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                                 Local and Area News

Inmate on the Loose

On March 28, 2017, at approximately 4:06 A.M., an inmate at the Sabine Parish Detention Center was discovered missing. Jason “Scotty” Meshell, 36, of Zwolle, was discovered missing during regular rounds and it was later found that he was able to gain access to an unlocked gate after attending religious services in the chapel, which was under repair. Meshell is a 5’4” tall white male and weighs approximately 130 lbs.  He has black hair with a beard and was last seen wearing a navy jumpsuit.  He was being held on a parole violation for possession of Schedule II, as well as failure to register as a sex offender, obstruction of a public passage, careless operation, resisting by flight, flight from an officer, and switched plates. If anyone has information concerning the whereabouts of Meshell, please contact the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department at 318-256-9241.

March 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Neal McCoy Confirms Death of his Father


East Texan and country music star Neal McCoy confirmed on his Facebook page that his father has died. Hubert Neal "Pete" McGaughey, 86, died on Saturday morning, McCoy said. "He's in a much better place. We all know that as a family, so we're ok with it," McCoy said. "There'll be sad times, I know, but this morning he's already in a better place and already feeling a lot better. We appreciate your concerns."  A release from his representatives shared some of McCoy's thoughts about his father.

McCoy attributes some of his strongest traits to his father, such as his listening and conversation skills and instilling in him a positive attitude. "Growing up I never saw him in a bad mood. He never brought work home with him and was always the same guy, had the best personality in the world and always a real treat to be around. I think I patterned myself after him -- in that I want people to enjoy being around me, to like hanging out with me," said Neal. 

The family asked that memorial contributions be sent to the East Texas Angel Network at 2802 Gilmer Road, Suite 1, Longview, Texas, 75604. The funeral for McGaughey will be held on Wednesday morning at First Christian Church in Jacksonville. A private burial will follow the service.

March 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply system due to repair water line. Because of this problem, the water produced by the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 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: Hwy 171 N, Hwy 175, Hwy 1216 and all surrounding roads (All accounts being with 4).

March 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Jury Convicts Man Who Kills Law Enforcement Drug Informant

A Sabine Parish man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a man who was an informant for local and federal law enforcement agencies. Melvin C. Maxie, 32, was convicted Saturday of second-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of Tyruss Thomas, 26, of Many. Thomas died of a single gunshot wound to the back. Maxie was originally charged with first-degree murder and faced the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. District Attorney Don Burkett eventually dropped death from consideration. A conviction of first-degree murder without death carries the same penalty as second-degree murder, which is a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. District Judge Stephen Beasley has not set a formal sentencing date. The trial got underway March 20 with jury selection, and testimony began the next day and ran through Friday. Closing arguments were given Saturday morning. The jury returned with a guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberation. Prosecutors say Maxie, a convicted drug dealer, was after Thomas because Thomas was supposed to testify against him at an upcoming trial. Thomas served as a confidential informant for Sabine Parish and federal law enforcement agencies in drug investigations. Maxie chased Thomas’ vehicle through Many, firing shots at his vehicle. Thomas returned fire. Thomas called 911 to report he was being pursued and had been shot. He was able to report his location on state Highway 6 east of Many near the high school. But his telephone went dead before additional information could be provided. When deputies arrived, they found his vehicle in a creek. It had struck a bridge and flipped over. Deputies jumped in and broke out a window to free Thomas. But it was determined he died at the scene. Two bullet holes were found in the rear of Thomas’ vehicle. One entered to the left of the license plate, traveled through the back seat then the front seat before striking Thomas. Maxie claimed self-defense at trial. 

March 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Joint Readiness Training Center rotation strengthens U.S.-Uganda partnership

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” – George Washington, 1790. The Joint Readiness Training Center prepares Soldiers for war. To do that, an enormity of resources, personnel, equipment and preparation must be secured to facilitate realistic, relevant training. The United States military is fortunate that it has combat training centers to conduct such training, but many partner nations around the globe have only fledgling facilities (or none at all). The Ugandan People’s Defense Force is trying to change that by improving its own CTC, and the JRTC is the model for that change. A group of 19 personnel from the UPDF participated in JRTC rotation 17-05, with 15 serving as the battalion headquarters and four serving as first-time guest OCTs, or observer/coach/trainers. In addition to coaching their team, these four are taking notes as they experience a rotation from a different angle — one that will help Uganda improve its CTC. “We will see how they (the JRTC) conduct training to prepare for future missions. This is what we are doing here,” said Col. Maximus Gumisiriza, one of the four UPDF personnel operating in an OCT capacity for the rotation. “We have (people) here so they can learn how to be OCTs, see the rotation in a different light, and understand how to focus on doctrine and training objectives.” As the battalion headquarters group established its battle rhythm in the training area called “the box” March 17, the UPDF OCTs began to see how the JRTC village facilities and roleplayers impact training. “It brings in such reality,” said UPDF OCT Lt. Col. Saad Katemba. “The agencies involved in role play — police, government, citizens — create a realism because they are playing their roles very well, (communicating) their feelings and values.” Katemba said the Ugandan government doesn’t have a training center with the level of infrastructure and support the way it is here, but his hope is that they will understand the need for it. “This type of (facility) would fill a lot of training gaps,” he said. “We can see here that it works.” Staff Sgt. Jason Lieber, 101st Airborne Division Regionally Aligned Forces, is a lead trainer for the UPDF team. He assisted the group from Uganda with their training objectives. “They are learning more than how to conduct multi-force operations,” said Lieber. “They are learning how to develop their combat training center in Uganda. They believe the region (currently facing refugee and rebel crises) can change and they want to be a part of that change.” Master Sgt. Xiengkone Vongkoth, U.S. Army Africa, said, “This team is eager and willing to learn. They want to update their own tactics, techniques and procedures based on what they observe here during training.” During the battle-planning phase of the rotation, Vongkoth said the team needed little guidance. “They are very independent, knowledgeable and eager to learn more,” he said. The hard-charging work ethic of the UPDF was noticeable, according to Lieber. “They are extremely motivated. All they want to do is work — they even ask for extra time to work. When we tell them it’s time for lunch, they ask for another 20 minutes to finish up,” said Lieber. “I’m very impressed with what they are doing.” Capt. Daniel Specter, 101st RAF, is also coaching the UPDF during the rotation and equally impressed with their progress. “They are doing incredibly well. Some of their thought processes are a little different but they clearly bring a seasoned, experienced approach to any task,” said Specter. “Their biggest take away (from the rotation) is seeing how a CTC is operated and how a rotation is run so they can shape their own program.” Having a robust CTC in Africa would benefit many other African partners, but the Ugandans are taking the lead. “They have some bad people in that area,” said Specter. “They (the UPDF) do a lot of the heavy lifting for us in Africa, so this is important for everyone.” The U.S. Army Africa G3/5/7, Col. Clint Kirk, presented certificates of appreciation to the entire UPDF team March 11 for participating in the rotation. He said the rotation not only served as an example of CTC and OCT operations, it also marked a beginning for the next phase of the Army’s RAF mission in Uganda, and the fact that they are paired up with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum is no accident. “The UPDF is partnering with the 1st BCT, 10th Mtn Div because they will be the RAF for 2018, for security operations and more (The 101st Abn Div is the current RAF). This rotation is the start for that partnership,” said Kirk. “We are working closely with the Ugandans because they have a very good military and expressed an interest in (further) developing their own CTC. We’re working to help them with that, and what better way than to show our own JRTC, our Army’s premiere training center? We will help them expand their (training), and thereby help contribute to the overall security in Africa.”

