Creating a healthy kitchen, food pantry

Today is the deadline to register for a free virtual lesson that will teach participants how to make better choices when stocking their pantry, refrigerator and freezer. 

“Having a pantry, refrigerator, and freezer full of healthy food at home helps encourage healthy eating habits, said Shakera Williams, MPH, Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent for the Webster Parish LSU AgCenter Extension Office. “It is encouraged to eat at home instead of eating out.”

The virtual lesson will be held from noon until 1 p.m. Thursday, January 27 through the Microsoft Teams platform which is very similar to Zoom. Once you have registered for the program you will be emailed a link and instructions on how to join the program. Deadline to register for this program is Tuesday, January 25. Registration link: 

Here is a list of the class learning objectives below
· Learn to make your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer food choices healthier.
· Learn the traffic light method for categorizing foods.
·  Be able to identify green-light, yellow-light, and red-light foods and staples when shopping and eating.
· Learn how to read food labels and utilize them to make healthy food choices.

“I look forward to seeing you virtually soon,” Williams said.

For more information, please contact Shakera Williams at 318 – 371 – 1371.

UCAP Needs for the week of Jan. 24

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

Food: Vienna sausage, canned meats, powdered milk, crackers

Household goods: queen sheets, towels, crock pots, pots, pans, skillets

Clothing: men’s pants and jeans (32 and 34 waist), men’s tennis shoes (size 10 and larger)

Many thanks to the community for supporting UCAP.

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

Flowers talks economy with Lions

Special thanks to Dr. Gayle Flowers for speaking to the Minden Lions on Thursday. Dr. Flowers is the Director of the Northwest Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which is a federally funded program serving 10 Northwest Louisiana parishes. Her topic was, “Building the Economy through Government Contracting.” 

From left are Lion Andrew Thibodeaux, Dr. Gayle Flowers and Lion First Vice President Tommy Davis.

Upcoming Events

Current until February 19

Minden Recreation Center. Baseball/softball registration. $45 per child.

January 27

Noon: Shakera Williams, Assistant Nutrition Agent for LSU AgCenter will present a free virtual program on how to make better choices when stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer.

January 28

Senior cap and gown pictures at Lakeside. Contact Mr. Beavers or Ms. Culpepper with questions.

January 31

2 until 3 p.m. Retirement reception for Sheila Phenix at the Webster Parish Library’s main branch on East & West. The public is invited to attend.

February 1, 8, 15, 22

1 p.m. Break Up With Salt by the LSUAg Center, offered at the Webster Parish Library’s main branch. For more information, call 318-371-1371.

February 5

1 p.m. Springhill Parade and Tailgate Party. Springhill Main Street.

5 p.m. Webster Parish Fasching Carnival and Parade. Downtown Minden.

February 10-13

Annual Minden St. Jude Auction at the Minden Civic Center.

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

Man’s bizarre behavior leads to arrest

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Refusal to communicate and cooperate landed a Minden man in jail.

Dakota Holloway, 23, of the 200 block of Ellis Drive, was arrested by Minden Police on four counts of resisting an officer by force or violence.

According to Chief Steve Cropper, OFC. Chris Cayer, Off. Clingan and Lt. Brandon Curry were dispatched to the Ellis Drive residence where he attempted to make contact with Holloway, who was standing in the front yard.

“OFC. Cayer said he tried to talk with Holloway, but he refused to give his name or date of birth,” Cropper said. “In fact, he refused to communicate at all.”

A female complainant at the residence reportedly told the officer Holloway’s name.

“She said Holloway was not allowed in the residence, and that she had informed Holloway of that prior to the officer’s arrival,” said the chief. “She said Holloway was making profane statements to her, and the officer noted that Holloway was acting ‘extremely bizarre.’”

While the female subject was telling officers what had occurred, Holloway reportedly approached them in a threatening manner, using profanity.

“The officer asked Holloway again for his date of birth several times, and he refused,” Cropper said. “When he gave Holloway a loud verbal command to walk to his patrol unit so he could conduct a pat down for officer safety, Holloway placed his hands in his pockets and would not remove them.”

Cropper said after a brief struggle, Hollway was placed into custody.

Police arrest man for attacking woman with meat cleaver

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Minden man has been arrested for attacking a woman.

Allan J. Combs, 66, of the 400 block of Walter Lyons Rd., was taken into custody by Minden Police and charged with aggravated second degree battery.

Chief Steve Cropper said OFC. Chris Cayer and Off. Clingan were dispatched to the Walter Lyons Road residence in reference to a disturbance.

“A female subject approached officers with an injury to her head,” Cropper said. “She told them that Combs had struck her head and attempted to cause further harm to her due to an argument.”

The female complainant reportedly told officers she armed herself with a meat cleaver, a filet knife and a butter knife in self defense.

“Combs removed these items from her hands and struck her with the meat cleaver to the left side of her face,” Cropper said. “She was transported to Minden Medical Center by Pafford EMS.”

Cropper said Combs was arrested and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. The meat cleaver, filet and butter knives were collected as evidence.

Arrest Reports

January 19

Eugene E. Henderson, 48, of the 600 block of Stone St., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police on four active bench warrants through Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office. The warrants are for 3 counts of theft, 1 criminal mischief and as a fugitive from WPSO.

