Community gathers to mourn Gardner’s loss

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Rain poured during the funeral for Minden Mayor Terry L. Gardner Saturday, reflecting the outpouring of love and support shown friends and family during a service of music, laughter and tears.

“The angels are crying today,” said District E Councilwoman and personal friend Pam Bloxom, as she climbed the front steps of First Baptist Church.

Gardner was memorialized and laid to rest in a way that reflected his life and political career.

In the midst of the opening prayer by Rev. Keith Adcock, Gardner’s beloved dog Chairman could be heard mournfully whining beside his master at the front of the sanctuary. The two had been inseparable since Gardner adopted him more than a year ago.

“Everything he (Terry) touched and did brought beauty,” Adcock said.

Former mayor and councilman Joe Cornelius agreed.

“He beautified the whole city,” Cornelius said, prior to the service. “And he did it almost single-handedly.”

Long-time friend and banker Jack Byrd told amusing stories to lighten the somber mood, but the thread was always the same: Gardner loved Minden with a huge heart.

Byrd said there were six words or phrases he used to describe the late mayor: pride, vision, heart, passion, a love of Minden and love of family.

“If Terry touched it, you knew it was going to be done right,” Byrd said. “He took great pride in his work and his clients’ work.”

Byrd also talked about the people Gardner helped … many for whom he guaranteed notes at the bank to ensure they could start a business, as he did when he started TG Companies LLC in 1983.

“His heart was broad,” Byrd said. “As beautiful as the Pearly Gates are, as lush as the gardens are in Heaven, Terry is at work today trying to improve on them, with a big sign beside them: ‘Another Gardner Project.’”

John Guthrie, a classmate of Gardner’s late son, described Gardner as a natural leader who was all about people, building things and solving problems.

“I would follow you anywhere, just to see where you were going,” Guthrie said, as if speaking to Gardner.

The Rev. Leland Crawford of First Baptist Church wrapped up the funeral with words of hope for those who have the faith in Christ of Terry L. Gardner.

Following the service, Gardner was laid to rest near his son, at Forest Park Cemetery West, Shreveport.


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Council meeting tonight could change face in mayor’s office

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Members of the Minden City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. today (Tuesday, July 5) using an agenda already set by late Mayor Terry Gardner, which could change.

That agenda has no item addressing an interim mayor to serve until fall elections and must be amended if an appointment is to be made.

City attorney Jimbo Yocom said he has requested the council allow him to open the meeting in order to remove any question about violation of meeting laws.

It requires a unanimous vote by the council to amend an agenda.

“They (council members) will have to vote to amend the agenda to include electing a mayor pro tem and then appointing a new mayor,” Yocom said. 

Not only has the city been without a mayor since Gardner’s death last week, but Minden has been without a mayor pro tem since January 1, 2022.

Traditionally, since the early 1990s, mayor pro tem has been elected to serve one year, and each year the council has elected one of their own to act as mayor pro tem for one year. 

In accordance with that tradition, District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker was elected to serve the year 2021. However, in January 2022, the council failed to appoint the mayor pro tem due to a disagreement on whom should serve.

Some council members may have thought Walker would remain as mayor pro tem if another was not elected and possibly become mayor when Gardner died. By law, neither is the case.

If neither a mayor pro tem nor interim mayor is appointed tonight, business is put on hold for the City of Minden.

A legal opinion letter to the council from Yocom, obtained by Webster Parish Journal from an anonymous source, instructed:

“The council cannot call or hold another meeting until one or the other position is filled without violating the open meetings law and potentially making the meetings and any decisions null and void.”

The Secretary of State has already declared the vacancy of mayor of Minden. 

If one is not appointed tonight, the governor may step in and appoint someone, using his emergency powers to do it sooner rather than later and avoid a shut-down.

If the council appoints one of their own to be interim mayor, that council member must resign from their present position, prior to accepting the nomination, or violate the “dual-office holding” statute.

And while Williams-Walker can be nominated and elected mayor pro tem for the remainder of the year, she cannot vote for herself to the interim mayor’s seat.

The letter states if she – or any other councilperson – were to vote for themselves:

“… it would be an ethical violation due to economic gain,” and that’s what this would be since the mayor’s salary is significantly more than that of a councilperson.”

Yocom said these opinions are just that … opinions. However, he has spoken with multiple other attorneys with municipal experience who agree with him.

Items on today’s agenda include the following:

  • Adopt minutes of the June 6, 2022 council meeting (regular session);
  • Condemned property;
  • Minden Planning Commission Reappointment;
  • A resolution for Signatory Power;
  • A resolution for Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between Minden Economic Development District 1 and McClung’s Service Station Inc.;
  • Approve new employee positions and job descriptions;
  • Authorize the mayor to retain the services of a consulting firm to evaluate employee salaries;
  • May, 2022 budget/financial report; and
  • May, 2022 Police report.

The public is invited to attend.


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Law enforcement agencies work together to catch convicted sex offender communicating with young girl

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Thanks to collaboration between two law enforcement agencies, a known sex offender is once again in jail.

Christopher Lee Williams, 28, of the 2000 block of Franklin Rd., Heflin, was arrested Wednesday by Webster Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigative Division on a warrant for indecent behavior with a juvenile under the age of 13 years old.

Sheriff Jason Parker said his investigators became involved in the case around two months ago.

“We were contacted by Center, Texas detectives who had come across a legitimate 13-year-old girl whose mother discovered someone unknown was sending inappropriate photos to the child,” Parker said. “The detectives called to see if we recognized him, and we were able to identify him as one of our registered sex offenders here in our parish.”

Parker said Williams moved to Webster Parish in November 2020.

“He was a transplant from North Carolina,” Parker said. “He had been arrested and convicted there, and he was registered in Webster Parish as a sex offender.”

Working in conjunction with Center, Texas Police, WPSO CID kept the case going.

