Police arrest man for striking mother

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Local law enforcement arrested a man last Friday for striking his mother.

Torry Capers, 29, of the 300 block of Weston St., Minden, is charged with domestic abuse battery.

“According to witnesses, Torry struck his mother in the face with a closed fist,” said Police Chief Steve Cropper. “Then as his mother tried to leave the residence, Torry grabbed her by the arm attempting to keep her inside the residence.”

He reportedly caused scratches on her body.

Cropper said Capers’ mother eventually got away from him. He was arrested and unable to make bond.

Capers was transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Calendar of Events

Non-profit events happening in the community. If you have a non-profit event: church, school or community, please email it to wpjnewsla@gmail.com.*

November 27

The annual Christmas Parade travels down Springhill’s Historic Main Street, beginning at 5 p.m. Come join the fun and watch Christmas floats, Christmas Beauties and Beaus, horses, emergency vehicles and much more pass by. But be sure to wait for that white horse-drawn carriage from The Barn at Two Patch and watch your children’s eyes light up at the sight of Santa.

December 2

Christmas Celebration dinner theater and auction sponsored by Adult & Teen Challenge. Doors open at 6 p.m., banquet at 7 p.m. For reservations, call Christy at 318-382-0203 or 318-469-5393. Email cjenkins1201@hotmail.com.

Webster Parish Libraries will be hosting a Marvel Movie Night on Thurs. at 6 p.m. in the Minden Stewart Center. This movie is rated PG-13. Anyone under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and drinks.

December 10

Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride. 6 to 9 p.m. at Minden Civic Center (free)

December 11  Christmas Downtown begins (There may be a cost unless otherwise stated)

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brunch and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Geaux Fresh

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hot Chocolate and coffee at the Broken Bean

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  North Police Children’s area at the Civic Center side parking lot.

10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Complimentary gift wrapping at First United Methodist Church

Noon to 2 p.m. Build your own s’more at Wimberly Agency.

1 to 2 p.m. Storytime, music and games with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Webster Parish Library Stewart Center. Free. The Shreveport Symphony will play in between reading and interactive games.

1 to 4 p.m. Ornament Crafting at City Art Works. Free. 2 to 4 p.m. Face Painting at City Art Works, also free.

Mistletoe Town Tree Decorating Contest. Minden Medical Pavilion. Free. From 3 to 5 p.m. vote for your favorite Christmas tree and have pictures made with the Grinch at Foot and Ankle Specialist.

5 p.m. Parade downtown.

7 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony & fireworks.

*Webster Parish Journal reserves the right to determine if a calendar item is a paid advertisement.

If you’re dead, why even take a shower?

Former Times sportswriter Jim McLain died a little more than three years ago, something I’d forgotten about until I saw him the other day in Shreveport.

It is not often you get to talk to your friends, in person, after they die. But Mr. McLain, a reporter for nearly 40 years and a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame since 1995 when he was presented the Distinguished Service Award, is nothing if not durable. Even after he’d died, he’d gone about his business, pro that he is.

Turns out that, according to Jim, the only really good part about being dead and not knowing about it is the being, as he describes it, “blissfully unaware.” But once he found out he was dead, well, it was a bit of a different ballgame.

“I might not have known I was dead for several more weeks if I hadn’t gotten a call from my doctor’s office,” he said.

The woman was pleasant when he answered but confused when, after she asked his name, he identified himself as the proposed deceased. The doctor’s secretary even asked to speak to his wife, who verified she’d been cooking and washing clothes all week for the same 80-year-old she’d been married to for half a century.

Mrs. McLain had done that work for nothing, according to the government. A recent Medicare claim filed on behalf of Mr. McLain had bounced back with the notation that, according to the latest records, he was dead.

Sorry. But there you have it. Who said life, or death, was fair?

Jim suggested refiling the claim. Probably a typing error had occurred, he reasoned. But the following Wednesday after the mail arrived, he heard his wife yelling through the shower door, something about the Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters removing him – well, removing his corpse – from the voter rolls. “Hate to say it,” she said, “but it looks like this time, you really are dead.”

Thought No. 1 for Mr. Jim: “Wasted shower.” Thought No. 2: “The government has lost me and if I’m to be found, I have to send out my own search party.” Thought No. 3: “Why am I still hungry?”

