Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to wpjnewsla@gmail.com .

Jan. 26

9 a.m. until 2 p.m. LifeShare Blood Center “Extra Ordinary” blood drive at Minden campus of Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College.

5 until 7:15 p.m. Adult Paint Night, Minden Main Branch, Webster Parish Libraries. For more information, call 318-371-3080 ext. 123.

Jan. 31

11:30 a.m. Ribbon Cutting at Women’s Wellness of Minden.

11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Minden Presbyterian Church Bible Study with free lunch. The public is invited to attend.

Feb. 2

10 a.m. Minden Planning Commission, Pelican Room, Minden City Hall. Agenda: request from Webster Land Corporation for preliminary approval of a lot split on property owned by them on Recreation Drive. The public is invited to attend.

Feb. 4

11 a.m. Springhill Main Street Mardi Gras Parade.

5 p.m. Minden Mardi Gras Parade through downtown Minden.

Feb. 11

6 p.m. ArkLaTex Mega Star Search. Poets, rappers, singers, instruments.  Sign up early. Call 318-562-3664.

Feb. 13

W.H.O. of North Webster’s 8th Annual Chili Supper Since 2015, we have had the honor to bless a family every year with proceeds from the sales of chili dinner! W.H.O. Members do everything—sell tickets, make chili, create homemade desserts, and bring right out to your car. This year’s event will benefit Brooke Malone, a dear North Webster mom fighting endometrial cancer. Tickets are available now. Contact any W.H.O. Member to purchase!

6 p.m. Doors open. Piney Woods Jamboree at Frank Anthony Community Activities Center (CAC Building),  301 West Church St., Springhill, La. Show begins at 7 p.m., with Josey Hargis performing. Tickets are $10 per person; $5 for children 5 years to 12 years. Sold at the door.

Feb. 21

11 a.m. Ribbon Cutting at Shields Storage Center.

Feb. 25

8:30 a.m. registration; 9 a.m. until noon lectures for Buds & Blooms 2023, sponsored by Piney Hills Louisiana Master Gardners. First United Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden. Topic: Landscaping for birds. Tickets: $15. All proceeds go to 4-H Youth Gardening Contest and 4-H Scholarships.

March 4

6 p.m. LaMa Bingo, Springhill Civic Center, 101 Machen Dr., Springhill.

March 24

Today is the deadline for vendors to register for 2023 Wings and Wheels Fly-in and Car Show at Minden Airport. Please make all checks payable to Parker Still and mail them to 100 Aviation Drive, Minden, LA 71055. Checks or cash may also be delivered in person to the Minden Airport seven days a week from 8-5. AirRunners Aviation will not be providing chairs so please bring your own. No more than 2 people per booth. Completed Registration forms must be mailed to 100 Aviation Drive, Minden, LA 71055, emailed to airrunnersaviation@yahoo.com, faxed to 318.377.6789, or delivered in person to the Minden Airport no later than March 24.

March 28

Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Gala. Call 377-4240 for more information.

April 1

AirRunners Aviation is seeking vendors to participate in the 2023 Wings and Wheels Fly-in and Car Show at Minden Airport.

April 26

10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Scottish Tartan Festival, Miller Quarters, 198 Gleason St., Minden, La.

• Scottish Highland dancing

• Storytelling, living history exhibitions 

• Food and merchant vendors, including Great Raft beer 

• Traditional music and Celtic Rock 

• Scottish Highland cattle petting area 

• Broadsword demonstrations and Highland Games exhibitions 

• Clan tent exhibits and the March of the Clans 


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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.

Jan. 20

Charles Scott Rayner, 52, of the 200 block of Rayner Rd., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse battery.

Cynthia Ann Dick, 60, of South Park Drive, was arrested by Cullen police for possession of methamphetamine, Lortabs and drug paraphernalia.

Jan. 23

Chanceler Crow, 25, of the 500 block of McArthur Loop, Cotton Valley, was arrested by Cotton Valley Police for monetary instrument abuse and theft.

Kwesi Corley Jr., 22, of the 800 block of Harris St., Minden, was arrested by MPD on a warrant for home invasion.

Seth D. Cochran, 33, of the 100 block of Forest St., Springhill, was arrested by Springhill Police for simple burglary and interfering with an investigation.

Jan. 24

Janice R. Jordan, 42, of the 300 block of Airport Rd., Springhill, La., was arrested by WPSO on three counts of failure to appear (in 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.


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The Chinatown Revelation

By Brad Dison

John Joseph was born in Neptune City, New Jersey on April 22, 1937.  He was raised by his parents, Ethel May and John, and sisters June and Lorraine.  June was 18 years his senior, and Lorraine was 15 years his senior.  June aspired to become a famous entertainer.  In the 1930s, June Nilson, as she was known professionally, began her dancing career under the tutelage of dancing teacher Eddie King.  She danced in several performances and was featured in the opening of a club called the Pic and Pat club in New York City.  She also appeared in several off-Broadway productions.  On New Year’s Eve in 1935, she was featured as a specialty tap dancer in Earl Carrol’s Palm Island club in Miami, Florida.  Earl Carrol was a controversial figure because his showgirls were usually scantily clad.  He was known as “the troubadour of the nude.”  At some point, June returned to the family home.  In 1941, when John was four years old, June moved again to Miami, Florida to work for Earl Carrol.  Her aspirations eventually led her to Hollywood, California. 

