City receives planning grant; public will have spending, planning input

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Thanks to a grant for $135,000, City of Minden is moving forward with a plan that will hopefully move the city forward even more.

The city has received Strategic Planning Program funds, which were awarded by Delta Regional Authority (DRA) in July. And while there is nothing set in stone, that plan could envision downtown housing and unique businesses.

Minden Mayor Nick Cox said Alex Holland is the city’s point of contact for the no-match grant.

Holland is a consultant who once worked with Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and is aware of their funds for planning programs.

Cox said he, along with City Councilmen Carlton (Buddy) Myles and Andy Pendergrass met Holland during a Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) meeting early last spring.

“Alex emailed us after the meeting and told us about a grant opportunity,” Cox said. “It was the same grant West Monroe got, which was $99,000 through the Rural Business Development Grant and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

West Monroe’s grant funds netted a plan that includes streetscapes, a food hall-type restaurant, distillery/brewery and downtown housing.

An exact grant would’ve meant a 10 percent match for the City of Minden, and the time to apply was short, he said. “So we passed on that one.”

Two months later, Holland contacted Cox again and told him about a new DRA grant that required no matching funds. It helps communities identify and development strategic plans to address issues such as infrastructure, industry growth, workforce pipelines and small business development.

The mayor pointed out that while Minden’s Strategic Planning Program will not look the same as West Monroe, it may have a similarity or two.

“We have several buildings downtown that would be very conducive to living space conversions,” he said. “The upstairs on some of them will definitely require repairs and renovations, but they are doable.”

The council gave Cox permission to apply for the grant with Holland’s help. Any expenses she incurs while acting on the city’s behalf will be covered by the grant, therefore costing the City of Minden zero dollars.

“Andy and Buddy have worked really hard with me on this,” Cox said. “They have been key players and have invested a lot of time.”

The next step in the plan is to form a steering committee and hold community meetings in order to learn what the citizens of Minden would like to see happen with the funds.

“Shortly, I would like to see us have the steering committee of about 15 people from around the community in place,” said Cox. “Then by the end of September, we will have meetings for public input.”

Girding the gridiron loins

It’s that time of year when we move the ol’ rocker from its familiar front porch monitoring perch to the rear patio where your obedient curmudgeon has the ideal setup for another type of observation…a pair of TVs stacked for tandem viewing.

Yep friends, neighbors and addicts of that other porkskin, it’s the fifth (and justifiably most important) season of the year, especially here in the South. Football season begins, and kindergarteners in adult bodies can rematerialize from a multi-month hibernation/withdrawal.

And as the woman who promised to love, honor and select trustworthy telemarketers says, it’s a time when wives know where that other half will be Medusaized Thursday through Monday for the next six months. 

Football is more than THE season. It’s a reason. A purpose. It’s the quintessential character transference. Few sports can transform a happy, normal, mentally balanced individual into a Tasmanian Devil at the drop of a penalty flag or a flubbed field goal. 

Who knew Mr. Sofaspud could have made that cutback the running back didn’t see; could easily have nailed that 30-yard post pattern his team’s quarterback overthrew; would never have called the stupid play his multi-millionaire coach just blew; can certainly see the difference between pass interference and great cornerback play.

Few sports can move the passion meter from zero to 100 in 0.1 seconds. Across our fair country houses will be divided by a kickoff. On the college level, think rivalry and we think Ohio St./Michigan; Alabama/Auburn; Ole Miss/Miss. State; Cal/Stanford. Up on the hill at Menagerie Manor, it’s LSWho?/Arkansas. 

There are rivalries at all levels, from high school through the pros. And that’s what’s made football America’s favorite sport. Sorry baseball. Football is the ultimate void filler. Our entertainment extraordinaire. Some condemn the violent nature of the game, but that Romanesque gladiatorial seductiveness of the sport seems to feed our addiction.

Football is a befuddlement. What else causes a seemingly sane individual to converse with an electronic product, knowing it cannot respond. What else can create sounds from seemingly sane individuals ranging from those similar in volume of Mount St. Helens to others only dogs can hear.

Football brings out the best and the beast. It lures individuals to try and turn hard-earned dollars into the lucre of lady luck. The dream of turning simoleon into opulence is everyman’s, odds and team talent (plus a tad of Lady Luck) permitting. Mostly, the dream becomes the reality of weep, wail, wait ’til next week.

Whatever. For many weeks, we’ll tune in, assume the position and morph into a hypnotic state. We’ll paint our faces, wear our favorite number jersey, snack ’till we pop, pop an adult beverage and hope Nature doesn’t call when we’re down by four on fourth and goal from the one with two seconds left in the game. 

Final thoughts: Is it possible to get at least a month into the college season before we start this dadgum Heisman Trophy watch? A foot hasn’t made contact (except Notre Dame/Navy) and we’re already hearing the “Favorites To Win It” list. For pigskin sake, dudes. Let ’em play now, get paid later.

And while we’re on the subject, the award was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 to recognize “the most valuable college football player” east of the Mississippi. After the death of the club’s athletic director, John Heisman in October of 1936, the award was expanded to include players west of the Mississippi. 

Simply put, the award was meant to honor the best football player in America. That has changed, thanks to  “journalists” who have 870 votes and the media talking head experts. Listen to the talkalogues and we hear the trophy shall go to the best player on a winning/top-ranked team. Not.

Checking the winners, that aforementioned trend is etched in bronze. But your humble fanatic believes a 2,000 yard rusher on a winless team could be the stone-cold best player in the country. Wish the know-betters would re-read the Heisman standards. But why change a money-making machine. 

