Here’s your (new) sign; WPPJ receives grant

New sign

State beautification funds will allow Webster Parish Police Jurors the opportunity to spiff up a corner of downtown Minden.

WPPJ was selected as a recipient of more than $3,600 from The 2022 Keep Louisiana Beautiful beautification grant by Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the state’s premier anti-litter and community improvement organization.

“This money will fund the installation of a new sign with lighting to direct citizens to the police jury office,” said Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Director Brian Williams. “It will also allow for new landscaping – including native Louisiana plants – that will enhance the beauty of an intersection on Minden’s Historic Main Street.”

The project should not only revitalize a street corner by removing remnants  of the old bank sign anchor points and electrical boxes, it will also assist citizens in finding the Webster Parish Police Jury office in the annex building across from the courthouse.

“Citizens have a hard time finding the police jury office for permitting and things like when it serves a voting precinct,” said Williams, who found and applied for the grant. “I’m excited to be able to help WPPJ secure funding to install a new sign with landscaping and LED lights to illuminate it at night. This project will not only provide directions for our citizens, but it will also revitalize the old flowerbed at the street corner on Main near the courthouse.”

Keep Louisiana Beautiful is a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving a cleaner, greener Louisiana through litter reduction an beautification initiatives. To learn abut their network of Community and University Affiliates, grant opportunities, educational programs and ways to get involved, visit Keep Louisiana Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep American Beautiful.

Before new sign was installed

Chamber Duck Derby is on go

Staff Report

Deadline is fast approaching to sponsor The Greater Minden Chamber’s 5th Annual Fourth of July Duck Derby Extravaganza in downtown Minden. All the fun starts at 5 p.m. Monday, July 3, on Main Street. Proceeds benefit the Greater Minden Chamber’s community programs.

“The events committee is working diligently to plan a night that is shaping up to be a truly spectacular evening,” said Chamber CEO Stephanie Barnette. “We are anticipating hundreds of locals, as well as out of town guests, to line the brick streets of Minden and watch a few thousand ducks race down the water-filled course.”

The public will have an opportunity to purchase ducks and the winning duck owners will receive cash prizes. (Watch Webster Parish Journal to find out when ducks go on sale.)

“We are adding a few new events to the evening and will cap it all off with a fireworks celebration by Presenting Sponsor Goex Industries.” Barnette said.

Deadline to purchase a sponsorship is June 16.

“Young Women’s Service Club will be back this year with the dunk tank,” Barnette added. “A list of ‘local celebrities’ taking the plunge will be announced soon.”

Sponsorship Opportunities for Chamber Members

Mighty Duck Sponsor: $1000

  • 1 Quacker’s Dozen of ducks (12 ducks)
  • Designated area to set up booth at event
  • Premium recognition on banner at event. Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than 1,000 Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.
  • Recognition on photo prop/backdrop at event

Quacktastic Sponsor: $700

  • 1 Quack Pack of ducks (5 ducks)
  • Designated area to set up booth at event
  • Premium logo advertising on duck racecourse.
  • Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than 1,000 Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.

Pond Sponsor: $500

1 Quack Pack of ducks (5 ducks)

  • Premium advertising on a 4’X8’ banner at event
  • Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.

Duckling Sponsor: $300 (10 Available) 

  • 2 Racing ducks
  • Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages

Email Stephanie Barnette at to secure sponsorship opportunities.

Barnette said ducks will be available for purchase soon.

“We are still waiting on printed tickets to be delivered, so we are not selling the ducks just yet,” she said Tuesday. “Hopefully by the end of the week we will have them ready to go.”

Purchase Ducks

  • 1 Racing Duck (1): $5
  • Quack Pack (5): $20
  • Quacker’s Dozen (12): $50
  • Flock of Ducks (25): $100

Purchase Ducks:

Cash Prizes

1st Place – $1,000 Cash
2nd Place – $500 Cash
3rd Place – $250 Cash

You do not need to be present to win.

Central Elementary joins ranks of NEHS

By Paige Nash

Central Elementary School now has an elementary chapter of the National Honor Society. They are the first elementary school in the district to provide this prestigious program to students in fourth and fifth grades.  

This new organization at Central Elementary School was chartered by fourth grade teacher Joni Aulds. She said, “I chartered the organization because I feel it is important not only to promote academic excellence but to recognize those students who do excel in that area.” 

The National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) was designed to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of selected students – at school, home and within their communities. Every NEHS member demonstrates all qualities of the four pillars that the program is built upon- Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Responsibility.  

“I also feel these are most important to instill in our youth today as we guide, teach, and grow our students into young adults who give back to their community,” said Aulds.  

Jenifer Francis, Chloe Ashley and Lacey Berry joined Aulds to serve as the faculty council.  

They are looking forward to the 2023-2024 school year and having the newly established Central NEHS serve their community in several ways. They intend to assist at the SEEDS Women’s Center, Joe LeBlanc Food pantry and area nursing homes.  


“Our students will provide a helping hand and learn valuable life skills while promoting the four pillars of the honor society,” said Aulds. “I feel that this experience in elementary will indeed inspire students to have a service mindset, be a leader, keep pushing to excel academically and just be an all-around good citizen.” 

Aulds along with the faculty council chose students to be admitted into Central’s first NEHS and recognized them with an Induction Ceremony held last Tuesday, May 23.  

