Jury picked for murder trial

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Jury selection was completed Tuesday in the 2020 shooting death of 37-year-old Anthony John Bruns of Springhill.

Opening statements are to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 5 at the Webster Parish Courthouse in Minden. Judge Charles Smith, 26th Judicial District Court, is presiding. Assistant District Attorney Jimbo Yocom is the prosecutor and Shreveport attorney Mary Ellen Halterman is defending Logan Harmon Smith for second degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison with no chance of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Following jury selection, the state offered the defense 35 years for manslaughter and 10 years for obstruction of justice. Answering on his own behalf, Smith rejected all offers.

Bruns reportedly was found on the side of Percy Burns Road, just south of Reynolds Street on Louisiana Hwy. 157 in June of 2020.

Webster Parish Sheriff’s investigators Phillip Krouse and Tommy Kemp Jr. worked the case and arrested Smith, who was 21 at the time. Smith is from Taylor, Ark.

Bruns was allegedly killed in another location, and his body dumped at the site where Springhill Police were called. It was reportedly out of their jurisdiction, so Sheriff’s investigators were called to the scene.

In a 2020 story, KTAL news reported Smith confessed to shooting Bruns but did not disclose a motive, claiming he did not know the victim prior to the shooting.

Bruns’ family – his mother and two sisters – were in the courtroom Monday and Tuesday for jury selection.


Superintendent addresses concerns over religious items in schools 

Chris Plants addresses board members Monday.

Webster Parish school personnel, including teachers, are not prohibited from keeping a Bible on their desk or wearing religious themed jewelry at school, nor are students and staff prohibited from praying while at school, Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland said Monday.

Rowland said he wanted to clarify what he called “a misunderstanding or miscommunication” about the subject of religious materials and prayer while a room packed with visitors for the board’s monthly meeting listened.

Rowland’s comments came after Chris Plants, an organizer of the Webster Parish chapter of Men of Courage, spoke to the board concerning federal school regulations he considered against the best interests of students and principles of faith.

“When the government tells you to do something that God doesn’t want you to do, you have to step up and do what God tells you to do,” Plants said. Later he added, “The first amendment gives us the right to religion. If you violate the court order you will be persecuted…that’s against God. Go with God. You have to take what God tells you to take.”

Plants gave board members examples of persons in the Bible who stood up to governing authority rather than disobey God’s laws if the two were in conflict. That, he said, was keeping the commandment to “…love our God with all our heart, with all our mind and all our soul.”

Days before Monday’s meeting, Plants had met with Rowland, school board President Fred Evans and Assistant Superintendent Kevin Washington to talk about concerns after some teachers had told him they were afraid of losing their jobs over issues of Bibles on desks.

According to Plants, he had been contacted by teachers concerned who had passed on their concerns about potentially losing their jobs. “I was just telling you what they communicated to me,” he told Rowland. “I don’t know where they got (the information).” 

“I did some checking, and I told (Plants) I’d never fire anyone for having a Bible on their desk,” Rowland said during the meeting. “We’ve probably not communicated specifics as well as we need to.”

“They can indeed have Bibles on their desk as long as they have other items that teachers would have on their desks. They can wear religious jewelry…teachers and students can pray at school,” he added.

Rowland said following a suit against the school system by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because of religion issues, attendance by students has increased at Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meetings and prayer sessions called “Meeting at the Pole.”

“We’ve actually had more participation after the suit than before,” he said.” Our students know their rights, our employees are learning their rights. We want to assure you…we need to be unified.”

During Monday’s meeting, board members also:

• Approved Option 1 for the 2023 Pelican HRA1000 and MedPlus GAP coverage.

• Gave approval of the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire for FY 2021-2022.

• Approved a number of expenditures from district funds including $12,049 for video management server for the school resource officer at Lakeside Jr/Sr. High and Central Elementary; and, $128,073 to upgrade all security cameras at Phillips Elementary School.

• Also, $18,074 for the purchase of a video management server for the SRO at Phillips Elementary, Jones Elementary and Richardson Elementary; and, $6,024 to purchase video management server for the school resource officer at North Webster Lower Elementary.

• Also, $18,074 to purchase video management system for school resource officer at Browning Elementary, Brown Upper Elementary and North Webster High School; $6,024 to purchase video management server for school resource officer at North Webster Upper Elementary and Doyline High School.

Scott Walker, representing Taylor and Sons, recognizes Webster Parish school system employee of the month for October, Jessica Lewis, special education teacher at Doyline High School.

Shots fired Monday night

By Bonnie Culverhouse

No one was arrested from a report of shots fired in the 800 block of Claiborne Avenue Monday night.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said a 30-year-old man with a handgun was shooting his pistol in the front yard of his residence.

“He was not shooting at anyone,” Cropper said. “It was a sad situation, and he has been committed. Hopefully, he will get the help he needs.”


Moore is winner of Week 5 contest

Congratulations Kirby Moore, Webster Parish Journal’s Week 5 winner of the High School Football  Pick’em contest.