He called his local Social Security Administration, hoping to avoid the fiscal pinch of missed checks and the like since, as the Medicare episode had taught him – and as the mutual funds people who wanted to settle his estate would soon tell him – the money gets sort of shut off or redirected once you start showing up dead. This happens to an estimated 14,000 people a year; if the Social Security Administration accidentally kills you, or lists you as dead, it’s good to let them know they have fumbled. You want to get off their Death Master File. You want to be, in the parlance of the agency, “resurrected” or “un-dead.” It’s not too much to ask, and in simplest terms, this is generally what is advised for you to do: go into the Social Security office with proper ID, the forms listing you as deceased, and prove that you have not “got dead.”

Turns out that in Jim’s case, an out-of-state funeral home had turned in his social Security number, obviously by mistake. The problem was quickly solved, a real shot in the arm to Jim but also for his loyal wife, who wasn’t doing all that cooking and cleaning for nothing after all.

Though he never found out how he died, Jim did find out when: March 12. “I have circled the 12th of March on every calendar since,” he said. “The Feds attempted to eliminate me once. They could try again.”

In the spare time that he’s been alive since retiring, Jim has written “Double Team Trap,” a Cold War spy thriller available online. If you pick up a copy he’s sure to sign it for you – if you can get to him before the government does. – August 24, 2014

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

The Quiet Center

Life is filled with busyness and noise that so often drowns out the voice of God. It is hard to hear over all the noise, and it is hard to find time in all the busyness to just be still and know. But, sometimes we find a place where the noise is silenced and the busyness is cleared away. It is there that we can be still, we can see things more clearly, and our hearts are quieted in the sweet presence of the the One who brings order out of chaos. That place is in the presence of Jesus, the quiet center of my heart. This is where I find everything falls away and I am able to listen for the whispers of the Spirit. 

I found this place unexpectedly a few years ago when we would gather for Wednesday night worship. This service was small and intimate. It was a sweet time of fellowship with prayer, God’s Word and Holy Communion. Some call this a “thin place.” A place in time where the space between heaven and earth grows thin and it is easy to encounter the Sacred. 

On Wednesday nights we would begin our time singing, “Come and Find the Quiet Center.” This hymn has a special place in my heart for several reasons. One of them is that it drew me into that “thin place” for the first time. This space, the quiet center, has become a place I seek often. It is where I have found my words land on the pages of my journal and thoughts become prayers. It is where I pour out my heart and my tears. It is where I meet in sweet communion with my Lord and Savior. Just us. 

We all need times to find the quiet center in the busyness and noise of life. We need room to open our hearts for hope to enter and meet us where we are. We need the quiet center to clear the chaos and the clutter. We need the quiet center to clear our eyes to see what He sees and find peace in simply being with Him. 

This Thanksgiving season, I am grateful for many things. One of them is finding the quiet center. My prayer for you this Thanksgiving, is that you find time to be still in His presence and share with Him all that you are grateful for this year. Meet with Him in sweet fellowship and simply be. 

A history with Orlando

Robert and Jill St. John (and Mickey Mouse)

ORLANDO— I have had a long history with this city. In the summer of 1972, when I was 10 years old, my uncle took my cousin and me to the newly opened Disney World. I don’t remember too much. But I do remember buying a fake plaster arm cast and a sling at the magic shop on Main Street and waited a week until I got home to trick my mom into thinking I had a broken arm.

The next visit to Disney World was in May of 1979 on my high school’s senior trip. I remember even less about that trip. But I do know we stayed in the Polynesian Hotel. When my wife and I were dating we didn’t have any money, though we both enjoyed Disney World, so we would drive down and stay at one of the cheap, off-property hotels and have the time of our lives. We dated for five years before we were married and were married for five years before we started having children. In that 10-year span, we probably visited Disney six times.

Once our children were born, we started going the week after Thanksgiving almost every year. That period is one of the least-attended weeks, but still decked out for Christmas. By the time we loaded our kids up and travelled to Europe for a long six-month stay in 2011, I had probably visited Walt Disney World almost two dozen times. This is the first time we have been back.

I am down here for a trade show, and it just so happened that our son is down here for a music festival. Since the trade show is work related, and since he wants to go into the restaurant business, he stayed for a few days and attended the show with me.

We are in the middle of opening a bowling alley and movie theatre in Jackson, Mississippi. I know very little about those two businesses, so I am doing what I did when I first got into the restaurant business and submerging myself in knowledge and experience— other people’s knowledge and experience. The trade show went a long way in helping me get a handle on what lies ahead.

During our off days from the trade show my wife, son, and I visited the Walt Disney World parks and Universal Studios. My first trip to Disney World was almost 50 years ago. There is still a little of that wonder and amazement that hits me when I visit one of those parks. But these days I am even more impressed with the business model and how an entity that size can be managed so effectively and efficiently. I have reached an age where I take more enjoyment appreciating the creative energy and serious management acumen used to operate that place than I am a roller coaster or theme ride. Seriously, I can just walk around the parks and have fun just being there observing, admiring, and respecting.

