MPD: Looking up while looking down

By Pat Culverhouse

One more technological step will have city police officers looking down on the streets of Minden or inside a structure from the outside, and those tech-tools are designed to enhance safety for both officers and the public.

A pair of drones has been added to the MPD’s equipment arsenal and Chief Jared McIver calls the addition “…another resource for the department that will not encroach on anyone’s privacy but will be a big factor in safety for our officers.”

McIver said a local homicide case first led him to consider the potential of drones as an important resource to the department.

“When we were involved in the (Daniel) Merritt homicide, we learned some agencies take drones up to scan areas for evidence and court purposes,” he said. “It get’s a bird’s eye view of the entire area and enhances a site investigation.”

McIver said he considered what a tremendous resource was available with drones and trained operators in cases of foot pursuits or traffic pursuits in the city, and even in cases of missing persons. Funds for the two drones were found in a variety of sources including money raised to equip the department’s Special Response Team (SRT).

Det. Sgt. Jason Smith, head of the MPD’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), is one of the officers who trained for license and FAA certification to operate the department’s new air arm.

“We have two units: one large drone for overhead surveillance and a smaller unit for use indoors to help keep officers safe if they’re entering a high risk situation,” he said. “We can send the indoor unit into an attic or any room inside a house or building to search for the suspect without having to put an officer at risk of the unknown.”

Smith said the department has had the drones just over a month and the larger surveillance unit has already been put to use in a stolen property case.

“We were looking at a piece of property where stolen vehicles were allegedly located, and we obtained a search warrant for remote view via drone,” he explained. “We were able to find vehicles that were not visible from the street because of woods and a fence. We’ll be able to obtain a ground search warrant because of the evidence gathered from the drone, and it was minimally invasive.”

Both McIver and Smith said the resolution from drone cameras allows for a crisp panoramic view or a high resolution close-up that helps with identification. And while several options are available, there’s one feature both men agree will be a major benefit to officer safety.

“We have thermal imagery that allows us to see a heat signature,” McIver said. “If we have a foot pursuit where perhaps there’s a K9 and handler going through a wooded area, we can deploy the drone and help track the suspect. That suspect, or more than one, might be armed and this drone could prevent an ambush situation. It’s an officer safety tool that we can also use at night or in dark rooms.”

Smith said the surveillance drone, by design, makes little sound but that’s not the case with the smaller unit.

“With the surveillance drone, the suspect might not realize we’re there because of ambient noise. But the smaller unit is pretty noisy, and that’s a good thing because the sound would help mask an entry team coming inside,” Smith said.

“We’re  very excited about the new technology,” McIver said. “This gives us the ability to do more to protect the people of our city and the officers who are on the line. We plan to continue upgrading our equipment and our training programs. We want to keep looking ahead.”

TV show moves man to attempted escape

By Pat Culverhouse

A 22-year old local man might want to be more selective in the future when choosing a television show. That choice led to a bad decision and an additional charge to an already lengthy list.

D’Angelo Deon Harris managed to slip away from the parish courthouse while being escorted to district court Monday morning, but his bid for freedom was cut short when Minden Police Sgt. Chris Cayer arrested the suspect in a wooded area off Pine Street.

Harris reportedly was headed to a court appearance on charges of aggravated burglary, home invasion, simple criminal damage to property, resisting an officer and simple burglary. Total bond on those charges reportedly exceeded $250,000. Now, Harris faces an additional charge of simple escape.

“We got a call that someone in handcuffs and shackles was seen on Pine Street Monday morning. Our officers along with the Sheriff’s Office and Marshal’s Office responded,” Chief Jared McIver said. “We had him in custody about five minutes after receiving the call.”

McIver said Harris had an unusual explanation for his escape attempt.

“He told Sgt. Cayer that he had watched an episode of a television show about prisoners in lockup and all the bad things that happened. He said he didn’t want to be locked up and have something happen to him,” McIver said.

New truck – new firefighter

Minden Fire Department’s newest firefighter, Josh Butts, climbs the 77-feet extended ladder of the department’s ladder truck during a drill that included the new rescue truck. The department’s new rescue truck made its inaugural run to a motor vehicle accident Thanksgiving Day. Fire Chief Brian Williams said there were no injuries in the accident – just oil leaking from the vehicle.

Obituary: Margie A. Chisholm

Funeral services celebrating the life of Margie A. Chisholm will be held Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church West Chapel in Minden, Louisiana with Bro. Steve Gilley officiating. Interment will follow at Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Minden, Louisiana under the direction of Rose Neath Funeral Home in Minden, Louisiana. The family received friends Monday, November 27, 2023, from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Rose Neath in Minden.

Margie was born May 22, 1940, in Downsville, Louisiana and entered into rest November 24, 2023, in Shreveport, Louisiana, after 60 years of marriage. Buck and Margie traveled the world. An extended stay in Germany is a memory they have shared with all. Margie was a member of First Baptist Church Minden and was a retired school teacher with the Webster Parish School System.

