The magic of sticking together

Standing in line for more than two hours in a receiving line at the funeral home, not just standing in line but moving in line and sharing in line and encouraging in line — living in line — gives you time to think.

For starters, even though you don’t know everyone in line and they don’t know you, you feel a part of a greater good, a part of the force that was this life and this family you are here to honor. This one life, in ways special to each of us, touched all these people and hundreds more who couldn’t be here.

The emotional mix is stunning: the uncomfortable feeling of loss and unfairness, and at the same time gratitude for being able to count among your friends this life that radiated a deep and unselfish goodness.

It’s early spring and yet so many are going through a storm. There will always be storms but if you live long enough, they will now and then come one right after the other and you can’t keep the pieces all picked up, for yourself or for your friends. You are tying but more pieces keep falling. Breaking.

Mercy at the loss lately, and the threat of more loss. It all combines to remind me how little control we have, and how I am blind at times to things I do have control over. Which is pathetic. Sad. I am waiting in line to hug the family of a friend who was a master of doing the little things. I’m not sure he even thought so much about it. He just did them. He was aware that he had control over these little actions. He knew they made the difference.

And the difference is real, because all these people are around me. To thank him.

You can make someone happier today. You can. It might be paying for coffee for the person behind you in line at the drive-thru, or it might be calling an old friend, or thanking your Sunday school teacher, or the custodian who keeps your building clean, or the boss who signs the checks.

You ever color a picture and send it to someone for no reason? I do. It’s stupid. But it’s a surprise, and they’ll always call to thank you, because for one moment an ordinary day held a silly surprise for them, and only heaven knows how those kinds of things make a difference, but they do.

I’ve heard these things called “the smallest acts of love.” Remind someone how strong they’ve been. Compliment them for whatever makes them them. Praise. Encourage. Smile. These little things add up.

Our friend we lost, he did lots of big things. Beautiful things. He made the world prettier, literally. But when I think of him — and this has been for years, not just now — I am always left with how he made me feel. He had plenty to do but when we were together, he was present. Honest. Funny without meaning to be because he was just him. A friend.

We are all just people but somehow, we have the gift inside that, if we share it, has the potential to help a sister or brother over the next hill. The smallest thing, if it’s real, can be the thing that holds up, can be the stuff that works. The smallest thing can make a difference.

And that’s when, in the middle of the storms, the miracles show up. In the smallest, most sincere acts. One thoughtful moment, one honest ear to listen or hand to hold. Be present and be ready. We need you. You can make the difference that makes the difference for someone today, and the difference for today can make the difference for forever.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning


Let’s cover North Webster

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

Webster Parish Journal is looking for a writer to help cover our North Webster Parish area – Springhill, Sarepta, Shongaloo, Cullen and Cotton Valley. We want someone who loves to write features about the people who make this community great.

We also need someone who can take on some assignments and cover local government in those towns.

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


A Lifetime Love Affair

TAVARNELLE, TUSCANY— My love of bakeries goes back as far as my episodic memory will allow. The earliest bakery recollection I can drum up comes from the Blue Ribbon Bakery in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In a kid’s eyes a bakery is a wonderland of shapes, sizes, colors, and all things sweet. In 1968 if you had given six-year-old Robert a choice between all the playthings he could snatch on the toy aisle at the Ben Franklin or all the sweets he could grab behind the counter at the Blue Ribbon Bakery, it would have been a tough choice, but the cookies and cupcakes would likely have won out (and that’s coming from a boy who loved toys).

My first memory of the Blue Ribbon was going in with my mom to pick up my Batman birthday cake. It wasn’t as elaborate and colorful as today’s kid’s cakes with computer-processed images and edible ink. It was nothing more than my favorite cake of all time— yellow cake with chocolate icing— with “Happy Birthday Robert!” written in yellow script. The perfect finishing touches were the Batman and Robin figures on top.

I was a huge Batman and Robin fan and never missed the Adam West-Burt Ward television show. The Batman birthday party was notable for several reasons, not the least of which was that it was the first birthday after my dad died and I think my mom went all out to try and make it special.

Maybe that’s why bakeries hold such a special place in my heart. It was the first step in a return to normalcy and a six-year-old’s realization that life will go on— and can be fun— after a tragedy.

Bakeries were mostly a repository for sweets and cakes during my teens and early twenties. But once I moved into restaurant ownership, they took on a new meaning and purpose. We used bakeries to supplement and supply on occasion. I’ve found that the relationship between restaurants and bakeries is a much healthier and less competitive than the relationship between most restaurants.

But, like restaurant people, bakery people are a different breed. Restaurant people are party-froward. Overall, they stay out late, live hard, enjoy life, and congregate with like types. Bakery people aren’t as party minded, mainly because their workday starts around the time restaurant people are getting their 2:00 a.m. second wind. Bakery people prefer quieter moments, a more structured working environment and less peaks and valleys during a shift.

Restaurant chefs often work by the seat of their pants using improvisation, touch, and feel. Baking is precise. It is chemistry. Both are creative.

My true love and appreciation for bakeries came from my early trips to Europe. By this time in my life, I had grown into a hardcore and devout breakfast fanatic. I woke up every morning in search of breakfast, but Europeans do breakfast much differently than we do, and those practices differ from country to country. What is universal across the continent is that bakeries that can be found in every city. In Europe bakeries became a sure thing for breakfast options.

There are three specific businesses that have molded and influenced my world view on bakeries.

1.) Bagnoli Pasticceria— I spend three months a year working overseas. A major portion of that time is working in the heart of Tuscany. In the small town of Tavarnelle there is a bakery that is one of my favorites on the planet. Bagnoli is everything I love in a bakery. It has a great morning vibe, wonderful people, and excellent pastries. I’m typing this column as I sit at my usual table by the window with my go-to pastry and hot tea.

2.) C’est la Vie Bakery— Sixteen years ago, a very talented French pastry chef moved to Hattiesburg and opened a bakery directly across the street from my office. His croissants were as good as any I had eaten in Paris. A group of regulars and I met most mornings and ate pastries while discussing world events and local gossip over expertly prepared baked goods.

3.) La Boulangerie Bakery— I also spend a healthy portion of the year in New Orleans. Almost every morning I am in the Crescent City I drive seven miles through rush hour traffic to eat a couple of croissants at the La Boulangerie on Magazine Street in Uptown.

Unfortunately, my French friend died of cancer and his bakery across from my office closed. Hattiesburg lost its only true French-inspired bakery. Six years ago, the bakery bug bit me hard and I resigned myself that Midtown Hattiesburg would have another full-service French-inspired bakery.

I am not a baker. Not by a long shot. I can make a pretty good Italian Cream Cake, but a bakery that sells only one item is born to fail. There were only two people on the planet that I was interested in working with to open a bakery. The problem was that Martha Foose and Donald Bender lived 200 miles away in Greenwood and both gotten out of the bakery game.

That didn’t stop me from launching a six-year campaign of pitching, pleading, and begging. After five years I either finally begged the correct way, or Foose and Bender grew tired of the constant beseeching. Either way, the brilliantly artistic, uber-talented, and dynamic duo moved to Hattiesburg several months ago and we are a matter of weeks away from opening the bakery of our dreams.

The married couple have a long and storied history in the bakery biz with an impressive list of awards, recognition, cookbooks, skills, and knowledge. The only thing I bring to the table is a healthy appetite and a unique love and appreciation for what bakeries have meant to me through the years.

The Batman and Robin figures from my sixth birthday cake hung around my mom’s house in a junk drawer for years. But after a few moves and a couple of house sales they got lost to that entity that secretly steals little pieces of your past that seemed so important at one point, then inconsequential, before realizing they were some of the things that mattered more than you ever expected at a time when they were truly needed.

