Liquor Sales on Tech Campus now Legal


On a 4-1 vote, the Ruston City Council removed the prohibition against sales of liquor on the Louisiana Tech University (LTU) campus at last night’s meeting.

Moving for final adoption was District 5’s Bruce Siegmund, seconding was District 3’s Jedd Lewis.

Speaking for the ordinance amendment was LTU’s Vice President for Student Advancement James King.

King said the Davison Athletics Complex south end zone facility will be used for hosting events for visiting company executives, in addition to game-day activities.

Said King of campus foodservice provider Aramark, “They are a very good catering service. They want to handle things the right way, legally, and so they’re making application to get a liquor license. Because they are professionals, it will be handled as such.”

King told Lincoln Parish News Online that “as long as he was vice-president” at Tech, there would be no further expansion of alcohol sales on campus.

The single no vote on the council, District 4’s Jim Pearce, spoke against the ordinance change.

Said Pearce, “What’s going to happen down the road, once we vote on this, that door is open.” He added, “What’s going to happen around our school? And that could happen tomorrow. You could have bars or restaurants opening all around the school, because that 300 foot (prohibition) is not there.”

Pearce also worried that the alcohol ordinance that was passed by the voters in 2002 was gradually being chipped away by the council’s action.

Also speaking against the ordinance was Grace UMC Pastor Bob Deich.

His remarks were similar to written comments published last week.

No other area church pastors bothered to speak up at last night’s public hearing.

Changes Coming for Lincoln Schools Medical/Drug Benefits


The 5:30 PM, Tuesday, August 4 meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) Finance Committee is the meeting you’ll want to attend to learn of impending changes to drug and medical benefits for school personnel.

Among the recommended changes:

Increase the annual RX deductible to $250, applicable to all tiers of prescriptions
Change the member responsibility for Specialty Drugs to 25% of the cost, maximum of $250 per prescription (this is currently a $100 copay).
Change the non-formulary co-pay to $60 (from $50)
Increase the Individual Maximum In Network Out of Pocket to $3,500
Increase the Family In Network Maximum Out of Pocket $10,500

See here the memo.

See here the agenda.

In the 6:00 PM meeting of the full board, personnel actions will be reviewed.

See here the proposed personnel actions.

Here is the agenda.

The meetings will be held at the Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Booze Sales @ Tech Final Vote at Monday’s City Council Meeting


A final vote on an ordinance amendment allowing issuance of alcohol sales permits on Louisiana Tech University’s campus will be up for consideration at the 5:30 PM, Monday, August 3 meeting of the Ruston City Council.

Citizens who wish to comment on the proposed ordinance change will get their chance at a public hearing just prior to the vote.

Here is the agenda.

Also notable is a final vote on the ordinance creating a cooperative endeavor agreement between Excellence Started, LLC and the city. That company will construct the building in which Monster Moto, LLC will headquarter and build go-carts and minibikes.

The final ordinance has been amended to substitute the words “provide for” in lieu of “guarantee” relating to the rent on the building “under certain terms and conditions.”

Also “cooperative endeavor” agreement has been substituted for “guaranty” agreement.

See here the documents.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday


The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, August 3, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Courthouse, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

BR Advocate’s Shuler: Gallot Not Running for Re-election


Just received:

Working on confirmation with Gallot’s office. Will update as soon as possible.

From KTVE-TV10

“Since the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, I have taken time to fast, pray, and consider my future in the Louisiana Senate. I have come to the conclusion that even though I have no announced opposition, I will not seek re-election to the Senate. It is time for me to devote my time and energy to my beautiful wife, Christy and our four sons Trey, A.J., Christopher and Joseph. While my energy and passion for serving the State of Louisiana and Senate District 29 remains strong, I know that I have an even greater responsibility to my family.’

