Bid accepted for Pineview property
Details for building use still sketchy
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
Claiborne Parish School Board (CPSB) has accepted a bid on the Pineview High
School property from a Pineview graduate who may want to turn the school
building into a juvenile detention center.
to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Janice Williams, details at this time are
still sketchy as to the use of the building; however, it will not be used as a
school. That was part of the deal in the bid package when it went out for
advertisement in December 2011.
to Central Office Business Manager Fred Evans, they had one bid for $110,000.
The minimum bid was $106,250. He said a security deposit of $5,500 was made by
Lizzie Hatcher of Las Vegas, Nevada.
we’ve not heard [what the building will be used for],” Dr. Williams said.
“Unofficially, we’ve been told that she would like to turn it into a juvenile
detention center. However, the correspondence that’s going on between our
attorney (Hammonds and Sills) and her is for her to reveal to us what the
purpose of the building is. That’s going to be required for the Justice
Williams added that the acceptance of the bid is all contingent on approval
from the U.S. Justice Department.
resolution was adopted accepting the bid upon approval of the Justice
Department, with a unanimous vote in favor. The resolution also authorizes Dr.
Williams, on behalf of the school board, to sign all documents necessary to
complete the sale. Maddox and District 6 School Board Member Tommy Davidson
were not present at the meeting.
is an attorney in Las Vegas who still has family in the Claiborne Parish area.
other news, the school board continues to revise its policy manual, in which
two more revisions were approved.
first policy revision deals with the testing program -- standardized testing,
including iLEAP, LEAP and end of course, in which some terminology was changed.
also included the fact that students in grades 9-12, with the exception of
students requiring accommodations, can be tested by a different teacher,” Dr.
Williams said. “That’s the testing policy where we are to observe, respect and
monitor those testing procedures throughout the entire testing process.”
next policy revised deals with educational students with exceptionality.
a new law that was Act 328 (restraint and seclusion law), which was passed
during the 2011 legislative session that included restraint and seclusion of
students that are 504 (Disabilities Policy) with IEPs (Individual Educational
Plan),” she said. “We can physically restrain them but not to the point it
causes injury. We are not supposed to seclude them, meaning we cannot remove
them completely from the educational process or put them in a separate room.
Restraining seclusion is only acceptable enough to reduce the unacceptable
student is restrained, then they have to notify the parents or guardians within
24 hours explaining what happened, the school officials involved and a very
new law will be discussed during the teacher professional development day on
January 17, at 1 p.m. at Homer High School. Students will be out of school on
Monday, January 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Tuesday,
the 17th for professional development. The day will begin at 8 a.m., with
ethics training at 1 p.m. She reminded board members that if they attend the
entire day, they will meet their continuing education training hours for the
school board also elected to keep officers on the board the same as 2011, which
are District 2 School Board Member Will Maddox (president) and District 7
School Board Member Vera Meadors (vice president).
time and date of each meeting will remain the same this year as well. The
school board meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday after the first Sunday of
personnel actions, Brenda Holdman, a teacher at Homer Junior High School,
resigned effective Wednesday, January 4, because of medical reasons. Also,
Angela Bradley, a paraprofessional at Summerfield High School resigned for
other employment. This position will not be filled.
teacher at Homer Junior High, at this point, is a substitute which is being
monitored very closely,” Dr. Williams said. “It may turn into something
permanent for this individual. He’s from Magnolia, Ark., and recently
graduated. Before we sign him on full time, we wanted him to sub for a couple
of days and he’s agreed to do so.”
Mancil is substituting a seventh grade class for English Language Arts.
observed him recently and the students are responding to him,” she said. “He’s
establishing his presence, and I could see the students raising their hands,
and when you can get a middle school child to respond like that, that’s a major
milestone. We will continue to monitor him.”
Sutton is also teaching high school biology at Homer High School, replacing
positions will only be through the end of this school year, because of the
unknowns regarding the budget.
don’t know what the budget is going to be and we may have mid-year budget cuts,
which caught us by surprise last year,” she said. “We’re only filling vacancies
for the remainder of the year. After that, we’re going to restructure it
said the budget is reviewed almost daily, and they really won’t know anything
until February as to where things will stand. And even then, it will be April
or May before they know how it will “play out.”
the superintendent’s report, she also discussed the lawsuit, in which the
school system is under a desegregation order. She said she finally heard from
Iris Goldschmidt, of the U.S. Justice Department, and she said everything was
questioned -- from student ratios to transportation issues.
in the process now of collecting data to support what we did, why we did, and
that will be forwarded to our attorney who will then draft a response,” she
issues lay with Summerfield High School, she said, because their student
population racial ratios still look unbalanced. At the Homer schools,
discipline questions were raised as well. Other issues were parish wide, in
school and out of school suspension as well as transportation issues. Concerns
to be considered pertained to all of Claiborne Parish and others were specific
to Summerfield and Homer.
these concerns dealt with data that was reported for the 2010-11 school year.
