Shongaloo man dies in mobile home fire

By Paige Nash

Springhill, Shongaloo and Cullen Fire Departments were dispatched to a mobile home fire that claimed the life of a Shongaloo man. The first units arrived at the fire in the 100 block of Stanley Road at 3:40 a.m. Saturday, June 3.

Joseph Stanley Jr., 53, was inside the structure and passed away.

“We had to treat it as a defensive attack due to how much of the total structure was involved,” said Springhill Fire Chief Michael Morse. “After we got a decent portion of the fire knocked down from the outside, me and one other Springhill guys transitioned to an interior attack, so that we could hit the fire better and look for the body.”

Sarepta Fire Department was then called in for extra water and manpower at 4:05 a.m.

According to Morse, they entered the house at 4:16 a.m. and located the body of Stanley at 4:22 a.m.

It is believed the victim set the fire that claimed his life.

Alleged killer behind bars

By Bonnie Culverhouse

After more than three weeks on the run, the man who allegedly shot and killed (Daniel) Madison Merritt is behind bars.

Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said Cedric Barnard Stephens, 37, walked into the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office around 9 a.m. today (Friday, June 2) and surrendered.

“He (Stephens) ‘lawyered up’ right away, so that concluded the interview right off the bat. We didn’t get to ask him any questions. We don’t know where he’s been hiding or anything like that,” McIver said. “What I want to believe is, his conscience, along with the constant pressure from all law enforcement had him turn himself in.”

Stephens is suspected of shooting Merritt and hiding his body in the woods near Auction Barn Road, Minden in May. Stephens has been transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. He is charged with second degree murder.

Shan Walker Merritt, Madison Merritt’s mother said the family is relieved Stephens has been arrested and also hopes his conscience played a part.

“By him surrendering I am hoping that he actually has a conscience and feels guilty about what he did and will give us some answers to our questions,” she said. “We have so many questions that only he can answer.”

Merritt said the family was unable to have a “normal funeral” nor could she see her son for the last time, which was difficult for her.

“There is really never any closure when it’s like that,” she said. “I am hoping this does help my daughters and his dad with the healing and closure process. For me, there may never be any closure because I didn’t get to see my son and say good bye.”

Merritt said the family feels the police “did a good job.”

“It took a minute for them to get things lined out but I was promised from the get-go that they wouldn’t stop looking for him until they found him,” she said of Stephens.

McIver specifically thanked Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals, Ward 1 City Marshals, Bossier City Police and Louisiana State Police for their help over the past weeks, as a multitude of leads were followed and search warrants served in an effort to locate Stephens.

“All the agencies went above and beyond,” McIver said. “I can’t begin to tell you how hard our detectives worked, how much sleep they lost.

“I know it was frustrating for the family,” he continued. “I have tried to stay in contact with them and reassure them we were on the case.”

The chief said he wishes they had located Stephens the day Merritt’s body was found.

“People have been afraid to go out, knowing he was loose, and not knowing for sure where he was,” said the chief. “But justice has been served now. We hope the family will have some peace.”

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 makes major drug arrest

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police officers, having just worked the “Click It or Ticket” program for the day were on normal patrol in the area of Bailey Street Tuesday evening when they made a major drug arrest.

Charles Wayne Woods Jr., 28, of the 300 block of Terrel Rd., Minden, was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, 4 counts of possession of marijuana, possession of firearms with a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of open container, improper parking and driving while intoxicated.

Chief Jared McIver said officers Kendale Booker and Ben Sparks observed Woods’ 2004 GMC improperly parked.

“Officers made contact with the driver – Woods – and his passenger,” McIver said. “During the course of their investigation, Off. Booker noticed the odor of marijuana emitting from the passenger compartment of the vehicle.”

Due to the behavior of both occupants, officers, along with Lt. Brandon Curry, advised the men of their rights and placed them in handcuffs.

Officers recovered 477 grams of marijuana, more than a dozen THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) Tubes (Vape Pens), THC Wax, THC edibles, Ziploc bags and scales. Street value reportedly between $3-4,000.

They located two firearms, one of which allegedly was stolen and an open bottle of beer.

“Woods told officers the marijuana belonged to him, so the passenger was not taken into custody,” McIver said. “But Woods was showing signs of impairment and, following Standardized Field Sobriety Test and Drug Recognition Evaluator test was deemed to be under the influence of Cannabis.”

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.

Charity Classic marks 20th year this weekend

Title Sponsor b1 Bank, along with an impressive list of sponsors and Minden Foundation Board will host Minden Charity Classic for the 20th time this weekend.

The goal of this nonprofit organization is to maintain a fund providing charitable assistance within the Minden area primarily for those needs not specifically met by other charities or organizations.  Some examples would be assisting a family that has suffered a house fire, a flood or a family stricken with a devastating illness that creates a financial hardship.

“Over our 20-year history, we have given more than $790,000 to more than 490 families in times of need,” said Board Member Andy Pendergrass. “Monies are distributed by application only, and we do not advertise but rather seek input from ministers, principals and social workers regarding families in need.”

Minden Foundation Board consists of Andy Pendergrass, Candi Haynes, Jason Ogwyn, Zach Goodman, Kristin Utphall, Braley Raborn, Lindsey Cupples, Jeff Lee, Carlie Day, Garrett Vaughan, and Brittany Greer.

The Charity Classic golf tournament, along with an auction, and more recently a skeet shoot are the main sources of fund-raising for this foundation.

The foundation has Section 501(c)(3), tax-exempt status, with the Internal Revenue Service.

