Help needed in North Webster Parish

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 We look forward to hearing from you.

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

April 30

1 p.m. Intro to Kayaking, 194 Caney Lake Rd., Minden, Visit Webster Parish still has 20 spots open.

6 p.m. The Cox Family, First Baptist Church, Springhill.

May 4

6:30 p.m. National Day of Prayer Program, North Acres Baptist Church, 1852 Lewisville Rd., Minden.

May 8

6 p.m. Night At The Museum, featuring Jessica Gorman. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.) Seating is limited. Please bring potluck snacks and desserts. Admission is free; donations welcome.

May 20

10 a.m. until noon Mental Health Awareness at Minden REC Center, 1001 Recreational Drive, Minden. Sponsored by the General Grand Masonic Congress, The Supreme Council and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The controversy of forward-facing sonar continues

Technology is awesome today as cell phones, smart TVs and computers are just a few of the things where technology has advanced into mind blowing devices.  We have instant access to an information highway that mankind has never seen before. We can play video games on our cell phones and compete against individuals around the globe. No longer do we have to wait until the 6:00 news to get the weather forecast or to hear the latest trades our favorite sports teams have made. Information today is instantaneous!

Today we’ll look at the latest technology that has affected the fishing world and what some anglers are calling a controversial topic; forward facing sonar. What is forward facing sonar? It’s a sonar unit that allows you to see fish swimming up to 100 feet away in real time. These sonars reveal extreme details as you watch fish swim up and actually eat the bait you’re throwing. Basically, it’s a real time fishing video game!

So many anglers were against it and a lot were excited to have it. Opinions varied even among the top-level professional anglers when it first came on the scene. It was not well received by many tournament anglers as they felt it made fishing too easy and any angler could now start winning tournaments. Skills and instincts were no longer enough to win an event, but If you could read and understand what your screen was showing, you had a distinct advantage over other anglers.

The younger generation of anglers today, has adapted very quickly to this new technology. Today’s youth have grown up with cell phones an iPad or computers and are not intimidated by technology like so many older anglers who learn to fish by instinct or what they’ve learned over many years of fishing. But here’s the problem with technology. These new sonar units by Garmin, Lowrance, and Hummingbird are great but like all technology can go on the blink occasionally. The older generation anglers have an advantage when this happens as the younger anglers of today don’t have the instincts or the experience to fall back on.

Watching some of today’s top professional anglers, not all are fans of the forward-facing sonar. Anglers like Elite Series Pro John Cox (a shallow water angler) don’t even own one of these types of units because they’re not very effective in shallow water conditions of five feet or less. The general conscience by tournament anglers across the country is that if you don’t have forward-facing sonar, you can’t compete or win a tournament. This is not true as some of the best fishing pros today don’t use them, and many anglers are having tremendous success without it.   

 So don’t feel like you must go out and spend $5000 for one of these high-tech sonar units. While they’re great if you know how to use and read one, it’s not the end all be-all answer for winning tournaments or catching fish. Time of year is also a factor when these forward-facing sonar units are more effective. Some anglers that I compete against are still winning and do not have one of these expensive sonar units. They are like any other tool in your fishing arsenal, it’s just a tool that’s only as good as the person using it.

Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and good protective outerwear when spending the day on a lake.

Steve Graf

Angler’s Perspective  

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.

April 12

Jaden Richard Mills, 20, of Hickory St., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for aggravated second degree battery.

April 18

Randall Lee Tims, 40, of the 200 block of Virginia Ave., Minden, was arrested by MPD for possession of a firearm by a felon.

April 19

Jeremy Reid Youngblood, 26, of the 1500 block of Stuckey Rd., Dubberlly, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse battery with child endangerment and six counts of failure to appear.

Melinda Patton, 34, of the 500 block of Sunset Lane, Minden, was arrested on MPD warrants, possession of drug paraphernalia and probation violation.

April 20

Deshun R. Hendon, 35, of the 600 block of Constable St., Minden, was arrested for no headlights, reckless operation, aggravated flight from an officer, resisting an officer by flight and probation hold.

Bryan Tippins, 34, of the 300 block of SE Second St., Sibley, was arrested for theft.

Johnni L. McCalb, 30, of the 800 block of Finch Rd., Minden, was arrested for probation violations.

April 21

Hannah M. Moss, 35, of the 500 block of N. Main St., Sibley, was arrested as principle to second degree aggravated battery.

Keandrious Mango, 27, of the 600 block of Evans St., Minden, was arrested by MPD on an active bench warrant.

Kolby Kadarion Jackson, 24, of the 600 block of Walnut St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for possession of a firearm by a felon.

Dakota Payton Liles, 21, of the 2600 block of Doc Steed Rd., Minden, was arrested by MPD for pedestrians on highways, illegal carrying of weapons, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm.

April 22

Shandreka Daniel McGlothen, 29, of the 700 block of Buck St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for remaining after forbidden and criminal damage to property.

Donald Wayne Reyenga, 58, of the 400 block of Yarborough St., Bossier City, was arrested by Sibley Police as a fugitive from Webster Parish.

April 23

Timothy Edward Moore, 30, of the 1900 block of Pilgrim Rest Rd., Doyline, was arrested by WPSO for disturbing the peace and as a fugitive from Caddo Parish.