It’s my hope that this new bakery we are about to open will also bring joy to a kid in need of a smile. Afterall, how often do we have an opportunity to be in a business that brings joy? I believe bakeries have that potential. What an honor it must be to be a component in weddings, anniversaries, celebrations, and— most of all— little kid’s birthdays. Life does go on. I can hardly wait.

Onward.

Italian Cream Cake

1 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Sugar
5 large Eggs, separated
2  1 /2 cupsAll-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 cup Buttermilk
2 /3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 can Flaked coconut (3 1 /2 oz.)
1 /2 tsp Cream of Tartar
3 Tbl Grand Marnier
1 recipe  Cream Cheese Frosting

Grease and flour three nine-inch round cake pans.  Line pans with wax paper;
grease paper, and set aside. 

Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Combine flour and baking soda.  Add buttermilk and flour alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Stir in pecans, vanilla, and coconut. 

Beat egg whites at high speed in a large bowl until foamy.  Add cream of tartar; beat until
stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 or 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans; peel off wax paper; and let cool completely on wire racks.  Brush each cake layer with 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on sides and top of cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz.) pkg Cream cheese, softened
1 (3 oz.) pkg Cream cheese, softened
3 /4 cup Butter, softened
1  1 /2 Powdered sugar, sifted
1 1 /2 cups Pecans, chopped
1 Tbl Vanilla extract

Beat first three ingredients at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth.
Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy; stir in pecans
and vanilla.

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


WPJ seeks account executive

Do you enjoy meeting new people and greeting old friends?

You may be perfect for an account executive’s position with the Webster Parish Journal. You don’t have to fit a particular profile, you just need to be as passionate about spreading the news as those with whom you will be working.

WPJ subscriptions are – and always will be – free. We depend on businesses and advertising to help us meet our goals and keep the public informed. That’s where you may be able to help. We need an outgoing individual to sell advertising for WPJ – the fastest growing publication in Webster Parish.

Contact us at wpjnewsla@gmail.com, if this describes you.


Krewe of Artemis-Springhill wins in Minden, rolls in Springhill

The twenty-one-year-old (21) Mardi Gras Krewe of Artemis-Springhill “Signature Float” was selected the best overall entry in the Minden Fasching Parade on Saturday, February 4, 2023, and won the “Sweep Stakes Award”.  The awards were presented at the Minden City Council meeting earlier this month.  Pictured receiving the plaque are Signature Float Lieutenant Mike Reeves, Captain Eric Simmons, Board member and Fun Float Lieutenant Rob Robinson.

Also, Artemis rolled in the 2nd Annual Women’s History Month Parade which was held at noon on Saturday, March 25, in Springhill, Louisiana.  Shown on the Artemis Royalty Float are, from left to right, Artemis members Saundra Grillot, Patty Matlock, Donna Waring, Gwen Greene and Kathy Davis.  Standing is Captain Eric Simmons, driver extraordinaire. The Grand Marshal of the parade Teresa Lowery is pictured with Artemis member Patty Matlock.

On April 1, Artemis starts another year of being ambassadors for the North Webster Parish area.  The Krewe is located at 025 Bice Street in Springhill, Louisiana, and meets at this Den on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.  Annual membership dues are $50 a person if you are over thirty-five (35) years of age. If younger, the dues are $35 each. One must be eighteen (18) to join.

For any additional information about the Krewe of Artemis, you may phone 870-828-8820.


A goal that would terrify

Britton set a goal for himself that would terrify the toughest of people.  He wanted to become the youngest person to climb the tallest mountains on each of the world’s continents, what mountain climbers refer to as the “Seven Summits.”  At the time, less than 100 people had ever accomplished this feat.  When asked why he would make such an attempt, Britton said, “I dreamed of throwing myself at a goal, at a challenge that seemed so insurmountable in the face of the odds, that I was willing to risk death in the name of success.”  By 2001, Britton had climbed Denali, Aconcagua, Elbrus, and Kilimanjaro, four of the seven highest mountains.  By 2004, Britton had conquered Mount Kosciuszko in Australia.  In January of 2004, Britton reached the summit of Vinson, the tallest mountain in Antarctica.  On January 23, on the day Britton returned home to Greenwich, Connecticut, his 76-year-old beloved grandfather, Bob, died.  Britton was crushed.  

Britton had just one more mountain to go to become the youngest person to reach each of the Seven Summits, Mount Everest.  Within weeks of tackling Vinson, as he began packing for Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest, Britton’s thoughts kept returning to his grandfather.  “His memory will be pushing me to strive even harder than I’ve ever strived before,” he said.  “He really just pushed me to push the boundaries and seek the outer limits of whatever I was doing.”  To honor his grandfather, Britton packed a photo of Bob to take to the summit of Mount Everest. 

Finally, in March of 2004, Britton began his climb up Mount Everest with Bob’s photo in his pack.  For two months, Britton and his team struggled through winds which reached up to 125 miles per hour, had to use ladders tied to each other to cross 50-foot deep and 30-foot-wide crevasses, and, had to wear oxygen masks when the air became too thin to breath.  At one point, a falling boulder barely missed hitting his face by only a few inches.  On May 24, Britton became the youngest person at the time to reach the Seven Summits.  While atop the summit, Britton removed his grandfather’s photo from his pack and carefully buried it on Mount Everest.      

Britton grandfather was certainly an inspiration to his grandson Britton, but he also inspired and entertained millions of children on television.  From 1948-1952, he was Clarabell the Clown on the “Howdy Doody Show.” From 1953-1955 he was Corny the Clown on “Time for Fun,” and from 1954-1955 he was Tinker the Toymaker on “Tinker’s Workshop.”  From 1955 to 1985, Bob hosted a children’s television program for which he is most remembered.  The photo which remains atop mount Everest is of Britton Keeshan’s grandfather, Robert James “Bob” Keeshan, but you and I know Bob as Captain Kangaroo.

Sources:

1.     Ledger-Enquirer, January 29, 2004, p.2.

2.     The Sentinel, February 3, 2004, p.33.

3.     Rutland Daily Herald, May 27, 2004, p.16.

4.     Daily Record, June 10, 2004, p.1.

5.     “Britton Keeshan ’00 Recounts Seven Summits Quest at All-School Meeting, The Phillipian, accessed March 25, 2023.  https://phillipian.net/2005/10/25/britton-keeshan-00-recounts-seven-summits-quest-at-all-school-meeting/


Today’s youth and daily temptations

Once again, we’re going to venture away from the world of fishing and talk about what our youth of today need the most. A few weeks ago, while listening to a Sunday morning sermon on “life’s temptations” at the Natchitoches First United Methodist Church, our pastor, Gary Willis, asked the congregation a question. “If you knew you could get away with it and no one would find out, what would you do?” Now this question really intrigued me for some odd reason, and of course, my mind immediately went to something sinister…like stealing, cheating in a tournament, or even worse causing physical harm to someone who’s given me grief in the past. We all have enemies that we would like to inflict pain upon at some point in our lives, but 95% of us never act on any of these sinful ideas.

Then my mind went in another direction. What if I could do something good for someone and not reveal to them it was me who did the good deed? Nothing says more about a person who does good things for others and never wants the credit. Examples of a good deed could be something simple like buying someone’s lunch or dinner, paying for another person’s gas or groceries, or maybe assisting the elderly. But then it hit me! The best thing you can do for anyone is to give of your time. This could be taking a kid fishing and teaching them the tricks of the trade and helping them to become a better angler, or doing fishing seminars for high school and college youngsters by educating them on the unwritten rules of tournament bass fishing.

