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Cadets Pot Flowers For Nursing Home Patients . ‘ Letcher Conn Common! CWS ' 4v Press 3". Volume 60, Number 18 75 Cents Wednesday, May 1, 2019 Causm CENIER 1 Tom King’s Collision P.0. Box 900 ' HWY 317 Neon, Kentucky 41840 Phone (606) 634-9296 headmanking@gmail.com 'TOm King" your local news. Subscribe Today Call 855-4541 18 V100 M £13 SHEdVd NMOiTlVWS ONXB SQZZ'VSQQG VM NOl'lElHS 88000 01000 0* _ w ~¥ lo 10 O N H O O Courts Filled With Drug-Related Cases, Repeat Offenders By Tina Whitaker There is no where in the public realm that drug "addiction is felt more on a daily basis than in the county’s court system. v Drug offenders are ar- rested and brought into the Letcher County Jail on a daily basis where they are evaluated for bond release and, at times, treatment. But the actual number of these cases becomes glar- ingly apparent during mo- tion hour in Letcher Cir- cuit Court. There, Letcher Cir- cuit Judge James Craft is forced into the roles of so- cial worker and even par- ent as much as he is tasked with dispensing justice from the bench. Last week, nearly 70 casesmwere set Wednesday’s motion hour, the overwhelming number of them could be traced in some way to drugs. There were countless offenders that had been in- dicted on drug charges that resulted from traffic stops where law enforcement officers found them to be likely driving a vehicle while under the influence of a drug. More and more persons charged with DUI are not under the influence of alcohol but opiods,’ marijuana and metham- phetamine. Trafficking is also a common charge in Letcher Circuit Court, where one’s charge must have reached the seriousness of a felo-_ ny before they ultimately must be arraigned, tried and more often than not, sentenced before Judge Craft. , Letcher Common- wealth’s Attorney Edi- son G. Banks is charged with prosecuting each of the cases in circuitcourt, While the Public Defend- er’s Office defends the majority of cases, less the dozens who have the means to hire a private at- torney. ' The shear number of cases demands constant attention from all involved and it is overwhelming ‘ even to the casual observ- er. The number of crimi- nal cases currently making 1 their way through Letcher Circuit Court ofientimes require cases to be con- tinued or delayed as de- fense 'attomeys, particu- larly public defenders, get ‘bogged down with their caseload. Banks said that he'and his part-time assistant have all they can handle dealing with the daily court appear- ances, not to mention trials when cases make their way to that point. During motion hour, it was disheartening to listen to the number of defen- dants who were making court appearances for the fifth and sixth time, return- ing with additional charges after being given oppor- tunity after opportunity to turn their life around. Thirty-one year old Brita Johnson was one of those appearing in court that day as was Homer Rose, IV, who at the age of 20, has had several at- tempts at rehab and proba- tion but ,is currently in the Letcher County Jail after violating his probation. As Ms. Johnson stood before Judge Craft to an— swer a motion to revoke her probation by the Com- monwealth, her attorney, Bill Melton, of the Public Defender’s Office, asked that she be given yet an- other opportunity to go to a drug rehab. Ms. Johnson had violated her probation by not making court or- dered child support pay- ments. “She was doing well,” Mr. Melton told the court, “but she is an addict. Un- fortunately, these types of mistakes happen to those battling addiction.” Mr. Banks pointed to Ms. Johnson’s long history of being in and out of drug treatment and that he was inclined to send her to jail. Judge Crafi; reiterated some of the history Banks was referring to when he addressed the defendant. “You went to drug court and had to be tenni- nated from that,” he said. "“Then I gave ‘you a second chance by grant- ing shock probation so that you could go to rehab, and you graduated but then you started using again.” “Your probation offi- cer set you up With a plan and you haven’t taken ad- vantage of tha .” “What am I sup- posed to do?” Craft asked. “Three is a lot of chances. ,We have tried everything we have at our disposal. I have no other optidn but to revoke your probation,” he , Continued to Page WE’RE BACK.....The black bear populaton within the region has emerged after t winter months. Bear sightings are frequent already as they go out in search of food. The Department of Fish and Wildlife reminds you to never feed a bear and to secure trash as best you can to discourage bear from hanging around your home. This beautiful specimen was photographed by Carla Smith who generously shares her wildlife photography on her personal Facebook page. This was one of three bears that she photographed in one evening last week. Emergency road aid funds anneal/teed for slide repairs in Whitesburg and on Yams Fork The Kentucky Trans— portation Cabinet (KYTC) announced today that $100,00.00 in Rural Sec- ondary Road Aid emer— gency funds will be used for slide repairs at two 10- cations in the city limits of Whitesburg. ‘ The first is on Bass Road (CR 1102) north of KY 931 at mile point 0.027. The second is on Jenkins Road (CR 1107) west of KY 15X between mile points 0.120 and 0.250. I “The Bevin admin- istration is committed to the Cabinet’s mission of providing a safe, reliable transportation network for all Kentuckians,” said KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas. “These emergen- cy funds will help repair and restore damaged in— frastructure in Whitesburg, which will benefit all of Letcher County.” The city is respon- sible for all phases of the work; a check will be is-' sued directly to the City of Whitesburg. As part of Governor Matt Bevin’s commit- ment to prioritize trans- portation infrastructure projects and increase eco- nomic opportunity across the Commonwealth, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is pleased to announce $37,200.00 in County Road Aid Emer- gency Funds has been awarded. for wslide repair onYonts Fork (CR 1065), located north of KY 317 (mile point 2.110). The Letcher County Fiscal Court is responsible for all phases of the work; a check will be issued di- rectly to the county from County Road Aid Emer- gency Funds. Kentuckians for Better Transportation Names Leslie Combs as New Executive DirectOr LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT), a statewide transportation association, that has a long history of educating and advocating for all modes of transportation in Kentucky announces the hiring of Leslie Combs as their new Executive Director. ( “KBT has found an experienced leader not only in transportation but a leader for‘all of Kentt‘rcky,” states Rod England, KBT Chair, “Leslie brings leg- islative experience to KBT after serving for 10 years as State Representative 'in the Kentucky House for the 94th District.” ‘ While serving Ken- tucky as Representative, ' l Combs Vice Chair of the iI—Iou'se Transpor- and JChair of the House‘Bud— tation Committee get Sub-Committee on Transportation. 'With this experience, she has a long record of supporting all modes of transportation. Prior to serving as State Representative, Leslie was CFO~/ VP Administrative Operations for Pikeville College (now UPIKE). Af— ter retiring from the House of Representatives, Leslie continued to pursue her passion for transportation inKentucky by promoting P3 partnerships throughout the United States. ' “I am very excited about this new opportunity- with KBT,” states Leslie Combs, new KBT Execu- tive Director. “It allows me once again to be-intricate- ly\"'involved in advocating for areas so critical to our Commonwealth.” Leslie’s O experi- ence and passion for all things transportation is unmatched and provides KBT a unique advantage of having experience in transportation issues from both the legislative and private business sides. This knowledge base will allow Leslie to hit the ground running and lead our team into the next legislative session, which we all know is critically important not only to Kentucky’s trans- » 3' Continued to Page !‘