Tournament Schedule for the weekend:

Friday, June 2

5:30 p.m. Cocktail Hour and Games

6:30 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. Auction and Raffle

Saturday, June 3

7:30 a.m. Morning Flights Shotgun Start

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Titleist Mobile Pro Shop

1 p.m. Afternoon Flights Shotgun Start

6:30 p.m. Ball Drop

6:45 p.m. Calcutta

Sunday, June 4

7:30 a.m. Morning Flights Shotgun Start

1 p.m. Afternoon Flights Shotgun Start

Thursday (Following)

Scores audited & checks mailed out

Flight Payouts

1ST PLACE – $1,500

2ND PLACE – $1,000

3RD PLACE – $750

4TH PLACE – $500




Allocated Bourbon Raffle

Each $10 ticket will be in the hopper for all bottles.

If you win a bottle, your ticket goes back in the hopper and can win again.

Drawing on June 3

Blantons all three sizes together: 750ml, 375ml, mini bottle

EH Taylor Small Batch

Weller Special Reserve

Eagle Rare 10 Year

Smoke Wagon Uncut Unflitered

Henry McKenna 10 Year

Jack Daniels 10 Year

Willett 8 yr Bourbon

Russell’s 13 Year

Stagg Jr.

In case of controversy, complete play on the hold with the original ball and play a provisional ball for the spot of controversy. Submit both scores to the tournament committee, and it will render the final decision in all matters.

The board stresses everyone please remember the real winners are the many people who will benefit from this tournament.

For format, tee times and rules, please visit

Who rules schools, rules us all

Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. That’s number five in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a list of power tactics designed as guidelines for faithful spongebrains who want to be modernistas in the drive toward a changed world.

Alinsky notes, “It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule.” And, he’s right. To push back against ridicule is much akin to arguing with an idiot. That individual doesn’t care to be correct.  Preferred pronouns want only to be loud enough to suppress different opinions or quick enough on the keyboard to overwrite anyone stupid enough to engage in online debate.

Alinsky’s rules are quite effective. Without hanging out the “here they are” banner, one can see them in practice almost daily from a wide range of individuals, groups and organizations. Many are framed, organizationally, within acronyms espousing such ideals as liberty, equality, fraternity, diversity, unity, peace…any positive term one would not consider dangerous. 

Under these banners, today’s community activists and organizers and their vassals push semi-popular agendas or stampede privileged issues over us, supported by a friendly media and willing bureaucracy. We have to wonder how all these many singular focus groups got so much power and attention, and how it seems to have happened practically overnight.

Well, it didn’t happen suddenly. It’s been in the works for nearly a century, with a serious push coming in the past six decades. In the 1920s, communists and anarchists had small voices demanding to be a part of the national conversation. The best way to get that voice, leadership said, was through media and education. The trip began in earnest, and those voices got louder.

Fast forward to the 1960s. Groups, like Weather Underground, Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panthers openly espoused hatred for our country and promoted violence as the means to bring about their idea of a perfect America. When bombings of government buildings, police precincts and corporate headquarters failed to put society into the dumpster, battle plans changed.

Those radicals changed from bellbottoms and tie-dyes to suits and ties, infiltrating this country’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities, newspapers, TV networks and corporate board rooms.

Weather Underground founders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, self-professed bombers and revolutionaries, became educators and lawyers, roaming the halls and holding classes at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. Most impressive, however, was their mentor-like relationship with “community organizer” Barack Obama.

Another underground weatherman, Howard Machtinger, became a Professor M. at North Carolina Central University and Teaching Fellows Director at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s School of Education. 

Mark Rudd, a Weather leader who fled indictment and went “underground,” turned himself in and was sentenced to two years’ probation. He later taught at Central New Mexico Community College. Former Weather Underground member Eleanor Raskin, who fled after being indicted for bomb making in the 1970s, is an associate professor at Albany Law School.

Black Panther Warren Kimbro and was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of another panther member, but only served four years. He later became an assistant dean at Eastern Connecticut State University.

These few examples show where many of the ideas we hear from our young people may have originated. Those who, in the ’60s and ’70s, sent messages through action that America is racist and always will be, that police and the law are here only to protect the privileged and is, therefore, the enemy, are teaching a generation of young people. 

In too many school systems and higher educational institutions, our younger generations are being taught that democracy is a con; capitalism is a tool of supremacy, and that white heterosexual Christian males are as much a threat to civilization as climate change. The only way to reach the ultimate goal of Utopia is through green energy, greenless money and greater governmental intrusion into our lives.

Friends and neighbors, we’re looking down a barrel that’s been pointed at us for way yonder too long. It first was pointed quietly beyond our view. Now, it’s out there for all to see. We think it’s time for the Alinsky rule to be used to our advantage. Ridicule is a noun, just like freedom. It shoots both ways. 

But from our little corner of the porch, things don’t look so bad regardless of how hard we see our hired hands trying to legislate common sense completely out of existence. Like my ol’ grandad said, even a heel hound gets tired of being hounded to heel. 

We, the great unwashed, have a collective voice equally as loud as those we hear trying to shout us into irrelevancy. But, friends, while we may be considered only a troublesome barking dog, the hands that try to push us down ought not forget some dogs bite. Even those who are considered the lesser of the animals.

Special meeting highlights Year recognitions

Special thanks to Mark and Sara Chreene, KASO/KBEF

The Webster Parish School Board held a special-called meeting on Monday. The highlight of the meeting was the recognition of the Webster Parish 2022-2023 Students of the Year, Support Persons of the Year, and Teachers of the Year.

