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                                 Local and Area News

22-Year-Old DeRidder Man Arrested in Connection with Burglaries

A 22-year-old DeRidder man has been booked in a string of burglaries and thefts in the Ludington neighborhood of DeRidder. According to the DeRidder Police Department, Coby A. Thibodeaux was booked Thursday on three counts of simple burglary, three counts of illegal possession of stolen things and three counts of theft. The arrest came after a Crime Stoppers tip and further investigation. Authorities said Thibodeaux was arrested while in custody at the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office on other charges. Some property has been recovered and will be returned pending identification of ownership. Bond is set at $135,000 and he remains in the parish jail.

February 24th, 2017, Friday

Texas Approves Poison for Feral Hogs


Texas state officials are working to thin out the feral hog population using a human blood-thinner that proves especially deadly in swine.  Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller is now permitting the legal poisoning of hogs. While not everyone is happy with the new plan, some farmers believe something needed to be done.  Feral hogs are a national problem and in Texas they wreak at least $52 million in damages to agriculture each year by ruining crops and livestock tanks.  Farmer Edward Allen Epps has land in Hooks, Texas and Ogden, Arkansas.  He says both properties, including his wheat, corn and soy bean crops, have been damaged by the destructive wild hog population.  "They come in and root everything up from freshly planted seed to a crop that is ready to harvest. They'll take it down and destroy it," said Epps.  He's tried trapping and hunting the hogs, but has had only minimal success.  Epps is now hopeful that this new weapon against feral hogs will work.  "Supposedly, they're using it in Australia and having success with it. We need something like this to get them under control. They cost us a lot of money," explained Epps.  Some hunters and conservationists are concerned that using poison will hurt other wild animals and contaminate the food chain.   The Texas Hog Hunters Association has collected more than 3,600 signatures opposing the use of pesticides.  However, Commissioner Miller says there's only a "minimal threat" to other animals. Meanwhile, Epps says he's looking forward to trying the new method. "Everything I've read about says it's just toxic to a hog. I don't think it has a carry over effect that I have read about. I haven't seen anything," said Epps. Commissioner Sid Miller has informed the legislature that $900,000 of their budget previously earmarked for feral hog control research will no longer be necessary due to this recent rule change. 

February 24th, 2017, Friday

Prescribed Burn

Officials with the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Sabien National Forest have advised a prescribed burn today. The area of the burn is about 4,943 acres in the Ragtown area. Winds are predicted from the South at 5-15 miles per hour. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Sabine Ranger District office at (409) 625-1940.

February 23rd, 2017, Thursday

Suspect Attempts to Run Over Panola County Deputies in Stolen Truck

Authorities released more information in the early-morning shooting between Panola County deputies and a suspect. According to a press release from the Panola County Sheriff's Office, deputies were patrolling an area that had been recent targets of vehicle burglaries, when Deputy Josh Nagle saw 28-year-old Steven Mullican driving on the wrong side of the road and attempted to make a traffic stop. Mullican did not stop, and Nagle along with Deputy Chad Gray, gave chase. The chase ended on a side street just before Highway 43 when Mullican drove into a driveway and through a cyclone fence. He then put the truck in reverse and tried to hit Deputy Gray as he approached. The deputy was able to jump out of the way, and Mullican crashed into the patrol car. Deputy Nagle tried to approach the vehicle, but Mullican put the truck in drive and again tried to hit the deputy. The truck hit the fence and knocked down the deputy. Both deputies opened fire on Mullican as he aimed the truck at Nagle, who was on the ground. Mullican was wounded in the side and transported to Good Shepard Medical Center for treatment. Deputy Nagle was sent to ETMC Carthage with non life-threatening injuries. The truck Mullican was driving was stolen from a residence on Highway 59. Mullican will be charged with multiple felonies, including aggravated assault on a Peace Officer.

February 23rd, 2017, Thursday

Fake Money Passed at Local Business

According to Many Police Department is asking everyone to be cautious.  This bogus $100.00 bill was passed at a local business on Friday (02/17/2017). The large number (100) at the bottom right corner does not change color when it is tilted and there is also pink chinese writing on the note. It is clearly a bogus/counterfeit bill. We are asking our local merchants and citizens to be observant and watch for these bills.

February 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine County Man Charged with Capital Murder

According to Sabine County Sheriff's Office arrest report, a Pineland man has been charged with Capital Murder. Sabine County Chief Deputy George Griffith was quoted as saying "it appears the baby's death was caused by some sort of head trauma." The indictment alleged on or about November 7th, 2014, Hudson intentionally and knowingly committed an act clearly dangerous to human life. Hudson is accused of throwing the baby into the air and catching her, along with shaking the child. These actions, according to the indictment handed down by the jury allegedly caused the death of five-month-old Sophia Candanosa. Matthew Bubba Hudson, 27, was arrested on February 13th, 2017 by Sabine County Sheriff Deputy Chief George Griffith and booked into Sabine County Jail where he stands accused of capital murder of a person under the age of 10-years-old. The arrested record states Hudson was released that same day, after posting a $100,000 bond. Hudson was originally accused in connection to the death of the five-month-old in November 2014.

February 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

2017 Boys' Basketball Bracket Release Has Been Postponed

An LHSAA member shcool is appealing the decision of the Executive Director as it pertains to a decision made for a forfeiture and suspension of athletes. The next steps for appeal are an LHSAA Sportsmanship Hearing with potential for an emergency appeal to the LHSAA Executive Committee immediately following. This said, the tournament bracket for Boys' Basketball will not be released until it is resolved.

February 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Drug Seizure in Alexandria

Local elements of the Louisiana National Guards Counterdrug Task force provided an aviation asset in assisting several law enforcement agencies in removing nearly $2 million worth of drugs from the streets of Alexandria, last month. After a month-long investigation into alleged illegal drug activity, Derrick Felton, 37, of Alexandria, was arrested for possession of nearly 70 pounds of illegal narcotics and a large amount of cash. The street value of the drugs seized January 27th was around $1.7 million, to include: approximately $1.5 million worth of crystal methamphetamine, nearly $120,000 worth of heroin, more than $100,000 worth of cocaine and nearly $3,00 worth of promethazine syrup. Investigators also seized over $67,000 in cash.

February 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Vernon Parish Police Jury to Meet Tuesday

The Vernon Parish Police Jury will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21. Here's the agenda:

AGENDA

REGULAR MEETING

 

VERNON PARISH POLICE JURY

PARISH GOVERNMENT COMPLEX BUILDING

300 S. 3RD STREET, 2ND FLOOR

LEESVILLE, LOUISIANA

TUESDAY, FEB. 21, 2017

10 a.m.

1. Call to Order

2. Invocation

3. Pledge of Allegiance

4. Roll Call

5. Visitors:

6. Public Comment

7. Motion to accept the minutes of the December 28, 2016 Special Call meeting, the January

9, 2017 Special Call meeting, the January 9, 2017 Committee meeting, the January 17, 2017 Organizational meeting, and the January 31, 2017 Special Call meeting and dispense with the reading of the minutes.

8. Committee Reports:

1. Capital Properties

2. Econ. Development & Planning

3. Equipment

4. Finance

5. Fire Protection and Solid Waste

6. Permit & Claims

7. Personnel

8. Road Maintenance & Construction

9. Veterans Affairs

10. Ways & Means

11. Wildlife & Lakes

9. Motion to hold public hearings on Monday, March 20, 2017 during the regular Police Jury meeting, to hear public input on the following proposed ordinances:

- Proposed Ordinance to abandon a portion of Ben West Road B, District 6 Ward 6 – approximately 5,006 feet going north from the gate which is 7,850 feet from Hwy 111. That will leave 7,850 feet for the parish to maintain.

- Proposed Ordinance to abandon Murray Road, District 6 Ward 6, in its entirety – beginning at Hwy 8 to the dead end.

10. Motion to adopt a resolution to amend the adopted Hazard Mitigation Plan to include the Acquisition of Flood prone Properties as a new mitigation action.

11. Motion to adopt a resolution accepting and approving the Right-of-Way Servitude Agreement with Crowell, Land & Mineral Corporation for right-of-way servitude for the Bridge Over Menace Creek - Welcome Cemetery Road – Bridge # 600-722.

12. Motion to enter into Intergovernmental Agreement with the Town of Rosepine for assistance with drainage in the Deerwood Forest Subdivision.

13. Motion to adopt memorial resolutions for the following community members:

- James P. Monk

- William J. Beavers, Jr.

- William Rolls, Jr.

- Sedrick Stallworth

- Jody L. Gooch

- Grady Arnold Kennedy

- Thomas P. Knight

- Horace Elton Fox

- Jackie Nell Jackson

14. Motion to authorize payment of all invoices as authorized by the Finance Committee and authorize payment of all expenditures above the budgeted amount from Ward Maintenance and/or Construction accounts.

15. Motion to adjourn. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance, please contact Belinda S. Diehl, Parish Secretary, at 337-238-0324, describing the assistance necessary.

February 20th, 2017, Monday

SWLA Forestry Association Annual Meeting and Forum

The SWLA Forestry Association's annual meeting and forestry forum will be from 8 a.m. to noon Friday, Feb. 24 at the War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder. The LSU AgCenter and SWLA Forestry Association will be presenting programs to help forest landowners and professional foresters with managing their forests more profitably. Mr. Paul Stone, a consulting forester with Crosby Resources, will talk about "How to Sell Small Tracts of Timber." Dr. Shaun Tanger, forest economist with the LSU Agcenter, will discuss "How are Use Value Taxation and Severance Taxes Calculated for Timber." Mr. Jeff Zeringue, Editor/Public Relations, Louisiana Forestry Association, will talk about how the LFA educates landowners about forestry resources. The cost is $25 per household comprised of a husband, wife and dependent children. The cost also includes annual membership dues and entitles members to attend other workshops at no charge. For more information, please contact Keith Hawkins, County Agent, 337-463-7006.

February 20th, 2017, Monday

Gov. John Bel Edwards Orders Flag Flown At Half-Staff

Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Louisiana to be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol and all public buildings until sunset on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 in honor of Sen. Armand Brinkhaus. Sen. Brinkhaus was first elected to serve in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1968. In 1976, he was elected to serve in the Louisiana State Senate, faithfully serving the public as a legislator for twenty-eight years. “Sen. Armand Brinkhaus lived his life dedicated to serving the people of the State of Louisiana with honor and dignity,” said Gov. Edwards. “He will long be remembered for his loyalty, integrity and love of his family and the citizens he so dutifully served. Donna and I are keeping his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this time of loss.” Sen. Brinkhaus left a legacy that helped preserve the rich culture of Louisiana, including his strong support for and promotion of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana. That legacy extends to the many lives he touched through his work related to the Louisiana judicial system, K-12 education, infrastructure, disability issues, economic development, tourism, etc.

February 17th, 2017, Friday

Victims of Helicopter Crasgh Tentatively Identified as East Texas Couple

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office has recovered the remains of two people from the site of a helicopter crash over Wallace Lake and tentatively identified them as Center, Texas couple Terry and Pam Bailey.  The helicopter crashed early Wednesday on the south side of Wallace Lake in DeSoto Parish Preliminary information indicates that the Bell B429 the crash is registered to an owner in Center which was the apparent destination of the aircraft that took off from the Shreveport Downtown Airport, according to the FAA.  The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation. The crash site, which is spread over 75 to 100 yards wide, is located on a swampy area on the south end of the lake. It took over an hour for authorities to get through the difficult terrain of low water, cypress tree knees and giant salvinia.  A command post has been set up at the end of Wallace Lake Road. Authorities expect the recovery effort to span several days.  DPSO crime scene investigators are processing the scene.  Search for the aircraft began around noon in response to a report of a missing helicopter. The regional FAA said it lost track of the aircraft around 12:20 a.m. Wednesday.  Multiple local emergency response agencies worked to track down the helicopter's last known location using GPS provided by the FAA. The wreckage was found around 1 p.m. by Life Air Rescue.  Then, the hard work began trying to reach the crash site by land. DeSoto sheriff's deputies used its Hydrotrac that can maneuver between land and water. Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office sent its airboat, and the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office provided its hovercraft. Shreveport Fire Department and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also assisted. 

February 17th, 2017, Friday

Sabine Parish Police Jury: Bridge Closure

The bridge on Kites Landing Road is closed until it can be repaired and rerated. Please make anu necessary arrangements.

February 16th, 2017, Thursday

Remains of Two People Found in Wallace Lake Helicopter Crash

The bodies of two people have been recovered in a deadly helicopter crash in DeSoto Parish. DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office confirms that the remains were recovered around 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Two people were on board a helicopter when it crashed today in Wallace Lake, the FAA reports. The Bell B429 is believed to have been flying from Shreveport Downtown Airport to Shelby County, Texas. "It appears that nobody has survived this crash. And we are just trying to make the recovery of the body at this time," DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said. Preliminary information indicated that the aircraft is registered to someone in Center, Texas, the FAA reports. The FAA now says the helicopter's tail or N number has been confirmed as N598PB. The FAA's registry lists that aircraft as a Bell B429 registered to Terry Bailey of the 1000 block of Southview Circle in Center. People who live in Center tell KSLA News 12 everyone is heartbroken after hearing the news.  "They were known by everyone here, and everybody loved them and they helped a lot of people. They had a lot of people that worked for them and a lot of people that knew them, and they are both from good families and we're just all devastated," said Lillian Shofner who owns a small business on the square. Representatives of the DeSoto and Caddo coroner's offices arrived at a well site on the southern end of Wallace Lake and now are being taken to the wreckage. That's near where first responders searching for a missing helicopter have been battling overgrowth of giant salvinia in their attempts to get to wreckage found on the DeSoto side of the lake. Authorities from multiple agencies also are working to figure out what led up to the aircraft crashing. Crews converged on Wallace Lake near the Caddo-DeSoto line after the wreckage was spotted about 1 p.m. today. DeSoto Parish sheriff's deputies were trying to reach the wreckage from that side of the lake. Meantime, Shreveport Fire Department crews launched a boat from the Caddo side of the lake. The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office used a helicopter to help search for the missing chopper. The LifeAir medical helicopter also was asked to help with the search and discovered the wreckage. Officials from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries confirm that crews from Caddo Parish called and asked for a boat to search Wallace Lake. FAA investigators are on their way to the site. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be in charge of the investigation.

February 16th, 2017, Thursday

Manufacturing Tenant Considers Leesville Industrial Park Space

The odds are good for a manufacturing tenant at the City of Leesville's Northside Industrial Park, according to Mayor Rick Allen. Allen told the West Central News Center on Tuesday that he could not name the possible tenant, but he is hoping to release more information later this month, if and when a deal is sealed. "It looks very, very good," he said. Allen said he has met with the company's president/CEO twice. "They would immediately employ 100 people and then ultimately, they would employ 200-plus employees," he said. Allen said the company has looked at both Building A and Building B. Building A is 126,000-square-feet, and Building B is 132,000-square-feet. Ameri-Tech, a modular building company, was formerly located in Building A. The lot size is 13.3 acres. The industrial park is located off U.S. 171, north of the city.

February 15th, 2017, Wednesday

City Officials Hope To Secure Street Repair Money From State

Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said Monday that the city's request for state money to cover repairs on 10th Street has been resubmitted and officials have received a "verbal commitment" that the funding would be re-prioritized. Some of the city's projects involving state money were shelved last year amid state budget constraints as well as projected costs related to flood recovery. "We were hit pretty hard in the pocket book as most cities were when it comes to state support," Allen said. The city's contracted engineer, Meyer and Associates, has resubmitted the street project and one involving water system enhancements. The street money totals around $750,000. "The good thing about that is we do have our $250,000 match in the bank. Knock on wood, we are going to get that $750,000 back and spend it on our city streets, primarily on 10th Street," Allen said. R.C. Paving Inc. was the low-bidder for Phase 1 work, and Phase 2 work is being done by Apeck Construction. A city bond issue has helped cover the costs. Phase 1 of the Leesville Street Rehabilitation Project is complete. The Leesville City Council on Monday approved a resolution, authorizing Allen to sign a certificate of substantial completion for it. The scope of work for that phase included cold plane, patch and overlay for Anderson Street (intersection with Westwood Drive), Kings Road (Jean Street to Abe Allen Memorial Drive), Marvin Avenue (Douglas Street to Edwards Street) and East Union Street (6th Street to 5th Street). The City Council on Monday also authorized Allen to sign a "notice to proceed" from Meyer and Associates on Phase 2, which includes work on West Arkansas Street, from 7th Street to 6th Street (reconstruction); East Fertitta Boulevard, from 6th Street to 5th Street (reconstruction); and Fertitta Boulevard, from 10th Street to 6th Street (patch, cold plane and overlay). Phase 3 is the work that includes 10th Street, and would be costly. Allen said it's the work that the bulk of the capital outlay money would be applied to. Allen said the money had been prioritized by the state as a blanket allocation for city street repairs and he earmarked it for 10th Street. "We're trying to, piece-by-piece, recover from that," Allen said.

February 15th, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

The Sabine Parish Police Jury will hold its regulary scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 9 a.m. in the Police JUry Meeting Room of the Sabine Parish Courthouse.

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Road Closure Update

On February 7th, 2017, the bridge on Rocky Springs Road was closed for repairs. The bridge is 2 miles form the intersection of Rocky Springs and Cedar Grove and three-tenths of a mile from the intersection of Rocky Springs and Buster Lewis Road. The bridge is now OPEN.

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office Investigating Convenience Store Robbery


Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office deputies are searching for a man who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint on Friday night. It happened at 7:05 p.m at the J & J convenience store in the 1200 block of Highway 1215 in Zwolle, according to a Facebook post. SPSO said that the robber used a long gun in the holdup. The robber was wearing a red bandana to conceal his face, a black hoodie and blue jeans.  SPSO says that the man left on foot in the direction behind the store.  Anyone with information is urged to call Sabine Parish CrimeStoppers at (318) 256-4511 or the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office at 318-256-9341.

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish School Board

Sabine Parish School board meeting will be held Monday, February 13th, 2017 at 6 p.m. Among other items on the agenda, the Sabine Parish School board will recognize quiz bowl teams and all tournament quiz bowl teams. Sabine Parish School board will also recognize 2017 Students of the Year. 

February 13th, 2017, Monday

Body Recovered From Sabine River Believed to Be Missing Logansport Woman


A body recovered from the Shelby County, Texas, side of the Sabine River Sunday morning is believed to be that of a Logansport woman reported missing earlier this month. DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said Shelby County sheriff's officials handled the recovery since the body surfaced in their jurisdiction.  The body has been sent for an autopsy to make a positive identification and determine cause of death. Michelle Curry Ford, 46, was reported missing Feb. 2 by relatives. Later that night, a deputy found Ford's uncle's vehicle parked on the Logansport riverfront.  Ford was a sitter for her uncle who lived about three blocks away. Her vehicle was left at his home.  The sheriff's department searched the river for two days but did not find anything. 

February 13th, 2017, Monday

ETX Contractor Accused of Taking Hundreds of Thousands

An East Texas contractor remains behind bars in Sabine Parish, accused of accepting jobs and deposits and never doing the work. George Washington King Jr., 72, of Sabine County, Texas, is being held in the Sabine Parish Jail on charges of contractor fraud and misapplication of payments.  "King has been arrested on 4 counts in Sabine Parish with numerous charges pending," says a statement from the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office. "King was also arrested in Sabine County, Texas, for the same type of offenses." People have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to King, who was acting as a representative of Diversified Services, to build seawalls, piers and boat docks, the sheriff's office reports.  King reportedly signed contracts with the individuals and took 50 percent of the projects' costs as deposits in order to start the work.  Property owners have told authorities that King never started the jobs, no work was performed and, in fact, no materials ever were delivered to the jobs sites.  Some of the contracts were signed about two years ago. Sabine Parish authorities ask anyone who thinks they too have fallen victim to call Chief Detective Bradley Marr at (318) 590-9475.

February 13th, 2017, Monday

Transitional Sheltering Assistance for Louisiana Survivors

FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program has been extended by 30 days for Louisiana survivors affected by the August floods. Eligible survivors may stay in participating hotels and motels through the night of Saturday, March 11 but must check out by Sunday, March 12. There will be a mid-term eligibility review so some survivors have a potential check out date of Friday, Feb. 24. FEMA’s TSA program allows eligible survivors to stay in participating hotel and motel rooms that are billed directly to FEMA. The TSA program is a short-term housing option, and eligible survivors should be actively looking for a long-term housing solution. The policy-mandated term of the TSA program is 180 days following the disaster declaration. FEMA granted the 30-day extension after the state requested a waiver of the typical TSA term limit.  
February 10th, 2017, Friday

Darren Olagues Resigns as President and CEO of Cleco

 Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC and Cleco Power LLC announced on Wednesday that Darren Olagues resigned as president and CEO of the company. Olagues was arrested on December 8 by the Alexandria Police Department on charges of Domestic Abuse. According to the press release, the Cleco board will begin a search for a permanent successor to Mr. Olagues. The search is expected to take up to 12 months. “The board thanks him for his many contributions to Cleco over the years,” said Peggy Scott, Cleco board chair. Peggy Scott will assume the role of interim CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings. William “Bill” Fontenot, Cleco’s chief operating officer, was appointed by the board as interim CEO of Cleco Power.

February 10th, 2017, Friday

Residents Allowed Back In Homes After Ammonia Leak Contained


The ammonia leak that prompted evacuations around an ice plant in Natchitoches was contained by closing some valves, authorities said.  Someone called police about 6:20 p.m. Feb. 7 to report a strong odor coming from West Louisiana Ice Services in the 500 block of Amulet Street. The anhydrous ammonia leak prompted authorities to immediately evacuate residences and businesses and barricade streets within a 4-block area of the plant. Among those evacuated was the city Police Department, spokeswoman Kelly Parks said. Police communications officers temporarily were reassigned to the Natchitoches sheriff’s 911 center. Natchitoches Fire Department and Louisiana State Police hazardous materials personnel shut off the emergency shutoff valve then controlled a minimal leak by closing other valves in the system. "The anhydrous ammonia was in vapor form and dissipated once the leak was contained," Parks said. "Fortunately, first responders were not injured." No one was in the plant at the time.  Residents were allowed to return home by 10 p.m. Feb. 7 and were instructed to open their windows to air out their homes for about an hour.  No injuries have been reported.

