Minden Mayor: Power outage imminent

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Unfortunately, City of Minden residents are in the dark about when they will be … in the dark. Because of a fire at Entergy’s Gilark substation early Sunday, Minden’s power will be out while the parts and equipment are repaired.

“The short answer to all of this is, I don’t know,” said Minden Mayor Nick Cox. “I don’t know when Entergy will have all their components together, or how long it will take to fix it, but they are responsible for the repairs. Presently, we cannot determine when the outage will occur, nor the anticipated duration.”

Cox said the plan is for Entergy to work at night when they do have their components, so residents will be without power only during the night. 

In a press release, Cox said the substation suffered significant damage to a potential transformer, buss and lightning arresters. “In particular, the potential transformer exploded and will need to be repaired urgently.”

Gilark substation is Minden’s only tie to the power grid.

“Some of us went to Gilark Sunday morning and saw the insulators covered in soot,” said the mayor. “I did not know this until that time, but that soot works as an electricity conductor, so it is very dangerous.”

Check back for updates in Webster Parish Journal.

Pair arrested for cultivating potted pot

More than 50 marijuana plants located at a residence in the 400 block of Scooter Roach Rd.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Ward 1 Deputy Marshal Marvin Garrett may not be a botanist, but he has an eye for plants.

According to Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker, Tuesday morning Garrett was serving civil papers in the 400 block of Scooter Roach Rd. when, from the driveway of the house, he spotted multiple suspected marijuana plants in the backyard.

“Deputy Garrett contacted WPSO Capt. Bobby Igo and Sgt. Josh McCormick and awaited their arrival at the residence,” Parker said. “After acquiring a search warrant, contact was made with the residents of the home – DeCarlos Sterling and Brittany Couch, who were not at home at the time.”

Parker said the residents arrived shortly after and were advised law enforcement was aware of the marijuana plants being grown outside the house.

“Sterling admitted to growing the plants, but Couch denied any knowledge of them,” Parker said. “The search warrant was then executed and approximately 50 potted marijuana plants were seized. Two of the plants were in the kitchen in a tent with a lighting device.”

Sterling, 34, and Couch, 38, were charged with cultivation of marijuana. Couch had a previous marijuana arrest.

“It’s still against the law here, and as long as it is, we’re not going to tolerate it,” said the sheriff.

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.

Two plants were under a special light in a tent in the kitchen.

‘Still Flying’ patients, students, fly-ins

Brian and Parker Still participated in the AirRunners Fly-In at the Minden Airport last Spring. The event is tentatively set for April of 2024, with funds raised going to “Pilots For Patients,” a 501 (3) (c) non-profit flying service headquartered in Monroe. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)

By Marilyn Miller

When a child tells a parent, “It was my goal to follow my dad,” does Dad’s throat suddenly close up and tears just as hurriedly appear?

Dad’s chin was in his chest, so there was no way to discern that, but Brian Still had to have felt like he was flying in the clouds…Oh, wait a minute! Brian Still does fly in the clouds. And so does his 20-year-old son, Parker Still, who spoke those endearing words.

Today, the father and son team own three Cessna four-place (seats) airplanes, single engine, three combined (in airplane speak), two of which are housed in a hangar at the Minden Airport. A third is located off a grass runway on the Still’s cattle ranch in Taylor, LA. “It’s a hobby we are REALLY into,” Brian quipped, his son nodding his head in agreement.

Brian spent his summers in high school working on a cotton farm in Greenville, MS. The farmer who owned the place was also a crop duster. Imagine a boy of 15 getting into the middle of that. “I fell in love with it and on my 16th birthday I flew my first solo flight. On my 17th birthday, I got my license.”

Fast-forward 30 years, and Brian has logged 2,500 hours in the air, licensed on commercial, multi-engine instrument-rated planes.

Back when he and his wife, Barbara, started their family, the kids started flying “aboard” small airplanes while still in diapers. So Parker was hooked early. He was only 15 when he began putting flying hours into a log book. Then he followed his dad with the solo and license coming on his 16th and 17th birthdays, respectively. But he went a step further and earned his instructor’s license on a single engine airplane. Today he has 900 hours in the air, and he has trained 10 students for their solo flights and three more are now private pilots. But by the end of the year, that number will double, Parker believes.

Some students are just looking to fly solo, he explained, not to become licensed. Why? Because flying is not cheap. Parker recommends that someone “thinking about” flying check out the costs that are involved both short and long-term first.

Ever the entrepreneur, Parker also rents two planes at Minden Airport for instruction. All this and he is still a full-time student at Louisiana Tech University majoring in Aviation Management, with a minor in Business Administration. He is owner/operator of “Still Flying” (instructor), is a member of the Cook Baptist Church in Ruston, and is affiliated with “Pilots for Patients.”

Brian is the fulltime owner/operator of Timberland Services in Taylor and a cattle rancher. Their family, which includes daughter, Landrie, 18, and younger son, Nolan, 15, are members of the First Baptist Church in Minden, where Brian serves on the Missions Committee. He helps performing mission work both in the U.S. and abroad. He is active with the Webster Men of Courage. A 1999 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Agricultural Business, he is also affiliated with “Pilots for Patients.”


Five men from Minden are currently pilots for the “Pilots for Patients” organization, which is headquartered in Monroe. Albert Tucker, Jr., Daniel Blell (a professional pilot for the airlines), Brian Still, Parker Still, and Dustin Howell have flown nearly 350 “missions” for PFP. Over the past six years, these pilots have used their own resources and time to fly (non-emergency) patients to treatments in a 350-mile radius of the 69 small airports in Louisiana. Some 255 of those missions served people in Minden (including the Bossier, Homer and Springhill areas).