She is survived by her husband, Buck Chisholm of Minden, son Rob Chisholm and wife Sandra of Concord, NC, daughter Margann C. Morgan and husband Matthew of Gilmer, TX, brothers C.L. Albritton of Minden and Chris Albritton and wife Debbie of Downsville, 5 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

 To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Margie A. Chisholm, please visit our flower store.

Obituary: Bill Stanley

William “Bill” Francis Stanley Jr., 70, of Minden, LA passed away on November 23, 2023.

Bill was born on March 20, 1953, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to William Sr. and Ann Stanley. After graduating from Center High School he joined the Air Force and served from 1971 to 1977. After serving in the Korean War he was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base where he was educated in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. He worked as an HVAC service tech for Brooks Heating and Air and then Berg Mechanical before founding his own highly successful Stanley Heating and Air in 1981 where he served as President and CEO. In 1998 he sold his company to Service Experts and continued to work there as Operations Manager and consultant until 2001. In late 2000, Bill jumped into a new business venture and started up a home standby generator company he named Alternate Power Company. Both companies were largely successful, and Bill mentored many employees throughout his decades of business leadership. He was very passionate about his work and doing right by his customers. For that, he is a well-known and respected name around town. 

Outside of his professional life, Bill’s grandchildren were the light of his life. He enjoyed attending their school events and he could never tell them no. From swimming to hunting, to taking them wherever their hearts desired, he just enjoyed the time he had with them. He will undoubtedly be fondly remembered as the fun Pops.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Lisa Stanley. He is survived by his loving wife of 27 years Pam, sisters Linda Johnson (Denny), Jackie Stanley, Elaine Sylvester (Skip), Tina Moraga (Gil), brothers Gregory Stanley (Laura), Jeffrey Stanley (Chris), son Barry Knotts (Haley), daughter Candace Haynes (Dakota), son William “Cade” Stanley, and daughter Christie Darden (Cam). Grandchildren Landen Knotts, Dalton Harber, Max Wimberly, Marian Wimberly, Brandt Darden, and Emerson Haynes, along with a host of nieces and nephews.

 In lieu of traditional services, we will be honoring Bill’s wishes by having a Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date. 

Churches, community offer Advent events

The Advent Season will soon be upon us. Will your church be hosting special Advent and Christmas services and events?

Email to and we will include them in Webster Parish Journal, where we proudly say “Merry Christmas.”

Dec. 3

4 p.m. Christmas event at Brushwood Methodist Church. All Strings for Granted – a quartet of 2 violins, 1 cello and 1 viola – will be playing Christmas classics. This is a professional string quartet that has provided music for special events all of over the Ark-La-Tex. Brushwood Church is located at 6320 Brushwood Dr., Dubblery. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and enjoy.

Dec. 4

5:30 p.m. Doors open for ‘Prepare Him Room,’ First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway Minden. Program begins at 6 p.m. Worship with Rachel Chapman. Program by Prof. Kristi McLelland.

Football contest ends; last 2 winners named

Congratulations, Steve Stewart, (right) our Week 12 winner of the Webster Parish Journal’s football contest. He is pictured here with Week 11 winner Clayton Rainey and Under Dawg’s Heather Case, as she presents them with their $100 winnings.

Webster Parish Journal thanks Ricky and Claudine Thomas, owners of Title Sponsor Under Dawgs. They have been huge supporters of WPJ and our football contest for the past two years.

Thanks to Presenting Sponsor Yocom Law Firm and Jimbo Yocom, a true football lover and supporter.

Please patronize all these sponsoring businesses including Brown Chrysler, Ace Hardware, Holcomb’s Body Shop, A.J. Price, Inc. and Minden Athletic.

We also thank our celebrity players from each week. They have played the game, knowing all they would receive are bragging rights. See you all next Fall!

MPD arrests man for attempting to strangle partner in front of child

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Minden Police Department check of a woman’s wellbeing has led to the arrest of a local man for battering his partner with a child in the residence.

Freddie Nolan, 36, of the 600 block of Evans St., Minden, was arrested for domestic abuse battery with strangulation and child endangerment.

Chief Jared McIver said Off. Cadyn O’Connor was dispatched to a Pine Street residence around 9 p.m. Monday, November 20, in reference to a welfare check reported by a concerned third party.

“Off. O’Connor arrived on scene and made contact with the victim who was slow to answer his knocks on the door,” McIver said. “When she saw it was an officer, she visibly relaxed but would not speak above a whisper.”

O’Connor reportedly asked the victim to step outside to his unit. The female said she had her one-year-old child with her, and she was instructed to bring the child.