5th grade Students of the Year:

Richardson Elementary – Grey Meeker

Central Elementary – Brayleigh Lewis

Doyline Elementary – Brady Mixon

Brown Upper Elementary School – Jordan Thomas

North Webster Upper Elementary AND Webster Parish Elementary Student of the Year –   Mason Neal

8th grade Students of the Year:

Webster Junior High School – Reese Miller

North Webster Junior High School – Mikyah White

Doyline High School – Lanie Gates

Lakeside Junior High School AND Webster Parish Junior High School Student of the Year – Madison Franklin

12th grade Students of the Year:

Doyline High School – Melanie Anderson

Lakeside High School – Brittany Odom

North Webster High School – Lily Everett

Minden High School AND Webster Parish High School Student of the Year – Jonathan Nguyen (pronounced WIN)

Support Person of the Year:

Brown Upper Elementary – Laraven Coleman, Secretary

Browning Elementary – Jennifer Scott, Paraprofessional

Richardson Elementary – Haley Stewart, Paraprofessional

Lakeside Junior/Senior High School – Brenda Willis, Paraprofessional

North Webster Junior High School – Pam McGill, Custodian

Doyline High School – Kelsey Moris, Paraprofessional

Minden High School – Tokia Whiting, School Resource Officer

North Webster Upper Elementary – Kimberly Winkler, Paraprofessional

Jones Elementary – Jessica Gavin, Paraprofessional

Phillips Elementary – Tammy Guice, Secretary

North Webster Lower Elementary – Jennifer Hanson, Paraprofessional

Central Elementary AND Webster Parish Elementary Support Person of the Year – Paulesta Gilbert, Paraprofessional

Webster Junior High School AND Webster Parish Junior High Support Person of the Year – Shaun Houston, Behavior Interventionist

North Webster High School AND Webster Parish High School Support Person of the Year – Stacey Martin, Secretary

Teachers of the Year


Brown Upper Elementary – Martha Edens

Browning Elementary – Tanya Pesses-Cole

Richardson Elementary – Amy Lee

Doyline Elementary – Megan Pearce

North Webster Upper Elementary – Raven Berry

Jones Elementary – Jamie Lewis

Phillips Elementary – Tori McKinney

North Webster Lower Elementary – Jessica Newsom

Central Elementary AND Webster Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year – Brittany Lewis

 Junior High School:

Lakeside Junior High School – Aubrey Lee

Webster Junior High School – Christina Chester

Doyline Junior High School – Nancy Griffith

North Webster Junior High School AND Webster Parish Junior High School Teacher of the Year – Tina Hughes

 High School:

Doyline High School – Megan James

Minden High School – Rebecca Carraway

North Webster High School – Terri Orr

Lakeside High School AND Webster Parish High School Teacher of the Year – Will Gray

After the completion of the recognition of employees, the members of the board voted to approve:

  • Budget revisions to the following: General Funds, Parish Wide Maintenance Funds, 96 Sales Tax Funds, Education Excellence Funds, Education Excellence Funds, Special Federal Funds, IDEA Funds, Achieve Funds, ESSER Incentive/ARP Funds, ESSER III-EB Interventions Funds, ESSER III Formula Funds, Title 1 Funds, Other Federal ESEA Funds (Title 2, Title 4, and Title 5), School Food Service Funds.
  • Purchase a lawn mower for Webster Junior High School from Hol-Mont Sales and Rentals in the amount of $15,714.00 with funding to come from District 6 half cent sales tax fund.
  • Purchase 11 Bogan classroom phones for $3,475.12, and 1 NQuist administrative paging system IP phone for $1,137.31, for a total of $5,512.43, from a DiversiFire, Inc. Funding source is the District 6 half-cent sales tax fund.

The next meeting of the Webster Parish School Board is scheduled for Monday, June 12.

Please visit for photos.

Richardson Elementary ends year with once in a lifetime experience 

By Josh Beavers

Richardson Elementary closed the school year with a once in a lifetime trip to NASA in Houston. 

The 5th graders took the trip for the Stars and Stem evening experience and tram tour.  The purpose of this trip was to expose students to real-life applications for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and to have a fun time. 

“This is an educational experience, not just a field trip,” Richardson Principal Michelle Finley said.  “Our students will never forget this trip.  Some of our students may never get the opportunity to have these types of experiences any other way.”

Finley said that even a trip to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch is something that enhances the experience for students.  

“Time with their friends before moving on to junior high next year is an added bonus,” she said. “They are exposed to a variety of career fields that they may want to pursue one day.”

Finley said students were selected for the trip by teacher recommendations, grades, classroom behavior, and attendance. Students sold candy bars during the year to help offset their out of pocket cost to attend.  

The students have been looking forward to this field trip all year. 

According to student Brook Corcoran, “there were a lot a fun activities that showed us and explained to us how things at NASA work.”

Student Julia McKeithen said, “I enjoyed the marshmanaut activity the most.’

Student Heavenly Frazier said, “the egg launch was my favorite because my groups egg survived.”

Student Brooklyn Grappe said, “building the rocket ship and launching it to see how high it would go was fun!”

Finley said this has been a 5th grade ESR field trip for many years, beginning when Mrs. Oreata Banks became  principal. 

“When I was named principal, we continued the annual end of year trip to NASA until 2019,” she said. “Our trip had to be canceled in 2020.  We have not been able to go in the last three years due to COVID shutdowns and field trip limitations.”

She said they were so excited to get school board approval early this year to bring back our NASA field trip.  

“Mrs. Robin Herman, 5th grade science and social studies teacher, did an outstanding job coordinating the entire trip,” Finley said.   “ It is a huge undertaking, and involves a full year of prep and planning.  I want to thank the parents and guardians that have entrusted us to take their student(s) out of state for an overnight experience.  As a parent I know how hard that can be because we worry. We had many  parents that chose to attend with us as well.  They follow our charter buses and take care of their own expenses, but do get to join us for all NASA activities on the 2-day experience.  We look forward to taking many more students in the future.” 

