Final Vote Monday on Ruston Liquor Hours

07/29/2016

Monday’ night’s meeting (8/1/16) of Ruston’s Board of Alderman will see a public hearing and final vote on whether restaurants that serve alcohol will be able to stay open until 2 AM, instead of the Midnight closing time that is now law.

The proposed ordinance would allow restaurants to serve drinks on the sidewalk adjacent to the establishment, and allow sale and consumption of drinks during “city approved public events.” Present law forbids “open containers” anywhere in public.

Also, the sole authority to issue permits will be transferred to the mayor’s office, bypassing the city council, who under existing law has a say in the matter.

See here the ordinance that is now in force.

See here the proposed ordinance.

The meeting is set for 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Gallot Named GSU Prez

07/26/2016

26 days after last president resigns, board selects new Grambling State president Rick Gallot

BY REBEKAH ALLEN | rallen@theadvocate.com Jul 26, 2016

Attorney and former Louisiana lawmaker Rick Gallot was chosen Tuesday as the newest president of Grambling State University, a mere 26 days after the former president resigned.

The quick turn around was met with mixed reviews by a crowded room of Grambling State alumni, some who traveled from out of state and as far as Chicago to attend the University of Louisiana System Board meeting, where the decision was made.

While a few alumni said they were supportive of efforts by the board to quickly fill the leadership position, many others were frustrated that the board would seemingly put so little time and energy into selecting the president for Louisiana’s second largest public historically black university, particularly because the university has had a revolving door of presidents in the past two decades.

I-20 Board Meeting Tomorrow

07/26/2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 4:00 PM, Mayor’s conference room, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

I-20 Agenda

1. Call To Order – Otis L. Chisley
2. Roll Call & Quorum Declaration – Charles Prichard
3. Adoption Of Prior Minutes
4. Frontage Road Issues – Kim & Kelvin
5. Change Orders
6. Nutland Road Update
7. Payment Of Shreveport Neon Signs
8. Southern States Utilities Update
9. Engineer Consultant For Traffic Litigation For North Frontage Road
10. Relocation Of Electrical Utilities On North Frontage Road
11. Closed Session **if needed**
12. Other Business
13. Public Participation
14. Adjourn

2nd Circuit Campaign Finance Reports

07/25/2016

Normally, races for judges are relatively low-key elections, with not too much spending. Not so the race for the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Division C, Second District. The Second District includes Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Union, Bienville, Lincoln, Jackson, Caldwell, and Winn Parishes.

Incumbent Jay Caraway is being challenged by Jeff Cox, a judge in the 26th Judicial (Bossier, Webster Parishes) District Court.

As of May 2, Caraway reports $29 thousand in contributions, $100 thousand in loans, and $22 thousand in expenditures:

See here the complete report.

Notable contributions:

Bossier Eye Institute – $1,000
Central Management Co., Winnfield – $1,000
Dr. Allen Cox, Bossier City – $1,000
Randy Denmon, Monroe – $1,000
Hanna Manufacturing, Winnfield – $2,500
William Jones, Ruston – $1,000
Dr. David Kirby, Hosston – $1,500
James Leslie, Bossier City $2,500
P. K. Smith Motors, Winnfield – $2,000
Price, Beville, Smith – Winnfield – $1,500
S. L. Smith, Dodson – $1,000
Wilkinson, Carmody & Gilliam, Shreveport – $1,000

Cox’s May 2 report shows $116,000 in contributions, $98 thousand in loans, and $81.5 thousand in expenditures.

See here the complete report.

