The Light, Dec. 15:Special Day for Special Ladies

Read The Light: Dec. 15, 2009

Alexandria Council, adminstraction back in room together

Mayor Jacques Roy and City Attorney Chuck Johnson sit at the table in the Council Chambers. The mayor and his staff returned to the chambers at the invitation of President Roosevelt Johnson. Photo by Sherri L. Jackson

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

In less than 30 minutes, the Alexandria City Council conducted all of the city’s business on its Dec. 15 agenda with little fanfare, with one noticeable exception: Mayor Jacques Roy and his staff were seated at their table inside the Council Chambers.

By all accounts, it appears Council President Roosevelt Johnson may be on his way to reach his goal of bringing a spirit of unity and cooperation among the Council and the Administration.

“It gives me great pleasure to invite the administration back to the council chambers…,” Johnson said.

Johnson gave Roy an opportunity to address the Council.

“Let’s move forward united together,” Roy said during his first Council meeting back in the council chamber since Councilman Myron Lawson, under his presidency, removed Roy,  and his staff away from the table to seats in the audience.

Meanwhile in the brief meeting, the Council after discussion of concerns gave the administration the approval to accept the Ducote Wrecking Inc. low bid of $86,200 to demolish the former Dominique-Miller stockyard.

Previously, District 2 Councilman Everett Hobbs, who owns a construction company, was concerned that the bid was much lower than the estimated $290,000.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting Hobbs said he spoke to Tom David with Pan American Engineers about the project and still came away with some concerns that Ducote could have the site “construction-ready” at such a low price.

Yet, Kay Michiels, Roy’s chief operating officer, explained the price was such because “the demolition contractor actually wants to use (salvaged) materials personally.”

District 1 Councilman Ed Larvadain III said he wanted assurances that there wouldn’t be any additional costs related to the demolition.

Demolition work should begin by the end of the year, Ken Juneau, mayoral assistant told District 3 Councilman Jonathan Goins.

In another matter, the Council accepted the administration’s recommendation to continue its relationship with Charlie Anderson, site coordinator, programming for the Area 4 Weed & Seed Initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Justice.

During the Public Safety Committee, Larvadain asked the administration whether the city was looking to expand the program to include District 1.

Roy said the administration was looking to expand the scope of the program’s services or to find similar program, such as Safe Streets, which the city previously had.

Larvadain asked that the discussion continue at a February council meeting.

Serving people is Roosevelt Johnson’s only desire

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Roosevelt Johnson is not on the mayor’s side. Roosevelt Johnson is not on the Alexandria City  Council’s side.

Johnson, who will preside over his first Council meeting today as president, said he is on God’s side, which means his ultimate goal is to do what he can to help people.

“As president and councilman-at-large, I want a working relationship with churches, civic groups and the Council so that we can change the quality of life in Alexandria,” Johnson said in a one-on-one interview Monday night with The Light.

Despite negative talk surrounding his election to to lead the Council through the 2010 year, Johnson said his focus is to see the “Council and Administration put all differences aside because we are elected to serve. If we are not together, the people hurt.”

His first move toward that end is to bring Mayor Jacques Roy and his staff back into their Council Chambers’ seats during the Council meetings. They will be in place at today’s Alexandria City Council Agenda, 12-15-09, which begins at 5 p.m.

Under Councilman-at-large Myron Lawson’s  presidency, the mayor and his administration didn’t attend Council meetings preferring to watch from upstairs after Lawson moved their seats to the audience rather than the table next to the Council.

“Bringing the mayor and administration downstairs is for all of us to work together. It’s beyond politics. We have a job to do whether we like each other or not,” Johnson said.

In Roy’s recent State of the City address, he said he looks forward to working with Roosevelt.

Johnson, 50, said his life’s guiding principles are workmanship, responsibility, accountability and commitment.

Those guiding principles, Johnson said, are the result of a knee injury he suffered while in the ninth grade in 1968. While out of school several months, he had time to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and how he wanted to move forward in life since his dreams of playing professional football had been shattered.

“Since the ninth grade, I’ve had dreams to finish Southern University, to work in television and to be a councilman,” Johnson said. “I graduated from Southern University. I worked in television for 26 years. Now, I’m working to bring the city together as a city councilman in Alexandria.

In the coming year, Johnson said, he wants to make sure all city projects, especially Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors, commonly called SPARC, and drainage issues.

In Johnson’s first move as Council president, he made committee assignments, which caused a small rumble in the community. In particular, District 1 Councilman Edward Larvadain III is no longer chair or a member of the Legal Committee.

In recent past Legal Committees, Larvadain and District 3 Councilman Jonathan Goins, probed whether or not Mayor Jacques Roy had a conflict of interest relating to the Cleco case. At times, the meetings resembled a courtroom filled with interrogations.

However, Johnson said moving Larvadain off of the Legal Committee had less to do with Larvadain’s wanting an investigation of Roy and more to do with wanting  Larvadain to grow and develop as a councilman.

“Each councilman needs an opportunity to grow in all areas. My goal is for all to do the best for the city regardless of whether they serve as a chairman or not,” Johnson said.

“I would like to see Jonathan and Ed be the best they can be to develop and grow,” Johnson said. “When you’re newly elected, you have your future in front of you. You need to be versatile. I’ve been on the Council seven years and I’ve not sat on the Finance Committee. Allowing people to move around and serve on different committees leads all of us to the future.”

Regarding Larvadain’s and his fact-finding probe relating to the mayor and Cleco, Johnson said, “As president of the Council, I feel it’s time to move forward. As I’ve viewed what is taking place, we’ve been there before.”

However, Johnson said, if there are any ethics violations  against any officials, they will eventually surface.