Altogether, “Pilots for Patients” has flown 7,180 missions since 2008, for a total of 2.6 million nautical miles, said Kari Barnett, Marketing & Event coordinator.

Founder and president of PFP, Philip M. Thomas, flew over 200 missions for another patient flight company before he began to realize that Louisiana was not being fairly served. In 2007, he began to pray about starting his own operation. God answered his prayers and in 2008, “Pilots for Patients” took off, working from a hangar in Monroe.

A typical flight is within 350 miles, Kari said, although “We will link with sister organizations to fly up to 1,000 nautical miles.” A total of 75 percent of the flights from this state are bound for M.D. Anderson in Houston, but many of the pilots take patients to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

PFP is “patient driven,” Kari explained. With a five-day lead time, a patient calls or emails in a request for transportation to a treatment facility, and the coordinators in Monroe get the ball rolling. Handling logistics, with Kari’s help, is Mission Coordinator Stacey Hutto. 

Most of the patients are “financially strapped” and can’t afford meals once they get to their destinations. There are other ground costs as well. That’s why the community is so important. The largest fund-raiser for PFP is the “Prop Blast” which takes place Sept. 16 at the ULM Bayou Pointe Event Center in Monroe. The activities help raise money for recruitment and the gift bags that patients receive. “Pilots for Patients” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


There are 140 active pilots flying for PFP currently, but more are always needed! That is why the AirRunners Fly-In will take place again during the Spring of 2024 at the Minden Airport. Coordinators Molly Fowler, Parker Still and Landon Wilhite hope to raise funds to help with recruitment, etc.  For information on sponsorships, flight instruction, and more, call 371-7862 and you’ll be directed to the right party.

Sawyer Hunt, his mom and Brian Still are heading to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Only a case is being built 

There’s more troubling news for the general contractor tasked with construction of a multi-purpose building at Minden High School…a project that’s running about a year behind schedule and currently mired in the mud of continued delays concerning money.

ELA Group, Inc.’s first bad news came when earlier this month our parish school board said “no” to the company’s request for nearly one million dollars in additional funds to cover unanticipated price increases. When asking for the additional money, ELA owners Ed Angel Sr. and Jr. dropped the litigation hint.

Now, it looks like the Angels will indeed get a day (or several) in court, but it won’t be the WPSB sitting across the bench. A Monroe-based subcontractor to ELA on another Webster Parish school system project filed suit Thursday, July 20, for monies the company has been owed since January, 2022.

In the suit filed in 26th Judicial District (Bossier/Webster) Court, Streeter Service Electric, Inc. is seeking just a few dollars over $15,000 for “installation of controls and related wiring for HVAC ‘mini-split’ units installed in classrooms.” 

That work mentioned in the lawsuit was part of a parish project seeking additions and alterations to E.S. Richardson and J.L. Jones elementary schools. ELA was low bidder/general contractor. 

In its filing, Streeter claims ELA requested the company to complete work that was not in the original “scope of the parties’ contract” and that Streeter “…received assurances from ELA that it would be compensated for this additional work.” The suit claims ELA continues “…to refuse, without basis…” payment of $15,060 for the additional work.

Your humble observer found this little item in the parish civil suits filings which, by the by, should be published this week. While we found it revealing, there’s probably 13 or so who might find it educational. Parish school board members and Superintendent Johnny Rowland might want to follow this action closely for more than 900,000 reasons.

At its meeting in which the additional money was denied, one school board member asked about an email reportedly from ELA to Rowland in which the company akined itself to the kid on the playground who will take his ball and go home unless the game’s played his way.

That email, in essence, said if ELA didn’t get the money requested the MHS project might be discontinued (abandoned?) and subcontractors might walk off the job. A legal friend believes that could be a firing shot across the bow with splash-down in the courthouse, i.,e., litigation. 

While nothing is proven yet in the civil suit Streeter vs. ELA, it does hint that people are dealing with people who have no problem asking, nay, demanding more money while looking the other way to people with an apparent legitimate claim. But, as noted, the only thing etched in stone in the civil suit is the allegation.

There could be a real dance class in the offing at our courthouse if ELA decides to try and make our board cough up that additional near mill, or if the school board wants to turn the tables on some type of failure to complete/breach of contract case.  

One would have to wear skates to watch ELA play defendant in one courtroom and plaintiff in another. Not likely, though. This could be a two-act play with at least a 52-week run.

Briefly: We read with curiosity the news story of anonymous, threatening letters being mailed not to any person mentioned but to local businesses. That, in itself, is about as odd as an honest member of Congress. 

After working with (not in) law enforcement for many years, your obedient servant understands the need to keep information in-house. Too much gives the advantage to the sought, while too little makes tongues wag. In the case of our unusual anons, there certainly isn’t too much out there which makes speculation difficult. And that’s good.

There is, however, a twist to this little puzzlement. We hear the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working a similar situation somewhere and has taken the driver’s

seat from our local investigators. 

We’re sure the ladies and gentlemen (or whatever preferred references/pronouns/genders) who man (person) the trenches are still dedicated to solving crime. Can’t say the same for administrators. And it’s often the higher-ups who review investigations and determine direction or redirection.

So after getting the ball from our folks, we would be remiss if we did not ask the FBI if it plans to take the Biden or Trump approach to looking into our unknown author’s motives. If it’s the Biden, we might know something before the end of the decade, but certainly not before an election. If it’s Trump-like, the case will be solved quicker’n a minnow can swim a dipper.

And no, friends and fellow observers, that is neither an endorsement nor expression of sympathy for The Donald.

