Premier Financial Bancorp, Inc. (Premier), out of Huntington, W.Va. (NASDAQ/GM-PFBI), a $1.7 billion community financial holding company with two bank subsidiaries, and The First National Holding Company of Jackson, (“First Holding”), a $101 million single bank holding company headquartered in Jackson, jointly announce that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Citizens Deposit Bank and Trust (“Citizens Deposit”), Premier’s wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Vanceburg, will acquire The First National Bank of Jackson, (“Jackson Bank”), the wholly owned subsidiary of First Holding, in a cash purchase valued at approximately $14.8 million.

In conjunction with the acquisition by Citizens Deposit, Jackson Bank will be merged into Citizens Deposit. The resulting merger will expand Citizens Deposit’s full service footprint into the Jackson, Kentucky market place.

Premier President and CEO Robert W. Walker commented, “We are pleased to announce a purchase that expands our footprint in the Kentucky market. As a cash purchase, the earnings from the two Jackson Bank locations will become immediately accretive to Premier’s earnings upon consummation of the merger. We look forward to including the customers of Jackson Bank in the family of Premier Financial Bancorp’s community banking franchise.”

First Holding and Jackson Bank President and CEO P. J. Sheffel stated, “We are excited by the opportunity to merge with Citizens Deposit and Premier. We believe Premier is a vibrant and growing community bank franchise. Their management team has a history of operating banks that are strong, healthy performers within their local communities with an inviting, friendly community bank atmosphere. Through Citizens Deposit’s network of branch locations all along the Ohio River from Florence and Fort Wright, in the Cincinnati Metro Area to Proctorville, Ohio and Huntington, we believe our customers will not only enjoy the expansion in locations in which to bank but also enjoy Citizens Deposit’s ever-increasing modern financial products and services. Due to First National Bank of Jackson having a 110-year history of serving Jackson, Breathitt County, and surrounding areas, it was vitally important to us to choose a merger partner that would ensure the community service our area has become accustomed to and expect to continue for years to come. We sincerely believe we have found that with Citizens Deposit and Premier.”

Citizens Deposit President and CEO Michael R. Mineer added, “We are pleased that Jackson Bank has chosen to merge with Citizens Deposit. As a community bank we understand the need to take care of the communities in which we serve through our financial services and community style service. We will continue to provide great customer service based on sound banking practices along with new technologies that will allow even greater connectivity to our bank such as internet and mobile banking, electronic bank statements, and checking accounts with fraud prevention features such as “Debit Card Secure Lock,” as well as credit monitoring services and alerts that help customers manage their personal financial information and help detect identity fraud. We are delighted to be able to expand our footprint and provide more services and locations for our new customers.”

Under terms of the definitive agreement, Citizens Deposit will pay book value, or approximately $14.8 million, in cash for Jackson Bank and will merge Jackson Bank’s two branch locations into Citizens Deposit’s operating system early in the fourth quarter of 2019.



The transaction, which is subject to satisfaction of various contractual conditions and requires approval by bank regulatory agencies and the shareholders of First Holding, is anticipated to close early in the fourth quarter of 2019. Investment Bank Services, Inc. served as financial advisor to First Holding.

Premier Financial Bancorp announced annual 2018 earnings of $20,168,000, or $1.47 per diluted share, an annualized return on average assets of approximately 1.30%. More recently, Premier announced a 20.3 percent increase in its first quarter 2019 net income to $6,176,000 for the quarter, or $0.42 per diluted share.

Citizens Deposit Bank currently operates branch locations in 14 communities and towns along the Ohio River including Fort Wright, Florence and Cold Spring, in the Cincinnati, Ohio Metro area; Maysville, Tollesboro and Vanceburg; Ironton, Proctorville and Ripley, Ohio and Huntington.

Premier Financial Bancorp also owns Premier Bank, a $1.26 billion bank headquartered in Huntington, West Virginia which currently operates branch locations in 30 communities and towns including Charleston, Madison, Lewisburg, Logan, Ravenswood, Ripley, Spencer, Gassaway, Buckhannon and Bridgeport, W.Va.; Richmond and Hampton, Va.; as well as five branches in the Metro Washington D.C. area.

