Court of Appeal agrees with judge; denies former city attorney’s appeal

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Former Minden City Attorney (Louis) Charles Minifield will not be returning to the position he held for almost 35 years, according to a ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.

Recently, that court upheld a previous ruling by 26th Judicial District Court Judge Lane Pittard that said Minifield should not be reinstated as city attorney.

The next step could be to the Louisiana Supreme Court, however, Minifield said Monday he has no intention of taking the lawsuit any further.

“I have no comment at this time, but I reserve the right to comment later,” said Minifield, who became city attorney Oct. 22, 1987.

Minifield’s most recent term was supposed to take him from January 2019 to the end of 2022, but on May 6, 2020, he told the late Mayor Terry Gardner that he would be retiring at the end of that month.

Gardner accepted his resignation and notified the Municipal Employees Retirement System. The mayor called seven city council meetings to discuss replacing the city attorney, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a political boycott by one of the council members, none of the meetings had a quorum present.

The judgment states that Gardner felt the office of city attorney was vital to the operation of the city.

On May 21 – nine days before Minifield’s resignation date – Gardner suspended the city ordinance that required the council to elect the city attorney.

Gardner named Jimbo Yocom the new city attorney May 27. While the mayor was in the process of replacing him, Minifield changed his mind. He told MERS that he was withdrawing his application for retirement and faxed a copy to Gardner on May 28. At that point, the mayor had already named Yocom the new city attorney.

MERS refused to reinstate Minifield’s contributions and accrual of benefits. Minifield sued Gardner and the City of Minden for a declaratory judgment annulling his resignation and the appointment of the new city attorney, as well as damages and attorneys fees.

District Court Judge Pittard ruled “the COVID-19 issues were not really relevant; Minifield resigned, the city accepted his resignation, and he now has no claim against the mayor or city.”

The Second Circuit Court of Appeal agreed.

Yocom presently serves as city attorney.

(John O’Brien with contributed to this story.)

Chamber of Commerce names 15 Under 40

Photo by Jennifer Spurlock

More than 50 persons were nominated this year for the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce 15 Under 40 honor. The 15 chosen were named at Orleans on Main Tuesday evening and will be honored Tuesday, September 13 at the Minden Civic Center.

They are in alphabetical order:

  1. Steven Burdeaux – City of Minden
  2. Brandi Cade – Cultural Crossroads of Minden
  3. Travis Chapman – Energy Transfer
  4. Jordan Colvin – b1BANK
  5. Dustin Divelbiss – All Hours Fitness
  6. Lauren Gros – Webster Parish Schools
  7. Bailee Hurley – Muddy Bottoms
  8. Nathan Jones – Webster Parish Assessor
  9. Savannah Jones – Webster Parish Library
  10. Brian Meeker – Edward Jones Investments
  11. Buddy Myles – Seafood Empire
  12. Nathan Richardson – Claiborne Parish Schools
  13. Phillip Smart – City of Ruston
  14. Dr. Danielle Thomas – Main Street Medical
  15. Chris Winget – Webster Parish Clerk of Court

Motorcyclist killed in Webster Parish Crash

Just after 4 a.m. Tuesday, Louisiana State Police were dispatched to a one-vehicle crash on Middle Road, south of Old Arcadia Road. The wreck claimed the life of 58-year-old Mark Isenhour of Minden.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2002 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, operated by Isenhour, was traveling south on Middle Road when he exited the road and struck a culvert.  After impacting the culvert, Isenhour and his passenger were ejected.

Isenhour suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene by the Webster Parish Coroner.  The passenger was transported to a local hospital and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.  Both occupants were wearing DOT-approved helmets at the time of the crash.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

In 2022, Troop G has investigated 26 fatal crashes, which has resulted in 29 deaths.

Football contest kicks off; get your entries in before 4 p.m. Thursday

The Webster Parish Journal’s High School Football Pick’em contest has officially kicked off.

Each weekly winner over the 10 weeks of the contest will be on the receiving end of $100 and will have their photo taken at our title sponsor Under Dawgs Sports Grill, the gathering place featuring a home-field atmosphere. In addition to the $100, weekly winners will receive a $50 gift gas card courtesy of Car Giant, serving Minden by providing quality cars. A photo will be taken there, too.

In addition to the money and gas card, Minden Attorney Jimbo Yocom of Yocom Law Firm will award each weekly winner a cap featuring the winner’s favorite team either high school, college or pro. Winners will pick their cap at Minden Athletic, suppliers of athletic gear since 1973.

Anyone is eligible to participate. All it takes is an email address and a combination of skill and a little luck. Each week, 10 local and area high school football games plus two tie-breakers based on total points of two selected teams will be posted on the Webster Parish Journal. And just like the Journal, there’s no cost to enter. 

Signing up for the contest only takes a couple of minutes. Simply click and go from there.

Entries are now open for this week’s games scheduled to begin September 1. Entries will remain open until 4 p.m. each Thursday before the listed games. Weekly winners will be notified and announced in the following Wednesday edition of the Journal.

When you go up, your pets won’t wind up down 

The following is a Public Service Announcement from The Division of the Least of These Things to Worry About, Ever, My Brethren.  

A guy created a website and, for a while there, had people believing he’d recruited well-meaning and caring atheists who’d care for the pets of Christians after their rapture.  

In other words, “Send money. Rest easy.” 

I’ll hang on a second while you read that again because me my own self had to ponder it too, the first time I heard it; I had never had the thought either. Ever. And it’s not because I don’t love my pets. I do. But … while I’ve heard bizarre things, this might be at the top of the heap. 