Moore was 10 out of 10 with his picks, as were several others. Moore’s win came through the tie breaker. He is awarded $100 in cash from title sponsors Under Dawgs and Webster Parish Journal, a $50 gas card from Car Giant and the cap of his choice from Attorney Jimbo Yocom of Yocom Law Firm and Minden Athletic.

Our celebrity winners this week:

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper – 10-0

Pat Culverhouse – 10-0

Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams – 10-0

Paige Nash – 8-2

Josh Beavers – 8-2

Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker – 5-5

 


Major marsupial trouble in River City 

Zoology tells us that non-human mammals, number around 500 billion, and almost all of them are four-legged. No one is counting, but 10 trillion reptiles and amphibians, give or take, are also lurking around.  

Beautiful. The more the merrier. 

But why do most of them want to live at my house? Or under my house? (We’re looking at you, Mr. Armadillo.) 

Sometimes living in the Broadmoor area of Shreveport is like living in a tame but teeming suburban Serengeti. Instead of wildebeest, we have possums. Instead of buffalos, raccoons. Instead of zebras, the aforementioned armadillos. 

There is also the friendly squirrel and the harmless rabbit. That’s fine. Squirrels are fascinating athletes in my opinion, and a rabbit who kept showing up in my yard in December of 2001 got so friendly that the big-earned fuzzy cuddler actually sat in my lap and watched most of Super Bowl XXXVI with me, Patriots vs. Rams (vs. Rabbits). After a couple more weeks and low on carrots, I gave him (or her, I never looked) away to a rabbit-keeping-equipped friend with rabbit-loving children.  

I’m told he or she thrived. 

The record shows this clearly: I love animals. And pets. I know it. You know it. The American people know it. 

But … there is a line. And if you as an animal have appeared in advertising that concerns pest control, if you are on that side of the line, we can’t be friends. Only acquaintances.  

That dog just won’t hunt.  

I once had a rat problem that was cured with small plastic devices that looked like tyrannosaurus rex jaws. In bed I’d hear the tell-tale CLAP! from the attic and sleep a winner’s sleep. Night after night until every one of them, the size of kittens, were sleeping with the fishes.  

Once raccoons got into my chimney, where a little ledge inside allowed them to sleep all day in air conditioning, right above the fireplace and a few feet from the TV. Thought they were in the Waldorf-Astoria. The only way I knew they were there? The smell, and the fleas.  

Had to hire “a guy” to “take care” of them. 

Once in the garage, I felt someone looking at me and there was a coon, a baby, hanging by one arm, like he was doing show-off chin-ups, cute as a bug, his baby eyes piercing me with a question: “Mind if I hang around?” 

Not two nights later I was rounding the corner of the garage and Daddy Coon was standing on his hind legs, chill as if he’d gone out for a smoke. Neither of us expected the other and we both ran, like cartoon characters, in opposite directions.  

So, while I have gotten better at keeping them outside, they are still invading the “boundaries” my marsupial counselor told me to set. It’s not working out well. 

The back fence is some sort of possum magnet; that’s the only explanation. I don’t hear of possums on other people’s fences. But they love this one, and Gracie Lou, a Maltese and domesticated and plenty of trouble by her herself, will bark and roar at lion magnitude until the neighbor dogs, Molly and Gus and Jezebel, sometimes Dixie, join in and soon it’s like a barking garage band that’s not very good.  

The possums have only one rule: they never get on the fence until you’re in bed for the night.  

And so … 

One remarkably loud and recent evening, me and Frank, The World’s Greatest Neighbor, had to dispatch an exceptionally hard-headed one, the Dog Crescendo having reached wake-the-dead levels. He or she (again, I didn’t look) was properly buried the next morning on land outside of town. 

My part of “the cleanup” was to place the checked-out marsupial in a coffin — found an empty Tito’s Vodka box in the garage — and leave the box by the dogwood tree by the porch. Frank, “The Eraser,” did the rest.  

And that’s the world I am living in these days.  

  When I sat the box by the porch, I noticed something that hadn’t been there the day before. Ridges in the side yard. Holes.  

Mole holes.  

Me against another wave of those 500 billion mammals. 

The beat (down) goes on …  

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


Speaker may transform Lions’ lives

Kari Kennedy

Guest speaker for this Thursday’s noon meeting of the Minden Lions Club will be Kari Kennedy, associate director of digital strategies for the Jesus Film Project. She will be sharing how the film has changed and is still transforming lives around the world in a way no other film has ever done.

The 2009 movie “Avatar” is currently the highest growing movie of all time. When it debuted in 2009, the estimated viewership for that year was almost 140 million. The film cost more than $200 million to make. Contrast that with this: In 1979 another film was made – “the Jesus Film.” This movie is about the life of Jesus, taken from the Gospel of Luke. In 2009 dollars, it cost only $20 million to make. In 2021, the Jesus Film had over 750 million viewings – and there is no charge to view it.

