Trench collapse kills Homer man
TIFFANY FLOURNOY, Special to The
being trapped roughly 13 feet underground, one employee of TGS Contractors,
Inc., is dead and another is recovering in an area hospital.
the accident, which killed 52-year-old Robert Randle, of Homer, occurred in a
field area near U.S. Highway 71 shortly after 9 a.m. Friday. Both Randle and Minden resident John Jackson, 53, were in the process of replacing a collapsed
sewer line in Coushatta.
to reports, while the two men were working underground the trench collapsed
cornering the men inside the steel safety box. At this time, Bryan North of Princeton, attempted to help Randle and Jackson; however, while doing so, a secondary bank
collapsed trapping North from the waist down.
North was removed from the rubbish without injuries, while Jackson was
transported to LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport by ambulance.
should be coming home today,” said Timothy Jackson, brother of John Jackson.
“He’s doing alright. I think he had pins placed in his leg area on each side
above the knees.”
Sikes of TGS Contractors Inc., indicated that he did not want to comment on the
accident; however, he did confirm that the accident did occur.
have an accident in Coushatta,” Sikes said.
Contractors Inc., is a Minden-based business, located just outside the city
limits in the Evergreen community.
This story was reprinted with permission from the Minden Press-Herald.
Homer police request public’s help in
Police are looking for any information regarding a shooting that took place
over the weekend.
Sunday, July 12, the Homer Police Department was dispatched to the corner of Pearl and Monroe Streets in reference to multiple gunshots being fired, according to
reports. At that time, the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office also reported a
gunshot victim in the 1400 block of Monroe Street.
John Bailey responded to the call, and upon arrival, he noticed an individual
seemed to be in pain. Upon an initial examination, Bailey observed an injury
which appeared to be a gunshot wound to the victim’s leg.
say the victim indicated he’d been shot in the Pearl Street area. Pafford
Ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but the victim was transported to the
hospital by private vehicle. While on that call, the sheriff’s office
dispatched officers to another residence on Wafer Road in reference to an assault.
also responded to that call, at which time, the victim stated to police that
she’d been assaulted on Pearl Street. Pafford Ambulance was also dispatched to
that residence as well, and transported the victim to Homer Memorial Hospital. According to reports, the victim stated that during the altercation, she
heard that the victim of the other call was “shooting.”
and Captain Donald Malray interviewed the victim from the first call, to which
he denied any claim of shooting a gun.
got two people shot, but we could have had two people dead,” Homer Police Chief
Russell Mills said. “Anyone with any information is strongly urged to come
forward and contact the Homer Police Department. We just want your information,
not your name.”
In an unrelated
incident, on Monday, July 6, Diane Williams Lewis, 38, of Haynesville, was
arrested and charged with theft of goods, with bond set at $500.
to reports, Officers Dale Sindle and Norah Banks were dispatched to Bill’s
Dollar Store in reference to a theft. The manager of the store told police that
a woman walked out of the store with several items and left without paying.
initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle Sindle observed her get into earlier.
Sindle arrived at the scene of the stop and asked to search Lewis’ purse. She
agreed, reports say, and handed him a purse she was not seen leaving with. When
she handed the officer the one he’d asked for, several items of clothing were
placed under arrest and transported to the Homer Police Station for booking.
Traffic stop nets drug arrests
traffic stop last Thursday netted several arrests on drug charges among others.
Thursday, July 9, Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Deputies J.T. Williams and Roger
Ellerbe observed a vehicle wherein the occupants were not wearing seat belts.
Upon making a traffic stop, deputies observed two black males jump out of the
vehicle and run.
occupants remaining in the vehicle were LaJoshua K. Winzer, 26, of Athens; Robert L. Hall, 19, of Homer; and Carolyn D. Brown, 42, of Homer.
had a 24 ounce Bud Light open in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Deputy
Paul Brazzel arrived and began a search with the K-9 unit for the suspects who
and Brazzel searched the vehicle and discovered a pill bottle containing six
off-white rocks in the center console. Deputies also searched the back seat
area and a three-inch pipe with wire mesh on one end was located under the back
then transported Winzer and Hall to the Claiborne Parish Detention Center
(CPDC) for booking. Ellerbe transported Brown to the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s
Office for booking.
was charged with no seat belt, possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
(CDS) Schedule II (cocaine), possession of drug paraphernalia and expired
was charged with no seat belt, possession of Schedule II CDS (cocaine), and
possession of drug paraphernalia.