I was working the Times crossword puzzle Wednesday when I tripped over 26 Down, a three-letter word meaning “Confucian path to enlightenment.” No problem, right? I mean, in the Big Apple’s daily puzzle, if you’re asked for a three-letter word for Viet Nam holiday, the answer is “Tet (The Vietnamese New Year).” If someone barely scrapes by, they “Eke.” And whenever Confucius graces the page discussing enlightenment, the answer will always be “Tao.”

First, a little about the Chinese philosopher and politician. Confucius was last breathing oxygen between 551 and 479 BC. His teachings, or Tao, according to Wiki, “emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.” Merriam and Webster define Tao as “the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all reality as conceived by Taoists. The process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony.” So. We know the man and we know the philosophy. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

I contend that the Tao of Confucius might have been simpler to follow in the days before Christ. In those times, the only thing people seemed to do, for the most part, was wage war against other countries. That’s the easy part. They didn’t, for instance, have to deal with people who cut line in front of them at the “10 items or less” lane while two-fisting a shopping cart full of items. “Oh, can you wait a minute while I run back across the store for an item I forgot?” they ask. Sure! And don’t forget to use as many coupons as possible. Add a price check for good measure. Nah, I think even Confucius would crack a carton of eggs over the shopper’s head. Being a paragon of correct social relationships is tough in the rough and tumble world of grocery shopping.

Unfortunately, instead of a path to enlightenment, people today must navigate a minefield akin to the path Billy takes from school to home in the cartoon “Family Circus.” From slogging behind slow traffic in the fast lane to sitting behind the only family with a crying child in your favorite restaurant, life has become a constant battle to keep your cool.

Truth be told, I bet people got as big a laugh at the thought of “governmental morality” in 530 B.C. as we do today, so scratch that part from the Tao. Here’s a quick test as to the thickness of your skin. Teenage climate scold Greta Thunberg was this week named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Is boiling blood pouring out of every bodily orifice? Probably.

What would Confucius do if he was seated behind a person wearing an abnormally tall hat blocking his view at the cinema? Or was next to the guy who got the last 4K big screen on Black Friday? I’m just saying, the aggressions of two and a half millennia ago might pale in comparison to the onslaught of microaggressions incurred by modern humans on a daily basis. Instead of “death by a thousand cuts,” it’s “death by a thousand ‘buts.’”

Sure, getting 26-across on the daily crossword was satisfying. But, wouldn’t it be more gratifying to adhere to the tenets of Confucius, even if only for this holiday season?

Morehead State University students will combine with community singers for a performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 123 E Main St. The performance will include the Christmas portion of the oratorio and conclude with the famed chorus, “Hallelujah.” The organist for the concert will be MSU instructor of music William Murphy. The conductor will be Dr. Greg Detweiler, director of choral studies and professor of music.

The choir consists of community singers and MSU music majors. Soloists include Dr. Eric Brown, assistant professor of music, and Dr. David Gregory, dean of library sciences and minister of music at First Baptist Church. MSU voice majors singing solos are:

MSU alum, Adrian Jacob, will begin the sung story with the recitative, “Comfort Ye.” “We started this choir many years ago to join the community and the campus,” said Detweiler. “Each year, the group works on a Christmas presentation. ‘Messiah’ is usually presented once every three years.” Detweiler continued, “There is one person who has held the choir together, which no one will see in the performance, and that is Genny Jenkins. Genny, who is the minister of music at First Christian Church and the gifted coordinator and instructor for Rowan County Schools, serves as our rehearsal accompanist. We are so very grateful for her contributions to the group. There would be no choir without her help.”

Join us on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Ripley Library Annex for “A Madcap Christmas Carol” with the Madcap Puppets. This is a free program sponsored by the Ripley Friends of the Library. Everyone is welcome to attend.

If you think you know the story of miserly old Scrooge, think again! Madcap turns this Christmas ghost story into a fantastically funny tale, bringing your favorite Dickens characters to life with giant puppets and exciting new twists.

Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre was founded in Cincinnati in 1981 by the late Jerry Handorf and Beth Kattelman. Since the beginning, they have been firmly rooted in the art of professional puppet theatre, children’s literature and world cultures.