Bizarro Mountain. 

Bizarro Mountain Range, even. 

NPR reported that a guy charged “hundreds of people more than $100 apiece, promising the business would care for their pets after the owners were carried up to Heaven. The self-described animal-loving atheist called his site Eternal Earth-Bound Pets. The New Hampshire Insurance Department thought some monkey business might be going on and decided to investigate”. 

Props to the New Hampshire Insurance Department, which seldom gets props. 

Life’s not fair. 

Anyway, the New Hampshire Insurance Department guy in charge of Pre-Rapture Pets, Etc. guy said it was a hoax. Which it was, same as the After the Rapture Pet Care site inventor admitted. 

I think they said this pre-rapture. Lord, I hope so. 

But I’ll give both guys points for creativity. 

For my pet’s future, I’d bet it on the After the Rapture Pet Care guy. He charged only a $10 registration fee, because those Left Behind were going to “care for the pets they rescue as their own, including being financially responsible for them,” the site claimed. 

Indulge me for a sec, and if you’ve read this far, you already have. The After the Rapture Pet Care guy, or (ATRPCG), also typed this on his site, under the ingenious “Frequently Asked Questions” part, (which I thought was a nice touch): 

Who are these Volunteer Pet Caretakers and how do I know they’ll take good care of my pets? 

Most Volunteer Pet Caretakers fit this description: 

  • They are atheists or another non-Christian religion; 
  • They love animals enough to register with us even though they do not believe there will be a Rapture (or are agnostic about it); 
  • (My words, because this bullet point was the part about how they’d treat your pets as their own — their still-alive-but-non-raptured own.)  

Another of the FAQ’s questions is, “Isn’t the world going to be totally collapsed after the Rapture?” It’s a long answer on the website, but the short answer from this bureau is, “Yes. That’s an affirm. Bet your hat. If you have gift cards, use them ASAP. If you have one from After the Rapture Pet Care, well … ” 

Lord have mercy …  

We conclude with a sobering thought, I think from Mark Twain, and it’s one of my favorite thoughts, at least one of my favorite sobering ones, and should ease the mind of all us pet lovers who are worried about how things might end up for animals we loved, as if God who created them isn’t aware: 

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” 


Contact Teddy at 

Q&A deadline is Sept. 1

If you were contacted for a Q&A concerning the office for which you qualified, your deadline is tomorrow to email your answers.

5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 is the deadline, and we will not accept any others after that time and date. However, it will be noted in the story that follows, so readers will understand that everyone was contacted and given a chance to respond.

Using the email address provided by you on the Secretary of State’s website during qualification, we emailed all candidates for Minden City Council, Minden Police Chief, Minden Mayor, Springhill Mayor, Springhill aldermen and Dixie Inn aldermen with questions.

If you did not receive your questions or perhaps accidentally deleted them, please contact us at

Please return your answers to the same email address and add a photo to be used with the story.

Also, you still have time to get in your free announcement story.

We look forward to hearing from you.

A personal view of Men of Courage

By Tina Montgomery

I want to tell you about a group of men who blessed my family today. A group of men who believe that serving as the hands and feet of Jesus takes place outside the walls of the church sanctuary and not merely by offering prayers. Allow me to provide some background about this encounter:

A couple of weeks ago, the railing on the wheelchair ramp at my parent’s house gave way and caused my mother to fall.  This is a wheelchair ramp that has been used for nearly 10 years since my father became disabled after brain surgery. My parents are in their 80s. My mother could have been injured very badly. Since they are on a fixed income it was going to take awhile to get this repaired; meanwhile, it was a potential hazard whenever my parents had to use the ramp.

I remembered reading on Facebook about a man named Chris Plants who organized a group of men who love Jesus and practice His ministry by serving those in need within their community.  I’m talking about the group known as Men of Courage. Apparently, Men of Courage is a nation wide movement to encourage and equip men… fathers, husbands, brothers, sons…to become spiritual leaders in their communities. They come together to honor God and try to make the world a better place.

One of the ways Men of Courage carry out their ministry is to build wheelchair ramps for veterans and other people in need. I contacted Chris about 10 days ago about helping my parents because I’m a firm believer that if you don’t ask someone for something, you never know what the answer could have been. Chris answered my message within minutes and asked me to send photos of the damage so he could see what he could do.

Within a couple of days, one of the members, Lane Hedrick, who is an engineer, came out to assess what would be needed to repair this broken railing on the ramp. This Thursday morning, he showed up with five men, including Chris, to not only fix the broken rail but repair the railings on each side and the bottom half of the ramp.

When you meet Chris, you immediately know that he not only “talks the talk but walks the walk” in his Christian faith and service. His enthusiasm in his faith is infectious and you can tell it comes from a pure heart. I talked with him as the other men worked so I could thank him properly for coming out. He assured me that no money was expected; he and the other men were doing what God led them to do. I had heard other similar promises years ago when my father was undergoing brain surgery to save his life. Until today, no one ever delivered on those promises of help and spiritual support like I witnessed today.

Chris told me how he came to organize this local chapter of Men of Courage. It’s a long story that’s best told another time but in short, he did it because he heard God tell him to do so when he was at a low point in life. He says the membership has grown because he doesn’t pressure anyone to join. The Men of Courage events usually have speakers, music, and a meal. What he says when he talks to other men about Men of Courage is “ Come have a chicken fried steak with me. That’s all.”

