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American Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)


Hunter vacates seat on Police Jury; panel to appoint replacement May 18

Last Modified: Friday, May 05, 2017 11:07 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Lake Charles Mayor-elect Nic Hunter announced Thursday that he signed a letter of resignation to vacate his seat as the District 5 Calcasieu Parish police juror.

Hunter defeated Wilford Carter in the April 29 mayoral runoff election. He will replace Randy Roach, who is stepping down at the end of June after 17 years of service.

Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said state law requires that a replacement be chosen within 20 days of a Police Jury seat being vacated. Because Hunter was re-elected to his second term as police juror in October 2015, Beam said a special election must be called to fulfill the term.

Beam said the Police Jury will appoint a replacement and call for a special election at its May 18 regular meeting. The special election, he said, would be Oct. 14.

Hunter, who was first elected to the Police Jury in 2011, said he “learned so much” during his time on the panel and thanked his fellow police jurors, along with parish staff.

“It really has been an honor to serve with y’all,” he said. “We have 15 people up here that really care about Calcasieu Parish and their communities.”

District 8 Police Juror Guy Brame said he hopes the working relationship between the city and the parish can continue to improve under Hunter’s leadership.

Flooding

Police jurors approved an executive order to restrict boat traffic along the Calcasieu River, north and east of Interstate 10 to the parish line, except for commercial vessels and law enforcement. Brame, panel vice president, signed the order after severe storms caused widespread flooding in the area Wednesday.

Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Dick Gremillion said the Sheriff’s Office will patrol the river to keep recreational boats away from the area. He said he understands the ban will be an inconvenience for residents over the weekend, but that the main priority is keeping people safe.

“Our major concern is life first and then property,” Gremillion said. “There’s a lot of debris out there, and the current is strong. People underestimate the power of water like that.”

Gremillion said parish government has no jurisdiction over commercial boat traffic. He said the Coast Guard, which oversees commercial traffic, was given a copy of the order.

Drainage

Officials with the Alliance for Positive Growth expressed their desire to work with the Police Jury to fix the lingering drainage problems parishwide. The group is made up of real estate, construction and other development officials.

Matt Redd, alliance president, said there is a need to study the problem on a parishwide level instead of reacting to smaller issues.

“It’s not a city’s or a bonding district’s problem; it’s all of our problems,” he said. “We have got to look at the whole picture before we go out and start passing ordinances or building special projects to build one little piece.”

Ralph Lewing, co-chair of the alliance’s drainage committee, said the drainage problem dates back 100 years.

“We know it’s a big task,” he said. “It’s going to take more than just a few detention ponds to straighten this out. We are here to be part of the solution.”

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