Councilman issues statement regarding proposed 1% sales and use tax

Eddie Harrington – District 1 City Councilman

Many of our citizens are very upset regarding recent activity within the city concerning the cost of chamber renovations and a proposed 1% tiff tax.

I was not in agreement to the renovations on the council chambers. In fact, I cast a “No” vote.

I am also not in agreement with the 1% tiff tax increase. Many of the businesses which would be affected do not want this to happen. The sales tax in that area is already very high. A further increase could hinder several businesses and make them less competitive. I am also under the belief that the sports complex maintenance and upkeep can be funded without the tax increase.

To end on a positive note, the sports complex will be an incredible addition to our city. There are already out of town tournaments booked every weekend from February to July. These travel ball tournaments will be a great boom to our economy. We must ensure the complex is maintained efficiently and I believe we can without the added tax.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Call me at 318-352-5900
email: eddie.harrington@theharringtonlawfirm.com
Facebook @natchitochesdistrict1.


Letter to the Public from Russell Rachal, Parish Councilman

The Natchitoches Parish Council met in regular session on June 17, 2019. There were several agenda items, but most of them were appointments/reappointments to various boards and Ordinances for zoning changes.

One item of interest was the employment of the Director of Public Works, which is occupied by Mr. John Richmond. Mr. Richmond is running for the position of Natchitoches Parish President. Several constituents of various Council members have expressed concerns in relation to Mr. Richmond being employed by the Parish Government and seeking election to the President position, which is ultimately the over the Director of Public Works position. The constituents have expressed concerns stating that it appears that Mr. Richmond is suddenly starting to fix roads now that it’s election year, when nothing seemed to be getting done prior to his announcement that he was running for the President position. We, as the Council, were advised that no one was sure if this was allowed or not.

On May 29, 2019 the Council was advised by email that Department of Public Works was currently unable to purchase a certain type of road repair material, and in order for Mr. Richmond to purchase a different type of material we will need to either call a special meeting to pass an emergency budget amendment Ordinance or issue an emergency declaration. I advised the administration that I wanted a meeting instead of allowing the Parish President to declare an emergency. The Chairman of the Council allowed the emergency declaration because a quorum of Council members was not available for an emergency meeting. I responded by email that I was in opposition to this, as there were some unanswered questions that remained.

On May 30, 2019 I sent an email to Mr. Rick Nowlin and Mr. John Richmond, pursuant to the Public Information Act requesting the following information:

1) In the email that I received from the Natchitoches Parish Clerk on May 29, 2019 I was advised the Department of Public Works is currently unable to purchase a certain type of road repair material. Please provide what type of material this was in reference to, as the Emergency Declaration states, “Certain types of road repair materials, including but not limited to, Winn rock, crushed concrete, stone and gravel.

2) What constituted the emergency, being that I was advised by Mr. Richmond on May 20, 2019, during the Regularly scheduled Natchitoches Parish Council meeting that there was no emergency in the rock budget.

On June 01, 2019, I received a phone call from Mr. Richmond stating that there was actually no emergency, but he just needed the money to get work done faster so it would look better.

During the meeting on June 17, 2019, I asked Mr. Richmond if it was true that he called me and advised me of this on June 01, 2019. Mr. Richmond advised that he did indeed call me and advise me that it was no actual emergency. I advised Mr. Richmond that I was in receipt of a Facebook post by Councilwoman Patsy Ward Hoover on May 22, 2019 at 7:21 pm stating that, “Mr. Nowlin has promised to visit Bermuda Road tomorrow. I have asked for emergency funding. I can be reached at 318-527-9294”.

Mr. Richmond had already stated that this material was placed on Bermuda Road. I advised Mr. Richmond that I was already aware a week prior to his request to declare an emergency that he was going to ask for one.

I was advised that our legal counsel advised the Administration that this was not an emergency, and advised them not to declare one, but they did it anyway.

Please understand that the Council has not changed the way we report roads and projects that are in need of repair. If the administration can fix roads now, they could have been doing it.

Thank you for your continued support and God Bless you and your families.

Sincerely,

Russell Rachal
Natchitoches Parish Council
District 5
(318)652-0382


The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Parish Council moves forward with voting on Police Jury versus Home Rule Charter

The Special Called Parish Council meeting was short Tuesday evening, June 25. The meeting was called so the Council could consider Introducing Ordinance 010-2019 to consider putting on the ballot to let the People of Natchitoches Parish to decide for the current form of Government or the Police Jury form of Government. It was also publicized that a Public Hearing would be held July 1, 2019 at 5:30 pm.