The wheelchair ramp they repaired for my parents today is their fifth project since May of this year. Chris says they have 3 more scheduled to build at the moment. When I thanked each of the men, everyone expressed the same feeling, “It was a blessing to come out to help you.”

Today, my family was blessed by men who love God and their community and desire to help others. I was blessed by meeting Chris Plants today, a man who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. With all the bad things that have happened recently in our little town, it’s nice to know there is still good out there. So, God bless you Chris Plants for inviting others to share your faith and commitment to serve others as well as a chicken fried steak. Keep doing good…and “Give ‘em Jesus.”

(Tina Montgomery is a digital journalist for The Webster Parish Journal.)

In honor of Mississippians

By Robert St. John

“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” William Faulkner

“Work hard and be kind and amazing things will happen.”Conan O’Brien

As a child I can remember my mother criticizing older men who kept hopping from profession to profession. In those days I probably thought, “Whatever I end up doing for a career, I need to do that, and only that, focus on it, and try to be successful.”

That’s not how it has worked out.

First and foremost, I am a restaurateur. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 40 years and have owned restaurants for over 35 years (no hopping around). So, I guess my main job title is “restaurateur.”

There have been several additional components to my career so far. I started writing this weekly column in the late 1990s and have written 1,000 words, or more, every week since. I’ve never missed a week and worry that there may come a day where I’m in the hospital and will have to miss a week. I think I’ll write a few columns to keep in reserve in case I am ever hospitalized. I don’t want to ruin my streak.

I’ve written and released 12 books since 2003. The movie theater and bowling alley are new developments in the past few years. All of that has been a blast.

An unexpected passion developed a decade ago when I founded the non-profit Extra Table, which— and this is going to sound very cheesy, but— I believe, to my core, is the reason I was put on this planet. There have been other non-profits and LLCs I’ve created, but what is fresh on my mind today is a book project and documentary that my friend, co-producer, and co-creator, Anthony Thaxton and I, started a few years ago to bring awareness to the genius of Mississippi artist, Walter Anderson.

The project started while we were filming the “Palate to Palette” television series. Mississippi watercolorist, Wyatt Waters, Anthony Thaxton, and I were crisscrossing the state with a busload of people showing off our state’s food, music, culture, and art. While filming at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Anderson’s youngest son John walked in and gave us a tour of the secret room where his dad had stored thousands of pieces of his work, only discovered after his death. It was at that moment the idea of doing a documentary on the life of Walter Anderson was born. The idea for the companion book came a year later.

From the moment production began, our number one goal was to make sure that people from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine knew and appreciated the work and genius of the Mississippi artist that art critics hailed as, “America’s Van Gogh.”

The book, “Walter Anderson; The Extraordinary Life and Art of the Islander,” was released last December, and sold out within a matter of weeks. The second printing has just arrived and is moving swiftly. The documentary by the same name originally aired on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and was well received. We grabbed two Regional Emmy Awards in June, one for “Outstanding Documentary— Historical” and another for “Outstanding Original Score.” Thaxton and I were honored to accept the former, Thaxton’s 21-year-old son, Bryant, received the statue for the latter.

The most exciting news we’ve received in the past few weeks is that our documentary has been released nationwide. The goal of making sure the entire country knows Anderson’s work is being realized. The documentary has had over 900 airings on almost 88% of all Public Broadcasting stations across the country, including on 100% coverage in the top 25 television markets. Mission accomplished.

This past weekend the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour packed up their microphones and personnel and travelled from Oxford to The Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs. Thaxton and I were honored to be guests on the program in the building where the idea for the documentary and book were born.

We aren’t finished touting Mississippi and Mississippians. The Anderson project has birthed an entire series of upcoming documentaries and books on notable Mississippians. We are currently in the process of producing a documentary and companion book on Eudora Welty. More remarkable and significant Mississippians will follow, as Thaxton and I are working to create an outlet to bring awareness to the amazing talent that has sprung from our soil.

It was during the radio broadcast, while I was reading of a piece I wrote on Anderson, that it struck me, as it does so often, that I am blessed to live in a state that has given so much— by way of the arts— to the world.

You won’t find a greater cheerleader for Mississippi and Mississippians, than your columnist.

There is no question that Mississippi has scars and bruises from a rough, cruel, and many times inexcusable and unexplainable past. But those are the burdens of the entire country, as well. All nations have scars. What defines us as a culture is how we move past those tragedies. 

We are often cursed by the sins of our ancestors. It is unfortunate that almost every civilization in history was founded on the pain and conquest of others. Though what distinguishes civilizations, nations, and states within those nations, are the ones who rise above it. Mississippi is rising— and in many cases has risen— above our past. I am proud to be a son of the new Mississippi. And I look forward to working with Thaxton in the coming years to make the rest of the country aware of the talent that has come from this amazing state, where we’ve been and where we are now.


Comeback Sauce

1 cup               mayonnaise

1/ 2 cup           ketchup

1/ 2 cup           chili sauce

1/ 2 cup           cottonseed oil, or any neutral oil

1/ 2 cup           yellow onion, grated

3 Tbl               lemon juice

2 Tbl               garlic, minced

1 Tbl               paprika

1 Tbl               water

1 Tbl               Worcestershire

1 tsp                pepper

1/ 2 tsp            dry mustard

1 tsp                salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix well.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author who lives in Hattiesburg, Miss.)

Springhill police arrest former city employee

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A former City of Springhill employee is in trouble with the law after using a gas card after he resigned his position.

Christopher D. Dillard, 36, of 17th St., SW, Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police and charged with felony theft.