Cory Joe Davis Oglee, 40, of the 100 block of Bobby Davis Rd., Shongaloo, was arrested by Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries on three warrants for failure to appear (in court).

Keiauna Canada Hudson, 40, of the 100 block of George St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane and felony possession of crack cocaine.

Tikeyah Hay Lard, 38, of the 200 block of Camp St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for driving under the influence third offense, open container, suspended driver’s license, careless operation of a motor vehicle, no insurance, an active bench warrant and fugitive from Bossier City Police Department.

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.

Notice of Death – April 24, 2023

Judy Ann Wise

January 24, 1948 – April 20, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Visitation: 1 until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Old Shongaloo Rock Church.

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

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

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

Minden Police: Right place at right time brings in alleged shooter #6

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A local man who showed up for a court date today (Friday) is behind bars as alleged shooter #6 in the Ewell Park case. 

Tyler Thornton, 20, of the 1300 block of Peachtree Road, Dubberly is charged with four counts of attempted second degree murder and illegal use of a weapons during a crime of violence. His bond is set at $1.125 million.

“We’ve been waiting all week to see if he (Thornton) would show up for his Webster Parish Court date today, and he didn’t disappoint,” said Minden Police Chief Jared McIver. “He must not have known we were looking for him because he came for a totally unrelated case.”

McIver said the Ewell Park case has “snowballed” because most of the alleged shooters are wanted on other charges, as well.

This brings the number of Webster Parish suspects to four. Claiborne Parish has two that have been arrested.

“These are two different gangs that were shooting at each other that day at the park,” McIver said. “One is from Webster – TTS (Trained to Step). The other is from Homer. It was a gang rivalry. They are constantly having turf wars.”

McIver said there are spinoffs of TTS, and his department is working hard to shut down all of them.

“We want them to know they are not welcome here,” he said, adding that Ringgold gangs are a problem in Webster, too. “I hope as we continue doing what we are doing, it is going to send a message that they can go and do their gang activities somewhere else.”

In addition to Thornton, others arrested from Webster include the following:

Jaquez Deontae Burdette, 18, of Shell Street, Dixie Inn, was extradited from Arkansas Tuesday where he had been arrested by Southern Arkansas University Police.

Reginald Moore Jr., 19, of Heflin, is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 1 count of illegal use of weapons.

Jaylen Teal, 22, of Minden, is charged with four counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of illegal use of a weapon during a crime of violence.

Claiborne Parish yielded these arrests:

Tekeldrick K. Webb, aka K-7, 19, from Haynesville.

“Homer Police pulled him over in a traffic stop,” McIver said. “When they ran his information, they found he was wanted out of Minden for the shooting.”

Webb’s bonds total $500,000.

Jamontae Holyfield, 21, of Homer is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 4 counts of carjacking. Holyfield allegedly entered a car with persons who were not involved in the shooting and then demanded to be taken to another location.

Four persons were shot during the permitted event at the city-owned park April 2. None of the injuries were fatal.

McIver said he feels there is only one alleged shooter still on the run.

“We are getting super close to arresting him,” he said.

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

UPDATE: Fifth alleged shooter arrested in Ewell Park case

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police have made their fifth arrest in the Ewell Park shooting from earlier this month.

Tekeldrick K. Webb, aka K-7, is 19 years old and from Haynesville.

Police Chief Jared McIver said Webb was arrested in Claiborne Parish Tuesday evening.

“Homer Police pulled him over in a traffic stop,” McIver said. “They ran his information, and found he was wanted out of Minden for the shooting.”

As the others, Webb is charged with four counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of illegal use of a weapon.

His bonds total $500,000.

So far, police have arrested three individuals from Webster Parish and two from Claiborne in the April 2 shooting at the city-owned park.

Jaquez Deontae Burdette, 18, of Shell Street, Dixie Inn, was extradited from Arkansas where he had been arrested by Southern Arkansas University Police.

Jamontae Holyfield, 21, of Homer is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 4 counts of carjacking. Holyfield allegedly entered a car with persons who were not involved in the shooting and then demanded to be taken to another location.

Reginald Moore Jr., 19, of Heflin, is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 1 count of illegal use of weapons.

Jaylen Teal, 22, of Minden, is charged with four counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of illegal use of a weapon during a crime of violence.

Four persons were shot during the permitted event. None of the injuries were fatal. McIver said the shooting was gang-related.

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.

Webster Parish softball teams fall in second round of play-off games

High score not enough to secure win for Lady Warriors over Vinton

Scorekeepers were kept busy Wednesday during a high-scoring contest between Vinton and Lady Warriors where Lady Warriors lost 10-6.

Lady Warriors fired up the offense in the first inning.  Lady Warriors scored one run when Mackenzie McCoy singled.

Vinton knotted the game up at four in the bottom of the third inning, when E Labby drew a walk, scoring one run.

After Lakeside scored two runs in the top of the sixth, Vinton answered with two of their own.  Lady Warriors scored when Hallie Sutton hit a solo homer and Paiton Levesque singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring one run.  Vinton then answered when an error scored one run for Vinton and Labby grounded out, scoring one run.

Vinton pulled away for good with four runs in the fourth inning.  In the fourth S Lewis singled on a 3-2 count, scoring one run and J Gary singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring three runs.

