Last Night’s Fire District Meeting

04/16/2014

At last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1′s Board of Commissioners, three new full-time firefighters were introduced, along with a new commissioner.

The three new firefighter are: Keith Cardwell, Rocky Davis, and Tyler Hogan. Cardwell had worked with the Ouachita Parish Fire Department, Davis with the Ruston Fire Department, and Hogan with the Choudrant Volunteer Fire Department.

With these hires, all the paid positions are filled – nine firefighters/drivers/captains, a district chief, a secretary, and the acting chief.

Temporary Chief Donny Watson said the department now has 82 volunteers on the roster.

Board Chair Richard Aillet noted that the department could always use more volunteers, and said that firefighting wasn’t the only job that volunteers can do.

Said Aillet, “We need volunteers not just to fight fires – which can be a fairly intimidating duty to do – we do need truck drivers, we need people that can handle the hoses for us, we need people that can tote the water.”

Watson said he often speaks to area groups in an effort to recruit volunteers.

New Simsboro commissioner Richard Durrett takes over for his son Ricky, and will finish out his term. Durrett was Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) Administrator when the fire district was created in 1991, and is familiar with the district’s issues.

The board also approved design of a maintenance facility for the district’s equipment. The building had been budgeted for, with the estimated cost in the $75-100 thousand range. It would be constructed at the Vienna location, and would be about 2 thousand square feet.

BR, NO Newspapers Fight over Welfare Payments

04/16/2014

Senate panel sides with Advocate on public notices

by koran addo
kaddo@theadvocate.com

State lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would allow The New Orleans Advocate to compete for the business of publishing legal notices in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

The bill came under fire from the NOLA Media Group, which delivers a rival paper — The Times Picayune — three days a week.

State law says each parish in the state must designate a newspaper as the official publication to run judicial advertisements and legal notices.

In order to be selected, newspapers are required to meet a number of different stipulations, among them is a requirement that the publication must have been physically located in the parish for five years.

The last stipulation is a problem for The New Orleans Advocate, which put down roots in New Orleans in 2012 but is the community’s only daily, home-delivered newspaper.
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Senate Bill 630, sponsored by state Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, would lift that five-year restriction allowing The New Orleans Advocate to compete with the NOLA Media Group over the lucrative public notices.

Cameron Mays Assigned Counsel in Hashaway Case

04/15/2014
Dr. Sue Hashaway

Dr. Sue Hashaway

Cameron Mays, the accused murderer of retired Grambling State University (GSU) professor Dr. Sue Hashway was assigned an “indigent defender” counsel this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court, Judge Wayne Smith presiding.

Assigned was Farmerville attorney Deanna McCallum, who is the wife of another judge in the 3rd JD, Jay McCallum. According to courtroom sources, Deanna had previously contracted with the Public Defender Board.

Hashaway was killed nearly two years ago, in June 2012, in the normally quiet Cypress Springs neighborhood of Ruston, in what appeared to be a home invasion and robbery.

Several days after the crime, the Ruston Police Department (RPD) arrested Cameron Mays, 26, of Ruston and charged him with Hashaway’s murder. He was also charged in another home invasion and rape that occurred in the same neighborhood.

Several months later, four others were indicted and charged with being an accessory, among other charges.

Mays had originally retained Shreveport attorney Joseph Clark, who passed away “within the past 60 days,” according to Judge Smith. Several hearings on the case had been postponed during Clark’s illness.

Smith ordered a May 13, 2014 sanity hearing for Mays.

LP Fire District Meeting Today

04/15/2014

The Board of Commissioners of the Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 will meet this afternoon at 5:00 PM, 4786 Hwy 167, Dubach (Vienna Fire Station).

Here is the agenda.

State Senator Attacks St. George

04/15/2014

Senator’s bill would halt breakaways

Mark Ballard
mballard@theadvocate.com

State Sen. Ben Nevers wondered with reporters Monday why none of the St. George organizers had contacted him about his legislation that would suspend efforts to create a new city from the unincorporated southern sections of East Baton Rouge Parish.

By the end of the day, the organizers phoned and set up a meeting for Tuesday morning.

Nevers’ Senate Bill 674, which would suspend the incorporation of new municipalities while the process is being studied, is scheduled for a hearing later this week. In particular, as now worded, the legislation would stop the effort to create a new city of St. George. But that wasn’t Nevers’ intention.

“I’m willing to work with St. George and make sure they can have their vote,” Nevers, D-Bogalusa, told the Press Club of Baton Rouge. “I haven’t heard from organizers.”

Later in the day, after hearing of Nevers’ statement, Norman Browning, one of the St. George organizers, said he would call Nevers immediately.

As it’s written now, SB674 includes a two-year retroactive moratorium, from Jan. 1, 2014, through December 2015. St. George organizers want to include the issue on the Nov. 4 ballot.