March 27th, 2017, Monday

NWS Survey Team Confirms EF-1 Tornado Hit Hagewood Area


It was an EF-1 tornado that hit part of Natchitoches Parish. That is the conclusion of a National Weather Service team that surveyed March 26. The tornado that hit March 24 southwest of Hagewood damaged two businesses and several trees, officials said. It touched down along Louisiana Highway 117.

March 27th, 2017, Monday

Lightning to Blame for Fire at Key Energy Company in Harrison County

Dangerous weather led to an overnight fire at Key Energy in Harrison county. The fire began after lightning struck a battery tank. Key Energy is located in the 6300 block of Elysian Fields road on Highway 31 just off I-20. According to crews from Harrison county Emergency Service District 3, the fire seemed to be under control. Officials said there were no active structure fires in the city of Marshall but lightning struck several utility poles in the city, setting them on fire and downing others resulting in many power outages in the area.

March 27th, 2017, Monday

Mount Pleasant High School Girls' Track Coach Killed in Wreck Involving School Bus

Two people have died in Titus County after a multi-vehicle collision involving a Mount Pleasant Independent School District bus, an 18-wheeler, and a sedan. Late Thursday evening, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety were called to U.S. Highway 271, about two miles south of Talco.
 According to Mount Pleasant ISD Superintendent Judd Marshall, the wreck occurred when the northbound 18-wheeler swerved into oncoming traffic. The driver of the southbound school bus, which was carrying the boy’s track team, swerved to the right in order to avoid a head-on collision. The 18-wheeler collided with a car that was driving behind the track team bus, Marshall said. The driver of the 18-wheeler and of the other vehicle were killed in the wreck. The driver of the sedan has been identified as Angelica Beard, 30, an assistant coach for the women's track team, according to officials with the Department of Public Safety. Marshall said approximately 32 students were on the bus. He believes 18 students were taken to the hospital but does not know how many are still there. Three coaches, including the coach who was driving the bus, were transported to the hospital.  Coach Van Bowen underwent surgery overnight and is in critical condition this morning. “That surgery was successful but he’s got a lot going on and he’s got a long road to go,” Marshall said. The injured were initially taken to hospitals in Tyler, Pittsburg, Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs. One student taken to Sulphur Springs was subsequently transferred to Parkland in Dallas, according to Marshall. Other than Coach Van Bowen, Marshall did not know the conditions of any of the others transported from the scene. The girls' track team school bus was a few miles behind and was not involved in the incident. Marshall said classes will be held as normal today. "We’ve got 5,400 students in our district. We didn’t feel we had enough time to do that [cancel or change class start time]. We will have counselors on hand,” Marshall said. Several more students were taken to a Mount Pleasant hospital as a precaution. Those students were released to their parents after being checked out. “We had another bus take 12 or 13 maybe 14 students to be checked out,” Marshall said. The teams were returning from a track meet in Paris, Thursday night. Talco is about 17 miles north of Mount Pleasant. A towing company is expected to remove all the wreckage, including the school bus from the side of the road sometime Friday morning. According to the Texas Education Agency Bus Accident Reporting System, MPISD had three reported crashes involving school buses in the 2015-16 school year with no injuries, one in the 2013-14 school year with one injury and four in the 2012-13 school year with one serious injury.

March 24th, 2017, Friday

At Least 175 Turn Out to Fight For Hodges Garden State Park

There's no denying the importance of Hodges Gardens State Park in Sabine Parish, let along the rest of Louisiana. "Oh, it's a big deal to us. Hodges Gardens is part of our culture and part of our history," Many Mayor Ken Freeman said. Community members and state officials gathered in Many on Thursday evening to discuss the venue's fate. The park, one of the largest tourist attractions in Louisiana and known nationally, is under threat of being closed due to state budget cuts. There has been no official announcement by the state about the future of Hodge Gardens. But the Office of State Parks received a notice of default this month from the Hodges Foundation in anticipation that the park will not be fully funded for the upcoming fiscal year. The foundation donated the Hodges Gardens to the state 10 years ago. Now a public push is underway to save "Louisiana's Garden in the Forest," which has been a field trip destination of generations of students. At least 175 people turned out Thursday to hear the pitch. "We're not going to roll over. We are not going to sit on our hands. As the mayor says, we will fight it tooth and nail," said Chris Nolen, president of Friends of Hodges Gardens. Friends of Hodges Gardens is a volunteer organization that restores and maintains the gardens.  Freeman said the park drew 10,000 visitors in December alone. "Now that's ten thousand people wanting to eat, wanting lodging, wanting to buy gas, wanting to go shop. So, yes, it has a large economic impact." Ultimately, funding decisions for state parks rest with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who sent representatives to Thursday's gathering and urged the public to contact lawmakers to help save Hodges Gardens. So the real fight to save Hodges Gardens begins when the legislative session gets underway next month.

March 24th, 2017, Friday

Road Closure

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) advises the public that LA 467, Vernon Parish, will have a road closure at the KCS Railroad track. The work is being done at Milepost 5.251 and on Control Section 066-01. The road closure will be March 25th, 2107 through March 27th, 2017, starting at 7 a.m. on March 25th, and will reopen on March 27th at 5 p.m. The road closure is for KCS Railroad to do routine maintenance to the crossing.

March 23rd, 2017, Thursday

City of Leesville Advises Water Customers about Billing Cycle

The City of Leesville, over the last several weeks, has been experiencing software difficulties with our computer system. Due to those issues, water customers can expect their water bill for longer than a normal 30-day period. Unfortunately, the city does not know an exact date of when bills will be sent or the number of days for the billing cycle. Updates will be sent as they are received. And as always, the City of Leesville appreciates everyone's patience and apologizes for any inconvenience. For more information, contact Leesville City Hall at 337-239-2444.

March 23rd, 2017, Thursday

26-Year State Police Veteran To Be Interim Leader

Gov. John Bel Edwards has chosen a 26-year Louisiana State Police veteran from north Louisiana to lead the agency as interim superintendent. Maj. Kevin Reeves, who commands a state police quick reaction force, will start the interim job Saturday. He's taking over from Col. Mike Edmonson, who retired after coming under increasing criticism for his leadership of the agency. Reeves said Wednesday his primary goal will be to instill confidence in state police employees, troopers and the public. Edwards said Reeves comes into the job with "a wealth of knowledge and the respect from his colleagues across the state." Edwards intends to have a permanent superintendent chosen by June, to present for Senate confirmation before the upcoming legislative session ends. Reeves said he'd be interested in seeking the position permanently.

