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Sheldon won't run again for 17th District House seat

State Rep. Steve Sheldon, a Bowling Green Republican who has held the 17th District seat in the state House of Representatives since 2019, won’t be running again for that seat.

Sheldon told the Daily News on Wednesday that because he sold his house off Cemetery Road and moved to a smaller home on Nutwood Street a few months ago, he no longer lives in the 17th District that is made up of Butler County and part of Warren County.

“I went to the House leadership and said, ‘If you want me to quit, I’ll quit,’ ” Sheldon said, recalling his move. “It was explained to me that as long as I had been a resident of District 17 for two years prior to the election, that made me eligible (to remain in office).”

Sheldon, a pharmacist and founder of the Sheldon’s Express Pharmacy chain and other businesses, said he and his wife decided to move because they no longer had a need for a large home now that their children are grown.

He said their current residence could be temporary and could even be back in the 17th District after redistricting decisions are made. But, in a prepared statement, the two-term legislator said he wanted to go ahead and remove himself from the 17th District race.

“I felt it was right to make this announcement public now so potential District 17 candidates can consider running,” Sheldon said in his statement.

A member of the Republican majority who joined other GOP legislators in pushing back against Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic and the governor’s powers to replace state board of education members, Sheldon said he hasn’t decided if his political career is over.

If he remains at his current address, he would be eligible to run for the 20th District House seat now held by Democrat Patti Minter, a Beshear ally.

“If this is the end (of his political career), I’m absolutely fine with that,” Sheldon said. “I really want to serve where I’m most needed. If I get the feeling that I’m really needed in Frankfort, I’ll run again.”

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdaily news.com.

Firefighters from Plano, Woodburn, Alvaton and Browning fire departments work to put out a garage fire at 11200 Nashville Road on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. According to Woodburn Fire Dept. Chief Bob Skipper, the owner of the property said he was burning trash behind the garage when his dog alerted him to the flames on the building. Firefighters arrived around 2 p.m. to find over half of the structure engulfed in flames. No injuries were reported and arson is not suspected. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Alvaton Fire Department firefighter Aaron James sprays water on residual flames as firefighters from Plano, Woodburn, Browning and Alvaton fire departments work to put out a garage fire at 11200 Nashville Road on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. According to Woodburn Fire Dept. Chief Bob Skipper, the owner of the property said he was burning trash behind the garage when his dog alerted him to the flames on the building. Firefighters arrived around 2 p.m. to find over half of the structure engulfed in flames. No injuries were reported and arson is not suspected. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Buchanon takes Natcher Award at BRADD meeting

Just days into his first term as Warren County judge-executive, Mike Buchanon received a momentous phone call from then-U.S. Rep. William H. Natcher, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

“He called and said, ‘Maybe I could help you with a few things,’ ” Buchanon said Tuesday, recalling that 1994 conversation. “I gave him a list of nine things I wanted to accomplish. He said yes to everything except one, and we got all eight of them done.”

That memory of the powerful congressman from Bowling Green was appropriate Tuesday during the 53rd annual meeting of the Barren River Area Development District at the Hidden Homestead event venue near Smiths Grove.

Buchanon, whose tenure as judge-executive began in the final months of Natcher’s 41-year career in the House of Representatives, now has a reminder of the congressman to display in his office.

Nominated by former Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. CEO Gary Dillard, Buchanon received BRADD’s William H. Natcher Award for distinguished service in government.

Citing Buchanon’s contributions to the growth of Warren County and his efforts to develop the region’s economy, Dillard said the judge-executive was the perfect pick for the award that has gone in the past to the likes of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and former state Rep. Jody Richards.

“He has served nearly three decades as judge-executive and has been a special person for Bowling Green and Warren County,” said Dillard, chairman of the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority that oversees the Kentucky Transpark industrial park. “He brings people together – Democrats, Republicans and Independents.”

That nonpartisan approach was mentioned by Buchanon as he recalled his brief relationship with Natcher, a Democrat who served in Congress until his death March 29, 1994.

“I was fortunate to have known Congressman Natcher,” said Buchanon, a Republican. “He was a true gentleman and someone I would certainly want to emulate. He showed me how to work together across party lines to get things done.”

Buchanon was presented a plaque by Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken, herself a past winner of the Natcher Award.

Milliken told the crowd of more than 100 people, mostly city and county leaders from throughout the 10-county region served by BRADD, about Buchanon’s other accomplishments.

A past president of the Kentucky Judge-Executives Association, Buchanon is a past winner of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year Award and has served in leadership positions with BRADD, Community Action of Southern Kentucky and other local organizations.

The annual meeting was presided over by BRADD board Chairman Steve Thurmond and BRADD Executive Director Eric Sexton, who gave a recap of the development district’s accomplishments.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sexton said BRADD administered over the past fiscal year more than $16.2 million in local project investment through its Community and Economic Development Department.

The organization developed more than three dozen grant applications for BRADD communities and established a revolving loan fund that has invested more than $150,000 in 13 area businesses.

Sexton said BRADD provided more than 200,000 meals for seniors throughout the region, and he pointed out that BRADD is the fastest-growing of Kentucky’s 15 ADDs.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the 10-county region grew in population by 9.8% from 2010 to 2020.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

Man handed 17-year sentence in meth conspiracy

A California man who admitted to his role in bringing about 75 pounds of crystal meth to Bowling Green was sentenced Wednesday to 17 years in prison.