This evening, kick off the 2023 Hall of Fame festivities at a free reception from 5-7

You’re invited, free of charge, this evening from 5-7 to a star-studded casual party — the La Capitol Welcome Reception kicking off the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

It’s in downtown Natchitoches, at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street (at the traffic circle) in Natchitoches. No need to dress fancy, just enjoy food and refreshments and music and a world-class museum, mingling with some of our state’s greatest sports stars and their families.

The Class of 2023 includes a two-time Super Bowl MVP (Eli Manning, who arrives Friday), a women’s basketball superstar from Shreveport with Natchitoches roots (Alana Beard), a College World Series-winning LSU coach (Paul Mainieri) and three more TIgers sports heroes (big league pitcher Paul Byrd, NFL receiver Wendell Davis from Shreveport and two-time USA track and field Olympian Walter Davis).

There’s another Pro Bowl NFL star, former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, a Tulane star from Slidell. He did things that only two other NFL backs ever have done, and now runs a charitable foundation and works in a ministry in Chicago.

For fans of the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers, Ron Washington will entertain you – he managed the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, and as the current third base coach for the Braves, he was also in that role when Atlanta won the 2021 Fall Classic. He was also third base coach in Oakland during the “Moneyball” years (he’s a featured character in the movie headlined by Brad Pitt). 

Braves fans, this is a double bonus for you. Along with “Wash,” Byrd – whose LSU pitching accomplishments are on a short list with Paul Skenes and Ben McDonald – has been a color analyst on Braves TV game coverage who has won regional sports Emmy Awards.  Here’s your chance, this evening, to get the inside angle on the club.

Meet the amazing 86-year-old Walter Imahara, a Japanese-American who became a world-class weightlifter for decades – while running a Baton Rouge floral business, and serving in the United States military in the early 1960s. Another Baton Rouge hero is M.L. Woodruff, who won 11 state championships coaching baseball for Parkview Baptist, and now is also involved in a ministry.

Sports journalists Bruce Brown (Lafayette) and Lori Lyons (New Orleans/Houma) have covered many amazing games and highly-accomplished athletes, including plenty of LSHOF members, in their careers and will be inducted next weekend as well.

The Welcome Reception provides the best possible opportunity to stroll around the 27,500-square foot museum, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Lots of display items have been rotated into exhibits, and there’s a new Kim Mulkey exhibit showcasing the LSU women’s basketball coach.

Just ahead — the free Friday evening Rockin’ River Fest concert on the downtown riverbank stage. Music starts at 6, with Manning joining his 2023 classmates on stage at 9:15, followed by a 10-minute fireworks show set to sports-themed music. There will be a free kids zone presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers with games under the Front Street bridge.

You’re invited to all the fun. Visit LaSportsHall.com or call 318-238-4255 to get more information and the schedule for the three-day celebration, and for participation opportunities for three ticketed events.


Trash truck catches fire at Dixie Inn business

Photo by Johnathan Nash

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Fire District 7 and Minden Fire Department responded to a trash truck fire at a truck stop in Dixie Inn Wednesday.

Minden Fire Chief Brian Williams was first on the scene at around 11:30 a.m.

“The fire was in the ‘hopper’ of the truck,” Williams said. “District 7 and Minden Engine 1 arrived at the same time and started putting out the fire. They had it knocked down in probably 10 minutes.”

It took approximately another 20 minutes to extinguish the fire completely.

“Then we turned over the truck to Republic (Services), and they brought a mechanic on scene to see how they were going to get the trash off the truck,” said the chief.

Williams said there was a tanker truck several yards away, but the trash truck was not close enough to be a cause of concern.

Cause of the fire is undetermined.

One on one with new MHS coach Mark Miller  

By Josh Beavers

Mark Miller, a noted author and recipient of numerous football accolades, is joining the Minden High staff to help lead the Tide on Friday nights. 

The Journal posed some basic get-to-know-you questions for the new coach and history teacher. 

1. What motivated you to become a high school coach? Can you share a little about your background and previous coaching experience?

My dad was a career Army Officer and we moved a lot.  My average stay in one place growing up was about 18 – Months.  Sports was always a way for me to get in and make friends.  By the time I was in junior high, football had become my passion.  The high school teams I played on made deep playoff runs.  My junior year we made it to the state championship game.  We lost but it was an experience of a lifetime.  My dad and his best friend had played on Minden’s 1956 State Championship team. I walked on the LSU football team earning a letter as a senior.  I looked at coaching football as a way to stay involved and give back to the game that had such a positive impact on me. 

At that time, colleges were allotted only 2 Graduate Assistant Coaches per staff equating to 234 positions in the country.  Having been a walk on at LSU afforded me the opportunity to become a Graduate Assistant Coach there.  I spent 4 years learning from and coaching with mentors who had coached in the NFL, USFL and won national championships.  It was a truly amazing and blessed experience.

Coaching and teaching are callings to serve.  As a calling, I believe God puts people in the best positions to maximize his gifts for that service.  After 3 years coaching at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I landed in Texas high school 6As & 5As for the last 20 years.  Over my 28 year career, I’ve coached at 2 universities and Minden will be my 7th high school.   I’ve coached offense, defense and special teams.  Having been a defensive coordinator for 15 years as well as a special teams coordinator for 2, I have a holistic perspective of the game.  My career has been blessed with collegiate bowl championships, district championships and playoff runs to every round except the a state championship game.  I’ve also been fortunate to have worked with great athletes with 31 earning ‘All – District’ status and 17 going on to the NFL.  In 2011 – 2012, I was Katy Independent School District’s Boys Assistant Coach of the Year.   

2. What is your coaching philosophy, and how do you plan to implement it with this team?

Coaching and athletics are tools for teaching life lessons.  Life lessons like the power of Attitude & Effort, Humility, Characterand Team.  I try and approach coaching and get the kids to buy into the mind set of work to get better every day.  Be better today than yesterday.