According to SPD reports, Dillard used a city fuel card that was assigned to him for unauthorized fuel purchases while he was still employed with the city. Then, after his resignation, he reportedly maintained the fuel card and continued to use it, while allowing others to purchase fuel after he entered a specific pin assigned to the card.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said invoice documents obtained from the designated fuel facility, showed Dillard made 122 unauthorized fuel purchases totaling more than $8,700.

Last Friday, Dillard reportedly surrendered to the Springhill Police Department.

He is held at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. His bond is $10,000.

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

Red and the Bully

By Brad Dison

Red was small for his age, smaller than the other kids in his neighborhood of Yorkville, New York.  In the first decade of the twentieth century, all young boys were expected, with few exceptions, to join the neighborhood gang.  To be exempted and respected, a boy had to have a good excuse such as being crippled, small, or having tuberculosis.  Even then it might earn a nickname such as gimpy, short sh*t, lungsy, or coughy.  

“I wanted no part of running the gang,” explained Red during their elderly years, “and size was a prerequisite of power.  The biggest kid usually took control simply because he was the biggest.  He could have been stupid, as some of the leaders were.  But because he was big, he was the boss.  That was fine with me.  I never ran with the gang anyway.”  

Red’s two brothers were on the smaller side as well.  For this reason, their mother began teaching them to box.

In the evenings after school, Red’s mother cleared the small living room in their meager home and used it as a boxing ring.  Two brothers boxed while the third one rested, all the while Red’s mother instructed them on foot movements, types of punches, and blocks.  Red’s mother had learned about boxing from Red’s father, an amateur boxer turned bartender, who was usually away from home in a drunken stupor.  When the bouts got too heated, as they often did, Red’s mother separated the boys and explained that to lose their tempers meant losing the fight.  The boys and Red’s mother quickly noticed that Red had a knack for boxing.  He was light on his feet, could get in, jab a punch, and get out before his opponent could react. 

Word spread quickly to the boys in the neighborhood gang.  “They would call me in to beat up a bully,” Red said.  “The gang knew I was available.  I became a kind of combination troubleshooter-backup man and never really part of the gang.”  

The streets were full of bullies who pushed the younger, weaker kids around, usually to take what little money or candy they had.  “Send for Red” became a regular request, and Red would appear and “clean some kid’s clock” who was usually far superior in physique.  Red disliked having to fight on the streets, but he disliked bullies even more.

One day, Ed, Red’s younger and smaller brother, whom his family always referred to as Gentle Ed, was playing with a golf ball he had found in the street.  A new bully on the block spied the golf ball and wanted it for his own.  While the golf ball was in mid-bounce, the bully darted in, pushed Gentle Ed to the ground, and grabbed the golf ball.  Gentle Ed tried to reclaim the ball, but the bully shoved him to the pavement.  Gentle Ed tried again, and the bully shoved him harder.  This continued until Gentle Ed was bruised and bleeding.  Gentle Ed returned home and told Red about the incident.  

In a fury, Red began searching the neighborhood for the bully.  When they finally met, a fight broke out like nothing any of the boys, especially Red, had ever seen.  The bully not only took Red’s punches but was able to return them in equal measure.  A large crowd gathered to watch.  The boys fought tit for tat until a policeman broke them apart.  They met up the next day at a prearranged spot and the fight continued.  A larger crowd gathered before a policeman broke them apart again.  On the third day, an even larger crowd gathered to watch what, to them, looked almost like a professional boxing match.  

One woman yelled over the crowd, “These boys are killing each other.  Where are their mothers?”  No one knows where the bully’s mother was, but Red’s mother was in the crowd cheering for Red.  During the bout, Red had broken four bones in his left fist, but the adrenaline allowed him to keep fighting.  The bully sustained several injuries and was bleeding severely.  Finally, the boys realized it was a draw and ended the fight with the stipulation that they would finish the fight once they had both healed. 

In his adult life, Red became what he detested as a child, a bully, and a gangster.  Red detested the bully in his childhood, but he used those experiences to his advantage.  Red and the bully never met again.  The bully eventually became a semi-professional boxer.  During the Great Depression, more than two decades after the boys fought, the bully sent Red a letter in which he explained that he, the bully, had fallen on hard times.  The bully knew that Red had become successful and asked for, not money, not food, but for cigarettes and any extra clothing that Red could spare.  Red sent the former bully a package with the requested items along with an undisclosed amount of cash.          

You see, Red was only a bully and a gangster in films.  He played characters based on the bullies he had known during his childhood.  In real life, Red was described by everyone who knew him as a sweet, kind, and gentle man, which was exactly the opposite of the characters he was known for playing.  So different were the parts Red played that Orson Welles opined, “[Red] maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera.”  

The kids in his old neighborhood knew him as Red, but you and I know him as James Cagney.


Source:  John McCabe, Cagney (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1997), 16.     

The Good Ole Days Part II

Picking up where I left off last week on the “good ole days” of my generation, I’ve always felt that I grew up during the best time a kid could ever ask for. The Vietnam War was ending in the early ’70s and the crazy 60s were behind us. Life was simple, people had jobs and worked hard. Being labeled “middle class” was not a bad thing. It meant you worked hard for a living and took pride in what you did and who you were. You weren’t necessarily judged by how much money you had. You were judged by the kind of person you were and your character. You did not want to do anything to disgrace your family name or embarrass your parents.  

