Jonesboro Alderman Stringer and Mayor Thompson at odds regarding Fire Chief

At the Town of Jonesboro Board of Alderman meeting held last Tuesday, Councilman Pete Stringer stated that he believed that Brandon Brown should be immediately relieved of his duties as Jonesboro Fire Chief. Mayor Leslie Thompson followed by stating that the decision was his and he would not make any moves until the due process of the judicial system had taken its course. 

Following an investigation that began last August and is still ongoing by the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit, Brown was arrested on January 4th on charges of insurance fraud, and malfeasance of office. This stemmed from an accident last year involving two Town of Jonesboro Fire Department vehicles, one of which Brown’s juvenile son was stated to be driving. 

Now Stringer is saying that according to the Town of Jonesboro Book of Ordinances the statement made by Mayor Thompson, regarding him having absolute authority to fire, hire and/or suspend the Fire Chief, is erroneous. 

“According to Article 2 of Ordinance 274, it is not the Mayor who has the final say so in situations like this but the governing body of the Town and members of the fire department after a public hearing has been held,” says Stringer.

Stringer also made clear that his recommendation is nothing personal against Chief Brown but having Brown removed from his duties is simply following the guidelines of the Ordinance and in the best interest of the town.  

“I have nothing against Chief Brown personally,” says Stringer. “I think prior to this he has served the town well since he became Fire Chief and I hate that we are having to have these discussions now. I just don’t see how at this point he can continue to be Chief and command the respect and confidence of those in the department, which is required according to the guidelines of the Ordinance.” 

The actual language of Ordinance 274, Article 2 states: The Chief shall be appointed by the members of the department for an indefinite period of time and his tenure of office shall depend upon his good conduct and efficiency. The Chief shall be technically qualified by training and experience and shall have the ability to command men and hold their respect and confidence.  He shall be removed only for just cause and after a public hearing before the governing body of the Town and members of the fire department. 

Upon learning of Councilman Stingers objections, Mayor Thompson issued the following statement. 

I admonished Councilman Aaron Stringer at the town’s regular scheduled meeting on January 11, 2022 that his motion to terminate Chief Brown was not only ill-regular but in my opinion, unlawful. It’s improper to make a motion that requires a second and a vote on a matter that is outside of the scope of council’s authority as prescribed by the Lawrason Act; the rule of law, which governs our municipality.
Councilman Stringer stated that he wanted his position known to the public. You do that by simply making a statement for the record.

Now it appears as though Councilman Stringer has researched the archives and found the ordinance that
originally created the Fire Department in an effort to justify his recommendation to terminate the Chief or at least to secure the vote of Council to do so. Lawrason Act governs the town. (As the La. Constitution governs our state). Town ordinances are adopted by town council but can’t usurp the Lawrason rules and state statutes. (Just as our parish can’t adopt laws that are not in step with our state laws).

Article 1 of this ordinance referred to by Councilman Stringer states: that the Fire Department shall consist of a Chief, three assistant Chiefs and other officers as the Chief and his assistants may deem necessary for the effective operation of the department. The reality is that it has been more than 20 years since this
requirement was applicable.

Article 2 states that the Chief shall be appointed by members of the department for an indefinite period of time and his tenure of office shall depend upon his good conduct and efficiency. If this article was still applicable Councilman Stringer would be held in contempt for violating it because of the role that he played in confirming the Mayor’s recommendation to appoint the Chief in 2019.

Article 2 also states that: He shall be removed only for just cause and after a public hearing before the governing body of the town and members of the Fire Department. I can’t explain why over 30 years ago the Council would have required a public hearing for removal of a chief from office. Neither can I explain why there would have been a need for the presence of the embers of the Fire Department.

Article 3 states that the Chief shall be held accountable to the Mayor only and shall make written and verbal reports thereto as the Mayor may require. This language is very clear to me as to who the Chief responds and would be ultimately answerable to.

