Local and Area News

 

C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center

More than two years after the area was shocked by the abrupt closure of the C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center, the prison facility located outside of DeQuincy in Beauregard Parish has received new life. Beauregard Parish Sheriff Ricky Moses announced on Tuesday that the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office has entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Department of Corrections to utilize Phelps for a transitional work release program for nonviolent offenders. Phelps officially reopened with an estimated 101 inmates transferred there on Monday. Moses said the program, managed by Louisiana Workforce LLC, will create 45 to 50 jobs when the facility is fully staffed.

January 29,2015, Tuesday

Prohibited Contact

A former Sabine Parish teacher's aide was arrested this week accused of having sex with a student. Authorities say 36-year-old Renee Jones was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center on Tuesday. Jones is charged with prohibited sexual contact between an educator and student. Authorities haven't  released many details surrounding Jones' arrest but say that the incident reportedly happened while Jones was employed with Sabine Parish Schoolds. Sabine Parish Detention Center Warden Joe Dewil Jr. says Jones was released on a $1,500 bond.

January 29,2015, Tuesday

Campti Man Arrested

A Campti man is facing charges cruelty to the infirm after deputies say the man used a belt to whip his 82-year-old grandmother. Just after noon on Wednesday, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office deputies were called to a home in the 200 block of Lake Drive in Campti on reports of a battery. When deputies arrived, a female victim reportedly told them that her boyfriend, 35-year-old Rodney Davis, struck her in the eye causing a bruise on Monday and then again struck her again Wednesday afternoon. Authorities were told that the victim and boyfriend lived with his grandmother. During their investigation,deputies also say they learned that Davis allegedly would use a belt to whip both the victim and his 82-year-old grandmother on several occasions. Deputies arrested Davis and charged him with domestic abuse battery and cruelty to the infirm. Davis remains in the Natchitoches Parish Dentention Center.

January 29,2015, Thursday

GRE Online

Northwestern State University is offering the GRE online beginning in February. Prospective graduate students wishing to take the online version of the GRE can take the test at NSU on Feb. 6th, March 13th and 28th, April 17th, May 15th and 29th, or June 5th and 19th.

January 29,2015, Thursday

Job Fair

Northwestern State University's Office of Counseling and Career Services if sponsoring a Spring/ Summer Job Fair Tuesday, Feb. 3rd from 9:00am to 1:00pm in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. The event is open to all Northwestern State Students. For more information call 318-357-5621.

January 29,2015, Thursday

Air Show

The 11th Annual Jasper Air Show & Fly-In will be held Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 at Jasper County Bell Field Airport, on Highway 190 West in Jasper, Texas. Coming back to the show this year is the World War II Bomber "Devil Dog", a b-25 from Georgetown, Texas. Internationally known aerobatics performer Skip Stewart will be flying his spectacular routine in the "Prometheus". A crowd favorite, Dr. Stan Musick will do aerobatics in a North American P-51 D Mustang, and Chris Avery will fly the F4U Corsair, both from the Southern Heritage Air Foundation of Tallulah, Louisiana.

January 26,2015, Monday

Business of the Year

The 2014 Business of the Year as awarded by the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, were announced Thursday. The chamber held the membership's 72nd annual banquet and installation of officers on Thursday evening at Celebrations in downtown Leesville. Winners were:

  • Brandon Veterinary Clinic; small business category;
  • Fox's Pizza, mid-size business;
  • Market Basket, large business; and
  • Leesville Lions Club, church and civic organization.

Outgoing Chamber president, Kirk Pellerin, was honored and the incoming 2015 president, Rand Alford, along with officers.

January 26,2015, Monday

Military Liaison

Denise Jackson has been named military liaison at Northwestern State University's Leesville/ Fort Polk campus. Jackson will work with the Education Services Officer at the Fort Polk Education Center and staff at the NSU Leesville/Fort Polk campus to provide direct coordination of education services to active duty personnel, family members, retirees and all VA students. Jackson evaluates the service member's Joint Service Transcripts and recommends college credit based on American Council on Education guidlines. She will have an office at the Education Center.

January 26,2015,Monday

Historic Site

Rebel State Historic Site's 14th Annual Quilting Display and Appreciation Day will be Tuesday - Saturday during February : Quilt Viewing 9:00am to 5:00pm. February 14 : Quilting Appreciation Day 10:00am to Noon.

January 26,2015, Monday

Demon Basketball

Northwestern State got the confidence-restoring win it needed by racing by McNeese State Saturday afternoon in Prather Coliseum, so Monday night the Demons try to build momentum as Nicholls visits for a 6:30 Southland Conference basketball contest. NSU hasn't won back-to-back league games this season. For that matter, neither has Nicholls, which won 71-61 Saturday at Central Arkansas while the Demons were pulling away at the end in a 93-67 victory over visiting McNeese. Scoring 15 unanswered points coming down the stretch Saturday allowed the Demons to crush the Cowboys in a game NSU controlled, but did not dominate until the closing minutes.

