Remembering Richard Noles

By Josh Beavers

Richard Vander Noles was a man of God.

He never wavered in that faith, and he was often fond of reading the Good Book in times of joy and sorrow. Among those passages he took to heart was Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Mr. Noles led a life of purpose and pleasing to the Lord for 79 years, and on Sunday evening, surrounded by friends and family, he was called home.

Born in Ringgold in April of 1942, Mr. Noles was father to five daughters: Karyn, Barbara, Courtney, Melody and Bethany. He was husband for 43 years to his beloved Mrs. Judy Harper Noles, and was adored by his five grandchildren: Jackson, Pierce, Carter, Graham and Adelaide. In addition, he was blessed with numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved like his own children.

One of those nephews is Johnny Rowland, who followed in his uncle’s footsteps as a teacher, principal, and now current superintendent of Webster Parish Schools.

“He was a life-long mentor, adviser, role model, and someone I turned to for advice quite often,” Rowland said.

One thing that needs to be noted, Rowland said, was that Mr. Noles always preferred to be remembered as an impactful educator who made a difference.

“Throughout all the positions he had in the education system, the one he was most proud of was the time he spent in the classroom,” the superintendent said. “But he went so far beyond that. He served as a counselor, in the parish special education department, a principal, a supervisor, and as superintendent. He literally bettered the lives of thousands and thousands of students across the parish.”

Rowland, along with his brother Jason, will speak at Mr. Noles’ funeral. He said he has been ruminating on what words to share with those in attendance, and he just keeps coming back to one theme over and over.

“All I have received over last few days are words expressing how good of a man he was, how great of a man he was,” Rowland said. “Why is that? Why do so many people feel that way about this man? I can tell you. It was because he had a kind and gentle spirit that resonated with people. They felt that in him. He was genuinely interested in your well-being, and how you were doing every time he talked to you.

“Respect, dignity and class,” Rowland continued. “That’s how he treated people.”

Mr. Noles’ life was not without tragedy. He had dark days and turbulent times; perhaps no days were bleaker than on the two occasions he lost those closest to him. In those moments of twilight, when he lost his wife Anita and daughter Bethany, he never wavered in his faith. He would quote Paul from Romans, as the apostle offered the promise of hope that no matter our feelings on a given day, loving God is part of what it means to live in Christ.

That’s who Richard Noles was. His head bloody by unbowed.

No man ever loved more or was more loved. Mr. Noles was a wise, Southern gentleman who cherished his family and the Lord with his whole heart. He reared his family on his beloved family farm in Heflin. The deed to the property purchased by his great, great grandparents in 1878 hangs in his home. His happiest days were spent on the farm, surrounded by his herd of red angus cattle, working until sunset. Over the years his children, grandchildren, and nephews worked beside him on the farm and will carry on the time-honored work ethic instilled in them by their Papa.

As an educator, Mr. Noles fueled a love of history and country within the hearts and minds of his students. As a principal he instilled hard work and self-discipline in students and was inspired by their curiosity and resilience. As a superintendent, he carried forth his love of all children to better our education system throughout Webster Parish.

“Richard loved his children at home and at school,” said Jerry Lott, the man who preceded Mr. Noles as superintendent of schools. ‘He was my counselor, my colleague, my friend. The love he had for his community was second to none. We worshipped together, went through good times together and bad times together. Through it all, Richard was always conscientious and dedicated to his family, community, and church.”

Mr. Noles served as Webster Parish Superintendent of Schools, a Board Member and Treasurer of Claiborne Electric Co-Op, President of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, and President of the Bistineau Cemetery Association. He was a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Heflin Baptist Church for decades.

Services for Mr. Noles will be held at First Baptist Church of Minden at 2 pm on Thursday, September 2nd. Pall bearers will be Elijah Butler, Jeff Harper, John David Noles, Johnny Rowland, Jason Rowland, Cory Russell, Cade Woodard, Cody Woodard and Jody Woodard. Honorary pall bearers will be the deacons of Heflin Baptist Church, Fred Evans, Jon Guice and Jerry Lott.

Guests at the service are respectfully requested to wear masks. For those that are unable to attend the service, it will be streamed by First Baptist Church of Minden.

The family suggests St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or the Heflin Baptist Church Building Fund for those who wish to make a gift in his memory.


Assessor’s Office releases first annual report

Journal Staff

Webster Parish Assessor Denise Edwards and her staff want homeowners to know they are on their side.
Edwards recently released an annual report that answers many questions concerning property and taxes.
“Keeping our citizens and taxpayers informed with up-to-date information is a high priority for the Webster Parish Assessor’s Office,” Edwards said. “With this goal as our priority, we now provide Webster Parish citizens with two means of obtaining important tax information.”

