Mays Murder Trial still on for February

11/22/2017

Accused murderer and convicted kidnapper/rapist Cameron Mays was in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District court yesterday morning in Ruston, for a status conference hearing.

He is scheduled to stand trial Monday, February 26, 2018, 9:00 AM, for the home invasion and murder of Sue Hashway in June of 2012.

No motions or filings were made at yesterday’s hearing. Attorney for the defendant was Kia Baldwin Richardson, and the prosecutor was Assistant Attorney General Madeleine Slaughter-Young.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

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Drew Resignation Triggers Judge Election Next Spring

11/20/2017

The recent resignation of Judge Harmon Drew from the Court of Appeals, Second Circuit has precipitated a daisy chain of potential events regarding the judges of the Third Judicial (Lincon, Union Parishes) District.

Drew, whose term expires 12/31/18, instead chose to resign, thus opening up that seat for a spring, 2018 special election, according to a proclamation signed last week by Gov. John Edwards. Drew’s resignation was received by the Secretary of State last month, and was effective 11/3/17.

Drew’s slot (Division A, Second District) is listed on the court’s website as vacant.

The two election dates listed on the proclamation are Saturday, 3/24/18 for the primary, and Saturday, 4/28/18 for the general election. Qualifying dates are Wednesday, 1/3/18 to Friday, 1/5/18. The district is composed of nine parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caldwell, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Webster and Winn.

Running for the slot is sitting 3rd JD Judge Jay B. McCallum.

Should he win, that would open up his slot at the district court level.

With the recent retirement announcement of Judge Cynthia Woodard, that means that two of the three judge slots in the 3rd JD would be vacant.

Two local attorneys have told Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) that they are running, Bruce Hampton of Farmerville, and Jeffrey Robinson of Ruston. Both are assistant District Attorneys in the 3rd JD.

Others rumored to be interested are Louisiana State Representative Robert Shadoin, Ruston attorney Monique Clement, and Tyler Storms, also of Ruston. Storms was an unsuccessful candidate for judge in the 2014 election that saw Tommy Rogers win the seat.

No date has been set for any district judge election.

Election Day Today!

11/18/2017

Louisiana State Treasurer

LPPJ Adopts 2018 Budget

11/16/2017

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), a proposed budget for calendar year 2018 was adopted with but one change. Also approved were amendments to the 2017 budget which ends 12/31.

See here the documents.

The one change was to eliminate the requirement that the Lincoln Parish Exhibition Center repay to the general fund monies advanced to them to pay for the construction of permanent stalls and the addition of RV hookup sites. That $85 thousand appropriation was done in April, 2016.

General fund amounts were relatively static, with 2017 revenues at $2.91 million, and 2018 amounts roughly the same. Expenditures were in balance.

Not so for the road construction funds, with 2017 amended expenditures at $1.88 million, and 2018 expenditures of $2.45 million

Ditto the road maintenance fund where 2017 amended expenditures are $1.88 million, and 2018 expenditures are $2.46 million.

The Lincoln Parish Library’s budget didn’t fare as well as the others, however.

For 2017, the amended revenues were set at $1.53 million, with expenditures of $2.60 million. For 2018 the amounts are $1.54 million, and $2.45 million respectively.

See here the documents.

George Tommy Campbell 1941-2017

11/16/2017

George Tommy Campbell, 76, Lincoln Parish, passed away on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017, at 11:00 AM in the chapel of Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston. Rev. Carroll Holmes will officiate. Interment will follow at Fellowship Cemetery in Dubach, LA under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston. Visitation will be on Friday, November 17, from 10:00 AM until the service.

George, a veteran of the U.S. Army, was a lifelong resident of Lincoln Parish. He attended Sharon Baptist Church. He was preceded in death by his mother, Honor Bennett Campbell; father, G. W. Campbell; and brother, James C. Campbell.

Survivors are his brother, Kenneth W. Campbell and wife, Constance, of Leesburg FL; nephews, Howard Campbell of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Michael Campbell of Aspen, CO; niece, Belinda Hetzman of MT. Pleasant, MI; and by a host of friends.

Pallbearers will be Justin Landrum, Buddy Burnham, Chris Burnham, Dale Williams, Larry Barnett, Sonny Barnett, Tommy Doss, and Lynn Traylor. Honorary pallbearers will be John Freeman, Danny Murphy, and William Barnett.

Memorials may be made to Sharon Baptist Church.

Online condolences may be made to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com

LPPJ Employees Get Good News on Insurance

11/14/2017

The 116 employees of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) got good news at last night’s Insurance Committee meeting – their premiums will actually decrease next year, while receiving the same coverage. The new provider will be United Health Care.

Earlier in the year, it was decided that bids would be taken from different providers in a effort to cut costs.

Thomas & Farr’s Ernest Finch told the committee that the coverage will match the current provider’s coverage. Parish Government Risk Management Agency is the current provider.

Said Finch, “The employees will see a lesser (premium) rate.”

One additional benefit is a life insurance provision for employees and family.

See here a sample enrollment guide.

Complete details will be available to the employees during the enrollment period.

