Northern Louisiana Medical Center Plans to Relocate to North Ruston

06/15/2022

Northern Louisiana Medical Center has plans to relocate within the next few years on about 30 acres in the Celebrity Drive/Commerce Street area of Ruston, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Allegiance Health Management Services, the company that owns the hospital.

Allegiance CEO Rock Bordelon said Ruston needs a new facility, as the current building was first built in the early 60s.

“We already have land we’ve identified and we’re working on purchasing it toward that end,” he said. “It’s our goal, in the next four to five years, to build a brand new replacement hospital. We’re going to be buying roughly 36 acres of property to be able to accommodate the new hospital and two new medical office buildings that would be attached to the hospital,” he added.

Allegiance Executive VP Scott Prouty also spoke about the plans for a new facility.

“We’re talking about a $100 million project for your community. Our goal is to build a new hospital in this town. We’re negotiating a land deal somewhere around Celebrity and Commerce – in that area,” he said.

Asked about the current building located on East Vaughn Avenue, Prouty said that they would like to keep some health care facilities there. He added that some of the property might be donated to the city or the parish, or to Louisiana Tech.

Prouty noted that the original construction was in 1962, and some of it was not up to code.

The revelation came during discussion of an ordinance that would empower the jury to assist Allegiance in securing federal matching funds to be distributed among rural hospitals in Louisiana. Bordelon said about $900 million in total funds would be distributed, of which the Ruston facility could receive about $2 1/2 million/yr.

The jury and the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office would each get about 5% for acting as the collection agents, Bordelon said.

The jury approved the ordinance with nine votes for and two nays (Cranford, Straughter) and one abstention (Scriber).

The jury’s Personnel and Benefits Committee tabled the appointment of a member to the parish’s library board until the next meeting, saying that some citizens had expressed an interest in serving on the board, but had not yet applied.

The library’s Board of Control had recommended that present board member Augusta Clark be reappointed. That vote was 5 votes for, with four abstentions.

Police Jury Meets Tuesday

06/13/2022

The Lincoln Parish Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, June 14, Jack Beard Room of the Lincoln Parish Library, 910 North Trenton. The agendas and meeting times are:

Parks, Recreation & Tourism – 5:15 PM

Health & Welfare Committee – 5:30 PM

Public Works Committee – 6:00 PM

Personnel & Benefits Committee – 6:30 PM

Police Jury – 7:00 PM

Wiley won’t seek Re-election for School Board

06/08/2022

Lincoln Parish School Board member Susan Wiley said she won’t be standing for re-election this fall, she told fellow members at last night’s meeting of the board.

“After much thought and prayer, I have decided not to seek re-election,” she said. “When I first ran for office in 2014, my daughter was an 8th grader at Ruston Junior High School. My desire was to provide parental insight on our school board, and God has allowed me to do that,” she added. “I’m still dedicated and passionate about education and will continue to help students to identify career pathways that will lead to sustainable wages and success.”

Wiley represents District 1, which takes in part of Grambling and the Mt. Olive community north of Interstate 20.

Business Manager Juanita Duke reported on the proposed salary schedules for the school year beginning 7/1/2022.

One significant change is re-allocation of part of the May salary supplements (14th check) to base salary.

Duke said that the May, 2023 supplement will be decreased by $1200 for certified employees and $600 for non-certified, and that money will be included in the employee’s base salary.

Said Duke, “$6,464 that was disbursed to certified teachers in May will be reduced by that $1200, so there will still be a sizeable distribution in that 14th check. The 13th check that’s paid in November will remain the same.”

The board approved the recommendation unanimously.

See here the complete salary schedule.

Duke also presented the board with an amended budget to reflect changes that have occurred in revenues and expenditures. It was adopted unanimously.

Doris Lewis reported on personnel changes for the month.

Siegmund to Run for Re-election

06/07/2022

Incumbent City of Ruston Ward 5 Aldermen Bruce Siegmund will seek another term in this fall’s election, according a press release he made public at last night’s council meeting.

Siegmund was first elected in 2014, and ran unopposed in 2018.

Ward 5’s area is mostly west of Tech Drive and north of California Avenue.

An ordinance was introduced that will set the city’s property tax rates for tax year 2022. Two taxes are included – 5.19 mils for general alimony, and 2.89 mils for recreation operation and maintenance. At the next council meeting, a public hearing will be held, and a vote for final approval.

See here the proposed ordinance.

Public Works Director John Freeman told the board that three capital outlay project funding requests from the state had been approved – $325 thousand for the Ruston Skate Park, $400 thousand for city hall renovations, and $300 thousand for the industrial park.

