Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Bonton Trial Reset for April


Brandon Bonton, an alleged accomplice in the murder of retired Grambling State University Professor Sue Hashway, had his 2/26 trial date reset to 4/23/18 this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

He is charged with accessory to 2nd degree murder, accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, theft of a firearm, and possession of controlled dangerous substances.

Bonton allegedly aided Cameron Mays in the June, 2012, crime at Hashway’s home on Paynter Drive in Ruston.

Bonton’s attorney, Bob Noel of Monroe, said that he was “not anticipating” a trial, implying that some kind of plea deal was in the works, perhaps in exchange for Bonton’s testimony.

Mays’ trial is set for next week.

Markeva Daye and Robert Demps – who testified against Cameron Mays in his April, 2016 trial for aggravated kidnapping and rape – are scheduled for a court appearance this afternoon.

Presiding this morning was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.


Lincoln School Board, City of Ruston Negotiating Property Deal


If negotiations are successful, the Lincoln Parish School District will donate about 8 acres of land and buildings to the City of Ruston, in lieu of about $1.8 million in cash, to help pay for the new sports complex under construction on South Farmerville Street.

Last fall, the board approved a capital outlay plan that included monies that would go toward softball fields and tennis courts that would be used by Lincoln Parish students.

The acreage to be deeded to the city is located on Mayberry Street and is the site of the old Lincoln High School. The property recently appraised for about $2 million, District Superintendent Mike Milstead said. The value differences would be worked out in negotiations, he added.

Asked about future uses for the old school property, Milstead said the Headstart Program could be relocated there from its temporary location at the Zion Traveler’s Baptist Church.

The board’s Building & Grounds Committee, and the full board, approved moving forward with negotiations.

Here’s the memo.

During the business portion of the meeting, Business Manager George Murphy noted that the employee medical plan ended the year paying out more in claims than was received in premiums by some $1.6 million.

Additional changes the program were likely in the future, he said.

Here’s the memo.

Teachers that will staff the Enhanced School Calendar program next summer will receive about $7,700 more in pay for the additional 30 school days they will be working, LPNO can report.

Average teacher pay for the 182 day school calendar is about $47 thousand/year, while those working the summer program will receive about $54.7 thousand.

Louisiana Military Museum may Relocate


The Louisiana Military Museum, located at 201 Memorial Drive in Ruston, is looking for a new and larger location, it was said at last night’s meeting of city’s Board of Aldermen.

The subject came up during discussion about the annual renewal of the cooperative endeavor agreement between the museum and the city.

Mike Froelich, a resident and frequent visitor to council meetings, said he had heard rumors of a relocation.

Mayor Ronny Walker said there was an effort to find funding to renovated an existing building, or build a new building.

“I was in DC last week looking for some funding for that. There’s lots of artifacts that are not being shown now, because there’s no place to show them.”

The museum’s director, Ernie Stevens, is a decorated Viet Nam vet.

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class Ernest Alexander Stevens (MCSN: 2115400), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Machine Gunner with Company K, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 July 1966. During Operation HASTINGS in Quang Tri Province, Private First Class Stevens’ Company was providing rear security for a Battalion march column when it came under heavy mortar, small arms and automatic weapons fire from all sides from a North Vietnamese force of regimental size. Initial enemy fire superiority forced the unit to take cover. From his position in a stream bed, Private First Class Stevens realized that he could not deliver effective fire upon the enemy. The only advantageous firing position lacked cover and was completely exposed to the deadly enemy rounds. Completely disregarding his own safety, he moved his gun to the exposed position and began delivering effective fire on the enemy, preventing them from overrunning the left flank of the rear element. While in this position, he was wounded in the right eye by fragments from an enemy hand grenade and was forced to move fifty meters to the rear for medical aid. As soon as he had been treated, he returned to the forward position and continued the fight. Before he had reached his machine gun, he noticed that tone of the enemy dead forward of friendly lines had a serviceable automatic weapon. He courageously moved through intense enemy fire, captured the automatic weapon and used it to provide covering fire for the evacuation of ten wounded Marines. His heroic action was a deciding factor in stopping the enemy onslaught and in saving the lives of his disabled fellow Marines. By his daring initiative, determination and resolute devotion to duty, Private First Class Stevens upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

In other business, the council approved the naming of a bridge on Lee Avenue adjacent to Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church for the late Rev. Dr. C. P. Payne.

Payne was the long-time pastor of the church. Several family members were at last night’s meeting.

Alderwomen Carolyn Cage and Angela Mayfield noted that they were both baptized by Rev. Payne.