Fourth grade students inducted include: 

Jayla Bailey, Lexi Barnett, Presley Barton, Callie Bates, Jules Beard, Karlee Brewer, Brantley Burrell, Alli Chandler, Baylli Chandler, Claire Cooper, Sawyer Fleming, Isabelle Foust, Bryleigh Grubbs, Emmaline Harmon, Brooklyn Johnson, Skyler Marques, Grant Meshell, Beaux Monday, Ada Murphy, Gracey Reynolds, Eastyn Pate, Kylie Richardson, Haley Thorn, Karly Watts and Anniebeth Williams. 

Fifth grade students inducted include: 

Jacob Aulds, Jade Boyette, Thomas Chibnick, Ja’Kylin Chipps, Derek Clark, Braleigh Dale, Chase Daniel, Evan Edwards, Skylar Ellis, Sarah Finklea, Adleigh Harris, Colston Hill, Madisyn Jernigan, Autumn Lagars, Brayleigh Lewis, Lillian Wallace, Ella Wood and Kynlee Wood.  

Assistant Principal of Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School was a guest speaker at the ceremony. 

Remembering Emily Halsey Prothro Van Horn

Emily Halsey Prothro Van Horn was born in Shreveport, LA on May 4, 1923. She died peacefully in Baton Rouge on May 25, 2023. She lived a long, happy, and Christian life and loved her family fiercely. She married Dr. Robert Brooks Van Horn in September of 1943 and lived in Minden, LA until moving to Baton Rouge shortly after his passing. Emily was active in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minden, a Girl Scout Leader, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the King, and numerous other civic groups. She and her husband enjoyed riding Tennessee Walking horses. Emily was an amazing person that touched many lives in her 100 incredible years. Her charming, beautiful, and unforgettable soul will be missed by many!

Emily was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Brooks Van Horn; her son, Robert Brooks Van Horn Jr.; her son-in-law, John Wilbert; and her brothers, Claude Blanchard Prothro (Judy) and Randall Hunt Prothro (Nancy).

Emily is survived by her daughter, Emily Van Horn Wilbert; her son, Mark Van Horn (Toni); her daughter-in-law, Karen Van Horn; her brother, Carleton Prothro (Lois); and her grandchildren, Kristen Uter Mayeaux (Kenny), Brennan Uter (Ashley), Micah Van Horn, John Mark Van Horn (Erika), Linly Van Horn, Katherine Van Horn Schmidt (Micah), Robert Brooks Van Horn III (Genta), and Elissa Van Horn Robbins as well as many great-grandchildren!

Emily’s funeral service will be held Wednesday, May 31st, at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway Street, Minden, LA and burial will follow at Gardens of Memory in Minden. There will be a live feed on their Facebook page (

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge or St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minden. 

We are more than conquerors

Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

To conquer means to be victorious, to be more than a conqueror means to be super naturally victorious. 

The good news is…by the blood of Jesus Christ we already have the victory! 

As Christians, we face trials, tribulations, persecution … etc, But God promises to never leave us, nor forsake us! That’s good news!!!

Through Faith we believe and trust God, no matter what it looks like. We walk by faith and not by sight. 

Hebrews 11:1  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Paul is encouraging us to stand firm in our faith when different attacks come our way reminding us that not only will we win in the end, but Jesus enables us to win now!! The enemy lacks the power to steal our eternal destiny, and he cannot separate us from the love of God right now. 

God loves us so, even when we didn’t love him. GOD gave his only begotten son JESUS, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. So, in that we don’t have to feel defeated by the enemy!!  

We Are More Than Conquerors!!!

 Though we might sometimes feel pressed,oppressed and in distress from the  storms of life, we can be encouraged knowing we  are not defeated!!!!!  The joy of the Lord is our strength.  

James 1: 2 & 3 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

 Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The only way we are defeated is that we give up and give in by moving away from GOD  and not being obedient to his word. 

 We have to guard our minds from distractions. The enemy paints pictures to distract us from God’s promises. The enemy wants you to give up and throw in the towel. The enemy wants you to live your life in defeat and confusion!  But remember you have the victory through Jesus! 

Be Encouraged….! We are more than conquerors through Jesus. 

There are 5 Spiritual Elements to help you endure through the storms of life: 

1.) Stand On The Promises Of God (His Word)

2.) Pray Without Ceasing. (Always Pray)

3.) Stay Focused On Jesus! (Stay connected,keep your eyes and heart on JESUS)

4.) Keep Showing Up!(Don’t stop, don’t give up because of storms, keep pushing..pressing..praying your way)

5.) Old or New Grudge….Let It GO!! (Grudges will weigh us down, we can’t conquer the enemy with grudges in our hearts. 

All Glory Goes To GOD.

(LaTina DeLoach, a native of Minden, is a Christian,a devoted wife and mother and Lady Deloach As the wife of Pastor Gregory DeLoach, Blue Run Baptist Church.)

Man arrested for sleeping in wrong house

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A local man has been arrested by Minden Police after falling asleep in a house belonging to someone else.

Rochaun Thomas, 56, of the 1000 block of Talton St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, criminal trespassing, possession of a Legend drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Jared McIver said Sgt. Chris Cayer was finishing a call for service on Talton Street Sunday around 7 a.m., when he was approached by a man in reference to someone sleeping in a residence the complainant was hired to clean.

“The man who approached the officer said he had gone to a Talton Street residence to clean and noticed the carport door had been forced open,” McIver said. “Sgt. Cayer entered the residence and found a man, later identified as Thomas, sleeping in the living room.”

Thomas reportedly had a fanny pack with him.

“A search revealed Amoxicillin, razor blades, nails and a glass tube used as a crack pipe with suspected substance reside inside,” said the chief.

