COA, state to host Medicare seminar

Do you find Medicare policies confounding? Relax, with so many facets and plans, the government agency is confusing to most people.

Webster Parish Council on Aging is sponsoring a Medicare Seminar from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday, October 10 at the COA location, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden.

Instructed by Louisiana Department of Insurance, this seminar is open to the public.

Medicare open enrollment is October 15 through December 7, so it’s a good time to find out everything you need to know for the best plan to suit your needs.


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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.

Sept. 27

Danny Ray Babin, 69, of the 100 block of Allen Dr., Minden, was arrested while at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. He is charged with aggravated assault.

Timothy O’Neal Kimmons, 31, of the 1300 block of Sheppard St., Minden, was arrested by LSP for possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.

Parish Kimmons, 25, Of the 100 b lock of Robertson Dr., Minden, was arrested by LSPfor possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.

Sept. 28

Camron Ryan Thompson, 28, of Stamps, Ark., was arrested by Cullen Police for possession of methamphetamine in a syringe, driving under suspension, simple possession, no brake lights anon insurance.

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.


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Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of September 15

Sept. 16

Safeway Insurance Co. of Louisiana vs. Nishan Singh, ABJ Transport and United Specialty Insurance, damages.

Republic Finance LLC vs. Jerrie S. Kelley, monies due.

Capital One Banks USA vs. Julia E. Umpires, monies due.

Lakeview Loan Servicing LLC vs. Anthony Cole Crittenden, executory process.

Sept. 21

First Tower Loan LLC vs. Michael D. Cornelius, monies due.

Sept. 22

Barksdale Federal Credit Union vs. Roxie Ann Waller, monies due.

First Tower Loan LLC vs. Christopher Michael Jefferson, monies due

Teresa Johnson Powell vs. Danny Bryce Powell, divorce.

First Towerl Loan LLC vs. Brian Trumaine Fizer, monies due.

First Tower Loan LLC vs. David Darrell Joiner, monies due.

Erin Lee vs. Danny Ray Babin, protective order.

Sept. 23

Equity Home Lenders Icn. Vs. Otis Johnson and Brunette Johnson, executory process.

Esquire 2019 LLC vs. Gerald Edwards, petition to quiet tax title

Esquire 2019 LLC vs. Dennis Lee Coleman and Dalton P. Morgan, petition to quiet tax title.

Esquire 2019 LLC vs. Builders Lumber & Supply, Ralph D. Lee and Carolyn Colby Lee, petition to quiet tax title.

Michael Bryant vs. Clarence F. Powell Jr., inc Oilfield Services LLC and National Union Fire Insurance Co., of Pittsburgh, Penn., damages.

Sept. 26

TG Finance LLC dba Century Loan vs. Lauren Holloway and Joshua Shell, monies due.

First Tower Loan LLC vs. Whitney Harris, monies due.

Jennifer M. Cooper vs. Christopher J. Pumillia, protective order

Sept. 27

Arthur David Flournoy vs. Mary Louise Moody Flournoy, divorce w/children.

Meosha Jefferson vs. Annie L. Russ, protective order.

Sept. 28

GMFS LLC vs. Brian Richardson and Erica S. Richardson, executory process.

Barksdale Federal Credit Union vs. Melvin Ruffin Jr., monies due.

Morgan Lynn Rowell vs. Thomas Dale Langley, protective order.


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Upcoming Events

Sept. 30

Entries due for the Webster Parish Fair Parade.

Oct. 1

9:30 a.m. Webster Parish Fair Princess Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

2 p.m. Fair Queen Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

Oct. 1-Nov. 30

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

Oct. 3-8 

National 4-H Week

Oct. 4

5 p.m. Webster Parish Fair Parade, downtown Minden.

Oct. 4-7

Parish Fair and Livestock Show.

Oct. 6

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

Oct. 8 

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

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

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

Oct. 10

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

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

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

Oct. 11

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

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

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

Oct. 12 

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

Oct. 13

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

4-H Pumpkin Decorating Contest & LA Commodity Cookery

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

Oct. 13-15

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

Oct. 15

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

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

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

Oct. 17 

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

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

Oct. 17-21

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

Oct. 20

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

Oct. 21

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

Oct. 25

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

Oct. 27

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

Oct. 31

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

Nov. 4-5

Main to Main Trade Days

Nov. 12 

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

Nov. 19

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

Nov. 26

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

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


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Notice of Death – Sept. 28, 2022

Lucky J. Brent

Feb. 22, 1939 –  Sept. 26, 2022

Visitation: 9 until 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Graveside service: 11 a.m. Woodard Cemetery, Taylor, La., under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

 

Mary Ethel Newsom Miller

Aug. 25, 1930 – Sept. 27, 2022

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at City On A Hill Pentecostal Church, Minden.

Burial: Mt. Zion Cemetery in Minden, under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

 

Mildred Hildebrand Edwards

April 4, 1923 – Sept. 21, 2022

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

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

Burial: Noble Cemetery, Noble, La.