March 23rd, 2017, Thursday

Waterworks District 6 Working to Bring Water Access to Rural Junction Community

Work toward getting public water access to the Junction community continues and becomes more important with each passing year, according to supporters. This rural area in Beauregard is the only one in the parish not served by public water. Residents there rely solely on wells. Waterworks District 6 was established in 2009 and since then, members have worked toward garnering state support for the project. The board meets monthly at the Macedonia Church dining hall at 203 Hwy. 111 in the Junction community. Members are gathering signatures of Junction residents who want public water access. They need 392, and they have obtained 303, as of the last count. "Because we haven't met our number yet, our goal of what we need, the state's kind of looking at it as, 'OK, this is a low priority,' " said Waterworks District 6 board member Katlyn Morrow. Funding for the $4 million project would come from state and federal dollars, yet the community itself has worked to lay groundwork. The Beauregard Parish Police Jury appointed the board in 2009. In 2010, the board hired an engineering firm to design and oversee all phases of the system. Tax propositions were approved by residents to help fund the project. A bond issue was approved by 76 percent of voters; a millage was approved by 68 percent of voters. The board purchased land on Hwy. 111 for a water well site. Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek, wrote a letter of support for the district in February to the governor, asking for $944,500 of capital outlay for the project be moved from Priority 5 to Priority 1. "The Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 6 has been trying for almost 10 years to get this water district up and running. They have passed a general obligation bond and applied for a USDA/RD grant loan as well as State Capital Outlay grants. There are many issues with the shallow wells, most only 10-20 feet deep. After the massive 500-year flood that was experienced in the area in March 2016, many of the residential and church water wells are probably more contaminated than ever before," Hill wrote. Morrow's own home was flooded in March 2016 and had to be renovated. She said the cost to repair her water-logged well was around $1,000 in the purchase of parts alone. "With this system, through power outages or storms or floods, we'll have a backup generator, everything will be ready to go, so that when things like that happen, you'll continue to have water," she said. Avon Knowlton, director of economic development for the City of DeRidder/Beauregard Parish, said the need for clean drinking water in the community is more critical for residents than ever before. "Most of the residents are low income, veterans, elderly and some are disabled and cannot afford new wells or maintain the ones they have. Most of the water wells have a rotten egg smell, rust or other contaminates in it," she said. Knowlton said water access is also an economic issue. "I know of three potential development projects; one for new homes and the others for businesses along the Hwy. 190/Junction area that were lost because of the lack of a water system there," she said. Morrow said some residents have been hesitant to sign up because they think they will have to get rid of their wells, but that's not the case, she said. "Some people think if I get city water, I can't keep my well and that's not true," she said. "You can have both." The current price to sign up for water connection is $100. The deadline has been extended to March 31. Morrow said the price is expected to increase thereafter. Waterworks District 6 will be set up at the Merryville Heritage Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25 to answer residents' questions and collect signatures. Look for members' booth. For more information, call 337-372-0484. You can also find Waterworks District 6 on Facebook.

March 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

High Speed and No Helmet Contribute to Motorcyclist's Death

A motorcyclist suffered a severe head injury and died in a wreck in Sabine Parish. Louisiana State Police investigators say excessive speed and the failure to wear a helmet contributed to the Zwolle man's death. The wreck happened about 11:40 a.m. March 21 on a gravel road off Eaves Lane in the Belmont community, the Sabine coroner's office reports. Killed was 58-year-old Joey D. Skinner, of Zwolle. He was driving a 1990 Harley Davidson north on Branson Lane at a high rate of speed when Skinner he lost control of the motorcycle after applying the brakes, said Master Trooper Daniel "Scott" Moreau, of state police Troop E.  "This action resulted in the Harley overturning, ejecting Skinner. The Harley then collided with Skinner." Assistant Cororner Ron Rivers said Skinner was declared dead shortly after medical personnel arrived. The results of routine toxicology tests are pending, state police report. So far this year, Troop E has investigated 10 fatal crashes in which 13 people have died.

March 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

71-Year-Old Man Drowns While Fishing On Toledo Bend Lake

 Sabine Parish man accidentally drowned while fishing at Toledo Bend Monday afternoon, according to the Sabine Parish Coroner's Office. Philip LeBlanc Sr., 71, went fishing alone around 2 p.m.  The Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office received a call about a missing fisherman about 4:30 p.m. His boat was found in the Pirate's Cover area, said Ron Rivers, assistant coroner. The sheriff's office, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents and Central Sabine Fire District searched the area and found his body about 6 p.m. in about 20-feet of water. "He was not wearing a life vest, but was wearing a back brace. According to evidence on the scene, it is believed that Mr. LeBlanc was standing in front of the boat when for an unknown reason, he fell forward into the lake," Rivers said.

March 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Unrestrained Noble Woman Killed in Crash

Earlier today, a single vehicle crashed killed a woman from Noble, LA that was not wearing a seat belt. Troopers responded to the crash around 3:20 p.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 482, near Sam Meshell Loop. The crash involved a 2007 Toyota RAV4, driven by Amanda Neel Sepulvado (W/F 45 yrs). The Toyota was westbound on LA Hwy 482 when Sepulvado lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Sepulvado received serious injuries and was transported to Sabine Medical Center where she 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 nine fatal crashes in 2017, resulting in twelve fatalities.

March 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply system due to reparing water line break. Because of this problem, the water produced by the water system is of questionable microbiolgical quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is issuing a Boil Advisory effective immediately for customers in the following area: Brumley Road and Tedder Lane.

March 20th, 2017, Monday

Two Die in Separate Motorcycle Accidents 20 Minutes Apart

Troopers from Louisiana State Police’s Troop E had a difficult Saturday afternoon – in less than 30 minutes, they worked motorcycle accidents in two neighboring parishes that took the lives of two Leesville men. The first happened in Rapides Parish, took the life of Donald. W. Smith, 63, but the victim in the second crash in Vernon Parish - a 28-year-old male - has not been identified, pending notification of family. Troopers responded to the first crash in at around 5:40 p.m. Saturday. Smith was driving a 2006 Harley Davidson westbound on LA Hwy 28 when he lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway into the grass median, the motorcycle overturned and Smith was ejected. Smith received serious injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center where he later was pronounced dead. Around 20 minutes later at 6 p.m., troopers responded to the second crash on LA Hwy 1146, south of US Hwy 171. It involved a 2014 Yamaha motorcycle. The Yamaha was southbound on LA Hwy 1146, at a high rate of speed, when the driver lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the motorcycle began overturning and collided with a tree. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Both motorcycle drivers were wearing helmets, but state police said both drivers were traveling at excessive speeds. Routine toxicology tests are pending. Both crashes remains under investigation.

March 20th, 2017, Monday

Boil Advisory Lifted

According to city officials, the boil advisory for the Town of Many has been lifted.

March 20th, 2017, Monday

Body of Missing Woman Found in East Texas

The body of a missing woman from Marion County, Texas was found Tuesday about 8am.  Regina Michele Johnson, 46, was reported missing on March 11th  by  family members.  A Marion County road and bridge crew noticed a white Ford pickup pulled off the roadway on CC road, in northern Marion County, and about 1 ½ miles from Ms. Johnson’s residence.  The sheriff’s office was notified, and the body was found outside of the pickup in a pine thicket.  Ms. Johnson was reported by family members to be possibly suicidal.  Justice of the Peace Lena Pope pronounced the subject deceased, and ordered the body sent to Dallas for an autopsy.  There were no visible signs of trauma and the cause of death is pending upon receiving full autopsy and toxicology reports.  The deceased’s family has been notified by sheriff’s office personnel.