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

Suspect in Murder of Merryville Man Held on $15.5 Million Bond

 The suspect in the Feb. 1 shooting death of a Merryville man is being held on a $15.5 million bond set by a Vernon Parish judge. Randall Paul Burton, 45, of DeRidder, was booked in the second-degree murder of 35-year-old Cody Fletcher. Burton's bond was set by Division "B" Judge C. Anthony Eaves in 30th Judicial District Court. Authorities said Burton called 911 around 1:51 a.m. Feb. 1 and told dispatchers that he shot a man at a home on Joshlin Pit Road, which is in the Knight Community of Vernon Parish. Deputies responded and found Fletcher deceased. The scene was processed and people at the home were interviewed, authorities said. After further investigation, Burton was arrested. The investigation continues.

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

6 Injured Workers Treated and Released; 1 Remains Hospitalized


Three men are dead following an explosion at Packaging Corporation of America, officials have confirmed. Six of seven people injured in the accident have been released from the hospital. One person was unaccounted for, but has been found. All three men who died were contractors who were working in the pulp mill area, according to a statement released by PCA.

At approximately 11:10 am CST, Wednesday, February 8th, there was an explosion at our DeRidder, LA paper mill. The incident involved annual repair work being performed on piping in the pulp mill area and resulted in three contractor fatalities. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the people working on our site. The top priorities at this time are the notification of families of the deceased contractors and investigation of the incident with authorities.

At the time of the incident, the D1 machine was down for its annual outage and the D3 machine was running and continues to operate. The current assessment indicates that the annual outage work is expected to be delayed by up to one week and the mill will then resume full operation. Further information will be provided, as appropriate, when it becomes available.

Welding activity was taking place in the vicinity of the tank that exploded, said Sgt. James Anderson, state police Troop D spokesman. The tank contained "foul condensate, which is a by-product of the cooking process." Authorities are still investigating to see what other chemicals were in the tank. Click HERE to see drone footage of PCA. Mobile users, click HERE to view photos. Anderson called the blast a "strong explosion." Seven people were injured in the explosion - one with moderate injuries and six with minor injuries.  Three were transported to Beauregard Memorial Hospital, two to Lake Charles Memorial and two to Rapides Regional Medical Center. One person remains hospitalized at Rapides. The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office received the call at 11:10 a.m., according to Chief Deputy Joe Toler. Toler said every available emergency responder in the area is on the scene. The area has been contained and there is no fire, Toler said. The PCA plant is located at 4200 U.S. 190. PCA acquired Boise in 2013. Learn more about PCA HERE.  Several departments responded to the scene. Louisiana State Police and OSHA are investigating.

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

Ammonia Leaks at Natchitoches Plant, Nearby Homes Evacuated

Evacuations are under way in the area immediately surrounding a Natchitoches ice plant due to an ammonia leak.  Firefighters on the scene of the leak at West Louisiana Ice Services in the 500 block of Amulet Street in Natchitoches confirmed Tuesday night an ammonia tank at the West Louisiana Ice Services Building sprang a leak between 6:30 and 7 p.m.  No one was inside at the time. City firefighters and State Police hazardous materials crews are on scene working to contain the leak.  A three-block radius around the plant has been evacuated. No injuries have been reported.

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

The bridge on Rocky Springs Road is closed fro repairs. The Bridge is 2 miles from the intersection of Rocky Springs and Cedar Grove and 3 tenths from the intersection of Rocky Springs and Buster Lewis Road.The bridge on Sneed Road is also closed until it can be repaiered and be rerated.

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

Massage Therapist Accused of Inappropriately Touching Clients


A Bossier City man faces multiple criminal charges for inappropriately touching three women on separate occasions while he was employed as a massage therapist at a local day spa. Carlos Eduardo Harris, 32, of Bossier City was arrested last week for sexual battery following an investigation that began in January after a woman complained to police that Harris had touched her in a sexual manner while she was getting a massage from him at the Massage Envy spa in the 2800 block of Beene Boulevard. Harris was initially arrested on a warrant charging him with sexual battery. An additional count was then added after detectives spoke with another woman who had filed a similar complaint. Harris bonded out of jail a couple of days later. Now Harris faces a third count of sexual battery due to another victim stepping forward. Harris had already bonded out of jail before detectives received an arrest warrant charging him with the third count and now it appears Harris has gone into hiding. Anyone who has information on Harris’ whereabouts is asked to call Bossier Crime Stoppers at (318) 424-4100.  They can also submit a web tip via the Bossier Crime Stoppers website www.bossiercrimestoppers.org. Persons who contact Bossier Crime Stoppers are reminded they may remain totally anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward if their information helps police locate Harris.

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

NSU Announces Fall President's List

Six hundred and fifty-three students were named to the Fall 2016 President’s List at Northwestern State University. Students on the list earned a grade point average of 4.0. Those named to the President’s List listed by hometown are as follows. Abbeville – Kayla Marceaux; Albany – Hailey Pomes; Alexandria – Wendina Braley, Christopher Gist, William Griffin, Bessie Hargrett, Jaliyah Jasper, Luke Laborde, Katherine Mitchell, Benjamin Murphy, Sadae Polk, Hannah Pusateri, Shacora Simpson, Keyira Wilkins, Eric Weinzettle; Alto – Cody Birdwell; Anacoco – Lindsey Alligood, Kristen Eusay, Benjamin Jackson, Haley Jett, Mahala Lewis, Cassandra Osborne, Brooke Phillips, Lindsay Plummer; Annona, Texas – Elizabeth Sims; Arabi – Lauren LeBlanc; Arlington, Texas – Jorge Alarcon, Colby Phipps; Austin, Texas – Dylan Graves; Baldwin – Lakesha Colar; Ball – Katie Wakefield; Barksdale AFB – Alexis Hoeltje, Lindsey Rathel; Baton Rouge – Kayla Ashford, Myranda Degraw, Mardi Gauthier, Ramya Koritala, Henrietta Mercer, Montariel Minor, Jordan Morris, Dakota Newman, Alexandra Piedrahita, Colleen Reese, Maria Rome; Baytown, Texas – Abby Gardea; Belcher – Sierra Laing; Belle Chasse – Megan Jenkins; Bellflower, California – Garron Featherston; Belmont – Cade Cramer; Benton – Nicholas Clay, Sara Hale, Maegan Ross, Jenna Smith, Brandon Stane, Allan Walls; Bogalusa – Amanda Crawford; Bossier – Robin Esque, Shelby Peebles; Bossier City – Erica Anderson, Alexander Butler, Peyton Davis, Brody Fitzpatrick, Bialey Freeman, Taylor Freeman, Kelsey Gallman, Andrea Haynes, Ashlynn Henderson, Emily Juarez, Chelsea Laverdiere, Hang Lian, Alexandra Madrid, Chelsea Maielli, Gina Masson, Caroline McKee, Yadira Ocanas, Katherine Parson, Jerie Pedescleaux, Taylor Powell, Madison Rowland, Amanda Skaggs, Kristina Swager, Kiera White; Boyce – Ekaterina Bordelon, Hannah Miller, Lachan Misner; Brandon – Mary Mitchell; Breaux Bridge – Shayla James; Brookeland, Texas – Paige West; Broussard – Taylor Campbell, Dylan Dunford, Amber Potier; Brusly – Emma Wallace; Bunkie – Emily Arnaud, Eugene Leary; Burleson, Texas – Addison Pellegrino, Donata Susca; Bush – Lane Clevenger; Calvin – Caitlin James; Campti – Bridget Dagama; Canton – Brandon Manuel; Cape May, New Jersey – Melissa Dill; Carencro – Jeff Soulis, Jasmin Thibodeaux; Carona, California – Magan Breaux; Carrollton, Texas – Victoria Miller; Cartagena, Colombia – Aura Hernandez Canedo, Hassik Vasquez Narvaez; Cedar Park, Texas – David Moritz; Chalmette – Kelsi McNab; Cheneyville – Katelyn Baronne, Katherine Davis; Chopin – Daisy Delrie; Church Point – Carolyn Fontenot; Citrus Springs, Florida – Megan McDonald; Colfax – Angela McCann, Mikayla Richardson; Converse – Wade Hicks, Elaina Richardson; Coushatta – Sidney Anderson, Tori Bamburg, Ashley Cox, Caroline Doughty, Baley McAlexander, Erica Morgan, Aaron Murray, Shalondria Rainey, Jacob Shaver, Jesseca Tomerlin; Covington – Justin Brogdon, Kelsey Cassidy, Rachael Coyne, Margaret Denny, Kayla Keys, Catherine Sadler, Shelby Smith; Crowley – Sidney Gilder; Cut Off – Zachary Breaux, Kaelyn Musgrave; Cypress – Kaitlyn St. Clair, Alexis Warren; DeQuincy – Daniel Killian; DeRidder— Marcel Bilbo, Sara Bishop, Karli Chambers, John Ham, Amanda Krygowski, Jessica McManus, Kristina Pfantz, Shynikia Roberson, Claudia Rouleau, Jacqueline Rushford, Mikalyn Russell, Matthew Stevenson, Desiree Whitaker; Delhi – Shelley Godard; Denham Springs – Mackenzie Byrd, Caitlyn Cutrer, Logan Mayers, Ashton Priester; Des Allemands -- Brooke Verda; Destrehan – Kristen Richmond, Stephanie Webre; Deville – Colton Johnson, Kenedy Lampert, Hannah Siebeneicher; Donaldsonville – Heather Poirrier; Duncanville, Texas – Fernando Zuniga; Duson – Desmond Prejean; Edmond, Oklahoma – Jiyoon Lee; Elizabeth – Sarah Baggett, Kolby Friday, Sadie Perkins; Elm Grove – Jacob Bryant; Eunice – Angel Lewis, Victoria Mcgee, Alison turk; Evans – Brett Rogers; Ferriday – Deyon White, Dalenesha Wimley; Florien – Cullen Hopkins, Anna Parker, Dylan Roberts, Kelcy Sandel, Shayna Tilley, Megan Wagley, Meagan Wilmore; Forest Hill – Halle Lawson, Charli Stanley; Forney, Texas – Jayden Wheeler; Fort Polk – Brittany Chadwick, Robyn Foxworth, Shaunda Gordon, Yaimara Narito, Sandra Valdez; Franklin – Brandon Ware; French Settlement – Tommie Espy; Frierson – Brittany Furrow; Geismar – Emilee Hawkins; Georgetown – Brittany Farris; Gheens – Samantha Clark; Glen Burnie, Maryland – Katherine Speicher; Goldonna – David Day, Harley Godwin, Alexander Guillory, Hannah McGrew, Allison Self; Gonzales – Bryn Hughes, Nicole Jones, Katelyn Marchand, Rebecca Marchand, Michelle Ziegler; Grambling – Kourtney Rodgers; Grand Cane – Katelyn Burrell, Emily Miller; Grand Prairie – Shelby Alexander; Gray – Cassie Becnel, Tevyn Johnson; Grayson – Alicia Foy; Greenwood – Lyn Belida; Greer, South Carolina – Carola Colon; Gretna – Natalie Borowski; Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – Emily Bencosme; Gun Barrel City, Texas – Madison Banghart; Hallsville, Texas – Cassidy Ferrill; Hammond – Shaun Kelly, Leon Latino; Harahan – Sheri Torres; Harris, Minnesota – Matthew Johnson; Harvey – Taylor Bourgeois, Tajalai Evans, Jessica Love, Jessica Rousset; Haughton – Cassie Crow, Haylee Douglass, Nina Fontenot, Connor Geer, Sara Jacob, James Melvin, Jamie Phillips, Amanda Simmons, Kacie Wilkinson; Haynesville – Levert James, Austin McCurry; Heflin – Haley Shepherd; Henderson, Texas – John Floyd, Emily Ortiz; Hermon, Maine – Allessa Oakes; Hessmer – Micalee Jeansonne; Hinesville, Georgia – Meaghan Talsky; Hornbeck – Joshua Carroll, Katland Lott; Houma – Ruth Gautreaux, Shelby Glynn, Blair Kramer, Haley Neal; Houston, Texas – Jaisley Barnes, Tuyet Nhi Nguyen, Jordan Rains; Huntsville, Texas – Elizabeth Gilliam; Independence – Kaylan Showers; Jena – Kayla Robertson, Tyler Thomas; Jennings – Emily Benoit, Wesley Simien, Lydia Williams; Jonesboro – Alanna Benoit; Kings Mountain, North Carolina – Ashley Counts; Kaplan – Bethany Baudoin; Katy, Texas – Jocelyn Cummons, Adam Jones; Keithville – Alexis Britt, Qyxiaan Elliott, Rachel Opbrock; Kenner – Christina Arrechavala, Brooke Petkovich; Kentwood – Jenna Morris; Kiev, Ukraine – Kateryna Avram; Kinder – Stewart Wheeler; LaPlace – Nicole Klibert; Lafayette – Ali Broussard, Richard Clay, Anjelique Duplechin, JaKayla Lee, Emile Lege, Jacklyn Marr, Avery Monrose, Kalia Reaves, Julia Towry, Mimi Trahan, Clayton Yocham, China Young, Tyler Zieske; Lake Charles – Jamila Daniel, Paula DeJean, Landon Dore, Joshua Fontenot, Karley Hebert, Rebekah Keller, Jason Perry; Lake Providence – Lakarven Pitts; Las Vegas, Nevada – April Ficarrotta; Lecompte – Katelyn Coburn, Hannah Glaze, Joann Cody; Leesville – Destin Bennett, Katherine Benson, Michael Cain, Charlotte Cassin, Carter Coriell, Connor Dillon, Katlynn Dillon, Morgan Hall, Leila Hardy, Katarina Haymon, Emily Jackson, Brandon Judd, Zachary Keeton, Reagan Koury, Jessica Mango, Karl Marzahl, Miranda Mize, Hannah Scott, Kasci Toups, Tabitha Vasquez, Matthew Ward; Lena – Miranda Goff; Livingston – Kelly Harrison; Logansport – Trenton Timmons; Longview, Texas – Hannah Dunn, Kelli Hickerson, Samantha Morris; Loranger – Cambree Bailey; Louisville, Mississippi – Zachary Wilson; Lucas, Texas – Bailey Martin; Luling – Alexis Rice; Lutcher – Rebekah Taylor; Madisonville – Ashley Johansen, Melissa Polizzi, Jensen Volz; Mandeville – Anthony Pastorello, Mackenzie Schubert; Mansfield – Victoria Childress, Quinterra Clark, Hannah Hughes; Mansura – Jonah Johnson, Zachary Lachney; Many – Hannah Allen, Hailey Coan, Angelica Galban, Alison Garcia, Sarah Heard, Abby Hinds, Kailey Leach, Emily Leone, Shelby Leone, Melodie Lovelady, Sabrina Ross, Hannah Webb; Marble Falls, Texas – Sarah Lewis; Marksville – Constance Johnson, Emily Ryan; Marshall, Texas – Abigail Upton; Marthaville – Kelsey Claspill, Thomas Lirette, Hanna Pardee; Maurice – Michael Daly, Elise Vincent; McKinney, Texas – Beatrice Attura; Melrose – Molly Dickerson; Mesquite, Texas – Salvador Gallegos; Metairie – Cameron Duhe, Ariel Landry; Minden – Aubry Dennis, Peyton Gray, Ryan Harmon; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – Kayla Bomben; Monroe – Kianisha Dillard, Sarah Gandy, Porsche Henderson, Aaron Hunt, Brittany Jackson, Lateshia Moran, Anna Rogers; Montegut – Nicole Cohen, Stephanie Cohen; Montgomery – Tyler Cotton, Nicole Stroud; Montgomery, Texas – Kyle Swanson; Moreauville – Mattie Pierite, Emory Rachal; Morgan City – Jeremy Orgeron; Morse – Rebekah Broussard; Moscow, Russia -- Polina Ivanova; Muleshoe, Texas – Caitlyn Barber; Nash, Texas – Andrea Flynn; Natchez – Megan Sauce; Natchitoches – Abbie Atwood, Abbigail Barton, Sarah Bergeron, Trent Brazil, Harvey Briggs, Heather Burrell, Daniel Coffey, Emily Coffman, Rebekah Conlay, Laura Cornish, Fabian Correa Guette, Jessica Cross, Kenneth Darcy, Chasity Dupree, Layne Elkins, Jessica Escobar, Kirsten Fontenot, Taylor Francis, Joshua Garner, Clarisse Gaucel, Lawden Halliburton, Ashtyn Hare, Jeremy Jones, Emilie King, Lindsay Lee, Emily Leone, Heather Lockwood, Meredith Machen, Oni Melendez Carrillo, Maina Ibn Mohammed, Maria Moreno Ponte, Brooklyn Noe, Donovan Ohnoutka, Jorge Ojeda Munoz, Marissa Oster, Rekeithia Pier, Abigail Poe, Jonah Poe, Kaytie Proctor, Ashley Rico, Courtney Sarpy, Kazue Seo, Justin Sines, Stephen Smith, Skyler Speer, Josie Stamey, Faith Stanfield, Anna Taveney, Drake Taveney, Madeline Taylor, Richard Walsh, Madysen Watts, Kylee Williams, Miranda Worthan; New Iberia – Grace Kerns; New Orleans – Gabrielle Gonzales, Diane Nguyen, Bria Winston; Newark, Delaware – Sabri Thompson; Noble – Savannah Jordan, Harlee Possoit, Breana Remedes; Oakdale – Katelyn Johnson; Oberlin – Jonathon Villareal; Omro, Wisconsin – Jason Kralovetz; Opelousas – Ariel Angelle, Tracey Antee, Kierra Doucet, Kianna Frazier, Erika Stanford, Paris, Texas – David Cantera; Pearland, Texas – Tanisha Williams; Pelican – Mary Myers; Pereina Risapalda, Colombia – Paola Mendez Ruiz, Nathalia Miranda Garcia; Peyton, Colorado – Stephanie Rabb; Pineville – Raegan Brocato,Taylor Campbell, Lacey Chappelle, Payten Collins, Katlin Ernst, Hannah Gaspard, Lacey Hebron, Caleb Howell, Michael Martin, Adrienne Mayeaux, Ashlee Mitchell, Austin Nelson, Julie Nelson, Cinnamon Player, Stacey Ramsey, Katie Rayburn, Candice Smith, Kimberly Smith, John Wagnon, Destiny Zito; Pioneer – Moesha Smith; Pitkin – Mattie Stewart; Plain Dealing – Dormesha Noble, Elizabeth Williams; Plaucheville – Kristen Cunningham; Pleasant Hill – Ja’Licia Franklin, Laura Spann, Yasmine Maxie; Pollock –Miranda Accettella, Tanner Brazil; Ponchatoula – Jarvis Chapman, Marisa Durand; Port Allen – Evan Daigle; Prairieville – Melissa Bailey, Emilt Springett, Brooke Tompkins, Regan Wild; Princeton – Nicolette Roberison, Raynell Shield, LeKayla Smith; Provencal – Bailey Scarbrough, Rashanna Beard, Taylor Craft; Raceland – Paige Parks; Raeford, North Carolina – Brittney Carpenter; Rayville – Mary Rogers; Ringgold – Joseph Hays, Shelby Hennigan, Shatoria Moore, Lauren Nelson; River Ridge – Emily Digangi; Robeline – Hannah Hennigan, Alyssa Maley, Payton Nichols, Megan Palmer, Madelyn Rachal, Fawn Slaughter, Rebecca Sparish, Caleb Wester; Rosharon, Texas – Whitney Washington; Ruston – Foster Phillips; St. Francisville – Jordan Bringedahl, Caroline Fudge; St. Mars lo Briere, France – Marion Cormier. St. Martinville – Alli Douet, Destiny Simon; Saint Rose – Alexis Mancuso; San Antonio, Texas – Kathryn Klibert, Kelsey McAtee; Sarepta – Tyler Cox; Searcy, Arkansas – Lora Wood; Seattle, Washington – Lauren Agan; Shelbyville, Texas – Sarah Ryder; Shreveport – Lindsey Adkins, Yasmeen Bader, Shakendra Bailey, Ezar Bess, Alyssa Bonacci, Erin Brown, Meosha Brown, Jessie Cardenas, Olivia Carter, Crystal Claunch, Emily Dean, Takea Dorsey, Miya Douglas, Jackson Driggers, Fanneka Dupree, Lauren Edwards, Ronald Evans, LaKisha Harris-Priest, Andrena Haynes, Kristalyn Holland, Kaitlyn Hotz, Madyson Istre, Nickolas Juneau, Emalee Kennon, Denise Killen, Jesse Kortus, Bih-Lih Lau, Erin LeClair, Lari Leber, Brittany Linzay, Heather Mathis, Rici McDonald, Joan McMaster, Rosemary McMaster, Jessie Miller, Lakeisha Miller, Jennifer Mullee, Aaron Navarre, Shaina Newton, Emily Paxton, Haley Peace, Taylor Poleman, Patricia Reed, Anna Richardson, Adam Rinaudo, Keyonna Roberson, Zachary Sanders, Lawson Scott, Jarred Sepulvado, Rachel Taylor, Robin Trujillo, Hannah Wagener, Kayla Waller, Logan Webb, Stephanie White; Sibley – Samathia Collins; Simpson – David Marquis; Slaughter – Ciara Gibbs; Slidell – Keely Macloud, Julianna Toranto, Jourdan Waddell; Spring, Texas – Victoria Harris; Springfield, Virginia – Laura Highsmith; Stockbridge, Georgia – Alisa Newsome; Stonewall – Brooke Meade; Sugartown – Madison Budnik, Jonie Nolen; Sulphur – Taylor Morris; Sunset – Emma Warren; Tatum, Texas – Randall Sullivan; Teague, Texas – Christopher Skinner; Temple, Texas – Weston Scholten; Texarkana, Texas – Sydney Cowgill; The Colony, Texas – Julia Focht; The Woodlands, Texas – Robyn Beatty; Thibodaux – Nia Walker; Trout – Harley Lisenby, Kalee Mcguffee, Devon Smith, Andrea Walters; Tulsa, Oklahoma – Emma Swepston; Vacherie –Chelsea Kliebert; Ville Platte –Darius Poullard; Vinton – Emily Walter; Vivian – Breanna Loran; Wahiawa, Hawaii – Taylor Camidge; Walker – Saxon Bumpus; Waukomis, Oklahoma – Colby Koontz; West Monroe – Madelyn Bryan, Melissa Taylor; White Castle – Gavin Landry; White Oak, Texas – Jonathan Stafford; Winnfield – John Collins, Simona Curry, Kelsey Jordan, Brittany Parker; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – Tyra Duma; Woodworth – Taylor Henry; Wylie, Texas – Kylie Nodorft; Youngsville – Brandon Granger, Grace Punch, Kali Roberts; Zachary – Courtney Page; Zwolle – Cheyanne Ebarb, Molly Flood, Kaitlin Lewing, Ali Remedies, Holden Rivers

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

LaFourche Parish Woman with 133 Cats Accused of Animal Cruelty, Running Meth Lab

The owner of a house where 133 cats were found is accused of animal cruelty and running a meth lab. Lafourche Parish sheriff's spokesman Brendan Matherne says 60-year-old Sandy Chauvin was arrested last week on five counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and the drug charge. The Daily Comet reports that Chauvin was released Wednesday on $40,000 bond, according to a Sheriff's Office news release. Matherne said in an email Monday that he did not know whether she had an attorney who could comment. An online directory did not turn up a phone number for her. Two men were arrested earlier on a charge of running an illegal drug lab. The Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter's manager said earlier that seven cats were dead and the rest had to be euthanized.