My generation respected our teachers and coaches, as these were some of the most influential people in my life. They gave homework (which I hated,) but they pushed you and challenged you to learn. My coaches taught us what hard work and determination could lead to. They taught us to never quit or give up, and to fight through adversity, not to transfer to another school because the competition got a little tough or things didn’t go our way. My coaches made me feel proud to be a Mt. Pleasant Tiger. This made me play harder because as a player you represented your town, school, coaches, and parents, but most importantly….yourself. Yes, we won, and won a lot, including a State Championship, but you had a sense of pride if you were an MP Tiger and you never wanted to let the community down.

Hard work was expected at my house as I grew up on a ranch where there was always something to do. I hauled hay, doctored cattle, built barns, fixed fences, and cleared land for pasture or for hay meadows. There was no sleeping in at my house! Sleeping in meant you got to sleep till 7:00 AM. Many mornings, especially on weekends, my bedroom light came on at 5:00 AM as dad would inform me as to what work had to be done that day at the ranch. But one thing that dad did every single day of his life, and even for me on the days I worked with him, was cook breakfast…two eggs over easy, two pieces of bacon, and two pieces of toast. This was as automatic as the sun coming up!

Looking back, I wouldn’t trade my days growing up for anything or any other time. The freedoms we had as kids was nothing short of incredible. Growing up in a small town in Texas was great. Everyone knew everyone and their business. You learned a lot at the local barber shop, everything from who was having affairs to if a coach was going to get fired. Nothing was off limits at the barber shop!

People helped each other in times of need, whether a storm had come through or a family member passed away. People cared about each other and would help in any way possible when someone needed it. You were friends with all your neighbors and never worried about locking doors. You slept with windows open at night to let the cool breeze flow through the house. When was the last time you heard of anyone doing this? Moms cooked dinner every night and you ate as a family while discussing how your day went. This is when communication took place, as dad would break the news as to what chores needed to be done the next day. Family dinners back then were the equivalent of a zoom call today…it was when you asked for permission to borrow the car, go on a date, or maybe go camping with your buds. But at my house, you better make sure you had your ducks in a row before you asked for permission on anything, because the answer you got was not negotiable. You had better state your case right the first time because there were no second chances after the answer was given. I learned, “Don’t shoot from the hip because you will get shot down.”

As you can see, I had a great childhood and upbringing. I would not change a single thing about it. For those reading this, I hoped it reminded you of some great times and the good ole days! Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

 Steve Graf – Owner Co-Host                                                                                                       

Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &                                                                                                 

Tackle Talk Live      

Upcoming Events

Sept. 1

4-H enrollment begins.

Entry forms are now available for the 2022 Fair Pageant to be held Oct. 1 in the Minden High School Auditorium. Princess and Queen will be crowned. For more information or to request an entry form, email

Sept. 3 

Vintage Car Club Show and Shine, Car and Bike show, 2nd Kiddie Car show. Downtown Minden.

Sept. 6

5:30 p.m. Public hearing on City of Minden budget followed by a regular session of the Minden City Council. Council Chambers, Minden City Hall. Public is invited to attend.

Sept. 10

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. First Baptist Church Cornhole Tournament to benefit SEEDS Women’s Center.

Annual W.H.O. Golf Scramble at Springhill Country Club. Three-man team, $300 per team. Lunch to be served. Mulligans, closest to the hole, split the pot, raffles and more. Cash payouts for winners. Register your team at Springhill Country Club clubhouse. Sponsorship opportunities available.

Sept. 12

6 p.m. Tie One On Museum Gala Fundraiser 2022 for Dorcheat Historical Museum.

Sept. 13

15 under 40 Awards banquet. Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce, 318-377-4240.

Oct. 1

9:30 a.m. Webster Parish Fair Princess Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

2 p.m. Fair Queen Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

Oct. 3-8 

National 4-H Week

Oct. 4-7

Parish Fair and Livestock Show.

Oct. 6

10 a.m. Minden Planning Commission meeting. Pelican Room, Minden City Hall. Agenda includes a zoning varian request from Joyful Days LLC, owners of property located at 721 East Street to use existing building as office space for a personal care service company.

Oct. 11

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 4-H Fashion and Interior Design Workshop #1 at Cultural Crossroads Farm. Pre-registration required.

Oct. 12 

6 p.m. 4-H Jr. Leader Meeting, Minden Extension Office.

Oct. 13

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 4-H Global Cooking Workshop #1, Minden Extension Office. Pre-Registration Required.

4-H Pumpkin Decorating Contest & LA Commodity Cookery 

Oct. 15

11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Minden Makers Fair

Our 4th annual Minden Makers Fair will take place at The Farm of Cultural Crossroads. A fun-filled day packed with local artists and makers, hands-on demonstrations, activities for children, food vendors, and more! Guests will also be able to view submissions made to our halloween-themed art competition, Moonlight Madness. More information about this event can be found at:

5:30 until 11 p.m. After the gates close on Minden Makers Fair, The Farm will reopen at 5:30 for our 3rd annual Moonlight Madness halloween art competition and haunted house. The gallery reception will begin at 5:30 with awards being announced and refreshments served. Once the sun goes down, we will open our kid-friendly haunted house located under the pavilion and pass out candy. Guests are encouraged to wear a costume. For more information, or to receive an application to submit artwork into the competition, please call (318) 268-8153 or email

Oct. 17 

5 p.m. LYFE Series Meeting #1, Springhill Library.

Notice of Death – August 30, 2022

Sherrie McMurtry Nix

March 4, 1958 – August 30, 2022

Reception: 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, gathering for friends and family.


James Nicholas Robinson

July 31, 1980 – August 29, 2022

Graveside service: Date and time pending.

Burial: Springhill Cemetery, under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.