This life-changing film is now available in over 2,000 languages and has reached people in more than 220 countries.

Kari is a native of Bossier City and a graduate of LSU, where she previously served on staff for 19 years.

Kari was invited and will be introduced Thursday by Lion Ronnie Veitch.


The 32nd anniversary of my 29th birthday

Robert St. John’s mom

By Robert St. John  

Yesterday I entered my 62nd year on the planet. The thing about turning 61-years old is that I thought I would feel differently at this point in my life. I imagine— 40 years ago— when I looked at the prospect of hanging around for six decades, I probably thought I would feel like an adult by now. That’s not the case. On the inside, and emotionally, I still feel like a 22-year-old. Sure, am I move just a little slower, and have slightly less energy than I did four decades ago, but to be honest with you there was a time back then when I didn’t even think I would reach 30.

I spent my birthday doing exactly what I wanted to do. I slept late (6:30 AM) and spend a little time listening to music in my bed before taking a shower. I had breakfast, enjoyed a birthday pancake, dropped some food off on the doorstep of a friend who has Covid, and worked brunch at the new restaurant. Someone asked why I was working on my birthday. I told them, “I’m not working, I’m having fun.”

The restaurants are never work to me. My mother asks me all the time, “When are you going to retire?”

I tell her, “Why would I retire? I’m doing what I love to do. This is my fun.” I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I don’t play golf. I’m a simple man. I love my family, my friends, restaurants, movies, music, and football.

My wife wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday. I said, “As always, I would just like to have dinner with a small group of our friends and our daughter (my son is away at culinary school).” So that’s what I did, spent the evening surrounded by family and friends at the lake house.

One of the first things I do on most days is check my Facebook memories and look at what I was doing on that exact day for each of the past 11 years. In 2009, I was at my mother’s house for a birthday lunch.

A question I often ask people when we have just met— and are talking about food and cooking— is “If it is your birthday and your parent or spouse asks you what you would like them to cook for the occasion, what is the dish you request?” Sometimes I ask, “What did your mother cook for you on your birthday as a child?” That is always a telling response, because most people request their favorite food that their mother, spouse, or significant other prepares/prepared for them. Mine was stuffed peppers. Nothing fancy, but something that was in my mom’s supper repertoire that, other than her gumbo, was my favorite dish.

I probably ate stuffed peppers 90% of the birthdays in the first half-century of my life. Stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes, and English peas. That photo memory in my Facebook feed took me back to my childhood, and even into adulthood, and meals in my mother’s dining room. Almost all my fondest childhood memories are set around meals in my home or the homes of one of my grandparents. I never gave them much thought back then, but a shared meal is something that I cherish, and never take for granted these days.

Sharing a meal with family or friends is how I connect. There’s something magical and mystical about sharing a meal. It’s very biblical— loaves and fishes, last suppers, and the like— and it is how many of the most unforgettable memories are made. I am aware of that today, and when giving speeches I often ask the audience to think back to their fondest memories, most of the time food, and/or sharing a meal, was associated with those memories is some way.

That lunch, 13 years ago, ended up being the last time my mother cooked stuffed peppers for my birthday. She moved into an independent living facility the next year, and into an assisted living facility two years ago. She hasn’t cooked anything in a long time. But I have the memories, and they are some of my best reminiscences.

Never underestimate the impact you are making when spending time with family and friends. I am a 61-year-old man, sitting at a laptop, still writing about meals I ate 50 years ago. They matter.

So, as I move on from the 32nd anniversary of my 29th birthday, I am keenly aware that the older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of family and friends. I love all who are in that number.

My grandfather used to say, “you can judge a man’s wealth not by the size of his pocketbook, but by the depth and breadth of his friendships.” He also used to say “A rich man has his first dollar, but a truly wealthy man has his first friend. “I am blessed beyond belief, and feel so “wealthy,” not because I have a lot of money in the bank (I don’t), but because I have such great friends and a wonderful family. I love, respect, and value them all.

Today I am feeling grateful to all the people who have made a difference to me. There are tons of them, and most probably don’t even know the ways they have impacted my life. I value all those friendships and hope all my friends and family know how much I love and appreciate them for being such an integral part of my life.

Again, there was a dark time in my late teens and early twenties when I didn’t expect to make it to 30. I have more than doubled that. I’m living in the bonus. I am a blessed man, not because of material things or circumstances, but because I have a great family and a wonderful group of friends.

Onward.

My Version of My Mom’s Stuffed Peppers

1 Tbl bacon fat

1 cup yellow onion, small dice

2 tsp steak seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbl sugar

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

2 tsp fresh garlic, minced fine

1/4 tsp dry basil

1/4 tsp dry oregano

1/8 tsp dry thyme

2 Tbl tomato paste

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained very well

6 bell peppers, tops and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small sauté pan, heat the bacon fat over medium heat. Add onions, steak seasoning, salt, sugar, and pepper and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano and thyme, and cook one more minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove mixture from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool completely.