Madcap quickly built a repertoire of comic-absurd and original fairytale performances, touring up to six ensembles concurrently to schools, community centers, art museums and libraries. Classic stories such as The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and others were adapted for Madcap’s giant puppets and expressive hand-in-mouth characters.

The Ripley Library is located at the corner of US 52 and Main Street in downtown Ripley. The Annex is next door to the library building. For question or further information 937-392-4871 or Facebook Ripleyohiolibrary.

The answer can be found this Thursday through Sunday at the Washington Opera House as the Maysville Players and the Limestone Chorale combine their talents to present “Seasoned Greetings: A Holiday Cabaret.”

“We collaborated a few years ago to present a one-night-only Christmas performance for the community,” said Mike Thomas, producing director for the local theatre company. “I just felt that at this time in our cultural climate, we should do a bigger show with a lot of heart.”

Thomas says that “big” isn’t even a big enough word to describe what audiences will experience. “It’s more like an extravaganza,” he said.

“Seasoned Greetings” is made possible with the support of the John W. McNeill III Music Series, that helps sponsor a variety of musical events during the year.

“Our community is much less without Judge McNeill and our music events would be much more rare without the support of this foundation,” Thomas said.

Show times are at 7 pm Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, with the final performance at 2 pm Sunday, December 15. Tickets are $8 per person along with a non-perishable food item per person to be distributed to food banks across the region. Reservations can be made by calling 606-564-3666 or purchased on-line a maysvilleplayers.net.

The 90-minute production features 70 singers of all ages, 8 musicians, six holiday stories and 30 songs.

Thomas explained that he was particularly interested in working with the Limestone Chorale, a 28-member singing ensemble under the direction of Nicholas Denham. Accompanied by James L. Clarke, the chorale will sing six songs throughout the evening.

“I have heard them in concert and wanted their beautiful singing to play to a larger audience,” Thomas said.

In addition to 17 young performers from across the region, the show features special guests such as McKenzie “The Voice” Thomas, Leah Frederick, Harry and Ben Pedigo, and the St. Michael’s School String Ensemble from Ripley.

Thomas said that audiences can also expect to hear excerpts and songs from such holiday classics as “A Christmas Carol,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” along with the traditional telling of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The evening also pays tribute to Rosemary Clooney with musical selections from “White Christmas.” Covington-born songwriter Haven Gillespie will be honored with a rock-version of his classic song, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Mark Funk serves as music director and Thomas explained, “he had his work cut out for him trying to teach a sleigh-full on songs to a huge group of singers.”

“We hope that audiences of all ages will come and enjoy the show and at the same time support charitable causes.”

Eight historic homes in Ripley are “decking the halls” in preparation for the 2019 Christmas House Tour. Homes will be open for 1-5 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Tickets, $15, will be available only the day of the tour at Ripley Museum, 219 N. Second Street beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The house tour is sponsored by Ripley Heritage, Inc. as a fundraiser. Ripley Heritage, Inc. manages the museum and John Rankin House Historic Site owned by the Ohio History Connection.

Eight homes will delight tour goers. These are the oldest and most historic homes in Ripley 1819-1875: The Thomas Collins House, 200th Anniversary, The Chambers Baird House, early brick home at 135 N. Second, Federalist style 1840 brick home at 105 N. Second Street, The Pogue Row Houses 124 and 128 N. Front Street, The Stivers/Zachman House and Grant’s Cottage (Kirker House).

Released by Zeus, two golden eagles flew across the sky in opposite directions. After soaring from one side of the universe toward the other, their paths crossed in Delphi, Greece. Thus, as Greek legend holds, marking Delphi as the center of the world.

Similar to Olympia, the site of the Olympics, Delphi hosted the Pythian Games, or all-Greek festivals. About a two-hour drive from Athens, the center of the world is the setting of a rich archeological site located on a steep hillside. Dotting the long, winding path zigzagging up the hill are what remains of its theatre, stadium, temple and treasuries.

Religious festivals and musical and dramatic contests of the Pythian Games were staged at the Delphi Theatre. With a seating capacity of 5000 and situated with a sweeping view of the Pleistos River Valley, the Delphi theatre is easily the best preserved feature at the site.

Athletic events associated with the Pythian festivals were held at the Stadium of Delphi, which could hold up to 7000 spectators.