The bittersweet moments of motherhood

Last Friday evening, the girls and I went to my nephew’s birthday party. There were cupcakes, hotdogs, toys galore and a huge bounce house/slide.  

Of course, as soon as I opened the doors of the car, Ashton (the soon to be five-year-old) ran straight to the bounce house, kicked off her shoes and disappeared inside. Kameron (the just turned two-year-old) was a little more hesitant. She pulled me with her cute little dimpled hand close by and made her observations.  

After examining the steady stream of older kids tumbling up and down, in and out of the bounce house, she decided to take her turn, but I had to go with her. So, we took our shoes off and made our way in line.  

Now this was a workout for me alone, but even more so when you’re pushing and pulling a two-year-old along. We did this about five times before I finally had to tell her it was time for a break. So, we walked over to join the adults and get a quick snack. She was fine with this for about 10 minutes before she was ready for round two. I had not seen Ashton since we got there.  

I begrudgingly walked back toward the bounce house AKA the madhouse, not really having any desire to go back in. I stopped close by and was talking to my cousin when I looked over and saw Ashton helping Kameron inside. Two seconds later Kameron was on top of the slide and down she went all by herself. I internally and externally freaked out just waiting for her to start screaming, flip off the side or get pummeled by a pre-teen. She just hopped down, and I made my way over to her. I grabbed her hand and told her, “I don’t like that.” She looked up and said, “It’s alright Momma.”  Then, off she went again. 

I am not exaggerating when I say that I almost broke down into tears like a blubbering fool but held it together.  

I stayed close by because I am what you may call a helicopter mom, but for the most part, let her do her thing. I was obviously having a harder time just watching her than I was actually getting in and out of that bounce house.  

It was a bittersweet feeling. A new stage achieved along my motherhood journey.  

I was able to enjoy some time relaxing and visiting with some friends and family and Kameron was able to entertain herself for a little while. I was proud that she gained a newfound independence, but a little sad at the same time. It was one of many instances when I realized she was getting older and no longer my little baby.  

I have gone through this same exact experience with my older two. They are spaced out pretty good with them being 9, 5 and 2. Between every one of them there was that same bittersweet feeling of being proud that they were growing up and finding their own way, but sad at the same time because each day that goes by it seems like they need you a little less. If you are a parent, you get this. 

This exact bittersweetness was always a big topic of discussion between each kid when deciding if we wanted to have another one. “Do we want to have another one and start all over again? She is so independent and does things on her own. Do we want to have another one that relies on us for every waking moment all over again?” Obviously, the answer was “YES.” But knowing that this is for sure our last one makes it even more bittersweet.  

Knowing from here on out, they are all going to continue to need me a little less. Sure, there will be times when they need me as they are growing up and experiencing difficulties that will surely come, but overall, they will just grow more independent.  

I am proud and honored to have played a role in allowing them to grow into themselves. As a parent there is nothing more special than seeing your own child be self-motivated, confident and happy. But I will always be a helicopter mom through and through and will definitely remind them way more than they will probably appreciate that Momma is always here and will be anytime and every time they ever need me.  

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

Man allegedly steals from businesses to support drug habit

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigative Division has arrested a local man for breaking into a business and stealing items for his drug habit.

Michael Joe Reeves, 50, of the 300 block of Penal Farm Rd., Minden, is charged with 2 counts of simple criminal damage and simple burglary and an outstanding warrant for illegal possession of stolen things.

Sheriff Jason Parker said a local business on La. Hwy. 531 reported a break-in on April 16.

“The suspect entered the building by breaking the front door glass with a large stone causing almost $400 in damages,” said Parker. “Upon entry, the suspect took a power washer and three leaf blowers valued at more than $1,450.”

On April 29, a Sibley Road business reported a break-in where the suspect entered the same way, causing $800 worth of damage.

“The suspect took a garden tiller valued at more than $275,” said the sheriff. “On May 30, detectives Phillip Krouse and Tommy Kemp interviewed Reeves in reference to both break-ins. He admitted to breaking into both locations, stating he has a ‘very bad crack cocaine addiction’ and was stealing the items to support his habit.”

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.

Folks ‘Meet and Greet’ to sounds of Cox Family

By Marilyn Miller

Minden’s Savannah Court hosted a “Meet and Greet” on Tuesday, May 30 beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Representatives of the area’s business, law enforcement, and governmental entities visited the assisted living facility to meet residents and their families and to hear the sounds of the world-famous Cox Family singers.

Three generations of Cox family members have contributed to the musical group over the past four decades. Each one is blessed with vocal talent, as well as trained on a multiple number of musical instruments. Sidney Cox and three of the youngest Cox daughters were present to entertain on Tuesday.

The Cox Family, who started singing as a group in 1976 in their hometown of Cotton Valley, Louisiana, is best recognized for performing both country and bluegrass music. They are best known locally for their participation in the popular movie and soundtrack, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and for their collaborations with singer and musician Alison Krauss, with whom they share a Grammy award. They were nominated for another Grammy for their album, “Beyond the City.”

Visitors and musicians enjoyed refreshments following the mini-concert. The event was coordinated by Savannah Court director Nancy Hines and activities coordinator Sue Ranger.

Historically Speaking: Old Newspapers

By Jessica Gorman

Old newspapers are one of my favorite historical sources. While researching a topic, I try to take time to skim the pages for information that provides context to the events of a particular time period or for other information that may be of interest for both current and future research projects. While the front-page headlines bring significant events to our attention, the community columns and social pages provide insight into the everyday happenings and the lives of the people. It can also be quite entertaining to read the humorous and sometimes “gossipy” tidbits that are thrown in here and there. 