Bob Hammonds, the school board’s attorney handling the desegregation order, is
outraged by some of the questions Ms. Goldschmidt is asking, Dr. Williams said,
because they have to answer some of the same questions submitted months ago.
the response has been drafted and sent, then after June 30, it will be up to
the judge to decide whether the court order has been satisfied.
Claiborne Parish School system is now in its third year of implementing the
changes designated by the Justice Department in order to have the school system
declared as a “unitary school system.” After the current school year, which
will technically end on June 30, they will then wait for a court date in order
to go before the judge to determine “unitary” status.
Caught in the buff
Nude couple found, arrested on drug
couple was caught in the buff when they were arrested on drug charges.
Friday, January 6, Tangela Denise Jones, 37, was arrested by Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents on charges of
possession of Schedule II CDS (white powder substance) with bond set at $5,000,
possession with intent to distribute Schedule I CDS (marijuana) with bond set
at $30,000 and open container with bond set at $500.
Maddox, also 37, was arrested on charges of possession of Schedule II CDS
(white powder substance) with bond set at $5,000, possession of Schedule I CDS
(marijuana) with bond set at $500, and open container with bond set at $500.
to LDWF Enforcement Agent Sgt. Ryan Brasher, on the date of their arrest, he’d
been patrolling the area of Green Road during the day and decided to check
things out later that night.
in the day, I’d seen a lot of traffic coming in and out of that area, and I
figured there might be some activity going on at night,” Brasher said. “So I
decided to go down in there and check it out, and there they were.”
approximately 1 a.m., he went to Green Hill Road, which is a dead end road, and
observed a vehicle parked at the end.
approached, made contact with the couple, and he found them nude inside the
vehicle, reportedly watching pornographic videos. He asked the driver,
identified as Maddox, to exit the vehicle and then asked the passenger,
identified as Jones, to exit as well.
initial questioning of the two, it was discovered they had alleged marijuana
and a white powder substance believed to be cocaine inside the vehicle. At that
time, he called for assistance from the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies Heath Tingle and Everette Lewis arrived on scene to assist.
time, the two deputies transported Maddox to the Claiborne Parish Detention
Center for booking and Jones was transported to the Claiborne Parish Women’s
Progress continues on Homer Hospital’s
Construction workers continue to progress
building Homer Memorial Hospital’s new Intensive Care Unit and nurses’ station.
Pictured above, workers pour concrete for the foundation. Below, the concrete
truck continues to turn as concrete is poured for the foundation of the ICU.
This project has been long awaited as the efforts of the Claiborne Healthcare
Foundation, the hospital board, staff and generous donors have made it all
possible. With the help of a bond issue, the $1 million goal was reached to
Deputy involved in crash
Thursday night, a Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Deputy and his canine partner
suffered minor injuries after he crashed his patrol unit.
night, around 8:30 p.m., Louisiana State Police reported that Claiborne Parish
Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Christian and his canine partner were on their way to a
call traveling on Hwy. 540, when he tried to negotiate a curve and
overcorrected. When he overcorrected, he allegedly hit a tree.
reports say the two only suffered minor injuries. However, Christian was
transported for medical attention with what are said to be minor to moderate
injuries. His canine partner, Rico, was also taken to a vet to be checked out.
are expected to make full recoveries.
wreck is still under investigation.
Alcohol sales controversy continues
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
though the citizens of Homer voted overwhelmingly in November to allow high
content alcohol sales within its corporate limits, it seems the controversy
Town of Homer’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting, at times, some intense
verbal sparring took place between the mayor and a business owner in Homer.
Tommy Sanders, who has staunchly advocated high content alcohol sales within
the corporate limits, accused the mayor of delaying the matter.