January 26,2015, Monday

Elderly Couple Found Safe

Authorities say the missing Natchitoches Parish elderly couple, Albert and Mary Troquille, have been found safe. Deputies sought the public's help with finding the couple after they were called to a home in the 200 block of Mink Hutton Road just after 7:00 Wednesday evening when a resident reported that an elderly couple stopped by his home requesting directions to the Gorum community. Deputies say they recognized the descriptions of the vehicle and couple that left theirresidence in the past and required law enforcement assistance to find them. Deputies then went to the couple's home an no one was there. Around 8:20pm deputies learned that the couple had been at the Simpson Store on LA Highway 8 asking for directions to Gorum and left traveling towards Rapides Parish. Natchitoches Parish officials requested assistance of the Vernon and Rapides Parish Sheriff's Offices and the agencies searched throughout the night for the couple. Authorities also checked areas around the Kisatchie National Forest but so far have had no luck finding the couple. The couple was reportedly found in Cladwell Parish off of US 165. Authorities say Mr. and Mrs. Troquille were found to be in good condition after their vehicle ran out of gas. The pair was transported to the Cladwell Parish Sheriff's Office waiting to be transported back to Natchitoches Parish. Deputies say this is the third time in less than two months they've assisted in finding the couple and they are concerned for the Troquille's welfare.

January 23,2015, Friday

Confessed Killer to go Free

The confessed killer of an ArkLATex 11-year-old is set to walk free and that has more than one Louisiana town on edge. Phillip DeSelle killed Averie Evans and her body has never been found. On Thursday, DeSelle will be released from the Wade Correctional Center after serving 24 years of a 50 year sentence. The warden wouldn't release exactly what time DeSelle would be released because the final details are still being worked out. Relatives of 11-year-old Averie Grace Evans will never see her innocent smile again but her killer is about to be a free man. Averie Evans was selling candy door-to-door in a Natchitoches neighborhood when she simply knocked on his. "During the parole hearing, we asked why and he said  he was just having a bad day, and snapped" said Erin Keyser, Averie's aunt. The now 65-year-old DeSelle will begin his life over again in South Louisiana in a town about two hours away from Natchitoches where Evans vanished. Rallies are being planned in South Louisiana in protest of DeSelle's release. The victim's family says they will be together when DeSelle is released and will be remembering their lost loved one Averie. Because prosecutors did not find Averie's body, DeSelle was able to plead to a lesser manslaughter and aggravated kidnapping charges. DeSelle is belived to have family near Ville Platte in South Louisiana which is where he will be required to report to his probation and parole officer for the next 26 years following his release.

January 22,2015, Thursday

Converse Library

Sabine Parish Library is pleased to invite the public to an Open House celebrating the reopening of the Converse Branch Library in its new location at 108 W Port Arthur Avenue in Converse. The reception will be held on Thursday, February 5,2015 from 1:00-2:30 in the afternoon. All are invited to visit the facility during this time. The library is currently open to the public and is able is serve with a full range of library services, including books for all ages, magazines and periodicals, computers for public use with printing capabilities, copies, children's summer programming, and much more.

January 22,2015, Thursday

Chili's

A Chili's restaurant is coming to the Leesville/West Central area. That's according to Aisha Fletcher, a public relations specialist, who works with Brinker International Inc., which operates Chili's, along with some other chain eateries. Fletcher confirmed to the West Central News Center that a Chili's restaurant would open in the area, but she was tight-lipped on an exact location. Fletcher said she can confirm the resturant is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016.

January 22,2015, Thursday

Weapon and Theft

A Georgia man, wanted on weapon and theft charges in Texas, was apprehended last week in Beauregard Parish. According to a news release from Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Toler, 21-year-old Robert E. Ketchum, of Alma, Ga., was arrested Friday at a home off La. 112, east of DeRidder. Toler said Ketchum was wanted in Texas on a weapons charge and two counts of theft of a firearm. He was also wanted in Vernon Parish on similar charges.

January 22,2015,Thursday

New Trial Dates

There will be new trial dates in the cases of Cassandra Ward and Matthew Andrews, both facing one count of obstruction of justice each in the James "Jamey" Stephens murder case. Thirtieth Judicial District Court officials say the dates have not been set as of yet. Both were slated to face trial starting Tuesday in the case. Jose Israel Ayala III, 24, of Leesville, faces a charge of second-degree murder in Stephens' death. Ayala will go to trial on April 13.

January 22,2015, Thursday

Ceramics

Northwestern State University's Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a beginning ceramics class, "Playing in the Mud" starting Thursday, Jan. 29. "Playing in the Mud" will be taught on Thursday from 6pm until 8pm in Room 113 of the Fine Arts Annex until March 26. The fee for the class is $150 plus a $20 material fee paid directly to the instructor on the first day of the course. For more information, call 318-357-6355, 800-376-2422, e-mail ece@nsula.edu or go to ece.nsula.edu/non-credit.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

High Speed Chase

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies arrested a Sabine Parish man after he led them on a 15 mile pursuit reaching speeds over 130 miles per hour on Interstate 49, this past weekend according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. Aaron Michael Agnew, 22 of the 200 block of Natchitoches Hwy, Many, LA, was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Speeding 130+/75, 1-count of Aggravated Flight from an Officer, and 1-count of Driving under Suspension.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Fourth Victim Dies

According to the Louisiana State Police, a fourth victim has died as a result of her injuries sustained in a wreck that three others. The crash happened around 5:00 Sunday evening on Highway 71 South of Clarence. Jennifer Tell was also pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, Brian West, later died of his injuries sustained in the wreck. The couple's three children, 10-year-old Kaylee, 12-year-old Kevan and 7-year-old Imoen were also injured. They were transported to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria. Family members say Kaylee suffered severe injuries including head trauma. On Tuesday, Kaylee succumbed to her injuries. Family members say her siblings are recovering from what are described as minor injuries.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Willis Deloney

