UCAP needs week of May 29

United Christian Assistance Program has the following needs:

Food: Cereal, powdered milk, biscuit mix

Clothing: Men’s tennis shoes (sizes 9 and up), men’s pants/jeans (waist 32 and 34)

Household goods: towels, twin sheets, pots & pans

Toiletries: toothpaste, deodorant

Monetary donations

Thank you for supporting UCAP!

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

Upcoming Events

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

Every Saturday in June

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

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, DaqShaq will have food for sale. Corner of Highway 80 and Talton Street.

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 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 9 & 10

Grilling on Main, 2023, BBQ Cookout Festival, downtown Minden. Call 318-371-4258 to reserve a sponsorship. Visit https://pulse.ly/tumml5nl27 to register a team.

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.

Does he have an unfair advantage?

Over the past couple of years, there’s been some controversy with a certain professional angler having an unfair advantage. Today we’ll look at this particular angler who is at the root of this controversy. He’s a guy who is not a cheater, but an angler who takes advantage of how the rules of the game are written. He’s an angler, fishing at the highest level with both B.A.S.S. and Major League Fishing, who has had a lot of success doing it his way.

The angler we’re talking about is Keith Poche. Keith was raised in Natchitoches, Louisiana, attended Natchitoches Central High School, and after graduation went on to play football at Troy State University. After a knee injury, Keith decided to walk away from football and pick up a rod and reel. Even though he grew up fishing the banks of Cane River, he decided to take his fishing to another level and pursue a career as a professional angler.

In 2014, Keith qualified to fish his first Bassmaster Classic, held on the Red River out of Shreveport, where he finished 3rd overall. To say Keith has had “a little success” is an understatement. He’s had 46 top 50 finishes, 21 top 20’s, and 7 top 10’s, with a few victories mixed in.

So, a few seasons ago, Keith made a decision to fish out of a custom-built aluminum boat that allowed him to get into areas that other anglers could not. He did not want the fully wrapped fiberglass boat that 98% of the professional anglers fish out of. But his competition was not happy with him having such an advantage with his custom boat. After several events, protests were made and there were many attempts to have him disqualified for the way he was accessing backwater areas. This special boat, built to his specifications, allowed him to gain access into backwater areas holding bass that had zero pressure and, in some cases, had never seen a bait before.

As I’ve illustrated in past articles, anglers are a fickle bunch and hate it when one guy figures something out they did not. Keith figured out quickly that this was his niche, and how he could have success without breaking any rules. Now he obviously pushes the envelope, but he never violates a written rule. Still, anglers and officials knew something had to be done to “level the playing field.” One rule implemented a couple of years ago was that whatever boat you start the season with, is the same boat you must fish out of in all the tournaments.

But here’s what is amazing…these same anglers complaining are not recognizing that Keith is at a huge disadvantage when tournaments are held on large bodies of water like the Great Lakes. His small custom boat with a 90-horsepower engine is not conducive for fishing the larger bodies of water, putting him at a distinct disadvantage. Keith is restricted on how far he can go compared to the guys running 20 to 21-foot boats with 250 horsepower engines. Now Keith has never complained about him being at a disadvantage when the tour reaches these massive lakes. He just puts his head down and tries to make the best of it. Not sure if it’s just a coincidence, but no one is complaining about Keith’s small aluminum boat unless he is at or near the top of the leaderboard.  

The most recent issue came last week at the Toledo Bend B.A.S.S. Open Series where Keith ran up the lake and gained access into an area other anglers could not go. He finished 29th in this event, but a protest was made on the area and how Keith gained access.

This is a continuing story that I will make sure to monitor as Keith and his lawyers, along with B.A.S.S. officials, are working together to try and come to a mutual agreement on what’s allowed and not allowed. One thing is for sure…look for some major rule changes at B.A.S.S for the upcoming 2024 season to take away Keith’s advantage. Till next week, good luck, good fishing and make sure to wear sunscreen and good protective clothing. No one is immune to skin cancer like Melanoma.  

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.

May 24

Dehkobe C. Debose, 22, of the 100 block of Oake Tree, Minden, was arrested by WPSO for careless operation of a motor vehicle, operating without a driver’s license and operating without registration.

Gary Michael Gordon, 43, of the 1900 block of Alison Ave., Bossier City, was arrested by WPSO for simple criminal damage to property at Springhill Country Club.

Jeremy Scott Nutt, 42, of the 300 block of Sommersby Dr., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for warrants for non-payment of child support.

Laqueen N. Sims, 29, of the 500 block of Forest Grove Rd., Homer, was arrested by MPD for contempt of court.