Corey Joe Oglee, 38, of the 100 block of Bobby Davis Rd, Shongaloo, was arrested by WPSO on an active warrant for attempted theft.

Tony E. Hall, 34, of the 700 block of 5th St., NE, Springhill, was arrested by Probation & Parole for a parole violation. His original charges were computer aided solicitation of a minor and distribution of Marijuana.

Dedrick Miller, 42, of the 400 block of Front St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO and MPD for distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance Sch. II.

January 21

Amanda J. Howe, 46, of the 900 block of Baker St., Springhill, was arrested by WPSO as a fugitive from Union Parish on a warrant for monetary instrument abuse and illegal transmission of monetary funds.

January 22

Kenneth Wayne Davis, 44, of Shreveport, was arrested by Louisiana State Police for driving while intoxicated (third offense), window tint, license plate lilght, speeding (45 in a 25 mph zone), flight from an officer, possession of marijuana, careless operation of a motor vehicle, no seatbelt, possession of Sch. II, possession of drug paraphernalia and two outstanding warrants.

Notice of Death – January 24, 2022

Erma Fay Caughman

September 24, 1935 – January 23, 2022

Visitation: Noon until service time

Funeral Service: 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 26, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home Chapel, Minden

Burial: Union Springs Cemetery, Shongaloo, La.


Debra Ann Marshall

February 18, 1958 – January 20, 2022

Visitation: 10 a.m. until service time 

Memorial Service: Noon Saturday, February 12, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City


Robert Ellis Asseff

March 8, 1934 – January 23, 2022

Visitation: 9:30 a.m. Friday, January 28, 2022 until service time

Service: 11 a.m. Friday, January 28, 2022 at Rose-Neath Chapel, Mansfield, La.

Burial: Highland Cemetery, Mansfield


Nancy Jo Byford McMellon

April 5, 1939 – January 17, 2022

Visitation: 9 a.m. until time of service

Funeral Service: 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 26, 2022, Rose-Neath Chapel, Mansfield, La.

Burial: Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Center, Texas

Huffman Management to address planning commission February 3 for second time

Grace Estate, 1114 Broadway.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A second meeting of the Minden Planning Commission that addresses a zoning variance request may have a different outcome from the first.

During the January 6 meeting, a request by Huffman Management, LLC, option holder for the Grace Estate property at 1114 Broadway, was denied the request by a 3-2 vote. Commission members voting against granting the variance were Morris Busby, Joeann McWoodson and Steve Wilson. Those voting in favor were Michael Davis and commission Chairperson Sarah Haynes.

Emily Hunt who, along with her family, lives behind Grace Estate on Pennsylvania Ave., is concerned about the variance.

“The original request was to turn Grace Estate into a bed and breakfast, event center and lounge,” Hunt said. “I attended the last meeting to express my concern about the event center and bar because the current owner has operated it as an event center in the past, and it has been very disturbing.”

Hunt said the outside events, such as weddings, would often get “rowdy, and people would get arrested.”

Live bands late at night also were a problem. The ordinance currently in place states “There shall be no emission of vibrations, noises, odors, dust, smoke, or other pollution detectable outside the dwelling by the sense of normal human beings.”

The newest variance proposal, which will be discussed February 3, reads the same as the last but without the wording “bar” or “lounge” included.

A similar variance was put in place for Grace Estate, however, Building Official Brent Cooley said when the property changes hands, that variance “goes away.”

“In the first request, Huffman wanted to put in a bar or lounge, so he could get it zoned and licensed and cater his own parties and sell alcohol to his patrons,” Cooley said. “That was voted down by the planning commission, but he has revised his request, and he’s not asking to put a bar in there.”

Cooley said Huffman Management, LLC wants a bed and breakfast plus an apartment, so a family member can live on the premises at all times.

“He’s going to remodel the house and use several bedrooms for the bed and breakfast,” Cooley said. “It is the same variance Jimmy Hall (owner of Grace Estate) had.

“Variances are very specific to that person for use of that property,” he continued. “It doesn’t get transferred. So, when he sells the property, it reverts back to single family residential only. Mr. Huffman has to apply for the same variance.”

Hunt said one of her concerns, if Huffman’s request is granted, is that he will add the bar or lounge at a later date.

Cooley said that cannot happen unless a zoning change is approved.

“He will not be able to do that,” Cooley said, “It will still be residential property for all practical purposes, and you cannot get an alcohol license at a residential property.

“It would require a zoning change that would allow some type of commercial use,” he continued. “But that’s not what he’s asking for.”

James Huffman, who lives at Huffman House two doors down from Grace Estate, said this is all about family and community.

“I live in Minden – I’ve lived here for seven years,” Huffman said. “My daughter went to Minden High School.

“Up until this point, there’s always been liquor served at Grace Estate, just not by the establishment,” Huffman, who has been in the hospitality business for close to 40 years, said. “What happened with the average event that had alcohol … guests were allowed to bring in their own alcohol and serve themselves.”

Huffman said when that happens there is one thing that always holds true. “If you allow individuals to bring their own alcohol and serve themselves, no one keeps tabs on them.”

Dram Shop insurance was the purpose behind the alcohol discussion, he said.