“The victim showed Off. O’Connor marks on her neck consistent with strangulation,” said the chief. “While they were walking to the police unit, a male, later identified as Freddie Nolan, exited a vehicle parked in the driveway. The officer noticed the smell of burnt marijuana as he approached the vehicle. Nolan told the officer he was “just chilling in the car.”

Nolan gave permission to O’Connor to check his pockets, where he reportedly found car keys.

Once O’Connor was placed in the police department unit, O’Connor continued to talk with the victim.

“She stated that before she left for work that morning, Nolan grabbed her by the throat and continued to squeeze to the point where she could not breath,” McIver said. “The small child was in the victim’s arms at the time. The victim broke away from Nolan’s grasp, fled the house and went to work.”

The victim said when she arrived home from work, she believed she was alone in the house with her child, but when she walked in her daughter’s bedroom, Nolan was behind the door. A verbal argument ensued.

“Nolan asked her to exit the front door with him, but when he walked out, she closed and locked the door behind him,” said the chief. “She believes Nolan went to the back door, which she said was likely unlocked, and gained entrance.”

McIver said the victim phoned the unknown friend who contacted MPD. Afterward, she reportedly showed Off. O’Connor argumentative text messages the occurred throughout the day, as well as photos she took after leaving the residence that morning.

“Off. O’Connor asked if she wanted medical attention, but she said no, she lost her voice earlier in the day but it had returned,” said McIver. “No injuries to the child were reported.”

The victim reportedly told the officer she had been in a relationship with Nolan since August, however, she wanted to end it after an unreported incident where he ripped out her earrings. The victim also stated Nolan was not on her lease to the house but had spent the night about 20 times since August.

Nolan was arrested and booked at Minden Police Department before being 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.

Masked man allegedly smoking weed at city park

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Smoking marijuana at a city-owned park may not be a good idea, as one local man learned last week.

Jadameon Kentrell Lewis, 22, of the 400 block of Gum St., was arrested by Minden Police and charged with resisting an officer, fraudulent firearm and ammunition purchase, access device fraud and on an active bench warrant for disturbing the peace in a violent manner.

Chief Jared McIver said Sgt. Reece Tewell observed a vehicle backed into a parking spot at Ewell Park around 8 p.m., after the park was closed.

“When Sgt. Tewell contacted the driver, the man was wearing a full-face mask. He claimed to have no identification because his phone died. He then identified himself as Marcus Williams and provided a birthdate,” McIver said.

Using software on his vehicle’s computer and dispatch’s search, Tewell reportedly was unable to find a name and birthdate that coincided.

“Sgt. Tewell asked again for the name and birthday,” said the chief. “The subject seemed to be having difficulty remembering the date, so he was asked for his social security number – which also turned out to be wrong.”

When the subject was asked to step out of the vehicle, Tewell reportedly smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. The officer was granted consent to search and located a wallet with an identification card for Jadameon Lewis.

“The sergeant asked the subject to remove the face mask,” McIver said. “When he did, the officer positively identified him as Lewis. Sgt. Tewell asked Lewis why he lied, but he refused to answer, saying ‘I don’t know.’”

Dispatch ran Lewis for warrants and it was confirmed he had several active warrants through Minden Police Department. 

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.

Sheet Pan Pot Pie

A weeknight meal that could not be easier, more comforting and satisfying! Mix up this filling in no time by using a rotisserie chicken (or hey even leftover Thanksgiving turkey!) and top with premade pie crust. Sheet pan meals make life easier, and I am a fan of that! 


  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 handful baby carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, cut up
  • Refrigerated pie crust


Melt butter in Dutch oven and add diced veggies.  Sauté.  Add chicken.  Sprinkle flour evenly over and stir.  Cook a few minutes stirring gently.  Pour in broth, stirring constantly.  Stir in bouillon and wine.  Pour in cream.  Stir.  Cook over low heat for 4 minutes.  The mixture will thicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into greased jelly roll pan.  Cut pie crust into strips and crisscross over the top.  Bake until crust is golden.

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

UCAP needs week of Nov. 27

United Christian Assistance Program has the following needs:

Food: Canned meats, fruit, green beans, corn, 

cereal, biscuit and cornbread mix

Clothing: Men’s shoes (9 and up), men’s socks 

Household goods: towels, king and queen sheets, pots,

pans, skillets

Toiletries:  deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap

Monetary donations

Thank you for supporting UCAP!

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

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

Dec. 2

2 p.m. Christmas Movie “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Spring Theatre, Springhill. Admission: $5.

Dec. 3

2 until 5 p.m. Christmas Tour of Homes, Springhill. Tickets: $10. Tickets may be purchased at any of the following homes: Ms. Mara Davis, 203 Mill Pond Rd., Springhill; Mr. & Mrs. Robert Smith, 800 Sherry Lane, Springhill; Mr. & Mrs. Lane Knighten, 400 Columbia Rd. 245, Taylor, Ark.; Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Jennings, 25459 Hwy. 157, Shongaloo; and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Cole, 125 Rural Rd., Sarepta.