“Of course, the little girl was no longer the one interacting with Williams,” said the sheriff. “After that, the back and forth was with law enforcement. We had to handle it in a controlled manner to make sure he thought he was still communicating with her.”

Wednesday, June 29, WPSO set up a meeting location with Williams in the Heflin area.

“He showed up with the anticipation of meeting that little girl,” Parker said. “What he got was totally different.”

Juvenile sex offenders are taken seriously in Webster Parish, the sheriff pointed out.

“We’re not going to tolerate that,” he said. “We are going to hold sex offenders in our parish accountable and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do to be in compliance. We’re going to do our job.”

There will be no extradition, the sheriff said.

“Since he was here in our parish when he was doing the communicating with her, Williams is incarcerated here,” Parker said. “Center, Texas has given us everything they had, and he will be prosecuted here in Webster Parish.”

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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OPPORTUNITY: Accounting Assistant

The City of Minden has an IMMEDIATE NEED

FT ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT

This is a clerical position that requires the use of various accounting software programs to track and reconcile a wide range of financial transactions.

Responsible for maintaining financial records, ensuring payments and receivables are current. Involved in a wide range of activities/functions in the City Clerk’s office including heavy in-house payroll responsibilities.

Education and/or Experience:

·         High School diploma or GED required.

·         Post-secondary education with focused course work in accounting and bookkeeping preferred.

·         One to two years administrative, clerical and accounting experience required, preferably with city government.  Experience involving governmental funds or related accounts desirable.

Work hours:  7:30am-4pm Monday-Friday

Location: City Hall, Minden, Louisiana

Benefits:   HEALTH, DENTAL, VISION BENEFITS, RETIREMENT, PAID HOLIDAYS & SICK/VACATION LEAVE

Starting pay:  $15.76/hr. D.O.E.

To apply or view a brief job description go online www.mindenla.org/job-listings/ or pick up an application at City Hall, 520 Broadway, Minden, Louisiana.

Background and drug screen will be conducted.

The City of Minden is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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New Lakeside turf offers many advantages

By Paige Nash

The finishing touches are being applied to the new turf on the Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School football field. This renovation began in April and is expected to be completed by next week. This is an upgrade that will benefit both the students and staff.  

Not only does turf look amazing, but it offers many advantages over traditional grass fields including, increased playing time, less on-field injuries and less maintenance, which results in less work for the coaches and staff that oversee maintaining the field throughout the year, especially during football season when the field requires preparation for practices and games.  

Most do not realize that the coaches and staff do not get paid to put in those extra hours required to maintain a traditional grass field. Grass fields require tons of time and attention. They need to be cut, watered, sprayed and treated. They are very easily affected by weather and climate, whereas turf fields are not constrained by these elements at all. 

“What ultimately led us to the decision to have the turf installed was that a lot of our teams are already used to playing on it. When you get to the playoffs and the state championship, you’re going to play on turf,” said Lakeside principal Denny Finley. “We offer a lot of programs at our school, so in the instance that both gyms are being occupied, a class will be able to take advantage of the turf.” 

Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School offers many athletic programs to their students, including football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, cheerleading, and beginning this year, soccer. All of which will benefit from the new turf field. 

When asked if there are any other upcoming improvements or renovations in the works, Finley said. “We want the softball and baseball fields to be next. Our school representative, Jerry Lott, really shares our vision for the school. He loves extracurricular activities and so do I. I want every kid at Lakeside involved in something, doesn’t matter if it’s a sport or club.” 

In addition to the junior high and high school teams, they are now offering a brand-new elementary school sports program. Students who attend Central Elementary and Lakeside and are in 3-6 grade are eligible to participate in this program.  

They are still looking for volunteers to coach and help with this program, so if you are interested, please reach out to Coach Megan “Roo” Johnson for more information at megan.johnson@websterpsb.org. 


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Modest foundation makes big impact on community

By Doug Crise

 18 years after the Minden Charity Classic began as a small idea between three local businessmen, Patrick Miller sat on a bench during a brief moment of calm outside the clubhouse of Pine Hills Country Club.

 “You know, back then,” Miller said, “it was really very modest.”

 It still is.

 That sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? “Modest” doesn’t describe the annual cash outlay to those in need. The donated items up for auction are far from modest. As for the participants, let’s be honest – you don’t spring for these items, two days of golf and everything in between if you don’t have some disposable income. 

 Yet the Minden Charity Classic is refreshingly devoid of the egos, back-slapping and small-town gossip that usually comes attached when so many get together to open their wallets. Pretense? Consider that Minden Foundation President Andy Pendergrass – basically the man running the show – gave exactly one speech during the weekend. That was Friday, when he grabbed a microphone and said “hello, can you all hear me? We are so grateful that ya’ll are here. Dinner is served so I will bless the meal and we can eat.” 

 So much for grandstanding.

 Title sponsor B1 Bank had some signage and logos on hats. Volunteers in coral-colored Minden Foundation t-shirts moved about, setting up tables and mingling with guests. Hugh Wood, inarguably the busiest cook in Minden, found time to step away from his many jobs to provide goodies for Friday’s auctions, including fried oysters worthy of their own write-up.

 Everyone showed up, everyone donated in their own way and everyone good-naturedly complained about their golf rounds. 

 And everyone changed lives.

 That’s a cliche, but even the worst cliches are rooted in truth. The truth is the Minden Charity Classic isn’t a matter of life or death for the people it helps, but it is a matter of being able to continue living life. It’s the difference between someone who can pay off medical expenses versus someone who survives a serious illness to face a lifetime of impossible debt. It’s the difference between repairs to a storm-damaged roof and a roof repaired for money that had been a child’s college fund. 

 The financial damage from catastrophe is like the worst kind of tattoo – it hurts and it stays. For many in Minden, the only thing standing between them and that lifetime of hurt are the people who gather for a weekend in early June.

 And man oh man, do they make good use of their time.