Little Warriors, Apaches split 2 games Tuesday

The Little Warriors Football season kicked off on Tuesday, August 29, with a home game against the Glenbrook Apaches.  

The fourth and fifth graders were the first to hit the field.  

By the end of the first half Glenbrook scored twice, going into halftime with a 14-point lead. Neither team scored during the third, but that changed during the last quarter of the game.  

The Little Warriors scored but failed to get the extra point on the board. With four minutes remaining in the game, the Glenbrook Apaches got a touchdown, keeping the score in the Apaches favor, 20-6. But Lakeside was not finished putting up a fight. With a little over one minute left in the game, they scored again but it was not enough to take home the win. The Apaches triumphed, winning the first game 21-12.  

The sixth-grade boys played the second game of the night.  

Both the Warriors and Apaches played strong defense, keeping the game scoreless throughout the entire four quarters. In overtime, the Apaches finally made their way down the field, winning the game 7-0.

This week’s contest deadline is today

Webster Parish Journal’s Pick’em Contest is coming to a close for the first official week of football.

You have until 4 p.m. today (Thursday) to get in your picks for this week’s games.

Each weekly winner over the life of the contest will be on the receiving end of $100 and have their photo taken at our title sponsor Under Dawgs Sports Grill, the gathering place featuring a home-field atmosphere. 

Anyone 18 and older is eligible to participate. All it takes is an email address and a combination of skill and a little luck. Each week,10 local and area high school football games plus two tie-breakers based on total points of two selected teams will be posted on the Webster Parish Journal. And just like the Journal, there’s no cost to enter. 

Signing up for the contest only takes a couple of minutes. Log on to and follow the instructions.

But hurry if you plan to compete this week.

Find your Labor Day deals at Spillers

The idea behind closing Spillers Appliance and Furniture a while back was so everyone who worked there could go home.

But Mike Spillers found he couldn’t do that, so he just moved across the parking lot, downsized a bit, added internet access and got back down to business.

“We are still family owned and operated after 55 years,” Mike said. “I’m still doing what our family has done. I’m just still glad to be doing what I’ve done all my life.”

Other than location, few things have changed.

“We still maintain the La-Z-Boy brand,” he said. “Still have GE Appliances, just on a smaller scale.”

Mike said they do a lot of special orders and have kicked off a website for some of those orders. Mikey’s Comfort Connection LLC is the way to do that.

“If you buy something in stock, we have to add freight and assembly,” Mike said. “But if you buy it out of the warehouse off the website, you don’t pay any of that. It’s a good deal for the customer.”

Check their website against any competitor. Mike says you will find their prices are lower.

“Since we’re smaller, we are very competitive,” he added. “I make it my business to make sure we are under any competition in the area.”

Spillers can still accommodate their customers’ needs, locally. It’s their niche. When they deliver, they take the product in the house and haul off the old.

“We try to spoil our customers as best we can,” Mike said.

Be sure to shop Spillers’ pre-Labor Day sale. It’s already under way and will continue through the week of Labor Day. No interest financing.

The address is 1204 Homer Road, Minden, La. 71055. Call them at 318-377-4832 or visit

Final column for August 31

(Disclaimer: This column is not directed toward nor targets any specific newspaper. It is a reflection of today’s community product. To our knowledge, Minden’s print publication continues to publish and has no plans to close its doors.)

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors today. 

No more fresh ink off the press. No more picking up the paper at the end of the driveway as the morning quickly approaches. No more sitting at the dining room table, drinking a fresh cup of coffee as you learn of recent happenings.  

The nonexistence of a daily paper delivered straight to the citizen, may lift a weight off the local news source. They will no longer have to be burdened by staff cuts, loss of advertising or low circulation numbers. But who else will be lightened by its demise? 

Local government officials will no longer be held accountable for their actions. Parents of little leaguers will no longer feel the pressure of cutting out and putting away news of every big play. Newspaper lobbyists will no longer have a reason to fight.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors last week.  

An editor in chief cleaned out his desk. A news reporter put the finishing touches on her last story. A photographer turned in her camera. An advertising executive informed her clients. A paperboy clocked out for the last time.  

Across town a young man opens his laptop and scrounges for the latest events of the town. He finds nothing referring to the local news except for one article. A farewell from the local newspaper.  

A month later, he sees the need.  

Local governments are more corrupt than ever. Parents of little leaguers no longer have news clippings to send and show to relatives. Newspaper lobbyists have moved on to the next hard-hitting issue. 

The young man takes up the responsibility. He now bears the weight of delivering. Delivering news, delivering jobs, delivering opportunities for local businesses. He has replaced the paperboy in more ways than one.  

He hires a small team – a photographer, a reporter and a salesperson – together they carry the weight, and it becomes a little lighter.  

The format may be different. It may be digital, but the news is coming quicker, the photos are in full color and the advertising businesses are seeing returns. 

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors last month. 

The young man and his team have made a name for themselves. The reporter is welcomed into meetings. The photographer snaps photos as little leaguers slide home. The salesperson is making commissions and connections.  

The numbers are up and continuously growing – subscribers, employees and advertisers.  

The editor receives daily tips via email from local citizens wanting to share the good, bad and controversial. The city council is playing by the rules, just knowing one lone reporter now bears the weight of knowing that they are close to the only reason the backroom deals have come to a halt. The photographer has seen her work shared across multiple platforms on the world wide web. 