4 p.m. Christmas event at Brushwood Methodist Church. All Strings for Granted – a quartet of 2 violins, 1 cello and 1 viola – will be playing Christmas classics. This is a professional string quartet that has provided music for special events all of over the Ark-La-Tex. Brushwood Church is located at 6320 Brushwood Dr., Dubberly. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and enjoy.

6 p.m. The Sounds of Christmas, an instrumental concert. First Minden, 301 Pennsylvania Ave.

Dec. 4

5:30 p.m. Doors open for ‘Prepare Him Room,’ First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway Minden. Program begins at 6 p.m. Worship with Rachel Chapman. Program by Prof. Kristi McLelland.

Dec. 8

2 until 4 p.m., Cookies with Mrs. Santa, Germantown Colony Museum, 200 Museum Road, Minden. Bring your camera.

Christmas in Minden:

5:30 p.m. – Tree Lighting Ceremony, Minden Civic Center;

6 p.m. Rehab Reindeer Run, Ridgewood Subdivision; and,

6 p.m. Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride, Minden Civic Center.

Dec. 9

8 a.m. Community Prayer Breakfast, Pine Grove Methodist Church, 4549 La. Hwy. 159.

2 until 4 p.m., Cookies with Santa, Germantown Colony Museum, 200 Museum Road, Minden. Bring your camera.

4 until 6 p.m. Santa in Sibley

Christmas in Minden:

9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Christmas Brunch at Geaux Fresh;

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids Ornament Crafting, Dorcheat Museum, Pearl Street, Minden;

4 p.m. Christmas Parade;

5 p.m. Entertainment, downtown stage; and,

7:30 p.m. Fireworks, downtown Minden.

Dec. 13-14

3 until 4 p.m. Mini Sundancer Camp, Pre-K through 6th grade. Performance at Dec. 15 Glenbrook basketball game.

Dec. 15

6 p.m. Fireworks Celebration at Sibley Town Hall.

Saving Rebecca

Just before Thanksgiving each year, a turkey receives a presidential pardon in a ceremony at the White House called the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation.  Beginning in the 1870s, Rhode Island poultry dealer Horace Vose began sending turkeys to the White House for Thanksgiving dinner.  Following Horace’s death in December of 1913, other poulterers sent turkeys to the White House and the tradition has continued.  In the 1960s and 1970s, presidents occasionally pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey, but the presidential pardoning ceremony became a yearly tradition in 1984 when Ronal Reagan pardoned a 53-pound turkey called R.J., which was short for “Robust and Juicy.”

On November 26, 1926, Vinney Joyce of Nitta Yuma, Mississippi, sent his Thanksgiving “table delicacy” eventually named Rebecca to the White House chef.  President Calvin Coolidge considered his thanksgiving meal as he eyed Rebecca.  After a little consideration, Calvin decided to pardon Rebecca.  At first, Rebecca was kept in a crate in the White House’s warm cellar.  For some reason, Calvin was unable to stop thinking about the intended Thanksgiving entree.  Within a short time, Calvin moved her from the cellar up to the living quarters of the White House.  First Lady Grace Coolidge took to Rebecca as well.  They found Rebecca to be tame, lively, cunning, and friendly. 

Rebecca quickly became an official presidential pet.  While the first family had dogs and a cat which were kept in the White House kennel, Rebecca had pens inside the White House and on the south lawn of the White House.  The president, first lady, and Rebecca were almost inseparable.  In the 1920s, radio was the most popular form of home entertainment.  As the president sat listening to his favorite radio shows by the fireside, Rebecca sat comfortably on his lap.  Within a couple of weeks, the president and first lady had trained Rebecca to walk on a leash.  On her collar was inscribed, “Rebecca.”  Calvin took Rebecca for daily walks.  Grace took Rebecca to numerous events, especially where children were present to show off the pet.  On Easter Sunday, 1927, the first lady took Rebecca to the annual Easter Egg Roll.  The crowd of 30,000 shrieking children and clicking of the photographers’ cameras were too much for Rebecca, and she clawed at the first lady and a couple of the children.  Once she was returned to the White House, Rebecca returned to her normally calm nature.  Rebecca often accompanied the president and first lady in their limousine on rides throughout the capital.  Rebecca even appeared in the president’s 1926 Christmas photo.

Having Rebecca as a presidential pet was sometimes trying.  The White House staff nicknamed Rebecca “Houdini” due to her ability to escape any enclosure.  Rebecca often scratched and damaged curtains, rugs, carpets, and furniture in the White House.  On June 7, 1927, Rebecca was left unattended in her pen on the White House lawn.  While no one was looking, Rebecca escaped and spent two hours stealthily exploring the neighborhood around the White House while attachés desperately searched for her.  Finally, they located Rebecca hiding in a tree.  They tried to coax her down from the tree, but Rebecca refused.  Finally, a local electrician climbed the tree and retrieved Rebecca.  Despite a few naughty incidents, Rebecca was still considered to be the president’s “most amiable pet,” and on those matters the smitten president remained true to his moniker, “Silent Cal.”   

