Saturday is Election Day

By Bonnie Culverhouse

If you failed to vote early, then Saturday, December 10 should be marked on your calendar.

Persons living in Minden City Council districts A and C will vote to retain their incumbents or put in a fresh face.

During the November primary, District A’s Wayne Edwards had 336 votes or 47 percent, while Carlton “Buddy” Myles came away with 297 votes or 41 percent. 

Third place, and therefore out of the runoff was Darrell Morris with 85 votes or 12 percent.

District C voters will be heading back to the polls to choose between incumbent Vincen Bradford and Latasha Anderson Mitchell. Bradford had 279 votes or 46 percent, while Mitchell came away with 153 votes or 25 percent. 

The other two candidates – Javelin Hardy and Maretta Gage – received 100 votes or 16 percent and 79 votes or 13 percent respectively.

In the northern part of the parish, Springhill voters will cast ballots for mayor. In the primary, incumbent mayor Ray Huddleston took 682 votes or 47 percent, while Ronnie Hearnsberger had 494 votes or 34 percent. 

Finishing third, and not in the runoff, was Courtney Allen with 260 votes or 18 percent.

Every voter in the state will have the opportunity to vote on three proposed amendments to the Louisiana State Constitution. The amendments, according to Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) are listed below:

Proposed Amendment No. 1

Act 279 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article I, Section 10 of the Louisiana Constitution.

“Do you support an amendment to provide that no person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state?”

A VOTE FOR WOULD

Ban people who aren’t United States citizens from registering to vote or casting ballots in Louisiana elections.

A VOTE AGAINST WOULD

Keep current language governing voting rights, which requires a person to be a Louisiana citizen to register to vote or cast ballots in elections.

PROPOSED CHANGE

The amendment would add language to the state constitution requiring people to be citizens of the United States to register to vote and cast a ballot in Louisiana elections.

Proposed Amendment No. 2

Act 281 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article X, Section 3(B)(1) and (C) of the Louisiana Constitution.

“Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?”

A VOTE FOR WOULD

Require Louisiana Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees to the State Civil Service Commission.

A VOTE AGAINST WOULD

Continue to let the governor appoint members to the State Civil Service Commission without needing confirmation of those choices from the Louisiana Senate.

PROPOSED CHANGE

The amendment would require the state Senate to confirm the six gubernatorial appointees to the commission.

Proposed Amendment No. 3

Act 280 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article X, Section 43(C) of the Louisiana Constitution.

“Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Police Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?”

A VOTE FOR WOULD

Require Louisiana Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees to the State Police Commission.

A VOTE AGAINST WOULD

Continue to let the governor appoint members to the State Police Commission without needing confirmation of those choices from the Louisiana Senate.

PROPOSED CHANGE

The amendment would require the state Senate to confirm the six gubernatorial appointees to the commission.

  • Deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted absentee ballot is by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 9. (other than military and overseas voters).
  • On election day, the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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Tourism launching kayak launches on Dorcheat

By Paige Nash

Executive Director of Webster Parish Convention and Visitor Commission Serena Gray and EZ Dock representative Jeremy Lewis are working together to have two docks with kayak launches ordered by the end of the year.  

Together, they attended the Webster Parish Police Jury meeting Tuesday to get the jurors’ advice on placement of the docks. The first phase of dock installation will include the Sibley and Dixie Inn locations on Bayou Dorcheat.

“Today we are just trying to decide the design for the Dixie Inn boat launch and the boat launch in Sibley on 164,” said Gray. “As we move forward into future budgets, we will start adding more of those kayak docks. These are the first two we would like to implement. Next, we will be looking at Springhill.” 

The docks are designed to withstand hurricane force winds, but the biggest issue that has presented itself thus far is the fluctuation of the water levels and how quickly they change. The water level rises up to 20–22-foot regulary. 

Lewis presented two options for installing the decks which included attaching the docks onto a 24-foot pole that is hammered 4-foot into the ground, which would be better for water levels no higher than 20-foot. The quote received for that option totalled $16k. A stiff-arm option is available that would better accommodate the agressivley fluctuating water levels on Bayou Dorcheat and that option increases the total to $24k. 

The funds for the launches will come from money that has been set aside by tourism each year and dedicated to this project. 

These docks will be unique to each location and will include a walkway and a kayak launch.  

“When we have our large events, twice a year, we imagine the people who need more assistance getting on the water would utilize the launch,” said Gray.  

Many accessories are available that can be added at a later time, such as handrails, benches and lights.  

Bassmaster Pro-Angler Homer Humphreys was also in attendance, agreed these docks would be a great asset for fishermen, also. The docks would allow a safer way to launch and park their boats without risking damage to the boat. 

“These types of docks are already being installed all over the state and you hear nothing but compliments about them,” said Humphreys. “We are always the last ones to get the best.” 

The jury made a motion to give Gray and the tourism commission permission to move forward with placing the docks at both the Sibley and Dixie Inn locations. 

Juror for District #11 Steve Ramsey agreed to go with Lewis to look at both locations after the meeting and assist in deciding on an ideal placement for the launches. 

“One of the things I am excited about is that it is creating an attraction in areas in the parish that don’t have attractions,” said Gray. “Springhill and Cotton Valley are a part of this parish, and we want people to get out there and explore those parts of the parish. By placing those launches there kayakers will be drawn to those areas. We are hoping to see more travel to the northern parts of the parish.” 


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The journey begins

Congratulations to our newly elected mayor, Nick Cox. Here’s wishing him success from day one, which will officially begin with his swearing-in ceremony Thursday, Dec. 29. Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t remind the new Hizzonner that swearing-at season begins immediately following his final “I do.”

In your obedient servant’s humble opinion, Mr. Cox has already taken an important couple of steps even before he steps into Minden’s leadership role. We read in this very WPJ an interview with HizIncoming where he gave hints about the shape of his administration. Particularly intriguing is the idea that he intends to be mayor. Nothing else.