Meanwhile, Johnson, who has been on the City Council seven years, said he is not sure what his next political move will be regarding the 2010 mayor’s race.

“As we all of my other campaigns, I must sit down with my family and supporters before I go public. I will do so after the holidays,” he said.

Alexandria detectives investigate burglaries, one arrested

Klarens Tatum, 1302 FoisySt., Alexandria, was arrested Sunday morning on charges of simple burglary and possession of marijuana, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

Tatum, 19, was arrested inside the Rapides Parish Library, 411 Washington St., after officers allegedly found him inside the building. According to the police report, here is a narrative of the report:

Officers responded to an alarm at the library after the alarm company alerted police that the alarm had been activated and that employees could hear someone inside the building.

Officers arrived to find a small side window broken. They found a cast iron water meter cover on the floor. Police suspect the cover was used to break the window.

While searching the building, officers heard noise and noticed Tatum allegedly trying to kick open a door in the back of the library. Officers ordered Tatum at gunpoing to get on the ground and place his hands behind his back. He did so with no problems.

While patting him down, officers allegedly found 10 $1 bills, a roll of quarters, $8.25 of loose quarters and three dimes in Tatum’s front pocket. Officers also accuse Tatum of having a plastic bag of suspected marijuana.

While placing Tatum in the police car, an officer noticed mud on his shoe. At about the same time, police received a call in reference to a burglary at Fast Eddie’s Bail Bond, 1330 Eighth St., where coins and a safe were allegedly stolen. Also, officers found what appeared to be a muddy shoe print at the scene.

Officers also responded to CQ3, 729 Lee St., in reference to a burglary. Officers noticed the back door of the business had been kicked open. Officers also noticed what appeared to be a shoe print which may have matched those left at other burglary scenes.  The business owner said that it did not appear that anything was missing.

Meanwhile, the owner of The House of Styles, 628 Lee St., reported his business had been burglarized. Officers observed that the back door had been kicked in and that grass and dirt were on the door. The owner said he didn’t see anything missing except a small amount of coins.

Officers  then went to Tatum’s home and talked to his mother, who said she hadn’t seen her son since earlier that morning. While looking outside around the house, officers saw a small wooden fram box, which housed a not water heater. When the officer looked inside, he allegedly found a green backpack sitting inside. Officers allegedly found coins, two laptops, a camera, Pocket PC, cargers and several computer wires. A metal safe was found under the edge of another house. The safe appeared to have matched a safe taken from one of the burglaries.

Also burglarized were First Union Historic Baptist Church, 601 Lee St., and Gonzaque-Williams Mortuary, where computers and computer equipment were allegedly stolen.

Wal-Mart employees arrested on theft charges

Wal-Mart employees Jabari Jones, 20, 5216 Broadmoore Court, Alexandria, and Shawn Williams, 19, 324 Eleanor St., Colfax, were arrested Saturday night in connection with theft from Wal-mart, 2050 N. Mall Drive, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

Wal-Mart’s loss prevention employee told police he allegedly observed Jones and Williams take electronic items out of boxes and placing them inside their pants pockets.

The following items were allegedly stolen:

  • Two Samsung Digital Camera, $100 value each.
  • Four Zune MP3 players valued at $290 each.
  • A Sony camera, valued at $100.
  • A JVC camera, valued at $350.
  • A Moto cell phone, valued at $240.
  • A LG cell phone, valued at $280.
  • A Zune MP3 player, valued at $90.
  • A DS Lite, valued at $170.
  • A Zune 32G, valued at $290

They were booked into the Rapides Parish Jail.

Alexandria woman accused of stealing wallet from bank

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Carol Stull, 66, 3311 Redwood Drive, was arrested Friday, Dec. 11, in connection with a stolen wallet from Union Bank, 1701 Metro Drive, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

According to the police report, a bank customer left his wallet on the counter after cashing his check about 10:30 a.m. Friday. He notified the bank that he had left the wallet.

The bank’s employee told the wallet’s owner she didn’t find the wallet in the bank. However, when reviewing video footage, she and another employee saw Stull allegedly picking up the wallet from the desk and concealing it inside a magazine. Stull conducted business at the front teller by cashing her payroll check of $216.

The bank’s employee said they knew Stull and that she worked next door at Noah’s Ark Daycare Center as a cook.

Officers went to the daycare center to talk to Stull. They asked her about the wallet and she replied she wasn’t aware of a wallet. Officers allgedly told Stull they observed the bank’s security footage and saw her take the wallet. Stull allegedly pointed toward some other daycare employees and said, “They’ve got the wallet.”

Officers allegedly found the wallet inside of a yellow envelope located on a desk in the daycare center. Stull told officers she found the wallet outside by the dumpster and turned it in toher boss. Inside the wallet were several credit cards, business cards and the owner’s driver’s license.

The wallet’s owner returned to the bank. He told officers he had between $200 and $400 in the wallet. Stull allegedly told officers there was no money in the wallet. She said she had only $216 from her payroll check and about $200.

Stull allegedly later told officers she had taken the wallet and about $292. She was booked in the Rapides Parish Jail on a charge of theft  $300  to $500.

Kevin Johnson and Ingrid Johnson celebrate upcoming nuptials with a party on the Red River

All photos by Sherri L. Jackson

Kevin Johnson and Ingrid Johnson held an unusual Engagement Party today on the Red River in Alexandria, La.
The couple invited family and friends to theAlexandria Amphitheatre to celebrate their upcoming wedding scheduled for 10 p.m. Dec. 31.

The party was a glimpse into what’a in store for the untraditional wedding the couple will have at the Alexandria Convention Center.

For more about this couple, their courtship and wedding plans, log onto their Web site at http://www.KevinandIngrid.com.