• County magistrates vote to join lawsuit against drug companies

    Nelson County will join some 36 other counties in suing the distributors of synthetic opioid drugs that plaintiffs believe are being overprescribed, causing addiction, sickness and death, and costing counties money in treatment.

    On Tuesday, the county’s magistrates unanimously approved a request by County Judge-Executive Dean Watts to enter into a contract with an attorney through the Kentucky Association of Counties to sue the distributors.

  • Royalty pleads not guilty to charges

    Former Bardstown Mayor John Royalty pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him Thursday in a case involving official misconduct, false swearing and perjury.

    Nelson Circuit Judge Charles Simms scheduled his trial for April 23. A pretrial conference was set for April 13 at 9 a.m. — exactly a year from the date he was removed from office.

    After his arraignment, Royalty told reporters he did not commit any of the crimes he is accused of and that would come out in his trial.

  • Watts wants to join lawsuit against drug companies

    At least 36 Kentucky counties have joined a lawsuit against drug companies for wrongful distribution of prescription opioids, and Judge-Executive Dean Watts says he will ask Nelson County Fiscal Court to join them.

    The civil suit seeks a legal settlement to recover financial losses Kentucky counties have incurred because of prescription opioid abuse.

    Watts said Nelson County has incurred the most cost through operation of its jail, but it also has cost the Sheriff’s Office, Nelson County EMS and the courts money.

  • Watts: County needs new jail

    Judge-Executive Dean Watts thinks the solution to Nelson County’s jail overcrowding is to build a new detention facility.

    At a joint meeting of the Nelson County Fiscal Court and the Bardstown City Council at the Public Library Oct. 19, Watts surprised many in the room by raising the issue of building a new lockup, which could cost upwards of $10 million.

    “Probably the biggest challenge we have facing us is we’re going to have to deal with a new jail somewhere down the line” because of the county’s growth, he said.

  • Walker walked away

    Mayor Dick Heaton told the Bardstown City Council members and its audience Tuesday that Fire Chief Randy Walker’s vanishing without a word to anyone was still a mystery.

    “All I can say is that it took all of us by surprise,” he said.

    Walker walked away overnight Monday after leaving a terse, two-sentence letter in Human Resources Director Greg Ashworth’s mailbox at City Hall. It simply said he was resigning effective immediately and that any property he had belonging to the city would be found in his office.

  • Supreme Court candidates campaign in Nelson County

    Judicial elections are nonpartisan, but two of the three announced candidates for the 3rd District seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court campaigned last weekend at a partisan event — the annual Nelson County Republican Picnic at My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

    Dan Ballou, a circuit judge in Whitley and McCreary counties, and Debra Lambert, a judge for the Kentucky Court of Appeals, had an opportunity to speak along with other officials and were interviewed about their candidacies.

    The other candidate, David Tapp of Somerset, did not attend.

  • Bardstown City Council approves amendment to increase city budget

    Councilwoman Kecia Copeland had to excuse herself from a Bardstown City Council meeting Tuesday during final approval of a budget amendment.

    One of the reasons for the amendment was to cover a $40,000 settlement with Copeland to absolve the city and its officials and employees — past and present — of any liability involving actions taken against her during the administration of former Mayor John Royalty, who was removed from office by the council.

  • Republicans put emphasis on responsibility, unity

    Democrats dominated Kentucky politics from the time of Andrew Jackson until a couple of years ago, but now it’s the Republicans who enjoy nearly one-party control of state government.

    At the annual Nelson County Republican Party picnic Saturday at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, GOP lawmakers reminded their audience that with that kind of control comes greater accountability.

  • BFD Chief Walker quits with no explanation

    Bardstown Fire Chief Charles “Randy” Walker has tendered his resignation to Mayor Dick Heaton, effective immediately.

    City officials are puzzled over why he did so.

    According to a press release issued by City Hall Tuesday, Walker’s resignation happened that morning.

  • County, city leaders talk about teamwork

    City and county industrial parks are running out of land, remote housing developments make it costly to provide water and sewer, and the state pension crisis threatens to delay needed projects.

    On the other side of the ledger, city and county firefighters are working to improve mutual aid, the sheriff wants to work more closely with the city’s new police administration, and the E-911 dispatch system is improving.