 

Michael Patrick Redel

Jan. 3, 1955 – Sept. 10, 2022

Visitation: 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City.

Memorial service: 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City.

 

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


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School put on lockdown Tuesday after man with gun spotted nearby

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Some teachers, students and support personnel at J.A. Phillips School were on lockdown for a short period of time Tuesday after a man carrying a firearm was spotted in the neighborhood of Phillips and J.L. Jones Elementary School.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said his officers and sheriff’s deputies were called to the school between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. when a black male carrying a rifle was spotted by a bus driver.

“There is open school property near Phillips, and the witness said the man was running across there and got into a purple car,” Cropper said. “They (law enforcement) looked but never found a purple car or the guy with the gun.”

According to a “robo call” to parents and school system employees, “remaining students who had not left the campus as well as any remaining staff members were taken back inside the building.”

“After receiving an all clear from law-enforcement all remaining staff and students were allowed to return home their normal way,” the call continued.

Kindergarteners and first graders attend J.A. Phillips School which is located at 811 Durwood Drive in Minden.


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MPD arrests MHS student with handgun at parade

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A 14-year-old Minden High School student is at Ware Youth Center in Coushatta after attending the school’s homecoming parade while carrying a handgun.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said an event transpired at school last Wednesday that led to Friday’s episode.

“This male student got into an altercation with a female concerning a bag of chips,” said the chief. “The female refused to share her bag of chips with him, and he struck her.”

The chief said two police officers were at the school – Lt. Tokia Harrison and Off. Mathew Hicks. They were escorting the male from the room where the argument occurred when the female picked up a Yeti insulated cup and struck the male on the back of his head.

“She was arrested and he was taken to the hospital where he had some staples put in the back of his head,” Cropper said. “He allegedly had a brain bleed in his forehead, so she hit him pretty hard.”

The male student was treated and released.

“He showed up Friday at the parade with a handgun,” Cropper continued. “He was spotted with the gun near First United Methodist Church and was taken into custody at the intersection of Homer Road and Broadway.”

Cropper said the youth told officers CHS (Cold Hearted Steppas), a gang of young teen-agers, were out to get him.

“He said he had the gun for protection,” said the chief. “We called the judge and he was able to get a space for him at Ware.”

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.


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Serena Gray named new board chairman for Holiday Trail of Lights

By Paige Nash

It is hard to believe that it is almost that time of the year again, but Christmas is right around the corner. That means it is time to plan that family road trip to enjoy the annual Holiday Trail of Lights.  

Serena Gray, Executive Director of Webster Parish Convention and Tourism Commission has been named the new Board Chairman for the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights after serving on the board for the last five years. 

“I love all things Christmas, so I am really excited about that,” said Gray.  

The first media event was held this past Thursday, September 22 in downtown Alexandria.  

The City of Minden is a long-time participant, along with Alexandria/Pineville, Natchitoches, Shreveport-Bossier and Monroe/West Monroe. This year the trail has also added two new stops. Logansport and Ruston will now be hosting their own holiday celebrations from November through December along the trail. 

Each location hosts their own events throughout the holiday season, which includes anything from light displays, parades, shopping, firework shows, and tons of food. The Holiday Trail of Lights website includes a map of the destinations, which visitors can click on to view each city’s upcoming events. It also allows visitors to plan their itineraries with accessible links for lodging, shopping and dining.  

In past years Main to Main Trade Days usually symbolizes the official kickoff of the holiday season here in Minden. This is a two-day event where participants set up shop alongside Highway 371 from as far south as Sibley all the way to north of Springhill to the Arkansas state line.  

This year the 23rd Annual Main to Main will be held on November 5 and 6. Shoppers can find anything from clothing, jewelry, home furnishings, food, crafts and more.  

If you are interested in being a vendor for this event, please fill out the registration form at https://www.mindenla.org/main-to-main-2022-vendor-registration/ or contact City of Minden Main Street Director Mahala Hutto at (318) 377-4200 or Springhill Main Street Director Linda McDaniel at (318) 539- 5699. 


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Savell wins Week 4 of Pick’em contest

Underdawgs and WPJ present Alan Savell with $100 in cash. Shown with Savell are Tegan Batton, Assistant Manager, and Laci Beth Hough, cashier.

Congratulations Alan Savell, Webster Parish Journal’s Week 4 winner of the High School Pick’em contest.

Savell was 9 out of 10 with his picks. He is awarded $100 in cash from title sponsors Under Dawgs and Webster Parish Journal, a $50 gas card from Car Giant and the cap of his choice from Attorney Jimbo Yocom of Yocom Law Firm and Minden Athletic.

Our celebrity winners this week:

Sheriff Jason Parker 9-1

Pat Culverhouse 8-2

Josh Beavers 8-2

Paige Nash 8-2

Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams 7-3

Police Chief Steve Cropper 5-5

You have until 4 p.m. Thursday to sign up for Week 5. Log on to https://tinyurl.com/WPJPickem and follow the instructions.

