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Feliciana Explorer • Tuesday, November 5, 2013 • Vol. 3, No. 45 • Published Weekly • Circulation 17,000 • felicianaexplorer.com • © 2013
Congressional Runoff Set for November 16 Veteran Senator Neil Riser facing newcomer Vance McAllister for Fifth District Seat in D.C. By James Ronald Skains
November 16th is the day voters in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District will select a new person to represent them in the U.S Congress. Although Neil Riser of Columbia and Vance McAllister of Monroe are both Republicans, their backgrounds are totally different. McAllister is from a small town in the farming community of Oak Grove in Richland Parish. Riser on the other hand is from Columbia, located in the heart of the Ouachita Valley farming area. Riser has 6 years of legislative experience in Baton Rouge representing the 14 Parish Senate District 32, which includes all of West Feliciana Parish. McAllister has no political experience with only a couple months on the campaign trail.
Both candidates attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) at one point in their careers.
McAllister left ULM to go to work in the pipeline industry. Later he was able to start his own company
working with polyurethane pipe and other Dow chemical specialty products. Riser on the other hand returned to his hometown of Columbia and his family’s business, Riser Funeral Homes and Insurance that his wife Vickie, a former teacher, now manages. “I was pleased with the results of the first primary of the Congressional election,” Senator Riser told the Feliciana EXPLORER. “To get nearly one-third of the votes in a fourteen candidate field is very rewarding.” “I want to be the Congressman from the 5th District of Louisiana,” Riser, who also serves on the Board of Directors of Caldwell Bank and Trust Company, stated. “As a State Senator, I introduced and passed the strongest Gun Rights Law of any state in
See CONGRESS on page 3
East Feliciana Assessor Completes Upgrade of Office By James Ronald Skains
“Our updated website is very user friendly,” East Feliciana Parish Assessor Jeff Gardner told the Feliciana EXPLORER. “You will see on our website (www.efassessor.com) that we can give you almost any information you could possibly want about property in East Feliciana Parish. Very soon we will complete our new mapping program and those maps will also be available online. However, if you need a map before we get them online, you may come by the office and pick up one for a small fee.” The Assessor’s updated website offers a series of focused points; home page, property, about taxes, forms, maps, appeals, FAQs, links, contact us, and news items. The Assessor’s office must comply with the
Louisiana Constitution, laws enacted by the Louisiana Legislature, and rules and regulations of the Louisiana Tax Commission, the assessor’s governmental oversight agency. The Louisiana Tax Commission regularly conducts ratio studies in order to check for fairness and equality in property taxation within the parish tax rolls. The Assessor is also responsible for filing the annual Tax Roll with the Louisiana Tax Commission. In addition, the Assessor must maintain the legal description of each property parcel, as well as maintain the ownership inventory of each parcel. Jeff Gardner has been the official tax assessor for East Feliciana Parish since taking office in January 2013 See GARDNER on page 4
East Feliciana Parish Assessor Jeff Gardner at his office in Clinton
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Feliciana Veterans Day Activities Scheduled Feliciana
Each Year the East and West Feliciana Communities come together to celebrate Veterans Day and honor the heroes that fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In East Feliciana Veterans Day Program will be held at the following: Hillcrest Cemetery in Norwood on Nov.7th at 10:00AM. Presented by the Feliciana Chapter of the UDC
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Dawson Cemetery in Jackson on Nov. 10th at 9:00AM. Presented by Morgan family and the Alexander Stirling Chapter of the DAR Town of Jackson Cemetery on Nov. 10th at 3:00 PM. Presented by the Alexander Stirling Chapter of the DAR Masonic Cemetery on Nov. 10th at 3:00 PM. Presented by the Alexander Stirling Chapter of the DAR Redwood Cemetery on Nov. 10th at 3:00PM. In conjunction with Redwood will be Feliciana Cemetery. Presented by the Alexander Stirling Chapter of the DAR In West Feliciana there will be a celebration on Friday November 8 at 9:00 am in the Auditorium at West Feliciana High School. History of Veterans Day World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November
Publisher & Editor Daniel Duggan
11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words: Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we
hope may never again be severed, and Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Graphic Designer Tina Adams Account Executives Georgiana Walls Ashley Evans Contributing Writer James Ronald Skains Concertmaster Calla Duggan Novice Cub Scout Chandler Duggan Queen of Swings Cecelia Duggan Still Tryin’ to Potty Train Colton Duggan After Hours Logistician Kylie Phillips
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Its Sweet Potato Time!