Tinker Louise Henderson

July 11, 1946 – August 28, 2022

Graveside service: 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 31, 2022, Memorial Gardens North Cemetery, Blanchard, La.


Donnie Adatto Sr.

Feb. 9, 1931 – August 25, 2022

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City.

Rosary: 7 p.m., following visitation

Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 425 McCormick St., Bossier City.

Burial: Hill Crest Memorial Park, Haughton, La.


Frances Elizabeth Adams Arnold

May 28, 1950 – July 19, 2022

Memorial service: 1 p.m. Sept. 3, 2022, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Springhill, La.


Webster Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)

Family altercation leads to tragic death

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An altercation between a father and son ended tragically for a local family.

According to Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker, his deputies were dispatched to the 100 block of Rayner Road Sunday night.

William Johnson, 58, of the above address reportedly shot and killed his 39-year-old son, William Johnson Jr.

“At approximately 9:20 p.m., the son arrived at the Rayner Road residence in an aggressive manner,” Parker said. “He entered the shop where the dad was located. A physical altercation between the two occurred, and Junior brandished a firearm (handgun) and pointed it at the father.

“The father then got a handgun and defended himself,” the sheriff continued. “The son died instantly of a single gunshot wound to the head. It was very tragic.”

Parker said no charges have been filed, although the investigation is ongoing.

“We will turn our investigation over to the district attorney’s office and let them review our findings and make a determination about whether any charges should be filed,” he said.

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

Time to sign up for the WPJ Pick’em contest

How well do you know your high school football? Beginning today, you’ll have a chance to prove your football knowledge and picking skills in the Webster Parish Journal Pick’em contest.

Each weekly winner over the 10 weeks of the contest will be on the receiving end of $100 and will have their photo taken at our title sponsor Under Dawgs Sports Grill, the gathering place featuring a home-field atmosphere. In addition to the $100, weekly winners will receive a $50 gift gas card courtesy of Car Giant, serving Minden by providing quality cars. A photo will be taken there, too.

In addition to the money and gas card, Minden Attorney Jimbo Yocom of Yocom Law Firm will award each weekly winner a cap featuring the winner’s favorite team either high school, college or pro. Winners will pick their cap at Minden Athletic, suppliers of athletic gear since 1973.

Anyone is eligible to participate. All it takes is an email address and a combination of skill and a little luck. Each week, 10 local and area high school football games plus two tie-breakers based on total points of two selected teams will be posted on the Webster Parish Journal. And just like the Journal, there’s no cost to enter. 

Signing up for the contest only takes a couple of minutes. Simply click and go from there.

Entries are now open for this week’s games scheduled to begin September 1. Entries will remain open until 4 p.m. each Thursday before the listed games. Weekly winners will be notified and announced in the following Wednesday edition of the Journal. 

Also picking during the contest will be members of the Journal staff – Pat Culverhouse, Josh Beavers and Paige Nash, plus three well-known local residents and officials – Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams, Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper and Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker. These pickers will not be eligible for the cash prize but will be rewarded by their success.

The Webster Parish Journal will publish an extra day (Saturday) during the football season. Look to us for the best coverage of local high school action plus college teams of interest locally.

Good luck and remember entries into the contest, and subscriptions to the Webster Parish Journal, are free.


There’s no ‘I’ in team 

One day a pair of all-time greats had a conversation on the basketball court. 

Shaquille O’Neal: “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”

Kobe Bryant: “Yeah, but there’s a ‘ME’ in it.”

Kobe wanted the ball at all times. He wanted to be the person to take the shot no matter if it went in or went wide. He knew he was the best and he wanted you to know it as well. Shut up and pass me the ball.

That demeanor endeared him to fans but also contributed to the breakup of the band. The Lakers sent Shaq to Miami so that Kobe no longer had to share Hollywood’s crown. 

The team broke around their larger than life personalities like water around rocks. 

As always, pride came before the fall. Now it can be argued that Kobe went on to great things after the split. And Shaq put together a few more decent seasons as well. But what they did separately was nothing compared to what they did together. 

Kobe thought he was bigger than the team. And the people in charge agreed. Showtime version 2.0 ended because of a toxic dressing room and an owner who gave the player all the power. 

The story of the Lakers is one that is told countless times every day across the world. From sports to boardrooms to sales bullpens and on and on. Producers get more leeway from their bosses because of the money they bring in.

But what happens when the leeway starts to be a detriment to the entire culture? 

Instead of the Lakers story, I like to think of what’s happening right now a few thousand miles away in England. Christiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the greatest athletes of all-time. He’s won every trophy he’s competed for and is a millionaire hundreds of times over. He is an icon. To some, he is bigger than the sport. 

And therein lies the problem. Christiano plays for Manchester United and the Red Devils have suffered greatly since his signing. He refuses to adapt. He refuses to be coached. The owners have given him leeway and he has become cancerous in the dressing room. All of this is rumor of course. Locker room sources. Whispers. The internet in action. 

Two coaches have been shown the door as they broke against him, and the rumors all point to the same thing – Ronaldo, and his faction in the locker room, is killing the team. 

But finally a light bulb went off in the mind of the man who signs the checks. A new coach came in this year and he’s put Ronaldo on the bench as well as other perceived troublemakers. 

The result? Energy from younger players that hasn’t been seen in years. And smiles. And wins. United isn’t championship level yet. Far from it. But one thing is clear – they are United. 

Pride is the worst sin any of us can commit. And even if you don’t believe in the concept of sin in the traditional sense, I can scarcely believe any of us could ever ask ourselves what our greatest mistakes were and not trace the root of them back to our vanity. 