However, I stand by present day Lawrason Act rules and regulations by which I am sworn to follow. R.S. 33:404 (A)(1) states that the mayor has the additional powers, duties and responsibilities: To supervise and direct the administration and operation of all departments, offices, and agencies, other than a police department with an elected Chief of Police, in conformity with ordinances and law: however, no ordinance may limit the authority granted to the Mayor by this provision. An administrative staff are subordinate to the Mayor. Mayor’s authority to hire and fire includes the power to suspend, according to (Bourgere vs Anzelmo, App 5 Cir.1988, 517 So.2d 1121)

I would suggest that Alderman Stringer take the time to re-familiarize himself with the powers of the Board of Aldermen as prescribed by the Lawrason Act. The duties can be found in R.S. 33:362(A)(1) and states that outside of R.S. 33:404 (A)(3), board does not have authority to hire, five, or discipline municipal
employees or to review termination of municipal employees made by the Mayor. (AGO )12-0056).

I think it is unfortunate that we are so quick to judge and to utilize our authority to hurt and to condemn our fellowman. If you are ever falsely accused of an act of something that you have not done, you will understand why my reaction and response will always lean toward compassion and will always embrace the judicial principle of innocent until proven guilty.

 


Taylor Chatham and Eli McBride named WHS Homecoming Queen and King

One of the premier days at every school is Homecoming. Not only do alums and former classmates gather to remember the good ole days but it is a gala event for the current students, faculty, staff, family and friends as well. For Taylor Chatham and Eli McBride it will be a day they will never forget pair were introduced as the 2022 Homecoming Queen and King at Weston High School this past Thursday along with the maids from each class and their escorts.

For a complete gallery of pictures compiled by Kristie Tolar / Sasse Lynn Shenanigans go to: https://www.sasselynn.com/

2022 Weston High School Homecoming Court

Freshman Maids – Anslee Aldy, Olivia Marsh
Freshman Escorts – Jacob Gill, Bryce Zehr

Sophomore Maids – Carroll Anne Foshee, Alaina Trosclair
Sophomore Escorts – Tayton Culpepper, Rylee McBride

Junior Maids – Heili Bryant, Kinleigh Harvey, Emma Kate McBride
Junior Escorts – Hayden Collins, Mitchel Mathews, Bryan McMillan

Senior Maids – Mattie Claire Beaubouef, Mary Catherine Hay, Makenzie Henderson
Senior Escorts – Garrison Perry, Seth Peterson, Caleb Waters

Attendants – Gracie Marie McBride, Brennon Scott Otwell, Kinsley Sage Greer

Homecoming Queen – Taylor Chatham
Homecoming King – Eli McBride

 


Atkins named to inaugural All-GeauxPreps Small School First Team

The awards keep rolling in for Jonesboro-Hodge High School linebacker Xavier Atkins who last week was named to the Class AA All-State Defensive First Team by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). Now the sensational sophomore, who led the nation in solo stops and the state in tackles regardless of classification, has earned first team designation to the All-GeauxPreps Small School squad.

Atkins was the only underclassmen selected to the defensive team and one of only two chosen on the 29 man team that represents both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.atkins2 

In just two years, Geaux Preps has become the primary and most respected source of information regarding high school athletic programs in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). This is the first year that the online sports platform has chosen this elite combination of the state’s top football talent. 

“I am very happy for Xavier to be given this honor,” said JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship. “Geaux Preps is highly respected for their knowledge of the teams and players on the high school level across the state.”