Car Giant salesperson Colby Smudricks presents Savell with a $50 gas card.

Savell chooses a Minden Crimson Tide cap from Minden Athletic’s Jimmy Williams and attorney Jimbo Yocom.


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Letters in the key of life 

Yo Brendan! 

Word is you’re headed to church retreat to begin your high school senior year. I’ve been asked to write a letter of encouragement. You’ll get several from friends for you to read this week. Mine is a humble C+ at best, but I’m honored to be asked …  

You were born the day after I coached my final Little League game. For 10-plus years I had that privilege; most fun I’ve ever had. 

The day before you were born, we lost in the semifinals of the state championship, and if I’d have done just a couple things differently — like called time and talked to my pitcher Scarf one batter earlier — I feel certain we’d have been in the finals. And the team that won it all was better than we were but … they might not have been better than us two-out-of-three, not right then. Not on those days.  

So the next day driving up I-49, thinking about nothing other than what I have just told you, coming home after a week in South Louisiana and wishing I could turn back the clock and wishing I’d gotten my lard butt off the bucket and gone to the mound in the top of the ninth — your dad calls. 

Saw his name on the screen and knew what it was about.  

You had arrived on the scene. 

I felt better right then. 

Even though our little team of 14-year-olds didn’t quite get it done, they did as good as they possibly could have. Still, I was sad over the ending. 

And then your beginning made me happy 

Harmony of the universe and all that. God is like that sometimes.  

I would have loved to have seen you more as you grew up into the wonderful young man you’ve become. 

But I’ve gotten to “watch” you a lot through pictures and mostly through stories from your mom and dad. Every time they mention you, their voices are filled with joy and laughter and gratitude. Every time. It’s been fun to listen. And see. 

Seems all the stories have had happy endings. We’ve been blessed. 

I have a picture posted on my wall of you at age 3-ish sucking down a milkshake at a Shreveport burger joint, your eyes bulging and your cheeks working overtime. I have another picture of you running the bases with a batting helmet on, all business. I remember Brad pushing you into the pool and I remember us playing baseball outside your house.  

Since then, you have learned the joy of live theatre. Learned how to do long division. Figured out how to try and not be scared on a first date. Learned a lot—but you’re just beginning. Keep your mind and heart open for all God is teaching you. 

I am proud of you and love you because your mom and dad are proud of you and love you. There is never anything you could do, good or bad, that would make us love you more or less. We accept you right now as you are and are grateful for you being you. 

Maybe you get the point of all this, which is that I have always been a Brendan cheerleader and that will always be the case. It has made me proud when your parents have called me with a “Little Teddy” update. You were almost named that, but it would have been a disservice to you. You are a Brendan, and a really, really good one. 

A wise man once told me: Be kind. Love God and your neighbor. Don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s it. Enjoy this life you’ve been given. 

Your friend always, 

Uncle TA 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 

 


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A simple gesture can save a life

Less than two years ago, I was at a low point in life. Sometimes you are given obstacles that make you question everything about yourself – your worth, your ability, your talent, your value. I was there. Caught up in the BS of man’s world and the people in it.

In addition to the best lady in the world, my own beautiful bride, another kind soul was put in my path to help me climb out of the hole I found myself in.

Chris Plants helped me see the beauty in the world that I had overlooked for so long. What started as a simple article about this man and his ministry grew into work on full-length novel and so much more. It brought about a friendship that I am so thankful to have.

Today’s story is one of many Chris has shared with me over time, and it is very powerful. It also shows how standing up for your beliefs can cost you.

So I’ll let Chris take over this now and share with you a remarkable tale I hope I will get to write more of in the future.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.

Several years ago, our Living God put me in the specific path of Luke Hockenjos, founder of the “Giv’em Jesus Ministry”. We met at Christ Fit Gym in Bossier and became friends and Christian Brothers very quickly. Giv’em Jesus Ministry literally gives out thousands of Bibles per year. Luke taught me if you give a very nice Bible and somehow make it personable to the person, it makes a huge difference about that person accepting that Bible, keeping it, and reading it. The absolute best way we have found to give a Bible and have it truly received is to put that person’s name in gold on that Bible for them. That is a game changer. The gift is so much more meaningful.

We partnered and began handing out Bibles to individuals whoI was arresting as a Special Agent in the FBI. It was a huge success, believe it or not, and I have so many awesome miraculous stories from giving these Bibles. These people would be at a very low point in their lives, but that is a great point in time to introduce that person to JESUS. They feel that they have no hope until they hear about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the Messiah. Jonah said this in the belly of the whale, which of course was a pretty low point in his life: Jonah 2:1-2 From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry!”

From my truly crazy line of work, I became friends with a who had been addicted to methamphetamine and living a very hard life with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She had lost her family, her old friends, thoughts and plans for life, hope, and totally lost her relationship with our JESUS. God told me to get her a Bible with her name on it and I did. The next day I received this text message from that lady:

“Thank you for that gift. It was the greatest gift that anyone has ever given me. Last night I called my mother and asked her to come get me. I have left this way of life and I will never return to it. I am moving back to my family in another state. I had lost my way and I thank you for showing me the path back to my real life and especially back to JESUS! I will never forget this gift or my way again.”

