May 2, 2006, News
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Helen Rayburn leaves us
By Al Owens
On Tuesday, March 21 Helen H. Rayburn, age 99, sat in the regular session of the Trustee Board of the public library named after her and took an active part in the proceedings. The next month, on April 18 the board was informed that Helen was in the local nursing home. Then less than a week later at 1:08 a.m. on Monday, April 24, Helen closed her eyes in sleep and never awakened in this life again.
Mrs. Rayburn was born in Charters on July 19, 1906.
As a little girl she was reared on a farm and had only limited access to the books she loved to read. She dreamed of a place where children in the community could go and find a whole shelf of good books. Due mostly to her own efforts that dream became a reality.
After teaching school locally for seven years and working in a bank for ten years she began making her childhood dream come true.
In 1953 the United Garment Workers of America donated a small bookmobile. The Lewis County Board of Education agreed to sponsor its operation, and Helen quickly volunteered to drive it. That began her relationship with the public library that lasted for 53 years.
The voluntary job became permanent when she was named librarian.
The Lewis County Fiscal Court, the Board of Education, various civic clubs, PTAs and private citizens supported the library with donations. A "reading room" was set up on the third floor of the courthouse, and this became the first formal library. However, it quickly outgrew the reading room and was relocated in 1957 and again in 1960. At that time the voters approved a library tax. The current library was built in 1967 and grew so fast that a second floor was added in 1973.
Mrs. Rayburn spent much of her spare time attending the meetings of numerous civic clubs and organizations to raise funds for the library. Her enthusiasm led people to give generously.
She served as librarian from 1954 to 1983 and as an assistant until 1986. She retired from that position when her husband, 24-year State Senator Hobart Rayburn, became ill.
On one occasion he told Helen, "Most women are married to their husbands but you're married to the library."
Mrs. Rayburn had already served two four-year terms on the library board and had served as treasurer when she resigned as treasurer and began serving another term on the board last year.
In 53 years she saw many changes and always encouraged new ideas to help patrons of the library. She saw the library grow from 800 volumes to over 30,000, from a "reading room" to a facility with a meeting room, a children's room, a computer lab and total automation of the library. She was also involved in current plans to build a new library building for the county.
Helen Rayburn sits behind the wheel of the
new bookmobile in this 2004 file photo. Standing behind her are Library
Board Secretary Al Owens, current bookmobile driver Marjorie Valentine and
retired bookmobile driver Margie Moore.
During her lifetime Helen Rayburn received many honors. On February 11, 2004, she was the Kentucky Library Association's guest of honor in Frankfort because she was the state's oldest bookmobile librarian and wife of the co-sponsor of the Porter-Rayburn bill that began the Kentucky Public Library Bookmobile Program in 1954.
WSAZ Television also chose her as Hometown Hero, and Vanceburg Mayor William T. "Bill Tom" Cooper proclaimed her birthday, July 19, 1998, as Helen Huffman Rayburn Day.
Helen also received the Community Leadership Award presented by the Buffalo Trace Area Development District Board of Directors. In 1992 she served as the Grand Marshal for the Lewis County Bicentennial Celebration. She also helped found the Lewis County Historical Society, and was recently recognized as a special volunteer from St. Claire Hospice.
Mrs. Rayburn was a faithful member of the Vanceburg United Methodist Church and taught Sunday School there for many years as well as serving as treasurer.
Without the influence of Helen H. Rayburn, Lewis County may not even have a public library. She was the moving force behind its inception and progress for over half a century.
Perhaps her drive to build a library came from her father who told her that she could do anything if she tried hard enough.
Between 600 and 700 patrons use the library every month. Many of them are taking classes over the computers and accessing the Internet for other helpful purposes.
For no little reason did the Public Library Board, with approval of the Lewis County Fiscal Court, rename the library to the Helen H. Rayburn Library of Lewis County. Even though Helen has left us her influence will live on in the lives of Lewis Countians for many years to come.
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Chamber hosts successful candidates nights
Over the last two weeks, the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce hosted four successful Decision 2006: Meet the Candidates --Taking it to the Districts events.
The informative sessions were intended to give Lewis Countians a chance to meet with the candidates, learn more about their objectives, and help the citizens make an informed decision.
The first event kicked off on Tuesday, April 18, at Lewis County High School and was moderated by Rev. Howard Wilson. More than 30 candidates from both state and local races showed up to share their political goals with Lewis County. The event was very well received by the locals with more than 200 people showing up to learn about the ideas of the candidates.
On Thursday, April 20, Decision 2006--Meet the Candidates moved to the Garrison area with 25 political hopefuls speaking to a crowd of over 100. Joe LeMaster served as moderator for the forum.