Edwards and her employees have released a newly-published, first-ever, Webster Parish Assessor’s Office Annual Report, as well as a newly-redesigned website that went live in January 2021.
“The annual report and website were created as a service to the taxpayers of Webster Parish with their needs and best interest in mind,” she said.

The report, recently mailed to all property owners, is described as a very important and understandable source of information about special tax exemptions, special property assessment freezes, how property tax dollars are spent and how property is assessed.

The website allows property owners from home or office to file online for Homestead Exemption, locate property ownerships, view digital aerial photographs and maps and obtain assessed property values, legal descriptions, estimated amount of property taxes and other helpful information that pertains to the Assessor’s Office.

The newest feature is free access to the aerial Geographic Information Service (GIS) mapping, which was previously a subscription fee-based service.

“In order to ensure our citizens obtain all the benefits to which they are entitled, I will continue to assist and inform them how to properly file for homestead exemption and special assessment level freezes available to senior citizens and veterans with disabilities and any other tax benefits available, and to stay current with all legislative changes that will affect our taxpayers and taxing districts,” Edwards said.

But all this doesn’t mean taxpayers who wish personal service will no longer receive it, she added.

“As your Webster Parish Assessor, my staff and I will continue to provide courteous and helpful service to our taxpayers,” she continued. “We are here to answer any questions or concerns. Our goal is to be the best public servants, providing the best service and always strive to do better. This is your office, and we are here to serve you.”

To receive a copy of the Webster Parish Assessor’s Office Annual Report 2021, visit the Assessor’s Office, 103 S. Monroe St., Minden or 110 Industrial Park Drive in Cullen. For more information, call 318-377-9311 or 318-539-3301.

Jury opens bids for purchase of Webster Parish landfill

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Three businesses responded Monday to a request for bids to purchase the Webster Parish Landfill, but only two of those companies submitted actual numbers.

The Webster Parish Police Jury requested a minimum bid of $10M.

Madden Contracting Co. of Minden bid $6.2M, plus “to be negotiated overage to ultimately obtain the $10M plus minimum over a yet to be determined negotiated number of years.”

Webster Parish Landfill, LLC, which is a subsidiary of current operator Republic Services, submitted a bid of $20M.
“We will take all bids under advisement,” Lisa Balkom, WPPJ Secretary-Treasurer said. “We will turn these over to Patrick Jackson, our parish attorney. He will be reviewing those and we will award the bid after he looks over everything.”

Green Meadow Sustainable Solutions did not submit a formal bid, however, they requested an additional 60 days, saying there was a lack of information available and the current operator Republic Services, has “significant additional information related to the landfill which would have been beneficial to all bidders … “
Jury President Jim Bonsall said he was surprised at how few bids were received.

“I thought we would get five or six,” he said.

While the police jury has owned the landfill for more than 25 years, they have not operated it since 1997. Since that time, it has always been operated by a private company, currently Republic Services.

The landfill, located north of Dixie Inn, consists of more than 420 acres and includes the Sarepta substation.

Chamber, Impressions make impression with new building

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce and Impressions Advertising threw a party last week for the business community.
Once called Chamber After Hours, Chamber President Jana Morgan said it was recently rebranded Chamber Connect with the idea of connecting with business leaders and Chamber partners.

Site of the Hawaiian themed get-together was Impressions Advertising’s new building on the access road just east of Goodwill Road on I-20.

“I want to congratulate Craig Watson (owner) and his employees on 25 years of business,” Morgan said. “They are celebrating in the building they moved into in September. They overcame the burning of the building (on Shreveport Road).”

Watson gave a lot of credit to his staff.

“I have the greatest employees in the world,” he said. “We struggled (with the fire), but we are here to stay. We want to make our customers happy at the end of the day.”

Morgan said there is another business waiting to build near Impressions, however, the substandard access road is slowing progress.

State Rep. Wayne McMahon, Dist. 10, has been working with Watson, Dist. 36 State Sen. Robert Mills and others have been working with the state to make the access road more serviceable. For more on this story, check online at

Photo:   by Bonnie Culverhouse. Chamber President Jana Morgan, left, and Impressions Advertising owner Craig Watson greet business leaders and Chamber partners.

Glenbrook splits in Menard Jamboree, heads home with confidence

The third time was the charm for the Glenbrook Apaches as they took part in the Menard Jamboree in Alexandria on Friday night.

After the cancellation of the Natchitoches Central Jamboree earlier in the week, the Apaches picked up the St. Mary’s Tigers for a home replacement. On Thursday, another phone call left the Apaches scrambling to find an opponent as the Tigers were forced to cancel.