 Friday’s live auction is worth the admission just to spectate and read the list of items up for bid. A couple of fishing outings. Tickets to the PGA Colonial Open in Forth Worth (and we’re talking the good kind, with clubhouse passes and everything.) Expensive wines. Okay, lots of expensive wines. $1,000 for a night at Superior Steakhouse in Shreveport and – because why not? – a limo. A deep-pocketed grilling enthusiast could come away with a whole beef tenderloin and ribeye courtesy of Wood, a handmade walnut cutting board to prepare them on, and a Traeger wood-pellet grill to finish the job.

 “Ace Hardware called us up,” Pendergrass said. “They wanted to know how they could help.”

 “Help,” for those who aren’t into outdoor cooking, meant a wi-fi powered pellet grill with a built-in smoker and the ability to control the temperature down to the degree via a phone app. This is not spare inventory.

 But that’s kind of the point – everybody involved gives new weight to the term “extra mile.”

 Maybe the modesty from 18 years ago carries on because the event speaks for itself. You can’t understand the reach of the Charity Classic until you see what goes into it. Empty gestures are the common currency when disaster strikes. The Charity Classic answers that with real currency. Friday night, everyone bids. Saturday morning, after players and volunteers peel themselves out of bed before 6 a.m., everybody plays. Everybody over-tips. And after 12 hours under the Louisiana sun in June, everybody sticks around and bets.

 A quick word on that: The post-round “Calcutta,” Saturday’s final event, gooses the competitive vibe among the golfers and shows just how creative the Minden Foundation will get to raise funds. As Foundation member Braley Raborn explains (patiently, for the uninitiated author,) Sunday’s golf flights are paired according to Saturday’s results. Bets on the final results between the next days pairings are taken. The golfers, basically, put their money where their clubs are.

 Nice little novelty, right?

 ““There was $30,000 in the pot for the Calcutta” Pendergrass said. “Well, okay, actually it was only $29,500.”

 Oh. Only $29,500. Never mind then.

 When Sunday’s rounds end, a portion of the proceeds go to the top golfers. The Minden Foundation uses a small portion of funds raised to put on future events, including an October skeet-shooting event. The rest goes straight to those who need it most. And it’s not a “who you know” game. The Minden Foundation is in the business of helping strangers, nameless faces broadsided by life-altering crisis. With life in 2022 becoming increasingly territorial, the Minden Foundation isn’t concerned with skin color or church membership or political affiliation. 

 That was the first, and really only, cornerstone when the event was dreamed up 18 years ago.

 “It was very vague,” Miller said.

 Vague. Low-key. Modest. And a reach long enough to help anyone in this city.

The Minden Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit that was founded by Mike Harper, Mike Woodard & John Collins in 2004. The mission of the organization is to help people in the Minden area when they have a sudden & catastrophic financial need such as a house fire, accident, or devastating diagnosis. The primary means by which the organization raises funds is the Minden Charity Classic golf tournament & auction which takes place the first weekend after Memorial Day each year and the MF Shoot Out skeet shoot every autumn. The current board of directors consists of eight members: Andy Pendergrass, Candi Wimberly, Kristin Utphall, Patrick Miller, Jason Ogwyn, Zach Goodman, Angela Fussell & Braley Raborn. To find out more, or fill out an application for a person in need, visit mindenfoundation.org


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Sales Opportunity

Do you enjoy meeting new people and greeting old friends?

You may be perfect for an account executive’s position with the Webster Parish Journal. You don’t have to fit a particular profile, you just need to be as passionate about spreading the news as those with whom you will be working.

WPJ subscriptions are – and always will be – free. We depend on businesses and advertising to help us meet our goals and keep the public informed.

Contact us at wpjnewsla@gmail.com, if this describes you.


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Taco Ranch Quiche 

I love this recipe for mixing up taco night.  I am always trying new recipes of course, but many times the boys kind of mope and say, “Mama, can you pleeeeeease cook just regular tacos?”  And I do.  I snuck this recipe in one night and they gave it all the thumbs up so we repeat it often.  This one is great for having something easy to throw together.  You could even double this and freeze one for later or take one to a friend.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 1/2 pound ground beef

• 1 can Rotel, undrained

• 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

• 1/3 cup Ranch dressing

• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

• 3 eggs

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 deep dish frozen pie crust

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In skillet cook ground beef. Drain fat. Add Rotel. Add taco seasoning. Cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add Ranch. Spoon mixture into bottom of pie crust. Top with cheese. Whisk together eggs and cream. Pour over meat and cheese mixture. Bake 50 – 60 minutes.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and cookbook author.)


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Local woman leads police on chase

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Running a stop sign ended badly for a local woman last week as she led police on a chase ending in her arrest on serious charges.

Monica L. Daniels, 43, of the 300 block of Gilbert St., Minden, was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Minden Police and charged with aggravated flight, battery on a police officer and 2 counts of possession of marijuana.

Chief Steve Cropper said Off. Logan Clingan attempted to stop Daniels at the corner of Homer Road and Gladney Street where he was met by Off. Kayla Little.

“Off. Clingan asked Daniels for her information, and she exhibited strange behavior while searching for her registration,” Cropper said. “When she couldn’t find it, the officer asked her to step out of the vehicle.”

Daniels reportedly became uncooperative, so Clingan and Little began to give her loud verbal commands to exit her vehicle.

“She then cranked the vehicle, rolled up her window and began to slowly drive off with Off. Little’s arm inside the vehicle,” said the chief. “Off. Little tried to unlock the car door from the inside. Off. Clingan broke the window to free Little’s arm, and Daniels sped off in her vehicle.”

Officers in several patrol cars reportedly pursued Daniels until her vehicle ran out of fuel on Blue Run Road and then rushed her vehicle, giving her commands to exit.

“Daniels would not comply until Sgt. Mitch Hackett, who was also on scene, brandished his taser and told her to exit one last time,” Cropper said. “She then complied and was placed in handcuffs.”