The Temple of Apollo is situated in the most prominent location at the site. What we see today, the structure with partially restored rows of columns, is the third temple built at the same place. It dates back to the 4th century BC.

As the legend goes, this location housed a sacred opening in the earth’s surface. Pythia, the priestess of Delphi, sat in a room where she inhaled the vapors emitted from this opening. In what was described as a state of delirium, Pythia uttered inarticulate cries.

Priests, then, interpreted these cries into oracles, advice from the gods. So influential was this oracle that leaders delayed making important decisions until the oracle could be consulted. In gratitude for receiving advice from the oracle, many treasuries were erected on the site.

Throughout the archeological site of Delphi, much of its history is documented on plaques and in the museum. Taking the time to read over this information and to imagine the scenes so beautifully described makes for a rewarding trip to the center of the world.

(Note: Marjorie Appelman is an English, communications and journalism teacher at Mason County High School and co-founder of the travel blog Tales from the Trip, which is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. She can be reached at marj.appelman@gmail.com.)

From the lower part of southwestern Ohio and on through Kentucky and Tennessee and on their boarders was once not so long ago where the cash crop was king. I am guessing that as late as the end of the 1980’s this crop was still predominant and looked to for the income from the small farms.

Maybe I have jumped ahead of myself on this topic so let me start over. As the fall of the year progressed and good weather digressed farmers in general were frantically harvesting their crops from the fields and ending the harvest season by sowing wheat upon the corn fields to end that year’s crop seasons. The thing was the farmers were not racing to an end so that they could rest but to a point where they would return to the tobacco barns where they had housed their tobacco crops back in late August or early September.

At first and while the weather still carried some warmth to it many farmers would set up a bench in the doorway of the barn and when the tobacco came into what we referred to as in case (when a leaf draws into it enough moisture so as to become pliable to handle). I know at our place that since we share cropped on many farms with some being a good distance away or hard to get to due to locations we tried to strip as much as possible in the barns’ door ways. My dad said it only made sense to just pull the sticks down and strip it there and not have to make extra trips handling the crop as it only meant more cost and time.

Stripping tobacco on location was really a neat thing. My dad had made a small stove out of a five gallon bucket and a part of an old stove’s rack. He would burn charcoal in it and heat and cook on the rack. First he would sweep off a spot on the barn’s dirt floor behind us. This served so we could reach for coffee and food easily and also stay warm if needed. It was a way of dad ruffing it but mom had already cooked the meal and all dad had to do was keep it warm. We all felt he was the chef since it was his device he was cooking on.

Eventually the weather would become more like winter and was getting closer so we would take the sticks of tobacco out of the rails in the barn and drop them to the floor. Then we would pull the stalks off of the sticks into a piece of baling twine and when there was eight sticks of tobacco in a bundle it would get tired and then it was able to be handled easier and hauled or stored better also. Then truck load by truck load it was hauled to a building simply named the stripping room. (How creative of a name.)

Once we got the load to the stripping room it was unloaded into that room to have the leaves removed and prepared to be moved to the next step. Now up until this point there had still been a lot of work to do and that was just to get it to the stripping bench. This is one more description as to how labor intensive this crop was. Synonymous with the word tobacco has always been tied to the term labor intensive and you can ask any person who ever dealt with this crop at any or all points along the raising of this crop.

Now a stripping room was for the most part similar in design at any farm but each it seems would take on the character of that farmer and his help. I know ours was a brick structure that sat about two hundred feet behind our house. It had been built one hundred fifty years before along with the house and was three brick layers in thickness. It was a good sized room and was longer than wide. As you walked into the room the stripping bench went against a long wall to the left of the entry door. There had been windows in the building but dad had boarded them all up and covered them with tar paper so that the room would not allow outside light. He did this so he could have fluorescent lights. In these fixtures and he would use only daylight variety of light bulbs stating that it produced the closest to natural light as he could get.( later I wondered what did they use before there was electricity?)

Since we raised a large amount of tobacco it was safe to say that we would become very much at home in this room. From before daylight when you would walk into this cold room and get that coal stove to having a warm fire in it (this was the Warm Morning stove I mentioned that was once in our house.) until the fire was banked at night when it was the end of the day and we walked slowly to the house and still in the dark. It would be easy to think that just standing at a bench and pulling off leaves wouldn’t be a lot of effort. Here is where you would be so very wrong. We always filled the room with tobacco to be stripped at the end of the day so that as the stove was warming you were stripping. We only divided the leaves into three grades. The first was the trash and then the lugs which was the biggest part of the plant and finally the tips or what was left.