Overseer of the property reportedly told police that Thomas lived there at one time but was legally evicted through court proceedings on May 12.

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.

End of The Cereal Sagas


Two of the past three weeks, we’ve traded love notes about one of the Major Food Groups.

Been a good run, our time with cereal.

And it doesn’t have to end — not in real life. Not as long as the amber waves of grain are a thing.

But it does have to end here. Time to move on to other Foods, other Friends, other Things.

As an exclamation point, we’ll do something I used to do semi-regularly but we haven’t done yet in the SBJ. Today, a few of you take the wheel and share some Very Personal Stories. Had to leave out so many, including a favorite from a friend who loves cereal so much, he uses many of his favorites in his various passwords. Thank you to all who took the time to bear their Cereal Souls.

From Donnie Golfgame: There was a time in my life I was torn between Quisp, which I’m proud you mentioned, and Quake – which was like a sister cereal to Quisp, although instead of a sister there was a picture on the box of a miner with a light on his hardhat. As George Herbert Walker Bush would say, Quisp was a “kinder, gentler” form of Cap’n Crunch, which we all know is like having a mouthful of thumbtacks in your mouth. Quake, however, was Cap’n Crunch’s evil uncle as far as texture. Eat a bowl of Quake and you weren’t eating — couldn’t eat — anything else that day. Gum carnage.

I noticed when my kids were little that Sugar Crisp had suddenly become Honey Crisp and then later on it was just Crisp on the box. Same thing with Sugar Pops, which became Corn Pops and I think today it might just be Pops. Sugar has gotten a bad rap.

My Top 10, starting at the top:

1. Cap’n Crunch

2. Raisin Bran

3. 40 Percent Bran Flakes, (which now are just Bran Flakes; I always wondered why they didn’t call themselves 60-Percent-Of-Whatever-Else-Was-In-The-Box Flakes).

4. Rice Krispies; (are they just Krispies now? Is rice wrong?)

5. Fruit Loops

6. Corn Flakes, (or is it just Flakes?)

7. Sugar Pops

8. Honey Comb

9. Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries

10. Quaker Oats Oatmeal; (when I was a kid, there was a glass dish inside the oats).

From Duke of Don: There’s nothing more numerous than different people’s sense of humorous, right? I sent your Cereal Piece to a nephew in England. He responded, “Sadly nearly every cereal mentioned is not known to me; here we have our own which are the same as yours only under a different name. My breakfasts are not usually cereal-based but are instead …

1: Muesli (our own make barley flakes, rolled oats, porridge oats, oat bran, every kind of nut crushed up, mixed seeds, and raw cacao pieces plus milk); keeps you going through the day.

2: Croissants with lashings of extra butter, (Sundays only).

3: Porridge

4: Bacon Sandwich

5: Cold meats and cheese when in Europe

6: Crumpets

7: Toast

8: Lashings of coffee

9: Weetabix with warm milk but not very often

10: Corn flakes but only with a gun pointed at my head

From JayVee, Team Captain: First, a resounding NO to Trix, or any cereal with colors, and also to Grape Nuts (who in the world thinks this is really human food?! And why ruin the good name “Grape” by associating it with this product?)

1. Raisin Bran Crunch

2. Frosted Mini Wheats

3 and 4. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios (tie game)

5. Frosted Flakes

6. Sugar Crisp (as in — add music — “Can’t get enough of them Sugar Crisp.” It’s a different name now — heaven forbid we actually put “sugar” in a name anymore. Gotta eat ’em fast; if soggy it’s a different ballgame.

7. Sugar pops, (ditto previous comment).

8. Raisin Bran

From The Skynman: My go-to is Honey Nut Cheerios. I have ditched the rest. I can do both ways. With milk or without. A handful of HNC for a quick snack is a pick-me-up. And on long trips there is a box in the seat next to me to munch on while I drive and listen to my book on tape.

From Train: If a team of cereal played ball, here’s my batting order:

1. Fruity Pebbles

2. Frosted Flakes

3. Honey Nut Cheerios

4. Lucky Charms

5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

6. Cocoa Puffs

7. Cap’n Crunch

8. Raisin Bran

9. Count Chocula

Naturally, a bowl would coach first, a spoon third, and milk would be the manager.

Contact Teddy at\

Small Town Guy

“I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
Cannot forget the people who love me
Well, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I wanna be”

— John Mellencamp

I’m a small town guy. I have good friends who live in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and large metropolitan areas all over the country. They thrive in those environments. I get it. I love the access that big cities afford— so much at your fingertips— and for a guy who eats, sleeps, and breathes restaurants, big cities are in my professional wheelhouse.

My friend, Mac McAnally, wrote a song in the late 1980s as an apology to people in big cities because everyone in Belmont MS— the small town in which he grew up— thought they would be killed if they traveled to a big city. It was a tongue-in-cheek, humorous take, but there’s a tiny ring of truth to it. I have never been afraid of big cities. My grandparents lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for the first 10 years of my life, and I loved visiting them. I have an apartment in New Orleans and spend enough time there to consider myself a part-time New Orleanian. Though, in the end, I’m a small-town guy.

I live in an area of South Mississippi called the Pine Belt. We were founded on pine timber and the railroad system. I am the sixth generation of my family to inhabit this area. This is home. This is where my roots are. This is where my family is. This is where my friends are. I made the decision 36 years ago to plant my stake in the middle of Midtown Hattiesburg— the neighborhood in which I spent my childhood— and start doing business by owning and operating restaurants.

I made the decision that, as long as I could travel and go to other places, this would be the place I want to raise my family, do business, and grow old.