Pianist Willis Deloney will perform at Northwestern State University Thursday, Jan. 29th at 7:30pm in Magale Recital Hall. The concert is part of the Louisiana Piano Series International. Tickets are $15. Students are admitted free. Dr. Francis Yand and Dr. Christine Burczyk Allen are the organizers of the Louisiana Piano Series International. Information on the Louisiana Piano Series International is available at music.nsula.edu/lpsi. Deloney will perform an original work and arrangement he composed as part of a program, "Out of Character -- Classical and Jazz Connections." He will also perform works by Frederic Chopin, Joseph Makholm, Samuel Barber, David Baker, Bill Evans, Les Hooper and Duke Ellington.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Beauregard Duo Indicted

A Beauregard Parish couple was indicted Tuesday in connection with the death of a 5-month-old girl. A grand jury on Tuesday indicted 28-year-old Kevin A. Waller on a charge of first-degree murder and 23-year-old Brittany D'Ette Cooley on a second-degree murder charge. Waller and Cooley were arrested on a charge of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in December after the infant was admitted to the hospital with a fractured skull and severe bruising. The child was placed on life support and later died, leading to the murder charges. Cooley's bond was set at $1.5 million, while Waller is being held on no bond.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Vernon Police Jury

The Vernon Parish Police Jury elected officers for 2015 on Tuesday. Jim Tuck and Curtis Clay will return to their posts as President and Vice President, respectively. The panel vote to retain the two was unanimous. Tuck said he appreciated members' vote of confidence. "But it's the players of the team that make you successful," he said.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Pickers

The History Channel series "American Pickers" has been filming in and around Shreveport for nearly a week looking for interesting items to highlight. Some of the antiques the show is interested in acquiring include: old advertising signage, old toys, tin, wind-up, cast iron, pre-1960s vintage diner collectibles, vintage sports memorabilia, late 1970s and earlier military items, vintage election memorablia and more. If you have information or items you'd like the guys to check out you can contact the show at amercianpickers@cineflix.com or call and leave a message at 1-855-OLD-RUST.

January 21,2015, Wednesday

Safekeeping

An independent audit report released publicly Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office says the Vernon Parish School Board had two bank accounts holding $2.2 million that were under-secured. State law says that, "any banks selected as fiscal agency shall give security for the safekeeping and payment of deposits." The audit report, for the fiscal year that ended June 30,2014, also notes some issues with some school's activity funds and bank deposits. In some instances, deposits were untimely or lacked receipts, documentation or proper approval. Auditors also noted that the board published a public  bid ad with a starting run date on a Sunday, which is adverse to state law. School system officials, in a response, said they are working to clear up the issues and in some cases, have already corrected them.

January 20,2015,Tuesday

Safe Water

Tests for the rare "brain-eating amoeba" in Sabine Parish water system have come back negative, according to a statement released Monday by Ebarb Water District #1. DHH testing confirmed the presence of Naegleria Fowleri amoeba in the Aimwell-area water system back in September of 2014, prompting an emergency order for a chlorine burn. The process boosted levels of free chlorine throughout the system in order to kill the amoeba and lasted 60 days, although the water system says they are continuing the chlorine burn ordered by the DHH until they state tells them differently. According to the statement from the Ebarb Water Dist. #1, the test was conducted on December 10,2014. The DHH says it takes 2 weeks for results of tests for the amoebae to come back. The water district was the fourth water system in Louisiana to test positive for the amoeba.

January 20,2015, Tuesday

Zwolle Walmart

The Neighborhood Market opening in Zwolle will bring 30 jobs to the area. It will be located at the corner of Obrie St. and Hwy 120 and will be open Monday through Saturday from 7am until 10pm and on Sunday from 8am until 9pm. Store manager Christy Wagstaff said, "We are proud to be a part of the Zwolle community. We look forward to opening and providing the area residents with Walmart's everyday low prices."

January 20,2015, Tuesday

Man Dies in Crash

Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to a single-vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 1147 about 3 miles south of Louisiana Highway 26 in Beauregard Parish that claimed the life of a DeRidder man. The preliminary investigation revealed that a 1998 Mazda pickup driven by 69-year-old Donald C. Rollins of DeRidder was traveling east on LA 1147 when, for unknown reasons, the truck Rollins was driving ran off the road and struck a tree. Rollins was transported to a local hospital with what were initially thought to be minor injuries. He was later transported to a hospital in Alexandria. On the evening of January 17,2015 Troop D received notification that Rollins had succumbed to internal injuries sustained during the crash. Rollins was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. A routine toxicology sample was obtained from Rollins and will be submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

January 19,2015, Monday

Church Thief Caught

A DeRidder man is in custody in connection with a string of church burglaries in the area, authorities said. DeRidder Police said David R. Waddle is facing seven counts of burglary of a religious building. His bond was set at $245,000. Waddle was already in custody on a charge of possession of synthetic marijuana. The Beauregard Police Sheriff's Office, investigators were able to recover a safe from a remote area in the parish. Additional evidence related to the crimes was also discovered at Waddle's residence. Nine churches were burglarized in late December and early January. No one was injured during the burglaries. Based on church surveillance video, authorities said they believe there are multiple suspects. The investigation is on going. Anyone with information is asked to contact the DeRidder Police Department at 337-462-8911 or Cime Stoppers at 337-462-8918.

January 19,2015. Monday

Scott Mendes to Speak

During the AM Worship Service on Sunday, January 25th, Scott Mendes will speak at Many First Baptist Church. He is a founder of the Western Harvest Ministries, which is an evangelistic outreach that is dedicated to sharing God's unconditional love and grace. Log onto www.scottmendes.com to find out more information about Scott, his rodeo career, and his ministries. Invite your family and friends to join us next Sunday, January 25,2015 at 11:00AM.