In 1890, a local newspaper commented on what was perceived as a threat of invasion of “the pine hills of Webster and Claiborne” parishes by “Texas fellows” seeking “Louisiana wives.” In 1881, the death of Christopher Chaffe’s favorite horse, Bert, was considered important enough to be reported. Complaints were made later that same month about “the odoriferous atmosphere circulating just below the Baptist Church” (located at the corner of Broadway and Lee Streets) due to “the carcasses of every dead animal for some distance around” being “thrown into” “those large gullies in that part of town.” Considering Bert’s status as Mr. Chaffe’s favorite horse, I would assume he was not among the carcasses mentioned.

From newspapers, we learn that Harrison’s store in north Webster Parish was the site of at least two murders. There is also the story of Dr. P.J. Marks, supposedly a “traveling dentist,” who came to Webster Parish, married a fifteen-year-old girl and was then tried and convicted of bigamy after it was learned that he was already married. 

The comings and goings of local residents were often mentioned in the newspapers. Felix Drake’s “purchasing tour for his house” in 1883 has been referenced as part of the history of his home on Broadway. However, a closer examination of newspapers from that time reveals the proper context of this trip as being for his “business house” and not for his home as local merchants would make seasonal trips to purchase new inventory for their “houses.”

A 1935 article reports the mysterious case of a charred skeleton found at the Minden Compress. The skeleton was determined to be that of a child between the ages of twelve and fourteen believed to have been murdered. So far, no indication has been found that the case was ever solved.

Newspapers record the development of our parish from the days of the steamboat and stagecoach to the coming of the railroad and the growth of industries. A poem published in the Webster Signal in August of 1900 describes the industrialization that was occurring in Minden at that time.

Fair Minden on the Hill

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Minden!

   She’s looming up at last;

‘Tis really surprising,

   To see her rise so fast.

Others may talk about their country,

   They may boast just as they will;

But there’s no place now more attractive,

   Than Minden on the hill.

For years she has been struggling,

   To march to the front;

At last she has succeeded,

   Without one fatal grunt.

Business is improving,

   And our hearts with gladness thrill;

Let’s shout, Hurrah for Minden—

   Fair Minden on the hill!

Down in the low, green meadow,

   Out on the west of town,

You can see the brick men trotting,

   And can hear the hammer’s sound.

The workmen now are busy,

   Constructing the big oil mill,

And other great improvements,

   To Minden on the hill.

Down in the lovely valley,

   Where once the daisies sprung;

Where the birds in early springtime,

   Their notes most sweetly sung;

With other enterprises,

   There’ll be a great saw mill,

Down in this little valley,

   Near Minden on the hill.

There’s a little factory,

   For manufacturing staves,

Located in the valley,

   Near the sleeping grave;

Blow away your whistle,

   And the morn’ with music fill,

And shout, Hurrah for Minden—

   Fair Minden on the hill!

Not all yet that’s coming,

   To make the dark night bright;

Just wait a little longer,

   We’ll have electric lights.

Then you may talk about your country,

   You may boast just as you will;

No place will look more lovely,

   Than fair Minden on the hill.


I hope to learn and share much more “lost” or “forgotten” and sometimes misinterpreted bits of the history of Webster Parish found in our local newspapers.

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

Claiborne Academy falls to Doyline Panthers in double header

Doyline overcomes Rebels in face of early 3-run inning

In the first game, Doyline Panthers weathered a push by Claiborne Academy  Rebels in the third inning where Doyline coughed up three runs, but still won 11-3 Tuesday.  Claiborne Academy Rebels’ big inning was driven by a single by A Nehls, by Ryder Gaston, and a groundout by J Haynes.

The Panthers fired up the offense in the first inning, when Cooper Hayes drew a walk, scoring one run.

Doyline Panthers notched three runs in the fifth inning.  Hayes and Jonas Florence all contributed in the big inning with RBIs.

Dakota Stewart was on the pitcher’s mound for Doyline Panthers. The righty went one inning, allowing zero runs on one hit, striking out two and walking zero.

Kyler Monk was on the mound for Claiborne Academy Rebels. The pitcher lasted four and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits and 11 runs while striking out six.

Doyline totaled six hits.  Florence and Dario Galvez each had multiple hits.  Galvez and Florence collected two hits to lead Doyline.  The Panthers stole six bases during the game as two players stole more than one. Galvez led the way with three.

Five pitches team up as Panthers shut out Rebels

Doyline Panthers defeated Claiborne Academy Rebels 22-0 in the second game Tuesday as five pitchers combined to throw a shutout. Noah Spears struck out Ryder Gaston to finish off the game.

The Panthers fired up the offense in the first inning.  Cayden Mingo drew a walk, scoring two runs.

Doyline tallied ten runs in the fifth inning.  Caysten Mingo, Dakota Stewart, Benton Bates, Zach Normand, Jonas Florence, and  Austin Arbaugh all moved runners across the plate with RBIs in the inning.

A single by Will Fife in the third inning was a positive for Claiborne Academy  Rebels.

Arbaugh was on the hill for Doyline. The righty lasted one inning, allowing zero hits and zero runs while striking out two and walking zero.

Fife was on the pitcher’s mound for the Rebels. The bulldog allowed three hits and seven runs over one inning, striking out three.  Bryce Hardin, Kyler Monk, and Reagan Feazell each contributed in relief for Claiborne Academy  Rebels.

Doyline scattered 14 hits in the game.  Arbaugh, Normand, Cameron Johnson, and Mingo each racked up multiple hits for Doyline  Panthers.  Mingo, Johnson, Normand, and Arbaugh each managed two hits to lead Doyline  Panthers.  Doyline  Panthers was sure-handed and didn’t commit a single error. Stewart made the most plays with  nine.  Doyline  Panthers tore up the base paths, as three players stole at least two bases. Mingo led the way with seven.

