Police, deputies arrest 2 in shots-fired incident

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Two men are in custody and, as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, two were still at large following a shots-fired incident on Talton Street in Minden.

“So, we have two in custody, and we have a pretty good indication of who the other two are,” Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said.

 Serderrick Harris, 33, of the 200 block of Lorex Rd., Minden, is charged with home invasion, possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, resisting an officer with force or violence, possession of ecstasy and drug paraphernalia. Harris also had 7 outstanding bench warrants. More charges of shots fired may be pending.

Also arrested is Gene Kemp, 28, of the 1100 block of Bayou Ave., Minden. He is charged with obstruction of justice, flight from an officer, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Cropper said around 2 p.m., the department received the call and immediately locked down schools in the surrounding area.

“Officers saw one of the individuals as he ran from us,” Cropper said. “They knew him, so we had a least one name.”

Cropper said his officers, as well as Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies were on Plum and Peach streets looking for the suspects when a woman came out of her house and told them three males had pulled into her driveway and jumped out of a vehicle.

“Two went one way and the other fled into the house across the street from her,” said the chief. “We had officers there at the time, so we knew he didn’t come out of the house.”

Cropper said officers were able to contact the suspect’s mother, who tried unsuccessfully to convince him to exit the house.

“Owners of the house were very cooperative. They gave us permission to enter – they didn’t even know the suspect,” said the chief. “They ran out when he ran in.”

Minden Police had two K9 officers on the scene. When the male suspect refused to exit the house, one of the handlers and his K9 partner entered and found the suspect in a back room.

Lt. Brandon Curry dropped Bram’s leash and the dog cornered the suspect and allegedly nipped him on the ankle.

K9 Tigo was also in the mix.

“We were looking through a trailer when two sheriff’s investigators told us the sheriff was at the emergency room,” Cropper said.

Tigo was reportedly chasing one of the suspects when Sheriff Jason Parker rounded the corner of the residence. Parker suffered three bites from the K9 officer.

“I’m OK,” Parker said. “Tigo was just doing his job, and I got in his way. When I heard what was going on, I just couldn’t stay in my office. I had to get into it – it’s in the blood. I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and Tigo thought I was the suspect.”

Cropper said an AR-type rifle was recovered, along with multiple casings inside the vehicle.

Governor appoints Parker to serve on commission

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker has been appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to serve on the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.

The commission supports public safety, crime reduction and victims’ rights programs throughout the state.

“I am very honored to be asked to serve,” Parker said. “There are several sheriffs on there, but only about three are appointed by the governor, and I am one of those.”

Parker said he feels he can be a voice for north Louisiana.

“Where grants and funding are concerned – I’ll have a voice in those,” he said. “Also, decisions that affect law enforcement not only in our parish but across the state.”

Parker said his first commission meeting will be December 8.

“I look forward to being an active member to address the important issues in their scope of responsibilities including crime victims’ reparations, support for family justice centers and maintaining high standards for law enforcement certification.”

Parker takes the place of Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator.

The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice serves to improve the operations of the criminal justice and juvenile justice system and promote public safety by providing progressive leadership and coordination within the criminal justice community.

Three amendments on Dec. 10 ballot

By Tina Montgomery

Louisiana voters will decide the fate of three more changes to the state constitution on December 10. 

While the proposed amendments for the December 10 election seem more straightforward, the Webster Parish Journal is providing explanations for each one using the PAR Guide to the 2022 Constitutional Amendments along with comments given by District 10 State Representative Wayne McMahen.

One amendment could impact who is eligible to vote and the other two would reduce the governor’s power on some commission appointments.

Amendment 1: Do you support an amendment to provide that no person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state?

What it does: Louisiana’s constitution currently says voting is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and a citizen of the state. Federal law, meanwhile, says only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote. This amendment would bring the constitution in line with federal law by requiring American citizenship to vote in state and local elections.

Some municipalities in other states have allowed non-U.S. citizens to vote in their local elections. This has not been the case thus far in Louisiana.  As McMahen explains,” This is a redundancy of federal law. You have to be a U.S. citizen to be able to vote. This just closes the loophole in the state constitution where it says you just have to be a state citizen. This probably should be passed to ensure election integrity.”

A vote for would: Ban people who aren’t United States citizens from registering to vote or casting ballots in Louisiana elections.

A vote against would: Keep current language governing voting rights, which requires a person to be a Louisiana citizen to register to vote or cast ballots in elections.

Amendment 2: Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?

What it does: The governor currently appoints the members of the state Civil Service Commission, which is a seven member board that enforces the rules that govern rank-and-file civil servants and adjudicates personnel disputes. This amendment would require that these appointments receive confirmation by the state Senate.

The governor appoints six of the seven members of the State Civil Service Commission. Presidents of the state’s universities nominate members for the Civil Service Commission with no additional vetting beyond the governor’s consideration. Amendment 2 would subject the governor’s picks to a review of the Louisiana Senate. Members of other state boards also require Senate approval but some opponents of this proposal say senators could let politics, rather than qualifications, influence their decisions.