January 19,2015, Monday

Triple Fatal Crash

The Louisiana State Police and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office are investigating a wreck that claimed the lives of three people. It happened just after 5:00 Sunday evening on Highway 71 South of Clarence. According to the sheriff's office, the wreck involved two vehicles. Three people have died and four others are seriously injured. Louisiana State Police say a  2014 Nissan Sentra, driven by 41-year-old Stacey Lachney was northbound on US Highway 71, when it reportedly crossed the center line and collided with a southbound 2001 Pontiac driven by 31-year-old Jennifer Tell. Lachney was wearing hear seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene. Her only passenger, 22-year-old Chelsee Martin of Pineville, was also wearing her seat belt. She suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Natchitoches Regional Hospital. Tell was wearing her seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene. Brian West, a passenger in Tell's vehicle, also died as a result of the wreck. Police say three juveniles were also passengers in Tell's vehicle. They were retrained but received minor to serious injuries. They were transported to Natchitoches Regional Hospital and Rapides Regional Trauma Center for treatment. The victims were from Pineville and Montgomery, Louisiana. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation.

January 19,2015, Monday

ARK-LA-TEX

ARK-LA-TEX Music Show is proud to present "Tribute to Legends" Country, Gospel, 50's, Pop, and Americana Music. The show will be January 23,2015 at 7:00pm at the Sabine Theater with a special tribute to Elvis for his 80th birthday. The Legends band will play with Jennifer Honeycutt also performing will be: Suzanne Durbin, Rod Hopkins, Buster Jordan, Kady Leger, Trinity Baptist Praise Dancers and several others! Door prizes will include a FREE guitar! All veterans are admitted FREE! Tickets are $7, children, 6-12, $2, children under 6 years of age, FREE. For information and Auditions, Call Rod Hopkins at 318-256-5735.

January 16,2015, Friday

Road Closed

The LA Department of Transportation and Development Officials have notified the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office that La. Hwy 1 just north of the Bayou Pierre Bridge is closed to traffic until further notice. Please use an alternate route if you plan on traveling through the area.

January 16,2015,Friday

NSU

The Northwestern State Demons Basketball team will play Lamar tonight at 3:00pm. Following the Lady Demons that will play against Lamar at 1:00pm today Friday, January 16,2015.

January 16,2015,Friday

Joel Grace

The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is continuing to seek information on the whereabouts of Joel Grace, 62, of Leesville. Joel Grace is described as a black male, 5'10", 150 pounds, with black/ graying hair, and possibly some facial hair. The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office initially received a missing person's report in December 2009. At the time of the report family members indicated that Joel Grace was last seen in the Leesville area on November 18,2009. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Joel Grace is asked to contact the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-238-1311 or Crime Stoppers at 337-239-2233. The investigation into this case is ongoing in an effort to ensure the well being of Joel Grace.

January 16,2015, Friday

Delayed Action

In a turnaround, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has delayed action on a study of Louisiana's $12 billion teacher's retirement debt. A $143,000 study to do the review cleared a BESE committee Tuesday 8-2. But final action was delayed Wednesday until the board's March meeting amid concerns by state House Retirement Committee Chairman Kevin Pearson. Pearson said he viewed the study as a waste of money since other reviews on retirement debt have been done in recent years. Backers argued the study, to be done by LSU, would allow experts to spend a year delving into the topic and assist a task force of educators who are grappling with the issue. Teacher unions and the Louisiana Schools Boards Association opposed the contract.

January 15,2015. Thursday

Cooking Session

Beauregard Memorial Hospital will host a diabetes education class that will cover cooking healthy, cajun-style, on Wednesday, Jan. 21 from noon to 1pm. The session will be hosted by Missy Hennigan, RDN, LDN; and food preparation will be by Chef Danny Beavers. Call 337-462-7418 to register. The deadline is Jan. 19th.

January 15,2015,Thursday

Amplified Loaner Telephones

Free amplified loaner telephones to person with hearing loss. Amplified Loaner equipment provided by Louisiana Commision for the Deaf partenering with New Horizons Independent Living Center Sabine Parish Council on Aging January 15,2015 10:00am -2:00pm 200 Legacy St. Many LA. To get your phone you will need :

  • Photo ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Documentation of Hearing Loss

Such as a note from a doctor/pharmacist, Council on Aging, Audiogram. Contact Ken Zangla for information: 318-484-3596

January 15,2015,Thursday

Shooter Training

Northwestern State University police will release an active shooter training video Tuesday, January 20th. The 15-minute video was filmed on campus last year and will made available to the NSU community through the campus website and in classroom settings. For questions about the training film, contact Officer Jon Caliste of the NSU Police Department at 318-357-5431. NSU police, along with the Natchitoches Police Department, Natchitoches Fire Department, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office, the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Ambulance Service and Northwestern Theatre and Dance were involved in the video.

January 15,2015, Thursday

Registration

Sabine Parish School Board 2015 Universal Preschool Registration is coming up. We are excited and hope to see you and your child on registration day! If you have any questions, please contact your local school or our preschool administration office at 318-256-6143.

  • Many Elementary Preschool - February 6,2015
  • Pleasant Hill Preschool - February 13,2015
  • Ebarb Preschool - February 20,2015
  • Negreet Preschool - March 6,2015
  • Florien Preschool - March 12,2015
  • Converse Preschool - March 13,2015
  • Many Preschool Center 3 year old - March 19,2015
  • Many Preschool Center 4 year old - March 20,2015
  •  Zwolle Elementary Preschool - March 27,2015

Please bring the following itema with you on the day of registration :

  • Child's Birth Certificate
  • Child's Social Security Card
  • Child's Immunization Record
  • Insurance/Medical Card
  • Proof of Income
  • Verification of residency (Voter registration card, property tax statement, or verifications of physical residency such as a utility bill.)