So many youngsters today are growing up without the guidance of both parents. Boys and girls today are missing the male leadership necessary for them to grow into strong productive citizens. While I have nothing but admiration for the single moms and dads who are doing their best to raise this generation, the lack of having both parent’s influence and perspective has affected the devolvement of our young people. Nothing has a bigger impact on a young boy than a relationship with their dad. In the 1990’s the divorce rate started to skyrocket and so many men walked away from their families, leaving young boys looking for a path on their own on how to become a man. This trend has only gotten worse over the last twenty years. We’ve basically lost a whole generation of men who no longer understand their role as a father and how important it is for the self-esteem and development of a boy or girl.  

Temptations for today’s youth are staggering and totally different than my generation. During my youth growing up in the 70s, we had landlines, not cell phones, and although alcohol was available, most just drank beer. Hard alcohol was not the choice of the majority. The hardest drug that was prevalent was marijuana, with speed and cocaine use on the rise by the end of the decade. Today’s drugs are so potent that one small pill might kill you! Drugs like crystal meth, cocaine, and opioids (specifically fentanyl), along with hard alcohol, social media, cell phones, and peer pressure are just a few of the temptations this generation of kids is facing.  

Kids today are addicted to their phones and are constantly waiting for the “ding” to alert them about the latest incident or derogatory statement that was made about someone. Nothing has been worse for the youth of today than the invention of the cell phone, and no one is to blame but parents themselves. From this angler’s perspective, no child should be allowed to have a cell phone until they reach high school, and even then, they do not need access to social media until the drinking age of 21. I’ve seen that a bill has been proposed in a few states requiring that a person be 16 years of age to be on social media. This is a good start, but the age should be higher.

In today’s world, the temptations our youth face are tremendous. It’s important that we exposed this generation to God’s great outdoors. There’s an old saying…” Kids that hunt and fish, don’t deal and steal.” What a profound statement! Whoever said it, deserves a medal! So many of life’s lessons can be learned through the outdoors like hard work, dedication, and commitment. Other lessons they’ll learn are conservation, wildlife management, survival skills, and how to provide for themselves if times get tough.

Whether it’s hunting or fishing, it gives youngsters something to focus on besides all the negative temptations they face daily. Whether it’s related to the outdoors or a particular sport, kids today need hobbies to occupy their time. They need goals that are attainable that will encourage them to pursue their dreams. Bottom line, take the time to introduce a kid to the great outdoors…it just might save their life!  

Till next week, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and good protective clothing. Don’t be that guy who thinks they will never get Melanoma…because I was that guy.

Steve Graf

Angler’s Perspective


Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to wpjnewsla@gmail.com .

Current

4-H SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATION IS OPEN. All 4th-6th grade 4-H’ers in Webster Parish are eligible to attend. For more information, please contact your 4-H Agent at larceneaux@agcenter.lsu.edu. To register, please bring your completed registration form and camp deposit to our temporary office space on the first floor of the police jury building in downtown Minden. Extra registration forms are available at the office. Mailed registration forms can still be sent to 1202 Homer Rd. Please call or email us to let us know that you are sending a registration by mail so that we can be on the look out. Camp will be held July 24-27.

March 31

8 a.m. Registration for Webster Parish Sheriff Scramble at Pine Hills Country Club.

9 a.m. Tee off

11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. Pickle ball Clinic at Pine Hills Country Club

3:30 p.m. Round Robin play after 1-2 clinic, Email phpb688@gmail.com for sign up information.

April 2

10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday service, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

April 5

10 .m. until l2 p.m. Minden Civic Center. Greater Minden Chamber Job Fair and Resource Expo 2023.

April 6

6:30 p.m. Maundy Thursday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

April 7

Noon service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

April 8

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wings and Wheels Fly-In and Car Show. Aircraft, cars on display, food, live music, pilot competitions, pilot meet and greets, car show as well as vendor booths from local businesses. Minden Airport, 100 Aviation, Drive, Minden, La.

April 9

9:30 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

9:45 a.m. Flowing of the Cross, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

10:30 a.m. Easter Service, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden.

April 10

6 p.m. Night At The Museum, Dorcheat Museum, 116 Pearl St. Speaker: Randy Grigsby. Subject: his books “A Train to Palestine” and “This Labyrinth of Darkness and Light.”

April 11

6 p.m. 69th Annual Awards Banquet, Springhill North Webster Chamber of Commerce, presented by Citizens National Bank. Community Activity Center, 301 West Church St., Springhill.

April 22

10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Scottish Tartan Festival, Miller Quarters, 198 Gleason St., Minden, La.

• Scottish Highland dancing

• Storytelling, living history exhibitions 

• Food and merchant vendors, including Great Raft beer 

• Traditional music and Celtic Rock 

• Scottish Highland cattle petting area 

• Broadsword demonstrations and Highland Games exhibitions 

• Clan tent exhibits and the March of the Clans 


Notice of Death – March 28, 2023

Joe Carl Lowery 

Visitation: 1 until 6 p.m. Friday, March 31, 2023 at Memorial Funeral Home, 4043 US-79 Homer, La.

Family viewing: 6 until 7 p.m.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2023, Mt. Sinai CME Church 1001 Mount Sinai Rd Haynesville, La.

Steve Adams

Nov. 8, 1957 – March 25, 2023

Coushatta, La.

Visitation: 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Thursday, March 30, 2023 at the funeral home.

Burial: Bethany Cemetery.

James C. “Jimmy” Zachary

April 26, 1953 – March 24, 2023

Homer, La.

Visitation: 10 until 11 a.m. Friday, April 14, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Homer, La.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. immediately following visitation.

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.)


Investigation into shooting continues; victims named

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Investigation is continuing into the shooting of four persons during an event at Ewell Park in Minden Sunday.

As of Monday morning, Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said his investigators have interviewed witnesses and are in the process of obtaining arrest warrants.

“There were multiple gunshot victims, and there are multiple suspects,” McIver said. “There were victims who were hurt trying to get away as the shooting was taking place, but only four were actually gunshot victims.”

Taken to Ocshner’s LSU Health in Shreveport were Lyaunna Kingsby, Dmarrion Webb, Royquez Shehee and Howard Collins Jr.

As of 1:30 a.m. Monday, one victim was intubated in ICU, one was in surgery, another was in the emergency room and a fourth was treated and released. None of the victims were minors.

Multiple types of guns were reportedly fired.

“Some were semi-automatic weapons, handguns and long rifles,” said the chief.

According to City of Minden Building Official Brent Cooley, the event was a permitted fundraiser for Louisiana Trail Babes and Bandits.

“The estimated number of attendees was 50,” Cooley said. “The hours were from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.”

He also said there were to be no alcoholic beverages present, according to the permit. McIver said he is unsure if there was alcohol involved, but he is sure there were more than 100 persons at the park. The shootings reportedly occurred after 7 p.m.

A male subject was arrested in the early hours of March 26, however, he is not believed to be involved with the shooting.


Dr. Richard Campbell on the Vietnam War

Dr. Richard Campbell “then.”

(Editor’s Note: “The Vietnam War was a ‘protracted conflict’ that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, known as the Viet Cong, against the government of South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. It lasted from 1954 to 1975.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

March 29, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of that war. For the next several months, the Webster Parish Journal will feature area men who fought that war and made it home.)

By Marilyn Miller

The year that the United States landed a man on the moon, Minden’s Dr. Richard Campbell landed at the Ft. Benning Army Post in Georgia, a member of the Infantry Officers’ Candidate School. That was 1969 and he was 23 years old.

Go back a year.

