More than 35,000 of Louisiana's rank-and-file classified employees received their favorable evaluations, but did not receive pay increases. Officials at most state government agencies say they don't have the money and would have to lay off employees to grant the 4 percent salary increases. The pay increases were scheduled to take place October 1, but a majority of the executive branch agencies, along with most colleges and universities, sought and received state Civil Service permission to withhold the extra money. A Civil Service report says 96 percent of the 37,736 classified civil servants evaluated were rated "exceptional" or "successful" - the job performance ratings needed to be eligible for the annual pay raises.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared nine parishes as disaster areas due to recent drought. Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Thursday that Natchitoches Parish is the primary disaster area. Bienville, DeSoto, Grant, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, Vernon and Winn were named because they're adjacent to Natchitoches Parish. September 16 declarations named Bienville Parish among 10 primary drought disaster areas, and Red River and Winn parishes among 11 adjacent disaster areas. DeSoto, Grant, Rapides, Sabine and Vernon parishes were not on the earlier lists. Eligible farmers and ranchers in both primary and contiguous parishes can get low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. They have eight months from the September 30 declaration date to apply.
Two Natchitoches Parish men were arrested for their alleged roles with the laundering of counterfeit money at several businesses in Clarence. On Saturday, September 19, Natchitoches Parish deputies received a report about the counterfeit money at a business on US 71 in Clarence. Detectives said that they reviewed surveillance video that positively identified Javonte Demery, who had reportedly passed a counterfeit $100.00 bill. On Thursday, September 24, Demery was questioned and arrested, charged with one count of theft and one count of monetary instrument abuse. Detectives also arrested 32-year-old Steven Crumble in the case. Authorities say Crumble reportedly passed two counterfeit $100.00 bills in Clarence. Crumble was arrested and charged with one count of theft and two counts of monetary instrument abuse.
A Colfax man is behind bars after being indicted by a Rapides Parish grand jury last week on kidnapping and rape charges, according to a news release. 52 year-old Justin Grant Walters will later be transferred to the Rapides Parish Detention Center, where he will be held until a bond hearing. He was arrested Monday at his home by members of a U.S. Marshals Violent Offender Task Force after his indictment on Thursday. He currently is in the Grant Parish Detention Center. The indictments have been sealed until Tuesday morning. Walters faces charges of second-degree kidnapping and aggravated rape. He had been arrested twice in April after a woman said he had held her at her home, refused to let her leave and raped her. However, at the time, Walters had not faced the kidnapping charge.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is accepting photos for its Louisiana Fishing Regulations Cover Photo Contest. The winning photo will be featured on the cover of the 2016 publication. A judging panel of LDWF Fisheries staff will look for photos that best portray recreational fishing in Louisiana. A winner will be announced in early November. Photos must be unedited digital images taken in Louisiana. Each submission (one photo per email) should be in portrait format, high resolution, and free of date stamps or other markings. With all submissions, please include the photographer's name, names of people in the photo, where the photo was taken, approximate date and contact information. Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Friday, October 16.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Saturday, August 29, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Donald Parker, of Winnfield. Parker was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear. On Monday, August 31, deputies arrested LaShunda Hardwell, of Winnfield, for probation and parole violation. On Thursday, September 3, Rachel McDonald, of Winnfield, was arrested for probation violation, Joshua Womack, of Tullos, was arrested for criminal trespassing, and James Womack, of Winnfield, was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender, aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, felony theft of oil and gas equipment, and misdemeanor theft of oil and gas equipment. On Friday, September 4, deputies arrested Laura Johnson, of Winnfield, for felony theft.
LifeShare Blood Center will hold a blood drive at Hardtner Medical Center Friday, October 9, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. There will also be a blood drive at Wal-Mart in Natchitoches Saturday, October 17, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Everyone is asked to make a donation.The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, October 13, at 9:00 a.m., at the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Office, at 602 North Fifth Street in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend this meeting, and assistance will be provided to those who need special accommodations in order to attend this meeting. For more information, persons may call 225.342.1500