Dark Woods Ranks High On List of Must-See Haunts

Top-31-promo

Newly christened into the Haunt industry for the 2015 Halloween season, Dark Woods Haunted Attraction was ranked #12 on the Top 31 Must-See Haunts List. Featuring some pretty phenomenal regional and national attractions, the national list is compiled by TheScareFactor.com. The site is dedicated to providing accurate and fair reviews of haunts, based on a collaborative effort of professional haunted attraction reviewers called “Scream Teams.”

Thrilled by the ranking, owners Jason and Mardy Summerlin said their haunt is so new; they haven’t even scratched the surface of the attraction and crew’s potential.

“This is incredible,” said Jason. “Any fan-based list is exciting, encouraging and beyond motivating. It speaks to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of our cast and crew. We couldn’t exist without them.”

Entering its second year of fear-inducing mayhem, Dark Woods is proud to announce its icon character for the 2016 Halloween season.

With the ringmaster away, Boogie is bringing a whole new brand of terror to the Big Top. He’s the masquerading maestro of mischief at the Dark Carnival 3D. Enter Boogie’s nightmare in this 3D Blacklight Haunt. Twist and turn through hallways and rooms full of crazed clowns and other denizens of the dark. Meet his band of merry misfits and carnival creeps.

Dark Woods will open select nights Sept. 23 – Oct. 31.

Victims will be immersed in an experience unlike any other, complete with state of the art special effects, sounds and lighting in the area’s first ChromaDepth 3D Attraction. Monsters are real and they come alive at night in the twisted halls of the Dark Carnival’s maze.

And remember, Boogie thinks mayhem is a laughing matter.

Dark Woods offers roaming creatures of the night, the return of many of last season’s favorite characters and mayhem guaranteed to give you a fright. If you came out for the 2015 Season and think you’ve seen it all, think again. Each season offers new chills and thrills, making the experience unique every time you enter the woods.

Dark Woods Haunted House is conveniently located at 4343 University Parkway (LA Hwy 6) 1.5 miles east of I-49, near Northwestern State University in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Radio station contributes to Project Honor

Radio Donation

Pastor Steven Harris with My92.3 KNOC presented Larry Paige with a check contributing to the Project Honor: Our Heroes Campaign. The project is an effort started by the Rapides and Natchitoches Parish communities to provide St. Michael visor clips to all law enforcement officers, first responders and firefighters.
St. Michael the Archangel is the Patron Saint of police officers.

Heading up the project in Natchitoches Parish, Paige asks that anyone interested in contributing to the project call him at 318-792-1660 or 318-352-6433. The medals are $9 each. Checks should be made out to: Mary’s Heart Catholic Gifts. This is where Paige is ordering the medals from.

NHS begins successful partnership with Healing4Heroes

Gus 1

It all began with potential. The Natchitoches Humane Society saw potential in the dogs it cares for and began a partnership with Healing4Heroes to identify good candidates for the program. Healing4Heroes is a non-profit organization that connects wounded service members and veterans with certified service dogs.

Scott Stetson was asked to take a look at an adoptable dog, Augustus “Gus” the Great and see what the NHS could do. According to Stetson, Juanita Murphy moved mountains (ok, ok, dogs) to make room to get him in. A friend of the NHS sponsored Gus in honor of her father, who was a WWII veteran.

They thought Gus would go to Healing4Heroes a couple months ago but things didn’t quite align. Gus remained at Happy Tails, and an inmate with the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center worked with him quite a bit.

Gus was finally placed in the program in August. He was still in some culture shock when he first arrived in Georgia, where the program is based. Gus quickly adjusted and has graduated with honors. He is the first partnership success story between Happy Tails/H4H.

Stetson, who served 23 years in the Army, was exposed to military working dogs and developed a knack for assessing whether a dog will be successful with the special training the program requires.

“I could not be happier to have been a small part of all this,” he said. “I look forward to many, many more.”

Natchitoches and Mayor Joe

By Junior Johnson

JoeSampiteWe are so Blessed to live in such a beautiful and historic City such as Natchitoches. Beauty and history abound and is second to none in our State. Being the Oldest City in the Original Louisiana Purchase, founded in 1714, there is more history in our City and Parish than I can list in this story.