The local newspaper permanently closed its door last year.  

They no longer carry the weight of the town and all that comes along with it. They are now a part of its ever-growing history. Beyond the front doors of the local paper are nothing but dusty and empty shelves, stacks of old news and an old printing press about to make its way to the museum.  

Beyond those front doors is a visual representation of what it looks like when the times change too quickly. A time before everything could be found by the click of a mouse. A time where daily news meetings were held, and interviews were conducted. A time before it was out with the old and in with the new. A time before a newspaper was just an archive you could find in the library.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors ten years ago.  

School aged children take field trips to the local museum to get a glance at an old printing press. There will be no hearing the press gear up for the day. No witnessing the ink hit the paper. No feeling of warmth as you clutch a fresh paper to your chest. Knowing the opportunity to be a paper boy will never exist for them. 

Everything is digital. Locals now go online and search their favorite platforms to receive the daily news. But it’s not just daily now – it is hourly. The newest generation has become accustomed to getting what they need the very minute that they need it.  

No more waiting for the paper in the morning to hit your front lawn. No more waiting for their daily subscription to hit their email. They want their news like a live feed across the ironically also now extinct Twitter. It no longer matters if it is accurate if it tells them what they want to hear. If it doesn’t, then it is on to the next news source and then the next and then the next.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors.  

They no longer carry the weight – the burden. The news is ever changing just like its source. For those too stubborn to accept change, too naive to see what is happening right before their eyes and too far behind the times to ever catch up, let this be a reminder of how easily and quickly you could become the latest dinosaur. They now carry the weight of knowing it is either to be the latest and greatest or die.

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

Local Vendors Fair is Saturday

Michael Walker, with Walker Holding Group, is invited the community to attend a Vendors Fair from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, September 2.

Walker said the event is also sponsored by Woo’s Daiquiri and 4K and J Creations. It will take place on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Vendors that include food, drinks, clothing, crafts and much more will be present.

Everyone is invited.

Please support the Museum

By Jessica Gorman

This week’s article is a little different. Instead of sharing more history, I want to focus instead on the future of preserving our history. 

 In a little over a week, we will hold our annual fundraiser gala. Why is this event so important? The gala is vital to our operating budget for the coming year. People often ask, “But don’t y’all get money from the city, the parish, the state?” We have been very fortunate to have received financial contributions from the Webster Parish Police Jury recently and we greatly appreciate their support. However, many seem to believe that there is a public entity that funds the museum. This is not the case. The museum is owned and operated by the Dorcheat Historical Association, a nonprofit organization. Our primary means of funding is our very generous financial supporters.

Why should I care about the museum? I find this question difficult to answer, mostly because I don’t understand why it would be a question at all. I believe that museums are inherently important. Museums tell the stories of communities, of people, of events, and provide a place where we can go to explore and understand the past. Museums provide us with perspective. 

What does the museum offer? First of all, we offer free admission. There is absolutely no charge for you to come by and check out what has been referred to repeatedly as one of the best small-town museums in the country. These comments come from out-of-town visitors who frequent museums. 

We offer several speaker programs throughout the year. These programs are also free of charge. They are recorded and uploaded to the museum YouTube channel. Our channel currently includes 89 videos covering a variety of topics. 

In addition to the YouTube channel, we have also started a Flickr page where we can share photographs and documents relevant to the history of Webster Parish. I’m really just getting started on this project and have much more to add as time permits. 

Of course, there is this weekly column and our daily Facebook posts. I am constantly researching something and, in the meantime, there is an ever-growing list of topics that need more extensive research that time has not yet allowed for. Even so, if you have a question or a topic you’d like to know more about, let me know, I’d be happy to help in any way I can. And, if you have a suggestion for a future article, let me know, I would love to know what you’re interested in knowing more about.

Do you have photos relevant to Webster Parish you’d like to have digitized? We’ll scan them for you at no cost in exchange for allowing us to add them to our archive. (Just be sure to bring a flash drive.)

We want to preserve the history of Webster Parish and to share that history with the public, to make it easily accessible. We need your help. The museum exists because of those who understood it’s importance, who gave of their time and their money to make it a reality. It’s now up to us, the younger generations, to continue this work and ensure that it is here for years to come.

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

Former MPD officer receives special award

Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler (right) and Officer Danny “Bo” Turner

Former Minden Police and current Bossier City Officer Danny “Bo” Turner was one of the honorees at a Bossier City Council meeting earlier this week, when he was presented a “Lifesaving Award” for his efforts in a critical incident in May.

Bossier City Police Chief Daniel Haugen asked the council to set aside the time to properly recognize several officers and a brave citizen who made a major impact on the safety of the community.

Chief Haugen first recognized and honored those who lost their lives during a May 2 incident. 

“On the tragic day of May 2, evil came to our city, but thanks to these brave men we were able to quickly handle and subdue it,” Haugen said. “On that day a fugitive from Alabama exited I-20 at Industrial Drive at the Valero and while robbing the store shot four and killed two innocent citizens.”

For their acts of bravery and courage during this incident Chief Haugen awarded the highest award offered by the department to a surviving officer, “The Medal of Valor” to Sgt. Freeman and officer Kenny Gallon’. Freeman and Gallon’ arrived on the scene in less than two minutes and were fired upon. Gallon’ was struck and remains off work due to his injuries. Freeman pulled Gallon’ to safety and cared for him until help arrived.