“I remember thinking, ‘If President Johnson (LBJ) wants to get re-elected, he’s going to get us out of that war,’” Dr. Campbell recalls. He was working on his undergraduate degree at Louisiana Tech in Ruston at the time. Of course, history tells us that LBJ chose not to run. And the war raged on.

By the time Campbell was at LSU, hoping to become a dentist, he had made a decision to join the military. So in 1968, he headed four hours south, to Ft. Polk in Leesville, LA to complete Basic and Advanced Individual Training.

But it was OCS at Ft. Benning that was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he recalled. “And I was in as good a physical condition as I’ve ever been.”

Although OCS was as much about academics as infantry, the ground-war skills ranged from changing treads on a tank…to avoiding chemical warfare…to dealing with landmines. “We fired everything you can imagine,” Campbell added.

Campbell also participated in Airborne training at Ft. Benning to allow him to jump out of planes and helicopters. Near the end of his training, he was also assigned to the OCS Brigade, which gave him the opportunity to train incoming candidates. “We put as much stress on them as we could, because it was better if they broke here than there,” Campbell added, admitting   that he went from the “harassed” to the “harasser.”

All of this to fight a “war” a world away in the jungles of what was then South Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant and platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd Battalion (Air Mobile), “B” Company.

The academics that were a part of OCS included learning about the geopolitical, cultural, and topographical aspects of the country of South Vietnam. However, since it was impossible to tell the South Vietnamese, North Vietnamese, Viet Cong and eventually, Cambodians, apart, “Everyone was the enemy,” Campbell said.

“I wasn’t in the rice paddies,” Campbell stated, recalling that the heavily wooded, hilly land scattered with small rivers reminded him a lot of Northwest Louisiana. The many rivers were the source of the soldiers’ drinking water, and the location of many ambushes on the part of the Americans and South Vietnamese.

The river water, which was purified by iodine, was rank with Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Millions of gallons of Agent Orange were dropped from planes in an effort to kill off the heavy canopy of trees and vines to allow sight lines down trails and through the jungle.

“We frequently saw trails…you didn’t walk on trails,” Campbell pointed out. “Or into villages or built-up areas.” Why? “Booby traps were a bad deal. They were holes with spikes turned up in them. And they (the Viet Cong) got really advanced at including explosive devices in them.”

Campbell actually requested the Cavalry Division, and “B” Company, so he was placed in charge of a Reconnaissance Platoon of all-volunteers who traveled farther out on missions. “I was lucky if I had 20 volunteers…a normal platoon had 30 or 40,” he said.

During one mission, the ignition source for a booby trap was attached to a tree limb. The Cambodian scout that the American team was using grabbed the limb and set off an explosion. Campbell remembers the blast all too well. The scout survived, he said, a far-away look in his eyes. “I was third in line…and not a scratch.”

As remote as the jungles of Vietnam were, Campbell says that communication with home was pretty good. “I wrote letters to my parents when I was in the jungle,” and “when we were re-supplied, we’d get letters and care packages from home.” His mother would send him tape cassettes, and on one occasion, sent him a tape from a “party at the Judge Carr McClendon home.” At the end of the tape, his mother had recorded “Claire de Lune,” which he listened to while enjoying the beautiful scenery that Vietnam did offer.

The military newspaper, “Stars and Stripes,” kept the soldiers abreast of political news from home, and they knew that the war they were fighting was not supported by many. But Campbell, while attending conservative Louisiana Tech, was already aware of this. “We just considered it crazy radicals,” he said. “I didn’t like it. I thought less of the people it (demonstrating). But a lot of it started before I got over there.”

Campbell saw a “moderate” amount of fighting while serving in jungles rife with water leeches, snakes, ants, and other venomous creatures. One time the platoon he was leading got too far out into a swampy area infested with water leeches. “Soldiers were throwing off their packs” trying to remove the slimy, blood-sucking parasites.

There were deaths…and some were soldiers he considered friends. But trust Dr. Richard Campbell to have a good story to tell about that person. Stories are plenty. There’s one about meeting an Air Force crew “who flew cover for us” at an Officer’s Club on Bin Wa Air Base. There’s one about meeting a member of another flight crew (of “soundless” spotters) not too long ago at a Minden restaurant. He tells of a lecturer he talked to at Fort Benning getting the Medal of Honor. And there was his Texas “bud” who won a Purple Heart, but later was killed.

Dr. Campbell, who was only injured once when he jumped from a helicopter too soon and hurt his leg, said that he made it home to Minden without a lot of emotional and mental damage because “I was okay. I felt so fortunate to make it back.”

Nearly 60,000 didn’t, including nearly 10 young men from Webster Parish.

Dr. Richard Campbell “Now.”

Police arrest Doyline man for drugs, weapons

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police have arrested a south Webster Parish man on drugs and weapons violations.

DeMarques Deon Thomas, 26, of the 700 block of Amos Cutoff Rd., Doyline, is charged with possession of Ecstasy and illegal carrying of weapons in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.

Chief Jared McIver said Thomas was spotted parked on the wrong side of East Street with the vehicle running, just after midnight March 26.

Officers were already in the area, looking for possible suspects and witnesses of a shooting that occurred at Ewell Park about one-half mile from where the vehicle was located.

“Thomas was seen using a flashlight and looking on the side of the road for something in the grass,” McIver said. “As officers approached the vehicle, they observed 2 rifles laying on the passenger seat and a loaded pistol magazine in the driver’s side door.”

Thomas reportedly told officers he was at the shooting when it occurred but had nothing to do with it.

“Officers began searching the grassy area where Thomas had been looking and located a small blue container with a yellow cap that contained 2 Ecstasy pills,” said the chief. “He was arrested and brought to an interview room at the PD. He admitted the pills belonged to him. At this point, I cannot confirm whether he had anything to do with the shooting.”

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.


Tax renewal passes by wide margin

By Paige Nash

Webster Parish residents turned out at the polls on Saturday, March 25, to vote on the only proposition on the ballot – the continuation of the current operating millage for the Webster Parish Libraries system. 

“When our libraries are put on the ballot for continued funding, the value of our libraries in the eyes of the people we serve is directly reflected by the outcome,” said Director of Webster Parish Libraries Savannah Jones. “The results determine not only the library system’s future, but the future of all local communities and the people within them. Our libraries serve as a driving force toward success starting with the individual. All people, regardless of situational circumstances, have access to the tools necessary for academic and personal growth. Not only does this growth directly benefit the individual, but it indirectly develops a stronger, thriving parish.” 

Voters from all 49 precincts in the parish cast their vote passing the 12.39 millage by a wide margin with 79.43 percent voting yes and only 20.57 voting against it. This critical operating millage will stay in place over the next 10 years making up 97 percent of the library’s revenue stream. These funds go toward library services, human capital, fixed costs which include communication software/services and maintenance for all 7 locations throughout the parish including the Minden Main Branch, Cotton Valley, Doyline, Heflin, Sarepta, Sibley and Springhill. 

“As a library system, success is measured by the ability to positively impact the lives of the people you serve,” said Jones. “This impact extends well beyond the individuals who regularly visit their local libraries, and the ultimate goal is to strengthen and empower surrounding communities. Your local libraries are doorways that lead to new opportunities, whether it is by putting people on the path to literacy, advancing technological know-how in a technology-driven world, or by providing the means to advance one’s career. Libraries are community hubs that connect people to people and people to resources. It’s a vital support system and one that cannot exist without the support of the people it serves.” 

All 7 locations offer many vital services to the public at no charge. They host a variety of year-round programs for children, teens and adults. The branches hold weekly events including club, group and board meetings, guest speakers, craft projects, informational workshops, game days, movie nights and more. This is in addition to many other essential services the libraries offer on a day-to-day basis.  