A friend who lives down there and has worked with the Walt Disney company for a long time on all the parks— and side-by-side with the folks in the Imagineering department all over the world,  is a member of something called the 33 Club. He invited us on a guided VIP tour. My wife and I had taken a behind-the-scenes tour years ago and traveled through the tunnels under Main Street and discovered other out-of-sight things. But during this visit we knocked out three of the Disney parks in a matter of four or five hours. Seeing those properties from the back side of the rides shed a new light on the creativity, innovation, and attention to detail that is present throughout the entire system and deeply ingrained in the corporate culture.

In those years when we took the kids down after Thanksgiving, we started taking a day to go to Universal Studios. We all enjoyed both. In the 11 years since we have set foot in one of the parks, a lot has changed. The whole Harry Potter thing at Universal was new to us, and it was also our first time to see the new Star Wars attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios. Both companies knocked it out of the park with those attractions and have taken the game up another level of in the authenticity, creativity, and enjoyment department.

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As we were walking through one of the parks, I decided to Google ticket prices from my first visit in 1972. They were $3.50 each, which is the cost of a bottle of water inside one of the parks today. While we were watching the new fireworks display at EPCOT someone commented that Walt Disney World spends over $100,000.00 every day on fireworks. With those two figures floating around in my brain I started Googling other Walt Disney World statistics, and the further I went down the rabbit hole the more I became impressed with the company and how well it is run.

In 2007, while on a promotional book tour, my publisher sent me to the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival for a cooking demo and book signing. It was there that I started to appreciate the level of volume that the kitchens in those parks produce. Each year, Disney visitors consume seven million hamburgers, a half-million pounds of mac and cheese, one million pounds of watermelon, and two million pounds of ketchup. It takes 350 chefs to keep up with the demand, and the dining choices— especially in EPCOT— have seriously improved over the years. So much so that we ate at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants in Disney Springs and it was every bit as good as his home base Frontera Grill in Chicago.

The entire Walt Disney World property covers 27,258 acres (43 square miles, or the size of two Manhattan islands), and Walt paid $5 million dollars for all of it. That’s about the current cost of a high-end home and lot in the neighborhood, Golden Oak, located within the property. The road and highway system within the grounds is so impressive and nicer than any road or highway I’ve ever traveled on.

Pre-Covid, Disney World Parks drew an estimated 150 million people each year, which would have to make them some of the most vacationed spots in the world. Back in 2018, the Magic Kingdom was topping out at 21 million visitors a year. It’s hard not to be impressed with an entity that can, not only take care of that many people, but take care of them so well. 

There is never any trash on the ground. Disney makes sure that there is always a trash can every 30 feet and there is a massive underground vacuum system that transports trash to a central location. Over 12% of the parks are taken up with greenery— gardens and other maintained landscapes.

And my favorite Disney statistic: An estimated 1.65 million sunglasses have been lost at Disney World since it opened. After this visit, make it 1.65 million and one.


Tasso and Cheese Biscuits with Pepper Jelly

Experiment with your favorite pepper jelly flavor. The hotter the better. The dough freezes well and can be made in advance.

2 cups flour

1 TBL sugar

1 /2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder                        

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 /2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

1 /4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 /4 cup tasso ham, finely minced

3 /4 cup buttermilk

1 egg  

2 TBL melted butter

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, blend cold butter into the dry mix until flour resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Mix in cheese and ham.

Separately, blend together the buttermilk and egg and add to dry mixture. Blend the dough. Do not over mix.

Fold dough onto floured surface and roll to one-inch thickness. Cut biscuits using a 1 1 /2-inch cookie cutter. Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake15-18 minutes.

Split open and spread with your favorite pepper jelly.

Yield: 30-36 small biscuits

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author.)

Lions Club speaker draws crowd

Our guest speaker today lured a large crowd from the north end of the parish! The Minden Lions heard from businessman and motorcycle enthusiast Ronnie Dees today during its noon meeting. 

Ronnie is a lifelong resident of Springhill who owns several area businesses, including 3-D Contracting, Corp., 3-State Harley-Davidson and 3-State Motor Co. He is also serving his third term as a Springhill alderman and is a member of several community and civic boards.

Ronnie spoke about his career in the construction industry and how his hobby and love for motorcycles evolved into owning a successful Harley dealership in Bossier City. He spent a fair amount of time answering Lions’ questions about various motorcycle models, history and collecting. 