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

BECi Offers 15 One-Year, $1500 Scholarships to Students

This year, Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BECi), is pleased to offer 15 one-year scholarships, valued at $1,500 each, to students who reside on BECi service lines. The scholarship is open to first-time college students and current college students who meet requirements. The winners will be selected at the BECi Annual Meeting held Saturday, March 25, 2017, by a random drawing. The student does not have to be present to win. Applicants can apply online at www.beci.org, pick up an application at any of the BECi offices or at local schools, or mail in the application published in the January issue of Louisiana Country. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 3, 2017. Applicants must be a BECi member or a child or a legal ward of a BECi member who has been a member in good standing for at least 12 consecutive months as of March 1, 2017. The scholarship monies can be used by students to attend, on a full-time basis, any Louisiana accredited institution of higher education. A complete list of requirements can be found at www.beci.org. This is the 24th annual scholarship offering through BECi. The scholarship funds are not taken from normal operating funds, but from BECi’s Share Program and unclaimed checks. Through legislative changes made in 1993, unclaimed checks were allowed to remain in the scholarship funds to assist students within the BECi service area rather than forwarding the monies to the state’s general treasury fund. For more information, call (337) 463-6221 or (800) 367-0275.

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

Gov. John Bel Edwards Announces Special Session to Fix Budget Shortfall

Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a call for a special session of the Louisiana Legislature to address the $304 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. The special session will convene at 6:30 pm on Monday, February 13, and conclude by midnight on Wednesday, February 22. “A special session of the legislature is necessary to spread cuts across government and minimize cuts to the critical state services the people of Louisiana consider to be important,” said Gov. Edwards. “As I have said, behind every number that we cut are real Louisianans whose lives will be impacted. We are taking a deliberative, responsible approach to cutting spending and balancing our cuts with the use of $119 million from the Rainy Day Fund. The fund was established for this very purpose, and given how deep these cuts will be without it, I am confident the legislature will support this effort until we can make the necessary reforms to our state’s budgeting practices.” “If we can agree to work together during this time, I am confident we can adjourn this special session ahead of the deadline,” Gov. Edwards continued. “After years of budget shortfalls and mismanagement from the previous administration, there are no easy decisions anymore. The people of Louisiana are expecting us to put politics aside and solve this problem, and I am committed to being a partner with the legislature to make this happen,” the governor said.  On Friday, January  27, Gov. Edwards testified before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (JLCB) to outline his plan to address the shortfall without the need to raise additional revenue or fees. Gov. Edwards proposed using the Rainy Day Fund and making strategic spending cuts across a broad spectrum of state government, including, but not limited to, the Louisiana Department of Health, the legislature, the judiciary, and statewide elected officials. Gov. Edwards' plan is to minimize cuts to higher education, waivers and partner hospitals, while avoiding cuts to K-12 education, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Family Services. Video of Gov. Edwards testimony before the JLCB is available by clicking here. On Monday, February 6, Gov. Edwards will unveil the specific cuts he will propose to the legislature, in addition to tapping the Rainy Day Fund. In April, the legislature will convene in a regular session to make bold reforms to the state’s broken tax code.  During that session, the legislature will consider several reform measures recommended by a bipartisan task force that will give businesses and families predictability and stability in the tax code, while bringing in sufficient revenue to fund state government.

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

Oberlin Police Chief Facing Ethics Charges


The Louisiana Ethics Board has filed charges against the Oberlin police chief for getting paid to write Local Agency Compensated Enforcement, or LACE, tickets while on duty. The LACE program allows off-duty officers to make extra money. But the board finds it's unethical for the chief to participate. Police Chief Grady Haynes has championed the cause of Oberlin police officers seeking more money for the hours they work. “We didn't ask for much; we aren't trying to overdo it. We are just trying to get a little something to help these guys out. You know, they have families,” he said at a council meeting last year. Oberlin police officers are able to write LACE tickets when they're off duty and are paid $15 an hour. It increases enforcement, and police make extra money. But the ethics charges indicate Haynes can't receive LACE pay, because as chief, he's already on-duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Plus the LACE program is run by his agency. Haynes is paid more than $33,000 a year by the town. According to the charges, Haynes received more than $72,000 for writing LACE tickets 2013- 2016. The charges said Haynes personally approved the daily reports documenting his own hours worked as part of the LACE program, with him typically working six-hour periods between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. In all, the Ethics Board asks for a hearing on charges that Haynes violated four different parts of the ethics code. The chief was not available for an interview, but gave this statement: "The Town of Oberlin has had some financial difficulties. In December of 2010, the city council passed an ordinance to allow the chief of police in Oberlin to participate in the LACE program." "I did my job to the best of my abilities per this ordinance, generating funds in excess of a million dollars, that helps keep our town paying bills and not taken over by the state," he said. "One problem that we're having with the board is that though the council passed an ordinance to allow participation back in 2010, they did not amend the ordinance showing compensation for the chief to include this into his salary." The hearing will be held by the Ethics Adjudicatory Board, which determines if Haynes violated the code and if so, assesses penalties. The hearing date is not yet set. To read the charges click here.

February 6th, 2017, Monday

Authorities Search Along Sabine Riverfront; Woman Still Missing

DeSoto Parish authorities searched part of the Sabine riverfront in Logansport for a missing woman Sunday morning. K9 units showed interest in a couple spots, but deputies came up empty-handed in their quest to find 46-year-old Michelle Curry Ford, Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said. The sheriff's office left one of its boats there so the river can be checked again Monday morning, the sheriff added. The area was searched because that's where a deputy found a car sometime Thursday night or early Friday morning, Arbuckle said. Authorities checked the vehicle's registration and found it belongs to an uncle who lives about 3 blocks from where the car was found. The vehicle has since been returned to him. Ford, who serves as a sitter for her uncle, last was seen about 10 p.m. Thursday in the Logansport area. The uncle told authorities that Ford said she was going out for a minute. She apparently took the uncle's vehicle and left hers at his house when she left, Arbuckle said. She also left her purse at the house, the sheriff added. Ford stands 5’2" tall, weighs about 140 pounds and has green eyes and short brown hair.  Authorities have no description of what she was wearing nor any indication of where she was headed when she left her uncle's house. Anyone with any information is being urged to call the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 872-3956.

February 6th, 2017, Monday

Property Buyout Program

According to Vernon Parish Police Juror David Fox, more than 100 homes in the parish were damaged by floodwater and nearly half of those impacted can't rebuild due to the change in codes or simply can't afford it.  One of those residents is Carla Egan.  "FEMA estimated $242,000 damage to our house - it was paid for," said Egan.  She owns the Trails End Cafe in Evans and after 25 years in her home, she had to set up an apartment for her family in her business.  "If I go down there, it's just too sad for me. Half of our house is in a sinkhole - a 10-foot sinkhole - but thank the Lord for this buyout that they're offering us. It does give us an option and were excited about that," said Egan. Vernon Parish is offering to buy homes built in flood zones for whatever the market value of those properties was before last March's floods.  "There won't be any realtor fees or any closing costs the part of the program will cover that," said Vernon Parish District Three Police Juror, David Fox. He said 75 percent of this buyout program will be funded by FEMA; the other 25 percent will come from the Sabine River Authority. "Once the buyout is complete, if there is any structure left, it will be demolished and the parish will own the property; of course, at that time we will not be able to restructure or rebuild any of the structure besides something with a roof; it just can't have any walls that would obstruct flow of water," said Fox.  It's completely voluntary, and the property owners can back out at any time before they sign the agreement.  "The past flood history here - people have been flooded multiple times. This was one of the worst times. This has been flooded. It was a nightmare for a lot of them, so they are tired and ready to relocate," said Fox.  Egan said she was reluctant at first.  "What other option do we have because we don't want to do this again. I don't ever want to face this again - losing everything that you have; your kids stuff that you've collected through the years of your children you know it's gone," said Egan.  Fox said the process could take one-to-two years to complete.  The deadline for submitting an application is Feb. 3. For more information on the program and how to sign up, call MPTX at 318-238-6811.

February 3rd, 2017, Friday

Crimestoppers Reward Offered

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the recovery of stolen items and/or the arrest of suspects involved in a burglary that occurred on Garcie Rd. Zwolle, La. Included in the theft was a Northwestern State University gold ring with the initials RP and the numbers 2000 engraved. Also taken was a stainless steel / blue Bulova watch, two nugget rings, one which contained diamonds and a Stihl power saw. Any information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 318-256-4511. All calls will remain confidential and tipsters can remain anonymous.

February 3rd, 2017, Friday

Widespread Flu Outbreak, Tamiflu Tough to Find

The flu is approaching epidemic levels in parts of the United States this week.  Louisiana is one of 37 states reporting a widespread flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Jay Marque with Lake Charles Urgent Care says he is seeing a high number of patients testing positive for the flu.   "We've seen flu over the past couple of months, but over the last two weeks, we've definitely seen an uptick where we're seeing many patients throughout the day who come in with influenza or flu-like symptoms," said Dr. Marque. Dr. Marque says he is treating children and adults, with the typical flu symptoms. "Most of them have fever, cough, runny nose, headache, body aches, occasionally vomiting and diarrhea, but that's not a typical flu-like symptom," he said. You can spread the flu through droplets for up to one week after symptoms start, that is why it is important to stay home and reduce your germ exposure.  Treatment is rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications.  "A young, healthy patient usually does well just by staying home and treating symptoms: Tylenol, Motrin, fluids," said Dr. Marque.  "However, there is some benefit to Tamiflu, in that it shortens the duration of illness." Tamiflu has to be taken within 48 hours of symptoms starting to see a benefit and it is best for the very young, very old, and those with weakened immune systems. The local flu spike has been so sudden, that many pharmacies cannot keep up with the demand for Tamiflu. "When we have spikes in flu activity like we're having right now, they often run low, so it's common that patients have difficulty finding Tamiflu," said Dr. Marque. Dr. Marque says he is seeing the supply catch up with the demand now and the biggest prevention continues to be the flu shot. The number of flu cases generally peaks in February.  Along with flu, the state health department reports the number of cases of RSV, rhinovirus, and enterovirus continues to be high.

February 2nd, 2017, Thursday

Northwestern State University: Demon Football

With 32 names in Northwestern State's football signing class for 2017, Demons coach Jay Thomas addressed the Demons' immediate needs and then some. NSU's most pressing concerns were up front defensively and outside offensively. The demons added seven defensive linemen and sex wide receivers Wednesday on National Signing Day. In the class of 2017, Thomas announcesd 16 offenive players, 15 on defense and a long snapper. Ten transfers were included, five on each side of the ball. "It's a well-rounded class" he said. "We've addressed our needs very well/ It's a blend of guys who should or could help us next season, along with some who we want to develop. The Demons' class includes 19 Louisiana High School products, seven from within 75 miles of Natchitoches. "The talent pool locally was good to the Demons this year," said Thomas. "We were able to get a lot of these guys we targeted, good players who are close to home, and that's ideal." That group includes receiver Tanner Ash (6-2, 200) of Shreveport-Evangel, offensive lineman William Bordelon (6-3, 305) from Alexandria-Menard, linebacker Jackson Carroll (5-11, 210) of Natchitoches-St. Mary's, tight end Parker Fink (6-3, 247) from Jena, defensive tackle LaTerrion Green (6-1, 300) of Winnfield, linebacker Landon King (6-1, 220) of Pineville and linebacker Darion Miller (6-1, 188) from Many. The defensive linemen signed include three junior college transfers, tackle Duke Dantzler (6-2, 300) and Jalon Sangster (6-0, 276), and end Obinna Iheoma (6-2, 245). Thomas said true freshmen could join the JUCO trio on the field this fall. "Guys like Braylon Daigle (6-5, 230, Cecilia High) and Rashuad Powell (6-3, 225, Houston-Bush) who can really rush the quarterback will have the chance to play right away. Ronald Sims (6-2, 280, West Feliciana High) played fullback in the triple option at 250 pounds, but came in on his recruiting trip at 274 because he knew what we wanted him to do up front defensively, and he's bulked up well. "We had to target the D-line," he said. "With seven coming in, we needed size, we needed length, we needed pass rushers and some speed, and we got all three with this group." Offensively, along with restocking at receiver, NSU added two quarterbacks. Along with JUCO transfer Clay Holgorsen, announced in mid-December and already on campus, the Demons picked up Kaleb Fletcher, an Academic All-State standout who led Mesquite-Poteet into the third round of the Texas state playoffs. The Demons have senior J.D. Almond, the starter at the end of last season, and redshirt freshman Kenny Sears as returners there. Among the receivers, JUCO addition Jaylen Watson (6-0, 192, Long Beach City College) caught 10 touchdown passes and had 832 yards receiving last year. LSU transfer Jazz Ferguson won't play for the Demons until 2018, when he will add size (6-5, 223) and talent (a 2014 four-star recruit) to the mix. Again, NSU may benefit from true freshmen in 2017, said Thomas. "Probably Xavier Bell (5-9, 152, Baton Rouge-Southern Lab) with his speed and ability to return kicks, and Myles Ward (5-10, 168, New Orleans-De La Salle) with his explosive game," he said. "Not just at receiver or defensive line, there's quite a few true freshmen who will have the opportunity to get on the field right away. I'm just scratching the surface with a handful of names." Among the class is a "legacy signee," center J.P. Arceneaux (6-1, 280, Vandebilt Catholic), whose father Bryan was a standout lineman for the Demons from 1981-84, and whose brother Colby played defensively at NSU (2008-09) after transferring from Ole Miss. More than half the class (at least 18) has high school grade point averages of at least 3.0. "These are great fits in our program," said Thomas. "We have a 2.9 team GPA. We're going to set a record for APR (NCAA's Academic Progress Rates report) for the second year in a row. With these guys, that trend is going to continue." NSU will kick off spring practice March 7, he said.

February 2nd, 2017, Thursday

DeRidder Boy Spends the Day with Beauregard Sheriff's Office

It was a special ride for a special young man in DeRidder Tuesday afternoon. or most people, getting picked up at home by the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office isn't their best day ever. But it is for 6-year old Camdyn Curry, a boy with autism who has a love of law enforcement, it was his best day He's always loved police officers. He gets excited and waves when he sees a cop car," said Melissa Curry, his mother. eputies saw a post about Camdyn's love of law enforcement and invited him over. It's exciting to see Camdyn barely get in that Humvee over there. He's smiling ear-to-ear. There's no better gift than that," said Deputy Matt Barrett. Curry and Camdyn's brothers and sisters all got an inside look, which included a K-9 demonstration, shirts, a plaque and for Camdyn, his very own SWAT uniform. And now that he's officially an honorary member of the SWAT team, Camdyn is ready at a moment's notice - to protect and serve.

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

45 Acres Burned in Large Woods Fire in LaCamp Community

Several fire departments responded to a woods fire Monday afternoon in the LaCamp community of Vernon Parish, which burned around 45 acres, firefighters say. According to Shawn Waggoner, LaCamp Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief, it happened around 3:20 p.m. He said a private fire got out of control. The blaze jumped a lease road and entered a heavily wooded area. "By the time our initial units arrived, there was a full-blown woods fire covering large areas of land. Units from Simpson, Slagle, Dry Fork and Alco-Hutton arrived soon thereafter. We attacked the fire from the perimeter and protected several vulnerable structures in the path of the fire. Fire plows were called out to plow around the fire and contain it," Waggoner said. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry personnel assisted. "We appreciate all departments who assisted us with this fire. The great thing to report is there were no injuries and everyone went home," Waggoner said. The fire danger in Vernon Parish was measured at "high" on Tuesday, according to the LDAF's daily fire weather scale.

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Submerged Big Rig To Be Pulled From Toledo Bend Wednesday

The process to pull an 18-wheeler from Toledo Bend Resevoir is scheduled to begin at daylight Wednesday. The work will  not require the closure of Pendleton Bridge, a 3-mile structure spanning the resevoir between Louisiana and Texas. The big rig went uinto the resevoir on January 25th, 2107, following a head-on collision with another tractor-trailer. State police said a 2006  Peterbilt driven by Stanley L. Wingfield, 33, of Hempstead, Arkansas, crossed the center line and hit a 2014 Peterbilt driven by Jimmy R. Swindle, 50, of San Augustine, Texas. Wingfield was pulling an unloaded flatbed. It remained on the bridge after the crash. He was not injureed. State Police cited him for driving left of center. Swindle, who was hauling feed, escaped his singing truck. He sat on top of the cab until nearby fishermen came to his rescue. He was transported to Sabien Medical Cneter and treated for moderate injures, state police said. The crash closed the 3-mile Pendleton Bridge for about three hours. Swindle's truck and contents are submerged in about 28 feet of water and located less than a mile from the Louisiana side. Recovery operations are being coordinated through the Sabine River Authority, which has jurisdiction over the reservoir. A salvage crew on Tuesday assembled equipment at a boat launch on the Texas side. Their plan calls for a tug boat to push a crane to the crash site the have the crane lift the 18-wheeler. The tug will then push the barge, crane, and truck back to the Texas side.

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Wateworks District #1 would like to announce that the boil advisory for Marthaville Road and its surrounding roads has been lifted.

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Natchitoches Parish Sheiff's Office Press Release

 A joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Fire Marshal Office is being conducted into a fire that claimed the life of a Natchitoches man early Sunday morning. According to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones, it happened before 4:30 a.m. in the 7500 block of La. 6, west of Natchitoches. Deputies and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 responded. Authorities said firefighters were extinguishing the fire when they received information that the structure, an 8-by-32 fifth-wheel travel trailer, was possibly occupied. A search led to the discovery of a body inside. Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office, NPSO Criminal Investigations Division and Natchitoches Parish Assistant Coroner Steven Clanton also responded. The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office positively identified the body as that of 55-year-old Theron E. Starnes Jr., who lived in the trailer for about two years. Investigators located a space heater in the living room area of the trailer that sustained heavy fire damage. The space heater is believed, but not confirmed, to be the source of the fire. The remains were sent for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

January 31st, 2017, Tuesday

Boy Scouts Allow Transgender Kids into Boys-Only Program

A New Jersey woman whose son was asked to leave his Boy Scouts troop after leaders found out he is transgender said she has mixed emotions about the organization's decision to allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its boys-only programs. The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that enrollment in its boys-only programs will now be based on the gender a child or parent lists on his application to become a scout, rather than the gender listed on the child's birth certificate. Eight-year-old Joe Maldonado was asked to leave his scout troop in Secaucus, New Jersey, last fall after parents and leaders found out he is transgender. The organization's statement did not specifically mention Joe's case, but said it changed the policy because of the larger conversation about gender identity taking place around the country. "For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," the statement said. "However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state." Kristie Maldonado, Joe's mother, said she had mixed emotions Monday night when a Boy Scouts representative called to tell her the organization would allow her son to re-enroll in his troop. Maldonado said she would like her son to rejoin the Secaucus troop, but only if the scout leader who threw him out of the troop leaves. She said Joe, who will turn 9 on Wednesday, has spoken publicly about the incident. She called him a "ham" and noted he had a big birthday party on Saturday with the mayor of Secaucus in attendance. "I'm so grateful. I really am that they're accepting and that there won't be any issues. They (other transgender youth) won't have to go through what my son went through," Maldonado said by phone Monday. "It's a big change for everybody that all are accepted now ... I'm so delighted that they finally called and they did say this, but I'm still angry." Maldonado said the decision to remove her son from the troop made him feel different, and she wanted to make sure he knew the troop made a mistake. The Boy Scouts said the enrollment decision goes into effect immediately. "Our organization's local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child," the statement said. Zach Wahls, co-founder of the groups Scouts for Equality, called the decision historic. "The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution," he wrote in a statement posted to social media. "We are incredibly proud of Joe Maldonado — the transgender boy from New Jersey whose expulsion last year ignited this controversy — and his mother Kristie for their courage in doing what they knew was right. We are also proud of the Boy Scouts for deciding to do the right thing." Boy Scouts of America leaders lifted a blanket ban on gay troop leaders and employees in July 2015 amid intense pressure. The group decided in 2013 — after heated debate — to allow openly gay youth as scouts. The national Girl Scouts organization, which is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years.

January 31st, 2017, Tuesday

Kinder Man Dies in Rollover Crash Near Simpson

A Kinder man is dead following a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-10 near Sulphur early Saturday morning, authorities said. The driver, Burkman Clyde Cole, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, said Sgt. James Anderson, state police Troop D spokesman. Officers responded to the crash on I-10 westbound, about two miles west of Sulphur, around 1 a.m Saturday. Cole was driving a 1992 Toyota Camry when, for unknown reasons, it went off the right side of the highway, Anderson said. The vehicle hit a culvert and rolled over numerous times before it stopped on its side against several trees. The crash remains under investigation. Troop D has investigated three fatal crashes resulting in six deaths this year.