There’s so many benefits and bonuses to living in Hattiesburg MS. I feel as if I know half the town. Sure, we have world class medical facilities two universities and great quality of life. But there’s so much more.

I was in a New York publishers office years ago working on the second book of a three-book deal. We were in a boardroom on the Upper West Side meeting about how the next book was to be marketed. An assistant marketing director shuffled into the meeting late. He wasn’t happy to be there. He was less than enthused that his company had signed an author from the Deep South, and he didn’t believe that any book I had to offer was worth their efforts or his time. He was over it before he even sat down. He shuffled some of the papers in front of him, thumbed through my bio and sarcastically grunted in an affected Southern accent, “Hattiesburg, Miss-uh-sip-ee? What’s there to do in Ol’ Hattiesburg Mississippi?”

I immediately wanted to start reeling off a laundry list of reasons why I love my city— the main reason being we typically don’t have to deal with rude jerks like him— but answered truthfully and just told him, “There’s plenty to do. Actually, a few weeks ago I walked two blocks from my home and saw Itzhak Perlman play with our local symphony orchestra. It was his second time to play here. The year before that Yo-Yo Ma played with that same orchestra. You probably don’t know it, but it’s the only university orchestra with which Plácido Domingo has ever performed.” I reeled off a couple of more cultural and historical aspects of my hometown and my home state and he sunk in his chair and looked disgusted for the rest of the meeting.

I could have talked about all the musicians I have seen here over the years, and the writers I have met here. But that’s not really the reason why I love this town. Sure, it’s a nice bonus and benefit, but there are other aspects of my hometown that appeal to me so much more.

I love our little Christmas parade. It’s nothing special. There are no giant helium filled balloons, or national newscasters, or massive marching bands stomping down the street. But there is a strong sense of community. I love small town Christmas parade spirit. Last year our Christmas parade was held on the same day as the Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast. Another small town event that I love. They are both straight out of central casting.

A sense of community gives one a sense of place and a sense of belonging. I belong here. I could live in other places, and probably places that are more beautiful and scenic. I could wake up and look at the mountains in the morning or a sunrise coming over the horizon at the beach. Those things are great. But what of my friends? What of my family? What of my roots? What of my businesses?

For years I heard older people tout the need for good medical services in the location where they live. That never mattered much to me. However, I am 61 years old and blessed to live in a community with two hospitals and a major clinic with world class medical facilities. I’m sure my friends in New York and Chicago will read that last sentence and scoff, but that would be contempt prior to investigation. It’s true.

The proximity is great, too. I am 90 minutes northeast of New Orleans (one of the great food cities in the world), one hour due north of the Gulf of Mexico, and a couple of hours away from the sugar sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle.

It’s the little things that make up a community. If I were asked to give a list of reasons why I love living and Hattiesburg, Mississippi it wouldn’t be the typical Chamber of Commerce pitch as to livability, air quality, water quality, and public services. On the top of the list would be the people. But there would also be things such as the Coney Island Sandwich Shop on Main Street. They’re celebrating their 100th year this year, all under the leadership of the same Greek immigrant family that opened it in 1923. A great grandfather, grandfather, father, and son have been the direct line in that lunch counter. A run of 100 years in a restaurant is almost unheard of, yet to have it only run by four men who are direct descendants is truly rare air.

Yesterday I attended Hattiesburg’s 40th annual Memorial Day Service. There’s a park in downtown Hattiesburg dedicated to the soldiers we have lost in every war since World War I. The ceremony lasts around 90 minutes and is some of the most meaningful minutes I spend all year. It concludes with a 21 gun salute and the playing of taps. Yesterday Taps was played— as it has been every year— by Howell Purvis, an 85-year old veteran who has bugled it at over 500 funerals. Yesterday was his final performance A bell tolled as they read the list of local soldiers lost. I listened while looking at the four marble columns at the front of the park with 173 names of the local soldiers who have been killed in action.

Those are 173 men and women who never got to see what our small town has become. We’ll never get to see the contributions they might have made, the families they would have raised, and the lives they would have impacted. Yesterday, they impacted my life once again, and I said a short prayer that a 174th name is never added to the list.

Call it small town pride, call me naïve, call me whatever you want, just call me at home in this place when the day is done.


Eggplant Casserole

2 Eggplant, medium size

1 /4 cup Bacon grease (or canola oil)

1 cup Onion, small dice

2 cups Red bell pepper, small dice

1 cup Tomatoes, diced, peeled and seeded

1 /2 cup Celery, small dice

1 Tbl Garlic, minced

1 tsp Dried basil

1 /2 tsp Dried oregano

2 cups Mushroom Béchamel Sauce (or Cream of Mushroom Soup)

2 cups Corn flake crumbs

1 /4 cup Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place eggplant on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Rotate and continue baking 20 minutes more. Remove and allow to cool.

Using a paring knife peel the skin from the eggplant. Cut eggplant into two-inch cubes.

Place the bacon grease in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is very hot add eggplant to brown. Add onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, celery, garlic, basil and oregano. Cook for five to six minutes. Stir in Mushroom Béchamel Sauce and pour into two-quart baking dish.

