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October 18, 2017

Fiscal Court balks on Huntington lawyer's opioid  proposal; Hogan wants to look it over...

LOUISA, KY. --  Well known Huntington, W.Va. attorney Bart Ketchum addressed the Lawrence Fiscal Court Tuesday morning about them joining in a class action lawsuit against wholesale drug companies that have flooded the area with opioids in the past few years.

Huntington, W.va. attorney Bart Ketchum attended Tuesday morning Lawrence Fiscal Court meeting.Huntington, W.va. attorney Bart Ketchum attended Tuesday morning Lawrence Fiscal Court meeting.Ketchum said the lawsuit would not cost Lawrence Co. taxpayers anything and the fees for his office would come from whatever settlement comes out of it from the drug companies. Then the law firm will take 30% of what could be a multi-million dollar deal. He said as many as 200 attorneys will be working on the case.

He said 400 million doses of oxycontin have been shipped into the Kermit-Williamson, W.Va. area in the past few years, a fact that was revealed in a CBS "60 Minutes" documentary Sunday.  The drugs have been sold all over the eastern part of the U.S.

Ketchum said if Lawrence joins in the lawsuit it will receive it's share of the settlement based on the number of people here compared to all the others who participate.

But judge/executive John Osborne and county attorney Mike Hogan were not convinced Lawrence County would benefit in joining other FIVCO counties like Boyd, and Greenup as well as Carter County and many others in W.Vawho have joined in the lawsuit effort. They, along with magistrates John J. Lemaster, Rick Blackburn and Morris Howard (Earl Boggs was absent) decided to table Ketchum's request for a month so they could look at the proposal more closely. Motion by John J. Lemaster, second by Morris Howard.

"I really don't like to get the county involved in federal lawsuits," Hogan said. "it is much better if we can start such an action in the Circuit Court here and go from there."

Other large payments have been made to areas by "Big Pharma" companies who have admitted the flow of opioids has been too substantial and is the cause of widespread addiction in eastern Ky. and southern W.Va.

Ketchum said if Lawrence joins in the lawsuit, which will be filed in federal district court in Ashland,  it will receive it's share of the settlement based on the number of people here compared to all the others who participate.

Lawrence County Extension Homemakers visited the fiscal court Tuesday to thank judge/executive John Osborne and the fiscal court for proclaiming Extension Homemakers week. Pictured from left to right…. Alma Webb, Diana Gauze, Laura Maggard (Agriculture/Natural Resource Extension Agent, present on behalf of Alivia Faris, Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent), Mary Jo Damron, John Osborne, Joanne Hatfield, Gloria Johnson, and Peggy Workman.Lawrence County Extension Homemakers visited the fiscal court Tuesday to thank judge/executive John Osborne and the fiscal court for proclaiming Extension Homemakers week. Pictured from left to right…. Alma Webb, Diana Gauze, Laura Maggard (Agriculture/Natural Resource Extension Agent, present on behalf of Alivia Faris, Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent), Mary Jo Damron, John Osborne, Joanne Hatfield, Gloria Johnson, and Peggy Workman.

In other agenda items the court:

Took care of housekeeping items;

{Opening Prayer
Pledge of Allegiance
Call Meeting to Order
Approve minutes of the September 19, 2017 Regular Meeting
Approve Budget Amendment #2
Approve Treasurer's Request
Approve Bills
Accept Treasurer’s Report}

 

* Unanimously agreed to the Appointment of County secretary Michelle Miller to the Northeast Community Action Bd. (Exp. 10/19)

*  Unanimously agreed to the Appointment of Chrystal Salyer as a member of the Lawrence County Recreation Board (Exp. 10/19)

*  Unanimously Approved a 10 year Lease Agreement for the Daughters of the American Revolution Room for a third floor courthouse room formerly used by Solid waste Coordinator Randy Woods. CA Hogan said he has two small adjustments to make on the lease but the court could go ahead and pass it. Motion by John J. Lemaster and second by Rick Blackburn.

*  Approved for Blaine Fire Dept. the Guideform Residental Antidisplacement and Relocation Assistance Plan of the Housing and Community Development Act which is required for the new $450,000 Blaine Fire Station which is being paid for with a federal grant. Motion by Rick Blackburn second by John J. Lemaster.