The Council’s attorney said the date for the public hearing is too soon in regards to the Home Rule Charter, which states the public hearing must be set after 4 weeks have elapsed from the time of the introduction. Council Clerk Cheryl Fredricks then informed the Council that the Secretary of State’s Office needed the approved ordinance by July 9 in order to get it on the ballot for the October election. The soonest it can be put on the ballot with the required time constraints would be the March/April runoff for the general election. Fredricks said she will check on the exact dates with the SOS Office.

Councilman Doug de Graffenried was absent from the meeting. Russell Rachal motioned to approve the introduction of the ordinance and Chris Paige seconded it. It was passed with yes votes from all present.

A public hearing should be set some time in August and the Council will be able to cast its final vote at the August Parish Council meeting.


According to Kris: Fast Fashion Isn’t Free

By Kris James

Hello Stylers! I know we love fashion and the beauty it creates, but it’s the ugly side that we never see. No, I’m not talking about the lack of diversity. I’m talking about Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion utilizes trend replication, rapid production, and low-quality materials to bring inexpensive styles to the public. Unfortunately, the results leave a harmful impact on our environment. I know you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with spending money at your favorite online stores like Fashion Nova, Forever 21 and H&M. Well, what do you think happens to your clothes when we throw them away?

The average consumer purchased 70% more items of clothing in 2018 than in 2000 but now keeps the clothes for half as long. This is simply because the garments fall apart, or go out of style, or maybe just because it’s so cheap we view it as disposable. According to thegoodtrade.com, “Each year, the clothing that is simply thrown away amounts to about 11 million tons in the US alone…Fast fashion’s carbon footprint is giving huge industries like air travel and oil a run for their money.”

Most of our clothes are full of pesticides, lead, and numerous other chemicals, which never break down, spending the rest of their lives releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Not only does this affect our world but think about the people who make them. Some garments have large amounts of lead in them and this increases the risk of heart attacks, infertility and more.

As a kid, I remember getting clothes every season. I would get special outfits throughout the year, but these clothes were meant to last for years. I’m sure we all remember those favorite items that held so much value to us. Mine were these Guess over-alls. I would wear them every week to school and cried when one of the buttons broke. That was my first investment because I was emotionally attached. Now can we still say that? I spent most of my 20s mad at my girlfriends because they could find outfits for under 20 dollars but, on the other hand, had to drop a few dollars. I never realized this was the beginning of Fast Fashion.

I’m not telling you to give up shopping at some of your favorite stores, just be more mindful. In the past few years, thrifting and shopping at vintage stores has become very popular. There are a lot of vintage dealers like Washington Ave who is local. Try revamping all the oldies by making them new. H&M, one of those affordable but exploitive brands, has done more than other stores. They released a “Conscious Collection” where the items are made from recycled clothes and organic cotton. They also now carry a selection of premium quality products, which cost more but last longer. Conscious fashion means there are brands and individuals who care about us and our fight to save our earth. I like to think that we spend thousands on an iPhone every two years because we believe in its value. Why not put that same value back into our clothes?

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.” – Lucy Siegle


St. Mary’s announces new position for Laura Hogg

St. Mary’s Catholic School is pleased to announce that Mrs. Laura Hogg will serve in the position of Elementary Religion Teacher for the 2019-2020 school year. After graduating from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, she began her teaching career. This year will be her 18th year as an educator. Mrs. Hogg is married to Dr. John Hogg and has two children that attend St. Mary’s Catholic School. Sophia is an eighth grader and Carter is a fifth grader. Mrs. Hogg enjoys tennis, traveling, and reading in her spare time. She and her family are parishioners at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Deadline extended to July 24 for Christmas Festival Poster Contest

Artists are being sought to design the 2019 Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster. The theme for the poster is “Christmas in Natchitoches.” Artists who would like to enter the contest should submit a drawing or painting to the Natchitoches Arts Council using the chosen theme. The size of the completed sketch or painting should be 18 inches wide and 24 inches tall. If chosen, the painting will become the exclusive property of the Natchitoches Arts Council. The chosen artist will receive a commission of $600.

