|Self serving Legislator Developers are proposing
the desecration of 5 Cemeteries, taking of Churches and Homes, to sell
Lakefront lots and build Retirement homes.
Reservoir proposed for Recreation-Tourism by SCR 158 in 2001 was created by Senate Bill 475 Act 71 in 2003 Regular
Session by Sen. Jerry Thomas, Rep. Ben Nevers,
and Rep. Mike Strain.
Michael L. Thompson
traveling Reservoir salesman, and so-called Expert is $100,000 a year Lake Director
telling Reservoir Group “think big long term”. Thompson’s crony,
Denmon is site selection Engineer, and lake builder.
In Bogalusa Daily News Site work Rep.
Francis Thompson spent 2 hours using Poverty
Point as a model to promote Washington Parish reservoir. He said, “be
prepared for opposition, and no property sized
at Poverty Point”. Mike Thompson said, “26 pieces of property taken by Eminent Domain”.
They say this and that.
Ben Nevers attending meeting with Thompson speaks on reservoir amendments because of
residents pressure, and Thompson’s House Bill 1136.Sen. Jerry Thomas arrested at adult bookstore in Wrong place to shop and disappoints his constituents.
Did Elected officials and Lake Commission
influence, or know lake site to be selected, and buying, or own land? Are
the Thompson’s also involved?
Elected officials and Lake Commission may gain financially from the
Reservoir. Nevers was previous owner of businesses like COUNTRY STOP MARINE,
LLC Rumors say, “money borrowed, transferred to his
son, and Bankruptcy filed”.
CONTRACTING would benefit from
building Lakefront Retirement Communities. Ben Nevers Jr. owns dirt moving
CALTHOM-LLC La. tourism’s 2004 Website was promoting
Washington Reservoir Retirement.
Sen. Nevers, and Lake Commission member Charles E.
Mizell co-partner ENVIRONMENTAL
SYSTEMS-LLC. An endless list of Corporations.
Reservoir Commissioner Louie Creel’s LANDWORKS-LLC is Choctaw Landfill located
at Site 2, the Oak Grove Community.
Rep. Ritchie owns SOUTHEASTERN
PROPERTIES, and RITCHIE
ENTERPRISES. POOLE RITCHIE FUNERAL HOME-LLC, and BOGALUSA
MONUMENTS-INC may benefit from digging up graves of Cemeteries
to be desecrated at Oak Grove. Citizens guilty of desecration of a
cemetery would be subject to a $500 fine and six months in jail.
Washington Parish Act-71 has Retirement Communities section, but most are copy and paste of others with broad powers to sue,
be sued, tax, buy, sell, create economic
development corp. take property without asking by using Expropriation, and Do and perform any and all
That is absolute power,
which corrupts absolutely. It is no wonder La ranks 2nd in political corruption, and maybe because Blanco says challenge criticism of state. Is Governor wants to counter negative references to
state allowing corruption?
Blanco and Comm. discuss
Reservoir possibilities in Thompson’s
Hometown. Thompson and Denmon contributed to her campaign, and on transition team. Gov. Blanco months later, sent residents a generic
reply to their letters.
Jan 5th Site selection at Washington Economic Development Foundation with
Website saying, “Parish has abundant water supply”, a Lake site was
Comm. announced, “Residents may not speak, comment deadline
extended, but haven’t received any, and only scientific facts considered”.
Comm. refused registered letters 9 times, and wouldn’t meet with residents saying, in pushing for the Reservoir “We will not be
ruled by emotion, and praying for divine guidance”. Wealthy developers
pray to a green god named money.
Reservoir site named is site 2 the Oak Grove Community with Churches and ancestral homes to be taken, and possible 5 of
11 Cemeteries be desecrated. Sierra Club Press Release reassured residents Sierra Club will fight reservoir.
On Mar 3rd Lawsuit filed, and Washington Parish Reservoir
District sued for violation of open meeting
Reservoir hearing Tuesday May
3rd and 4th,
residents lose first round. Judge dismisses lawsuit by ruling
the13 Witness testifying and hundreds people present were emotional, heard
wrong, and can’t believe what’s in Newspapers.
In an attempt to appease residents, and save face,
Sen. Nevers in 2005 files Senate-Bill 278, and Rep. Ritchie also file House-Bill 518 to limit Land Grab. After Lake is built, an Economic
Development Corp can still take property.
At Transportation Committee Hearing on May 17th is Rep. Ritchie in
Funeral Business heard laughing about digging up graves in Oak Grove Community? One
ancestral Cemetery has over 300 graves, and veterans of many wars.
Nevers testified June 1st Transportation hearing reservoir is wanted and
needed. Bogue Chitto State Park already has10 lakes, and
receiving $13,990,000 in 2005.
Residents spoke in opposition, in order to go on
record because of no public input. Information on 11 Cemeteries submitted
included civil war veterans buried in Rester Cemetery, and Petition with
over 1100 names against Reservoir.
Nevers and Ritchie say, “they want the Reservoir
for Recreation, and Economic Development of building Lakefront homes”, but
are unable to answer when asked, “name jobs created other than a few
minimum wage and temporary construction”.
Nevers, Ritchie, and Lake Comm. need to consider,
Unchristian taking of homes, Churches,
desecration of Cemeteries, and stop “coveting thy
Washington Parish doesn’t need this Reservoir, and
State’s Budget can’t afford it.
It’s all about
Land speculation, Politics, Money, and Corruption.
Reservoir Concerns our Tax Money
Bond Commission hears concerns on
of $634,205,0000 Cash, $325,640,000 Credit
Listen to Jalon Pittman Beech
I am here to oppose any
funding for a proposed reservoir in Washington Parish or anywhere in this
state until studies are conducted to show a need for potable water
reservoirs, or reservoirs for economic development for that matter.