Fife went 1-for-2 at the plate to lead Claiborne Academy Rebels in hits.

(“Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.” Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.)

Refrigerator staples food items

Here is a list of refrigerator staples you should always keep stocked to whip up a healthy meal without a trip to the grocery store.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: Always keep at least 2 fresh fruits and 2 fresh vegetables on hand. They make great snacks and quick side dishes for weeknight meals.
  • Reduced fat milk: Choose 2%, 1%, or fat-free milk. This calcium-rich drink makes a healthy snack and an easy addition to sauces and other recipes. 
  • Whole wheat and corn tortillas: They keep longer in the refrigerator and opting for whole grain or corn gives a boost of fiber.
  • Fat-free yogurt: The plain variety can be used in some baked goods recipes. The flavored variety makes a delicious snack or ingredient in a homemade fruit smoothie!
  • Reduced fat cheese: Save a few extra calories and fat and opt for reduced fat cheeses. Keep a couple varieties on hand, as they keep for a few months and are frequently used in recipes.
  • Eggs: Can be cooked and eaten as is or used in recipes. Eggs are very versatile! 
  • Minced garlic: Save an extra step and buy minced garlic in a jar instead of mincing your own.
  • Salad dressings: Keeping your favorite oil-and-vinegar salad dressings handy makes it easier to choose a healthy salad for lunch!
  • Salsa: This staple’s uses extend beyond a simple dip for chips. Add it to your Southwest dishes for extra flair, put some in your morning omelet, or use it in place of salad dressing on a taco salad.
  • Butter: A popular ingredient in many recipes. Remember: Use this staple sparingly!!
  • (Shakera Williams, M.P.H. is Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent- FCS for Webster/Claiborne parishes. Contact her at (318) 371-1371.)

Jessica Gorman receives Community Service Award

Cindy Madden, (left) Regent of Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, presented the DAR Community Service Award to Jessica Gorman, the new director of the Dorcheat Historical Museum. Jessica gives presentations at local genealogy association meetings, has written and published a local history book, and has devoted countless hours to the museum. 

It’s summer, off to a surreal start in some ways

Crawling out of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the sports calendar is now officially into summer.

Nothing says that more loudly than 7-on-7 high school football leagues cranking up. Some begin playing this week.

But the Women’s College World Series comes close. It starts this week, the Division I softball showdown which draws better TV ratings than its baseball counterpart in Omaha later this month. True, if the yardstick is actual attendance in stadiums, the NCAA baseball postseason is clearly more attractive. But no doubt, the combination of the WCWS and the NCAA baseball regionals signals it’s summertime.

There’s the NBA Finals beginning this week, along with the Stanley Cup Finals. That leads to Charles Barkley doing promos for TNT’s hockey coverage. It’s wacky, like the Celtics-Heat series. Anyone who correctly picked the winner in more than two games is lying.

Another bizarre sign: the wrapup of local youth baseball and softball league seasons. Once upon a time, the games kept going for another month, with playoffs finishing just before Independence Day. That left time for all-star competition and family vacations before school started mid-to-late August.

But travel ball gnawed away at the local youth leagues, and the calendars sped up. Too bad.

The MLB schedule is a third of the way gone, and the Rangers look capable of contending. Teddy Allen’s Orioles have wings. My Pirates have inevitably tumbled under .500.

Yes, it’s summer.

There’s a regional at Alex Box, as routine as it gets in college baseball. There’s a Tulane-LSU matchup, which absolutely nobody saw coming a week ago.

Somehow, the Green Wave soared from the scrap heap to the top of the American Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend. Tulane, which lost its last seven conference series. Tulane, which has the worst staff earned run average in school history. Tulane, whose 19-40 record is the worst for any regional entry since Youngstown State (16-36) in 2014.

The Tigers, meanwhile, look headed for Omaha. They can save college baseball’s best pitcher, Paul Skenes, for their second-round contest against either Oregon State or Sam Houston. After that win, they just have to take one of two on Sunday to move on to a Super Regional two-out-of-three series against (likely) Kentucky in Baton Rouge. Skenes gives LSU the Game One advantage and once again, the Tigers will be one win away from the CWS.

Airline High School product Hayden Travinski has surged in the last month to become a valuable part of the Tigers’ offense. He has recorded seven multi-hit games in the 13 he’s played in May. His .426 batting average and 1.362 OPS are team bests (although to be fair, his 68 at-bats, most of them lately, pale in comparison to the 207 by SEC Player of the Year Dylan Crews, who is hitting .420 with a 1.277 OPS).

The state has two more NCAA Regional entries, the Ragin’ Cajuns of UL Lafayette and the Nicholls Colonels, who swept the Southland Conference regular-season and tournament titles.  The Cajuns made a late-season charge to snatch an at-large invitation and get a trip to the Miami Regional, where they won’t back down against the host Hurricanes or their first-round opponent, Texas. ULL is 7-8 against top 50 competition. Nicholls has an exceptional defensive club and good pitching, but has to play the Crimson Tide at Alabama to open its first NCAA Regional appearance in 25 years.

The local area’s best college player, Haughton’s Peyton Stovall, is on the shelf a year after being a catalyst for the Arkansas Razorbacks’ postseason run that went all the way to a third-place finish in Omaha. Stovall hurt his shoulder swinging in midseason, tried to play through it for a few weeks, and was shut down earlier this month.

Don’t count out Woo Pig Sooey, though. SEC Coach of the Year Dave Van Horn has a magic wand, even if he doesn’t have a first-team All-SEC player.