Pride wrecks. Pride destroys. Pride breaks apart good things and leaves bitterness in their place. I have been prideful. I have thought I was bigger than “the team” numerous times throughout my life. Sometimes it worked out. Many times it was encouraged just like it was with Ronaldo and Kobe. Our society teaches this behavior. It glorifies it in our songs, our movies, our way of life. The person with the most is the winner, and we must win at all costs. Vince Lombardi and coach speak and be competitive and don’t take no for an answer. Keeping up with the Joneses. Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Femininity. The American Dream. Shut up and be an Alpha. Shut up and be a Chad, as the young people say these days. 

What’s not romanticized is when the “I in team” mentality” fractures what was already a good thing and everyone else is left to pick up the pieces and scramble to lay the blame. 

I hope Ronaldo undergoes some reflection and realizes he is a cog in what can be a powerful machine. I hope he doesn’t continue to insist on being the wrench in the gears. We can all learn a lesson from this coach and his player. We all should reflect on where we fall short in our relationships. 

Putting on the whole armor of God is more than just going to church and displaying a Bible verse on your Facebook feed. We all need help recognizing pride for what it is – the original sin – and I pray that all of us have a loved one, friend, coach put in our lives to help us right our own ships before we tear our own personal teams asunder. 

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)

Showing mercy

By Tina Montgomery

There’s a Bible verse that commands us to take care of one another, especially widows and orphans. James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [NIV] That verse is the inspiration and mission for Diana Sanders, owner of Mercy’s Closet in Minden.

Mercy’s Closet, a non-profit thrift shop, opened its doors in March 2019. Compelled by her experiences growing up, as well as the closure of the Goodwill store in Minden, Sanders wanted to provide help and give dignity to people who are having a hard time.

“I grew up nearby [the store] in an abusive household. We were super poor, four kids in the house. I remember what it was like to be teased at school for what we were wearing. It was just laid on my heart to help others like the Bible verse about caring for widows and orphans,” Sanders said.

This past July, Mercy’s Closet supplied 1,350 school uniforms for people who qualified during its 3rd annual back to school give away; the greatest number since the store opened. Sanders said they receive donations of school uniforms all year round and hold them for the back to school event.

The thrift shop offers free clothing and home furnishings for people who qualify. Qualification is financially based although there are other situations in which people are able to receive items for free. A short application has to be completed at the store and proof of income is required. Sanders said foster children are automatically qualified, regardless of income.

Mercy’s Closet also gives clothing to people who are domestic abuse survivors, recently released inmates, house fire victims and natural disaster victims. Each situation requires proof in the form of a police report, release papers for former inmates or some documentation for victims of natural disasters. Sanders said there are other circumstances which are considered when someone is in need of clothing or furnishings.

Recently, Sanders learned from social media that an elderly gentleman was in need of a bed. He had been sleeping in a recliner. She posted about the need on Facebook and said that donations came in almost immediately to make a complete bed with linens which was given to the gentleman.

“I’m a firm believer that when God wants you to do something, be obedient, he will make a way,” Sanders added. This year alone she said they have given away more than 30,000 items of clothing for people in need.

Although Mercy’s Closet is a non-profit, it is not funded in any way except by sales from people who shop the store. All items in the store are available for purchase by anyone and priced to fit any budget. There are various racks of clothing in the store that are priced according to name brand and condition. Sanders said there is always a rack of free clothing at the front of the store for anyone to get without qualifying. She said sometimes people don’t want to give financial information so the rack is always filled with enough pieces of clothing to make complete outfits. People who do qualify for free clothing have the same access to everything in the store as people who can pay.

“We are not completely self-sufficient, but we’ve always had extra [money and items] to donate to other non-profits in the area. I work 40 to 50 hours a week, unpaid, all volunteer time,” she said.

Sanders does have a paid staff to operate the store and they are paid above minimum wage. “I wanted to make sure they could make enough for living expenses.”

Sanders said although Mercy’s Closet is there to help people in need, they have experienced some thefts. Still following that Bible verse, she said she has tried to work with those who are arrested by offering volunteer hours for them to work off the theft.

“It’s tough to be merciful when it seems everyone is out to take advantage of you,” she said.

Mercy’s Closet not only takes clothing donations, but furniture and household items as well. Donations have to be dropped off at the store Sanders said because they are not covered by insurance to pick up items.

Volunteers are always needed to help sort through donations. Sanders says she has one full time volunteer and 2 part time. She said that anyone needing service project hours can find plenty to do at the store.

Donations of any clothing, household items or furniture are welcome any time. Sanders said their greatest need right now is women’s underwear, new or gently used, and men’s socks.

“Those are our most requested items,” she said.

From giving a bed to an elderly person to a foster child getting nice clothes to feel included with his peers, Mercy’s Closet is filling a need in Minden. A need and a mission inspired by one woman who was led by God to help others because she “was one of those kids.”

Mercy’s Closet is located at 609 Sibley Road in Minden and they are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Dixie Inn clerk

Village of Dixie Inn is hiring a clerk.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with one hour for lunch.

The applicant must have the following qualifications: 

  • Friendly
  • Good customer service skills
  • Able to work with others
  • Able to take directions
  • Must be organized and neat
  • Able to take directions
  • Proficient in Quickbooks
  • Payroll experience

Send resume to

Deadline looms for candidate Q&As

If you were contacted for a Q&A concerning the office for which you qualified, your deadline is fast approaching to email your answers.