West Feliciana 4-H clubs are now taking orders for 40 pound boxes of kiln-dried, baking-size sweet potatoes. Orders may be placed with any West Feliciana 4-H member. 4-H’ers win prizes and incentives for participation in the sweet potato sale. This is the 13th year the West Feliciana 4-H program has sold sweet potatoes, and it has been a successful fundraiser that is popular with the community. The sale not only benefits the 4-H program but it provides buyers with a Louisiana agricultural product that is delicious, nutritious and perfect for the season. Proceeds are used to purchase incen-
tives and educational materials, for transportation expenses, to fund a local 4-H scholarship and to provide other support for 4-H programs and activities. Orders will be taken through October 31 or until the order limit is reached. All orders must be prepaid by check or money order. Sweet potatoes will be available for pickup the 2nd or 3rd week of November; exact dates will be provided to buyers as delivery plans are finalized. Individuals who do not have contact with a 4-H member may call the 4-H office at 635-3614 to receive an order form or for more information.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
continued from page 1
the nation. Also, I know what it is to work together in order to pass a balanced budget each year. In addition, I worked on getting worker’s compensation laws reformed passed in the state legislature.” “I’m very familiar with our District and its people, having lived in Columbia all my life,” Riser elaborated. “The 5th Congressional District is the largest row crop farming district in the nation. Agriculture issues and the Farm Bill are extremely important to our district as is the Food Stamp issue.” “The EPA has a strangle hold on so many industries that it is affecting jobs in oil and gas, agriculture and forestry,” Riser, the father of 2 daughters, Emilie and Allison, continued. “The EPA must be held accountable for its actions.” Riser received a large percentage of votes in each parish in the district including the Florida parishes in southeast Louisiana. In addition to a pipeline construction company, Vance McAllister owns 3 Subway franchises, a pizza restaurant, an equipment rental business, and a Sports Events Promotional Company.
LET’S FINISH STRONG. Thanks to all of you who voted for me on October 19. Because of your support for our plan to bring growth to West Feliciana, we garnered 49% of the vote. Now we need to finish strong and win the runoff election. Our plan focuses on keeping the qualities that make West Feliciana special, while building an economy with more jobs, more stores and more businesses. That way, we can maintain our great schools and encourage our children to come home and raise their families. During Early Voting or on Election Day, please vote for me, Kevin Couhig, for Parish President. Thanks again for your support, your encouragement and your commitment to a better West Feliciana. Forget politics. Let’s get down to business.
NOVEMBER 2 - NOVEMBER 9
K EV I N CO UHIG FOR PARISH PRESIDENT KevinCouhig.org PAID FOR BY THE KEVIN COUHIG CAMPAIGN
“My decision to run for Congress was a prayerful one,’’ McAllister acknowledged to the EXPLORER. “Many people make light of my spiritual faith, but that is okay with me. I know the blessings that I have received from the good Lord and the inner peace that comes from being a believer.” “The actual moment that I decided to run for Congress happened the morning of qualifying, while I was helping get my kids ready to go to school,’’ McAllister stated. “I looked at them and thought about all the other kids that were getting ready to go to school.” “They needed someone to stand up for them and protect their future here in the United States was what I thought about. It was at that moment I definitely decided to run for Congress. I knew that I could stand up for the kids and help protect their future. I knew there were a number of people in the district qualified to be congressman, but also I realized that I had the time and financial capability to run for Congress that maybe they didn’t.” McAllister and his wife Kelly have 5 children. The oldest is 18-year-old Anna who is a student at ULM. The McAllister’s adopted her when she was 15. The other 4 are Emilie Katherine (11), Duncan Michael (8), Vance “Deuce” McAllister (4), and Eva Grace (3). “I realize that the situation in Congress is truly a mess,’’ McAllister pointed out; “but I also realize that I can make a difference in tough situations. I know that before the politics can be fixed in Washington, we must have a spiritual fix in Washington.” “I am prepared to stand up in Congress for the kids and the people of the 5th Congressional District in order to actually make a difference,” McAllister continued. “I don’t like political deals and shenanigans in any shape form or fashion.” “However, this race is now about Vance McAllister, not about Neil Riser or anyone else,” McAllister explained. “It’s about what Vance McAllister can and will do for the people in the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana as their Congressman.” “I know the forest industry from a personal standpoint. My Dad spent 42 years with International Paper in Bastrop. I was raised with money made from a paycheck in the forest industry. I grew up on a small farm and in a major farming community, so I know the importance of having a feasible Farm Bill. I think that we should have a 4-5 year Farm Bill, not an annual Farm Bill so that farmer’s would know what the future holds for them in government policy for 4 or 5 years.” After graduating from Forest High School near his home, McAllister joined the Army. He became a combat medic serving a tour of duty in Korea. Later he was stationed at Fort Knox. “One major change that I will make in the District as the Congressman is to have a full service Congressional Office in the Florida parishes,” McAllister concluded. “It’s not helpful for those people in that area for their Congressman not to have a full time presence with an office in their area.”