To my knowledge, there have
no studies to show the need for potable water
in the state of Louisiana. Before this commission funds
millions of dollars into reservoir projects, I am
requesting as a law abiding, taxpaying citizen of this state, that this
bond commission table any issuance of funds and order studies to find out
whether there is or is
not a real need for potable water reservoirs in
this state, and in particular, Washington Parish.
It is far from logical to spend the hard earned
tax dollars paid by the average citizen of this state for such unneeded
and unwanted reservoirs. Louisiana is a water rich state. We have potable water everywherethat we need to treat
responsibly. Anyone with eyes can see that we are losing our
coastline, and that we have an abundance of water for drinking,
recreation, and development. We need to preserve our land.
My family, friends, and
neighbors testified before the Transportation Committee on May 17th and June 1st of this
year. There were some amendments made to SB 475, Act 71 that created
the Washington Parish Reservoir District, but these amendments did not go far enough to help
preserve the Oak Grove Community. The Oak
Grove Community is clearly a victim of ABUSE of the Eminent Domain
law. Eminent Domain was put in place to obtain property for
public use such as roads and bridges, not real estate development.
We have developers that are itching to have the
Washington Parish reservoir built so that they can capitalize on the
demise of the Oak Grove Community and make their millions on real estate
deals. It is a disgrace that our state would take part in this.
It was brought to the
Transportation Committee’s attention at both hearings that the residents
of Washington Parish were not properly informed about Senate Bill 475, Act 71 that was passed on the last day of legislative
session in 2003 underneath another bill. In 2004, we unknowingly
woke up in Washington Parish as a reservoir district and an agency of the
state of Louisiana.
Only a select few knew
about this bill and what it entailed. It was supposedly submitted on
behalf of the residents of Washington Parish.
Had we known about these plans, we would have had
an opportunity to prevent this bill from getting to the legislature.
Grove Community sits in the heart of
Washington Parish and is one of the oldest established communities in our
great-great grandparents, Thomas and Eliza Moore settled along the
Bogalusa Creek in the early 1800’s along with several other pioneer
The land was
passed on to my great grandparents, Bouey and Louisiana Moore in the mid
to late 1800’s.
grandmother, Lavada Moore Pittman, who was the youngest of fourteen
children inherited 70 acres of the original home place, and passed it down
to my parents, Nevels and Betty Pittman. The
old log home that was built by Bouey Moore is still in use by my
family today. We treasure the land that has been passed down to us,
and we have never intended to sell it.
I’ve brought each of you a copy an informative
publication that we have begun circulating in my parish to inform citizens
about the reservoir project that is looming over our lovely, historic
community. I hope you take time to read it.
There are approximately 11 well-kept cemeteries in
the Oak Grove Community. The reservoir commission has informed us that two of
our cemeteries would definitely be within the footprint of the reservoir,
and the others are within the flood zone.
The Oak Grove Baptist
Church sits just up the hill from the Bogalusa Creek. It is too
close to the footprint of the reservoir for comfort.
One of the most prominent
cemeteries in our community is the Rester Cemetery that will be flooded
and is the burial place for John and Gideon Rester. These two brothers
were civil war veterans. There are also
WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Gulf War veterans buried in
these cemeteries. It is my understanding that the cost to relocate
war veterans is astronomical and would have to be approved by the federal
government. Has anyone looked into this aspect before funding the
The proposed reservoir
that the state wishes to set atop of the Oak Grove Community is estimated
to be 3310 acres of surface water. To make a lake
this size, a 90-100 feet high by mile and a half wide earthen dam will be
constructed to dam up the Bogalusa Creek causing the water to back up over
the Oak Grove Community. Wildlife will
die; historic homes and cemeteries will be flooded.
This is all under the guise of the unproven need for
potable water and economic development for a select few. This is
unacceptable behavior. It is disrespectful of the living and the
At this point, it
appears that greedy real estate developers who want the taxpayers to foot the bill for their private developments have influenced our state legislature. I ask this bond commission to at least stop and
examine why this state is rushing madly into the reservoir business.
Ask yourselves, is
there a true need for reservoirs in Louisiana? Or, are we actually
going to fund projects for real estate developers at the taxpayer’s expense? At what cost are we willing for others to pay so
that land developers can sell waterfront
property with luxury homes to rich people? Oak Grove Community
residents range from poor to middle class. Is
it right for them to be forced off of their private property and have
the burial places of their loved ones disturbed for something that we
don’t have a proven need for?
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, LOUISIANA STYLE!
This is our D.O.T.D. tax money that would be used
for ROADS. Should taxpayers spend 40 to 50 million to make a select few
wealthy? The reservoir money is badly needed in education, health
care, road construction, law enforcement and programs for the poor and
An article in the Advocate News reported a speech
by Transportation Secretary John Bradbury stating. State officials have begun talks on ways to raise
new dollars to improve Louisiana roads and bridges. Options include
higher gasoline taxes, tolls, fees, permits and private/public
partnerships. I have a cure for a portion of our state’s budget
crisis. Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on
unneeded and unwanted reservoir projects. Spend DOTD money on roads
and bridges as it was intended.
My personal feeling is
that the concept of the Washington Parish reservoir was fueled by the greed of those who will stand to profit from the construction of
the reservoir and the real estate deals that
will be made. Please don’t allow money to be funded for unneeded
It would be
irresponsible to fund projects that will not benefit the average
taxpaying citizen of this state. If this project comes to fruition,
it will change the face of the community that I dearly love, and hurt the
people who live in the heart of my parish.
In closing, I
would like to ask you three questions.