A brave citizen, Wes Davis, was on the scene and attempted to prevent the shooter from harming anyone else and was shot in the incident. Davis suffered what was determined to be a life-threatening injury and Turner offered critical medical assistance.

Officer Turner used a tourniquet as trained and by doing so by all accounts saved Davis’ life. Turner was awarded the Bossier City Police Department’s “Lifesaving Award” and Davis was also given an award for his brave actions.

Not able to attend the ceremony but also receiving the Lifesaving Award is Officer Brandon Bailey. Mayor Tommy Chandler expressed his pride and gratitude to Chief Haughen and those who were honored.

Healthy tips for picky eaters 

Picky eating behavior is common for many children from the age of 2 to 5 years. If you have concerns about your child’s growth or eating behavior, talk to your child’s doctor. Your child’s picky eating is temporary. Try the following tips to help you deal with your child’s picky eating behavior in a positive way. Use the ones that will work for you and your child.

  1. Let your kids be “produce pickers.” Let them pick out fruits and veggies at the store.
  2. Offer choices. Rather than ask, “Do you want broccoli for dinner?” ask “Which would you like for dinner, broccoli or cauliflower?”
  3. Offer the same food for the whole family. Serve the same meal to adults and kids. Let them see you enjoy a variety of healthy foods. Talk about the colors, shapes, and textures on the plate.
  4. Have your child help you prepare meals. Children learn about food and get excited about tasting food when they help make meals. Let them add ingredients, scrub veggies, or help stir food.
  5. Be a good role model. Try new foods yourself. Describe their taste, texture, and smell to your child.
  6. Start with small portions. Let your kids try small portions of new foods that you enjoy. Give them a small taste at first and be patient with them. When they develop a taste for more types of foods, it’s easier to plan family meals.
  7. Offer new foods first. Your child is most hungry  at the start of a meal.
  8. Offer new foods many times. Sometimes, new foods take time. Kids don’t always take to new foods right away. It may take up to a dozen tries for a child to accept a new food.
  9. Make food fun. Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters.
  10. Encourage your child to invent and help prepare new snacks. Create new tastes by mixing two or more food groups together to make  interesting pairings.

Shakera Williams, M.P.H.

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.

Running for office?

If you are a candidate running for political office, you can get out your word in Webster Parish Journal.

All candidates running for office in the upcoming October 14 election will receive one free announcement with photo.

Email your announcement and photo to . We also having political advertising available, and one of our advertising staff will be in touch with you. Let us give you a hand at .

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

Through Sept 1

Register to vote for the October 14 election. Registrar of Voters Office, Webster Parish Courthouse, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Sept. 1

Webster 4-H enrollment begins.

Response cards and checks to be mailed to Dorcheat Museum for annual fundraiser to be held Sept. 11.

Sept. 2

9 a.m. 6th Annual NWLA PCOS Awareness Walk, Victory Park, Minden.

11 a.m. Webster Council on Aging, Minden, Ribbon Cutting ceremony for newest Little Free Pantry.

Last day for fall soccer registration at the Minden Rec Center.

Sept. 8

Last day to drop off checks at Dorcheat Historical Museum for annual fundraiser to be held Sept. 11.

Sept. 9

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

Football season at Minden Rec Center begins and runs through November 4.

Sept. 11

6 until 8 p.m. Dorcheat Historical Museum annual fundraiser. Dress like your favorite movie or TV character. $25/ per person.

Sept. 15

Webster High School Homecoming

Sept. 22-24

Springhill PRCA Rodeo and Parade, Springhill, La.

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

Youth Basketball registration begins and runs through December 1 at Minden Rec Center.

Oct. 7

8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. “Day of Worship for Women, North Acres Baptist Church, 1852 Lewisville Rd., Minden. Cost is $25 and space is limited.

Kathy Nelson with Speak It Ministries will be the speaker and Serena Gray will be leading worship. Register by contacting Janice Nelson at or 318-393-1990

or calling the church 318-377-4315. Childcare provided, lunch included.

Oct. 12

6 p.m. Seeds Women’s Center annual Fundraising Banquet. Dinner at program. Minden Civic Center. For tickets, call 318-639-0907.

Oct. 14

11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Minden Makers Fair. Accepting vendor applications, demonstrations and volunteers.

Oct. 24

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

Oct. 26

4:30 p.m. Ghostly Gathering Trunk or Treat, Mack Memorial Library, Springhill, La.

Oct. 28

6 until 9 p.m. Minden Rec Annual Fall Festival.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of August 24. All civil suits are a matter of public record.

Aug. 24

Sabrina Burns vs. Carlos Burns, divorce.

Blake Jones vs. Terry Daylong Ramsey, petition.

Aug. 25

Margaret Rushing as executrix for succession of Willie Moore vs. Robert Warren, petition.

Barksdale Federal Credit Union vs. Jasmine Weaver, monies due.

Republic Finance LLC vs. Takemiya N. Edwards, judgment executory and garnishment.

Aug. 28

Jennifer Thomas Walker vs. Christopher John Walker, divorce.

Nationstar Mortgage vs. Virginia Lagahid Edwards, executory process.

Spring Oaks Capital SPV vs. Branson Byers, monies due.

Dustin Cherry Divilbiss vs. Home Depot, USA and Citibank, damages.

Republic Finance LLC vs. Christopher H. Larkin, monies due.

Ford Motor Credit Co., LLC vs. Amy Kay Cory, monies due.

Deron Boykin vs. Shanna Boykin, divorce.

