Mark your calendars for the Saturday, June 12th, Jackson Parish Cleanup Event. The day to volunteer to show your pride in the parish is sponsored by the Jackson Parish Police Jury and under the direction of Clean Up Committee Chairman, John McCarty. Each Police Jury District and Municipality will be competing to have the cleanest district in Jackson Parish! Contact your Police Juror if you want more information on participating in the event or gather up your neighbors to start cleaning up your areas. It’s never too early to Love Your Parish.
To participate in the event you are asked to contact your individual Police Jury member to get instructions where to assemble or you can come to the Charles H. Garrett Community Center, located at 182 Industrial Drive in Jonesboro at 8:00am on Saturday.
There were more fireworks than a 4th of July celebration. Sadly, where the sparks flew on this date was at the June 8th Jonesboro Board of Aldermen meeting that was held at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center where the petty pomp between the elected and appointed officials totally outweighed the circumstances that needed to be resolved. Not one single item on the agenda went by without some squabble or pointed question being associated with it. To describe the 2 1/2 hour session would be to say it was a verbal version of a WWE WrestleMania event complete with all the grandstanding with barbs being traded instead of blows.
First shots fired! Robbie Siadek landed the first real blow of the night when he questioned why with Property Tax receipts close to $200,000.00 over what was expected and Sales Tax close to 400K over what was budgeted why was the Town still having money issues? This was followed by a suggestion that maybe where the money was being spent needed to be looked at closer or revised. This was a precursor of what was to come.
Public Hearing called! Mayor Leslie Thompson made a request to the Board to make a motion to reduce the compensation of the next tax collector to $16.00 per hour. This was met with dissension by Stringer and after all was said and done an Ordinance was introduced to hold a Public Hearing about the compensation at 5:30pm on July 13th.
Head shots! The action really got heated when it came time for the Department Head reports except for Fire Chief Brandon Brown’s report who gave information on real fire issues. Brown reported the fire department made 83 runs in May and continued the “beautification burn” program where dilapidated structures were burnt to improve neighborhoods. According to Brown there are roughly 40 structures on the list to be burned.
Things really got hot when discussing as Public Works Director Calvin Wortham and Councilmen Ginn and Siadek threw jabs back and forth about the water billing and reading of meters issues. When Wortham answered the question of were the meters being read by saying NO because they are still inconsistent and unreliable, Siadek then stated he thought the problem wasn’t with the meters but the people reading them on an inconsistent basis which led him to propose to have a third party be hired. The pair actually agreed this was not a bad idea but then others pitched in about residents being billed on a flat scale or actual readings and what did the future hold for the town being able to bill for actual usage. Half an hour later and following a request to have Attorney Doug Stokes make a request to the state Attorney General for clarification on what can be done the attention moved to doing road repairs on Branch and Hickory Street which was said to be expected to be worked on next week.
Mayor dodges punch! Police Chief James “Spike” Harris then took the podium to provide an introductory remark on why he was going to say what he did. Chuckles were heard throughout the crowd when Harris commented on the unfounded rumors of his demise after last month’s meeting and stated to Mayor Thompson that he wanted him to know that what he was about to report was nothing personal but only doing what he was paid to do.
“I have a job to do as Chief of Police,” stated Harris. “One of the areas I have to work in is following up on leads that come into my department. While 99% of them have no merit, there is not a month go by where I don’t get a call about something going on in city hall.
With that Harris explained that he had gotten a report that Mayor Thompson’s brother David had been given contracts by City Hall that could have gone to lower bidders.
“Once I investigated these allegations I turned my findings over to the State Police and the Ethics Board as I am supposed to,” said Harris. “I am announcing that while it was deemed possibly unethical for his brother to get these contracts, no laws were broken and Mayor Thompson did nothing illegal.”
Roughed up a little! Mayor Thompson didn’t come away quite so unscathed after the discussion about him getting a new car was brought up. Apparently he had proposed to purchase a car but was denied due to a governmental appropriations clause that says a public body can’t incur a debt unless first approved by the state bond commission. This also led to a question by Councilman Siadek on how can the Mayor be approved to buy a $30,000 car when just two months ago he said that there was no money for the Police Department to get a new unit.
“I knew that I would get opposition about this,” said Thompson. “The simple fact is that the car I am driving is 16 years old and has transmission problems. There is money in the budget for this while there was none in the Police budget for a them to get a unit. I have to have something more dependable.”
