Six people were arrested Tuesday and charged with drug trafficking and controlled substance possession following a search warrant executed at a Madisonville home.
Adam Strader, 39, of Madisonville, Robert Gatlin, 56, of Madisonville, Stephen Householder, 51, of Clay, Kenneth Hoge, 39, of Madisonville, Maria Faith, 54, of Madisonville and Kristen Smith, 39, of Madisonville, were all charged in the investigation.
According to arrest reports, the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office and Madisonville Police Department dual narcotic task force received a tip of drug trafficking at a residence at 64 Calumet Lane in Madisonville.
While conducting surveillance on the residence, detectives observed a man, later identified to be Hoge, enter the residence, exit the residence and approached a vehicle, placing a brown bag under the hood of a car.
Officers followed the car and observed the driver following too closely to the vehicle in front of them while traveling on Island Ford Road near Whittington Drive, according to arrest reports.
Officers made contact with the vehicle and brought K-9 units onto the scene that alerted the presence of narcotics in the vehicle.
During a search of the vehicle, officers located a bag with suspected Gabapentin and Clonazepam, and another bag containing suspected methamphetamine, money, syringes and digital scales.
According to arrest reports, Hoge and Householder were arrested following the vehicle search.
A search warrant also was executed at the home, where they found large amounts of money, suspected methamphetamine in the living room area of the home, multiple bags of suspected marijuana and suspected Gabapentin and several pills located inside a plastic bag. Officers made contact with the rest of the individuals, who were arrested at the residence, according to police reports.
As of Wednesday afternoon, all six remain housed at the Hopkins County Jail. Gatlin and Faith is housed on a $2,000 cash bail bond with court dates set for Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. The bond and court dates for the others arrested have not been set yet.
At its most recent meeting, the Dawson Springs City Council recognized the achievements of a member of the administrative staff in the municipal building.
“Assistant City Clerk Amie Thomas received the prestigious Kentucky Certified Municipal Clerk designation at the Kentucky Municipal Clerks Institute in Lexington,” announced City Clerk Janet Dunbar. “It is the only training designed for municipal clerks.”
According to a press release, Thomas completed 120 hours of instruction over three years at the international institute, which is an accredited certification program.
During the three-year institute, Thomas was among 26 graduates who received instruction in public administration, social and interpersonal concerns, and electives significant to the profession.
“The institute is beneficial because it keeps municipal clerks informed of current issues that affect our cities,” said Dunbar.
Thomas has served as assistant city clerk since September 2018.
“When we found out the bank—5/3—was closing, I knew I didn’t want to commute to Madisonville every day to transfer,” she said of the decision to change her career path. “I heard of this opening and applied, so I feel like it just fell in my lap.”
The 1995 graduate of Dawson Springs High School is no stranger to the city.
“Dawson Springs is my home—I’ve lived here all my life,” Thomas said. “I consider it an honor to be serving my city.”
In the city’s day-to-day operations, it is Thomas’ role to assist in clerical work, paying bills, and recording taxes. She also serves as City Clerk in Dunbar’s absence.
“Serving the community as Assistant City Clerk for the past three years has been very rewarding,” said Thomas. “I’ve met so many people and become friends with a new work family.”
“I believe Amie received a great deal of information over the past three years at the Clerks Institute which has greatly benefitted the City of Dawson Springs,” commended Mayor Chris Smiley.
The institute was hosted and approved by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Kentucky Municipal Clerks Association, and the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration.
While positive cases of COVID-19 are on the decline, the month of September still proved to be the deadliest month for Hopkins County since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Last month saw 24 Hopkins County residents die from virus related complications, the highest monthly total on record.
Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach said while the numbers are declining, those getting sick are getting very sick.
“Out of the 24 that died in September, we had two vaccinated people die, and they had serious comorbidities, so we had 22 unvaccinated die,” she said. “We had 11 people under age 70, and they were all unvaccinated.”
On Monday, the Health Department reported 178 new COVID-19 cases with a total of 197 deaths in the county.
Beach said the numbers going down is a positive sign, and if people continue to get vaccinated then there will be more positive signs. She said about 50% of the county is vaccinated against COVID-19, which is in line with the state numbers.
Baptist Health reported 25 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of those, two were vaccinated and 23 of them were unvaccinated. In the Critical Care Unit, there are 11 patients all of them unvaccinated.
Kristy Quinn, the hospital marketing and public relations director, said the numbers at the hospital are staying in the mid-to-high 20s and the CCU is staying steady at around 10 patients or so, which is slightly better than what they were seeing.
“Bed capacity is good at the hospital now that the number of critical COVID patients is declining,” she said. “The strain on the critical care unit when we are full with COVID makes it difficult to have beds for those with other needs that require critical care.”
Beach and Quinn said they are worried about how the holidays will affect the COVID-19 positive numbers.
“Last year we had a huge spike during the holidays for holiday gatherings, so that does really concern me,” said Beach. “I am hoping that we get enough people vaccinated between now and then that the holidays will be a lot nicer this year.”
Quinn added with events back on, people traveling more and moving indoors, they don’t know when the next variant will emerge, what it will look like or how the flu season will add to the mix.
“We are hopeful for a better winter than last year due to vaccinations and the upcoming ability for children to be vaccinated as well,” she said.
Beach encourages unvaccinated family members to get the vaccine so the holidays can be COVID-19 free.
“We have talked about we know this vaccine works, we know it is preventing deaths and serious illness, we know it is reducing the risk of contagion,” she said. “We just need people to get out there and get their vaccine.”
Quinn said while COVID-19 is around, it is still important to receive the annual flu vaccination. Baptist Health is holding drive-thru flu vaccine clinics at the medical offices in Madisonville and Powderly from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and on Saturday, Oct. 23, with regular and high doses available. She said no appointment is needed for those 18 years and older, and the parents of younger patients should talk to their child’s pediatrician.
“There is no required wait time between receiving your COVID vaccine and flu vaccine, so if you have recently received your COVID vaccine, you can still take the flu vaccine as well,” said Quinn.
To make an appointment with the Health Department to get a COVID-19 vaccine, call 270-821-5242 ext. 229.
On Tuesday, Earlington Mayor Phillip Hunt announced at the city council’s meeting that the Pennyrile Allied Community Services office will be at city hall on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon for a pre-registration event for senior citizens seeking utility bill assistance.
The pre-registration will be for seniors 60-years-old and older, and they must be on Social Security or disability.
Earlington City Clerk Martha Hamby advised applicants to be familiar with the requirements for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Household income must be at or below the limits set by the Department for Community Based Services.
According to LIHEAP, a household size of one must have a gross monthly income at $1,610, a household of two must be at $2,178, household of three must be at $2,745 and a household of four must have a gross monthly income of $3,313. LIHEAP states in their guidelines that they will add $568 to the limit for each additional family member.
Applicants must bring proof of their Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card for each member of the household, have proof of all household’s income from the preceding month, most current heating bill, statement from their landlord if heating expenses are included in rent, a statement from a utility company if applicants participate in a Pre-Pay Electric program and the account number and name on the account for main heating fuel sources and electric bill.
For more information about the pre-registration day, call Hamby at Earlington City Hall at 270-383-5364.