With my experience as an ‘Army Brat’ and all the places I’ve coached, I understand part of my role will be to fit in with the traditions here at Minden while supporting no Coach Heard’s vision and how he wants things done.  It is an honor and a bit nostalgic for me to be here.  Both my parents graduated from Minden HS as well as all of their brothers and sisters.

3. What are your primary goals for the team this season? Are there any specific areas or skills you plan to focus on developing?

Defensively, fundamentals are alignment, assignment, adjustments, pursuit and tackling.  Specifics get into Eye Control.  Eye control means key progression and discipline.  Finally the technique of understanding how to leverage the ball whether it be a run or a pass.

4. How do you plan to build a strong team culture and foster a sense of camaraderie among the athletes?

Culture is about defining a belief system and values while working to make that belief and value system a physical reality.  There are signs up in places in our football facility that say 1-BEAT.  BEAT is an acronym for Brotherhood, Effort, Attitude and Tough.  The kids see it every day and recite its phrases in every breakdown.  

The belief and value system is here.  Camaraderie comes in sharing time and experience together Our coaches and players have been coming to work together all summer for workouts, practices and 7 – on – 7.

5. How do you plan to balance academics and athletics for the student-athletes under your guidance?

Student is listed first in the phrase Student – Athlete.  I openly talk to my players about grades and their behavior.  As & Bs open doors for them while Cs will close them.  Below a C, don’t even bother knocking.   With them, I get into the details of the actual monetary value of each level of education.  I also explain solid ways behavior and work lead to academic achievement while understanding the fastest ways to fail.

6. How do you handle the pressure of coaching and the expectations that come with it?

I try to exercise and attend church regularly.  Pressure is privilege.  High expectations means it is important and those are good things.

7. How do you plan to measure success for the team beyond wins and losses?

I always look at defining the difference between success and achievement.  Success is something that is bestowed upon you while achievement is personally defined through individual goal setting.

I can look at their mind set from their behavior to see if they are maximizing who they are as people and players.  Within those actions, how supportive of one another were they.

Family is but an earlier Heaven


This has been a pretty tough week for me. Not the worst, but definitely not the best.  

When I have weeks like this, there is nobody else I would rather be surrounded by than my family.  

No question.  

That is a key point: No question!  

Well, they may ask how I have been, how things are going, am I okay, etc. But if I do not feel like disclosing, they know and they do not press the situation.  

They just love me.  

And by doing so, they heal me.  

We go over to my mom and dad’s house almost every Sunday for dinner.  

This is my reset. This is my time to wipe the slate clean for the week and look forward to a new one.  

We may not do anything special at all. Most of the time, there is just good food, sitting on the front porch with my sisters, watching our kids play in the yard and an unspoken promise to keep doing this for as long as we possibly can.  

We know that not every family has this luxury. That it is special and rare.  

Some families have lost certain family members that held the glue together. Some consist of children or grandchildren that have moved on to start their own families across the state or country. And sadly, some just do not get along.  

I could not imagine. I think if my family fell apart for whatever reason, then I would crumble myself.  

My life changes on an almost daily basis, whether it be personal or professional. But one thing that I know I can count on is my family. When everything else is changing around me or when I am changing myself, my family remains constant. The only constant.  

I came across a quote the other day that said, “A happy family is but an earlier Heaven.” I think this has some merit because that is when I am happiest – after eating a good meal, sitting on the front porch with my family, listening to my girls, nieces and nephews laughing as they play. How could life on Earth get any better? 

I hope that as my girls witness and experience the importance of family and our effort to get together on Sundays, they will be instilled with the same comfort as I am.  

That no matter what life throws at them, how hard it gets or how much everything else is changing around them, they can always come home.  

No questions asked.

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

Alleged reckless driver asleep at the wheel; arrested with Fentanyl

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An alleged reckless driver who fell asleep at the wheel awakened to a police presence Tuesday.

Stephen Cody Milam, 37, of the 1200 block of Hwy. 159, Minden, was arrested by Minden police for possession of Fentanyl and drug paraphernalia, driving while intoxicated, driving under suspension and obstructing public passages.

Police Chief Jared McIver said Lt. Chris Hammontree and officers Anthony Crittenden and Jordan Greer were dispatched to East and West Street in response to a call concerning a reckless driver in a black Chevy Tahoe.

“When Lt. Hammontree arrived, he found the Tahoe stopped in the lane of travel with six cars backed up behind it,” McIver said. “The vehicle had extensive damage like it had been involved in several crashes.”

The driver, identified as Milam, was allegedly asleep at the wheel.

“The subject had a bag of pills in his lap,” said the chief. “Lt. Hammontree woke Milam by tapping on the window. When he woke up, he let his foot off the brake and the vehicle started rolling toward Off. Crittenden’s patrol unit.”

Milam reportedly stopped the vehicle and Hammontree opened the driver’s side door.

“Lt. Hammontree grabbed the bag and Milam’s phone so they wouldn’t fall,” McIver said. “The officer smelled the strong odor of burnt marijuana when Milam exited the vehicle. When questioned about it, Milam said he did not smoke marijuana in his car and did not know what the pills were. Then he said a lot of people drive his car.”

During a search of the vehicle, officers reportedly located a partially-smoked marijuana joint in the center console and a “snorting straw” in a cigarette pack. The pills were identified as Fentanyl-based.

“Once at the Minden Police Department, Drug Recognition Expert Lt. Joel Kendrick took custody of Milam to perform a field sobriety test,” said the chief. “Milam failed and due to a 2014 conviction, he was charged with second offense driving while intoxicated. His license was suspended May 25, 2023.”