Perhaps, his sister’s ambitions rubbed off on John.  In 1954, John, then 17 years old, moved in with June in Hollywood.  John found a job as an office boy in MGM Studios’ animated cartoon department.  While at work one day, a producer noticed something special in John.  It may have been the way he carried himself, the way he said a certain sentence or phrase, or the way he smiled.  At the producer’s recommendation, John began taking acting classes.  In 1956, John received his first acting credit for his performance in one episode of a television series called Matinee Theatre.  In 1958, he performed in the film The Cry Baby Killer.  John’s career as an entertainer had been slow in the late 1950s.  In 1960, however, John’s career “took off.”  In that year alone, John appeared in four films and two television series.  Unlike June, whose Hollywood career never came to fruition, John’s career flourished for the next five decades.    

It was through his acting career that John learned a secret.  John was scheduled to be interviewed about one of his upcoming films by a writer from Time magazine.  As part of the preparation process for the interview, researchers from the magazine began exploring John’s background.  It was then that they uncovered John’s family’s secret.  Rather than revealing this during the interview, a representative from the magazine revealed the secret to John in a telephone call.  John sat in stunned silence while the magazine representative revealed that June and Lorraine were not his sisters, and John and Ethel May were not his parents.  The evidence provided made the claims undeniable.  John’s family had kept a secret from him his entire life.  John and Ethel May died without ever revealing that they were not his parents, as John had always been told, but his grandparents.  Lorraine, whom John thought was his sister, was actually his aunt.  John’s mother was June.  According to the researcher, John’s father was Don Furcillo-Rose.  June had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, which would have reflected badly on the whole family in that era.  After careful consideration, the family agreed to keep John’s true parentage a secret.  They hoped it would remain a secret forever.

John needed to confirm this for himself.  John and Ethel May were long dead, and June died in 1963.  The only person left alive who could verify or deny the claims of the Time magazine researcher was Lorraine.  He called and spoke with Lorraine’s husband whom he affectionately called Short.  “A guy calls me on the phone, and says that my father is still alive, and that Ethel May wasn’t really my mother, that June was my mother.”  Shorty was in disbelief and handed the phone to Lorraine.  John repeated the information.  After a moment of silence, Lorraine confirmed that the story was true although she was unaware of the identity of his real father.

John described the discovery as being “a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn’t what I’d call traumatizing.  After all, by the time I found out who my mother was, I was pretty well psychologically formed.”  He added, “I was very impressed by their ability to keep the secret, if nothing else.”  John jokingly referred to June as his “sister-mother.”

John is considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of all time.  He has won 3 Oscars and a host of other awards for films such as Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  The film for which he was being interviewed when he learned his family’s secret was called Chinatown.  You and I know John Joseph Nicholson as Jack Nicholson.

Sources:

1.      Asbury Park Press, January 2, 1936, P. 15.

2.     Trey Taylor, “Jack Nicholson Grew Up Believing His Mom Was His Sister,” August 6, 2020.  https://www.instyle.com/celebrity/jack-nicholson-mom-sister.

3.     Swapnil Dhruv Bose, “When Jack Nicholson discovered that his sister was actually his mother,” April 6, 2022. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/jack-nicholson-sister-was-his-mother/.

4.     Aaron Homer, “How Jack Nicholson Discovered His Sister Was His Mother,” July 18, 2022.  https://www.grunge.com/621340/how-jack-nicholson-discovered-his-sister-was-his-mother/


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Notice of Death – Jan. 24, 2023

Stephanie Sharp Watts

Oct. 24, 1989 – Jan. 21, 2023

Ringgold, La.

Visitation: 1 p .m. until time of service, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, First Baptist Church, Ringgold, La.

Funeral service: 2:30 p.m. following visitation.

Dennis Lamar Davis

Jan. 26, 1964 – Jan. 18, 2023

Springhill, La.

Private family service scheduled for a later date.

Charles “Charlie” Augustus Lee Fields

June 21, 1933 – Jan. 14, 2023

Visitation: 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. Thursday Jan, 26, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Dr., Bossier City, La.

Memorial service: 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, Keithville, La.

Donald Dean Stillwell

Jan. 13, 1948 – Jan. 19, 2023

Visitation: 10 a.m. until time of service Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 at Cornerstone Ministries Cowboy Church, 494 Bethel Rd., Logansport, La.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. following visitation.

Webster Parish Journal publishes paid complete 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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Law enforcement arrests 8 during drug bust

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Working in conjunction with Minden Police, Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies arrested several persons on drug charges last week.

On Friday, January 20, Jason M. Hillman, 20, of the 200 block of Horseshoe Loop, Doyline, was arrested for resisting an officer by flight, possession of methamphetamine, possession of Clonazepam and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Audrie Elizabeth Rosypal, 29, of the 300 block of Holomon Loop, Dubberly was arrested twice – once for possession of methamphetamine and a second time on a warrant for dogs at large.

