Archive for February, 2016

Sumlin’s Next Court Date April 19

02/17/2016

An April 19 court date to hear any defense motions that may be filed by William Sumlin was set yesterday in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston. Sumlin was accused last year of indecent behavior with a juvenile. He is a former State Representative from District Twelve.

Representing the State, Assistant District Attorney Lewis Jones said there was not yet “a resolution” in the case, and the hearing would be necessary.

Standing in for Sumlin’s attorney Lavalle Salomon was public defender James Buckley, who had no objection to the hearing date.

Salomon was a significant contributor to Jones’ campaign for district judge in 2014. See here the documents:

Candidate’s report 10/6/14 – pg 6

Candidate’s report 1/15/15 – pg 5

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State Dead Broke, but Has Money to Raze Wyly Tower & Build Anew

02/16/2016

Wyly Tower, LA Tech University, Ruston, LA

See here the Master Plan for the project.

Mays Trial Delayed Until April 25

02/16/2016

A February 22 trial for accused rapist and murderer Cameron Mays was delayed this morning until April 25, because, in the words of Assistant Attorney General Mike Ruddick, a critical witness for the prosecution “has dropped off the face of the earth.”

The witness, who now lives in California, had been in touch with his office until about ten days ago, Ruddick said. Then, as the trial date neared, and transportation arrangements were being made, he disappeared. Ruddick said he will need some time to have him subpoenaed, located, and brought back to Louisiana.

Mays is accused of second degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary that allegedly occurred in the Cypress Springs neighborhood where retired Grambling State University Professor Dr. Sue Hashway was found slain in June of 2012. The alleged victim in the rape and kidnapping case was a Louisiana Tech student.

The action came at a hearing this morning in a Ruston courtroom after Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court Division B Judge Tommy Rogers denied defense motions to dismiss the charges because of delays in the case.

Ruddick said that 80% of the motions for delays in the case had been asked for by the defense.

Defending Mays is James Buckley.

Reportedly Circulating on Monroe’s Southside

02/16/2016

Ray Klan

Jackson Parish Tax Commission to Request AG Opinion

02/15/2016

The Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission voted unanimously at Friday’s meeting to request an Attorney General’s Opinion to clarify the new administrator’s status regarding the state’s Dual Officeholder Law and newly hired administrator Nia Evans. The vote came after discussion among the board members about the possibility of reducing her hours from 35 weekly to 34, which, it was said, would make her status “part time.”

Board Chair James Bradford said that according to a couple of opinions from the Louisiana Attorney General, Evans wasn’t in conflict with state law.

Said Bradford, “This job is not considered the same political subdivision. Therefore, there is no dual officeholding.”

The opinions both deal with an employee of the Webster Parish Tax Commission who was exploring a run for Minden City Council. The opinions say that since the duties were in two different political subdivisions, then there was no conflict.

See the opinions here: 05-276; 06-117

However, further research into the law by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has turned up this provision, which appears to be applicable here.

LA RS 42:64 – Incompatible offices

A. In addition to the prohibitions otherwise provided in this Part, no other offices or employments shall be held by the same person in combination if any of the following conditions are found to pertain and these prohibitions shall exist whether or not the person affected by the prohibition exercises power in conjunction with other officers:

(6) Funds received by one office or employment are deposited with or turned over to the other office or position.

In Evans’ case, as administrator she collects the sales and use taxes parishwide, then remits to each government entity in the parish (School Board, Police Jury, Town of Jonesboro, etc) its proper proportion of the monthly tax take. Evans is Alderman at Large for Jonesboro.

Louisiana’s Dual Officeholding & Dual Employment law states as its purpose:

LA RS 42:61 Declaration of policy

A. It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public officials and employees perform the public business in a manner which serves to promote and maintain in the general citizenry a high level of confidence and trust in public officials, public employees, and governmental decisions. The attainment of this end is impaired when a public official or employee holds two or more public offices or public jobs which by their particular nature conflict with the duties and interests of each other. The attainment of a high level of confidence and trust by the general citizenry in public officials, employees, and governmental decisions is further impaired by the excessive accumulation of governmental power which may result from public officials or employees holding two or more public offices or public jobs.

B. It is the purpose of this Part to implement a policy which will serve to maintain a high level of trust and confidence by the general citizenry in public officials, employees, and governmental decisions of the government of this state and of its political subdivisions by defining and regulating dual employment and by defining, regulating, and prohibiting dual officeholding.