March 16th, 2017, Thursday

Four-Parish Investigation of ATV Thefts Leads to 7 Arrests

Seven people face charges in connection with the theft of two all-terrain vehicles. Authorities say their arrests come as a result of a six-week investigation involving four parishes. Natchitoches sheriff's deputies got a report at 5:03 p.m. Jan. 21 about the overnight theft of the 2017 Yamaha Kodiak 700s, with a combined value of $14,000, from a shed at a farm in the 1700 block of Louisiana Highway 485 near Powhatan. Over the next six weeks, detectives went to Caddo, Red River and Sabine parishes in an attempt to interview some people of interest in the case, said Detective Greg Dunn, chief of investigations. The ATVs have yet to be recovered, but investigators think they might be in Red River Parish. Those who have been arrested are:

  • Jacoby D. Caldwell Sr., 28, of the 2800 block of Alkay Drive in Shreveport, 2 counts each of felony theft between $5,000 and $25,000 and theft under $750 and 1 count each of criminal conspiracy, attempted theft and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
  • Armaa Y. Edwards, 17, of the 900 block of 2nd Street in Coushatta, 2 counts of theft under $750 and 1 count each of criminal trespassing, attempted theft and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
  • Larris Edwards, 19, of the 900 block of 2nd Street in Coushatta, 2 counts of felony theft between $5,000 and$25,000 and 1 count each of criminal conspiracy, attempted theft, theft under $750 and criminal trespassing.
  • Latisha N. Edwards, 24, of 8200 block of Wildbriar Street in Shreveport, 1 count each of accessory after the fact and criminal obstruction of justice.
  • Kristina M. Markam, 33, of the 1300 block of East Louisiana Avenue in Many, 2 counts of principal to felony theft and 1 count of attempted theft.
  • Simco W. Morris, 21, of the 900 block of 2nd Street in Coushatta, La., 2 counts of felony theft between $5,000 and $25,000 and 1 count each of criminal conspiracy, theft under $750, attempted theft and criminal trespassing. He already was being held in the Red River Parish Jail on unrelated charges: 1 count each of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, flight from an officer and resisting an officer.
  • Billy R. Murphy Jr., 32, of the 26000 block of Hoyte Drive in Shreveport, 2 counts each of felony theft between $5,000 and $25,000 and theft under $750 and 1 count each of criminal conspiracy, attempted theft and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
  • All except Morris and Larris Edwards have been released on bond.

Assisting with the investigation have been the Caddo, Red River and Sabine sheriff’s offices. Authorities ask anyone with any information about the case to call the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 352-6432 or your local law enforcement agency.

March 16th, 2017, Thursday

Boil Advisory

The Many Water System is experiencing problems with the water supply system. Because of these problems, the water produced by the Many Water System is of questionable mircrobiological quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Many Water System is issuing a boil advisory effective immediately. This boil advisory is to remain in effect until rescinded by the Many Water System. It is recommended that all consumers disinfect their water before consuming it, making ice, brushing teeth, or using it for food preparation. Upon notification from the Office of Public Health's State Regional Laboratory that the samples collected from the Many Water System supply have been found to be safe, the State Health Department will notify the water supply of the sample results. Upon such notification, the Many Water System will then rescind the boil advisory and notify its customers that the water has been found to be safe.

March 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Warning of Deadly Narcotics in Natchitoches Parish

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones and District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington issued a warning Monday of the increase of illegal, and deadly, narcotics appearing in Natchitoches Parish. “We have seen a large increase of highly dangerous and deadly narcotics in the area, including substances that are sold on the street purporting to be certain narcotics but are laced with more dangerous components which has resulted in the death of the users,” warned Jones. “First and foremost, all illegal narcotics are dangerous and could be deadly. And, the people who sell narcotics on the streets have no regard for the well-being of the user other than to keep them hooked on their poison. Our Drug Task Force is out there working every day and night to arrest drug pushers and bring these people to justice,” proclaimed Jones. District Attorney Harrington stated that “if a person sells drugs to another individual and that individual dies as a direct result of ingesting narcotics, the seller may have committed the crime of second-degree murder, which carries a life sentence upon conviction. Our office will prosecute these offenses.” Harrington pointed to two recent narcotics-related deaths in Louisiana that could be related to the use of narcotics-laced with the deadly compound Fentanyl, which is 500% more potent than heroin. Assistant Chief Jesse Taitano, co-commander of the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, stated all suspected Ecstasy seized during the past eight months by the Drug Task Force has been analyzed by a crime lab. The results determined that none of the seized tablets actually contained MDMA, which is the psychoactive drug found in Ecstasy. The results of the analysis stated that 90% of the suspected Ecstasy tablets contained methamphetamine only, while 10% of the tablets contained a mixture of Methamphetamine and substituted Cathinone, also known as baths salts. Both of these components are highly addictive and have very harmful effects. “Our task force agents are very concerned about this because the user believes they are purchasing Ecstasy, but instead are getting a more potent and highly addictive dose of another drug. This is what is now popularly known as ‘Molly’. Clandestine manufacturers are substituting MDMA with mainly bath salts and Methamphetamine in these tablets due to access to them are cheaper and more readily available. Bath salts and Methamphetamine are both highly addictive and have been linked to overdoses throughout the country,” said Taitano. The Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force also have seized illegal narcotics that have been disguised as prescription narcotic pain killers. Recently, pills seized from a local drug dealer that were initially uspected to be Oxycodone were determined by the crime lab to contain heroin only. Numerous Hydrocodone pills marked “Watson 853” were determined to contain Fentanyl and Alprazolam, which have caused deaths to some users. Other prescription narcotic pills contained a substance called U-4770, also known as ‘Pink’ or ‘U4’, which is a synthetic opioid pain medication developed as a dangerous designer drug which has caused several overdose deaths. Task force agents also seized numerous packages of suspected synthetic marijuana, in which the crime lab determined them to contain synthetic cannabinoids and Phencyclidine also known as ‘PCP’ and ‘Angel Dust’. Sheriff Jones said, “these drugs obtained on the street, even though they look like an authentic prescription medication, may be fake and deadly. Don’t take any prescription drug unless they have been prescribed to you by your physician and is dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy.” District Attorney Harrington added, “You are putting yourself in great danger if you consume synthetic marijuana, Ecstasy, or other designer drugs as they may be laced with deadly narcotics. Don’t waste your life on one stupid mistake.” “Help us save the next life, whether it’s yours, your friend’s, or a family member’s. Help us break this deadly cycle of narcotics addiction in Natchitoches Parish. Do not take these drugs. They will kill you. I can’t say it any plainer than this,” warned Jones. If a person wants to confidentially help get these dangerous drugs out of our parish, contact the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force at (318) 357-2248. They can remain anonymous. The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force is comprised of narcotics agents from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Natchitoches City Police Department.

March 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Shreveport Fire Department to be Recognized by State Fire Marshall

State Fire Marshall H. Butch Browning Jr. is set to recognize the Shreveport Fire Department as recipient of the 2016 Louisiana Fire Department of the year. The award, presented to departments that exemplify dedication and commitment to the communities they serve in the form of fire prevention and suppression, emergency medical response, and training, will be presented during the Shreveport City Council meeting at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 in the councill chamber, located at 505 Travis Street. Browning Noted the Class 1 rating the department holds is evidence that the department is deserving of recognition. "The Class 1 rating signifies that the Shreveport Fire Department offers superior property fire protection capabilities, which lowers fire insurance cosys for businesses and homes alike," Browning said. The public is invited to attend.