“Higher commission appointments already have to have Senate approval,” McMahen said. “This would require the Senate to look closer at the nominees to pass them forward.”

A vote for would: Require Louisiana Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees to the State Civil Service Commission. 

A vote against would: Continue to let the governor appoint members to the State Civil Service Commission without needing confirmation of those choices from the Louisiana Senate.

Amendment 3: Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Police Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?

What it does: The State Police Commission is a seven-member board that enforces the rules and personnel policies governing the Louisiana State Police. This amendment would require state Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees commission.

According to the Louisiana Budget Project, an organization that serves to make Louisiana government transparent and accountable for all Louisiana citizens, this is similar to Amendment 2 in that it calls for additional scrutiny especially after some recent controversial incidents. One such incident includes the in-custody death of black motorist Ronald Greene after being pulled over by white members of the State Police. However, there is also the concern that adding the Senate to the review process for the State Police Commission would insert politics and backroom negotiations without public input.

“There’s always some political twist into it [the commission appointments],” said McMahen. “Adding more oversight should get away from that. Other commissions require Senate approval, like I said, so this should be no different.”

A vote for would: Require Louisiana Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees to the State Police Commission.

A vote against would: Continue to let the governor appoint members to the State Police Commission without needing confirmation of those choices from the Louisiana Senate.

The Webster Parish Journal encourages voters to form their own opinions on these proposals by researching various sources of information. Early voting is currently underway for the December 10 election.

A liquor store, cigarettes, bibles, and a handsy fella on a plane

Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”
This world is changing very rapidly for the worse. The other day I was in a no-name liquor store type gas station waiting in line. 

I noticed a man in front of me who had a severe narcotics dependency. I had seen the look many times in my career in law enforcement. This man was going through a rough time and was clearly under the influence. He stepped up to the cashier and asked for a specific type of cigarette. When the cashier accidentally gave him the wrong cigarettes, the man began cussing and verbally punishing the cashier. It was so severe that many men in the store began to look at each other for someone to do something.
I have seen this look before and actually been in these types of situations many times where I did do something. Sometimes I was in an LE capacity and sometimes I was not. I will give you a short story of one time on a plane, in a LE capacity at the end of this short story. In the past I interceded with physical muscle or a firearm, and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but this time our living GOD was talking to me, like he does a lot now a days. GOD specifically told me to go to my truck and get one of the Webster Parish Men of Courage bibles that I give out for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the public.

I exited the gas station, walked to my truck, got one of our bibles, and while reentering the building a man walked out of the door and for some crazy reason looked at me and said, “you should do something about that man in there.” I smiled at him and said I was going to, but I don’t think he knew what I had in mind nor do I know why he singled me out.

The man was still severely and boldly cussing the cashier. He had truly worked himself up and the poor cashier’s head was down and he had no fight in him. The cashier was scared. I walked directly up to this man and got just a little in his personal space in front of the counter. 

The man looked at me and it got pin drop silent. I told him my name, that I lead a JESUS movement in Webster Parish called Webster Parish Men of Courage and I gave him one of our bibles. The man looked at the bible, took it in his hand, told me thanks, and immediately walked past me and exited the business. I don’t think he paid for what he had nor do I believe the cashier cared because this very explosive situation had been defused by our JESUS!

I’m not saying that man will ever receive Christ. I am not saying all explosive situations like that can be solved by handing bibles out. I am not saying that sometimes violence does have to be met with violence, GOD didn’t tell David to stop and pray for Goliath, after all. 

I am saying that in that situation, I did exactly what our living GOD told me to and by doing that I went into the world and preached the gospel. That is what I am going to do every time GOD tells me to until the day GOD sends the angels to bring me home.

A little extra story, if y’all know me then you know I’ve got plenty of them, and I promised you one.

Early in my career as a Special Agent in the FBI, I had a late night death flight from a major city trying to get home. As an agent, of course, you fly armed. Usually that means the pilot and flight attendants know that you are on board armed and know where you are sitting on the plane in case of problems. I will admit I was about half asleep when the stewardess put her hand on my shoulder and told me she was having a problem in first class. I was sitting in the rear of the plane in coach, of course, and it was a packed flight.

The stewardess stated a woman who was relaxing with her seat back in first class trying to sleep was awakened by a man’s hand going up her leg.  She did not know this man nor ask for the man’s hand to be on her leg. I walked to the front of the plane to find a very beautiful, small young woman visibly shaken about what she said happened. I also noticed the man sitting in his chair not saying a word. This was not a situation that had been taught at new agent training in Quantico, Virginia. I believe GOD did give me a very quick solution.  

