Local and Area News

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


St. Tammany Parish


Tangipahoa Parish


Vernon Parish


Bossier Parish


Washington Parish


Webster Parish


Natchitoches Parish


Union Parish


Caddo Parish


Calcasieu Parish


Richland Parish


Livingston Parish


Caldwell Parish


Grant Parish


Ascension Parish


Lincoln Parish


West Carroll Parish


Bienville Parish


Rapides Parish


Catahoula Parish


Allen Parish


East Carroll Parish


St. Helena Parish


Red River Parish


Franklin Parish


Avoyelles Parish


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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