Brian Lester Sims, 53, of the 300 block of Ellis Dr., Minden, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Corey Matthew Ray, 51, of the 200 block of Horseshoe Loop, Doyline, was arrested by WPSO and MPD as a fugitive from Minden Police and Bossier Parish Sheriff, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, illegal possession of stolen things and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Charles A. Williams, 48, of the 700 block of Clay St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO and MPD for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia.

Trace Bynog, 42, of the 200 block of Horseshoe Loop, Doyline, was arrested by WPSO and MPD as a fugitive from Minden Police.

Derick O’Rear, 37, of the 200 block of Horseshoe Loop, Doyline, was arrested by WPSO for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Lindsey Kennedy, no other information available, was arrested on an unrelated warrant through Minden Police.

Sheriff Jason Parker said arrests were made at the 200 block of Horseshoe Loop, Doyline around 8 p.m. Friday.

“We have been receiving complaints from neighbors near that address,” Parker said. “We have been involved in a lengthy investigation … the first time we arrested five.”

Parker said MPD had a search warrant for stolen property, which included some of those arrested.

“The next day, we got called back to the same residence,” said the sheriff. “There obviously wasn’t supposed to be anyone there, but we ended up arresting four more – one was arrested a second time.”

Parker said law enforcement seized approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, assorted drug paraphernalia and assorted stolen items during the investigation at that address.

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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New Ronald McDonald House will serve northwest Louisiana

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Anyone who has ever had a hospitalized loved one knows the importance of rest for the caregiver.

Ronald McDonald House has released plans to build a new $10 million, 3-story, 20,000 square ft. facility in the Shreveport-Bossier area that will house families and serve hospitals there and in surrounding parishes.

Ronald McDonald House CEO Janell Mason said the project “just fell into place.”

“We started fund-raising, just lightly, the fourth quarter of 2022,” Mason said. “We’ve raised $3.6 million already.”

Construction will not begin until 80 percent of the funding is committed.

Mason said it will be located near Willis-Knighton South. There will be 20 family suites, indoor/outdoor place spaces, expansive kitchen and large dining room, laundry rooms, meals and snacks and personal care items, just to name a few amenities. All services are provided free to families.

During a special event Thursday, Minden Medical Center, Northwest Louisiana Medical Center (Ruston) and Allegiance Health Management presented Mason with a check for $25,000. She told MMC CEO Jim Williams the hospitals will be listed on a founding wall, and a suite will be named for them.

Williams, who has a story to tell about his son, said he was more than happy to help garner support for the project from area hospitals.

“I had a scenario where had there been a Ronald McDonald House at that time, I could’ve taken advantage of the services,” Williams said. “My son was born way too early. He was transported to Shreveport.”

Williams’ son stayed in the hospital several months, and a local facility would have helped in many ways.

Ashleigh Benson, whose son Cole is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient, shared his story with the group.

“When we first took him to Memphis, we were told we would be there an extended period of time and not able to leave,” Benson said. 

She said her family wondered how they would eat, where would they sleep and how they were going to pay for these things.

“Ronald McDonald House was a huge blessing,” she said, going on to describe the facilities that included a cafeteria, apartments, a game room, playground area and other amenities.

Goals for the area Ronald McDonald House are to break ground in the first quarter of 2024 with a grand opening Dec. 31, 2025.

To become a founding donor, contact Mason at 501-374-4376 or email janell@RMHCArkansas.org. Also contact Roy Griggs, Campaign Chair at 318-347-3306 or email roy.griggs@partners.mcd.com.


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Annual Chili Cook-off gearing up

By Tina Montgomery

A savory Minden tradition is returning for the 2023 Minden Auction Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

The 32nd annual Minden St. Jude Chili Cook-off takes place on Saturday, February 11 at the Minden Civic Center.

Randy Stevenson, who is now in his 6th year coordinating the chili cook-off, said about 20 participants have signed up so far. 

“We typically get about 30 to 35 each year,” he said.

Last year chili lovers raised $8,200 from the sale of the tasting cups offered despite the stormy weather that day; that’s about 1,640 chili tasting cups sold. 

“We were cooking in a downpour which was not fun at all. We had to cancel the bands and get everything broken down but we went forward and still cooked,” Stevenson said. 

Tasting cups will be sold to the public throughout the event for $5 each.

Stevenson hopes to raise more money this year.

“My goal this year is $10,000, it always has been. A lot of it is dependent on the weather and the number of tasting cups sold. We’ll also have some concessions set up outside,” he said.

The cook-off is no longer sanctioned by CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International). 

“This is strictly a hometown event now,” Stevenson said. “We used to be with CASI but we didn’t raise as much money. They were more concerned about the cooks who came from out of state rather than fundraising. When we decided to bring everything centered in Minden we raised about 3 times as much money even though we didn’t have as many cooks.” 