I ❤️ Natchitoches. Sound familiar? Our beloved Mayor Joe Sampite, who served the City of Natchitoches from 1980 to 2000, gave out thousands of little stickers with this slogan on them during his years in office. It is rumored, and probably true, that on a goodwill tour of Washington, D. C. once he would place one of these in the palm of every politician’s hand that he shook.

I personally saw a picture of Mayor Joe and Ingrid Croce in San Diego once in Croce’s Restaurant, where he was presenting her with Keys to the City after a memorial dedication in Natchitoches for her late husband Jim Croce who was tragically killed in a plane crash after a concert at Northwestern State.

Many people through the years have had an impact on our City but none more so than Mayor Joe in my opinion. He was the driving force behind getting the movie Steel Magnolias filmed here in Natchitoches. Although John Wayne and William Holden starred in the movie Horse Soldiers here in 1959, which is still popular today, it is the mention of Steel Magnolias that brings the City of Natchitoches to mind on the national level.

There are various means available that provide visitors an insight into the history of our City. Both Trolly and Buggy rides are available for City Tours with remarkable stories to entertain their guests. There are also Bus Tours throughout the Parish to the many beautiful Plantation Homes. Bed and Breakfasts abound in the beautiful Historic District and outlying areas of the City.

We are fortunate to have the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame permanently housed in a state of the art building that brings sports celebrities from around the world and they always speak highly of the hospitality they receive here.

Just a short drive from town is the Grand Ecore Visitors Center that has a wealth of information about our area dating back to the 1700’s. This beautiful facility is located on a bluff overlooking Red River and is near the site of Fort Seldes, which was built to police the southwestern frontier and guard the Red River during the Civil War. The Center is open to the public and admission is free of charge.

During my 32 year career working in the Oil & Gas Industry I was asked many times if perhaps I worked for the Natchitoches Tourism Bureau during my days off. I would usually laugh and ask why such a question. Virtually every reply would be, “Well you are always talking about how great Natchitoches is”………My only response would be, “You need to visit my City and you will understand why.”

I would NEVER compare myself to the amazing Mayor Joe Sampite, but we did have one thing in common.

WE BOTH ❤️❤️NATCHITOCHES

THREE NPSO DEPUTIES COMPLETE D.A.R.E. CURRICULUM TRAINING

DARE 08-16-16

The NPSO Youth Services Division is proud to announce the recent graduation of three of our SRO’s.

On Friday, August 19, 2016 in Opelousas, LA., Deputy Brian Turner, Deputy Tamara George-Pitts and Deputy Irvin Raphiel Jr., graduated along with 21 other law enforcement officers from the state of Louisiana and 2 from the state of Texas.

The 39th D.A.R.E. Officer training school was conducted by the Louisiana D.A.R.E. Training Center which consist of 8 veteran officers and 2 educators from agencies across the state of Louisiana.

Each officer attended an 80-hour session of Drug Abuse Resistance Education training, which centered on presentation skills, collaborative learning, learning modalities, classroom management, and facilitation skills. This training included the new D.A.R.E. Elementary “keepin’ it…REAL” and the D.A.R.E. Middle School “keepin’ it…REAL” curriculums.

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Youth Services Division consists of 13 certified School Resource Officers of which 9 are certified D.A.R.E. instructors. Sheriff Victor Jones has assigned these 13 officers to cover all elementary, Jr. High and 2 High Schools in the city and parish of Natchitoches.

For more information about the programs and activities offered by the Youth Services Division contact Chief Wendy Llorens @ 318-357-2239.

Pictured from left: Deputy Irvin Raphiel Jr., Chief Wendy Llorens, Deputy Tamara George-Pitts, Deputy Brian Turner, and Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

Up a River Without a Paddle

By Ida B. Torn

Cane River Lake

 

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not a “born and raised” resident of Natchitoches Parish.  I’ve come and gone and have come again. I’ve lived inside the limits of the City of Natchitoches, on its outskirts and in rural parts of the Parish. I’m a native of Louisiana but have lived in other states. I have found in my conversations with other people who are transplants to Natchitoches Parish that the property tax rates paid in this Parish are the lowest they’ve ever paid. Like me, they are also somewhat befuddled by the age-old Hatfield and McCoy battle going on between rural residents and residents of the City.