Once the mixture has cooled, mix in the egg, ground beef and drained tomatoes. Do not overmix. Fill each pepper with the ground beef mixture.

Place peppers in a casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes (cook times will vary depending on the size of the peppers). Baste with juices from the bottom of the casserole twice during the cooking process. Check the center for doneness. Remove and serve,

Yield:

6 servings

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author from Hattiesburg, Miss.)


Letter to the Editor: Oppose Sen. Dick Durbin’s bill

Dear Editor,

 As a small businessman and a taxpayer, I’m always concerned about the government and big businesses’ attempts to line their own pockets by passing off costs to the average consumer. If you watch the political circus in Washington for any length of time, you’ll quickly see that big megacorporations work hand in glove with some of the top lawmakers.

 Whether it’s Biden working with Mark Zuckerberg to stifle free speech online or Pelosi using her insider connections to make millions trading stocks, it’s clear that the party in power has no problems tipping the scales in favor of themselves and their cronies.

 That’s why when I read this article on Fox News today, I felt compelled to share it with like minded readers.

 In the article, the writer states This summer, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a staunch progressive and fierce defender of the Biden administration, introduced a bill that would hurt American consumers, change the way Americans use their credit cards, and put money into the pockets of big companies like Amazon and Walmart. It is also a blatant attempt by Durbin to shift blame for inflation away from the Democrats and the Biden administration and onto American job creators.”

I looked into the bill that Sen. Durbin is pushing and found that it was blatantly anti-free market. It’s basically price controls on the payment processing industry. Price controls are never a good idea – especially in a country founded on the principle of free trade and commerce.

 As a small business owner, I know that every dollar counts. We cannot let the government set prices that make it impossible for small businesses to compete with the big boys like Amazon and Walmart. We need a level playing field – not a system set up for Durbin and the Dems donors!

I ask that we all encourage our Louisiana lawmakers to oppose Dick Durbin and his bad credit card bill!

Thank you,

Shayne Benedetto


Calling all local veterans and family members 

By Paige Nash

The Webster Parish Libraries is taking part in the Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress. This project collects, preserves and transforms personal accounts of American war veterans into publicly accessible pieces of history.  

Janetta Robinson, Webster Parish Libraries Technology Assistant and History Archivist said, “We want all veterans to have the opportunity to tell their personal stories. Don’t let yours or a loved one’s history be lost.” 

The library will be gathering documents in the forms of audio and video, which can include personal narratives or videotaped interviews. Visual material is also welcome in the form of photographs, artwork, letters, postcards, diaries and drawings that are within the guidelines set by the Library of Congress.  

This partnership is an effort to preserve this important collection of history for future generations to come. With first-hand accounts from veterans this will give a better understanding of the grim realities of war and conflict. The VHP is interested in hearing accounts of the following: 

World War, 1914-1918 

World War, 1939-1945 

Cold War 

Korean War, 1950-1953 

Vietnam War, 1961-1975 

Grenada–History–American Invasion, 1983 

Panama–History–American Invasion, 1989 

Operation Restore Hope, 1992-1993 

Persian Gulf War, 1991 

United Nations Operation in Somalia 

Haiti–History–American intervention, 1994-1995 

Operation Allied Force, 1999 

Peacekeeping forces–Bosnia and Hercegovina 

Operation Joint Guardian, 1999- 

War on Terrorism, 2001-2009 

Afghan War, 2001- 

Iraq War, 2003-2011 

Next of kin of deceased veterans are encouraged to submit memoirs, biographical information, original photos, letters, and other forms of correspondence on behalf of their loved ones.  

Immediate family members (parent, spouse, sibling or child) fall under the Gold Star Families Voices Act. A public law that allows these immediate family members of a veteran who died while serving in the armed forces to submit oral histories. Due to the graphic and sensitive nature of some of these accounts the VHP requires the person conducting the interview and the person being interviewed to be at least 18 years of age.  

Oral histories can be recorded at both the Minden and Springhill Branches of the Webster Parish Libraries by appointment. These unedited accounts and documents will be sent to the Library of Congress to be added to their collections while a copy will remain in the archives of the Webster Parish Libraries. An additional copy will also be provided to each participating veteran or veteran family member. 

The libraries began accepting submissions earlier this month, but there is no deadline. This is an ongoing project. If you are interested in making a submission you can contact the Minden Branch at (318) 371-3080 ext. 126 or the Springhill Branch at (318) 539- 4117. If you are interested in viewing the Veterans History Project at your local library, you will need to schedule an appointment with the research staff at least 10 business days in advance.  


Altercation during voter registration leads to arrest

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A community effort to register voters for the upcoming election was interrupted Sunday by a fight.

Aaron Demon Wright, 22, of the 1500 block of Shreveport Rd., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for aggravated assault with a firearm.

Police Chief Steve Cropper said a victim and a relative appeared at the Minden Police Department around 6 p.m. October 2 to report an incident that occurred at a local park earlier that evening.

