News headlines for July 23, 2014

Allen Parish Fire District 3 breaks ground on training facility

GRANT -- Allen Parish Fire District 3 held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the district's new 2,400-square-foot training facility.
Officials say the new facility will aid the growing district in preparing volunteer firefighters for not only fire response, but also for medical responder training, among other community benefits. More HERE.

McNeese's Fort Polk location helps give soldiers, families 'college experience'

FORT POLK --  McNeese State University now has classes available for soldiers, their families and the community at Fort Polk.
Jean Graves, director of McNeese State University's Fort Polk programming, said the first term of classes at Fort Polk started in January. Graves said the student count has been growing since. More HERE.

Hornbeck's decades-old water tower slated for revamp

HORNBECK -- The Town of Hornbeck's 50-year-old water tower is slated for a revamp.
According to Mayor Clarence Beebe, planning is underway and the project will be bid in the near future.
Beebe said the town received around $180,000 in state money for the $240,000 project. The town will put up the remaining $60,000. More HERE.

"Ride for the Heroes" set Saturday in Leesville

LEESVILLE -- American Legion Post 145, in Leesville, will host their "Ride for the Heroes" poker run on July 26 starting at 9 a.m.
The event will also include a bike show, vendors, auction, a dunking booth, bikini contest, bike wash, bike games and arm wrestling. More HERE.

VPSO advises residents of scam

VERNON PARISH -- The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office wants to alert residents of a recently discovered scam.
According to Sheriff Sam Craft, efforts to pay citations through an online website have resulted in residents being scammed. More HERE.

Former Fort Polk soldier sentenced in sex abuse case

LAKE CHARLES -- A former Fort Polk soldier was sentenced Thursday to 210 months in prison and five years of supervised release for sexually abusing a minor under the age of nine, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.
Emil Roland Rath, 39, of Mena, Ark., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor under the age of 12. More HERE.

Pickering High School to hold "Back-to-School Days"

PICKERING -- Pickering High School will hold "Back-to-School Days" on Tuesday, July 29 through Thursday, July 31. Students may pay school fees, receive schedules, obtain locker assignments and pick up text books during this time. More HERE.

Headlines last week:

LDVA invites veterans to share VA experiences at town hall meeting
Local event set July 30 in Leesville

LEESVILLE -- Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) has announced its July schedule of town hall meetings with LDVA Secretary David LaCerte to be held across the state.
The purpose of these meetings is to allow Louisiana veterans to share experiences they have had with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system including VA clinics, hospitals and mental health services.
A town hall is set in Leesville. More HERE.

DeRidder man booked on rape, sexual battery

DERIDDER -- A DeRidder man is accused of aggravated rape and oral sexual battery.
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Jonathan Trahan was arrested July 11. More HERE.

DeRidder man accused of indecent behavior, sexual battery

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- A 56-year-old DeRidder man is accused of indecent behavior and sexual battery.
Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office authorities say Harris Fontenot was arrested July 15 following the investigation into an allegation. More HERE.

BPSO reports recent drug arrests

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office is reporting the following recent drug arrests. Click HERE for more.

"Hiring Our Heroes" military spouse fair set Aug. 27

FORT POLK -- The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Opportunity Fair will be held at Fort Polk on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the youth gym at 1882 16th Street, Building 2070.
This event is open to all military spouses. It is also open to active duty and transitioning service members. More HERE.

BPSO deputies, bloodhound find toddler safe after two-hour search

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- A two-year-old boy, who was discovered missing from a camp site on the Sabine River on Sunday, was found safe the same day following a search by Beauregard authorities.
According to Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Toler, the search included deputies and the department's chase team. More HERE.

Merryville man booked on list of charges after traffic stop

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- A 44-year-old Merryville man is facing a slew of charges following a traffic stop.
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, 44-year-old Dean Davis was arrested July 7, booked on reckless operation, driving under suspension, aggravated flight from an officer and simple criminal damage to property following a stop for a minor traffic violation. More HERE.

"Dining and Dancing with the Stars" set July 26 in DeRidder

DERIDDER -- "Dining and Dancing with the Stars," a Beauregard ARC fundraiser, returns to the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall in DeRidder on Saturday, July 26 starting at 6 p.m. More HERE.

More headlines this week:

VPSB to lease space at Leesville Industrial Park for buses

LEESVILLE -- The Vernon Parish School Board's transportation committee on Tuesday recommended that the full panel sign off on an item to enter into a lease agreement with the City of Leesville for space at the city's industrial park.
The Leesville City Council on Monday voted to authorize the mayor to enter into a lease agreement with board.
The school board's full vote Tuesday was unanimous toward the lease's approval.
The school system wants to utilize "Industrial Park Building C" to house about 60 school system buses.
The park is located on U.S. 171 South, just north of the city. More HERE.

Leesville track bids tabled; Pickering bids rejected for reworking

LEESVILLE -- The Vernon Parish School Board on Tuesday decided to table bids for the track refurbishment project at Leesville High School to further evaluate specifications.
Board members also decided to reject bids for the track refurbishment project at Pickering High School in order to retool specifications to factor in more work.
More HERE.