Alecia Smith says she’s not. The town council is meeting for a work session on
Thursday, January 19, at 4 p.m. to discuss the issue and the introduction of an
ordinance that would reinstate the town’s alcoholic beverages code.
heart of the issue is the town charter’s laws on alcohol sales, which is
extremely outdated. For the better part of 30 years, businesses within the
corporate limits of the town have only been able to sell beer with an alcohol
content of six percent or less. With the new propositions that were passed in
November, businesses will again be able to sell high content alcohol, or hard
the 1970s, Homer’s Code of Ordinances allowed more alcohol than just beer, but
when an election was held and the people of Homer voted out all but beer within
the corporate limits, those results overrode Homer’s Code.
says if the original alcoholic beverages section of the town’s charter is
reinstated, it will make it illegal for some businesses to move forward with
hard liquor sales due to the proximity to churches.
are many questions regarding this issue. For instance, if the council adopted
the ordinance, wouldn’t it just override Section 3 in the charter? And if the
council wants to change the language to reflect more modern times, does that
mean it would have to go before the Louisiana Legislature to officially be
town’s charter is a special legislative charter, which means it was created by
the Louisiana Legislature. This also means that the same rules of a home rule
charter or one under the Lawrason Act do not apply unless the special
legislative charter is silent on an issue. Then it would fall back on the
proposed ordinance was tabled in December 2011 until the election results had
gone through all the proper channels and were deemed official. Now that the
results are declared official by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, the
proposed ordinance was tabled again. Mayor Smith said, by advice of the town
attorney (then Jim Colvin), it had to be tabled because the number of required
days had not been met according to election laws.
idea of the proposed ordinance was to reinstate Section 3 of the charter, but
it’s incorrect and it would not be enforceable under law.
said everything would be explained in the work session. She wants to gather
business owners, ministers and others together at the work session to discuss the
issue. In the end, the introduction of the ordinance was tabled until the
February meeting. Mayor Smith said it was tabled because the proposed ordinance
other news, the council approved Ordinance No. 11-911, which deals with horses
on roadways within the corporate limits of Homer. The idea of the ordinance is
to keep people from riding their horses in town on the sidewalks or roadways,
unless it is during a parade or traveling to or from said parade.
Ordinance No. 11-915, rezoning the property at 910 Pearl Street from
residential to business, was also adopted. During the public hearing, just
before the meeting, District 4 Councilwoman Carlette Sanford questioned
rezoning this particular piece of property, saying she was concerned that
another business would come in if the current one requesting the rezoning
Wallace said the business is a home community-based service, where employees
will be out working. It will not be a place that will see a steady stream of
customers coming to the physical address. According to Wallace, it is an
elderly care business where the sitters will go to their homes and sit with
the reappointment of Town Treasurer Shenovia Harris and Town Clerk Lisa Foster
were both unanimously approved.
other news, city hall’s rental fee came up for discussion stemming from a visit
by a USDA representative. The town is currently seeking a USDA grant, and the
representative who visited said one area that needs to be changed is the rental
fee policy of the Town of Homer for its properties. Currently, nonprofits such
as schools, churches and others do not have to pay a rental fee. The USDA
representative said everyone needs to pay, even if it’s on a sliding scale. For
example, the current rental fee is $250, and if a new policy is instated, that
means the town would have the flexibility to charge churches or schools less
than the normal rental fee.
issue that came up is the fact the town doesn’t have a cancellation fee policy.
In other words, if a group or organization rents city hall and no longer needs
it, there is no cancellation fee policy to charge the groups if they cancel.
Assistant Shaquaila Lewis, who explained it in the meeting, said it would all
be discussed and explanations would be given during the work session slated for
January 19. So, the item on the agenda was tabled until then.
at the recommendations of the town’s auditors, the council voted unanimously to
separate the bank accounts for the Jubilee and the Christmas Decoration funds.
This is not just an accounting separation, Smith said, but actual bank accounts
would be opened to separate this money from other funds.
court dates were also approved, which will be the first Tuesday of each month,
with the exception of Tuesday, January 10.
last item on the agenda was approving a contract with Ice Cold Advertising,
which will erect signs in the corporate limits of Homer for a “Don’t Text and
Drive” campaign. The signs will be 24 inches by 18 inches, and will be
displayed only on roadways the town has jurisdiction over.
to the agreement, “the purpose of this exercise is to heighten the awareness of
motorists to the danger of mobile device use while driving.”
of erecting these signs will lay with Ice Cold Advertising. The town will not
be responsible for any costs related to this campaign.
remember, a work session, which is open to the public, will be at 4 p.m.,
Thursday, January 19 to discuss the alcohol ordinance and issues raised by the
USDA. The town council’s next regularly scheduled monthly meeting will be on
Monday, February 6, at 6 p.m. in council chambers. For more information or for
questions, please call City Hall at 318-927-3555.