“The complainant was attending a voter registration event when the suspect drove up in his Camaro, parked and exited, attacking the complainant,” Cropper said. “A fight ensued and witnesses reported that Wright brandished a handgun from the center of his waistline and pointed it at the complainant.”

No shots were fired and Wright reportedly returned to his vehicle, left the scene but returned several times “as if taunting the victim.”

Cropper said Officer Jared McIver went to the Bayou Street apartments off Shreveport Road and knocked on the door.

“Wright answered the door and was immediately taken into custody without incident,” said the chief. “His 9 mm was on a table in the living room and was entered into evidence.”

With the help of Lt. Chris Hammontree and Off. Kayla Little, Wright was booked into Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

“Wright denied using the firearm but admitted to the altercation,” Cropper said.

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


MPD arrests local man for taking cell phones

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A local man is in Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center after robbing another of his cell phones.

Bruce Bernard Jones, 48, of the 600 block of Leary St., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for second degree robbery.

Chief Steve Cropper said Ofc. Anthony Miller responded to a Roosevelt Street address in reference to a physical altercation.

“When he arrived, the officer talked with the complainant who had been bleeding,” Cropper said. “He told the officer he had caught a ride to a Shreveport Road gas station where Jones started a physical altercation with him.”

Jones reportedly struck the complainant with a closed fist several times, knocking out a front tooth, then “body slammed” him on the ground.

“While the victim was on the ground, Jones physically went into his front pocket and took two phones from him,” said the chief. “He was taken to Minden Medical Center per his request.”

With the aid of Sgt. Jason Smith and Ofc. Jason Lee, Jones was arrested, transported to MPD for booking and later to BDCC due to the nature of his charges.

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.


Assessor releases second Annual Report

Webster Assessor Denise Edwards is proud to announce that the second Annual Report from the Assessor’s Office will be mailing out to tax payers over the next few weeks. Edwards said she is delighted to keep the citizens of Webster Parish informed on the current operations of her office and keeping the tax base knowledgeable on the kind of figures generated through property taxes that keep our local government working for you. In the report you can study over helpful information such as Tax Roll Overview, Tax Dollars at Work, Special Assessment Levels, Approaches to Values, and The Millage Rate Process and how it works. Edwards says this year’s report will focus on ways tax payers can stay involved and be informed when their local taxing districts are setting their millage throughout the year. 

As for the Assessor’s Office, Edwards has again elected to lower the Assessment District millage rate. Within her first two years as Assessor, she has kept the millage lowered and saved the taxpayers of Webster approximately $1M dollars in property taxes. She believes that if her office can run effectively at a lower rate then she has a fiscal responsibility to do so. 

So what does that mean and where is your money that was saved? Edwards said it’s all in how a governing entity handles their millage and if they adjust forward or opt not to. She acknowledges that it is important for taxing districts to levy the maximum millage if needed so they have the monies necessary to effectively maintain operations. If a taxing district opts not to adjust their millage forward and receive the max millage then the savings is passed on to the tax base.

This brings us to Amendment 5 which will be on the ballot this November. Edwards wants everyone to understand the importance of this amendment and how it can benefit taxpayers if passed. Currently taxing districts must adjust their millage forward ever so often by State Law in order to keep their max millage. If taxing districts fail to levy their maximum millage this could cause budgetary shortfalls affecting services to the public. If Amendment 5 passes, then taxing districts will not have to levy the maximum just to ensure they keep their max millage. This will allow taxing districts the flexibility to save the tax payers money without fear of losing their max millage option. 

If you would like any further information on millage, Amendment 5 or any property tax information, Edwards says her door is always open and she and her staff are happy to assist the public with any questions, concerns or needs. All tax payers should receive an Annual Report by mail, but you can always stop in at the Assessor’s Office to pick up a copy.


Grillin’ for the Warriors

Joe Early was the big winner at Saturday’s Second Annual Grillin’ for the Warriors steak cook off held at Lakeside High School. 

Joe earned the top prize of $1,000 for his first place steak entry. John Green took second and Johnny Joseph earned third. 

Nick Clark placed first in the quesadilla competition and Carrie Green and CJ Dabbs took second and third respectively. 

The event was organized by the Lakeside football team. There were cooks from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi.  The event was to raise money for the squad.


Upcoming Events

Current-Nov. 30

Motorcycle exhibit at Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl St., Minden. Motorcycles courtesy of 3 State Harley Davidson.

Oct. 6

10 a.m. Minden Planning Commission meeting. Pelican Room, Minden City Hall. Agenda includes a zoning varian request from Joyful Days LLC, owners of property located at 721 East Street to use existing building as office space for a personal care service company.

Current through Oct. 7

Parish Fair and Livestock Show.

Oct. 8 

7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Salt & Light SS Class at First Baptist Church, giant rummage sale.

8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Bayou Dorcheat Fall Paddle & Dutch Oven Cooking at Dixie Inn Boat Launch.