Said Freeman, “Last year we did make some requests for capital outlay funding, and we were the three items.”

Mayor Ronny Walker said, “Upstairs in the old City Court, we’re totally redoing that for offices. We’re doing some renovations in the civic center, and also replacing some ceiling tiles in hallways, and some long overdue maintenance.”

School Board Meets Tomorrow

06/06/2022

The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, June 7, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Ruston City Council Monday

06/05/2022

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

Here is the agenda.

Jury to appoint two Library Board members

05/11/2022

Two veteran members of the Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control will term out within the next few weeks and appointments to those slots will be made, it was announced at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

Augusta Clark, who represents the Grambling area, and Charles Penuell who represents the Choudrant area, have served on the board since 2010 and 2007, respectively.

Said Jury Administrator Doug Postel, “We have two library board vacancies that are about to come up next month. I want you to be aware those vacancies will be voted on next month.”

During the report section of the meeting, Library Board Member Bill Jones reported to the jury on an analysis of the Library Events Center. That analysis was done by a subcommittee of the board.

Jones said that the center had not generated a profit, nor had it covered it costs.

Said Jones, “…the library budget is subsidizing the events center. The skill set of managing a library is just totally different from managing an events center, or a mini convention center, which is sort of what it is. We believe there needs to be a different management structure for the events center.”

After a bit of discussion, the jury voted to direct the subcommittee to further study the situation and come up with recommendations. Jones and the jurors all agreed to communicate regularly to solicit input.

See here the complete report.

The jury’s finance committee approved, and the full jury ratified, a budget amendment to reimburse the City of Ruston $120 thousand for ambulance service for 2022.

Also approved were the millage rates for 2022. They will be levied at the same rate as 2021.

Police Jury Meets Tuesday

05/08/2022

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, May 10, Jack Beard Room, Lincoln Parish Library, 910 North Trenton.

Here are the agendas and meeting times:

Finance Committee – 5:30 PM

Public Works Committee – 6:00 PM

Police Jury – 7:00 PM

LA Student of the Year from A. E. Phillps Lab

05/04/2022

Melissa Le (ctr) with parents Van Tran Le (L) & Son Anh Le (R)

A. E. Phillips Lab School eighth-grader Melissa Le, who was recently named state Middle School Student of the Year at a Baton Rouge ceremony, was recognized at last night’s Lincoln Parish School Board meeting.

LPSB Comunications Coordinator Brandon Sutherland said that Le competed against 7 other students from around Louisiana. He noted that she participates in numerous extra curricular activities to include student council, National Junior Honor Society, choir, and competitions like Mathcounts, robotics and the Science Olympiad.

District Superintendent Ricky Durrett said the ceremony in Baton Rouge was preceded by her recognition on the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

New Glenview Elementary Principal Phaedra Blake was introduced to the board. A Lincoln parish native, she will assume that position after the end of the school year.

Durrett said she was unanimously selected by a committee consisting of several district staffers. They interviewed seven applicants, Durrett said.

She replaces Sheila Nugent, who will assume the newly created position of Facilitator of Federal Programs at the central office.

See here the all the personnel changes for the month.

Amy Tynes, with the Monroe CPA firm of Allen, Green & Williamson presented the district’s annual audit.

Tynes said that the district’s books were in order and fairly represent the actual financial state of the district. In CPA talk, that translates to an “unmodified” opinion.

No findings were recorded.

Jim Pearce won’t run for Re-election in Ruston’s Ward 4

05/03/2022

Twenty-four year veteran Ruston Board of Aldermen member Jim Pearce won’t be seeking re-election this year, he said at last night’s meeting of the board.

Pearce represents Ward 4, which is mostly north of I-20 and west of US 167.

In a prepared statement, Pearce said, “Thank you to the citizens of Ward 4 who have given me the opportunity to be your representative for these past twenty-four years.¬† So many have offered ¬†words of encouragement and written notes, which I will always cherish.”

He noted that he had served with former Mayor Dan Hollingsworth for 16 years, and with current Mayor Ronny Walker for eight.

See here the complete statement.

Qualifying dates for the Tuesday, November 8 election are July 20-22, 2022.

In city business the council approved a $2.67 million bid for the construction of an animal shelter off South Farmerville near where the old airport terminal was located. Additionally, $1 million was bid for a kennel way.

City Building Official Bill Sanderson said the construction is expected to take 250 days. Said Sanderson, “We hope that maybe by Christmas we’re in there.”

The successful bidder was Chart Construction of Brossard, LA.

Another resolution approved by the council was to contract with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. for consulting services to complete a compensation study for city employees.

Walker said the city has had problems with staff retention, and that pay and benefits needed to be reviewed.