Bake uncovered 40 minutes. Combine the corn flake crumbs and melted butter. Spread evenly over top of casserole and bake 10 minutes more. Remove casserole from oven and serve. Yield: 10 – 12 servings

Mushroom Béchamel Sauce

1 Tbl Olive oil, light

1 /2 cup Onion, minced

1 /4 cup Shallot, minced

1 /4 cup Celery, minced

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Garlic, granulated

1 /2 tsp Thyme, dry

10 oz Mushrooms, cleaned, sliced (4 cups)

3 cups Chicken broth

1 /2 cup Butter

3 /4 cup Flour

1 cup Whipping cream

Heat oil in a three-quart saucepot over low heat. Add onions, shallots, celery, and salt. Cook vegetables until tender. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth, garlic and thyme. Bring back to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes.

In a separate skillet, make a light-blonde roux by melting butter and stirring in flour. Add to simmering broth mixture. Cook three to four minutes and add cream. Freezes well. Yield: two quarts.

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

Lions sponsor students with 3 organizations

By Tracy Campbell

The Minden Lions Club presented sponsorship checks last Thursday for local Boy Scouts, American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State. Pictured from left are Lion Ed Labruyere (representing Boys and Girls State), Lion Secretary-Treasurer Charles Purdy, Lion President Tommy Davis, and Lion Dr. Richard Campbell (representing Boy Scouts).

Webster Parish students on NSU honor lists

Five hundred twenty-nine students were named to the President’s List at Northwestern State University for the Spring 2023 semester. Students on the President’s List must be enrolled full-time at Northwestern and have a grade point average of 4.0.

For questions regarding the President’s List, contact the NSU Registrar’s Office at (318) 357- 6171 or email

Students listed by hometown are as follows:

Cotton Valley — Haley Sandlin;                            

Minden — Elynn Boothe, Keyon Elkins, James Heard, Syreeta Jackson, Zack Karzoun, Morgan McCanliss, Megan Mitchell, Jennifer Nguyen;                                         

Shongaloo — Makayla Dean, Sydni Richardson.

Five hundred fifty-seven students were named to the Honor List at NSU for the Spring 2023 semester.  Students on the Honor List must be enrolled full-time at Northwestern and have a grade point average of between 3.0 and 3.49.

Minden – Melinda Boyce, Emma Dauzat, Jada Franklin, Lauryn Gaddy, Madison Smith, Jazzmyn White;  

Seven hundred and twenty-seven undergraduate students were named to the Spring 2023 Dean’s List at NSU. Students on the Dean’s List must be enrolled full time and earn a grade point average of between 3.5 and 3.99. 

Minden – Clotis Ary, Brittany Cammack, Joy Davis, Anna Gardner, Michael Harden, Adrianna Maddox, A’Shuntee Simmons;

Piney Hills Harmony to offer guest nights, vocal workshops

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International located in Ruston, is hosting guest nights mixed with sessions aimed at helping singers improve both their voices and their vocal performances.  

The chorus is welcoming singers of all skill levels to join them for two nights of settings designed to enhance their choral abilities. The sessions will be held during the chorus’s regular rehearsals at 6:30 p.m. June 15 and June 22 in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, located at 212 N. Bonner. 

Piney Hills Harmony currently draws its members from Caldwell, Lincoln, Ouachita and Union parishes. Visitors from other parishes are welcome as well.  

During the sessions, participants will receive instruction from a certified director as well as other experienced singers, with guidance on techniques and skills that are essential to becoming a successful vocalist. Musical arrangements will be four-part harmony, requiring both high and low voices. The ability to read music is not required as vocal learning aids will be provided. 

A community performance that the visitors can participate in is also in the planning stages. 

Piney Hills Harmony is one of approximately 500 chapters of Sweet Adelines International, which was founded in 1945 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by a small group of women who loved to sing and whose dream has spread across the globe. 

For more information, contact Sallie Rose Hollis, vice president and membership chair, at You can also visit and Piney Hills Harmony Chorus / Sweet Adelines International on Facebook. 

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

Every Saturday in June

9 a.m. until noon, Minden Farmer’s Market, at The Farm, corner of Highway 80 and Talton Street.

June 1-2

Calvary Baptist Church Basketball Camp.

June 2

10 a.m. Ribbon Cutting at the Kayak Dock on Dorcheat Bayou.

6 until 8 p.m. Cultural Crossroads’ First Fridays at The Farm, Ben and Zoey Shirley performing; DaqShaq will have food for sale. Corner of Highway 80 and Talton Street.

June 3

9 a.m. until noon, A Taste of the Market, hosted by Springhill Main Street program, downtown Springhill.

June 3-4

Baseball and Softball, Minden Dixie Open Tournament, 1000 Recreational Drive, Minden.

June 4

2 until 4 p.m. Open House and Reception. Webster Parish Council on Aging, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden.

June 5

11 a.m. Joe LeBlanc Summer Feeding begins

June 5-9

Earth Camp at the Farm

June 6

3 until 6 p.m. Webster Parish Libraries’ Springhill branch. Summer Reading Program Kickoff Party events with games, food, activities and fun.

June 8

4 until 7 p.m. Webster Parish Libraries’ Minden branch. Summer Reading Program Kickoff Party events with games, food, activities and fun.

June 10

8 a.m. Peddle and Paddle at Caney Lakes, Minden.

June 9 & 10

Grilling on Main, 2023, BBQ Cookout Festival, downtown Minden. Call 318-371-4258 to reserve a sponsorship. Visit to register a team.

June 17

9 until 11 a.m. Joe LeBlanc Food Pantry distribution

11 a.m. Fathers and Prayers at Minden water tower.

June 17 & 18

Minden/St. Jude Open

June 19-21

9 until 11 a.m. Minden High School Baseball Camp, ages 6-13.

