JUST TALKIN’ May 3, 2018

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JT sees where the election talk for October 2019 is beginning to bubble up. We know the Secretary of State will be one change in state government because Tom Schedler, who is mired in an inappropriate work place relationship, has resigned. After getting more and more pressure to resign from state officials and the release of emails and letters to the alleged victim, Schedler resigned Tuesday…but effective May 8…one week later. The number two person in the office, Kyle Ardoin will take over until a special election can be called for probably Nov. 6. He said he will not be running for the Secretary of State job and that he knew nothing of the allegations against his boss until they made news. However, the victim is claiming he did. So the saga, continues JT hears that six of the eight elected members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have say they plan on seeking re-election. That includes Natchitoches representative on the board, Tony Davis. The Board has nine people, three of which are appointed by the Governor. Davis is part of seven business backed candidates who challenged the establishment, and won, in the uproar over Common Core, the new standard for reading, writing and math. Doing the math means if those are re-elected, Superintendent of Education John White has a lifeline on keeping his job and the rift between Governor John Bel Edwards and the board is pretty sure to continue.

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It may not be a record…but JT sees that eight different events are being held this weekend. The El Camino Real Sale on the Trail starts Friday and ends on Sunday, the Famers Market begins its summer run downtown Saturday as does the City’s Portable Parks. Then there’s the Cane River Plantation Ride for cyclists Saturday morning, the NSU Senior Dance Concert is Saturday evening, St. Mary’s Spring Fling is Saturday as is the Women’s Resource Center’s Run Baby Run event. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame also opens their new exhibit featuring Louisiana’s emphasis on Special Olympics called “Brave in the Attempt. The opening reception is Saturday at 6 p.m. Wow….no need to sit at home this weekend.

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JT has noticed these telemarketers are really hitting the phones lately…and they’re tricky too. Usually if JT doesn’t recognize a number or the area it’s coming from, he just won’t answer. However, he’s noticed lately the calls are coming from towns he recognizes…like Ruston, Minden, Homer, etc. He’s fallen for their trick a couple of times and answered only to hear about some new offer for a home security system or maybe a satellite dish. He quickly hangs up. Now JT just doesn’t answer unless a name of someone he knows pops up. That way, if it’s really someone looking for JT they leave a message and he’ll call them back. Hate to say it, but it looks like JT’s age is showing. He’s reminded of the elderly fellow who got a chewing from his daughter who had been calling and calling his cell phone but he never answered. When she finally got a hold of him, she let him have it. Once she had finished her tirade, he let her know that the cell phone he recently purchased was for “his” convenience and not hers or anyone else’s.

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Scams are alive and well, particularly with grandparents. Last fall, you may remember JT wrote a column about how he answered the telephone and an authoritative voice said your grandson is in jail and you need to send money. JT panicked, called his office and told them to cash a check for $600 to wire the money to kep his grandson from being put in jail for something; whatever it was JT forgets, but it scared him enough to start collecting the money. When he said get the money, his secretary laughed out loud and said, “JT it’s a scam. It’s all over television that this scam is going around.” Sure enough, the grandson was located, all was fine and everyone had a good laugh. Well, last weekend JT’s brother-in-law called all excited. He said he had just been told his grandson was in Mexico City in jail and the authorities needed $900 to get him out. He got the money and went down to Western Union and initiated the wire. Shortly afterwards he called Mrs. JT, told her the situation and that he had wired the money. She told him it was a scam. Of course he doubted her, but once the grandson was located and called his grandfather, the grandfather realized it was a scam and went to see if he could get his money back. To Western Union’s credit, they must have been attuned to the scam. When grandpa went back to see if he could get his money back, the Western Union representative said, “Here it is. We wondered how long it would take you!”

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JT sees the school bond passed Saturday. It will allow a lot of deferred maintenance to be corrected and the erection of some new things. The thing that surprised JT was that it passed. It passed with the Voters and Civic League against it. John Winston and Robert Jackson, League leaders, sent out letters against the renewal of the bond issue to all the registered black voters saying vote “no”, and it passed anyway. To JT this would have not happened 20 years ago. Whatever Ben Johnson, the late Civil Rights and community leader, and the League endorsed, carried the votes of the whole black community. The election Saturday shows that the Voters and Civic League no longer controls a block vote. New, young, minority leaders are emerging. This brings up next year’s mayoral race. Without a block vote, Mayor Posey should go back in without too much opposition, if he chooses to run again. Especially if he keeps fixing streets and making other civic improvements. JT really doesn’t know how much a new soccer field will help though.