‘I know there will be many questions surrounding my decision to walk away from an uncontested re-election. I am at peace with my God and in my spirit in making this decision and know that it is the right thing to do. There may be an opportunity to serve the public again in the future that will not involve my being 222 miles from home. I will continue to put God and my family into any such decision on seeking public office in the future.”

LP Jail Budget Close to Breakeven


After more than a million dollars siphoned from the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s (LPPJ) Courthouse Capital Fund over the past two years to all but rebuild the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, the facility’s finances are near breakeven, the center’s commissioners were told Tuesday.

Warden Jim Tuten said for the first six months of 2015, revenues amounted to about $2.1 million, and expenses were about $1.74 million. However, Tuten said that necessary capital expenditures will eat up the surplus now on hand.

Needed equipment includes washers and dryers, kitchen appliances, showers, and plumbing drains. Once those issues are addressed, surpluses may be accumulated in the future, it was felt.

Hopefully, said Tuten, the center won’t have to come to the LPPJ for additional funding.

As of midnight Monday, there were 230 prisoners housed at the facility, and 3 prisoners housed at more secure facilities.

Delta Community Donation Ok’d by I-20 Board


On a 3-2 vote, the Interstate 20 Economic Development District’s Board of Directors approved a $600 thousand donation to Louisiana Delta Community College, as part of a match toward obtaining other state capital outlay monies for capital improvements and construction at the facility.

Voting yes were Chairmain Otis Chisley, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, and Rowena Sledge. Voting no were Johnny Bryant and Charles Pritchard.

Delta Chancellor Barbara Hanson said the money represented economic development, since the state would be putting up most of the money for the construction.

Said Hanson, “With that $600 thousand, the economic impact will be such that you will receive for the I-20 District, $8.181878 million in investment of state and other private money in the heart of the I-20 District.”

The donation had been on hold awaiting an opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General. Earlier this month, the AG agreed that the monies did represent “economic development.”

See here the opinion.

Board Member Johnny Bryant said that while the donation was laudable, he cautioned that the district is facing significant expenditures for a needed drainage project.

Said Bryant, “It’s a substantial expense. I’m concerned that this board’s going to run out of funds when we start doing Phase II, and the Nutland to Lowe’s road, and these drainage problems.”

In other business, the board approved awarding a contract to Womack & Sons Construction for Phase I of the North Service Road. The road will extend from near the intersection of Millhaven and Garrett to Fontana.

Denmon Engineering’s Mike Bonnette said the bid came in at $3.7 million, and was estimated at $4.1 million. Completion is estimated in about 300 working days.

Notable at the meeting was Monroe developer Eddie Hakim, his brother Joseph, and attorney Joe Guerriero. The Hakim’s have significant property holdings in the I-20 district.

I-20 Board Meeting Tonight


The Interstate 20 Economic Development Committee Board of Directors will meet tonight (7/29), 5:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Mayo, Mouthpiece Parboiled in Soup Kitchen Controversy


Controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and his propaganda agent, the Mayo Mouthpiece. were caught flat-footed in lies at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monroe City Council, when it was revealed that his refusal to fund “Granny’s Kitchen” charity was fraudulent.

In a Monday presser, Mayo used as a prop Madison Goins, the son of the founder of the charity, to assert that the group doesn’t “want government in our ministry.”

A resolution listed on the council meeting agenda was to appropriate $20 thousand for the charity.

True to form The Mayo Mouthpiece rolled out the propaganda machine, giving Mayo front-page treatment for his latest fight with the city council, and penning an “editorial” praising Madison Goins for refusing government money.

But it was all built upon a tissue of lies.

Madison Goins, it turns out, has no affiliation with the organization.

Gladys Goins, a sister to Madison, read to the council last night a letter from the group’s board of directors refuting Madison and Mayo’s claims. From the document:

Unbeknownst to any of us affiliated with this organization, he (Madison Goins) held a meeting with Mayor Jamie Mayo, as well as a televised press conference. Mr. Goins is not affiliated with The United League of Churches Community Soup Kitchen.