Milam was booked and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

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

Pack the Bus this weekend to help our school kids

By Josh Beavers 

Back to School is almost upon us, and that means the annual Pack the Bus event is here.  

The Pack the Bus will be this Friday, July 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. m in the parking lot of both Minden and Springhill Walmart(s).  

The event will continue Saturday 8 a.m. to noon.  Volunteers will be in the parking lot collecting supplies to “pack the bus” for our students. 

Supplies that are needed range from (but are not limited to) pens, notebooks, pencils, loose leaf paper, paper towels, kleenex, clorox wipes, highlighters, sleep mats. Cash donations will certainly be appreciated and we are still accepting sponsorships.

“We sincerely appreciate your continued support in this much needed campaign to assist our students,” said event organizer Ursula Hullaby. “Our organization has been able to provide support to thousands of students over the past fourteen years and we could not do it without YOUR help!”

Coming soon will be the 15th year for the Back to School Bash which will take place Monday, August 7th from 9am – 2pm at Webster Junior High School and the CAC building in Springhill 

The Back to School Bash will be happening for the first time in three years in person – the past two years it was drive thru due to covid – we are excited to engage our students and provide them a day of fun while receiving some of their necessary supplies.  Lots of giveaways and treats are planned for this event.

If you have any questions about how to become a sponsor or volunteer, please contact Ursula Hullaby at 318-377-7052 ext. 228.

Donations are tax deductible under 501c(3) guidelines.

Historically Speaking: Mayor John L. Hart

By Jessica Gorman

If you know much about the history of Minden, you’ve probably heard the story of the election of 1872. It is said that in that election the Democratic candidate, a native of Minden, died just days before the election. Instead of voting for the Republican candidate, considered to be a carpetbagger, many voters of Minden chose to elect Chaffe’s Bull as mayor. The Republican candidate was then appointed mayor by Governor Warmoth. So far, I’ve been unable to find any contemporary sources documenting this story but mostly I wondered about who this “carpetbagger” candidate was that the people of Minden must have thought so poorly of that they would rather elect a bull mayor. He has been identified as John L. Hart. 

The term carpetbagger was typically used to describe someone who moved to the South after the Civil War for the purpose of obtaining political office. John L. Hart only seems to fit this definition in that he was born in Ohio around 1832. I don’t know much about his early life, but he moved to the South prior to the war and by 1860, he was living in Red River County, Texas with his wife Mary and their three children Edward, George, and Clara. All three children were born in Texas placing the Harts there at least as early as 1854. Mr. Hart owned and operated a saloon in Clarksville. In 1870, the family was living in Minden. Three additional children, Susan, John, and Jessie, had all been born in Louisiana suggesting that the Harts had been residents of the state, and possibly Minden, no later than 1863. 

Not only had John Hart been a resident of the South for nearly twenty years prior to 1872, he also served in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier. Pvt. J. L. Hart, of Minden, is recorded as being listed as a prisoner of war paroled at Shreveport in June 1865. 

In Minden, Hart owned a hotel and restaurant, possibly known as the Webster House. He served as mayor of Minden in 1872. The following year, he served as a member of a board of health during an outbreak of smallpox. He is also listed as having been a member of Minden Lodge No. 51. The only piece of evidence that I have been able to find to suggest any possible animosity toward Mr. Hart is the fire of 1872 that destroyed eight businesses in downtown Minden. The fire, believed to be arson, originated in the kitchen of Mr. Hart’s restaurant and quickly spread to nearby structures. While some have speculated that the courthouse of the newly-formed parish had been the target of the fire, sources indicate that the courthouse had not yet been constructed in 1872. One source indicates that, at the time of the fire, an agreement had not been reached about where the courthouse would be constructed. Another indicates that the courthouse was under construction in 1873. 

Whatever the circumstances of the fire, John L. Hart did not remain in Minden much longer. By 1875, the family had moved to Shreveport. Mr. Hart was serving as a Shreveport police officer. In the early morning hours of 13 June 1875, he responded to a disturbance at a house of ill-repute. This disturbance had been caused by Corporal Thomas Murphy of the 7th United States Cavalry who was stationed in Shreveport. Hart encountered Murphy and a woman at the corner of Crockett and Milam. Murphy approached Hart and shot him through the abdomen. Hart was found lying in a pool of blood and taken by the police chief for medical treatment. He died around 2:30 that afternoon. 

In a newspaper article reporting the death of John L. Hart, he is described as a man who “earned the respect and esteem of all who knew him” while living in Minden. As a police officer he “was always regarded as an able, efficient and fearless officer, a good, true and upright citizen and a man without an enemy.”

(Jessica Gorman is the Executive Director for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Webster Parish Historian, and an avid genealogist.)

Upcoming Events

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

July 27

1 p.m. Annual Membership Drive, Webster Parish Council on Aging, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden. Call 318-371-3056 or come by the address between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

July 28

4 until 8 p.m., Webster Parish School Board’s Pack the Bus, Minden Walmart.

July 29

10 a.m. until noon, Young Women’s Service Club Back to School Bash, Victory Park.

August 2

Webster Parish New Teacher Breakfast, Harper Pathways to Excellence Center, 618 Germantown Rd., Minden.

August 4

8:30 a.m. Glenbrook School New Teacher Breakfast, Glenbrook School.

August 4 and 5

8 p.m. Annual Pete Colvin Memorial  Rodeo, Minden Rodeo Arena.

August 9

15 under 40 Nominations due at Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce.

August 12

9 a.m. until noon. Springhill-North Webster Chamber of Commerce’s Back to School Water Wars, Springhill Recreation Complex. K-12th grades. Free water balloons, no outside balloons permitted, free water gun filling stations, concessions available. $10 admission fee benefits LaMa Animal Rescue.

