Minden: Weather service has confirmed the storm was a tornado

A large area of Minden remains without power today and likely will be through the weekend into Monday.
Mayor Terry Gardner said the National weather service has confirmed the storm was a tornado.
He asked that residents stay home if at all possible. If not, avoid the following streets:

Homer Road from the library to Minden Family Dental
The downtown boulevard, which is closed
Lewisville Road at Tillman
Gardner said another crew has come in to aid the city in removing downed trees and power lines.

Photo:  Webster Parish Journal

City of Minden crews are stretched to the limit to repair power lines and remove trees from the roads. Minden Mayor Terry Gardner said outside crews were brought in to help.

Suspect Swallows Evidence

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A fugitive from the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office has been arrested by Minden Police, but only after a struggle ending in the suspect swallowing part of the evidence.

Dexter Donnell Walker, 41, of the 200 block of Syrup Mill Road, Minden, was arrested by MPD for resisting by force or violence, possession of Methamphetamine, obstruction of justice and as a fugitive from WPSO.

“Officer Mathew Hicks was notified by Webster Narcotics Agent Shawn Jenkins that he was following Walker on McIntyre Street, and that he was a known fugitive through the sheriff’s office,” Minden Police Chief Steve Copper said. “Hicks initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of E. Union and Gleason streets and identified the driver as Walker.”

Hicks reportedly noticed Walker grabbing his waistband as he exited the vehicle. He also said he noticed Walker had a gray baggie clinched in his right hand and what appeared to be a cell phone in his left hand.

“When Off. Hicks ordered Walker to place his hands on the hood of the vehicle, Walker would not unclench his hand,” Cropper said. “As Hicks reached to grab his hand, Walker tensed his arms, jerked away and ran from the officer.”

As Hicks reportedly placed Walker on the ground, the suspect tucked his right arm beneath his abdomen to avoid being handcuffed.

“Agent Jenkins showed up to help with the arrest, and Walker put the gray baggie in his mouth before they cuffed him,” said the chief. “The officers could see parts of the baggie inside his mouth and tried to retrieve it. Then Walker swallowed the baggie.”

When officers searched Walker, the reportedly found a small orange baggie containing suspected Methamphetamine in his right pants pocket. MPD Officer Michael Cayer, who had arrived on the scene, located 38 counterfeit 100-dollar bills in the driver’s seat of Walker’s vehicle.

Deputies and officers found other counterfeit bills in the car, as well as a small clear baggie of suspected methamphetamines in the pocket of clothing in the trunk.

After a trip to Minden Medical Center, Walker was booked at MPD and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

City of Minden Youth Baseball and Softball Roundup

Results of recent games as reported by the City of Minden’s recreation staff:

Dixie Belles (13-14 girls softball)

Webster 7, North Webster 0: Lyndsay Ryan allowed only a hit by Kylee Sanders in the three-inning win. Brooklyn Edwards and Durryian Flournoy led the Webster offense.

North Webster 5, Legends 5: A two-run rally in the final at-bat earned a tie for Legends. Webster posted all its runs in the top of the first. For Legends, Aleena Duran doubled twice, Dixie Williams tripled and Caryn Kizzia scored a crucial run.

Duran and Williams combined to strike out 11 North Webster ihtters (7 by Duran in three innings). Kenzy Brown pitched all five innings for NW.

Hot Shots 15, Haughton 6: The winners scored five runs in each of their three at-bats. Leading the offense for the Hot Shots were Lydia Billups, Hadley Haynes and Erin Keel. Billups and Keel handled the duties in the circle for the Hot Shots, while Tae Boaz and Cheyenne Collins pitched for Haughton.

Dixie Boys (13-14 boys baseball)

Webster 6, Lakeside 3: Three runs in the top of the final (fourth) inning made the difference for Webster, which held off a Lakeside rally that produced a run in the bottom half.