Gabriel J. Farris, 24, of the 200 block of E. Jordan St., Shreveport, was arrested by Springhill Police for possession of Ecstasy and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.

Craigory Marcell Green, 38, of Camelot Dr., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police on three active fugitive warrants.

May 25

Edward Charles Judgeware, 58, of the 700 block of East St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for disturbing the peach by intoxication.

Charnessia S. Nichols, 30, of the 400 block of S. Park Dr.. Springhill, was arrested by WPSO for issuing worthless checks.

Chelsea N. Farley, 33, of the 700 block of Tillman Dr., Mindenb, was arrested by MPD for domestic abuse battery.

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 29, 2023

J. Robert Kemmerly, M.D.

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 wpjnewsla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)

BREAKING NEWS: Minden Police arrest man while looking for alleged murderer’s accomplice

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Following a tip on a man who may have been helping alleged murderer Cedric Stephens led Minden Police to arrest Ketric Frazier, of the 1400 block of Whispering Pines Thursday.

According to Chief Jared McIver, Minden PD, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security and the Ward 1 Marshall executed a search warrant at the Whispering Pines address.

“We were looking for Ketric ‘Capone’ Frazier and  Darien ‘Quan’ Reed who were wanted out of Sibley for aggravated second degree battery,” McIver said. “Quan, who was not there, is rumored to be helping Cedric Stephens who is wanted for second degree murder of Daniel Madison Merritt.”

Frazier was arrested for the active warrant and had no other pending charges.

Detectives reportedly located a “small amount” of marijuana in the garage, and McIver said, “So we got a secondary warrant to search the house for drugs and guns because he is a convicted felon, and we were told he had a firearm in the house.”

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.

Tourism commission considers purchase or donation of additional property

Once Church’s Chicken, this building is on the corner of East Union and Sheppard streets. The empty lot next door is also under consideration.

By Paige Nash

The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission (WPCVC) received the design plan from the Louisiana Tech School of Design, which included a suggestion of expanding the 11-acre property by purchasing additional land or having it donated to WPCVC. This land parcel under consideration is located on East Union Street.

“Originally the suggestion was to have parking on-site, but they did not want to take away from any of the green space,” said WPCVC Executive Director Serena Gray. “If we were able to get this space, then that would give us on-site parking.” 

The land being considered is currently owned by Minden local and owner of Preferred Materials, Inc., Kary Bryce.

Commissioner Ty Pendergrass spoke with Bryce about the possibility of him either selling or donating the property to the WPCVC.

“He (Bryce) said he would certainly sell it to us. He would like to get his money back and said he did not have any need for it,” said Pendergrass. “Later this year, he may have a need for a tax write-off and be able to donate it.”

Another location that the board is considering would be the land where the old Church’s Chicken restaurant was located before it closed.

“I think after people see the design plan, they will get excited to be a part of what we are doing, so who knows who else will want to jump in on this project,” said Gray.

A virtual meeting between members of the tourism board, design students and director, Kevin Singh, was held a couple of weeks ago to discuss the projected concept.

The students considered the history of the parish when producing this plan which includes infrastructure built with bricks to represent the brick road through the City of Minden and lumber to represent the old sawmill.  

The projected plan includes playgrounds, walking trails with various levels of intensity, amphitheaters in front of Sheppard Street, restrooms, food truck area and a dog park segmented into areas for large dogs and small dogs with water stations.

Another recommendation includes the installation of a zipline tower.

“We have been told it is secure and safe,” said Gray. “It is not something people would be able to access on their own. You would have to have a worker to help with paperwork and to get people on and off the zipline.”

The next step for the board is to host another roundtable discussion to begin prioritizing their next steps and breaking down this plan into phases in order to establish realistic goals, along with receiving bids on various projects within the entirety of this concept.


“Do we want all of these things? What are the non-negotiables? We may have to engage with an architectural firm to do the actual work,” said Pendergrass. “This is a concept that we did not have to pay for from Louisiana Tech. This is to give us something to go forward with and see what stuff is going to cost and how realistic it is.”

Pendergrass suggested pursuing the start-up of a sister non-profit organization that the public could “gift” to.

“Maybe like the ‘Friends of Miller Quarters.’ People could gift services and gift money. We as a commission are a non-profit, but there would be more flexibility if it was a separate organization,” said Pendergrass. “I just think we need to keep that separate from our tourism dollars.

Commissioner Sara McDaniel made the suggestion of hiring a project manager to organize and oversee the future of this project. 

She said, “Serena and Johnnye (Kennon) are already working at full capacity. Would it move faster if we hired somebody to project manage this? I don’t want us to be here next year and nothing is done.”