He plans to resign his District 8 seat on the Webster Parish Police Jury, where he also holds the vice-president’s post. It’s a job he has held since 2016. Mr. Cox was well aware that it was necessary to step down due to the state’s dual office holding edict. More importantly, it quickly slams the lid on whispers that he might try to continue to serve on the parish panel. Sources say that was never a consideration by the new mayor.

Mr. Cox  also will give up appointed posts that went along with his jury seat, and plans to resign from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission. That, in particular, is a very smart move on his part. Remaining on the tourism board would have been tricky. Each time the Commission asked the city for money or special consideration, the mayor’s agenda may have been questioned. That’s a potential headache avoided. 

We were particularly interested in Mr. Cox’s comments on what he sees facing the Minden he will be leading. Concerning the city’s future, he says we’re talking “needs versus wants,” and believes the most important thing is stability. Agree. In many areas.

One event on the immediate calendar that could define stability in Minden city government is most likely garnering much of the soon-to-be mayor’s attention. Runoff elections will be held Saturday, December 10 for city council slots in Districts A and C, and a pair of incumbents who have been part of, shall we say, a rather contentious council are running for their political lives.

District A incumbent Wayne Edwards meets Carlton Myles while Vincen “Cheese” Bradford hopes to defend the C seat he holds against Latasha Mitchell. Friends in those areas tell us both races are more than close, with the past four years casting a very long shadow. But, those same folks say, one cannot misunderestimate the power of the cloth factor. Those who are selected by the select are often elected.

There’s a possibility that Minden could see four brand new council members if challengers sweep the runoffs. Newcomers Levon Thomas (B) and Andy Pendergrass (E) are in, giving the new mayor a pair of fresh attitudes (for now, unless the Gospel according to Gossip is accurate). If one of the two challengers wins, the mayor will still have a chance to mold a majority.

A stable council would be a refreshing change after four years of contention. Who knows. We might even see a unanimous vote to adopt minutes of previous meetings, or consenting votes to accept free (grant) money. It’s obvious from reading his interview that all Mr. Cox asks is for the wagon of government have all wheels turning in the same direction. Some disagreement is expected, but not dissent only for dissent’s sake.

Our new mayor’s campaign centered on working together. From his interview, we learned he’s visiting city hall and talking with employees. We’re sure he’s also listening. That is a trait that promotes unity and it will be beneficial, especially for a new employee. 

In many ways, Minden’s ship of government has been leaking. It’s not floundering yet, but it needs all hands pulling at the oars. An old proverb tells us a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mr. Cox appears to be taking that first step. We’ll know soon if it’s in the right direction.

— Pat Culverhouse


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Mount Stupid

There are many debates in the world of firearms that seem to have been going on for ages.  In addition to nonsensical bickering among gun owners, there is also a tremendous amount of willful ignorance and general stupidity flooding the internet, media outlets, and our personal conversations.  People seem to regurgitate any information they hear, as if it’s the “Gun Gospel,” written by titans of firearm history, such as John Moses Browning, Gaston Glock, Eugene Stoner, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Samuel Colt, and Daniel Wesson.  In some circles, just the order in which I listed these names would be enough to start a fight.

If you carry a gun, you’ve probably searched online for a method of toting your heater that will make the task more comfortable.  That brings us to our first fallacy – believing it’s supposed to be comfortable, when it’s supposed to be comforting.  With so many holster options on the market, how do you choose?  Well, you can spend copious amounts of money through extensive trial and error like I have or, you can use my buyer’s remorse to your benefit.  My suggestion when it comes to holsters – keep it simple – buy kydex and opt for loops rather than belt clips.

9mm, .40 S&W, or .45ACP?  This one usually makes me sprint the opposite direction because people get their egos invested in their gun and caliber choices.  Will all three calibers get the job done effectively?  Yes.  Carrying any of them is better than not carrying at all.  I will suggest, however, that if your ego is joined to your .40-cal, (or other nonsense, high pressure caliber) you should be able to articulate why it’s superior, and the fact is you can’t – you just think you can.  For you “FAWTY-FIE” guys, if you shoot someone with your .45, they won’t disappear in a cloud of smoke and a shower of sparks, and their entire ancestry won’t be erased from the annals of history.

Concealed carry or open carry?  Concealed!  “But cops open carry their guns.”  Yeah well, even stupid criminals don’t generally do criminal stuff in front of uniformed policemen.  “But I have a constitutional right to carry my gun however I want.”  You also have a constitutional right to build an altar out of gummy bears and toenail clippings and worship the inventor of the Shake Weight.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Keep your gun covered and maintain your tactical advantage of surprise.

“What gun should I buy for my wife or girlfriend?”  This one will always garner my unsolicited two cents.  To my gun carrying ladies, if a man in your life selected your gun for you, is it the same gun he carries?  No?  Why not?  Are you too weak or too stupid to operate a gun like his?  If his gun is the best one to protect his life, why didn’t he give you the same one?  You’re not stupid, and you’re not a wuss.  Research which guns have a solid track record of reliability and choose one of those that fits your specific needs.  Then, go buy it before your guy buys you some stupid “pocket-rocket,” or tiny revolver.  “But my girl can’t rack the slide on a Glock.”  Yes, she can, Jethro.  You just don’t know how to teach her properly.  Lastly ladies, beware of snake-oil salesmen behind the gun counter.  They will attempt to dupe you just like they dupe your men.  