2021 ALL-GEAUXPREPS SMALL SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS

OFFENSE

Position, Player, School, Class
QB Landry Lyddy Calvary Baptist Senior
RB Harlem Berry St. Martin’s Freshman
RB Grant Ducote Rosepine Junior
RB London Williams Many Senior
WR Jayven Claybrook Logansport Junior
WR Omarion Miller North Caddo Junior
WR Tristan Wiley Ouachita Christian Senior
TE Will Randle Newman Junior
OL Terry Augustine Avoyelles Senior
OL Bo Bordelon Newman Senior
OL Davion Champ Homer Junior
OL Fitzgerald West Lafayette Christian Senior
OL Bryant Williams Grand Lake Senior
PK Caleb Clement Calvary Baptist Senior
AP Angelo Izzard, Jr. Southern Lab Senior

DEFENSE

Position, Playe,r School, Class
DL Maxie Baudoin Ascension Episcopal Senior
DL Tonzaiha Bland Logansport Senior
DL Casey Cobb Ouachita Christian Senior
DL Jalen Smith Avoyelles Senior
LB Xavier Atkins Jonesboro-Hodge Sophomore
LB Shane Forman Southern Lab Senior
LB Javae Gilmore Amite Senior
LB Kaiden Jones St. Charles Senior
DB Jordan Allen Lafayette Christian Senior
DB Herman Brister III Southern Lab Senior
DB Tackett Curtis Many Junior
DB Joseph Schlatre St. John Senior
P Landon Graves Ouachita Christian Junior
KR Dmitry Payne Lincoln Prep Senior


Prep schedule ravished by Covid quarantine precautions

The basketball schedule for the local schools took it’s hardest hit yet from the Covid Omicron Variant this past week. Only one school in the Jackson Parish Journal coverage area got a game in this past week and Saline was forced to play with just six players. 

This week is expected to see more action as all the players and schools are expected to come off of the required quarantine. Local fans should certainly hope the games will be played as all three Jackson Parish schools are slated to play at home.

Headlining the lineup is a tilt between two of north central Louisiana’s best “small school” boys teams. Top rated and defending state champion, Simsboro, who is sporting an 18-1 record, takes on 7-3 and 6th ranked, Jonesboro-Hodge, following a junior varsity and girls game. First game is slated to begin at 5:00pm.

Just up the road, #16 Quitman (12-12) will try to move above the .500 mark on the year when they welcome #8 Saline (11-13) in a boys parish border battle. This will also follow a junior varsity and girls game with action also beginning at 5:00pm. Weston (10-12) will also entertain Castor (5-18) in a battle of old district foes with the girls to tip off at 6:00pm.

Games of Tuesday, January 18

HomeVisitorGamesTime
JHHS SimsboroJV, G, B5:00pm
QuitmanSalineJV, G, B5:00pm
WestonCastorG, B6:00pm

Student Athlete of the Week announced

Davis Tolar, Savantez Phillips and Ladayrun (L.D.) Manning have been selected as the Student Athlete of the Week at the three respective high schools in Jackson Parish. Through the program sponsored by the Jackson Parish Hospital in Jonesboro, select faculty and staff from Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and Weston High Schools choose a representative each week who best demonstrates what it means to combine academic acheivement and athletic accomplishments. 

Student Athlete of the Week

Ladayrun (L.D.) Manning – Senior basketball player at Quitman High School 
Davis Tolar – Senior basketball player at Weston High School 
Savantez Phillips – Junior basketball player at Jonesboro-Hodge High School


2022 Police Jury Committee Assignments made

This past Tuesday, Lynn Treadway and Regina Rowe were elected as the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) President and Vice President for 2022. On Wednesday, the Chairman and members of the nine Committee’s of the JPPJ were named as well as the representatives to the various parish boards and commissions. 