“That’s insurance that covers the building, the ownership, the individual who serves the drinks and the individual who leaves intoxicated and covers the person they hit, if they do,” Huffman said. “We wanted to have control over the alcohol and how much people were drinking. It horrifies me to think of a drunk driver leaving the establishment who’s had no one to monitor them.”

It was never about a commercial bar business open to the general public, he pointed out.

“The original thought process was to have less than 10 seats in it. We were going to have four bar stools, a table with a couple of chairs and a loveseat,” he said. “It was to serve guests of the bed and breakfast and guests of guests. At no time was it going to be an open disco bar.”

Huffman said the language in the variance request was easy to remove, “because it was never about making money. Just to be responsible to my community. The community didn’t want it, so we removed it.”

In the past, Grace Estate operated as a restaurant as well as a bed and breakfast, but Huffman has no plans to utilize any of the commercial  equipment to run a restaurant. It will be a bed and breakfast and single family residence, he said.

“I want this to be a positive for our community,” he said.

Minden Planning Commission’s decisions are final, unless an appeal is made to the Minden City Council.

Librarian retires from job but not her passion

Sheila Phenix in her happy place – among the books at the Webster Parish Library.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Books are her life, helping people is her passion. Now, after 28 years of working at the Webster Parish Library, Sheila Phenix is ready to channel that passion into a new adventure.

“I have other things I want to do,” Phenix said. “I helped a lot of people along the way – school teachers, students.”

Some of her favorite times have been when schools assigned science and social study fairs, as well as papers written about Black History Month.

“Kids would come in, you find out what they need, and you start pulling out the books,” she said. “We’ve had teachers from Minden High School walk their students to the library, and they were teaching the kids how to use reference books. Those were the good old days.”

One of the biggest changes Phenix has seen over the years is technology.

“Everything is on the computer now,” she said. “I miss those days when the kids actually had to come in the library and use books.”

Phenix says she began her career in circulation in 1993, when Director Eddie Hammontree hired her to take her sister’s place temporarily. However, her time with books really started when she was 11 years old as a library helper at J.A. Middle School. Then, as the years passed, she worked in the summers at Jones Memorial Library before replacing her sister with Webster Parish Libraries – a job that eventually became permanent.

Phenix worked at the reference desk before becoming branch manager over 11 employees in 2001.

“What I like to do the most is getting out in the shelves and make sure the books are in order,” she said. “Every once in a while I catch myself doing that, and I have to remind myself to let the staff do their jobs.”

But, again, her passion is helping people.

“This is a ministry, too,” she said. “I tell my staff all the time to smile at people when they come in the door. Encourage them and treat everybody the same. You never know what that person might be going through and maybe they just need to see a friendly face.”

Phenix already knows how she will funnel that passion after she says goodbye to the world of books.

“I plan to take care packages to the nursing homes, because you know some of those people don’t have anyone to visit them,” she said. “I can play BINGO with them, and I can cook meals once a week for the people who are alone.”

Since 2017, Phenix has worked under Savannah Jones’ directorship. But Jones remembers Phenix from her own time as a young person.

“Shelia was the first librarian I ever met as a child,” Jones said. “I grew up coming to the library after school, and I always felt comfortable coming to her for absolutely anything. I believe she has made many others feel the same way. Shelia is genuine, caring, and always puts the needs of others before herself. She is not just an employee; she is a friend and a part of our library family. She will be missed greatly.”

Jones said Phenix is leaving some big shoes to fill.

“You can’t teach her personality,” Jones said. “You have it or you don’t, and this is what Sheila has brought to the table since Day One.”

And Phenix admits she will miss the library, but there is another coming along – a six-year-old child whose grandmother intends to teach her about the library and the wonderful world of books.

A community-wide retirement reception is planned in Phenix’s honor from 2 until 3 p.m. Monday, January 31. The celebration is open to the public and will be held at the library’s main branch on East & West St.

Ponderings from the comfort of the rockin’ chair

We’ve become a big fan of televised editions of our local city council meetings. Even the reruns give cause to grin, especially the votes of a couple of our seat occupiers. As we’ve mentioned numerous times, seat occupiers Williams-Walker and Bradford give us headscratching moments with several votes on what should be easy issues.

Chief among the laughables is the consistency with which this pair says “no” to approving minutes of previous minutes. Not sure, but the current streak could be record-breaking for any public body. Awaiting word from Guinness World Records. Your favorite rocker wondered if a “no” vote also required an explanation. Curiosity got the best of us.

A check with a legal counsel who knows volumes about municipalities and their public bodies uncovered interest worthy info. According to counsel, if there is no ordinance requiring them to articulate their objection to minutes, the answer is generally no. But, our information handler pointed out, office holder should be prepared to undergo media and public scrutiny for their negative vote.

Although counselor did not say so, those office holders should also be ready to get their feathers ruffled by a rockin’ chair curmudgeon. 

Also, in the opinion of this legal eagle, if a council member votes no on such an innocuous matter (a previously used rocker term), people will question why. Remaining silent on the “why” is bad practice, even if it isn’t illegal. Rocker will add, even if it’s not illegal it should be necessary.