State Rep/Lawyer Loses Deadhead Job With Monroe

04/14/2014

A Louisiana State Representative and attorney who apparently did little work has lost her job with the City of Monroe’s legal deparment when her contract wasn’t renewed, according to veteran reporter Johnny Gunter.

Katrina Jackson (District 16) had been hired by City Attorney Nanci Summersgill at a salary of $33 thousand/year to handle workman’s comp claims.

However, when Gunter asked to see the documentation of hours worked that was required by the contract, Jackson refused.

Jackson’s office was in a city-owned building, and she paid below-market rent, according to the article. The city also picked up Jackson’s utility bills.

See here the complete article in The Ouachita Citizen.

This is a story you will never, ever see in the The Mayo Mouthpiece – The (Monroe, LA) News Star.

Is The News Star the New Nixon?

04/11/2014

It seems that The (Monroe, LA) News Star – more properly The (Monroe,LA) Mayor Jamie Mayo Mouthpiece – has taken a page from former President Richard Nixon’s book, and blames the whistle-blower, rather than the culprit. In today’s editorial, the Mouthpiece wondered about the snitch, and much of its news coverage all week worried about who told, rather than McAllister’s misdeeds.

Over forty years ago, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, in what became one of the most celebrated First Amendment Supreme Court decisions in history. Wrote Justice Hugo Black in his opinion:

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people…

The “journalism community” lauded Ellsberg as a hero for “speaking truth to power.”

Nixon sicced the FBI on Ellsberg, and he was charged with espionage. The charges were later dropped after the government was shown to have illegally gathered evidence, among other misconduct.

In the McAllister scandal, the area’s daily newspaper demonized the whistle-blower in an effort to shoot the messenger. Instead of a watchdog for the taxpaying citizens, the Mouthpiece is the leading voice for coverup and excuses for governmental misdeeds.

But then, the Mouthpiece, and its parent company Gannett, is well known for its lack of “journalistic integrity.”

About the Ouachita Citizen and Sam Hanna, Jr.

Long-time readers of this newsblog are familiar with the problems we have had with the “real” news media. We never have shied from calling out their misdeeds, nor will we do so in the future.

But in this case, The Ouachita Citizen and its Publisher Sam Hanna, Jr. are to be commended for having the courage to report what is obviously a highly controversial story.

The First Amendment means just what it says, and it stays healthy when people use it freely.

You done good, Sammy.

Brusly Police Chief Indicted

04/11/2014

Official accused of using town card for gas purchases

by Terry L. Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

A West Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Brusly Police Chief Jamie Whaley on charges of theft and malfeasance in office Thursday.

Whaley faces an arraignment hearing in 18th Judicial District Court on May 6.

Whaley surrendered to West Baton Rouge Parish authorities on Jan. 23 after he was accused of using a town-issued credit card to purchase gasoline for his personal truck and boat.

Whaley, 36, was booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail on counts of theft and malfeasance in office following an investigation by the state Inspector General’s Office and the FBI.

Why the Watchers Sometimes Need Watching

04/10/2014

State Audit Director Charged with Federal Program Fraud

BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that Delrice J. Augustus, age 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been charged in a bill of information with federal program fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A).

Augustus is the director of the Bureau of Auditing and Compliance Services for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). He is currently on leave from his position. DCFS leadership has cooperated fully with the investigation.

If convicted, Augustus faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture of the proceeds from the offense, restitution, and up to three years of supervised release following a term of imprisonment. His initial appearance will be held on a date to be determined.

The bill of information alleges that, during the period from 2010 through March 2014, while serving as audit director of a state agency receiving over a billion dollars annually in federal funds, Augustus fraudulently misused government purchasing cards to obtain items for personal use for himself and others, including an installed dishwasher; televisions; movies; cameras; wireless audio systems, such as Sonos and Jawbone; gaming devices, such as Xboxes, Wiis, and Leapsters; mobile devices, such as iPads, Kindle Fires, and an iPhone 5; Dyson vacuums; rental vehicles, hotel rooms; and fuel.

The matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A bill of information is an accusation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.

McAllister, the NSA, the Taxpayers, and the Political Class

04/10/2014

It is poetic justice that one of the Political Class has been caught by the very same advanced technology that spies upon taxpaying citizens 24/7/365.

Leaving aside the obvious moral issues and hypocrisy of Congressman Vance McAllister’s now world-famous French kiss, it shows just how ubiquitous is government surveillance in the modern world.

Traffic cameras, designed to harvest revenue from unsuspecting motorists – kind of a modern highway robbery; National Security Agency (NSA) snooping of everyone’s emails, phone calls, and internet activity; Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits that shake down the taxpayers for yet more money; it goes on and on.

When we taxpayers complain, we are told something like this: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

So to all you deadheads in The Political Class: deal with it, you all started it.


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