In other business, the board voted to advertise for an assistant administrator for the office. The notice, along with a job description will be published in the parish’s official journal. Applications for the position will then be reviewed by the board and a decision made.

The board also voted to retain Kenneth D. Folden, & Co CPA to act as bookkeeper for the agency. Folden has fulfilled that role for some time, it was noted.

The next meeting of the commission is 12 Noon, Tuesday, March 1, 319 Jimmie Davis Blvd.

Ouachita Court Coverup Update

02/12/2016

Gamesmanship galore in the court: Attorney accuses Judge Carl Sharp of lying to Supreme Court

By Johnny Gunter

Monroe attorney Sedric Banks claimed in a motion filed last month in Fourth Judicial District Court that Judge Carl V. Sharp filed a false report with the Louisiana Supreme Court.

According to Banks’ Jan. 12 motion for a status conference, Sharp informed the Supreme Court he had no cases under advisement through the end of December. Banks said he filed his motion for recusal in October at which time it should have been under advisement by Sharp.

In a handwritten note on Banks’ Jan. 12 motion, he wrote he was “making a record as to why the court refuses to take any action to resolve plaintiff’s motion to recuse; why the court files false reports to La. Supreme Court.”

Judges are required to file a monthly report on all cases that have been under advisement for more than 30 days.

Sharp previously ran into trouble with the state Supreme Court in 2003. At that time, he was suspended for 60 days without pay. One of the reasons for his suspension was repeatedly filing false reports and not making timely decisions.

Dumpster Shuffle Discussed @ Lincoln Police Jury

02/10/2016

A touchy subject was discussed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s (LPPJ) Solid Waste Committee – consolidation and relocation of the parish’s trash dumpsters, although no decisions were made or action taken.

In the past, this issue has caused some jurors to get significant feedback from their constituents.

Committee Chair Walter Pullen (District Six) said that the parish needed to consolidate into more “mega-sites”, and decrease the number of dumpsters scattered around the parish. There are about 70 dumpster sites now, Pullen said, but only 4 or 5 of the mega-sites.

However, Pullen said, the solid waste tax doesn’t provide the funds to do door-to-door pickup, even though some people favor that method of collection.

Said Pullen, “We only have about $750 thousand, and the Police Jury can’t pay for door-to-door pickup.”

It was also pointed out that private vendors now provide that service, namely Waste Management and North Louisiana Waste.

District Four’s Randy Roberson noted that a problem is that adequate mega-site locations are not easy to obtain. While the idea is good, not everyone is comfortable with a dumpster site down the road from their house, it was noted.

Nancy Wison (District Ten) said that some of her elderly constituents would have a hardship if dumpsters were too far removed from their home. Also, it was noted that the City of Ruston would soon be cutting door-to-door pickup from twice a week to once.

Also mentioned was the lack of enforcement by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for people who scatter trash at the sites after rooting in the bins for salvage.

At the full jury meeting, Stable Road resident Tommy Sizemore spoke about speeding issues on that parish owned road. While the limit is posted at 35 mph and 45 mph, many vehicles exceed that speed, Sizemore said.

It was noted that the jury only could set the speed limit, enforcement was up to the sheriff’s office. Though no action was taken, there was talk of a letter from all the jurors, or a resolution that could be forwarded to Sheriff Mike Stone requesting help.

Several appointments to local boards were made, with one notable resignation.

Juror Nancy Wilson resigned from the Lincoln Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission, after she was refused appointment to the jury’s Finance Committee. District Twelve’s Annette Straughter was appointed to replace her on the commission.

Ruston City Council Approves Tax Increase Vote

02/09/2016

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution calling an April 9 special election to raise the city’s sales tax by 3/4 cents at last night’s meeting. Making the motion was Angela Mayfield (Ward 2), and seconding was Carolyn Cage (Ward 1). Also voting for the motion was Jim Pierce (Ward 4) and Bruce Siegmund (Ward 5). Jedd Lewis (Ward 3) was absent.

The tax is expected to collect from taxpayers over $4 million/yr for 20 years, with the proceeds going toward various infrastructure projects. Also in the plan is a new $15 million sports complex off South Farmerville. The existing facilities would be replaced.

See here the plan.

Moments later, the council voted to award a local business, Timeless Treasures Originals, a tax break for restoration and renovation of it’s building at 103 North Trenton.

That resolution also passed on a 4-0 vote.