J O’Connor led things off on the rubber for Vinton. O’Connor lasted seven innings, allowing eight hits and six runs while striking out nine.

McKenna Chreene toed the rubber for Lady Warriors. The hurler surrendered ten runs on ten hits over six innings, striking out nine.

The Warriors socked one home run on the day when Sutton went the long yard in the sixth inning.

Lady Warriors had eight hits in the game.  Sutton and Chreene all collected multiple hits. Chreene and Sutton had two hits.

Vinton tallied ten hits in the game.  O’Connor, B Harvey, and Gary each racked up multiple hits for Vinton.  Vinton was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error. Lewis had the most chances in the field with nine.

Minden High School Lady Tiders are headed home

The play-off game between Minden High School’s Lady Tiders softball team and Brusly came to an abrupt halt. It was called in the bottom of the 5th inning Wednesday due to the ten-run rule. Score was Brusly 10, MHS 0.

Tartan Festival Saturday; plenty of parking

By Paige Nash

Iron your kilts, tune your bagpipes, grab a lawn chair and bring them to Miller Quarters Park for the 21st Annual Scottish Tartan Festival this Saturday, April 22.   

Even though this is the 21st year of the festival, it will be their first year at this new location. In previous years the event was held at the Scotland Farms located on Highway 518, property owned by Dr. Alan Cameron- a longtime supporter of the festival.  

The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission (WPCVC) has been making preparations at the park- bush hogging and cleaning up tree lines. WPCVC Executive Director Serena Gray said, “They have more than enough room out there to set up everything they have had out at Dr. Cameron’s property. It’s actually a little better because they are going to have running water and electricity.”  

Another feature new to the festival will be loads of accessible parking and shuttle buses. 

“We are using two shuttle buses dedicated just to our festival that day,”said Sheila Hoh, President of Scottish Society of the Louisiana Highlands. “They will be running all day long from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. This is for people who might not be able to find a parking space close, and they don’t want to walk very far to get to the gate.” 

Festival goers will be able to easily find the designated parking areas. 

Gray said, “All of these locations will have signage that says “EVENT PARKING.” Roadside Main Street and Broadway parking spots will also be available. We ask that our visitors be respectful of our local businesses and not utilize their parking spaces or block driveways.” 

This day will be packed full of events happening all day including demonstrations, entertainment, contests, vendors, food and more. 

“It is one of the most cultural experiences I have ever experienced in all the festivals I have attended in Louisiana,” said Gray. “They are very proud of their heritage and want others to get excited too.” 

The WPCVC has secured parking at the following locations: 

  • The parking lot at the corner of Sheppard Street and Sibley Road will be available for parking and a shuttle will run from there to the park from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last shuttle will make its final return to the parking area at 5:00 pm. 
  • Webster Parish Police Jury parking lots on Main Street 
  • Johnson Law Firm parking lot on the corner of Pine Street and Main Street 
  • Webster Parish Courthouse parking lot on Pine Street  
  • Minden Civic Center parking lot between Main Street and Broadway Street 
  • Capital One parking lot on Pearl Street and Broadway Street  
  • Minden City Hall parking lot on the corner of Broadway and E. Union Street  
  • Gibsland Bank and Trust parking lot on the corner of Broadway and E. Union Street 

Tickets to the Scottish Tartan Festival will be sold at the gate. They will be $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-11. Those 5 and under will get in free. 

Minden man in Arkansas jail

A man identified as Phillip Osbon of Minden, has been arrested by Texarkana Police Department in Texarkana, Ark.

Police were reportedly called to Faith Assembly of God church in reference to a man (Osbon) who had been acting suspiciously while attending revival services over the past few days.

“We were informed of several incidents on different nights that made church members believe the man was testing the security of the church while also asking personal questions about the members and staff,” said Corp. Les Munn Public Information Officer. “At the request of the church, officers arrived at the beginning of (Tuesday) night’s service to make the church members feel safer.”

Osbon reportedly arrived at 7 p.m. and entered the church. 

Officers on scene walked by his vehicle and observed in plain view an AR-style rifle, multiple 30 round magazines, a shotgun, a belt loaded with shotgun shells, knives, tourniquets and other survival gear. Officers shared this information with church staff and they requested the man be removed from the property. 

Osbon was transported to the Miller County Jail and charged with obstructing governmental operations, resisting arrest, fleeing on foot, and possession of a controlled substance-marijuana. 

Osbon is currently showing an active felony warrant in Colorado for obstructing justice related to an assault on a peace officer, although they will not extradite him. 

Like fine wine, age makes rumors better

Andy walks into Walker’s Drug Store and asks for a jar of salve to apply to a scratch on Barney’s finger. A couple of customers hear his request and wonder what’s really up.

About an hour later, undertaker comes to the courthouse and offers condolences (and his services) to Andy due to the tragic death of Barney who, word has it, apparently shot himself while cleaning his gun. 

Amazing, isn’t it, how a scratched finger mushroomed to a fatal gunshot wound with each retelling of Barney’s “horrible accident.” Nope. Not amazing at all. Just as giant oaks sprout from little acorns, so do facts spring from scuttlebutt.

Rumors are the fountainhead of the mysterious and magical “they,” the most quoted authority on anything worthy of oral pass along. Great thing about rumors is the rapid nature of dissemination. Cable news anchors and cellular texters/film makers hustle to keep pace.