Piney Hills Harmony, ‘Elvis’ in show
local residents will be part of "Rock Around the Clock" when Piney
Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines and award-winning Elvis tribute artist
Todd C. Martin present songs from the '50s, '60s and '70s in a fun production
Around the Clock" will begin at 7 p.m. in Ruston's Dixie Center for the
Arts. The event will also feature comedy skits that spotlight Lucy and Ethel
from "I Love Lucy," the "Laugh In" joke wall and more.
Parish residents performing that night are Chris Brady, of Homer, and Lisa
Holmes, of Sharon. In addition to singing with the chorus, Holmes will perform
with the quartet Take Four.
Piney Hills Harmony boasts 28 members from six parishes.
an attorney from Monroe, is regarded as one of the top Elvis tribute artists in
the world. He ranked third in the worldwide "Images of the King"
competition in Memphis, Tenn., in both 2008 and 2010. Other honors include
first place at the 2011 Immokalee Seminole Casino "King of the World
Elvisfest" contest in South Florida and first place at the Branson, Mo.,
Elvis Explosion. Martin has toured across the United States and in Europe with
appearances at casinos, on cruise ships, in numerous theatres, as well as at
festivals and conventions.
Ruston-based Piney Hills Harmony boasts 28 members from six parishes and has
won first-place honors in the small-chorus division of its regional Sweet
Adelines competition in Dallas.
the show, chorus President Carol Ogle said in the words of the title song,
"Put your glad rags on and join us, hon. We'll have some fun when the
clock strikes one .... And 'Elvis' will be in the building!
going to be a real production with stage sets and a variety of songs from three
decades by both Elvis and Piney Hills Harmony. Audience members of all ages are
sure to have a rockin' good time as we take a fun trip down memory lane."
prices are $15 for adults, $10 for students 6-18 and seniors 60-plus, and $25
for special Silver Seating (reserved seats in the front two rows). Tickets will
be available at the door, the Dixie Center box office, the Avenue Books and
Gifts in Ruston, White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe and
Zeagler’s Music in Monroe.
portion of the proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
more information call Ogle at (318) 348-2291 or the Dixie Center at (318)
255-1450, or visit www.pineyhillsharmony.org or www.toddcmartin.com.
Watershed District passes 2012 budget,
discusses Lisbon Landing desilting project
the end of 2011, the Claiborne Parish Watershed District held one last meeting
to discuss and adopt 2012’s budget as well as amend 2011’s budget.
amended the 2011 budget, in which the total of the proposed 2011 budget’s
projected fund balance was $562,000, ending with the amended fund balance of
their expenses, total adjustments for their financial administration was
$10,050, which brought the final total to $10,800. Several other funds and
accounts were adjusted as well. According to law, each governmental entity has
to amend its budget if the amount in certain funds are greater than five
overestimated our revenues, and we actually ended up with $8,000 less,” said
Phillip “Butch” Fincher, finance committee chair. “On our debt service, we
ended up paying off bonds that we had not planned to pay off.”
debt service he speaks of was estimated at $65,300 and paid it off early at
$105,600. The bonds are dealing with the permanent channel markers project.
district members voted unanimously to accept 2011’s amended budget.
also adopted 2012’s proposed budget after being on public display for review. A
public hearing was held, and the budget was unanimously approved.
tried to adjust our revenues and our expenses based upon what we think we will
be encountering [this year],” Fincher said.
went over the proposed budget in a little more detail, saying that some CDs
have been reinvested, which will add to their income. However, grant amounts
and others are down, which means their income will be lower. These amounts are
expected to be down by about $205,000.
for 2012 are estimated to be $196,600. Expenses, according to the public notice
are expected to generally remain the same as 2011. Public Works expenses are
expected to be about $20,000, finance and administration is expected to be
about $12,700, operations and maintenance, $17,000, economic development,
$26,000, debt service, $61,100, with total expenses projected to be $136,800.