Thursday evening Glenbrook was invited down to take on 1A Montgomery and 2A Menard for a quarter each for the final tuneup before their first season as a member of the LHSAA.

In the first matchup of the night, a strong Apache defense and the legs of DJ Carter led to a 14-0 victory over Montgomery. Carter scored the first of two touchdowns on a 4-yard run around the left end. After forcing a three-and-out, the Apaches set up shop at their own 20-yard-line. From there Carter took the handoff and was briefly bottled up before breaking a tackle and sprinting down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run.

In their second contest, the Apaches took on a very deep and talented Holy Savior Menard team. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Eagle offense put together a 16-play, 70-yard drive capped off by a Brayden Byers 10-yard touchdown run. That score was all the Eagles needed to secure the victory as both defenses tightened down for the remainder of the game.

“I think it was a confidence boost for our guys,” said head coach David Feaster. “We played two good teams and we certainly looked like we belonged there. We are all really excited about renewing our rivalry with River Oaks Friday night at Glenbrook.”

The Apaches will welcome the Mustangs Friday night at 7 o’clock to officially begin Glenbrook’s days in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

Big plays lead North Webster to win over Lakeside in Jamboree

By Josh Beavers

The North Webster Knights won one and lost one Friday night during the annual Pineland Jamboree.

The Knights opened the first game of the night against the Homer Pelicans. North Webster coach John Ware said his boys suffered from being in “Jamboree Mode” in their 6-0 loss against the Pels.

“We were working on things to get us back into game mode,” Ware said. “The jamboree is better than the scrimmage where you stop after 12 plays and get out on the field. But the first game against Homer got to us.”

Ware said his team had to contend with limited numbers which means many players have to play both offense and defense. That’s tough, Ware said. “But by the second game we were into it. Settled down a bit and made some big plays and blocked well.”

In the second North Webster game, the Knights scored on three long plays en route to a 19-0 win over Lakeside.

North Webster took advantage of Lakeside turnovers, missed tackles and their own sheer athleticism as they scored on three big plays.

First, junior quarterback Cooper Sanders kept the ball and dashed 67 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Moments later Lakeside pinned the Knights at their own 1 yard line, but a couple of long plays put North Webster out to their own 48. The next play, senior Jacobreious Walker ran 52 yards for the game’s second score and a 13-0 lead.

Senior Jamarcus Stevens closed out the scoring as he took a Sanders pass and crossed the goal line from 36 yards out. Junior Greg Davis had an interception to end the night.

“We’ve got some guys who can get out and make plays but they play both ways,” Ware said. “It’s about managing that. We have to get them some rest. We don’t have much depth, and the depth we do have is young. The most important thing now is managing that and getting into game mode.”

The Knights open the season at home on Friday against Haynesville in one of the state’s oldest rivalries.

Deputies arrest Shongaloo man on drug charges

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a Shongaloo man on drug charges following a routine traffic stop.
Bobby Tymetrius Cooper, 41, of the 100 block of Half Pint Road, has been charged with felony possession of synthetic Marijuana.

Sheriff Jason Parker said his deputies – Aaron Barnes and Jordon Greer – observed a 2003 yellow Mustang, with no rear license plate, cross the center line while traveling on Firetower Road.

“Deputy Barnes made contact with the female driver, Ellen Houck, and asked for her vehicle information and driver’s license,” Parker said. “The passenger, Cooper, would not let the deputy speak without interruption, so he asked Houck – who appeared to be nervous – to step out of the car.”

When Barnes asked why she was so nervous, Houck reportedly admitted her driver’s license was suspended and Cooper had a bag of “Mojo” (synthetic Marijuana) in the vehicle.

Parker said when Deputy Greer arrived on the scene, Houck consented to have her vehicle searched.

“When deputies asked Cooper if there was anything in the vehicle, he stated there was ‘Mojo’ in Houck’s purse,” said the sheriff. “A large amount of loose synthetic Marijuana was located on the passenger floorboard, along with a clear ziplock bag containing synthetic Marijuana in a purse on the driver’s floorboard.”

Cooper was taken into custody. He reportedly has several priors, making his arrest a felony. Houck was issued a citation for the traffic charges.

Arrest report

Quentin R. Allen-Rue, 29 of Swissvale, Penn., was arrested by Louisiana State Police Troop G for possession of Sch. I with intent to distribute, conspiracy to possession of Sch. I with intent to distribute, a fugitive warrant for a homicide investigation in Allegheny County and improper lane usage.

Leonid Olivia Pacheco, 45, of Cleveland, Texas, was arrested by LSP Troop G troopers for possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute.