Daniels was booked at MPD on the above charges and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Lions give, receive recognitions during meeting

Lion Secretary/Treasurer Charles Purdy (right) presented outgoing Lion President Tracy Campbell with a plaque commemorating his term as Lion president.

It was a day of recognition for the Minden Lions on Thursday as their noon meeting last Thursday marked the end of the 2021-22 club year. Several awards were presented, and new officers and board members were installed. A summary of the year’s club events and community service activities was presented. Lions that went to be with Jesus during the club year were remembered with a moment of silence: Lions Larry House, Graydon Kitchens and Terry Gardner.

The club also wishes to thank Lion Jerry Madden for his dedicated service as District 8-L Governor. This marked the first time since 1973 that the Minden Lions Club had a member serve as district governor. Well done, sir!

Three Lions were recognized with chevron pins for years of club membership. They included Lions Jimmy Hall, 15 years; Kent Gibson, 20 years; outgoing Lion President Tracy Campbell; and Sherb Sentell, 25 years.

Lions Tracy Campbell and Jerry Madden received membership keys for sponsoring at least one new club member in 2021-22.

Outgoing Lion District Governor Jerry Madden presented several Distinguished Service Awards to Lions who went above and beyond in service during the 2021-22 club year. They were Lions Tracy Campbell, Drew Brown (Minden Evening Lions Club), Kevin McCann, Jerry Brannen, and Jerry Madden.

 


New Lions Club officers and board members were installed by outgoing Lion District Governor Jerry Madden. Pictured (left to right) are Lions Jerry Brannen, director; Robert Kidd, Tail Twister; Charles Purdy, secretary/treasurer; Steve Griffie, Lion Tamer; Tommy Davis, incoming president; Tracy Campbell, outgoing president; Nelson Smith, third vice president; Preston Gray, first vice president; Steve Cropper, director; and Jerry Madden, outgoing district governor. Not pictured is Lion Rick Buckner, second vice president.

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Arrest Reports

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies. Minden Police Department (MPD), Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO), Louisiana State Police (LSP) and others which are named.

June 29

Steven Dale Cooper, 42, of the 600 block of Hwy. 531, Minden, was arrested by WPSO for theft of a motor vehicle.

Cedrick D. Paschal, 38, of the 400 block of Booth St., Magnolia, Ark., ws arrested by Springhill Police for monetary instrument abuse and possession of drugs with intent to distribute.

Julius J. Dickens, 52, of the 200 block of Bryant Rd., Minden, was arrested by MPD for driving while intoxicated (first offense) and stalking.

June 30

Jadarrius R. Strickland, 27, of the 2200 block of Reynolds, Cullen, La., was arrested by Probation & Parole officers after testing positive for marijuana. He is charged with felon in possession of a firearm and a controlled dangerous substance, possession of marijuana, possession of Hydrocodone, possession of cocaine and parole violations.

Ashton Jones, 33, of the 4600 block of Partridge Dr., Benton, was arrested by WPSO for 2 counts of possession of methamphetamine, 2 counts of possession of Sch. 1 and 1 count of possession of Sch. 2.

Jerry McTaggart, 51, of the 200 block of Shirley Dr., Minden, was arrested by MPD for open container, disturbing the peace by intoxication, obscenity and a warrant to hold.

Donovan D. Brooks, 39, of the 1300 block of School St., Ringgold, was arrested by Ringgold Police for a parole violation.

Rolando Ashley, 43, of the 900 block of Pleasant Rd., Ringgold, was arrested by Riinggold Police on a new theft charge, as well as 6 active warrants for theft and disturbing the peace.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Upcoming Events 

July 5

Joe LeBlanc Summer Feeding program resumes today.

July 6

10 a.m. Summer Adult Craft at Springhill Library. All supplies provided. Call Cassidy at 318-539-4117 for reserve a spot.

2 p.m. Beginner art classes for kids, Springhill Library. Call Cassidy at 318-539-4117 for reserve a spot.

July 7

10 a.m. Minden Planning Commission Meeting, Pelican Room, Minden City Hall. On the agenda is a request from Carlton Myles Jr. (owner of Bayou Brothers, LLC) for a zoning change from R-4 (Multifamily Residential) to B-4 (Hwy. Commercial) on property owned by them located at the corner of Lee and Columbia Streets (6 lots).

July 8

10 a.m. Minden Branch of Webster Parish Library. Dallas Akins to Webster Parish Libraries this summer as one of our special guests! He will be performing his science show “Professor Universe: Into the Deep.” Registration required.

2 p.m. Springhill Branch Webster Parish Library. Dallas Akins to Webster Parish Libraries this summer as one of our special guests! He will be performing his science show “Professor Universe: Into the Deep.” Registration required.

July 11

8 a.m. Minden City Council Workshop on 2022/2023 budget. Pelican Conference Room, Minden City Hall. Public is invited to attend.

July 16

9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. Louisiana Christian University Football Camps. All camps at Wildcat Stadium in Pineville. Cost $40/$50 walk-up.

July 21

9 a.m. Minden City Council Workshop on City Employee Manual. Pelican Conference Room, Minden City Hall. The Public is invited to attend.

August 9

6:30 p.m. New Student Orientation at Glenbrook Multipurpose Building.

August 10

6:30 p.m. Grades 7-12,”Hot Dog We’re Back at School,” schedules to be distributed at this meeting. Glenbrook Multipurpose Building.

If you have a non-profit event: church, school or community, please email it to wpjnewsla@gmail.com. * Webster Parish Journal reserves the right to determine if a calendar item is a paid advertisement.


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Notice of Death – July 4, 2022 

Darlene McKay Goudeau

Sept. 15,1962 – June 30, 2022

Funeral Mass: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2022, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Marksville

Burial: St. Joseph Catholic Mausoleum.

 

Kenneth ‘Ken’ Roy Grosz

Visitation: 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2022 in the church parlor of First Baptist Church, 543 Ockley Dr., Shreveport, La.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary.