Webster’s offensive leaders were Hudson Brown, Dawson Day (who doubled), Jacob Jefferson and Ryder Miller. Day, Bryson Ranger and Brown combined to handle the pitching duties.

For Lakeside, Landon Brewer, Brock Case and Nolan Waller were the most productive at the plate, with Brewer and Case each cracking doubles. Brewer, Case (both striking out three) and Jake Glass did the pitching.

Tigers 14, Haynesville 0: Austin Cooper and Kaidyn Williams both doubled and scored two runs for the Tigers who got two hits from Nash Warren and Zach Boyler. Austin Cooper and Blake Bown tallied twice, as did Boyler.

Jason Perry threw a complete-game, four-inning shutout, allowing three singles (to Haynesville’s Logan Childress, Hayden Gilbert and Cason Halter) and striking out six.

Dixie Angels (girls)

Lady Legends 10, Bat Attitude 0: Ella Wood hammered a home run while Rhea Walker and Memnincey James both had two hits for the winners. Also leading the Lady Legends onslaught were Kylie Ferguson, Kenzie Paminolen and Zoey Shirley. James, Waller and Wood each scored twice.

Lainie Gilcrease and Kaydn Thompson each singled for Bat Attitude.

Ponytails (9-10 girls)

Legends 10, Stackers 8: Brooke Edwards struck out 4 Legends batters while Lylah Huddleston fanned 2 Stackers hitters. No offensive highlights were reported.

Dixie AAA Boys (9-10)

Chaos 10, Citizens 8: Luke Bailey tripled and scored twice, and Colton Miller doubled and scored for Chaos in the slugfest. Offensive standouts included Lawson Shars and Dane Weaver (each with two runs scored), along with Mac Vanolenord, Hunter Williams, Carson Punis and Wyatt Johnson.

Citizens got a triple from Cameron Henderson and doubles by Camden Grubbs, A.J. Hawley and Rylan Bailey. Jace Waller scored three runs and Max Wimberley crossed home twice. Other offensive contributions came from Colton Toland and Grey Walker.

N&J Oilfield 13, Frontliners 9: Meki Parker had two hits and scored three times for N&J, while Canyon Borden and Tate Lowe both scored a pair of runs. Other offensive leaders were Brayden Curtis, Michael Smith, Pete Hudson, Braxton Taylor, Konnor Pruett, Andrew Bogues and Brock Bradford.

The Frontliners got doubles by Saige Pierre and Brody Shockley, who scored two runs. Chase Daniel also tallied twice. More offensive contributions came from Clayden Fowler, Hunter Hansen, Michael Sumrall and Everett Nelson.

Colton Cooper recorded all nine outs by strikeouts in his three innings on the mound for the Frontliners. Lowe was nearly as salty for N&J with 8 Ks in his three innings on the bump.

AA Coach Pitch (boys)

Coyotes 3, Hawks 2: Marcus Johnson tripled three times for the Hawks but the Coyotes prevailed.

Rana Brown and Tucker Madden each had two hits for the winners. Singles came by Sawyer Fleming, Jack Beard, Bryson Simmons and Gunner Pittman.

The Hawks got two hits from Landrie Myers while Jacion Baiceon, Seth Wallace and Brandon Williams each had singles.

Skeeters 18, Astros 4: Peyton Williams doubled, tripled and homered to pace the rout, while Jordyn Hartwell also had three hits. Brant Bridges, Andrew Scriber, Cade Smith, Cason Wichlens and Gray Williams all contributed two singles for the Skeeters.

The Astros got two doubles by Gavin Sparks and another from Rendric McClendon, who scored twice. Brantlee Smith singled two times. Colton Alley and Gunner Sparks each had base hits.

Dixie Darlings (girls)

Fury 4, Darling Divas 2: Lyndsey Billups homered and scored twice while Arlington Austin and Kaylee McDonald had a pair of hits to lead the Fury. Kynlee Garms, Marian Wimberly and Olivia Young delivered singles.