Although no longer sanctioned, the cook-off will be conducted under CASI rules. Chili must be cooked from scratch on site the day of the cook-off. All chili must be prepared in the open. Commercial chili powder is permissible, but complete commercial chili mixes (just add meat) are not permissible. No fillers like beans, macaroni, rice, hominy, or other similar ingredients are permitted. Cooks must prepare and cook in a sanitary manner.

Cooks who want to showcase their chili recipes can still pre-register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minden-st-jude-chili-cookoff-2023-cook-registration-registration-500256820617 , or register at sign in the day of the cook-off. The entry fee is $30, which should be paid by cash or check (cash preferred). Participants can begin setting up on Friday, February 10, at 4 p.m. Set up spots cannot be reserved and are arranged on a first come, first serve basis. Categories for the cook-off include Official Judging, People’s Choice Award and Best in Show.

Chili enthusiasts will also enjoy musical entertainment throughout the day. 

“We have two bands,” Stevenson said. “Starting at 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is Pat Mason & the Bayou Boogie Band. They’re a zydeco band out of Shreveport that’s played for two years or so and they’re really good. We also have local Minden band Flight Delay from 1 until 3 p.m. They’ve played for the last 3 or 4 years.”

Sponsors for this year’s cook-off are: Mike’s Hometown Spirits (Title Sponsor), Minden Family Dental (Partner Sponsor), Wimberly Agency, Dixie Overland Construction, Passages Hospice, Res-Com Washing & Gutter Services LLC, KASO/KBEF Radio, Southern Tire Mart and Louisiana CAT.

For registration and further information, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minden-st-jude-chili-cookoff-2023-cook-registration-registration-500256820617 . Questions can also be emailed to mindenchili@gmail.com . General information for the public can be found on the Facebook page Minden St. Jude Chili Cook-off. 


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March over bridge shows pro-life support

Amber Beckham Bradford and Congressman Mike Johnson

By Paige Nash

Third-term congressman representing the 4th District of Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson visited Webster Parish last Friday. He was in attendance at a Customer Appreciation Fish Fry hosted by Hercules Ag & Outdoor where he had the opportunity to catch up with locals and fellow elected officials. 

Part of his time back home was also spent at the Annual Northwest Louisiana Life March. The march was held on Saturday, January 21. This year’s theme was, “Everyone Deserves a Birthday.” 

Pro-life supporters joined Johnson to march across the Texas Street Bridge to Travis Street parking lot located across from the Government Plaza in Shreveport.  

Among those celebrating the reversal of Roe v. Wade was a group from the Seeds Women’s Center, a non-profit organization that provides healthcare, supplies and support for women in the area.  

“It was a great march over the Texas Street Bridge to show support for pro-life,” Executive Director of Seeds Amber Beckham Bradford said. “Seeds passed out 200 bracelets with scriptures on them to show our support and encouragement. We had a small group attend to represent Seeds Women’s Center but have started making plans for next year’s Life March.” 

Seeds is launching a new dad program this April called, “Navigating Fatherhood.” They will be hosting a kick-off event on March 25th from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Miller Quarters Park. There will be free hot dogs, bounce houses, door prizes, music and most importantly an opportunity for dads to sign up for this new 12-week class.  

“We are super excited about what God has in store for Seeds in 2023,” Bradford said.


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That time a ‘guy’ told me no one was thinking about me, and it was awesome 

There’s an argument to be made, one bolstered by people’s behavior on social media, that those who live in the western world can be filtered into two camps. 

Those who just want to be mad about something. And those who don’t. 

I know this is a vast oversimplification. There is so much that goes into a person’s anger and hurt that none of us can ever hazard to begin to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. So as to not draw someone’s ire, I’ll just use myself as the example of today’s little bit of writing. 

I have realized that at many times in my life I have just been a person who wanted to be mad. I didn’t want to be a victim. That’s an entirely different first-world fault we have. I just wanted to be angry at someone. 

Social media was the worst thing to ever happen to younger me. Other people’s opinions, beliefs, words, political perspectives and so forth made me so mad. That’s the story of the modern world. I didn’t like people I perceived to be hypocrites even though I was one of the biggest myself. As Gandhi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.” I was one of those he wouldn’t like. 

I used to just want to be angry. That’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so. Quiet was confused with arrogance when in actuality it was irritation. I had an issue with people because my perspectives shaped my life. It was a long-learned behavior. It made me not like the man I grew up to become. I was a hypocrite. I always told people to just look in the mirror and if you like what you see then you are doing ok. But I never really did. I didn’t like what was looking back.

But something changed a few years ago. I just started talking. I wasn’t talking to anyone in particular. I knew who I was and that person was not who I wanted to be. I didn’t like who I was but I felt encouraged because I wanted to change. Bad people didn’t want to change, right? I wanted to be better. So that had to count for something.

I started talking to no one in particular. And I know I looked crazy to anyone who may have saw me. I started to read. I started to write my thoughts down. I started to ask questions instead of making accusations and thinking I already knew everything. Why did I feel the way I did? I asked more. I didn’t try to tell. I didn’t ask questions I already knew the answers to. 

