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Town hall to address drug issues

Speakers will talk about making better choices

Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith will be having a town hall meeting on May 8 to address one of the biggest problems in this region – drugs.

Keith said she began getting calls asking what was being done about the drug issue and what could be done. So, she decided to put a town hall together so people could talk to those who are trying to do something about it.

The town hall meeting will be from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Ironton High School auditorium.

The speakers will include author Ron James, Lawrence County Judge Andy Ballard, and County Prosecutor Brigham M. Anderson. It will begin with an introduction by Pastor Rick Sturgill and Dave Lucas will be the MC.

“I knew about Judge Ballard’s goal of a drug court and I knew about Brigham’s drug diversion program,” Keith said. “I was in contact with Ron James through Christ Temple Church and they told me he was in and wanted to tell me his story. He was also in contact with Ironton High School. So, we all happened to meet at the same time.”

Keith said they were bringing in James to speak to students and wondered if Keith would set up something for adults in the evening.

“So we all teamed up,” Keith said.

James is a motivational speaker and the author of the book “Choices, Lessons Learned from a Repeat Offender,” which chronicles his spending 25 years in prison after a series of bad choices and how he overcame that. After being released, he co-founded the Your Choice Foundation to inspire others to make good choices.

“He’s going to talk 30-45 minutes about his story of when he was in and out of prison and the choices he made in life. And then how he was able to turn his life around by making better choices,” Keith said. A movie based on his life and book is being filmed in Huntington.

Keith extended a lot of invitations to organizations and people to round out the event.

“We invited local recovery programs to hand out information and asked them to invite their clients. I invited every minister and every church in the city of Ironton to come out in support of this,” she said. “And let’s just begin the conversation about re-thinking drug addiction.”

The event is free and everyone is invited.

There will be another town hall meeting on May 15 about Ironton at the Ohio University Southern campus. It will have someone from all the city departments and members of City Council.

“I want people to understand the resources we have to work with, the mandates we have to deal with with the federal EPA,” Keith said. “Let them truly understand what we are dealing with.”

She has also invited city civic clubs, the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp., and Friends of Ironton.

“Anyone that is attached to us, I want people to be able to talk to them,” Keith said.