June 24

8 a.m. Registration for North Webster Martial Arts “Battle for the Shield.” Sanctioned event at Minden Rec Center, 1001 Recreation Drive, Minden. Sponsors and donations needed. Search for North Webster Martial Arts on Facebook.

Every Saturday in July

9 a.m. until noon, Minden Farmer’s Market, at The Farm, corner of Highway 80 and Talton Street.

July 3

5 p.m. Downtown Minden, 5th Annual Duck Derby, Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce.

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.

May 26

Barbara Pendleton McGuire, 71, of the 700 block of Drew Lane, Minden, was arrested by WPSO for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and criminal trespass.

Alan Payne Plunkett, 25, of the 5100 block of Westwood, Shreveport, La., was arrested by WPSO for driving under suspension and illegal possession of stolen things.

Malejiah Dene Davis, 22, of Lafayette, La., was arrested by MPD as a fugitive from Lafayette Parish.

May 27

Jerry Lee McTaggart, 51, of the 200 block of S. Roosevelt St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on an outstanding warrant.

Edward Joseph Duraczynski, 61, of Doyline, was arrested by WPSO for illegal discharge of a weapon.

Shelly R. Dance, 41, of the 100 block of Robinson Dr., Minden, was arrested by MPD on a bench warrant.

May 28

Richard Thomas Marinaro, 43, of the 100 block of Palmetto Dr., Doyline, was arrested by WPSO for criminal trespassing.

Sawyer Preston Monk, 32, of Haughton, La., was arrested by WPSO for criminal trespassing.

Rochaun Thomas, 56, of the 1000 block of Talton St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, criminal trespassing, possession of a Legend drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Latravion D. Minix, 31, of the 600 block of Chestnut St., Minden, was arrested on five active bench warrants.

May 29

Jimmy Wayne Dillon, 36, of the 100 block of Slack St., Sarepta, was arrested by WPSO for driving under the influence.

Casey Wade Rhodes, 30, of the 100 block of Gildon Rd., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse battery.

Tavaras Beavers, 48, of the 3000 block of Hayes Dr., Shreveport, was arrested by LSP-G for driving while intoxicated and speeding (88 in 70 mph zone).

May 30

Morgan Blaine McCasland, 37, of Atlanta, Texas, was arrested by WPSO for criminal trespassing and simple criminal damage to property.

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 – May 30, 2023

Linda Whitlow Washington

April 20, 1941 – May 29, 2023

Springhill, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m., Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Springhill Methodist Church, Springhill, La.

Burial: Harmony Cemetery, Magnolia, Ark., under the direction Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Dr. J. Robert Kemmerly

August 15, 1936 – May 27, 2023

Minden,  La.

Visitation: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023, First Methodist Church Sanctuary, Minden, La.

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

Burial: Zion Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Jonesboro, La.

Emily Halsey Prothro Van Horn

May 4, 1923 – May 25, 2023

Baton Rouge/Minden, La.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Minden, La.

Burial: Gardens of Memory Cemetery, Minden.

Barry Wayne Teague

Oct. 13, 1953 – May 2, 2023

Minden, La.

Memorial Service: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, First Baptist Church, Minden, La.

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

April festivals bring more sales tax revenue

By Paige Nash

April was a busy month for the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission (WPCVC) between the Scottish Tartan Festival held at Miller Quarters, the installation of a brand-new kayak dock on Bayou Dorcheat and the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) tournament at Camp Minden. 

“Last year, if you recall, a lot of the festivals fell on the same day and that was a traffic jam that nobody wanted,” said WPCVC Executive Director Serena Gray. “So, Johnnye (Kennon) and I worked really hard to spread those festivals out throughout the month of April.” 

According to the parish sales tax report, there was an increase of 6.98 percent for April 2023 in comparison to the sales tax revenue collected in April of last year.   

The City of Minden also saw an increase of 11 percent in local sales tax revenue.  

The Scottish Tartan Festival brought in approximately 1,700 visitors.  

“I saw people out there at the current location that I have never seen come out to Dr. Cameron’s Farm,” said Commissioner Tracy Campbell. “I think that was a great spot but being in the heart of downtown Minden just brought people in from Shreveport-Bossier. They were everywhere and it was encouraging to see that kind of activity for a Minden festival.” 

The Scottish Tartan Festival board has not made a final decision yet, whether they will continue to host the festival at Miller Quarters Park. 

Gray said, “They haven’t given us a final yes, but all of the feedback has been positive.” 

The ASA Tournament at Camp Minden was a weekend-long event and brought in 1,500 attendees from shooters, sponsors, vendors and spectators. People traveled from 43 states and 2 countries, including Denmark and Canada.  

The tourism board also hosted a Spring paddle event at Lake Bistineau State Park the first Saturday of May. The event brought in about 150 attendees from 4 states, 6 parishes and 3 international countries- 2 people from Germany, 2 from Canada and 1 from Mexico.  

““They did not travel into Minden because they saw the paddle, but they were in Shreveport and saw the event and decided to drive in and attend it,” said Gray.” When they go back home, they are going to tell their friends about this awesome paddle they went on and share the photos. We really are giving our lake here international exposure by having people on the water that are from these other countries.” 

The WPCVC will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony and demonstration at the newly launched kayak dock located in Dixie Inn along Bayou Dorcheat on Friday, June 2. The next day, Saturday, June 3, will be their first of two Moonlight Paddle events being held this summer.

Remembering J. Robert Kemmerly, M.D.

August 15, 1936 – May 27, 2023

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Many families owe their lives and births to one of Minden’s most beloved physicians who passed away Saturday, May 27,  2023.