But, one has become accustomed to a lack of reason from some on our council. Rocker’s sources still say there’s animosity among certain members (plus their string puller) and Hizzonner the Bumpmeister. Evidence, such as continuous no votes on practically any matter Hizzonner brings to the council, supports that assertion.

Rocker would like to offer another theory, one put forth by Robert J. Hanlon who allegedly submitted this gem to a joke book. Called Hanlon’s Razor, the philosophical pearl postulates, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Presented as a joke, it exposes a joke that is increasingly without humor. 

Another ponderable item: Rocker read with interest a piece about Minden city police officers taking some folks along on patrol so people could see exactly what their $13.75 an hour is buying. Individuals who tagged along weren’t named, but our pigeons tell us the bunch included Hizzonner and a pair of city council members.

We’re told these officers performed only their regular duties, and that included patrolling neighborhoods that have been subjected to drive-by shootings and random acts where shots reportedly were fired into the air. One of those drive-by incidents resulted in the death of a three-year-old child.

One might think each of our city leaders would be interested to see exactly what’s going on from the viewpoint of both citizens and cops, but one would have misthought. A source said emails were sent to all five council members. Two responded affirmatively to the invitation; no response from three. 

Apparently three-fifths of our city council isn’t concerned about what’s going on and what can be done to help fight crime here. Apparently two of that group thinks the police are doing great with what they’ve got since that was the number who recently voted against hiring another officer. Fortunately three members agreed one more might make a difference. 

We’re told invitations have gone out to the council more than once. More than once, some did not bother to respond. If memory is correct, when an invitation was offered at a council meeting, one non-attendee didn’t have time; one was silently disinterested; one claimed a ride-along was unnecessary because he had law enforcement experience. A source said that experience reportedly came from watching the Andy Griffith episode when Gomer makes a citizen’s arrest.  Cool.

We wonder just how that apparent lack of concern will look to constituents when November (election day) rolls around. With qualifying for this year’s races scheduled for July, it might behoove some to decide right now if the interest is in moving Minden ahead or stopping this administration in its tracks. 

We’ll know how serious some are about continuing to “serve” the people by the actions of the next few months. If critical issues continue to appear unimportant, the great unwashed might just give someone a reason to ignore an email about a city problem or opportunity. Those emails will only be forwarded to office holders. Not observers.


Upcoming Events

Current until February 19

Minden Recreation Center. Baseball/softball registration. $45 per child.

January 22

9 a.m. Trapper Education Workshop, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Minden field office.

10 a.m. Toddler Paint and Play. Children ages 18 months to 3 years. Webster Parish Library. Minden Main Branch.

January 27

Noon: Shakera Williams, Assistant Nutrition Agent for LSU AgCenter will present a free virtual program on how to make better choices when stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer.

January 28

Senior cap and gown pictures at Lakeside. Contact Mr. Beavers or Ms. Culpepper with questions.

January 31

2 until 3 p.m. Retirement reception for Sheila Phenix at the Webster Parish Library’s main branch on East & West. The public is invited to attend.

February 1, 8, 15, 22

1 p.m. Break Up With Salt by the LSUAg Center, offered at the Webster Parish Library’s main branch. For more information, call 318-371-1371.

February 5

1 p.m. Springhill Parade and Tailgate Party. Springhill Main Street.

5 p.m. Webster Parish Fasching Carnival and Parade. Downtown Minden.

February 10-13

Annual Minden St. Jude Auction at the Minden Civic Center.

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

Monthly update from the mayor

Our community just celebrated the most wonderful time of the year, and even though Christmas has come and gone, there is so much to look forward to in Minden. Our annual St. Jude Auction is right around the corner, and we will speak more about that in next month’s update. But now it’s Mardi Gras season, and the biggest parade in town is ready to roll.

The 24th annual Minden Mardi Gras Parade will be held on Saturday, February 5. The parade route will cover a 3.3-mile stretch of Minden streets. We will begin at the intersection of Germantown Road and Elm Street and wind through the Minden Historic District, downtown and back to Germantown Road.

There will be so many family-friendly activities taking place, and we encourage all of Minden to turnout to tailgate, catch some beads, and have a wholesome time with friends. Events like our Mardi Gras parade make Minden unique. It’s one of those times when we can all come together and put aside those things that divide us as we watch children smile and adults laugh and enjoy each other’s company. 

While you watch all the floats roll by also take notice of the positive strides we have made in our downtown. From new restaurants and businesses to new Bed and Breakfast locations and the downtown renovation of the Imperial Hotel, Minden is on the move and making progress even during a pandemic.

As for the pandemic, we want to encourage everyone to attend and have a great time but also to be mindful. While enjoying all the outside activities we should remember to practice social distancing. It is also up to the individual if they would like to wear a mask while shopping or near others. We have noticed a slight increase in Covid cases in the parish, but if we practice good common sense these numbers should level out.

As we have always done, the residents of Minden will work through any difficulties that may come our way. We continue to prove we will not allow the pandemic to keep us down as we make wonderful strides to move Minden forward.

Our parade is geared to celebrate the community. After more than 20 years of growth, Minden’s celebration of Mardi Gras proves that we can grow so long as we continue to come together to celebrate those things that unite us rather than those that divide us.