The board has plans to strengthen their partnership with the City of Minden and continue to work together to make this project a success for both the board and the city.

“Maybe they have a project engineer or if they hire an economic development person, they can dedicate some time towards this and we can work on this together,” said Gray. “But all signs point to – we need help.”

McDaniel is going to oversee coordinating with the city to find a person who can dedicate time to managing this project.

A date for the roundtable discussion has not been set at this time. 

The million dollar question

Will there be a significant price increase in the construction cost of a multipurpose building at Minden High School? That, students, is the (almost) one million dollar question that must be answered by the Webster Parish School Board.

Last week, the school board’s buildings and maintenance committee listened as contractors for the project, ELA Group, Inc., made the case for an additional $974,728 (and change) to cover what officials said were increased costs of materials and supplies.

Those price increases, said Ed Angel Sr.  and Jr., are the result of delays in the more than nine million dollar job caused primarily by ground water that refused to stop seeping onto the construction site. Those delays, the Angels said, have caused at least a year’s delay and have made subcontractors hesitant to move on without some type of compensation for the increased cost of goods.

While making their plea for the additional near-million, committee member Jerry Lott made note that the company had already asked for and received more than six hundred thousand dollars in change orders. That’s a bunch’a change.

Looking at the bottom line, a line that seems to be heading toward bottomless, a construction project that was originally awarded at $9.908 million has reached about ten and a half million, and all we ask is about a million more. And, by the way, it’s only a year behind schedule. 

It’s not a happy day for contractors and their subs these days. Prices indeed have spiraled and, as Angel Jr. mentioned, sometimes price increases are passed along after an order has been placed. It’s a cycle that’s about to lead to a cycle.

Anyone who needs the skinny on the background, and all the they-saids/they-saids can read the news story in the Journal. To make this long story longer, let’s cut to the chase.

School board member Jonathan Guthrie asked the pressing question: is the board contractually obligated to come up with the nine hundred-plus thousand to cover increased costs? Angel Jr. said there was no escalation clause, and the answer was no. Angel Jr. said the company was making a request.

And what if the board doesn’t agree to fork over? The answer was the dreaded “L” word, as in litigation, might be an alternative.  Your humble Rocker has no inside information, but as surely as groundwater, a board refusal will be followed soon after by legal action by ELA. On what grounds, you may ask? We’ve slept in a Holiday Inn Express but we’re no groundfinding attorney.

Although the younger Angel said possible litigation would help no one, his company and its predecessor aren’t strangers to court. 

While operating under the name All Seasons, Angel Sr. brought suit against the City of Shreveport over issues involving renovations at the former State Fair Stadium for the Shreveport Pirates of the Canadian Football League. He has also sued the U. S. government in a case involving the awarding of a contract at Overton Brooks Administration Medical Center in Shreveport. 

There have reportedly been other cases, including one which Angel Sr. now faces personally. A grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana indicted him for allegedly making false statements on an FAA application for an airman medical certificate and for theft of Government funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). That case is scheduled for trial in a couple of months.

Whatever the reasons, Angel has no problem turning loose the legal hounds. No one should be surprised if the groundwork for judicial action has already been laid. If/when the board says no to the request for additional funds, someone in some office will hit the “send” button and papers will be served.

Perhaps there’s room for compromise. Maybe the nine hundred thousand is the sticker price, and there’s room to wiggle without being stuck. That’s a decision for 12 elected officials, if the committee moves from request to recommendation. 

Whatever the decision, somebody’s not gonna be happy. And if history is a judge, somebody’s building is going to remain under construction until somebody cries uncle.

Time to get grillin’

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Number 7 is rumored to be lucky so this year’s 7th Annual Grilling on Main should be the best one ever.

Scheduled for Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10, one of the most fun competitions for the entire family will take place on Main Street in Minden, title sponsored by b1 Bank and Webster Parish Tourism.

Minden Main Street Commission president Shawn Hatcher said this is a National BCA (Barbecue Competitors Alliance)-sanctioned event.

“We have about a dozen pre-registered grillers, but we always have some who are last-minute,” Hatcher said. “They watch the weather and then decide if they are going to participate.”

Little Grillers cook Friday beginning at 6 p.m. with winners announced at 8 p.m. This event, for ages 6 to 18, is sponsored by Ace Hardware.

Main Street will be closed beginning at 5 a.m. Friday. Hatcher said grilling will take place on Main Street proper, but there will be other events that take place in the “Marquee Parking Lot” (vendors who are cooking) and Pearl Street. The Cornhole Tournament begins Friday at 7 p.m. at Union Street and Broadway, while fireworks are at 9 p.m.

