Sunday morning fire claims life of Natchitoches man

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A joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and La. State Fire Marshal is being conducted into a fire that claimed the life of a Natchitoches man early Sunday morning, Jan. 29 at 4:19 a.m., according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 responded to reports of a structure fire in the 7500 block of La. Hwy 6, west of Natchitoches.

Deputies say while firefighters from NPFD# 7 were extinguishing the fire, they received information that the structure, a 8×32 fifth-wheel travel trailer was possibly occupied.

A search of the burned travel trailer led to the discovery of a body inside.

The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office positively identified the body as that of Mr. Theron E. Starnes Jr., 55, of 7568 Hwy 6, Natchitoches.

Starnes reportedly lived in the trailer for two years.

Investigators located a space heater in the living room area of the trailer that sustained heavy fire damage.

NPSO Deputies say while speaking with State Fire Marshal investigators today, the space heater is believed, but not confirmed, to be the source of the fire.

The remains were sent for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

State Fire Marshal investigators say the preliminary investigation results states Starnes succumbed to smoke inhalation as the cause of death.

There were no smoke detectors in the trailer.

The investigation is continuing by the La. State Fire Marshal’s Office, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 although at this time the fire appears to be accidental.

Fire Marshal investigators requested that we urge the public to install smoke detectors in every room of the home, and at least one in travel trailers.

Press Release and PHOTO: NPSO

INTERSTATE RE-OPENED I-49; Northbound; Natchitoches Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that I-49 Northbound between Exits 132 & 138, is NOW OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC.

Project Contact
Dale Craig; District Traffic Engineer
(318) 561-5105
Dale.Craig@la.gov

**EMERGENCY CLOSURE**
I-49 Northbound; Natchitoches Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that I-49 Northbound between Exits 132 & 138, is closed to all traffic due to an accident.

Permit/Detour Section
Traffic is being diverted onto LA 478; Exit 132.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Call (318) 561-5100 or (800) 542-3509 or 511 or visit www.511LA.org for additional information. Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ www.dotd.la.gov, by selecting MYDOTD, the Way to Geaux Application for iPhone or Android devices, the DOTD Facebook page or the LA DOTD Twitter page, @Alex_Traffic for further information and details.

Project Contact
Dale Craig; District Traffic Engineer
(318) 561-5105
Dale.Craig@la.gov

EMERGENCY CLOSURE** I-49; Northbound; Natchitoches Parish

roadclosurenpj

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 10:03 AM
I-49 Northbound; Natchitoches Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that I-49 Northbound between Exits 132 & 138, is closed to all traffic due to an accident.

Permit/Detour Section
Traffic is being diverted onto LA 478; Exit 132.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Call (318) 561-5100 or (800) 542-3509 or 511 or visit www.511LA.org for additional information. Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ www.dotd.la.gov, by selecting MYDOTD, the Way to Geaux Application for iPhone or Android devices, the DOTD Facebook page or the LA DOTD Twitter page, @Alex_Traffic for further information and details.

Project Contact
Dale Craig; District Traffic Engineer
(318) 561-5105
Dale.Craig@la.gov

Phi Mu Alpha offering Valentine serenades

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Northwestern State University’s chapter of Phi Mu Alpha will perform Valentine serenades on and off campus through Valentine’s Day, Tuesday Feb. 14. Members will perform from 2-8 p.m. in Hanchey Gallery and a traveling group will perform from 6-8 p.m. on Front Street.

“What better way to spend your Valentine’s Day than getting your loved one serenaded by the men of Phi Mu Alpha?” Chapter Treasurer Logan Turner asked.  “For $10 you come to us and we will serenade you and your loved one at Hanchey Gallery or Front Street and for $20 we will come to you. All serenades come with a single rose.”

Phi Mu Alpha is a social fraternity for men with a special interest in music.

“We will also have a table in the Creative and Performing Arts Building the week of January 30-February 3 and will be in the Student Union the week of February 6-February 10,” Turner said.

For more information or to book a serenade, contact Turner at (318) 507-8261 or lturner029912@nsula.edu or visit the Phi Mu Alpha table at the times listed.

Water boils at RMWS meeting as customers demand board cut costs

high_water_billrmws013017Things got hot enough to boil water at the Robeline-Marthaville Water System meeting Monday night, Jan. 30. After getting water service up and running right before Christmas, the customer-owned system is looking at ways to cut costs and get things back on track.

Representatives from the government and state organizations were on hand to continue helping the board find solutions to its problems.

They included:
·      Knox Ross: president of Coordinating Development Corporation in Shreveport
·      Reinette Foster: area director for USDA Rural Development
·      Clarence Beebe and Rusty Reeves: Louisiana Rural Water Association
·      Randy Byrd: Water System operator
·      Leslie Durham: Governor’s designee for the Delta Regional Authority

The Water System residents said they’re putting out unnecessary money and demanded the board take action to correct the system’s financial problems. The board voted to let go of the one part time employee it has within 30 days. It will no longer provide health insurance for any of its employees within 30 days. This could potentially be $40,000 per year in savings, although it was stated that around $60,000 in cuts needs to be made.

Residents said they believed the cuts could be made in personnel, saying that other systems have one employee doing the same work of the R-MV System’s employees.

In other news, two new board members were announced: Don Perez and Johnny Ledet.

After the meeting ended, Tommy O’Con informed the NPJ that he tendered his resignation last night from the Robeline-Marthaville Water System.

See below for the Financials Provided

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Resisting only makes it worse

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I read an article about the Louisiana’s Blue Lives Matter bill, which Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law before Trump took office. Louisiana is the first state to enact such a law.

If someone is arrested for stealing a piece of candy (a misdemeanor) but resists arrest, they will be charged with a felony hate crime. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Even if someone is wrongfully arrested and resists that arrest, they can receive the same punishment.

While it seems preposterous or outrageous, I’d like to try and look at this situation logically.

When does it benefit someone to resist arrest? If they’re guilty of a crime, resisting will only worsen their sentence. If they’re innocent, resisting will get them a sentence they wouldn’t have received otherwise. If the officer is corrupt, resisting will only worsen the situation.

This made me think of an old FB video rant that I watched last year of Amiri King, an ex-con turned YouTube star, who defended police against people who resist arrest.

He says, “When a cop says stop, I stop. When a cop says let me see you hands, guess what, I show him my hands. If a cop says put your leg in, put your leg out, put your leg in and shake it all about, well I’ll be doing the hokey pokey then won’t I.”

You can let the police do their job or cause yourself a bigger headache. The choice is yours.