One recent tidbit landing close enough to be heard from our ol’ rocker focuses on an iconic restaurant on the west bank of Dorcheat Bayou. After fire destroyed the facility, people wondered what might follow. Naturally, the mill from which rumors flow has generated an answer. They say a popular establishment in Bossier City is planning to rebuild and get busy.

We’ve checked. No one with the authority to do so has expressed such interest. A reliable source says it all began over coffee when a patron said something to the effect of wouldn’t it be nice if (insert restaurant name) built there. In Aunt Bee fashion, the verbiage got a little skewed and a grand opening is planned for next month.

Another piece of info still being floated puts all sorts of things on the cleared property along Sheppard Street. From federally subsidized housing to big box stores to an expanded church facility, words hover over the property like haze over the bayou.

Property owners may remain tight-lipped, but that doesn’t make a difference. We’re not patient enough to await facts. And, in the words of somebody, if you don’t know, make it up. Saul Alinsky says repeating the lie (i.e., gossip/rumor) often enough makes it truth.

A couple of other pieces of ?nformation have reached the front porch, but since it concerns governmental and appointed agencies it’s often hard to tell fact from fiction. We heard there would be a staff turnover inside city hall, but relatively speaking that one hasn’t gained much traction. Guess everyone there is cruising in their own lane, thus avoiding oncoming traffic.

There were also whispers that on the heels of its success with Miller Quarters, the tourist and convention group was planning to take a serious look at a couple of other properties, both historic and hysteric. Don’t put any stock in rumors that a previous car dealership might be a new museum site. Improving and enlarging a memory bank isn’t high on priority lists.

Parting thought: From rumor to rumination. We read an interesting piece about a consideration for the parish police jury. A presentation from a neighboring parish gave locals an idea of how they might solve the problem of rough stretches of asphalt disguising themselves as parish roads.

A weights and measures department, complete with an enforcement officer to watch for oversized and overweight heavy trucks, was explained for jury members. Those heavyweight trucks, the folks were told, are one of the primary reasons some parish roads are wearing and tearing as quickly as they can be patched (if they are). 

We hear the idea was received with something less than enthusiasm. Reason? While oilfield company trucks were one identified cause, jury members were reminded local companies might also be culprit to hauling over the limit. That, we hear from sources, caused furrowed brows and a pucker or two. It might prove really difficult to pass ordinances that scoop up our kitties with the litter.

No matter how one might cut it, the police jury budget isn’t exactly bursting at the income line. Load permits and overweight/oversize fines might not raise millions, but income from these could be significant. And, a healthy figure could be saved when considering the cost of repairing roughed up roadways.

Looks like the jury members might be looking into the horns of the dilemma. Is it better to just let the road problems remain as they are without a fixable solution? Ask the public that drives on substandard byways. The fiscal solution might cause heartburn, but holding public office is a job of choices. Let us know what, and why, you decide.

– Pat Culverhouse

Longtime NSU coach Mike McConathy named LABC’s Mr. Basketball

The McConathy family’s relationship with college basketball in Louisiana is a decorated one that stretches back nearly a century.

Appropriately, the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches announced Tuesday it has added to the family’s lineage, naming longtime Northwestern State and Bossier Parish Community College coach Mike McConathy the recipient of its 2023 Mr. Basketball Award.

McConathy and the rest of the annual award winners will be presented their honors May 6 in Baton Rouge at a 6 p.m. banquet that is held in conjunction with the LABC’s annual convention.

Known as a program builder with a Midas touch, McConathy started the BPCC program from scratch and turned it into a National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament participant. He became Louisiana leader in coaching victories during his 23-year tenure from 1999-2022 at Northwestern State where he added 330 of his state-record 682 wins.

“It is an honor to be able to build things and place confidence in young men at institutions where people believed in you,” McConathy said. “Sometimes it meant a sacrifice on a young man’s part, because he may not have played as much as he would have at other places. The end result is (Northwestern State) did things that had never been done before – we went to the NCAA Tournament and won games there.”

McConathy took the Demons to three NCAA Tournaments (2001, 2006, 2013), making history by defeating Winthrop, 71-67, in the 2001 play-in game – the first of its kind. Five years later, he and his Demons authored one of March Madness’ signature buzzer-beaters as Jermaine Wallace’s corner 3-pointer capped a 64-63 upset of No. 3 seed Iowa in which NSU trailed by 17 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

McConathy’s family legacy and his ties to the LABC made this year’s recognition special for the longtime coach, whose honor comes a year after retired Northwestern State sports information director Doug Ireland was named the LABC’s Mr. Basketball. In addition to being a longstanding member of the organization, McConathy was the group’s president for the 2003-04 organizational year.

McConathy’s father, John, and two of his uncles played at Northwestern State before Mike McConathy and his brothers, Pat and Bill, played at Louisiana Tech with Mike becoming the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer at the end of his career (2,203 points) and an honorable mention AP All-American. Mike McConathy’s sons, Michael and Logan, played for their father at Northwestern State. Factor in Mike McConathy’s time at BPCC and his longstanding ties to numerous LABC founding fathers and the ties grow deeper.

