Just Talkin’ for June 17, 2021

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Hannah Barker was back in District Court June 10. In addition to her first-degree murder charge in the death of her 6-month-old baby, Levi Ellerbe, a second charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of a child under age 12 has been added. Bail for this charge was set at $50,000 plus all previous bond obligations for the first-degree murder charge.

A grand jury handed down a true bill indictment May 5. JT saw where Barker is being represented by private counsel, Dhu Thompson, but has been declared indigent for costs other than attorney fees.

JT isn’t happy he and other taxpayers are footing the bill for expert witnesses and the like, but, he’s confident in the way the legal system works and that justice will be served.

Hannah Barker

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JT sees in the meeting minutes, a public notice, that the 911 Commission has hired a new director to replace the retiring Willis Carter who exits his position June 30. Kim Tolliver of Shreveport will step to the helm July 1. There are a lot of new faces on the commission including Sheriff Stuart Wright, Police Chief Harman Winters, Parish President John Richmond and City Mayor’s appointee Calvin Braxton.

JT thinks they have some really big shoes to fill. The Natchitoches Times has followed the progress of the 911 Commission since its inception and has seen great things happen. The commission got things done with very little controversy or contention. JT hopes the new commission and director can accomplish half of what their predecessors did with the same morals and accountability.

With a new director coming in with a whopping base salary of $110,000 plus benefits, which makes the total package in excess of $150,000 annually, big things are certainly expected from her. This commission will be under the proverbial microscope to see how they conduct themselves and if the communications district continues down the same path of integrity and progress or falls victim to politics and money.

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JT was a little concerned when he read that the new penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana was less than a speeding ticket. Since JT has had a ticket…or two…he could quickly calculate about what the fine would be. However, reading the legislation…JT saw it was only $100.

Now JT has never “puffed the magic dragon” and it’s not on his bucket list, but he does believe in its medicinal properties. According to the legislation signed by the governor the fine is for 14 grams or less of marijuana in your possession. We’re talking about less than a half an ounce or in cooking terms—three teaspoons. Why is there a fine at all for this tiny amount?

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JT reads where a Louisiana Federal Judge has issued a preliminary injunction against President Joe Biden’s plan to shut down our oil fields. The judge, Terry Doughty-originally from Rayville, sided with Louisiana and 12 other state attorney generals, against Biden’s Executive Order that went into place before had finished unpacking boxes in the White House, which immediately ceased future oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands.

While this does not re-start drilling in the Gulf, it begins a lot of court actions. JT hopes that it’s not too late because thousands of workers in the oil fields have been sent to the unemployment lines as their livelihood was eliminated by the stroke of a pen.

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The Miss Louisiana contest will be in full speed this weekend in Monroe. Natchitoches and Northwestern State are well represented in the pageant with four young ladies that are representing Natchitoches and three who attend Northwestern State.

JT didn’t see anywhere if it was televised or not. JT is showing his age, but he remembers the day when former Demon running back and Judge Richard Ware hosted the show with his mom, Dixie.

Good luck to our Natchitoches/Northwestern ladies. ——-