Presley Barton, Laikyn Hollingsworth and Clara Williams all had two hits for the Divas. Amber Aubrey, Anna Beth Brown, Presley Nelson and Willow Still each singled.

Competitive T-ball

Fairway Carts 28, Tigers 23: Dalton Glover tripled twice and doubled for the winners. Eli Curley, Brooks McCullough, Reginald Seamster and Taylor Watkins each cracked three hits while Wesley Campbell, Braydon Dulaney, Skyler Malone and Reed Powell contributed two apiece for Fairway Carts. Malone homered and Dulaney tripled, while Austin Ramsay, Evan Harmon, Campbell and Powell doubled.

For the Tigers, three hits each were delivered by Lejerrius Bryant, Waylon Chapman, J.D. Greer, Hunter Holly and Dylan Pamintuan. Wilder Butler and Corbin Toland both doubled twice while Nikko Jimenez, Landon Kinsey and John Whitehead added a pair of singles each.

Photo: City of Minden Recreation Dept.

ROAD CLOSURE: LA 532 overpass at I-20, Webster Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that beginning on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, LA 532 will be closed on the south end of the overpass at I-20 near Minden in Webster Parish.

This closure is part of the ongoing LA 532 overpass replacement project.

No traffic will be allowed to access I-20 or the LA 532 overpass from the south side of the interstate. Motorists will still be able to access I-20 from the north side of LA 532 during this closure.

This closure is anticipated to last approximately one week, and is part of a series of closures that will be conducted in phases in order to minimize the inconvenience to the traveling public. Future closures are planned, and may last for a longer period of time.

Additional updates will be issued via MyDOTD for future closures on LA 532 as the project progresses.

These closures are necessary to begin tying the new roadway in to the newly constructed LA 532 overpass.

Alternate route: Detour signage will be in place.

Restrictions/Permits: Total road closure on LA 532 on the south side of I-20. Motorists will need to follow detour as posted.

This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.

Safety reminder:

DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Area residents should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking near an active construction zone.

Sheriff Approves Company’s Bid for Tax Exemption; School Board to Vote in June

By Bonnie Culverhouse

While the Webster Parish Police Jury prepares to revisit their decision to deny a new company’s request for tax exemption, Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker has agreed, as another taxing district, to grant the wish of E.I. Williams.

“Yes, we will be losing money by exempting them for the five years they have requested, but you have to look at the overall picture,” Parker said. “The money we will receive is money we wouldn’t have if they weren’t here.”

E.I. Williams, located in the North Webster Industrial District, is Canada-based. The company manufactures silencers and mufflers to be used in the power generation industry. Fibrebond in Minden is their main customer.

According to the Webster Parish Assessor, the company’s estimated investment on the building was more than $800,000, with machinery and equipment coming in at more than $900,000. It would have an assessed value of around $290,000.

The Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) would exempt more than $230,000.

Assessor Denise Edwards said the ITEP program has not always worked this way.

“Until 2016, the state had control of ITEP,” Edwards said. “If we sent the state the application, they would exempt them off the tax roll.”

She said Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order in 2016, stating local taxing districts deserve some input “because it is really their money – it’s not the state’s money.”

The order passed the vote to the police jury, sheriff (who collects taxes) and the school board. They were allowed to negotiate the percentage and the number of years for the exemption. Edwards said that lasted one year.

In a second executive order, Gov. Edwards changed the wording to exempt 80 percent.

“At first, if one of the three districts said ‘no,’ it was turned down. It had to be unanimous,” she said. “Now, each one of them decides for their own taxes.”

At their last regular meeting, the police jury cast a negative vote, while the sheriff held a town hall meeting and, after talking with attendees, case a positive vote. The police jury may discuss the issue at their next meeting.

The Webster Parish School Board is expected to vote at the June meeting.

Arrest Reports

DeRocko Roshon Castle, 30, of the 700 block of E. Union Street, was arrested by Minden Police following two early morning disturbances. Castle is charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, felony theft of a motor vehicle and simple criminal damage to property.