The deadline for entering the competition has been extended to July 24. All entries should be submitted to Alicia Rachal, Community Development, 420 Fourth Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. The Natchitoches Arts Council is not responsible for insuring the safe or timely delivery of the art work to the appropriate party.

Numbered prints in the form of a poster will be available and on sale to the public in early October. All posters are $35 each. The 1980-2004 collage posters are $15 each. The small posters (3 ¾” x 5”) are $3 each or two for $4. Special prints of the 2008 Fleur de Lis Poster (11” x 17”) and the 2016 Christmas in Natchitoches Poster (11” x 14.5) are $20.

The Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster has been a tradition for 39 years. All of the original artwork can be viewed at the Natchitoches Arts Council office located at the Community Development Office (City Hall Annex), 420 Fourth Street, Natchitoches, LA.

For more information about the poster contest, please call Alicia Rachal at (318) 357-3838 or Karen Terrell at (318) 352-6925.


Second Annual Louisiana Young Professionals Conference to Take Place in Natchitoches

Natchitoches Young Professionals, an initiative of the NatchitochesArea Chamber of Commerce, is hosting their second annual “Louisiana Young Professionals Conference” onFriday, July 26, 2019. The goal for the conference is to bring together young professionals from across the state to learn about topics that affect young professionals and immediately put that information to use in their career or business.

The Louisiana Young Professionals Conference will kick off on Thursday, July 25 at 6:00 p.m., with a social and registration at Cane River Brewing. This evening event will include networking opportunities and door prizes. Registration will resume the following morning Friday, July 26 at 8:30 a.m. at Chateau St. Denis and the conference will begin at 9:00 a.m. The agenda will include a lunch keynote delivered by Community Coffee’sCandace Tucker, and several breakout sessions from other speakers throughout the day.

“Our first conference had a fantastic speaker line up, and this year we feel we have an equally excellent group of speakers from all different fields to speak to our attendees. I am personally excited to shake hands with andhear from each of our speakers,” says long-time NYP Board Member and conference coordinator, Carrie Hough.

Breakout sessions include topics that affect young professionals and feature speakers from across the region.These breakout sessions will include “Beating Burnout” by Mark Springer (Austin, TX), “Making Room at the Table: Cultivating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” by Ruben Henderson (Lafayette, LA), “Work-Life Balance” by Alberta Greene (Monroe, LA), “Leadership Lessons from the Killing Fields” by Tom Matuschka (Natchitoches, LA), “A Road Less Traveled” by David Meaux (Lafayette, LA), and “Only in Your State: Best Summer Spots” by WilliamBloom (Baton Rouge, LA).

“Our young professionals saw the need for a statewide conference like this and took the initiative to lay the framework for a very successful, annual event. Last year’s conference brought groups in from both north andsouth Louisiana. We are proud to showcase our beautiful city while hosting this event in Natchitoches,” saysChamber Events Coordinator and NYP member, Maggie Harris.

NYP is very thankful to its LYPC sponsors who include our title sponsor, Community Coffee; our corporate sponsors: BOM and NHDDC; our gold sponsors: the Louisiana Crawfish Company, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, and Northwestern State University; and our silver sponsors: the City of Natchitoches, Howard E. Conday, Atmos Energy, and Lauren Anderson MD.

Tickets for this conference are $60. Tickets may be purchased by any professional, of any age, from anywhere. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For anyone interested in sponsoring, call 318-238-1941. To learn more about the conference, visit natchitocheschamber.com/lypc.

Natchitoches Young Professionals (NYP) is dedicated to developing the community’s current and futurebusiness leaders, with membership available to anyone between the ages of 21 and 40 who lives, works, learnsor plays in the greater Natchitoches area. 


NSU Pediatric Nursing Practitioner program ranked 4th in nation

Northwestern State University’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program has been ranked fourth in the country by RegisteredNursing.org,

Nursing programs were assessed on several factors which represent how well a program supports students during school, towards licensure and beyond. You can learn more about the methodology used by visiting https://www.registerednursing.org/rankings-methodology/.

The highly revered and rewarding pediatric nurse practitioner role is a popular choice for nurses who want to make a difference in the health of children. This advanced nursing career can be achieved through a master’s or doctoral level pediatric nurse practitioner program, and most allow students to choose between primary or acute pediatric care. Online and campus-based options are available.