Stranger things have happened recently, like Tulane punching its regional ticket, and the Miami Heat punching out the Celtics in Game 7 at the Boston Garden.

Next thing we’ll hear is smooth passage of the federal budget deficit deal.

Contact Doug at

Arrest Reports

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

May 30

Michael S. McCoy, 57, of the 1100 block of Drew Lane, Minden, was arrested by WPSO on distribution warrants for schedule 2 narcotics.

Courtney Javon Sneed, 32, of the 2600 block of Clairborne St., Gibsland, was traveling 88 in a 70 miles per hour zone, when the trooper stopped him at mile marker 47. His charges include speeding, driving under suspension and two outstanding warrants – one from Webster Parish (2011 probation violation for unauthorized entry conviction) and another from Bienville Parish (2008 failure to appear for stop/yield sign violation with a bond of $10,000).

Percy Robinson, 20, of the 100 block of SE Claiborne, Sibley, was arrested by Sibley Police for battery of a dating partner.

May 31

Pamela Boswell, 43, of the 200 block of Main St., Doyline, was arrested by WPSO as a fugitive from Bossier and Caddo parishes.

Christopher Eason, 32, of the 500 block of South St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for contempt of court.

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.

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

Every Saturday in June

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

June 1-2

Calvary Baptist Church Basketball Camp.

June 2

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

6 until 8 p.m. Cultural Crossroads’ First Fridays at The Farm, Ben and Zoey Shirley performing; DaqShaq will have food for sale. Corner of Highway 80 and Talton Street.

June 3

9 a.m. until noon, A Taste of the Market, hosted by Springhill Main Street program, downtown Springhill.

June 3-4

Baseball and Softball, Minden Dixie Open Tournament, 1000 Recreational Drive, Minden.

June 4

2 until 4 p.m. Open House and Reception. Webster Parish Council on Aging, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden.

June 5

11 a.m. Joe LeBlanc Summer Feeding begins

June 5-9

Earth Camp at the Farm

June 6

3 until 6 p.m. Webster Parish Libraries’ Springhill branch. Summer Reading Program Kickoff Party events with games, food, activities and fun.

June 8

4 until 7 p.m. Webster Parish Libraries’ Minden branch. Summer Reading Program Kickoff Party events with games, food, activities and fun.

June 10

8 a.m. Peddle and Paddle at Caney Lakes, Minden.

June 9 & 10

Grilling on Main, 2023, BBQ Cookout Festival, downtown Minden. Call 318-371-4258 to reserve a sponsorship. Visit to register a team.

June 17

9 until 11 a.m. Joe LeBlanc Food Pantry distribution

11 a.m. Fathers and Prayers at Minden water tower.

June 17 & 18

Minden/St. Jude Open

June 19-21

9 until 11 a.m. Minden High School Baseball Camp, ages 6-13.

June 24

8 a.m. Registration for North Webster Martial Arts “Battle for the Shield.” Sanctioned event at Minden Rec Center, 1001 Recreation Drive, Minden. Sponsors and donations needed. Search for North Webster Martial Arts on Facebook.

Every Saturday in July

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

July 3

5 p.m. Downtown Minden, 5th Annual Duck Derby, Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of May 25. Civil Suits are a matter of public record.

May 25

Rocket Mortgage LLC vs. Rickey Walker, executory process.

May 26

Lakeview Loan Servicing LLC vs. Roy Henry, executory process.

Republic Finance LLC vs. Christine Bradford, monies due.

TOWD Point Mortgage Trust vs. Grace C. Tanner, executory process.

Lacie Limosnero vs. James Limosnero, protective order.

Shannon Ward Redwine vs. Christopher Reed, protective order.

May 30

Capital One Bank vs. Catherine L. Rowe, monies due.

James Wesley Brittian vs. Leah Patrice Maddox Brittian, divorce.

Capital One Bank vs. Alfred E. Lott, monies due.

May 31

Credit Acceptance Corp. vs. Dashawn Garrison, judgment executory & garnishment.

Notice of Death – May 31, 2023

Belinda McCoy

March 3, 1969 – May 31, 2023

Minden, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, Rose Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. Saturday, June 3, 2023, Rose Neath Funeral Home.

Burial: Whispering Pines Cemetery.

Alice Mallet

Nov. 5, 1932 – May 20, 2023

Springhill, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, Jun 1, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Funeral service: 4 p.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Burial: Springhill Cemetery.

Linda Whitlow Washington

April 20, 1941 – May 29, 2023

Springhill, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m., Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Springhill Methodist Church, Springhill, La.

Burial: Harmony Cemetery, Magnolia, Ark., under the direction Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Barry Wayne Teague

Oct. 13, 1953 – May 2, 2023

Minden, La.

Memorial Service: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, First Baptist Church, Minden, La.

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

Here’s your (new) sign; WPPJ receives grant

New sign

State beautification funds will allow Webster Parish Police Jurors the opportunity to spiff up a corner of downtown Minden.

WPPJ was selected as a recipient of more than $3,600 from The 2022 Keep Louisiana Beautiful beautification grant by Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the state’s premier anti-litter and community improvement organization.

“This money will fund the installation of a new sign with lighting to direct citizens to the police jury office,” said Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Director Brian Williams. “It will also allow for new landscaping – including native Louisiana plants – that will enhance the beauty of an intersection on Minden’s Historic Main Street.”

The project should not only revitalize a street corner by removing remnants  of the old bank sign anchor points and electrical boxes, it will also assist citizens in finding the Webster Parish Police Jury office in the annex building across from the courthouse.