January 30th, 2017, Monday

Thousands March in Shreveport-Bossier Life March North

Thousands of people converged on downtown Shreveport Saturday to let their feelings be known for and against abortion. The Louisiana Life March North is the second of three similar events being held across the state on three consecutive weekends. The first took place in Baton Rouge last weekend. The third and final life march takes place in Alexandria next Saturday. Organizers called it the biggest and best march yet, with an enormous crowd that flowed from Bossier City into Shreveport on a chilly Saturday morning. Despite their large presence, it did not go unchallenged by pro-choice demonstrators. "We want to fight for the silent, the ones that can't speak for themselves," said pro-life supporter Mary Britt. At the entrance to Festival Plaza, pro-choice supporters greeted the marchers and raised their voice in support of a woman's right to decide whether to have an abortion. "The funny thing is that there are no babies involved in abortion," said Debbie Hollis, Louisiana's National Organization for Women Vice President. "The fetus is not even viable until 24 weeks gestation. And we do have a ban at 20 weeks here in Louisiana. So, no one's killing babies." Hollis held a sign that read "Why do you want women to die?" as a major reason she supports a woman's right to choose. "Women do die when they don't have access to safe, legal abortion. We all know the horror stories that our grandmothers told us before the '70s," added Hollis. But abortion opponents counter that the procedure hurts a woman's body and soul. "There's just absolutely no need in it," said pro-life marcher Betsy Henderson. "There's other places a baby could go. There's women that are hurting and they want to have babies." Newly sworn-in Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana's 4th Congressional District said, "This is the one event that crosses socio-economic lines, racial lines, denominational lines. It represents the best of our community." But the issue does divide some families. While Emily Manchester stood beside pro-choice supporters, her parents took part in the pro-life march.  Manchester said the issue has been a source of many arguments. "Constantly, constantly, yeah. They call me their bleeding heart liberal, out of love, out of love." By some estimates, 8 to 9 thousand pro-life demonstrators took part in the life march. Many described a sense of rejuvenation with this cause because of the new presidential administration now in the White House. In fact, some pro-life advocates expect the Trump administration to help deliver even stricter limits on abortion laws in the coming years.

January 30th, 2017, Monday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply system due to repairing water line breaks. Because of this problem, the water produced by our water system is of questionable microbiological quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is issuing a BOIL ADVISORY effective immediately for customers in the following area: Marthaville Road and its surrounding roads. It is recommended that all consumers in the affected area disinfect their water before consuming it, making ice, brushing teeth, or using it for food prepartion by the following means: Boil water for one (1) full minute in a clean container. The one minute starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (The flat taste can be eliminated by shaking the water in a clean bottle or pouring from one clean container to another. Again, please be sure to disinfect your own water prior to consumption until you have been advised otherwise.

January 30th, 2017, Monday

Ragley Man Accused of Trying To Rob DeQuincy Gas Station


A Ragley man was arrested last week after being identified as the suspect who tried to rob a DeQuincy gas station, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office said. Jeremiah T. Brantley, 22, was arrested Jan. 19 on an attempted robbery charge after an investigation into the Jan. 11 incident at the 90 Express gas station on La. 12 East. According to Cmdr. James McGee, sheriff's office spokesman, Brantle, the suspect, went into the store about 10 p.m. "armed with a handgun and demanded money from the clerk." "The clerk did not comply and pulled a bat. The suspect fled the store on foot, after breaking the door, into the wooded area near the store," McGee said. After viewing surveillance footage and reviewing several tips, detectives got an arrest warrant for Brantley. The sheriff's office warrants division and ACT-Team found him at his residence and arrested him. He was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on a $75,000 bond.

January 27th, 2017, Friday

BPSO Investigating Burglary, Guns Stolen From Longville Area Home

 The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating a burglary where several guns were stolen from a residence in the Longville area. According to authorities, on Jan. 24, a home was broken into, and two rifles and a handgun were taken. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Morton at (337) 460-5457. You can also call Beauregard Crime Stoppers at (337) 462-8918 or 1-800-273-1374. All calls are confidential and you do not have to give your name. A reward is being offered for information concerning this investigation, authorities said.

January 27th, 2017, Friday

Wildlife Agent Shot 5 Times Scheduled To Be Released From Hospital

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent, who was shot five times while questioning a motorist, is talking and walking with assistance and may be out of the hospital this week. Senior Agent Wheeler, 25, of Monroe, is scheduled to be discharged from University Health in Shreveport on Thursday and will be transported to a rehab facility in Mississippi, according to his father Darren Wheeler. “His spirits are high,” Wheeler said. “This is amazing.” The elder Wheeler said his son has been able to walk with the help of a walker and sometimes with the aid of a medical assistant “to keep him steady.” He is talking and “fussing about staying in here (at the hospital).” Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, said he and his department are elated by Wheeler’s improvement. “His Wildlife and Fisheries family is very encouraged by Tyler’s progress to date,” Broussard said. “Everything we’ve been told is that it is a miracle that he survived this cowardly attack and that the doctors are very hopeful he can make a full recovery.” Broussard, who visited Wheeler on Tuesday, said “it is inspiring to see his great attitude and resolve during his recovery.” Wheeler’s rehab will focus on strength recovery and regaining the ability to eat a normal diet.  The doctors have been pleased with his motor skills, memory and overall condition, Darren Wheeler said. LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said Wheeler’s progress “is a true testament to this young man’s amazing will to live. And, it also shows the courage of our law enforcement officers who bravely face dangerous situations every day.” Wheeler was shot five times, including once in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area.  Wheeler was wearing his department issued body armor vest at the time of the shooting. Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.  They also arrested 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder. Both arrests occurred on Jan. 8.

January 26th, 2017, Thursday

Head-On Crash Sends Big Rig Into Toledo Bend-Highway Reopens to Traffic

A head-on collision Wednesday afternoon involving two 18-wheelers on the Pendleton Bridge sent one of the rigs into Toledo Bend Reservoir and closed the Louisiana to Texas route for a couple of hours, Sabine Parish authorities said. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.  The bridge reopened just before 5 p.m. The bridge, which is also state Highway 6, was shut down until the wreckage is cleared. One of the tractor-trailers remains on the bridge, but the other, which was hauling chicken feed, was in the reservoir. State Police Troop E issued an advisory saying the bridge would be closed for an "extended period of time." The driver of the tractor-trailer that went into the reservoir escaped from the cab and was sitting on top of the exposed portion before being picked up by a bass fisherman. He was taken to the bank, where he was checked out by EMS personnel. The crash occurred closer to the Louisiana side. The majority of the bridge is considered to be in Sabine Parish since the river channel, which marks the Louisiana/Texas line, is closer to the Texas side.

January 26th, 2017, Thursday

Beauregard Parish is Ready for Economic Expansion


Beauregard Parish hopes to seize upon Southwest Louisiana's economic boom, so it is taking bold steps for expansion and development in the parish. The first step: Hiring its first-ever full-time economic development director. The new director is Avon Knowlton and she said she is going to start right off with marketing the parish. "It's going to be a labor of love for me; it's going to be very challenging. This is my hometown, and I want to see good things here," she said. DeRidder Mayor Ron Roberts said the area is more than ready.  "DeRidder was the first comminity to be certified as a development-ready community in the state - we're ready to accept new business partners," he said. And the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is ready to work with the parish and Knowlton, in order to continue the progress it's seeing in Cameron and Calcasieu.  "Industrial developers look at regions; they don't look at one town versus the other," she said. With more than $113 billion in projects - mainly LNG plants and pipeline work- Alliance President and CEO George Swift said the group wants to diversify. "We shouldn't have all of our eggs in one basket, so we want to diversify with the Beauregard airport site, we think we can do that," he said. The 1,100-acre Beauregard Regional Airport was certified as a mega site in December. It's the second mega-site in the state, which means it is cleared environmentally and ready for an industrial developer.  "It could accommodate many industries or one large one; we don't know that but we know it's a prime site for future growth," he said, The alliance wanted to pledge its partnership with Knowlton and ensure help in marketing the airport site and other sites around the parish.  Beauregard officials said there is a lot to look forward to un the parish - including higher education. Knowlton also wants the community - especially the business community - to know, her door is always open. 

January 25th, 2017, Wednesday

BESE Board Creates More Charters Despite Uncertainty

Ongoing litigation that threatens to strip the financing for more than 30 of Louisiana's public charter schools didn't stop the state education board from authorizing new charters. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved applications Tuesday to create three more charter schools of the type whose funding is in doubt because of the lawsuit. An appellate court has ruled that money from Louisiana's public school funding formula can't pay for the schools granted charters by the state board, rather than local school boards. The impact of that ruling is on hold, while the case winds its way to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Charter school supporters told BESE that the lawsuit shouldn't stall worthy applications. Opponents said the state education board should have waited for a final court ruling.

January 25th, 2017, Wednesday

Mazda Picks NSU Student Design for 2017 Art Car

 Design work by Northwestern State University students Jessica Cross of Natchitoches and Rachael Gaude of Ventress will be featured at the Washington, D.C., Auto Show, one of the nation’s top five auto shows presented by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Jan. 27-Feb. 5. Cross placed first for her “Kisatchie Forest” design and Guade placed second for “Honey Bubbles.”  Their work will be applied, or “wrapped,” on a 2017 Mazda Miata and displayed at the Mazda booth at the show.  Julien Montousse, director of design at Mazda Motor of America, selected the top design choices.  In addition to the wrapped vehicles, Automotive Rhythms Magazine is presenting an accompanying “Art In Motion” exhibit of poster prints showcasing Northwestern State student work that was also submitted for the competition. The designs were created by students in Visual Communications 3220, taught by Collier Hyams, a professor of art who developed a relationship with Mazda several years ago as an opportunity for students to apply their ideas to a product. “I like cars and package design projects and I wanted to find something wide-reaching and multi-disciplinary that would mean a great deal on a resume,” Hyams said. He encouraged his students to adopt a design firm mentality to develop their ideas. This year’s them revolved around reflection-based surfacing, in which the car reflects its surroundings, either literally or figuratively.  It was the first time either Cross or Gaude had attempted an industrial design project. Cross is pursuing a degree in fine and graphic art with a concentration in graphic communication and a minor in photography.  Because she grew up in central Louisiana where pine trees dominate the landscape, she based her design on Kisatchie National Forest. “Considering this year’s theme was reflection-based surfacing, I thought it would be interesting to reflect the environment surrounding the car,” Cross said. “After coming up with a theme, I decided to go with an abstract-minimalist style. I built a gradient effect from top to bottom, giving a sense of perspective and depth to the design. This combination allows the viewer to grasp the design with only a glance.” Cross plans to graduate this May and hopes to find an internship at an ad agency and eventually do freelance work or work for a publishing company creating book covers. Gaude is majoring in fine and graphic art with a concentration in studio art and a minor in communications. When given the assignment, her first inclination was to create something obviously reflective such as mirrors, water or personal introspection, but decided to stretch the theme by incorporating an uncommon reflective surface to make her design stand out. Her point of departure was her experience in beekeeping with her father. “This car design’s purpose is to raise awareness for the declining honey bee population,” she explained.  “The environment surrounding the car plays a huge role in the design of the car itself. Just as I have gazed at my reflection in a bucket of golden honey after a harvest from one of my own hives, a viewer would be able to see themselves and the outdoor environment reflected within the honey design. It subtly reminds the viewers of the crucial impact bees have on the environment and how the natural world would change for the worse without honey bees’ work as the leading pollinators.”  Gaude plans to continue to expand my art skills, earn a graduate degree in art and eventually teach at a university.  Hyams’ relationship with Mazda began when the company opened a new factory in Mexico and issued a call for design concepts that reflected the theme of Mexican art and culture. One of his former students from Georgetown University won the competition and his students have participated in the competition ever since. “I enjoy brand identity projects,” he said. “I’m always looking for projects in applied arts.  It’s practical rather than theory.” The Mazda RX-Vision series concept car will be one feature of the Washington Auto Show, which annually showcases cutting-edge exhibits, latest model cars and displays of historic vehicles at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  For information on the Washington Auto show, visit http://www.washingtonautoshow.com. For information on NSU’s Department of Fine + Graphic Art, a department within the School of Creative and Performing Arts, visit capa.nsula.edu/art.

January 25th, 2017, Wednesday

DeQuincy Man Accused of Inappropriately Touching 7 Year Old

A DeQuincy man has been accused of inappropriately touching a 7-year-old. Mark B. Cooley, 30, was arrested on Jan. 20 on a charge of aggravated crime against nature, said Cmdr. James McGee, spokesman for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. Cooley was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on a $100,000 bond.

January 24th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office Crimestoppers Reward

The Sabine Parish Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the recovery of items taken in a burglary in the Hwy 175 area of Many between 01/18/17 and 01/21/17. A antique Poulan Beard chainsaw was taking along with numerous power tools, welding torch kit, Oregon 40v chainsaw, home built computer and a high pressure power washer with a Honda engine.Any information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 318-256-4511 or to the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Department at 318-256-9241. Persons providing information may remain anonymous if they choose. 

January 24th, 2017, Tuesday

DeSoto Calls Off Manhunt, Still Seeks 2 in Frierson Robbery

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office has called off its active manhunt for two males suspected of robbing a truck stop early the morning of Jan. 23. Authorities now believe the pair have left the area. DeSoto sheriff's deputies, however, still are on the lookout for the duo who robbed Relay Station in the 6700 block of Highway 175 in Frierson about 5 a.m. "We believe the suspects have left the area," Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said. "However, we ask citizens who live and travel in the area to remain on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. They are described as being heavy set. And both were wearing all black clothing.  Arbuckle said they fled in a gray car.  Deputies found a vehicle matching that description in the area of Louisiana Highway 175 at Louisiana Highway 5 at Kingston. That led authorities to believe the duo was on foot in that area about 2.2 miles southwest of Relay Station. Deputies still are patrolling the area. And detectives are continuing their investigation into the armed robbery. Motorists passing through and residents of that area are being asked to remain alert and report any suspicious activity by calling sheriff's office dispatchers at (318) 872-3956. Authorities say they have reason to believe the 2 males are armed and should be considered dangerous.  DeSoto Parish Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of either of the 2 robbery suspects. Call the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 872-3956 or DeSoto Parish Crime Stoppers' toll-free hotline at (800) 505-7867 with any information. All calls are confidential.

January 24th, 2017, Tuesday

Natchez: Rebuilding After Saturday's Severe Weather

Howard Johnson is still taking in Saturday's severe storm that tore through the Natchez community and destroyed his home, blowing some of it into Cane River. Johnson was inside his trailer when a possible tornado passed nearby, but he fortunately only received only scrapes. Here is how Johnson described the situation, "All at once the trailer started shaking before I could get out of the bed and the lights when off and it started flipping. I ended up with a bunch of stuff on top of me, so all I could do is crawl and crawled to the pecan tree and hold onto it until everything was over, and like I said after I got to the pecan tree, in a few seconds everything was over." The severe weather brought heavy rain, hail, strong winds, and possible tornadoes across north central Louisiana Saturday evening. In Natchez alone, Deputies believe between 10 to 18 homes received damage from the storms. Just a few doors down from Howard, Ethel Elie was in the process of rebuilding what she had lost on her property. Ethel stated, "It kind of did quite a bit of damage to my storage, sun-room on my house, boat sheds, my camper, one of my storage buildings, and we are just trying to pick and clear up. Whatever we can salvage we are trying to use again." With this loss of property she says she couldn't have bounced back as quickly without the support of her family, "Family is very important for any situation, because no matter what happens if your close to your family, they're going to come when you need and when you need their help." Early Sunday morning the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies and Natchitoches Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness officials returned to Natchez to offer assistance to residents in the area that had been effected. Surveys will be conducted by the National Weather Service in Shreveport to determine if in fact a tornado had touched down in the Natchez area.

January 23rd, 2017, Monday

Update: Three Killed in Fiery Vernon Parish Crash

State police have released the names of three men killed in a fiery crash Tuesday morning in Vernon Parish. As News Channel 5 reported Wednesday, Fort Polk officials presumed them to be soldiers. On Friday, state police confirmed the victims were from Fort Polk. The three men killed in the crash have been identified as 21-year-old Russell Birt, 19-year-old Theddrick Taylor and 18-year-old Chandler Richardson. So far, there are no more details about the three, but the family of Richardson tells News Channel 5 that he's from Indiana and recently joined the Army. The crash happened just outside of Rosepine on LA 1146, a road many residents consider dangerous.  Authorities say the driver lost control of the car, which exited the roadway and collided with several trees before overturning and becoming fully engulfed in flames. The victims were trapped inside and were pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.

January 23rd, 2017, Monday

Road Closure: 1st Street, Leesville

Due to the amount of rain we have received the last few days, 1st Street has been closed due to high wawter. Until further notice, please find an alternate route for this area. For any questions, please contact Leesville City Hall at (337) 239-2444.

January 20th, 2017, Friday

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office: Reward Offered

Crime Stoppers Reward: Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for the arrest of the person(s) involved in the theft of the pictured tires/wheels. These items were stolen from a residence on Hicks Drive Many La. at some point during the last three weeks. The items are described as Vogue tires 245/40/R20, Swinger wheels manufactured by Texas Wire and Wheel. Any information can be provided to Crime Stoppers at 318-256-4511 or the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Department at 318-256-9241.

Burr Ferry Pair Facing Charges

Two people have been booked in burglaries and thefts at the Burr Ferry Volunteer Fire Department and the Burr Ferry Baseball Complex concession stand. According to the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, arrested in the case were 35-year-old Evan Blayne Kay and 27-year-old Emaly McClintock, both of Burr Ferry. Authorities said over $18,000 worth of equipment was taken from the fire department and over $1,000 in goods were stolen from the concession stand, operated by the Evans Optimist Club. A news release states that Kay was arrested Tuesday on unrelated charges. "A search warrant was executed on a vehicle operated by Kay and items identified as fire department property were located inside the vehicle. Investigators then obtained additional information and executed a search warrant at the residence of Emaly McClintock in Burr Ferry. During the search warrant, fire department property was located inside the residence as well as items believed to have been stolen during the baseball complex burglary. Also located within the residence were illegal narcotics," the release states. Vernon Parish Narcotics Task Force agents assisted in the execution of the search warrant and McClintock was taken into custody at the scene. She was booked Tuesday on one count of possession of a schedule II narcotic (methamphetamine), one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of a schedule IV narcotic. Bond on the narcotics charges was set at $17,000. McClintock and Kay were additionally booked Thursday on two counts of simple burglary and each have a bond set on the burglary charges of $40,000. The Sheriff's Office is asking residents to contact authorities if they received property from McClintock and Kay so it can be recovered and returned. Sheriff Sam Craft encouraged residents to contact the Sheriff's Office at 337-238-1311 if they see suspicious activity in their communities. Information can also be reported to Crime Stoppers at 337-239-2233. 

January 20th, 2017, Friday
 

Fort Polk Officials: Victims in Fiery Crash Presumed to Be Soldiers

The identities of the victims in Tuesday morning's fiery crash in Vernon Parish have not been released, but News Channel 5 has learned that Fort Polk officials are presuming they were soldiers on post. The crashed happened on LA 1146, considered a dangerous road by some residents in the area. Just before the first bridge on LA 1146 East, charred pieces of a 2009 Chevy Malibu litter the site of the crash and gasoline can be seen in a nearby stream. Law enforcement responded to the crash at around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday morning. Louisiana State police said the driver lost control of the car, which exited the roadway and collided with several trees before overturning and becoming fully engulfed in flames. The victims were trapped inside and were pronounced dead at the scene. Because of the nature of the crash, officials are using DNA to identify the victims. Those names will be released when families are fully notified. A family member of one of the victims told News Channel 5 that their loved one had just joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Polk. An acquaintance who said they were with the victims Monday evening also told us that the others were also soldiers at Fort Polk. State police said it's unknown at this time if the victims were wearing their seatbelts or if the driver was impaired. Routine toxicology tests are pending.

January 19th, 2017, Thursday
 

Florida Man Gets 10 Years for Sexually Assaulting Fort Polk Officer

 According to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, a Florida man was sentenced Thursday to 121 months in prison for sexually assaulting a female officer stationed at Fort Polk. Maurice Antuan Speights, 32, of Tallahassee, FL. was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald Walter on one count of sexual abuse. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release, ordered to pay $3,570 in restitution and is required to register as a sex offender. According to testimony evidence admitted at the two-day trial, the defendant, a civilian, was an acquaintance of the victim who was temporarily residing at a relative's home in Leesville. The victim, a female friend and Speights went out for a night of drinking on October 20, 2013. At the trial, the friend testified about the events of the evening. She stated that the victim was so intoxicated, that by the time the three returned to the female friend's home, the victim passed out. The female friend and Speights had to carry the victim to an upstairs bedroom. An FBI agent testified that during an interview, Speights acknowledged engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim, but claimed it was consensual. The victim took the stand during the two-day trial and testified that she had no memory of anything that occurred until she woke up in the middle of the night with the defendant sexually assaulting her. "Our military keeps us safe here and around the globe," Finley stated. "Its members should not have to face violence on any military installation. We take these cases seriously and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law." The case was brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office because the crime occurred on the Fort Polk Military Post where the United States has exclusive jurisdiction. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney's John Luke Walker and David C. Joseph prosecuted the case.

January 19th, 2017, Thursday

Sabine Parish Police Jury Notice

Sabine Parish Police Jury would like to inform the public that the bridge on C.B. Byrd Road is closed and will remain closed until repairs are made.

January 19th, 2017, Thursday

One Injured, One Arrested in Weekend Shooting in Carlyss

One person has been arrested following a shooting in Carlyss early Saturday morning. Randall C. Reeves, 60, of Wisconsin, is charged attempted second-degree murder.  Judge Michael Canaday set bond at $200,000. A little after midnight on Jan. 14, Reeves and another person were involved in a verbal altercation on Myles Lane when both Reeves and the victim retrieved firearms and exchanged gunfire outside the home, said Kim Myers, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. Reeves shot the other person in the back during the incident. The other person was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Myers said that the shooting is still under investigation and more arrests are possible.  Detective Cody Fontenot is the lead investigator.

January 18th, 2017, Wednesday

Three Killed in Fiery Vernon Parish Crash

Early Tuesday morning, a single vehicle crash killed three people. Troopers responded to the crash around 1:40 a.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 1146 near Rosepine, Louisiana. The crash involved a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The Chevrolet was eastbound on LA Hwy 1146 when the driver lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with several trees before overturning and becoming fully engulfed in flames. There were three occupants in the vehicle at the time of the crash. All three were trapped inside and were pronounced dead. The identities of all three are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired. The investigation remains ongoing. Routine toxicology tests are pending. Troop E Troopers have investigated three fatal crashes in 2017, resulting in five fatalities.

