Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Ruston City Council Monday


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

Here is the agenda.

Of note is introduction of an ordinance concerning the rental guaranty agreement with Excellence Started, LLC.

Last month, the council adopted a resolution relative to the matter. The ordinance has similar language to the resolution, and will require a public hearing be held prior to adoption.

Also, a resolution will be considered that would reimpose an expiring recreation millage.

See here the document.

Finally, the council will consider a resolution to authorize a construction contract to extend Reynolds Drive to connect with Celebrity Drive near Goodwin Road. A temporary roadway was utilized during recent construction in the area, and this project will construct a permanent road at that location.

Seen on Burgessville Road This Morning



Bonton Trial Date Set


Brandon Bonton, an alleged accessory to the murder of Dr. Sue Hashway, was given a September 28 trial date at a Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court hearing yesterday afternoon in Ruston.

In addition to the accessory to 2nd degree murder, Bonton is charged with accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, and theft of a firearm.

Bonton was one of several individuals charged as accomplices to the June, 2012 murder of the retired Grambling State University (GSU) professor, and the rape of a Louisiana Tech University (LTU) student.

Bonton’s attorney, Scott Killen, said he wanted to confer with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office on a related case, that of the alleged ringleader of the crime spree, Cameron Mays.

Assistant AG Mike Ruddick is handling Mays’ prosecution. Almost all the Third JD public defenders who had been involved in Mays’ case, got jobs as prosecutors in the administration of newly elected District Attorney John Belton, and had to be recused because of the conflict of interest.

Mays is set to next appear in court at 9:00 AM, July 21. Bonton has a status conference hearing at 9:00 AM, September 15.

Handling the Bonton case yesterday was First Assistant District Attorney Laurie James.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

Council Gets Details on Monster Moto Incentives, Approves Deal


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen got some additional details at last night’s meeting on the plans for land, building construction, and economic incentives for Monster Moto, a manufacturer of mini bikes and go carts that is set to locate in Ruston.

Monster Moto has several trademarked products and was founded in 2013, according to Bloomberg Business.

As we had reported, the city will deed a parcel of land at the old Ruston Airport on South Farmerville Street to an entity called the Lincoln Economic Development Council (LEDC).

Formed in 2010 as a non-profit, LEDC lists the following individuals as officers: Dudley Holland, Benjamin Denny, Drake Mills, Les Guice, and Lewis Love.

LEDC will in turn lease the property to a private company,
Excellence Started, LLC
, managed by Mark Graham. The Graham family has extensive business interests in the area, including Lincoln Builders, Inc.

Excellence will then construct a 100 thousand square foot manufacturing building that will be occupied by Monster Moto, and will be leased to them for a term of 25 years. Excellence will hold title to the building until the lease expires or is otherwise terminated. At that time, the title would revert to LEDC.

However, the City of Ruston is obligated to guarantee the lease payments to Excellence should the tenant (Monster Moto) fail to pay the rent.

District Two’s Angela Mayfield asked for how long would the city be obligated, and District Four’s Jim Pearce asked about the price tag.

Replied City Attorney Bill Carter, “The lease is for 25 years, the guarantee will be in effect during the term of that lease.”

When Pearce asked about the monthly cost, Carter said that it hadn’t been finalized.

Pearce: “OK. The item’s going to be a guarantee, but we don’t know what we’re guaranteeing?”

Carter: “It’s approximately $34 thousand a month.”

Pearce also inquired as to the financial particulars of Monster Mojo. Mayor Ronny Walker noted that Louisiana Economic Development (LED) had done the due diligence.

The Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for the land, and the Resolution regarding the rent guarantee passed unanimously.

Ruston Taxpayers to Guarantee Rent for Monster Moto


Taxpayers of the City of Ruston will be on the hook for the rent “pursuant to certain terms and conditions,” for a new business that is locating at the old Ruston Airport on South Farmerville Street, according to a resolution that will be considered at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen. Additionally, the City will donate the land where a 100 thousand square foot factory will be built in which Monster Moto plans to manufacture mini bikes and go carts.

From the resolution:

WHEREAS, to induce the LLC to construct the Building which will be used by the Company, the City desires to guarantee the payment of rent by the Company to the LLC under the Sublease pursuant to certain terms and conditions;

See here the complete document.

Also, the land upon which the factory is to be built will be donated.

From the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement:

2. CITY OBLIGATIONS. City agrees to: 2.1 Convey to LEDC the property described on attached Exhibit “A” (the “Property”) and shown on the survey plat depicted on attached “Exhibit B”.