“Putting ‘thing X’ on (or in) my gun will make me a better shooter.”  No, it won’t.  There’s no accessory or after-market part that will make you better.  After-market internal parts will just make your gun less reliable.  Certain gadgets on your gun can provide situational benefits, but they’re never a replacement for training and knowledge.  If you don’t shoot well with a quality firearm, right out of the box – it’s not the gun, bro – it’s you.  You cannot accessorize your way to proficiency.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger each hold a PhD in psychology and in 1999 published the study that ultimately led to the graph below.  Please, go read about the “Dunning-Kruger effect,” and familiarize yourself with its basic principles.  These two masterminds were able to prove that people with the least experience / knowledge on a given topic often preached the loudest and exhibited extreme confidence in areas where they hadn’t earned it.  

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent” – Dionysus the elder.  Before speaking, ask yourself, “Do I know what I’m talking about?”  If not, just be quiet.  When people don’t know what they don’t know, they’re very likely to spew ignorance with convincing levels of passion, misleading others along the way.  I’ll close with a few points that may help you spot a charlatan in the firearms pulpit.  

  1. Box-shaped things that you fill with ammunition, and stick into your gun are MAGAZINES, not clips… unless it’s in a rap song.
  2. The “AR” in AR-15 stands for “ArmaLite” – not Assault Rifle.
  3. Malfunction free guns don’t exist.  If a gun has never malfunctioned, the owner hasn’t trained with it enough.  This includes revolvers.
  4. Guns DO NOT shoot low and left – untrained shooters do.
  5. “Handgun X doesn’t fit my hands.”  Do you have hands?  If so, learn to properly grip the gun.
  6. “Knock-down power” is not a real thing.
  7. Cops and military personnel are not always firearm savvy.  Be careful who you ask for advice.

I sense the keyboard commando mob lighting their torches already… 

Avoid what you can.  Defeat what you can’t.

-Ryan

Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at Ryan@9and1tactical.com

Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney or a medical provider, and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie,” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official legal, or medical advice.)


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Dorcheat SWCD Seedling Sale

The Dorcheat Soil and Water Conservation District will hold their annual seedling sale on from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the USDA-NRCS Service Center, 216B Broadway Street, Minden, LA.

Seedlings will be available on a first come, first serve basis.  No pre-orders.  All seedlings are bare root.  Payment accepted will be cash or check.

Available seedlings:

$3 each – Sawtooth oak, Shumard oak, red maple, river birch, white dogwood, mayhaw, chinquapin, persimmon, black walnut, tulip tree, weeping willow, native sweet pecan, live oak, red mulberry, Double white althea, Double red althea, Double violet althea, Catalpa, Red crape myrtle, white crape myrtle, fringetree (grancy graybeard), crabapple, Japanese snowball.

$4 each – Southern Magnolia, Muscadine

$7 each  Premier blueberry, powder blue blueberry, pink dogwood, and blackberry.

$10 each – Red delicious apple, Yellow delicious apple, Burbank plum, Santa Rosa plum, Early Elberta peach, RedSkin peach.  

For questions, please call 318-377-3950 Ext. 3.


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Through the eyes of a child

Almost every day after school, I can count on my kids to immediately begin begging me to stop at the store for a snack. The after-school snack usually includes a bag of chips or candy and a drink of their choice.

The other day, Emerson hopped in and said, “It’s a good day for an ICEE.” Since it was about 45 degrees outside, I looked at her in utter disbelief and told her it was way too cold outside for an ICEE. Like, is she crazy or something? It’s a good day for some hot coffee certainly, but not an ICEE.  

She just shook her head at me and quickly replied, “That’s why today is the best day to get one Mom- you won’t have to worry about it melting so fast.” 

Touche.  

She had a point and a good one, too. It made me question my reasoning, that’s for sure. Why did I have the idea that the only good day for an ICEE, is a hot one? When I think about enjoying an ICEE, in my mind I am immediately brought back to peak summertime, going to the store to get a Coke ICEE and hurriedly trying to finish it before it actually does melt. If I wanted a regular Coke, I would have gotten it in the bottle.  

This probably sounds a little silly, but it made me realize how different our perspectives and reasoning may be from our children, or anyone else in general.

As, an adult we tend to be more skeptical at times and perhaps a little cynical, as well, while young children tend to be more optimistic. 

They definetly have a fresh method of viewing the world around us.  The next day as I was scrolling Facebook, I came across a quote that said, “If we could see the world through the eyes of a child, we would find magic in everything.” 

An overwhelming sense of sadness came over me. I did not realize until that moment just how much I yearned to see life again from a child’s innocent perspective before my own perspective was tainted by the things and ways of the world. 

Who wouldn’t want that sweet innocence back?  

I believe most people, including myself, slowly lose these wonderful, childlike qualities as we travel through life and experience certain hardships and realities. We begin to question everything. We are set in our ways. We are in a constant state of worry. We hold grudges and we require certain conditions to be met before we allow ourselves to love freely.  

Matthew 18: 3 says, “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Become like little children.  

There are certainly different ways to translate this, but I believe this scripture may not necessarily be about leaving Earth and entering the gates of Heaven, but more about living out God’s life here on Earth, which according to that scripture is going to require us to be more childlike.  

Try to look at things in a new perspective. Just because you have always done something a certain way or drunk an ICEE on a certain kind of day, does not mean you have to continue to think that is the only way.  

Be adventurous, curious and fearless. Be optimistic, energetic and authentic. Be wonderful, playful and faithful. Be excited, overjoyed and unworried. Be caring, giving, and most of all, loving.  

When is the last time you’ve tried to look at things through the eyes of a child?

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom and digital journalist for the Webster Parish Journal.)


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Mingle & Jingle today with Chamber Connect

It’s time to Mingle & Jingle before the holidays! Today (Thursday) from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m., Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce’s Festive Chamber Connect After Hours will be hosted by Huffman Management. Their historic bed and breakfast, Huffman Manor Inn, is decking the halls and ready to connect with everyone.

Let’s all have a jolly good time while networking over heavy hors d’oeuvres, holiday cocktails, fun and door prizes.