“I think of this as more of a celebration of our family,” McConathy said. “It dates to the 1940s when the first McConathy in our immediate family came to Northwestern. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the (LABC) and in the same company as Don Landry, Benny Hollis, Emmett Hendricks, Dale Brown, Larry Little, Riley Wallace, Fred Hobdy, Ben Jobe and Tynes Hildebrand. The great part about the LABC is it ties in all the schools. You take the Billy Allgoods, the Gene Rushings, the Roman Bankses, Tommy Smith, David Francis. The tie-ins with all those coaches is really an amazing thing.”

McConathy’s victory total and championship banners are just two of the tangible products of his three-plus decade career as a collegiate head coach.

The rest can be seen in the careers his former players entered following the end of their playing days – an accomplishment McConathy draws more appreciation for than his on-court accomplishments.

“I have looked back and thought about the fact we were able to accomplish a lot on the floor, but it was more important to put them in position to earn their degree,” McConathy said. “We had a graduation rate of around 90 percent. I go back and look back at my JUCO guys who played and how well they have done in society whether it is in coaching just holding down a job. Their formative years in junior college were so important to them.”

(McConathy is the father of Minden resident and business owner Logan McConathy.)

What advice would you give yourself?

I feel as if I have shared a good bit of valuable advice here and there. I have often said that it is hard to have a clear perspective and know the value of a moment until it is in the past. I have harped on living in and soaking up those sweet moments while you are in the midst of them. I have mentioned not looking too far into the future or wishing away the days- even the not so fabulous ones.  

Parenthood is a lifelong commitment from the moment of conception until the end of your time here on Earth. It is a long road full of ups and downs, hills and valleys, curves and straightaways. You never know what is ahead of you, but you can always look back and see where you have been and how far you have come. Those memories serve as reminders of those sweet, cuddly newborns, the rambunctious toddlers, the annoyed pre-teens, the hormonal teens, the confused young adults and your grown children who now have kids of their own. While they are beginning their brand-new path of parenthood, you have a few decades under your belt and plenty of advice to share (if they are willing to listen). 

I am not there yet myself, I only have about a decade under my own belt, but my younger family members and friends who are new to parenthood often come to me for advice on certain subjects and you better believe I turn to my own mother probably once a day to ask for advice, vent or even cry on occasion. That is one of the perks of having a group of mom friends and family and trust me you need them. Being able to share those valuable lived experiences between you, so that maybe you can learn a few things you could do differently or in some cases- what not to do. 

I often find myself reminiscing on the road I have traveled this far and wondering what I would tell myself if I could go back in time before I began this journey. When I asked other moms of course I was met with an abundance of differentiating responses, but some of the more common replies included spending more time playing, taking more photos, being more patient, not worrying about the messes or setting such high expectations. 

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received since becoming a parent and one I need to remind myself of often is, “don’t take credit when your kids excel and don’t blame yourself when they don’t.” We are not responsible for their choices. Don’t get me wrong, we are here to guide and teach our children. We should equip them with the tools they will need to be successful, loving, respectful and forgiving adults. But they are humans, just like us. They will make their own choices, just like we did and do, and sometimes those choices don’t align with our own, but they should be given the freedom to decide and make a path of their own. A path that will make them happy and fulfilled. 

If you met yourself at the start of your own parenthood journey, what advice would you give yourself?

(Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal. And a mom on a journey.)

Future director to speak at museum night

May’s Night at the Museum will feature the soon-to-be new executive director Jessica Gorman.

Gorman will take over the spot from long-time director Schelley Francis, who is retiring in July.

“Come meet her and find out why she is the perfect person for the job at hand,” Francis said. Francis has been director since the museum’s inception in 2007.

Gorman originally started working at the Minden Cemetery located south of Bayou Avenue by the Coca-Cola plant, close by the downtown district. She began there around March 2020 when she found herself with more free time due to Covid. The cemetery is separated into two sections, with Jessica focusing most of her work on the older section.  

“I always had an interest in cemeteries,” Gorman said, “It evolved from going to our local cemetery and seeing the condition that it is in, seeing something that is broken, and instead of just thinking, ‘Oh, that is such a shame,’ to wondering, ‘Is there something I can do about that?’ I really wanted to learn the right way to do it and be able to make a small difference.” 

It was in November of last year that Francis asked Gorman if she would like to begin assisting her at the museum. So far, she has helped get the Dorcheat Museum YouTube channel up and running where they are sharing all the oral history that has been collected since 2008, along with setting up new exhibits, such as the Minden Hospital and BB Gun exhibit. 

“She is just like I was 20 years ago,” said Francis, “I have been praying for several years about who was going to take this over after I left. When you put your heart and soul into something for so many years, you worry about it. I did not want to see all this hard work just go away.” 

Francis says she feels confident that Gorman understands the important task at hand, and rests assured the museum will be well cared for when she decides to step away. She believes it will help reach a different generation, having a younger person with as much passion and knowledge about Minden’s history. 

Gorman was recently named to the North Louisiana Historical Association.

Night At The Museum, featuring Gorman will be at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.) Seating is limited. Please bring potluck snacks and desserts. Admission is free; donations welcome.

 The museum is now accepting online donations on their new website  

(Paige Nash contributed to this report.)

