Oh yeah! The OUYA!

I’m a bit of a geek for gadgets. Specifically anything computer or game console related. I love them. Sometimes the fun for me isn’t even in playing games on them regularly once I have them set up. It’s just in getting them running. One example of this is the number of Raspberry Pi systems I … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Last minute Christmas tasks

Fruitcake can be a bit divisive. For some it’s barely edible. For others it’s an indelible and necessary part of the Christmas holiday season. If you’re one of the latter, we’d like to encourage you to pick up your fruitcakes from Commercial Bank of Grayson. The bank is selling Benson’s Holiday Fruitcakes again this year, … Read More

Not all well-intentioned Christmas giving will go to the most deserving

Some of you won’t like my commentary today because it definitely is not in the loving tone of a traditional Christmas message. In fact, you might classify it as a rant against those professional freeloaders who don’t believe they should have to work for a living. And my disgust is even worse this year because … Read More

Oh, deer!

Somehow, I’ve been driving for 29 years and had never really hit a deer – until last Tuesday night.  I’ve had deer hit me. I once had a doe run across the road in front of me and, after hitting my brakes, her fawn ran headlong into the driver side door. It knocked itself loopy … Read More

AS WE SEE IT: Why you should take the COVID vaccine

With Kentucky’s total number of COVID-19 cases surpassing 200,000 and the number of deaths in the state exceeding 2,000 last week, news from the Kentucky Office of Rural Health outlining plans for rolling out the initial round of COVID-19 vaccinations couldn’t be any more welcome.  Governor Andy Beshear announced on Thursday that frontline healthcare workers … Read More

Will publishing another book cure the itch I must scratch again?

It was nearly three years ago when I wrote about an experience in college that put me on the path to becoming a published author early in 2019. Last year’s book – a compilation of 125 of my newspaper columns – sold out two printings and I made a few bucks. Friends and family still … Read More

Hillbilly Kintsugi

When I was a kid there was a show my dad and I watched called “The Red Green Show.” Red was the kind of man who loved fishing, hanging out with his friends (often while fishing), and doing his own repairs.  Those repairs, more often than not, included the use of copious amounts of duct … Read More

As We See It: What Santa leaves behind and why it matters

For those with children, the holidays mean something different. We all know the saying about it being better to give than to receive, but that saying really comes into focus when kids become part of your Christmas season.  More than friends. More than partners. It’s the look of joy on a child’s face when they … Read More

Can you really give your heart to more than one football team?

“Trying to Love Two Women” is the title of a great country song released by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1980. It was a big hit then and remains popular today on radio stations that play country oldies.  The song tells the sad story of how one guy tries to keep two women as his … Read More

Rock down to Electric Ave

A couple of years back, I took a big tumble into Tygart Creek. In a desperate bid to save my phone – and the interviews recorded on it – and worried dropping it in a bag of rice wasn’t enough, I went in search of an industrial grade desiccant. Tony James, at James Do-It-Best Hardware … Read More

As We See It: Support your community this holiday season

The COVID restrictions are back, and that means that local businesses and local charities, both already hit hard this year by the virus, are in need of your support more than ever.  The holidays are traditionally an important time for both. Many businesses count on the holiday shopping season to keep their doors open the … Read More

Worrying or wondering about living with today’s ‘new normal’?

He’s an old hippieAnd he don’t know what to doShould he hang on to the oldShould he grab on to the new. He’s an old hippieThis new life is just a bustHe ain’t trying to change nobodyHe’s just trying real hard to adjust.  I’ve always appreciated these lyrics from the chorus of the Bellamy Brothers’ … Read More

The creek is not a dump!

Carter County has a littering problem. It’s nothing new. The county fiscal court, county attorney, and solid waste and sheriff’s departments have been trying to address the issue with illegal dumping for some time now. They’ve put up cameras to catch dumpers in the act at some of the worst and most heavily dumped locations. … Read More

As we see it: Grayson needs another traffic light

If you’ve spent any amount of time in Grayson, we’re sure you’ve seen an accident at Carol Malone Boulevard and Interstate Drive. It seems like this intersection, in particular, is terribly prone to accidents.  Maybe it’s because of the weird angles there at Interstate Drive. After paralleling I-64 for most of its length, the road … Read More

Setting the record straight on Christmas joy at my home

Christmas is still a month away and I’ve already received my first thinly-veiled insult from my family members who wrongly believe that I do not enjoy that holiday because it is relatively expensive.  In fact, all I did was ask why we are buying new outdoor Christmas lights again this year. True to form, two … Read More

The driveway deer

As you probably know, it’s deer season again. It’s hard to miss, even if you don’t hunt, what with the sea of orange vests and camouflage coveralls lining up at the gas pumps in the morning. (Bowhunters, please bear with us, we know you’ve already been out in the woods for months.)  I got out … Read More

As we see it: Helping hungry kids

For the last three years Carter Caves State Resort Park has worked with the county’s school resource centers to collect food and funds for a backpack program that helps feed hungry students over weekends and holidays. The school resource centers know that many students suffer from food insecurity, and some of them only eat hot … Read More

Is it too late to share a Halloween love poem to my sweetheart?

