Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Brooks Landing to remain open for now
|Brooks Landing to remain open for now|
The Franklin Parish Police Jury decided to wait for a legal opinion before deciding whether to close a portion of Brook's Landing Road.
Citizens attending a public meeting held during the regular jury meeting July 10, spoke both pro and con on the matter.
Matthew Bass uses the road to ride recreational vehicles and said it should remain open.
"I oppose the road being closed. I ride my four-wheeler over there and I ride my Rhino over there," Bass said.
Bass said others use the road to reach a boat landing into Turkey Creek and some fish from the bank at the ramp.
Gene King, who leases property that borders the road, said he's "lost a cow and a couple of calves" which were shot, and there is evidence of target practice taking place.
"There's a lot of unnecessary traffic to me," King said.
Other complaints were cut fences, parties, illegal dumping and littering.
Juror Ricky Campbell questioned that if without input from the property owners along the road, could the jury legally close the road, and said, "(If) we don't know who the property owner is, we can't take action on it."
Juror Ray Young said if a there's a legitimate public need for the road, it couldn't be closed.
The jurors voted to get an opinion from jury attorney David Dougherty and hold another public meeting as soon as possible to review that information.
On the wild side
Nature was discussed at the meeting on two fronts – the destruction of cypress trees on Turkey Creek and the proliferation of alligators in the parish.
Gene King, representing the Turkey Creek Lake Commission, said someone is steadily and systematically cutting holes in hollow cypress trees in search of catfish.
"Someone is cutting holes in the middle of cypress trees – probably to hook catfish. In order to stop it, we need a law stating no one can damage these trees," said King, who was joined at the meeting by Steve Brown and Mickey Ferrington, the other members of the commission.
"Why would someone cut a hole in a 200-year-old tree?" King asked. "It's kind of unethical."
Illegal, also, according to juror Jackie Johnson, who said damaging the trees violates wetlands protection regulations.
King said 20 to 25 trees have been cut at the lower end of Willis Lake and around Turkey Creek Lake.
The jury passed a motion to research the legality of damaging the cypress trees and to take action to protect them.
Juror president Harvey Ray Guimbellot said he was contacted about the growing number of alligators in the parish and went to see for himself.
"I saw four alligators in Big Creek," Guimbellot said.
Other alligators have been seen off of L.D. Knox Road.
"We need to warn people to watch their children and be careful," Guimbellot said.
The jury decided to contact the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to find out how to get rid of the alligators – whether hunting permits can be issued or the LDWF can remove them.
In a 4-2 vote, the jury denied a request from Jackie Johnson to pay the expenses for him to attend a meeting of the Black Caucus of the Louisiana Police Jury Association.
Ray Young said because the group did not represent the entire constituency of the police jury, the trip should not be funded.
"I think that is a special group and I don't think we should finance it," Young said.
Johnson disagreed and said a representative of the police jury had been going to the meeting for 20 years.
Juror Ricky Campbell said last year a former jury treasurer contacted the Black Caucus group and was told the meeting was only for black police jurors. After receiving that information, Campbell said the jury rescinded sending someone to the meeting. Johnson said he did not remember that happening.
Juror Leroy Scott said the name of the group was misleading, and it does represent the police jury.
Jury treasurer Larry Clark reviewed how the $1 million FEMA grant will be used in the parish, and said the jury was applying for an additional $4 million for other projects.
Some $74 million in FEMA funding is available for grants throughout the state.
"The one million is going for 10 projects and we're trying to get a portion (of the $74 million) for Looney Canal," Clark said. "Drainage is the big issue and that is what we are competing for."
Clark cautioned that the $74 million would probably go to south Louisiana parishes.
"These are competitive projects based on need. We are 250 miles from the coast. We may not get any of the $74 million,"
Scott asked why abandoned school buildings could not be restored for use as shelters.
"It is almost impossible to take a vacant building to make a shelter through FEMA. They would rather reinforce, it's more feasible to fix existing buildings," Clark said. "When the word 'shelter' is attached to it, it means human life. They (FEMA) won't look at it."
Johnson pointed out there is no shelter in Wisner. Clark said they were trying to get the grant deadlines extended and there was a possibility Wisner could apply for a grant.
In other jury action:
• Passed a motion to apply for a $70,000 LGAP grant for new equipment for the Abe Lincoln Subdivision pumping station.
• Welcomed Hillary Scott who was filming the jury meeting for www.318tv.com.
• Parish Supt. Greg Humphries will speak to the mowing crew for Esther Credit Park about picking up litter instead of mowing around it.
• Gave permission for the Family Community Learning Center to install a sewer system.
• Agreed to hire four Bush Hog operators.
• Agreed to write a letter of recommendation for the work-release trustee working for the jury.
• Heard report from various committees.