Be a student of weapons-craft

Miyamito Musashi, perhaps the most famous and revered Samurai who ever lived, said “A warrior should not have a favorite weapon.”  On its face that might seem like a contradictory statement coming from a Samurai, because it’s a known fact that the preferred weapon of any Samurai was the katana.  However, I think people familiar with Musashi and his teachings understand that what he meant was, he didn’t need his katana.  Furthermore, the katana, while the preferred weapon of the Samurai, was not the only weapon with which they were proficient.  To put Musashi’s words into more modern terms, Clint Smith, founder, and CEO of Thunder Ranch, tells his patrons to be “students of weapons-craft.”

What does it mean to be “a student of weapons-craft?  For starters, you must come to the realization that you could be in a gunfight with a gun that isn’t yours.  If that’s a real possibility, which it is, wouldn’t it behoove you to have a working knowledge of other weapons besides the ones you own?

Did you know that roughly one in five (20%) of all guns in all the world are some variation of a Kalashnikov rifle?  For those of you not fluent in Russian surnames, Kalashnikov is probably the most important one you’ll ever need to know.  Mikhail Kalashnikov is the creator of the AK-47 rifle.  Today, his rifle platform is manufactured all over the globe, in multiple calibers – not just the original 7.62×39.  However, of the approximately 100,000,000 AK rifles in existence, an estimated 75% of them are chambered in the original caliber.  Having hit the battlefield in 1947, it’s a weapon that has clearly stood the test of time and since its inception has impacted modern warfare more than any other standard infantry weapon.  What I’m getting at here is, wouldn’t it be a good idea for you to know how to operate and fire the most prolific firearm in the history of the world?

As globally popular as the AK has become, here in America, the AR-15 holds the top spot as our nation’s most popular weapon – with an estimated 44,000,000 of them being privately owned in this country alone.  #MERICA!  Invented by Eugene Stoner in the 1950s, the Armalite Rifle (AR) has been going head-to-head with the Kalashnikov in combat zones all over the world.  If you’re an avid reader of this article, you might own one or more of these rifles yourself.  If not, AR platform rifles would be very high on the priority list of weapons you should know how to operate.

When I teach classes, I often ask the ladies attending “How many guns are in your home that you don’t know how to operate?”  The number is usually pretty high because their husbands, or other men in their lives have multiple guns that the ladies have never been taught to use.  I’m not picking on the ladies – it just tends to be the norm – probably because husbands and boyfriends are awful teachers, and their women would rather avoid their incessant yelling and extreme lack of patience.  The men buy a bunch of guns (many without their wife’s knowledge) and use them (or don’t) for a variety of different things.  My follow-up question is usually something like, “If your gun (the obligatory 5-shot snubby or .380 your gun-dumb husband bought for you) isn’t immediately accessible, and one of your husband’s guns was the closest to you when you’re home alone and someone kicked in your door, what would you do?”  The responses can sometimes be rather comical, but what I’ve never heard is, “I’d figure out how to use my husband’s gun,” because they know that’s not a realistic response in that scenario.

Hey, it’s not just women.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cops (full-grown men) come across various types of firearms during traffic stops, house searches, or other day-to-day activities in law enforcement, and have NO IDEA how to clear (unload) the weapon.  Many times, other cops have handed me a gun and asked me to clear it because they have no idea how it works.  It’s a little sad and rather unnerving.

Here in the American south, to say we have a plethora of firearms common to our region, would be a major understatement.  Below, I’ll list some of the various guns that are most common and suggest that if you’re unfamiliar with them, you should absolutely research how to use them.  Because as previously stated, you might not be fighting with your gun.

  1. AR platform rifles.
  2. AK platform rifles.
  3. Polymer framed, striker fired handguns, i.e., Glocks, Caniks, S&W M&Ps, Sig Sauer P320, etc.
  4. Pump action shotguns, i.e., Remington 870s, and Mossberg 500s.
  5. Semi-automatic shotguns, i.e., Remington 1100s, Benellis, and Berettas.
  6. Single-shot and double barrel shotguns.
  7. Bolt action rifles.
  8. Lever action rifles.
  9. Semi-automatic rifles other than numbers 1 and 2 on this list.
  10. Double action revolvers.
  11. Single action revolvers.
  12. Single / Double action semi-automatic pistols, i.e., the Beretta model 92.
  13. The 1911.  Yeah, I included it, but I made sure it was unlucky #13 on the list.  You should know how they work, but you shouldn’t buy one for personal or home defense – unless you intend to use it as an impact weapon and beat an intruder to death with it.

You have no way of knowing when or where your fight will take place, and you don’t know what weaponry might be available to you at the time.  Even if you’re already armed with your everyday carry gun, if there’s an AK or an 870 nearby, wouldn’t you much rather have one of those in your hand?  If you’re not sure how to answer that question, let me help you out… YES!  You don’t have to buy every model of firearm on the planet to have a working knowledge of the ones you’re most likely to encounter, but you can do your homework, and make yourself more prepared tomorrow than you are today.  Until next week…

Avoid what you can.  Defeat what you can’t.


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at

(Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney or a medical provider, and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie,” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official legal, or medical advice.)

Police give chase, drugs allegedly on fleeing man

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An attempt to run from police ended poorly for a local man Tuesday.