As expected, my last article drew ire from some folks who regularly voice their frustrations with everything Parish. One post in particular complains about the rural taxpayer’s money being spent on the multi-million dollar riverbank improvement project which is being funded in part by the Cane River Waterway Commission (“CRWC”). This observation is 100% spot on. Yes, we are overpaying into the Cane River Waterway! The CRWC is funded by a Parish-wide tax that was forced onto its residents by the State Legislature in 1982. The Commission is allowed by law to adjust its millage rate to as much as 6 mils. The CRWC votes annually what rate its millage will be for the coming year. The CRWC holds its regular monthly meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM at its offices located at 244 Cedar Bend in Natchez.  I provide this information because the post mentioned above did not point out that Parish President Rick Nowlin had been working with Senator Gerald Long who introduced Senate Bill 240 (see below) that would have allowed the Parish Government to receive up to 3 mil of the CRWC’s ad valorem tax each year for the sole purpose of improving Parish roads.  The CRWC, upon learning of the proposed legislation, called a special meeting on March 31 to address the impact of the potential changes.  Mr. Nowlin addressed the CRWC and impressed upon them the need for the Parish to first look for ways to reallocate tax revenues before asking its residents to pay additional taxes (Click – NPJ coverage of meeting).  There wasn’t one single rural resident present at the meeting to support the Parish’s efforts to push the reallocation through legislation. The CRWC was vehemently against the legislation and it was dropped from consideration in the 2016 regular session.  The Parish and CRWC have since obtained an Attorney General Opinion (see link below) which outlines what criteria must be met in order for the CRWC to fund road projects within the Parish. The Opinion provides a very narrow path for funding of Parish road projects by the CRWC.

Now, let’s get back to the issue of the City vs. Rural argument. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they resent that they pay all of their sales taxes inside the City of Natchitoches and get no benefit from it. There are 8 other municipalities in the Parish, 4 of which also have their own sales tax (see below). Do you ever ask those municipalities why they don’t contribute a portion of their sales tax revenues to the Parish for road repairs?  After all, it is the Parish Department of Public Works who maintains the roads in all 8 of those municipalities.  Some people say that they now shop in Sabine or Winn Parish in protest.  Okay, good for you, but you still aren’t supporting a tax base that will get your roads fixed.

It’s time to let go of the animosity and join forces for the better of the Parish. This year, City of Natchitoches residents have a chance to approve a tax that will provide funds that will directly support maintenance of the rural roads of the Parish and also provide funds for improvements to their own road system. Please consider voting for the upcoming sales tax initiatives on the November 8 ballot.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission. 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.

SB240 Fiscal Note

TaxRate-Natchitoches Parish

SB2401SB2402

Attorney General Opinion Click Here -> Opinion 16-0070

 

George Sluppick 1946 – 2016 Radio Tribute to be held

Radio Station KNOC will host a Tribute to George Sluppick and Talkback Natchitoches on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 7am.   Please set your calendars and tune in to 92.3 FM or 1450 KNOC Radio from 7a to 8a.  Guests include Pastor Steve Harris, John Brewer, Paul Johnson, A.B. Dupree, Greg Granger, Lou Bennett and Paul Washington.

Sluppick-1450KNOC

A wake will be held on Monday between 5pm and 8pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home.  Funeral Services will be on Tuesday at 10am at the Freedom Life Church on Hwy 494.

VIEW FUNERAL NOTICE

George-Judy2014Xmas

 

 

Board approves B.S. in Applied Microbiology

Biology Lab

The Louisiana Board of Regents approved a new bachelor of science degree in applied microbiology at Northwestern State University this week. The new degree will prepare students to enter directly into the workforce in the public or private sectors of environmental compliance, water and air quality, food safety, public health, organic farming/gardening and homeland security. Graduates will also be adequately prepared to further their education in medical school or graduate schools in pursuit of master’s or doctoral degrees in microbial biomedical research.

“This is not your traditional or classical microbiology degree, which tends to focus on the medical/pathological side of microbiology,” said Dr. Francene J. Lemoine, acting director of NSU’s School of Biological and Physical Sciences. “Instead, this degree will focus on the application of microbiology; that is, how microorganisms can be used in food and environmental industries. We will be focused on educating and developing students who are capable of understanding complex environmental issues and regulatory demands and how to relate these demands to the human condition. Our program will provide students with the critical thinking, problem solving and applied academic skill sets necessary for success in the workforce.”