It is unlikely that we will ever see a White House pet that could capture national interest such as Rebecca did in the late 1920s.  Unfortunately, laws in the District of Columbia prevent animals such as Rebecca from being kept as pets, even presidential pets.  Rebecca, the intended Thanksgiving entrée which was pardoned by President Calvin Coolidge and became a beloved presidential pet, was not a turkey, but a raccoon.     Happy Thanksgiving!!!


1.      Buffalo Evening News, November 27, 1926, p.1.

2.     The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), November 27, 1926, p.9.

3.     Buffalo Evening News, December 1, 1926, p.1.

4.     Fort Worth Record-Telegram, December 25, 1926, p.7.

5.     The Brooklyn Daily Times, June 8, 1927, p.2.

6.     Betty C. Monkman, “Pardoning the Thanksgiving Turkey,” White House Historical Association, 2019.

Arrest Reports

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies. Minden Police Department (MPD), Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO), Louisiana State Police (LSP) and others which are named.

Nov. 20

Jeffery J. Mitchell, 30, of the 700 block of East Rd., Cullen, was arrested by Springhill Police for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and racketeering. He was previously arrested Nov. 1 on 5 counts of distribution in a separate but related case.

Nov. 21

Samuel Richard Riley, 59, of the 400 block of Guy Miller Rd., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on active warrants for computer aided solicitation of a minor and indecent behavior with a minor.

Nov. 22

Bobby L. Mitchell, 63, of the 600 block of E. 2nd St., Homer, was arrested by LSP-G on US 79 south of La. 518. He is charged with driving while intoxicated (2nd offense), speeding (78 in a 55 mph zone) and driving under suspension.

Nov. 23

Ashley R. Adams, 36, of Percy Burns Rd., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police on an active warrant for failure to pay a fine.

Nov. 24

Lillie E. McEachern, 35, of the 2000 block of Dorcheat Rd., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on two active warrants. After transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center, McEachern was found to have a small bag of crystal methamphetamine. Charges of introduction of contraband in a penal facility and possession of methamphetamine were added.

Randal D. Eason, 37, of Sarepta, was arrested by WPSO on a warrant for stalking.

Harley Ray Coile, 21, of Lindsey St., Cotton Valley, was arrested by Springhill Police for possession of methamphetamine.

Dock Antonio Odom, 62, of the 200 block of Goode Ave., Minden, was arrested by LSP-G for driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and improper lane usage.

Nov. 25

Pamela S. Carden, 66, of the 9600 block of Hwy. 80, was arrested by WPSO for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Tyrone William Willis, 74, of the 500 block of Joel St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for committing an obscene in act in his neighbor’s yard.

Chester Muhammad Keyes, 27, of the 1100 block of Young St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for aggravated flight from an officer, resisting arrest with force, driving while intoxicated, driving under suspension while driving while intoxicated, open container and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

Nov. 27

Randall Gene Lary, 43, of the 100 block of Forest Glades, Sibley, was arrested by WPSO for battery of a dating partner and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. While at BDCC, Lary was questioned by LSP-G concerning a same-day I-20 eastbound hit and run, reckless operation and failure to report an accident. Those charges were added.

Kenneth Ray Perry, 42, of Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for distribution of methamphetamine.

Devyn Malik Wilson, 24, of Irvine, Texas, was arrested by Springhill Police and WPSO on possession warrants for marjuana, methamphetamine (Ecstasy), Xanax with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia.

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

Notice of Death – Nov. 27, 2023

Margie A. Chisholm

May 22, 1940 – Nov. 24, 2023

Minden, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, First Baptist Church of Minden.

Burial: 11:15 a.m. Gardens of Memory under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

William Eagan Kirkpatrick

August 2, 1944 – Nov. 25, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Haynesville.

Graveside service: 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, Friendship Cemetery, Haynesville, under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Haynesville.

Donald Truett Harrison

March 6, 1963 – Nov. 22, 2023

Elm Grove/Springhill

Visitation: 2 until 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Memorial service: 3 p.m. immediately following visitation.

William ‘Bill’ Francis Stanley Jr.

March 20, 1953 – Nov. 23, 2023

Minden, La.

Celebration of life to be announced at a later date.

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 no charge.)

Det. Sgt. Jason Smith: Promoting science to solve crime

Detective Sgt. Jason Smith, Minden Police Department

By Pat Culverhouse

Times are changing, and Detective Sgt. Jason Smith wants to help put the Minden Police Department on a path that changes the way crimes are solved and digs deeper into the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of those committing the offenses.