It wasn’t until I started seeking that I started finding. And when I let the answers come, I stopped caring what others put on their social media feeds. I stopped caring who they voted for. So what if you do bad things? So do I. So what if you bad mouth others? I have done that from time to time as well. So what if you stumble and fail and stay down sometimes only to cry and blame everyone else but yourself? Brother, I been there.

 

I realized that God wasn’t religion. And in all that talk and all that reading, I came to find that God doesn’t want me to care what others think. He doesn’t want me to worry about what others have or the way others live their own life just like he doesn’t want them to care how I lead mine. Someone in all that talk of mine basically talked back. “No one’s thinking about you Josh. No one cares what you think. No one cares if you don’t like them. They aren’t thinking of you.”

And then came the bombshell.

“Isn’t that so freeing? Doesn’t that change everything?”

Wow. When I had this realization, I legitimately said out-loud “Wow,” and a little old lady by the vitamins in Walmart lowered her spectacles (I like that word – spectacles) to wonder if I was a malcontent or rabble rouser. 

I realized God wanted me to be all His all the time. He doesn’t want me leaning on others. He doesn’t want me to be self-reliant. He wants me to rely on Him. I am walking a tight rope. So are you. So are we all. Our security rests in Him and not in our best laid plans. Our best laid plans are folly. They suck. They are laughable. We walk that tight rope and it is He alone who helps us stay standing. Not people. Not circumstance. It is He who we must go to for prayer, for answers. I said I didn’t know who I was talking to earlier. But I do now. I was talking to the one above all. I was talking to the one beckoning me —one step at a time. 

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate you from My loving Presence,” I read once and now I know it to be true.

So too is this: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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


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Springhill Chamber spotlights McConnell & Slattery, APLC

Joan Green, Sandra Grillot, Debbie Cody, Mary Manuel, Laurie Slattery, Jessica Slattery, Presley Ann Slattery, Marguerite Slattery and Jason Wade.

Originally founded as McConnell & McConnell in 1977 by brothers, N.J. and Charles McConnell, a local, community law firm was created and has remained directly across from the Springhill Fire Department for the past 46 years. John B. Slattery, Jr. arrived in Springhill in 1982, and, soon thereafter became a partner and established McConnell & Slattery, APLC with then Judge Charles McConnell. The firm stood for the very best in work ethic, professionalism, and trustworthiness – a motto that still serves as the firm’s standard bearer to this day.

With the arrival of Marguerite Slattery in 2014 and her husband, Jason Wade in 2018, the next generation in McConnell & Slattery’s storied history was born. The law firm and community suffered a grave loss by the passing of the Hon. Charles E. McConnell in 2000 and Hon. John B. Slattery, Jr. in 2020; yet, their memories and legacies live on as our attorneys and staff continue to strive to honor their ideals, work ethic, and love of the Louisiana legal system that have always been the cornerstone of McConnell & Slattery. We are proud to say that our law firm has been a part of this community longer than any other. We truly value the Webster Parish community and strive to provide valuable legal assistance at reasonable rates for all. We are thankful for all of the support received in the last 46 years, and we look forward to the honor of serving and assisting you going forward. 

McConnell & Slattery is a civil practice that handles most civil areas of the law, including, but not limited to, successions, wills, living wills, powers of attorney, oil and gas matters, divorces, contracts, deeds, closings, title opinions, personal injury, custody, and more.

 


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WPJ seeking writer

If you answered yes to the above questions, then we would love to talk with you. 

Webster Parish Journal is looking for a writer to help cover our parish. We want someone who loves to write features about the people who make this community great.

We also need someone who can take on some assignments and perhaps help cover local government.

If this sounds like you, please email wpjnewsla@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


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Local students make President’s List at NSU

Five hundred sixty-six students were named to the Fall 2022 President’s List at Northwestern State University. Students on the list earned a grade point average of 4.0. 

Webster Parish had several students on the list. They are as follows:

Minden — Clotis Ary, Elynn  Boothe, Brittany Cammack, Michael Harden, James Heard, Zack Karzoun, Jennifer Nguyen;

Shongaloo — Sydni Richardson;

Sibley – Melanie Tobin.


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Cake Mix Candy Bar Cookies

This may be THE BEST COOKIE I have ever made.  The boys disagreed because their favorite Original Tolllhouse Chocolate Cookies exist.  And I say it’s a 3 way tie for me with the Kentucky Butter Cookies and the Texas Sheetcake Cookies from The Copper Whisk Cookbook.  Nonetheless these are stellar!

I used Heath toffee bits for these, but the beauty is that you can use whatever candy bar you want to! Think Butterfinger, Snickers, Reese’s, etc.  The small bites of crunch combined with the sweet is just a perfect combination.  

I am writing this and trying not to think about eating 4 more of these before dinner.  They are THAT good.  Let me know when you make them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups Heath toffee bits (or whatever candy bar of your choosing(

 Directions

Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil and mix well with mixer.  Stir in toffee bits by hand.  Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.  After 1 hour preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use cookie scoop to drop dough onto baking sheet.  Bake 7-9 minutes.


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Having a Black History Month event?

Black History Month begins February 1.