Demario Damon Nolan, 21, of the 1300 block of Lee St., Minden, was arrested by MPD and charged with resisting an officer, 2 counts of resisting an officer with force, possession of marijuana and Ecstasy. Nolan also had an active warrant through MPD for battery of a dating partner.

Chief Jared McIver said Lt. Brandon Curry was dispatched to a possible disturbance on East Street near Chestnut.

“He observed Nolan in the area of Pershing Street near Fulton,” McIver said. “As officers passed, Nolan changed his direction of travel and attempted to conceal his face.”

Curry reportedly made contact with Nolan in the 600 block of District Street. Sgt. Chris Cayer was also on scene.

“Nolan told officers he had not been involved in a disturbance and that he was just walking,” said the chief. “A warrant check by dispatch revealed an active warrant through the police department.”

When officers advised Nolan to place his hands behind his back – due to the active warrant – he began to flee on foot toward an open field.

“Lt. Curry gave chase, giving verbal commands for Nolan to stop, but he failed to comply,” McIver said. “When the lieutenant caught Nolan and took him to the ground, he began to resist Sgt. Cayer.”

Once Nolan was handcuffed and advised of his rights, he was allegedly found to be in possession of 1.5 grams of natural marijuana and one Ecstasy pill. He was booked at Minden Police Department 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.

Historically Speaking: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Jessica Gorman

History isn’t always pleasant. We tend to avoid the unpleasant, and when confronted by it, it can be difficult to know how to respond. So, how do we handle the uncomfortable parts of our history? I’ve been pondering this question for some time, deliberating whether to share this information and if so, how to do it appropriately. Ultimately, I decided that it is a prime example of why we need to consider how we deal with the unsettling parts of our history. 

If you have heard the name Ben Earl Looney, you know that he was a famous artist. He was born in Yellow Pine in 1904. His family later moved to Minden where he graduated from Minden High School in 1922. He went on to attend Centenary College and Louisiana State University. His art studies took him to the Corcoran Art School, the Summer School of Art in Maine, and the Art Students League of New York City. He served as head of the art department at Columbia Grammar School, Trinity and St. Agatha Episcopal Schools, and the Cambridge School. He was a faculty member at the Ringling School of Art. In 1933, he returned to LSU as head of the first art department at the school. He later became director of the Greensboro Art Center and was then named assistant state art director of North Carolina. His work has been displayed across the country including at the Smithsonian. I could go on, but that is not the point of this article.

Locally, despite his extensive accomplishments, Ben Earl Looney is considered a forgotten artist. That is not by accident. By the mid-1940s, he had returned to Minden and was head of the arts department for the City of Shreveport’s recreation program and teaching at Southfield School. During this time, an investigation had been opened by the City of Shreveport, the juvenile court, and the state police in response to allegations of immoral conduct against Looney. Mayor Clyde Fant had instructed investigators “to go the limit” in their investigation.  Ben Earl Looney was arrested in March of 1948 and charged with contributing to the delinquency of juvenile boys. It was described by investigators as one of the worst cases they had ever seen. Looney plead guilty to nine of eleven charges of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles through indecent behavior and was sentenced to 10 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Minden newspapers were silent on his arrest and sentencing.

Ben Earl Looney only spent three years in prison. He was paroled on 18 August 1951. After his release, he made his home in Lafayette where he continued in his artist pursuits. He died of Parkinson’s Disease in 1981.

It has been implied that Looney was “forgotten” by the people of Minden because they did not agree with his lifestyle. In reality, it would seem that Minden deliberately dissociated with the artist based on these horrific acts. 

How do we reconcile the professional accomplishments of Ben Earl Looney with the reality of his personal life? As a community, we must consider how to handle the potentially ugly parts of our history. Today, our increased access to information makes it much more likely that events that were once “forgotten” will once again be “remembered.”  It is important to recognize that no matter how much we know, there will always be more that we are not aware of. How do we respond when confronted with these events?

(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)

Victim has video back-up of assault

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Getting a video of the man trying to threaten them, played in the favor of a victim and her children.

Jesse Ruybal Jr., 35, of the 100 block of Kirby Place, has been charged by Minden Police with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.

Chief Jared McIver said that around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Chris Cayer was dispatched to Kirby Place in reference to a verbal disturbance.

“When he arrived, it was to find the female victim and her juvenile children outside the residence,” McIver said. “The victim said Ruybal had produced a black handgun to force them to leave the residence.”

 She advised that she and her children feared for their lives when Ruybal allegedly said “I am going to blow y’all’s head off if y’all don’t leave.”

“This was all done while holding a handgun in his right hand and forcing them out of the residence,” said the chief. “The victim provided video evidence showing the confrontation.”

Ruybal was transported to Minden Police Department for booking and then 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.

Webster Parish still has boating education openings

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding those that need their boating education about the 12th annual “Boating Education Lagniappe Day” on April 22 at eight different locations across the state.

There are still spots available for this Saturday’s Boating Safety Lagniappe Day Courses at several locations including Webster Parish, LDWF Region 1 Office, 9961 Highway 80, Minden, LA 71055.

Sponsors: Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA), River City Machines, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office and Coca-Cola

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course and NASBLA boating education certification and lunch with some locations also providing door prizes all free of charge.