A newspaper article published in 2010 chronicled the life of James Robert Kemmerly who, at that time was retiring from a practice that spanned 50 years and approximately 9,000 births. He spent more than 60 years of his life in Minden.

Dr. Kemmerly was born August 15, 1936. He grew up in Baton Rouge and began working at age eight when his two older brothers mentored him in delivering newspapers. He entered college – LSU – at age 16, working two jobs: custodian of the experimental white rat laboratory and distillation of gasoline for the state motor fuel laboratory. He followed his two older brothers to medical school at LSU in New Orleans and was licensed to practice medicine at age 23.

He accrued one year of seminary training by attending Perkins School of Theology at SMU during the summers while he was in medical school. He was a captain in the U.S. Air Force at 25 and arrived in Minden at age 29 having completed his specialty residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans.

He instilled his passion for learning and teaching in his children. He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church and loved it.

In the 2010 article, Dr. Kemmerly, known by many as “Doc,” credited others for his vision and success in caring for women and their unborn children, as well as their other medical issues.

He admired Dr. Gary Daniel, doctors Sentell, C.M. Baker and Milton and Tom Richardson, as well as doctors Charles Hancock, John Hill and Sidney Pittman.

Thanks to Daniel and James Madden, Dr. Kemmerly acquired property and opened The Women’s Clinic on Homer Road.

When it was time to retire, Dr. Kemmerly, said he looked forward to cooking and possibly taking classes at Bossier Parish Community College. He described himself as a voracious reader – mostly non-fiction – and a bibliophile. He also enjoyed writing and authored three scientific medical papers that were published nationally.

Though he provided medical care to thousands of patients, he said, “I have no patients; I simply treat who comes through the door. I had no assumption of possessiveness and no restrictions on whom I would provide service.”

He said he enjoyed being stopped on the street by former patients or their children and hearing the words: “You delivered my children,” or “you delivered me.” Knowing he helped others warmed his heart.

A lifelong LSU fan, he would take friends and acquaintances to football games. His daughter, Celeste, said he was the “best daddy in the whole world.”

Funeral services for Dr. Kemmerly will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden, with visitation at 9:30 a.m. in the church’s Sanctuary.

Burial will follow at Zion Rest Primitive Baptist Church in Jonesboro, La.

He is predeceased by his parents, Carl and Edith Kemmerly, brothers Dr. Carl Kemmerly and Dr. Wright Kemmerly, and grandson Wm. Reece Kemmerly.

Survivors include his wife, Cindy Kemmerly of Minden; son David Kemmerly and wife Felicity of Tennessee; daughters Kelly Woodard and husband Pat of Minden and Celeste Williams and husband Josh of Haughton; and stepdaughters Ashley Bell of Haughton and Katie Brantley and husband C.J. of Jonesboro.

He is also survived by grandchildren Jace Williams, Alden and Emerson Kemmerly, Noah and Katharyn Woodard, Kaden McNaughton, Kenzley, Tessa Kate and Bretlyn Reeves.

“Love God and love His children.” – Dr. J. Robert Kemmerly.

Construction fundraising halfway for Ronald McDonald House

By Bonnie Culverhouse

As May is wrapping up, Ronald McDonald House Charities’ organizers have raised almost half of the $10 million needed to build a new facility in Shreveport-Bossier.

“As far as the construction part, we are more than halfway,” said CEO Janell Mason. “Our goal is to get to $6.4 million by the end of the year in donations and pledges so we can start construction.”

Last week, Mason was in Shreveport and said at that point, organizers had collected nearly $4.3 million.

“We’ve been meeting with philanthropists in the community just sharing about the project,” she said. “We are in that silent phase – we aren’t doing a broad ask.”

She said it often takes several meetings to get to the point of receiving a donation.

Ronald McDonald House has released plans to build the new $10 million, 3-story, 20,000 square ft. facility in the Shreveport-Bossier area that will house families and serve hospitals there and in surrounding parishes.

The complex will be located near Willis-Knighton South. There will be 20 family suites, indoor/outdoor place spaces, expansive kitchen and large dining room, laundry rooms, meals and snacks and personal care items, just to name a few amenities. All services are provided free to families.

While in town, Mason said she met with local architects TEG. Organizers want to keep the project as local as possible, she said.

“In a couple of weeks, we will have a meeting where the project is announced in the construction industry,” she said. “We will invite all subcontractors to come hear about the project. They will hear from families touched by Ronald McDonald House.

“When open, parents will no longer be forced to sleep in their cars while their child is hospitalized or miss life-saving appointments and procedures due to financial limitations,” Mason added.

‘Frog gigging’ takes alleged drug dealer off the street

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An alleged dealer is in jail and more drugs are off local streets following a Friday night traffic stop by Minden Police.

Quardrick Leyun “Frog” Clark, 41, of the 1400 block of Bayou Ave., Minden, is charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine, natural marijuana and synthetic marijuana – street value around $1,000. He is also charged with resisting an officer and resisting an officer with force.

Chief Jared McIver said around 8 p.m., Lt. Chris Hammontree and Off. Ben Sparks were patrolling in a 2-man unit, when they observed a black Nissan Xterra failing to use a signal as it turned from West Street onto Winford.

“As the vehicle slowed, the passenger – later identified as Clark – fled on foot holding a black bag,” McIver said. “Off. Sparks pursued on foot through backyards until he tackled Clark behind a residence in the 500 block of Winford.”

McIver said a scuffled ensued as Off. Sparks attempted to place Clark in handcuffs.