9 a.m. Springhill Lumberjack Festival – Arts & Crafts Vendors, Live Music, Vintage Tractor Show, Auto & Cycle Show, Kids Corner, Baggo Tournament, and more! Springhill RV Park & CAC Building. Parade at 10am on Main Street.

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Holidaze on Main. Food, homemade goods, arts and crafts, vendors.

Oct. 10

9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Medicare seminar sponsored Webster Parish Council on Aging, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden. Open to the public. Call 318-371-3056 for more information.

6 p.m. 2022 Political Forum – Minden Mayor and Webster Parish School Board candidates for districts 4, 6 and 8. Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College.

6 until 8 p.m. Special Motorcycle event at Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl St., Minden. Exhibit of WWII Vintage Motorcycles from Ronnie Dees’ private collection.

Oct. 11

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 4-H Fashion and Interior Design Workshop #1 at Cultural Crossroads Farm. Pre-registration required.

10 a.m. Storytime Space Series – Jupiter, Springhill branch of Webster Parish Libraries.

6 p.m. Political Forum for Springhill mayor, council and school board members at CAC Building. Hosted by Springhill North Webster Chamber of Commerce.

Oct. 12 

6 p.m. 4-H Jr. Leader Meeting, Minden Extension Office.

Oct. 13

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 4-H Global Cooking Workshop #1, Minden Extension Office. Pre-Registration Required.

4-H Pumpkin Decorating Contest & LA Commodity Cookery

6 p.m. Seeds Women Center, annual fundraising banquet. Dinner and program. Minden Civic Center.

Oct. 13-15

10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Louisiana’s Jet Rally Airshow, Minden Airport.

Oct. 15

11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Minden Makers Fair

4th annual Minden Makers Fair will take place at The Farm of Cultural Crossroads. A fun-filled day packed with local artists and makers, hands-on demonstrations, activities for children, food vendors, and more! Guests will also be able to view submissions made to our halloween-themed art competition, Moonlight Madness. More information about this event can be found at: https://www.mindenmakersfair.com/

5:30 until 11 p.m. After the gates close on Minden Makers Fair, The Farm will reopen at 5:30 for our 3rd annual Moonlight Madness halloween art competition and haunted house. The gallery reception will begin at 5:30 with awards being announced and refreshments served. Once the sun goes down, we will open our kid-friendly haunted house located under the pavilion and pass out candy. Guests are encouraged to wear a costume. For more information, or to receive an application to submit artwork into the competition, please call (318) 268-8153 or email CulturalCrossroadsOfMinden@gmail.com.

Oct. 17 

5 p.m. LYFE Series Meeting #1, Springhill Library.

6 p.m. 2022 Political Forum – Minden Chief of Police and City Council candidates. Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College.

Oct. 17-21

5 p.m. 2022 Mini Cheer Camp, hosted by Doyline High School Cheerleaders. Grades Pre-K-5th. Contact Kelsey Morris at 318-5647324 or Whitney Vollmer at 318-525-2173.

Oct. 20

10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Greater Minden Chamber Job Fair & Career Expo, Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College.

Oct. 21

9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Health Fair at First Baptist Church gym, 301 Pennsylvania Ave., Minden. Sponsored by Webster Parish Council on Aging, Regional Hospice and Walgreens. Flu shots (bring Medicare card), Blood pressure checks, Bingo, door prizes, games and lunch. Call 371-3056 for more information.

Oct. 25

10 a.m. Storytime Space Series – Saturn. Springhill branch Webster Parish Libraries.

Oct. 27

4 until 6 p.m. Webster Parish Library Trunk or Treat, Springhill Branch.

Oct. 31

4 until 6 p.m. Webster Parish Library Trunk or Treat, Minden Branch.

Nov. 4-5

Main to Main Trade Days

Nov. 12 

10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Mission Adoption Makers Craft Fair, Silent Auction, Bake Sale and Lunch at First Baptist Church Family Life Center, Minden. ALL  proceeds go to CASA and a family that is beginning the adoption process. Homemade craft items, jellies & canned goods, Christmas items, candles, and much more, baked goods and frozen casseroles, silent auction items and hot dog lunch or jambalaya lunch, drinks and popcorn.

Nov. 19

9 a.m. Poker Run Registration. See http://www.dorcheatmuseum.com for info or call 318-377-3002.

Nov. 26

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Mistletoe Market in Springhill’s CAC Building hosted by Springhill Chamber of Commerce.  Kick off the Christmas Shopping season with craft vendors and boutiques.  Admission free. Visit with the Shreveport Santa (10-2) sponsored by Carter Credit Union.

5 p.m. Springhill Christmas Parade hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.  Springhill Main Street.


Notice of Death – Oct. 4, 2022

E. Carr McClendon III

April 29, 1946 – Sept. 30, 2022

Private family service to be held.