Feb. 18

11 a.m. 2023 Martin Luther King/Black History Parade & Youth Rally. Downtown Minden. Parade contests, Battle of the Bands, scholarship winners announced, area vendors.

Will your church or non-profit organization be hosting an event? Email Webster Parish Journal at wpjnewsla@gmail.com, and we will post it in a list of Black History Month programs and events.

Events will run throughout February, but the sooner you send it, the longer and more often it will run and the better the chances of it being seen.

Thank you!


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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.

Jan. 18

Shayne Compton, 26, of Benton, La. Was arrested by Sarepta Police on an active warrant for driving under suspension by WPSO. He was also issued a citation for expired plates and DUS.

Christopher A. Jackson, 24, of Houston, Texas, was arrested by WPSO while at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center on a charge of sexual battery.

Jan. 19

Janice Renee Jordan, 42, of the 200 block of Airport Rd., Springhill, was arrested by WPSO for simple criminal damage to property over $3,000, introduction of contraband into a penal facility, possession of methamphetamine and 2 active warrants through WPSO.

Jan. 20

Brian Lester Sims, 53, of the 300 block of Ellis Dr., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for possession of methamphetamine.

Chris Wayne Adams, 49, of the 1000 block of Elmer Moore Rd., Shongaloo, was arrested by WPSO for theft.

Jan. 21

Marcellous Moses II, 27, the 200 block of Georgia Dr., Minden, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse battery.

Jan. 22

DeCarlos Levaldimire Armand Thomas, 27, of the 600 block of Constable St., Minden, was arrested by MPD for public drunkenness and resisting an officer.

Ira Lee Miller, 48, of the 400 block of Front St., Minden, was arrested by MPD on an active warrant.

Fredrick Antonio Judgeware, 41, of the 500 block of B.F. Martin, Minden, was arrested by WPSO for contempt of court.

Jan. 23

Frederick Jacolby Harris, 27, of Shreveport, was arrested by Springhill Police on a warrant for monetary instrument abuse.

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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Too many tournament trails?

If you’re a bass fisherman and looking for which circuit to follow, your in luck as there’s never been a greater variety. Texas especially is a tournament fishing mecca with more tournament trails to choose from than there are BBQ places.  It’s getting to the point that anglers are now having to pick which one to follow because there are just not enough weekends in a month nor do anglers have an unlimited budget to fish everything. The time has come to choose!

All across the Ark-La-Tex, there’s a bass fishing circuit that will accommodate anglers on all levels. The most popular trails fall under the category of team trails. This is where you and a buddy can fish against other teams from your local area or on a regional level. Team trails are all the rage right now with a handful that continues to set the bar at a high level. Bass Champs, Texas Team Trail, Fishers of Men, and the new Brandon Belt Team Trail kicking off this year in Texas. There’s also Outlaw Outdoors Team Trail and TTO Pro Team Trail which is designed for anglers who want to pay higher entry fees in order to fish for a higher level of payback.

This is no exaggeration when we say our lakes are overcrowded! There’s not a single weekend from January thru October that there’s not a bass tournament, especially on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. It is amazing how well these two lakes hold up and continue to put out five fish stringers weighing anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds depending on the time of year. Sam Rayburn just might be the most pressured lake in the country and yet it just keeps on cranking out big fish and high 20 pound five fish stringers on a weekly basis. It’s proof that the Texas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries knows how to manage a body of water.

There’s another organization that’s been around a long time called ABA (American Bass Anglers) which started out as a military bass fishing circuit but has now expanded beyond the military. Its primary focus is on the Open Series which is a pro/am type circuit where one angler is in control of the boat (boater/pro) while the other angler (co-angler/am) has to fish from the back of the boat.

ABA has recently introduced a new trail designed to focus on a boater-only circuit called the Solo 150 Tour. This is a trail where the boater/pro fishes by himself without a co-angler in the back. This trail is really taking off and becoming very popular due to the fact there are no co-anglers to deal with giving the boater/pro full control of the boat all day long. It also makes it a lot easier for a tournament director to run the circuit by not having to deal with enough co-anglers to pair up with the boaters/pros.

So how does an angler decide what he’s going to fish? First, he’ll probably look at the schedule. Where are each of the tournaments located and how far a drive is it? Will you have to stay the night or multiple nights and acquire accommodations? How much is the entry fee and what is the payback percentage? Is there an opportunity for advancement to a regional or a national championship? Of these two, most anglers look at where the regionals are located and most of the time that will determine whether they follow the circuit of not. Another determining factor for some anglers; is which circuit gives them the best opportunity to be competitive? No angler wants to sign up for a tournament knowing they don’t have a chance to at least collect a check.

It all boils down to what is convenient, and affordable and what lake or lakes the circuit is going to. One thing is clear, bass tournament anglers have no shortage of circuits to follow. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen even in the wintertime.

Steve Graf

Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

Tackle Talk Live


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Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to wpjnewsla@gmail.com .

Jan. 24

11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Minden Presbyterian Church Bible Study with free lunch. The public is invited to attend.

Jan. 26

5 until 7:15 p.m. Adult Paint Night, Minden Main Branch, Webster Parish Libraries. For more information, call 318-371-3080 ext. 123.