expenses over revenues is expected to be about $59,800, with the estimated
total fund balance as of January 1 to be $489,021 and estimated ending balance
on December 31 at $548,821.
other news, members discussed the Lisbon Landing Project, of which they are
waiting on the Corps of Engineers and Graft to get a packet together. The issue
is, Chic Hines said, is that they are running out of time with lake levels
rising again after the drawdown.
people seemed to be concerned with the fact that it keeps raining,” Hines said,
which will make it difficult to dredge the bottom of the channel at Lisbon
Landing. Another concern is being able to use the repaired pier, which will
still be usable, but it will be very shallow.
stalled right now until something happens,” Hines said. “Until we get our
permit and Brad [Graff] comes up with a bid package, we’re just kind of
the date of this meeting it’s reported that Lake Claiborne is up five to seven
inches. However, with the recent rains, it’s higher than that.
November, the watershed district held a special meeting in which they agreed to
advertise for bids. However, Hines said the advertisements published in The
Guardian-Journal are now no good because they are still waiting on a bid packet
from the engineers. Members agreed to meet as soon as they received the permit
and the bid packet.
other news, the Watershed District voted to use the same auditors as the
Claiborne Parish Police Jury. Bosch and Statham LLC will be the district’s
auditors for the fiscal year 2012. Their fee will be $1,900 per year, which is
about the same as last year’s fee.
district will meet at 3:30 p.m., Friday, January 13, for a special called
meeting at the Claiborne Parish Police Jury complex in the conference room.
Claiborne Parish Watershed District meets once per quarter on the last
Thursday. Usually, the meetings start at 5:30 p.m. For more information or for
questions, please call the Claiborne Parish Watershed District Office at
Man charged in altercation
man racked up a hefty bond amount after he was arrested on a warrant for
aggravated second degree battery.
Undre Desean Dunn, 23, was arrested on Friday, January 6, on the warrant issued
on that date. Bond was set at $25,000.
to Homer Police, the warrant stems from an incident on New Year’s Eve, when
Officers Frank Evans and Scott Glenn were dispatched to the 900 block of Hudd
Drive in reference to a fight.
arrival, the officers were met by witnesses and the victim. Reports say
officers could see the victim bleeding from several places on his face. One of
the witnesses named three suspects involved in the altercation, including Dunn.
further investigation, officers learned that two others were involved in the altercation,
where they allegedly repeatedly hit the victim, Scott Richardson. It is
reported that Dunn pulled a handgun and repeatedly struck Richardson in the
was transported to Homer Memorial Hospital by Pafford Ambulance Services for
medical treatment of his injuries. Warrants were issued for all three suspects,
in which Dunn was arrested.
arrests are pending in this case.
was transported to the Claiborne Parish Detention Center where he was booked on
the above charge. He has since bonded out.
Chamber banquet tickets still available
Claiborne Chamber of Commerce will be presenting its 47th Annual Banquet on
Monday, January 30, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Homer City Hall. The meal will be
provided by Upper Crust Catering.
entertainment this year will be provided by the Claiborne Jubilee Players.
Based on performances given at the Swamp Gravy conference in October, local
individuals will present stories from Claiborne Parish.
Steele, who has advocated story-telling theater in Claiborne Parish, said the
event is sure to be special this year because attendees will get a look at some
Claiborne Parish stories through a unique art form.
the players are excited and have begun rehearsals,” she said. “They are looking
forward to presenting these three stories.”
reservations are available for $35 per person. All reservations must be paid
in advance to confirm seating. Reservations will NOT be available at the door
the night of the event. Please return your reservation card as soon as
possible as seating is limited to 200. Business dress shall be appropriate for
prior years, sponsorship opportunities are available. All sponsors will be
recognized at the banquet and will be listed in the event program. The various
sponsorship levels and benefits are as follows:
Diamond Sponsor ($1,000) receives special recognition, 12 tickets, and reserved
Platinum Sponsor ($700) receives 8 tickets and a reserved table.
Sponsor ($400) receives 4 tickets and a reserved table.
Silver Sponsor ($200) receives 4 tickets and reserved seating.
Bronze Sponsor ($100) receives 2 tickets and reserved seating.
have not received a reservation card, please call the chamber office. When you
receive it, please check the appropriate box on the reservation card if you are
interested in being a banquet sponsor and list the individuals who will be
attending. For more information, please contact the chamber office at (318)
planning an exceptional banquet this year and hope you will join us.