March 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

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

March 13th, 2017, Monday

NSU Dedicates Student Services Building in Honor of Jimmy D. Long Sr

Friends, family and former colleagues of Jimmy D. Long Sr. recalled his distinguished life and career at the dedication of the Jimmy D. Long Student Services Center at Northwestern State University Thursday. 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. Former legislators, NSU students and university leaders told a large crowd at the dedication about Long's nearly half-century of work on behalf of education. Mr. Long had a great impact on the state, community and Northwestern State that was enormous and will be everlasting," said Northwestern State Acting President Dr. Chris Maggio. "This is one of the highest honors we can bestow upon an individual. This is not just a monument or landmark, but is a building our students and prospective students use every day." 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. "Mr. Long stood for students and this is a way to honor him," said University of Louisiana System President Dr. Jim Henderson. "It is a dedication to his spirit and legacy." 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, One Card Office and Cashier's Office. "Look past the brick, concrete and glass and look at what happened to make this building a reality," said NSU Student Government Association President John Pearce. "The foundation was being laid because of Mr. Long's dedication to students. He had a passion for education and fought for students." Board of Supervisors member Lola Dunahoe of Natchitoches served with Long on the Presidential Search Committee that selected Dr. Jim Henderson as Northwestern State's president in 2014. She was able to see Long's concern for Northwestern and its students first-hand. "He brought to the search a level of calm and caring. His underlying thought that nothing was too good for Northwestern," said Dunahoe. "All of us looked to him for guidance. To his family, I want to say thank you for sharing him with us." Former Louisiana Speaker of the House Joe Salter recalled that Long was "a mentor and a friend" when they served together in the legislature. "He had a great influence on Northwestern and higher education," said Salter, who represented Sabine and Red River parishes in the House of Representatives. "He made this institution stronger and the state stronger."

March 13th, 2017, Monday

Gander Mountain to Close 32 Stores, Including Texarkana Site

A chain retailer that operates an outdoor store in Texarkana, Texas is seeking Bankruptcy protection and Gander Mountain Co. plans to close 32 underperforming stores, includiong the location at interstate 30 at University Avenue in Texarkana, as part of its reorganization. The shutdowns will begin in the next several weeks, according to the company's recent announcement. Gander Mountain filed for Chapter 11 relief Friday. Court records show the company's first hearing on the matter is set for early Tuesday Afternoon in Minneapolis.

March 13th, 2017, Monday

Allen Parish Sheriff's Deputy Shot Man

An Allen Parish Sheriff's deputy shot a man Thursday after the suspect fired at the deputy, Sheriff Doug Hebert said. Hebert said Michael Hidalgo, 47, was shot in the leg and the abdomen after firing at the deputy. Hidalgo was airlifted to Rapides Regional Medical Center. Hidalgo underwent surgery and is in ICU, Hebert said. Deputies were responding to a suspicious person call on Langley Camp Road, west of Kinder, when the shooting happened. The suspect had a bench warrant for failure to appear in court. Hebert said the deputy had to pull out a taser while attempting to arrest Hidalgo. But Hidalgo pulled out a gun and fired upon the deputy, missing the deputy. The deputy returned fire, striking the suspect twice, Hebert said. Hebert said deputies were questioning three men at the home. Hidalgo had permission to be at the home, although it was not his. Louisiana State Police has been called in to investigate.

March 10th, 2017, Friday

Sabine Parish School Board

A Sabine Parish School Board meeting will be held Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 6 p.m. This meeting will be held at 695 Peterson Street in Many.

March 10th, 2017, Friday

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Scholarship

Sheriff Ronny Richardson would like to remind all high school seniors that are planning on attending college in Louisiana that it is time to apply for the annual Sheriffs Scholarship.  The scholarship is for $500.  All schools should have the applications or contact Mary in the Sheriff's Office for a blank application.  These must be returned to the Sheriff's Office by April 1st. The winner and alternates will be selected by a non-partisan committee at the school board office.  Good luck and study hard.

March 9th, 2017, Thursday

Sabine Parish School Board Announcement

The Zwolle Hawks have progressed to the Class B State Championship Finals in Lake Charles. Because of this, Zwolle schools will be dismissed Firday, March 10th, 2017 to be able to travel to Lake Charles for the 2:00 game. We wish the Hawks the best of luck for a safe and successful run for the State Champ Title.

March 9th, 2017, Thursday

Boil Advisory Lifted

Please be advised that the boil advisory for the Marthaville Road--from the Town of Many City Limits to the Brumley Road--has been lifted.

March 9th, 2017, Thursday

VPSO Seeking to Find Evans Woman as Part of Welfare Concern

The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is seeking information, as part of a welfare concern, on the whereabouts of 64-year-old Insun Strickland, of Evans. Family members indicate that Strickland left on-foot from the Evans Community. Strickland's family members state that they last spoke with Strickland on Feb. 3, 2017 by telephone and she advised that she had, in fact, hitchhiked to Shreveport. Strickland does not have a cell phone and has not contacted her family members since. The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is attempting to verify the safety and well being of Strickland. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Strickland can contact VPSO at 337-238-1311 or Crime Stoppers at 337-239-2233.

March 8th, 2017, Wednesday

Natchitoches Man Arrested After Hit-and-Run Crash, Police Chase

A Natchitoches man was arrested after police say he lead them on a chase through the heart of the city.  Just after 10 p.m. on Saturday night police got a call about a hit and run crash on Behan Street. Officers found a car matching the description of the vehicle that left the scene at the Turbo Car Wash on Amulet Street. Police say 39-year-old Vincent Roberson was arrested for a host of charges following the incident. Police tried to pull Roberson over Second Street and Amulet but he took off. During the pursuit, he reportedly rammed into a Natchitoches police car. Also during the pursuit, police sat Roberson repeatedly threw suspected drugs out of the vehicle in an attempt to destroy evidence.  When Roberson finally stopped at the 100 block of Second Street, police say he resisted arrest. Roberson is awaiting bond at the Natchitoches Parish Jail. He is charged with 2 counts hit and run, careless operation, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer, aggravated flight from an officer, obstruction of justice, littering, open container, 3 counts of failure to yield at stop sign, and 2 counts of disobey traffic control signals.  

March 8th, 2017, Wednesday

"Welcome to DeRidder" Sign Stolen-Again

This isn't the first time the "Welcome to the City of DeRidder" has been stolen.  On La. 27, it can get quite dark at night and there's not much around - making the sign an easy target. When the sign last went missing, DeRidder Police Chief John Gott said they didn't have to search long. "It was magically returned - after a few phone calls - and some ideas of where it had gone. It magically appeared back, so it wasn't damaged and we were able to put it back up," said Gott.  The sign went missing again this past Saturday "The main thing is - we just want the sign back," Gott said.  He said he has a "no harm, no foul" attitude towards the case but if the sign is not returned soon, that may change. "If we have to continue looking for it and invest man hours in it, then it's a theft," he said. Stealing and vandalizing signs may seem like harmless high school pranks, but Gott said it costs the taxpayers money and can be a more serious offense. "It's a crime. At the very least, it's a misdemeanor, which can be punishable up to six months in jail and a lot of times, they're felony offenses because these signs are expensive," he said. DeRidder police is currently investigating the case and Gott warns the sign thieves said their grace period is running out. "We got some leads that we're looking at, so if you're the one who did it, know we are coming to you shortly, but we can give you the opportunity now to get it put back up with no problems," he said. Gott said anyone with information on the whereabouts of the sign is asked to call the DeRidder Police Department. 