Michael Carlos Solomon, 35, of the 2700 block of Mystic Lake Drive, Orlando, Fla., was arrested by Louisiana State Police and charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute.

Randall L. Swilley, no age available, of the 21000 block of Hwy. 371, Cotton Valley, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies for distribution of Methamphetamine, possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of Marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Allen Douglas Carter, 56, of the 900 block of Kirsopp Ave., Pittsburgh, Penn., was arrested by Louisiana State Troopers for possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute. Following a traffic stop for improper lane usage, A K-9 free air sniff alerted to approximately 245.2 pouns of suspected Marijuana in the rear cargo area of Carter’s GMC Yukon.

DeMonte Brantley, 19, of the 1100 block of 4th SW Street, Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for aggravated burglary. Brantley is charged with breaking into a Springhill residence and stealing a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver.

Monica L. Daniels, 42, of the 300 block of Gilbert Street, Minden, was arrested by Minden Police and charged with possession of Marijuana, Ecstasy and drug paraphernalia. A search of her residence revealed one multi-colored SpongeBob porcelain container with 3 Ecstasty tablets, one clear Mason jar with 2.2 grams of natural Marijuana, one metal “Two-tti Fruity” container with 12.6 grams of natural Marijuana, two grinders and one blue glass smoking device. Total weight of confiscated Marijuana was 15.5 grams. Daniels was booked at MPD and transported to BDCC.

Troy Shane West Jr., 23, of the 800 block of Kennon Street, Minden, was arrested by Louisiana State Police and charged with driving while intoxicated, first offense.

Tommy James Mills, 32, of the 1400 block of Hwy. 159, Shongaloo, was arrested by WPSO deputies for simple burglary and felony theft.

Travis Barton, 43, of the 200 block of Shirley Drive, Minden, was arrested by Minden PD for felony domestic abuse battery after striking his live-in girlfriend with a vacuum cleaner.

Doyline Community Blood Drive to Support Local Child: Kaylee Wallace

There will be a Community Blood Drive this Saturday, May 29 at the Doyline Community Center from 8:30 am – 2 pm. For every unit of blood collected, LifeShare Blood Center will donate $15 to Kaylee Wallace to help fund her treatment needs. Kaylee is fighting leukemia at St. Jude’s.

Please eat a solid meal, drink plenty of water (little/no caffeine), and don’t forget to bring your picture ID.

Click Here to schedule your donation.  

If you don’t know what time you can donate please choose “Plan on coming.” Walk-ins are welcome but it helps LifeShare to know how many are wanting to donate so they don’t run out of supplies.

Cultural Crossroads Names MHS Grad as ‘Pearl’

Recent Minden High School graduate Chris Batton is the recipient of the Cultured Pearl Scholarship for 2021.

The scholarship, sponsored by Cultural Crossroads of Minden, will be awarded at an upcoming gallery event from 5 until 7 p.m., June 5, at The Farm on the corner of E. Union and Talton streets.

Batton has been a long-time student of Jennifer Heard, who teaches weekly art classes at The Farm.

“Chris has an immense passion for the Arts,” said Cultural Crossroads member Brandi Cade. “For this reason, the Board of Directors has voted that he be awarded this scholarship.”

During the gallery event showcasing his work, Batton will be presented his award with family and friends in attendance. Light refreshments will be served, and the public is invited to attend the first gallery showing at The Farm in several years.

“There will be more to come later this year featuring a diverse selection of local artists,” Cade said.

Local Chamber Getting Back into Swing

By Bonnie Culverhouse

The year 2020 left no one unscathed, including the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce. But President/CEO Jana Morgan says businesses in Minden are making a comeback, and her organization is doing everything they can to ensure their 243 active members can do just that.

“As far as 2021, everything will happen between now and December,” Morgan said.

For instance, Morgan said “Duck Derby” will kick off July 2.

