Monday, February 27, 2012

Town of Benton will be without water on Saturday, March 3rd

14 comments:

NOTICE:
ALL TOWN OF BENTON WATER CUSTOMERS

WATER SERVICE WILL BE OFF ON SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2012
...

EMERGENCY REPAIRS WILL BE MADE ON WATER LINES

NOTICE: A BOIL ADVISORY WILL BE IN EFFECT AFTER REPAIRS ARE COMPLETE and will remain in effect until notice had be given by Department of Health and Hospitals

Boil Water for one minute in a clean container. The one minute should start once the water is at a full boil.

BENTON TOWN HALL (318) 965-2781
105 SIBLEY STREET 8:00 AM – 4:15 PM
MONDAY - FRIDAY

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Milestones

11 comments:
Milestone: A significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person.
We all have milestones in our lives. For instance, when your children are born. Then they have children and you become a grandparent. That is a wonderful milestone. I first experienced it in 1989 when my first grandchild, Chelsea, was born.
And now Chelsea has a beautiful little daughter. Believe me, being a great-grandparent is a milestone!
Gabby, welcome to the world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

City Council will investigate payroll problems

43 comments:
The Bossier City Council voted today to launch an investigation into the Fire Department payroll situation.
David Montgomery was authorized to employ Cook & Morehart CPA's to look into the problems.
According to a Times article:
The firm will be tasked to establish if the city legally owes the firefighters money; determine if redundancy in payroll preparation exists; identify liabilities; and supply recommendations on procedural changes that need to be instituted to employee the best common business practices, among other things.
The underpayment, which the city administration has estimated at $614,000, was brought up by Councilman Don Williams two weeks ago when he asked that it be put on the council agenda for that day.
It takes a unanimous vote to add it to the agenda, and Council members Tim Larkin and Larry Hanisee objected, so it was postponed.
Hopefully we'll have more information soon on how long this process will take. We will also try to find out what the council plans to do in the meantime to advance the investigation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Aryan Nations: A history of hate and violence

19 comments:
I hope you will read this entire post and give it serious consideration. We learned this week that the new 'world headquarters' of Aryan Nations, the white hate group headed by a convicted felon, is now located in Sabine Parish in Northwest Louisiana. It is important that we all realize that this is not some social organization, but a group that has inspired hatred and violence in the past.

What is Aryan Nations?
Aryan Nations was originally based in Hayden Lake, Idaho. It was founded in the 1970’s by Richard Butler as part of his Church of Jesus Christ – Christian. The FBI has called Aryan Nations a ‘terroriest threat’, the the Rand Corporation says it is the first truly nationwide terrorist network.
The group lost some of its steam when the Southern Poverty Law Center assisted Victoria Keenan in obtaining a $6,300,000 judgment against the group.
In July 1998, security guards at the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho shot at Victoria Keenan and her son after their car backfired nearby. The Keenans were returning from a wedding and stopped briefly near the compound to look for a wallet that had fallen out the car.
Bullets struck their car several times before the vehicle careened into a ditch. Members of the group held the Keenans at gunpoint.
Butler was forced to turn over his 20 acre compound to Keenan.
Ray Redfeairn had been named by Butler to suceed him as the head of Aryan Nations, but died in 2003, a year before Butler. Redfeairn, who had been the Ohio State leader for Aryan Nations, was a particularly violent person.
In 1979, Redfeairn shot a police officer three times (but failed to kill him). Redfeairn held up a car dealership and a motel and was stopped by Dayton Police Officer Dave Koenig.  According to Koenig, who was 22 at the time, Redeairn leaned over him and said "You fucking pig, you think you're so bad now, eh?", and then shot.
While Richard Butler ostensibly promoted non-violence (at least to cover himself legally), Redfeairn had no such inhibitions.
"We are dangerous. Dangerous to the Jews, niggers, and anyone else who poses a threat to the white race. What I find especially disturbing is the niggers."
At the Keenan trial a tape was produced of Redfeairn at the pulpit, with Butler standing nearby, calling for violence. 
Redfeairn said "to grab an AK-47 or an M16 and run and plug some nigger in the head" was an act of "conscience" that he "won't condemn."
Another violent act was committed by former Aryan Nations guard Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr., who fired more than 70 rounds from a submachine gun at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles. He wounded five people, then drove off and shot and killed a Filipino-American postal worker.
They're here
Redfeairn’s top lieutenant in the Ohio organization was Morris Gulett, who had his own record of run-ins with the police in 1997.  He was spotted driving the wrong way on a one-way street and crashed his vehicle into a police car after a 12 mile chase.  Before crashing his van in a creek, he ran one officer off the road and tried to run down another one. Gulett said he ran because he didn’t have a drivers license and ‘was just in one of those moods’. He pled guilty to aggravated assault on a police officer.