June C. Tindall

April 19, 1937 – Oct. 2, 2022

Visitation: 11 a.m. until noon Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2022, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: Noon Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2022, Bailey Funeral Home.

Burial: Pilgrims Rest Cemetery, Shongaloo, La.

Steven Clinton Maddry Sr.

Aug. 21, 1946 – Sept. 21, 2022

Celebration of Life: 11 a.m. Oct. 22, 2022, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Minden, La.

Willard Leon Langley

Jan. 4, 1935 – Sept. 28, 2022

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, Old Sarepta Missionary Baptist Church, Sarepta, La.

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

Mildred Hildebrand Edwards

April 4, 1923 – Sept. 21, 2022

Visitation: Noon until time of service Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at Rose-Neath Chapel, Mansfield, La.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home Chapel, Mansfield, La.

Burial: Noble Cemetery, Noble, La.

Webster Parish Journal publishes paid 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.)


Retirement systems cause confusion at city level

By Bonnie Culverhouse

The Minden Police Department’s retirement plan caused some confusion during Monday night’s meeting of the Minden City Council.

Michael Fluhr, interim City Clerk, said he is waiting to hear from the Attorney General’s office concerning who must be in MPD’s retirement fund and who should be in the City of Minden’s fund.

Fluhr pointed out that, with the council’s permission, Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper added a secretary and dispatcher, neither of which are Civil Service employees.

“We’ve been told that these employees need to be reported in the Police Municipal Retirement System,” Fluhr said. “Even though they are not Civil Service. Basically, everybody in that department is Civil Service and has to go into that retirement system.”

Fluhr said the employees that must go into that system are based on an Attorney General’s opinion, something which he is having difficulty acquiring.

“So, we are still waiting on the explanation,” he said. “I did not understand it.”

In addition, the department has another employee that is not Civil Service. According to Fluhr, even though she has been there a few years, she will likely be required to go under the police retirement system, as well.

Chief Steve Cropper, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he is also confused.

“When I turned in my paperwork, I assumed I would fall under the police retirement system, but due to my length of time (in office), I am going through the city’s retirement system,” Cropper said.

Fluhr said it is possible the next police chief will fall under the police retirement system, “which will require more contribution from the city,” Fluhr said. “I do not understand it; I was asking for the Attorney General’s opinion, but they could not provide it.”

When District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker asked if Fluhr requested the AG’s opinion, he answered that he asked MERS (Municipal Employees Retirement System) to send him the AG’s opinion.

“They said it is not published yet,” Fluhr said.

“They are not going to give you an opinion if you call and ask,” Walker said. “You have to write and ask for an opinion, so Mr. (Jimbo) Yocom (City Attorney) could ask for an opinion.”

“I don’t think they have an opinion yet,” Fluhr said. “I think it is odd they are saying someone who is not in Civil Service should be in the police retirement system. If you hire a janitor for the police department, he needs to go into the police retirement system?”

Walker then asked if those who were already employed with the police department would get back pay.

“We don’t know,” Mayor Tommy Davis replied.

“In the chief’s case, it has to do with the years he’s been there,” Fluhr said.

Cropper said it was his understanding that he paid into the police retirement fund the 12 years he has been chief.

“When I turned in my paperwork, I got confused because I started getting papers from the city’s retirement,” he said. Human Resources Director April Aguilar informed him that based on his years of service, that “I would have to fall under the city’s retirement.”

Davis said, in his opinion, the confusion was at the state level.

“We are still in the process of trying to get this worked out,” he said. “And trying to get more information on it.”

Fluhr said he would like to get something in writing and, “not just what somebody says. The regular retirement system refused to take them (Chief and other employee).”


Future plans under way for tournament

Representatives of several local agencies involved in the inaugural Archery Shooters Association (ASA) tour event held at Camp Minden in April this year met Friday to discuss plans to make future events even better. ASA has agreed to a 10-year run at the site.

Included at the meeting were members of the Louisiana National Guard, Camp Minden, Bossier Parish Police Jury, Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission and the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.

Numbers for the 2022 edition showed 1,655 competitors, family and vendors attended the event from 41 states and two countries (Canada and Australia). Organizers predict a $25 million economic impact for the area over the 10 years.


Sign up for Week 6 of the Pick’em football contest

It’s already Week 6 of Webster Parish Journal’s High School Pick’em Contest.

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. In addition to the $100, weekly winners will receive a $50 gift gas card courtesy of Car Giant, serving Minden by providing quality cars. A photo will be taken there, too.

In addition to the money and gas card, Minden Attorney Jimbo Yocom of Yocom Law Firm will award each weekly winner a cap featuring the winner’s favorite team either high school, college or pro. Winners will pick their cap at Minden Athletic, suppliers of athletic gear since 1973.

Anyone 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 https://tinyurl.com/WPJPickem and follow the instructions.

Entries are now open for this week’s games and will remain 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.


Springhill Police seize marijuana plants, arrest growers

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Springhill Police have arrested a father-son marijuana team and seized a large amount of plants.