Saturday’s competition kicks off at 6 a.m., with the Grillers Cooking Competition. But the day is filled with crafts, food vendors, coloring for kids and music.

Sponsors are important, not only to this event but to others Minden Main Street supports.

“Our big donors are always here for us, but we can use more sponsors and donations,” Hatcher said.

Hatcher said judges are local and they rotate. To be a judge for the cook off, contact April Aguilar at 318-377-2144.

Music at Easley Studios “Courtyard”

6 until 10 p.m. Friday, June 9 – The Chuck Jones Band

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10 – Grammy Nominated Buddy Flett

To register for any and all events (including the Corn Hole Tournament), call 371-4258 or visit www.mindenla.org/gom .

How to fix summertime boredom – DON’T!

Sweet, sweet summertime is upon us my friends. 

Last week was no doubt the busiest week of my entire life, which is to be expected when you have three kids. Ashton was graduating from preschool and enjoying some end of year activities. Emerson had cheer tryouts, dress rehearsals and her annual dance recital. They both wrapped up their ball seasons, while Kameron was just along for the ride. Although, keeping up with her amid all of this is a task in itself. 

But now school is over, late nights at the ballpark are behind us and dance sessions will not resume until August. All at once, the chaos is over – at least for a little while. I am sure looking forward to not having to drive 100 miles a day getting kids to a from places, my car being absolutely packed with ball bags, leftover french fries that missed being devoured in the backseat in between activities and having to listen to the Baby Shark song a million times to keep Kameron from absolutely spazzing out in a carline. You can conclude from this that we practically lived in my vehicle for a little while, always on the go. 

This week has been a complete 180. Things are slower, we are at home more and instead of being so focused on what is happening next, I am living more for now. But with these slower days comes the inevitable, “Mom, I’m bored!” 

Bored??? Let me be bored with you, please! (I cannot tell you the last time I was bored.) 

Usually if the girls tell me they are bored I will find them some chores to do or an activity to do around the house. I tell them to go for a walk or find a friend to play with. Go watch television or your iPad. But now I am thinking of trying an innovative approach… ready for it? Just be bored! 

It is good for kids to not be always entertained and have a little unstructured time on their hands. Instead of jumping up to find them something to preoccupy their time- let them get creative, allow them an opportunity to plan out their day and solve their “problem” of boredom on their own.  

These are all skills that kids can benefit from and may not be able to develop on their own if their parents constantly structure their every waking minute, so let them be bored this summer and maybe find a little time to be bored yourself. 

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal and publisher of Bienville and Claiborne Parish Journals. She is NEVER bored.)

Local clinic offers walk-in, same-day service

By Paige Nash

Minden Pediatrics will begin holding an open clinic Monday, June 5, and into the foreseeable future.

“We are going to start seeing walk-ins and same day appointments,” said owner and pediatrician Michael Ulich. “The urgent cares are killing our business.” 

Ulich hopes this decision will eliminate patients using urgent cares who are not pediatric trained, instead of their primary care office. 

The open clinic will be available to provide sick visits as well as physical check-ups to new and old patients.

“It benefits new patients because there is accountability for care and better follow up,” said Ulich. “The established patients benefit by going to a clinic that knows the patients current and past treatments and past medications.”

According to Ulich, who has practiced pediatric care for almost 20 years, the urgent care facilities are more likely to over treat and over diagnose, which can be harmful both to the immediate care and long-term health of a patient.

“Many of the things providers do in the urgent cares are reactionary and not proactive, while most primary care physicians will rule out acute and chronic disease and are less likely to over treat,” said Ulich. “They also do not have the luxury of checking in on a patient the next day.”

He gave another example of the differences between an urgent care provider and a primary care physician, explaining the concept of the “ME NOW and the FUTURE NOW medical experiences.”

The “ME NOW” medical experience involves getting into and out of a medical facility as fast as possible, while the “FUTURE NOW” medical experience includes treating for today, tomorrow and the future of patients. 

“That is what true primary care medicine when practiced correctly should be,” said Ulich.

This change in operation will not affect patients that already have appointments or would like to set up appointments in the future. 

If you have any questions regarding the newly established “open clinic” please call the Minden Pediatrics office at 318-377-7116. 

Memorial Day food safety tips

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2022), approximately 48 million individuals get sick,128,000 are hospitalized and sadly 3,000 people die from a foodborne illness each year in the United States. Foodborne illness, often called food poisoning, is an illness that comes from a food that you eat. It is important that adult consumers know and practice safe food-handling behaviors regularly to help reduce and prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Foodborne pathogens can appear on foods that looks completely normal; however, unsafe foods may carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites which can make an individual extremely sick. The rule of thumb is to never taste a food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt throw it out. To reduce the spread of foodborne illness please follow these four food safety tips below. 