“We know how important it is for people to stay connected within our communities. Our libraries provide a means to make those connections possible through the resources and services offered. In my opinion, Webster Parish Libraries serve as a catalyst that not only brings people, of all ages and backgrounds, together, but connects them to resources needed for success,” said Kim Sentell, Director of Marketing for Webster Parish Libraries. “Strong communities are made up of prospering individuals; libraries enhance the likelihood of prosperity by providing necessary tools that many may not otherwise have access to. Our library staff and board of directors are passionate about making sure our libraries meet the needs of our parish residents. Knowing that our communities support their libraries is touching beyond words. With the passing of the funding renewal, we can begin writing the next chapter for your libraries. We look forward to growing along with our local communities in the years to come.”  

The Webster Parish Libraries are currently gearing up for their most popular event of the year – The Summer Reading Program. More information regarding the theme and dates will be released soon, but until then you can stop by the Minden Main Branch today (March 28) from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to join Kaitlin Taylor for “Spring Fever Story Time” and flower crafts. The Springhill Genealogy Club will also be having local farmer, Tony Mullins, joining them at the Springhill Branch this evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. He will be speaking on the subject of brown cotton farming.  


Lee ready to don WPSB hat

By Bonnie Culverhouse

By an overwhelming margin, Jerri Lee was elected Saturday to represent District 9 on the Webster Parish School Board.

“I’m happy, but it’s also challenging, too,” Lee said. “I thought about a few days’ rest, but I’m getting ready to start studying. I want to make sure I’m an effective board member and a service to this community.”

Lee won 193 votes to 14, defeating Jo Ann McWoodson, a retired school board employee.

Lee was an educator, retiring after 36 years. Her first job was teaching English at Dubberly.

“I was the first African-American to start integration in a Webster Parish school,” she said. “I was the first core curriculum teacher.”

After Dubberly, Lee spent the next 30 years at Minden High teaching French, English and Spanish. After retiring from MHS, she filled in at the Webster Parish Alternative School for a few years.

“The students of the community are important to me, and I want to work with the board and make the decisions; get with them and see what we can come up with,” Lee said. “ I’m looking forward to seeing what I can bring to the table.”

Lee said her goals include attending meetings regularly and learning all she can about the issues facing education today.

“I want to make sure I can interact with a variety of our community members because I’ve been involved in different things,” she said. “There’s a lot we can learn from each other and work together for the good of the community.”

Lee served three terms (12 years) on Webster Parish Police Jury.


A reason to celebrate 100 different ways for the legendary Sibley Raiders basketball team

By John James Marshall, Journal Columnist

When you think about it – even four decades later – it’s still incredible to think that a team from a tiny town in Webster Parish won 100 games. Some schools have a hard time winning 100 in a decade. The Sibley Raiders won 100 the hard way.

In a row.

And in a way, the symmetry of it all makes it even better. Not 93 in a row or a 103 in a row.

A perfect 100. Easy to remember.

Of course, who could forget what the Sibley Raiders did in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Certainly not those involved, and they will get together Saturday as part of the Celebration of Champions at the Minden REC.

They need not worry about being forgotten, because it will be a long time before their accomplishment gets matched. For that matter, it’s probably not a good idea to hold your breath waiting for anybody else to even come close.

The Raiders were state champions in 1978-79, then went 58-0 on the way to another state championship in 1979-80. They kept it going into a third season before losing to next-door-neighbor Doyline on Nov. 22, 1980 – in Sibley’s own tournament.

But to be sure, it wasn’t by accident.

“We had passion,” says Willie Jackson, the unquestioned star of the team who went on to play at Centenary before being drafted by the Houston Rockets. “We loved each other and we were a group guys who lived in the same community.”

Basketball is just what they did. They’d play on dirt courts and nail a backboard to a pole if they needed to, or they’d head over to someone’s house and get up a game.

“That was a special time.” Jackson says.

Which is why they have some special memories. Especially one.

The previous national record for most wins in an unbeaten season was 52 and the Raiders were 56-0 when they entered the state semifinals against Leonville. Sibley was down a point with four seconds to go when the Raiders inbounded the ball, made two passes – and two dribbles – before the ball ended up in the hands of Carl Myles, who sank a game-winning 12-footer just before the buzzer to keep the streak alive.

Everybody touched the ball on that game-winning possession … except Jackson.

Sibley went on to win in the finals 72-61 over Holy Rosary and set the national record.

“To be honest, I really didn’t know how special that was at the time,” Jackson says. “As years have passed, I see it now. It was something special; something that may not be broken for a long time.”

Scheduling restrictions are certainly a reason, but Jackson thinks he knows another factor.

“It was a lot different than it is today, where guys just don’t have the passion for it like they should,” he says. “We loved each other and our success was because we hung around each other and shared the game of basketball. I guess that’s because there wasn’t that much more to do.”

The team got together a few months ago to plan last weekend’s celebration.

“It’s going to be an exciting time,” Jackson said beforehand. “I’m happy to be with the guys again and celebrate our basketball heroics from back in the day. It’s going to be great to share the fellowship with the guys.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

 


Turnout good for Sibley VFD bass tourney

By Paige Nash

The Sibley Volunteer Fire Department’s 44th Annual Bass Tournament this past Saturday, March 25, was deemed highly successful.  

The weigh-in took place at the Port O’ Bistineau.  

SFD Volunteer Robert Smart said, “I was very pleased with the turnout that we had for the Sibley Volunteer Fire Department Bass Tournament. Our count was up this year from the previous 3 years because the lake was full, and we were able to get the forms out earlier.” 

After a few years battling low attendance due to Covid restrictions and fluctuating lake levels they were hopeful this year would turn out a sizable number of anglers and that is exactly what happened. A total of 56 teams happily paid the $100 entry fee with quite a few paying extra to participate in the big bass and trash fish 60/40 split pot competitions. 

“We have changed our tournament format from what we have done in the past for a couple of reasons, and I hope our fishermen that have always fished our tournament can understand. In times like we are going through right now and with the economy being in the shape it is, we don’t feel that it is appropriate to go to our vendors and ask for donations,” said Smart. “We have some sponsors that have been with us from the very beginning and would still find a way to donate because it is for a good cause, but I just didn’t want to put them in that situation to feel obligated. That is why we went to the higher entry fee and money prizes. If the economy picks up and we have the opportunity to go back to the way it was, everyone would love to.” 

They were able to pay out 11 places this year.  

3rd place went to Mike Leppert and Tommy Conley with 20.98 pounds.  

2nd place was awarded to Justin Smart and Cameron Pate with 22.38 pounds.  Brad Williams and his son, Gray Williams, took home the win with a total of 23.48 pounds. 

The Trash Fish 60/40 split pot went to David and Derek Kendall.  

Two places were awarded for the Big Bass 60/40 Split. Justin Smart and Cameron Pate came in second with a 6.82-pound bass. Brad Williams and Gray Williams had the biggest bass weighing in at 6.88 pounds, taking home first place. 

Smart said, “I want to keep our tournament as family oriented as possible because this is the future of our younger generation, and we want to make it fun for them. Thanks to everyone who participated and or helped with the tournament, we couldn’t do it without each and every one of you.” 

All the money raised from this tournament will benefit the Sibley Volunteer Fire Department throughout the year.  


UCAP ‘Hungerfest’ 2023 generates money for year

“Helping hands” at Thursday night’s UCAP “HungerFest” included (from left) Jewelyn Hawkins, Janet Ash, Marsha Watts, Linda Simmons, Melinda West, Karen Yates and Mary Seney. Not pictured is Sandra Moorehead.