Winzer and Hall are to be set.
was charged with no seat belt, with a bond of $1,000, open container, with a
bond of $1,000, possession of Schedule II CDS (cocaine), with a bond of $5,000,
possession of drug paraphernalia, with a bond of $1,000, resisting an officer
by giving false information, with a bond of $1,000, simple escape, with a bond
of $5,000 and a warrant from the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office for
aggravated battery, with a bond of $15,000.
other crime news, on Friday, July 10, Ellerbe initiated a traffic stop on
Louisiana Highway 9 with a vehicle for improper lighting.
driver, Nathan L. Ingram, 44, of Homer, was asked for the appropriate paperwork
and he produced it. Upon approaching the vehicle, Ellerbe noticed a strong odor
of marijuana emitting from the vehicle.
was on scene to assist and a search of Ingram’s person revealed a small clear
plastic bag of suspected marijuana in his right front shorts pocket. A
subsequent search of the vehicle was conducted, and one marijuana cigarette
partially smoked (approximately 1-inch in length) was discovered in the ash
tray in the front dash, along with two packs of rolling papers.
was then transported to CPDC for booking and charged with additional lighting
equipment, with bond set at $500, possession of drug paraphernalia, with bond set
at $500, and possession of Schedule I CDS (marijuana), with bond set at $500.
unrelated incident, on Sunday, July 12, Williams observed a vehicle swerve over
the fog line and the double yellow line.
conducted a traffic stop and asked the driver, Michael W. Waganer, 49, of
Homer, for the proper paperwork. Williams detected an odor of alcohol on
Waganer’s person and asked him to step out of the vehicle.
then observed two cigarettes (known to be marijuana) next to the driver’s seat
on the floorboard. Waganer was placed under arrest and transported to CPDC.
charged with DWI 3rd, with a bond of $5,000, possession of marijuana, with a
bond of $500, and improper lane usage, with a bond set at $500.
School Board honors Teachers of the Year
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
Claiborne Parish School Board honored its teachers of the year for 2009-10.
Manning and Andre Washington were chosen as this school year’s honorees. Each
teacher received a plaque and a laptop computer in honor of their outstanding
services to the Claiborne Parish school system.
a teacher at Homer Elementary, teaches fifth grade math and sciences and is the
4-H president as well as a positive behavior support team leader. He is also an
iLEAP test coordinator.
Pat Lee says his reputation precedes him.
had the opportunity to work with Mr. Washington over the past five years,” Lee
said. “He was a teacher at Homer Junior High when the school system moved the
fifth grade down to the elementary building. I was excited to be getting a
teacher of his caliber on my staff. I have always found Andre to be not only
industrious, but part of the team when it comes to teaching, as well as other
jobs that he is asked to perform.
an outstanding teacher and role model, but more importantly, I have been
impressed with his positive attitude and his ability to cope with and make the
most of changes as they occur,” she continued. “Mr. Washington is definitely an
asset not only to Homer Elementary, but to the Claiborne Parish School system.”
Washington has a bachelor of arts in consumer affairs as well as a
masters in educational leadership, and has been through the alternative teacher
program, all from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.
a sixth grade math and reading teacher at Homer Junior High, participates in
many different programs and activities throughout the school. Principal Twyla
Pugh had nothing but good things to say about her.
enjoyed working with Ms. Manning for the past seven years,” she said. “She has
demonstrated a professional attitude in dealing with students, faculty and
staff members. She can be depended on to do whatever is necessary to help the
school year be a successful one. She truly cares about the students, and her
input and ideas are a great asset to this school. It is with pleasure that I
offer my highest recommendation to a superb educator.”
has a bachelor of arts in consumer affairs and practitioner program at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She received graduate credit from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. At Homer Junior High, she is the differentiating
instruction whole faculty book study lead teacher, LaTAAP assessor/mentor,
positive behavior support team leader and the writer of CSRD grant for $55,000
for three years. She is also involved in life skills team training, the DAT team
and the school improvement team.
other news, the new student transfer policy, also published in The
Guardian-Journal in previous editions, was approved by the school board
unanimously. As stated in the July 2 edition of The Guardian-Journal, the policy
is what was agreed to between the U.S. Justice Department and the school board
in order to comply with a 40-year-old court order to desegregate the schools.