Marty Randall Garrett, 38, of the 1900 block of Hwy. 531, Minden, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies for domestic battery with strangulation.

Tray Allen Burt, 36, of the 1900 block of Hwy. 792, Heflin, was arrested by Webster Parish deputies at Wally’s Truck Stop, as a fugitive from Bienville Parish SO.

Dustin Ryan Butler, 30, of the 100 block of Garrett Dr., Heflin, was arrested by WPSO patrol and Dubberly police for domestic abuse battery.

Sandra Macy Kimmel, 55, of the 100 block of Garrett Dr., Dubberly, as arrested by WPSO patrol and Dubberly police for domestic abuse battery.

Sidney LeCharles Moore, 25, of Conway Ark., was arrested by WPSO deputies for driving while intoxicated, first offense and driving on roadway, drifting from fog lane to center line.

Jaquan Rashad Richmond, 26, of Coyle, Okla., was arrested by WSPO deputies for simple battery and aggravated assault with a firearm.

Lakeside plays inspired football against Haynesville in Jamboree

By Josh Beavers

It was a tale of two games Friday night for the Lakeside Warriors.

When the Warriors took on North Webster in the first of their two contests, turnovers, missed tackles, and North Webster sheer athleticism proved too much for Lakeside. On the strength of three long touchdowns for North Webster (67, 52, and 36 yards), the Warriors came out on the short end of a 19-0 score.

But then a switch flipped, and in the nightcap of the annual Pineland Jamboree, the Warriors took on host Haynesville. And even though the game ended in a 0-0 tie, Lakeside physically dominated the Tors and twice came within a whisper of game-winning touchdowns.

“It’s all about ‘next man up’ at Lakeside,” head coach Mike Santelices said. “We still had several players out and we plug and play. Our players know every position and the responsibility of each. So when they are called on, they are expected to not miss a beat.”

That determination and a fiery speech between games sparked the grit gear in the Warriors. First to display that drive was Tarrio Grigsby who took a simple screen and maneuvered to the goal line. A path was opened for the senior speedster by C.J. Watts, who leveled a Tor defender on a dynamic lead block.

Penalties and a questionable ref call that negated a touchdown, resulted in zero points for Lakeside. The penalty occurred after Lakeside scored, so the yardage should have been marked off on the kickoff. Lakeside should have come away with at least 6 points, but such is the nature of the game. Refs aren’t perfect and there’s no instant replay at Red Franklin – Memorial Stadium over in Claiborne Parish.

The Lakeside defense dominated the remainder of the contest, and following a Kris Redden sack and forced fumble, Lakeside once again was in scoring position. The fumble was recovered by Watts at the Haynesville three-yard line.

“It’s a crying shame we didn’t beat them,” Santelices said. “We should have kicked a field goal at the end but we had no timeouts. We tried to score but just couldn’t make it in and ran out of time.”

Despite going 0-1-1, Coach Sant was pleased with what his boys did up in Haynesville.

“We played well,” he told The Journal. “North Webster is very good and just made huge plays. We had tackling issues, but they also made us miss and broke our tackles. They are just very good with a lot of playmakers.”

As for Haynesville, Santelices said the Tors are always tough and athletic with a large line.

The way his team responded after the initial loss with an inspired performance against Haynesville is encouraging, the coach said. And once the entire team is back, Lakeside could make some noise.

Lakeside opens the season at home against Magnolia School of Excellence on Friday.

UCAP Needs for Week of August 30

United Christian Assistance Program needs the following items:
• Food: biscuit mix, cornbread mix, pasta, crackers
• Clothing: men’s large short sleeve shirts, men’s tennis and dress shoes sizes 9 1/2 and larger
• Household Goods: king and queen sheets, towels

UCAP is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. for food, utility and rent assistance. Clothing is dispensed on Wednesdays only. Thanks to the community for your support!

MHS students earn nursing certification

By Josh Beavers

Three Minden High students have earned a distinguished honor thanks to their hard work over the summer.

Kaylin Williams, Chedrayvia Gray and Allena Simmons have earned their Certified Nursing Assistant certification through Southern University in Shreveport following Jump Start summer.

“We are so proud of what these young ladies were able to accomplish,” Minden Principal Dr. Rebecca Wilson said. “They worked hard during the summer as part of the Jump Start Initiative and took advantage of this opportunity.”

Jump Start empowers school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students. Jump Start prepares students to continue their education after high school while certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs.

Seventeen students participated in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training.

“We had a huge success and maxed out our numbers,” Dr. Beverly Smith, the district’s Jump Start coordinator, told The Journal. “This is the first time we’ve had a full schedule all summer.”