By Marilyn Miller

One of two fund-raisers for the United Christian Assistance Program (UCAP) brought in nearly $9,000.00 Thursday evening at the First Methodist Church in Minden.

The 35th Annual “HungerFest and Cake Auction “was a huge success,” according to director Charlotte Jones, who was “happy to be back after a two-year Covid break.”

“This will allow us to assist at least 86 families with their utilities throughout the coming year,” she said.

More than 40 “phenomenal” desserts – and even hams – were auctioned off by Dr. Richard Campbell and Tracy Campbell, with the highest bid going for a cake exceeding $300!

“We want to thank everyone who participated in the auction, both by baking desserts and bidding on desserts,” Jones said. She opened the night sending out kudos to First Methodist Church, for providing the venue; Calvary Baptist, City on a Hill, Cotton’s, Lakeview Methodist, Minden Presbyterian, Pine Grove Methodist, “Shake Those Pounds,” St. John’s Episcopal, St. Rest Baptist, First Baptist Church and “Simply Southern Cottages.”

She also recognized table sponsors, Shaffer, Branch & McDaniel, CPA’s; Bob Moorehead, Mike Spillers, the Lakeview Ladies, and Janet Ash.

The evening started out with a soup and crackers dinner. Jones thanked her “hands” for making it possible, including soup-maker, Mary Seney. The rest of the crew included the “Lakeview Ladies” – Janet Ash, Marsha Watts, Linda Simmons, Melinda West, and Karen Yates. Treasurer Sandra Moorehead “has been with UCAP nearly 30 years…longer than anybody,” Jones added. Jewelyn Hawkins also provided help and baked two hams!

The United Christian Assistance Program is a non-profit interdenominational organization whose mission is to offer emergency assistance to those in need in south Webster Parish (Cotton Valley south) or for transients. Over 30 area churches, plus individuals and businesses, support UCAP with donations of money, clothing, and food. Utility assistance is provided, with a $100 limit.

The Charity Golf Tournament is UCAP’s largest fundraising event. It usually takes place each May.

Dr. Richard Campbell (left) and Tracy Campbell work the room as they auction off desserts at the 35th Annual UCAP “HungerFest.”

Local baseball: Thursday – Saturday

SATURDAY

Lakeside boys drop game to Claiborne Crusaders

Lakeside Warriors lost the lead late in a 4-1 defeat to Claiborne Christian  Crusaders Saturday.  The game was tied at one with Claiborne Christian  Crusaders batting in the bottom of the fifth when Nick Womack singled on a 0-1 count, scoring one run.

Claiborne Christian Crusaders evened things up at one in the bottom of the third inning when an error scored one run for Claiborne Christian  Crusaders.

AJ Allen pitched Claiborne Christian Crusaders to victory. The pitcher went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and striking out three.

Cooper Chase took the loss for Lakeside. The hurler surrendered four runs on six hits over four and two-thirds innings, striking out four.

CJ Watts led Lakeside  Warriors with two hits in three at-bats.

Claiborne Christian Crusaders totaled six hits.  Allen and Womack each had multiple hits for Claiborne Christian Crusaders.

Glenbrook claws back but falls short against Zachary

Glenbrook Apaches’s effort to come back from down eight runs in the sixth inning came up just short, as they fell 9-7 to Zachary Broncos Saturday.  Glenbrook  Apaches scored six runs in the failed comeback on a groundout by Toby Haulmark in the sixth, a in the sixth, a triple by Landry Powell in the sixth, a home run by Easton Sanders in the seventh, and a wild pitch by Jackson Waller in the seventh.

Glenbrook Apaches fell behind early in the loss.  Zachary Broncos took the lead on a double in the second inning.

Zachary Broncos got on the board in the second inning when Reece Pierre doubled on a 0-1 count, scoring two runs.

Glenbrook tallied three runs in the seventh inning.  Sanders and Waller each drove in runs during the inning.

Matthew Keller toed the rubber for Zachary. The righthander allowed four hits and three runs over five and two-thirds innings, striking out six and walking one.

Sanders led things off on the mound for the Apaches. The bulldog lasted three and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and four runs while striking out two.  Seth Mangrum and Rhett Johnson entered the game from the bullpen, throwing two innings and one and one-third innings respectively.

Glenbrook tallied two home runs on the day. Sanders had a homer in the seventh inning. Powell had a long ball in the fifth inning.

Powell led the Apaches with three hits in four at-bats.

Pierre went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Zachary Broncos in hits.

Two Doyline Panthers’ pitchers combine to defeat Bossier in shutout

Doyline Panthers defeated Bossier 15-0 Saturday as two pitchers combined to throw a shutout. Benton Bates induced a double-play from Pouncy to finish off the game.

Doyline Panthers secured the victory thanks to 11 runs in the first inning. The offensive onslaught by Doyline was led by Cameron Johnson, Dakota Stewart, Jonas Florence, Austin Arbaugh, Noah Spears, and Bates, who all drove in runs.

Doyline Panthers  got things started in the first inning. Johnson drew a walk, scoring one run.

One bright spot for Bossier was a single by Williams in the fourth inning.

Kenneth Lee was credited with the victory for the Panthers. The righty surrendered zero runs on zero hits over two and a third innings, striking out six and walking one. Bates threw one and two-thirds innings in relief out of the bullpen. Bates recorded the last five outs to earn the save.

McClinton took the loss for Bossier. He lasted three innings, allowing seven hits and 15 runs while striking out four.

Lee, Bates, Arbaugh, Cooper Hayes, Florence, J.D. Bryant and Spears each collected one hit to lead Doyline. The team was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error. Stewart had the most chances in the field with nine.

Williams led Bossier with one hit in two at bats.

FRIDAY

Glenbrook takes victory over Zachary 5-3

Glenbrook Apaches took home a 5-3 victory over Zachary Broncos Friday.

The Apaches got things started in the second inning when an error scored one run.

Hayden Harmon led things off on the mound for Glenbrook. The hurler went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out five.

Dylan Marionneaux started the game for Zachary. The righthander allowed eight hits and five runs over five innings, striking out three and walking one.  Caden Detree threw two innings out of the bullpen.

The Apaches totaled nine hits.  Landry Powell and Cason Clemons each collected multiple hits for Glenbrook  Apaches.  Clemons and Powell all had two hits to lead Glenbrook  Apaches.

THURSDAY

Minden High beats Booker T. Washington of Shreveport by a score of 18-0. There was no game recap available at time of publication.

 Early lead for Weston seals fate for Doyline Panthers

Doyline Panthers watched the game slip away early and couldn’t recover in an 11-0 loss to Weston Thursday. Weston scored on a walk by Braden Theriot and a double by Drew Browning in the first inning.

The Panthers struggled to put runs on the board and had a tough time defensively containing Weston, giving up 11 runs.

Weston fired up the offense in the first inning. Theriot drew a walk, scoring one run.

One bright spot for Doyline was a single by Noah Spears in the fourth inning.

Tait Henderson was the winning pitcher for Weston. The hurler lasted five innings, allowing one hit and zero runs while striking out six.

Caysten Mingo took the loss for Doyline. Mingo surrendered four runs on two hits over one inning, striking out two.

Spears led the Panthers with one hit in two at-bats.

Weston tallied six hits. Browning and Bryce Zehr all had multiple hits. Weston was sure-handed and didn’t commit a single error. Cole Tolar made the most plays with five.

“Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright . All rights reserved.” Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.


Politicians and diapers

There are many differences between the French and Americans. Over here, it’s common for conservatives to look down on European nations, reserving greater amounts of agitation for Parisians and their fellow countrymen and women. 