2022 JPPJ Committee Assignments

COMMITTEECHAIRPERSONMEMBERS
FinanceLynn TreadwayRegina Rowe, John McCarty
RoadAmy MageeLynn Treadway, Lewis Chatham
Solid WasteLynn TreadwayAmy Magee, John McCarty
ProjectsRegina RoweLynn Treadway, Tarneshala Cowans
VeteransTarneshala CowansTodd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham
Building & GroundsTodd CulpepperJohn McCarty, Tarneshala Cowans
PersonnelRegina RoweAmy Magee, Tarneshala Cowans
Economic DevelopmentLewis ChathamRegina Rowe, Lynn Treadway
Parish CleanupJohn McCarty Lewis Chatham, Todd Culpepper

JPPJ Representatives to Boards and Commissions

Library BoardLewis Chatham
Sales Tax BoardLynn Treadway
Pine Belt MPAATodd Culpepper
Broadbandto be determined
NLEPRegina Rowe
Sparta CommissionRegina Rowe
Workforce DevelopmentJohn McCarty

Library Board to elect officers for 2022 at Tuesday meeting

The election of a new President, Vice-President and Treasurer for 2022 will highlight the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Jackson Parish Library Board. The session will take place at 4:30pm on Tuesday, January 18th in the McBride Room at the Jonesboro Branch located at 614 South Polk Avenue.

Also to be discussed is the authorization for a Director and two staff members to attend the Public Library, Louisiana Library and Texas Library conferences that will be held in March and April of this year. In regard to the Chatham branch,  proposals for repairs and renovations will be considered, as well as, an update on the new Story Walk collaboration. 

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance, please contact Floyd Knox at (318) 259-5697.


Recreation District Board to meet Monday

The Board for the Jackson Parish Recreation District (JPRD) will elect their officers for 2022 at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting that will be held at 6:00pm on Monday, January 17th. The meeting will be held in the Banquet Room of the Jackson Parish Golf Course Clubhouse, located at 524 Clubhouse Drive in Jonesboro. 

In additional action Brent Barnett, Ricky Cash, Jeff Hairston, Brandon Lamkin, Rodney Potts, Sullivan Stevens and Chris Womack will discuss their involvment with the Town of Chatham and the plan regarding trophies and medals. 

JPRD Director Tommy Smith will also provide an update on the Archery and additional ongoing programs as well as an update on what is going on at the Golf Course. A discussion of old and new business along with setting a date and time for the next board meeting will conclude the activities. 

JPRD MEETING AGENDA

1. Call to Order
2. Invocation
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Public Comments
5. Election of Board Officers for 2022: A. President; B. Vice-President
6. Approval of Minutes (December) and Financials (November/December)
7. Town of Chatham
8. Champion Trophies: A. Basketball Trophies/MedalS
9. Programs/Archery Update
10. Golf Course Update
11. Old Business
12. New Business
13. Set Date and Time for Next Board Meeting
14. Adjourn


SOMETIMES BIG BUCKS HIDE IN LITTLE PLACES

Webster Parish resident, Chad Allison, has a proven record of being able to waylay trophy bucks. Visit his Shongaloo home and you’ll see proof; he has 21 trophy mounts hanging on the walls of his home.

“I own some land in the area and I have other areas that I lease for deer hunting,” Allison said. “However during my years of chasing trophy bucks, I have found that often the biggest buck in the woods tends to hide out in places you might not expect. Strange as it may seem, I often find bucks right over the back yard fence of country homes, especially when there’s a thicket and when they are pressured by hunters. They feel safer there.”

Allison put his money where his mouth is when he got a tip about a big buck hanging out in just such a place, just over the back yard fence of a six acre plot owned by a lady. He talked with her and she gave him permission to try his luck on the buck that was hanging out back there.

“With her permission, I put out feed and a trail camera and got photos of a really nice buck on her property. On the morning of November 8, I decided to hunt the big buck. She let me use my bulldozer to make a lane next to an old fence on the property. I like to hunt from lock-on stand but with the area so small, I was afraid getting a stand up a tree would be too much noise. “There was a cedar tree that had blown down along the fence so I decided to make me a seat among the branches of the fallen cedar,” Allison explained.

Allison has the type game camera that alerts his cell phone when something trips the camera and he’s able to see what it is. While he is sitting nestled among the branches of the cedar just before daylight, his phone alerted him to a photo of the buck down the lane some 100 yards or so and then the buck was gone.