“We sell the ducks and, of course, every dollar the Chamber brings in goes back into the community,” Morgan said. “Besides to keep our lights on, we just use the money to provide business owners and businesses the opportunity to promote themselves.”

At Duck Derby, Chamber members are offered the opportunity to purchase a booth to promote their business.

“We sell ducks at integral dollar amounts,” Morgan said. “We race them down Main Street. We build our own big plastic ‘avenue’ we put together and release water from the hydrant. The current takes the ducks down the street.”

Duck tickets are sold online at greaterchamber.com or in person at the Chamber office.

When the sun sets, Morgan said there will be fireworks downtown to celebrate July 4, even though it is July 2.

“There will be a handful of vendors and jump houses for the kids,” she added. “It is a great opportunity for people to come out and celebrate with their families.”

The Chamber will be involved with “Grillin’ on Main,” in June, however, that will mostly go through the city while the Chamber supports it by sharing a booth with Tourism.

“Then we will roll right into WEEF in August,” Morgan said. It is the Webster Education Endowment Fund, which was not recognized in 2020.

“We are going to offer scholarships this year for the teachers, since we can get back into the schools,” she said.

Another Chamber-sponsored event that was not recognized last year was Webster Youth Leadership and Webster Adult Leadership.

“Nothing happened except 15 Under 40 last year,” she pointed out. “That was it, except for First Responders (recognition banquet). It really wasn’t what anybody hoped it would be.”

Currently, the Chamber is accepting nominations for “Businessperson of the Year,” “Business of the Year” and “all the awards we normally give away. And of course, “Woman of the Year” and “Man of the Year” are also incorporated in that same frame,” she said.

Those awards are made during the annual Chamber Banquet, which will be held September 23 this year.

“We feel like at that point we will be able to get 500 in the Minden Civic Center, rather than the 250 it is right now,” Morgan said.

Update: Section of LA 164 reopened

DOTD advises motorists that as of May 25 at 6 pm, LA 164 between Ponder Road and Sherwood Lane near Sibley in Webster Parish has been REOPENED.

The contractor will now proceed with the patch, mill and overlay portion of the project. This will require intermittent lane closures as work progresses, and traffic will often be allowed through the construction zone through the use of a flagging operation. Motorists should be prepared for possible delays during these operations.

DOTD strongly urges motorists to pay attention to advance warning signs prior to entering the work zone, adhere to the posted speed limit, and avoid driving distracted at all times.

Previous notification:

(UPDATE (5/21/2021): Due to recent inclement weather, the road closure on LA 164 between Ponder Road and Sherwood Lane near Sibley in Webster Parish is extended until Tuesday, May 25, 2021 to allow the contractor to perform the necessary dirt work for the roadway elevation portion of this project.

DOTD would like to remind motorists to pay attention to advance warning signage indicating an upcoming road closure, and to NEVER drive around ‘Road Closed’ barricades at any time for any reason. These actions are unlawful and extremely unsafe.

Notice of Death – May 26, 2021

Buddy Mock
July 15, 1941 – April 9, 2021
Service: 10:00 a.m., Sunday, June 13, 2021
Location: Dixie Gin, 6596 Sentell Road, Shreveport, Louisiana.

Martha R. Nornberg
September 10, 1924 – May 19, 2021
Cemetery: May 30, 2021 at 3:00pm at the Pelican Cemetery, Pelican, LA.

Roy Franklin Sisson III
October 18, 1952 – May 20, 2021
Visitation: Friday, May 28, 2021 12:00pm – 2:00pm; Rose-Neath in Mansfield, LA.
Service: 2:00Pm on Friday, May 28, 2021; Rose-Neath in Mansfield, LA.

Governor Buddy Roemer
October 4, 1943 – May 17, 2021
Visitation and Service: First United Methodist Church Shreveport on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. until service time at 11:00 a.m.