Pictured are the “Springhill boys” who were in attendance today – some were born and raised there and some continue to call Springhill their home. From left to right: Lion President Tracy Campbell, Lion Dr. Wayne McMahen, Danny Edens, Jeffery Barnard, Ronnie Dees, Robert Garland, Lion Jack Montgomery, Daniel Barnard and Lion Ray Huddleston.

People Who Change Our Lives

Today, I’m going to veer from my usual perspective as an angler and go down a different path that has brought me to where I am today. People come and go in our lives, but some people have a bigger impact than others. Now this is not always by chance, but I think it’s all a part of God’s plan for each of us.  Some folks we meet and truly get to know over a long period of time, forming a friendship that leaves a lasting impression on our lives. While there are others who come into our life for a brief moment and change our direction forever. Today I’ll reflect and tell you my story of someone who falls into this latter category. 

As an athlete growing up, I was blessed with some great coaches from my Little League days through high school, college and professional…coaches who knew how to push me to be the best I could be, not just as an athlete, but as a person. They taught me that those who work harder than everyone else will be the most successful.  They emphasized how to be a leader on and off the field. My first coach, James Stansell, showed me, at the age of 8 years old,  what it meant to believe in someone. He was a tough old cuss who had a reputation for being too rough with kids; a coach who had you run laps at the next practice if you made a mistake like missing a ground ball, striking out or making a bad throw. But one thing he gave me was confidence. He would tell me every day how much he believed in me as a player, and how I was ‘his” guy and that there was no one better. He taught me to believe in myself more than anyone else would ever believe in me. These lessons continued to be taught by my high school and college coaches…lessons like being responsible, taking pride in who you are, and understanding that you control your own destiny. They stressed that as a player you represent your parents, coaches, community, and school, but more importantly, you represent yourself.  You’re truly a reflection on those you’re associated with. 

Now, let me introduce you to the man that changed my life forever. As a high school quarterback from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, I played at a school with a reputation for winning. However, in my senior season of 1978, things did not go as planned for us as a team. With a new coaching staff, to say we struggled is an understatement. But it’s funny how things worked out. We were playing the Atlanta Rabbits in East Texas one Friday night and a coach by the name of Al Miller of Northwestern State was there scouting a linebacker from Atlanta. A coach on our staff, Coach Mike Fields, made conversation with Coach Miller at half time and encouraged him to take a closer look at me as a potential college player. I never knew this until months later when Coach Miller came to my house on a cold winter night to visit with my parents and me. 

 Now after being recruited by several Division 1 schools, I had heard all the BS a player could possibly hear. I thought Coach Miller would be the same, but was I ever wrong. I asked him if he could guarantee that I would be a starter and not be redshirted …. like other schools had promised. Yes, that was an arrogant question, but I wanted to see what he would say. Would Coach Miller be like all the rest? Well, he did not give me the answer I was expecting. He said “Steve, I’m not here to guarantee you anything other than the opportunity. It’s up to you when you get there as to whether those things happen for you or not.” WOW!!! Finally, someone who shot me straight and told the truth! This hit me like a sledgehammer right between the eyes. I knew right then and there that I was headed to Northwestern State to further my education and athletic career and I did not even know where Northwestern State was located! Coach Miller’s attitude and honesty had won me over; he was different.  

 I never got to play under Coach Al Miller since he committed to be the strength & conditioning coach for the NFL’s Denver Broncos under Head Coach Dan Reeves in 1979.  His status as the best strength and conditioning coach in the country has made him a legendary Hall of Fame coach that continues to this day. The biggest honor for me was knowing that I was his last recruit to Northwestern State. Coach Miller changed the direction of my life, even though he never coached or spent any substantial amount of time with me…just that hour and a half at my house in the winter of 1978. That was all it took for him to have a lasting impression on my life and become a man who I will forever be grateful to.  He was the catalyst that allowed me to have a great career at NSU, graduate, get drafted, and meet and marry the love of my life, Sherrie. We had three kids and raised them on the banks of Sibley Lake in Natchitoches, watching them grow up and become fine people. To this day, I am aware that my existing life was set into motion because of a coach who saw a young boy from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, that he thought deserved an opportunity. Thank you, Coach Al Miller, for changing my life!!!

Steve Graf  Owner/Cohost                              Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show 

Writer Wanted

If you answered yes to the above questions, then we would love to talk with you. 

Webster Parish Journal is looking for a writer to help cover our parish. We want someone who loves to write features about the people who make this community great.

We also need someone who can take on some assignments and perhaps help cover local government.

If this sounds like you, please email wpjnewsla@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Firefighters still hoping for raises

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden’s first responders are still hoping for raises, but they are also still seeking creative ways to achieve that goal.