“Just as it started to get daylight, I saw something move 10 feet from where I sat and there was the buck right there in my face. When I looked up to see what was moving, he saw me move, took off and I figured I had really messed up,” he said.

That afternoon, Allison decided to crawl back in the cedar although he had to wonder if the fact the buck had seen him that morning, he may not show up again. However, around 4:20, a doe stepped out at 100 yards and right behind him was the buck. Putting the crosshairs on the buck’s vitals, he hit the trigger and the buck hit the ground.

“His rack was impressive sporting 14 points with only a little over 2 inches of irregular points. I’m not really interested in competition but my son’s girl friend had gotten a buck with her bow and they were taking it to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop to enter in the store’s contest. They suggested that they take mine and I agreed and if they wanted to enter mine in the contest, I didn’t have a problem with it,” he said.

Allison’s buck was measured with a rack scoring 174 2/8 inches of mass and currently sits in fourth place in the men’s division of the contest. Allison shared a secret on downing trophy bucks, stating that his passion is looking for and hunting big bucks. The racks on his walls confirms that passion.

“I find those folks who live in the country and who have small patches of land around their houses. After getting permission, I use game cameras to see what’s there and put out feed to draw the deer to me. So far,” he said, “it’s been pretty successful.”

FISHING REPORT

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best fishing deep water with deep diving crank baits, jigging spoons and tail spinners. Crappie are in the deep water out from the dam with best catches made on shiners or jigs fished near the bottom in 30-35 foot water. Jigging spoons bounced off the bottom in deep water are fair for yellow bass. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing is slow. No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Bass are fair in the run-outs from river lakes to river. Crank baits and soft plastics are picking up a few. Crappie have been best fishing around submerged tops 12-20 feet deep in 25 foot water on jigs or shiners. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing the channel edges in water up to 35 feet deep on shiner or jigs with best jigs this week being the Lite’s Out, Popsicle and Fred’s Special. Bass are in the channels in deeper water with crank baits, jigs and soft plastics picking up some. Bream fishing is slow while catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing around submerged brush in 25 foot water with shiners or jigs working best. Bass are fair with most running rather small and hitting on a variety of lures. A few bream have been caught off the banks on night crawlers. No report on stripers or catfish. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good on cold worms. Crappie fishing has been best on the south end of the lake on shiner or jigs. No report on bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The water is low; launching boats is a near impossibility. No fishing this week. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is rising and fishing is slow except on the south end where some crappie have been caught. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


Remembering Marlene Rome

It is with great sadness that the family of Marlene Rome announces her passing in Bossier City on Thursday, January 5th, at the age of 79. Marlene was born July 19, 1942 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to Frank Sylvester Noel Sr. and Constance Jackson Noel.

Marlene was proceeded in death by her parents and her husband, Anthony Nicholas Rome Sr.

She will be lovingly remembered by her children Anthony (Tag) Nicholas Rome Jr., Todd Michael Rome and wife Tammy, and Christopher Noel Rome; her grandchildren Victoria Noel Rome, Anthony Nicholas Rome III and his wife Katie, Michael Anthony Rome, Sophia Arlene Rome, Camille Alice Rome; and great grandchildren Gabriella Oliva Rome, Anthony Nicholas Rome IV, along with additional family, and countless friends.

She was laid to rest with the love of her life, Tony Rome, at the St. Lucy’s Catholic Church cemetery in Hodge, Louisiana on January 10th. The Romes, although both south Louisiana natives, settled in Jonesboro and joyfully raised their family there.

Memorial donations in the couple’s honor (Tony & Marlene Rome) may be made to the American Heart Association.


New roof in place over handicap accessible pier at Caney Lake Spillway

It could be said that the handicapped anglers who like to fish on Caney Lake now have it made in the shade. This is because there is now a new roof over the handicap accessible pier located at the Spillway on Caney Lake. 

It all came about when a couple of months ago an elderly lady who uses a wheel chair to get around thought it would be a nice day to go fishing. She knew the perfect spot for her too as she had been there many times before, which was the handicap accessible pier.