Whoops! I did say what was left but once the tips were gone there were the empty stalks and they needed removing from the room and the person pulling the tips always got to bundle them and carry them out to what was appropriately called the stalk pile. So as the stalks went out there became room to bring in more tobacco to strip, It seemed to me that the constant bringing in and carrying out was never going to end ever!

A stripping room of course would have a radio and depending on who was standing at the bench there would always be a conversation and that could and would range in great variety to say the least. Dad would keep a box of apples to snack on in the corner and a coffee pot on the stove. For non-coffee drinkers mom made sure there was also a two gallon jug of iced tea. If you have ever had the experience of stripping out a large amount or a large crop of tobacco you can attest to the fact that the stripping room had become your second place to be in the world.

I can’t say even though I wanted to complain about this I never did. You see once the tobacco was stripped it was sold. When you sold that crop you got paid for the entire years’ work and stripping it was just that last step until you got a check. I never could complain about that.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you would like to read more of his writing he has two books for sale for you to read, He can be reached at houser734@yahoo.com. Or write or mail to him at P.O. Box 213 Bethel, Ohio 45106.

Editor’s Note: Gloria took last week off for Thanksgiving, but she will return next week. This week we are sharing two of Gloria’s favorite Christmas candy recipes. Enjoy!

1/3 pound white chocolate – Melt in double-boiler or microwave, then spoon dabs on wax or parchment paper. Dabs should be 1” in diameter.

1 /2 pound pecan halves – Press three pecan halves side by side into each dab of chocolate. Leave until the white chocolate is set.

1 can sweet condensed milk – Place an unopened can in a 3 quart kettle over, cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 3 hours. The can needs to be covered at all times, so keep monitoring how much water is in your kettle and add more if needed. Remove from heat. Let can set in water until it is room temperature. Remove from can and spread 1 rounded teaspoon of caramelized milk on top of the pecans.

1 pound milk chocolate – Melt in a double boiler or microwave then spoon on top of the caramel, covering all but the tips of the pecans.

I hope you enjoy that favorite candy recipe of ours, hopefully, it will become part of your holiday traditions. The holiday season, with Christmas in the air, has a specialness all its own.

Candy making and Christmas go hand in hand for many of us. Daniel’s family especially enjoyed making candy during this season. In fact, he recalls his Dad and sister Mary being the ones who initiated candy making on Christmas Day.

Put a single layer of graham crackers side by side (with 4 sides touching one another) on parchment paper. Bring the following mixture to a rolling boil:

Remove from heat and sprinkle with 1 1 /2 cups chocolate chips. Let set a few minutes and then spread melted chips over with a butter knife. Cool and break into sized pieces of your choice. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!

If you lived for a time in a place known as “Pleasure Island,” you might think that would be a pretty good place to hang your hat.

I’m an Ohio boy through and through, born and bred. I’ve only spent a little over one year of my life living outside the Buckeye State, and that was a stint in North Carolina when I worked for a time for the newspaper in Wilmington in 1976-77.

I lived on Pleasure Island, which was a strip of sandy real estate that sat between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. (Yes, that Cape Fear of cinematic fame).

There were two beach towns on the Atlantic side of Pleasure Island – one to the north, Carolina Beach; and another to the south, Kure Beach.

I lived in Carolina Beach, which was about 15 miles south of my job in Wilmington. In those days, to get to Pleasure Island you had to cross a rickety one-lane bridge over the inlet that separated the ocean and the river. The bridge had no side rails.

The bridge was fine most of the time, but I remember one night, in a massive sub-tropical thunderstorm, that I came within inches of driving my beat-up 1969 Mercury Cougar off the bridge and into the murky waters below.

I haven’t been back to Carolina Beach since 1988. (I was there on Sept. 16, 1988, the night the Reds’ Tom Browning pitched a perfect game at Riverfront Stadium.) I am told that, these days, Carolina Beach is on the rebound, with lots of new vacation rental properties, a revived and lively boardwalk for the tourists, and newly built condos along the Atlantic shore.

