News

Wed
10
Feb

New library building cleared for occupancy

New library building cleared for occupancy

After almost two years and delays caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic, construction on the new Jena Branch of the LaSalle Parish Library has been completed and the Office of State Fire Marshal has approved the building for occupancy.

Construction started on the building in May 2019, with an expected completion date of last May. However, with a few months left on construction time, the pandemic hit shutting down work for several weeks. When work was finally allowed to resume, labor was hard to find because workers were drawing more on unemployment than they would if they worked.

By late summer, work got underway at a fast pace, but continuous rain through the fall and into the winter prevented a lot of the parking and ground work.

Wed
03
Feb

Officials from the town of Jena and LaSalle Parish Police Jury

Officials from the town of Jena and LaSalle Parish Police Jury

Officials from the town of Jena and LaSalle Parish Police Jury met last week to discuss the upcoming street project in the town. The town has budgeted $500,000 this year for street improvements and is seeking help from the Jury. Officials are currently working on proposed streets to be improved and the Jury will assist the town in repairing many other streets. Those attending the meeting were, from left, Assistant Jena Superintendent Ricky Haggart, Jury President June Fowler, Jena Clerk Cory Floyd, Jena Superintendent David Miller, Jena Mayor LaDawn Edwards, Jury Superintendent Ricky Jones, and Jena council members Lester Francis and Tommy Sandifer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wed
03
Feb

Executive orders not expected to affect GEO/Jena

The LaSalle ICE Processing Center, owned by The GEO Group, Inc. and located in Jena, does not appear to be affected by President Joe Biden’s executive orders last week pertaining to private prisons.

According to reliable sources, Biden’s order applies to the US Department of Justice regarding inmates that are housed in private prisons and not the Department of Homeland Security, or US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), which is the agency the LaSalle facility is in contract with.

This means the more than 250 jobs that are directly related the LaSalle center should not be in jeopardy and that business should continue as usual at the Jena site.

The LaSalle ICE Processing Center provides valuable jobs for this area and it also is the second largest taxpayer in the parish, each year paying over $1-million in taxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed
03
Feb

Update on door-to-door garbage pickup

LaSalle Parish Police Jury President June Fowler gave an update on the status of the door-to-door garbage pickup parish wide during an interview with The Jena Times last Thursday.

The Jury had hoped to get the service started by early spring, but it looks like now the service may not be implemented until either May or June. Because of Covid-19 problems, Waste Connections is having trouble getting proper equipment delivered.

“We have been working with Waste Connections to negotiate a contract for the 6,000 locations we will be serving, but because of the delay in purchasing equipment, negotiations have been put on hold at the present time,” Fowler said.

The Police Jury has been seeking door-to-door garbage pickup service since early-2020, but due to lack of funding, the service was put on hold while the Jury called a half-cent sales tax to secure necessary funding to implement the service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed
03
Feb

New rules on oil and gas industry would hurt area

In response to the Biden administration suspending new oil and gas leases on federal land for 60 days, oil and gas companies in the South and Southwest warned that doing so would impact hundreds of thousands of jobs and destroy the economy of some states.

Many of these jobs are held by employees from LaSalle Parish and surrounding area and losing these jobs would be disastrous for the area.

Under the new Biden Administration, the Acting Interior Secretary signed a 60-day Temporary Suspension of Delegated Authority, which among other directives suspends the issuance of federal onshore and offshore oil and natural gas leasing permits.

“Should this action become permanent, it would be devastating to jobs, communities and economies nationwide and would set back tremendous environmental progress,” the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed
03
Feb

State could face budget shortfall for year 2021

Louisiana lawmakers could be facing a $960 million shortfall when they begin their next legislative session in April, according to estimates made public Friday.

The potential deficit reflects the loss of $900 million in onetime federal aid used to plug holes in the current budget, rising expenses and the lingering economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, officials are projecting $293 million in excess revenue for the current budget year that ends June 30, which legislators can use to make supplemental appropriations when they are back in session. The state also has a $270 million surplus left over from last year, though the state constitution limits the use of those dollars to onetime expenses such as construction projects, paying down debt and shoring up the “rainy day” fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed
03
Feb

LaSalle Parish Students of the Year

LaSalle Parish Students of the Year

LaSalle Parish Students of the Year were recognized Monday night at the February meeting of the LaSalle Parish School Board. The 2020-21 honor students are shown: seated, Leah Steen, elementary; left, Alex Hodges, middle/junior high; and Hannah Parker, high school level. These students will now compete for the regional titles in their respective divisions, and winners at the regional competition goes on to state completion. Find complete details about each honoree and the essay they included in their applications, in a story inside this issue of your weekly newspaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wed
27
Jan

LaSalle leaders reflect on year 2020

LaSalle leaders reflect on year 2020

The terms “unprecedented,” “unusual,” and “trying times” have all been overused in describing the year 2020 but they are all exactly right.

A year that saw COVID-19 literally shutdown all aspects of life, then riots during the months leading up to one of the most divisive Presidential elections in recent history, all added up to a year that most people would just as well forget.

The Jena Times Olla-Tullos-Urania Signal asked many parish leaders to share their views on this previous year and offer insight to our future. The following article is the responses from several that responded to our request.

 

To read more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition http://www.etypeservices.com/Jena%20TimesID339/

Wed
27
Jan

Police Jury re-elect officers at meeting

Police Jury re-elect officers at meeting

President Robert “June” Fowler, District 5, and Vice President Jerrod Douglas, District 1, were re-elected by fellow jurors to serve during calendar year 2021.

As incoming new members of the Jury a year ago, these men were chosen to lead the Jury and now have been elected to a second term.

The first act of business at the first meeting each January is selecting officers to serve during the ensuing year. Another task for that first meeting of the year is to set the regular monthly meeting time, which jurors kept for the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m.

The January meeting opened with a public hearing to receive comments concerning the Jury’s intent to take Rainbow Road out of the Parish Road System in District 9. With no comments being received, the jury approved the measure during the regular meeting.

 

Wed
27
Jan

Foundation awards school grants

Foundation awards school grants

The Cliff Williams Memorial Foundation has provided educators in LaSalle Parish with more than $1,365,865.46 in grants since it was formed in 1990. For the current school year, a total of $75,269.79 in grants was approved by the Foundation for various teachers in the LaSalle Parish School System.

The Foundation was formed when Justiss Oil Company honored the memory of Cliff Williams with an endowment gift to be used for the educational needs of children in LaSalle Parish.

Cliff, the son of Pat and the late Charles Williams of Jena, was married to Jennifer Justiss Williams Loe, and is the father of Amy Williams Kunkel and Adam Williams.

Cliff was a petroleum engineer and Justiss Oil Company’s Vice-President of Drilling and Production Operations for seven years prior to his untimely death about 30 years ago.

 

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