- Do you believe in
your heart of hearts that it is appropriate to expropriate for eminent
domain someone’s private property for the sake of “possible” economic
development and recreation? Please remember that the word
expropriate means to take without asking.
- Putting yourself in
the place of someone whose property will be seized for the construction
of this reservoir, would you just submit to it, or would you try to stop
it from happening?
- If your grandparents,
mother, father, sister, brother, wife or child were going to be removed
from their place of burial so someone could water ski, fish, or play
golf, does that seem right to you?
I’ve heard that Senator McPherson is proposing some new legislation to combat the adverse decision that was made by our U.S. Supreme
Court regarding an opinion for the use of Eminent Domain for private
development. I pray that you will support his efforts.
Jalon Pittman Beech
Bogalusa, LA ( Bond Commission Meeting 7/22/05 )
Conflict of interest (Reservoir Money) update:
Rep. Bryant O. Hammett, Jr., Chairman of the
Ways and Means Committee, Bond Commission member, professional surveyor
& civil engineer, owner of BRYANT HAMMETT & ASSOC is benefitting from Reservoirs through land
surveying. His people and trucks (from Ferriday, LA) have been seen
putting down surveying stakes at Washington Parish
The Real Reservoir News
WBOX NO RESERVOIR Broadcast
My name is Jalon Pittman Beech. As the celebration
of our Independence Day is approaching, it reminds me of how blessed we
are as one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
This is truly the best place on earth to live.
I'd like to thank all of our war veterans who have
bravely defended the United States of America, and also the men and women
who are serving this country and making sacrifices for us today. May God
bless each and every one of them.
Even though this is the best place to live on the
face of this earth, the freedoms that we hold dear are fading away all too
quickly. I'm sure it will soon be illegal to say the name Jesus in public.
The Christian principles that this country was founded on are what have
made us the greatest nation on this earth. Socialism is slowing taking a
foothold on our great nation, and even in our own beautiful Washington
Once upon a time in Washington Parish, we could
trust that our elected officials were at the legislature in Baton Rouge
taking care of our business and looking after our needs. Now, most are
self-serving and it seems that they intend to do us great harm. I believe
that a politician should take an oath much like that of a doctor. First,
DO NO HARM.
For those of you who are new to this program, I
have been providing the listeners of WBOX the real reservoir news every
Sunday morning at 8:00 am. Since there is a virtual blackout of our own
local newspaper, we have no alternative but to educate people through the
I am a native
of Washington Parish, and I care very deeply about what happens in this
parish and in particular the Oak Grove Community. You see, I was raised in
the Oak Grove Community. I have always felt so blessed to be raised in
Oak Grove Community has beautiful rolling hills,
towering pines, creeks, and brooks, abundant wildlife, historic homes. One
of the homes is the Bouey Moore house that now belongs to my daddy, Pete
This old log home
was built in the 1880's by my great-great grandparents, Bouey and
Louisiana Moore. We treasure the land that has been passed down to us
since the early 1800's.
You may be asking yourself, why is this lady
talking about where she grew up?
It's because I
wish to try to save it.
On the last day of the legislative session in Baton
Rouge, then Senator Jerry Thomas, Representative Mike Strain, and Representative Ben
Nevers submitted Senate Bill 475, Act 71 through the legislature
without any fanfare. It seems harmless, but this silent but very lethal
bill created the Washington Parish Reservoir District and actually made us
an agency of the state. We didn't know about this bill because it was
submitted underneath another bill that was passed. The political term for
this is called pork barreling. We, in Washington Parish, literally woke up
in 2004 as a reservoir district and an agency of the state.
SB 475, Act 71 gave absolute power to eleven
reservoir commissioners to expropriate property anywhere in Washington
Parish at their discretion. Expropriation means to take without asking.
They could levy taxes on the district, and select a site for a reservoir
anywhere in the district that they wanted. Our own parish councilman nominated these reservoir commissioners. They were not elected,
but appointed or hand picked to serve 10 year terms. Are you feeling
uncomfortable yet? Well, if you are a property owner in Washington Parish,
you should feel uncomfortable.
The site selected for the reservoir was the Oak
When you hear the word reservoir in a conversation,
what do you think it entails? People think that this reservoir is going to
be some pond out in a pasture somewhere out in the country. If the
proposed reservoir is allowed to be constructed, it will destroy and
entire living community called Oak Grove. It's a real place, with real
people with homes, a church, and many well-kept cemeteries.
This beautiful community is located in the heart of
Washington Parish and is truly a beautiful place well worth preserving for
this reservoir, a 90-100 feet high by mile and a half wide earthen dam
will be constructed to make a 3310 acre lake or reservoir. The Bogalusa
Creek that flows through Cassidy Park and provides water to the paper mill
will be dammed just above Ben's Ford to create this giant lake. When the
water backs up from the dam, it will inundate Oak Grove Community with
water covering up some of the most beautiful scenery in this parish. Many
families will be displaced, including my own elderly parents. Cemeteries
will have to be relocated to accommodate this reservoir. Much of the
wildlife will die.
Most people can't believe that our elected and
appointed officials could actually be promoting the destruction of an
entire community. I regret to inform you, they are promoting it. This
project is called a reservoir because on one fork of the tongue it's
touted for a potable water source for the north shore. On the other fork
of the tongue, it's touted for economic development. Since the proposed
reservoir will be adjacent to the landfill or garbage dump, the water will
not be potable, so we're left with economic development.
On May 10th, I
visited the legislature in Baton Rouge and spoke to our state
representative Harold Ritchie. I asked him why he wanted a
reservoir in Washington Parish. His reply to me was his well-rehearsed
statement that he thought that it would bring economic development to our
parish. I asked him to be more specific because we all know that the
reservoir will not bring long lasting jobs here. His reply was that they
are going to build nice homes around the lake. I couldn't believe that Mr.