Undercard battle! With the main event still be unfold the atmosphere started to get prepped when Jonesboro resident and former Mayor, James Bradford stepped to the podium on what was supposed to be on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of America. Bradford stated that he wanted to ask the Council to renounce their decision to charge the charity organization the $500.00 per month rent to use the McDonald Recreation Building in Jonesboro. With former JHHS athletic great Eldontae Osborne, who is now the B&G Club state director in the audience, what should have been a discussion about helping children turned into the former Mayor and current one acting like children. Bradford and Thompson started trading verbal shots about past and current administrations that completely derailed any possible action being taken but led to the main event of the night where Thompson had to withstand three more punches landed by Stringer, Ginn and Siadek.
Main event! As the meeting was now over two hours old, Mayor Thompson called for the adoption of Ordinance 2021-002 that dealt with the General budget to be tabled until the next meeting in July. Instead, much to the chagrin of Mayor Thompson who was surprised by the move. Alderman Ginn made a surprise motion to amend revisions to the budget which after being seconded was approved by a 3-1 vote with Ginn, Stringer and Siadek voting for and Flowers against. The same vote count stood on the next motion to adopt the revised budget. The process and actions were repeated when the next two Ordinances on the agenda dealing with the Water and Sewer budget came up that frustrated Thompson who claimed he was being blindsided by the council’s actions and stated he should have been consulted with about any changes that were going to be proposed.
Quitman head coach Justin Dodson was named Coach of the Year in Class B by the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association (LSCA)while three of his girls were selected to the elite team. It wouldn’t be surprising if the recent announcement made isn’t repeated many more times over the next several year either, especially when considering that Maggie Guyotte just finished the 7th grade, Deal the 8th and Chaplin her freshman year in high school.
The statistics compiled by the three that played intergral roles in leading Quitman to a 27-8 overall record, the district 2B championship and a spot in the Class B state semifinals were simply astounding. A seventh grader isn’t supposed to be hitting .436 on the year and leading tying for her team lead with seven home runs not to mention driving in 38 runs and scoring 34. Neither is an 8th grader supposed to compile a .500 batting average, score 40 runs and drive in 32 while also compiling a 15-6 record on the mound and striking out 181 batters in 133 innings pitched. Then there is the 9th grader who hit .343 for the season scored 55 runs, knocked in 30 and stole a Class B best 31 bases.
“I am blessed to have these three on my team,” said Dodson. “The best part of it is that there are several more young players on our team who are just as talented and without a doubt will make a name for themselves as well over the next few years as well.”
Also being named to the elite team selected from schools whose head coaches are members of the LSCA was 9th grader, Jordan Williams of Saline, who has family roots in Jackson Parish.
Decisions on how to fund the Solid Waste Department continued to be the main topic of discussion for the Jackson Parish Police Jury who met for their monthly business session on Monday, June 7th at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center.
The meeting had progressed quickly as the full board of Todd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham, Amy Magee, John McCarty, Tarneshala “Niki” Cowans, Regina Rowe and Lynn Treadway had heard reports from the Chairman John McCarty of the Parish Clean-Up, “Niki” Cowans of the Finance Committee and Projects Committee Chairman Lewis Chatham.
Then Operations Committee Chairperson Amy Magee informed the panel that a letter had been sent to area municipalities to inform them of impending charges that will be enforced for the disposal of their waste. She also made the proposal to move four laborers from Solid Waste to the Road Department.
This brought a response from Robin Sessions, Supervisor of the Solid Waste Department. He objected to the idea as even though the plan is to reduce the number of bin sites in the parish the work required at the department was no less.
“If you take away workers from Solid Waste it is going to cause a delay in pickup and processing as their won’t be enough manpower to do what needs to be done,” said Sessions.
It was then offered that the laborers could be classified as “floats’ being able to be used by Solid Waste or Road as needed. Sessions responded by asking that no moves be made until at leas the end of June to allow time to get caught up on existing work and to make plans if necessary.
Updates on various boards and committee assignments that are to be presented at the June 14th regularly scheduled meeting followed. Discussion then focused on deadlines and requirements of calling a special election in regard to what has been classified as “surplus funds” in possession of the Jackson Parish Library.
If the discussions about possible renovation plans that took place at the special called meeting of the Jackson Parish School Board held this past Monday, soon the campuses of Jackson Parish schools will be swarming with contractors, painters, roofers and HVAC technicians.
The meeting was called prior to the scheduled committee meetings and normal monthly session that saw board members Gerry Mims, Rickey McBride, Wade McBride, Gloria Davis, Dennis Clary, Mary Saulters and Calvin Waggoner along with Superintendent David Claxton and Financial Manager Kristi Bass go over renovation suggestions provided by the Principals at each school.
The opportunity to do the requested work at Jonesboro-Hodge Elementary, Jonesboro-Hodge Middle, Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and Weston High Schools has been afforded due to the receipt of ESSER funding that has been provided through the federally funded CARES Act.