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
tax increase, although we have had renewals of specific taxes within the continued from page 1 47.2 mills.” after being elected in a two-man race The Parish does have a fire protection assessment tax, but it is not with 72% of the vote. “That was a humbling moment,’’ linked to a millage, just a flat fee. Gardner, who has two young sons People living in a mobile home pay acknowledged. “Although I had $36 a year for fire protection while a worked in the Assessor’s office for 14 conventional homeowner pays a flat years under Mr. Jackson, it was still fee of $48 annually. “One mill equals .001 of one dolan emotional moment when you realize that a majority of the voters in the lar,’’ Gardner noted. “Property is asParish have put their faith and trust in sessed at 10% of fair market value. you to uphold the integrity of the of- So if someone has a $100,000 piece fice.” of commercial property, it would be “The whole parish government assessed at $10,000. At our current revolves around the Assessor’s work ad valorem tax rate of 47.52 mills, because that is where the tax money the owner of the property would pay originates. We have to be extremely $475.20 in taxes.” fair and balanced with our assessment “For a homeowner, their tax bill is of the value of the individual property further reduced due to the homestead in the parish. We usually use the mar- exemption benefit. Non-profit orgaket value in making our assessments.” nizations such as churches and other “Sometimes we will use the cost organizations, as well as public faciliapproach to reinforce our market as- ties like schools, are exempt from the sessment,” Gardner, a native of Clin- ad valorem tax. Taxes on pipelines ton explained. “In rare occasions we and other utilities are established by can use the income approach to estab- the Louisiana Tax Commission, so lish a value, but we don’t like to use we do not have to deal with assessing that approach as all we are interested those businesses.” in is the true market value of the prop“No two days are exactly alike in erty.” the Assessor’s office,” Gardner, who Gardner’s office has pictures of has 7 full time employees plus one 95% of the structures in the Parish. part-time employee, acknowledged. These pictures are coupled with the “During certain times of the year, like breakdown printout of the assessed the period we are currently in, we value, the tax rate and the amount are preparing the tax rolls to be sent owed annually in taxes. to the Sheriff’s office so that he can “Our ad valorem tax rate of 47.2 send out tax notices in November in mills is the lowest in the state,” Gard- order for taxes to be paid by the first ner pointed out. “It was a little high- of the year.” er a few years ago, but we finished “We are always trying to stay on paying off a bond which caused the top of the new houses and structures amount in millage to drop. Since I’ve being built in the parish. That involves been associated with the Assessor’s a personal visit to the property to get office, we have not had an ad valorem pictures and gather information. Also,
we have to update this information on a regular basis. Most of the employees in the office, including myself, at one time or another make a visit to home and business owners to take pictures and gather information.” If a homeowner or business owner disputes the assessment placed on their property by the assessor, they have recourse to resolve the issue. The first step in getting redress is to visit with the assessor and present the reasons for the dispute to him. The second recourse step is to bring the dispute before the Police Jury. If a home or business owner still believes the assessment is in error, they can appeal to the LA State Tax Commission. The final appeal is with a duly elected District Judge. Gardner is much more than just the Assessor in East Feliciana Parish. Gardner is involved with the Boy
Scouts, the 4-H where both his sons show livestock, and the Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps his most prized involvement in the community is through his Assess & Serve Organization that conducts fundraisers and toy drives for kids at the Baton Rouge office of St. Jude. Also, Gardner works with the local organizations to provide food to those in need. Writer’s note: Even though East Feliciana Parish is a small parish with a low ad valorem taxes, that in no way diminishes the importance of the office. Although Gardner at age 48 is in his first full year in office, he is well trained for the job after serving as Deputy Assessor. There is no doubt that he is enthusiastic and sincere about his job, the parish, and preparing his office for the future.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