In other business, Mayor Ronny Walker recognized Lincoln Builders as the Employer of the Month.

Byrd Lee Minter Jr.

02/07/2016

Funeral services for Byrd Lee Minter, Jr., 83 of Monroe, LA will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at First Assembly of God in West Monroe, Louisiana under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, West Monroe with Pastor Shane Warren officiating. Visitation will be held from 3:00 P.M. until service time on Sunday. A Friends & Family Fellowship will immediately follow the service in the fellowship hall.

Interment will be at Prairie View Cemetery in Aransas Pass, Texas under the direction of Charlie Marshall Funeral Home on Saturday, February 20, 2016. Visitation at the Charlie Marshall Funeral Home will be from 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. with a memorial service at 2:00 P.M.

Byrd was born May 8, 1932 and passed from this life on February 4, 2016.

As a boy, Byrd began working as a deck hand for his father’s deep-sea fishing charters and rowing duck hunters to the family-owned duck blinds for 50 cents. After graduating from Southwestern Assemblies of God High School and College in Waxahachie, TX, Byrd served his country with the U.S. Coast Guard based out of Anchorage, Alaska during the Korean War. Upon leaving the service, Byrd attended and graduated from Texas A&I in Kingsville, TX with a Petroleum Engineering degree which led him to a working career with Southern Union Gas in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dallas, Texas then to North Carolina Gas Company of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and then to Ford, Bacon & Davis in Monroe, Louisiana.

Leaving the corporate world in 1979, he ventured into entrepreneurial endeavors which returned him to what he loved; the water. Byrd and Jonell bought a boat marina, Buckeye Landing, on Toledo Bend, near Many, LA. Then, in his retirement years, Byrd worked as a consulting engineer to numerous surrounding municipalities and owned a small service business, LitterVac of Monroe. He enjoyed connecting with people through church, family, friends and his involvements with local political and public groups. Those who knew Byrd, also known as “Mr. B”, knew he was always looking for an ear to bend, whether to brag of his 32-point, 267 ¾ point typical mule deer that landed him in “the book” – Boone and Crockett, or to tell of his days as a deck-hand on his father’s boat serving Vice President LBJ, movie stars, and foreign diplomats. He was introduced and proclaimed by The News Star as a watchdog of local politics often writing letters to the editor and speaking before the City Council and Police Jury where he always stood on his principles.

Byrd was preceded in death by his mother, Lena Lucile Richerson; his father, Byrd Lee Minter, Sr.; and his brother, Garland E. Minter.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Jonell Dierlam Minter; four sons, Randy Minter and wife, Paula, Mike Minter and wife, Virginia, Darryl Minter and wife, Donna, Joel Minter and wife, Alicia; grandchildren, (Randy’s) Trever Minter and wife, Jen, Tracey Hinton and husband, Jack, (Mike’s) Chris Taylor and wife, Angie, Cindy Williams and husband, Donnie, Scott Taylor, Marc Minter and wife, Cassidy, Thomas Minter and wife, Annelise, Eric Minter, Maria McMillan and husband, Chance, Trisha Stroud and husband, Danny, Joseph Minter, Becky Minter, Debi Minter, (Darryl’s) Chase Minter and wife, Rebecca, Daralyn Pepmiller and husband, James, (Joel’s) Ben Minter and wife, Jessica, Rachel Minter, and Sarah Minter; and 15 great grandchildren with two more on the way.

In Lieu of Flowers, donations can be made to the building construction fund of First Assembly of God, 715 Cypress Street, West Monroe, 71291.

The family would like to give their heartfelt appreciation to The Oaks nursing home staff and aids, especially to those who went above and beyond their duties, with special thanks to Leroy.

Online Registry/Condolences: http://www.mulhearnfuneralhome.com

It’s for the Children, 2.o

02/05/2016

After our report last month comparing costs at Lincoln Parish schools vs Cedar Creek, we decided to delve further into where the money goes in the local public school system.

According to figures from the latest audit, about half the employees are classroom teachers.

From page 179, the report claims the teaching staff to be 475.

See here the document.

From page 176, the total number of employees is reported to be 963, as of mid-2015.

See here the document.

See here the complete audit.

The latest employment numbers from the school board are reported thus:

592 Full Time Certified
1 Part Time Certified
247 Full Time Non-Certified

147 Part Time non –certified (time sheets)
5 Part Time certified (time sheets)

118 sub teachers (some certified, some non-certified)