March 7th, 2017, Tuesday

ArkLaTex's Peak Severe Weather Season Has Begun

The ArkLaTex now is into its peak severe weather season, which began March 1. This week is Louisiana's Severe Weather Preparedness Week. According to Michael Berry, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Shreveport, about 70 percent of severe weather occurs during the months of March, April and May in the ArkLaTex. Even though every thunderstorm produces rain and lightning, not every thunderstorm is severe. For a thunderstorm to be severe, it must produce one of three things: hail 1 inch in diameter or larger, wind gusts of at least 58 mph or a tornado. The two types of storms that the StormTracker 12 Weather Team and NWS meteorologist track the closest are supercell thunderstorms and squall lines. "Supercell thunderstorms can produce large hail damaging winds and tornadoes," said Berry. "Squall lines are prolific wind producers. "Occasionally we can get a small tornado along a leading edge of a bow echo or a squall line, but [they] typically produce widespread wind damage or straight-line wind damage." Berry said a severe thunderstorm can produce wind gusts over 70 mph. That's strong enough to rip the roof off structures and do devastating damage, especially to a mobile home. The combination of damaging wind gusts and large hail can be even more destructive. "I've seen siding along people's homes that have been penetrated by large hail. It looks like someone has just taken a gun and tried to shoot up the sides of the house, but it's actually hail that has penetrated the side of the home," said Berry. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, you should seek shelter immediately and put as many walls between you and the storm as possible. The best way to get weather information is through a NOAA weather radio.

March 7th, 2017, Tuesday

Lady Blackcats Avenge Earlier Loss to Anacoco

Back in November, the Anacoco Lady Indians beat the Florien Lady Blackcats at their homecoming for a second straight year. And on Tuesday night at the Reservation, the Lady Blackcats returned the favor for a second year in a row. Sparked by standout center Aja "Tootie" Law, along with Ashlynn Anthony and Morgan Miller, the Lady Blackcats pulled away for a 42-31 win over the Lady Indians. With the victory, second-ranked Florien improved to 23-1 overall, while top-ranked Anacoco dropped to 14-3 on the season. The Lady Indians held the lead for the most part during the first period. Annabelle Sellers got the Lady Indians on the board first, but Anthony tied things up as both teams got off to sluggish starts. Sellers gave Anacoco the lead again at 4-2 and Cammy Hooks drilled a three to push the Lady Indians to a 7-2 lead. However, three points from Law, along with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Miller allowed Florien to claim an 8-7 edge after the first eight minutes of play. The Lady Blackcats managed to move out to a four-point lead during the second period. After Allie Haymon tied the game at 12-12, Law connected on a pair of free throws and Miller scored on a drive for a 16-12 edge. A free throw by Korie Kreps and a three-pointer by Whitney Goins tied the game again at 16-16 and Anacoco went back up, 18-16, after a bucket from Kreps. Anthony tied things up for a fourth time in the frame, but a late basket by Courtney Dowden gave the Lady Indians the lead at the intermission, 20-18. Anacoco managed to hold onto the lead for the first half of the third quarter, taking a 25-22 advantage on a three from Haymon. However, the Lady Blackcats closed out the third on an 8-0 run, getting six points from Law and a bucket from Kylee Strother to open up a 30-25 edge going into the final frame of regulation. Miller gave Florien a seven-point lead at 34-27, but Anacoco rallied back to cut the deficit to three points on buckets from Haymon and Kreps, 34-31. But the Lady Blackcats closed out the contest with an 8-0 surge, taking the big victory.

March 6th, 2017, Monday

Robeline Teenager Suffers Minor Injuries in Car Wreck


A Robeline teenager suffered minor injuries when his car ran off the road and partially overturned. It happened about 12:31 a.m. March 5 on Campti Cutoff Road (Louisiana Highway 486) in Natchitoches Parish. The 17-year-old, whose name authorities have not released, was driving a 2010 Honda Civic west on LA 486 when he lost control of the car, the sheriff's office reports. The sedan ran off the road, partially overturned on its right side and traveled several feet then came to rest upright in a ditch. Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS assessed the teenager the released him.  His parents were expected to take him to Natchitoches Regional Medical for further treatment, the sheriff's office reports.  The wreck is being investigated by Louisiana State Police.

March 6th, 2017, Monday

CPSO: Leesville Couple Accused of Leaving Child in Car While They Gambled

A Leesville couple is accused of leaving their child unattended inside a car at a local casino in Lake Charles, according to a news release from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office. At approximately 11:20 p.m. on Friday, Feb, 24, a 2-year-old child was found left unattended inside a car that was not running in a parking lot of a local casino in Lake Charles, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kim Myers said. Deputies were able to unlock the car and check on the welfare of the child. Casino security located the child’s parents, Maureen N. Cheto, 23, and Amstrong H. Otieno, 30, both of Leesville, on the casino floor, Myers said. When deputies spoke with Cheto and Otieno, they stated they left their son sleeping in the car while they went inside to gamble. When detectives viewed surveillance footage at the casino, they learned the child was left alone in the car for over an hour.  Both Cheto and Otieno were arrested and charged with child desertion, Myers said. Their $7,000 bond was set by Judge Ron Ware. The child was released to a family member.

March 3rd, 2017, Friday

Independent Labs Discredit Canadian Story on Subway Chicken

Two independent laboratories testing Subway® chicken have found that alleged test results broadcast on Feb. 24 by the Canadian television show, Marketplace, were false and misleading. Test results from laboratories in Canada and the U.S. clearly show that the Canadian chicken products tested had only trace amounts of soy, contradicting the accusations made during the broadcast of CBC Marketplace. Subway representatives immediately contacted the program and the lab that conducted the tests to inquire about the methodology and the testing process. The program and the lab declined to engage with Subway except to share the results. In response, Subway sent samples of the Canadian products that Marketplace claimed contained 50 per cent soy protein to Maxxam Analytics in Canada and Elisa Technologies, Inc in Florida. The results from both labs found soy protein below 10 ppm, or less than 1 per cent, in all tested samples. These findings are consistent with the low levels of soy protein that we add with the spices and marinade to help keep the products moist and flavourful. "The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers. The safety, quality and integrity of our food is the foundation of our business. That's why we took extra caution to test and retest the chicken. Our customers can have confidence in our food. The allegation that our chicken is only 50 per cent chicken is 100 per cent wrong," said Subway President and CEO Suzanne Greco. Dave Theno, Subway's Chief of Food Safety & Quality, said, "Our chicken is 100 per cent white meat with seasonings, marinated, cooked and delivered to our restaurants. The chicken has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Through years of testing, we've never seen results like the program claimed."  Subway has shared the results of the independent tests with Marketplace and the lab that conducted the flawed test. The company is demanding a retraction and apology.