Transportation to registration will be provided to you if needed. Please call the Many Preschool Office at 318-256-6143.

January 15,2015, Thursday

Road Closed

The west-bound lane of San Antonio Ave. near Burger King, will be blocked off for several days to repair a damaged manhole. Please use caution when traveling in this area.

January 15,2015, Thursday

Haynesville Shale

"These men and women have been all over the country working in the oil plays and right here in Louisiana, and they're being sent home with no paychecks," said Ragan Dickens. "They can drill this dry natural gas, immediately put in the pipeline, and it's a market instantaneously," said Dickens, "With one rig coming back to shale, it creates 180,300 direct jobs." "We're talking about a lot of poeple being ablt to get back to the work sites and get back to work," Dickens explained.

January 15,2015, Thursday

Pikes Captured

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office Deputies have captured a Natchitoches man wanted in connection with Dog Fighting, Cruelty to Animals and the Theft of Doug in south Natchitoches Parish, according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones, Jr. NPSO captured Jarin D. Pikes, 29, of Derry, Louisiana, on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:47pm after he attempted to elude deputies through a rear window of a local apartment complex. Pikes, currently on felony probation, remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center without bond.

January 15,2015, Thursday

Dog Fighting

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Dectives are currently looking for a Natchitoches man wanted in connection with Dog Fighting, and Cruelty to Animals in South Natchitoches Parish during December according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. The investigation stems from several dogs that were allegedly used for dog fighting purposes near the Derry Community. Dectives have obtained criminal arrest warrants signed by Tenth Judicial District Court Judge on  Jarin D. Pikes also known as Moonie, black male, age 29, he is last known to be residing in the 500 block of North Street in Natchitoches, LA. Pikes is wanted by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office for 4-counts of Dog Fighting, 7-counts of Cruelty to Animals and 8-counts of Unlawful Restraint of a Dog. Detectives ask that if you see Pikes not to approach him, but to contact the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office at 315-352-6432 or your local law enforcement agency. Detective Tim Key, case agent can be reached at 318-471-2673.

January 13,2015, Tuesday

Thomas to Graduate Early

Many Tigers offensive lineman Garrett Thomas is a week from graduating from high school and will be enrolling early at the University of Texas to continue his football career. "I've had a great run at Many and I really look forward to playing at Texas," Thomas said. "Going there to visit, I liked it and I felt like it was a great fit athletically and academically." Thomas, who committed to the Longhorns last July is a four-star recruit according to ESPN, is one of 26 commits from coach Charlie Strong's first full recruiting class that ranks No. 8 in the nation. Thomas was also a stellar student in the classroom, achieving a 4.0 grade point average, allowing him to graduate and enroll at Texas early.

January 13,2015,Tuesday

David Richter

The Rev. David Richter, 57, pastor of Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, died Saturday night in Monroe. Rev. Richter was a former pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Zwolle, LA.

January 13,2015, Tuesday

Inappropriate Contact

Sheriff Sam Craft of Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office announces the January 7th, 2015 arrest of Robert Nick Cromwell, age 27, of Leesville. On January 4th, 2015  the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office received a report in which it was alleged that Cromwell had inappropriate sexual contact with a 4 year old child. Detectives in conjunction with the Rapides Child Advocacy Center conducted a forensic Interview  with the child and the child did disclose details of sexual abuse. Contact was made with Cromwell after the child underwent a forensic medical exam. During the course of an interview with Cromwell he did admit to having inappropriate sexual contact with the child. Robert Cromwell was arrested and charged with two counts of Aggravated Rape due to the type of sexual contact and the age of the child.  Bon was set at $200,000.00 by Judge Anthony Eaves. Cromwell remains in the Vernon Parish Jail at the time of this release. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.

January 13,2015, Tuesday

Allison Gilcrease

The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is seeking information regarding the whereabouts of Allison Gilcrease, age 39, and James Michael Jeane, age 40, both of Leesville. The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office was contacted on January 4,2015 by a family member of Gilcrease. The family member indicated that they last saw Allison Gilcrease and James Michael Jeane at their residence on December 25,2014. The family member expressed concern for the welfare of Gilcrease and Jeane. The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is attempting to ensure the well being of both individuals and asks that anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Jeane or Gilcrease contact VPSO at 377-238-1311.

January 13,2015, Tuesday

Sensitive Tasks

A general who has taken on some sensitive tasks for the Army will be the next commanding officer of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center located there. Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire, currently deputy director for operations at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, will replace Brig. Gen. William Hickman at Fort Polk, Army officials said. A date for the change of command was not announced. The next assignment for Hickman, who has been the commander at Fort Polk since Nov. 15,2012, was not included in a Army release issued Friday that detailed new assignments for 11 one- and two- star generals. This will be at least the second assignment at Fort Polk for McGuire, who as a colonel served as deputy commander of the JRTC's operations group in a tour that ended in January 2008, when he was named commanding officer of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg.