Kevina Oliver vs. CLHB-Minden, LLC, petition.

Bannockburn Energy LLC vs. Comstock Oil & Gas-Louisiana, petition.

Aug. 29

Emmanuelle R. Lyons vs. Errick J. Montgomery, protective order.

Aug. 30

Barksdale Federal Credit Union vs. Jessica Ogle Byrd, monies due.

Cavalry SPV/Citibank vs. Katrina Furgason, monies due.

Phenice Annette Orange Drew vs. Jeffery Antionio Drew, divorce.

Notice of Death – August 30, 2023

Barbara A. Dunaway

April 30, 1938 – August 26, 2023

Minden, La.

Memorial service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, North Acres Baptist Church, Minden.

Dana Marie Wise Perkins

Oct. 17, 1956 – August 16, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Memorial Graveside service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, Pilgrims Rest Cemetery, Shongaloo, La., under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Haynesville, La.

Thomas “Tommy” C. Stokes Jr.

Oct. 26, 1939 – July 20, 2023

Sibley, La.

Celebration of Life: 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, Stokes Residence, 484 Leachman Rd., Sibley, La. 71073

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

‘Heat is On’ and so is Car & Bike Show Sept. 9

By Marilyn Miller

The 15th annual Car and Bike Show in historic downtown Minden will take place Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023 beginning at 11 a.m. “in and around” the Minden Civic Center parking lots. Registration is free and is available online at, via hand-outs from members of the hosting Vintage Car Club of Minden, or from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. on-site the day of the show.

“This is a fun event, very family-oriented,” said club president, Antoinette Quarles, adding that in addition to cars and bikes of all vintages, the show will include concessions (featuring turkey legs and pork chops), competitions like hula-hooping and a Dance-Off; and bouncy houses, face-painting, live entertainment, and much more.

While judging in half-a-dozen categories begins at 11 a.m. sharp, the show begins at 10 a.m. with a ceremony near the water fountain featuring a welcome by Minden Mayor Nick Cox, the Star-Spangled Banner by Angela Wills, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by members of the car club who are military veterans.

“Not only is registration for the show free, but attendance is free of charge,” said club member Larry Gipson. “And we have the largest trophy presentation in the area,” he added, with awards given in first, second and third places for entrants; and special trophies for the “Oldest Car Entrant,” “Youngest Car Entrant,” “Farthest Traveled,” “Best of Show,” and the “People’s Choice,” which the crowd chooses.

Ron Swafford, secretary of the car club, pointed out that everything from Corvettes and Mustangs to tractors, jeeps and rat-rods will be on show. Everything from domestic cars to foreign imports will be vying for the trophies, he said. 

The trophy presentation will be at 2 p.m. near the fountain.

In addition to business and individual sponsors and the Vintage Car Club, the 15th annual Car & Bike Show will be presented by the Minden Main Street Program and the Webster Parish Convention & Tourism Commission. “The Heat Is On” is this year’s theme, so bring your children, teenagers, and grandchildren out for a truly family-oriented day of fun, food and festivities in downtown Minden.

For more information, contact Antoinette Quarles at 318-707-5362, Larry Gipson at 318-347-9558, or Lakeyla Williams at 318-505-8922.

MPD, community has your 6

From left, Lt. Chris Cheatham, Kim Cottle, J.D. Cottle, Chief Jared McIver, Keith Jellum and Stevi Jellum.


By Bonnie Culverhouse

Thanks to a “giving community,” Minden Police Department’s Special Response Team has a leg up on new equipment.

A burger and pulled pork plate fundraiser held last week netted $7,745 to ensure the new team will be one of the best in the area.

“This shows me that for all the negativity we hear about today, there’s still a lot of positivity in this community,” said co-coordinator Keith Jellum. “People are seeing the changes in the police department. They are trusting them to do their jobs, and we are proud of the support.”

Jellum, his wife Stevi with b1 Bank, J.D. Cottle and his wife Kim worked with sponsors from the area to sell tickets, cook food and raise funds.

Sponsors include Brookshire’s, Smokin’ J’s, Home Federal Bank, Bossier/Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin, Madden Contracting, Louisiana Home Health, Enterprise Rental, Laura Horton – State Farm Insurance, Minden Irrigation & Landscaping, Minden Farm & Garden, Under Dawgs Sports Grill, Horseshoe Dental, Hunter’s Body Shop, Main Street Barber, ABC Pediatrics, Kemp Designs, Josh Powell, Roco Tire, b1 Bank, Hers Bridal, Becca Rentz, Ace Hardware, Jellum Services, J.D. Cottle Catering, Minden Family Dental, Pitmans Custom Leather, AC Services of Minden and Brown Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram.

“We can’t thank these people enough,” said MPD Chief Jared McIver. “This amount is hard to process. The community support is amazing.”

Det. Lt. Chris Cheatham, head of SRT, said the money, along with that collected from the on-going gun raffle, has given the division a huge boost.

“We will use it for training and to purchase firearms, ballistics equipment, plates and helmets specifically for the team,” Cheatham said. “We may even purchase a drone.”

Cheatham said he expects to start making purchases within the next month.

“Anything we don’t use, will go to the department for patrol,” he added. “They need radars and equipment that will help them do their jobs. It will also go toward training.”

McIver said that in the past, MPD has always been forced to look outside the community for aid during SWAT-type emergencies.

“Now we are going to be one of the top special response teams around,” he said. “Other parishes will be calling us for help.”

