Archive for January, 2023

LPSO responsible for prisoner medical care, per agreement


The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the health and medical care of prisoners and detainees at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, per a cooperative endeavor agreement signed in June, 2020 by Sheriff Stephen Williams and detention center commission Chairman Joe Henderson.

The agreement expires 6/30/2024.

  • “The SHERIFF agrees to provide for the basic routine health care needs of the Detention Center inmates, with all health care personnel responsible for dispensing medical services to inmates meeting all necessary certification and licensing requirements required by law.”
  • “The SHERIFF also agrees to maintain sufficient first aid supplies and equipment necessary to support the overall basic routine medical treatment of the Detention Center inmates, which first aid supplies and equipment shall be maintained in accordance with prescribed standards recognized or approved by a licensed recognized health authority which possesses the expertise to evaluate, assess and determine the potential need or conditions of the required first aid supplies and equipment.”
  • “The SHERIFF is authorized to contract with third party medical service providers for the purpose of providing non-routine medical services, such as emergency services, hospitalization, surgical, optical or dental services to the Detention Center inmates.”

The sheriff claims to have “special knowledge, expertise, and training” in jail operation.

  • “WHEREAS. the maintenance and operation of a parish detention center requires special knowledge, expertise and training in order to comply with the Louisiana Basic Jail Standards and various laws of this state regarding jails and prisons and the rules and regulations of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Louisiana State Health Department. and Louisiana Department of Corrections;”
  • “and WHEREAS, the SHERIFF has offered the knowledge, expertise and training capabilities of his office and staff in connection with the future maintenance and operations of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.”

See here the complete document.

Last year, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, the detention center commission, several unnamed deputies, and two nurses were sued for alleged negligence in the care of Demerious Jones, who was diabetic and serving a 60-day sentence in the jail.

At last week’s meeting of the jury, an executive session to discuss the matter was held that included an attorney and the jury’s insurance carrier.


LPPJ meeting details


Yes, it was a cold, dark, and stormy night. Yes, the meeting was at the Lincoln Parish Court House instead of the Library Events Center.

Still, it was a surprise that almost no one, save four or five diehard gadflies, showed up at last night’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting to witness a unanimous vote to hire former administrator Courtney Hall for his old job.

We were not the only ones surprised, as evidenced by the number of extra chairs set up for the meeting, and that remained empty for the hour long meeting.

The five-member Personnel Committee began by discussing Hall’s salary which was set at $75/hr for working days only. That is no pay for holidays, no vacation pay, nor medical or retirement benefits.

It was also revealed that Hall would be employed as a contractor through an employment agency. It was estimated that the overhead would be in the 30% to 35% range.

District Five’s Logan Hunt noted, “I do very much respect Courtney’s leadership. I have the utmost respect for the job he did in this office.”

He added that he was surprised at the pay rate that was being discussed. “That just caught me flat-footed,” he said.

District Ten’s Milton Melton made the motion to hire Hall, and District Eleven’s Sharyon Mayfield seconded.

There was a bit more discussion about transparency and the duties of the personnel committee, with general agreement that those goals would be pursued.

The full jury unanimously ratified the committee’s decision without discussion and then went into executive session to discuss a pending lawsuit, Jones v LPDCC.

Notably present was The Lincoln Agency’s Randy Graham. That agency is the insurance carrier for the jury.

It is unclear what liability the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department might have in the litigation, as that agency hires and trains the personnel alleged to have neglected a prisoner’s health issues that resulted in his death.

We will have more reporting on this issue as we obtain more information.

Angry crowd a no-show @ LPPJ mtg; Hall unanimously appointed administrator


The angry crowd of 100-plus people who were at the 1/10/23 meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury were no where to be found at tonight’s meeting of the full jury and the personnel committee. There were perhaps a half-dozen spectators in addition to the news media, and very little public comment.

The five-person committee and the full jury in turn voted unanimously to bring back Courtney Hall as Parish Administrator. He will begin work tomorrow morning.

More details to follow.

LPPJ Agenda amended to confirm attorney hire


The agenda for tonight’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting was yesterday amended to include confirmation to engage attorneys to defend against a lawsuit against the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission.