5 until 9 p.m., Peace Out Summer Back to School Bash, Sarepta Community Park. Admission $2; games, food and raffle. Pack the Bus by bringing supplies. Sponsored by Women Helping Others. For more information: contact Ramanda Ketchum at 318-347-2612 or Rketchumwho@gmail.com,  Elizabeth Simmons at 318-517-5207 or emccuen92@gmail.com, Tammie Wynn 318-268-5535 or tammie.wynn@la.gov .

6 p.m. Doors open for Piney Woods Jamboree, Second Anniversary Show. Show begins at 7 p.m. with headliner Dawn Glass.

August 26

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Brunch. Minden Junior Service League “Mamma Mia” Girls Night Out, Minden Civic Center.

6 p.m. Dorcheat Museum Annual Fundraiser Gala, 116 Pearl St., Minden.

September 9

Vintage Car Club of Minden’s annual car show in downtown Minden. More information when available.

September 28 through 30, Oct. 1

 Minden High School 30th Class Reunion

Sept. 28 – 6 until 9 p.m. Meet and Greet, Under Dawgs Sports Grill, 605 Main St., Minden, La.

Sept. 29 – 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Meet and Greet, Under Dawgs Sports Grill, 605 Main St., Minden, La.

Sept. 29 – 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., Kickback, Camp Minden, 100 Louisiana Boulevard, Minden, La.

Homecoming Parade TBA

Sept. 30 – 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Family Fun Day, Hot Wheels Skating Rink, 3000 Old Minden Rd., Bossier City, La.

Sept. 30 – 7 p.m. until 1 a.m., Still Rollin 30 Years Later, Camp Minden, 100 Louisiana Boulevard, Minden, La.

Oct.1 – Church Fellowship TBA

Oct. 14

11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Minden Makers Fair. Accepting vendor applications, demonstrations and volunteers. https://www.mindenmakersfair.com/vendorregistration.

Oct. 24

6:30 p.m. 15 Under 40 Awards Gala, Minden Civic Center.

Sodium reduction strategies

American Cuisine Edition

Cooking from scratch allows you to control the ingredients, including the amount of salt used. In addition to reducing sodium, this can often result in saving money by limiting the use of premade items. Please refer to the sodium reduction strategies listed below when cooking American cuisines at home. 

  • Use less cheese in recipes (e.g., in omelets, cheeseburgers, etc.).  
  • Use fruit or vegetable side dishes as a healthy alternative to French fries or chips.   
  • Incorporate more vegetables into dishes such as sandwiches, omelets, and soups.   
  • Make homemade soups using a low sodium soup base.  
  • Make salads with grilled chicken and fish with low sodium salad dressing.
  • Compare labels on bread and wraps and choose lower sodium options.
  • Use sliced cucumbers rather than pickles on sandwiches or as garnishes.
  • Don’t add salt on fries. 
  • Offer lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado as toppings for hamburgers.
  • Use unsalted butter for steak or side dishes or avoid butter altogether to save on fat and calories.
  • Use fresh or dried herbs for seasoning rather than salt.
  • Offer steamed vegetables without added butter and salt.
  • Reduce added salt in recipes.  

Shakera Williams, MPH

Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent-General & SNAP-Ed Nutrition 

 Webster/Claiborne Parishes

Office: (318) 371-1371


The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

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.

July 25

Tramon Cooper, 25, of the 300 block of Fincher Rd., Minden, was arrested by MPD on a warrant for domestic abuse battery with strangulation and child endangerment.

Craig A. Berndt, 34, of the 500 block of Myers St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for possession of 12 grams of methamphetamine and paraphernalia (meth pipe).

Jerry Harris, 34, of Plain Dealing, La., was arrested by Springhill police for possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, open container and driving under suspension.

Richard Nickerson, 40, of Second St. SE, Springhill, was arrested by Springhill police for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

Ashanti Shay Miles, 21, of the 600 block of Evans St., Minden, was arrested by MPD on a warrant for simple 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.

Cheating rocks pro fishing … again

And the saga continues, once again anglers are taking advantage or blatantly ignoring the rules of their sport. Major League Fishing has brought to light a controversy that took place at the Stage 6 tournament on Lake Cayuga, NY. Four anglers have been under investigation for alleged cheating by not following the rules for “sight fishing”. 

On Wednesday June 21st, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced that they were investigating accusations that four anglers may have violated sight fishing rules. For those that have no idea what sight fishing is, it’s a technique where anglers visually see a bass sitting on a bed looking to spawn and will try and entice these bass into biting their lure. But one very important rule must be followed. If you are sight fishing, you are required to hook the fish inside the mouth. If the fish is hooked outside the mouth, the fish is considered an unofficial catch and must be returned to the water immediately. This rule is in place so that anglers don’t go out trying to catch fish by snagging them.

 Some analysts think it’s immoral or unethical to fish for bass on beds but it’s not that big an issue since the MLF Bass Pro Tour is a catch and release format. Meaning, as each fish is caught, they are weighed, recorded and released immediately. 

 But here’s what the accusations are; some anglers were not following  protocol when they swing their catch on board the boat. Anglers who are sight fishing are required to show their on-board Marshall (an observer who weighs and monitors each fish caught; making sure anglers follow the rules) that the fish is hooked inside the mouth. If not, it must be released and is considered an unofficial catch. But in this event, some anglers were being discreet and hiding their fish as they brought them on board the boat so that the cameras nor the Marshall could see how the fish was hooked. They would just unhook the bass and proceed to weigh it without confirmation it was hooked inside the mouth.