I simply asked the woman if she minded sitting in my seat in the back of the plane even though it wasn’t first class. She immediately agreed with much gratitude and got her purse and headed that way quickly. I sat by the man, who still had said nothing and was looking very embarrassed. I don’t think he expected to meet an LE Agent on the plane, armed or not. I simply told him that I was going to sit in that seat by him, he better not leave his seat even to go to the bathroom, and I was going to sleep some and I better not wake up with his hand on my leg or there would be severe consequences. See I told you I wasn’t handing out bibles at that time in my life!. Anyway, the rest of the flight was extremely quite and the man and I spoke a lot more at a police station after the flight. Although it did make me miss my next flight and my being home on time, it was worth it.

Hope y’all enjoyed the extra story as well if my big brilliant courageous literature genius Christian Brother Josh Beavers keeps it!

May our living GOD bless y’all with his righteous right hand!

(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)

(Josh Beavers is an award-winning journalist who has five times been recognized for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association. At one time, he was editor of The Good News, a weekly publication that shared information about local churches and men and women of God.)

‘Go Long!’ – A historical look at Minden Quarterbacks – Part 2 of 3

By Jake Chapman

Last time, we left our look at the Minden High Quarterbacks through the mid-1960s.  

Through the remainder of the 1960s and 1970s, the Crimson Tide found tough sledding in the Win-Loss column never winning more than six games in a season from 1964 to 1978 – which only happened twice.  I wish I could say the QB play wasn’t commensurate with the winning percentage, but I’d be lying.  Not speaking unfavorably, but I’m being honest.

There was a revolving door at the QB position in the fifteen-year span from 1964 to 1978, with over thirty different players attempting passes.  After Bobby Lyle in 1965, the next 1,000-yard passers in a season were Conrad Reeves in 1970 and Kenny Cannerday in 1972.  There weren’t any major milestones or records broken during this timeframe.  Again, you must remember Minden has been a run-heavy team historically. 

James Britt was two yards shy of the century mark in 1977, but Britt’s contributions were more noticeable in the defensive secondary with his tag-team partner Mack Scott.  More on Minden’s defensive standouts later.  Britt did lob three TDs in a game that year – something that hadn’t been done since Bobby Lyle in 1965.  Minden had not made the playoffs since a first-round exit in 1964, just one year after winning the State Championship the prior year.  In 1977, Britt led the Tide to their first playoff appearance since 1964.  

Randy Ray played one year with Raymond Tate and Anthony Douglas in 1981, so he wasn’t called upon to lead with the passing game.  1982 was a slightly different.  Ray attempted forty more passes and completed twenty more than in the ’81 season giving him the first 1,000+ passing yard season for the Tide since a decade before.  Ray also became the school leader in career passing TDs (24), single season passing TDs (15), and single game passing TDs (4).  Ray broke the seventeen-year-old record for passing yards in a game with 257.  This record would hold for another twenty-three years.  Ray was cut from the same cloth as other multi-tool QBs in Minden’s history.  Like Britt, Ray made his contributions on defense by snatching eight INTs from his counterparts in 1982.  Ray is also a Top 10 Punter, Top 5 Extra-Point kicker and holds the record for most Field Goals kicked with twelve.  

With this feature on QBs, it’s now Artha Shine’s time to shine.  Artha Shine was the next great dual threat QB since Fred Haynes in the 1960s.  Artha Shine was an equal part in the dynamic tandem with Sammy Seamster.  Shine conducted the triple option offense with such mastery that, ofttimes, opponents didn’t know who had the ball.  This allowed Seamster to light up the record book and score board in 1986.  Not to be outdone by Seamster, Shine is a Top 10 rusher all-time, racking up over 2,000 career rushing yards, joining that exclusive club with only Tate and Seamster.  Shine has the sixth most rushing TDs in history as well. As a three-year starter at QB, Shine is a Top 7 passer.  In 1988, Shine’s 1,475 passing yards sniffed the top spot behind Bobby Lyle for passing yards in a season but fell 200 yards short. Shine surpassed career record holders Fred Haynes for passing yards with 2,681 and Randy Ray for passing TDs with 29.  These marks would stand until the mid-2000’s.  In 1987 and 1988, Shine was selected as an Honorable Mention All-State QB.  

Lastly, for this segment, there was Wymeko Williams (1992-1994).  Williams is another one of the best ten QBs in Minden’s history despite splitting snaps in a two QB system for two of his three years.  Williams joined Bobby Lyle, Conrad Reeves, and Randy Ray as the only other QB to pass for over 200 yards in two games up to that point.  Williams also joined Randy Ray and Artha Shine as the only Minden QBs to date to pass for over 2,000 career yards and 20 TDs. 

I know this may be an abrupt ending, but I’ve also got to leave you wanting more, right?  I’ve enjoyed going over the Quarterback room in chronological order.  I feel it has allowed me to really flesh out all the accomplishments of each QB as they happened in Minden’s history.  In retrospect, I probably should have handled the running backs the same way.  I guess there’s nothing prohibiting me from circling back and doing so later.  

We’ll keep going onward and upward with the record markers in the next, and final, installment covering the Minden Crimson Tide QBs. 