I so loved how the woman, even at 45 years old, called her mother. No matter the circumstance, the mother came to get her daughter. That’s the way that Jesus wants to return to your lives. The woman has been without addiction for years now and is a working member of society who gives back and, most importantly, draws closer to Jesus every day.

I cannot describe how blessed I felt when I received that message. Who am I that God and Jesus would use me in such a way as this? Who am I that the King of Kings would know my name? I am horrible but I will say “YES” to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every day for the rest of my life, no matter the cost, pain, or anything at all ever!

Now that I can finally laugh about this a little, this was one of the things that got me fired by the FBI but it was our Living God’s plan, and his plans are always perfect. In Joshua 1:9 God commanded us to be bold and courageous! Please join me and the Webster Parish Men and Women of Courage and stand up for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the public in our community!

(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)

(Josh Beavers is an award-winning journalist who has five times been recognized for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association. At one time, he was editor of The Good News, a weekly publication that shared information about local churches and men and women of God.)

 


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Another Blessing

Enzo Corti

By Robert St. John

This morning I read a Business News Daily article that listed the most stressful jobs in America. Enlisted military personnel came first, firefighter, second, and airline pilot, third. Police officer landed in fourth place. I wouldn’t argue with any of those rankings.

Broadcaster came in fifth. I’m not sure I agree with that. Before I got into the restaurant business, I spent four years as a radio station disc jockey. I can tell you that, other than the first couple of shifts— when I was so nervous, I was physically shaking— it was one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had. With apologies to all my friends in the media, I’m not sure broadcaster even belongs in the top 50 of most stressful jobs (with the definite exception of war correspondents in the field). Newspaper reporters came in seventh. I don’t agree with that one either. Public relations executives also made the top ten. Sorry but I must argue again. I am sure they were thinking of crisis management in a PR sense, but that is situational. Taxi driver came in at number 10. Last week I was in several taxis in New York. Those guys didn’t seem worried about anything.

There was no mention of restaurateur. It just goes to show you that, Simone Johnson, the author of the article for Business News Daily, has no clue as to what is involved in the opening a restaurant, or its daily operations.

Event coordinator did come in at number six. I get it. I’ve done a lot of catering over the last 40 years, and in addition to the hundreds of little things that can go wrong during a major catering event (we almost blew up the garage of a wedding reception once— another story for another day), you are typically dealing with people at they’re most anxious. Most people don’t entertain very often so it’s a stressful thing. In turn it becomes a stressful thing for the event coordinator. So, for the purposes of this column, I will assume that event coordinator also includes restaurateur, which puts those of us crazy enough to be passionate about this profession as the sixth most stressful job.

I’m in the middle of my 24th restaurant opening in the past 40 years. I believe it’s truly one of the most stressful things anyone could ever do (or at least sixth most stressful). I imagine from an outsider’s perspective one would look at opening a restaurant as, “why not just teach the cooks the recipes, tell the front-of-the-house staff how you want them to serve the tables, and just let guests file in.” How awesome it would be if it were that simple.

The opening of a new restaurant is demanding, taxing, tiring, fraught with potential disaster around every corner, and I love every minute of it. There are so many moving parts and so many opportunities to drop the ball. Though the older I get— and the longer I stay in this business— I see those as opportunities to win guests over. Mistakes are going to happen, and especially during the honeymoon period in the early stages of a restaurant. It’s not about the mistakes, it’s about how the mistakes are handled. If four decades in the restaurant business has taught me anything, it’s that a bad guest experience, handled properly at the table, can turn into a situation that wins a customer over, and sometimes more so than if they just enjoyed a flawless meal. It’s not about the mistake. It’s about how the mistake is handled.

This most recent opening was a unique one. We took over an existing restaurant in Ridgeland, Mississippi that had been in business for 12 years. They shut the doors one day, and we took over the entire restaurant the next day. Two weeks later— after a major deep-clean, some redecorating, re-concepting, service training, and recipe and menu development— we reopened with a new concept.

Our primary goal, from day one, was to retain all the current team members. We paid them through the entire two-week shutdown, and I am proud to say that we were able to keep every member of the team employed. That made this opening a little easier than most, but when you get down to it, everything is new because we brought in new recipes, new menu items, new cocktails, new systems of service, new point of sales systems, and new culture. Ultimately, it’s a new deal.

The restaurant is named after my friend, Enzo Corti who lives in the small town of Barberino-Tavarnelle in the heart of the Chianti region of Tuscany. Enzo is a fourth-generation wine and olive oil merchant who embodies everything I love about Italian food and culture. We have patterned our restaurant— and its approach— after his zest for living, exuberant charm, and infectious personality.