Saying ‘I do?’ Let us help get out the word

The Webster Parish Journal “WPJ” publishes paid engagement and wedding announcements, as well as anniversaries, for couples who reside in the parish, who have relatives in the parish or who are getting married in the parish. (Fees apply.)

This move by the Journal allows couples to showcase their announcement. 

Information for engagement announcements include: 

Digital photograph of the couple 

The couple’s names 

The couple’s hometowns 

High school and/or college of the couple 

Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

Ties to the parish 

Wedding time, date, and place 

An interesting fact about the couple 

Information for the wedding announcements include: 

Digital photograph of the couple 

The couple’s names 

The couple’s hometowns 

High school and/or college of the couple 

Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 



Ties to the parish 

Wedding time, date, and place 

For engagement and wedding announcement fees and/or to submit information for publication, please email 

The cops who didn’t come home

While many Americans celebrated the holidays with their families in the final week of 2021, law enforcement kept working. And, tragically, four officers didn’t make it home to their loved ones that week. They were murdered while doing their job keeping others safe.

Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley, ambushed while alone in her car, died on Christmas Eve. Five days later in Illinois, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley was killed during a call for assistance. On Dec. 30, also in Illinois, Bradley Police Department Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic was shot while attempting to locate the owner of dogs left in a car. And on New Year’s Eve, Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek was killed in an attempted carjacking.

These four murders brought the total number of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2021 to 73, the highest annual number since the 9/11 attacks. That’s the equivalent of one officer murdered every five days. In a year when homicides and violent crime reached distressing levels, this 20-year high hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Especially troubling is that a record number of officers killed—nearly half—had no engagement with their assailant before the attack. Each story is heartbreaking: A 30-year Florida deputy murdered one shift shy of retirement; an officer ambushed on his first day on the job, leaving behind a wife and 6-month-old son; a combat veteran and his police dog killed while serving together.

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we experienced loss in 2021, too. Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin were murdered while doing the difficult job investigating crimes against children. FBI Task Force Officer Greg Ferency of the Terre Haute, Ind., Police Department was ambushed and killed outside an FBI office.

When I started as FBI director, I made it my practice to call the chief or sheriff of every officer intentionally killed in the line of duty. I have now made more than 200 such calls. Each conversation reminds me that behind the uniform, the badge, and, yes, sometimes the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, there are real people. With each call, I think about the families and friends who lost someone they loved, the children who will grow up without a parent, and the communities deprived of a public servant.

We owe it to them to redouble our efforts to take the most violent offenders off the streets and to make sure officers have the resources, equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely. Even more, we need to ensure the brave men and women know that the communities they serve have their backs.

Every day, officers willingly put themselves at risk not knowing what dangerous situation or traumatic event they might encounter. I won’t pretend every person who carries a badge is beyond reproach, but the overwhelming majority do the job with the professionalism and commitment to equal justice citizens rightly expect.

I meet frequently with chiefs and sheriffs across the country, and they are concerned about morale and the challenges of recruiting the next generation of officers. They understand that trust and transparency are vital to safety, and they are committed to finding ways to improve interactions. And while respect must be earned, if we are going to recruit and retain the kind of people willing to put their lives on the line to protect others, we have to show that we value their sacrifices.

Civic and business leaders, government officials and responsible citizens need to consider how we talk about engaging with law enforcement. When police are miscast as lacking humanity—devoid of empathy and compassion—everyone suffers. Departments lose good officers who are hard to replace, and communities are less safe.

As we reflect on 2021, let’s honor the memories of those who lost their lives protecting others. Let’s commit to making communities safer, finding ways to improve interactions between law enforcement and those they serve, holding everyone to the high standards befitting men and women in uniform, and valuing those who do their jobs with honor.

(Mr. Wray is FBI director.)

Arrest Reports

January 14

Cedric DeWayne Taylor, 35, of the 500 block of Art Camp Rd., Heflin, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for aggravated assault.

January 15

Rodney O. Stinson, 56, of the 400 block of Service Rd., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for possession of Methamphetamine and speeding.

Tamara Renee Woodard, 49, of the 100 block of White Trail, Doyline, was arrested by Doyline Police for driving while intoxicated (first offense) and running a stop sign.

Courtney Rose Hanvy, 33, of the 27,000 block of Hwy. 157, Shongaloo, was arrested by WPSO on an outstanding bench warrant for driving under suspension and speeding.

Teyomas F. Hawkins, 40, of the 900 block of Dogwood Dr., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear.

January 16

Timothy Grim, 52, of the 100 block of Eagle Bend, Shreveport, was arrested by Minden Police for public intimidation.

January 17

Christopher Richard, 49, of the 1300 block of Shamrock St., Bossier City, was arrested by WPSO on warrants from Sibley Police for drug paraphernalia and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

Alex Tarenza Odom, 35, of the 700 block of Plum St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on a warrant for criminal neglect of family.

January 18

Jason Lewis Warner, 49, of the 6600 block of Hwy. 159, Minden, was arrested by Louisiana State Police as a fugitive from Caddo Parish, driving under suspension and crossing center line. Other charges by WPSO include careless operation of a motor vehicle, unregistered vehicle and improper plates.

Justin H. McCaleb, 27, of the 100 block of Katie Lane, Minden, was arrested by Minden Police on 3 active bench warrants.