Ritchie was telling me this in the presence of several other people. I
asked him what about my parents' home and the cemeteries that will be
desecrated? That's the big economic plan for our parish? Who will be
building these homes? Is the state going into the real estate business?
I'll was just a little bit more than disgusted after that conversation
with our state representative.
Since the big economic plan is to build nice big
homes around this huge lake, how is this going to help this parish as a
whole? I believe that it won't help the average citizen or resident of
We will be ladened with more poverty and
disappointment. The self-serving few will get wealthy off their contracts
and real estate deals, consultant fees, etc. Are you thinking about
moving out of the parish or state? Don't leave us yet. I believe we can
change it for the better. I'm not going to lie to you, I've thought about
leaving this place myself.
I've felt very betrayed and downtrodden when I
became aware of what our elected officials and reservoir commissioners had
decided for my family's future, but I've seen the light at the end of the
tunnel. This reservoir is not a done deal. I'm going to ask you to help us
save the Oak Grove Community from being covered by a reservoir.
All it takes is for you to just know about it and
support us in our efforts to save it. The more informed of the true facts
regarding the reservoir, the more disgusted you will become with our local
politicians and reservoir commission as we did. I never thought that
anything could happen like this here in Washington Parish, but it has. We
trusted our parish council, state representative, and state senator to do
what's best for us, and they have broken that trust. However, knowledge is
power. These people were elected, and they can and probably will be
This reservoir project is nothing more than a pleasure lake for the rich. In Senate Bill 475,
Act 71 it allows for marinas, golf courses, park areas, among many other
things. Potable water is at the bottom of this list. That's because this
is a real estate deal. The only reason that the elected and appointed
officials are saying that the reservoir is for potable water is because
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will only issue a
permit for a reservoir if it is to be used for potable water. The Washington Parish landfill is just uphill from
Bett's Creek that flows into the Bogalusa Creek. The Bogalusa Creek will
be dammed to create the reservoir. It's not even logical that this big
lake could be used for potable water. It would be like getting your
drinking water from a sewage pond.
Some people just innocently don't realize the
ramifications of what a reservoir will do to the face of the Oak Grove
Community. When you hear surface information and hear that it will bring
jobs, better schools, and health care, it probably sounds good to some of
you. None of us are against progress and economic development. I'm opposed
to destroying an entire community for empty promises.
Our elected representatives should be working to
obtain real industry in our parish. Too many industries have visited us,
and left with nasty tastes in their mouths.
front page of the Bogalusa Daily News for last Sunday's issue, it
had a photo of Bogue Chitto State park that is located on the West Side of
Washington Parish. It will host 10 beautiful lakes that are already in
existence. It will be completed within two years. There is no need for a
reservoir in Washington Parish. We are rich in water resources without any
manipulation by man. I really didn't appreciate the way the writer
portrayed landowners in the article when she said that most of the
property owned along the Bogue Chitto River was privately owned and that
people were not allowed access.
This is true, but is it right for the government to
expropriate or take from landowners their private property so that others
may have a right to have access to the property? There has always been
land for sale along the Bogue Chitto River, and in the Oak Grove Community
for that matter. As an American citizen, we have a right to own and manage
our own private property, or do we? Maybe I'm
reading too much into things these days. That statement just struck me
I and some other NO RESERVOIR people attended the
last council meeting on June 6th. I appreciate all who were in attendance
to support our cause and to sit in and listen to see what business that
our parish council was attending to. This parish council meeting was of
particular interest because the council introduced an ordinance to levy
taxes for the 2005 tax roll on all property subject to taxation in
Washington Parish (Introduced by Darwin Sharp) For those of you who don't
know, Darwin Sharp is the council chairman.
A public hearing will be held July 11, 2005. As the
time approaches, I will find out more about the specifics of the public
hearing and make you aware of the details. It is important for the public
to attend this public meeting and be heard if you object to having the
council levy more taxes on your property. Again, this public hearing
regarding property taxes will be held July 11th.
When the parish council meeting got around to the
public participation portion of the meeting, two people that are
anti-reservoir asked to speak to the council.
I spoke and told the council the following:
On the West side of Washington Parish, we will have
a beautiful state park hosting 10 lakes an the Bogue Chitto River for fun
East side of Washington Parish, we have the Pearl River with the locks and
canals that will remain open to the public for fun and recreation.
In the heart of Washington Parish, is the beautiful
Bogalusa Creek, rolling hills, towering pines, historic homes, and
cemeteries. The Oak Grove Baptist Church is
just up the hill from the Bogalusa Creek. People routinely drive through
the Oak Grove Community just to take in its beauty.
I maintain that there is no need for a reservoir
here in Washington Parish. We have potable water everywhere that we need
to treat responsibly. It doesn't take a scientist to know that the water
of the proposed reservoir will not be potable. The landfill is uphill from
Bett's Creek that flows into the Bogalusa Creek.
I spoke to our state representative, Harold
Ritchie, at the legislature on May 10th. I
asked him why he wanted a reservoir in Washington Parish. Mr. Ritchie told
me that he thought it would bring economic development to our parish.
I asked him to be more specific about what kind of
economic development since we all know that the reservoir will not bring long lasting jobs here. His reply
to me was, "we are going to build nice
homes around the lake."
My reply to him was, "what about my parents home
and the cemeteries that will be desecrated."
So building nice homes around the lake that will
sit on top of the Oak Grove Community is the big economic plan.
By constructing this reservoir over an existing
community is disrespectful of the living and the
Again, I ask you to withdraw your support for this
The parish council provided no comment.