“Lt. Hammontree secured the driver, Andraeous Huey, in cuffs around the time Sgt. Reece Tewell arrived and took custody of him,” said the chief. “Lt. Hammontree went to help Off. Sparks who had Clark on the ground at gunpoint. Off. Sparks was bleeding from his right forearm.”

After Lt. Hammontree handcuffed Clark, he reportedly continued to struggle until he was placed in the patrol unit.

Officers located 1.26 grams of powder cocaine, 1.58 grams of crack cocaine, 8.29 grams of natural marijuana and 20.56 grams of synthetic marijuana in the bag and on Clark’s person, he reportedly had more than $750 in cash.

“K9 Officer Tigo performed an open-air sniff and alerted to the passenger side door where Lt. Hammontree located another bag of synthetic marijuana which Clark allegedly dropped when he exited the car,” McIver said. “An open container of D’usse alcohol was in the floorboard of the passenger side.”

Clark was on probation and Probation and Parole requested a hold. According to McIver, Huey reportedly was not charged.

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.

The only thing worse than a racist is a hypocritical racist

Disney is big on inclusion and even bigger on lecturing those who are intolerant to the beliefs and lifestyles of others.

The House of Mouse consistently is highlighted for their attempts to give larger roles to marginalized groups and have increased representation in many of the world’s largest media properties.

Good for them on that front. All people need a voice. All people need to feel like they belong no matter the color of their skin, the god they pray to, or who they love. Are you a guy and love another guy? Ok. Fine by me. People are people, and the Alpha and Omega I pray to told me to love others just like He loved me. New Testament dude here. And that’s the bottom line cause Jesus Christ said so.

But Walt Disney Co.’s love and embracement of other cultures extends no further than the western world. Because the only thing they love more than creating the appearance of positively impacting society is the green that other less tolerant nations give them.

Point in fact. Disney has a notorious history of minimizing or outright eliminating actors of color from movie posters that go with their Chinese movie releases. They did it with Poe’s character in Star Wars. They’ve done it again with the new Little Mermaid actress. She’s made to look blue rather than African American. They edit their movies to fit a certain mold for the Chinese. It’s not a good look for them. It’s cowardly, hypocritical, racist, homophobic, transphobic and pretty much every other kind of bigotry under the sun.

Their reason? None given. Media silence. Disney owns all. And he or she who owns all makes the rules and says what and what does not get reported on.

Greed rules all. Just like the worst and sleaziest politicians, Disney panders to whoever brings them the most money. They exchange morals for green. It’s easy to lecture and virtue signal in America. It’s much more difficult to do what’s right in neighborhoods that don’t care about right and wrong. Morals are subjective and morals can be sold for the right price.

The question of why corporations are greedy is a complex one, and there is no one definitive answer. However, one way to approach this question is to consider the nature and goals of corporations.

Corporations are entities established to generate profits for their owners or shareholders. The primary goal of a corporation is to maximize its profits and increase the value of its shareholders’ investments. This means that corporations are incentivized to act in ways that generate the highest possible return on investment, even if that means taking actions that may be detrimental to other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, or the environment.

There are several reasons why some people may choose to engage in unethical or illegal behavior for financial gain. One reason is simply the desire for material wealth and the perceived benefits that come with it, such as luxury goods, status, and power. Some individuals may also feel that they have no other way to achieve financial stability or success, leading them to resort to illegal or unethical means.

Another reason is the influence of social and cultural factors, such as pressure to conform to certain norms or expectations, or the belief that making money at any cost is an acceptable or even desirable goal. Additionally, some people may lack empathy or have a distorted sense of morality, leading them to prioritize their own interests over the well-being of others.

But forgoing your morals for money can have negative consequences for both you and others. Morals are a set of principles that govern your behavior and decision-making, and they are shaped by your beliefs, values, and experiences. When you compromise your morals for financial gain, you are essentially betraying your own values and principles.

Choosing not to speak out or act against racism is cowardly because it allows the problem to continue unchecked. It suggests a lack of moral courage and a willingness to tolerate injustice, which can contribute to the normalization of racist attitudes and behaviors. It is important for individuals to stand up against racism and to actively work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all people.

Remember Disney’s true colors when they are lecturing you. They don’t care about marginalized people. They care about the green.

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

Let us help you say ‘I do’

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

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

Information for engagement announcements include: 

Digital photograph of the couple 

The couple’s names 

The couple’s hometowns 

High school and/or college of the couple 

Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

Ties to the parish 

Wedding time, date, and place 

An interesting fact about the couple 

Information for the wedding announcements include: 

Digital photograph of the couple 

The couple’s names 

The couple’s hometowns 

High school and/or college of the couple 

Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 



Ties to the parish 

Wedding time, date, and place 

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

Strawberry Peach Nilla Wafer Dump Cake

If you did not know what your upcoming weekend needed, now you do!  Start your summer off by diving off into a big bowl of this warm out of the oven with some ice cream!

This is another simple layer cake that requires no mixing, bowls, or any mess other than the one pan.  The crunchy Nilla Wafers are set off with gooey pie filling and topped with strawberry cake mix and pats of butter.  NOTHING WRONG HERE!


  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 2 cans strawberry pie filling
  • 1 can peach pie filling
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2” pats
  • Ice cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 with cooking spray.  In 9×13 layer the Nilla Wafers to fit as many as you can evenly.  Next, gently pour and spread the 2 cans of strawberry pie filling followed by the peach pie filling. Sprinkle cake mix over evenly.  Top with butter squares.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cake is mostly done and top is almost golden.  Serve with ice cream.

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