Jan. 31

11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Minden Presbyterian Church Bible Study with free lunch. The public is invited to attend.

Feb. 4

11 a.m. Springhill Main Street Mardi Gras Parade.

5 p.m. Minden Mardi Gras Parade through downtown Minden.

Feb. 11

6 p.m. ArkLaTex Mega Star Search. Poets, rappers, singers, instruments.  Sign up early. Call 318-562-3664.

Feb. 25

8:30 a.m. registration; 9 a.m. until noon lectures for Buds & Blooms 2023, sponsored by Piney Hills Louisiana Master Gardners. First United Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden. Topic: Landscaping for birds. Tickets: $15. All proceeds go to 4-H Youth Gardening Contest and 4-H Scholarships.

April 26

10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Scottish Tartan Festival, Miller Quarters, 198 Gleason St., Minden, La.

• Scottish Highland dancing

• Storytelling, living history exhibitions 

• Food and merchant vendors, including Great Raft beer 

• Traditional music and Celtic Rock 

• Scottish Highland cattle petting area 

• Broadsword demonstrations and Highland Games exhibitions 

• Clan tent exhibits and the March of the Clans 


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Notice of Death – Jan. 23, 2023

Mary Alice Brown

Sept. 16, 1934 – Jan. 22, 2023

Springhill, La.

Graveside service: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, Taylor Memorial Cemetery, Taylor, Ark., under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Dennis Lamar Davis

Jan. 26, 1964 – Jan. 18, 2023

Springhill, La.

Private family service scheduled for a later date.

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


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Traffic stop yields large amount of drugs, narcotics

Off. Ben Sparks (left) and Ofc. Reece Tewell with narcotics and license plates seized during an I-20 traffic stop early Thursday.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden Police scored a big drug bust on Interstate 20 Thursday morning.

Chief Jared McIver said Off. Ben Sparks was on the eastbound side of the interstate at mile marker 47 around 5:30 a.m. when he clocked a white Chevy Malibu with Colorado plates traveling 85 miles per hour.

Sparks reportedly conducted a traffic stop at mile marker 48.

“Off. Sparks said the driver and his passenger seemed nervous, and the driver refused to show his ID,” said the chief. “Then the officer noticed a meth pipe on the floor in plain view.”

At that point, Off. Sparks called for back-up and Lt. Brandon Curry and Ofc. Reece Tewell arrived to help.

Officers arrested Corey Morris, 35, of Colorado Springs, Col., for resisting an officer, possession of 161 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of 6 grams of methamphetamine, possession of a legend drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, open container and as a fugitive from Colorado.

Ryan Boucher, 35, of Lakeland, Fla. is charged with speeding, possession of 161 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of 6 grams of methamphetamine, possession of a legend drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and open container.

In addition, officers confiscated the following suspected drugs: 11 Gabapentin (anticonvulsant), 48 Buspirone Hydrochloride (anxiety medication), 24 white Gabapentin, 22 yellow Gabapentin, 64.5 Setraline Hydrochloride (antidepressant) and 3 unknown blue pills. All drugs will be sent to the Northwest Louisiana Crime Lab for testing.

“Pill bottles all had different names on them, and none of them were Boucher or Morris,” said the chief. “I would say that, conservatively, street value was $5-6,000.”

The vehicle was towed to Minden PD for a thorough search and yielded several Colorado license plates and one from California.

“That’s in order to avoid electronic license plate readers on the highways,” McIver said. “They just change the plates out every so often, to avoid suspicion.”

McIver said Sparks, who has been with MPD one year, was working STEP (Safety Traffic Enforcement Program) where officers set up on the interstate inside the city limits.

“It’s a multi-purpose program,” he said. “Besides slowing speeders, we have confiscated guns and drugs with this program. It’s been very successful for us.” 

McIver also said when contacted, Colorado law enforcement officials requested full extradition of Morris.

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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Where hope has a home

Jim Williams, (far right) CEO of Minden Medical Center, presents a check for $25,000 to Janell Mason, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities during a special event Thursday night. It was the first installment in raising $10 million to open the 3-story, 20,000 sq. ft. complex in Shreveport-Bossier. Mason said a suite will be named for MMC.

See more on this endeavor in Tuesday’s Webster Parish Journal.


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Schools step up to help with St. Jude auction

Glenbrook kids at last year’s auction

By Paige Nash

Local schools always play a big part in raising money for the annual St. Jude auction that takes place every February. Last year those schools contributed more than $141,463 combined. 

Most of the children that attend schools in the area personally know at least one child their age who is fighting or has fought the battle for their life against cancer, so it is personal.  

“St. Jude is close to our hearts at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School since we have had multiple students go in the past,” said Lakeside principal Denny Finley.  

Many of the schools, like Lakeside, spend the entire school year fundraising by hosting events, selling tickets for raffles and having dress days.  

“We started the year off fundraising. The week of the St. Jude auction we have class wars to raise money and on the final day we have an all-day event in the gym,” said Finley. “All students and teachers will be involved, and it always brings in a bunch of money. We give updates to our student body each hour for motivation. We always like to beat our previous year’s total and we are on track to do so this year.” 