Groundbreaking planned in coming weeks for new South Polk Elementary School

VERNON PARISH -- The groundbreaking ceremony for the new South Polk Elementary School could come as early as next month.
According to Vernon Parish Schools Superintendent James Williams, a tentative date for the event is set in August.
Last month, Tudor Construction Inc., of Alexandria, was awarded the bid for the project. The company submitted the lowest bid -- totaling around $16.9 million.
More HERE.

Dowd elected as president pro-tempore of Leesville council

LEESVILLE -- District 3 Leesville City Councilman Danny Dowd was elected to serve as president pro-tempore of the Leesville City Council on Monday.
District 2 councilwoman, Willie Mae Kennedy, made the motion to appoint Dowd. More HERE.

Leesville eyes industrial park lease agreement with VPSB

LEESVILLE -- The Leesville City Council on Monday voted to authorize the mayor to enter into a lease agreement with the Vernon Parish School Board for the use of space at the city's industrial park.
According to Leesville Mayor Rick, the School Board is looking to utilize Industrial Park Building C to house about 60 school system buses. More HERE.

Bids for Leesville airport improvements opened, action tabled

LEESVILLE -- Bids were opened and then tabled Monday for some revamps to the Leesville Municipal Airport.
Bid totals for north runway safety area improvements came in above project. Even the lowest bid submitted was above the project's estimated cost, officials said.
The lowest bid totaled $676,374; and the highest bid was $1,041,710. More HERE.

Retail alcohol permit approved for pharmacy

LEESVILLE -- A retail alcohol permit was green-lighted Monday by the Leesville City Council.
CVS Pharmacy sought a Class "B" permit for packaged, off-premise consumption only.
The pharmacy is located at 100 East Fertitta Boulevard.
The council recently adopted an amendment to a city ordinance that governs retail alcohol sales. It provided an exception for drug stores/pharmacies selling alcohol, under certain guidelines. More HERE.

New Leesville council members address goals for terms

LEESVILLE -- Monday marked the first regular meeting for new Leesville City Council members.
But District 1 councilman Chris Robertson and councilman-at-large William "Coach" Thomas said they've already been at work.
Both spoke to the West Central News Center about their goals while in the seats. More HERE.

Most retail purchases exempt from state sales tax Aug. 1-2

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Revenue:

BATON ROUGE – Just in time for back-to-school shopping, most retail purchases in Louisiana are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax on Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2. The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday applies to most individual consumer purchases of tangible personal property. More HERE.

BPSO senior care unit a sunny spot in the lives of many

DERIDDER -- The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office senior care unit is a sunny spot in the lives of many area seniors. The unit, made up of three deputies, regularly visits a list of about 200 seniors. They take their work very seriously. Listen HERE.

Evans man accused of stealing from oil well sites

VERNON PARISH -- An Evans man is accused of stealing from oil well sites in Vernon Parish.
According to the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, 39-year-old James Michael Jeane was initially arrested June 18 in relation to a theft from a site in the Evans area. He was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on one count of theft over $1,500. More HERE.

Vernon Parish on NSU Demon Football's 2014 "Victory Tour"

NATCHITOCHES -- Vernon Parish will be a stop on Northwestern State University's Demon Football 2014 "Victory Tour."
Coach Jay Thomas, team members, cheerleaders, athletic staff and other coaches will preview upcoming games and greet supporters during the tour.
A total of nine stops are slated around the state from July 21-Aug. 7.
The group will stop in Leesville on Thursday, July 31, at Mexico Lindo, 2503 McRae Road, beginning at 6 p.m. More HERE.

Leesville municipal pool opens

LEESVILLE -- The City of Leesville has announced that its municipal pool is now open.
Sessions are $2 each per person.
City staff had been prevented from opening the pool as anticipated on Memorial Day weekend due to unforeseen technical issues, which have now been resolved.
The pool is located in the 500 block of W. Lula Street behind the Vernon Parish Optional  School, which is at 401 Nolan Trace in Leesville. More HERE.

Rosepine High School announces "Back-to-School Days"

ROSEPINE -- Rosepine High School will hold "Back to School Days" on Aug. 5 and 6, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. Students enrolled in the Rosepine schools last year are strongly encouraged to attend. Students will pick up schedules, pay school fees, and get their new ID card. The schedule is as follows, more HERE.

Headlines last week:

Leesville Council signs off on Shapkoff, Dowden appointments

LEESVILLE -- Tony Shapkoff was appointed Wednesday to fill the vacant District 4 Leesville City Council seat until an election is held and the seat is ultimately determined.
According to Leesville Mayor Rick Allen, that election will be Nov. 4. He said qualifying will be Aug. 20-22.
Also on Wednesday, the panel approved the appointment of Chuck Dowden as city attorney/city prosecutor. More HERE.