  1. Clean : Wash hands and surfaces often

Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food.

• Wash hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or

handling pets.

• Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood products and preparation of any other food that will not be cooked. As an added precaution, sanitize cutting boards and countertops by rinsing them in a solution made of one tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water, or, as an alternative, you may run the plastic board through the wash cycle in your dishwasher.

• Use paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If using cloth towels, you should wash them often in the hot cycle of the washing machine.

• Wash produce. Rinse fruits and vegetables, and rub firm-skin fruits and

vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds

that are not eaten.

• With canned goods: remember to clean lids before opening.

  1. Separate: Don’t cross- contaminate 

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are spread from one food product to another. This is especially common when handling raw meat, poultry, seafood,

and eggs. The key message is to keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.

To prevent cross-contamination, remember to:

• Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your

grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and in your refrigerator.

• Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat,

poultry, seafood, or eggs without first washing the plate with hot soapy water.

• Don’t reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.

• Consider using one cutting board only for raw foods and another only for

ready-to-eat foods, such as bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meat.

  1. Cook: Cook foods to safe internal temperatures

To ensure that your foods are cooked safely, always:

• Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods. Remember color is not an indicator of the doneness of foods. Check the internal temperature in several places to make sure that the meat, poultry, seafood, or egg product is cooked to safe minimum internal temperatures. 

Click the link below to download the most updated food temperature chart provided by Food Safety.gov.


  1. Chill: Refrigerate promptly

Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure

the refrigerator temperature is always 40 °F or below and the freezer temperature is 0 °F or below.

To chill foods properly:

• Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within

2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature

outside is above 90 °F.

• Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the countertop. It is safe to

thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. If you thaw

food in cold water or in the microwave, you should cook it immediately. When using the cold-water method to thaw foods, the water must be changed every 30 minutes, so the food item continues to thaw and not enter the danger zone. The “Danger Zone,” is between 40 and 140 °degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures bacteria multiplies more rapidly.

• Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

(Shakera Williams, M.P.H. is Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent- FCS for Webster/Claiborne parishes. Contact her at (318) 371-1371.)

A day for the kids at Caney Lake

By Paige Nash

The Webster Parish Convention and Tourism Commission (WPCVC) is partnering with the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society to host a Kid’s Day at Caney on June 24.  

This event will focus on water safety and an introduction to kayaking.  

“The goal is to make it a free event for the kids in our community,” said WPCVC Executive Director Serena Gray. “There are a lot of children who are going to have a lot of time on their hands this summer, and I would love to see them at our parks, but I want them to be safe.” 

Gray mentioned an incident that occurred a couple of years back when a young boy jumped off a dock at the lake and lost his life and another incident that happened where two high school boys flipped their boat on Lake Bistineau and one passed away.  

“I feel like we are the perfect organization to help advocate for the importance of water safety, including wearing the appropriate PFD (Personal Flotation Device). This Kid’s Day at Caney is definitely a step in that direction.”

Gray has spoken with Jerry Madden in regard to reestablishing a boat safety program at the parish schools. 

“He used to do that program and he said it is low to no cost,” said Gray. 

Madden would bring his boat and park it in the lot outside various schools and provide a demonstration and speech on boat/water safety. 

“We have had kids in elementary school and kids in high school who have drowned,” said Gray. “I think we would start off with elementary, but eventually I would love to see this for elementary, junior high and high school kids. The bayou runs the length of the parish, so every community has access to the water and I just want them to be safe and have fun.”

Gray is also throwing around the idea of beginning a life jacket giveaway on an annual basis before school-age students are out for summer and ready to hit the water over their break. 

Make your special day more special with a story and photo in Webster Parish Journal

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 wpjnewsla@gmail.com

Historically Speaking: Doyline’s Greentrees Housing Project

By Jessica Gorman

Construction of the Louisiana Ordnance Plant during World War II brought with it the need for employee housing. One solution was construction of a federal housing project, known as the Greentrees project in Doyline.

In May 1942, a 45 acre site was selected “near the south entrance of the Louisiana Ordnance Plant.” The project, funded by the Federal Public Housing administration, was to included 200 prefabricated housing units. Work on the project began in October. By December, the site had been prepared and the foundations for 15 houses were in place with the first of the houses set to arrive by the end of the month.