Christmas traditions ornament making

Come get in the Christmas spirit at the Dorcheat Museum, 116 Pearl Street. 

“We are making no-sew Christmas ornaments,” said executive director Schelley Francis. “We supply the fabric and supplies while you supply your artistic talents … we will show you how!”

 Francis said participants who would like to supply their own fabric and items to give their ornament a special touch “,….just give us a call and we can tell you what is best to use. “This is a great way to use baby clothes, old shirts from a loved one etc.”

From now until December 17, ornament makers will enjoy Christmas music, movies, and holiday refreshments at the museum. 

“Come any time of day while we are open – 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2 until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday,” Francis said. “Plus we have added one Saturday date to our calendar in conjunction with happenings around Minden from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, December 17.”

Items needed to make ornaments are as follows: 


Hem gauge or ruler

flat head straight pens

pearl head pins


Styrofoam balls


coordinating fabric and ribbon

Takes about two hours to make an ornament so come to stay a while with us or you can start one and come back to finish the next day.

Cost is $10 per ornament all proceeds help pay for supplies and to support the museum.

Dorcheat Museum 116 Pearl Street will be decorated with a Glimpse of Christmas Past exhibit beginning December 1 through 31.

What will you read in 2023?

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right. 

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one. 

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.  

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel,Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never. 

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile. 

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg. 

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years. 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making of The Godfatherand was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.  

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing. 

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention. 

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich. 

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Does by Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already. 

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL TodayRevolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice. 

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on! 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


Springhill PD arrests one for drugs, intoxication

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Springhill Police have arrested a local man for possession of drugs and public intoxication.

Demmitris Yamon Moore, 51, of the 300 block of Legion Dr., Springhill, is charged with possession of Gabapentin (Sch. V) with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine, disturbing the peace by public intoxication and possession of a legend drug.

Police were reportedly dispatched to a S. Main grocery store when an employee reported an intoxicated male who was staggering and fell down in the store.

When police arrived, Moore was near a bridge on Legion Drive. Officers made contact and detained him in a police unit to prevent him from falling or stumbling into traffic.

A search of his person reportedly located a glass smoking device with suspected methamphetamine inside, a one-gallon plastic storage bag containing 11 different prescription pill types, five of which were allegedly visually identified as different milligram weights of Gabapentin.

Moore was transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center for booking.

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.

My favorite season

By Robert St. John

It has been said that the four seasons in Mississippi are— almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas. I have friends who believe that the four seasons in Mississippi are— dove season, duck season, deer season, and turkey season. There are also people who would argue football season, basketball season, baseball season, and football pre-season.

The four seasons in my world are spring, summer, football, and holidays. The weather rarely matters. Local stores start selling sweaters and “fall” clothes in September. But, in South Mississippi, it’s usually 72 degrees and raining on Christmas Day. It’s hard to beat March, April, and October in this part of the world and fall football season is uniquely singular in the South. There’s just a different energy in the air when football is involved.

Within my seasons— spring, summer, football, and holidays— there are certain foods that I like, and many that I only enjoy during that season. Sometimes that’s because the food item is seasonal and only grows in this part of the world during that time, but other times it’s just what I associate with that time of year, or a particular holiday.

Spring is for lamb. If I were ever granted a last meal, the protein at that meal would be my grandmother’s roasted leg of lamb. We ate it once a month in my childhood. I don’t think there was any special ingredient or method she used, probably just salt and pepper with some onions and carrots in the roasting pan. She made a gravy from the pan juices. I do remember that she didn’t make a traditional roux. She dry-roasted flour in a pan until it started turning brown. There is a certain smell that is associated with making gravy in that manner. Occasionally, I’ll catch a whiff of toasted flour and it immediately takes me back to her kitchen. What a wonderful aroma. Gravy was the final step— in addition to the smell of those tiny biscuits baking in the oven— that always signaled that something important and memorable was about to happen, as lunch was about to be served.

Summer is for peaches. Peaches just taste like summer. They don’t have to be a cobbler or in ice cream, just give me a small bowl of lightly macerated peaches, and I’m good to go. If I have just finished a meal where freshly picked sweet corn was a component, all the better.

Football season and fall are synonymous. The weather is cooler, the air is crisp, and it’s the only time of year I find myself eating soups— gumbo, seafood bisques, vegetable-beef, and onion are my go-tos.

Though as much as I love football and football season— and I dearly love football and football season— there’s something about the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day that is so special to me. It’s a unique time of year in the Deep South. The holiday season is where everything seems to come together.

Eleven years out of the past 20 I have been on a promotional book tour during this period. It is always fun as I get to hang out in independent bookstores and to visit with people I sometimes see only once a year. Book signings are a favorite activity as I also get to visit with regular readers of this column who remind me of stories and details about my life and family that I have long forgotten. I had a breakfast cookbook coming out this fall but postponed it to next year’s holiday season due to a schedule that was more hectic than most year’s. The book will be released is 2023 and will be a better product because of the rescheduling.