By definition CARES Act ESSER Funding aims to help K-12 schools “rethink the way students access education.” Federal funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund intends to make learning more accessible to students with disabilities, at-risk populations, language needs, and other challenges.
Bowie and Carter honored! During the regular scheduled meeting, LHSAA state track and field high jump champions Detre’Vien Bowie of Jonesboro-Hodge and Emma Carter of Quitman High received recognition. Superintendent Claxton presented both with a certificate of honor for winning individual state championships in their respective classes.
Mims makes plea for parish wide band! When asked for comments board member Gerry Mims offered a thought provoking idea that drew affirmative nods from some present when he asked what the possibilities were of having a band assembled among parish wide students.
“To many talented performers from our parish are losing out on the chance to earn scholarships and instruction for what could be a possible future career,” said Mims. “I would like to see them get an opportunity to pursue this so we need to look at having a parish wide band at least.”
After a hearty discussion most agreed that this was something that needed to be looked into. General consensus was that if this did come to fruition that it would probably be best to start at the junior high level and grow into a high school band and that it would be vital to find the right person to lead such an endeavor.
Committee recommendations approved: Prior to adjournment the recommendations of the Executive/Finance, Transportation and Building & Grounds Committees were approved as follows:
1. Payment of General Fund bills – $1,914,016.78 2. Payment of General Fund bills – $1,914,016.78 3. Payment of Food Service bills – $115,300.16 4. Payment of Sales Tax bills – $184,452.54 5. Payment of Special Ed Fund bills – $53,654.53 6. Payment of District Mainenance bills – $18,603.35 7. Approval to pay Professional Development by LA University Health Science Center $6,000.00 for Special Education teachers to be paid from Redesign IDEA 611 funds. 8. Approval to pay Open Up Resources $12,480.00 for Illustrative Math Student Workbooks to be paid out from Title One School funds and broken down as: $3,900.00 – JH Middle School $4,420.00 – Quitman High School $4,160.00 – Weston High School 9. Approval to pay Zearn Mathematics $7,5000.00 for (K-5) Digital Access for students and teachers at JH Elementary, Quitman and Weston High Schools to be broken down as $2,500.00 for each school and paid from Title One School funds. 10. Approval to pay $2,000.00 to five (5) Louisiana Tech year-long students for a total of $10,000.00 to be paid from Title II funds. 11. Approval to pay APEL $26,500.00 for Comprehensive Needs Assessment to be paid from Title One School funds and broken down as follows: $4,500.00 – JH Elementary School $4,500.00 – JHHS $4,000.00 – JH Middle School $7,000.00 – Quitman High School $6,500.00 – Weston High School 12. Approval to pay $12,484.00 for STEM Camp to be held on July 12-15, 2021 at JH Middle School and JHHS to be paid from ESSER III funds, pending LDOE approval. Camp is for all parish schools.
1. Approval for out of state travel for the Quitman High School Softball Team to attend a summer camp at Mississippi State University on July 12-14, 2021. All expenses to be paid from Quitman Softball funds. 2. Approval for put of state travel for Weston High School students to Pennekamp State Park, FL on March 20-24, 2022. Expenses to be paid by students. 3. Approval to pay Ross Bus & Sales $110,591.06 for a 65 passenger, gasoline powered, Blue Bird Vision Bus to be specially modified for Special Ed use and paid by ESSERS II funds.
Building & Grounds:
1. Accepted low quote of $132,465.00 from the Mabry Co. LLC of Ruston for the Quitman parking lot to be paid from Quitman District funds. 2. Accept bid from Southern Roofing LLC of $52,732.36 for materials and installation of metal roof on Quitman High School Cafeteria. 2. Accept bid from Southern Roofing LLC of $17,500.00 for materials and installation of metal roof on Weston High School Cafeteria.
Authorities have arrested two men from Arkansas accused of setting fire to a mobile home in Jackson Parish after a dispute with the resident of the home. According to the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (SFM), Austin Triplet, 28, and James Maxwell, 52, both of Crossett, Ark., were booked into the Jackson Parish Jail on one count of Simple Arson.
An agent from the SFM says on March 23, deputies were requested by the Jackson Parish Ward 2 Fire Department to help determine the start and cause of a mobile home fire on the 3000 block of Highway 556 south of Choudrant. After assessing the scene and getting witness statements, it was determined that the fire was intentionally set.
Deputies say during the investigation they learned that the person who lived in the home and Triplet were recently involved in an argument. SFM uncovered evidence confirming Triplet as a suspect in the case and identifying Maxwell as being involved.