A certified nursing assistant is an important position in any hospital setting. CNAs have many responsibilities that make them an integral part of the patient process in healthcare. Being a CNA can help prepare a person for nursing or healthcare management.

A certified nursing assistant helps patients with direct health care needs, often under the supervision of a nurse. CNAs work directly with patients and nurses, helping with the many physical and complex tasks for patient care.

In addition to credit in their specific pathways, all students received a stipend. “They all put forth a good effort and attendance was wonderful,” Smith said. “This is especially encouraging coming off Covid.”

At the completion of the program, students earn high school Carnegie credit, dual enrollment credit from SUSLA, a stipend, and an opportunity to test for their CNA certification.

“This was another great opportunity for the students of Webster Parish,” Smith said in a Facebook post with enrollees. “Proud of you, young ladies, for doing a great job! Smiles, smiles, and more smiles!”

Students earned clinical experience at Meadowview Health and Rehab Center in Minden.

Louisiana’s Jump Start is the new paradigm for career and technical education (CTE), requiring students to attain an industry-based credential in order to graduate high school. It is the state’s new program for school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students. Students have the opportunity in high school to earn industry-valued, industry-promulgated credentials in the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs, while preparing them to continue their post-secondary education in 2-year and 4-year colleges and career development.

Lane, Robinson lead charge in pair of Minden jamboree wins

By Josh Beavers

The Minden Crimson Tide went two for two in their Jamboree action on Friday night.

They defeated both Claiborne Parish schools, first Homer 7-6, and then Haynesville by a 6-0 score.

Tide Head Coach Spencer Heard praised his team for its hard work. He singled out the entire offensive line for opening holes for skilled players which in turn gave Minden tough yards.

Individually he mentioned seniors Tyrese Lane and Kentravion Lister as well as junior Daylen Robinson.

“They made several explosive plays,” Heard told The Journal. “And Kentravion helped lead the defense in making big plays.”

Robinson racked up nearly 150 yards total against the team’s opponents, and Lane had one touchdown, an interception, a sack, and a 47-yard kick return. Robinson benefited from Lane’s kick return as he quickly scored on a 53-yard touchdown run against Homer.

Kendrick Jackson and D’Quontez Ridley also racked up sacks against Homer to lead a defense that limited the Pelicans to just 45 yards and minus one on the ground.

The defense was also impressive against Haynesville as the Tors only managed 80 total yards.

Minden wasn’t without problems though. Specifically the Tide committed numerous penalties, including several that kept Homer in the game. Against the Pels, Minden had 60 penalty yards and just 66 yards of offense.

Heard said the team is working on getting in better shape because it’s for real next week, and the team will be in it for a full game.

“We are happy with the effort, and we played hard as usual,” Heard said. “We got good film to let the players see what they did right and what they need to improve.”

Minden opens the regular season Friday at home against Parkway.

Notice of Death August 30, 2021

Linda Colleen Watson Thompson
September 27, 1961 – August 29, 2021
Visitation:  Thursday, September 2nd at 9am at First Baptist Church, Homer, Louisiana
Celebration of Life:  10am conducted by Brother Brian Thurman
Interment:  Salem Cemetery in Athens, Louisiana

Dolly Ruth Hagans
June 11, 1954 – August 26, 2021
Visitation:  Wednesday, September 1, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr Services:  Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at Gateway Church, 8925 Youree Dr., Shreveport, Louisiana
Burial:  will follow at 2:00 at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, 7970 Mike Clark Rd., Keithville, Louisiana.

Leonora Pearl Wixon
November 12, 1948 – August 19, 2021
Private Memorial Service:  Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr., Shreveport, Louisiana.

Mother will not face charges for stabbing boyfriend

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A woman trying to defend her children will not be charged for stabbing her boyfriend in the back.
Jamarcus Reamer, 39, of Minden was arrested Friday afternoon by Minden Police for cruelty to a juvenile and domestic abuse with child endangerment.

According to Minden detective Lt. Keith King, the patrol division of Minden Police had the case in hand before he arrived on the scene, which was the female’s residence in the 700 block of E. Union.

“Reamer had been verbally abusing a nonverbal autistic nine-year-old boy, who is also his son,” King said. “A 20-year-old, who is not Reamer’s son, told the mother that Reamer had been verbally abusing the younger child for a while, but the mother woke up yesterday (Friday, August 27) and witnessed him doing it.”

King said the mother told Reamer to “get his stuff” and leave the residence, and “they got into it.”
The older son reportedly tried to defend his mother.