The restaurants are always busy around this time of year and that’s nice. The weather is cooler and that’s a bonus. But beyond football, books, business, and weather, I think the reason this time of year holds such a special place in my heart is the Five Fs aspects of the Thanksgiving through New Year’s season.

I have written often of my philosophy of the Five Fs. It took me four decades to start figuring out the things that truly matter in life, but when I did, and when I started prioritizing those things, my life got so much richer. The Five Fs are— in order—faith, family, friends, food, and fun. To me, those are the things in life that truly matter.

Faith has always been a vital part of my life. I grew up in Main Street United Methodist Church in my hometown of Hattiesburg. In my youth I was there every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, and whenever the doors were open. I was there yesterday, sitting in the pew where my family has sat for over 100 years, thinking back to the foundation I was given as a part of that congregation. It’s the same one my kids were given, and one that future generations of my family will have available to them.  The fellowship and relationships that were ingrained in me in those early days made an impact that is still felt, today.

I don’t have many regrets in my life, but the main ones I have are family related. I feel as if I spent a lot of time with my extended family over the years but looking back, I still don’t think it was enough. There is nothing more permanent than losing a loved one and realizing that you might not have spent as much time as you could have with them. I would give a year’s salary for one more hour with my grandmother.

When it comes to friends, I think I have had this one nailed from the beginning. I have always valued my friendships. My grandfather used to say, “A rich man has his first dollar. A truly wealthy man has his first friend.” He also said, “You can judge a man’s success, not by the size of his bank account, but by the depth and breadth of his friendships.” I am a rich man today— not because I have a bunch of money in the bank, I don’t, but— because I have a multitude of friends.

Food brings us together like nothing else. When I think back to the best times in my life, food is almost always involved in some way. Sharing a meal is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The fun is the easiest part. When I was a teenager, I looked for fun in a lot of the wrong places. It took me a couple of decades to realize that when I have several of the Five Fs in place, the fun automatically happens, and the best memories are made.

It’s my wish that you have a holiday season filled with and abundance of faith, family, friends, food, and fun, and may all your Christmas dreams come true.


Leg of Lamb with Raspberry Mint Chutney

Preheat oven to 375

1 Leg of Lamb, bone in, about 6-7 pounds

12 cloves fresh garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbl fresh chopped rosemary

1 Tbl fresh chopped thyme

3 Tbl kosher salt

1 Tbl fresh ground black pepper

Using a paring knife, cut 12 small pockets, spread out in the lamb leg.

Insert one clove of garlic into each pocket.

Rub the leg with the olive oil, the rub the herbs, salt and pepper over the leg.

Place the lamb in a large roasting pan, and place it in the preheated oven.

Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and continue to bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to achieve a medium rare temperature. If using a thermometer, it should register 145 degrees.

Remove from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly around the bone and serve.

Raspberry Mint Chutney

1 Tbl olive oil

1 /2 cup shallots, minced

1 Tbl garlic, minced

1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced fine

2 tsp curry powder

1 /4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 /2 cup sherry

3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 cinnamon stick

2 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 cup mint jelly

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp water

1 /2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl fresh mint, chopped

In a small sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook shallots 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and seasonings, and cook 3-4 more minutes, stirring often. Do not let garlic brown. Deglaze with sherry and reduce by half.

Stir in 2 cups of the raspberries, chicken broth and bay leaf and simmer 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in mint jelly and cook three minutes more, stirring constantly. Dissolve the cornstarch with the 2 teaspoons of water and stir it into the simmering sauce. Allow the sauce to thicken then remove from the heat and strain. Stir in the vinegar, fresh mint and remaining cup of raspberries.

Serve at room temperature.

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

Christmas Eve services

Is your church having a Christmas Eve Service? Webster Parish Journal would like to know about it, so we can educate the public on where they can go to worship on this holy night, Saturday, December 24.

Please email the time and location of your service to wpjnewsla@gmail.com and we will begin publishing immediately. Please send no later than noon Wednesday, December 21. Final publication will be Thursday, December 22.

Thank you and Merry Christmas from your Webster Parish Journal! Subscriptions are always free.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 1

11 a.m. until noon and 4:30 until 6 p.m. Ribbon cutting ceremony (11:30 a.m.) and open house at The Courtyard, 109 Pearl St., Minden.

6 p.m. Blockbuster Movie Night at Webster Parish Library – Minden Main Branch. Under 13 must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Food is allowed, complimentary popcorn and soda.

Dec. 2

7 p.m. Grinch Bingo at CAC Building, Springhill. Benefits LaMa Animal Rescue.

Dec. 2 & 3

6 p.m. “From Humbug to Hallelujah,” A musical comedy that presents the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge – with a twist. Eastside Missionary Baptist Church, Minden, La. For information, call 318-286-1259 or 318-377-2528.

