LA High School Football Killed until “Phase 4” – Is it Time for School Tax Refund to Taxpayers?

07/13/2020

No high school football until La. enters phase 4, LHSAA votes

By Matt Houston – WAFB-TV Baton Rouge

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association voted on Monday not to allow high school football games to be played until the state enters phase 4 of K-12 re-opening.

No sports are allowed under phase 1. In phase 2, cross country and swimming will resume as normal, and volleyball will be allowed to practice and have scrimmages amongst themselves.

Football will be allowed to practice beginning in phase 3, but will not scrimmage themselves nor other schools until phase 4.

Guv’s Mask Order Peeled Back by NW LA Law Enforcement

07/13/2020

Area law enforcement won’t enforce mask mandate

KTBS-TV3 Shreveport

Most area law enforcement agencies are in agreement: They won’t enforce the governor’s face mask mandate.

The only time they’ll get involved is if a customer, approached about wearing a mask, refuses to leave a business if asked to do so, then that could lead to a charge of trespassing.

The Bossier, DeSoto and Webster sheriffs’ offices and Bossier City Police have issued statements concerning the mask enforcement.

“This is a state mandate, not a law. During the announcement, Gov. (John Bel) Edwards stated clearly that this mandate will not be enforceable by law enforcement agencies,” DeSoto Sheriff Jayson Richardson and Webster Sheriff Jason Parker said in identical social media posts Sunday.

“Law enforcement officers with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and Bossier City Police Department will only become involved when a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management,” said Whittington and Bossier City Police Chief Shane McWilliams.

Bel Edwards Mask Order Doesn’t Cover Much

07/13/2020

Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says it will not enforce Edwards’ mandatory mask order going into effect Monday

By Zach Parker

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says it will not enforce Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mandate issued Saturday that anyone in public must wear a mask as of Monday, though people could still face criminal charges in certain circumstances.

The Sheriff’s Office noted Edwards’ order was a mandate, not a law.

“Many are questioning the enforcement guidelines that will be taken regarding the mandate,” said Glenn Springfield, the sheriff’s public information officer. “This is a mandate, not a law. In announcing the mandate, Governor Edwards himself says it will not be enforceable by law enforcement agencies.”

Livingston Parish won’t enforce the state’s mask mandate, Layton Ricks says

By Youssef Rddad

Livingston Parish will not penalize people people who don’t wear a mask in public, local leaders said Monday, even though the parish’s coronavirus caseload is four times the rate needed to be exempt from a new state mandate requiring masks be worn in public

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said in a statement Monday that while he encourages people to take precautions from getting sick, local authorities will not “strictly enforce” the state mandate, including citing people.

Face mask mandate likely won’t be included in Louisiana school reopening rules

While Louisiana’s top school board meets Tuesday to approve emergency health safety rules for the reopening of public schools, the panel is expected to stop just short of mandating that students and adults wear face masks.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to approve guidelines that mostly mirror minimum safety standards issued by the state Department of Education on June 25 to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

That report recommended, but did not mandate, that students in the third grade and adults wear face masks “to the maximum extent possible” in schools.

Two Nights of Police Jury Meetings Next Week

07/11/2020

There will be Lincoln Parish Police Jury meetings on two nights next week, Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14.

Both sets of meetings will be a the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton Street.

Health & Welfare Committee – 5:15 PM, Monday, July 13
Agenda and documents

Personnel/Benefits Committee – 5:00 PM, Tuesday, July 14
Agenda and documents

Public Works Committee – 6:00 PM, Tuesday, July 14
Agenda and documents

Police Jury – 7:00 PM, Tuesday, July 14
Agenda and documents

Shreveport Mayor Face Mask Order Stripped Away

07/11/2020

Judge halts Shreveport mask mandate; congressman threatens lawsuit, calling mask order ‘overreach’

By Ben Myers – The (Baton Rouge, LA) Advocate

A Caddo Parish judge on Friday temporarily halted Shreveport’s citywide mask order, two days after Mayor Adrian Perkins issued it, KSLA reported.

Rep. Mike Johnson took to Facebook on Thursday to criticize Perkins for “overreach,” and to announce the lawsuit would be filed.

“The maintenance of public health is critically important – but so is defense of the CONSTITUTION,” Johnson wrote.

BREAKING: Shreveport Judge Blows Up Perkins’ Mask Mandate

Sure wish we had something like this in Baton Rouge. But congratulations to the business community in Shreveport for, at least temporarily, striking a blow for freedom and the constitution at the expense of hysteria and tyranny.

See here the lawsuit

Some Lincoln Parish Parents Want to HomeSchool until Vaccine

07/08/2020

According to Lincoln School District Superintendent Mike Milstead, about 25% of parents will not physically send their children to area schools this fall, and will opt to use online learning.

“It looks like 25.4% plan to educate their children at home. In the comments section of that survey the reason for that was that they wanted to keep them at home until there was a vaccine,” he said.

Milstead said he would be meeting with principals this week to discuss plans for opening next month, and would notify the public next week.

Regarding transportation, Milstead said that with the reduced attendance, there may be enough bus capacity to transport the children without double routes. About half the students ride buses, he said.

Milstead said that although students would be required to wear masks, there would likely be no ‘discipline referral’ for students who might have problems with masks all day long.