U.S. Labor statistics predict a 19 percent increase in the field due to continued growth in the biotechnology industry.

The degree offers two concentrations, an environmental and applied microbiology concentration and a medical and health profession concentration. The environmental and applied microbiology students will take classes that focus on the impact and use of microorganisms in various industries such as food production and quality control as well as environmental control. The medical and health profession students will take traditional microbiology classes as well as some applied microbiology courses to understand the global relationships of microorganisms with man.

“Any students interested in working in the area of environmental compliance or water, air, or food safety would be a great fit for the environmental and applied microbiology concentration of this program. Students interested in careers in biomedical research or who are interested in attending medical school via a route other than biology would be a great fit for the medical and health profession concentration,” Lemoine said.

Lemoine’s appointment as director of the School is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System. She has been on faculty since 2005 and is an associate professor in the Department of Biology, Microbiology and Veterinary Technology. Lemoine earned an undergraduate degree in biology at University of Southwest Louisiana, Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine and completed postdoctoral fellowships in genetics and microbiology at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

Northwestern State’s new School of Biological and Physical Sciences was formed last year through a reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. The school offers bachelor of science degrees in physical science or in biology with concentrations in either biomedical science, clinical laboratory science, forensic science, natural science or veterinary technology.

Lemoine credited Dr. Michael Land for spearheading the creation of the new degree program. In addition to Lemoine and Land, other faculty who will teach courses applicable in the degree are Dr. Christopher Lyles and Dr. Bridget Joubert. All have specialties in some area of microbiology. Other faculty will contribute to the medical and health profession concentration.

For information on degree programs offered through Northwestern State’s School of Biological and Physical Sciences, visit biology.nsula.edu.

Dr. Francene J. Lemoine leads studies in a biology lab at Northwestern State University, where a new bachelor’s degree program in applied microbiology was approved this week. Seated from left are students Kaymin Carter, Anna Rogers, Kaitlin Lewing, Demetri Hill and Ezra Bess.

Cellist Joy Bedillion to perform Sept. 2

Bedillion
Cellist Joy Keown Bedillion will perform at Northwestern State University Friday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

The program will include “Suite No. 5” by J.S. Bach and Benjamin Britten’s “Suite No. 1.” Bedillion will do a master class for members of the NSU Cello Studio on the afternoon of Sept. 2.

Bedillion began her musical studies at age four. At 13, she was awarded the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra Quartet Scholarship to study cello with the faculty of Columbus State University. A year later, Bedillion was invited to be a part of the National Symphony Orchestra, a group of young musicians who performed in Carnegie Hall under conductor and composer Lucas Foss. As a 17-year old, she won the Blount-Slawson scholarship to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for the summer of 2005.

Bedillion completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Recently she was awarded a master’s degree from Louisiana State University. As a student she has performed for such world renowned musicians as David Finkel, Steve Doane, Andres Diaz and Alan Stepansky. In June of 2011, Bedillion was named as a Texas Music Festival Orchestra Fellow.

An avid chamber musician, Bedillion has collaborated with such renowned musicians as Christopher O’Riley and Dennis Parker. She also served as a founding member for the Aloha Piano Quartet in 2012.   As a cello teacher, Bedillion began taking students at the age of 16 and has been teaching ever since. She joined the staff at Grace Notes Music Studio in 2009. In 2012, she assumed part ownership of Grace Notes and became administrative director. Bedillion resides in Baton Rouge and performs in the cello sections of the Baton Rouge Sympony Orchestra, Opera Louisiane, Rapides Symphony Orchestra and Baton Rouge Little Theater.

For more information on the concert, call (318) 357-5802.

Twenty-Four Citizens welcomed in Naturalization Ceremony

By Kevin Shannahan

NaturalEvent2016

Kevin’s Gallery

Our Nation grew a bit stronger today. The United States of America welcomed 24 new citizens from 13 different countries in a naturalization ceremony held at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) on NSU’s campus this Thursday, Aug. 25. Natchitoches Central’s Army Junior ROTC presented the colors while the NSU Middle Lab Orchestra played the National Anthem.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Officers Stanley Crockett and Eureka Arties administered the Oath of Citizenship after having each new citizen stand as their country of birth was called out. The newest Americans hail from nations, ranging from Canada to Vietnam, India and everywhere in between.

The Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser, gave the keynote address after which Rebecca Blankenbaker of the Cane River National Heritage Area led the Pledge of Allegiance as the crowd joined their fellow Americans in their first pledge as citizens.

These 24 men and women left behind allegiance to their former countries and made a solemn oath:

“…that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to take this opportunity to congratulate our 24 fellow Americans and wish them well. On this, the 240th year of the independence of the United States, ceremonies like this one in a small town in Louisiana show America is still a shining city on a hill. May it be ever thus.

Poet James Scannell McCormick to present reading Sept. 1

McCormick HeadshotPoet James Scannell McCormick will present a reading at Northwestern State University Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. in the Cane River Room of the Friedman Student Union. The event is part of the Cane River Reading Series. Admission is free and open to the public.

McCormick earned a doctorate in creative writing-poetry from Western Michigan University in 1995. His works have appeared in CutBank, The Lucid Stone, SLANT, Rattapallax and most recently in The Pedestal. His poem “Trouble” won the 2010 Dzanc Best of the Web prize. McCormick’s “Lot (Hermes in Tulips)” was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. He lives in and teaches in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Cane River Reading Series will feature Erika Jo Brown, BJ Love, Phillip Estes on Oct. 17 and Laurie Ann Cedilnik and Glenn Shaheen on Nov. 11.

Students participate in “1 of 7” service initiatives

Students participate in '1 of 7'

Nearly 200 Northwestern State University students participated in “1 of 7” service projects Friday as part of Demon Days welcome week activities. “1 of 7” is a project that encourages individuals to pledge one day a week to helping others by performing service activities or volunteering in ways that improve the world around them. NSU’s Office of First Year Experience and Leadership Development annually incorporates “1 of 7” initiatives into Demon Days activities in partnership with several community organizations and non-profit groups.

This year, students worked with the Cane River Food Pantry, Wesley Campus Ministries/Foundation, Fort St. Jean Baptiste, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Natchitoches Humane Society (Happy Tails Rescue), Oakland Plantation, Cane River Children’s Service Group Home, Girl’s Transitional Home and Boys Transitional Home. Administrators said the response was overwhelming, both from students and from those who benefitted from volunteer work.

For information on Demon Days, visit nsula.edu/fye/demondays. For information on “1 of 7,” visit 1of7.org.

Shreveport student comes back from serious accident to pursue her dream

Lauren Edwards

It’s doubtful anyone was looking forward to the fall semester at Northwestern State University more than Lauren Edwards.

The sophomore nursing major from Shreveport was scheduled to begin classes on Northwestern State’s Natchitoches campus last fall. Days before she was to move into a campus residence hall, Edwards was involved in a traffic accident on La. Highway 1 near Shreveport. She had to be extricated from her car and had serious injuries that required months of rehabilitation.

“I don’t remember much about that day,” said Edwards, a 2015 graduate of Byrd High School. “ I don’t remember getting ready or leaving the house. All I remember is my dog Cricket playing with a bunch of socks like they were a toy.”

In the accident, Edwards suffered a traumatic brain injury, broke her left femur, had a skull fracture of the left side and broke her nose, cheek and jaw in three places. She recalls waking up in physical therapy later, but admits the next six weeks are not clear to her. Edwards spent three months in rehabilitation hospitals, the last seven weeks at two facilities in Houston. She was able to take two classes on NSU’s Shreveport campus last spring. Edwards has largely recovered but still has some pain and occasionally may have trouble remembering or thinking of a specific word but she was determined to be at Northwestern State for the start of fall classes.

“I was a little nervous because I didn’t really know anyone on campus,” she said. “But I am also excited and ready to learn. I really wanted to get the full college experience in Natchitoches before starting clinicals.”

Edwards is philosophical about her accident taking a long-term view of the events.

“Maybe this was God’s plan for me,” said Edwards. “Perhaps this will allow me to better understand what the patient goes through and will make me a better nurse.”

Edwards career plan began to take shape during her junior year in high school.