Smith is head of the MPD’s Criminal Investigation Division, supervising a group of detectives that has scored an impressive record of solving cases using a combination of technology and old-fashioned hard work. And, he says, it’s technology that will play a major role in the department’s success.

“We’re working towards fighting crime scientifically and with technology, coupled with good old-fashioned police work,” Smith said. “We have lots of new guys in CID. They’re young enough to know how technology works and how to solve crimes scientifically. That’s going to be our goal.”

Using technology as a major crimefighting tool is reflective of the world today, he said.

“Old fashioned police work is never going to go away, but in 2023 I can solve more crime with a laptop than somebody else can working 12 hours on the street. It’s the way the world works now.  We still have to do the leg work, but we will be seeing advancements we can’t imagine today,” he said. 

Some of those advancements may help Smith and the CID resolve a murder case that has stymied investigators for a little more than six years.

“We’re working on the Tyronne Sumlin  murder case, and we hope with the new information available and advancements we may be able to put handcuffs on a suspect,” Smith said. “These advancements may be opening doors that were not open in 2017.” Sumlin was shot and killed in September, 2017. To date, no arrests have been made.

Smith understands the importance of the new science in solving crime, but he also knows there’s a need to know the individuals who are committing the bad acts. A major tool in his investigative arsenal is his undergraduate degree in forensic psychology from Arizona State University. 

“Forensic psychology, I think, is a good mesh between criminal justice and psychology. A forensic psychologist is one who determines if someone is competent to stand trial … their mental capacity,” he explained. “I wanted to have a good foundation because mental health is a big issue in the country and in northwest Louisiana. A lot of crime is committed because of mental health issues.”

And, he’ll soon be seeking a post-grad degree in crime analysis.

“Crime analysis is a new program at ASU that takes analytical crime mapping and developing trends. It will focus on attacking sources of crime scientifically rather than just arresting someone,” Smith said.

Smith began his MPD career in 2018 as a patrol officer. He swapped uniforms to come to Minden, serving 15 years in the U.S. Army as a counter intelligence agent and national security crime investigator. During his time in the Army, he was also an investigations and surveillance instructor at the national counterintelligence academy.

With his experience at the national level, why come to Minden to continue a law enforcement career?

“I’m from here. This is where I think I can have the most impact,” Smith said. “And, we have a good group of people working well together…the pay has been increased so we can be more selective, more competitive. We have better people better suited to the needs of Minden and Webster Parish.”

Funding for the department in both personnel and advanced technology has improved, thanks in part to fundraisers and the state’s Safety Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP).  Smith also attributes growth and improvement to MPD leadership.

“Under the visionary leadership of our Chief Jared McIver and assistant chiefs Chris Cheatham and Tokia Harrison, we have put the right people in the right place to do the right job,” Smith said. “I’m successful because I have a great team surrounding me. We work all cases together. If I don’t have an answer, someone else will.”

Public perception of police officers has changed dramatically in a short time, and it hasn’t been for the better. Smith said one goal is to get officers into the public where they can interact and be seen as individuals no different than those they serve.

“Being a police officer is not the noble profession it was once perceived to be,” he said. “Incidents like Brianna Taylor and George Floyd and the way the media portrayed them, the police are now seen as the bad guys. We want to put police officers in the public in uniform so kids can associate the uniform with something positive. Most times we see people on the worst days of their lives. We want to be seen actually helping someone.”

Smith said being a police officer is a matter of multitasking, and it’s often a matter of just doing the best possible in a bad situation.

“Cops are a pastor, an attorney, a mental health expert, a marriage counselor…we’re expected to help. If we can go on a call and not make an arrest, and everyone is happy and safe, we’ve done our job,” he said. “I don’t look at arrest stats as the making of a good police officer.”

Efforts to neutralize crime scientifically and with technology are top priorities for Smith and the officers in the department. But, he said, there are a couple of very important things that sit atop his priority list.

“I only care about two things—the safety and security of the citizens of Minden and the health and welfare of the officers in our department,” Smith said.

(Editor’s note: During his interview, Smith reflects on the impact of juvenile crime on Minden. Please see next Wednesday’s edition of the Webster Parish Journal.)

Perryman replaces Campbell on WPCVC

By Paige Nash

Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission (WPCVC) has added a fresh face to the table and with that, hopefully, some fresh ideas and perspective.

When one commissioner leaves, another is recommended.

Following Commissioner Tracy Campbell’s announcement at their September meeting that he will be rolling after serving six years, Campbell made a recommendation on who could take his seat. The Webster Parish Police Jury approved that recommendation earlier this month and Brandon Perryman was welcomed to the WPCVC.  

“I’m really excited about it,” said Perryman. “There are some really great people on this board that are doing an excellent job and I’m honored to have been asked to be on it with them.” 