State Recognizes Outstanding Growth at JES Jackson Elementary School is on a mission to move from good to better to best. The Louisiana Department of Education recognized the first step of those efforts on Thursday, October 24 with the annual release of School Report Cards. In their release, the LDOE recognized JES as one of only three Top Gains Schools in the Felicianas. Approximately one quarter of schools statewide earned this recognition for showing outstanding growth in student achievement. Additionally, JES was one of two East Feliciana schools that received a TAP Value-Added Score of a 4, the highest score possible and one reserved for schools whose students show significantly more than one year of growth in a single academic year. This year, the LDOE also assigned bonus points to schools whose below-proficient students make significant academic progress. Jackson Elementary earned 10 out of a possible 10 bonus points in this category, one of only four schools in the Felicianas to do so. Overall, Jackson Elementary’s school letter grade, which largely measures absolute performance on
state tests, improved from an F to D. The JES School Performance Score was a 69.6, only four tenths of a point away from a C. “We’re proud of the hard work of our students, families, and staff that made this growth happen,” said JES principal Megan Phillips, “But we’re not satisfied. We look forward to continuing on the path from good to better to best, and we invite the entire community to join us in this effort.” Jackson Elementary’s growth is part of a renaissance in public education in East Feliciana Parish. All three top gains schools and all four schools that received a perfect 10/10 bonus points in the Felicianas are East Feliciana Parish Public Schools. Overall, the East Feliciana Parish School Board District Performance Grade improved from a D to a C. To learn more about Jackson Elementary’s commitment to developing responsible, respectful, and kind scholars, visit facebook.com/jacksonelementary. To participate in the East Feliciana community’s effort to build Louisiana’s premier rural school district, visit efpsb.k12.la.us.
Photo: 4th grade Cub scholars engage in peer teaching to develop their conceptual understanding of and procedural fluency with multi-digit multiplication as required by the new Common Core State Standards.
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Georgia Pacific Bucket Brigade Aids Area Fire Departments
The Baker Fire Department and Slaughter Volunteer Fire Department will receive urgently needed Turn Out Gear including helmets and gloves under the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade™ grant program. The Georgia-Pacific Port Hudson Operations will present the fire units with their checks for $5,000 each to purchase the equipment on October 28. “It is with great pleasure that we accept this grant from Georgia Pacific for our department. Georgia Pacific has been and always will be an asset to our community extending their helping hand not only to our organization but many more throughout Louisiana. We will use this money wisely and will always be forever grateful,” commented Danny L. Edwards, Baker Fire Chief. “It is critical that our firefighters have the equipment needed to provide the best service possible to our community. We are very thankful for this grant, which helps us keep our firefighters safe and allows us to place more firefighters in service, thereby increasing the protection to our community,” remarked Jimbo Noland, Slaughter Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief. A record 55 fire departments will receive Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants this year totaling $270,000, the largest amount since the program began in 2006. The program has now surpassed the $1.25 million mark in cash grants to fire departments that serve Georgia-Pacific’s facility communities across the country. “We’re proud to have the oppor-
tunity to meet the significant needs by our local community fire department,” said Keith Wahoske of Georgia-Pacific’s Port Hudson Operations. “The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants allow first-responders to better ensure the safety and security of the people in our communities, including our employees.” The grants, generally ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, are based on need and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities. This year’s program applicants requested funds to replace items such as worn out protective clothing, cracked helmets, aging hoses and nozzles, and hand-held radios – essential equipment that will help keep firefighters safer and make their jobs easier. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) says about 70 percent of the more than one million U.S. firefighters are volunteers. Georgia-Pacific has partnered with the NVFC since 2008 to increase awareness about the grant program. Georgia-Pacific also gives all grant applicants free NVFC memberships, which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first-responders across the nation. “The NVFC is pleased to partner with Georgia-Pacific, which has donated nearly $1.5 million in grants, fire safety educational materials and memberships to local volunteer firstresponder communities,” said Heather Schafer, NVFC’s executive director. “This support goes a long way in helping departments protect the communities they serve.”