You know the jokes. The ones about the white flags. The ones about World War II. The ones about Freedom Fries. Etc. Tensions reached an all-time high about 20 years ago when they wouldn’t join in a war that turned out to be as false as they said it was. No WMDs. And Iraq, as well as the entire Middle East, is more unstable now than at any point in modern history. A lot of good men and women died. 

We have differences. And they extend beyond drinking hot brown water and eating snails. 

But there’s one area in which we could learn a lot from the nation across the Pond. 

They know how to stand up for themselves, and they know their government works for them and not the other way around. The French have always held their politicians accountable. These are the people that invented the guillotine and went on a bloody rampage against king and queen and nobility a few hundred years ago because of the greed and apathy of the ruling class. 

Currently, the French are having nationwide protests because of workers rights and governmental lunacy. This is standard operating procedure for French citizens when they don’t like what their government is doing. And as a result, the French enjoy a much better standard of living than us and have happier lives because they will take nothing less. I saw a video of a garbage truck full of trash being dumped on a politician’s yard because of the politician’ policy stances. The nation is at a standstill because its people will not budge. 

Meanwhile, over here in little Louisiana, a state with deep French roots, we’ve got a politician pushing a bill that would triple legislator pay. Being a politician shouldn’t be a career. Politicians shouldn’t be deified and made celebrities and asked for autographs and have rallies celebrating them. 

In society long ago, politicians and actors were treated relatively poorly because they didn’t add much value to society. Somewhere along the way, Americans changed and actors and politicians went from being our servants to our overlords. 

We need to be more like the French in our view of elected officials. They shouldn’t talk down to us. They shouldn’t look down on us. They work for us. 

The old joke goes politicians are like diapers. They should both be changed often and for the same reasons. 

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


Local softball: Thursday-Saturday

SATURDAY

Glenbrook ladies 3, Cedar Creek Cougars 18.

No recap available at publication time.

North Webster stays scrappy in loss to Simsboro

North Webster Lady Knights  fought back after falling down by six runs in the seventh inning. The comeback fell just short though, in a 10-8 defeat to Simsboro Saturday.  North Webster scored four runs in the failed comeback on a single by Paige Timmons.

Despite the loss, the Lady Knights did collect five hits in the high-scoring affair. Unfortunately, Simsboro had six hits on the way to victory.

North Webster Lady Knights fired up the offense in the first inning, when an error scored one run.

Simsboro took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth inning.  In the fourth Kayla Mitchell tripled on the first pitch of the at-bat, scoring three runs.

North Webster Lady Knights put up four runs in the seventh inning.  The offensive onslaught was led by Kerianne Allen and Timmons, who each had RBIs in the inning.

Simsboro scored three runs in the seventh inning.  Simsboro big bats were led by Kennedy King, Vashanti Sproulls and Mitchell, all sending runners across the plate with RBIs in the inning.

Carlei Wheeler took the win for Simsboro. Wheeler allowed five hits and eight runs over seven innings, striking out 15.

Carlie Campbell took the loss for North Webster. The pitcher went four innings, allowing seven runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking one.

Timmons went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead North Webster Lady Knights   in hits.

Wheeler led Simsboro with two hits in three at-bats.

Early lead for St. Fred seals fate for Lady Warriors

Lady Warriors fell behind early and couldn’t come back in an 11-1 loss to St. Fred on Saturday.  St. Fred scored on a wild pitch during P Yarbough’s at-bat and a double by H Gammage in the first inning.

The Lady Warriors struggled to contain the high-powered offense of St. Fred, giving up 11 runs.

St. Fred fired up the offense in the first inning, when McKenna Chreene’s wild pitch allowed one run to score for St. Fred.

St. Fred scored four runs in the fourth inning.  St. Fred batters contributing to the big inning included Yarbough, V Gray, and Gammage, all sending runners across the plate with RBIs in the inning.

Chreene started the game for Lady Warriors. The hurler surrendered eight runs on eight hits over four innings, striking out two.  Maggie Mandino threw two-thirds of an inning in relief out of the bullpen.

Meredith Robinson and Paiton Levesque each managed one hit to lead Lady Warriors.

St. Fred totaled 11 hits in the game.  Gammage, Yarbough, B Pohlman and E Pankey all managed multiple hits for St. Fred.  Gammage went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead St. Fred in hits.  St. Fred was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error. Yarbough had the most chances in the field with seven.

Glenbrook ladies set stage for victory with early lead over Summerfield

An early lead helped Glenbrook Lady Apaches defeat Summerfield 16-6 Saturday.  The Lady Apaches scored on a single by Hallie Harmon and a single by Ellie Earnhardt in the first inning.

Both offenses were strong at the plate as Glenbrook collected 11 hits and Summerfield three in the high-scoring affair

Glenbrook tallied six runs in the third inning.  Batters contributing to the big inning included Anna Grace Vining, Vivian Still, Gabi Brown and Colby Hollis, all sending runners across the plate with RBIs in the inning.

Summerfield scored three runs in the fifth inning.  #1 and #20 each had RBIs in the frame.

Rebecca Mosley earned the victory in the pitcher’s circle for Glenbrook. The righthander went five innings, allowing six runs on three hits and striking out four.

#3 took the loss for Summerfield. She surrendered 16 runs on 11 hits over four innings, striking out two.

Glenbrook Lady Apaches totaled 11 hits in the game.  Vining, Hollis, and Harmon each collected multiple hits.  Harmon, Hollis and Vining each collected two hits to lead the Lady Apaches.

North Webster struggles to find groove against Calvin

North Webster Lady Knights  had a tough time generating runs Saturday, dropping their game with Calvin 19-1.

Calvin scored nine runs in the second inning. K Abels, P Smith, M Barnes, K Blundell, L Barnes and H Martin all contributed in the big inning with RBIs.

Martin earned the victory on the rubber for Calvin. The pitcher surrendered one run on five hits over three innings, striking out six and walking zero.

Carlie Campbell took the loss for North Webster Lady Knights. The pitcher lasted two innings, allowing six hits and eight runs while striking out one.

Emma Newsom started the game for North Webster. The righthander went one inning, allowing 11 runs on four hits and striking out two

Paige Timmons led the Lady Knights with two hits in two at-bats.

Calvin racked up ten hits on the day. C Johnson, A Powell and Smith all managed multiple hits for Calvin. Calvin didn’t commit a single error in the field. Johnson had the most chances in the field with six. Blundell led Calvin with two stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with eight stolen bases.

Sutton strong at the plate as Lakeside beats Calvin

Hallie Sutton was in the zone Saturday, tallying four hits and leading Lady Warriors to a 13-3 win over Calvin. Sutton doubled in the third, doubled in the fifth, singled in the sixth and doubled in the seventh.

Lady Warriors fired up the offense in the second inning, when Laiklyn Squyres doubled on a 0-2 count, scoring one run.

They tallied four runs in the fifth inning with Lady Warriors batters contributing to the big inning including Emily Jones, Rainie Hughes and Lexi Wood, who each had RBIs in the inning.

McKenna Chreene led things off in the circle for Lady Warriors. The bulldog went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out eight.

H Martin led things off in the pitcher’s circle for Calvin. The bulldog allowed 16 hits and 12 runs over seven innings, striking out ten.

Lady Warriors had 16 hits in the game. Sutton, Chreene, Raleah Harris, Mackenzie McCoy, Hughes and Jones each managed multiple hits. Sutton led Lady Warriors with four hits in five at-bats.

FRIDAY

Glenbrook Lady Apaches can’t hold out against Oak Grove

Glenbrook Lady Apaches couldn’t keep up with Oak Grove Lady Tigers  and fell 10-3 Friday.