Minden Firefighter Adam Bradley gave numbers to Minden City Council members during a recent workshop, allowing them to see the number of firefighters, years of service and their pay.

“It shows you where we are right now, and how much it would cost with the base salaries,” Bradley said. 

While starting firefighters earn $8.85, firefighter/operators earn $9.74, captains see $11.06 and assistant chiefs see $13.28. The plan would bring firefighters to $13.75, firefighter/operators to $15.13, captains to $17.19 and assistant chiefs to $20.63.

Paid firefighters also receive a stipend from the state of $6,000 a year. Spread across 12 months, firefighters see $500 a month from those funds, before taxes.

A raise would not affect the chief nor volunteers, who are listed as part-time employees.

Fire Chief Kip Mourad said volunteers receive $20 per call, if they respond.

City costs – current and with the raise – appear as follows:

With one recently hired firefighter, current hourly wage is $8.85 per hour or $24,000 per year. His raise would be to $13.75 per hour and $37,895 annually. A difference of $13,495.

There is one firefighter that has been employed one year. He earns $9.95 per hour or $25,498 per year. His raise would be to $14.37 an hour or $39,600.28 per year. A difference of $14,102.28.

There are two fire/operators on the payroll. They currently earn $20.35 (combined) per hour or $56,095.60 (also combined)) annually. A raise would bring their salaries to $31.61 per hour combined and $87,120.61 per year combined, a difference of $31,025.01

Bradley’s chart then shows nine fire captains. Their combined hourly rates are $104.08, which brings their combined annual salaries to $445,503.09, a difference of $158,650.59.

Lastly, there are two assistant fire chiefs. Their combined hourly income is $27.76 and annually – also combined – is $76,494. Their proposed raise would bring them to $43.11 (divided by the two chiefs) and $118,800.83 per year (also, divided by the two). It is a difference of $42,306.83 combined.

The total amount to the city, after proposed raises, is $259,579.70 for all combined.

District A councilman Wayne Edwards told Bradley he feels the fire department does a great job.

“I don’t want to take anything away from you,” Edwards said. “When we did the budget, we really struggled to get a balanced budget. Every dime has already been allocated.”

Edwards admitted some adjustments in the budget need to be made.

“When I look at a proposal for salaries, most of them I see is a one-time thing, not for one, two or three years,” he continued. “Given the financial situation the city is in – we don’t make money, we just pay bills with what we take in.”

Edwards also pointed out the “poor response” from the mail-out survey in utility bills that asked if customers would approve having $5 added to their monthly bills to cover raises for first responders.

“That’s not going to be a source of revenue,” he said.

District B councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker told Bradley she appreciates the way in which firefighters talked with the council about the pay raises.

“I just appreciate the way you handled it,” she said.

District D councilman Michael Roy is scheduled to meet with interim City Clerk Michael Fluhr to discuss a possible way to fund raises for all first responders without dipping into the budget.

Let’s Talk Turkey

The countdown to Thanksgiving week is officially here. The Thanksgiving meal is the largest meal Americans prepare for each year with Turkey as the main attraction. Did you know 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving? In fact, 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Here are some helpful tips to consider for your Thanksgiving feast. 

Three ways to thaw a Turkey safely:

An important step in the preparation process is thawing your turkey. There are three safe ways to thaw your turkey:

  1. Refrigerator Method: Place your bird as originally wrapped on a shelf with a pan underneath it to catch any leaking juices. Allow approximately 24 hours for each four to five pounds of bird to thaw. After thawing, it’s safe to store the turkey for up to two more days. This is the USDA’s recommended method of thawing. Below are some specific thawing times in the refrigerator.

Thawing Time in Refrigerator:

Size of Turkey: 4 to 12 pounds takes 1 to 3 days; 12 to 16 pounds takes 3 to 4 days; 12 to 16 pounds takes 4 to 5 days; and, 20 to 24 pounds takes 5 to 6 days.

2. Microwave Method: Follow the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.

3. Cold Water Method: Submerge the bird in its original packaging in cold tap water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey to defrost. Cook immediately after thawing. Below are some specific thawing times for cold water usage.

Thawing Time in Cold Water:

Size of Turkey: 4 to 12 pounds takes 2 to 6 hours; 12 to 16 pounds takes 6 to 8 hours; 16 to 20 pounds takes 8 to 10 hours; and, 20 to 24 pounds takes 10 to 12 hours.

Cooking a Turkey

Follow the four simple steps to food safety (Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill) to prevent the spread of many types of infection and food-borne illness.