Anyone born after Jan. 1 1984 is required by law to complete a NASBLA approved boaters safety course before operating a vessel on the public waters of the state.  This comprehensive course covers all things related to boating safety here in Louisiana and is accepted in all other states that require NASBLA certification.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Agents Association along with other business partners help make annual Lagniappe Day possible across the state.

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.

April 17

Ami Nicole Edmiston, 38, of the 100 block of McArthur St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for theft and access device fraud.

April 18

Hannah Marie Moss, 36, of the 500 block of N. Main St., Sibley, was arrested by Sibley Police for theft, failure to seek assistance and filing a false report.

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.

Don’t chicken out; come early to charbroil Saturday

It’s Lions Club Chicken Charbroil time again! Mark your calendars now for 9 a.m. (until sold out) Saturday, April 22. Better come early.
Minden Lions will be selling their famous charbroiled chicken dinners for $10 each in the back of the Walmart parking lot close to Homer Road. You don’t want to miss it!
Since 1974, the biannual Chicken Charbroil has served as a major fundraiser for local Lions Club projects.

Upcoming Events


Send non-profit calendar events to .

April 20

10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Senior Fun Day, Springhill CAC Building. Ages 50 and older; admission is free. Sponsored by Springhill Medical Center. Free meal sponsored by Bristol Hospice.

1 p.m. Genealogy Meeting the Quad, Webster Parish Libraries Minden Branch. Guest Speakers: Vince Roy and Wesley Harris. Subject: Historical Markers.

April 21 & 22

Historic Highway 80 Sale. Vendors set up all along the Hwy. 80 corridor. The Farm of Cultural Crossroads will be participating by selling goods to raise funds for 2023. Vendors are welcome to set up for free by registering at

April 22

7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Salt & Light Rummage Sale (non-profit), corner of Pennsylvania and Second Street.

9 a.m. Lions Club Chicken Charbroil by Minden Lions Club. Walmart parking lot, close to Homer Road. Dinners are $10.

10 a.m. “Occupy” at The Barn, 800 Goodwill Street, Webster Parish Fairgrounds. Sponsored by So Loved Movement, a ministry focused on Soul Winning for Christ. The theme scripture is Luke 19:13. Speakers: Pastor Phillip Anderson,  Denise Reed and Sheilia Compton along with some powerful testimonies of the saving grace of Jesus. Everyone is welcome to come. 

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

10:15 a.m. Red River Pipes/Drums – Highland Stage The Gems Dance Co. – Fairy Grove 

10:30 a.m. Dog Show Meet & Greet-Near Children’s Area 

10:45 a.m. Willie Stewart Bluegrass Band – Highland Stage 

11 a.m. Highland Reign-Thistle Stage Dog Show -Near Children’s Area 

11:15 a.m. Thistle Dancers & Pipers – Fairy Grove 

11:30 a.m. Haggis Eating Contest – Highland Stage Storyteller, Jeff Hurley – The Guilds 

Noon Grand March of Clans/Kirking – Highland Stage 

12:30 p.m. Storyteller, Jeff Stewart – The Guilds 

1 p.m. Highland Games Competition -The Field Emerald Accent – Highland Stage Cleghorn -Thistle Stage Jackson Irish Dancers – Fairy Grove 

1:30 p.m. Storyteller, Jeff Hurley – The Guilds 

1:45 p.m. The Gems Dance Company – Fairy Grove Red River Pipes & Drums -Thistle Stage 

2 p.m. Smithfield Fair – Highland Stage Bonniest Knees Contest -Thistle Stage, Bodhran Workshop – The Guilds 

2:30 p.m. Jackson Irish Dancers – Fairy Grove 

2:45 p.m. Highland Reign – Thistle Stage 

3 p.m. Storyteller, Jeff Stewart – The Guilds 

3:15 p.m. Emerald Accent – Highland Stage 

3:30 p.m. Thistle Dancers & Pipers – Fairy Grove 

3:45 p.m. Cleghorn -Thistle Stage 

4 p.m. Smithfield Fair- Highland Stage 

4:30 p.m. Kristen Tilbury-Harpist – Fairy Grove 

5 p.m. Willie Stewart Bluegrass – Highland Stage 

5 p.m. Emerald Accent -Thistle Stage 

Events happening throughout the day:

Blacksmithing, Birds of Prey Exhibit, Medieval Camp/Combat, Children’s area, weaving, Flint snapping, Gaelic language.

April 30

1 p.m. Intro to Kayaking, 194 Caney Lake Park Rd., Minden. Visit Webster Parish still has 20 spots open.

May 8

6 p.m. Night At The Museum, featuring Jessica Gorman. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.) Seating is limited. Please bring potluck snacks and desserts. Admission is free; donations welcome.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of April 13. All civil suits are a matter of public record.

April 14

Elani Mixon vs. Jamie Neff, protective order.

Pamala Joan Wesson Carson vs. Raymond Lee Carson, divorce.

Jaquan Howard vs. Amandia Hamilton Sinclair and Cullen Police Dept. petition.

April 17

Cristina Taylor vs. Joshua Smith, protective order.

Goldman Sachs Bank vs. Jessica Spence, monies due.

Sysco East Texas vs. Five Star Wins N More LLC and Chris Hampton, monies due.

April 18

Lakeview Loan Servicing LLC vs. Michael J. Langley, executory process.

CIS Financial Services vs. Derrick Champion and Shuntoriere Champion, executory process.