The next issue from this event, was that some anglers were catching the same fish more than once during the day. The rule states that an angler cannot catch and weigh the same fish more than once in a day.

They can return and catch that same fish the following day if they choose. After video reviews 16 anglers were called in and subjected to a polygraph test. Out of the sixteen, one failed.

MLF officials have been hard at work reviewing video footage of the anglers in question in order to make sure all the rules were followed. If they find rules have been violated, MLF officials will have to decide to what extent they should be punished. This is where things could get a little weird and revealing. MLF has got to come down hard on this if they find violations were made. No longer is a slap on the wrist a strong enough punishment for violating the rules. MLF’s reputation and integrity are at stake with these rulings.  

Extensive punishment like suspension for the next event or even worse…. suspension for a full season. The best way anglers will get the message that cheating will not be tolerated, is to hit them in their checkbook. But disqualifying their days catch and dropping them in the standings a few places is not strong enough. A message needs to be sent that will make anglers think twice about cheating. Yes, I said cheating! Since its inception, MLF has basically turned a blind eye to certain violations. Just like NASCAR, drivers are always trying to push the envelope and dabble in the grey area of the rules. Bass tournaments are no different as anglers are always looking for an advantage over their competitors by looking for loopholes in the rules. 

Due to the amount of money involved in today’s bass tournament world with thousands of dollars up for grabs, anglers are thinking outside the box and looking for ways to get around the rules in order to be successful or gain an advantage. But now the time has finally come for anglers to be held accountable for their actions. While 98% of the anglers do a great job of self-reporting and holding each other accountable, it’s the other 2% that need to be made an example of. With the increase in live prime time TV coverage and national exposure, it’s important to preserve the integrity of the sport and show the anglers and their fans that rule violators will not be tolerated.

 I hope MLF officials will come down hard on the angler or anglers if rules were violated. Nothing will bring the sport down faster than anglers who insist on cheating. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and always read and follow the rules for any tournament you’re competing in.

Steve Graf

Angler’s Perspective

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of July 20. All civil suits are a matter of public record.

July 20

Andre Thomas vs. Michelle Broussard Thomas, divorce.

Conalisa Harris vs. Edward A. Sumlin, protective order.

Dwayne Shaune Lewis vs. LaToya Lewis, disavowal of paternity.

July 24

Republic Finance LLC vs. LaShunda L. Rogers, judgment executory & garnishment.

TD Bank USA vs. Lori Moore, suit on note.

Portfolio Recovery Associates vs. Aimee Merritt, monies due.

Jawar Cannon vs. Reneishia Phillips, custody.

Deutsche Bank National Trust Company vs. Carl E. Pruitt, executory process.

Streeter Service Electric Inc. vs. ELA Group Inc., monies due.

July 25

The Business Backer LLC vs. Air 1 Supply, Inc., petition.

Notice of Death – July 25, 2023

Robert Lowell “Buzz” Glasscock

Nov. 19, 1960 – July 19, 2023

Minden/Shreveport, La.

Celebration of life: 2:30 p.m., August 5, 2023, 3143 Green Terrace Rd., Shreveport.

Sharalyn “Shari” Abercrombie Pickett

Feb. 1, 1948 – July 32, 2023

Minden/Arcadia, La.

Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023, Emmanuel Baptist Church, (Hurricane Community), Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Friday, July 28, 2023, Emmanuel Baptist Church, (Hurricane Community), Arcadia.

Burial: Hurricane Cemetery.

Kenneth Bryan Middleton

Feb. 27, 1951 – July 22, 2023

Doyline, La.

Celebration of Life: Noon, Thursday, July 27, 2023, Evening Light Tabernacle in Dixie Inn.

Burial: 10 a.m. Thursday, July, July 27, 2023, Lebanon Cemetery, Ruple Community, under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

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.)

MPD seeks witnesses, suspects in shots-fired incident Monday

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police are looking for suspects in a “shots-fired” incident that took place Monday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Tokia Harrison said officers were dispatched to the 600 block of Marion Street, Minden, around 4 p.m. for an active shooting.

“The suspects fled in a Tahoe and a Chrysler 300,” said Harrison. “Officers found seven .62 spent casings from an AK 47.”

Harrison a vehicle was damaged by the gunfire and one round was recovered from apartment building brick. 

“Fortunately, no one was hit and no one was injured,” she said.

Detectives are investigating leads but no arrests have been made. Harrison said they are unsure how many shooters were involved.

Anyone with information about the shooting, please contact Minden Police at 318-371-4226.

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.

Minden’s 8U Darlings head to Tennessee in World Series

By Paige Nash

The Minden 8U Darling’s softball team took home the state championship in Pineville earlier this month and they are now headed to represent the entire state of Louisiana at the World Series to be held in Fairview, Tennessee this year. 

“This group of girls for the most part have been playing together for 3 years now. This is their 2nd World Series appearance in 3 years,” said head coach Logan Hollingsworth. “They have poured blood, sweat and tears into the game and deserve this opportunity as much if not more than any group of girls out there. A year ago, we were having trouble simply playing pitch and catch, and now we are catching fly balls and almost turning double plays. It has been an unforgettable and very rewarding journey.” 

The Team Minden now turned Team Louisiana is comprised of 12 girls: Laikyn Hollingsworth, Fallyn Hollingsworth, Aubrey Chanler, Willow Still, Laikyn Lewis, Lexie Perryman, Ellie Speer, Haper Barnette, Stella Perryman, Evie Vise, Annabel Sunderland and Brooklyn Sunderland. 

This group of girls are currently 12-0 and have outscored their opponents 196-26. 

