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Washington Parish Reservoir

Washington Parish Community Preservation Alliance

Oak Grove Community

Self serving Legislator Developers are proposing the desecration of 5 Cemeteries, taking of Churches and Homes, to sell Lakefront lots and build Retirement homes.

Washington Parish 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.

Sen. 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”.

NEVERS ELECTRICAL 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 things.

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 chosen.

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 law.

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 re-consider, Unchristian taking of homes, Churches, desecration of Cemeteries, and stop “coveting thy neighbor’s house”.

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

77.5 Million of $634,205,0000 Cash, $325,640,000 Credit

Listen to Jalon Pittman Beech Blast Commission

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 been 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.

The Oak Grove Community sits in the heart of Washington Parish and is one of the oldest established communities in our parish. 

My great-great grandparents, Thomas and Eliza Moore settled along the Bogalusa Creek in the early 1800’s along with several other pioneer families.
The land was passed on to my great grandparents, Bouey and Louisiana Moore in the mid to late 1800’s.
My 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 reservoir project?

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 dead.

 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 expenseAt 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 elderly.

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 reservoirs.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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 reservoir.




The Real Reservoir News

WBOX NO RESERVOIR Broadcast 6/12/2005

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 Parish.

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 airwaves.

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 this community.

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 Pittman.
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 Grove Community.

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 future generations.

To build 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 this parish.

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 replaced.

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.

On the 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 wrong.

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 and recreation.

On the 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 dead.

Again, I ask you to withdraw your support for this reservoir.

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 future.

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 nation?

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 system.

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 USA

[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 today.

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 future generations.

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 project.

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 reservoir.

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.

 There 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 buried there.

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 reservoir.

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.

Sincerely,

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 parish.

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 Tsunami.  

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.

If it 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 catastrophic.

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 in Franklinton.

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 represent.

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 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?

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 would be.

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 made.

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 would be.

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.   God Bless

[WBOX NO RESERVOIR BROADCAST 06052005-Jalon Beech]



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 are:

  • 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 you?

  • 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 made.

    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 droves.

    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
    19134 Moore Road
    Franklinton, LA 70438

    Please pray for us and God Bless!

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