Morris Gulett
Gulett recently served time in prison for conspiracy to rob a bank. 
Now he’s out, and has established his headquarters in Converse, Louisiana.  Converse is in Sabine Parish, just below the DeSoto Parish line.
Gulett is attempting to raise money, and is asking for donations to be noted ‘building fund’, and sent to


Aryan Nations - World Headquarters
Converse, Louisiana
Sabine Parish
Converse is in the northeast corner
There is another faction that broke off from the original group.  It is led by August Kreis. They have been relatively inactive.
Of course, Gulett is propadandizing at this point, saying that he just wants to get the message out, and that he is non-violent.
Don’t believe it.
Aryan Nations has always identified with the Nazis, and has embraced Hitler as a great world leader.
I find it somewhat ironic that they have decided on Sabine Parish, which has a lot of Spanish and Native American descendants.
I have a friend who is from Sabine Parish and has a daughter with Down Syndrome. Guess what their honored Führer did to people with Downs?
Killed them.  By the thousands. Because they were ‘unfit to live’.
Is this what we want our vulnerable young people exposed to?
Gulett will be reaching out to young, unsophisticated minds. He will have a message that may be appealing to some of them who have no knowledge of, or sense of, history, while it is appalling to us.
We need to speak out in any way we can and let the world know that these people, and that their message of hate, are not welcome in our part of the world.
Here are a couple of videos of Gulett explaining that Aryan Nations is a 'Christian organization'.  This is the approach he will take when recruiting people to his cause.
Just keep in mind that this is the man who pled guilty to ramming into a police car and attempting to run down another police officer. 
He is also the man who recently served time in prison for conspiracy to rob a bank.
He is also the disciple of the man who shot a police officer three times, after saying "You fucking pig, you think you're so bad now, eh?".
This was the same mentor who said "to grab an AK-47 or an M16 and run and plug some nigger in the head" was an act of "conscience" that he "won't condemn."
Keep that in mind.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The City Payroll and the Inconvenient Truth

43 comments:
I’ve been doing a little digging trying to find out what the payroll situation is at City Hall that could have led to some of the problems that they have been having.
First, to define the problem.
In 2008 the City Council voted to give firemen a $400 raise to put them on par with the Police Department. There are Civil Service requirements to consider when calculating these raises.
Louisiana RS 33:1992 says:
  • (1) A fireman shall receive a minimum monthly salary of four hundred dollars per month.
  • (2) Engineers shall receive a minimum monthly salary of not less than ten percent above that of a fireman.
  • (3) Lieutenants shall receive a minimum monthly salary of not less than fifteen percent above that of a fireman.
  • (4) Captains shall receive a minimum monthly salary of not less than twenty-five percent above that of a fireman.
  • (5) Battalion chiefs and district chiefs shall receive a minimum monthly salary of not less than forty percent above that of a fireman.
  • (6) Assistant chiefs and deputy chiefs shall receive a minimum monthly salary of not less than fifty percent above that of a fireman.
The City administration is alleging that former Fire Chief Sammy Halphen ordered the payroll clerk to make the raise $400 across the board for everyone.
Now it would seem that calculating raises and payroll should be the bailiwick of the city’s Finance Director, but apparently the Fire Department has a payroll clerk who does the calculations.
As I understand it, each station keeps a log of each employees time and after it is verified by a ranking fire official, it is turned over to the payroll clerk. She then forwards the information to Finance Director Joe Buffington’s office, where the checks are cut.
I’m not sure of the procedure in the Police Department, but from what I can tell each division turns in the time for their employees. I’m not sure if they actually figure the payroll or not.
This is a huge, screaming gap in the system.
An approved raise is implemented as approved by the council, is incorrectly input into the payroll system, all with no oversight whatsoever.
Payroll is sent to the Finance Director for the checks with no verification or oversight at all.
KPMG comes in regularly and audits, but apparently doesn’t even look at payroll.
Don Williams, David Montgomery and David Jones are expected to be appointed by the council to oversee an independent professional to oversee an accounting of what is actually owed.
Sean Green has a good account of the whole affair in the Bossier Press-Tribune.
The inconvenient truth of the matter is that, whether or not Sammy Halphen incorrectly implemented the raise, there are a lot of people who should have been double checking and making sure that everything was done properly. You know the old saying, when you are pointing a finger, you have three pointing back at yourself.
I think that trying to blame it all on Sammy Halphen is about as phony as Milli-Vanilli.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Perception - Bossier City Council