Also, Mr. Jim Stokes from the Oak Grove Community
spoke out to the council against the reservoir and presented over a 1000
signatures of people who were against the reservoir.
We received no support from
our parish council.
The next Washington Parish council meeting will be
held Monday evening, June 27th 6:00 pm at
the Washington Parish Courthouse. Please mark the date and time on your
calendar and plan to be there. As I've mentioned in previous broadcasts,
this is where the trouble began. Had some of us been in attendance at the
parish council meetings a couple of years ago, we could have warned our
family, friends, and neighbors as to what these men were planning for our
Our parish council needs to
see the faces of those whom they represent.
These meetings are normally not very lengthy. The
public participation portion near the end of the meeting certainly doesn't
last very long since each person who wishes to address the council is
limited to three minutes.
I seek the help of our Lord, and the help of all of
you out there who care about your fellow man. The residents of Oak Grove
Community are in trouble folks, and they need our help to overcome this
injustice that has been heaped upon them by those who say they represent
us. People have become complacent and have forgotten that the government
is for the people, by the people.
This is our land, and these public and appointed
officials are servants of the people-not gods to be worshipped. It is our
duty to be involved in public affairs because we are the public. Those of
us who call ourselves Christians have really dropped the ball over the
last few decades. While we were sleeping, prayer and the Bible were
replaced with guns, knives and homosexual orientations in our schools.
Christmas has been replaced with winter holiday. Do you see where we're
moving in this country? I do, and it sickens me. Millions of unborn
children are butchered in their mother's womb every year.
What has become of us as a
It was once taught in our school, right here in
Washington Parish to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
What a thought? If people followed this golden rule, this would be such a
wonderful place to live.
There are people from all over this state who are
putting forth the effort to save our community from this horrific land
grab. I ask you, here at home, to help as well. Talk about it with your
family, friends, and co-workers. The one thing that the promoters of this
reservoir don't want is for people to find out the truth. When the truth
gets out, things will begin to change here in Washington Parish. It may
even have an affect on our entire state. There is truly power in prayer,
knowledge, and networking with other supporters of our cause.
My family, friends, and neighbors appreciate all of
the support that has been growing every week to help us fight the
onslaught of this reservoir. We need to keep adding numbers to our little
band, and reach out to all of those wonderful people who are so willing to
help us. If you not able to help in a physical sense by attending council
meetings, then by all means fervently pray that the LORD will give us
wisdom and guide our footsteps as we combat this Goliath of a government
I was raised by a Christian father and mother who
always told me to put some steps to those prayers. I believe that God
expects us to act on our faith, live our faith. It is the essence of who
we really are. When Israel was faced with impending doom to be killed by
the giants, David could have simply prayed that God would strike the giant
dead, but David knew what he had to do. He picked up a stone to sling at
the giant's forehead. We all know that God guided the stone that killed
the giant, but David acted on faith and performed the work.
Thank you to all who have listened to this
broadcast. As you can probably discern, I dearly love my family and home,
and the community where I grew up.
If you would
like to speak to me personally, you may call me at my home at
(985) 730-5052 between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm. If I'm not
available, I'll return your call.
For the real reservoir news, tune into WBOX FM 92.9
Sunday mornings at 8:00 am. This is Jalon Beech. God Bless. God Bless the
[WBOX NO RESERVOIR Broadcast 06122005]
The Real Reservoir News
WBOX NO RESERVOIR BROADCAST 6/05/2005
God Bless the USA is one of the most patriotic
songs I have ever heard. It reminds each of us that freedom is not
free. We owe a great debt to those brave men and women who
willingly sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy what we have
As time goes by, it is becoming apparent that we
are losing our freedoms, especially as land owners in this country, and in
particular in this parish that we live in.
For the benefit of our new listeners, I have been
informing the listeners of WBOX about the real news regarding the proposed
reservoir project that is in process of being forced upon us by our
elected and appointed officials.
My name is Jalon Pittman Beech. I am a
daughter of Washington Parish, and in particular the Oak Grove Community.
My parents are Pete and Betty Pittman. My family’s roots run
as deep here in this parish as most any resident that is from this parish.
My great-great grandparents, Thomas and Eliza
Moore traveled to a wilderness on the Bogalusa Creek in the early 1800’s.
It’s now known as the Oak Grove Community.
My family still has 70 acres of the original home
place. The log cabin that was built by my great grandparents, Bouey
and Louisiana Moore, is still in use by my family today. I want to
encourage you to drive down Moore Road to take a look at it. This
serene place is truly living history.
We would like for this place to be preserved for
Last week, I gave you an account of the House
Transportation Committee meeting that was held on May 17th at the Louisiana legislature.
Senator Ben Nevers and Harold Ritchie submitted amendments to the
previously passed Senate Bill 475, Act 71 that caused this reservoir
mess in the first place. There were many questions and concerns
raised regarding the constitutionality of the initial bill regarding
levying taxes on the reservoir district of Washington Parish, and the
cemeteries that would be desecrated for the construction of the reservoir
I watched the archived video of the Transportation
Committee Meeting of May 17th. It was very enlightening to me.
At the beginning of the video, before the meeting was called to
order, it shows Representative Harold Ritchie standing up at the
Transportation Committee Chairman’s seat. I couldn’t hear what
Representative Ritchie was saying, but I could hear all too clear what the
chairman was saying. It’s all on tape.
The chairman is joking with Mr. Ritchie about
digging up the graves.
What kind of bill is this?
Ritchie digging up the graves.
The chairman was laughing his head off. This
concerns me greatly. This is no laughing matter to those of us here
at home. You see; Mr. Ritchie is in the funeral home business, and the committee chairman
was very well aware of that and so were the other committee members. How cold is that?