*  Approved for Blaine Fire Dept. the Fair Housing Resolution for the same purpose (new firehouse for Blaine)

*  Approved a $3.00 fee on the Credit Card Transactions at LC Park. Osborne explained that when visitors pay for items at the park by credit card, $3.00 is automatically charged back to the county so that amount needed to be collected on the credit card to cover the county's expense. motion by John J. Lemaster and second by Rick Blackburn.

John J. Lemaster and Morris Howard  at Tuesday's October fiscal court meeting.John J. Lemaster and Morris Howard at Tuesday's October fiscal court meeting.


*  Approve the Court to Seek Bids for Tractor and Bush hog. Osborne explained that the bush hog the county has now is mostly used for small, fine cutting and county workers need a larger one that can cut heavy brush and small trees. Motion by John J. Lemaster, second by Morris Howard.


*  Proclaim October 22 to 28 LC Extension Homemakers Week. A group of Lawrence County extension Office homemakers attended the meeting. (See photo) 

*  Approved the promotion of county road crew employee Joey Hickman to Mechanic Position $13.56 p/hr. Osborne said former mechanic Roger Pelphrey has resigned and Hickman will replace him. The court also discussed whether to hire another worker to fill Hickman's former position at the Road Dept. and decided to leave it open because of the financial questions looming for next year's budget.

Public Comments:

Kelly Ward, FIVCO economic development directorKelly Ward, FIVCO economic development director*  FIVCO Economic Development director Kelly Ward spoke to the court concerning FEMA payment to Gary and Bridgett Robinson of Old Rt. 32 who have qualified under FEMA rules as a habitual flooding area that will be fixed at no cost to the county. Ward said it would be better to wait until next fiscal year to apply for the funds because they would then be in the front of the line as the only Lawrence County family to qualify. The creek behind their home is prone to flooding frequently and FEMA has agreed to fix the problem, he said.

*  Louisa resident Walt Blackburn approached the court asking if there was a way to divert some of the tax monies collected by the county's taxing districts to the Lawrence County Animal Shelter. He said the shelter could use some funding and he has noticed the taxing districts have monies that could be used for that purpose. "We give them $1,800 per month from the county and we recently gave them $10,000 to do Walt BlackburnWalt Blackburnwork on the shelter, " Osborne said. He said the fiscal court has no sayso over what the taxing districts do with their monies and suggested Blackburn visit those districts when they have their meetings and see if they would be agreeable.

* LevisaLazer.com Editor/Publisher Mark Grayson asked about the status of Thompson Sanitation as one of the county's six approved garbage collection companies after the news media has received at least three complaints that customer's garbage has not been collected by Thompson's but they have been billed anyway.  Osborne said Thompson's has been placed on "probation" until Jan. 1 at which time the county will reassess it's performace after complaints were made in past months. He said they are still one of the six authorized garbage collection companies and that customers with complaints should call the judge's office.

Adjournment.

 

 

Comments  

+1 #5 suggestion 2017-10-24 23:23
Take the money spent on junkies and give to the animal shelter.
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-1 #4 GO 2017-10-20 00:27
Way to go Walt ! I agree 100%.
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+2 #3 Melissa 2017-10-19 17:28
Really animal shelter don't need any money. You go out to get a dog off of them and cause u don't have a fence in yard they won't let you have one. My daughter had to go out of county to adopt a pet. I will not help them at all.
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0 #2 Drug Money 2017-10-19 14:46
How much of the lawsuit money is going to come back to the people and families affected by addiction, death, etc. - NONE! That's how much has come back from the tobacco money. Lawsuits against the pharm companies will just increase costs for those of us who need prescriptions to pay for the suits and the money will be used at the discretion of the states/counties for supposedly education and the such which already does not work. Then the states and counties will use to pay their BIG debts and we'll see nothing except increased prices at the pharmacies and no impact on the current drug problem/crisis. Oh and the lawyers get rich too!
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+2 #1 Old FireFighter 2017-10-19 09:21
I don't see 450 thousand on something when they won't go on runs
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