Dec. 3

10 a.m. until dark. Sarepta Christmas Festival will be held December 3 from 11 a.m. until dark. There will be live music, food and craft vendors, a 5K run, treasure hunt, pictures with Santa and more! A fireworks show will take place at dark. The Christmas Festival will be at the Sarepta Park and Community Building on Vine Street.

Dec. 6

6 until 7:30 p.m. Webster Parish Library. Meriwether Wealth and Planning will present a community education seminar “No, It’s a Scam!” Learn about the latest scams and schemes targeting Webster Parish residents. Presenters Jason Parker, Webster Parish Sheriff and Tracy L. Campbell, financial advisor for Meriwether W&P. No cost to attend but pre-registration is required. Seating limited to 35. RSVP 318-377-1803. Refreshments will be provided as well as important take-home information.

Dec. 8

4:30 until 6:30 p.m. Chamber Connect after hours networking event, Huffman Manor Inn/Event Center, 1114 Broadway, Minden.

Dec. 8 and 9

Living Word presents an Active Shooter training. Free and open to the public

Dec. 15

6 p.m. Retirement reception for Dr. Earl Meador, NLTCC Minden Campus.

Dec. 16

5:30 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony, Minden Civic Center.

6 until 9 p.m. Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride. Minden Courthouse (free).

6 p.m. Rehab Reindeer 5K Run.

Dec. 17

9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Festive Christmas Brunch, Geaux Fresh.

9 until 11 a.m. Brunch at Habacu’s

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Hot Chocolate and Coffee, The Broken Bean.

10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Keepsake ornament making for adults at Dorcheat Museum. Christmas movies and refreshments.

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Reindeer Games Children’s Area downtown Minden. Bounce houses, pony rides and more.

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Presents on Pearl (street). Arts and crafts vendors.

11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Logan McConathy State Farm Agency.

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids ornament crafting at City Art Works (Free).

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids Face Painting & Smores at The Courtyard (Free).

1 until 2 p.m. Storytime, music and games with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Webster Parish Library Stewart Center (Free).

2 until 4 p.m. photos with Rudolph and Friends, Jacqueline Park.

4 p.m. Christmas Parade, downtown Minden.

5:30 p.m. Parade awards at Minden Civic Center.

6 p.m. Fireworks Show.

6:30 p.m. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Movie in Miller Quarters Park. Bring a quilt or chair. 

Notice of Death – Nov. 29, 2022

Charles Doss

March 28, 1935 – Nov. 26, 2022

Visitation: noon until 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, Central Baptist Church, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Springhill Cemetery.

Brian E. Stuart

April 30, 1965 – Nov. 24, 2022

Visitation: 9 a.m. until noon, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Graveside service: 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 at Pine Grove Cemetery, Minden, La.

Mary Jean Paul Slack

August 10, 1946 – Nov. 29, 2022

Memorial service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden, La.

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

Sibley man, juvenile arrested for breaking into vehicles

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Sibley Police, with the help of Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies, have arrested a juvenile and a south Webster man for breaking into vehicles of Sibley residents.

Percy Deshun Robinson, 19, of the 100 block of SE Claiborne, Sibley, and an unidentified 15-year-old are charged with 4 counts of simple burglary, theft of a firearm.

Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams said around 4 a.m. Tuesday, the two were caught on camera attempting to break into cars.

“The person who saw them on their home security system, called for police and they got here fast,” Williams said. “The deputies were quick, too.”

Williams said a chase ensued across his backyard before officers caught and arrested the two in the front yard of a neighbor.

According to the arrest report, officers located a handgun in Robinson’s jacket pocket. Robinson reportedly admitted the gun was not his and then gave officers the juvenile’s name and address.

“The teen-ager had a rap sheet,” Williams said. “And he’d just gotten out of jail … he was still wearing an ankle bracelet.

“This was great work by the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office and Sibley PD,” he added.

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.

Runoffs, 3 amendments on Dec. 10 ballot

By Bonnie Culverhouse

December 3 is the last day of early voting for the December 10 election, although local ballots are sparse. Webster is one of 25 parishes that will have candidate races but no local propositions.

Voters within the Springhill city limits are looking at a mayoral runoff between Ronnie Hearnsberger and incumbent Ray Huddleston.

Minden City Council District A features a runoff between Wayne Edwards and Carlton “Buddy Myles, while District C must choose between Vincen “Cheese” Bradford and Latasha Anderson Mitchell.

Every voter in the state will have the opportunity to vote on three proposed amendments to the Louisiana State Constitution. Watch Webster Parish Journal for an explanation of these amendments.

The following is important information for the Saturday, Dec. 10 Congressional General Election:   

  • Early voting lasts through December 3 from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
  • The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters). Request an absentee ballot online through our Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office.
  • Deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted absentee ballot is by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 9. (other than military and overseas voters).
  • On election day, the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Scenes from the Mistletoe Market

Big thank you to all the vendors and, of course, all who came to shop with in Springhill last weekend. It was a busy place!