There were people there that day to testify on our
behalf. They did a wonderful job. Due to the inability of
Representative Ritchie to knowledgably answer the committee’s questions
and concerns, the amendments were tabled or deferred for further
investigation. This was monumental because every bill that has been
submitted regarding reservoir projects have been rubberstamped by all
committees without any questions.
There were many phone calls and letters sent to the
Transportation Committee in support of the Oak Grove Community residents.
They were included with the record. On behalf of my family
and our community, thank you so much for your outpouring of support.
It was noticed.
On June 1st, the
Transportation Committee reconvened to hear Representative Harold
Ritchie’s and Senator Nevers’ amendments. Due to the last mishap,
Representative Harold Ritchie deferred the speaking to Senator Ben Nevers.
My family and I as well as many others from the Oak Grove Community
were present at this meeting. Of course, Mr. Nevers called out the
guard so to speak.
There were members of the reservoir commission, Michael Thompson, our reservoir consultant and brother to Representative Francis Thompson, and Terry Denmon with Denmon Engineering and I believe he holds some offices in our state as well.
Senator Nevers started
off testifying how no one loves Washington Parish as much as he does, and
how it hurts him to have to do things for the betterment of the parish
that will displace his friends.
He went on
that the reservoir is for much needed potable water. He mentioned
nothing about economic development. He offered no evidence of the
need for potable water; he just says that there is a need. I don’t
see how he can call himself a friend to the residents of Oak Grove
Community. You decide.
When you come into the committee room at the
legislature, there are green cards placed on the testifying table in front
of the committee. You can fill them out and give them to the
sergeant of arms to give to the committee chairman. You indicate
the bill number, if you are in support of the bill or in opposition to it.
You can also request to speak. The committee chairman had a
large stack of cards for the bill involving Washington Parish residents.
There were a few of us who requested to speak.
There were 4 of us from the Oak Grove Community who
spoke: Dana Magee, Win Pittman, Jim Stokes, and myself. Leslie
March with the Sierra Club, and Lee Kelley of Bogalusa also spoke on
behalf of residents who are in opposition to the reservoir. I
believe that all of us from the Oak Grove Community were in support of
amendments to the bad bill that was passed in 2003. The amendments
made the reservoir bill more palatable for some, but it still will destroy
the Oak Grove Community, as it is known today. The room was full
with residents from Washington Parish. People were standing around
the walls and flowing to the outside. We had pretty good
representation. It greatly impressed the committee that we would
all cared so much.
For me, I will not be satisfied until we have
representation that will submit and amendment to Senate Bill 475, Act 71
that will abolish the reservoir district and its commission. When I
testified before the committee, I told them of my family’s rich heritage
and the beauty of the community where I grew up.
Mr. Nevers and Mr. Ritchie said they didn’t know
about the civil war veteran buried in the Rester Cemetery when asked by
one of the committee members.
I told them that his
name was John Rester, and that he had a beautiful white marble head
stone. I understood that this committee was put in a position to
where they were forced to amend Act 71 because of the unconstitutionality
of the bill that was passed on the last day of legislative session in
2003. Since we didn’t have public input then, the amendments
submitted gave us an opportunity to go on record to voice our opposition
to the reservoir, and to let the committee know that there were many
people in Washington Parish that are just now finding out about the
I’ll read you the letter
that I submitted for the Transportation Committee record for June 1st 2005:
As a citizen of Washington Parish and the state of
Louisiana, I would like to let you know that I oppose the reservoir that
is proposed in Washington Parish.It is my understanding that the concept
of a reservoir was conceived and the planning stages began several years
ago without the people of our parish being properly informed as to what
was in their future.We became aware as we saw the planes taking
photographs over our homes. I am finding that the more people who are
becoming aware of the proposed reservoir, the more people we find who are
against the reservoir.
If the proposed reservoir comes to fruition, it
will wipe away an entire community called Oak Grove. Oak Grove is in the
center or heart of Washington Parish. This community was established in
the early 1800's by pioneers. I am a great-great granddaughter of
two of those pioneers. Their names are Thomas and Eliza Moore. The land
that they purchased before the civil war still remains in my father's
possession today. We have 70 acres of the original home place that we wish
to keep and pass on to the next generation. The old log home that was
built by my great-grandparents, Bouey and Louisiana Moore, is still in use
by my family today.
There are two cemeteries that will definitely be
desecrated by the reservoir.
could possibly be three more. If they are not inundated with the
reservoir, they will be in the flood zone.
I have family in nearly all of them. The
Rester family cemetery has seven generations in it. People are still being
Mr. John Rester was a civil war veteran. Over one
hundred graves are in that cemetery alone. If I were to desecrate one
grave that would be a $500 fine, but the state wishes to desecrate two to
five entire cemeteries in one community. Cemeteries are considered sacred
in our culture. One of the granddaughters of John Rester told me about
when John Rester's young daughter died; he buried her in this cemetery. He
couldn't stand the thought of it raining on his daughter's grave, so he
constructed a covering for her little grave. What has become of us that we
don't respect the burial place of people who have gone before us?
As I was listening to the archived video, I heard
Rep. Downs say that the word desecration was an inflammatory word.
I beg to differ. The word desecration fits what is happening to
where I grew up. An entire community will be desecrated so that the
state can go into the real estate business. I call that
disrespectful of the living and the dead.
My parents have been public servants all of their
adult lives. My dad, Nevels Pittman, is a Korean War Veteran,
retired from the Army Reserve, and a retiree from the Louisiana Forestry
Commission. My mother, Betty Pittman, is a retired hospice nurse.