Two police jurors are members of that five-member commission. Also members are the District Attorney, Lincoln Parish Sheriff, and the Ruston Police Chief.

Nelson, Zentner, Sartor & Snellings, LLC will defend in Jones v LPDCC, a suit brought by the mother of an inmate who died in custody in September, 2021.

Franequa Jones alleges that her son Demerious was denied medical care for his diabetic condition, and died as a result of negligence by the detention center staff.

Jones was serving a 60 day sentence for misdemeanor probation violation.

See here the lawsuit.

Also named in the suit are several detention center deputies and nurses.

The center is operated and staffed by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Courtney Hall likely to be appointed LPPJ administrator


Former Lincoln Parish Police Jury Administrator Courtney Hall, who retired in 2020, will likely be returning to that position next week, Lincoln Parish News Online has learned.

A special called meeting of the jury’s Personnel Committee and full jury has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here are the agendas and meeting times:

Personnel Committee – 6:00 PM

Police Jury – 6:30 PM

School Board called meeting tomorrow


A special meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board has been called for tomorrow, Thursday, January 19, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

There is but one agenda item, “Consider Lincoln Preparatory Connections Academy Application.”

Ruston/Buc-ee’s agreement documents


Among the obligations of the City of Ruston:

Section 3.2: Obligations of the City. The City hereby agrees to undertake the following obligations:

(a) The City shall extend, at the sole cost and expense of the City, all utilities to the Travel Center Area and the Development Area necessary for the development of the Travel Center and including the following (collectively, the “Project Utilities”): water line, sanitary sewer line, electric service.

(c) The City shall provide electricity to the Travel Center at 4.75 cents ($0.0475) per KWH for a period of twenty (20) years, beginning on the date that the Travel Center and other improvements to be located within the Travel Center Area have been connected for the receipt of electrical utility services.

(d) The City shall waive any and all City fees in connection with the development of the Travel Center, including: (i) plan review and permitting fees; (ii) inspection fees;  (iii) City utility connection fees for electric, water and sewer services for the Travel Center and other improvements located within the Travel Center Area; (iv) impact fees or similar type fees, including impact fees for water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and drainage, and transportation.

(e) The City hereby agrees to reimburse the Company, from undedicated funding sources, an amount equal to all the City Sales Taxes generated within the Travel Center Area, along with an additional amount equal to the amount of revenue that would otherwise be generated from an additional sales tax of twenty five hundredths percent (0.25%) within the Travel Center Area, (the “City Sales Tax Additive” and collectively with the City Sales Tax referred to as the “Combined City Sales Tax”) for a period of twenty (20) years beginning on January 1 in the year following the opening of the Travel Center to the general public (the “Sales Tax Reimbursement Period”).

(f) The City covenants and agrees to reimburse the Company, from undedicated funding sources, an amount equal to all City Ad Valorem Tax assessed within the Travel Center Area for a period of twenty (20) years beginning on January 1 in the year following the opening of the Travel Center to the general public (the “Ad Valorem Tax Reimbursement Period”). The City shall make the City Ad Valorem Tax reimbursement payments to the Company on January 30th of each year, commencing on the January 30th following the first year of the Ad Valorem Tax Reimbursement Period.

(k) The City shall provide water and sewer service to the Travel Center at the rates established by the City through City Ordinance No. 1830 of 2022 and City Ordinance No. 1831 of 2022, for a period of twenty (20) years beginning on the date that the Travel Center and other improvements to be located within the Travel Center Area have been connected for the receipt of water and sewer services.

See here the complete document.

LPPJ employees on the job, despite suggestion of walkouts


Lincoln Parish Police Jury employees were on the job as normal all this week, Jury President Richard Durrett told Lincoln Parish News Online this morning.

At Tuesday night’s contentious meeting of the Jury, it was suggested that parish road crew, office, and solid waste employees wouldn’t show up for work as a protest against the jury’s decision to not renew Doug Postel’s contract as administrator.

Most vocal was local restaurateur Chris Garriga.