Bad ideas and brain cramps

Some things are plain stupid. No gray area.

3-D Dumb.

Some people I know where robbed recently, but in his haste the robber dropped a piece of paper that was, unfortunately for him, a personal reminder of his upcoming court appearance. It included his name and address.


And then there was the story out of Opelousas this week of the gentleman who stuck a handgun in his waistband. The gun was loaded, a live round in the chamber. It went off. Now, the man from Opelousas —and I use the term “man” loosely here — is not as loaded as he once was – although the story did contain the phrase “underwent reattachment surgery” and “Police had not determined why (stupid man’s name) was walking around with a pistol in his pants.”

Easy. No brain in his head.

Stupid move.

There are lots of ways to say that a guy’s parents don’t have to worry about the Yale Admissions Department clogging up the family doorway to offer their kid a scholarship. For no other reason than they make me laugh, I’ll offer my Top 10.

He’s a few crumbs short of a biscuit.

Somewhere, a village is missing its idiot.

It’s almost like he has a small piece of brain lodged in his head.

Dumb as a bag of hammers/sharp as a bowling ball.

He has a room temperature (or shoe-sized) IQ.

He’s a regular “Elbert” Einstein.

He’s lost all contact with the mothership.

He doesn’t have both oars in the water.

He fell out of the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down.

My favorite: The wheel is turning but the hamster’s dead.

We all swallow a Stupid Pill from time to time.

But then there are things more along the lines of bad ideas. We call them mental muscle spasms. Brain cramps.

A boss buddy of mine found out the hard way this week that the letters T and G are very close to each other on the keyboard. For this reason, he will never be ending a work email with the phrase “Regards” again.

Muscle spasm.

I was told of a funeral in which the preacher, who kept candy in his desk, said that each Sunday morning the deceased would come into his office and, with a “Good morning!” and a smile, “go through my drawers.”

Brain cramp.

Finally, the worst idea I’ve heard of in a long time happened last week in Detroit, where Hall of Fame voice of the Detroit Tigers Ernie Harwell passed away at 92. A public viewing was held at Comerica Park, where the Tigers play. I am not a big “lying in state” guy to start with, but a casket on the warning track is off base on several levels. I didn’t like the picture of Ernie lying there, flowers all around, his statue by him, velvet ropes marking “foul ground,” for lack of a better term.

“Hey dad, remember when you took me to the ballpark and we saw Mr. Ernie dead?”

“Those were great times son!”

At least there was no danger of him being hit by a foul ball. At least the ballclub didn’t lay their humble, summer-sweet play-by-play guy out during a game. Thankfully, the Tigers were on the road.

As was, I guess, Ernie.

(Originally published May, 2010)

Contact Teddy at

Lions going back to school Thursday

Webster Parish Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland is the guest speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Minden Lions Club.

Rowland will educate Lions on Webster Ready Start Network (WRSN). Webster Parish School Board (WPSB) is seeing funding for additional seats for ages birth to three (B-3) education.

The superintendent is a native of Webster Parish and comes from a long line of educators. He is passionate about parish schools and WRSN. He is a product of the Webster Parish School System, graduating from Sibley High School in 1986. He earned his degrees from Louisiana Tech University and Centenary College with a Masters +30. He enjoys farming, family and his newest grandson Garrison.

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

Click ’em and pick ’em: time for our WPJ Football Contest

Time to fire up your phone or computer for Webster Parish Journal’s Pick’em Contest. Last year’s contest was so successful, we are adding to it.

Every week, local high school football games, four college teams and four pro teams will be on the ballot, which will include tie-breakers based on total points of two selected teams will be posted on the Webster Parish Journal. And just like the Journal, there’s no cost to enter. 

Each weekly winner over the life of the contest will be on the receiving end of $100 and will have their photo taken at our title sponsor Under Dawgs Sports Grill, the gathering place featuring a home-field atmosphere.

Anyone 18 and older is eligible to participate. All it takes is an email address and a combination of skill and a little luck.

Signing up for the contest only takes a couple of minutes. Log on to and follow the instructions.

The contest opens on Tuesdays and remains open until 4 p.m. each Thursday before the listed games. Weekly winners will be notified and announced in the following Wednesday edition of the Journal.

Bossier City man shows fighting side to MPD officers

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police have arrested a Bossier City man who allegedly showed his belligerent side at a local emergency care facility.

Ashton Lane Mangham, 18, of the 700 block of Dumaine Lane, Bossier City, was charged with disturbing the peace and 4 felony counts of resisting an officer by force.

Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said officers Ben Sparks and Logan Clingan were dispatched to the Homer Road care center around 10:30 a.m. Friday in reference to a disturbance.

“The officers arrived prior to Sgt. Shawn Griffith and Off. Cadyn O’Connor,” said the chief. “When they arrived, they made contact with two electricians from a local company. They brought Mangham to the clinic for drug testing, due to bizarre behavior on his part.”

Officers reported that Mangham refused to submit to testing and was asked to leave when he became belligerent.

“As officers were arresting Mangham for disturbing the peace, they located a THC vape pen in his pants pocket,” McIver said. “Once he was handcuffed, Mangham began actively violent, resisting with force. While attempting to carry and secure him in a patrol unit, Mangham began kicking and spitting at officers, causing him to lose balance and fall to the ground.”

During the fight, Off. Sparks reportedly received injuries to two of his fingers, then fell to the ground, striking his head. Off. O’Connor reportedly sustained injuries to his left arm.