“I love taking care of people,” she said. “I want to be a trauma nurse. That field seems like a calling to me. I would have a chance to help patients who could be going through what I was.”

Edwards admits going through a life-threatening event has changed her.

“I know how things can change in an instant,” said Edwards. “I don’t take things for granted. I have a grateful heart knowing I have the opportunity to pursue my career dream.”

Edwards hopes to enter clinicals next fall and graduate in 2019. Despite the accident, she plans to graduate on her original schedule. While at Byrd, Edwards gained 30 hours of credit at NSU through the dual enrollment program that allows high school students to take college classes during the school day.

Parish Council Clerk – Full-time or Part-time?

DoubleDownScreenShot

A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that employees spend at least half an hour of each day “loafing.” According to the American Time Use Survey, the number is closer to 50 minutes.  So, what qualifies as excessive?  Should taxpayers foot the bill for an employee whose productivity averages 75%?  What about 50% or even less than that? Should it be acceptable for employees to use government equipment to visit shopping sites or dating sites? What about gambling sites or financial and/or loan sites? More importantly, should three Council members be allowed to usurp the authority of the Chairman as supervisor of the Council employees?  Perhaps the most important question is whether or not these three councilpersons’ knowledge of a situation and their refusal to address it rise to the level of misprision of felony and/or malfeasance of public office?

At the urging of Parish Councilman Doug de Graffenried at the August Council meeting, NPJ submitted a Request for Public Information seeking documentation regarding the computer usage of Parish employees. The question has arisen whether or not certain employees of the Parish are spending excessive time surfing the Internet and/or working on non-Parish related projects during working hours. Councilman de Graffenried made the request after Council members Paige, Hoover and Bedgood refused to go into Executive Session at the July Council meeting. To understand how it is that we’ve gotten to this point, it is important to remember that the Parish Council is allowed to have employees independent of those supervised by the Parish President.

BACKGROUND:

In July of 2013, Catherine Hamilton, the former Parish Administrator who also served as the Parish Purchasing Agent and the Council Clerk, retired from the Parish Government.  In the months leading up to her retirement, the Council discussed at its May 20th meeting  whether the Council Clerk position should be full-time or part-time and voted 3-2 with John Salter, Chris Paige and Rodney Bedgood voting in favor of the position being full-time (see exhibit below). The Council also adopted the job description of the Caddo Parish Council for their Clerk (see exhibit below). At its meeting held July 15, 2013 (see exhibit below), the Council unanimously voted to set the salary of the incoming Council Clerk at $35,000 per year. At its December 16, 2013 meeting (see exhibit below), the Council voted to increase the Clerk’s salary to $40,000 to be retroactive to October 29, 2013. In March of 2014, all Parish employees, including the Council Clerk, received a 3% cost of living pay increase.

During this time frame, Councilmen Salter, Paige and Bedgood frequently complained about the salaries of employees in other departments of the Parish Government.

In February of 2014, the Parish Council unanimously passed a new personnel manual that applied to all Parish employees, including those employed by the Parish Council. The Manual specifically addresses Internet usage, personal phone usage, prohibited websites and conditions for termination, among other things. All employees must sign acknowledgment forms showing receipt of the Parish Manual.

In 2016, a new Parish Council was seated. At its first meeting, Mr. Russell Rachal was appointed Council Chairman and Mr. Doug de Graffenried as Vice Chairman. Section 2.06.A. of the Home Rule Charter states (see exhibit below), “… The chair shall be the presiding officer at council meetings, supervise or delegate supervision of council employees, and carry out any other duties the council may authorize.”

In light of the refusal by Councilpersons Paige, Hoover and Bedgood to go into Executive Session in July, the question remains on how they will address the situation now that they can no longer sweep it under the rug. The information obtained under the FOIA request clearly indicates that the position of Council Clerk should not be full-time.

NPJ will continue to monitor for new developments in this story.

ParishLogSamplePage

Sample of Parish Log Provided under FOIA

SEE LOG OF SITES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER – >>  NPJ Activity Log – Clerk

 

Parish Council Meeting Minutes1Natchitoches Parish Council Clerk Job Description1
Natchitoches Parish Council Clerk Job Description2

Parish Council Meeting Minutes2Parish Council Meeting Minutes3

Page 4 of the Natchitoches Parish Home Rule Charter