Perryman also currently serves on the Greater Minden Chamber and their Minden Steering Committee. He recently joined the Recreation Center’s Sports Committee and is the Vice-President of Dixie Overland Waterworks and owner of Perryman Welding and Construction. Perryman and his wife Laura are also part owners of Dorcheat Bayou Rentals. 

When asked if he had any ideas or immediate plans that he would like to execute upon joining WPCVC, he said, “Right now I would say my plans starting off is to see what plans or ideas are in place for this coming up year and what their goals are and see if I can help with that.” 

WPCVC Executive Director Serena Gray is excited to get Perryman on board.  

She said, “Brandon Perryman will make an excellent addition to our board of commissioners. He has been an active partner in our efforts promoting outdoor recreation for Webster Parish for two and a half years and truly has a heart to make our community a better place. I am filled with anticipation as we prepare to enter the new year and I’m ready to hear more about the vision he has for tourism in Webster Parish.” 

The commission will meet again after the new year but have plenty of upcoming events scheduled to finish off 2023. Check out their website for more information.

Choosing Gratitude

You may know some or all this story but reading it again brings new meaning to me each Thanksgiving season. In the summer of 1620, a group of English Separatists planned to travel to the New World to escape religious persecution and begin new lives. They were not “wild-eyed fanatics” bent on endangering themselves and their families, in fact they had a very sound plan for survival. They would leave England and travel on two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. With about 100 in their group plus the crew, the two ships would accommodate them well. They would leave in the summer to avoid the brutal Atlantic storms of the fall and land in sunny Virginia with plans to plant and harvest a crop of food well before winter. What could possibly go wrong? 

They left England on August 5, 1620, but as the journey began, the Speedwell leaked badly, and they had to turn back to port. After an attempt at repair and another departure, the Speedwell’s leaks sent them back again. Now the Mayflower was their only option, and they were far behind schedule. On September 5, they finally sailed for Virginia, but the storms of the Atlantic were already blowing, causing damage to the ship and blowing them off course to the north. When they reached land in November, they were near Cape Cod, not Virginia, but the damaged ship and lack of food and water forced them to make landfall at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.

That first winter with rationed food and disease rampant, more than half of the settlers died and were buried in unmarked graves to hide their depleted numbers. Winter passed and with the spring came a new friend, a Pokanoket tribal member named Tisquantum or “Squanto”. Because he had been kidnapped and had lived in England, he knew their language. They learned how to plant and cultivate crops from Squanto and harvested their first crop. 

When November came with the anniversary of their landing and survival at sea. Most wanted to have several days of mourning and fasting to honor those, nearly half of them, who died from hunger and disease. But Governor William Bradford had the faith to suggest a feast of thanksgiving to God who had brought them through the ordeal and blessed them with a harvest. One eyewitness said of that decision, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week.” Those birds included waterfowl and probably wild turkey. Edward Winslow also wrote, “many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor.” (Edward Winslow, “Mourts Relation”, 1620)

Thanksgiving Day reminds us that we make choices every day, to live our lives in regret and grief or to remember that God has provided for us each day; the air that we breathe, the health we enjoy, the ability to work and produce, the strength to live and the opportunities to provide for ourselves and our families. May this Thanksgiving season reflect your good choice to live in gratitude not remorse! 

 (Steve Berger is pastor of First Methodist Church Minden, a Global Methodist Church. He is the husband of Dianne, his partner in ministry, they have two adult sons, a dachshund, and love living in Minden.)

WPJ wishes readers Happy Thanksgiving

Webster Parish Journal will NOT be publishing Thursday, November 23, in recognition of Thanksgiving. We will be joining our families in giving thanks, and we hope you will be doing the same.

Our WPJ staff will also be giving thanks for all our readers and advertisers. Without you, there would be no Webster Parish Journal. Happy Thanksgiving! And don’t eat too much!

Springhill Police arrest 2 men for stealing checks

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Springhill Police arrested two north Webster men for attempting to cash a stolen check that belonged to a deceased Claiborne Parish man.

Colton Brian Waller, 25, and Tony Taylor, 22, of N. Arkansas St., Springhill, are charged with monetary instrument abuse.

Police Chief Will Lynd said Waller and Taylor were attempting to leave a bank parking lot when law enforcement arrived.

“We apprehended the two men,” Lynd said. “Mr. Taylor had in his possession the stolen payroll check and on the passenger side of the vehicle, where Mr. Waller was located, several other checks were located and identified as belonging to the late Mr. Marty Estep of Haynesville.”

Once transported to Springhill Police Department, Taylor reportedly admitted to stealing the checks from Estep’s business in Haynesville.

“He said Mr. Waller was with him at the time of the incident,” Lynd said. “Then he said Waller filled out the check and named 3 other suspects that have received checks from him, filled them out and cashed them.”

Estep died in June 2021. He owned and operated a bookkeeping service in Haynesville.