The policy has a little more teeth to it in that it will be more difficult for
students to attend schools outside their district, unless approved by the
school board’s transfer committee.
student in the Claiborne Parish school system will have to fill out a residency
form, with two proofs of residence, such as a current utility bill or mortgage
or deed. If a student is attending a school in Claiborne Parish outside the
district in which they live, the student will have to fill out a residency form
every year, unless it is a minority to majority transfer.
court order as well as the transfer policy will be on the school board’s
website, www.claibornepsb.org soon.
that same note, a position for a clerk I position is being advertised for the
Claiborne Parish School Board. This position has been set up on a three-year
basis in order to handle the mountains of paperwork that will have to be filed
with the U.S. Justice Department in compliance with the desegregation court
recommendation for interim principal and dean of students for Homer High School was also approved at July’s regular board meeting. Gurtha Capers will serve
as the interim principal and John Sampson will serve as dean of students.
approved was a request to make Tim Crittendon’s position as dean of students
for Haynesville High School permanent.
next school board meeting will be held Thursday, August 6, at 7 p.m. at central office. For more information, please call the school board office at
CPPJ, DA reach agreement
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
Office of the District Attorney and the Claiborne Parish Police Jury have
reached an agreement on a request made by District Attorney Jonathan Stewart.
police jury’s finance committee recommendations, the agreement is one Juror
Jerry Adkins said is agreeable to both sides. The agreement reached is as
police jury will make a “one-time payment of $10,000 in lieu of the original
amount requested of $20,000, and to increase the parish’s quarterly
contribution from $19,877.91 per quarter to $22,000 per quarter in lieu of the
original amount requested of $25,000 per quarter. In addition, the jury will
pursue the acquisition of new office space for the DA’s office here in the
according to a memo from the jury’s finance committee.
to Adkins, the staff at the district attorney’s office are short on space and
the building is not adequate for the work they do today. The building itself
also has some issues to be dealt with.
so limited in space, but when the assistant DA’s come in to do any work, they
go into the conference room,” Stewart said. “This is going to be a great thing
original request Stewart made in a letter dated May 2009, was comprised of a
$20,000 one time payment and an increase in the police jury’s quarterly
contributions from roughly $19,000 to $25,000.
former District Attorney Walter May left the helm, the district attorney’s
office has been in dire straits financially. In fact, at that time, Stewart was
having trouble making payroll.
DA’s office will now at least break even after expenses, Stewart said. Even
after the budget cuts that have been made within his office, it will still take
at least a year to see the fruits of those cuts and the increase by each of the
three police juries in the Second Judicial District.
other police jury news, Gary Lewis, president of the Gilgal Water System Board,
asked for the police jury’s financial assistance in moving water lines on Old Arcadia Road where a new bridge is under construction. Although the lines have already
been moved, it has put a huge dent in the water system’s finances.
has also made the same request from the Webster Parish Police Jury, as the
water system lies in both parishes. An email from the Webster police jury to
the Claiborne police jury said no action was taken.
at hand is that the water system was notified very shortly before the
construction of the bridge began. According to Lewis, the water system was
notified just two to three weeks before.
5 Police Juror Lavelle Penix said that when the state moved the bridge, it
threw the water system off, and it’s not the water system’s fault.
police jury didn’t notify them in time, then we owe Gilgal some compensation,”
said District 10 Police Juror Willie Young.
to law, it is the parish’s responsibility to notify a utility company in ample
issue the police jury noted was that if they approved Lewis’ request, that it
would set a precedent for other water systems to get police juries to help fund
them. The matter was tabled pending an opinion from the parish’s attorney,
another issue, Ronnie Veitch, a landowner at Lake Claiborne, has asked the
police jury to allow him to make some improvements on his property, but it
would go into the police jury’s property. Veitch intends to extend the sea wall
on his property at Coleman Woodlands Estates to prevent further erosion.
the road (Public Boat Landing Road) has been cut off in the making of the lake,
there is a tremendous erosion problem,” he stated in his letter to the police
jury. “This is made worse by the drainage ditch running south to north along
the road and emptying into the lake. Over the years, much ground has been lost
to the lake and it continues today.”
he intends to address the erosion problem at the drainage ditch going into Lake Claiborne. There are two ways the erosion is taking place, by the drainage ditch and
the north wind.