 

Danny Wayne McMellon Jr.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Mansfield, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Mansfield, La.

Burial: Carmel Catholic Cemetery, Carmel, La.

 

Webster Parish Journal posts paid 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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Funeral arrangements released for mayor

Terry L. Gardner was born on May 18, 1954, to Aubrey and Joyce Gardner in Shreveport, Louisiana where he spent his childhood. He graduated from Fair Park High School, Shreveport, LA in 1973.  He went to be with his Lord and Savior on June 28, 2022 at the age of 68.

He relocated to Minden, Louisiana in 1978 and met Debbie Walker soon thereafter.  After 13 years of dating, he convinced her to marry him on May 1, 1973.

In 1983, he founded TG Companies, LLC and served as President/CEO and under his leadership, developed it into a multi-faceted corporation, including Orleans on Main and The Gardner Group, LLC.  He has given young men and women countless opportunities to mature and grow with the company regardless of any criminal history, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Terry was a mentor to many young people and lived by the motto: “Everyone deserves a second chance in life, or sometimes two or three.”  He believed that everyone has a place in life and he did anything he could to guide them in the right direction.    He never hesitated to help his fellow man, no matter what the circumstances. 

Terry loved restoring and remodeling old historic buildings which is evident by some of the buildings in the historic downtown area of Minden.

Terry was always passionate about giving back to the community and supporting many worthwhile organizations.  He held many civic and volunteer positions and sat on many Boards during his life to include Webster Parish and International Special Olympics.  He was involved in the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce holding many positions including serving as Chairman of the Board.  He was also the instructor for the Youth Leadership Webster Program for over 20 years. 

He was a founding member of the Krewe des Ambassadeurs where he served as Captain I, II, X and King 5.

One of the organizations he was most passionate about was March of Dimes serving in many capacities including serving as a Statewide Board Member.

He was a long time Lions Club member.

He was most honored to be named Minden’s Man of the Year for 2013; it was one of his proudest moments.

Terry was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Minden and has served as a Sunday School teacher to 6th graders for over a decade.   

Terry was elected as Mayor of the City of Minden in 2018 taking office on January 1, 2019, which was one of the proudest moments of his life fulfilling a long-time dream of his.  He expertly managed significant challenges, including the presentation of a balanced budget.  He was instrumental in moving the city forward, strongly supporting the city’s economic development department.  He is was also passionate about maintaining the beauty of our city. 

Terry was a very outstanding and kindhearted Individual and serves as a well-respected role model to many in our community.  He will be greatly missed by many.

Terry is preceded in death by his parents, son Harold L. Gardner and his brother Ronnie L. Gardner.

Terry is survived by his wife, Deborah Walker Gardner (Debbie).  Also survived by his sister Twyla Gardner Hawthorne (Bryan) and children Stephanie Boatman (Aaron) and SeanMichael and his daughter Alyssa: sister-in law Ann Ingram Gardner Skinner (Ray); nieces Jennifer LaPierre (Chris) and children Kennedy and Brady; Tracy Steiner (Trey) and children Lauren, Catherine, Ethan; Mother-in-law Annie Belle Walker; sister-in-law Sonja Smith (Butch) and children Orin Smith and Megan Smith Dixon (Duane) and son Dean.  He is survived by 2 special “sons” Jeremy Holley and Donnie Irby.  He is survived by his most faithful companion Chairman.  He is also survived by an aunt, numerous cousins and a host of friends. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  John 13:7 KJV

Services will be held Saturday, July 2, 2022, at 10:00 am at First Baptist Church Minden, LA with Reverend Leland Crawford officiating.  Interment will follow at 12:30 at Forest Park West, Shreveport, LA at 12:30 pm under the direction of Rose Neath Funeral Home, Minden.  Family will receive guests on Friday, July 1, 2022 at First Baptist Church Family Life Center Gymnasium form 4:00 – 7:00 pm.

The family would like to thank all the friends and family for their support, love and prayers during this recent journey.   A special thank you to the staff of Minden Medical Center, especially the ICU staff, for the excellent care Terry received.  Also, a special thank you to Terry’s City of Minden family and Debbie’s Minden Medical Center family during this time.


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Who’s on First?

From left, District A Councilman Wayne Edwards, District B Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Terika Williams-Walker and City Attorney Jimbo Yocom.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Since the death of Minden Mayor Terry Gardner Tuesday, the City of Minden has technically been without someone in that office.

City attorney Jimbo Yocom communicated with council members about the issue Tuesday afternoon.

“Under the law, what is commonly called the Mayor Pro Tem, – our charter actually calls it the president of the council – it says they are to serve in the disability or absence of the mayor,” Yocom said. “That generally means whenever the mayor is out of town or hospitalized. But the Mayor Pro Tem is not the vice president of the city, meaning they do not automatically take over if the mayor passes away.”

Death creates a vacancy in the mayor’s office, he said.

“Mayor Pro Tem, in effect, is only when the office is still filled, so where we are now is, the Secretary of State must declare the office vacant,” Yocom said. “The council then has a time period to appoint an interim mayor … I believe it’s 20 days.”

Yocom said it is too close to the Fall election to call a special election for the office.

“When there is a year or less left in a term, they just appoint an interim to serve throughout the rest of the term,” he said. “That person can either be from the council, or anyone, really. Whomever they desire.”

If the council chooses to appoint one of their own as interim, it adds yet another step to the process.

“The councilperson will have to resign their seat, therefore, the council will have to appoint someone to fill the vacancy to serve that district,” Yocum said.

District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker served as Mayor Pro Tem during the calendar Year 2021.

“There is a resolution that says the mayor pro tem can only serve a specified period of time, one year,” Yocom said. “In January 2022, they did not elect a new one – and did not nominate and re-elect Mrs. Walker. So that means the city has been operating without a mayor pro tem since that time.”

The Minden City Council will meet again Tuesday, July 5 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, Minden City Hall.