Halloween has come and gone for another year, much to the dismay of the kids who didn’t get to go Trick-or-Treating and even more so to all of the candy manufacturers and retail stores left with crates full of sweet treats wrapped for the holiday that barely happened.  The new surge of COVID-19 infections caused … Read More

Poetry, books and me

Before the pandemic hit, and shut down much of what we took for granted, I ran a monthly poetry slam at the Grayson Gallery & Art Center. It was a labor of love for me. Something that I genuinely enjoyed sharing with the community and something that I like to think meant just as much … Read More

As we see it: More early voting, please

With early voting this year, many of you may have already cast your ballot. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, states that haven’t previously allowed early voting or mail in voting, like Kentucky, have been doing so.  This is a practice that we can’t endorse enough.  Voting is a right that our ancestors have … Read More

Peanuts in pop, a sweet and salty memory from boyhood

In much of the South and some border states like Kentucky, we call it “peanuts in your pop” but in Georgia it’s always in your Coke and in Texas it better be in your Dr. Pepper.  As I grew up in Hitchins, it most likely was in your Grapette or Orange Nehi or your Royal … Read More

Letter to the Editor: 10/28/20

On October 13, our region marked a significant milestone, as we convened the first official meeting of a new northeastern Kentucky survivors’ council. The mission of this council is to support and empower victims of crime as they seek justice, hope, and healing.  And on November 3, voters statewide have a critical opportunity to take … Read More

That’s some dog!

While delivering papers to our retail outlets last week, I watched a gentleman enter the Olive Hill Save A Lot with his dog following at heel. When he went into the store, the dog followed and then sat there in the entrance while he shopped. She waited for a while, then let herself back outside … Read More

As we see it: Thank you, readers

We’ve been publishing the Carter County Times for just over four months now, with this issue marking the 19th edition of your source for local news. We’ve come a long way since that first edition was published. It’s been a lot of hard work for two people with a toddler. Sometimes it feels more like … Read More

No question about it, money really is the mother’s milk of politics

The late Jesse Unruh, a legendary California politician, coined that phrase in 1966 and it has proven to be more prophetic in each election cycle, including last year’s governor’s race and this year’s presidential election.  My wife and I have lost count of the full-color, slickly-coated direct mail fundraising appeals – plus the countless e-mail … Read More

Local eats

I left Kentucky in my late 20s and stayed away until after I turned 40, living and working in major metropolitan areas for the better part of 13 years. It’s not often that I miss living in the city. I don’t miss the skylines or the night life too much. Family and quiet is more … Read More

As we see it: Adopt don’t shop

One of our favorite things each week is looking at the photos of the new pet of the week. Seeing those adorable faces, and knowing that we might play a small role in helping those good boys and girls find their forever homes, makes us happy. Most of those pups find a home pretty quickly, … Read More

What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?

There’s an Elvis Costello song that’s been on my mind recently. It’s the piece that shares it’s title with this column this week.  In 1979, when Costello released the song, “(What’s so funny ‘bout) peace, love and understanding?” America, Great Britain, and the rest of world were on the brink of a new decade and … Read More

Our family and friends will be there at the end

I had the somewhat unusual task of trying to help a funeral home gather personal information on a person who died but apparently had no close friends or relatives nearby.  The information was needed for the deceased person’s obituary. Someone who lived hundreds of miles away had contacted the funeral home about funeral arrangements.  It … Read More

As we see it: COVID and Conspiracies

In the days since the President, First Lady and several White House staff were diagnosed with COVID-19 a number of conspiracy theories have begun to pop up across the internet, spread mostly through social media. They generally follow one of two patterns.  For those who are critical of the President, the conspiracy theory is that … Read More

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say can be funny

To those individuals who still believe that plain talk is the easiest to understand, I dedicate these true stories. ———–  I was in line at a college faculty retirement reception. The man next to me was a few years away from the same circumstance.  Trying to pass the time, I asked if he had any … Read More

Dream a little dream

Years ago I was talking to some friends about the dreams our pets have. Sometimes the pet parents, especially the dog owners, thought they could guess what their pets were dreaming about based on their sounds and movements. Cat owners were generally perplexed. My cat Chaucer, for instance, would regularly twitch and flex his claws … Read More

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