5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 is the deadline, and we will not accept any others after that time and date. However, it will be noted in the story that follows, so readers will understand that everyone was contacted and given a chance to respond.

Using the email address provided by you on the Secretary of State’s website during qualification, we emailed all candidates for Minden City Council, Minden Police Chief, Minden Mayor, Springhill Mayor, Springhill aldermen and Dixie Inn aldermen with questions.

If you did not receive your questions or perhaps accidentally deleted them, please contact us at

Please return your answers to the same email address and add a photo to be used with the story.

Also, you still have time to get in your free announcement story.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Apaches play well in scrimmage

By Landrie Still

The Glenbrook Apaches made their way to Holy Savior Menard High School in Alexandria, Louisiana to participate in the CenLa Jamboree on Friday, August 26. The Apaches first faced the Rosepine High School Eagles at 5:30 p.m., and the Ferriday High School Trojans at 6:30 p.m. The Apaches fought hard each play of the 12 minute games. In a post game interview, Glenbrook Football Head Coach David Feaster showed his excitement for the upcoming season as a result of his team’s persistent athletic performance. 

Feaster acknowledged the Apaches “had some big plays on defense which were key to not letting the Eagles and Trojans score, but we had so many great plays on offense that the opposing teams just couldn’t stop us.”

Before the start of the Rosepine and Glenbrook game, Turner McLelland, Luke Vining and Cason Clemons represented the Apaches in the coin toss, setting the tone for the game. Ty Feaster and McLelland worked together throughout the first play to gain an Apache first down. Many Glenbrook first downs were earned during both games because of the cohesive efforts shown by the Apaches. The first touchdown of the night was scored by Junior Chase Sentell, along with the first field goal of the night completed by Ty Feaster. During the kickoff, Hayden Harmon and Toby Haulmark teamed up to stop the ball. On the next play, Rhett Johnson made a hard stop, which was mentioned by Coach Feaster after Johnson was named as one of the players who helped to strongly lead the team this past Friday night.

Later in the game, the Rosepine Eagles moved into their scoring position, which led to a successful touchdown and field goal, evening the score to 7-7. After the yardage reset, Feaster passed the ball to Tre Kent, earning the Apaches another first down, which ultimately set up the Apaches for success. During the next play, Feaster made a long, clean pass to McLelland, who scored the second Glenbrook touchdown, which Coach David Feaster expressed was the most memorable play of the night, increasing Glenbrook’s score to 14. The excitement of the game increased as the Eagles, with 2 holding penalties and 26 seconds left on the clock, had one more attempt to tie the game. The Eagle pass was incomplete as a result of Garrett Brown’s hard tackle. With 6 seconds left in the game, Senior Dayton Sims swatted the football away from the Eagle receiver, making a huge stop and finalizing the score, Apaches 14, Eagles 7.

Hayden Harmon, Rhett Johnson, and Trey Yetman began the portion of the night played against the Trojans of Ferriday High School by leading the Apaches during the coin toss. Mirroring the first play of the game against Rosepine, Feaster once again made a complete pass to McLelland. In the next few plays, Feaster, Sentell, Carter, and Clemons played hard while simultaneously working together, leading to the first Apache touchdown and extra point of the second game. Quickly following the touchdown, Sophomore Jonathon Bryant made a hard tackle of the Trojan quarterback. The reliance between Feaster and Clemons once again aided the Apaches in scoring yet another touchdown, changing the score to 14-0 with the Apaches widening their lead. 

Sims carried the ball, thus resulting in an Apache first down right inside of the 10 yard line. Both Johnson and Feaster played major roles leading up to the scoring of the last Apache touchdown of the night, scored by Mandino. The final score of the Glenbrook, Ferriday game was 20-0, giving the Apaches yet another preseason victory. 

Coach Feaster concluded the post-game interview by saying that the team succeeded because “there were so many guys to go to that could lead the team to overall success.” Coach David Feaster named Senior Cason Clemons as the Apache standout of the night because of his two major touchdown catches and his outstanding performance. Next week, the Glenbrook Apaches will play their first official game against the Cedar Creek Cougars on Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 pm at Glenbrook School.

Jamboree features parish teams

Minden High School and Haynesville Tornadoes

Many thanks to Jessica Greene for taking photos of Lakeside, North Webster and Minden High at Friday night’s Pineland Jamboree. Here are some great photos from the evening.

Opponents for Lakeside were Haynesville and North Webster, and it was the first time the Warriors played on the new turf. 

Follow the Webster Parish Journal on Friday nights for live game updates as well as on Saturday mornings for stories from each game.

Also, don’t forget to participate in the Webster Parish Journal’s weekly Pick ‘em contest to win money and prizes.

Lakeside Warriors and Haynesville Tornadoes
North Webster and Lakeside.

Carnitas Taco Soup here for your Taco Tuesday inspiration

When I make Crock Pot Carnitas (pork roast, a chopped onion, and Pampered Chef Carnitas Seasoning), I always have leftovers.  We usually make nachos or tacos one night and sandwiches the next.  I wanted something different, and this recipe was exactly it.

This is no different from a typical taco soup, but you’re using excellently seasoned meat and adding all the regular taco soup goodness to it.  Stick it in your slow cooker and let it come together all day on low.  


  • 1 pound cooked pulled pork (I use leftovers from Crock Pot Carnitas)
  • 1 can pinto beans with jalapenos, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can Rotel, undrained
  • 1 package Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • Toppings:  sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, jalapeños


Heat all on stove on low or in crock pot.  Garnish with desired toppings.