“Even after arriving at the police department, Mangham continued to fight with officers in his cell,” said the chief. “Because of his erratic behavior and a white foamy substance accumulating around his mouth, we dispatched a local emergency medical service to check him out.”

Mangham was transported to Minden Medical Center. He was reportedly cleared and taken 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.

A new beginning

Summer is melting into Fall and in spite of the heat, the first Friday after Labor Day marks the beginning of Friday Morning Bible Study. For 45 years, ladies from all denominations have joined in a time of fellowship and Bible Study the first Friday in September, under the leadership of Roberta Kitchens.

“Let me stress that this is a Bible study for people from all churches,” Kitchens said. “There will be no particular church doctrine included and everyone will be welcomed. We stress the power of the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, and the words of Jesus are our mission statement: ‘A new commandment I give to you, “Love one another.”’

The study this Fall will be the book of Revelation. It will be a verse-by-verse study with time for questions and discussion, adding fellowship and earnest prayer for family and community needs.

Please take advantage of this unique opportunity. There will be two classes each week: for ladies – 9:30 a.m. Friday in the First Baptist Church reception room beginning September 8. A co-ed class at 6:30 p.m. Mondays beginning September 11 will also be held at First Baptist. A study guide will be available for $5.

Making the toughest choices on the state sports scene

You know that business meeting you dread? The Louisiana Sports Writers Association just held their version Sunday in Scott, the boudin capital of our state, just off I-10 west of Lafayette.

A four-hour discussion that occasionally slipped into a friendly debate ensued. Incredibly, as 40 voters scattered to race storm clouds home around the state, there was boudin from Best Stop left over.

I said voters, as in the members of the selection committee for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Every year, just before football kicks off, the committee finishes a month-long review of roughly 150 candidates by convening to pick the handful who will be inducted the following summer.

Why, you ask, would anyone dread that? A chance to talk sports with friends who are experts, and choose the best of the best to join the legends forever honored in the amazing Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street on the bricks in beautiful, historic downtown Natchitoches. Sounds great.

It is. And it’s not.

In a couple of weeks, you’ll see the announcement heralding the election of nine people from the “competitors’ ballot” to be the cornerstone of the LSHOF Class of 2024.

“What a great class.” That’s the reaction the announcement always solicits. That’s how each of the 40 selection committee members feel in the aftermath of voting.

Yet, every one of them (I’m one, along with local pals Teddy Allen, J.J. Marshall, Roy Lang III and Shreveport native Kent Lowe) leaves with an equal, if not bigger, sense of remorse. As deserving, as worthy, as the new inductees always are – and the 2024 class will at the very least hold its own with its predecessors – there’s regret and frustration about those incredible candidates who don’t make the cut.

They roll over to next year’s ballot – at least, the 46 finalists considered Sunday will, along with most of those others who didn’t get enough support in the semifinal round of online voting earlier this month.

But staying power is no guarantee they’ll ever get elected. Every year, roughly 50 new candidates are nominated, and 20 or so survive vetting and make their first appearance on the full ballot.

Some of those are absolute locks – I am not betraying any secrets by telling you Drew Brees is in his first year of eligibility, having been retired for three years as of 2024. The “Future Hall of Fame Candidates” list – not a complete one, but just a compilation of some of the prominent possibilities – is included in each year’s commemorative program, a full-color 108-page publication that each guest receives at his seat for the induction ceremony.

It’s a challenge for voters to not succumb to the “new and shiny” urge and give first-year candidates more consideration than those who are repeaters on the ballot. Some of those holdovers, though, have been strong contenders in previous years, and many of them are unquestionably impressive enough to take a place in the Hall.

Many are names you know. Others aren’t. The full 2024 ballot listed nominees from 27 – yes, that’s right – different sports categories, including chess, sailing, shooting, swimming, athletic training and women’s boxing, along with more mainstream pursuits.

There are world champions, Olympic gold medalists, multiple Pro Bowlers, and pro bowlers. Voters compare apples to Corvettes. Is that outdoorsman more remarkable than the world top 10-ranked tennis pro, or are the All-Star Game participants in baseball and basketball better than a four-time USA Olympian  who won a silver medal in one of his appearances?

The choices are brutal, and personal. The standards are not absolute, they’re subjective for each voter.

But in rounds of voting, like the political conventions used to have, there’s ebb and flow. That comes after a robust discussion of each sport, with committee members touting their favorites and weighing compelling points about others.

The toughest part? In each round, voters can list only five picks, in descending order, in a point system. By design, dating back to the words of Otis Harris, the Shreveport Journal sports editor of the 1950s: “only the state’s immortals in the sphere of athletics will be enshrined.”

I can’t tell you who got picked – yet. But I can tell you, that credo was honored once again with a star-studded, diverse and fascinating Class of 2024. Mid-September, I think you’ll agree. Next year, I hope you come see for yourself at the Induction Celebration.

Check for tickets. They’ll go fast.

My latest addiction

Let’s talk about addiction.

I know what you’re thinking. Ol’ St. John is about to ramp up all that recovery talk again. Granted, many of you already know that story— and it’s probably over documented, that— I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with 40 years of sobriety and clean time. I have never shied away from that fact, and never will.

I’ve always been forthright and honest about all my foibles and failures in my personal life and in business. I am an open book when it comes to my shortcomings. There are many. I could list several dozen and my wife could probably triple that list in a matter of minutes. But today I want to cover a new one.

This recently acquired addiction is not going to require interventions, law enforcement, the justice system, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, or a recovery center. As with 99% of my problems and mistakes in life, this one is of my own making.