January 19

Ashley Everleen Standokes, 22, of the 200 block of Lewis Loop, Cotton Valley, was arrested by Cotton Valley Police on a warrant for theft.

Eric Hedgeman, 43, of the 300 block of Green Rd., Homer, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse with child endangerment, remaining after forbidden and simple criminal damage to property.

Webster Parish Journal publishes obituaries

When the unthinkable happens, and we lose a loved one, everyone wants the support that comes from contact with friends and family.

What would you like the world to know about your loved one? We publish obituaries at the Webster Parish Journal. Ask your funeral director for information, but if you wish, contact us at .

There is a fee of $80 for unlimited words with a photo, and payment is due before the obituary runs. Funeral announcements (date of birth and death, as well as funeral arrangements) are free.

Again, check with your funeral director as you are making arrangements, or contact us. We hope you don’t need us, but we are here for you.

Notice of Death – January 19, 2022 

Mark Fletcher

August 4, 1952 – December 3, 2021

Memorial Service: 2 p.m. Saturday, January 22, 2022, Haughton United Methodist Church, 215 E. McKinley Ave., Haughton.

Leland Sparrow Adams Jr.

March 10, 1931 – January 12, 2022

Memorial Gathering: 4 until 6 p.m. Thursday, January 20, 2022, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City

Hervey Carl Shewmake

December 11, 1930 – January 15, 2022

Graveside Service: 10 a.m. Thursday, January 20, 2022 at Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, 7970 Mike Clark Rd., Keithville

Royal Family Kids of Minden – A mission of love

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Royal Family Kids Camp of Minden is a mission – a mission for the director, a mission for the counselors, a mission for the campers – a mission of love.

In an undisclosed area near Minden since 2016, the week-long annual camp for foster kids ages 6-12 gives them something most have never experienced.

“I tell people it’s a mission field in our own backyard,” Volunteer Director Sandra Samuel said.

The kids register in town and then travel by bus to the camp.

“The first year I met the bus, I was overwhelmed,” Samuel said. “I know what these kids have been through, and I know what they are about to get, and I know it’s going to change their lives.”

All the kids receive gifts, and all of the gifts are meaningful, she said.

“The blanket is for security, the duffle bag is because most kids bring their things in trash bag,” she said. “Then they get a T-shirt when they arrive and another when they leave. The water bottle is just because we want them to stay hydrated.”

Most importantly, each receives a Bible because this is a faith-based initiative. One of the gift items includes a lesson book to ensure all campers learn about Jesus Christ. 

Each day is scheduled to have time learning about Christ, then adventures with a volunteer who takes the kids fishing, swimming, treats and snacks. There are wood-working classes, and new this year – a banquet.

“We are looking for dresses for the girls – we have a few,” Samuel said. “And we are trying to figure out a way to rent tuxes for the boys. I think this will be so special – an opportunity for them to dress up, probably for the first time in their lives.”

Samuel said there must be one volunteer counselor per two children. The youngest age is 16, but there’s no ceiling on the age limit. She said there are some they call Grandma and Grandpa.

Counselors are all volunteers, but they never pay – nor do families of any of the children.

“It’s a life-changing experience for the counselors, too,” Samuel said. “Some of them have moved away from the area, yet still come back just for this.”

Samuel said cost is around $700 per person, which includes insurance, food and lodging, entertainment and all the gift items for the kids.

“While removing a child from abuse and placing them in a safe environment may be necessary, it is hardly ever easy on a child – most times it is very painful,” Samuel said. “Can you just imagine what this one week can do for a child?”

All potential volunteers are required to fill out an application, background check, attend an interview and take 12 hours of training.

Donations and volunteers are vital. There are volunteer applications on the camp’s Facebook page.

To donate, please write your check to Minden Royal Family Kids Camp, 301 Pennsylvania Ave., Minden, LA 71055.

The Tree 

There is a tree that you can see in all of its beauty as you sit at the Broken Bean coffee shop looking toward the Methodist church. I am not sure how old it is, but it has been there awhile. There is just something about it that speaks to my heart. It reminds me of the trees in the Garden of Eden. It reminds me of Psalm 1:3 and Jeremiah 17:8 about being planted by streams of water and bearing fruit. It reminds me of the Scripture in Ephesians 3 that speaks to us about being rooted and grounded in love. It reminds of God as the Gardner, Jesus, the True Vine, and we are the branches. 

As I sat on one of the benches recently, watching the traffic go by, listening to the sounds around me, and feeling peaceful and refreshed under the covering of the branches, I picked up my journal and these words just fell on the page. 

The beautiful tree stands tall and deeply rooted.
Its branches reach out wide and shade the area below. 

The benches under the tree offer a place to rest.
The tree seems to invite you to come and sit awhile. 

O, what this tree has witnessed.
The stories it would have to share.
Those who came seeking refuge and rest.
They came sharing their laughter, tears, prayers, and presence. The rain, the sunshine, the storms and at times even snow. The warm and cold of the seasons.
It has seen it all. It has felt it all. 

The tree is much like our God, witnessing everything in our lives. He offers a place of quiet and stillness.
His arms stretch wide and deep with His love, grace, and mercy. In His presence we find rest and refreshment for our weary souls. In His presence we are nourished and renewed. 