“When he did, the nine-year-old came over there and Reamer struck the child, spinning him around,” King said. “When the 20-year-old tried again to intervene, he somehow fell on the floor, and Reamer began choking him.”
The mother reportedly grabbed a knife and demanded Reamer stop strangling her older son.

“He looked at her and went right back to choking the older boy again,” King said. “In her mind, she was in fear of bodily harm or death to her kid.”

At that point, she stabbed Reamer in the back.

“The revised statute is very clear, you have the right to defend yourself and others,” King continued. “It’s probably the only time you can stab someone in the back and not be charged.”

EMS reportedly located Reamer at a girlfriend’s residence. He was transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport with non-life-threatening injuries.

Minden Police respond to domestic violence call involving juveniles

Journal Staff Report

Early Friday evening Minden Police were dispatched to the 700 block of E. Union for a domestic disturbance involving juveniles, according to the Minden Police Association Facebook page.

When police arrived, one individual was reportedly being strangled; a special needs child was struck in the process.
“As a result, a third individual was stabbed and transported to University Health,” Jason Smith, president of MPA wrote on Facebook.

The incident is still under investigation.

Crime is up; officers are down

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Two Monday morning meetings this week centered around police pay, crime and the lack of police officers in Minden.
During a budget workshop with all Minden City Council members present except District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker, Minden Police Association President Jason Smith presented disturbing statistics showing the rise in crime from 2019 to August 2021 (see above).

“Low pay is 100 percent to blame for the lack of officers in our city,” Smith said. “If we increase that pay, they will come here and work. I guarantee it.”

Currently, the starting salary for a Minden Police Officer is $13.75 an hour.

Smith, who is also an Officer First Class with the Minden PD, said there are 16 officers on patrol. There are two out with injuries, “which means we have 14 officers,” Smith said, “divided by four shifts on patrol.

“There are three to four officers per shift for a 13,000 population city,” he continued. “Right now (10 a.m. Monday), there is one officer on the street until 6 o’clock (p.m.).”

Arrests since 2019 are slightly up, but the astounding number is the category of Calls for Service (including 911 calls), which has more than doubled. In fact, according to Smith’s report, several categories have more than doubled including illegal weapons violations and illegal drug violations.

Yet the number of officers has dropped from 32 to 26 (one officer was hired this week), including the chief.
Incidents by district fluctuated; however, District E’s numbers include crimes committed at Walmart on Homer Road.
“Even though incidents are steadily increasing, we are doing more with less officers,” Smith said. “We are still arresting people, though violations have doubled.”

District D Councilman Michael Roy is working with Mayor Terry Gardner to come up with ways to increase officer pay. At the rest of the council’s request, he will go over his ideas and numbers with interim City Clerk Michael Fluhr before the next budget workshop.

(City of Minden firefighters are paid at an even lower rate than officers. Watch the Webster Parish Journal for those statistics.)

Jury to open landfill bids Monday

By Bonnie Culverhouse

The answer to the question: to sell or not to sell, is getting closer for members of the Webster Parish Police Jury.
Opening of sealed bids for purchase of the Webster Parish Landfill will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, August 30 in the jury meeting room in the courthouse annex.

Jurors hosted a pre-bid meeting recently to answer questions from potential buyers for the property.
Three interested persons attended the meeting, while others participated via Zoom.
Some of the interested potential bidders include Madden Contracting Co. of Minden, Greenway Environmental Services, Republic Services and Live Oak Environmental, LLC.

Most of the questions, emailed and asked in person, centered around the current contract with Republic Services and what it will take for them to exit their contract, as well as the amount of tonnage the landfill accepts and the permits.
Some emailed questions covered a 10-year history of financials and waste tonnage by type.

While the police jury has owned the landfill for more than 25 years, they have not operated it since 1997. Since that time, it has always been operated by a private company.

Webster Parish Police Jury President Jim Bonsall wants to ensure local residents understand the truth about trash.
The jury has owned the landfill, which covers around 420 acres – for more than 25 years, and only recently entertained the idea of selling it.

“There is a 25-year operating contract, starting with USA Waste, then Allied and Republic most recently,” Bonsall said.
“There may have been another company in there somewhere.”

Republic bought Allied and with it, the contract, which Bonsall describes as “terrible.”

Since Republic’s contract expires next year, it seemed a good time to consider selling the landfill, as it is costing the jury money. Bonsall said the jury has been negotiating a new contract with Republic for almost three years, and the company has been transparent and working with them has been easy.

“We negotiated and negotiated, but I don’t think they are offering us enough money to renew the contract,” he said. “We are at a standstill.”