They’ve worked all of their lives to now be in a nightmare caused
by people who supposedly represent their needs.
I, and others of my family and neighbors do not
want our homes and cemeteries disturbed.
I watched the archived video of the May 17th Transportation Committee Meeting. I
appreciate the questions raised by other representatives. We have
had those questions and concerns all along. The circumstances
surrounding the way SB 475, Act 71 was submitted to the legislature is
questionable in the very least. It was passed with another bill on
top of it on the last day of session in 2003. We, in Washington
Parish, woke up in 2004 as a reservoir district and an agency of the
state. No, we were not informed or consulted about this reservoir
project. Our elected officials know very well that we would have
opposed it then as we do now.
Only people that were promoting this project were
aware of its existence, and details of what was involved in a
My elderly parents, my brother and myself will be
traveling to sit in on your committee meeting June 1st. Our home place is precious to us and
we would like to keep it for future generations to enjoy.
I appreciate your attention to this matter.
Mrs. Jalon Pittman Beech
Again, I would like to thank all who called, wrote
in, and visited the legislature June 1st
even Mr. Huey Pierce, the Chairman of the reservoir commission who so
valiantly testified to the need for potable water as he waved his water
bottle to the committee. All of this just proves our point.
Potable water, my foot.
In regard to the Washington Parish reservoir
commission, Michael Thompson, the reservoir consultant, and Denmon
Engineering, it has come to light that there are many possible conflicts of interest regarding this committee as
well as our own locally elected officials. It’s all a matter of
public record and one doesn’t have to look to deep to find it.
To learn more about the Reservoir Political
Wrongdoing, go to this informative web site: http://www.angelfire.com/gundam/reservoir/
It spells it out all too clear.
It is a shame that our own local newspapers and
other news media don’t report on all of the information and events
pertaining to the reservoir. I’ve spoken with news people from
Baton Rouge. They are very interested in our plight. It is
apparent that the local newspapers are politician worshippers, and don’t
want to offend them by telling the truth.
As I’ve told you before, I’m from the Oak Grove
Community. I love the people there with all of my heart.
It’s such a beautiful, peaceful place to go to get a way from the hustle
and bustle of things. I cannot bear the thought of an entire
community being flushed away like waste so that some may profit from its
demise. Profit, they will.
The recent amendments take care of a few errors in
Act 71 and left some that live on the outside of the footprint of the
reservoir with a feeling of relief, but let me tell you that your property
is still not safe.
If you live anywhere within a half-mile around the
footprint of the reservoir, you will be in
jeopardy of losing your property. Expropriation is still in the
bill. There’s no such thing as floating golf courses and resorts.
That will require land. There’s no limitation to the size of
the reservoir. Right now, they have thrown us the bone of 3310
acres with a 90-100 feet by mile and a half wide earthen dam. They
could make the reservoir 20,000 acres if they desired it. These
reservoir commissioners, politicians and supporters of the reservoir have
the desire to take our community. The Bible calls this sin
covetousness. They want something that belongs to someone else.
It is a shame that we have to plead with our local
politicians to not desecrate our cemeteries. The abuse of the eminent domain law is very blatant in
our case. The eminent domain law was to be used to obtain property
for projects such as roads and bridges for public use. Eminent
domain means to take without asking. I never thought in my wildest
dreams that people would want to destroy the community where I grew up.
It’s unbearable to dwell on it, but it’s fast coming to reality if
we don’t stand up and tell our officials that we don’t want a reservoir
covering the Oak Grove Community.
How dare they force this upon us, and then expect
us to lie down and be mowed over like grass. I want you to look
into your heart, and ask yourself, what have we become? Do we want
to see our neighbors treated like refuse? I would also like to ask
all of my Christian brothers and sisters out there to get involved.
The church has fallen asleep to let the Bible and prayer be removed from
our schools; children are aborted by the millions every year in this
country. Wake up! We are losing everything that makes us
American. This country was built on Christian principles, and we
have let it go to the dogs. Now, they want the very land that our
ancestors toiled and labored over so that we may have something of value
and a piece of our heritage one day.
For the many people who live in the Oak Grove
Community, this is your community, stand up for it just as our ancestors
did many years ago. Go to the council meetings and demand that your
councilman represent your needs and withdraw their support for the
reservoir. Times have changed.
We can no longer depend on our elected and
appointed officials to represent our needs. Most are self-serving.
We are in a sad state of affairs here in Washington Parish, but
with a little effort, we can make a difference.
Don’t feel like the reservoir is too big of an
issue to tackle. The few of us who have been working have made
great strides for the better. We have been attacking this issue
from every angle that we can find, and it’s working. We need more
people to get involved in changing the direction we are heading in this
parish. I long for some of the people that I have had in my life
who have passed on who would have never allowed our community to be
subject to this destruction, but I believe that there are those out there
who could take their rightful place and forge ahead with what’s right.
We have wonderful help from outside of our parish.
I would like to see more of the same effort from within our
We have had meetings in a couple of locations when
it was necessary to disseminate information. We will have more.
You would be surprised at the network of people who have emerged in
opposition to the reservoir.
For those of you who live or know people who reside
in Plainview, Bens Ford, and Bogalusa, if this reservoir is constructed,
you will be at risk of a dam failure.
The proposed reservoir is 3310 acres. A 90-100 feet high
by mile and half wide dam will strain to hold back the billions of gallons
of water to be housed by this reservoir. There is no provision for
you in Senate Bill 475, Act 71 or its amendments if the dam breaks. This will be an earthen
dam-not concrete and steel. It will dam up the Bogalusa Creek.