In January, claiming that the houses were unnecessary, the housing administration cancelled the project despite the fact that all the foundations were in place, one house had been completed, and nine more were “on the tracks in Doyline” awaiting installation. They argued that there were six dormitories available at the plant, that many houses were available in Minden and Shreveport, and tires and gasoline would be furnished to all commuting workers. In response, Senator Allen Ellender, Congressman Overton Brooks, and Rev. Ray Redburn of the Doyline Improvement Association met with federal housing officials in Washington to present evidence of the need for housing in Doyline and ask that they consider continuation of the project. “As a result of the minister’s visit, representatives of the federal housing administration visited Doyline to review the situation.” By the end of the month, it was decided that the project would resume but with a decrease in the number of units from 200 to 150.

Construction of the project continued. The housing authority began taking applications for tenants in May. The housing units included one-, two-, or three-bedroom options. Some were single-family units while others were duplexes. Each unit came equipped with a stove, refrigerator, water heater, and “complete bathrooms.” The rental rates were $22.50 for a one-bedroom unit, $25.00 for a two-bedroom unit, and $27.50 for a three-bedroom unit. Tenants were also able to apply for a space in the Victory Garden. 

Completion of the project, at a cost of $624,000, was announced in July 1943. The housing units were “grouped into courts instead of blocks, each court being given a name…which have become important because of the war.” “Examples of the names are Attu, Bataan, Casa Blanca, Dakar, Guadalcanal, Holland, Expeditionary Courts, July 4th, Kiska, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Russia, Tunis, United Nations, Victory, Yorktown, Washington, and others.” The two main streets were named Bistineau Avenue and Dorcheat Avenue.

Fourteen years later, the Greentrees project was declared surplus property by the Department of Defense. The decision was made, that if no other federal agency had need of the property, it would be put up for auction. This auction was held in July 1958 at the Doyline High School auditorium. There were 800 people in attendance. The auditorium could only hold 500 forcing the remaining 300 to stand outside, some of them bidding through the windows. Bids were taken for individual structures as well as the entire property minus 11 acres and 8 buildings that had been transferred to the Webster Parish School Board. Troy Dutton, a Fort Worth home builder, placed the high bid of $137,000 for the entire project which included 96 buildings, land and facilities with plans to leave the homes in place for a subdivision. 

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

Upcoming Events

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

May 25

9 a.m. Minden High School 9th through 11th grade awards.

May 26

7 p.m. Minden High School graduation.

Memorial Day Photo Project. Feature a photo of your fallen hero on a Memorial Day Wall, Webster Parish Libraries, Minden branch. Contact Valarie Killgore at 318-371-3080, ext. 123 for more information.

May 27

8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Chris Bailey Memorial Golf Tournament and Auction, Homer Golf Course. Silent and live auctions. All proceeds donated to the family. For more information, contact John Tinsley at 318-927-9323.

June 2

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

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 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 9 & 10

Grilling on Main, 2023, BBQ Cookout Festival, downtown Minden. Call 318-371-4258 to reserve a sponsorship. Visit https://pulse.ly/tumml5nl27 to register a team.

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.

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 23

Danny Allen, 62, of the 400 block of Winford St., Minden, was arrested by MPD on warrants for domestic abuse battery with strangulation, operating a vehicle with suspended license, careless operation of a motor vehicle and aggravated assault.

David Troy Burditt, 44, of the 100 block of Lawson Davidson, Minden, was arrested by WPSO on warrants from Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Nathaniel Cade Brunson, 22, of the 300 block of Oak Dr., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for illegal possession of a stolen firearm.

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.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of May 18. All civil suits are public record.

May 18

Angela Woodard vs. Christopher Woodard, protective order.

Oscar Williams vs. State Farm Insurance, damages.

Service Partners LLC vs. Chase Slack, damages.

May 19

Pennymac Loan Services LLC vs. Pamela Lynn Ceccarelli, executory process.

Shelley Karl Logan vs. Nancy Geneva Logan, divorce.

John Michael Page vs. Kaitlyn Nicole Whittington, divorce.

Freedom Mortgage Corp. vs. Gregory Green and Canada Ann Campbell Green, executory process.

Shemarrera vs. Fredric Washington Jr., protective order.

Gateway Mortgage vs. Charles J. Purdy, executory process.

May 22

Discover Bank vs. Tina R Baskin, monies due.

Sheffie Fabre and Betty Fabre vs/ State Farm Insurance Co., damages.

Loandepot.com LLC VS. John Richard Nugent, executory process

May 23

Dustin Daniel Cleaver vs. Haley Lynn Cleaver, divorce.

Tammy Wingfield vs. Gregory Wingfield, divorce w/children.

Discover Bank kvs. Donna Davis, monies due.

UHG LLC vs. Michael Giddings, monies due.