The food at Enzo is part American-Italian and part authentic Italian. I decided to pare down the inaugural menu due to all the restaurant-opening reasons I stated above. We’ll start off with limited offerings and work our way into a more extensive menu. The main items we will be adding in the coming weeks will be more authentic Italian dishes. Many of those dishes are ones I learned during my travels to Italy. Some came from my son who worked as a chef over there, and others I learned from restaurateurs across the country, but mostly in Tuscany.

I am tired. At 60, I don’t quite have the stamina I did when I was in my 20s. But that’s not going to stop me. I do, however, believe I work smarter these days. I don’t know how many more restaurant openings I have in me, but we have a few more concepts in the works and even more on the drawing board. We want to keep creating opportunities for our team members to advance and move up.

In the end, I consider myself fortunate to have found a career that is also my hobby. It’s not work to me, it’s just what I love to do. I am weary, but more importantly, I am grateful, and I am blessed.

Onward.

Porcini Mushroom Soup3 quarts           Mushroom stock, heated
8 TB                Unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup              All-purpose flour
¼ lb.                Dry porcini mushrooms (soaked and reserved from the mushroom stock recipe)
½ cup              Shallots, minced
2 TB                Brandy
2 TB                Kosher salt, divided
½ TB               Ground white pepper
1 TB                Fresh thyme, chopped
2 TB                Sherry vinegar

In a one gallon stock pot, melt 4 TB of the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly to combine thoroughly and prevent scorching, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the heated mushroom stock 1 cup at a time, combining thoroughly each time until all the stock has been added. Continue to heat this on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to 2 quarts.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 TB of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and stir until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 TB salt, white pepper and thyme and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Deglaze with the brandy and continue stirring until brandy has cooked out completely, about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer this mixture to a food processor and pulse for 1-2 minutes. Return to the pot with the reduced stock and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Puree this mixture until smooth with a stick blender or in the food processor. Finish with remaining 1 TB salt and the sherry vinegar.

Yield: 1 gallon

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


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Traffic violations lead to drug arrest

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Speeding and running a stop sign led to multiple drug charges for a local man early Monday morning.

Lish Antonio Island, 51, of the 100 block of Austins Rd., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police and charged with driving while intoxicated, traffic violations, including driving under suspension, possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a legend drug (Viagra).

Chief Steve Cropper said Ofc. Reece Tewell clocked Island’s 1995 Cadillac Eldorado traveling 45 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone on Cox Lane. It allegedly did not come to a complete stop before turning onto Bayou Avenue.

“Officer Tewell pursued the vehicle, and once stopped, identified the driver as Island, who only had an ID card and no driver’s license,” Cropper said. “The officer observed a beer can on the floorboard of the backseat along with a cooler which was on the backseat.”

Tewell reportedly asked Island if he had been drinking. Island allegedly told the officer he’d had “three or four beers.”

“The officer conducted a field sobriety test, and Island failed all three categories,” said the chief. “Then, while searching Island for weapons or contraband, Ofc. Tewell located a round blue pill in his front left pocket. It was later identified as Viagra.”

Cropper said Off. Jared McIver searched the vehicle and located an orange prescription pill bottle in the center console.

“Inside the bottle were several small clear bags containing different substances,” Cropper said. “All of the narcotics were in amounts suspected to be packaged for individual sales.”

Police recovered 3.3 grams of Methamphetamine, 1.0 gram of crack cocaine, 33.5 pills of Ecstasy and one viagra pill.

Island reportedly refused to sign his rights relating to chemical testing for intoxication and refused a proper breath sample.

He was 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.


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Sparta director to address Lions

Guest speaker for Thursday’s noon meeting of the Minden Lions Club will be Lindsay Gouedy, executive director of the Sparta Groundwater Commission.

Lindsay has served as the face of the Sparta Groundwater Commission for the past 13 years, initially with a focus on education and later as the organization’s managing and representative executive director. Lindsay holds a master’s degree in engineering and technology management and a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture business – both from Louisiana Tech University. She also holds both a black and green belt six sigma certification in quality control engineering. Not only is she soon to complete her master of business administration degree, but she is also working on her Ph.D. dissertation in engineering education. Lifelong learning is of great importance to this professional who was raised by her grandparents, a high school math/English teacher and a college professor in Ruston 

Lindsay has called Louisiana home her entire life and is pleased to have had the opportunity to support north Louisiana’s resource planning and management over her career. She has written and managed numerous funding projects for the Sparta Groundwater Commission, with the most recent being a $500,000 Economic Development Administration research project. She has worked with a number of organizations such as BetaFlix Inc., Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom, LA Gearup, LA-SiGMA, Shell Collaborative, NeuroNEM, Louisiana Tech University, and Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful Organization, to coordinate education events, fundraisers and provide general public relations and communications support. Lindsay’s resume includes everything from grant writing, government affair communications, curriculum development and correlation, to event coordinating and fundraisers such as 5K runs and sporting clay competitions.  