See here the complete document.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 PM Monday, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, first floor.

See here the agenda.

Ruston City Council Tomorrow


The City of Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, May 4, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, first floor courtroom.

Here is the agenda.

Bonton Case Continued, New Attorney Appointed


Brandon Bonton, an alleged accessory to the murder of Dr. Sue Hashway, was assigned a new indigent defender in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court this afternoon in Ruston.

Ruston Attorney Scott Killen was assigned to handle Bonton’s defense.

In addition to the accessory to 2nd degree murder, Bonton is charged with accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, and theft of a firearm.

A June 23, 1:30 PM hearing is the next court date in the case.

Division B Judge Tommy Rogers presided.

DA’s Office Bows Out of Hashway Murder Prosecution, Trial Date Likely Delayed

Dr. Sue Hashaway

Dr. Sue Hashway

As we had reported in January, the personnel shuffle in the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney’s Office has caused delays once again in the prosecution of the accused murderer of retired Grambling State University Professor Dr. Sue Hashway.

The DA’s office recused itself from the prosecution of the alleged killer, Cameron Mays, because new hires in the office formerly were involved as public defenders for Mays. Deanna McCallum, who is the wife of another judge in the 3rd JD, Jay McCallum, and Lewis Jones, who was recently a candidate for 3rd JD Judge, are now Assistant District Attorneys.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Ruddick, based in Monroe, will be handling the case.

Ruddick told Lincoln Parish News Online at this morning’s court hearing that he had been given the case “two or three weeks ago,” and that Mays’ trial, now set for September 28, would likely have to be delayed beyond that date so that he could familiarize himself with the case files.

Hashway was killed nearly three years ago, in June 2012, in the normally quiet Cypress Springs neighborhood of Ruston, in what appeared to be a home invasion and robbery. Several days after the crime, the Ruston Police Department (RPD) arrested Mays and charged him with Hashway’s murder. He was also charged in another home invasion and rape that occurred in the same neighborhood.

Today’s developments came after bailiffs attempted to close the courtroom to the public. It was said that to relieve courtroom crowding, only those whose names appeared on the docket would be allowed in, and after their cases were heard and they left the courtroom, then others would be allowed in.

We protested, and were let in.

On this point, Louisiana’s Constitution is succinct and clear.

Article 1, Sec. 22 – Access to courts

All courts shall be open, and every person shall have an adequate remedy by due process of law and justice, administered without denial, partiality, or unreasonable delay, for injury to him in his person, property, reputation, or other rights.

Presiding at this morning’s hearing was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers. Defense attorney for Mays is James Buckley.

The next hearing is set for 9:00 AM, July 21.

At 1:30 PM this afternoon, another defendant involved the Hashway case, Brandon Bonton, is scheduled for a preliminary exam hearing.

City of Ruston Cited for Bid Law Violation


A just-released audit for the City of Ruston said that a quarter million dollar public works project was let without bids, in violation of the state’s public bid law, LA RS 38:2212.

The violation occurred during fiscal year 10/1/2013 – 9/30/2014, which would have been under former Mayor Dan Hollingsworth’s administration.

Management’s response, presumably from newly-elected Mayor Ronny Walker, noted that the city administrator in charge of the project was no longer employed by the city, and that additional training would be conducted regarding bid laws.

See here the complete report.

NLW Lions BB Team Feted @ Ruston City Council

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker presents plaque to NLW's Jerry Baldwin, with BB team in background

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker (r) presents plaque to NLW’s Jerry Baldwin, with BB team in background

The New Living Word Lions basketball team were at last night’s meeting of the Ruston City Council, along with a slew of parents, coaches, teachers and fans, to be recognized and read a proclamation by Mayor Ronny Walker.

Last month, the Lions won the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) Class C basketball championship for the second consecutive year.

Jerry Baldwin, the school’s founder, introduced the team members and the coaches to the crowd and thanked the council and mayor for the recognition.

Walker read from the proclamation, “…whereas the New Living Word Lions Basketball Team is the only back-to-back state championship team in Ruston…,” and presented Baldwin with a plaque.

In other business, the council approved a professional services agreement with computer consultant Charles Stachacz for work on integrating the city’s utility billing computer systems.

Walker noted the problems that had plagued the system earlier this year, and thank the city’s utility customer’s for their patience.

Said Walker, “To our citizens, we appreciate your patience with this. This has not been easy for any of us.”

Also approved was an agreement with Neel-Schaffer, Inc., for engineering services. The proposed project is rework of the Cooktown Road/I-20 interchange and adjacent service roads.


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