The jury receives a royalty of 5 percent of Republic’s gross receipts at the landfill, which includes the Sarepta receiving station, although Bonsall said the people living in that area haul their trash to that location and do not pay a fee. In fact, no residents pay fees at any location – only businesses with a certain amount of tonnage.

“I don’t believe they are offering us enough royalties, or I would be in favor of renewing the contract,” Bonsall said. “That’s the only hang-up I’ve got. If we do work out a contract with them, it will be for a lot shorter period.”

The future is now

By Bonnie Culverhouse

The Webster Parish Library and all its branches are making a major move, that’s no longer in the future. The future is now and it’s wireless.

Library Director Savannah Jones, Director of Marketing Kim Sentell and staff are proud to introduce a new app that will make life at the library fast and easy.

“This innovative technology provides contactless ways to interact with the library,” Jones said. “It uses a mobile-friendly catalog interface and puts our best electronic features all in one place,” Sentell explained.

The app is free and anyone can download it by going to the Android or App Store and searching for “Webster Parish Libraries” on their devices; however, those with a library card will be privileged to more.

While the app is an important and useful tool in keeping the library relevant, the main location of the library is also upgrading aesthetically by shifting areas, remodeling and painting certain areas, because, as Jones said, the app is not intended to replace the buildings or website but to meet the needs of patrons who prefer to connect with the library while on the go or in the comfort of their homes.

“By doing that, we are seeing the public attracted to those areas,” Jones said. “It is really neat to watch. They are coming in and staying longer. They’re gravitating more, as we make those changes to certain areas one at a time, every time we make a change, we see them use that area more to do their work.”
Whether Covid was a factor, Jones said society was definitely a catalyst in designing the app.

“Society is ever-changing,” she said. “It’s evolving with new forms of technology. So that means many more aspects of life are moving online.”

The app, which took more than 18 months to complete, along with countless hours of work and input from library workers, will help patrons access collections and services such as booking a meeting space, viewing programs and events or even learning a new skill in a user-friendly way.

“We were always mindful of putting forth our best efforts to ensure the features that would best suit our patrons during the entire process,” Jones said. “Down to the smallest detail, we found ourselves researching the best color schemes we should use that are easiest on our patrons’ eyes when viewing the app,” Sentell added

Registering to vote becoming easier

Journal Staff Report

This is Voter Registration Week around the state, and Webster Parish Registrar of Voters Angela Hall wants prospective voters to know it’s easier than ever to sign up and exercise your right as an American.

Hall has been traveling the parish this week educating persons in nursing homes, schools and libraries about all the different ways to register. A spokesperson in the Registrar’s office said Hall has been offering them the opportunity to register, while distributing pamphlets to senior citizens on different available programs.

Citizens with a valid Louisiana driver’s license or Louisiana Special ID card can register online 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any location by visiting Louisiana residents can also register in person at their parish Registrar of Voters Office, when they apply for or renew their driver’s license at any Office of Motor Vehicles or when obtaining services at public assistance agencies and Armed Forces recruitment offices. Citizens wishing to register by mail can download and print the application from our website at, or complete an application found at public libraries or through registration drives.

To register and vote in Louisiana individuals must:
• be a U.S. citizen;
• be at least 17 years old (16 years old if registering in person at the Registrar of Voters Office or at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles) to register and 18 years old prior to the next election to vote;
• not be under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony or, if under such an order not have been incarcerated pursuant to the order within the last five years and not be under an order of imprisonment related to a felony conviction for election fraud or any other election offense pursuant to La. R.S. 18:1461.2;
• not be under a judgment of full interdiction for mental incompetence or partial interdiction with suspension of voting rights;
• be a resident in the state and parish in which you seek to register and vote;
• apply at least 20 days prior to an election if registering online or 30 days prior to an election if registering in person or by mail.

Deadline to register to vote in person or by mail for the Oct. 9, 2021 election is Wednesday, Sept. 8. The deadline to register to vote online is Saturday, Sept. 18. For more information about elections and voting, contact the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 800-883-2805 or or call your Registrar at 318-377-9272.

The Registrar of Voters’ office is on the first floor of the Webster Parish Courthouse. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Parish teams line up for Friday night jamboree action

There’s only one more week until games count for real. So in the final warm up before the regular season, all four parish high school football teams will be in preseason action.

Webster’s three public school high school teams – Minden, Lakeside, and North Webster – will travel to Haynesville for the annual Pineland Jamboree. Also joining in on the five-team event will be the host Tors and the Homer Pelicans.

There will be five contests in Haynesville. Each will consist of one 15-minute quarter.