January 18th, 2017, Wednesday

Miss Northwestern-Lady of the Bracelet

 Northwestern State University will hold the annual Miss Northwestern–Lady of the Bracelet Pageant Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public, but donations for the Children’s Miracle Network will be accepted. Five contestants will compete in the pageant which is a preliminary for the Miss Louisiana Pageant. The contestants are Emily Jackson of Leesville, Erica Jarlock of Covington, Stephanie Parker of Stonewall, Maria Rome of Baton Rouge and Peyton Curry of Haughton. Jackson is a senior nursing major. She is a President’s List student and served as a student ambassador. Jackson is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and was a member of the Purple Pizazz Pom Pom Line. “As Lady of the Bracelet, I would be able to reach a broader range of people when speaking about the importance of organ donation,” said Jackson.  Jarlock is a sophomore theatre major with a concentration in musical theatre and dance. She is a member of the Demon Dazzlers Dane Line, vice-president of the Student Theatre Organization and a member of Make Your Own Theatre. “When you put that crown on you are representing a family-oriented campus that gives students of different talents an amazing education,” said Jarlock. “I love the opportunities I receive going to NSU and the education. I want nothing more than to help this university grow, and I think being Miss Northwestern-Lady of the Bracelet would be a wonderful opportunity to do that.” Parker is a junior hospitality management and tourism major with a minor in communication. She is a member of the Purple Pizazz Pom Line serving as co-captain for two years. Parker was an orientation leader in the Freshman Connection program, a member of the Demon Days and Welcome Week Committee and Demon Volunteers in Progress. She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity. “All the girls whom I'm competing against are confident, beautiful and hardworking but what really sets me apart from them is my passion for Northwestern State University and my drive to make a difference and leave a legacy here at NSU,” said Parker. Rome is a psychology major. She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity, NSU ambassadors, Alpha Lambda Delta, NSU choir and Psi Chi. Rome is a member of Purple Jackets Honor Society, Demon Volunteers in Progress and the Welcome Week committee. “I would like to be Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet so I can represent the school that has given so much to me,” said Rome. “I have had countless leadership and scholarship opportunities while being a part of a family-like environment that has allowed me to grow into the woman I want to be once I graduate.” Curry is a theatre major with a concentration in dance. She is a Dean’s List student. Curry was a participant in the Miss Louisiana Teen Pageant. “It would be an honor to represent the school, the beautiful city of Natchitoches, and of course my platform at the Miss Louisiana Pageant if chosen,” said Curry. “I want to spread awareness to young children and adults that you can do anything you can set you mind to and to not let obstacles pull you down.”

January 17th, 2017, Tuesday

State Trooper Injured in Hit-and-Run

A Louisiana state trooper was injured when his patrol car was involved in a hit-and-run accident. NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported that the accident occurred Sunday afternoon in East Baton Rouge Parish. Troopers are asking for assistance in locating the driver of the car. The driver rear-ended the trooper's patrol car and another car. The trooper had minor injuries. Based on witness descriptions, troopers believe that the suspect's vehicle is a red or maroon Chrysler PT Cruiser or Chevrolet HHR and was being driven by a man. The vehicle should also have heavy front-end damage.

January 17th, 2017, Tuesday

Historic Hearse Part of DeRidder Commemoration

The hearse that brought the body of Martin Luther King Junior from the morgue at the hospital to the funeral home in Tennessee was transported to DeRidder to commemorate MLK's birthday.  Organizers Billy Spikes and Carlos Archield hope seeing the 1966 Cadillac Hearse will spur interest in young people move all who see it: "I hope it will inspire everyone to remember the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King fought for, to inspire them to do much better in life to love one another and just to appreciate the sacrifice he has done for our country," Archield said. "When I seen the vehicle, something about it just gave me chill bumps knowing that Dr. Martin Luther King's body was in this hearse.  Dr. Martin Luther King, he was for equal rights for everyone and that's the way our organization is.  We are equal to everyone, we don't see color," Spikes said. In addition to the hearse, Spikes says the exhibit from a pawn shop in Alexandria also includes the handcuffs put on Rosa Parks when she was escorted from the bus to jail. Earlier community members processed to the fairgrounds, carrying pictures and signs in honor of the slain civil rights leader. The program they turned out for included inspirational speakers aimed at challenging all to become better people. Keynote speaker, DeRidder native Dr. Cheryl Mango, of Grambling State University, says King's message goes beyond urging members of different races to love one another. "I am concerned about the way that black people treat other black people.  I am concerned about the messages in the music.  I am concerned about 800 people being killed in Chicago, usually by their other brothers or sisters. I am concerned," she said. "The root, the foundation of Dr. King's dream is the assumption that black people first love black people. So we should love black people as we love ourselves," Mango said. Mango said part of the challenge is to dream big dreams like Dr. King and, rather than succumb to criticizing others and discord seek to elevate and uplift others. 

January 17th, 2017, Tuesday

Boil Advisory Lifted

Please be advised that the boil advisory has been lifted for Petty Road, Rabbit Run, and Cedar Lane.

January 16th, 2017, Monday

Unrestrained Natchitoches Man Killed in Crash

 On Saturday, a single vehicle crash killed a man from Natchitoches and injured a man from St. Maurice. Neither men were wearing a seat belt. Troopers responded to the crash around 2:40 p.m., which occurred on US Hwy 71 north of Montgomery. The crash involved a 1998 Ford Explorer, driven by Michael L. McKinney, 41, of St. Maurice. The Ford was northbound on US Hwy 71 when McKinney lost control and drove off the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with several trees. McKinney received moderate injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center. His only passenger, identified as Brandon L. Banks, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests and charges are pending. The crash remains under investigation. Louisiana State Police would like to take this opportunity to remind/inform motorists that properly wearing your seat belt will dramatically reduce your chance of being injured or killed in a crash. We ask you to take one second to “buckle up!” Louisiana law requires that every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled up. Not wearing a seat belt remains the leading cause of death in motor vehicle crashes. Troop E Troopers have investigated two fatal crashes in 2017, resulting in two fatalities.

January 16th, 2017, Monday

Body of Missing Robeline Man Found in Wooded Area

The body of a missing Robeline man has been found by authorities on Friday morning. Marty Dock Powell, 41 was reported missing on Wednesday by family members who hadn't seen him since New Year's Day.  His body was found shortly after 9 a.m. in a wooded area near Carey Scarborough Road, west of Natchitoches, according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones, Jr.  The body was three-quarters of a mile away from his abandoned pickup truck. The search team focused He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say that they do not believe foul play is involved.  An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death. Powell's body was found by a search team made up of Natchitoches Parish sheriff's deputies, Red River Sheriff's office cadaver K-9, Robeline police and Natchitoches Parish Detention Center employees.

January 16th, 2017, Monday

Federal Jury Finds South Carolina Man Guilty of Sexually Explointing Juvenile

 United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a federal jury found a South Carolina man guilty last week of producing child pornography and traveling to Louisiana to have sex with a juvenile. Frankie Maldonado, 50, of Reeseville, S.C., was found guilty on January 4 of two counts of production of child pornography and one count of traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. After the conclusion of the two-day trial, the jury deliberated for an hour and a half before delivering the guilty verdict. United States District Judge Dee D. Drell presided over the trial. According to the evidence presented, Maldonado began communicating with a 15-year-old girl. The girl’s father was a friend of Maldonado. Maldonado sent sexually explicit pictures of himself to the juvenile using text messaging in June of 2014. Thereafter he requested that she send sexually explicit pictures of herself. He also traveled to Louisiana on June 22, 2014 where he picked up the juvenile, brought her to a motel, took sexually explicit pictures and engaged in sexual activity with her. Maldonado faces up to 15 to 30 years in prison for the child pornography production counts and 30 years in prison for the traveling to engage in sexual conduct count. He also faces and five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. He is also required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing was set for March 24, 2017. Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Jamilla A. Bynog are prosecuting the case. This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) also encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online by visiting their website at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone application www.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app. Tips may be submitted anonymously.

January 13th, 2017, Friday

NPSO Seeking Information on Marthaville Man Reported Missing by Family

Natchitoches Parish sheriff's deputies are looking for a Robeline man reported missing by family members Wednesday, according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office. Deputies are looking for 41-year-old Marty Dock Powell. He was last seen Jan. 1 by family members, who say they've not seen or heard from him since. Thursday, NPSO Criminal Investigations deputies interviewed family and friends of Powell. No additional leads in his disappearance have been developed. Powell is a white male with brown hair and green eyes. He is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 151 pounds.   Anyone with information on Powell is asked to call the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office at (318) 352-6432 or Detective Jonathan Byles at (318) 357-7830.

January 13th, 2017, Friday

Edwards Defends Medicaid Expansion as GOP Works for Repeal

Gov. John Bel Edwards is outlining his defense for Louisiana's Medicaid expansion, pushing back on Republican work in Congress to dismantle the federal health law that created the program. The Democratic governor planned a Thursday afternoon event in New Orleans highlighting the health services people have received since Louisiana began its Medicaid expansion in July. More than 370,000 people are getting government-financed health insurance through the program in Louisiana, the first Deep South state to participate. Edwards and his health secretary say people are receiving treatment for cancer, diabetes and other health conditions discovered because of the new Medicaid coverage. But while Louisiana's governor touts the benefits, nearly all the state's congressional delegation members are supporting efforts in Washington to repeal the federal health law that allows for the expansion.

January 12th, 2017, Thursday

Unrestrained Florida Woman Killed in Single Vehicle Crash

Earlier today, a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Naples, FL that was not wearing a seat belt. Troopers responded to the crash around 9:50 a.m., which occurred on US Hwy 71 north of LA Hwy 158. The crash involved a 2002 BMW, driven by Carolyn S. Trissler (W/F 56 yrs). The BMW was southbound on US Hwy 71 when Trissler lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a culvert, before colliding with some trees. Trissler was pronounced dead. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation. Louisiana State Police would like to take this opportunity to remind/inform motorists that properly wearing your seat belt will dramatically reduce your chance of being injured or killed in a crash. We ask you to take one second to 'buckle up!' Louisiana law requires that every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled up. Not wearing a seat belt remains the leading cause of death in motor vehicle crashes. Troop E Troopers have investigated one fatal crash in 2017, resulting in one fatality.

January 12th, 2017, Thursday

Child Safety Seat Check Event in Alexandria

Rapides Regional Trauma Center and Louisiana State Police Troop E are conducting their monthly child passenger safety seat check-up event on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event will take place at Rapides Regional Trauma Center Medical Terrace, 211 Fourth Street, Alexandria, LA. No appointment is necessary and it is always free. The event will take place regardless of weather conditions. It is a proven fact that car seats and booster seats save lives. These devices offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash. However, approximately 3 out of 4 child seats are not used correctly. This misuse rate can be attributed to the great variety of child seats available, the great range of children’s weights and heights, and the vast array of vehicles in today’s market. These misuses span all races, educational levels, and socioeconomic status. During the past 30 years, approximately 8,959 lives have been saved by the use of child restraints according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is important that caregivers ensure children are properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt anytime they are traveling in a vehicle. Every Louisiana State Police troop is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a child safety seat “Inspection Station.” Troop E Troopers/technicians are available seven days a week to inspect car seats. Appointments can be made by calling (318) 769-9872 or (318) 769-9577. Please take advantage of these free services to ensure the safety of your child.

January 11th, 2017, Wednesday

Newton County Raids Three Homes; Drugs, Guns, Stolen Items Found, Three Arrested

Newton County Sheriff Billy Rowles said on Friday that a raid on a home in Newton has resulted in the discovery of drugs, and weapons, and two persons werre taken into custody. According to Rowles, an investigation involving his departmetn, along with Newton Police resulted in warrants being issued, and shortly after 4:00 Friday morning, both agencies, along with state troopers, converged upon that home, located on Highway 87 North, just inside the city limits of Newton. Once in the residence, Rowles said officers found approximately 25 guns of various calibers, a lawnmowers thought to have been stolen in recent weeks, and a small amount of methamphetamine. According to Rowles, evidence obtained at that home led deputies to another home, located in the Bon Wier Community, where they discovered more weapons and drug paraphernalia, sesulting in the arrest of another individual. Later on Friday, Rowles said his deputies went to a home on County Road 2004, also known as Ford Cemetery ROad in teh North End of Newton County, where they also found a John Deere Tractor that had been reported stolen. The sheriff said the investigation is continuing as officers from all three agencies continue to follow up on leads obtained at each location.

January 11th, 2017, Wednesday

State Police Mourn Loss of Trooper Who Died of Heart Attack

Louisiana State Police Troop D is mourning the loss of a trooper who died Tuesday afternoon of a heart attack while at work. Sgt. Tracy Morgan, 51, assigned to the Gaming Enforcement Division, was working at the Capital One Tower when, at about 1 p.m., he "collapsed as he walked from the parking garage to the main building," said Sgt. James Anderson, state police spokesman. "Troopers and medical personnel working in the building administered CPR until Acadian Ambulance arrived. Despite the best efforts of those who came to his aid, Sgt. Morgan was pronounced dead at CHRISTUS-St. Patrick Hospital," he said. Morgan served in the U.S. Marines and was an officer with the Lake Charles Police Department before becoming a state trooper in 1994. Morgan had extensive investigative experience and served as a crisis negotiator, Anderson said. “He epitomized what it meant to be a trooper,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police superintendent. "He will be missed by us all.” Late Tuesday afternoon. a procession of troopers transported Morgan's body from CHRISTUS-St. Patrick Hospital to the funeral home.

January 11th, 2017, Wednesday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply system due to repairing water line. Because of this problem, the water produced by our water supply system is of questionable microbiological quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is issuing a BOIL ADVISORY effective immediately for customers in the following areas: Petty Road, Rabbit Run, and Cedar Lane. it is recommended that all customers in the affected are disinfect their water before consuming it, making ice, brushing teeth, or using it for food preparation.

January 11th, 2017, Wednesday

Knowlton Tapped To Lead Economic Development Effort in Beauregard

When Avon Knowlton starts speaking about Beauregard Parish, you can't get a word in edgewise. It's easy to tell that Beauregard Parish is her passion. Why? "Well, that's easy," she said. "This is the best place in the world to live. My roots are here, my family is here and that's what has brought me home." Knowlton starts a new job Feb. 1, and in a brand, new position. She will be leaving her post as Executive Vice President of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance to become the Executive Director of Economic Development for Beauregard Parish -- a collaboration between the city, Police Jury and Chamber of Commerce. DeRidder Mayor Ron Roberts said the parish has long needed an economic development leader. "Avon Knowlton is the most qualified in the state to make this happen," he said. "We are especially pleased that the city, the Police Jury and the local Chamber have joined forces to make this happen." The mother and grandmother knows the challenges the job comes with -- competition, chief among them -- but she has set her sights on the rewards. "As a grandparent, I'd love to see my grandsons stay here and be able to raise their families here," Knowlton said. "Ten years from now, I'd like to see some more manufacturing plants here -- great quality jobs, great quality of life, good retail services -- just a great place to live. I think moving forward, 10, 15 and even 20 years from now, there are going to be some great jobs here for our children." Knowlton is a resident of the Junction, the Beauregard Parish community where she grew up. "A lot of people don't know were the Junction is, but that's between Merryville and DeRidder. I have lived there for 46 years and that's where my home and heart are," she said. Knowlton and husband, Edward, have been married for 27 years. They have two sons, Garrett and Dylan, and daughter-in-law, Jordyn Wisby Knowlton. Their grandsons are Bowen and Boone. Knowlton has a newspaper background and for the past 15 years, has worked in the Chamber of Commerce and economic development fields, helping to grow the Southwest Louisiana region. She previously led the Beauregard Parish Chamber of Commerce and has been involved in the effort to retain Fort Polk troop numbers in her role with the Alliance and as a founding partner of Fort Polk Progress. Under her leadership, in 2008, the Beauregard Chamber of Commerce was named "Chamber of the Year." She was a team member when the Chamber SWLA received the same award in 2011 and again, in 2014. George Swift, Alliance President/CEO, said Knowlton has been a key player in regional economic development efforts. “Avon continues to demonstrate personal growth and leadership in our organization and statewide, as immediate past president of The Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She has exhibited competence in management building the Chamber SWLA into a recognized success. At the Alliance, she has helped us build our major events, while working on public policy and economic development projects (now totaling $120 billion of announced projects). Avon has represented us in Washington on issues regarding the future of Fort Polk a major military installation in our area," Swift said. Knowlton received her Institute of Organizational Management Certification (IOM) from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a certificate of completion in Advanced Studies from Oklahoma University’s Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence. She received her Certified Chamber Executive Certification (CCE) from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2012, making her one of two active CCE in Louisiana. She served as a class advisor and is now on the Board of Regents for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management at Villanova University. Knowlton serves on the Governmental Affairs committee at the Alliance, the Women’s Business Network, served as the 2011 Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives President and was a board member for five years. She was named the 2008 "Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Director of the Year" and received recognition as a "2008 Under 40 and Rising – Outstanding Leader" from the Times Southwest Louisiana Magazine. Louisiana's second-largest "shovel ready" industrial megasite was announced in December and is located on acreage owned by the Beauregard Parish Airport. Knowlton said she will work to tap into the growth the SWLA region has been experiencing, and to bring industry to the new site. "It seems to be that a lot of the economic development opportunities for our region are starting to move north into the Ragley area, South Beauregard area and eventually, it will flow here into the city. But the main thing I think that is so important is the establishment of the megasite out at the Beauregard Parish Airport. It's 1,100 acres, a little more than that and it's certified, it's ready to go. It's the second megasite in the State of Louisiana that has an airport, falling behind England Air Park," she said. Knowlton's office is located in the Historic First Street School in downtown DeRidder, a place she hopes will be a hub to prepare people for the workplace. It's a large facility with lots of classroom space and parking, centrally located. "I think the First Street School is a great opportunity and it's going to be a great place to have an education and workforce center. I think we will be able to utilize this facility in the future to meet our workforce needs and to educate and help train people for those great jobs that are coming in the future. I think this is going to be a one-stop shop for business and education here in Beauregard Parish," she said. She thinks the area has an excellent workforce to build upon. "Lots of great, qualified people who are looking for good jobs and want to contribute to the community and make a better quality of life for themselves and their families," she said. Knowlton is interested in hearing residents' ideas. She said there will be ways for the business community to take part in the effort as well. "There are going to be really great opportunities for them to be a part of this and invest in something great for our future and our young people. The sky is going to be the limit. I think if they really want to invest in the future, this is going to be a place for them," she said.

January 10th, 2017, Tuesday

Major Changes Proposed for TOPS Scholarship Program

Big changes to the state's tuition assistance program TOPS could soon be made. The first steps in updating current criteria and creating new guidelines were made in Baton Rouge this week. Amid a budget crisis and looming cuts to all state agencies last summer, Sen. Sharon Hewitt of Slidell sponsored a bill calling for the evaluation of post-secondary education in Louisiana. On Monday, senior staff presented the Board of Regents with a set of draft recommendations to be reviewed. The 44-page draft includes new criteria for TOPS recipients to new ideas for helping fund the program. "What we are looking at is working more closely with the senior year in high school," said Dr. Joseph Rallo, Commissioner of Higher Education.  Rallo said before setting new standards for college students, it all begins with ensuring high school seniors are prepared after graduation. "We would like to be able to have students graduate with 30 college credits which are called dual credits," said Rallo. The thought is if students earn dual-enrollment credits while in high school, they'll finish college quicker, needing less financial aid and saving the state money. Also in the report, a proposal raising the minimum number of credit hours for TOPS recipients from 24 hours a year to 30. Rallo said at just 12 credit hours a semester, it takes students more than 4 years to graduate. Requiring 30 a year - to be earned over an entire academic year - students will be on track to graduate college in four years. In another recommendation, Rallo said changing how much TOPS pays each year to a sort of an 'earn as you go' program, might be just the incentive students need. "Fund the first year at 80 percent, the second year at 90 percent, the last two years at 100 percent so students have a little bit of skin in the game," said Rallo. This means freshmen would be required to pay for 20 percent of their own tuition. Once they complete their first year of school and continue to meet requirements, as sophomores students would need to pay for 10 percent of their tuition. Juniors and seniors would have their tuition paid in full by TOPS. This tiered system is not the only payout recommendation. Rallo says legislators may decide to go with a flat-rate system. In that scenario, each TOPS recipient would get a flat-rate grant to take to any public college or university of their choice. One major piece of this report, could change how much TOPS is funded altogether. "Allow companies to basically bid on sponsoring TOPS," said Rallo, "The TOPS students, they are the types of employee companies wants to hire, so what better way to make sure you have the type of student you want than to support them." Come next year, you might hear "Your TOPS Scholarship powered by..." The Board of Regents will now examine the report then decide next month what to recommend to the Legislature. The public comment period is open, to weigh in or to view the draft recommendations in full visit the Board of Regents website by clicking HERE.

January 10th, 2017, Tuesday

Tri-Parish Task Force Rounds Up 12 on Drug Charges; Warrants Out For 7 More

The Tri-Parish Drug Task Force has rounded up 12 people on assorted drug charges and the search is on for seven more sought on outstanding arrest warrants, DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said Friday in a news release.  The task force is made up of agents from DeSoto, Sabine and Red River parishes. The arrests follow a six-month investigation that targeted illegal narcotics sales in communities that were sparked by citizen complaints.  Arrested so far:

  • Atari Woods, 37, of Mansfield, charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. 
  • Michael Taylor, 41, of Mansfield, charged with distribution of methamphetamine
  • James Williams, 33, of Mansfield, charged with distribution two counts of distribution of cocaine.
  • Alray Price, 36. charged with principle to distribution of cocaine.
  • Leon Wilson Jr., 65,  of Logansport, charged with distribution of marijuana.
  • Justin Bledsoe, 28, of Logansport, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Melvin Partner, 44, of Mansfield, charged with three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Beau Hardy, 27,  of Stonewall, charged with distribution of methamphetamine
  • Miquel Youngblood, 24, of Mansfield, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of marijuana.
  • Lisa Shook, 49, of Logansport, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Christopher Brown, 31, of Mansfield, charged with three counts of distribution of crystal methamphetamine,
  • Quatedrick Williams, 26, of Mansfield, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.

The following are wanted on outstanding warrants:

  • Robert Stephenson II, 28, of Logansport, wanted for two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Candi Coke, 28, of Shreveport, wanted for distribution of marijuana.
  • Joshua Ambrose, 25,of Shreveport, wanted for principal to distribution of marijuana.
  • Dashawn Burse, 41, of Logansport, wanted for two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Angela Bledsoe, 27, of Logansport, wanted for distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Robert Thompson II, 34, of Zwolle, wanted for three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Lemarius Johnson, 36, of Mansfield, wanted for three counts each of distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of cocaine.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that results their arrest. Call the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 872-3956 or the DeSoto Parish Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-505-STOP (7867).  All calls are confidential.