Lindsay has represented north Louisiana’s water interests across the state. She was named a governor appointee to the Louisiana Water Resources Commission in 2016 and maintains the appointment to this day. Lindsay also served as a member of the Louisiana Water Infrastructure Region 1 Steering Committee.

Lindsay resides in rural Dubach with her husband, Joe, and their three sons, Jayden (16), Dallas (10), and Rory (6). They are active and avid outdoors and sports enthusiasts. When football, cross country and baseball aren’t on the schedule, the family enjoys camping and kayaking together.  

Lindsay will be introduced Thursday by Lion Rick Buckner, who currently serves as vice chairman of the Sparta Groundwater Commission.

The Minden Lions Club meets Thursdays at noon at the American Legion Memorial Home, located at 119 Pine St. in downtown Minden.


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Calling all employees: past and present

Minden Athletic Supply will soon be celebrating 50 years in business, and they want to share that celebration with their employees – past and present!

The Williams family is asking that anyone who is a former employee of the business to contact them at 318-377-2136 to let them know.

This reunion will take place some time after the first of the year, when the store, which has been in business since 1973, will officially be half a century old.


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A sitcom called Sally

By Brad Dison

In 2000, writer/producer Allison Gibson had an idea for a television sitcom which was set in Houston, Texas.  The lead character, Sally, was a wisecracking single mother of three children, each of whom had various emotional issues.  Sally’s husband had left her for another woman who, because of their connection to the same man, considered Sally to be her best friend, but Sally considered the other woman to be her nemesis.  This odd combination of characters and situations produced hilarious comedic mayhem.

The lead character was named Sally because Allison wrote the part with a specific actress in mind.  This Sally had won a host of awards for her acting including two Academy Awards.  Her career in television began in 1965 with a comedy called Gidget followed by The Flying Nun two years later.  She had been in a slew of blockbuster films including Smokey and the Bandit, Steel Magnolias, and Forrest Gump.  This Sally, Sally Field, was not interested in the sitcom and turned it down.  Allison needed a new Sally.

As luck would have it, Nell was shopping around for a sitcom to star in.  Nell began performing as a child in a singing group with her siblings.  She had planned to become an elementary school teacher, but the trajectory of her life was forever changed when she sang the Star-Spangled Banner at a rodeo in Kentucky.  Her short performance led to a singing and acting career which has lasted four decades so far.  Nell played a variety of roles in movies and television from a gun-toting tough woman who helped defend her town from creatures living underground to Colonel Sanders in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in which she wore the full goatee, white hair, and signature suit.

Nell was set to play “Sally,” the title role in the show.  That was the plan until the very last moment.  The production crew filmed the pilot twice in front of two different live studio audiences, one in the afternoon and another in the evening.  In the afternoon show, Nell’s character’s name was Sally.  In the evening show, Sally’s name was replaced with Nell’s real first name.  Everyone involved in the creation of the show paid close attention to both audiences to gauge their reactions.  After filming both pilots, it was clear that the audience responded more when the name Sally was replaced with Nell’s real first name.  Their reaction was such that the name of the show was changed again.  The show was a huge success and ran from 2001 to 2007.  Based on the audience’s reaction, the show, originally called Sally, then Deep in the Heart, was renamed again with the first name of its star, Reba McEntire.

 

Source:

1.    “Sally Field.” IMDb. Accessed September 22, 2022. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000398/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1.

2.    “Reba McEntire.” IMDb. Accessed September 22, 2022. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005207/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1.

3.    “Reba McEntire Spills Secret about Her TV Show Only Few Knew Before….” Classic Country Music. Accessed September 22, 2022. https://classiccountrymusic.com/reba-mcentire-spills-secret-about-her-tv-show-only-few-knew-before/.

 


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Upcoming Events

Sept. 27

4:30 until 7 p.m. Teen Study Hall for high school students, Minden library Stewart Center, 521 East and West St., Minden. Study, work on a project or do homework.

Sept. 28

7:30 a.m. Coffee with the Candidates, Webster Parish Council on Aging, 1482 Sheppard St., Minden.

Sept. 30

Entries due for the Webster Parish Fair Parade.

Oct. 1

9:30 a.m. Webster Parish Fair Princess Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

2 p.m. Fair Queen Pageant, Minden High School Auditorium.

Oct. 1-Nov. 30

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

Oct. 3-8 

National 4-H Week

Oct. 4

5 p.m. Webster Parish Fair Parade, downtown Minden.

Oct. 4-7

Parish Fair and Livestock Show.

Oct. 6

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

Oct. 8 

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

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

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

Oct. 10

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

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

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

Oct. 11

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

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

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

Oct. 12 

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

Oct. 13

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

4-H Pumpkin Decorating Contest & LA Commodity Cookery

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

Oct. 13-15

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

Oct. 15

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

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

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

Oct. 17 

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

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

Oct. 17-21

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

Oct. 20

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

Oct. 21

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

Oct. 25

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

Oct. 27

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

Oct. 31

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

Nov. 4-5

Main to Main Trade Days

Nov. 12 

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

Nov. 19

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

Nov. 26

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

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


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Notice of Death – Sept. 27, 2022

Lucky J. Brent

Feb. 22, 1939 –  Sept. 26, 2022

Visitation: 9 until 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Graveside service: 11 a.m. Woodard Cemetery, Taylor, La., under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

 

Mary Ethel Newsom Miller

Aug. 25, 1930 – Sept. 27, 2022

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at City On A Hill Pentecostal Church, Minden.