As follows is the Pineland Jamboree schedule:

Game 1 – North Webster vs. Homer

Game 2 – Minden vs. Homer

Game 3 – North Webster vs. Lakeside

Game 4 – Haynesville vs. Minden

Game 5 – Haynesville vs. Lakeside

The first game begins at 6 p.m. Tickets will cost $10 at the gate but can be purchased at any school location for $8. Also, tickets purchased at schools means that school keeps all of the money. Revenue from tickets bought at the gate will be split between the five teams.

While most of the action will be taking place in Claiborne Parish, the Glenbrook Apaches will be at home for an impromptu final preseason warmup against St. Mary’s out of Natchitoches.

Glenbrook was slated to participate in the NSU jamboree at Turpin Stadium on the campus of Northwestern State University. However, the new Louisiana High School Athletic Association rule that issues teams losses for games cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols led to cancellation of Friday night’s high school football jamboree.

St. Mary’s and Lakeview were slated to meet Friday in the matchup prior to Natchitoches Central’s contest with Evangel. The opening jamboree action was a battle between the NCHS junior varsity and Glenbrook, coached by former Chiefs offensive coordinator David Feaster.

After taking stock of virus trends involving their campuses, SMHS and Lakeview chose not to play each other. Lakeview coach Brandon Helms opted to take a break.

St. Mary’s football coach Aaron York was pleased to set up the 7 p.m. jamboree at Glenbrook.

“We had kids who had to go home today due to contact tracing, so we’re only taking about 18 up to Glenbrook, but they’re mostly my mainstays, my starters,” he said. “We need to see live reps, against another team, and going on the road after being home last week will be good for us. We’ll see good competition.”

Glenbrook and St. Mary’s will play two 15-minute halves.

Shreveport man brings stolen gun to town

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A convicted felon with a stolen firearm was arrested by Minden Police earlier this week.

Ramone J Phipps, 29, of the 1800 block of Grove St., Shreveport, is charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, battery of a dating partner, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and obstruction of justice.
Police Chief Steve Cropper said his officers received a call to the Dixie Mart on Sibley Road concerning a disturbance, but the call was canceled before they arrived as the involved parties had left the scene.

“They were then dispatched to the 500 block of Chestnut St. to speak with the female victim of that disturbance at the Dixie Mart,” Cropper said. “When they arrived, officers Jason Lee, Kendale Booker and St. Chris Hammontree spoke with the female who told them she and her child’s father, Ramone Phipps were at the Dixie Mart.”

The chief added that Phipps and the female are dating but do not reside at the same address.

“Phipps wanted to take her car to Shreveport, and she wouldn’t let him,” Cropper continued. “Phipps became enraged and produced a .9MM handgun with an extended magazine and placed it against her head, causing her to fear for her life.”

During the incident Phipps is alleged to have pushed the victim by her throat. She reportedly filed charges against him, and officers located Phipps almost an hour later at the Chevron station across from the Dixie Mart.

“Phipps told officers he had thrown the gun down the road and he did not know where,” the chief said. “A nearby female told them Phipps had placed something in her vehicle and gave her consent to search.”

Officers reportedly located a .9MM Hipoint handgun with an extended magazine hidden under the back seat. According to reports, post Miranda, Phipps admitted the handgun was his.

Phipps is a multi-time felon, and the firearm was reportedly stolen from a location in Shreveport.

Minden man arrested for domestic abuse

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Minden man has been arrested by police for domestic abuse batter with child endangerment.

Joshua Miles, 26, of the 40 block of College St., reportedly fled the scene at his home after Minden Police were dispatched there on a domestic disturbance call.

Chief Steve Cropper said Ofc. Anthony Miller and officers Jason Lee and Lita Hopkins responded to the call.

“Ofc. Miller and Off. Hopkins were able to apprehend Miles not too far from his home,” Cropper said. “The female victim told officers she and Miles had been engaging in minor verbal altercations throughout the day. Miles then struck her in the chin area with a closed fist, causing her to start bleeding from the mouth.”

The victim reportedly ran next door to her mother’s house and called police.

“There was a 10-month-old child present in the residence at the time the crime was committed,” said the chief. “The couple had been in an intimate relationship for approximately one year and 10 months and had been living together for about a year.”

Cropper said Miles has a history of domestic abuse, and the victim said he occasionally uses Methamphetamine and Marijuana.

Coroner’s office names Minden man killed in Cedar Grove

Journal Staff Report

A Minden man shot and killed in the Cedar Grove neighborhood of Shreveport early Monday, August 23 has been identified by the Caddo Parish Coroner’s office.

Brennan Johnson, 25, of Fincher Road in Minden, was shot around 5:15 a.m. in the 300 block of West 74th Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Johnson was positively identified through fingerprint comparison.

An autopsy was ordered.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Shreveport Police Department.