Clean: Keep bacteria out of your kitchen by washing your hands before, during and after you handle raw food. Make sure food preparation surfaces and utensils are clean. Do not wash the turkey. This only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. The only way to kill bacteria that cause foodborne illness is to fully cook the turkey.

Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry separate from produce and cooked foods by using different cutting boards.

Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure your turkey is safe to eat. The recommended internal temperature must reach 165 F in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.

Chill: Your meal on the dinner table has only two hours before it becomes unsafe, and bacteria starts to multiply. Make sure you put out just enough food for your guests and place the rest in your fridge in shallow containers. Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to decrease cooling time. This prevents the food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (between 40 F to 140 F).

Is it safe to cook a frozen turkey?

Absolutely. The cooking time will be 50 percent longer than normal.

Is stuffing your turkey risky?

Cooking a home-stuffed turkey is somewhat riskier than cooking one not stuffed. Even if the turkey has reached the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit the stuffing may not have reached a temperature high enough to destroy bacteria that may be present. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit, possibly resulting in food-borne illness. Ensure that both the turkey and stuffing has reached a internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Stuffing a Turkey

1. Stuff loosely. Stuffing should be moist, not dry since heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment.

2. Place stuffed turkey in oven immediately

3. Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity immediately and refrigerate it

Cooking Time for Unstuffed Turkey

Size of Turkey: 8 to 12 pounds takes 2-3/4 to 3 hours; 12 to 14 pounds takes 3 to 3-3/4 hours; 14 to 18 pounds takes 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours; 18 to 20 pounds takes 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours; and 20 to 20 pounds takes 4-1/5 to 5 hours.

Cooking Time for Stuffed Turkey

Size of Turkey: 8 to 12 pounds takes 3 to 3-1/2 hours; 12 to 14 pounds takes 3-1/2 to 4 hours; 14 to 18 pounds takes 4 to 4-1/4 hours; 18 to 20 pounds takes 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours; and, 20 to 24 pounds takes 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours.

If you have any additional questions please contact, Shakera Williams, MPH Assistant Extension Nutrition Agent Webster/ Claiborne Parishes at 318 371-1371 or by email sswilliams@agcenter.lsu.edu

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline can be reached at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at  ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If you need help on Thanksgiving Day, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Student of the Year semifinalists announced

Lakeside is pleased to announce the semifinalists for high school student of the year. Finalists will be selected when the schools return from break and then they will undergo an interview process before Student of the Year is named on December 3. The semifinalists are (from left) Jake Chumley, Greyson Winston, Maddox Lee, Sydney Robinson, Maya Merritt, Kendrayvious Dubose, Warren Eisner and Koby Mangrum.

Minden Coca-Cola provides scholarships to five NLTCC students

On behalf of Minden Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Vice-President, Steven Lingenfelter, presented the scholarships along with a case of Coca-Cola for each student. The NLTCC student recipients of the $1,000 scholarships were Kendrea Jones, Darielle Moore, Tyler Michaud, Ethan Tolar and Kimberly Givens. 

NLTCC Chancellor Earl Meador thanked Minden Coca-Cola for the generous scholarships and continued support of NLTCC. Meador said, “In addition to these generous scholarships, Minden Coca-Cola also provides employment opportunities for our students. We thank Minden Coca-Cola for their investment in our students and the future of our community.” 

Vice President, Steven Lingenfelter, said later, “Though Minden Coca-Cola awards scholarships each year, with the continuing impact of Covid-19 on our area, we are especially happy that we could help these students. We are very proud of what NLTCC has done to enable these men and women to pursue higher learning and better opportunities amid the pandemic. Our community is fortunate to have this campus here. We wish good health and success to this year’s recipients.” 

Sibley man arrested for domestic abuse

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a Sibley man for domestic abuse battery.

Jonathan Daniel Thompson, 41, of the 100 block of N. East 3rd St., was taken into custody Thursday afternoon, after a deputy was dispatched to a discount store in Sibley.

“The deputy made contact with Thompson when he arrived,” Sheriff Jason Parker said. “Due to the seriousness of the situation, he handcuffed and detained him in the patrol unit.”

Parker said the victim was inside the discount store and was visibly upset and crying.

“She told the deputy the incident happened across the street at the subject’s residence,” Parker said. “She ran across the street to the store to get away from Thompson.”

The victim reportedly told the deputy she was arguing with Thompson and he became violent toward her, choking her and pushing her face.

“The deputy also found a bite mark on her right arm, and she said the subject did that to her,” Parker said. “She was cleared by EMS, and Thompson was transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center for booking.”