Burial: Mt. Zion Cemetery in Minden, under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

 

Mildred Hildebrand Edwards

April 4, 1923 – Sept. 21, 2022

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

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

Burial: Noble Cemetery, Noble, La.

 

Michael Patrick Redel

Jan. 3, 1955 – Sept. 10, 2022

Visitation: 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City.

Memorial service: 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City.

 

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


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Some council candidates attend forum

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden City Council candidates made a fair showing for a forum last weekend at the 14th District Building.

Most candidates were interested in utilities, public safety and youth.

Each candidate was given three minutes to present their platform and then answer questions, beginning with District E.

Republican Thomas Adams expressed an interest in bringing people to Minden and keeping the ones that are here.

“We have to make people want to stay,” Adams, a local businessman, said. “We need to focus on getting past our short falls and work together as a group.”

Adams added he would like to see more economic development and wants to bring the sales tax base back to Minden.

“Economic development fixes everything,” he said. “The more sales tax you got, the more money you got.”

Independent Michael Fluhr believes compromise and communication are key.

“We need an efficient and effective government,” said Fluhr, who serves as interim city clerk for the city. “What I’ve seen in the last four years between the council and the mayor – no one was willing to make a compromise.

“That was a big problem, and communication between the council members – one group was over here and the other group was over there, and were not willing to cross over to the other side.”

Andy Pendergrass, No Party, had a family event and could not attend.

In District D, LaKeyla Williams, Democrat, wants to focus on the future, public safety and fair treatment.

“We need to get our youth involved in activities,” she said. “We can do that through youth enrichment programs.”

At the end of business, she said, referring to the city council, it’s not about “us, but us as a community and to serve our citizens.”

Republican Habacu Morales did not attend the forum, due to business obligations.

Independent Michael Roy said he did not attend because he was not aware of the forum.

Three of the four Democrats running for District C council seat were at the forum.

Incumbent Vincen “Cheese” Bradford is the only one who did not attend.

Maretta Gage told the audience that she would like to rebuild and restore the community.

“Rebuild means something is broke down and you’re building it back up,” Gage said. “To restore is to start over. Our community needs a lot of help.”

Gage pointed out the concerns of youth and the gangs in Minden.

“We need to show these kids we do care,” she said. “They don’t need to be around here shooting at each other.

Javelin Hardy said it is important to continue generational traditions and build a legacy, “not only for me but for my three adult children and grandchildren.”

Hardy said when she watched the HGTV program about Minden, she felt “totally left out – and also my neighbors.”

“I feel they were focusing on Minden and districts that looked way more better than the neighborhood that I’m living in,” she said. “We have no stores, no pharmacy … I truly want to develop a neighborhood association in my district.”

Latasha Mitchell wants to focus on safety for youth.

“We need to work as a team to overcome obstacles in the past,” Mitchell said. “We are lacking leadership, and our elderly are struggling on fixed incomes with high utility bills.”

In District B, Republican Joey Frye was the only candidate to attend the forum. Damien Kemp, No Party, and Democrat Levon “Charlie” Thomas were absent.

“I would begin by looking at current expenditures for waste, focusing on some of the smaller areas,” Frye said. “To ease tax payers’ burdens, I would like to find other sources of income, instead of utilities and taxes.”

Frye admitted he has never been on a city council but knows there must be grant money available to help. He also said he would like to market Minden as a bedroom community for other cities.

District A incumbent Democrat Wayne Edwards was absent due to personal issues. Republican Darrell Morris was also missing from the forum.

Independent Carlton “Buddy” Myles, a local businessman, said his platform is based on three main things.

“Infrastructure, economic development and also safety,” Myles said. “Our broadband Internet is lack luster, to say the least. We need more than one service provider.”

Another issue for Myles is abandoned properties.

“It’s a huge concern, especially in District A, on almost every block,” he said. “They are known breeding grounds for crime. It’s my goal to hire a couple of enforcement agents to go around and see to these properties.”

Myles wants to bring new companies to Minden that will hire local residents.

“We need to hire an economic developer who will head these efforts,” he said. “This person would be instrumental in keeping businesses here.”

Council candidates will have another chance to answer questions.

The Greater Minden Chamber will host two political forums in October at the Northwest Louisiana Technical College.

The mayoral and school board candidates for district 4, 6 and 8 will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, October 10, while the police chief and city council candidates will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, October 17. Both forums will be held at NLTCC, 9500 Industrial Drive, Minden.


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April 2023 shaping up to be an eventful month for tourism

By Paige Nash

Last April the Annual Archery Shooters Association (ASA) competition, Germantown Bluegrass Festival and Green Thumb Jamboree all landed on the same weekend. 