Ray Buck New, 74, of the 200 block of Jones Rd., Sarepta, and Jamie Ray New, 47, of the 300 block of Old Sarepta Church Rd., Sarepta, were arrested for manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and illegal possession of firearms with controlled dangerous substances.

According to the police report, Judge Michael Craig signed a search warrant for property on the 200 block of Jones Rd., Sarepta Monday afternoon, and Springhill Narcotics Task Force executed it Wednesday morning.

“During the execution, 137 individual potted plants of marijuana were found and seized,” the report reads. “There were 35 firearms on the property that were seized both inside the primary residence and inside the building located on the property where the marijuana manufacturing site was located.”

More than $16,000 in various denominations was also located.

Ray Buck reportedly owns the property and told officers he rents the building to his son, who arrived on the scene during the search.

Both men were taken into custody 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.


Lawyers in Libraries coming October 24-29

By Paige Nash

Need free legal advice? 

The Minden Branch of the Webster Parish Libraries has partnered with the Louisiana State Bar Association, the State Library of Louisiana and the Louisiana Library Association to host the 9th annual “Lawyers in Libraries.” This will take place the week of October 24-29 with a variety of in-person and virtual events.  

Webster Parish Libraries employee and the individual responsible for orchestrating this event, Janetta Robinson said, “Public libraries are natural starting points for people in search of information and services, Library staff can provide direction to available resources, but not legal advice. The Lawyers in Libraries program is a great benefit to patrons needing legal help, especially in areas without a legal aid office.” 

This is a terrific opportunity for people in the state that may need legal assistance but cannot afford an attorney. This program provides participants with basic information on a variety of civil legal issues including, successions, wills, living wills, power of attorney, bankruptcy, lawsuits, accidents, collection matters, divorce, evictions, contract disputes, insurance claims, oil and gas issues, foreclosure, Social Security disability payments and other issues concerning seniors. This program does not address criminal matters. 

A local attorney will be at the Minden library in the Main Meeting Room on October 27 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you are interested in a brief in-person or over the phone consultation, you can sign up at the Minden Branch in the reference area.  

Other presentations from various attorneys on a wide range of legal issues will be broadcast daily throughout the rest of the week via the “LSBA Louisiana Lawyers in Libraries” Facebook page. These presentations are free and open to all.  


JOB OPPORTUNITY: St. John’s Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1107 Broadway, Minden, La. Is seeking a part-time church secretary.

• Position – Church Secretary

• Part-time (16 – 20 hours per week)

• Primary duties include preparing and printing weekly Sunday Service Bulletin, answering phones, assisting pastor, responding to emails, and minor church administration

• Flexible hours – we can be a bit flexible on when the hours are worked

• Do not have to be Episcopalian. However, must be willing to attend a few services to see how the service bulletin flows

• Must have working knowledge of Microsoft Office

Pay commensurate with experience

Please email resumes to liturgy@suddenlinkmail.com.


Two beautiful words

I do not pretend to know someone else’s pain. But I can scarcely deny that the hardest moments in my own life have centered on loss. 

The loss of trust, the loss of finances, the loss of hope, and the worst of all, the loss of a loved one.

I do not pretend to know someone else’s pain. Yet I cannot imagine I’m alone in this sentiment regarding loss. How we cope in such situations defines us as a person. You learn a lot about yourself when you lose. You learn if you’re the kind of person who is a good friend, the kind of person who is a good spouse, a good parent, a good son or a good daughter.

You learn a lot. And what you learn may not always be what you’d like to know when you start to pull yourself out of the mire.

We do things we’re not proud of. We say things that we wish could be unsaid. Grief and anger are emotions that take on a life of their own. They can consume, they can cloud, and they can deceive. Grief and anger bring out the worst in us. They lead to rash decisions; in the past they have been the cause of mobs, riots and destruction.

But to the individual, grief and anger can be a pit. They can be an abyss of darkness and despair. The thing about a hole is that no matter how long it takes to climb out, it’s a lot easier and quicker to fall right back in. But if you make it out of that pit, and stay out for a while, an even uglier cousin follows grief and anger.

His name is shame.

You may wonder what I’m rambling about here. Truth is, I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about loss lately, about perceived fairness and the always perceived inequitable distribution of good fortunes. It’s a common human trait, the perception of being mistreated, of being wronged and that you are forsaken. You are not forsaken. None of us are. That’s the hardest part sometimes. Coming to that conclusion can bring the shame as sure as summer brings storms in the Gulf.

I have a friend, a writer who worked for the newspaper in Shreveport. I still have one of his printed columns. He had been wrestling with some personal demons, things of which he was not proud. And while he spoke in generalities, the message was clear. He was sorry to those he had wronged, and he forgave those who had wronged him.

One of the lines he used, taken from a film, is a reminder for us all: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

And while we need to remember those words, the one thing I want to leave you with is the following thought.

The two most beautiful words in any language are: I forgive.

I realize that. So, I say, I forgive.

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