He invites us to come and share our laughter, tears, joys, and prayers.
He sees it all and feels it all.
O, the stories God shares with us and we share with Him.
The journey He invites us to travel with Him now and forevermore into eternity. A beautiful tree; a beautiful life; our beautiful God. 

Your fellow sojourner, Jennifer Thomas 

All washed up

We’ve all been there, up Mildew Creek without a paddle.

Such is life when your clothes-washing machine goes 10 toes up.

It didn’t really die as much as it went on strike or was just terrible at its job. If my old clothes-washing machine were a football team, it would be the Dallas Cowboys, a mind-numbing imposter.

We inherited a “water and energy efficient” washing machine; it came with the house, same as the den and kitchen sink. And it looked like a washing machine, a little white cube with knobs and buttons and a big bin.

True to its branding, it was very efficient with water — but only because it hardly used any. And if you really think about it, water is one of the main things you need to wash clothes properly. So, the trouble was, this “pretend washer” wasn’t efficient at all in getting clothes clean. You know you’re in trouble when the clothes smell worse after they’re washed than before.

You know how a wet dog smells? There’s a charm to that smell if it’s on your dog from time to time. The smell loses its sentimentality if it’s coming from your blouse or blue jeans.

Ode to a Dried-up Washer

 When your washing machine

Is all washed up,

It’s a dirty shame.

You’re out of luck

And in deep poo.

(You smell bad too.)

Even your friends and family want little to do with you if it’s 9 a.m., you’re working a desk job and you smell like old eggs or last week’s trash.

“Honey, something stinks in here.”

“Yeah, sorry; I just washed a load of clothes.”

Something’s rotten in Denmark. Not optimal.

People could never have had this type of problem before the invention of clothes. You wore leaves. They got dirty or smelly, you threw them in the compost pile and picked yourself some new leaves, either in the yard or off the rack at The Leaves Store — “Got something in a Fig or a Palm? Size 16? Petite?”

But then some nitwit invented the snap brim hat, which led to cottage industries of neckties, pants, dresses, ascots, two-tone shoes and eventually, the clothes-washing machine.

Sigh … It was a simpler time.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought an appliance. Maybe a toaster 10 years ago. This was different. This was Big Game Hunting, a safari.

Yet it proved as easy as studying online, then showing the nice man at the store a picture. He hit F4 and maybe a Shift, typed in the model number, looked up and said, “There’s one on the truck that just pulled up outside.”

If you ain’t got timing, you ain’t got nothin’.

Quick as he could say “Twelve months same as cash,” the deal was done. The delivery guys showed up two days later, unhooked the old and hooked up the new, did it all in maybe eight minutes, could not have been nicer and hauled my old “washer that wasn’t really a washer” away for just $30.

“You’ll take this heavy piece of junk away from my house for just 30 bucks? When otherwise I’d have to borrow a friend and a truck and lift it and haul it myself? Glory!”

Would have paid twice that. Even three times, and I’m broke as that machine was.

For another $10, he said I could buy a “nice” plot in the Appliance Cemetery, between a busted coffee pot and a Frigidaire and he’d bury her there. I told him I was good, to dump it in a ditch if he wanted. I’m a sentimental softie, but not in this case.

We are so spoiled, all of us. Used to, clothes-washing machines never broke down. Back then they were called “our grandmothers,” have a wash tub and washboard will travel.

Laundromats took off after World War II — talk about a lot of laundry to do — and in-house washing machines became less bulky and more affordable and, thankfully, ran on electricity and not on steam. Now they’re common as a ketchup or coffee stain.

Thank goodness for that. Especially when they actually work. I don’t look any better since getting a new washer, but I smell fresh as $736.06, plus tax.

Contact Teddy at

Flowers to speak at noon Lions Club meeting 

Dr. Gayle Flowers will serve as guest speaker for the Thursday, January 20 noon meeting of the Minden Lions Club. Her topic will be, “Building the Economy through Government Contracting.” 

Dr. Flowers is the Director of the Northwest Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which is a federally-funded program serving 10 northwest Louisiana parishes. PTAC provides counseling, education and connections to help businesses secure federal, state and local government contracts, which builds the economy and allows businesses to create and retain jobs. 

Before PTAC, Dr. Flowers served five years as the Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development at Bossier Parish Community College. She led the college’s mission to provide customized and relevant education and training to individuals and companies. Previous work experience includes Director of Career, Adult and Alternative Education for Caddo Parish Public Schools and Principal of the nationally recognized Caddo Career and Technology Center.  

The success of Northwest Louisiana’s workforce and economy has always been at the center of Dr. Flowers’ career; however, her contributions extend beyond her employment. She has invested her knowledge and leadership by serving on many local, state and national boards. Dr. Flowers earned her three degrees from LSU-Shreveport. Worth noting is that she was the first graduate to earn LSUS’ Doctorate in Leadership. 

The Minden Lions Club meets Thursdays at noon at the American Legion Memorial Home, located at 119 Pine St. in Minden. 

It’s good work if you can get a hobby

By Robert St. John

My 45-year working career has been varied and full. The first official paying job I held (after three years of mowing lawns) was in the summer of my 15th year when I worked as a janitor at my school stripping and waxing floors. That fall I started working full time as a disc jockey at a radio station. I also spun records at frat parties, high school dances and in a local discotheque. After flunking out of college, I started working in restaurants and fell in love with the industry. I loved it so much that I took a job managing one restaurant during the day and waiting tables at another at night. I couldn’t get enough.