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

Minden Police, K-9 officer arrest man with drugs, firearms

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police K-9 officer Brams, his handler and another officer made quick work of taking a man with drugs and firearms off local streets .

Stephen Shawn Johnson, 28, of the 1200 block of Shreveport Rd., Minden, is charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and illegal window tint.

Police Chief Jared McIver said Officer Kendale Booker conducted a traffic stop for illegal window tint around 11 p.m. Saturday on Shreveport Road.

“The driver was identified as Johnson,” McIver said. “Lt. (Brandon) Curry had K-9 Brams conduct a sniff on the vehicle, and Brams alerted on the vehicle, leading to a legal search.”

During the search, a Raven Arms .25 caliber handgun was recovered.

“A search of John’s criminal history revealed a conviction for methamphetamine in 2020,” said the chief. “A search warrant was signed on Johnson’s motel room, and that search turned up several items.”

Located were a Bodyguard 380 caliber handgun, clear baggie with methamphetamines, two digital scales, a box of sandwich bags, plastic baggies with multiple small zip baggies, multiple bags of syringes and a box of Blazer 380 caliber rounds.

Johnson was booked at Minden Police Department and transferred 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.

Wright going to court for making wrong move

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Tennessee man is testing his luck in 26th Judicial District Court on attempted murder charges.

Eric L. Wright, 19, of Memphis, was arrested by WPSO for attempted second degree murder Oct. 27, 2022. At the time of his arrest, Wright was jailed at Bossier Maximum Prison.

According to reports, Wright will stand trial in Judge Parker Self’s courtroom on December 11. Assistant District Attorney Jimbo Yocom will try the case, while Attorney Eric Johnson will represent Wright.

Wright allegedly made this wrong move Jan. 16, 2022.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency and court records 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.

Aunt Ethel’s Go-To Holiday Diet Plan  

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Wrote this in 2010 to help get you and me and our digestive systems through the holidays safely. The Worldwide Chocolate Shortage predicted back then did not, thank goodness, come to pass. So … pass the chocolate.)

These are the times that try men’s … colons?

Even the most casual eater, wandering aimlessly through The Land of the Leftover, has got to be heads-up in these post-Thanksgiving days. Cheese dip here. Sausage ball there. Week-old giblets, ripe for the taking. 

Food jitters.

For some reason, we are robotically drawn to seasonal foods, even though there are plenty of holiday experiences available that should cause us to lose our appetites. If you can’t relate, then you’ve never been hugged right before a holiday meal by a great aunt. With a goatee. Who’s dipping snuff. 

Welcome to my world.

(I have a friend who once lost 15 pounds during December. She didn’t mean to. But right before one Thanksgiving dinner, her uncle said to her, table-side, “Honey, I wonder why God took all the hair off my head and put it on my back?” She was able to eat solid food again, but not until somewhere around Valentine’s Day.)

Another dietary issue this time of year: stadium food. Close to Football Bowl season. Pressure’s on. So we eat either to relieve the stress of a stretch run or to keep from being bored stiff because our team IS a stiff.  I have yet another friend who shared with me his digestive system misgivings after Saturday’s joyous time in a football stadium occupied by a team that’s more up and down than a prairie dog. “My most painful lesson from the weekend,” he said, “was that pre-prandial and post-prandial reflections on a stadium corn dog are two very different realities.”

Prandial means “of or relating to a meal.” It’s from the rural Latin “prandium,” meaning, “I should not have ate that.” As you have surmised, to use those kinds of high-dollar words, my friend is pretty smart – but not smart enough to call time out in the corn dog line. You do not toy with a mass-produced corn dog in a competitive atmosphere far, far from your home locker room. You don’t do it.

Let this be a lesson to us all: your digestive system doesn’t know you have a high IQ. Faulty plumbing due to pilot error puts us all — the prince and the pauper, the duke (excuse my French) and the serf — right there on the same page.

 The corn dog on a stick I ate was more than just inviting.

Too bad I didn’t think that later it would do the biting.

  • From Fourth and Long, a work in progress 

Food jits.

If our own lack of self-control and the overpowering temptations of the season weren’t enough, the food world and Mother Nature herself might be conspiring against us. My own personal mother, of all people, alerted me to this tragedy.

The Nature Conservation Research Council, which sounds like an important thing, forecasts a chocolate shortage. Because African farmers are ditching their cocoa farms for other easier-to-grow crops, chocolate might either disappear or increase drastically in price. This means that in 20 years, a Baby Ruth could well be out of my price range. My mother’s grandchildren call her “Sweeter,” so you can imagine how this is affecting my family. Let’s hold hands and …

Chocolate Lamentations

No Twix? No Bliss? No Hershey’s Kiss,

No chocolate dip fondue?

The question we must pray is

“What would Willie Wonka do?”

Contact Teddy at