“Providing the Secretary of State has declared the mayor’s seat vacant by that time – and they can do that quickly or not – then appointing someone should be at the top of the agenda,” Yocom said. “The Secretary of State knows it needs to be a quick turn around. I would be surprised if it is not done by next week’s council meeting.”

Since the death of Minden Mayor Terry Gardner Tuesday, the City of Minden has technically been without someone running the show.

City attorney Jimbo Yocum communicated with council members about the issue Tuesday afternoon.

“Under the law, what is commonly called the Mayor Pro Tem – our charter actually calls it the president of the council – says they are to serve in the disability or absence of the mayor,” Yocum said. “That generally means whenever the mayor is out of town or hospitalized. But the Mayor Pro Tem is not the vice president of the city, meaning they do not automatically take over if the mayor passes away.”

Death is the only thing that creates a “vacancy” in the mayor’s office, he said.

“Mayor Pro Tem, in effect, is in control only when the mayor’s office is still filled. So where we are now is, the Secretary of State must declare the office vacant,” Yocum said. “The council then has a time period to appoint an interim mayor … I believe it’s 20 days.”

Yocum said it is too close to the Fall election to call a special ballot for the office.

“When there is a year or less left in a term, they just appoint an interim to serve throughout the rest of the term,” he said. “That person can either be from the council – or anyone, really. Whomever they desire.”

If the council chooses to appoint one of their own as interim, it adds yet another step to the process.

“The councilperson will have to resign their council seat, therefore, the council will have to appoint someone to fill the vacancy to serve that district,” Yocum said.

Right now, District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker serves as Mayor Pro Tem which, Yocum described as short-term and means “she only steers the ship until the council meets to appoint a new mayor.”

The Minden City Council will meet again Tuesday, July 5 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, Minden City Hall.

“Providing the Secretary of State has declared the mayor’s seat vacant by that time – and they can do that quickly, or not – then appointing someone should be at the top of the agenda,” Yocum said. “The Secretary of State knows it needs to be a quick turn around. I would be surprised if it is not done by next week’s council meeting.”


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Too soon gone 

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words when a person passes away far too soon, especially when that person has made such an impact on his community and the people in it. Terry Gardner was more than a mayor. In a sense, he was Minden.

In the 44 years he lived here he made a lasting mark. His business ventures, which began in earnest in 1983 with TG Companies, expanded until he headed a myriad of enterprises that ranged from lawn care and landscaping to real estate. 

Those ventures focused on making things fresh and attractive now, and for the future. He pumped new life into old things. He looked beyond the surface and saw what things could be. He brought that same philosophy to the mayor’s chair a too-short three years ago.

But, as we have learned, TG was a major part of the life of Minden before he became head of the city’s government. His list of civic involvement and achievements is lengthy. When a worthy cause or organization needed a helping hand, TG volunteered his service. Service. That was more than a word to him.

We won’t list everything of which he was an integral part. That would require more than 50 mentions. Suffice it to say that his achievements were rewarded when he was named in 2013 as Minden’s Man of the Year. It’s an honor he cherished, but in typical TG fashion, it was not one he set out to achieve. He was just doing the right things as he saw the needs. He sought the satisfaction of service, not accolades.

Many TG accomplishments did not involve organizations or events that would receive public attention. They were some of his most satisfying moments.  Through his companies, he gave countless young persons opportunities to grow and mature regardless of their past. His vision for young people, and his efforts to help them improve themselves, will be a part of his legacy.   

A personal note in his bio noted, “He never hesitates to help his fellow man, no matter what the circumstances. He believes everyone has a place in life and he does anything he can to guide them in the right direction.” And he did it without fanfare; without publicity; without seeking approval from others.

There’s more we could say, but a good man has left us and in doing so, has left a void that will remain unfilled. Our comfort should be the sure knowledge that Terry Gardner now is embraced by a Peace that defies Earthly understanding.

TG may be gone, but he left us a foundation; a building block for the future. Hopefully, those who follow him will also be builders and not a wrecking crew.

Here’s hoping our officials will step up and continue TG’s vision for Minden. It will require selfless servants, willing to look beyond the confines of ego and a thirst for power. Minden needs people who envision a city where each citizen is critical to progress. 

Hostility and shortsightedness aren’t qualities of leaders, but are traits our city council seems to have developed. Now, with an opening in the mayor’s office, we need  to see some attitude adjustments. Those could come this Fall at election time, or we could continue to travel in a rut of our own doing. And as a wise man once said, a rut is only a grave with both ends open.


Terry Gardner and Chairman of the Board as a pup.

WPSO CID solves burglary of firearms store 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigative Division has solved the burglary of a local firearms store.

Sheriff Jason Parker said there were three arrests – two juveniles and one 18-year-old – were made after discovery was made of the break-in at the U.S. Hwy. 80 east location.

“All three of those are from Bienville Parish,” Parker said. “They broke in and stole 12 handguns – the store owner discovered it June 13.”

Parker said video surveillance footage aided in the arrests.

“We worked in conjunction with Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office and were able to make a positive ID,” said the sheriff.  “One is 14, one is 15 and the 18-year-old is identified as James Havard.”

The two younger boys were arrested in Webster Parish June 24 and released to their parents. They face juvenile court proceedings in Webster Parish.

Havard was arrested on a traffic stop in Bienville Parish June 18, and 2 of the stolen handguns were discovered in his vehicle. The guns have been confirmed as stolen from the Hwy. 80 firearms store.

“Havard was arrested in Bienville Parish,” he added. “He is being held there until he can be arrested on our charges, which are criminal damage to property, simple burglary and theft of firearms.”

Parker said his department is still investigating the location of the other 10 handguns. All 3 subjects have reportedly confessed to the theft.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Take a stroll through Minden

The Bates-Fogle-Irving-Love residence on Fort Ave., Minden, La.