Arrest Reports

November 16

Annette Lee Bromsey, 30, of Ringgold, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies for possession of Sch. I (Marijuana), possession of Sch. I with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a minor, no child restraint in vehicle and no vehicle insurance.

November 19

Joshua Logan Dick, 22, of the 17,000 block of Hwy. 779, Minden, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies on a warrant for contempt of court.

Allen Christopher Bankston, 19, of the 500 block of Patrick St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for hit and run and reckless operation.

November 20

Leah M. Dison, 33, of the 500 block of Tharpe Ln., Sibley, was arrested by WPSO on a warrant for issuing worthless checks.

UCAP Needs for Week of Nov. 22

United Christian Assistance Program has the following needs for this week:

 Food: soup, crackers, cornbread mix, rice, pasta

 Clothing: men’s pants (sizes 32 and 34 waist), men’s shoes (sizes 10 and up), men’s socks and underwear

 Household Goods: towels, king and queen sheets, pots, pans and skillets

UCAP will be closed Friday, November 26 for Thanksgiving.

 It is regularly open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. for food, utility and rent assistance. Clothing is dispersed on Wednesdays only.

 Thanks to the community for your support!

Julie Celeste Cassels

April 27, 1974 – November 3, 2021

Julie Celeste Cassels, age 47, of Newark, Del., formerly of Minden, Corpus Christi, and Epsom, N.H., passed away on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

Born in Baton Rouge, LA on April 27, 1974, she was a daughter of Julius L. Cassels and the late Sara Jane (Addison) Cassels.

Many knew Julie only through the lens of the addictions she battled for years and the resulting side effects it had on her life. Drugs took her down a path that she never fully recovered from. It robbed her of some of her sanity and eventually her life. That wasn’t the real Julie though, and those fortunate enough to truly know her recognized that she was a special person. Julie graduated from the University of Delaware. She was a brave, fearless and beautiful young lady. She was very passionate in what she believed in, and she touched the lives of every person she met. Julie loved children and animals, plants and gardening, she loved to sing and write, and she was a wonderfully expressive artist. She lived a life that was uniquely her own. She was misunderstood by some, but loved by so many more. Memories of the beautiful little blonde girl with a mischievous smile will always be in our hearts and minds.

In addition to her father, Julie is survived by her brothers, Justin Cassels of Boulder, Col. and Oliver Cassels of Ogden, Utah; and aunts and uncles, Johnny and Sandy Addition, Jean and Johnny Allison, Jackie Ashley, Hilda Poche, and Janet Hughes.

All services will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Julie’s memory to Adult and Teen Challenge, PO Box 249, Ozark, MO 65721.

We love and will miss you, Julie. Our daughter, sister and friend.

Notice of Death – November 21, 2021

Braxton Woodrow “Bragg” Stuckey
September 28, 1947 – November 13, 2021
Services: A memorial service will be held at the Brushwood Methodist Church in Dubberly, Louisiana on November 22 at 1 pm.

Lynne Fair Robinson Gabler
Services:  A celebration of her life will be held on Monday, November 29, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Shreveport. A reception will follow.

Block Party on Pearl Street guarantees fun

Join the folks downtown this weekend for a corn hole tournament sponsored by Under Dawgs, Roma Italian Bistro and ARKLATEX Cornhole Alliance.

From 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday, November 20, a huge Pearl Street Block Party will be the scene of the fun.

Tournament info includes STOP Doubles, bring your own partner, four games guaranteed, $40 per team, open boards at 11 a.m. and bags fly at noon with an 80 percent payout for winners.

Live music begins at 5 p.m. with Megan and Justin Armstrong and What the Funk band takes over from 6 until 11 p.m.

No outside food or drink allowed. Fun is guaranteed.

Council reviews property ordinance in workshop

Pictured is Victory Park where a shooting reportedly took place during a birthday party at the Minden Community House.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An ordinance designed to keep city property safe for the persons using it was part of a Minden City Council workshop discussion last week.

“When there are events at parks and places like that – the number of people attending and all – that’s what this ordinance was created for the council to look at,” said Mayor Terry Gardner.

Minden Police Association President Jason Smith said the ordinance presented last week had “drastic changes” from the original.

“Essentially, it still requires an application to rent the civic center and other places,” he said. “We added the rec center and city parks. It’s a matter of if the people want to have alcohol and there are a lot of people, it gives us (the police) a way to shut it down if needed.”

Smith said the description that would fall under the ordinance would be “a huge block party” but on city property and without some type of security.

Lt. Joel Kendrick, Minden Police Association vice president, said the proposed ordinance was a combination of the old and new.