Said he, “Do you know how to run a backhoe when those people don’t show up to work tomorrow? Do y’all know how to do the accounting in the office when some of those people don’t come out to work? What are y’all gonna do when you’re trash trucks don’t run?”

During the discussion on the appointment of Kevin Klepzig as Acting Administrator, several in the audience called for him not to take the job.

It appears that police jury operations are functioning normally, and it is proven once again that no one is indispensable.

School Board forgoes property taxes on Buc-ee’s project


The Lincoln Parish School Board on Tuesday night voted unanimously to waive collection of ad valorem taxes on real property for 20 years on a proposed Buc-ee’s Travel Center at the I-20/Tarbutton Road exit.

District Superintendent Ricky Durrett said the exemption would be for 20 years, and was for property taxes only, and that sales taxes would be collected.

Said Durrett, “We had thought first about a sales tax, but we were not able to do that, due to the fact that our sales taxes collections – rebating them would have a very adverse effect on our minimum foundation, which is our main funding per pupil for the parish.”

Durrett noted that the property, which is now vacant, only collects about $68/year.

It should be noted that once the business is constructed and operating, the property value will increase significantly.

On hand were Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker and Buc-ee’s rep Stan Beard.

Earlier in the meeting, several awards were given to students, teachers and principals.

Students of the Year

  • Tristen Smith- Elementary Student of the Year
  • Harper Anderson- Middle School Student of the Year
  • Lauryn Vernon- High School Student of the Year

Teachers of the Year

  • Lauren Casey- Early Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Paige Smith- Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Adam Novak- Middle School Teacher of the Year
  • Jill Sutton- High School Teacher of the Year

Principals of the Year

  • Jennifer Martin- Elementary Principal of the Year
  • Keshia Douglas- Middle School Principal of the Year

New Teacher of the Year (This is a new category)

  • Malori Moody-  Elementary New Teacher of the Year
  • Abigail Ambrose- Middle School New Teacher of the Year

LPPJ Meeting Details


Lincoln Parish Police Jury Administrator Doug Postel is out of a job after the jury voted 8 to 4 to not renew his employment contract which coincidentally expired yesterday.

Voting for the contract renewal were T. J. Cranford (District 4), Logan Hunt (District 5), Glenn Scriber (District 6), and Matt Pullin (District 7).

Voting no were Theresa Wyatt (District 1), Hazel Hunter (District 2), Richard Durrett (District 3), Skip Russell (District 8), Joe Henderson (District 9), Milton Melton (District 10), Sharyon Mayfield (District 11), and Annette Straughter (District 12).

The discussion was contentious, with over a dozen speakers from a crowd of perhaps 200 voicing their support for Postel. Many there were from The Bridge Community Church.

Community Pastor James Skinner had this to say: “Every parish worker can tell what a great job he (Postel) has done in his performance. This is your opportunity to do the right thing.”

Later he added, “They (young people) don’t trust politicians. We’ve just seen the reason why.”

Many jury employees were at the meeting in support of Postel.

Also supporting Postel was Argent Financial Government and Philanthropic Manager Lucius McGehee. That company is involved with the jury, the Lincoln Parish School Board, and the City of Ruston in various financial capacities.

Said McGehee, “I work with public bodies all over the state. You’ve created a vacuum by not appointing Mr. Postel, and its apparent there’s no backup plan. I’m asking you guys to reconsider what you’re doing here. These things matter.”

After the vote, the crowd became contentious to the extent that Assistant District Attorney Lewis Jones, who was chairing the meeting at that time, asked Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Deputies to help restore order.

The jury then voted to appoint Assistant Administrator Kevin Klepzig as acting administrator.

Earlier in the meeting, the jury re-elected Durrett as President and Milton Melton as Vice-President, on 7-5 and 8-4 votes, respectfully.

Glenn Scriber was the other candidate for president, and after he lost that vote, was also nominated for VP.

Annette Straughter joined Cranford, Hunt, Scriber and Pullin in the vote for Scriber for president, but not for VP .

The jury unanimously voted to enter into an agreement with CMS Management, the company acting as agent for Buc-ee’s Travel Center. That agreement will forgo collection of sales taxes on the company.