UHG LLC. Vs. Tomasa J. Tobin, monies due.

May 24

American Express National Bank vs. Patrick Fee Jr., monies due.

Discover Bank vs. Joseph D. Smith, monies due.

Notice of Death – May 24, 2023

Louise Stanley Youngblood

August 13, 1928 – May 19, 2023

Bossier/Doyline, La.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Thursday, May 25, 2023, Airline Baptist Church

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

Burial: Rose-Neath Cemetery.

John Everett Speer

Dec. 23, 1956 – May 22, 2023

Haynesville, La.

Funeral service: No information is available at this time.

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 wpjnewsla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)

MFD to the rescue … in a new rescue trailer

From left, Capt. Tony Hall, Capt. Corey Plunkett and Fire Chief Brian Williams.

Minden Fire Department has acquired a new rescue trailer thanks to a grant from Claiborne Electric.

MFD Chief Brian Williams said he applied for a grant through Claiborne Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up in 2021 in order to purchase a new dive/water rescue trailer for the Minden Fire Department/Webster Parish Dive Team.

“The team outgrew the older trailer and it was no longer efficient,” Williams said. “The old dive trailer was provided by OHSEP (Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness). It will be repurposed and given to the Springhill Fire Department soon.”

Due to manufacturing delays, the trailer was not completed and put into service until recently.

Capt. Tony Hall, Dive Director with MFD agreed the dive team has outgrown the old trailer’s capabilities.

“The old trailer had a low ceiling that made it difficult to maneuver when getting into the dive gear,” Hall said. “The new trailer has a higher ceiling that includes a roof-mounted heating/AC unit, which is a necessity when diving in cold water and storing temperature sensitive equipment in hot environments.”

The new trailer has scene lights, automatic awnings and a propane-powered generator. It has custom storage compartments built by members of MFD to store dive gear.

“The Webster Parish OHSEP office provided some new gear for flood water/dive/rescue a couple of years ago,” Williams said. “But we did not have the proper storage for the equipment until now.”

With the new trailer, MFD is better equipped to respond faster when needed to provide assistance to the citizens of Webster Parish, as well as requests for assistance from neighboring parishes.

“We are proud to announce there are four members currently being trained in Open Water Diving, Advanced and Stress Rescue Diving and Public Safety Diver Search and Recovery,” said the chief. “Adding new divers is costly and would not be possible without the assistance of Webster Parish OHSEP and Claiborne Electric funding the new dive trailer.”

Smith looks to continue Lakeside’s softball success

By Josh Beavers

Lakeside has hired Britney Frazier Smith to lead its Lady Warriors softball program. 

But before we get to the meat and potatoes, an interview with the new coach, let’s take a moment to look at what’s going on down south Webster way. 

Anyone who has any knowledge of Lakeside knows the school is blessed  with a lot of young softball talent and has an excellent feeder school both academically and athletically. 

The parental and community support is dynamic, and the facilities are about to undergo a makeover consisting of turf, new fencing, paint, and a new hitting and pitching facility.  

In short, there has never been a better time to be a Lady Warrior softball player.  

“I knew when Coach Roo Johnson decided to step down that I owed it to the program to replace her with a quality coach,” Lakeside principal Denny Finley told the Journal Tuesday.  “Coach Johnson has been very helpful during this process, and she wants the program to only get better.  Coach Gary Cooper and I hit the ground running in the search and actually interviewed some amazing people for the job.”

Finley said he thought it was figured out last week but then into his office walked Brittany Smith.  

“There was no doubt after the meeting, there was a new front runner.  I knew that Brittany was a great coach, but most importantly to me is that she wanted to come to Lakeside and lead the Lady Warriors,” he said.  “I knew that Brittany would take care of our young ladies that play softball at Lakeside, which is the most important thing, and win in the process.”

Smith built a championship level program at 5A Airline High in Bossier City. She takes over from Roo Johnson who recently stepped down from the position.  

Coach Smith and her husband Caleb have two children – Kinsler, 5, and Carter, 2.

The Journal spoke to Coach Smith Tuesday:

Question:  Tell our readers about your coaching experience. 

Answer: Softball has been a part of my life since I was born. I have coached at Airline for 8 years – 4 as an assistant and 4 as a head coach. In 2021, we were state runner up. Quarter finalist in 2018 and 2019. I have coaches travel ball with American Freedom and Titans for a few years. 

Question: Why Lakeside?

Answer: I chose Lakeside because for as long as I can remember, I have always dreamed of a small country school. We will be closer to my husband’s family and work as well. My husband, Caleb, has been driving an hour to work for 4 years now, so this will get him much closer. I have heard amazing things from so many people about Lakeside and the community. I tend to over think a lot but when I went to visit for the first time, I knew it was the place for me. God showed me a lot of signs to take this position. 