January 12,2015, Monday

Rosepine Man Killed

One man and several are injured after a single-vehicle crash near Starks, LA. Louisiana State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Saturday night on Louisiana Highway 12 about 1 mile east of Starks. The inital investigation revealed that a 2000 Ford F-250 driven by Wayne M. Wiser, 31, of Rosepine, was traveling west on LA 12 when the truck veered off the road hitting a concrete culvert then several trees. Wiser was pronounced dead on the scene by the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office. The four other passengers in the vehicle received minor injuries. Everyone in the vehicle was wearing a seat belt. A routine toxicology sample was obtained and will be submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

January 12,2015, Monday

Austin Baroque Orchestra

The Austin Baroque Orchestra, a period-instrument orchestra based in Texas' capital city, will present a program of Baroque music at Northweastern State University Tuesday, January 20,2015 at 7:30pm in Magale Recital Hall. This is the orchestra's first performance in Louisiana, and will showcase the work of some of the most popular composers of the Baroque era. Ticket prices are $10 for non NSU and LSMSA students, $20 for senior citizens and $25 general admission and can be purchased either at the door, or through the ensemble's website at austinbaroqueorchestra.org . NSU and LSMSA students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid ID.

January 12,2015, Monday

Kisatchie Sound

The duo Kisatchie Sound will perform works by composer Eve Beglarian in a concert at Northwestern State University Thursday, January 22,2015 at 7:30pm in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. For more information call 318-357-4522.

January 12,2015, Monday

Acoustic Jam Session

Rebel State Historic Site invites all acoustic musicians to come out and jam on Saturday, January 17, from 1 to 5pm. Whether you are an experienced musician or just learning, this event offers something for everyone. A variety of different muscial techniques and styles will be discussed and demonstrated. For more information call 318-4726255 or toll free at 888-677-3600.

January 12,2015, Monday

57th Annual Miss Northwestern

The 57th Annual Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet Pagent will be held Friday, January 16th at 7:00pm in the A. A, Fredericks Auditorium. Tickets are $5. NSU and BPCC@NSU students are admitted free with a current student I.D. Eight Nothwestern State students are scheduled to compete in the event, which is a preliminary for the Miss Louisiana Pagent. The NSU Student Activities Board sponsors the pagent. The winner will receive more than $8,000 in scholarships and prizes. This year's contestants are Alexis Britt of Keithville, Keyerre Chattard of New Orleans, Ciera Jenkins of Duluth, Georgia; Marissa McMickens of Pineville, Haley Neal of Houma, Lincoln Pearce of Florien, Faith Stanfield of Natchitoches and Taylor Walker of Greenwood.

January 12,2015, Monday

Sabine School Board

The agenda for the Sabine Parish School Board meeting to be held on January 12,2015 at 5:30pm contains the following. The new board members will be sworn in, and the election of Officers for the year 2015 for President and Vice-President will be held.

January 9,2015, Friday

Beauregard Memorial Hospital

Beauregard Memorial Hospital will host a diabetes education class that will cover cooking healthy, Cajun-style, on Wednesday, January 21,2015 from noon until 1pm. The seassion will be hosted by Missy Hennigan, RDN, LDN; and food preparation will be by Chef Danny Beavers. Call 337-462-7418 to register the deadline is January 19th.

January 9.2015, Friday

Boil Advisory

Town of Hornbeck water system customers are under a boil advisory until further notice. There is no listed reason as to why at this given time.

January 9,2015, Friday

Major Cuts

The army stands to lose more than 40,000 soliders in the coming years to meet budget. The drawdown would be from 490,000 to 450,000 possibly leading to a reduction to 420,000. Fort Polk could feel part of that cut. Decisions are now being made about where the cuts will come from. As Fort Polk supporters are facing this battle, they're hoping to spare the post. Cuts at Fort Polk could be over 6,000 soldiers from the current 9,000. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese believes the fallout could go far beyond the gates of the installation. Military and congressional leaders will hear from the community at a meeting set for March 3,2015. The listing session is scheduled for 6pm at First United Pentecostal Church, 101 Nolan Trace in Leesville.

January 9,2015, Friday

Vernon School Board

Today at 10:00am the Vernon Parish School Board will have Willie Deon swear-in board members. The meeting will be called to order followed by Randi Gleason leading in a word of prayer and leading the Pledge. Roll call will be announced before the new members are to be sworn in.

January 8,2015, Thursday

Child Center Closed

Fort Polk's Child Development Center 702, located on Utah Avenue at Fort Polk, will be closed Thursday, Jan. 8th, due to loss of heat. "It is in the best interest of the children to relocate them due to the cold spell coming through," a Fort Polk news release said. The rooms listed below will be relocated to the following locations:

Room 130 will move to CDC 3349 located at 7687 Georgia Ave. (next to Wheelock CDC.)

Room 127 will move to 14500 located at 2897 Entrance Road ( North Fort.)

Rooms 116,118,120, and 128 will move to CDC 701 located at 7576 Colorado Ave. (behind CDC 702 and next to the library/education center.)

"We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding as we protect the well-being of your children," the news release said.

January 8,2015, Thursday

Fort Polk Commends Vitter

Fort Polk Progress commends Senator David Vitter for successfully inserting key provisions for Louisiana in the Defense Department's funding bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. The legislation will now go to the president's desk. In May 2014 Vitter helped pass the bill with his provisions out of the U.S Senate Armed Services Committee. Vitter successfully included three provisions to address and correct Army Force Structure and end-strength decisions.

January 8,2015, Thursday

Record Sixth Term

Don M. Burkett will be sworn in for his sixth term as District Attorney on Friday, January 9,2015 at 2:00pm. The ceremony will be held at the District Attorney's office at  498 S. Capital Street in Many, LA. His new term begins January 12,2015. Also being sworn in are Assistant District Attorneys Ronald D. Brandon, Anna L. Garcie, Russell L. Busby and Richard E. DeVargas. The oaths of office will be administered by Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton of Shreveport.