He does not serve at any capacity, nor on any governing board. Mr. Goins’ comments and opinions are solely his and do not reflect those of the organization.

Thanks again for your support whether past, present, or future, in whatever capacity it may have been. No deed is to great or small.

See here the letter.

Mortified, Mayo tried to filibuster.

Blustered Mayo, “First of all, those funds that were requested, they’re not budgeted.”

That’s when Mayo was caught in his second lie.

District Five’s Eddie Clark pulled out a signed document from the April 14 meeting of the council, where Mayo agreed, in writing, to fund the charity.

See here the agreement.

Said Clark, “I have before me the agreement that was signed on April 14, 2015, by all the council members as well as our honorable mayor, where he states that he would support the funding for the Granny Goins Kitchen, O. K. Program, and Council of Aging.”

He added, “It’s my understanding that the Council of Aging, they’ve received their money. The O. K. Program, I believe they’re received their money, and we have people here who are hungry, and its time for them to receive their money.”

The resolution was amended to provide funding for the kitchen from the council budget, and was passed unanimously. Dr. Armstrong (District One), was absent.

Also on the agenda was a resolution to approve a liquor license for the Washington Street Jazz Club. This is the establishment that last year had its license pulled by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).

After some discussion, there was but one vote to approve, that of District Four’s Kenny Wilson. The other council members abstained.

LA Tech to go Wet Campuswide if Ordinance Passes?


A new City of Ruston Ordinance, if passed, would appear to allow the entire Louisiana Tech Campus to go “wet,” and would allow the sale of alcohol campus-wide. The proposed ordinance will be voted on at the 5:30 PM, 8/3/15 meeting of the Board of Aldermen. It was introduced at the 7/6/15 meeting.

The existing ordinance subsection (a) reads thus:

Sec. 5-24. – Proximity to churches, schools, etc.

(a) A permit under this article shall not be granted for any premises situated within 300 feet or less of a public playground or a building used exclusively as a church or synagogue, public library or school, except a school for business education conducted as a business college or school. Such distance shall be measured as a person walks using the sidewalk from the nearest point of the property line of the church or synagogue, public library, playground or school to the nearest point of the premises to be licensed, or by such method as may hereafter be prescribed by the laws of the state. The restrictions contained in this section shall not apply to premises which are maintained as a bona fide hotel, railway car or fraternal organization.

(Ord. No. 1395, § 1, 12-17-2002)

State Law reference— Authority to limit location of business, R.S. 26:281.

The new ordinance amendment adds to subsection (a) the following phrase: “and except a state college or university.”

See here the complete document.

The ordinance had been touted as allowing alcohol only at the Davison Athletics Conference south end zone facility now under construction, that is set to open this fall.

However, the amendment makes no distinction about any specific campus location and would appear to open up the entire Tech campus for alcohol sales.

At least one area pastor has called upon his congregation to fight the proposed ordinance.

Wrote Grace United Methodist Church Pastor Robert Deich in a memo distributed to the congregation:

It has been said that this is, specifically to offer sales and consumption of alcohol in the new $22 million Davison Athletics Complex, but the ordinance is written to include the entire campus.

I’ve been to enough games at Tiger Stadium, the Superdome and Cajun Field to say with confidence and pride (as a resident of Ruston and a Tech alumni) that we have something special in Ruston – a family atmosphere. I would rather enjoy one game at Joe Aillet Stadium with my grandson Logan, than endure one in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or Lafayette. While alcohol may not be offered openly in each of those venues, the atmosphere that exists is certainly more of the “party school” atmosphere and is not welcoming to families.

The positive, unique, family-friendly atmosphere of Ruston & Tech are something we need not sacrifice to the almighty dollar or to the desires of a small minority.This dynamic, combined with the potential negative impacts of alcohol on individuals and our community should not be taken lightly.

See here the complete document.

Deich said he had been in contact with other area pastors in an effort to mobilize their support.


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