January 9th, 2017, Monday

Suspect Who Shot Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Arrested for Attempted 1st Degree Murder

A 31-year-old Monroe woman was charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer in connection with the early Saturday morning shooting of an enforcement agent with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Morehouse Parish. According to Louisiana State Police Troop F, Amethyst Baird was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center, along with 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe, who was booked on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder. Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, was shot five times — once in the temple — during a traffic stop shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 7 on Highway 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area. “I am very proud of the hard work and persistence of investigators to quickly identify and arrest these suspects,” Col. Mike Edmonson, State Police superintendent, said. “We continue to pray for Agent Wheeler as he recovers from this senseless assault.” According to a LDWF press release Saturday evening, Wheeler was listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit of the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center. In addition to the temple, Wheeler was shot in the jaw, shoulder and twice in the arm. Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for two and a half years, and is married with one child.

January 9th, 2017, Monday

REAL ID Implementation Date Again Postponed

The Department of Homeland Security has granted another extension to Louisiana for implementation of the REAL ID Act. Visitors to Fort Polk (non-Department of Defense cardholders) will NOT be required to have a REAL ID compliant ID/driver's license until Oct. 10, 2017. As always, non-DoD ID card holders should stop by the Visitors Center (adjacent to Fort Polk's main gate) with their valid forms of ID for a visitor's pass. Overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act requires the states to enforce stricter policies when issuing driver's licenses. Without the new, federally-approved identification, a citizen will not be able to enter government facilities and, eventually, unable to board domestic flights. Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing the real ID compliant licenses on Oct. 3. If you have a driver's license from a state other than Louisiana, check the status of your state's compliance with the Act at https://www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories.

January 6th, 2017, Friday

Missing Man Found Safe in Lake Charles


Sulphur police said the missing man whose vehicle was found abandoned on I-10 has been found safe. Mel Estess, spokesman, said he was located by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office on La. 14 and returned to his family. No additional details are available at this time. Clifton Ollie Nathaniel Lowe, 75, from Jones County, Miss., was reported missing on Jan. 2. Sulphur police located the gray 2016 Nissan Versa west of Ruth Street around 2 p.m. Thursday, Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats said. Estess said that police checked area hospitals and had been searching the woods in the area where the car was found.

January 6th, 2017, Friday

Hazardous Driving Conditions Possible in North Louisiana

The National Weather Service is forecasting the possibility of rain and/or snow in parts of Central and Northern Louisiana Friday. Little, if any, snow accumulation is expected but any residual water that has melted on the ground will quickly freeze Friday evening. This may lead to the formation of black ice, especially on bridges and overpasses, resulting in hazardous driving conditions. Temperatures will climb back above freezing around midday Saturday melting any ice that may form. Motorists should be on the lookout for the possibility of ice on area bridges and overpasses during this weather event. This type of weather pattern can be dangerous for motorists who are traveling along Louisiana highways as most are not accustomed to in such driving conditions. Motorists are reminded to drive responsibly and be prepared for the possibility of slippery driving conditions.

The Louisiana State Police offers the following winter weather driving tips:
• ?Reduce speed
• ?Allow extra time to reach your destination
• ?Allow extra space between vehicles
• ?Do not drive using the cruise control in icy conditions
• ?Anticipate stops (such as stop signs and traffic signals) and brake gently while stopping
• ?If you encounter a skid, take your foot off accelerator and steer into the skid until you regain control
• ?Use low beam headlights if it is raining/sleeting 
• ?Ensure all vehicle occupants are properly restrained.

If you experience difficulties or witness hazardous situations while on the highway, you may notify the nearest State Police Troop office by dialing *LSP (*577) from your cell phone or contact your local law enforcement agency. You can also stay up to date on road closure information by visiting www.511la.org 

January 6th, 2017, Friday

NWS Confirms 10-15 Tornadoes Hit From Rapides to Beauregard


Monday's storm came and went so quickly that most people in affected areas didn't know what hit them. The National Weather Service is now saying tornadoes are to blame for a lot of the damage in areas of Beauregard Parish. Officials went out on Tuesday to survey the damage and confirmed that tornadoes touched down in parts of the parish. Officials think two-to-three more will be confirmed once investigations are complete. Roger Erickson, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said he traveled 350 miles round trip on Tuesday to survey the damage. "Anytime we get reports of damage, we go out there to assess whether it was a tornado, whether it was straight line winds and also what kind of wind speed caused the damage," said Erickson.  From Rapides to Beauregard parishes, he assessed the damage and confirmed 10 to 15 tornadoes touched down. "What we have left over to do is determine the starting points and the end points and then go back and look at the radar data and match it up to the corresponding locations on the map of where the damage actually occurred," he said. Erickson checked on areas in Beauregard, including the area of Mystic Baptist Church, where he confirmed there was a tornado.  He also confirmed the Ragley area was hit with one of these tornadoes, which formed from thunderstorms meeting up with wind cells. The intense damage was caused by EF-0 to EF-1 category tornadoes- some areas almost reaching EF-2 status. "It's like having a Category 1 or 2 hurricane hit in small pockets across the area and some of the damage you see is probably similar to what some people saw after Hurricane Rita," Erickson said. Luckily, there were no fatalities or injuries reported. "That's the good part with Facebook. I know Ben (Terry. KPLC meteorologist) did Facebook Live and in the modern world of social media that's a great resource to get the message out to people to let them know the storm is coming," he said. According to Erickson, "tornado alley" shifts to this area during this time of year, so it is important to be aware.  Erickson still has more area to investigate storm damage, including the Reeves area. He expects to confirm two-or-three more tornadoes in Beauregard.

January 5th, 2017, Thursday

Sabine Parish Police Jury Announcement

The WPA Road off of HWY 174 in Pleasant Hill to the Progress Church Road will be closed form January 4th until January 6th, 2017 for bridge replacement. The mains portion of the road that will be closed is between Moffett Road to Progress Church Road.

January 5th, 2017, Thursday

Election Qualification

Qualifying for the March 25th, 2017 will be held January 11-13, 2017. The offices running are Many Mayor, Many Chief of Police, and Many Alderman, Special for Alderman in Village of Pleasant Hill, Special for Alderman in Village of Pleasant Hill, Special for Police Jury District #3 due to Rodney Hopkins death, and millage renewal for Zwolle School District #61. The Primary election will be March 25th, 2017 and the General will be April 29th, 2017. Early voting for the March 25th, 2017 election will be held beginning Saturday March 11th through Saturday March 18. The polls will be closed on Sunday. The hours for early voting will be 8:30 am until 6 p.m. each day.

January 4th, 2017, Wednesday

Many Police Department Saves the Day

On Christmas Eve the MPD received a report from a residence on Cobb Drive that someone had stolen his beloved Squire electric guitar. The instrument was removed from his vehicle while parked at his residence. The MPD launched an investigation, came up with a suspect, but the trail soon turned cold. It was discouraging to all of us, but more so to the owner who really missed the special old guitar that he had enjoyed for years. It seemed all was lost. That was until a couple of young crime fighters that were visiting their grandparents across the street, did some exploring in the nearby woods and lo and behold, came across a strange looking bag buried in the under brush. After evaluation of their discovery, they marked the spot and quickly notified their grandpa. Soon the mysterious bundle was pulled from thicket and opened up. To their surprise, out came a big red guitar. Soon the police were called and it was not long before the guitar was in the hands of its thankful owner.

Hats off to young detectives, Blake & Avery Brown, who were rewarded by receiving a MPD appreciation certificate for their effort in locating the stolen musical instrument. 

 

January 4th, 2017, Wednesday

Mansfield Man Accused in TWIC Card Scam

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Mansfield man accused of stealing more than $30,000 from Mansfield area residents through a scam that promised them jobs in south Texas. Alvin Dewayne Howard, 32, also known as Rudy, will be charged with felony theft.  Sheriff's investigators say Howard's arrest follows numerous interviews and searches of multiple electronic devices.  "Investigators were able to link Mr. Howard to the crime through numerous electronic fingerprints he left behind while carrying out the scam," Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said in a news release.  Howard has not been located. He is also known to have acquaintances in the El Dorado, Ark., area.  Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts are asked to contact the sheriff's office at (318) 872-3956. The alleged scam surfaced in November when more than 300 Mansfield residents complained they were promised jobs with Motiva in Beaumont, Texas, in exchange for paying $100 for a TSA TWIC card for employment purposes. The individuals were promised jobs paying $25 an hour.  Investigators learned the Motiva plant did not require the TWIC card, and Motiva officials said they did not have any current job openings.  Initially, investigators said the man who was making the job promises was being cooperative. They also felt he was being scammed by someone else. But further investigation led to Howard being their main suspect.  "Sheriff Arbuckle would also like to thank the public and the many victims for their patience while the investigation was carried out.  We wanted to ensure sufficient evidence was gathered prior to arrest so that Mr. Howard could be properly prosecuted for his crime. The DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office is still working diligently to recover the money Mr. Howard stole from the victims.  Anyone who was a victim of the original crime is asked to contact our office to file a complaint," the news release states. 

January 4th, 2017, Wednesday

NPSO Responds to HWY 71 Crash

Just after noon yesterday, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's deputies and other agencies  responded to a single-vehicle injury crash on US-71 north of Campti, according to the NPSO. Deputies say a 2013 Ford Fiesta was traveling southbound on US-71 north of Campti, on the wet roadway when the operator apparently lost control of the vehicle and exited  the roadway on the right side, striking a culvert causing the vehicle to overturn. The driver and two passengers, who were reportedly trapped in the vehicle, were able to free themselves from the wreckage before Natchitoches Fire Department # 9 arrived on scene with extrication equipment. All three occupants were transported by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Louisiana State Police, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS and NPFD #9 also responded to the accident. The crash is being investigated by TFC D. Morvant assigned to LSP Troop-E Alexandria.

January 3rd, 2017, Tuesday

Three Dead in Vernon Parish Double Murder-Suicide

An Anacoco man is believed to have shot his aunt and another man before turning the gun on himself Sunday evening, authorities said. Norma Ross, 48, of Anacoco, and Calvin Stubbs, 30, of Leesville, were found dead in a residence in a home in the area of Ross Road in Anacoco on New Year's Day, while Norma's nephew, Derrick Ross,36, of Anacoco, was found in a wooded area a short distance from the home, Vernon Sheriff Sam Craft said. Vernon authorities responded to the area of Ross Road after a 911 call at 7:06 p.m. in which the caller said that a female had been shot at the location. Deputies found Norma Ross and Calvin Stubbs dead inside the residence, Craft said. Witnesses told deputies that Derrick Ross had shot the two, but that his whereabouts were unknown. The Vernon Parish Special Response Team and the Vernon Correctional Facility Chase Team were called and authorities began an "intense search of the area and eventually located the deceased body of Derrick Ross in a wooded area near the residence," Craft said. Vernon Parish Coroners Office investigators determined that Derrick Ross died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. The investigation is ongoing.

January 3rd, 2017, Tuesday

22-Year-Old LaTech Student Fatally Shot Off Campus on New Year's Eve

Ruston police say a 22-year-old Louisiana Tech University student was fatally shot New Year’s Eve. Now they are searching for his killer. Police said they received a report of the shooting about 9 p.m. Dec. 31 at 105 E. Texas Ave. in Ruston. Officers found the student with a gunshot wound at the scene immediately southeast of the Lincoln Parish Courthouse in downtown Ruston. Nicholas Green, of Elton, La., was taken to Northern Louisiana Medical Center in Ruston, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities are asking anyone with any information to call the Ruston Police Department’s Criminal Investigative Division at (318) 255-4141 or contact Ruston-Lincoln Crime Stoppers by calling (318) 255-1111, texting "TIP515 plus your message" to CRIMES (274637) or submitting a
tip online at the website rustonlincolncrimestoppers.com.

January 3rd, 2017, Tuesday

High Speed Chase Ends at Texas State Line, Vehicles Damaged

A DeRidder man is facing numerous charges following a high-speed chase Thursday morning in DeRidder, authorities said. DeRidder Deputy Chief Police Christopher Rudy said the incident happened around 9:32 a.m. when his officers were attempting to serve a felony probation warrant on 24-year-old Travis L. Joubert. Joubert was in a vehicle at a residence and fled the scene when officers arrived. He led officers on a high-speed chase throughout the City of DeRidder and onto U.S.Hwy 190 West. During the chase, Joubert caused damage to a patrol car as well as side-swiping an oncoming citizen's vehicle, Rudy said. He was also pursued by the Texas State Line with assistance from the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office and Merryville Police Department. Joubert then continued into Newton County Texas, where Newton County law enforcement pursued Joubert and was able to apprehend him. Joubert was wanted on felony probation warrants and is awaiting extradition back to Louisiana, Rudy said. Additional charges are pending for aggravated flight from an officer in Louisiana and it is unknown if there are pending charges in Texas.

December 30th, 2016, Friday

Scam Alert

The SPSO has received information in regards to a current scam being perpetrated within the last 12 hours. Potential victims are receiving phone calls from scammers claiming to be utility company representatives. The scammers inform the potential victim that they owe a bill and it must be paid immediately or their power will be turned off. Be aware and be advised that the utility companies do not operate in such a manner. If you receive such a call just promptly hang up.

December 29th, 2016, Thursday

Louisianians Have Until 2020 to Obtain REAL ID Compliant Driver's License

The REAL ID Act went into effect as a security measure after the September 11 attacks. The two main places people need to show the compliant ID is at the airport and in federal buildings that require identification. Federal law requires each state to become compliant by 2020. This measure includes adults and children. While legal drivers can get a REAL ID compliant driver's license, children can get a compliant state ID. Louisiana has been compliant since October 2016. State lawmakers wanted to roll this option out years ahead of the deadline, so people would not be rushed to get one. Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Karen St. Germain said more than 24,000 Louisianians currently have a REAL ID compliant license. Since the option has become available, OMVs across the state have been distributing an average of 8,000 to 10,000 compliant IDs. "We're happy that it's here and available," St. Germain said. "Louisiana hates to be the last state in everything, so we thought we'd at least be middle of the road on this one. They don't have very many states that are non-compliant. They have maybe four that are non-compliant or five, but the rest of them are working like we did to get to this place." The cost for a compliant ID is the same as a non-compliant license. Those interested in obtaining a REAL ID must go to the OMV in person to apply. Required documents include: current identification like a driver's license or state ID, a birth certificate, Social Security card and two different documents that show proof of your current address.

December 29th, 2016, Thursday

Fort Hood Soldier Found Dead on Post on Christmas Eve

A 21-year-old private was found unresponsive in a Fort Hood, Texas, home on Dec. 24, according to an Army release.  Pvt. Paige Elizabeth Briles, from Kaplan, Louisiana, was a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to a warrior transition unit, the release said. Briles joined the Army in February 2015 and had been assigned to the WTU at Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center since November. The circumstances of her death are under investigation by Criminal Investigation Command, the release said. 

December 29th, 2016, Thursday

Boil Advisory Remains in Effect in Robeline, Marthaville

The water is back on in the Natchitoches Parish municipalities of Robeline and Marthaville. But a boil advisory remains in effect. Officials are expected to take a closer look at long-term solutions during a meeting the first week of January.

December 29th, 2016, Thursday

Black Tar Heroin, Meth Seized in Desoto Parish Arrest


Black tar heroin and crystal methamphetamine were seized in a recent arrest in DeSoto Parish that landed one man in jail, according to a news release from DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle. The arrest of Joey M. Comoza, 39, of Mansfield, followed a investigation spanning several weeks. One ounce each of the drugs was found during a search of his home. Street value of the drugs is about $2,700, the news release states. Comoza admitted the drugs were for personal use in addition to sales to others, the news release states. He is charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance with intent to distribute.  Heroin, especially black tar heroin, is dangerous to consume, Arbuckle stresses.  Black tar heroin is formed from the incomplete acetylation of morphine and is normally injected into the body intravenously and sometimes subcutaneous (into the skin, not directly into a vein). The drug is known to be highly addictive due to it being an opioid.  Side effects include possible overdose due to the unknown purity of the drug, exposure to HIV and AIDS due to unsanitary conditions or the use of a single needle between multiple users, the narrowing and hardening of veins (known as venous sclerosis), as well as a much higher risk of life-threatening bacterial infections such as necrotizing fasciitis (also known as flesh eating bacteria). Anyone with information related to any illegal narcotics use or distribution is asked to contact the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office at (318) 872-3956.

December 29th, 2016, Thursday

Audit: $3 Million in State Hospital Equipment Still Missing

A state audit says about $3 million in state-owned hospital equipment remains missing, though about $3 million worth has been found since an audit a year ago. The missing equipment includes more than $1 million from a closed New Orleans hospital and nearly $2 million from one demolished in Baton Rouge. The audit also says $75 million in equipment bought for the new public hospital in New Orleans over the past two fiscal years was not properly recorded and tagged before being turned over to the hospital operator.A response from LSU Health says the equipment for the new University Medical Center in New Orleans has all been tagged and entered. It says it is continuing to look for the missing equipment described in last year’s audit.

December 28th, 2016, Wednesday

Sabine River Bridge at Burr Ferry to Soon Re-open

If all goes as planned, the bridge crossing the Sabine River at Burr Ferry, between Burkeville and Leesville on Highway 63, will soon be back in service. Sarah Dupre of the Texas Department of Transportation's Office at Beaumont said Tuesday that work is underway and hopes were that the bridge, which acts as a main throroughfare between Texas and Louisiana, would be back open in the first or second week of January 2017. The bridge was closed in March of this year when floodwaters from the raging Sabine River overcame the bridge, covering it in several feet of water and also damaging the superstructure that held it in place.

December 28th, 2016, Wednesday

Body Found in Red River Identified

The Caddo Parish Coroner's Office has determined the identity of a man whose body was found Monday in the Red River, south of the Interstate 20 bridge. The victim was identified through fingerprints by Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office investigators as Shelton Audrees, 51, of Shreveport. His remains were taken to University Health Hospital where an autopsy was performed. The cause of his death remains under investigation.

December 28th, 2016, Wednesday

Louisiana Department of Revenue to Begin Accepting Tax Returns

The Louisiana Department of Revenue will begin accepting 2016 state individual income tax returns on Jan. 23, the department announced Monday (Dec. 26) on its website. The deadline for state individual income tax filings is May 15. Starting Jan. 23, the department said it will be accepting returns filed electronically and through third-party commercial software, along with paper returns submitted in person and through the mail. Taxpayers beginning Jan. 23 can start downloading paper tax forms from the department's website, but the department is encouraging all taxpayers "to file electronically for the fastest, most error-free return processing," LDR's website states. The Internal Revenue Service will also begin accepting federal returns on Jan. 23.

  • Visit LDR's website here to file your tax returns online.

According to LDR's website, taxpayers can expect a the refund processing time for electronically filed returns to take up to 60 days. For paper returns, a 12- to 14-week wait is expected. Additionally, the department recommends taxpayers to take these steps for fast, accurate tax returns and refund processing:

  • Taxpayers should update personal information if their name or address changed during the tax year.
  • Double-check return information to ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct, and that all names and Social Security numbers are in the same order as previous years. Math errors and incorrect tax-table information are leading causes of delayed refunds.
  • Include all supporting information such as W-2s. Use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return.
  • Apply for extensions in a timely manner. Extension requests must be filed electronically no later than the May 15 income tax filing deadline.
  • If additional tax is due, include the remittance coupon to ensure proper payment posting.
  • Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Do not send cash.
  • If filing a paper return, attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

Additional tips on how to make sure a reputable tax preparer files your return properly may be found here. Also, taxpayers who have moved in the past year, including those displaced by the 2016 floods, should visit here for a walk-through on how to notify the department of such changes.

December 27th, 2016, Tuesday

Woman Killed By Train in Zwolle Identified

A woman who was struck and killed by a train in the northwest Louisiana city of Zwolle (ZWAH'-lee) has been identified. KSLA-TV reports that the Sabine Parish coroner on Monday identified the woman as 57-year-old Kimberly Stonedale. Coroner Ron Rivers said Stonedale had recently moved to Zwolle from new Orleans. She was killed around 6 p.m. Sunday. Investigators told KSLA that video from the train showed her walking toward the train, despite operators sounding the train's horn several times. An autopsy was performed Monday. Toxicology tests were pending.

December 27th, 2016, Tuesday

NC State Beats Vanderbilt 41-17 in Independence Bowl

North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley has a simple philosophy when it comes to getting do-everything threat Jaylen Samuels involved with the offense. "Just give him the ball in as many ways as possible," Finley said. The method of choice on monday was by air, and Finley found Samuels, for three touchdown passes in North Carolina State's 41-17 win over Vanderbilt in the Independence bowl. North Carolina State (7-6) won three of its final four games to finish with a winning record. The Wolfpack  built a 28-3 lead by midway through the third quarter -- largely thanks to Samuels' touchdown catches of 9, 55 and 17 yards -- and then held off a brief Vanderbilt rally. Samuels was named the game's Most Valuable Player on offense and his three touchdown catches were an Independence Bowl record. Finley, who completed 19 of 30 passes for 235 yards, hit Samuels six times for 104 yards. North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren said Samuels' big night wasn't necessarily planned, but when Vanderbilt loaded the defense to stop the run, he was the man who was open. The 5-foot-11, 223-pound junior often has had an unorthodox role on the offense and is listed as a tight end and fullback. "We were just taking what they were giving us," Doeren said. "And then our receivers did a great job of blocking for him." Vanderbilt (6-7) had a lot of momentum going into the game thanks to surprising wins over Mississippi and Tennessee to end the regular season. But the Commodores' offense -- which scored a combined 83 points against the Rebels and Volunteers -- struggled for most of the night. "We looked a little rusty," coach Derek Mason said. "All the way around -- special teams, offense and defense. We just didn't look like the Vanderbilt team that came out of the regular season." Vanderbilt's Kyle Shurmur completed just 19 of 46 passes for 158 yards and three interceptions. "There's a fine line between being aggressive and careless," Shurmur said. "And I crossed it a few times." Even so, the Commodores briefly made things interesting, closing to 28-17 early in the fourth quarter. But that's when NC State's Nyheim Hines responded with a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff return to put the game out of reach. The Commodores' offense took a step backward after some late-season improvement. Veteran running back Ralph Webb had another nice game with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown, but Shurmur's struggles throwing the ball were too much to overcome. The Wolfpack end a frustrating season with an impressive win. They were fantastic on defense for most of the night and the Finley-to-Samuels connection couldn't be stopped by Vanderbilt. Webb's 111 yards rushing gave him a school-record 1,283 yards for the season. The junior, who already is Vanderbilt's career rushing leader, said during the postgame press conference that he plans to return for his senior season. North Carolina State's Airius Moore was named the game's defensive MVP after leading the Wolfpack with nine tackles, including two sacks. Vanderbilt: The Commodores took a major step forward this season by making a bowl game in Mason's third season. Vanderbilt will have a few holes to fill, but should return several key players in 2017. NC State: The Wolfpack are still struggling to push into the upper tier of the Atlantic Coast Conference. NC State finishes with another winning season under Doeren, but the program feels a little stuck at the moment.

