Archive for the ‘Morning Paper’ Category

Services for John Hays Tuesday Evening


A visitation service for John Martin Hays, 72, of Ruston will be held Tuesday, August 12, 4 PM to 6 PM, Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) Fellowship Hall, 504 Tech Drive, Ruston.

Mr. Hays died Sunday after a lengthy illness.

He is survived by his wife Susan Turpin Hays, daughter Leslie Weston, and son-in-law Bryan Weston.

Mr. Hays was the publisher of Ruston’s Morning Paper, a weekly tabloid that focused on local news and politics.


John Martin Hays: 1942-2014


Lousiana Voice is reporting tonight that John Hays, 72, of Ruston, died this morning. His death was the result of complications from a long battle with cancer, Publisher Tom Aswell wrote.

For thirty-seven years, Hays published the Morning Paper, a weekly Ruston based independent tabloid style newspaper that was often the source of news stories no one else had the courage to print, let alone investigate.

In July 2013, Hays ceased publication, due he said to his health issues.

Some Commentary

“What the hell is this?! I ain’t printin’ that crap!! It ain’t news when the state republican chairman endorses a republican candidate for governor!!”

So spoke John Hays to me back in the fall of 1979, when as a volunteer with Dave Treen for Governor, I had been tasked with delivering to the Morning Paper office a press release from then GOP State Chair George Despot.

And that’s how a thirty-five year love/hate relationship began between the self-described “Yellow Dog Democrat” Hays and the conservative Republican Walter Abbott. Without question, Hays was one of the most important men I ever knew.

Much of what I have learned about local politics and how it works was taught to me by Hays over those thirty plus years.

I can state with gold-plated certainty that the relatively honest way that most Lincoln Parish governmental bodies conduct themselves is a direct result of those local politicians knowing that Hays was looking over their shoulder.

RIP John, I will miss you.

And thanks for all you taught me.

Morning Paper to Fold


The Morning Paper, a thirty-seven year source of often exclusive inside local political news, will cease publication, Publisher John Hays wrote in the July 5, 2013 issue of the paper. That edition will be the final issue, Hays said.

Hays, 71, will undergo surgery next week and will likely be convalescing for a time, he said. Hays noted that after his 2006 bout with cancer, his wife Susan shouldered the responsibility of putting out the weekly paper, but that this time “taking care of a cranky patient who won’t be worth anything as a backup” plus 20 hour workdays might be a bit much.

First published on April 15, 1976, the Ruston, LA based weekly was a refreshing antidote to the more conventional coverage of the “real” newspapers that were either too timid to uncover embarrassing stories about local political hijinks, or were too financially beholden to local advertisers that frowned on unflattering local revelations.

In 1994, the Morning Paper received a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for a series exposing the Towers Financial Corporation and its chairman, Steven Hoffenberg. Hays’ reporting was the subject of a 4/4/93 New York Times story.

See here – How a Country Boy Snared a Money Man From the Big City

Also notable was an early 1980’s Morning Paper expose’ dubbed by Hays as the “Pine Tree Caper.” Several million dollars was bilked from North Louisiana investors in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that was represented as an investment in timberland sales contracts.

Francis ‘The Fee’ Thompson Awakens


Like a North Louisiana version of Rip Van Winkle, Louisiana Senate District 34’s Francis ‘The Fee’ Thompson has awakened from a forty year slumber to discover that Grambling State University (GSU) has financial issues and has been getting bad audit reports, and now he wants the state to take a more hands-on approach with financial oversight.

Where in God’s name has this man been?!?!

For thirty-five years, John Hays (the cranky old bastard that publishes the Morning Paper) has been writing about this issue. He’s documented, interviewed, examined and investigated time and again, but Baton Rouge always chose to look the other way. Now The Fee is interested and we’ve got to do something.

Give me a break.

Here’s the story in The (Monroe) News-Star.

Thompson: State should look at GSU

And while we’re on the soapbox this morning there is this whining editorial complaining about all the bad publicity Monroe is getting as a result of alleged criminal activity among the local political class.

Speedy trial best for all

We suggest the folks at the News-Star need look no further than the nearest mirror to find who is partly responsible.. Had they bothered to do proper investigative reporting and kept watch over the politicians, much of this type stuff would have been nipped in the bud.

But they instead prefer to publish puff pieces about politicians deifying them as “problem solvers” and “statesmen.” Can’t risk endangering that “official journal” status and the corresponding government revenue, doncha know.

Ruston Mayor’s Race Already at Full Blast


Although no candidate has qualified, the race for Mayor of Ruston is already hot to go. Several full-page ads have appeared in the local dead-tree newspapers from incumbent Dan Hollingsworth and challenger Allen Herbert.

A cynic might suspect that Morning Paper Publisher John Hays and Ruston Daily Leader Publisher Rick Hohlt got together and talked Herbert into running so as to gin up advertising. Whether or not they did that, the advertising dollars are flowing.

Qualifying for the election is July 7-9 and the election is Saturday, October 2.

Hays’ Morning Paper: V Vehicle the New Henry J


John Hays’ Morning Paper (email or snail mail subscription only) has an interesting take on the ongoing story about the new V-Vehicle plant in Monroe. Hays draws parallels between the V Car and the ill-fated Henry J, and the Allstate – a Sears mail-order/department store version of the Henry J. Kaiser-Frazer manufactured both vehicles. More on the Allstate can be found here.

Of historical interest, the Henry J also included government loans to the company. The project included a lot of government “designing” as various provisions of the 1949 loan to Kaiser-Frazer specified various particulars of the vehicle. Coincidentally most of the start up capital for the V-Vehicle Company will be from government in the form of AVTM loans and state grants.

John Maginnis’ LaPolitics Weekly (subscription only) has a story titled Monroe Car Plant Financed by Government. That is right to the point and deadly accurate.

Also, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate continues to follow the story.

Readers might ask why we cite Hays’ story after what we wrote earlier about him. Regardless of our disagreements on taxes and the role of government, the cranky old bastard is the best investigative reporter we’ve ever known anywhere, anytime. And we both agree government NEVER should be used to benefit a select few politically connected people – regardless of their political persuasion.

UPDATE: 3:50pm

Great intentions meet the real world

Local weekly shopper


Thanks are due to John Hays’ local weekly shopper for the shout-out.  Indeed, we have known and admired John for over 30 years.  His investigative reporting skills are legendary and he’s exposed a lot of rot that needed excising.

But, God bless him, he loves government.  The more taxes that are levied and the more deadheads that are on the government payroll, the better he likes it.  Tax and spend, spend and tax.  To hell with the folks who are toting the freight, the private sector taxpayers.  They just need to shut up and pay their taxes and be grateful they have such fine public servants to spend all that money for them, he believes.

He hasn’t the first clue about how wealth and prosperity are created.