Ronald Dean Crain, Jr.
May 6, 1959 – May 21, 2021
Visitation:  9:00 a.m. until time of service
Service: 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall Street, Shreveport, Louisiana.  Cemetery:  immediately follow the service in Forest Park Cemetery, St. Vincent.

State Senate recognizes Minden’s St. Jude Auction

By Bonnie Culverhouse

For more than 40 years, Minden has been a top contributor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

State Sen. Robert Mills, District 36, felt like now was a good time to recognize the hard-working people who have kept the auction, thus many children, alive and growing.

“You people have stepped up year after year after year and done something pretty remarkable,” Mills told the workers during a recognition ceremony at Minden City Hall Friday. “So, I wanted something in the state records that memorialized what you’ve done.”

Despite the pandemic and some significant hurdles, Minden’s auction raised more than $1.6M for the hospital in 2020-2021. Since its inception, the Minden St. Jude Auction has raised more than $20M for children’s research benefitting St. Jude.

Mills’ resolution recognizes Minden and the surrounding communities for raising more money per capita than any other city in the United States.

“It allows me to brag about you,” Mills added.

Auction co-chairman Melissa Brown said this isn’t the first time the state Legislature has recognized the St. Jude Auction, however, it is always appreciated.

“The notoriety is helpful,” Brown said. “We put it on social media, and there are people who follow us and hopefully spend their money to help the children. It helps him (Mills), it helps us and it helps our event. Our following on social media, especially this past year with the pandemic, has been one of our most important tools.”

Auction worker Mike Harper agreed.

“It think this recognition is a very good thing for us,” Harper said. “It gives us as workers a boost, too.”

Lakeside students learn about German traditions in honor of exchange student

Mrs. Carrie Woodard’s class at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School learned about German traditions and foods in honor of German exchange student Toni Voss. Toni, a junior, is enrolled in Mrs. Woodard’s Family  and Consumer Sciences class this semester. Students made German meatballs and noodles, Strawberry Swiss Roll, German potato bake, chicken no peek, cheese and pretzel board and Toni created the German version of Mac n cheese! The kids really enjoyed learning about Toni’s culture and foods.

Webster Parish raises awareness for National Safe Boating Week

So many people throughout Webster Parish celebrated #wearyourlifejackettoworktoday on May 21 to help promote National Safe Boating Week. 

Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day helps kickoff National Safe Boating Week, taking place May 22-28, 2021. Help usher in the summer boating season by refreshing yourself and your loved ones on the importance of always wearing a life jacket, and adopting other safe boating behaviors.

Why Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day? In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that 86% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. We want to help reverse this statistic. Life jackets should be worn at all times on the water and Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day is a great way to show the world it’s normal, expected (and comfortable!) to wear a life jacket.

Be safe out there this Summer.

Register NOW for Library’s Pysanky Egg Art Classes on June 26

You may not know it but there’s an incredible Pysanky Egg Artist working at the Webster Parish Library. On Saturday June 26 she is hosting an entire day of Pysanky classes free to the public from 9-11 am, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm and 2-4 pm. This event is for ages 12 and up.

This is a registration-only event as class size is extremely limited. You will be walked through the entire process of this ancient art form using tools specifically designed to create intricate detail on the eggs.

Contact Jennifer Heard at 371-3080 ext 116 to register for one of the classes we have scheduled for that day.

Come learn something new at your library!

Minden’s Lou Dunbar headed for Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame next month

Minden native Lou Dunbar, one of Webster Parish’s all-time sports heroes who became an iconic personality for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, will be honored next month with induction in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.

His Induction Celebration is June 24-26.

Dunbar, who led Webster High to a 1971 Class AA state championship and was named Mr. Louisiana Basketball, was a collegiate star at the University of Houston. Since his college career, he’s been with the Globetrotters, playing into his 40s before shifting to coaching and administrative roles.

Throughout his world travels, his days in Minden and his deep ties to the community have always been treasured.

“It’s home,” said a man who made the world his home in his professional career. “My family, my oldest friends, they’re in and around Minden. So this is a very special honor to share with them.”