December 27th, 2016, Tuesday

Grand Cane Man Dead After One-Vehicle Crash in DeSoto Parish

Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a report of a single vehicle crash on Parish Trenton Road just east of US Highway 171 that claimed the life of a Grand Cane man about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The preliminary investigation revealed that a 1995 GMC Sierra driven by 31-year-old Aaron Kirkman of Grand Cane was traveling west on Parish Trenton Road at a high rate of speed when Kirkman failed to stop at a stop sign, exited the roadway, and struck an abandoned log trailer.  Kirkman was not wearing his seat belt during the crash and was ejected from the vehicle.  Kirkman sustained fatal injuries was pronounced dead at the scene by the DeSoto Parish Coroner. Impairment and speed are suspected factors in this crash.  Toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation Each year, on Louisiana’s highways, numerous people are killed or seriously injured in crashes that involve impaired drivers.  In 2015, 48% of the fatal crashes in Troop G involved impaired drivers.  This crash could have been prevented.  Motorists are asked to designate a sober driver before traveling to any place where alcohol will be consumed.  By taking the alcohol element out of the equation, you can significantly reduce your chances of having a crash or causing one.

December 26th, 2016, Monday

Woman Killed by Train In Zwolle

A woman was struck by a KCS train while crossing the tracks in Zwolle on Christmas Eve. It happened around 6 p.m. on the tracks near St. Joseph's Catholic Church. According to Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers, the train was traveling north when they saw the woman on the tracks. The horn was sounded several times, but the woman never looked up. She was killed on impact The train was estimated to be going 40 mph. The woman's name has not been released pending notification of family. Her body has been sent to University Health for an autopsy. An investigation is underway.

December 26th, 2016, Monday

Beauregard DA's Make Final Report: Senegal Shooting Justified

It's coming up on one year since Beauregard Sheriff's Office deputies fatally shot Eric Senegal when they were executing a search warrant at his home in Ragley. The district attorney has released his final report on why the investigation finds the shooting was justified. On Jan. 4 of this year, Beauregard deputies descended on the home of Senegal to serve a search warrant after receiving information that Senegal may have been selling narcotics. The deputies had a "no-knock" search warrant after receiving information the suspect might be armed. But during the execution of that warrant, both Senegal and his dog were shot to death by deputies. In response to KPLC's request for public records, District Attorney James Lestage has furnished us with his findings and copies of evidence including taped interviews with the deputies involved. Deputies gave statements saying Senegal's dog charged through the door, hitting one deputy and knocking him backwards and that two other deputies saw Senegal with a pistol raised and pointed toward officers. Two deputies shot Senegal, who died at the scene.  Lestage's analysis of the evidence concludes that the actions of the deputies who discharged their weapons were justified. He writes, "Both were placed in imminent fear of death by the action of...Senegal while in the scope and course of their duty as law enforcement officers." His report goes on to say, "When faced with deadly force to themselves and others, no reasonable person...would have acted differently." Finally Lestage said, "The death of Eric Senegal was legally justified and no criminal responsibility can be found for Deputies Dale Sharp and Oscar Lopez as both were legally exercising their right of self defense." The autospy report shows Senegal was shot three times and that one of the entrance wounds was on the right back. The report says the other two gunshots entered on the upper abdomen and right upper, outer thigh. Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke does autopsies for Beauregard Parish and performed the Senegal autopsy. Welke said the shot to the back was the third shot and likely happened as Senegal was falling from the first two shots. The investigative file presented to the DA also finds, the gun in Senegal's possession was stolen and tests indicated use of various drugs including cocaine and marijuana. A Beauregard Parish Grand Jury considered the case earlier this year and returned no indictments. Attorney Derrick Kee represents the Senegal family and says they disagree with the conclusions of the investigation. "Our clients  are greatly disappointed and deeply disturbed by the findings related to the shootings death of Eric Senegal. In the coming days, the public will begin to discover that the investigation and the physical evidence are in direct conflict with the deputies' version of the story.   We will be steadfast in our quest for the truth and pursue every available legal avenue to protect others from having their lives senselessly and needlessly taken in  their homes by those who have sworn to serve and protect. "

December 22nd, 2016, Thursday

Zwolle Man Pleads to Federal Drug Charges

A Zwolle man pleaded guilty Monday to federal drug and weapons charges, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley announced Wednesday in a news release. Heath Meshell, 33, of Zwolle, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Hornsby to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote. Meshell was arrested following an April 12 search of his home. Agents found more than 1,700 grams of methamphetamine, a small number of prescription pills, digital scales and $1,585. They also found a 9-mm rifle, 9-mm pistol, a 410-shotgun and assorted rounds of ammunition. Meshell will be sentenced Feb. 20. He faces 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine for the drug count and not less than five years and a $250,000 fine for the firearms count. The ATF and the DEA conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown is prosecuting the case.

December 22nd, 2016, Thursday

13 Parishes Primary Natural Disaster Areas due to Drought

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared 13 parishes as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought. The primary parishes included under the designation are: Concordia, East Carroll, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, West Carroll and Winn. In accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, additional areas were named as contiguous disaster parishes. They are: Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Caldwell, Catahoula, De Soto, Evangeline, Lincoln, Madison, Pointe Coupee, Red River, Richland, Tensas, Union and West Feliciana. Strain said farmers and ranchers located in both primary and contiguous parishes are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible areas have 8 months from the disaster declaration date to apply for the emergency loans.

December 21st, 2016, Wednesday

1 Charged in Weekend Shootings, including drive-by on I-49

Shreveport police made an arrest in connection to a pair of shootings over the weekend, including one that happened as the victim was driving along I-49. John Chatman, 30, is charged with is charged with attempted second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon, and felon in possession of a firearm. Police say he was the gunman who pulled up alongside 25-year-old Donald Young as he was driving north on I-49 late Saturday night and opened fire. Young was struck in the chest. Police say he managed to pull into the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in the 1100 block of Kings Highway and was taken from there to University Health Shreveport, where he remains in critical condition.  A woman who was a passenger in Young's Jeep was not injured. In the course of the investigation, police say investigators later learned that someone in a separate incident "had just fired several shots from a rifle, striking residents residence on Harrison Street." No one was injured in that incident, but the home was damaged by the gunfire.  While police have not detailed how the connection was made, they say their investigation revealed that Chatman was responsible for both shootings.  Chatman was taken into custody at a home in the 7800 block of Woodfield Drive on Sunday.  After interviews with detectives, Chatman was booked into the Caddo Correctional Facility. His total bond amount is set at $600,000.

December 21st, 2016, Wednesday

Hemphill Woman Dies in Burkeville Wreck Sunday

Steve Stewart is reporting that a Hemphill woman has died following a Newton County wreck yesterday. KJAS News has confirmed that a Sabine County woman has died after a late Sunday afternoon crash in far north Newton County. Meanwhile, troopers investigating the accident say that the woman may have fallen asleep at the wheel. According to Burkeville Fire Chief Charles Duckworth, his department and other emergency responders were sent to Highway 87, just north of Recreational Road 255 in the Mayflower Community, at approximately 5:00. Duckworth said firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the woman after her 2005 Toyota pickup truck went off of the highway and crashed head-on into a tree. Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Stephanie Davis has identified the woman as Linda Harrison, 65, and her passenger as Joe Enloe, 68, both of Hemphill. Harrison was flown by medical helicopter to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital where she died about an hour after arrival, while Enloe was transported by ambulance to Christus Jasper Memorial Hospital with very serious injuries.

December 20th, 2016, Tuesday

Controlled Burn in Vernon Parish Confirmed Cause of Heavy Smoke

The cause of the heavy smoke in Moss Bluff, Lake Charles and surrounding areas is a controlled burn of 7,000 acres in Vernon Parish, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry confirmed. Many residents reported heavy smoke in their areas. The heaviest smoke was being reported in the Moss Bluff area. Veronica Mosgrove, Department of Agriculture and Forestry spokeswoman, said out of the burn is coming out of Vernon, where Fort Polk and the U.S. Forest Service are doing a routine burn. These types of burns are done every 3-5 years, she said, for safety purposes. The smoke poses no danger to residents.

December 20th, 2016, Tuesday

Sentences Handed Down in 30th Judicial District Court in Vernon Parish

Vernon Parish District Attorney Asa A. Skinner reported that the Honorable Judge Vernon B. Clark, Division "A" of the 30th Judicial District Court, imposed these sentences in the following felony cases on Dec. 13: Heather Nicole Betz, 26, of Leesville; sentenced to serve 10 years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, seven years to be suspended with credit for time served. Upon release, she will be placed on four years supervised probation for committing the offense of distribution of a schedule II CDS. She was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,500 and other court costs. Alicia A. Coker, 56, of Leesville; sentenced to serve four years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, with credit for time served, for committing the offense of possession of schedule II CDS. Brandon Michael Coker, 29, of DeRidder; sentenced to serve five years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, for committing the offense of simple burglary. This sentence was suspended and he was placed on three years supervised probation. He was also sentenced to four years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, for committing the offense of theft over $1,500. This sentence was suspended and he was placed on three years of supervised probation. These sentences were to run concurrent with each other. He was ordered to pay $1,000 fine plus court costs and ordered to have no contact with the victim.  Curtis Glynn Johnson, 21, of Many; sentenced to serve four years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, with credit for time served, for committing the offense of second-degree battery. This sentence was suspended and he was placed on three years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs. Hartson Dale Nash, 38, of DeRidder; sentenced to serve eight years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, with credit for time served, after being found guilty by a jury for committing the offense of possession of schedule II (methamphetamine) 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams. He was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 ($40,000 of which was suspended by the court), plus court costs.  Brandy Lee Smith, 38, of Evans; sentenced to serve eight years at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, for committing the offense of possession of schedule II (methamphetamine). He was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 ($40,000 of which was suspended by the court), plus court costs.

December 20th, 2016, Tuesday

Boil Advisory Lifted

Please be advised that the boil advisory for account numbers starting in 4, 5, and 6, which includes Natchitoches Highway and all surrounding roads, Marthaville Road and all surrounding roads, and Highway 175 and all surrounding roads has been lifted.

December 19th, 2016, Monday

Federal Lawsuit Filed to Stop Removal of Fort Polk Horses


A group of animal lovers who live in and around Fort Polk has gone to court to stop Fort Polk from removing hundreds of horses from the military installation. Pegasus Equine Guardian Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, naming the U.S. Army and Brig. Gen. Gary M. Brito as defendants. The nonprofit Pegasus is represented by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. The organization wants the court to stop Fort Polk from removing what’s estimated to be 700 wild horses roaming the area until the environmental, historical and cultural impact is analyzed. It further alleges the Army failed to propose alternatives for properly managing the horses. “Before it commits to a course of action with irreversible harm, it must complete an environmental impact statement,” the lawsuit states. The feral horses drew attention last year when Army officials said they were looking for public input on what to do with them. The military called them “trespass horses” and deemed them a hazard for causing accidents on and off the base. However, some locals want them protected because they are considered part of the heritage of the surrounding community with lineage going back decades. Earlier this year, the Army announced it was going to allow the horses to be corralled for those who wanted them, prompting outrage from animal lovers who feared kill buyers would get to them first. In September, the Army said it was seeking applications from non-profit animal welfare groups as well as individuals to provide new homes for the horses. KTBS reported Monday that a compromise had been reached and the North Texas Humane Society had stepped up with a plan to take anywhere from 10 to 30 horses a month for three years. About 50 horses have been rescued so far. The process calls for Fort Polk to use food to corral the horses. HSNT gets first dibs at picking them up but has up to three days to do it. If they don’t, then the group goes to the bottom of the list. Spokeswoman Sandy Shelby says they don’t intend for that to happen. HSNT is providing vet care and allowing the horses free range of four unspecified areas. At least one adoption even has been held and more are planned. Pegasus is fearful the Army’s plan still could lead to the slaughter of many of the horses because of the stringent timeline in which they must be rescued. It says nonprofits sometimes don’t have the resources to take on the financial aspect of the enormous rescue. The Army made the decision without assessing harm to the horses and consideration of alternatives, Pegasus said. Wild equines are much better left in the wild, the group states on its Facebook page.

December 19th, 2016, Monday

Candidate Qualifying for March 25th, 2017 Election

Candidate qualifying for the March 25th, 2017 primary election will be held in the office of the Clerk of Court beginning on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and will run through January 13th, 2017 , closig at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The clerk will hold qualifying Many municipal offices, Police Juror District 3, and Pleasant Hill Alderman (1). For more information, call the Clerk of Court, Tammy Foster at (318) 256-6225.

December 19th, 2016, Monday

Man Critically Wounded in Drive-by Shooting on I-49

A man is fighting for his life in the hospital after he was shot while driving on the interstate late Saturday night.  It happened around 11:50 p.m. on Interstate 49 between the Pierremont and Hollywood exists.  Police say he was heading north on I-49 when someone in an unknown vehicle pulled alongside and shot into his vehicle multiple times.  The driver was taken to University Health hospital with life-threatening injuries.  The victim's name has not been released. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Crimestoppers at 318-673-7373.

December 19th, 2016, Monday

Federal Agents Execute Search warrant, Jasper Family Clinic 

A reliable source in the local law enforcement community confirmed on Wednesday morning that federal agents had executed warrants at the Jasper Family Clinic located at at 2014 South Wheeler Street, next door to the Cedar Tree Restaurant, here in Jasper. The action came shortly after 10:00 and officers from the DEA, along with Jasper Police Department could be seen coming in and out of the building. However, the officers would not comment on the details of the case or investigation. Late Wednesday, Davilyn Walston with the U.S. Attorney's Office in          Beaumont, issued a very brief statement, which said "Agents are executing search warrants, but because it's an ongoing investigation we can't release any other information beyond that". The clinic, which also has a location in Newton has been operated by Dr. Larry Brown. However, attempts to reach Dr. Brown for his comment were unsuccessful. Officers entering and leaving the building could be seen carrying items in and out as patients with appointments were apparently being turned away.

December 16th, 2016, Friday

Bid Awarded for Phase II of the Leesville Street Rehabilitation Project

Apeck Construction was awarded the bid Monday for work on the second phase of the Leesville 2016 Street Rehabilitation Project. Engineer Byron Racca, of Meyer and Associates, the City of Leesville's contracted engineer, addressed the Leesville City Council about the work. Bids were opened December 1st and Apeck was the lowest bidder. This phase was to be funded by a mix of funds from state capital outlay and a city bond issue, by the state funign was pulled this fall amid Louisiana's budget woes. Funding was included in the state's construction-or capital outlay-budget. "At one time, it was set up for funding, Priority 1, but in their recent reshuffling, the money was pulled," Racca said. The money, $255,000, now sits in Priority 5. Funding is allocated using a priority system. Priority 1 funds are usually dispersed within the fiscal year, while money for higher-numbered priorities may take years to become available.

December 16th, 2016, Friday

Governor John Bel Edwards Announces $26 Million in Hazard Mitigation Grant for March Floods

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the state of Louisiana will receive approximately $26 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding for the March floods from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The estimates of available funding are given to the state 30-days and six months following the federal disaster declaration. The final amount of HMGP funding will be released 12 months following the declaration. Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds may be used for projects that support both state and parish hazard mitigation plans to reduce losses from future disasters. Of the approximately $26.1 million awarded, $3 million will be reserved for state projects. The remaining $23 million will be allocated to all interested parishes that received declarations from the March floods under the proposed plan. “Over the last year, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have received disaster declarations due to flooding,” said Gov. Edwards. “The March floods stretched from North to South Louisiana, and caused massive destruction to homes and businesses. After recovery, preventing future floods should be our top priority. These resources will help our communities continue to rebuild stronger than ever, and I will continue to work with our congressional delegation to secure additional funding that we can use to prevent future disasters.” The allocation for HMGP funding is based on several factors, including:

  • FEMA Individual Assistance
    • Number of applicants
    • Amount paid
    • Number of max grants
  • Flood Insurance (NFIP)
    • Number of claims
    • Amount paid
  • FEMA Public Assistance
  •  
  • Estimate of amount eligible
  • Parishes will have until Jan. 13, 2017 to confirm the project scope and cost estimates to the state with project applications due on Feb. 13, 2017. By March 13, 2017, the state will submit applications to FEMA. Allocations for HMGP funding for each parish is as follows:

Ouachita Parish

$5,938,616

St. Tammany Parish

$3,765,625

Tangipahoa Parish

$1,688,159

Vernon Parish

$1,128,755

Bossier Parish

$1,119,761

Washington Parish

$1,004,473

Webster Parish

$877,465

Natchitoches Parish

$839,012

Union Parish

$794,530

Caddo Parish

$689,940

Calcasieu Parish

$615,287

Richland Parish

$521,172

Livingston Parish

$435,928

Caldwell Parish

$335,261

Grant Parish

$331,793

Ascension Parish

$301,978

Lincoln Parish

$300,832

West Carroll Parish

$294,112

Bienville Parish

$288,601

Rapides Parish

$277,275

Catahoula Parish

$256,412

Allen Parish

$218,845

East Carroll Parish

$218,614

St. Helena Parish

$209,123

Red River Parish

$204,259

Franklin Parish

$184,336

Avoyelles Parish

$159,837

December 15th, 2016, Thursday

Head-On Wreck Sends 10 People To The Hospital


A Zwolle man reportedly fell asleep at the wheel, resulting in a collision that sent 10 people to a Natchitoches Parish hospital. Police say 29-year-old Steven Edwards fell asleep while driving about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in Robeline.  Eight people were with him in the Ford van when it drifted across Highway 6 and struck head-on a Honda Civic being driven by 58-year-old Karen Montgomery, of Natchitoches. Both vehicles came to rest in a ditch. Edwards was not injured. Six of the 9 passengers were taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries authorities said did not appear to be life-threatening. Another 2 were sent to area trauma centers for treatment of serious injuries. Montgomery also was taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. Edwards was cited for careless operation of a vehicle. The crash is being investigated by Robeline police.

December 15th, 2016, Thursday

DeQuincy Police Arrest Man on Sexual Battery Charges

DeQuincy police arrested a man accused of sexual battery of a child. Kaylip A. Mangum, of DeQuincy, was arrested on a warrant on the charges of oral sexual battery of a juvenile under 10 years of age and aggravated crime against nature of a juvenile under 10 years old, said Capt. Tom Threet, police spokesman. Mangum was booked into Calcasieu Correctional Center on Tuesday on a  $95.000 bond.

December 14th, 2016, Wednesday

Many Police Department Investigates Police

The Many Police Dept. is investigating a theft that took place on Thursday, December the 8th at our local McDonald’s Restaurant. According to statements and video, a lady dropped unknowingly dropped her wallet as she was leaving the business and it was picked up and kept by a male wearing a red coat. We are trying to identify the Hispanic male that was involved. Video and photos are posted that shows the incident and those involved. If you have any information on any of these subjects, please contact Detective Todd McNeely at the MPD (256-2637)

December 14th, 2016, Wednesday

Natchitoches Police Investigate Walmart Bomb Threat

Just before noon on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, the Natchitoches PoliceDepartment received a 911 transfer from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s office advising that they had received a bomb threat at Wal-Mart Super Center located at 925 Keyser Avenue. Natchitoches Police Department Officers responded and checked the premises with management. No device was located during the search and the business was reopened. This incident is being investigated by the Natchitoches Police Department Criminal Investigation Division. Anyone with any information about this incident should call The Natchitoches Police Department @ (318)357-3878. 

December 14th, 2016, Wednesday

Cleco President Arrested

Darren Olagues, president and CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings, LLC, is taking personal leave from the company following this arrest on a domestic abuse charge last Thursday. According to the Alexandria Police Department, police responded to Olagues' home in Alexandria just before 8 p.m. Thursday in reference to a call about an alleged battery. In the initial police report obtained by News Channel 5, the responding officer wrote that photos were taken and Olagues was arrested and charged with one count of "domestic abuse strangulation." According to the Rapides Parish Jail booking sheet, Olagues was booked at 11:13 p.m. and released six minutes later on bond by Sheriff William Earl Hilton. News Channel 5 reached out to RPSO Public Information Officer Tommy Carnline, who said, "The Sheriff received a call about the arrest, and he called the shift lieutenant to call a judge to set a bond." Carnline also said that no mug shot of Olagues exists because the system used for that process was not functioning Thursday night.

December 13th, 2016, Tuesday

Sabine Parish Waterworks Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply system due to an electrical problem at booster station. Because of this problem, the water produced by our water supply system is of questionable microbiological quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is issuing a boil advisory effective immediately for customers in the following area: Account numbers starting with 4, 5, and 6, which includes all of Natchitoches Highway and surrounding roads, Marthaville Road and all surrounding road and Highway 175 and all surrounding roads. It is recommended that all consumers in the affected area disinfect their water before consuming it, making ice, brushing teeth or using it for food preparation.

December 13th, 2016, Tuesday

Montgomery Woman Killed in Single Vehicle Crash

 A single vehicle crashed killed a woman from Montgomery, LA. She was wearing a seat belt, but was later pronounced dead. Troopers responded to the crash around 8:45 a.m., which occurred on US Hwy 71 between St. Maurice and Montgomery. The crash involved a 2013 Nissan Rogue, driven by Mona B. Litton (W/F 61 yrs). The Nissan was northbound on US Hwy 71 when Litton lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a pole laying across a ditch before colliding with a tree. Litton was transported to Winn Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation. While not all crashes are survivable, seat belts can greatly decrease the occupant’s chance of death and will greatly reduce the extent of injury. Troop E Troopers have investigated 51 fatal crashes in 2016, resulting in 57 fatalities.