March 3rd, 2017, Friday

Norovirus and C. Diff

Another wave of the stomach bug is making people sick this week. Dr. Kevin Schlamp, a family medicine physician in Sulphur, says he is treating people of all ages for the bug in this week's What's Going Around The stomach bug, specifically Norovirus, is a highly contagious viral infection of the stomach and intestines.  Dr. Schlamp says he has seen a lot of it over the past week. "It's had significant impact in places like the nursing home, but also in the community," he said.  "A number of patients have presented to the office and some of my staff has managed to pick it up, too." Dr. Schlamp explains the classic symptoms of Norovirus: "A headache, mild fever, and then you'll have some significant projectile vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, just a general feeling of listlessness and fatigue," he said. The biggest concern is that vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration.  Dr. Schlamp says you need to carefully monitor your liquid intake while battling the bug, sticking to drinks that contain salt. "Like a Gatorade or a Powerade, because you sweat salt and water, you pee salt and water, you poop salt and water.  If you're only replacing it with water, you're going to lower your salts quite a bit and that's going to make you feel unhealthy," said Dr. Schlamp. Norovirus spreads very easily when people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom and then touch a surface or food. "A lot of times it will get in the food supply," said Dr. Schlamp.  "It being a virus, it doesn't grow in food, but the contamination of food will do that." Dr. Schlamp also says he is seeing a rise in the number of C. diff cases, an overgrowth of bacteria that presents much like the stomach bug. "It's an extremely hard bug to get rid of once you've got it and it occurs more in people who are immunocompromised, the older people," he said. C. diff is most common in hospital settings and in people who have recently taken antibiotics.  Ironically, it is specific antibiotics to target C. diff that are the best way to get over it. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting, Emetrol is an over-the-counter medication that can help relieve symptoms.

March 2nd, 2017, Thursday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

The bridge of Sneed Road has been replaced with a tank car culvert and is back open.

March 2nd, 2017, Thursday

Dequincy Men Arrested on Rape Charges

Two DeQuincy men have been arrested on rape charges. Both are accused of having a sexual relationship with a juvenile under the age of 12. Jolahn Thomas Darson, 22, and Deanthony Dewayne Martin, 17, were both arrested Monday. Darson is charged with first-degree rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile under 13 years of age. Martin is charged with two counts of first-degree rape. Both gave voluntary confessions to Det. Casey Whitehead, said Capt. Tom Threet, with the DeQuincy Police Department. Judge Michael Canaday set Darson's bond at $1.1 million and Martin's at $750,000.

March 2nd, 2017, Thursday

Leesville City Council Tables "Saggy Pants" Ordinance

A public hearing and vote on a proposed "saggy pants" ordinance in the city were tabled by the Leesville City Council on Monday. It's unclear when and if the proposal will come before the panel again. Members voted Feb. 13 to place the matter on Monday's agenda, slating and advertising a public hearing. At that time, city administrator Patti Larney said it was in response to complaints city officials have heard.  However, District 3 councilman Danny Dowd, mayor pro-tempore, who presided over Monday's meeting in the absence of Mayor Rick Allen, said members want more review. "We'll come back to it at a later date if we decide to bring it back up," Dowd said. Allen told the West Central News Center on Tuesday that he felt the measure needed to be tabled and revised. "Yes, it needed to be tabled to be more specific to undergarments, not sagging pants," he said. "My thoughts are sag your pants to your ankles if you want, but tuck your shirt in so the public doesn't see your underwear." The ordinance called for civil penalties -- fines, community service and/or counseling -- for infractions in the form of citations issued by city police officers. It proposed there be "appropriate dress for persons in certain public places" and that "public exposure in certain attire" be prohibited. "On public property (including, but not limited to streets, sidewalks and parks) of the City of Leesville all persons shall be properly attired whenever they appear in public view," the measure reads. Some people showed up to speak on the issue Monday, though the council did not formally take comments during the public hearing because it was tabled. Yet later in the regular meeting, during a period allotted for council members' comments, District 4 Councilman Tony Shapkoff spoke of the ordinance and his feeling that the city needed to study a similar ordinance adopted by the City of Alexandria. One gentleman in the crowd spoke aloud, asking how officials were going to about their further review. "How and when are we going to go about doing that?" "We've tabled it today and we'll look at it in the next couple of weeks and see if we even want to go forward," Dowd responded. "Need any help deciding?" the man said. One local pastor, Rev. Joseph L. Garner of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Leesville, submitted a letter to the city in opposition. Garner attended Monday's meeting, and Shapkoff spotted him in the crowd and addressed him during his comments. Garner replied that his purpose for attending was to express opposition, but that he would hold his commentary until there is public discussion. He mentioned his letter, which he said he submitted to Allen and council members. In it, Garner says he thinks a ban on a particular clothing style violates a liberty granted under law. "The government must demonstrate a rational basis for its ban -- and Leesville has no legitimate, rational basis for regulating the attire of its residents," Garner wrote. He also takes issue with the ordinance's language. "It makes a criminal of everyone whose pants are not high enough to suit the arbitrary standards of law enforcement," he wrote. Garner wrote that he felt the ordinance would raise questions about racial profiling or disproportionate enforcement, and that it would burden law enforcement with a matter he described as "trivial." "We sincerely appreciate the services provided by the Leesville City Police Department and other local law enforcement entities. We would hate to bog them down with such a trivial matter as trying to determine how many inches a person’s pants hang beneath the crest of their ilium, whatever that is. The government does not belong in the business of telling people what to wear. Nor does it have the right to use clothing as a pretext to engage in otherwise unlawful stops of innocent people. We therefore urge you not to pass this unlawful and troublesome Ordinance. There are more important issues facing the city of Leesville, (i.e. streets, drainage, sewage) than regulating attire," he concluded. Though the state has obscenity laws on the books, some towns and cities have similar ordinances, including the cities of Lake Charles and Alexandria. In Lake Charles, fines for violations range from $25 to $200. Also, if the violator is a juvenile, he or she and their parents could face community service hours and counseling. The Town of Merryville adopted an ordinance in 2007. Those found in violation face a $50 fine for a first offense, $100 fine for a second offense and a $150 fine and 16 hours of community service for a third offense. Leesville's proposal called for fines for those found in violation to be $25 for the first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense, in addition to possible community service and/or counseling. In the case of juveniles, it outlined that parents could also face penalties. State lawmakers considered the "saggy pants" issue back in 2008, and then again in 2010, yet the issue was stymied amid lawmakers' questions over fairness and free speech. The News Center also asked Allen on Tuesday if he had received any input from city police on the proposal. He said he had not heard any concerns from law enforcement.

March 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Car Crash on Highway 171

The Many Police Department is on the scene of a two-vehicle accident on Hwy. 171 near Subway. The roadway is blocked to some extent and both cars will need to be towed. Fluids from the vehicles are on the roadway and could be hazardous. Please be careful when approaching this area.

March 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Troubled Robeline-Marthaville Water System Has New Leaders

More than three dozen residents gathered in Marthaville on Monday evening for the first public meeting of a largely new Robeline-Marthaville Water System board. Two board members needed to be appointed along with a new president after a series of resignations following the board's heated public meeting Jan. 30. The day after that gathering, Tommy O'Con resigned as president of the water system. Two other board members resigned as well. O'Con said he was choosing to resign to pursue his other occupations. He also said he believed the water system was progressing further under state direction and it was time for someone else to see that process through. Many of the water system's 481 customers were left without running water for weeks before Christmas. An emergency state grant helped install a pressure pump to return water pressure to the two Natchitoches Parish towns, but now a permanent fix has yet to be found. On Monday night, Marthaville resident Don Perez was appointed the next president of the water system. KSLA first interviewed Perez when he was attending a meeting Jan. 5 between the water system and parish authorities in the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse. Perez was then appointed a member of the water board during their meeting Jan. 30 and has now ascended to the board presidency. Addressing the crowd of gathered residents, Perez said the board has implemented several new practices to save the water system money, including terminating Terminix services at the board's office as well as ceasing to pay for Blue Cross insurance for that office's two employees. Perez also said he supports an independent audit of the water board and put forth a motion to bring an attorney on the board to help guide their future negotiations. He also urged a measure to replace the water system's meters. According to Perez, 20 percent of their water meters are no longer working. "We're losing right at $2,000 in revenue just on meters not working so that's one thing we really have to address to try to get these meters repaired, changed. All the meters have to be changed," he told residents. The water board's engineers reported during the meeting that they have accrued 85% of the information they need for their study to determine a permanent fix for the water system. Once their study is completed, they'll submit their report to the USDA. Engineer Ken McManus told residents and board members the three most viable options for their water system involved refurbishment or realignment. McManus reported the system could spend millions of dollars to upgrade their own water system or hook into either Sabine Water District 1 or the Belmont Water System, also in Sabine Parish.

