Archive for December, 2021

Police Jury approves Capital Plan for Roads and Bridges

12/15/2021

Four parish road bridges are scheduled to be replaced in 2022, according to the capital plan that was approved by the Lincoln Parish Police Jury at last night’s meeting.

Two bridges on Mondy Rd in the southwest part of the parish will be replaced, a bridge on Mitchell Rd. north of Simsboro also, and a bridge on Shady Grove Rd southwest of Simsboro will be replaced with two 10 foot rail tank car culverts.

Parish Administrator Doug Postel noted that the two bridges on Mondy Rd will be done simultaneously to save costs.

“We’re doing those at the same time because there’s a considerable cost savings,” he said.

See here the complete plan.

Several budgets received final approval including:

Road Superintendent Jerry Doss reported that right-of-way mowing had been completed for the year, and that next month the mowing crews will begin trimming tree limbs along parish roads.

New Interview with French Immersion parent

12/14/2021

ATL Ruston All Things Local-Ruston, Louisiana

Interview with Sara Shadoin Duke

Police Jury Meets Tuesday

12/12/2021

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, December 14, Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton Street.

No committee meetings are scheduled.

Here is the agenda.

Durrett agrees to discuss keeping FLAIR program

12/10/2021

Lincoln Parish School District Superintendent Ricky Durrett agreed last night to discuss retaining the Foreign Language Academic Immersion (FLAIR) program for parish elementary students. That program “immerses” the student in an environment where the French language is spoken almost exclusively.

See here an interview with one of the parents that describes the program.

The hour and twenty minute back-and-forth was attended by upwards of 100 parents and students, and was held at Glenview Elementary.

Durrett began the session with a history of the program and the decision making process that led up to the pending termination. He admitted that the notification of parents was not handled well.

Said Durrett, “We live and we learn. Maybe there was a better way to do it.”

Among the issues Durrett cited was funding, other foreign languages, the number of children enrolled in the program, the difficulty of transitioning the program into the third grade, and standardized testing issues.

“I’ve looked at some options, some compromise. Can we do something different?” Durrett said.

The program review actually began in February of 2021, Durrett said.

We asked if parental input was solicited during the review process, to which Durrett admitted that it was not and again said that it was not properly done.

“And you’re right. Maybe we should have reached out to them.”

One parent asked how a program that had been guaranteed to to run through the fifth grade could be unilaterally terminated.

To a person, the crowd said that their children were thriving under the program. One said that his son was about to be tested for the Gifted and Talented program, and he attributed that progress to the FLAIR program.

There were several comments that the district was negligent in not promoting the program, and that the enrollment issue could be solved that way.

District 7 School Board member Hunter Smith suggested that a committee be formed to meet with the administration and try to find a solution.

Said Smith, “We have had tremendous success in other areas of the school board where we have created committees. There’s a middle ground here somewhere.”

Board members kept in dark about plan to scrap FLAIR

Several sources at last night’s meeting told Lincoln Parish News Online that when contacted, their school board member professed ignorance of the administration’s plans to terminate the program.

About half of the 12 member board attended the meet.

See here links to video of the meeting:

French Immersion Public Meeting Pt. 1 All Things Local with Rick Godley www.ATL-Lincoln.com – YouTube

French Immersion Public Meeting Pt. 2 All Things Local with Rick Godley www.ATL-Lincoln.com – YouTube

FLAIR Supporters Show up at School Bd Mtg

12/08/2021
Crowd builds before 12/7/2021 LPSB mtg – Lincoln Parish STEM Center

At twenty-four minutes in duration, last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board may not have been the shortest we’ve attended, but it was close. And the brevity may have been because of the short agenda, but more likely it was the 100 plus parents and children who came to have their say about plans to scrap the Foreign Language Academic Immersion (FLAIR) program at Glenview Elementary.

The parents planned to read from a prepared statement for the board, but when it came time to adopt the agenda, a motion to amend and allow the issue to be discussed was defeated on a 5 to 6 vote.

The motion was made by Lisa Best and seconded by Debbie Abrahm.

Voting yes were Best and Abraham, George Mack, Donna Doss, and Susan Wiley. The no votes were Lynda Henderson, Otha Anders, Danny Hancock, David Ferguson, David Gullatt, and Joe Mitcham.

Hunter Smith was absent.

Mitcham noted that there would be a 5 PM, Thursday, 12/9 meeting at Glen View Elementary where parents can address school board members and administrators.

Among the points made in the statement:

Imagine our surprise then when, on Tuesday,November 30 (one week ago today), a letter announcing the cancellation of the immersion program was given to our children. Though addressed to parents, the letter was printed on a single sheet of paper and was openly distributed, not enclosed in any envelope. As such, many of our children, ages 5-8 years old, some of whom could read the letter themselves, were handed this upsetting news outside of our parental purview and left to process it under unnecessarily stressful condition.

Over the last seven days we have consoled our crying children; spoken with our district representatives; called upon our state leaders; and channeled our shock, confusion, hurt, and dismay into collective action. All for our love of this program.

The statement also references LA RS 17.273.3:

“Such a program shall be continued as long as at least twenty students remain enrolled in the program.” (ยง17:273.3) We have 66 children enrolled in the program.

The parents distributed to board member folders that included letters of support from the Lt. Governor’s office and the Department of Education.

Also there were several hand written letters from children enrolled in the program.

It will be interesting to see the political dynamic of this issue unfold in the coming days and weeks, especially since a critical school tax election is set for next March.

Also, next year all the school board members will have to stand for re-election.

Tarbutton Truck Traffic Causing Issues @ KCSRR Crossing

12/07/2021

Truck traffic off Interstate 20 via the Tarbutton Road exit onto Louisiana Highway 818 is causing issues at the Kansas City Railroad grade crossing near the old Diamond Industries plant, last night’s Ruston City Council meeting was told by Ward Five Alderman Bruce Seigmund.

The problem is that eighteen wheeler trucks with low ground clearance sometimes get high-centered on the crossing, and literally are stuck blocking the rail tracks. Trucks are apparently using that route more frequently since the completion of the Tarbutton exit, likely trying to bypass the congestion of downtown Ruston.

Said Seigmund, “This is a serious issue. If this continues to happen, there will be a bad train wreck right there.”

The resolution would prohibit truck traffic southbound only on hwy 818.

An ordinance was unanimously adopted that would re-institute parking time limits in downtown Ruston, and provide for enforcement.

Mayor Ronny Walker said enforcment would begin on January 1, and would be accomplished by employees that are not Ruston Police Department employees.

Also adopted was an ordinance that would lease or sell property on McDonald Avenue that formerly was the site of the old city electrical generating plant to a Texarkana, TX business.

The prospective business is GSE, LLC, and markets sunflower seeds and popcorn.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

12/06/2021

The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, December 7, 6:00 PM, Lincoln Parish STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road.

Here’s the agenda.

Ruston Board of Aldermen Tomorrow

12/05/2021

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

Here’s the agenda.