Notable contributions:

Trey Beene, Bossier City – $1,500
Henry Cantrell, Benton – $1,000
Mrs. Orville Cox, Minden – $5,000
Phillip Cox, Benton – $3,000
Danny Lawler Enterprises, Shreveport – $1,250
John Evans, Bossier City – $1,250
M. F. Graham, Shreveport – $1,000
James Hall, Bossier City – $1,000
Hoffman Interest, Shreveport – $1,000
J & R Juneau, Bossier City – $2,500
J. Marshall Jones, Shreveport – $2,500
John & Eric Johnson, Minden – $3,500
Mark Lowe, Shreveport – $2,500
W. A. Lucky, III, Shreveport – $2,500
William Lucky, IV, Shreveport – $1,000
James Madden, Minden – $2,500
Mark Miciotto, Shreveport – $1,100
Ronald Miciotto, Shreveport – $2,500
Travis Miller, Shreveport – $1,000
George Mills, Jr, Shreveport – $1,250
Morris Guin, Minden – $1,000
Matthew Mosura, Haughton – $1,000
North Bossier Development, Bossier City – $2,500
Patrick Jackson, Bossier City – $1,500
Richard Pierce, Shreveport – $1,000
Walter Pipes, Shreveport – $1,000
Paul Pons, Bossier City – $1,000
Robinson & Williams, Bossier City – $2,500
James Rogers, Bossier City – $1,500
Simmons, Morris & Carroll, Shreveport – $5,000
Kenneth Smith, Shreveport – $2,500
Steven Carby, Shreveport – $1,000
Cook Law Firm, Haughton – $1,500
Twin City Exterminating, Bossier City – $2,500
Wilson Starter, Generator & Alternator, Minden – $1,000
Collier Investments, Benton – $1,250

The next reporting date is August 10, which will cover contributions and expenditures through 7/31/16.

07/22/2016

greg reynolds crop

Ruston PD “short-handed”, vacations curtailed

07/21/2016

The Ruston Police Department (RPD) is significantly understaffed, so much so that vacations scheduled after July 17 must be approved on a case-by-case basis, according to a memo sent to RPD officers July 5.

From the document sent by Deputy Chief Gerald Jenkins:

Due to recent manpower issues, all vacation requests scheduled to begin after July 17, 2016, will be reviewed and approved/denied on a case by case basis, regardless of the date the request was submitted.

See here the memo.

Another city official told Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) that, “they are short-handed.”

Sources have told LPNO that several officers have gone to work for other area sheriff’s offices that pay more.

Last year, the RPD budget was cut about $20 thousand, while the city’s executive department enjoyed a $300 thousand boost.

2015 budget summary
2016 budget summary

Budget planning for fiscal year 2017 is underway now, sources say. The new budget is customarily adopted at the September meeting, and goes into effect October 1.

Ouachita Court Coverup Update

07/20/2016

Attorney General passes on prosecuting law clerk

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

Fourth Judicial District Court law clerk Allyson Campbell cleared another legal hurdle this week when state Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a letter saying there’s not enough evidence to secure a “sustainable” conviction against Campbell for payroll fraud and the destruction of court documents.

The Ouachita Citizen’s review of state campaign finance records revealed a substantial contribution from Campbell’s brother-in-law to Landry’s campaign for attorney general. Landry defeated Buddy Caldwell, who was the incumbent, in a November 2015 run-off.

Christian Creed, a Monroe attorney, is Campbell’s brother-in-law; his wife, Catherine, also an attorney, is Campbell’s sister. Campaign finance records revealed Christian Creed made a campaign contribution of $5,000 to Landry on Nov. 12, 2015, prior to the run-off election, though he also had made a total of $1,500 in campaign contributions to Caldwell on and before Nov. 9, 2015.

Citizens Group sues Lincoln Police Jury, claiming Under-representation

07/15/2016

A group calling itself The Under-Represented Citizens of Lincoln has sued the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) and its President (Jody Backus, District 7), alleging that the jury’s committee assignments shorts the voters in districts one and ten of representation. The standing committees control most of the jury’s spending, the suit alleges.

From the document:

In 2016, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, acting under the direction of President Jody Backus, once again precluded the Police Jurors representing District l and District 10 – which remain predominantly African-American – from participating in the determination of tax revenue allocation.

According to the current census and Sales and Use Tax Report, District 1 is the second largest tax producing district in Lincoln Parish, yet it currently has no representation on any committees that determine how Lincoln Parish tax dollars are spent.