Yes, the same one that flows through Bogalusa’s Cassidy Park and
supplies water to the paper mill. There have been many major
earthen dam failures reported in our country this passed year. How
irresponsible of the reservoir commission to select a site for the
reservoir that would put thousands at risk of falling victim to a manmade
We had a major dam failure in March of 2004 not too
far from here. The damage sustained as reported by the national
weather service was comparable to an F2 to F3 tornado. This
happened at Big Bay Lake near Purvis, Mississippi. By
the grace of God, the dam broke while people were at work and children
were in school.
had happened in the middle of the night, hundreds of lives would have been
lost. If you want to take a look for yourself and have access to
the Internet, type in Big Bay Lake Dam Failure in your search engine.
It should pop right up for you. Big Bay Lake was only a
900-acre lake with a 50-foot high dam. Just think what would happen
if the dam just above Bens Ford failed. It would be
I have become a proponent of attending council
meetings. I would like to encourage all of you who are able, to
attend the parish council meetings that are normally held every 2nd and 4th Monday
of the month. This month, the first council meeting will be held,
Monday June 6th, 6:00 pm at the courthouse
All of this reservoir business was started at one
of our parish council meetings a couple of years ago when our councilmen were asked to submit names to be
selected for a reservoir commission. Had we been there to
see what they were up to, I wouldn’t have to be talking to you about it
today. If we go, then maybe they will remember whom they
I would like to thank all of you who have listened
faithfully to this broadcast. I will try to keep this up for as
long as I can. I may need to take a much-needed break from time to
time. It’s tough fighting reservoirs, and we could use a little
help. I hope to see you at the parish council meetings. I
may not be at every single one, but I’m going to try my best to make it at
least once a month.
The people of this parish are precious to me, and I
don’t want to see our way of life spoiled by self-serving officials and
supporters of the reservoir.
I’ll repeat some questions that I proposed in a
previous broadcast to people who are in support of the reservoir, or they
just haven’t made up their minds yet. Here they are:
Do you believe in your heart of hearts that it is
appropriate to expropriate for eminent domain someone’s private property
for the sake of “possible” economic development and recreation?
Please remember that the word expropriate means to take without
Putting yourself in the place of someone whose
property will be seized for the construction of this reservoir, would you
just submit to it, or would you try to stop it from happening?
If your grandparents, mother, father, sister,
brother, wife or child were going to be removed from their place of burial
so someone could water ski, fish, or play golf, does that seem right to
If you have a high school diploma or G.E.D., do you
think you or members of your family could get a high paying job because of
this reservoir? If yes, please list some of the job opportunities that you
believe a high school graduate would be qualified for, and what the salary
My personal feeling is that the concept of this
reservoir was fueled by the greed of those who will stand to profit from
the construction of the reservoir and the real estate deals that will be
I do take issue with those few who would want to
profit from the demise of the community that I love, and I praise those
who so valiantly stand up for the community that they love.
It’s my understanding that there is a right and a
wrong way of conducting our selves, an inborn code of ethics that most of
us are brought up by. Do unto others, as you would have them do
unto you. If we applied this principle, what a wonderful place this
I’ll repeat the reservoir political wrongdoing web
site for those of you who missed it earlier in the broadcast, it is http://www.angelfire.com/gundam/reservoir/
If you would like to speak to me personally, you
are welcome to call me at 985-730-5052 between the hours of 9:00am and
8:00 pm. If you get my voicemail, please leave your name and phone
number. I’ll return your call as soon as I can.
For the real reservoir news, tune into WBOX FM 92.9
or 920 AM Sunday Mornings at 8:00 a.m. This is Jalon Beech.
[WBOX NO RESERVOIR BROADCAST 06052005-Jalon
Question for Reservoir Supporters
I have some questions for people who are in support
of reservoirs in our state and in my own Washington Parish. Here they
Do you believe in your heart that it is
appropriate to expropriate for eminent domain someone's private property
for the sake of "possible" economic development and recreation? Please
remember that the word expropriate means to take without asking.
Do you believe it is wrong to crush down the homes
of the poor and elderly to build a lake, at taxpayers' expense, so that
the rich can build homes on waterfront property?
If your grandparents, mother, father, sister,
brother, wife or child were going to be removed from their place of burial
so someone could water ski, fish, or play golf, does that seem right to
If you have a high school diploma or G.E.D., do
you think you or members of your family could get a high paying job
because of this reservoir?
My personal feeling is that the concept of these
reservoirs was fueled by the greed of those who will stand to profit from
the construction of the reservoir and the real estate deals that will be
I do take issue with those few who would want to
profit from the demise of the community that I love, and I praise those
who so valiantly stand up for the community that they love.
My own state representative, Harold Ritchie, and
state senator, Ben Nevers, have admitted that the big economic plan is to
build nice homes around the reservoir, but what about my parents' and
neighbors' homes that will be destroyed and our cemeteries that will be
desecrated? I guess the dollar signs cloud their vision of what they are
doing to the naturally beautiful community of Oak Grove that is located in
the heart of Washington Parish.
I believe that these self-serving politicians
should not be allowed to pass laws that will pay for their real estate
development at the taxpayer's expense. At this point, I, as a taxpaying
citizen of Louisiana, will have to pay taxes so that my own community will
be destroyed. I believe an additional statement to a politician's oath of
office should be added just like a physician takes upon graduation from
medical school, "First, DO NO HARM." People
wonder why businesses are leaving Louisiana. This kind of bad politics is
why businesses and the private sector are leaving this state by the
Fight the Fight No Reservoir
Mrs. Jalon Pittman Beech
All of our efforts involve some type of expense
If you want to show your support for the cause
Please make your check or money order payable to
Washington Parish Community Preservation Alliance
P.O. Box 111
Bogalusa, LA 70429
Please pray for us and God Bless!
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