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Historically Speaking: Lanesville becomes Sibley

By Jessica Gorman

Sibley traces its origins back to John G. Lane who brought his family to what was then Bienville Parish from Houston County, Georgia. While school had been taught in the homes of the community, the first school building is said to have been provided by Mr. Lane. This building also served as a church, Lane’s Chapel, until a Methodist church was built in 1895. The community came to be known as Lanesville.

In 1884, the V S & P Railroad was built through this area. It is said that the railroad rejected the name Lanesville, the claim being that the name was too long, and instead chose Sibley as the name for its station. And so, Lanesville also came to be known as Sibley. In fact, there are newspaper articles that refer to the community by both names within the same article. 

As reported in the Minden Democrat in 1912, “finally the citizens were willing to have the name changed to Sibley, but in the meantime a post office in Union Parish was established and named Sibley, which prevented the change, as the Post office regulations would not admit of two post offices by the same name in the same state. Lately, however, the Sibley post office in Union Parish was abolished and then the change in the name of the Lanesville post office was made by the Postmaster General.” The official notice of the name change, sent to Congressman J. T. Watkins, was dated 30 April 1912. 

Seven years earlier, in 1905, the village had been incorporated under the name of Lanesville. While it would commonly become known only as Sibley, an ordinance officially changing the name was not passed until August 1959.

This column is intended to share snippets of Webster Parish history. Please direct any questions or suggestions to dorcheatmuseum@yahoo.com or visit us at the museum. 

(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)


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Is your church hosting a Christmas Eve service?

The following churches are hosting Christmas Eve services. The pubic is invited to attend.

5 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden.

5 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, First Baptist Church, Pennsylvania Ave, Minden.

6 p.m. Minden Presbyterian Church, 1001 Broadway, Minden, La.

5:30 p.m. (Early Service) The Holy Eucharist with Carols

St. John’s Episcopal ChurchThe Eve of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1107 Broadway, Minden. 10:30 p.m. Christmas Carol Preludes; 11 p.m. (Late Service) The Holy Eucharist. December 25: 10:30 a.m. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

** Is your church having a Christmas Eve Service? Webster Parish Journal would like to know about it, so we can educate the public on where they can go to worship on this holy night, Saturday, December 24.

Please email the time and location of your service to wpjnewsla@gmail.com and we will begin publishing immediately. Please send no later than noon Wednesday, December 21. Final publication will be Thursday, December 22.

Thank you and Merry Christmas from your Webster Parish Journal! Subscriptions are always free.


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How to choose an Air-Fryer?

We have officially entered the season of gift giving and receiving. Air-fryers make great gifts that will benefit the entire family. An air-fryer is a countertop appliance designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. It operates like a small convection oven, circulating hot air to cook and brown the food. The best benefit of having an air-fryer is that it gives food an enjoyable taste with less fat. Air-fryers are also easy to clean, energy efficient, and they can fit into any kitchen. If you will be purchasing an air-fryer for yourself or for a loved one for the holiday, consider the following information below before purchasing.

  1. Size: Make sure you have the storage or counter space in your kitchen for the size air- fryer you choose.
  2. Budget: Think about how much you are willing to spend on this appliance. Air-fryers can range from $50 to several hundred dollars. 
  3. Capacity: Air-fryers range from two to seven quarts. For a one or two-person household, a lower-capacity fryer would be suitable. A larger family may want to consider a higher capacity fryer.
  4. Features: Air-fryers come with many features and pre-sets. Think about which features you need or want.
  5. Warranty: Consumers should check air-fryer models to determine the warranty for various products.

Helpful tips that will come in handy when using your new air-fryer

Tip # 1: Allow 5 inches behind the air-fryer to increase air flow while in use.

Tip # 2: Preheat the air-fryer before cooking to make sure the food cooks evenly.

Tip # 3: Always use a kitchen thermometer to check the doneness of foods. Refer to your manual for the most accurate cooking temperatures for individual food items.

Tip # 4: Do not overfill the basket. Overfilling the basket will cause food to cook unevenly.

Tip # 5: Add water or a slice of bread to the drawer of the air-fryer to prevent smoking while cooking certain foods.

Tip # 6: Use your air-fryer to reheat leftover foods like pizza.

Tip # 7: Be sure to clean your air- fryer after each use, and deep clean your machine at least once a month for best upkeep. 

Tip # 8: Flip foods or shake the air-fryer basket halfway through the cooking time. By flipping or shaking your food will allow it to become more evenly colored and crispier all over.

Shakera Williams, M.P.H., Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent- FCS, Webster/Claiborne parishes


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Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of December 1:

Dec. 1

Robbie C. Boater vs. Tyric J. Mayfield, divorce.

Bank of America vs. Brian W. Young, monies due.

Citibank vs. Christopher Evans, monies due.

Dec. 2

Bobbie Jean Turner vs. Jerestin. Baugh, protective order.

Lourena P. Kirksy vs. Cassandra Jenkins, petition.

Dec. 5

Republic Finance LLC vs. Sonya Brantley, monies due.

Dec. 6

Timothy Phillips vs. Erica Lynette Kimble, divorce.

Wanda Smith vs. Energy Completion Services, LLC, Steadfast Insurance Company and Alex McCain, damages.

Dec. 7

Scotty Wade Lee vs. Jessica Danielle Lee, divorce w/children.


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Upcoming Events

Current through December 17 (Tuesday through Friday)

10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2 until 4 p.m., no-sew Christmas ornaments at Dorcheat Museum, 116 Pearl Street.

Dec. 8

4:30 until 6:30 p.m. Chamber Connect after hours networking event, Huffman Manor Inn/Event Center, 1114 Broadway, Minden.

Dec. 8 and 9

Living Word presents an Active Shooter training. Free and open to the public

Dec. 15

6 p.m. Retirement reception for Dr. Earl Meador, NLTCC Minden Campus.