“We took everything that already required a permit and rolled other city property into that,” Kendrick said. “Basically, in the event that property is damaged and or someone gets hurt, then we know who rented the property, and the city will be able to reclaim the loss.”

The ordinance reads “No person shall erect any structure, or stage any performance, or conduct any race, athletic contest or parade, hold any meetings, or make any speech or hold any large gathering with more than 25 people in any park or any city owned property, except by permit or rental agreement.”

“We want to make sure they have some kind of security – it doesn’t have to be us (Minden Police),” Kendrick said. “It can be the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office or Marshal’s Office. Just to make sure nothing happens.”

Gardner pointed out there is no alcohol allowed in the city parks in the proposed ordinance.

“I think that’s important because things can get out of control,” said the mayor. “Surprisingly, that was the Youth Advisory Committee – the young teenagers that said absolutely no alcohol in the parks. So, they want things to run correctly, too.”

Gardner said one of the problems this ordinance will help solve includes restroom destruction at the local parks.

“They are costing the city a tremendous amount of money,” he said. “Sometimes after these events, the sinks are off the walls, toilets are pushed over, and this enables us to hold someone responsible. We will know the time it starts and the time it ends, so if the restrooms are destroyed, we know if someone from the event did it or if it was vandalism.”

District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker said she feels the ordinance is unfair because it requires a permit if a family wants to have a child’s birthday party at a park with more than 25 persons attending.

“If there’s 26 people, they’re in violation,” she said. “What’s fair about that?”

If the ordinance passes, there will be fines for violations. Gardner asked the council to review the ordinance and let him know if it could be put on the next council agenda for a vote.

Work continues on Camp Minden

Work continues on the parking area/National Guard staging at Camp Minden in preparation for the April 21-24, 2022 target date to host the McKenzie Archery Shooters Association Pro/Am Tour where more than 2,000 archers will compete. 

Work shown here is being done with equipment and workers from Bossier Parish Police Jury and Caddo Parish Commission. Material comes from the Bossier Parish stockpile at Lawson Bo Brandon Park in Princeton. Webster Parish Police Jury workers have also worked on the area.

A fine line for the wine?

Rocker’s mailbox was full this delivery day. Thanks for the mentions. This message volume verifies our code that if you can’t say something good about someone, call or write us.

A couple of interesting pieces of communication asked how it is possible for a business to sell alcoholic beverages in very close proximity to a church. Rocker is no attorney, but we did spend the night next to one in a mental ward so the answer was traceable.

Louisiana law prohibits issuing a permit for alcohol sales when a premises (building) is located within 300 feet of a public playground, a building used for a church or synagogue, a public library or school. That distance is measured as a person walks from the nearest point of the proposed premises to the nearest point on the property line of the playground, church, synagogue, library or school.

Our communication wondered how a certain grocery store on East Union was legally selling alcohol when it sat much closer than 300 feet from a church-owned structure. We believe all of Minden knows the reference is Save-A-Lot and the St. Rest Church’s community center. But, looking at the law, the wording  “building used for a church” eliminates considering the center a church.

In addition, the Minden charter was amended in 2020 to include a specific wording change. Without boring you with a boatload of legalese, the ordinance in Section 6-25 notes alcohol may be sold, with a permit,  “…on premises situated within 300 feet or less, as fixed by the ordinance, of a building used exclusively as a church or synagogue…” The word “exclusively” should mean the distance requirement, under local ordinance, is met.

We were also asked if local ordinance supersedes state law. As previously noted, Rocker’s legal opinion is worth about a spit in the wind. Generally speaking, though, if there’s a conflict between a state and local law, state laws override any parish or local ordinances. This opinion, like others on which Minden depends, isn’t verified in writing.

In short, if someone is interested in challenging those sales, then someone would have to show the state’s “building used as” and the city’s “building used exclusively as” are conflicting. That will be about as challenging as Bill Clinton wondering what the court’s definition of “is” is.

 And speaking of is, did anyone notice that Rocker is stepping over the sleeping dog and walking around the dead horse? It’s not approval, it’s just reloading. 

Calendar of Events

Non-profit events happening in the community. If you have a non-profit event: church, school or community, please email it to wpjnewsla@gmail.com.*

November 18

Job Fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce Board room. Hosted by Jean Simpson.

December 2

Christmas Celebration dinner theater and auction sponsored by Adult & Teen Challenge. Doors open at 6 p.m., banquet at 7 p.m. For reservations, call Christy at 318-382-0203 or 318-469-5393. Email cjenkins1201@hotmail.com.

December 11

Christmas in Minden, begins at 5 p.m. with a parade downtown.

*Webster Parish Journal reserves the right to determine if a calendar item is a paid advertisement.