“Over the last four to five years we’ve had one to eight graduates each spring. Everyone has passed boards although two students passed on a second attempt,” said Meredith Eastin, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner coordinator. “Everyone, besides those that graduated in May, is currently practicing as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Many are employed in primary care clinics, but there are graduates employed in pediatric specialty clinics, community health centers and school-based health clinics.”

The field of pediatrics is a particularly rewarding one for advanced practice RNs. Building lasting relationships with children who are ill or injured is just one asset of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner care. Choosing the right Pediatric NP program is of great importance, and RegisteredNursing.org’s rankings of the top online/hybrid Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs help students find their perfect fit.

Northwestern State trains the next generation of Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioners through its Master of Science in Nursing specialty program. The curriculum is comprised of 42 total credits, with 720 clinical hours required. Enrolled students take courses in Genomics for Nursing Practice, Family Dynamics, Research in Nursing and much more. Both part-time and full-time study options are available.

MSN Programs

· Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Online/Hybrid

· Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PCPNP), Campus

RegisteredNursing.org is an organization of registered nurses who care deeply about the profession and provide the resources future nurses need to succeed. Helping to bring those interested in nursing from the research phase to enrollment to landing that first RN job and beyond.

“Overall the feedback has been great,” Eastin said. “Students felt a close connection with instructors. They felt well prepared when entering clinical practice and they would recommend our program to future students. Students reported they liked the small size of the class. They were able to communicate with one another and learn together as a team.”


Rotary Club install new president

David Guillet was installed as the new President of Rotary Club of Natchitoches at the June 25 meeting. Past President Richard White passed the gavel and presented him with a Rotary pin for his outstanding service.

Rotary President David Guillet then awarded Past President Richard White a plaque with a gavel honoring his service. Guillet spoke to the Rotary members about the future goals and objectives of the club (Photos by Dr. Ron McBride).


Notice of Death – June 25, 2019

NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Mercie Dee LaCour Honore
December 22, 1946 – June 17, 2019
Visitation: Friday, June 28 from 6-9 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 29 at 11 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville

Maggie Elam
August 9, 1957 – June 23, 2019
Arrangements TBA
Shane Kerry
March 01, 1937 – June 20, 2019
Visitation: Thursday, June 27 from 2-4 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Dessie Davenport, Jr.
November 17, 1959 – June 19, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Kendall “K.D.” Hardison
March 9, 1991 – June 19, 2019
Service: Saturday, June 29 at 11 am at North Star Baptist Church in Powhatan
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum

Kendrick Mancell Williams Sr.
February 23, 1980 – June 18, 2019
Service: Saturday, June 29 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Springville Cemetery of Coushatta

RED RIVER PARISH:

Tommy Hayward Pardee
June 15, 1942 – June 23, 2019
Service: Wednesday, June 26 at 11 am at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church

WINN PARISH:

Mary Frances McHenry Taylor
August 08, 1945 – June 19, 2019
Service: Saturday, June 29 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 117 MLK Drive in Winnfield

Shelby Ray McGuire
April 21, 1955 – June 23, 2019
Service: Wednesday, June 26 at 2 pm at Northside Baptist Church
Interment: Mars Hill Cemetery in Verda

Danny Glyn Carter
February 08, 1952 – June 24, 2019
Visitation: Wednesday, June 26 from 5-8 pm and Thursday, June 27 from 12-2 pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church
Service: Thursday, June 27 at 2 pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church
Interment: Bethlehem Cemetery

Rufus Green
August 21, 1982 – June 15, 2019
Service: Sunday, June 30 at 11 am in the Chapel of the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Interment: Winnfield City Cemetery


City Council hears business owner opinions regarding proposed District C 1% sales and use tax

A public hearing was held before Monday night’s City Council meeting, June 24, to address the proposed 1% sales and use tax that was introduced at the June 10 meeting. The tax would go toward the operation and maintenance costs associated with running Parc Natchitoches, the new sports and recreation complex the City is building on University Parkway. Mayor Lee Posey said he received no opposition when he reached out to hotel and business owners in Natchitoches Development District C, which encompasses most of the area around the I-49 exits and some of University Parkway (See Photo Below).

Mayor Posey said the City knew going into this project (Parc Natchitoches construction) that they’d need help with operation and maintenance costs. He explained that money from a 1% water and sewer tax ($18 million) rededication was split so that $9 million would go to water and sewer and $9 million would go to the construction of the sports complex (with a over $1 million bond to cover the approximate $10 million project cost).