Dec. 16

5:30 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony, Minden Civic Center.

6 until 9 p.m. Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride. Minden Courthouse (free).

6 p.m. Rehab Reindeer 5K Run.

Dec. 17

9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Festive Christmas Brunch, Geaux Fresh.

9 until 11 a.m. Brunch at Habacu’s

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Hot Chocolate and Coffee, The Broken Bean.

10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Keepsake ornament making for adults at Dorcheat Museum. Christmas movies and refreshments.

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Reindeer Games Children’s Area downtown Minden. Bounce houses, pony rides and more.

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Presents on Pearl (street). Arts and crafts vendors.

11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Logan McConathy State Farm Agency.

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids ornament crafting at City Art Works (Free).

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids Face Painting & Smores at The Courtyard (Free).

1 until 2 p.m. Storytime, music and games with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Webster Parish Library Stewart Center (Free).

2 until 4 p.m. photos with Rudolph and Friends, Jacqueline Park.

4 p.m. Christmas Parade, downtown Minden.

5:30 p.m. Parade awards at Minden Civic Center.

6 p.m. Fireworks Show.

6:30 p.m. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Movie in Miller Quarters Park. Bring a quilt or chair. 


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Notice of Death – Dec. 7, 2022

Cheryl Ann Aldridge

April 17, 1956 – December 6, 2022

Memorial service: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 at Bailey Funeral Home Chapel, Springhill, La.

Interment: Spring Branch Cemetery under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Robert Steven Salter

May 23, 1960 – Nov. 18, 2022

Visitation: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 at Whispering Pines Missionary Baptist Church, Minden, La.

Memorial service: 2 p.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Whispering Pines Cemetery

Webster Parish Journal publishes paid complete obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or wpjnewsla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)


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2 Webster Parish Police Jurors resign from office

By Paige Nash

Minden Mayor Elect Nick Cox announced that the Webster Parish Police Jury’s December meeting would be his last meeting. Cox will be taking his oath of office for Mayor after the first of the year.  

“My wife asked me this morning if I was sad about it and I said, ‘Yes, I am,’ but I am also okay with it in the sense that when I look out in the room, I see so many good leaders that we have and all the different things that we are involved with,” Cox said. “We have a lot of strong leaders, so I feel really good about where we are across the community. I am very proud of the time I have spent on the police jury for the last seven years. It has just been an extremely good experience for me. In my opinion, from dealing with different things our police jury in Webster Parish is one of the finest run governments in Louisiana.” 

Ed Jordan, Juror for District #12 also announced that January 6 will be his last day to serve.  

“I have accepted a job in South Louisiana pastoring a church down there and I will be moving out of my district.” he said. 

The jury will be considering temporary appointments to fill these openings on the board until the election to take place next year.  

The Webster Parish Police Jury also held a public hearing before their monthly meeting yesterday, with no concerns coming forward from the public, the jury passed the proposed budget unanimously.  

The budget equaled out at $20,771,033 with taxes, licensing, permits, intergovernmental revenue, fines, forfeitures, services and the Webster Parish Libraries making up the majority of the revenue stream. The budget is balanced out with expenditures in judicial, legislative, elections, administration, public works, public safety and library debt servicing.  

To wrap of the regular session of the meeting, the board approved a list of appointments which included: 

  • Doyline Water Works District #1: Beth Walker to a 3-year term. 

  • Webster Parish Library Board of Control: reappointing Charlotte Dean to a 5-year contract. 

  • Webster Parish Communications District, E911: Laura Perryman to replace Chris McGarity for a 4-year term. 

  • Dixie Inn Fire Protection District #7: reappointing Mickey Chandler to a 2-year term. 

  • McIntyre Water Works District: reappointing Charles Purdy, Eddie Pitman, Barry Knotts, Rick Hammett and Betty Purdy to a 3-year term.  

  • Director of the Webster Parish Police Jury Office of Community Services: for 2023 with authorization to sign documents on behalf of the organization. 


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Council focuses on finances, police

From left, retiring police Chief Steve Cropper, Wayne Edwards, Terika Williams-Walker, Interim Mayor Tommy Davis, Vincen Bradford, Michael Roy and Pam Bloxom.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

The final 2022 Minden City Council meeting Monday was short, sweet and focused mostly on finances and police reports.

Interim City Clerk Michael Fluhr pointed out that the city’s fiscal year has already begun.

“For the month of October, the city collected $679,818 without TIF,” Fluhr said, referring to Tax Increment Financing which is a voluntary tax. “Previous year (for October) collection was $578,178, and the budgeted amount was $608,333.”

Fluhr said the $679,000 includes delinquent tax money of more than $65,000, a result of a “substantial” audit by the Sales Use & Tax Commission.

“We are doing good, we are over budget,” Fluhr said. “In the bank, we have $24.4 million. The previous month, it was $22.3 million and previous year, it was $90.4 million.”

Fluhr said the city has received its second American Rescue Plan boost of $2.2 million. The first installment of $2.2 million must be spent by 2024, he said. Second installment must be spent by 2026.

Police Report

Retiring Police Chief Steve Cropper told council members that his department received a total number of calls for service of 764 in November.

“District A had 112, B was 205, C was 95, D was 44 and E was 120,” said the chief. “There were 10 out of jurisdiction which were prisoner transports.”

Cropper said there 139 total incidents reported.

District A: 40, District B: 32, District C: 38, District D: 13 and District E: 14. One was out of jursidiction.

Total arrests for November: 60. District A: 15, District B: 19, District C: 12, District D: 0 and District E: 7. Four were out of jurisdiction.


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Pearl Harbor Day

Courtesy National Park Service

No moment in the history of the United States casts a longer shadow than Pearl Harbor. “Remembering” it has become a national imperative, a patriotic duty for the American people, and reminding us of that duty has become a ritual of media and political discourse—repeated so often and in so many ways that it’s become part of the routine of our communal life. 