As usual, she enjoyed her day on the lake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the fish were biting just enough to keep her interested but as normal in the late fall in north Louisiana, it got hot pretty quickly. As fate would have it she got the opportunity to speak to Gary Joynor, who is a member of the Jackson Parish Watershed District (JPWD) Committee.

“It sure would be nice to have a roof over that pier on the Spillway,” she told Joynor. 

Thinking about it he agreed that wasn’t a bad idea at all, matter of fact a very good one. 

Joynor spoke to his fellow committee members which resulted in an application being sent to the Jonesboro State Bank (JSB) / Pledge 10 program. Through this endeavor the JSB invests 10% of their profits for community enrichment opportunities. Soon the roof went up and the temperature went down. 

“I would like to thank the Jonesboro State Bank and the Watershed Board Committee for making this happen,” said Joynor. “We hope everyone will enjoy this new upgrade.”


J & W Timeless Treasures celebrates grand opening on Friday

With friends, family and members of the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce in attendance, owners Judie and Wayne McGure celebrated the grand opening of J & W Timeless Treasures on Friday with a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. 

The business that is located on the left end of the shopping center on Hwy 4, just south of Hwy 167, will be open for business Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM. For more information call: 903-235-4798 or 903-239-1410.


Chamber Director Smith gives thanks for successful Christmas Holiday celebration

When the calendar turned to 2022 it ended a month full of activities and celebration of the Christmas season that has made the town of Jonesboro well known, especially for their lights display, accross the state.

wilda smithSpearheading this effort each year is the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce and in particularly it’s director Wilda Smith, who deserves great appreciation for the hours and hours put forth for the residents of Jackson Parish.

While she is the one who should be given thanks, as is her nature, Smith gives her apprection to the many who stepped up to make this year’s event one of the best ever through the statement below.

The Jonesboro Hodge community pulled together to have a beautiful display of Christmas lights for December 2021. There are many to thank for their contribution and support.

Thanks to Mayor Thompson and the Town council for their support for the Christmas decorations which allowed Warren Bradley and his crew to create a fantastic design of all of the lights and displays.

Thanks to Mayor Palmer of Hodge and their town employees by having a beautiful display of Christmas lights on 167.

Appreciation to Tiffiny Walker, one of our new chamber members who met greeted and assisted the vendors who were set up on Polk Avenue.

Thanks to Christie weeks who coordinated the coffee for our grand marshal and the ladies of the community who furnished the refreshments.

Jonesboro State Bank for sponsoring the school choirs in the veterans Park. Thanks to the schools for participating.

Appreciation to Glen Kirkland, Will Kirkland and David Caskey for moving and returning the sound system.

hanks also to Bill Staples for another wonderful job of emceeing our Christmas parade.

Lining up the parade thanks goes to Todd Culpepper, Glen Hathaway, Randy Layfield and Ross Pullin at First Baptist Church.

At the Methodist Church thanks to David Chestnut and David Caskey.

We thank Rusty Tolar for chauffeuring our judges around prior to and after the parade.

And once again we could not have a parade or the other events that we have in our parish without our first responders, who provided us with security and were ready there for emergencies.”

Wilda Smith


JHHS girls basketball conducting fundraiser through multi-chance raffle

The Jonesboro-Hodge High School girls basketball team is conducting a fund raiser through a raffle that has multiple chances of winning various prizes. There will be three prizes given away with a full size wooden picnic table being the grand prize. Lucky winners will also have a shot at a $75.00 and $50.00 gas card as well. 

Cost of a ticket is only $2.00 and the drawing for the winners will take place on February 3rd. If you would like to view the table it is on display at the JHHS Boys Gymnasium. 

The Lady Tigers would like to thank Pardue Builders of Jonesboro for donating the supplies for the table and the students of the JHHS Career and Technical Education program for putting it together.