It was clearly a run-down, second-rate tourist destination for those who couldn’t afford the pricier vacation homes up north on the Outer Banks. But even then, you could tell Carolina Beach had seen better days, and it was full of people convinced (rightly so, it seems) that the good times were coming again.

For me, though, it was just a cheap place to live while making very little money as a newspaper reporter in a small southern city.

I ended up in an apartment building – I don’t know if it is still there or not – that was about a block away from the boardwalk (which was a wreck in those days) and a short walk to the beach.

Having grown up in Dayton and gone to college in Athens, living on the ocean was not something I had ever thought possible. The closest I had ever come to that was in a previous job in Painesville, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie.

That apartment building I had landed in was owned by a character known in town as Big Daddy. He was, in fact, very big – probably about 6-feet, 4-inches tall and tipping the Toledos at 350 pounds, at least.

Imagine Jabba the Hut with huge, bushy eyebrows and chain-smoking cigarettes one after another. I don’t think he had to use more than one match per day to light all his smokes.

On the ground floor of the apartment building was a honky-tonk bar that reeked of stale beer and had a perpetual haze of blue cigarette smoke hanging over the pool tables.

So, too, did a diner a few blocks away that operated whenever the New Hanover County health department allowed them to; and, on the boardwalk, where most of the businesses were closed and boarded up in those days, a somewhat rickety old porn theater.

Working for Big Daddy in the bar was Kelly, an aspiring Loretta Lynn, who waited tables and took her turn on a makeshift stage, belting out country tunes.

I lived on the second floor of the apartment building, which I believe had four or five stories. You walked up stairs on the right-hand side of the building and down to my apartment, which was the very last one on the left-hand side.

Kelly was my next-door neighbor and she had two very nasty Doberman pinschers. (I know, Dobermans can be very nice pets, but these two were just plain mean.)

She had a habit of leaving the Dobermans chained outside of her apartment on the railing of the walkway, making it impossible for me to get out of my apartment without passing these snarling monstrosities, barking their fool heads off, with (very sharp) teeth bared.

If she was home, I could yell at her at the top of my lungs: Kelly!!! GET THESE HELL-HOUNDS INSIDE SO I CAN GET OUT!!!

If she was home, she’d come out and bring them inside, apologizing and telling me, Honey, they don’t really bite.

If she wasn’t home, I had a baseball bat next to the front door. I would scoot up as close to the building as a I could, swinging the bat back and forth, until I cleared a path to escape.

I didn’t spend a lot of time in the bar, but when I did, it was because Kelly had told me she’d be singing that night and wanted me there as a reasonably sober shill to get the crowd going for her performance.

On most weekends, Carolina Beach was taken over by Marines on leave from Camp Lejeune, a little over an hour away.

Big Daddy also benefitted from their presence, as they consumed many of the products that he sold in the bar.

He set up a boxing ring in the bar and invited every off-duty cop on the island to come and take on the Marines, one on one.

Half the town would show up to watch a cop and a Marine pound the living daylights out of each other, until one of them dropped to the canvas, unconscious. Then, two more climbed in the ring.

I could not say, but I believe there was considerable gambling going on over these impromptu boxing matches.

I was asleep one night when I was awoken by the sound of fire engines screaming by. I could tell they were headed in the direction of the boardwalk.

At that point, the theater had been closed for the past few months; there really wasn’t much of a market for a porn theater in a little southern beach town. And most everyone in town wished it would go away, because they wanted to appeal to the tourist families, not little old men in gray overcoats.

I ran down the street and around the corner. There was already a crowd watching the firefighters put out the fire which had, indeed, burnt the building beyond recognition.

I began talking to a few of the locals. A couple of them said they had seem some huge, shadowy figure running out of the building just as a fire was starting, carrying a stack of film cans.

Howard Wilkinson is 91.7 WVXU’s senior political analyst. His “Tales from the Trail” column appears on wvxu.org every Friday and gives a behind-the-scenes look at Wilkinson’s 45 years of covering the campaigns, personalities, scandals and business of politics on a local, state and national level.