“Citizens have a hard time finding the police jury office for permitting and things like when it serves a voting precinct,” said Williams, who found and applied for the grant. “I’m excited to be able to help WPPJ secure funding to install a new sign with landscaping and LED lights to illuminate it at night. This project will not only provide directions for our citizens, but it will also revitalize the old flowerbed at the street corner on Main near the courthouse.”

Keep Louisiana Beautiful is a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving a cleaner, greener Louisiana through litter reduction an beautification initiatives. To learn abut their network of Community and University Affiliates, grant opportunities, educational programs and ways to get involved, visit Keep Louisiana Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep American Beautiful.

Before new sign was installed

Chamber Duck Derby is on go

Staff Report

Deadline is fast approaching to sponsor The Greater Minden Chamber’s 5th Annual Fourth of July Duck Derby Extravaganza in downtown Minden. All the fun starts at 5 p.m. Monday, July 3, on Main Street. Proceeds benefit the Greater Minden Chamber’s community programs.

“The events committee is working diligently to plan a night that is shaping up to be a truly spectacular evening,” said Chamber CEO Stephanie Barnette. “We are anticipating hundreds of locals, as well as out of town guests, to line the brick streets of Minden and watch a few thousand ducks race down the water-filled course.”

The public will have an opportunity to purchase ducks and the winning duck owners will receive cash prizes. (Watch Webster Parish Journal to find out when ducks go on sale.)

“We are adding a few new events to the evening and will cap it all off with a fireworks celebration by Presenting Sponsor Goex Industries.” Barnette said.

Deadline to purchase a sponsorship is June 16.

“Young Women’s Service Club will be back this year with the dunk tank,” Barnette added. “A list of ‘local celebrities’ taking the plunge will be announced soon.”

Sponsorship Opportunities for Chamber Members

Mighty Duck Sponsor: $1000

  • 1 Quacker’s Dozen of ducks (12 ducks)
  • Designated area to set up booth at event
  • Premium recognition on banner at event. Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than 1,000 Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.
  • Recognition on photo prop/backdrop at event

Quacktastic Sponsor: $700

  • 1 Quack Pack of ducks (5 ducks)
  • Designated area to set up booth at event
  • Premium logo advertising on duck racecourse.
  • Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than 1,000 Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.

Pond Sponsor: $500

1 Quack Pack of ducks (5 ducks)

  • Premium advertising on a 4’X8’ banner at event
  • Recognition on chamber website and chamber E-newsletter that is sent out to more than Chamber partner emails; Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages.

Duckling Sponsor: $300 (10 Available) 

  • 2 Racing ducks
  • Recognition on Chamber’s social media pages

Email Stephanie Barnette at to secure sponsorship opportunities.

Barnette said ducks will be available for purchase soon.

“We are still waiting on printed tickets to be delivered, so we are not selling the ducks just yet,” she said Tuesday. “Hopefully by the end of the week we will have them ready to go.”

Purchase Ducks

  • 1 Racing Duck (1): $5
  • Quack Pack (5): $20
  • Quacker’s Dozen (12): $50
  • Flock of Ducks (25): $100

Purchase Ducks:

Cash Prizes

1st Place – $1,000 Cash
2nd Place – $500 Cash
3rd Place – $250 Cash

You do not need to be present to win.

Central Elementary joins ranks of NEHS

By Paige Nash

Central Elementary School now has an elementary chapter of the National Honor Society. They are the first elementary school in the district to provide this prestigious program to students in fourth and fifth grades.  

This new organization at Central Elementary School was chartered by fourth grade teacher Joni Aulds. She said, “I chartered the organization because I feel it is important not only to promote academic excellence but to recognize those students who do excel in that area.” 

The National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) was designed to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of selected students – at school, home and within their communities. Every NEHS member demonstrates all qualities of the four pillars that the program is built upon- Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Responsibility.  

“I also feel these are most important to instill in our youth today as we guide, teach, and grow our students into young adults who give back to their community,” said Aulds.  

Jenifer Francis, Chloe Ashley and Lacey Berry joined Aulds to serve as the faculty council.  

They are looking forward to the 2023-2024 school year and having the newly established Central NEHS serve their community in several ways. They intend to assist at the SEEDS Women’s Center, Joe LeBlanc Food pantry and area nursing homes.  


“Our students will provide a helping hand and learn valuable life skills while promoting the four pillars of the honor society,” said Aulds. “I feel that this experience in elementary will indeed inspire students to have a service mindset, be a leader, keep pushing to excel academically and just be an all-around good citizen.” 

Aulds along with the faculty council chose students to be admitted into Central’s first NEHS and recognized them with an Induction Ceremony held last Tuesday, May 23.  

Fourth grade students inducted include: 

Jayla Bailey, Lexi Barnett, Presley Barton, Callie Bates, Jules Beard, Karlee Brewer, Brantley Burrell, Alli Chandler, Baylli Chandler, Claire Cooper, Sawyer Fleming, Isabelle Foust, Bryleigh Grubbs, Emmaline Harmon, Brooklyn Johnson, Skyler Marques, Grant Meshell, Beaux Monday, Ada Murphy, Gracey Reynolds, Eastyn Pate, Kylie Richardson, Haley Thorn, Karly Watts and Anniebeth Williams. 

Fifth grade students inducted include: 

Jacob Aulds, Jade Boyette, Thomas Chibnick, Ja’Kylin Chipps, Derek Clark, Braleigh Dale, Chase Daniel, Evan Edwards, Skylar Ellis, Sarah Finklea, Adleigh Harris, Colston Hill, Madisyn Jernigan, Autumn Lagars, Brayleigh Lewis, Lillian Wallace, Ella Wood and Kynlee Wood.  

Assistant Principal of Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School was a guest speaker at the ceremony.