The third event moved to District #1 at Tollesboro Elementary with Craig Stanfield guiding over 24 candidates through the question forum. Turnout was higher than expected for this event, over 130 voters were present.
Decision 2006--Meet the Candidates wrapped up on Thursday, April 27, in District #3 at Laurel Elementary with approximately 80 people and 24 candidates present. Each event was successful in its own light, giving candidates a chance to express their interest, goals, and experience that qualified them for the position he/she was seeking.
"These events were everything we expected and more, it is rewarding to know that we have helped hundreds of Lewis Countians make effective, informed decisions," states Jerry
Ugrin, Chairman of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce. "The future of our county is in the hands of our politicians. We are glad we took this tour around our County and provided this experience for both the community and the candidates."
There are many individuals and/or businesses that helped to make this event possible and the Chamber of Commerce would like to extend their greatest appreciation for their work -- Lewis County High School, Garrison Elementary, Tollesboro Elementary, Laurel Elementary, all the principals for their patience and cooperation, the PTOs and other school organizations who provided the fundraiser dinners, Rev. Howard Wilson, Joe LeMaster, Craig Stanfield, Lewis County Extension Office, Vanceburg Christian Church, Sgt. Sauley and the ROTC, Clarksburg Christian Church, Tim Underwood and the Lewis County Detention Center, Jamie Christy and The Sign Shop, Pepsi Cola, Steve Arnold and Gentry Marketing, plus all the candidates who participated.
The Lewis County Chamber of Commerce will host a similar event in October 2006 to showcase the candidates for the November election. Details for this event will be provided at a later date.
If you would like to become a member of the Chamber of Commerce or would like more information contact, Tracy McGuire at
email@example.com or 606-796-6010.
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$50,000 approved for Gateway RCD agri-tourism
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved $50,000 in state funds for Gateway Resource Conservation Development as part of the 2006 Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program. This proposal was one of the 28 projects, totaling $2,985,271 approved at the April Agricultural Development Board Meeting.
Gateway Resource and Conservation Development will use the $50,000 in state funds to help farmers develop Eco/Agri-Tourism businesses on their farms. Seven counties including Wolfe, Menifee, Morgan, Elliott, Carter, Greenup and Lewis are collaborating to make a continuous agri-tourism trail from the Red River Gorge to the Ohio River.
This project will help replace the family income lost with the tobacco buy-out. Small family farmers of this region, through partnering with civic and governmental agencies, will establish innovative alternatives for income generation based on the natural resource assets of their farms and the region. By 2010 they want this area to be a nationally known natural resource/cultural-based tourism destination center.
This initiative grew out of a 2005 Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute (KECI) mini-grant project chaired by Gwenda Adkins with involvement from Lynn Baker, Kay Boggs, Teresa Brown, Don Davis, Paula Franke and Anthony Lawson. 2006 KECI Fellow, Larry Brown is the current chair of this seven-county initiative.
The 2006 Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program was designed to assist producers as they venture into Kentucky's emerging agri-tourism industry. In the competitive awards program the Board set aside one million ($500,000 in each of two rounds awarded) in state funds for the development of agri-tourism businesses and for the promotion of agri-tourism by regional agri-tourism organizations. The deadline for round two of the competitive awards program is August 1, 2006.
The Kentucky Legislature continues to make great strides towards lessening Kentucky's dependence on tobacco production while revitalizing the farm economy by investing 50 percent of Kentucky's Master Settlement Agreement into the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. Since the inception of the program in January 2001, the Agricultural Development Board has approved over 2,381 proposals committing over $201 million to an array of county, regional, and state projects designed to increase net farm income and create sustainable new farm-based business enterprises.
For more information on this project contact Larry Brown with East KY Foothills
Eco-Agri-tourism Corporation at 606-768-8190. To learn more about cost-share grant and loan programs available though the Agricultural Development Fund contact the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy at 502-564-4627 or visit our website at
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Mini-Fair planned at Tollesboro Lions Club
The Tollesboro Lions Club would like to invite the public and all local political candidates to a "mini-fair" to be held at the Tollesboro Lions Club on May 13, 2006.
Events that will be held will include an Antique Farm Machinery and Antique Tractor show beginning that morning; three and four wheeler races (races to begin at 1:00 p.m.; entries need to start showing up at 11:00 a.m.); a Lewis Co. Buckaroos 4-H Fun Horse Show.
Afternoon and evening activities include a "Meet the Candidates" event and cake auction to be conducted at 4:00 p.m. (auction at 4:30 p.m.); and a Speed Tractor Pull (registration and weigh-in begins at 5:00 p.m., pull beginning at 7:00 p.m.).
Admission to the Antique Farm Machinery and Tractor Show is free prior to 11 a.m.; admission to all other events is $5 per person. Concessions will be in operation.
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