Williams: Vernon will stay the course despite standards debate, with any changes

LEESVILLE -- Vernon Parish will continue to challenge and prepare its students for the workforce, despite statewide debate -- and with any changes -- regarding standards and testing.
That was the message Thursday from James Williams, Vernon Parish School Superintendent. Williams said the question has been raised about what Vernon Parish's intentions are regarding standards.
Controversial Common Core education standards and related assessments have put education leaders and state lawmakers at odds, but Vernon Parish Superintendent James Williams said Vernon plans to "stay the course" in educating its students.
More HERE.

Leesville woman accused of stealing from elderly patient at care facility

LEESVILLE -- A 21-year-old Leesville woman is accused of stealing money from an elderly woman.
According to the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, Melodie Lowens was booked Thursday following a complaint from a family member of an 81-year-old female who resides in a local residential care facility. More HERE.

Constitutional amendment proposed by Armes on Nov. 4 ballot

Fourteen constitutional amendments will be on the Nov. 4 ballot for voters to decide statewide.
One amendment voters will determine was first proposed by Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, and signed off on by state lawmakers to be put to a vote.
It would require that two members of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission be electors from parishes located north of the parishes of Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, Avoyelles and Pointe Coupee. More HERE.

Board OKs Rapides Foundation grant aimed at enhancing resources, training

LEESVILLE -- The Vernon Parish School Board on Thursday favored a resolution that outlines a $190,000 Rapides Foundation grant aimed at helping to better equip teachers with resources and training.
The Rapides Foundation 2014-2015 Effective Schools Grant isn't a new one, but Anne Smith, the school system's curriculum director, said it's been renamed with some changes amid shifts in the state's standards and guidelines. More HERE.

Qualifying for Nov. 4 election set Aug. 20-22

Qualifying for the Nov. 4 primary election will be Aug. 20-22, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office.
Candidates qualify at parish clerk of court's offices.
Early voting for the Nov. 4 election will be Oct. 21-28.
The general election is slated Dec. 6. Any primary runoffs will be determined on that date. More HERE.

Additional arrest made in investigation into Rosepine man's disappearance

VERNON PARISH -- A New Llano resident has been arrested, booked on accessory after the fact to second-degree murder in the investigation of 31-year-old James Stephens' disappearance.
According to Sheriff Sam Craft, 28-year-old Matthew Andrews, of Vernon Street, was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on $75,000 bond.
More HERE.

Pitkin man booked in elderly woman's shooting death

RAPIDES PARISH -- A Pitkin man has been booked on first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 74-year-old Glenmora woman, his mother, authorities say.
According to the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old Rodney Thompson was booked on first-degree murder in the case. More HERE.

Leesville man booked on indecent behavior, sexual battery

LEESVILLE -- A Leesville man is accused of indecent behavior and sexual battery following an investigation into a complaint.
According to the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, 70-year-old James "Jim" Limbaugh was booked July 1 into the Vernon Parish Jail. More HERE.

Beauregard Crime Stoppers looking for information in vehicle burglaries

DERIDDER -- Beauregard Crime Stoppers is looking for information in a case involving multiple vehicle burglaries on the night of July 5 or morning hours of July 6. More HERE.

VPSO announces recent arrests

VERNON PARISH -- The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office has announced the following recent arrests. Click HERE for more.

Beauregard Memorial Hospital to participate in "Pink Glove Dance" contest

DERIDDER -- Beauregard Memorial Hospital will compete in the "Pink Glove Dance" video contest, which aims to raise awareness about breast cancer.
Videos are created by hospitals and communities all over the country -- and beyond. They include narratives -- and dance. Participants usually wear pink medical gloves. More HERE.

Community invited to garrison commander's fishing tourney

FORT POLK -- The community is invited to attend the Fort Polk Garrison Commander's  Fishing tournament slated for for July 19 at Toledo Bend Recreation Site.
Registration begins at 4:30 a.m. at the recreation site activity building,  and fishing kicks off at 6 a.m.
Entry fee is $75 per boat for up to three anglers -- cash only please. More HERE.

LDWF Commission adds acreage to Peason Ridge WMA

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission last week adopted a resolution that adds acreage to Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Peason Ridge WMA’s new 17,994 acres have been added through a cooperative management agreement with the U.S. Army.
That addition increases Peason Ridge to 51,004 total acres, owned by the U.S. Army. More HERE.

NSU going tobacco-free Aug. 1; policy applies to all campuses, facilities

NATCHITOCHES -- Northwestern State University will become a tobacco-free campus effective Aug. 1. The new policy will prohibit tobacco use on all Northwestern State campuses.
According to Vice President for University Affairs Marcus Jones, the policy will cover all interior spaces on Northwestern State’s Natchitoches campus and branch campuses, properties leased or operated by the university, all campus housing, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, vehicles owned or leased by the university and personal vehicles on the Northwestern State campus whether they are moving or parked. The policy will apply to Northwestern State faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus including contracted personnel, contractors and vendors. The policy applies to all university events and events held in university facilities. More HERE.

News headlines for the week of June 30
News headlines for the week of June 23
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