From left to right: Baker Fire Department Public Information Officer Howard Ward, Baker Assistant Fire Chief John “Bubbi” Champayne, Baker Assistant Fire Public Education Cathy Page, Baker Fire Chief.Danny Edwards. Georgia-Pacific Vice President of Operations Keith Wahoske, Slaughter Fire Chief Jimbo Noland, Slaughter Assistant to the Fire Chief Krysten Darsey, Slaughter Battalion Chief Camron Thompson, Slaughter Firefighter Todd Haddox, Slaughter Captain Thomas Simon, Slaughter Firefighter Scott Thompson.
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Events in the Felicianas UNITED IN FAITH COLOR FUN RUN will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013 in the Town of Clinton. We are asking for all churches in the Clinton Community to participate in a two-mile FUN COLOR RUN/WALK to support our veterans the Saturday before Veterans Day.. Registration ends October 9, 2013. If you have any questions, please email Heidi Ligon at hligon@ bellsouth.net.
RAFFLE YETI 50 QUART COOLER Donated by Zachary Lumber ($450 value)To assist with extensive Medical Expenses for Pamela Jones Sciacchitano $5.00 each!!! Drawing to be held December 1, 2013 You do not have to be present to WIN! Pick your tickets up in Zachary at Zachary Lumber & Hardware, Shear Image, Nouveau Coiffure, or Sports4Life, and in Jackson at Thompson Creek Sporting Goods or contact Stacy at 225-278-3817 for tickets or make a donation. First Annual Zachary Gleaux Run to be held at Americana Development on November 30, 2013 Zachary is preparing for it’s first ever Gleaux Run, happening Saturday, Nov. 30 at 6 pm, along the streets of the new Americana development! Athletes, individuals, kids of all ages, businesses and companies are invited to get gleauxing, form a team and participate in the 5K Fun Run/ Walk. Sign-up is now available at
www.imathlete/events/zacharygleauxrun. Teams must have a minimum of six people to participate but can have an unlimited amount to join, and be sure to getcreative as prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and fastest female racer, as well as the individual and team with the most festive glow items and best neon clothes. Participants are asked to get creative, but keep it clean! All finishers will receive a one of a kind glow in the dark medal. The first 100 registrants will receive a long sleeve race t-shirt. There will be Gleaux Stations for photographs under a black light and an after party featuring food, drinks, giveaways and a DJ. Zachary’s first annual Gleaux Run benefits the Zachary Chamber of Commerce, with a portion of the proceeds going to create and maintain walking paths and biking trails throughout the city of Zachary. The 3.1 mile course is open to runners, walkers, joggers, strollers, wagons and bikes--just make sure everything has lights or glow materials. Zachary’s first ever Gleaux Run is a family-friendly event and open to all. The starting line will have corrals for each group so that runners can line up easily in the front. Spectators are encouraged to get in the spirit and glow too! All spectators are welcome to the after party and along the run/walk route. The race begins at 6 p.m. Onsite day of the race registration starts at 4:30 pm. For Gleaux Run updates be sure to visit Facebook and “Like” www.facebook.com/ZacharyGleauxRun.
There’s something to do every day in the Felicianas. From choir performances and rodeos to Main Street markets and special library programming for children, the Felicianas ares rich in cultural and social activities. If you have an event you would like the public to know about, email event details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space allowing, your event will be included for free in the Event Calendar section.