13 comments:
Time to lighten up.  This is just something for a smile, so don't get your panties in a wad!
Here are my photos of the Bossier City Council.

As most of us see them

As they see themselves

As certain My Bossier Commenters see them

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bossier City Firemen underpaid $1,000,000+ since 2008

55 comments:
A controversy was stirred up at last Tuesday's City Council meeting when Councilman Don Williams asked for an investigation into the fire department payroll.  Williams had been approached by several firemen who reported discrepencies in their pay since 2008.
The council voted no but agreed to take the matter up after next Tuesday's regular meeting.
Yesterday, it was announced that the special meeting dealing with the pay issue had been cancelled.  I was told it was due to a couple of people not being able to attend next week.
After talking to a couple of people, I have been able to learn that the problem arose in the way the 2008 pay raise was implemented.  Civil Service has strict rules regulating the way it is to be handled and apparently these rules weren't followed, resulting in short checks for virtually the entire department.
I was told by one source that the amount being looked at is over $800,000, and by another source that it is more likely between $1,200,000 & $1,400,000.
I have also learned that Mayor Lo Walker plans to ask the council for $700,000 at next week's meeting.
Depending on the amount that is finally determined, that might well be short of the total due.
This brings a lot of questions, not the least of which is why the City was not aware of the rules governing pay.
It also raises the same question that the incorrect report of Deputy Sheriff's income last year.
That question is, doesn't anyone double-check and assure that things are being done properly?  Isn't the city audited?  If so, why wasn't this caught?
if not, why not?
I'll have more next week as this begins to flesh out.

William Hines of Bossier City honored by French Government

2 comments:
William V. Hines of Bossier City has been named French Knight in the order of the Legion of Honor by the French government.
World War II veteran and local resident received the distinction of the French Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, or National Order of the Legion of Honor, by the consul general of France in Louisiana during a ceremony Feb. 10, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Mr. William V. Hines was named French Knight in the order of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la légion d'honneur) by a decree signed by Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the French Republic.
The honor, France's highest distinction, was bestowed by Mr. Jean-Claude Brunet, the consul general of France, based in New Orleans.
"It is a great honor for me to pay a special tribute to an American Soldier and hero," Brunet said. "More than 60 years ago, [Hines] risked his young life for the freedom of France and Europe, and for the values he so strongly believed in."
Brunet spoke about how Hines played a role in freeing the last German-occupied city in the Alsace region of France. Of the 166 men in Hines's unit in the campaign to liberate the city of Wingren and capture the objective known as Hill 403, only 28 men were able to walk out under their own power. The rest were killed or severely wounded in action.
Complete article

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bossier Councilman questions Fire Department payroll

22 comments:
Councilman Don Williams offered a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting of the Bossier City Council to investigate discrepancies in firemen’s pay from 2008 to the present time.
The resolution was defeated, but a special meeting will be held after the next regular meeting. Meanwhile, city officials are looking into the charges.
Williams wasn’t specific as to details, but said that several firemen had approached him about the problem.
This brings to mind last August, when Max Fletcher had to be paid $41,000 in overtime which the city had failed to pay for a three year period.
It also brings to mind the fiasco with the Sheriff’s tax reporting, where taxes were incorrectly withheld for a number of years.
I have no idea what the situation is, but if one employee had to be paid $41,000 for three years of incorrect payroll, it is scary to think of the cost if employees of the Fire Department have indeed been underpaid.
We’ll stay on top of this and hopefully have some more facts next week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Judge hears from both sides in Danielle Cox suicide case