He is among 11 sports figures selected for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. Their enshrinement was originally set for last summer, then December, and postponed both times due to COVID-19 protocols.

The 2020 LSHOF Induction Celebration festivities are based in Natchitoches, the home of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

The free-of-charge La Capitol Kickoff Reception Thursday evening, June 24, from 5-7 at the museum starts the festivities. The BOM Bowling Bash is Friday in Shreveport, followed by a free Rockin’ River Fest concert Friday night in Natchitoches sponsored by Rapides Regional Medical Center. There’s a free Junior Training Camp Saturday morning from 9-11, a Roundtable Luncheon from noon-1:30, then the Induction Warmup Reception at the museum and the Induction Ceremony presented by State Farm Agents of Louisiana on Saturday evening, June 26.

Ticket purchases are available through the LaSportsHall.com website. For more information or assistance, call the Hall of Fame Foundation office at 318-238-4255.

Also headed for induction at the end of June: Eight-time world bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman, a Bastrop native and Grambling graduate, outdoorsman Phil Robertson, a Vivian native recognized internationally as the Duck Commander, and along with Pro Bowl football standout Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, a star at UL Lafayette.

The Class of 2020 also showcases two extraordinary basketball players: New Orleans native Kerry Kittles, a two-time All-America guard at Villanova who averaged 14 points in an eight-year NBA career, and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball legend Angela Turner Johnson, a Bienville Parish native who helped the Techsters to four straight national championship game appearances including wins in 1981 and 1982.

Monroe-Richwood High School football coaching icon Mackie Freeze, unbeaten as a pitcher on Grambling’s baseball team, will become the oldest-ever inductee when he is enshrined at 94.

Inducted as winners of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism will be LSU sports publicist Kent Lowe, a Shreveport native, and Baton Rouge Advocate prep sportswriter Robin Fambrough.

Opelousas native Joan Cronan, one of college sports’ most influential administrators in her career as athletics director at the University of Tennessee, will be inducted as the 2020 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner.

Enshrined as the first recipient of the Louisiana Sports Ambassador Award will be Shreveport-based broadcaster Tim Brando, whose pride in his home state has been evident throughout his four decades among the best in his business around the country.

Dunbar will join Springhill’s John David Crow and Minden’s Jackie Moreland in the LSHOF.

Webster Parish man found guilty on two counts of rape

By Bonnie Culverhouse

After three hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury has found a Webster Parish man guilty of rape charges.

Michael W. Duck, 54, was charged with one count of first-degree rape of a child under 13 years of age and one count of second-degree rape.

Duck was arrested in 2016, following an extensive investigation by the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office when one of the minor victims contacted the WPSO and reported that her stepfather had been sexually assaulting her.

During the course of the investigation, multiple other family members revealed they were also sexually assaulted by Duck.

The jury heard testimony from Detective Teresa Rogers and Detective Heather Boucher, both experts in the fields of clinical psychology, DNA analysis and sexual assault examinations as well as from multiple other victims who came forward during the investigation.

The cases allegedly took place in the Sarepta area, according to Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jimbo Yocom and Hugo Holland. District Attorney Schuyler Marvin thanked the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for their hard work and dedication finding justice for these young children.

“It is the height of evil that Michael Duck would stand before you and ask that you find him innocent when innocence is the very thing he stole from these young children,” Assistant District Attorney Jimbo Yocom told jurors.

Duck was remanded to the custody of the sheriff awaiting a pre-sentence investigation.

“The judge wants to know prior criminal history,” Parker said. “He wants as much information about his background before sentencing. This man doesn’t have a lot in his background, so there won’t be much to investigate.

“I think justice was served,” he added.

Sentencing by Judge Michael Craig is set for July 7.

The sentence for first-degree rape is a mandatory life sentence. Duck faces up to an additional 30 years for the charge of second-degree rape. He was represented by Eric Johnson and Eric Whitehead of the Johnson Law Firm.