January 8,2015, Thursday

Coats for Kids

Sabine Parish will be hosting a Coats for Kids drive, this Saturday the 10th of January, at the Many City Hall, from 10am until 2pm. Any Sabine Parish child, from newborn to 18 years of age, who is need of a warm coat is eligible to come by and receive a new or gently used coat. For more information, please contact Becky Miller at 318-332-4943 or Monica Goings at 318-315-0298.

January 8,2015, Thursday

Leesville Town Hall Meeting

The VFW "Old Stage Post" 3106 in Leesville will host a town hall meeting to discuss homeless veterans in the area. The meeting will be Wednesday, January 7th. The public is welcome. The post home is located on Harriet Street in downtown Leesville.

January 7,2015,Wednesday

Lead on Churches

DeRidder Police are looking for multiple suspects who have burglarized nine churches, in total. Thankfully no one's been injured, since the churches were empty when they broke in. Authorities now have a better idea of who and what they're looking for, thanks to surveillance footage from one of the churches. They said that footage shows a suspect being dropped off, so they know there's at least two involved. Burglaries happen in the evening to overnight hours when no one's around, "All burglaries have been forced entry looking for money." So far, DeRidder Police say all the burglaries have taken place on the west side of town. In fact, more than half of them happened on Texas Street. "We're looking for a four-door dark car, possibly a foreign vehicle. And we're looking for a tall, slender white male," explained Det. Halbert. No word yet on how much money the burglars have made off with, nor an estimated amount of damages inflicted to the churches. If you can identify the suspect or vehicle  call DeRidder Police at 337-462-8911 or Crime Stoppers at 337-462-8918.

January 7,2015, Wednesday

Meth Sentence

Federal prosecutors say a Sabine Parish man and a Lincoln Parish man have been sentenced in separate cases for distributing methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley says 28-year-old Jamal Holland, of Many, was sentenced to 14 years and four months for selling 39 grams of the drug to law enforcement during a "controlled" purchase. U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. of Shreveport sentenced Holland Monday. Finley says U.S. District Judge Robert G. James of Monroe sentenced 38-year-old Christopher Takewell, of Choudrant, to 10 years following te sale of 104.65 grams of pure methamphetamine to law enforcement agents. Finley says the heavy sentences show the department's "resolve to fight this illegal and dangerous drug activity." Each man was sentenced Monday.

January 7,2015, Wednesday

Scammers

Several people in the parish have been contacted by scammers stating they have won 4.5 million dollars in Publishers Clearing House drawing. The caller goes on to say that they need to get to Walmart and buy a $150 tempoary debit card for transfer. The scammer usually gives the homeowner a call back telephone number that includes a Jamaican "876" area-code. It's all a scam. Here are some helpful hints to avoid a scammer. PCH doesn't e-mail or call its big winner. If you receive an email, a telephone call, or a bulk mail letter saying that you've won a big prize from PCH, it's a scam. According to the PCH website:"All PCH prizes of $500 or greater are awarded by either certified or express letter or in person by our famous Prize Patrol. You never have to pay to receive a legitimate PCH win.

January 7,2015, Wednesday

Church Burglaries

Authorities are asking for help solving a series of church burglaries in the DeRidder area. Deputy Chief of Police Christopher Rudy said numerous churches have been burglarized in the past two weeks, with several occurring last weekend. "This has left our area churches with a loss of funds and costly damage to property," Rudy said. The suspect has been described as a white man, driving a small, four-door car. Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at 337-462-8911 or Crime Stoppers at 337-462-8918.

January 6,2015, Tuesday

Joke Gone Wrong

The Many Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into an apparent practical joke that could have turned deadly. According to the report, a female Walgreen's customer was in her car when another vehicle blocked her in and she was approached by an unknown male subject wearing a ski-mask and brandishing a pistol. After startling the customer, the male subject got into the passenger side of a small pickup and left the lot and then circled a nearby convenience store causing that business to lock their doors. Officers from the MPD responded and located the suspect vehicle parked behind McDonald's Restaurant. Officers found the 15 year old suspect in the vehicle, along with an 18 year old male driver. After confronting the passenger, who the officers thought was armed, it was determined that the suspect's weapon was actually a BB gun that resembled an authentic pistol. Both subjects claim to have known the victim and that it was a practical joke. The young lady however has stated she in fact does not know the suspects responsible. The juvenile was taken into custody and later released to his guardian. The investigation is continuing and charges are pending against both the juvenile and the 18 year old driver of the pickup.

January 6,2015, Tuesday

 Movies and Events

  • January 10th Movie City Slickers - 7:00pm
  • January 11th Matinee Babe - 2:00pm
  • January 17th Movie The Horse Soldiers - 7:00pm
  • January 18th Matinee Casper the Friendly Ghost - 2:00pm
  • February 14th Movie Steel Magnolias - 7:00pm
  • February 15th Matinee Benji - 2:00pm
  • February 21st Movie Dream Girls - 7:00pm
  • February 22nd Matinee The Pursuit of Happiness - 2:00pm

* Dates, times, and movie titles are subject to change. Please Call City Hall at 256-4012 fro details or questions*

January 6,2015, Tuesday

Police Jury

In a special-called meeting of the Vernon Parish Police Jury on Monday afternoon, the group not only approved the amended budget for 2014, but also voted in favor of the proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year. The group entered into a public hearing time in order to hear a report in regards to the amended budget for the year 2014. Among the items discussed by Rhonda Plummer, who presented the report, included the La. 467 project and progress on the new jail. Additionally, the general fund is expected to end the year with $1.6 million despite over $9 million in expenses being incurred this year as only $2.7 million was generated in revenue.