Question: Why are athletics important in school?

Answer: I think athletics are important in school because they teach so many life skills. They teach accountability, mental toughness, teamwork, grit, selflessness, and they create many lifelong bonds. Culture and family are very important to me and sports really instill that in student athletes. 

Question: What are your initial plans for the team and players?

Answer: My initial plans for the team is to meet the players and begin summer workouts. I plan to continue to build on the success of the program.

Question: What are your long term plans?

Answer: My long term plans are to have teams that are consistently competitive and thriving in the playoffs and continue to build on the work that coach Roo has started. She has done a great job there, and I am excited to continue it.

Monroe woman arrested during STEP stop

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden’s Safety Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) continues to benefit local entities through traffic stops on Interstate 20.

Jessica M. Morris, 22, of the 200 block of Jefferson Dr., Monroe, was arrested by MPD eastbound at mile marker 48 Saturday. She is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and Fentanyl.

Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said Off. Kendale Booker was working STEP around 3:30 p.m. when he observed a grey Chevrolet Silverado traveling 86 in a 70 mile-per-hour zone.

“A traffic stop was initiated and the driver was identified as Morris,” McIver said. “The officer called for back-up and when Lt. Brandon Curry arrived, Off. Booker told him he could smell marijuana emitting from the passenger side of the vehicle.”

The smell of the controlled dangerous substance was enough to initiate a search of the vehicle, which yielded 43.1 grams of marijuana, one ultra Cigarillo package containing 2.1 grams of marijuana, a 6-pack of ultra Cigarillos (green sweet) and four Fentanyl pills in a clear plastic bag.

STEP funds collected from citations are dispersed among the City of Minden, the City Judge’s office, Minden Police Department and the Ward Marshal’s Office, after pay and other expenses are deducted.

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 coolest of all summer staples

The problem with making homemade ice cream when you were a kid is it seemed to take forever to freeze.


I scream, you scream, we all scream if the homemade ice cream won’t freeze.

It was like waiting for school to let out or Christmas morning to come. Though the object is the polar opposite, waiting on ice cream to freeze is the same metaphorically as waiting for the watched pot to boil.

“Is it ready yet?”

But some things are worth waiting on: A woman. Game 7. That first autumn day.

And homemade ice cream. The best things just won’t be rushed.

Seems like when we were kids that making homemade ice cream was about as common as shucking corn. On our back porch were muddy boots, a mop and broom, emergency dog food in case scraps were in short supply, a deep freeze filled with stuff in white packing paper and clear quart bags, and a gradually rotting wooden ice cream tub and briny crank handle contraption. Always in the bottom of the tub was the white rock salt residue that never quite came out.

Never did I know as a child what the rock salt was for, only that you “needed it” to “make the ice cream freeze.” That’s what the grownups said. Grownups took a lot of time not explaining stuff to us back then.

“But why?” a little person would say.

“Because I said so,” a big person would say.

It was a simpler time.

Naturally, we just assumed the salt kept the ice cream from contracting rickets.

I have since learned (off the streets) that the salt combines in some chemical way with the ice to lower the temperature a bit below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, thus assuring that the mixture inside the Magic Silver Tube, surrounded by ice, freezes.

It’s one of those science deals.

A couple of weeks ago at the beach, my high school friend J.C. Penney (the four-time Louisiana state 4-H Good Grooming Champ back in the day, which is another column for another time) ran out of salt and out of luck while attempting a homemade batch. He bought salt the next morning and added it to the ice. Less than 20 minutes of churning later, the ice cream was tight as Dick’s hat band and cold as a penguin’s nose. Sweet.

Folks don’t seem to make homemade ice cream as much today as they used to. And that’s a shame. Making homemade ice cream taught us some handy life lessons that today’s kids miss out on.

True, food folk have figured out how to make Food You Buy At The Store better. Preservatives and whatnot. Cake mixes are about as good from the box now as the ones you can make from scratch. What I’m saying here is that if you’ve eaten Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, I can pretty much rest my case.

But in the days before electric churns, making homemade ice cream taught you patience and safety. The first thing our dads had us boys do was sit on the top of the freezer while they hand churned. This took a calendar day and you couldn’t feel your frozen butt until Tuesday.

The next growing-up step was to sit on the churn and turn it at the same time. This required dexterity and skill, because you haven’t lived until you’ve been churning and accidentally hit yourself in a delicate area. Some things you can feel, even frozen. I scream, you scream…

(From July 2012)

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