George Sanchez, 27, was sentenced in U.S. District Court on a count of conspiring to possess meth with the intent to distribute.

Sanchez was one of eight people indicted on charges of taking part in the conspiracy, which authorities said involved the funneling of large quantities of meth from California to Bowling Green.

Three of the people charged have pleaded guilty.

Sanchez has received the stiffest punishment of those convicted thus far.

“George is sorry for the choices he made that put him in this position,” Sanchez’s attorney, Bryce Caldwell, said in court Wednesday.

In pleading guilty, Sanchez reached an agreement with prosecutors in which he admitted to his part in the conspiracy, in which court documents describe him as being responsible for more than 34 kilograms of the drug and of occupying a supervising role in its distribution.

The investigation took off following a traffic stop in Texas on July 24, 2020, that led to the discovery and seizure of a package containing 40 pounds of meth, according to law enforcement.

The driver of the car that was stopped reportedly told police he was driving the rental vehicle from California to Bowling Green to deliver the drugs to Tyrecus Crowe, one of the eight men charged in the conspiracy.

Crowe has pleaded not guilty.

The driver also allegedly told police that Crowe provided him with $105,000 in cash to bring to California, where he would meet with Sanchez in Los Angeles.

Sanchez and the driver then traveled to a residence, where the money was hand-counted and weighed on a scale during the drug deal, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, law enforcement learned of a 25-pound shipment that had previously come to Bowling Green from the same dealers in California, according to prosecutors.

Local law enforcement officials have said this case has involved the largest quantity of meth seized in Warren County.

Though federal sentencing guidelines, which take into the account a defendant’s criminal history and involvement in the crimes to which he has pleaded guilty, called for a sentence of roughly 24 to 30 years for Sanchez, the plea agreement he reached recommended a 17-year sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Yurchisin said in court that Sanchez’s willingness to accept responsibility early in the case factored into the sentence reached in the plea agreement.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers accepted the agreement, though he said without having that as guidance he was more likely to impose a 20-year sentence given the amount of drugs involved.

“I can’t imagine the drugs he was selling to Mr. Crowe was the only customer of the week or even his only customer of the day,” Stivers said.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' star among haunted attractions this season

In its 22nd year of providing scares in southcentral Kentucky, Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park will play host to the actor behind the mask of an iconic horror movie villain.

Bob Elmore, who played Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2,” will be at the park Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 for a photo-op and autograph session.

With Elmore’s upcoming visit, Skeleton’s Lair co-owner Amy Burge said a new section this year is called “The Kentucky Chainsaw Massacre.”

“This year’s focus is we are playing off our celebrity guest appearance,” she said. “It’s a spoof of the movie ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ We have already gotten calls from people out of the state who are fans of the movie. It’s a great opportunity for people to meet Elmore.”

Photos with Elmore will be $10 per person. Autographs are $25 per signature. Attendees can also purchase an autographed picture for $25.

Admission to all four attractions at the park (haunted woods, haunted hayride, two-story haunted house and a 3-D haunted maze) are $35 per person plus fees.

VIP Fast Pass tickets are an additional $10 and have limited availability.

Burge said the park at 48 Locketts Dream off Cemetery Road outside Bowling Green had a strong opening last weekend.

Skeleton’s Lair will be open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m. until Halloween and the last three Sundays of October from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Individuals who show up before open hours on the nights featuring Elmore will have an opportunity to take a picture with him in his full Leatherface costume from the film.

“Our hope every season is that we provide our visitors a safe and entertaining fall event,” Burge said. “We are very proud of the fact we have been in operation for 22 years. We have a staff of 60 or 70 people, and our crew loves the season. It’s their passion, and I think it shows. We have a really dedicated crew.”

To help alleviate any concerns participants may have about the COVID-19 pandemic, she said part of the park is set outside and appropriate safety precautions have been taken.

Wingfield Volunteer Fire Department members will put on their annual haunted house and hayride at 1780 Wingfield Church Road.

This Friday night will be the event’s grand opening. Attractions will be available every Friday and Saturday night in October from dusk until about 11:30 p.m.

Wingfield Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brandon Graham said it has hosted the haunted house for about 20 years. It’s one of the department’s top fundraisers.

General admission for adults is $12 per person. Tickets are $6 per person for children age 10 and under.

“We put it on mainly as a fundraiser for us,” Graham said. “Firefighters volunteer to be in it along with people from the community. All of the proceeds go toward the department. Usually, we like to hit around $15,000 raised through the event. I hope everyone gets out and enjoys theirselves this year.”

Graham said attractions include a haunted house featuring different rooms with their own scares, a haunted trail and a hayride that takes visitors to a 100-year-old graveyard.

He estimated that more than 1,200 visitors signed the guest book last year, and that number pales in comparison to the total number of attendees they saw.

Bonnieville’s “Hill of Terror” attraction will be open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 30 from dusk to midnight. Admission is $25 a person.

Located at 3666 Priceville Road, the park has 100 acres of farmland utilizing themes, props and actors connecting visitors to different self-guided trails throughout haunted woods, corn mazes and haunted houses.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.