The municipal building, which is being used while the Arts Center is remodeled, was packed to capacity. Some business owners voiced their excitement for the sports complex, but voiced their concern over the fairness of a tax for one district and not the City as a whole. Posey said this is just the first step and that they will be looking to other businesses.

Business owners seemed less than enthusiastic when it was confirmed that a sales and use tax will tax not only the customers who stop at the Natchitoches exit, but the business owners as well. Another factor they didn’t seem too happy about was that NSU will receive half of the money generated by this tax. Posey said NSU is trying to keep up with larger universities and they need updated facilities for recruitment and to host events that bring people to Natchitoches (track conferences, homecoming, etc…). He said an average of 20-40 teams will come in for a tournament. Doing the math, 30 teams is estimated to bring in $375,000 per tournament. Five tournaments a year means upwards of a $5 million economic impact for the City, not counting soccer tournaments which the City has never been able to host.

“We can’t be sure the extra revenue will be enough to offset the O&M costs,” said Posey. “This is why we’re proposing this sales and use tax.” He said the City may be capable of supporting it, but it’s already looking at investing around $300,000 for equipment (mowers, concession stands, etc…). Sponsorships may help but after encountering somethings that were unexpected, Posey said they’ll still need money for O&M costs. NSU offered to help in some areas, but Posey said there will have to be at least one dedicated person with a few part time people to work at the complex.

In initial conversations, it was stated that the sports park will be used by Northwestern State University for intramural sports and as a recruiting tool. While Council member Eddie Harrington was out of town fro the meeting, he did comment on the NPJ’s live stream where he stated, “My initial understanding was that NSU would maintain maintenance on the park as well as provide security and student workers due to the fact that NSU will have substantial use of the park for tournaments and rec sports at no cost. However, under the newly proposed tax NSU is no longer to provide maintenance and is in fact receiving funds from the tax. What are the reasons for the change and is it still a possibility for NSU to provide maintenance?”

2. What is the plan for ongoing maintenance if the tax does not pass? Are there any non essentials, such as beautification, that can be delayed to help fund the purchase of needed equipment?

The tax will be up for final vote at the July 8 City Council meeting, so more discussion can be expected.

Other agenda items included:

ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:

Authorize An Agreement And Amendment To Easements Between Evans Family, L.L.C. And The City Of Natchitoches, Providing For The Asphalt Overlay Of A Gravel Road And Further Amending The Terms Of Existing Rights Of Way In Favor Of The City Of Natchitoches And Authorizing The Mayor To Execute The Said Agreement And Amendment To Easements On Behalf Of The City Providing For Advertising, Further Providing For Severability, And Further Providing For A Repealer And Effective Date Of Ordinance.

Amend And Re-Adopt Section 22-36 Of The Code Of Ordinances, Which Said Section Is Within Article III, Entitled “Cane River Lake” Of Chapter 22 Entitled “Parks And Recreation”, Said Section Being Amended And Re-Adopted To Amend Regulations Governing Watercraft Operation During Fireworks Displays, Providing For Advertising, Further Providing For Severability, And Further Providing For A Repealer And Effective Date Of Ordinance.

Approve A Conveyance Of A 4.774 Acre Tract Of Land In Section 74, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, To Archie’s Towing Service, L.L.C., For The Sum And Price Of $254,500

RESOLUTIONS:

Execute A Certificate Of Substantial Completion To The Contract Between The City Of Natchitoches And Sunstream, Inc., For The Electric Distribution Rehabilitation For Quida And Jackson Street Project


Riddle Me This

by J. R. “Randy” Stelly/Opinion

What do the failures of the Home Rule Charter have in common with the former Police Jury form of government? I’ll give you three guesses.

Both Rodney Bedgood and Patsy-Ward Hoover have repeatedly admitted on the record that they are too stupid to understand what is going on. Chris Paige has made it known, almost from day one, that he does not support the HRC form of government and that he will do whatever it takes to destroy it.

It is time for the people of our Parish to vote for a change, but it has nothing to do with our form of government. We need a Council that is free of the ignorance and scheming that were the cornerstone of the old Police Jury and continues to be a plague on the HRC. Don’t vote out our government, vote out the Police Jury once and for all!

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.