By Paige Nash

A Minden Residential Walking Tour has been added to the “Visit Webster Parish” app. This is a free app made available by the Webster Parish Convention & Visitors Commission since the launch in 2019. It is a great way for visitors and Minden residents to become better acquainted with the beautiful historic architecture located downtown.  

The Minden Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Webster Parish as a whole offers 130 listings on the register, with 126 of them located in Minden. The listings include businesses, community spaces and residences.  

The unique homes featured offer a range of styles to be admired, including Greek, Gothic and Spanish Colonial Revival. Some date back as early as circa 1850, when the city was officially incorporated.  

“Our community is thriving with architecture, history and unique stories from families who’ve contributed to Minden in a number of ways,” said Serena Gray, Executive Director of Webster Parish Convention & Visitors Commission. 

The walking tour spotlights 14 stops, including one of the oldest properties in North Louisiana, the Bates-Fogle-Irving- Love Residence. This home has ties to the founder of Minden, Charles Hans Veeder. 

To begin a tour, you can choose any of the stops as a starting location, which will bring up a geographical map that will give you directions. As you approach each stop you can view details and individual history about the homes or churches on the app.  

The tour also includes a few homes near the downtown community in addition to the listings on the National Register. “There are homes near the designated Historic Residential District that are considered non-contributing properties, however due to their beauty, history, and charm we’ve featured them on our tour.” 

This is a great alternative to the private or group tours that used to take place during the holiday season and certain events throughout the year but has since become a rarer occurrence due to Covid-19.  

This tour is completely free and a great way for visitors and even long-time locals to learn more about the history of these beautiful properties. You can begin your tour anytime by downloading the “Visit Webster Parish” app and clicking on the tours feature.  

The WPCVC is eager to expand and is accepting submissions from homeowners who would like to be featured on the tour. If interested, you can send details attaching an image, address and history of the home to serena@visitwebster.net.


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Homer man arrested on drug charges in Minden

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Failing to secure a load of trash in the back of a vehicle landed a Homer man in a Webster Parish jail.

Steven R. Evans, 42, of the 500 block of Bella Vista Rd., Homer, was arrested by Minden Police Monday for possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to secure load.

Chief Steve Cropper said Off. Jared McIver initiated the stop on Evans’ pick-up truck when he noticed the unsecured load of trash and debris.

“The officer made contact with the driver who was later identified as Evans,” Cropper said. “Evans did not have a driver’s license and gave the officer the last name of Tims. A license could not be found for Steven Tims, either.”

Cropper said the subject finally provided the last name Evans and a NCIC check showed no license.

McIver, with the aid of Ofc. Reece Tewell, approached the vehicle to check for registration and insurance information.

“The officer detected the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle,” said the chief. “When asked, Evans admitted there may be a ‘little marijuana’ inside.”

After advising Evans of his rights, officers searched his vehicle and reportedly discovered a partially-smoked marijuana cigarette inside a cigarette package.

“When they looked further, they located a clear Zip Loc bag lying on the front seat underneath a box. The bag contained 3.5 grams of suspected methamphetamine,” Cropper said. “”A glass pipe used to smoke meth was wrapped in an orange bandana and found in the ash tray.

Evans was placed under arrest and booked on the above charges.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Out of the mouths (and noses) of babes

I am back with another rendition of, “Things Ashton Says.”  

Ashton is my charismatic four-year-old daughter, and she keeps me in stitches over some of the things that come out of her mouth daily.  

Yesterday, she was playing with her little sister, my one-year-old, Kameron. While they were playing Kameron sneezed on her. Ashton of course was totally disgusted and told her sister, “Gross! Do not put your blessings on me.”  

I laughed so hard that I shed a few tears.  

Like most people, when someone sneezes in our vicinity, we say, “Bless you.” I do not know why we say this? 

There are quite a few theories, the most popular originating from Rome during the bubonic plague. One of the plague’s main symptoms was sneezing, so Pope Gregory I suggested saying a special prayer every time you or someone near you sneezed. If you would say, “God bless you,” it would protect the infected sneezer from dying.  

There are other theories about sneezing expelling evil spirits from the body, or your heart stopping when you sneeze, but I like the bubonic plague one the best, so we will go with that one.  

This hilarious little interaction between my two babies got me thinking on some types of ways we can be a blessing to others. How can we bless those around us, a person or family in our parish? 

So, I produced a little list, if any of you readers felt inspired to “put your blessings” on someone else. 

Recently, the Joe Leblanc Food Pantry has installed two “Little Free Pantries” around town. The first is located at The Farm of Cultural Crossroads and the newest addition just went up outside Mercy’s Closet. These pantries rely on the help of the community to keep them stocked with food or you could go by the food pantry and volunteer your time to help distribute food to families in need.  

Since we mentioned Mercy’s Closet, they are another great non-profit that blesses many. They make it their mission to supply underprivileged men, women and children with basic needs, such as clothing, uniforms, linens, shoes, and books. If you have anything like this that you are no longer using, load it up and bring it over to their location on Sibley Road.  

You could also donate baby supplies to SEEDS Women’s Center, who offer many services for pregnant women in our community. They have a Facebook page you can follow to stay updated on their current needs and they are always looking for people to help to organize, clean or fundraise. The Webster Case Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) may be willing to use a little bit of your time, as well.  

These are only a few great ways within our community to bless someone. I encourage you to take a few minutes of your time to see what important things these nonprofits, along with others, are doing in our parish.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom and writer for The Webster Parish Journal.)


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OPPORTUNITY: Accounting Assistant 

The City of Minden has an IMMEDIATE NEED

FT ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT

This is a clerical position that requires the use of various accounting software programs to track and reconcile a wide range of financial transactions.

Responsible for maintaining financial records, ensuring payments and receivables are current. Involved in a wide range of activities/functions in the City Clerk’s office including heavy in-house payroll responsibilities.

Education and/or Experience:

·         High School diploma or GED required.