“We are going to urge principals and teachers to be very lax about kids, reminding them to keep their masks on. The typical 8-year old is not going be able to keep that mask on all day,” he said

Milstead also talked about sports and the “very possible” chance that all fall high school sports might be cancelled. He said that it would be a problem for some students, as sports are a motivating factor for them.

The decision on the sports would be made at the state level, he said.

Milstead’s remarks came during his comment period at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board.

Earlier in the meeting, the board voted to authorize insurance consultant Brown & Brown to conduct a complete survey of the district’s medical insurance plan. Costs have grown over the past few years, and the study will attempt to locate areas of cost savings and report results to the board.

Here’s the memo.

Phase II of Sports Complex to Begin Construction

07/07/2020

Lincoln Builders will soon start construction of Phase II at the Ruston Sports Complex, after the City Council last night approved a proposal for a $12 million, 80 thousand sq ft activity center. Administrative Services Director Jay Ellington said the center would have six gymnasium floors, a meeting room, offices, concessions, and restrooms.

“It will be a twelve month construction, as planned currently,” he said.

Ellington said the contract used the Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) process, which solicits proposals from contractors using general guidelines, rather than a formal bid process with detailed plans and bid specifications. After the contractor is selected, the two parties negotiate a not-to-exceed price.

Recent state legislation lowered the threshold for CMAR projects from $25 million to $5 million.

“We had four proposed to us, and we worked our way and graded each of them. We selected Lincoln Builders in that process. Since then (architect) Mike Walpole, myself, and Lincoln Builders have been working through the guaranteed maximum price for this contract,” Ellington added.

The aldermen also approved an ordinance that will increase the city’s base rate electric charge by 1/2 cent per kilowatt hour (KWH).

Public Works Director Darrell Caraway said that a recently renegotiated contract for wholesale power will more than offset the base rate increase. The first full month of the new contract was June, 2020, he said.

“It shows a 1.2 cent per kilowatt reduction to the customers,” said Caraway.

Caraway said that several needed projects will be funded with the money, including upgrading street lights and substation control system improvements.

Finally, a Federal Aviation Administration grant was accepted to fully fund a project to lengthen the runway of the city’s airport by 1000 feet, from 5 thousand to 6 thousand.

The project will have a total cost of about $3.5 million.

School Tax Hike Vote to be Sat, Aug 15

07/06/2020

If tomorrow night the Lincoln Parish School Board approves, a new parishwide 1/2 cent sales tax hike will be on the ballot for Saturday, August 15.

Originally, the date for the vote had been set for May of this year, but as a result of the Covid-19 hysteria, the Louisiana Secretary of State and Gov Bel Edwards rescheduled the vote to August. The board vote would acknowledge the new election date.

Here’s the pertinent language:

Just a reminder,the election was officially called on October 1, 2019, for the purpose of levying a new 1/2 cent parishwide sales and use tax to provide for additional salaries and benefits for permanent/salaried employees, the placement of a school resource officer at every school, building security upgrades, and financial support for increasing employer health plan costs. Any residual revenues could be used to support other needs such as technology, instructional programs, facility maintenance, and property insurance premiums. Again, this would be a permanent parishwide sales and use tax.

See here the resolution.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 7) night’s meeting is set for 6:00 PM, Lincoln Parish STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road, adjacent to Ruston Junior High School.

Here is the agenda.

Ruston City Council Monday

07/05/2020

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, July 6, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

US Fifth Circuit on Protests & Worship

06/19/2020

Yesterday, the U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit ruled that a lawsuit by Rev. Tony Spell against Louisiana Governor Bel Edwards was no longer relevant, because Edwards’ order prohibiting in-person worship services had expired.

Spell, Pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, LA, refused to abide by the order from the very start of the Covid-19 hysteria, and held in person worship services from then to this day.

Spell has been arrested, briefly jailed, and issued numerous summons. He sued in federal court in early May.

What is noteworthy in the unanimous ruling by the 3-judge panel is the concurring opinion written by James Ho.

He addresses the issue of how protests and worship services have been treated differently by authorities.

At the outset of the pandemic, public officials declared that the only way to prevent the spread of the virus was for everyone to stay home and away from each other. They ordered citizens to cease all public activities to the maximum possible extent—even the right to assemble to worship or to protest.

But circumstances have changed. In recent weeks, officials have not only tolerated protests—they have encouraged them as necessary and important expressions of outrage over abuses of government power.

It is common knowledge, and easily proved, that protestors do not comply with social distancing requirements. But instead of enforcing the Governor’s orders, officials are encouraging the protests — out of an admirable, if belated, respect for First Amendment rights. The Governor himself commended citizens for “appropriately expressing their concerns and exercising their First Amendment Rights.” If protests are exempt from social distancing requirements, then worship must be too.

None of this is to say that Pastor Spell and his parishioners should ignore the advice of health experts. But the same is true for the protestors. No doubt many other Louisianans would have protested too, but for the advice of health experts. The point here is that state and local officials gave them the choice. Those officials took no action when protestors chose to ignore health experts and violate social distancing rules. And that forbearance has consequences.

The First Amendment does not allow our leaders to decide which rights to honor and which to ignore. In these troubled times, nothing should unify the American people more than the principle that freedom for me, but not for thee, has no place under our Constitution.

See here the complete ruling.

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