Any alien who has the misfortune of landing on planet Earth as part of a reconnaissance team is in for an unpleasant surprise. From lynch mobs to peasant mobs to flash mobs, it seems the only way we humans greet a visiting intergalactic species is with abject fear and a show of force.

At least, that is what I’m learning from 1950’s B-movies. Life is not all ALF, Mork, and the guys at “Third Rock From The Sun.” When it comes to aliens, as far as humans are concerned, if you hail from outer space, you apparently are here to take all of our women, take all of our men, or take all of our resources. Good luck with that – with folks gender-identifying as he, she, xi, it, and they, it’s a roll of the dice for any poor ET tasked with that mission. And as for Earth’s resources, we’ve been told for years by our betters that humans have stripped the earth bare, so the Mother Ship might as well keep moving – there’s nothing to see here.

Aliens could still abduct some of us for their patented, world famous Probes. Just as long as they don’t examine our brains. Between Television and Social Media, a scan of mankind’s think box would probably reveal a soft mush. Like tapioca. Or Cream of Wheat.

Put yourself in an off-world visitor’s seven-toed shoes. You land on Earth, expecting to meet either a civilization eager to interact and learn, or a culture steeped in fear and isolation. This is where the path diverges. If the ETs meet Group One, they will end up having a nice chat with Ellen. If they bump into Group Two first, they end up joining a round table discussion on MSNBC as part of “Morning Joe.”

From the television studio, our alien guests would be whisked off to Washington D.C., where they would find a group of people more alienated (see what I did there?) from normal human behavior as the E.T.s themselves. Seriously. If invading Pod People take over the likeness of our political class and act goofy, how would we know? Quick test for you Earthlings: has anyone ever witnessed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mimic normal behavior? After all, just last month she came to the conclusion that Albert Einstein didn’t kill himself (she was grasping for Jeffrey Epstein, in case you were wondering).

And do we seriously think an alien civilization would share with us their technology for faster-than-light drive? We’ve polluted what little off-world space we’ve explored with satellite debris. Imagine how planetary property prices would plummet once off-worlders learned the humans were moving into the star system.

Come to think of it, perhaps homo sapiens are better off right where we are. After all, we are the species who brought Simon Cowell, the cast of “The View” and Boston Rob into the public eye. Who in good conscience would do that to another race? We have met the enemy, and they are our television producers.

River Valley Dental celebrated its new location with a ribbon cutting and an open house on Dec. 4. The ofice is located at 507 Market Place Drive, Maysville. Pictured from left to right: Becky Mullikin-Board […]

MOUNT OLIVET — Harley Estep, age 98, of Mount Olivet, passed away Friday, Dec. 12, 2019, at Robertson County Healthcare Facility. He was born in Bracken County on April 16, 1921, to the late Clarence […]

FRANKFORT — Democratic State Rep. Rocky Adkins has resigned his 99th District seat after accepting a position in the administration of Gov. Andy Beshear. Adkins was first elected to the seat in 1987 and represented […]

BROOKSVILLE — The Bracken County memorial trees are up for the holiday season in Brooksville and Augusta. Carol Boney, with the Bracken County Historical Society, said the memorial trees were first displayed about five years […]

LEXINGTON — A Fleming County magistrate and farmer has pleaded guilty to charges related to crop insurance fraud and tax fraud. According to Robert M. Duncan, the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of […]

FRANKFORT — A couple in Flemingsburg has received a total of $7,500 in fines and forfeited their hunting guide licenses and privileges for three years following a guilty plea to multiple charges related to the […]

“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for,” Job 6:8 “,And the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.” 1 Samuel 1:27 “Thanks be to God […]

BROOKSVILLE — Sabas Vicente, 59, died Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. He was born on Sep. 16, 1960, in Tampacoy, Tamuin SanLuis Potosi, Mexico to the late Francisco Vicente and Nazaria Hernandez. He is survived by […]

AUGUSTA — Mary Helen (nee Kelsch) Poe, 48, of Gilbert, Ariz., formerly of Augusta, passed away on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Mary was born on May 17, 1971, to the late George Joseph and Mary […]

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FLEMINGSBURG — Harold Lee Sellers, 78, of Flemingsburg, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at Baptist Health Lexington. Born in Fleming County on Jan. 2, 1941, he was the son of the late William Theodore […]

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