– Rob Citino, PhD

It was on December 7, 1941 that 353 Japanese bombers attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, destroying 19 ships, 188 aircraft and killing more than 2,000 Americans. It was this act that drove the United States into World War II.

“December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously proclaimed.

The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans.

According to the National Park Service, Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in August 1994. Remembrance events are held every year at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

Here are some facts surrounding that fateful day in U.S. history:

What happened during the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft, according to the History Channel.

Why was Pearl Harbor a pivotal moment in WWII and U.S. history?

Until the raid, the U.S. had hesitated to join World War II, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland.

In those nearly 2 1/2 years, the U.S. had extensively aided the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, but a general mood of isolationism – brought on, according to the State Department’s Office of the Historian, by the Great Depression and the memory of huge losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention.

Pearl Harbor reversed that in a day, with Congress issuing a declaration of war after Roosevelt’s speech on Dec. 8, 1941.


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The Dorcheat Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Farmer of the Year is Chris Saucier.

From left, Mickey Chandler, Gary Greene, Harol Thompson, Chris Saucier, and David Lowe.
 

Chris Saucier’s love for agriculture began as a college student in Stephensville, Texas.  He worked on a 4,600 acre cow/calf operation ranch during his time there.  He learned about hard work and gained an appreciation of the land and environment.

He began a career with a financial institution as a loan officer and soon realized he was not cut out for staying indoors.  His best friend Elliot Brown’s father Larry Brown purchased a Chrysler dealership in Minden and Chris followed his friend to the dealership in 2006 where he is employed.  

Saucier is married with two children, wife Jana, son Tucker and daughter Tatum.  Chris’s father-in-law, Jim Ezell has taught him about forages, chemicals and hay production.  

Saucier has three tracts of land leased in Webster Parish where he produces hay and has commercial herds of cattle.  Being around other cattlemen such as Loyd Dodson, Stephen Eubanks, Al Faulk and Lee Faulk he was introduced to NRCS.  “Give’em a call, see what they can help you with.”  Well, he did in 2018 and began a relationship with the staff at the Minden Field Office.  Since 2018, Saucier has completed one contract, has an active contract and a new application for more conservation practices to install.  NRCS has assisted him with establishing legumes, fences, herbaceous weed treatment, heavy use areas and livestock pipelines.  All of these livestock practices improve water quality, improve livestock health and reduce erosion.

Saucier says this Bible Verse from Proverbs 20:4 keeps him inspired and motivated.

If you are too lazy to plow, don’t expect at harvest.


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“Keep Going Long!!” – A historical look at Minden quarterbacks – Part 3 of 3

This will be the final installment in a look at the Crimson Tide QBs as we’ve managed to make our way through the most influential QBs in Minden history since 1915.  

Coming off the Tide’s only winless season in history in 2003, Derek Cupples (2004-2005) led the Wing-T running Tide out of the decade-long doldrums and sparked a new era of Quarterback play. Cupples slung the ball around the yard with a quick release and anticipation of the Wide Receivers’ whereabouts.  In 2005, Cupples hit the new school record with 2,386 yards and became the first single season 2,000+ yard passer.  Cupples was the first Minden QB to pass for over 300 yards in a game.  In his final game, Cupples set the record for passing yards in a game with 367, which would stand until 2015.  Cupples also set the record with 23 passing TDs that year.  Cupples was the first Tide QB with 2,000+ passing yards and 20+ passing TDs in a single season, and 3,000+ career passing yards and 30+ career passing TDs in just two years’ work. 

All of Cupples’ record setting feats were short-lived with the arrival of T.Q. Mims (2006-2008).  In 2006, Mims set the single season records for pass completions, attempts, yards, and TDs.  Mims became the first Tide QB to pass for five TDs in one game – one of which was the longest TD pass ever recorded (94)!  I should add, eleven of Mims’s 54 career passing TDs came from fifty yards or greater.  Mims was the first Minden QB to have 4,000+ career passing yards and 50+ passing TDs.  T.Q. Mims would hold the title of greatest Minden passer for at least a few more years with career pass completions (309), attempts (567), yards (4,833), and TDs (54).  Along with a run to the Semi-Finals in 2006, Mims was selected as Honorable Mention All-State QB. 

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better at QB, Hunter Leppert (2009-2010) would play a year after Mims.  During Cupples’ and Mims’s tenure, Minden still held some semblance of balance.  However, during Leppert’s stint, Minden would be, wait for it and wince… a pass-heavy team.  For proof, Leppert completed 200 passes in 2009, which is still a record.  Up to that point, 200 passes had ever been attempted four times in Minden’s history.  That year, Leppert pushed the record number of attempts up to 359 where it stands today.  Leppert surpassed the 2,000 passing yards mark and had 20+ passing TDs in back-to-back years, which was another feat never yet accomplished in Minden’s history.  Mims also had multiple 2,000+ passing yard seasons in 2006 and 2008 but missed the mark in 2007.

Like Cupples-to-Mims and Mims-to-Leppert, Leppert’s time as top dog would also be short-lived in this break-neck pace of record setting QBs.  Foreshadowed two articles ago, Turner Francis (2011-2013) is the grandson of Minden QB trendsetter, Bobby Lyle.  Francis, a “gunslinger” in his own right, is the only QB in Minden history to attempt 200+ passes and complete 100+ in three seasons.  He posted seven, 300+ passing yard games and joined Mims and Leppert with two seasons of 2,000+ yard passing and 20+ passing TDs.  Turner Francis holds the Championship Belt as Minden’s greatest passing QB, holding nine out of twenty-three passing records.  Of course, no one celebrates holding records in INTs, but here’s an interesting historical nugget.  In INTs thrown in a season, Francis’ 19 is second to none other than his grandfather, Bobby Lyle (21).  