Treasurer Dwayne Woodard said that the jury expects to fix the problem, but
they are waiting on markers and pilings before they try to fix it.
request was approved pending approval of Road Superintendent Tommy Durrett.
Police Jury President Scott Davidson said they have to establish their right of
other news, the police jury:
Approved a motion to again move the polling place in Precinct #7 from the Cross Roads Community Center to Mt. Olive Baptist Church for the Fall 2009 election
dates. According to the police jury, repairs are still being done to the roof
at the community center, but they won’t be completed until the next election.
Approved a request from Claiborne Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John
Watson asking for financial help with the LTPA Visitor Center Distribution
Renewal fee of $550 for distribution of the Claiborne Parish tourism brochure.
This will ensure that the parish’s tourism brochure is placed in visitor
centers throughout the state of Louisiana.
Approved a motion to accept the audit report from the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008. According to Melissa Eubanks, a certified public accountant (CPA) with
Hulsey, Harwood & Col, APAC in Monroe, the parish is showing a good report
again this year. The financial statements are unqualified, she said, and there
were no findings. There were no deficits on primary funds, and the year looked
next police jury meeting will be held August 5, at 9 a.m. in the police jury room at the Claiborne Parish Police Jury complex. For more information, or
questions, please call their office at 318-927-2222.
Local attends alternative energy
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
energy and “going green” seems to be the “in” thing, and with rising energy
costs, people are looking for ways to save energy and money.
Southern Growth Policies Board (SGPB) conference in Biloxi, Miss., held June
8-9, Claiborne Parish native J.T. Taylor attended in an effort to promote the
construction of Section 14 of I-69 as well as learn about alternative means of
with the governors of both Mississippi and Tennessee – Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee – Taylor discussed the issue with them, and
discovered that sections of the interstate highway in both states qualify for
federal stimulus money.
done for them helps us here,” Taylor said. “Any sections done helps with the
completion of I-69.”
69 is a federal highway that, once completed, will go from Canada all the way to Mexico, with proposed portions going through northwest Louisiana, including northern Claiborne Parish. The idea behind the highway is to provide
another route to help move consumer goods faster.
37th annual conference touted many well-known speakers in the energy business
as well as governmental officials.
letter to Taylor from Executive Director Ted Abernathy, it states that the
Mississippi governor wanted this year’s conference to focus on “energy issues
that he felt were not getting adequately discussed,” which include, “the cost
to American families and to the American economy of new energy policy
decisions, the regional differences in the United States that impact energy
use, such as weather and the composition of regional economies.”
area of the south, the economy is driven by two sources of energy: oil and
Boone Pickens, an energy industry veteran and renowned business investor, spoke
to conference attendees about converting America’s heavy transport sector to
natural gas and his ideas for expanding wind energy production.
is nothing more important to the present and future of our economy than
energy,” Pickens states on his website, www.pickensplan.com. “Any effort to
address our economic problems will require a thorough understanding of this
issue and willingness to confront our dependence on foreign oil and what
domestic resources we can use.”
energy crisis is not one that can be dealt with in isolation, he says. It has
to be dealt with as a whole, which means looking for alternative energy sources
other than oil, and wind technology is one of those alternatives. The idea is
for wind turbines to harness the power of wind, thereby producing energy for
millions of people.
SGPB has focused most of its attention on biofuels as well, such as using
carbon dioxide oil recovery to go back into older wells and push more oil from
them. According to www.theoildrum.com, carbon dioxide oil recovery, or a CO2
injection basically pushes residual oil from older wells that have already been
type of biofuel discussed is bioOil. According to an article in the El Dorado news, bioOil is an “industrial fuel produced from cellulose waste material. When
combusted, it produces substantially less smog-precursor nitrogen oxides
emissions than conventional oil as well as little or no sulfur oxide gases.”
more information on this conference or more information on the alternative
energies discussed, please go to www.southern.org or to the websites mentioned