Payroll Fraud at Ruston Housing Authority


A just-released audit of the Ruston Housing Authority has uncovered an incidence of payroll fraud beginning in 2013.

From page 28 of the audit by Rector, Reader & Lofton, P.C.:

We were informed that one of the agency’s former employees had committed fraudulent and abusive activity beginning with April of 2013 and up through the beginning of the current audit period. The method through which misappropriation was taking place was in the modifying of payroll withholdings and falsifying overtime hours. In her role as payroll administrator, she was issuing payroll checks to herself for unauthorized overtime and using the Board Chairman and Executive Director’s signature stamp. Total overtime paid was 164 hours for a total of $5,166.02. The modifications to the employee’s payroll withholdings included a loan repayment on her retirement plan that she instead had the authority paying on her behalf. The total amount applied towards her loan by the authority was $9,425.89, She also had been enrolled in AFLAC dental insurance for the duration of her employment but had not been withholding the monthly premium in the amount of $112.20. This resulted in the authority paying a total of $3,927 of premiums on her behalf. The employee has subsequently paid $14,000 in restitution of the total of $18,518.91in questioned fraudulent costs.

It was not revealed in the audit whether the findings had been turned over to the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney for prosecution.

Also revealed in the document (pg 38) is the generous pay granted the authority’s executive director:

Salary – $87,252
Benefits (insurance) – $14,937
Benefits (retirement) – $7,416
Car allowance – $4,800
Per diem – $479
Registration fees – $600
Conference travel – $944

Total – $116,428

See here the complete document.

Ruston Board of Aldermen Meet Tomorrow


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet tomorrow (Monday, February 5), 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.

Schools Reopen Tomorrow


Information regarding the re-opening of schools, universities and local government offices for Thursday, January 18, 2018.

• All Lincoln Parish Public Schools
• Cedar Creek School
• Bethel Christian School
• New Living Word School
• Lincoln Preparatory School
• Montessori School of Ruston
• Louisiana Tech University
• Grambling State University
• Most parish local/municipal government offices are open today and will be open on Thursday as well.

Kip Franklin, Director
Lincoln Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness

Ruston Zoning Changes Approved


Last night’s meeting of the Ruston City Council saw several changes to the city’s zoning ordinances.

Zoning administrator Jim Hays noted that the changes are a response to citizen input and are done to keep the code current and effective.

Ward 5 Aldermen Bruce Siegmund added that added that the changes had received a good response from area businesses.

Said Siegmund, “It seems like we’re getting a good response from investors and from business, and I think these are good changes.”

See here the memo.
See here the ordinance.

A resolution was approved authorizing the city to acquire property around the intersection of of the North Service Road and Hwy 33 (Farmerville Rd) near the Shell Oil Circle K convenience store.

The service road will soon be complete past Tractor Supply on to Rough Edge Road, and the increased traffic will likely aggravate the congestion in the area.

One proposed solution would divert westbound service road traffic such that it would enter Farmerville St just north of the RaceWay station.

Several Cooperative Endeavor Agreements were also approved by the council, including the Boys and Girls Club, Ruston Housing Authority, North Louisiana Farm Fresh, Ruston-Dixie Baseball Association, Ruston Girls Softball Association, Buddy Ball of Ruston, the Lincoln Parish School Board, and MTJ Smith Properties.

Here’s the agreement with Ruston-Dixie Baseball Association.

Another agreement approved is between the city and MTJ Smith Properties, LLC. The agreement allows the city to use the alleyway between Sundown Tavern’s outdoor courtyard and the Park Avenue Apartments for “periodic public cultural events.”

See here the agreement.

Ruston Board of Aldermen Monday


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, January 8, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.

Zoning Changes Introduced @ Ruston City Council


Some changes to Ruston’s Code of Ordinances for zoning were introduced at last night’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen. The changes include the addition of public multi-sport recreational complexes as a permitted use in the R-1 one-family residential district, the B-2 light business district, and the D-1B research/office business district.

Also, mini warehouses, self storage, and signage are addressed in the proposed ordinance.

Before adoption, presumably at the next council meeting, a public hearing must be held.

See here the proposed ordinance.

A resolution was approved allowing application for a Department of Environmental Quality loan to improve the North Sewage Treatment Plant.

Among the improvements proposed include the clarifiers, filters, headworks, and sludge removal equipment.

Final approval was given for an ordinance establishing the time, date, and place for the Board of Alderman’s monthly meetings for calendar year 2018.

See here the ordinance.

Ruston City Council Tonight


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet tonight (Monday, December 4), 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.