I opened a bakery.

My name is Robert, and I am a breadaholic.

I don’t remember when I had my first taste of bread, but it was likely on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my pre-kindergarten days. I loved it immediately. After a few years I moved into hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. In those days I didn’t have any consequences due to my bread consumption. I was a happy-go-lucky kid with a body fat percentage lower than 10%.

During my teen years I started hanging out with an older crowd. A lot older. It was probably my grandmother and her friends that introduced me to yeast rolls and biscuits. Though in those days I kept my consumption in check.

In the recovery community there is an occasional debate about nature or nurture? And people are often advised to change their physical location to resist temptation. My childhood neighborhood was filled with temptation. Just across the street from my home were two houses where people cooked. I was able to get a sweet roll fix almost anytime I was jonesin’. I have kept that sweet roll connection to this day. When one finds good product it’s best to stay in tight with the dealer.

It wasn’t until my college years and early twenties that my problem worsened. It was somewhere deep in the sin-filled French Quarter of New Orleans that I tried my first loaf of warm, crusty French bread spread with salted butter. I was instantly hooked.

In those days I was walking around with a 28-inch waist. Forty-plus years of bread consumption has me sitting here typing this column with a 38-inch waist (with pants pulling at the seams).

Why, you might ask, would a person with a bread consumption problem open a bakery? Great question. I’ve always bucked authority and social norms and have spent most of my career doing things backwards. I’m weird like that. I am also a recovering alcoholic who has owned a bar for the past 36 years. I own over 3,000 bottles of wine and have never sampled any of them.

The same can’t be said for this new bakery. We have dozens of breads and pastries and I have tried them all. Multiple times. Daily, even. In the two-month period we were test baking I put on 20 pounds. True story. But those are hard-earned pounds. It’s not easy eating that many bread products.

On top of that, several months earlier I went on a wild rampage bender through New Orleans, hitting up over 38 places. Not bars, mind you, but retailers who sold king cakes. We will be baking a lot of king cakes at the bakery next year and we needed to sample and test all we could, in the city that invented that wicked creation.

Months before that my team and I were recipe testing for my new breakfast cookbook due out this fall. Pancakes? Waffles? French toast? Yes. Yes. Yes. Guilty as charged.

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to chew it.

I’m making light of all of this and certainly realize there are people out there with actual food addictions who attend 12-step meetings to help with that problem. This, in no way, is a slight to them, keep up the good work y’all.

But there is one food product that I believe I am seriously powerless over— Donald Bender’s bagel chips.

Our bakery opened a few weeks ago. It’s been swamped since we opened the doors. We’re still in the honeymoon period, and things should slow down a little in the coming weeks. We bake all manner of breads and pastries. Some items I insisted we have on the menu, others were not on my list and have been a big surprise that they have done so well.

When Donald came to me and said he planned to offer sausage biscuits for grab-and-go customers, I scoffed a little. I don’t think I said anything, but I’m sure I thought, “Those things aren’t going to sell in here when we’ve got all of these croissants and sweet rolls available.” Shows you what I know. To be fair, I had no idea he was talking about warm cheddar, chive, and roasted-garlic biscuits with sausage, ham, or bacon. They are awesome, and they sell out fast.

The same goes with bagels. I like bagels ok, but they’re never my first, second, or third choice when other pastries and baked items are available. But I kept my powder dry and opted to trust the experts, the bakers, I am just a bakee. A consumer. The bagels are good.

What I never considered was that the leftover bagels get turned into bagel chips, and that is what has me powerless these days. Bagel chips. Not croissants, or sweet rolls, or muffins. Bagel chips. A byproduct.

Years ago, there was a potato chip brand that advertised, “You can’t eat just one.” That may have been true. But those Madison Avenue execs never had the privilege of eating Donald Bender’s bagel chips. Not only can I not stop at one, but I also can’t stop until I eat the entire bag. Seriously, all of it, down to the last crumb in the bottom of the bag. It happens every time.

Those things are so good I find myself asking him to make more bagels than we need every day just so we can have leftovers to make bagel chips. I know what you’re thinking— Dude, it’s bagel chips. I can get those at the grocery store— and that’s probably what I’d be thinking too. But only because I wouldn’t have tasted these amazing things.

There’s no magic there. He just shaves yesterday’s bagels razor thin, drizzles them with olive oil, and sprinkles salt over them before baking, but something magical happens in that process and basic bagels of all flavors become transformed into beautiful, crispy, flavorful, and addictive snacks.

Moving forward I think I’ll be able to avoid interventions, law enforcement, the justice system, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, or a recovery center. But I don’t ever see myself avoiding bagel chips or a bakery.


Cilantro Spiked Corn, Crab, and Avocado Dip

Corn, crab, and avocado work well when paired together in a cold offering. The cilantro adds an additional coolness which makes this the perfect summer dip.

3 Tbl lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 Tbl Tequila

1 /4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

3 avocados

1 1 /2 cup fresh cooked corn, cut from the cob (use frozen kernels if fresh is not available)

2 Tbl red bell pepper, finely diced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 /4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 cup fresh lump crab meat, picked of all shell

1 /8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbl hot sauce

1 Tbl fresh chopped cilantro

Combine tequila, lime juice, olive oil, salt, hot sauce and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl.

Peel and small dice the avocado, quickly placing the avocado in the lime juice mixture and tossing well so avocado is well coated.

Fold in remaining ingredients.

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