Accordingly, the districts with majority African-American populations in Lincoln Parish have been barred from participating in the determination of how public funds are to be expended.

The plaintiffs are requesting that the court prohibit the jury from:

Operating under or issuing policies or procedures that permit individuals from any district served by the Lincoln Parish Police Jury to be unrepresented on any committee, subcommittee, or other body that is responsible for making decisions as to the appropriation of taxpayer funds;

Operating under or issuing policies or procedures that create a disadvantage for residents of Lincoln Parish who are ethnic minorities.

See here the complete document.

The citizen’s group was registered as a non-profit with the Louisiana Secretary of State only this past Tuesday, July 12. Listed as a director is Oscar Epps, Jr., of 142 Main Street, Grambling.

Listed as the registered agent is New Orleans Attorney Karl Bernard, who is also the attorney of record in the lawsuit.

Bernard was the successful attorney in a 2013 lawsuit against the police jury by former City of Ruston Fire Training Officer Terry Lewis. Lewis was an unsuccessful applicant for the position of Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Lewis sued, claiming discrimination, and was awarded nearly $70 thousand in back pay.

Dumpsters, Roads Discussed @ LPPJ

07/14/2016

Relocation of a dumpster and abandonment of road dedication were the most discussed issues at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ).

The Solid Waste & Recycling Committee voted to re-place a dumpster on Hickory Street that had been removed and consolidated with another site several years ago. The motion passed unanimously, but only after an unfriendly amendment was added on a three to two vote.

That amendment specified that a dedicated servitude from the landowner must be obtained by the jury prior to re-placing the dumpster.

Voting for the amendment:

Walter Pullen (District 6)
Jody Backus (District 7)
Sharyon Mayfield (District 11)

Voting against the amendment:

Randy Roberson (District 4)
David Hammons (District 5)

Nancy Wilson (District 10), in whose district the dumpster site is located, said that several elderly constituents had said the lack of the dumpster worked a hardship on them because they didn’t have transportation.

Said Wilson, “Now, this is within walking distance. You don’t have to have transportation in order to dump your trash.”

Pullen worried that re-locating a dumpster would set the wrong precedent to the jury’s goal of consolidating dumpsters when feasible.

Said Pullen, “I would just really like to ask you to consider that if we put it back, the precedent its going to set.”

The Public Works Committee agreed to hold a public hearing at the August jury meeting to discuss removal of several roads from those maintained by the jury’s road crew.

The roads, it was claimed, don’t meet the legal definition of serving a public purpose.

See here the law and the list of roads.

The full jury agreed to post a 35 mph speed limit on Holliman Road. Previously, the road had no posted limits.

Ouachita Court Coverup Update

07/13/2016

Federal judge rules LSP report is evidence

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman can use information from a Louisiana State Police investigation as evidence in her lawsuit against district court officials and their attorneys, a federal judge ruled last week.

The State Police investigative report has surfaced as a key element in the controversy surrounding Allyson Campbell, a law clerk at Fourth Judicial District Court. The State Police report on the investigation of Campbell’s activities is incriminating, according to a pleading filed Tuesday by Marchman.

Marchman’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court claims Campbell was paid for hours she did not work at Fourth Judicial District Court and that she also destroyed or concealed documents filed with the district court. Some Fourth Judicial District Court judges as well as local and state attorneys concealed Campbell’s activities and conspired with Campbell to retaliate against Marchman when the judge tried to shed light on the allegations against the clerk, according to Marchman’s lawsuit.

The State Police report on the investigation of the district court was filed under seal with the federal court last month. Marchman filed the State Police report as evidence to support her opposition to requests, or motions, for dismissal filed by Campbell, her attorney Brian Crawford of Monroe and the judges’ attorney, Jon Guice of Monroe. Those three individuals, who are each defendants in Marchman’s lawsuit, had previously asked the federal court to dismiss Marchman’s lawsuit.


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