As Executive Director of the Chamber, Ronda Taylor said she would like to thank her chamber board for all their support throughout the year. Thank you to Matt Taylor and Paten Allen for being the muscles behind setting up the tables. Callie Jo Carter did a fantastic job setting up for Santa pictures.  Big shout out to Carter Credit Union for sponsoring Santa of Shreveport for the entire day! Adam Bradley for always putting the little extra special touches to my attempt at decorating. Thank you to Mayor Ray Huddleston and city workers for working so hard to make the city so pretty for our out of town visitors as well as our local citizens. Krewe of Nemesis for operated the concession this year.

A big thank you to Webster Tourism for their support in advertising and for always promoting events in our parish! Thanks Serena Gray and Johnnye Kennon.

Minden Police arrest one on drug charges

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A local man suspected of taking items from a woman’s residence was arrested by Minden Police on drug charges.

Sylvester Thomas Coleman, 29, of the 600 block of Columbia St., Minden, is charged with 2 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer with force or violence.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said Off. Logan Clingan was dispatched to the 400 block of Fort Street around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“The caller said Coleman was taking items from her home without her permission,” Cropper said. “While en route, the officer was notified that Coleman was walking toward Sheppard Street pushing a black shopping cart with multiple items in it.”

Cropper said Clingan made contact with Coleman, who was standing in the opposing lane on Fort Street and asked him to step to the front of his unit.

“Coleman refused, saying he did not take any of the items, that his sister was on drugs and the officer had no reason to be out with him,” said the chief. At that time, Sgt. Mitch Hackett went to make contact with the caller to gather more information, and Lt. Spencer Tippen arrived on the scene to aid Clingan.

According to the report, Coleman kept attempting to leave the scene and would not listen to officers.

“He told the officers he has a lawsuit against the police department for using witchcraft on him, and his lawyer told him he had a right to avoid us,” Cropper said.

Officers reportedly noticed a blunt object with a handle on top of the cart, and when Clingan stepped away to push the cart to a safe distance, Coleman fled on foot.

“Tippen pursued him on foot and caught Coleman after he ran between two trees and fell into a bush,” Cropper said. “He resisted officers’ efforts to handcuff him. Sgt. Hackett was on the scene at that point and deployed his Taser. He gave Coleman a loud verbal command to place his arm behind his back. When Coleman refused again, Sgt. Hackett stunned Coleman, who then complied.”

Officers reportedly conducted a search in the area where Coleman fled and located a glass meth pipe. Another was located in Coleman’s jacket pocket.

He was booked at Minden PD and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

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.

Honey Butter Butter Board

I really feel no need to elaborate on this one since the title sums all this deliciousness right up!  I have been dying to make this and was finally able to for Thanksgiving.  

Anything you can imagine as a dipper for honey butter would work here, and I wanted to make these holiday pie crust crackers as a cute aside to this fun appetizer.  Make sure you use a really high quality stick of butter for this as it will completely send it over the top!  


  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • Brown sugar
  • 1 (2 inch) piece of honeycomb
  • Fresh bread, rolls, crackers, or pie crust crackers for serving


In the bowl of a mixer combine the softened butter, half of the honey (2 tablespoons), and 3/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon until smooth.

Spread the butter onto a serving board.  Drizzle the remaining honey over the butter and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and brown sugar to your taste.  

Break the honeycomb into bite size chunks and spread over the butter.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author.)

Is anything worth dying for?

There are mass protests in the streets of China. Iranians are openly defying the oppressive theology ruling their Sun-scorched land. Thousands are being murdered for civil disobedience. They are standing. They are dying. All for something larger than themselves. 

So I ask: what principle are you willing to die for? I don’t mean self defense or protecting your family. I’m talking about something you believe in. 

Would you denounce your faith if someone put a gun to your head? What about if someone just made you feel uncomfortable? Would you pull a Peter and deny three times? Would you give up your arms if government storm troopers were going door to door? What if it was less than that? How about government buy back? Say $5,000 per weapon? $1,000 $50?

I don’t know. People talk big on the internet and in real life, but if it came right down to it, would you give up essential freedoms for the charms of a comfortable life? 

I’m sad to say it, but we already have. The Patriot Act was sold to us on the promise of security. The listening device in your pocket masquerading as a phone was sold to us on the promise of making life easier and so much more fun. Now you can barely function in the world without that tracker recording every move and word.  I’ve tried to go without one. I can’t. My entire personal and professional life is tied to a device. I gave up my privacy long ago for bread and circuses. 


So I say all that to say this. I’ve realized I’m just a reed in the storm a lot of times. The reed survives the storm. The proud Oak breaks. In other words, those who just go along are the ones who survive. They may even prosper. Those who stand for something get cut down. 

We’re taught from the time we’re young to be reeds. Do what you’re told. Don’t rock the boat. Go to college, get married, have 2.5 kids, buy a house, cars, things and distractions. Work. Don’t look to your sides because side quests are pointless to the overall story, aren’t they? 