Lincoln Police Jury Meetings Monday, Tuesday

11/12/2017

There’s a full schedule of Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) committee meetings this week – so many that one (Insurance Committee) is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 5:00 PM.

The other meetings are set for Tuesday, November 14, beginning at 4:30 PM, with the full jury meeting at 7:00 PM.

All will be at the Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here are the agendas.

Lincoln Parish School Performance Scores Jump

11/09/2017

Individual school scores for 2016/2017 school year

Lincoln Parish School Performance Scores (SPS) jumped for the 2016/2017 school year, enough to give the district an overall “A” grade, it was learned at Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB).

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Bastion told the board that overall, the district’s score increased 4.4 points, to 100.4.

Superintendent Mike Milstead said that that the process of improvement is a math problem.

“You break it down into component parts. Then you work on the parts where you have issues,” he said.

Three principals were on hand to collect performance bonus checks for their efforts in the score gains.

Pam Pruden, Dubach School Principal (8.7 point increase); Ricky Durrett Ruston High School Principal (3.7 point increase); Tony Antley, Choudrant High School Principal (9.4 point increase). All three gave credit to the teachers, pupils, and student’s parents for the improvement.

Prior to the full board meeting, the Building and Grounds committee heard from architect Mike Walpole on plans for a 10 thousand square foot STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) building planned for Ruston Junior High.

The building, primarily for the 7th and 8th grades at the junior high, would also be used for middle school student projects.

Walpole said that schedule calls for drawings and specifications to be ready for bid next spring, with construction beginning in the summer of 2018, and completion in time for the 2019 school year.

LA State Police Speed Trap Program Suspended

11/08/2017

Zurik: State Police suspend LACE program amid FOX 8 investigation

Written by: Lee Zurik, Director of Investigations
Contributor: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) –

Louisiana State Police have suspended a ticket-writing agreement with many local parishes, pending an internal review.

The suspension and review result from a FOX 8 undercover investigative series, State of Unrest, which premieres in the New Orleans viewing area Wednesday night on FOX 8 News at 10.

We spent much of the summer and fall on an undercover surveillance investigation and brought our findings to LSP Superintendent Kevin Reeves. Col. Reeves was noticeably upset and immediately called for the suspension of the LACE detail program.

LACE is short for Local Agency Compensated Enforcement. If you’ve seen a state trooper near the Bonnet Carre Spillway or in New Orleans East, they’re likely on a LACE shift.

Many local parishes throughout the state contract with State Police. They hire troopers to write tickets in those parishes on highways. The local government keeps the ticket money but reimburses LSP for trooper overtime and mileage.

Parishes participating in the program include St. Charles, St. John and Orleans parishes in the New Orleans metro, Ascencion Parish near Baton Rouge and Calcasieu Parish at Lake Charles.

It’s unclear how long the program will be suspended. But questions about some highly-paid police officers remain.

We’ll start to lay out our findings in State of Unrest, Wednesday on FOX 8 News at 10.

See here the memo.

Louisiana State Police suspends 3 troopers, LACE program amid payroll fraud investigation

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

The Louisiana State Police on Wednesday suspended a statewide highway traffic enforcement program and began a criminal investigation into three troopers accused of claiming extra-duty hours they never actually worked.

The State Police superintendent, Col. Kevin Reeves, ordered a review of the program, Local Agency Compensated Enforcement, and placed the troopers on administrative leave after reviewing surveillance footage provided by WVUE-TV.

The undercover footage appears to show the troopers “claiming hours for time they weren’t working,” said Maj. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman.

The troopers under investigation are Eric Curlee, a senior technician assigned to the agency’s Emergency Services Unit; Daryl Thomas, a veteran trooper who works out of the agency’s Kenner-based Troop B; and Byron Sims, a State Police polygraphist.

The LACE program is run by local district attorneys, who contract with the State Police and reimburse the agency for hours and mileage claimed by troopers working extra-duty shifts and writing speeding tickets in jurisdictions around the state.

The WVUE-TV segment, called State of Unrest, captured footage of the troopers abusing the program, apparently in part by writing a full shifts worth of tickets in a relatively short period of time.

Cooktown Road District Tax Approved

11/07/2017

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen unanimously approved at last night’s meeting an ordinance levying a 1/2 cent sales tax within the recently created Cooktown Road Economic Development District, located at the northwest corner of I-20 and Cooktown Road. The tax will be over and above any other state or local sales taxes and is to fund infrastructure improvements related to the district.

See here the ordinance as adopted.

Hutton, a Chatanooga, TN based developer, will build a multi-tenant retail facility on the 15 1/2 acre site. The company has several properties in Louisiana, including the Walmart Neighborhood Market on West California.

The council also approved a preliminary plat of Cypress Run Subdivision, a 28 acre development that will have 74 lots for single-family houses. The subdivision is on South Barnett Springs Street, just south of West Barnett Springs Avenue.

There was some concern about soil erosion washing into a neighbor’s pond, but the developer promised to take whatever measures necessary to prevent any problems.

Approval was given for preliminary engineering to extend Goyne Street from West Alabama north to the South Service Road. It will connect just west of the Temple Baptist Church parking lot, and should help alleviate some of the traffic at the Service Road/Cooktown intersection.