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John Robb Heston, 78; news service founder publicized DWP dispute

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

John Robb Heston, 78, a journalist and politically active presence in the Owens Valley, died April 30 at South Inyo Hospital in Lone Pine. He was battling lung and heart disease.

Heston, who founded the Eastern Sierra News Service with Bennett Kessler in 1976, brought attention to the valley’s longtime dispute with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power over the agency’s practices in the Eastern Sierra.

Born in Dallas, Heston began his news career as a teenage copy boy for the Dallas Times Herald. He worked in newspaper and radio newsrooms in Tennessee and Texas for several years.

According to Kessler, Heston was instrumental in establishing the area’s first local television station, followed by two radio stations and another television station.

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