Be good because Santa is coming to town and he’s got a list that he’s checking twice to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. From day 1, we are conditioned not to take risks at any level because it might upset our comfort levels.

In the big picture, you’re punished if you stand up against problems in the world. You get sued, you get cancelled, you get black listed. In the recent past these kind of troublemakers were beaten or killed or both for standing up for simple concepts like labor reform, civil rights, and just asking for common human decency. American hands of the past are just as bloody as Chinese hands of the present. 

We used to be a place where 55 men signed a piece of paper of high treason. If we lost the Revolution, those signers would have been killed as would their families. They did it anyway. Nowadays we just go on, are taught to keep our heads down, get by. They tell us to play the game and to turn your nose brown for the right people. The concept leaves me feeling dirty. A politician doesn’t have to be an elected official. A politician is just someone who does what’s easy rather than what’s right. 

And the sick part? The older I get the more of a politician I become. Some say it’s inevitable. They say things like pick your battles. I’ve found myself saying the same when dealing with the difficulties of people and when facing the doom and darkness descending around us. Because in truth, what’s in the hearts of Chinese and Iranian leaders can be found in the hearts of many in the elite group of Americans that live above us all. Watched a movie the other day – sci-fi – where a woman from our time went forward to facist year 2100. When she asked how did this happen, she was simply told 80 years is a long time. 

How long does it take? How long does kicking the can down the road last before it’s too late? 80 years? 50? 1?

Questions like those are too big. So I pick my battles knowing full well I’m still going to lose the war. I do it because questioning causes discomfort, and each time I know less and less of what I’d be willing to stand for. I hope there’s something out there. But again, what do I know? I’m just a reed trying to weather the storm. Just a reed in a nation of more than 300 million others. 

Just remember that fear is the weakest of motivators. Powerful only in the short term. Shame, however, is the most potent deterrent to moving forward. 

Being frightened is human. It’s ok. Remaining afraid is shameful and weak. And that’s not ok. 

Fear is used to make us seek the line. Our own shame keeps us there. 

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

Calling all Gingerbread House enthusiasts

 Webster Parish Libraries – Minden Main Branch celebrates the season with a week-long Gingerbread House Decorating event. During the week of December 12 to the 16, make memories with your family by decorating pre-made Gingerbread Houses. 

There are seven time slots from which to choose, but 6 p.m. Monday, December 12 is already full. 

Register on the phone at (318)371-3080 x 116, in person at the Minden Main Branch – Children’s Department or on the Webster Parish Libraries App.

UCAP needs for week of Nov. 28:

United Christian Assistance Program needs the following items:

Food: Ramen noodles, Vienna sausage, crackers, biscuit mix, cornbread mix

Clothing: Men’s pants (32 and 34 waist), Men’s coats (large), men’s socks and underwear

Household goods: towels, sheets, pots and pans

Toiletries: toothpaste, deodorant

Thank you for supporting UCAP!  

UCAP is open from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at 204 Miller Street, Minden, for food, utility and rent assistance. Clothing is dispersed on Wednesdays only.

Arrest Reports

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies. Minden Police Department (MPD), Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO), Louisiana State Police (LSP) and others which are named.

Nov. 21

Ryan Hunter Marquez, 22, of Jamestown, La., was arrested by WPSO on an active warrant.

John Wesley Wiginton, 57, of Bossier City, was arrested by Springhill Police for aggravated burglary, theft of firearms, a felon in possession of firearms and theft over $1,000.

Nov. 22

Nancy Roylene Gleason, 51, of the 1300 block of Couchwood Rd., Cotton Valley, was arrested by WPSO on an active warrant for failure to appear (in court).

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.

Upcoming Events

Current-Nov. 30

Motorcycle exhibit at Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl St., Minden. Motorcycles courtesy of 3 State Harley Davidson.

Dec. 1

6 p.m. Blockbuster Movie Night at Webster Parish Library – Minden Main Branch. Under 13 must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Food is allowed, complimentary popcorn and soda.

Dec. 2 & 3

6 p.m. “From Humbug to Hallelujah,” A musical comedy that presents the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge – with a twist. Eastside Missionary Baptist Church, Minden, La. For information, call 318-286-1259 or 318-377-2528.

Dec. 3

10 a.m. until dark. Sarepta Christmas Festival will be held December 3 from 11 a.m. until dark. There will be live music, food and craft vendors, a 5K run, treasure hunt, pictures with Santa and more! A fireworks show will take place at dark. The Christmas Festival will be at the Sarepta Park and Community Building on Vine Street.

Dec. 6

6 until 7:30 p.m. Webster Parish Library. Meriwether Wealth and Planning will present a community education seminar “No, It’s a Scam!” Learn about the latest scams and schemes targeting Webster Parish residents. Presenters Jason Parker, Webster Parish Sheriff and Tracy L. Campbell, financial advisor for Meriwether W&P. No cost to attend but pre-registration is required. Seating limited to 35. RSVP 318-377-1803. Refreshments will be provided as well as important take-home information.