December 13th, 2016, Tuesday

 One Person Reported Dead After Auto/Pedestrian Accident near Broaddus 

DNAM is currently working on the details concerning a fatal auto/pedestrian accident that happened in San Augustine County last night at shortly before 8 p.m. According to reports the man was hit by a vehicle on Hwy 83, near Harvey Creek Road in Broaddus. The details concerning the circumstances have not been released, nor has the name of the man. But Facebook post by the man's family identify him as David Jacks. The family gave no details surrounding the tragic events. Prayers to all of these families. DNAM has contacted the Department of Public Safety for details surrounding the accident that claimed his life.

December 12th, 2016, Monday

San Augustine County Commissioners to Meet

San Augustine Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at San Augustine Courthouse on Columbia Street. The public is welcome to attend and take part in the meeting. 

December 12th, 2016, Monday

NSU Honors Former State Representative Jimmy D. Long Sr.

Northwestern State University will name its Student Services Center in honor of former state representative and member of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System Jimmy D. Long Sr. The naming of the facility was approved by the Board of Supervisors Thursday. The Jimmy D. Long Student Services Center was completed in 2012. The 34,451 square foot facility is on the former site of West Caspari Hall. The $8.5 million Student Services Center was the first state-funded new building constructed on the Northwestern State campus in more than 30 years.  "Jimmy Long's contributions to Northwestern State are immeasurable,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Jim Henderson. “His support of the university during his tenure in the state legislature and his service on the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors benefitted nearly a quarter of a million students who attended the university during that time. It is fitting that all future students will enter a building dedicated to serving them that is named for Jimmy Long." The Student Services Center is home to the Offices of University Recruiting, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Financial Aid, Student Employment Scholarships, Admissions, Veteran’s Affairs and the Vice President for the Student Experience as well as the Registrar’s Office and Cashier’s Office. Long served eight consecutive terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000. He was appointed to Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System in 2001. Long  passed away in August. He served two terms as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, which is the governing board for Northwestern State University and eight other universities across the state.  It is the largest higher education system in Louisiana with more than 90,000 students. Long’s 32-year tenure in the legislature was one of the longest in the state’s history, and colleagues recognized him with a resolution during his last term designating him as “Dean of the Legislature.” Chairman of the House Education Committee for 16 years and a long-time member of the Southern Regional Education Board, Long was recognized as a leading authority in Louisiana and throughout the South on education-related legislation. He introduced legislation to establish the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern and was also an author of the bill to create the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches. Long, who attended Northwestern State, helped obtain millions of dollars over the years for construction and renovation projects at the school and for highways, bridges and other major improvements in his legislative district. Cited by The Times of Shreveport as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Century in Northwest Louisiana, Long is a member of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame and the Northwestern Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line. He was a lifelong business leader and cattleman in Natchitoches who received numerous other honors for his leadership in civic, professional and church activities.

December 9th, 2016, Friday

NSU: Acting President

 Dr. Chris Maggio was appointed as acting president of Northwestern State University Thursday by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System. Maggio was recommended for the position by Dr. Jim Henderson, who will leave his position as president of Northwestern on Dec. 31 to become president of the University of Louisiana System, which governs NSU and eight other universities. The appointment of Maggio, a lifelong resident of Natchitoches and long-time faculty and staff member at Northwestern, will be for the period of Jan. 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017, as the board conducts a national search for Henderson’s permanent replacement. "Dr. Maggio has been a valuable member of the Leadership Team, contributing significantly to our progress over the past two years,” said Henderson. “He is well-suited to ensure our university continues to progress. His relationships with our alumni and other external stakeholders will help maintain the unprecedented level of energy and support from the friends of Northwestern." Maggio was named vice president for the student experience at Northwestern State in September after serving as interim vice president for just over a year. He will maintain his role as vice president for the student experience while serving as acting president. “I am deeply honored and humbled by Dr. Henderson’s recommendation for me to serve as acting president of Northwestern State University and by the overwhelming support that many have expressed for that decision,” said Maggio. “It would be my hope as acting president to maintain and strengthen the spirit of teamwork and unity among students, faculty, staff and alumni that has been so prevalent at Northwestern under Dr. Henderson’s leadership. We would also continue to embrace and attempt to expand the many valuable partnerships and relationships that the university has established in recent years with business and industry, government agencies, educational institutions and other entities that share our goal for the advancement and excellence of Northwestern and higher education in Louisiana and across the nation.” As vice president, Maggio has led the Dean of Students and the Offices of Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, Student Activities and Organizations, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Judicial Services, Counseling and Career Services, Student Life, the Student Activities Board, Student Government Association and Greek Life. Northwestern State has recorded enrollment increases for the past two years. Enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester was 9,819 students, a seven percent increase over the previous fall, the highest growth rate of any University of Louisiana System institution. Maggio served as assistant vice president of external affairs for university advancement from 2013 until 2015. He has been a staff member at Northwestern State since 1988. He was named Dean of Students and assistant provost for student success in 2007. Maggio was selected as director of alumni affairs in 1999, director of alumni and development in 2003 and executive director of the NSU Foundation in 2005. Under Maggio’s leadership, the NSU Foundation completed its first capital campaign in Northwestern’s history, exceeding a campaign goal of $18.84 million and raising $31 million to support the university. He has also been a faculty member in the Department of Health and Human Performance for more than 20 years as an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor. During his career at NSU, Maggio also served as director of admissions and recruiting and director of enrollment services. He joined the staff at Northwestern State as women’s track and field coach. Maggio is a 1985 summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern State. As a senior, he was elected Mr. NSU by his fellow students. Maggio earned his master’s of education at NSU. He received a doctorate in developmental education from Grambling State University.

December 9th, 2016, Friday

Leesville Man Arrested in Christmas Grinch Case

Alexandria police have arrested a man in connection with a series of thefts of Christmas decorations in the West Pointe Subdivision. Michael Cryer, 36, of Leesville was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of Theft Under $750 and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Police said that three homeowners reported Christmas decorations had been stolen from their homes on November 27. Detectives began an investigation and got surveillance video of the suspect whom they have identified as Cryer. Police said that some, but not all, of the stolen property has been recovered.

December 9th, 2016, Friday

Crime Stoppers Reward Offered

The Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office along with the Pleasant Hill Police Department is requesting the publics assistance in solving the following crime: On December 4th, 2016, a theft of two boat motors and a welding machine was reported to the SPSO from 8347 Patterson Street, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. The two boat motos are described as both being 9.9 HP, one a blue Evin Rude (Serial #G03789926), the other a Mercury. Both motors are small and can be easily handled. The welder is a small Lincoln wire welder. The theft occured at the home of Anthony and Kascie Bridges, who for the past several months have been living at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee with their young daughter who is battling cancer. Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $500 for information leading to the arrest of the subject or subjects involved in this crime. Anyone having information regarding this crime is asked to contact Detective Brad Walker with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office at (318) 256-9241 or to remains anonymous, call crime stoppers at (318) 256-4511.

December 9th, 2016, Friday

Vinton Man Killed by Train

The death of a Vinton man struck and killed by a train on Wednesday has left his family members heartbroken. The incident took place around 3:30 p.m. at the railroad crossing at Eddy Street and US 90. Vinton Police Chief Ricky Fox said the victim has been identified as 48-year-old John Fitzgerald Joseph, who lived just a few blocks away. "He's been here for about - I wanna say - a year now," said Joseph's sister, Marjorie Guillory. Originally from Mossville, Guillory said they're still grappling with the tragedy. "He was either going to the store or coming from the store and he got hit by an Amtrak train," said Guillory. Fox estimated the train was traveling around 70-75 miles per hour. "Speaking with his wife (Tammy), she said he's hard of hearing and can't see well - he didn't have his glasses on - so we believed he stopped in the tracks when he heard the sound to try to identify it and he was still close enough where the train struck him," explained Fox. Fox said the railroad arms at the crossing were down at the time of the incident - an important warning that he advises residents to heed - always. "Just be aware it's a railroad crossing. That's all you can do," advised Fox. For family members, they're staying focused on the positive. "He was a very sweet, loving brother, friend, confidant to me. He was an angel from heaven," said Guillory. Fox said it's not the first time an incident like this has taken place in the area but said all could have been prevented if pedestrians paid attention to the crossing arms.

December 8th, 2016, Thursday

Many Elementary School Damaged

MPD received a report of damage on the grounds of the new Many Elementary complex. Someone drove off the driveway and created rather deep ruts in several areas. Also a stop sign was damaged. A large amount of styrofoam was also scattered around the lot. Apparently the damage to the school was caused by a large delivery truck that struck the roof of the school, causing damage to the trailer.The truck was parked nearby and awaiting for daylight to report the incident.

December 8th, 2016, Thursday

Reward Offered on Liquor Store Robbery Attempt in DeSoto Parish

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a man whom authorities say attempted to rob a liquor store Saturday night in DeSoto Parish. The incident took place around 9:15 p.m. at the Party Shop on U.S. Highway 84 just outside the Mansfield city limits. Witnesses told DeSoto sheriff's deputies that a man who was "possibly armed" entered the store. He wasn't successful in getting any money because a store employee fired two gunshots at the would-be robber. The suspect was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with a white thermal top underneath along with black jogging pants. He is described as a black male who is 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall. His is estimated to be between 20 and 30 years old.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers line at 800-505-STOP (7867) or Desoto Parish sheriff’s Capt. James Clements or Sgt. Jordan Ebarb at (318) 872-3956.

December 8th, 2016, Thursday

Supreme Court Upholds Hurricane Katrina Fraud Verdict Against State Farm

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. In the years before the hurricane, State Farm issued both federal government-backed flood insurance policies and general homeowners policies. After the hurricane, the company ordered its claims adjusters to misclassify wind damage as flood damage to shift liability to the government and spare the insurance company's coffers. The fraud was uncovered when two claims adjusters, sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, blew the whistle on the company under the federal False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to initiate fraud claims on behalf of the government, and ultimately to share in the damages that are awarded. In 2013, the Rigsbys won their case, which involved one home in Biloxi, Miss. State Farm was ordered to pay $750,000 in damages, with 30 percent going to the sisters and the rest going to the federal government. But State Farm sought to have the case dismissed because one of the lawyers in the case leaked its existence to the media when it was supposed to remain secret for two months under federal law. The insurance company lost in the lower courts, and on Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected State Farm's argument that federal law required the case to be thrown out. This was the first of many such claims against State Farm, and last year, Mississippi sued the company, saying the state had paid more than $522 million to State Farm policyholders after the company evaded its responsibility by manipulating the reports of its own adjusters and engineers. The State Farm decision was one of three unanimous rulings handed down by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, all involving business dealings. In Samsung's big-money patent fight with Apple over smartphone design, the high court ruled that Samsung does not have to pay all the profits it made from 11 smartphone models that included some design elements it had copied from Apple. Apple had won a $399 million judgment against Samsung because the South Korean company infringed design patents for the iPhone's rectangular shape with rounded edges and its flat screen with colored icons. A lower court ruled that under U.S. patent law, Samsung had to pay its American rival all of its profits from the smartphone models in which it used those elements. But the Supreme Court agreed with Samsung's argument that it should not have to fork over all its profits because the design elements were only a part of the smartphone. The justices then sent the case back to the lower court to re-evaluate the damages. Finally, the high court sided with prosecutors in an important insider trading case, upholding the conviction of a Chicago man for making nearly $1.2 million in profits by trading on nonpublic information that came from his brother-in-law at Citigroup. Bassam Salman, who had profited from the tip, appealed his conviction, arguing that his brother-in-law relayed the information gratis and that under the insider trading law, prosecutors must prove the tipper received cash or some other tangible benefit. The Supreme Court, however, agreed with prosecutors that the law does not treat free information that is passed on any differently from a tip-for-cash transaction. The court's unanimous decision was the first insider trading ruling in two decades. Prosecutors had worried that a contrary ruling would make it harder for authorities to bring insider trading cases against executives who tip friends or relatives without getting anything of value in return. But Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said friends and family members could be prosecuted even if a tipper provides insider information as "a gift."

December 7th, 2016, Wednesday

Chesapeake Energy Sells More Haynesville Shale Acreage

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second largest U.S. producer of natural gas, announced Monday that it will sell some of its acreage in the Haynesville Shale area for $450 million to a private company. On Tuesday, Reuters reported the buyer is Indigo Minerals LLC, a competitor in the natural gas development industry. Indigo Minerals LLC, the 10th largest natural gas producer in the U.S., is using an affiliate called Indigo Haynesville LLC for the acquisition, Reuters reported. In its news release, Chesapeake said the sale includes about 78,000 acres, of which 40,000 is core acreage. With the land comes 250 wells with a current net production of about 30 million cubic feet of gas per day. Chesapeake announced in early November that it planned to sell about 126,000 acres in the Haynesville Shale field in Louisiana. Monday, the company said it was still marketing another 50,000 acres. "With this proposed transaction and our previously announced Devonian asset divestiture, the company has reached approximately $2 billion gross proceeds from divestitures either signed or closed in 2016, excluding certain volumetric production payment repurchase transactions. We expect this total to grow in the 2017 first quarter with our second proposed acreage sale in the Haynesville," said Doug Lawler, Chesapeake's CEO. "With our long-term target of $2 to $3 billion in debt reduction, we will continue to look for opportunities to accelerate value through the sale of additional non-core assets in 2017 and beyond." This is not the first time Chesapeake has sold off Haynesville Shale assets. In 2013, the company sold about $1 billion of its assets, including producing fields and potential future drilling sites, in Texas and Louisiana to EXCO Resources. In Louisiana, that sale included 9,600 acres in DeSoto and Caddo parishes. The sales come as Chesapeake continues to reduce its debt load, estimated at nearly $9 billion. The latest sales are expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. Indigo Minerals LLC has been an active driller in the Cotton Valley and Haynesville Shale plays in North Louisiana. It has 151,000 acres in the Cotton Valley and 23,500 in the Haynesville Shale. The company says it’s drilled 125 horizontal wells in both plays through November. Chesapeake's development program for next year in the Haynesville will be focused on longer laterals and further enhanced completions, resulting in projected adjusted production growth of approximately 13 percent from its Haynesville operations in 2017, according to the company's news release.

December 7th, 2016, Wednesday

Anacoco High School Receives National Blue Ribbon School Award

Earlier this year, Anacoco High School was greatly honored as a recipient of the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School Award as an Exemplary High Performing School for 2016. AHS was recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, John B. King Jr. at the November ceremony in Washington, D.C., and presented the award by the Director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools, Aba Kumi (pictured in the center).  School representatives, Cindy Teasley, assistant principal (pictured on left), and Judy Weisgerber, teacher and career coach (pictured on right), received the award on behalf of the school and the principal, Towanda Willrodt.  The school’s success was made possible through the continued focus of achievement by students, faculty, parents, and by the long standing support of the entire community.  Therefore, the school is hosting an Anacoco High School National Blue Ribbon School Celebration on Wednesday, January 18, at 9:00 AM and welcomes the public to share in this special ceremony, which will be held in the school gymnasium. 

December 6th, 2016, Tuesday

NPSO, LSP, EMS and Fire Rescue Respond to Two Vehicle Injury Crash

On Wednesday afternoon, November 30th at approximately 2:33pm, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies, Louisiana State Police, Provencal Police, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS, and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4 First Responders responded to a two-vehicle injury crash on La. Hwy 117 south of Provencal, La. The forty-year old female operator from Pitkin, La. of the 2016 Honda SUVwas transported from the scene by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries.

The twenty-eight-year old female operator from Natchitoches of the 2001 Lincoln Navigator was transported from the scene by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with moderate non-life threatening injuries. A passenger in the Lincoln Navigator who also received minor injuries was transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. The crash was investigated by Trooper J. Jett assigned to LSP Troop-E Alexandria. The NPSO wishes to thank citizens who stopped to assist the injured parties prior to law enforcement and EMS arrival.

 

December 6th, 2016, Tuesday

Florien School On Lockdown Friday Afternoon

Florien High School was on lockdown for a brief time Friday afternoon as Sabine Parish sheriff's deputies searched a nearby wooded area for suspected car thieves. The lockdown was ordered around 12:30 p.m. as officers set up a perimeter around the school, blocking all traffic in and out. SPSO deputies, Florien and Fisher police and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents joined in the search for four people who allegedly were attempting to sell a vehicle stolen in Shreveport. They ran into woods surrounding the school when the car sale was thwarted. Officers found them about a quarter-mile from the school campus shortly before 1:30 p.m. A handgun and narcotics were in their possession, authorities said. Arrested were Tanner Oakes, Tommy Meche, Madeline Overland and Cassie Smith. All were taken to the Sabine Parish Detention Center and charged with convicted felon in possession of a firearm, illegal possession of stolen things, possession of a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting by flight and possession of a firearm in the presence of CDS. Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson and Florien Police Chief Herman Love expressed appreciation for the quick response and professionalism of all involved.

December 5th, 2016, Monday

North Carolina State to Meet Vanderbilt in 2016 Independence Bowl

The North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Vanderbilt Commodores are set to square off in the 41st Camping World Independence Bowl, set for Monday, December 26, with kickoff at 4 p.m. CT. The matchup between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference foes marks the second time in three seasons the two conferences have faced off in the Camping World Independence Bowl. “We’re thrilled to have such great representatives from the ACC and the SEC,” 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl chairman Eric Barkley said. “This is the first time for both programs to participate in our Bowl, and we’re excited because both the Wolfpack and the Commodores finished their seasons strong to become bowl eligible.” North Carolina State (6-6, 3-5) is led by fourth-year head coach Dave Doeren, who has guided the Wolfpack to bowl games in three-consecutive seasons. The Wolfpack are led offensively by senior running back Matthew Dayes, who carried the ball 240 times for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns, while finishing fourth on the team with 31 receptions for 258 yards. His rushing yardage total was third in the ACC, leading to his selection as second-team All-ACC. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley completed 224 of 372 passes on the season for 2,824 yards and 15 touchdowns. He distributed the ball well, as five players had 410 yards receiving or more, led by Stephen Louis’ 657. Six players recorded 26 or more receptions, led by 49 from Jaylen Samuels. Freshman Kelvin Harmon led the way with five touchdown grabs. Junior safety Josh Jones paced the defense in tackles with 106, finishing tied for sixth in the ACC. He also broke up eight passes and intercepted two, tied with corner Jack Tocho for the team lead. Up front, junior Bradley Chubb continually wreaked havoc, finishing second in the ACC with 21 tackles for loss, and tied for fifth in the conference with 9.5 sacks. As a unit, the Wolfpack were tops in the ACC in rush defense, allowing just 104.7 yards per game. This is the first appearance in the Camping World Independence Bowl for North Carolina State, and with the appearance, it becomes the 11th member of the ACC to make an appearance in the Independence Bowl, and the ninth as a member of the conference.
 Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5) is led by third-year head coach Derek Mason, who is bringing the Commodores to their first bowl appearance since the 2013 season. Junior running back Ralph Webb has been a stalwart for the Vanderbilt offense, finishing fourth in the SEC with 1,172 yards on 229 attempts, 12 of which went for touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur exploded in the final two games of the season, throwing for a combined 689 yards and four touchdowns in victories against Ole Miss and Tennessee to reach bowl eligibility. On the season, he threw for 2,251 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, the Commodores are led by junior linebacker Zach Cunningham, who led the SEC with 119 tackles, including 16.5 for loss. He also racked up four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and one blocked field goal. This is also Vanderbilt’s first appearance in the Camping World Independence Bowl, and it also marks the 11th member of the SEC to make an appearance in Shreveport, and the ninth as a member of the SEC. This is the third time in five years both participating teams are making their first appearances in the Independence Bowl.  This is the third meeting all-time between North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, and the first since Vanderbilt defeated State in the 2012 Music City Bowl.

December 5th, 2016, Monday

Early Voting

Early voting for the December 10th open general/congressional election began Saturday, November 26th and will run through Satruday, December 3rd, 2016, with the exception of Sunday, November 27th, 2016. Early voting hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the parish Registrar of Voters' offices.

December 2nd, 2016, Friday

Miracle on Washington STreet Christmas Festival and Parade Update

The parade has been moved to FRIDAY at 5:30 p.m. All street vendors have been moved to the First United Pentecostal Church Fellowship Hall. Photos with Santa, Cindy Lou Tea and the Build a Wreath Workshop have all also moved to the FUPC Fellowship Hall. Please see the individual flyers for details. The fellowship hall will be open Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The firework show and snow plaza have been postponed, however they will be rescheduled later this month. Dates will be announced once the details have been worked out. As planned, we will run the light show following the parade Friday and it will run every night from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.

December 2nd, 2016, Friday

Men Arrested in Connection with Body Floating in Canal

Two Jennings men have been arrested in connection with the body found floating in the Grand Marais Canal last week, authorities said.  Parker Gary and Ryan Cole, both 17, were charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dedrick Gant, 40, said Jeff Davis Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Chris Ivey. Detectives obtained arrest warrants around 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 and served the warrants on both Gary and Cole. Gary and Cole were already incarcerated in the parish jail in connection with the burglary and murder of Warren Gary on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation and no additional information can be released at this time, Ivey said. Gant's body was "severely decomposed" when it was found.

December 1st, 2016, Thursday

Safety Program at Pleasant Hill

On November 30th, 2016, Chief Ray Williams along with Officer Courtney Wright of the Pleasant Hill Police Department and Detective Brad Walker of the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Department conducted a child safety class for grades pre-k through 6 at Pleasant Hill School. The class included a skit performed by rthe PHHS Cheerleaders which touched on various aspects of child safety. Eddie the eagle was on hand to offer advice regarding safety. Children were instructed on gun safety, stranger danger, along with safety regarding swimming pools and fire. Each child was given a coloring book along with a sticker from Eddie the Eagle stating what to do in dangerous situations "Stop! Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an Adult!" A brief film was showed starring Eddie the Eagle related to gun safety and what to do in certain situations. Chief Williams has conducted the event in several of the Ark-La-Tex schools over the past five years. The goal is to not only touch on the basic aspacts of safety for the children to raise awareness regardign gun safety to all. We remind everyone to keep firearms along with other potential dangerous weapons properly secrured and away from children.

December 1st, 2016, Thursday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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