“They mean the world to us coaches and well as their parents and want them to cherish this moment.  Also, we strive to represent our great town of Minden,” said Hollingsworth. “The community has definitely come to our aid to help make this opportunity possible sponsorship wise and we greatly appreciate it.” 

Under Dawgs Sports Grill held a fundraiser last Wednesday from 5 – 8. Partial restaurant sales between those hours went towards travel expenses for the new Louisiana Team. They raised a total of $692.37 

The team is also holding a Hugh Wood Meat Raffle. Tickets are $2 each and the winner will receive (2) 8-ounce sirloins, (4) 12-ounce New York strips, (4) 14-ounce ribeyes and (10) hamburger patties.  

The tournament will begin with a banquet set for Friday, July 28 with games kicking off the following day.  

OMV locks on to LifeLock

The Office of Motor Vehicles has retained Norton LifeLock to offer one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for Louisiana residents impacted by the recent MOVEIt data breach. The complimentary 12-month package includes LifeLock Standard™ identity theft protection.

To activate an online membership that offers no-cost protection, please see enrollment instructions available at nextsteps.la.gov. OMV will also be emailing notices to individuals with an email on file whose information was involved in the incident.

OMV has established a toll-free call center open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to answer questions that individuals may have. If you believe your information was involved and have questions about this incident, please call (866) 861-8717.

These resources are being offered in response to the MOVEIt data security incident announced last month that involved personal information of individuals who were issued a Louisiana driver’s license, identification card and/or vehicle registrations.

OMV encourages all Louisianans whose information was involved in this incident to actively monitor for the possibility of fraud and identity theft by reviewing your financial statements and credit reports for any unauthorized activity. If you notice any unauthorized activity, contact the relevant financial institution or the credit bureau reporting the activity immediately.

For more information on how to protect your identity and a list of FAQ, visit nextsteps.la.gov. To read the official notice posted by OMV, visit expresslane.org.

Pair of Lakeside students compete nationally   

By Josh Beavers 

Two Lakeside students traveled to Atlanta over in Georgia this past June to participate in a national competition. 

Kamryn Goodson and Lillian Jolly spent several days at the 2023 FBLA National Leadership Conference. 

They were joined by Lakeside teacher Lesa Ward. Goodson competed in journalism and Jolly competed in business calculations. 

They were the only Webster Parish students to attend. 

2023 NLC by the Numbers

14,000+: Attendees (833 Collegiate, 11,830 High School, 1,277 Middle School)

10,186: Competitors (623 Collegiate, 8,712 High School, 851 Middle School)

47: States, territories, and countries represented

72: Unique Exhibitors in the Future Leaders Expo  

$115,000+: Prize money awarded

104: Scholarships given, totaling $72,280

9,100+: Average number of daily views for the Middle & High School Blue Blazer Briefings

18,761: Number of unique Instagram accounts that saw FBLA content during the NLC

Gifts from an Absent Friend

I learned life the hard way, I took all my knocks and lumps

But when I look back down the road at where I’ve been,

I can see that all the things I’ve done in this ol’ life have been more fun

’Cause I shared them with someone who was a friend.

 —  “A Friend,” written and recorded by Jerry Reed (and featured in the movie W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, which you should watch ASAP)

Few people if any enjoyed being themselves as much as Jack Brittain loved being Jack Brittain, or “Britt” as his friends called him, and he had more of those than you can find grains of sand and beer bottle tops at the Redneck Riviera.

This is the biggest weekend of the year for locals in my line of work; it’s the annual Louisiana Sports Writers Convention and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration in Natchitoches, where Britt has served as unofficial mayor for decades. You can find out more about the weekend and how you can enjoy it at LASportsHall.com. You can find out more about Britt by asking anyone in Natchitoches or in the LSWA.

A piece of work and then some, this guy.

So, it was a profound and unwelcome sadness when Britt, our LSWA brother, died two weeks ago at age 67 after a short and surprising illness.

He was the red on the candy cane, the helium in the balloon, the sunshine through any cloud.

His attachment to the LSWA was solid and eternal, even though Britt was a lawyer and financial planner. He didn’t write any stories. He was the story. 

He was so good at St. Mary’s that he’s in the high school’s Hall of Fame, then he lettered four years in football at Northwestern State before law school, but shoot, lots of people could do that. What set him apart was a heart and smile big as centerfield, his uncanny ability to see the best in people and the brightest side of things virtually all the time. He went around lettering every day in life, a seed-sower of joy and laughter and earthy charisma.

One of those ‘girls want to ride in his boat, boys want to be his best buddy’ kind of dudes.

It’s hard to describe the impact he had on the LSWA and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame because we don’t have anything to compare him to. He was just always there, a part of, a calm in a sometimes-stormy sea of egos and chaos, a smile to calm the tide.

In 2017, Britt was the recipient of the LSWA’s most prized honor, the Mac Russo Award, given to an individual who “contributes to the progress and ideals of the LSWA.” It was my lucky and treasured honor to present it to him. If memory serves, I said something clever like, “Here Britt; sorry it took us so long. We’d give you a half-dozen of these if we could — and you’d deserve everyone.”

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,

And say my glory was I had such friends.” — W. B. Yeats

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Lions going back to high school

By Tracy Campbell

Guest speaker for Thursday’s meeting on the Minden Lions Club will be Dr. Becky Wilson, Minden High School principal; and Shelby Leach, the new Crimson Tide Softball coach. They will discuss the future multi-use building, state-of-the-art softball complex, and other exciting developments at MHS. Immediately following the program and a Q&A session, Minden Lions will be invited to take a tour of the new softball complex. Dr. Wilson and Ms. Leach will be introduced by Lion Henry Bridges.

Minden Lions meet at noon every Thursday in the American Legion Hall on Pine Street.