February 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Boil Advisory

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is experiencing problems with the water supply due to repairing water line break. Because of this problem, the water produced by the water system is of questionable microbiological quality. Therefore, as a precaution, the Sabine Parish Waterworks District #1 is issuing a boil advisory effective immediately for customers in the following areas: three and a half miles on the Marthaville Road, from the Many City limits to the Brumley Road.

February 28th, 2017, Tuesday

Colfax Man Unhurt in Rollover Wreck in Natchitoches Parish


A man told authorities his truck hit some trees and rolled over in a ditch when he swerved to miss some deer. David M. Sessions, 22, of Colfax, was not hurt in the wreck shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday in Natchitoches Parish, the sheriff's office reports. The one-vehicle wreck happened on Louisiana Highway 117 north of the community of Kisatchie. Sessions was driving a 1999 Dodge pickup north on LA 117 when, he told authorities, several deer crossed his path on the roadway.  He apparently lost control of the truck, causing it to leave the road on the right side, travel through a ditch and strike some trees then cross to the other side of the road and overturn in another ditch, deputies said. EMS personnel examined Sessions at the scene of the wreck. He was released without being taken to a hospital.

February 27th, 2017, Monday

NPSO Investigates Dozens reports of a 'Loud Boom'

Natchitoches officials are searching for an explanation for a loud boom that nearly four dozen residents say shook their homes. The parish's 911 call center received about 50 calls reporting the loud boom just before noon Saturday, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office reports. Most callers said that they felt their houses shake and that windows, pictures on the wall and dishes shook as well, Sheriff Victor Jones said. Deputies who went to areas of the parish where the boom was heard were unable to pinpoint an exact location.  “Over the course of the last week, U.S. Forest Service has been conducting numerous control burns in south Natchitoches Parish consisting of several thousand acres which have caused smoke haze in the area,” sheriff's Capt. Tony Moran said. That wouldn't explain the noise. And Fort Polk officials said no military training operations were being held at Peason Ridge. This is not the first time residents have reported hearing a loud boom. “Last year, we had a couple of similar incidents which we learned but were unable to confirm that it was Tannerite used by private individuals in the feral hog elimination problem in south Natchitoches Parish,” Moran said.

February 27th, 2017, Monday

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

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

February 24th, 2017, Friday

Texas Approves Poison for Feral Hogs


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

February 24th, 2017, Friday

Prescribed Burn

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

February 23rd, 2017, Thursday

Suspect Attempts to Run Over Panola County Deputies in Stolen Truck

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

February 23rd, 2017, Thursday

Fake Money Passed at Local Business

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

February 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine County Man Charged with Capital Murder

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

February 22nd, 2017, Wednesday

2017 Boys' Basketball Bracket Release Has Been Postponed

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

February 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Drug Seizure in Alexandria

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

February 21st, 2017, Tuesday

Vernon Parish Police Jury to Meet Tuesday

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

AGENDA

REGULAR MEETING

 

VERNON PARISH POLICE JURY

PARISH GOVERNMENT COMPLEX BUILDING

300 S. 3RD STREET, 2ND FLOOR

LEESVILLE, LOUISIANA

TUESDAY, FEB. 21, 2017

10 a.m.

1. Call to Order

2. Invocation

3. Pledge of Allegiance

4. Roll Call

5. Visitors:

6. Public Comment

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

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

8. Committee Reports:

1. Capital Properties

2. Econ. Development & Planning

3. Equipment

4. Finance

5. Fire Protection and Solid Waste

6. Permit & Claims

7. Personnel

8. Road Maintenance & Construction

9. Veterans Affairs

10. Ways & Means

11. Wildlife & Lakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- James P. Monk

- William J. Beavers, Jr.

- William Rolls, Jr.

- Sedrick Stallworth

- Jody L. Gooch

- Grady Arnold Kennedy

- Thomas P. Knight

- Horace Elton Fox

- Jackie Nell Jackson

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

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

February 20th, 2017, Monday

SWLA Forestry Association Annual Meeting and Forum

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

February 20th, 2017, Monday

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

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

February 17th, 2017, Friday

Victims of Helicopter Crasgh Tentatively Identified as East Texas Couple

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

February 17th, 2017, Friday

Sabine Parish Police Jury: Bridge Closure

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

February 16th, 2017, Thursday

Remains of Two People Found in Wallace Lake Helicopter Crash

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

February 16th, 2017, Thursday

Manufacturing Tenant Considers Leesville Industrial Park Space

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

February 15th, 2017, Wednesday

City Officials Hope To Secure Street Repair Money From State

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

February 15th, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

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

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Road Closure Update

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

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office Investigating Convenience Store Robbery


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

February 14th, 2017, Tuesday

Sabine Parish School Board

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

February 13th, 2017, Monday

Body Recovered From Sabine River Believed to Be Missing Logansport Woman


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

February 13th, 2017, Monday

ETX Contractor Accused of Taking Hundreds of Thousands

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

February 13th, 2017, Monday

Transitional Sheltering Assistance for Louisiana Survivors

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

Darren Olagues Resigns as President and CEO of Cleco

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

February 10th, 2017, Friday

Residents Allowed Back In Homes After Ammonia Leak Contained


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

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

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

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

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

6 Injured Workers Treated and Released; 1 Remains Hospitalized


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

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

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

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

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

February 9th, 2017, Thursday

Ammonia Leaks at Natchitoches Plant, Nearby Homes Evacuated

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

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

Sabine Parish Police Jury

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

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

Massage Therapist Accused of Inappropriately Touching Clients


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

February 8th, 2017, Wednesday

NSU Announces Fall President's List

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

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

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

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

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

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

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

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

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

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

February 7th, 2017, Tuesday

Oberlin Police Chief Facing Ethics Charges


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

February 6th, 2017, Monday

Authorities Search Along Sabine Riverfront; Woman Still Missing

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

February 6th, 2017, Monday

Property Buyout Program

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

February 3rd, 2017, Friday

Crimestoppers Reward Offered

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

February 3rd, 2017, Friday

Widespread Flu Outbreak, Tamiflu Tough to Find

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

February 2nd, 2017, Thursday

Northwestern State University: Demon Football

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

February 2nd, 2017, Thursday

DeRidder Boy Spends the Day with Beauregard Sheriff's Office

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

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

45 Acres Burned in Large Woods Fire in LaCamp Community

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

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Submerged Big Rig To Be Pulled From Toledo Bend Wednesday

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

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

Boil Advisory

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

February 1st, 2017, Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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