My dictionary defines the verb “work,” this way— “…be engaged in physical or mental activity to achieve a goal.” But it’s never felt like work.

I eventually returned to college to finish my degree in Hospitality Management, though I still worked full-time waiting tables. Every spare moment I was in the library reading restaurant trade magazines or staying up until early in the morning designing floorplans, kitchens and menus. I was “eat up” with the restaurant biz (pun intended).

In 1987, I borrowed $25,000 and opened the first restaurant. In the early days I worked as a chef behind the line, after four years I moved to the front of the house and eventually into the restaurant office. Since then, my work career has branched out from restaurant and bar ownership to newspaper columnist, book author, tour leader, television host, television producer, documentary film producer and the founder of a couple of non-profits.

Though, as of today, I can now add theater owner and bowling alley owner to my jack-of-a-few-trades-and-master-of-none list. I have been a fan of movies all my life and — conservatively — have spent more than 10,000 hours sitting in a movie theater watching films over the course of my 60 years. During that time, there are probably periods in my youth when I dreamed of owning a movie theater, but I never really thought that would happen.

Many would scoff at that many hours over the course of six decades spent in a dark theater. My friends would probably never vocalize it, but I am sure many feel that such a practice is a total waste of time. But I don’t really hunt. I rarely fish, and I never play golf. I have friends who have spent way more time on golf courses than I have in movie theaters.

Unlike the time I have spent in movie theaters, I have rarely bowled. I certainly never expected to be the owner of a bowling alley, yet here I am. Also, in addition to the five restaurants and two bars we currently own, we’re about to add another restaurant and bar to the list.

There is no doubt that I have been helped in a major way along the course of this hodgepodge of a career. Sometimes it was a friend or mentor with a loan, other times it was good timing, many times it was providence. I am grateful for all of it.

Work is my pastime. Work is my fun. Someone once said, “When passion meets work, work becomes a hobby.” My knee-jerk reaction to that quote was to state that there was probably a time in my life when work seemed like work. Though I think I would have to go all the way back to mowing yards and waxing floors. Actually, there were two summers in which I worked on a landscape crew laying sod and on a construction crew installing insulation in attics. That was work. Hard work. So technically, I haven’t really “worked” since the summer of 1982.

The new restaurant, bar, bowling alley and theater are all set to open in Jackson this week. Opening a restaurant is stressful. The first two weeks are filled with thousands of moving parts, any of which can go wrong at any minute. The key to success in this business is management, management, management, whether it’s during a honeymoon period, or 34 years into a restaurant’s run. As stressful as openings are, they are also an opportunity to see a dream come true. When a restaurant, or bar, or theater, or bowling alley for that matter, opens, it’s a vision actualized and brought to life.

And it’s the vison of dozens of people. And it’s the hard work of hundreds of people. I’m typically the guy out front doing the dog-and-pony show, but there are scores of others making the wheels turn.

It’s funny how life takes us in directions we never thought we would head once we let go and let life happen. I have made thousands of mistakes in my life, maybe tens of thousands. Though one of the things I feel I have gotten right is that I have been open to opportunity when it came knocking.

When I speak to students, I always try to reserve most of the time to field questions. I am almost always asked some form of the question, “What is the key to success?” After 40 years in this business and given some time and space with which to reflect, it seems the key to success in business — at least in my case — is simple: Support your co-workers. Do everything you can to delight your guests/customers/clients. Find every opportunity to say, “Yes.” Serve your community. Don’t screw anyone over. Take less of a deal if you must, but make the deal. Foster others’ successes. Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented, set the course, steer the ship, get out of their way and give credit where credit is due. Finally, find something you’re passionate about and make it your career.

Oh, and one last thing, keep moving forward, learn from past mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. I like to sum that concept up in one word…


Hoisin Glazed Chicken Wings

1 gallon water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tbl kosher salt

1 1/2 Tbl crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 Tbl fresh ginger, minced

3# fresh chicken wings

2-7 ounce jars hoisin sauce

1/4  cups sugar

1/4 cup water

1 Tbl fresh jalapenos, small dice

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbl fresh lime juice

1 Tbl Hot sauce

You can grill the wings and save this step. In a large stock pot, combine the water, soy sauce, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, vinegar and ginger. Bring this mixture to a simmer and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. Place the chicken wings into the simmering mixture. Once the water returns to simmer, cook the wings for 20 minutes.

Using a large colander, strain and discard the liquid. Allow the chicken wings to cool in the refrigerator for one hour. This step may be done 1-2 days in advance.

Preheat oven to 250

Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce, sugar, water, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice and hot sauce. Remove half of this mixture for later use.

Toss the pre-cooked wings in the mixing bowl, coating them well with the sauce. Arrange them on the foil lined baking sheet and cover them completely with another sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and place the remaining sauce in to a large mixing bowl. Gently place the wings in the bowl, and toss them with the sauce. Return the wings to the baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 275 and return the wings to the oven, uncovered. Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Yield: Eight to ten servings

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