Antonio Rivette (2014-2016) carried the torch with stellar QB play, retuning balance to the Force with his rushing and passing.  Rivette received ample, yet appropriate, praise in the review of the great Minden Running Backs as a Top 10 rusher and the all-time leader in total career offensive yards and TDs.  Rivette, another three-year starter at QB, is a Top 5 passer, too – including the second-most career passing yards (4,929).  He is the third Minden QB with 4,000+ career passing yards and 50 passing TDs.  Eighteen of Rivette’s fifty career TDs came from fifty yards or greater.  One game that Rivette’s big-play ability was on display was in 2015.  Aided by current NFL cornerback, and younger brother of T.Q. Mims, L’Jarius Sneed, Rivette set the record for most passing yards in a game with 417 and tied the school record with 5 passing TDs.  To date, he’s the only Minden QB to pass for over 400 yards in a game.  Rivette and company would make it all the way to the state quarterfinals that year. 

Last, but not least, is another three-year starting QB, Trenton McLaughlin (2018-2020).  McLaughlin’s numbers might not jump off the page like his predecessors, but his passing stats are worthy of Top 5 billing all-time.  McLaughlin joined Francis and Rivette as only the third Tide QB to pass for 1,000+ yards in three consecutive years.  Even though McLaughlin doesn’t hold any records, probably the most exciting memory for him came when he tossed the game-winning TD in overtime to beat Bastrop for the first time since 1984.  Despite losing McLaughlin to injury in the thrilling overtime victory at Leesville, the Tide finished the 2020 season in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. 

This concludes our look at the history of Minden QBs.  Next, it’s only natural to cover the group that operates in tandem with the QBs – the Wide Receivers.


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List your church’s Christmas Eve service

The following churches are hosting Christmas Eve services. The pubic is invited to attend.

5 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, First Baptist Church, Pennsylvania Ave, Minden.

6 p.m. Minden Presbyterian Church, 1001 Broadway, Minden, La.

5:30 p.m. (Early Service) The Holy Eucharist with Carols

St. John’s Episcopal ChurchThe Eve of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1107 Broadway, Minden. 10:30 p.m. Christmas Carol Preludes; 11 p.m. (Late Service) The Holy Eucharist. December 25: 10:30 a.m. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

** Is your church having a Christmas Eve Service? Webster Parish Journal would like to know about it, so we can educate the public on where they can go to worship on this holy night, Saturday, December 24.

Please email the time and location of your service to wpjnewsla@gmail.com and we will begin publishing immediately. Please send no later than noon Wednesday, December 21. Final publication will be Thursday, December 22.

Thank you and Merry Christmas from your Webster Parish Journal! Subscriptions are always free.


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There’s a new kid in town 

The moment you meet your first granddaughter, you intuitively know that you have not saved enough money and never could save enough money to buy this child everything you would want to give her, whether she needed it (she won’t) or not.  

Abigail Jane Hilton showed up on a Monday, July 18, in Murray, Ky., where, conveniently, her mother was. I met her mother when she was three years old. I met Abigail Jane Saturday when she was just over four months old. 

I’m getting better at timing.  

She was 21 inches long and weighed 8 pounds and 1 ounce. In other words, perfect size. (I guess. Who knows?) I was proud — overcome with emotion, near tears and trembling — that the world’s best daughter and best son-in-law named the child after me. (Teddy’s just my nickname.) 

The main thing is that she hasn’t been sickly, seems very healthy, has a good disposition, and sports plumbing that is on the money. It all comes back to plumbing. 

Since she lives in Kentucky, mooching off her parents, we are not able to see her daily BUT … her mother is great about sending pictures, and not just the cute ones. We get the ones of her all bundled up and smiling or on the floor with Stanley the dachshund, her big brother, laughing and making baby noises, but we also get photos of her with a triple chin and videos of accidental spit up, which she did on me when I met her Saturday, and it was neat smelling like baby formula the rest of the day. 

I’d missed it.  

Love that kid. 

When she was 10 weeks old, they took her in to get measured again and her mom proudly wrote to tell us that Abigail Jane, or AJ, ranked in the 98th percentile in head size. And after viewing it in person, I can tell you this precious little person has a noggin perfect for selling advertising space. A quality melon. A head the size of your favorite team’s sideline mascot. I’m convinced that if we could light it up, you could see it from outer space.  

We are hopeful she grows into it and that there are lots of smart brains up in there. Regardless, it is my favorite baby dome at present, the perfect topper for what grandmama calls her “snuggle muffin.”  

She was on the floor on her back “watching” a football game in the den when I got to visit with her. Like most babies, she moves her hands and feet as if she’s trying to break out of an invisible bubble. She loves playing with your fingers and holding her feet together up in the air so her legs form an oval. She is quick to smile and even laugh, and she seemed to understand when I explained the rules when TCU and Kansas State went into overtime in the Big 12 Championship, her first overtime ever. She giggled, but the urgency seemed lost on her 

She also seemed confused with TCU choice to run dive plays instead of options with their Heisman-finalist quarterback on third- and fourth-and-goal plays from the 1. 

That’s when granddaddy suggested that sometimes life is like that, that acceptance is necessary and a time-saver, that you salute the past, dust yourself off, drink some more formula, have a good burp, and move on. 

We’ve got a lot to learn from each other.   

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


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Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride Tours

Stanley Claus

FREE EVENT- Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission invites you to come enjoy thousands of twinkling lights in Historic Downtown Minden for a free hayride tour of the Christmas light displays on December 16. Santa’s cousin, Stanley Claus, along with some of his helpers are ready to host you for an evening of caroling and making memories! Tours will run from 6 until 9 p.m. The Young Women’s Service Club will be on site selling hot cocoa and each tour will be graced with members of the Dorcheat Museum who will share interesting facts and tales of Minden’s past. The tour loading and unloading zone will be located in the Webster Parish Courthouse parking lot. This family friendly event is one that has become a true crowd pleaser, so gather your loved ones and head to Downtown Minden on December 16 to kickoff Christmas in Minden Weekend.

Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission is the destination marketing organization for Webster Parish whose mission is to provide leadership on marketing Webster Parish as a highly desirable visitor and meeting destination and engage in visitor promotions. For more information about attractions and upcoming events download the free Visit Webster Parish app or check out http://www.visitwebster.net. 


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Pass the crackers (and the butter, and the slaw, and the comeback), please

Robert St. John

Appetizers are often the most interesting part of a restaurant menu. I could live in the appetizer section, alone, and often do. There are several reasons for this. Starters are easier to develop. Center of the plate proteins need more focus, they cost more, and the gross profit is greater so more care needs to be taken when adding entrees to a menu. Starters are smaller in scale and scope, so chefs tend to spend more creative time developing them.

There is a sub-category that comes before the first course or appetizers, they are the pre-starters. Mexican restaurants bring chips and salsa to the table early in the dining process, many Italian restaurants bring bread and olive oil, but those are unique beginnings devoted to a specific ethnic cuisine.

In Mississippi our pre-starters are often nothing more than crackers.

In the old-line Mississippi Gulf Coast seafood restaurants of my youth, there was always a plastic basket filled with crackers and butter pats on the table. It was as much a part of the table setting as the blue cloth napkins, silverware, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. I was there for the fried shrimp, but I would often get full on captain’s wafers and butter before the entrée was delivered.

In those days I wasn’t interested in appetizers unless it was a dozen raw oysters. I was probably 10-years old when my grandfather took me to Baricev’s in Biloxi to eat my first raw oyster— with a saltine cracker, of course.

To my thinking, saltines are the only cracker that should be eaten with raw oysters. Many fine dining places try to add a finer touch to the raw oyster platter by putting wafer-thin crisps or homemade crisps alongside the mollusks. But I am a saltine guy to the core. I load my cocktail sauce up with lemon juice and an obscene amount of horseradish and wash the oyster down with a crisp saltine. The crispness of that simple cracker is a perfect foil for the oyster.

I have purist friends who believe crackers don’t belong anywhere near an oyster. They dot a small amount of mignonette on the oyster and leave it at that. Some don’t add any condiment to the oyster and swallow it unadorned believing that is the only way to get a true taste and appreciation for the bivalve. I am OK with them being wrong.

I eat oysters the way my grandfather did, and probably his grandfather before him— with a saltine and horseradish-heavy cocktail sauce.

My go-to catfish house in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi is Rayner’s. They’ve been around for over 60 years on U.S. 49 just north of town. The catfish there is very good, the fries are homemade, and the hushpuppies are spot-on perfect. But where they truly knock it out of the park is in the coleslaw category. The coleslaw prepared in the Rayner’s kitchen is my favorite on the planet. It’s cut perfectly and just sweet enough to be a foil for the salty fish, but not so sweet that I believe I’m eating cabbage for dessert. Their slaw is brought to the table at the first of the meal, and I put a small forkful on a captain’s wafer and usually have to ask for another bowl of slaw. It’s probably the most redneck pre-starter one can eat, but they’ve been serving it since I was born, and I love it. I can make a meal out of nothing more than Rayner’s coleslaw and captain’s wafers— and have. The fish is good, and I order it to be polite, but I’m there for the slaw and crackers.

Coleslaw that is slightly sweet doesn’t pair well with regular saltines, but only with captain’s wafers. The wheat version of captain’s wafers are acceptable— and I will empty the basket of those first these days— but I don’t imagine there’s actually a grain of whole wheat that gets anywhere near the wheat version of a captain’s wafer in the cracker factory. They’re probably just colored brown and use a different enriched flour. But they have a little more depth in the flavor profile and are still as buttery as their non-wheat counterpart.

My favorite pre-starter would have to be saltines dipped in comeback sauce. New Orleans has Creole sauce, North Carolina has vinegar-based barbeque sauce, Texas has salsa, Tennessee has tomato-based barbeque sauce, Cleveland, Ohio has ketchup. Mississippi has comeback sauce. Sometimes spelled kumback or cumback.

Someone once described comeback sauce as, “The offspring of the incestuous marriage between Thousand Island dressing and remoulade sauce.” Actually, I think I may have been the one who described it that way, but just in case it was John Currence or John T. Edge and I have forgotten all these years later, I put quotation marks around the description. Anyway, however it’s described it’s most definitely the queen mother of all Mississippi condiments.

The versatility of comeback sauce is impressive. In this part of the world, it’s used as a salad dressing, a dip for fries or onion rings, a condiment for burgers, an accompaniment for fried mushrooms, and a dip for crudité. I prefer it as another in my stable of redneck pre-starter appetizers and like to start a meal by dipping saltines in a small ramekin of comeback. In this case, the saltine is the preferred cracker, but a captain’s wafer will do in a pinch. Just as with the other pre-starters described herein, I could probably make an entire meal out of dipping saltines in comeback sauce.

Appetizers might be the most interesting part of a menu, desserts might be the most creative, center-of-the-plate entrees might offer the most gross profit, but pre-starter cracker snacks are the most underrated.

Onward.

Comeback Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

1/ 2 cup ketchup

1/ 2 cup chili sauce

1/ 2 cup cottonseed oil, or any neutral oil

1/ 2 cup yellow onion, grated

3 Tbl  Lemon juice

2 Tbl garlic, minced

1 Tbl paprika

1 Tbl water

1 Tbl Worcestershire

1 tsp pepper

1/ 2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix well.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author who lives in Hattiesburg, Miss.)


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