·         Post-secondary education with focused course work in accounting and bookkeeping preferred.

·         One to two years administrative, clerical and accounting experience required, preferably with city government.  Experience involving governmental funds or related accounts desirable.

Work hours:  7:30am-4pm Monday-Friday

Location: City Hall, Minden, Louisiana

Benefits:   HEALTH, DENTAL, VISION BENEFITS, RETIREMENT, PAID HOLIDAYS & SICK/VACATION LEAVE

Starting pay:  $15.76/hr. D.O.E.

To apply or view a brief job description go online www.mindenla.org/job-listings/ or pick up an application at City Hall, 520 Broadway, Minden, Louisiana.

Background and drug screen will be conducted.

The City of Minden is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 


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KTBS, BPPJ team up to host Fourth celebration

South Bossier Parish will be in the spotlight Monday, July 4 when the KTBS Freedom Festival giant fireworks display ignites at South Bossier Park, illuminating one of the parish police jury’s top recreational and sports facilities.

Monday’s fireworks display is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m., and visitors attending the event will be allowed to enter beginning at 5 p.m. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies will be supervising parking and traffic control, and will be joined by the police jury’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit to provide safety and security.

Plans have been made to further ensure the safety of persons attending the display. South Bossier Fire District #2 will have units on hand for the evening, and the Bossier Parish EMS will also be present in case of medical emergency. 

“Our goal is to be host to an event that will be entertaining and safe for everyone,” said Bossier Parks and Recreation Director Warren Saucier. “There’s been a lot of hard work and planning to make this an event for all our people. It’s also been a great example of how all our agencies can come together and make things work.”

In addition to ample designated parking areas for personal vehicles, a space has also been set aside for recreational vehicles. 

“We received some phone calls asking if RVs would be permitted and we agreed,” Saucier said. “We’ve designated a very attractive area near the bayou (Red Chute), but there will not be power available. The RVs need to be able to provide their own power.”

Saucier said individuals can watch the fireworks from their vehicles since visibility at the park will be unobstructed. If persons prefer, a large area has been designated for anyone who wishes to bring lawn chairs or blankets and view the display outside.

Those planning to attend Monday’s event will have the opportunity to eat on the grounds with three food trucks setting up to provide treats for all ages. Handling those food services will be Larry P’s Boiling Pot (fried catfish, fried shrimp), Tasty Treats (snow cones, wraps, burgers, po-boys), and Southern Paradise Sneaux (snow cones).

“There will be good food available from these trucks, so that means people won’t have to go out to eat before they come here,” Saucier said. “This can be one giant picnic and I know everyone will enjoy themselves.”

Persons attending this first-ever event are asked to refrain from bringing grills or any other cooking devices. No open fires will be permitted. Also, Saucier said there will be a zero tolerance policy on alcohol at the park. Individuals are also cautioned against bringing glass containers to the event.

South Bossier Park is located off Caplis Sligo Rd. and first-time visitors will get a look at what is quickly becoming a popular event destination. Already, soccer and football fields are heavily used, baseball and softball fields are maintained for practice, and public school cross country events are a staple. 

Future plans call for even more expansion of facilities at the 100-acre complex, which is also known as the William A. “Buddy” Lucky III Field of Dreams. 

“We’re hoping this is just the first of many years the Bossier Parish Police Jury will be partnering with KTBS for this special Fourth of July celebration,” said Bossier Parish Administrator Butch Ford. “It’s going to be great to watch this event grow and to watch south Bossier park meet its full potential.” 

Directions to the park:

Visitors from the west, can follow Clyde Fant Memorial Pkwy. from Shreveport across the Jimmy Davis Bridge to the Arthur Ray Teague Pkwy. south/east to LA Hwy. 612–Sligo Rd.– approximately 5 miles to Caplis Sligo Rd. Turn right onto Caplis Sligo Rd. approximately ) 8-tenths of a mile to right onto S. Bossier Park Dr.

Visitors from the east: Take LA Hwy.157 south from Haughton and travel roughly 4 and a half miles south. Turn right onto LA Hwy. 612 (Sligo Rd.) and drive west approximately 5 and a half miles.  Turn left onto Caplis Sligo Rd. for 8-tenths of a mile turn onto S Bossier Park Dr. 

From Bossier City, drivers can take U.S. 71 south approximately 4 miles south of  the city limits to LA 612 (Sligo Rd.) and turn left. 


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Opossum at The Farm

By Tina Montgomery

The question on everyone’s mind Friday night at The Farm of Cultural Crossroads was Opossum, Where Art Thou? 

Where indeed! The comedy band Opossum, Where Art Thou? aka The Dirtbag Band from Ratchet-Land entertained the 21+ age crowd with their own style of “filthy outlaw country” in a set that was often raunchy, very comical and definitely not for folks with delicate sensibilities. The act was the second in the Fourth Fridays music series scheduled this summer at The Farm.

Executive Director Brandi Cade said the music series came together when she started reaching out to local musicians and artists to provide entertainment for Minden. 

“The mission [of The Farm] is to unite all people through the arts,” Cade said. The Farm at Cultural Crossroads is now in its 30th year promoting that mission.  After a near 2-year hiatus due to the covid pandemic, the 4 acre setting is again hosting numerous events this year.

 “It’s such a magical place” Cade said. 

She and the Board are working to bring more artists and musicians for area residents to discover art in all its forms. 

Regarding this music series, Cade said “People should come and enjoy it with their families. Even if you think you may not like a particular style of music, come on out to enjoy it. You may be surprised at finding something new you like.”

 Fourth Fridays at The Farm music series runs through August 26. Cade is hoping the series continues through the Fall if enough talent can be booked for performances. 

The dates for future Fourth Fridays are July 22 and August 26. These shows are family friendly and free of charge. Attendees can expect to hear different musical stylings and see the works of local artists. Cade encourages families to come out with their children and bring lawn chairs or blankets for an evening of fun.


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