2 comments:
Judge Joe Bleich heard from both the prosecution and the defense in the Jason Thomas case today.
Thomas is facing charges of Criminal Assistance to Suicide.
Thomas had sent more than 100 messages to 15 year old Danielle Cox encouraging her to kill herself.
You can read the details of the case from these two earlier blog posts, if you are not familiar with it.
Remembering Danielle
Bullying has Consequences
Judge Bleich granted a motion to allow the defense to examine Danielle’s medical records. He did place some very strict limitations on it, however, requiring that anyone who has access to the records (staff, etc) have to sign in and out, with their full name and address.
“I will not see this young girl’s medical records bandied about” were his exact words.
He also said that if anyone violates this strict confidentiality, they would ‘wish they had never heard of me’.
Danielle suffered from Diabetes and from Depression. It seems that the defense strategy will be to show that Danielle was troubled and that she was suicidal.
It seems to me that this is two-edged sword, however, and doesn’t exonerate the defendant from his actions.
Defense attorney Elton Richey also requested a bill of particulars as to exactly what facts led the prosecution to charge Criminal Assistance to Suicide. ADA Andrew Jacobs has 20 days to answer.
The trial itself will begin in May. I will keep you posted of any new developments.
Jessica’s parents have a Facebook page, Smiles for Danielle.
  • Smiles For Danielle is a group created in her memory. Our hope is through education and awareness, those who suffer from mental illness will no longer see suicide as a viable solution. Welcome to this group, we look forward to doing great things and thank you for your support.
If you are on Facebook, join the group and keep up with their efforts to help other kids and families.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bossier School Board decides on two new facilities

33 comments:
The facts and figures that I have came from The Times article on the Board’s plans.
Putting together a growth plan for revenues from the $210,000,000 bond issue that they are proposing for this spring, the Bossier Parish School Board has determined so far that two new buildings will need to be constructed.
First, a new Haughton Middle School, which will cost $36,000,000 and house 1,500 students.
Earlier talk had been about moving it from the present location. I don’t know if that is still the plan or not. $2,500,000 will have to be spent to fix the drainage system at the current middle school. I don’t know what plans the board has for that building.
The Board had been looking at moving Rusheon Middle School to Bossier High School and combining the two, and using the Rusheon facility for a new Vo-Tech school.
Board president Tammy Smith said that it doesn’t make sense to renovate Rusheon for that purpose, and that it makes more sense to build a new building. She didn’t say why.
The board is going to come back and look at consolidating Rusheon Middle and Bossier High School. That isn’t off the table as is the plan to use Rusheon to house vo-tech. The question then becomes what would the Rusheon facility be used for?
I’m not arguing the facts, because I don’t have them. It may be more costly to renovate Rusheon than to build a new building.
Now that the Board has someone to handle public relations (which is a good thing, because they have done a terrible job of it in the past), perhaps we can get some facts and figures to explain this decision.
Again, I’m not disagreeing with it, but people want to know what led to the decision.
I think a vo-tech facility is a great idea.
Here’s another idea. Use the $7,000,000 that the board is planning to use to rent space at CIC toward the new building, and house the STEM program there. That would not mean that the facilities at CIC couldn’t be used at all, but perhaps something could be worked out that would cost less than $700,000 per year.
The cost for the new vo-tech building and for renovations at Bossier High School carries a price tag of $25,000,000. Will additional costs be involved if the board does decide to move Rusheon to that campus?
Of course, this is just a part of the first phase of the plan. The Board still has plenty of decisions to make.
To recap, the questions I have are:
  • Does the $36,000,000 for a new Haughton Middle School include acquiring a new location for the school?  What will the current building be used for?
  • Has the board done a study to back up their decision that it would be more cost-effective to spend $25,000,000 for a new vo-tech facility rather than to renovate Rusheon and to locate the facility there?
  • What alternative plans have they considered to leasing space at CIC for the STEM program at a cost of $700,000 per year.
Hopefully, the board will have the answers.
Marty Carlson had a column in the Press-Tribune entitled Counting the Costs, that deals with the financial aspects of the bond proposal, and some renewals that will be coming in the next couple of years. Take the time to read it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Justice Joe Bleich to replace Judge Bolin

4 comments:
Joe Bleich of Ruston, a retired Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and a retired State District Judge, Division “B”, Third Judicial District, Lincoln and Union Parishes, has been appointed to serve in the place of Judge Bolin.
Judge Bolin retired effective January 31st.
Judge Bleich will serve until the election this fall, when a replacement will be chosen.
So far, Whit Graves & Mike Nerren have made it known that they will run.