The Jackson Parish Recreation District (JPRD) moved forward with the plans to have a Gazebo built at the Golf Course and providing players with a full, 18-hole layout in the future. The planned improvements were verified in the recently released minutes of the regularly scheduled May meeting of the JPRD which was attended by board members: Ricky Cash, Jeff Hairston, Sullivan Stevens and Chris Womack. Brent Barnett, Brandon Lamkin and Rodney Potts were absent.
JPRD director, Tommy Smith, opened the meeting by updating the board on the baseball, softball and archery programs. He then stated that the proposed purchase of 80 acres from Weyerhaeuser Company in the amount of $2218.00 per acre ($177,440.00 total) is getting closer to being a reality and that the JPRD is expected to receive $5500.00 from a Jonesboro State Bank Pledge 10 grant to be used for construction of the Gazebo.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 6:00pm on June 21st to be held at the Jackson Parish Recreation District Meeting Room located at the sports complex on Hwy 4 East.
Students currently not enrolled in Jackson Parish Schools but would like to request a transfer will need to provide two (2) proofs of residency along with the Transfer Request form to the School Board Office. Parents are reminded that no transportation will be provided for transfer students according to Jackson Parish School Board policy JBCE and a student granted a transfer remains subject to the rules and regulations of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.
“Of all the things I have done in my life, this is one of the most precious things,” said Parton. “If you are luck and fortunate enough to be in the position to help, you should help.”
Dolly Parton is many things to so many people: singer-songwriter, actress, humorist, icon. To nearly 2 million kids around the world, now she’s their librarian. To learn more about Parton’s worldwide endeavor see an article that was published in Rolling Stone magazine in March of 2021 by going to this link: https://www.rollingstone.com/…/dolly-parton…/
The June meeting of the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce will now take place at noon (12:00pm) on Thursday, June 10th at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center, located at 182 Industrial Drive in Jonesboro, LA. All members are inv
John was the son of an auto repair machinist and World War I veteran. Like many women of that era, John’s mother was a homemaker. John’s father was an alcoholic who, especially when under the influence, was physically abusive to his wife, John and his sisters.
In his teens, John showed an interest in politics. In 1960, John, then eighteen years old, worked as an assistant precinct captain for a Democratic Party candidate in his neighborhood. As an assistant precinct captain, John’s job was to help link the political candidate with the individual voters in his neighborhood.
In the following year, John enrolled at Northwestern Business College in Bridgeview, Illinois. The admissions department at the college accepted his application although he had not graduate from high school. He was a good student and graduated in 1963. Straight out of college, the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company hired John as a manager trainee. John was a fast learner. He prospered at the shoe company and, in early 1964, his boss transferred him to a larger store in Springfield, Illinois, where he worked as a salesman. He prospered there as well and, within weeks of working as a salesman, his boss promoted him to department manager.
Soon thereafter, John joined the Springfield Jaycees. John showed the same work ethic with the Jaycees as he had with the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. He earned the position of Key Man in the Jaycees in April of 1964. By the following year, John had risen to the position of vice-president of the Jaycees and was named the third most outstanding Jaycee in Illinois.
When John saw something he wanted, he went after it with dogged but tactful determination. Almost as soon as he moved to Springfield, he began dating a co-worker, Marlynn Myers. Six month later, in September of 1964, the two married. Soon after the marriage, Marlynn’s father made John an offer that he was unable to refuse. Marlynn’s father had purchased three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Waterloo, Iowa, and wanted someone he could trust to manage them. With his business degree and family connections, John was the perfect choice. The position was a huge pay increase over his shoe department managerial position. In addition to the large salary ($15,000 per year, which, adjusted for inflation, would amount to about $130,000), John would receive a percentage of the profits.
After completing the required Kentucky Fried Chicken managerial training course, John and Marlynn moved to Waterloo. John joined the Waterloo Jaycees and often provided free chicken at their meetings. Always ambitious, John requested that the other Jaycees call him “Colonel.” The other Jaycees humored him with the title because he was a likeable guy and because he excelled in fundraising work for Jaycees. In 1967, the Waterloo Jaycees honored him with the title “outstanding vice-president.” That same year, John served on the Board of Directors for the Waterloo Jaycees.
Through the passing years, John made several career changes, each one successful, and relocated to a few different cities. In the 1970s, John began to reconsider his political ambitions, which he had always kept in the background. He had worked as an assistant precinct captain in 1960, and in the mid-1970s, he earned the title of precinct captain. From 1975 to 1978, John was the director of Chicago’s Polish Constitution Day Parade. On May 6, 1978, the First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn Carter, met and had her photograph taken with John. In the picture, John proudly displayed an “S” pin on his lapel which indicated that he had been given special clearance from the Unite States Secret Service.
