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Grand Jury indicts fourteen
By Andrew Adkins
Staff Writer

Fourteen Johnson Countians face imprisonment after a Johnson County grand jury handed down 17 indictments on Wednesday.
Although the majority of accusations are centered on drug-related charges, multiple indictments involve theft and assistance program fraud.
Mary Shana Kestner, 25, of Paintsville, was indicted on a charge of trafficking in a controlled substance.
According to court reports, Kestner allegedly trafficked in two dosage units of buprenorphine, a schedule three controlled substance. Kestner faces one to three years in prison if found guilty.
Jeremy David Caudill, 34, of Paintsville, was indicted on the charge of trafficking in a controlled substance in the first degree less than 10 dosage units.


‘Operation Summer Heat’ nets 10 in drug round-up
Johnson County sheriff’s deputies conducted “Operation Summer Heat” Thursday morning, following the indictment of several individuals on drug trafficking charges by a grand jury on Wednesday. Photo submitted


By Kathy J. Prater
Associate Editor


Acting on indictments issued by a Johnson County grand jury on Wednesday, deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office conducted an arrest round-up early Thursday morning, successfully locating nine individuals wanted on drug trafficking charges. “Operation Summer Heat” follows a string of roundups already conducted this year.
“Decent people are sick of these criminals selling drugs in our county, and our office is doing everything it can to fight the problem. And as long as I’m in office, we will continue to locate, arrest and prosecute drug dealers. If they don’t like it, they can go elsewhere,” Price said.


City council shuts down rumors of street closing
Work began this week on renovating the Sipp Theater’s restroom facilities. Replacing older, inadequate plumbing was the task at hand Thursday afternoon as workers were required to cut into pavement along Main Street in order to reach the existing plumbing. The work is expected to continue throughout coming weeks.

By Kathy J. Prater
Associate Editor

Represented by local attorney Lance Daniels, a group of city residents attended this week’s regular meeting of the Paintsville City Council to voice concerns over what was rumored to be an impending street closing.
According to Daniels, residents living along 9th Street and Washington Avenue have experienced difficulty in past weeks accessing 9th Street due to activity from a local business — Castle’s Roofing — that the residents say frequently block the road with forklifts and other heavy equipment.
Daniels addressed the city council, asking if plans were being developed to close the street to public access.
Mayor Bob Porter said he had heard rumors that he had said he was planning to close the street, as a favor to the business owners, but that the rumor was not true, and that he would be “totally against” any plan to have the street closed.


Tempers flare - Union employees criticize executive $10k increase in pay
By Andrew Adkins
Staff Writer

Negotiation sessions between Highlands Regional Medical Center union employees and upper management this week resulted in a continuance of antipathy from the side of the employees regarding the proposed workers’ contract.
Joyce Gibson, director of SEIU District 1199 of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, is representing Highlands employees and said the two sides “did not reach an agreement last night” after two days of scheduled negotiation. Two months after the contract was proposed by management, a resolve for the dispute regarding spouse inclusion in the health care package and other concerns remains absent.
Union members held a voting session yesterday allowing employees to determine if management’s alterations in the pending contract were sufficient. “We’re voting on the last offer they put on the table last night and we will discuss our next plan of action,” Gibson said.


Ward denied bond reduction
By Kathy J. Prater
Associate Editor

A man charged with murder in connection with the death of a Sitka woman appeared in Knott County Circuit Court last week on a motion to reduce his $300,000 cash bond.
That motion, however, was denied by Circuit Judge Kimberly Childers, all but ensuring that Gary Ward, 37, of Meally, will remain behind bars to await his trial on charges of murdering Christina Barnett, 34, and abusing her corpse.
Ward is also charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Barnett’s mother, Donna Hale, said Thursday she is “very glad” that Ward’s motion was denied. “We were there in court and have been there every time he has been in court,” she said. “We remember, and we know who did it ... my daughter did not deserve this,” she added.



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