Last year Lakeside raised $20,780 for St. Jude. 

Fundraising at Glenbrook High School has been headed-up by Melanie Earnhardt for the last three years. Her daughter, Faith, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called ependymoma in 2018, during her senior year at Glenbrook. Now, Faith shows no evidence of the disease, but that has not slowed up Apache fundraising efforts for other children who have found themselves in the same position she was in just a few years ago.  

Earnhardt said, “I think it really hit home for the Glenbrook Apaches when they watched one of their own go to St. Jude in 2018. It was no longer for someone they didn’t know; they were now helping kids like their fellow Apache. Since 2019, we have raised over $100,000.” 

The school began raising money for the cause over 15 years ago. They start the year off with a coin drive to help raise money to donate a $1,000 Great Wolf Lodge trip for the auction raffle.  

The high schools are not the only ones busy raising money. Perhaps the youngest group of children who are contributing to that grand total attend Lagniappe Montessori and Children’s Center.  

Assistant and Director Lauren Davis said they are currently busy planning a raffle, dress up week and coin drive. Even though the children who attend Lagniappe are younger they still have a great understanding of the gracious deed they are participating in.  

“I think our students are more aware of cancer and how it could impact them or their families because Cole Benson is a student of ours,” said Davis. “He shares his experiences with all of us and is so good at explaining how his treatments work. They love raising money each year for the kids at St. Jude, but especially in the last year it’s become so much more meaningful because we know it’s helping our friend, Cole.” 

Through the years Central Elementary has hosted many events with proceeds going to St. Jude, including a Duck Derby, Sock Hop, dress days, Mardi Gras parades, pageants and more. Individual grades make a competition out of it to see who can raise the most money by auction time. The grade who raises the most gets to present the check on stage at the Minden Civic Center where the auction has been hosted for the last several years.  

The preschoolers held their annual Trike-a-thon before Christmas break where they asked for sponsorships to aid in raising money to go towards their class total. 

“The Pre-K students were so excited to raise $1,530 for the sick kids at St. Jude. They had a great time riding trikes and having fun,” said Preschool Teacher Tabitha Osborne. 

Be sure to attend the auction or tune in to learn the grand total schools raise for 2023. The auction will kick-off February 9.  

Central Elementary kids always raise a large amount for St. Jude.


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The cool mom

I have to brag this once. I am the cool mom this week. Yea, you heard that right… The COOL mom.  

What got me this most glorious, envied and short-lived title every mom longs for? 

I fed my daughter cereal for supper.  

As I poured her fruity pebbles into a disposable bowl, twisted the cap off the milk and handed her the also disposable plastic spoon, she looked up at me and said, “You’re the coolest mom ever.” 

Heck yes, I am! 

What she did not know was that I had not slept the night before because said kid did not want to sleep in her own bed and as she sawed logs all night, I was wide awake with a foot in my back.  

She did not know that I had just endured the longest day of my life that began with an alarm going off that I accidentally set for an hour later than what I was supposed to set it for. She also did not know that I had to rush through every other thing I had to do that day because of that mistake either.  

She did not know that as she cried going into school because she did not want to leave her mommy after a much needed and relaxing three-day weekend, that I also cried too. 

She did not know that I missed my exit on the way to work. She did not know that I spilled my coffee trying to unlock the door once I finally made it there and had to change into a wrinkled shirt that I luckily found stuck in the back of my car.  

She did not know about the never-ending list of things I had to get done that day.  

She did not know that I had to eat a hot dog as I was driving down the road on my way to pick her up from school because I did not have time to sit down and eat today. She also did not know that finally picking her up and seeing her sweet face was the best part of my entire day.  

She did not know that I recommended cereal for supper because I was utterly exhausted, and it was going to take the last bit of energy that I had left to open that jug of milk.  

She did not know that I would stay awake hours after she fell asleep, in my bed again, thanking God for her. 

Our kids do not understand what we go through mentally, physically or spiritually in a day and they shouldn’t, but they somehow know when we need to hear that we are doing a decent job at this whole parenting gig.  

That one sentence from her turned the worst day I have had in a while, into one of the best days of my parenting career, right behind the days they were born of course.  

I am a cool mom.  

That will probably change in the morning as I am waking her up for another day of school. She may look at me furiously with her hair standing on end and sleep in her eyes. She may whisper, “You’re the worst mom ever,” as she knocks me over with her rank morning breath.  

That will be okay. I will still be reveling in being the coolest mom alive as I slip on my kitty sweater, holey sweatpants and fuzzy slippers before heading out the door to drop her off.  

Yea, I am still cool, right?

(Paige Nash is a wife, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and the COOLEST MOM EVER!).

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Join our team

If you answered yes to the above questions, then we would love to talk with you. 

Webster Parish Journal is looking for a writer to help cover our parish. We want someone who loves to write features about the people who make this community great.

We also need someone who can take on some assignments and perhaps help cover local government.

If this sounds like you, please email wpjnewsla@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


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