To everyone who knew him, John’s climb up the ladder of success seemed limitless. People spoke of the possibility that John would run for mayor or even governor. But John had a secret. Until December 21, 1978, John only shared his secret with thirty-three people whose names are too important not to include. Those privy to his secret included Timothy McCoy, John Butkovich, Darrel Samson, Samuel Stapleton, Randall Reffett, Michael Bonnin, William Carroll, Jimmy Haakenson, Rick Johnston, William Bundy, Michael Marino, Kenneth Parker, Gregory Godzik, John Szyc, Jon Prestidge, Matthew Bowman, Robert Gilroy, John Mowery, Russell Nelson, Robert Winch, Tommy Boling, David Talsma, William Kindred, Timothy O’Rourke, Frank Landingin, James Mazzara, Robert Piest, Unidentified Victim No. 28, Unidentified Victim No. 5, Unidentified Victim No. 26, Unidentified Victim No. 13, Unidentified Victim No. 21, and Unidentified Victim No. 10. On December 21, 1978, police arrested John after they located the bodies of several missing boys buried under his house. He confessed to the rape and murder of at least thirty-three boys and was eventually executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. The man who seemed to be forever climbing the ladder of success was John Wayne Gacy. His last meal included a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Brother Ronny Taylor and the congregation of Gloryway Church, located at 1194 Hwy. 505 in Dodson, invite you to attend the 30th annual IWOGF Camp Meeting. Come experience the love of Jesus through anointed preaching, singing, and fellowship with God’s people. Services will be June 15th , 16th , and 17th at 7 PM nightly. Meals will be served following each service. The congregation of Gloryway looks forward to seeing you and sharing what God is doing!
Looking for something to do the next several days? Then see below for a schedule of events that will take place Wednesday thru Saturday.
Chase Frasier Memorial 5K Run/Walk: Registration fee is $35.00 for charity event to be run on Saturday, June 12th. Can register in advance at Rise & Grind Nutrition, located at 4637 Quitman Hwy, Hodge, LA (Hodge Shopping Center) or on day of race at the Jackson Parish Courthouse where race will start and end. All proceeds go towards helping defray expenses incurred by the Frasier family following the tragic death of Weston High coach/teacher Chase Frasier. Registration begins at 7:00am. Race starts at 8:00am.
Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce Golf Tourney: 18 hole, 2 man scramble to be held at the Jackson Parish Golf Course this Saturday, June 12th. Entry fee is $200.00 per team. Door prizes, Closest to the hole prize, team prizes. Call 318-259-7247 to register or sign up at the golf course by Friday. Tee off time at 8:00am but players should be there at least 30 minutes beforehand.
JHHS at “7 on 7” Football Tourney: Sunday, June 13th the Jonesboro Hodge Tigers will compete in a 7 on 7 football tournament at Turpin Stadium on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA. Come see the action beginning at 2:00 pm. Tickets available at the gate.
Weston High Alumni Reunion: Come and enjoy the fellowship with members of any and all graduating classes of Weston High School on Saturday, June 12th. No charge to attend and if you desire plate lunches are available for $12.00. The event that will get started around 9:00am on the campus of WHS is sponsored by the Weston High School Alumni Association.
Chamber of Commerce Meeting: The JPCC meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, June 10th. The meeting that will be held at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center will be held at 12:00pm. All members are encouraged to attend.
(1) The Y Liquors, LLC (Jonesboro, LA) – Looking for a person to work Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings, from the hours of 3pm-12pm or as needed. If interested please apply in person at 1309 Hwy 813 or call 318-395-2010 & ask for Shelia.
(2) Gracepoint Christian Academy (Jonesboro, LA) – Adding to their team. If you are interested, visit the website to download an employment application. Completed applications can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to: Gracepoint Christian Academy 1691 S. Hudson Avenue Jonesboro, LA 71251
(3) Just Wing It (Jonesboro, LA) – Seeking team players for help for at two locations. One is for line/ fry cooking position and the other is for prep/full kitchen line cooking. Come by to apply.
(4) Public Works Department (Natchitoches, LA) – Seeking Beautification Worker for City of Natchitoches
DESCRIPTION: Responsible for operating various types of equipment such as lawn mower, tractor, weed eater and other equipment required to maintain the City’s grounds, streets and right of ways. Must also be willing to perform other duties as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS: Must have the ability to read and write; understand and follow instructions. Must have a valid Driver’s license.
CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second Street or may be downloaded at http://www.natchitochesla.gov
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through: June 9, 2021