In the first inning, Oak Grove Lady Tigers got their offense started and scored one run when Gracie Claire Brister singled.

The Lady Apaches knotted the game up at three in the bottom of the first inning, when Colby Hollis homered on a 2-2 count, scoring two runs.

The Lady Tigers pulled away for good with two runs in the third inning.  In the third Lexi Cox singled on a 1-0 count, scoring two runs.

Oak Grove scored three runs in the seventh inning. Their big bats were led by Karlie Glascock and Brister, who each had RBIs in the inning.

Avery Hankins earned the victory in the circle for Oak Grove Lady Tigers. The pitcher lasted seven innings, allowing five hits and three runs while striking out three.

Rebecca Mosley took the loss for Glenbrook Lady Apaches. The righty went seven innings, allowing ten runs on 11 hits and striking out five.

Glenbrook socked one home run on the day. Hollis had a homer in the first inning.

Hallie Harmon, Ellie Earnhardt, Hollis, Anna Grace Vining and Vivian Still each collected one hit to lead Glenbrook  Lady Apaches.

Oak Grove Lady Tigers  collected 11 hits on the day.  Brister, Glascock, Ellie Kate Ray and Ava Burrell each collected multiple hits for Oak Grove Lady Tigers .  Brister went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Oak Grove Lady Tigers  in hits.

THURSDAY

St. Mary’s runs away with early lead for victory over Glenbrook girls

Glenbrook Lady Apaches watched the game slip away early and couldn’t recover in a 4-2 loss to St. Mary’s Lady Tigers Thursday.  St. Mary’s Lady Tigers took the lead on a single in the second inning.

The Lady Tigers fired up the offense in the second inning, when Anna Grace Mabile singled on a 1-2 count, scoring one run.

St. Mary’s then scored three runs in the third inning.

Grace Wren got the win for St. Mary’s. The righthander allowed five hits and two runs over six and two-thirds innings, striking out nine.

Rebecca Mosley took the loss for the Lady Apaches. The pitcher surrendered four runs on five hits over six innings, striking out one.

Hallie Harmon, Ellie Earnhardt, Gabi Brown, Kynzie Smith and Colby Hollis all had one hit to lead Glenbrook.

Mabile led St. Mary’s Lady Tigers with two hits in two at-bats.  St. Mary’s Lady Tigers didn’t commit a single error in the field. Kennedy Griffin had the most chances in the field with eight.

Minden Crimson Tide takes the game over Calvin in a blow-out victory, 13-3

Minden Lady Tiders had everything working Thursday, winning big over Calvin 13-3.

Calvin fired up the offense in the first inning, when #5 grounded out, scoring one run.

In the bottom of the first inning, Minden tied things up at two. Charli Flournoy doubled on a 2-1 count, scoring two runs.

Minden pulled away for good with two runs in the third inning. In the third Jacey Adams singled on the first pitch of the at-bat, scoring two runs.

The Lady Tiders tallied five runs in the fourth inning.Batters contributing to the big inning included Kylie Ryan, Flournoy, Adams and Kaylin Williams, all knocking in runs in the inning.

Ryan was the winning pitcher for Minden. The fireballer allowed six hits and three runs over six innings, striking out five.

#3 took the loss for Calvin. The hurler went five and two-thirds innings, allowing 13 runs on 13 hits and striking out five.

Minden collected 13 hits on the day. Ryan, Adams, Flournoy, and Leigha K-Gilbert each racked up multiples. Ryan led with three hits in four at-bats.

Calvin racked up six hits on the day. #22 and #10 all managed multiple hits for Calvin.

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Ridiculous Chocolate Cake

I am not a fan of chocolate cake, but this right here is absolutely divine! If you are a milk chocolate lover, this is 100% for you!  Peep these Mini Easter Bundts!  I made these in the Pampered Chef Mini Bundt Pan, let them cool, and frosted them halfway.  I used mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on before adding the Peep bunny. You can definitely make this in any cake pan. 

This cake recipe is also found in The Copper Whisk Cookbook, and I make it all the time.  It keeps well for a few days (if leftovers last that long)!  These little cakes are perfect for any Easter get together.  Little hands will be reaching for them until they are gone.

Ridiculous Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients
• 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
• 1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
• 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
• 3 eggs
• 1/3 cup oil
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 cups chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients
• 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
• 1/4 cup cocoa
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream (depending on consistency add more if desired)
• Chocolate chips 

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease Bundt pan. In stand mixer combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix on low for 30 seconds then medium for 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake for 60 minutes or until cake is set. Cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, beat butter, cocoa and powdered sugar in a stand mixer until combined. Add in vanilla and cream. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Frost the cake and sprinkle more chocolate chips over the top.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.)


March 29: 50th anniversary of Vietnam War end

Photo courtesy of New York Public Library

By Kay Pruitt

The Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion Wiley Pevy Post #74, Hunter Rickerson VFW Post #2885 and Auxiliary are sponsoring an Armed Forces Day of Recognition with special guests being those who served in the Vietnam War.

On May 20, 2023, a ceremony will be held at 10:00 that morning with the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Highway sign which will be placed at mile marker 40 on I-20 two miles east of Goodwill Road Exit.

The celebration will continue at the American Legion Hall in Minden.  A free lunch will be served provided by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and former Senator Ryan Gatti. The program to honor our Armed Forces will begin at noon with a special recognition of Vietnam veterans honoring the 50 year anniversary of the Presidential Proclamation for the departure of American troops from Vietnam.

America’s involvement in the conflict in Vietnam began twenty years prior to President John F. Kennedy sending the first large force of U. S. military personal to support the ineffectual regime of South Vietnam in 1961. Those in the U. S. government feared a tipping of power if the communist incursion by North Vietnam was not stopped. By 1964 the South Vietnamese government was crumbling, and President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam. A year later the North Vietnamese offensives forced President Johnson into a choice: either escalate the U. S. military involvement or withdraw.  Johnson chose to involve our military even deeper than previously, and soon troop levels jumped to 300,000 with the U.S. Air Force beginning the largest bombing campaign in history. 

The war dragged on and the dissatisfaction in America with the U. S. involvement, the high number of casualties, and the revealing of U.S. involvement with war crimes caused much opposition to the war.  By 1969, the protests against the war escalated while the number of U.S. troops reached nearly 550,000 in Vietnam. When President Richard Nixon took office he began troop withdrawal but intensified bombing. President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos hoping to block enemy supply routes.  There were few positive results of this campaign, and protests escalated in  America. Vietnam became the war we could not win, and U. S. citizens wanted our troops out of the country. In an effort to end America’s eight year involvement in Vietnam, representatives of the U. S., North and South Vietnam and the Vietcong met in Paris in early January 1973 to enter into peace talks. Known as the Paris Peace Accords the formal title was the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” which was signed on January 27.  On March 29, 1973, the last American military unit left Vietnam.


Cullen Police arrest Springhill man on drug, firearm charges

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Cullen Police have arrested a North Webster Parish man on multiple drug charges.

Jason Todd Bethany, 48, of Sanders Rd. Springhill, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, driving under suspension, possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance, no safety belt and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the police report, the officer was in his vehicle in front of the Cullen Police Department when Bethany passed in a white pick-up truck.

The officer said he noticed Bethany was not wearing a seat belt. He reportedly stopped Bethany and learned the driver’s license was suspended.

After arresting Bethany, the officer inventoried his vehicle and located a glass pipe with methamphetamine resin and 2.38 grams of uncut crystal methamphetamine. The officer reports that Bethany told him of a 22 long barrel loaded pistol inside the truck. He allegedly had seven more 22 bullets in his pocked when taken into custody.

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.