Executive Director of Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission, Serana Gray said, “Last April all our events stacked up on the same weekend, Johnnye (Kennon) and I have been working hard to spread those events out and we have been successful in that. So, as of right now every weekend in April has an event and they are major events.” 

April 27-30 is the set date for the 2023 Delta McKenzie ASA Pro/Am Tour to make its way back into the parish. Camp Minden is officially set to host the Annual ASA tournament for the next ten years.  

Hotels, motels, Bed & Breakfasts, campsites and rental properties are already filling up with reservations from competitors, spectators and vendors.  

Nicky Patel, WPCVC board member and owner of Best Western Hotel in Minden said, “We are already almost booked up for the archery competition.” 

The 2022 tournament brought in 1,655 visitors from 41 different states and two other countries, which included Canada and Australia. This ten-year contract is predicted to have an economic impact on Webster Parish and surrounding parishes of Bossier and Caddo, of up to three million dollars per year.  

There are already plans in place to make future events bigger and better by supplying additional shooting lanes, tournament village grounds, possible Wi-Fi availability and more.  


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Sign up for prizes in the WPJ Pick’em contest

Time to hop back on the computer and sign up for week 5 of Webster Parish Journal’s High School Pick’em Contest.

Each weekly winner over the life of the contest will be on the receiving end of $100 and will have their photo taken at our title sponsor Under Dawgs Sports Grill, the gathering place featuring a home-field atmosphere. In addition to the $100, weekly winners will receive a $50 gift gas card courtesy of Car Giant, serving Minden by providing quality cars. A photo will be taken there, too.

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

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

Signing up for the contest only takes a couple of minutes. Log on to https://tinyurl.com/WPJPickem and follow the instructions.

Entries are now open for this week’s games and will remain open until 4 p.m. each Thursday before the listed games. Weekly winners will be notified and announced in the following Wednesday edition of the Journal.


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Meeting someone again for the first time

I graduated high school close to 30 years ago. In that time, I’ve never been to a class reunion or a homecoming. I don’t know why. Just kinda left that world and never thought much about going back.

So, I really don’t have much experience with homecomings. Meeting people for the first time again. What I mean by that is when we go years between seeing someone, talking to them, those people become strangers to us once more.

Even if you were the closest of friends for years, let a decade go by and that bond will wither and likely die. There’s nothing to keep it alive.

I guess that’s why people like reunions. Homecomings. Class gatherings after so many years apart. I saw that this past Friday when I went to a local high school’s homecoming. It wasn’t my school. I was there for the football game and to take pictures for social media.

Before the game, the classes of 1962, 72, 82, 92, 02, and 12 were honored. The further back you went, the fewer returnees there were. Taken by time, or distance, or loss of interest.

Because that’s what life is. A series of gains and then losses. Of highs and then the inevitable lows. Of either going into a crisis, currently enduring one, or living that sweet life where you’re in the blissful bit after coming out of one.

The reunion gives you a glimpse into a good part your life. Makes you feel warm from the fuzzy memories it kindles. Why would people go if they didn’t get that good feeling?

And while this wasn’t my homecoming, and I’ve not been to my own since graduating back in 97, I still had that happy feeling when I met someone again for the first time.

Out of the crowd came bounding a red-headed memory. It was an old friend and colleague who had gone on to brighter lights and bigger things. She was at the game to cheer on her niece.

When I saw her, so many memories flooded back of long-ago battles in the reporter bullpen, of court cases, of an alcohol referendum and the bitterness it brought out, of lawsuits between political bodies, of especially dirty elections and dirtier politicians who we ended up help put behind bars, of five alarm fires, of explosions, and interviews with CNN which ended with the quote “it was a big boom.”

And as she told me what the past 10 years had brought to her life, all I could think of was one of my favorite words.

The word “sonder” means having a “Profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.”

Tim McGraw also summed it up in “Where the Green Grass Grows.”

Six lanes, tail lights
Red ants marching into the night
They disappear to the left and right again

Everyone on the field had their own unique lives with hopes and dreams and fears and accomplishments and failures and strengths and weaknesses. They are just as strong and powerful and varied as yours.

From 10 to 50 years apart, the ones gathered for homecoming joined to share in that human bond, the need and desire for belonging and calling others your own.

It wasn’t mine, but it gave me the chance to meet someone again for the first time. I sorta understand now why people go to class and family reunions.

It felt good to meet again. It was a lesson learned and a small bit of growth given to me by God.

I may even mosey on up to Haynesville in the Fall of 2027 when my 30th anniversary class reunion rolls around.

Wow.

30 years.

Don’t they go by in a blink?

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


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JOB OPPORTUNITY: St. John’s Episcopal Church

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

• Position – Church Secretary

• Part-time (16 – 20 hours per week)

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

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

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

• Must have working knowledge of Microsoft Office

• Pay commensurate with experience

Please email resumes to liturgy@suddenlinkmail.com.


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