January 5,2015, Monday

Basketball

Upcoming High School Basketball games can be heard on 99.9 KTEZ for the 2014-2015 season. Upcoming game schedules are currently as follows:

Jan. 6th Zwolle at P - Hill at 5:00pm

Jan. 10th Negreet Tournament Finals

Jan. 12th Florien at Converse at 6:00pm

Jan. 16th Zwolle at Florien at 6:00pm

Jan. 20th Negreet at Zwolle at 6:00pm

Jan. 22nd P - Hill at Ebarb at 6:00pm

Jan. 26nd Rapides at Many at 6:00pm

Jan. 30th Converse at Florien at 6:00pm

Feb. 3rd Ebarb at P-Hill at 6:00pm

Feb. 6th Oak Hill at Many at 5:00pm

Feb. 9th P-Hill at Florien at 6:00pm

Feb. 10th Converse at Zwolle at 6:00pm

Feb. 13th Stanley at Converse at 6:00pm

January 5,2015, Monday

New Officials

Officals who will begin new terms as constable and justice of the peace in Beauregard Parish were sworn in Tuesday at the Beauregard Parish Police Jury building. Elections were held late in 2014.  Constables are: Alfred Doyle, District 1, Leonard Stark, District 2, David Clouse, District 4, and Daniel cole, District 5. Justices of the peace are Allen Brown, District 1, Eva Stark, District 2, Clyde Dennis, Distict 4, and Ruth Huckaby, District 5. Also sworn in Tuesday was Sheila Brown, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Mance Starks on the Merryville Board of Aldermen. An election will be held in March.

January 5,2015, Monday

Power Loss

Thunderstorms with high winds, lightning and heavy rain moved through SWEPCO's Louisiana service area Saturday morning causing a peak number of outages of 15,000 people at 9am Saturday, according to Scott McCloud, SWEPCO spokesman. The ground is saturated from several days of rain, and access to work locations could be hazardous for line and tree crews. McCloud said by 11 Saturday morning, outages had been redouced to 9,2000 people in the Shreveport/Haughton area, and 1,750 in the Sabine area.

January 5, 2015, Monday

Ragley Man Arrested

A Ragley man has been arrested on charges of  third-offense DWI, open container violations and driving with a suspended license, authorities said. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman said Leonard Breaux was pulled over for a traffic violation on Dec. 22nd near the intersection of Sam Houston Jones Parkway and Reserve Drive in Moss Bluff. Breaux did not have a vaild driver's license due to a prior DWI.  A special condition of Breaux's bond, which was set at $35,500, is he can not operate a vehicle without ignition interlock device.

January 2,2015, Friday

Lumberton Woman Killed

Beaumont police aren't sure what caused a one-vehicle crash that killed a Lumberton woman in Beaumont on New Year's day. The woman was driving a small Chevy pick-up when she somehow drifted from the eastbound lanes of I-10 near MLK and hit a barrier around 5:49pm. She died at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth. Police are working to notify her family. The roads were very wet at the time of the crash. No one else was injured.

January, 2,2015, Friday

Homicide in Winnfield

Winnfield Police are investigating a murder from New Year's Day. On Thursday, January 1st, Winnfield officers responded to a 911 call of a shooting to discover a local man, Monte Alexander, lying in the doorway of a club with several gunshot wounds. Alexander was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The investigation has led to the arrest of Porcia D. Sanders, currently residing in Winnfield. Sanders has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder in connection with Alexander's death. Sanders is being held in the Winnfield City Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

January 2,2015, Friday

Indian Parent Committee

Indian Parent Committee Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 13th at 6:00pm in the board room at the Sabine Parish School Board office at 695 Peterson Street, Many. We will be electing new parent committee members and student representatives from Zwolle High School and Converse High School.

January 2,2015, Friday

Wildlife and Fisheries

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says up to 24 cadets will start six months of intensive physical and academic training in May. They train to enforce state recreational boating laws and state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws. They also will be trained in general law enforcement. And they learn search and rescue techniques. Those who graduate will fill vacancies in field offices around the state. Each cadet is assigned to a parish and must live there after graduating. Interested applicants can apply online through the Department of Civil Service website. They must complete the state Law Enforcement and Protective Services test to qualify.

January 2,2015, Friday

Bomb Threat

Pineville police have arrested two people who they say are responsible for calling in several bomb threats at the Pineville Walmart. Those threats were made on December 21 and 16. Police arrested 33-year-old Lashonda Anderson and 57-year-old Hardtner Greenhoward, both of Alexandria, for the alleged crimes. Their charges include terrorizing, felony theft and criminal conspiracy. Pineville police say they're not ruling out the possiblity that more poeple may be involved. Investigators say the two are not responsible for a different threat called into the Pineville CVS.

December 31,2014, Wednesday

Failed to Get Approval

A state audit finds the state Department of Transportation and Development failed to win federal approval for change orders on more than $1 million in projects, which could endanger future federal aid. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said Monday this is the fifth consecutive year auditors have reported weaknesses in DOTD's controls over change order approvals. The problem focused on 14 of 184 project change orders, 8 percent that required approval of the Federal Highway Administration. The review said five of the orders were incorrectly listed as not requiring federal approval. Five others were required to get FHWA approval before their effective date. "These exceptions were caused by errors in preparation and inadequate review of the change orders by project engineers, inadequate review by the DOTD employees approving change orders and by the insufficient review of project informataion entered into the project management system for accuracy," according to the audit.

December 31,2014, Wednesday

Suspicious Device Found

The Motel 6 on Ruth Street in Sulphur was evacuated for a few hours  Tuesday morning after a suspicious device was found, authorities said. The state police Emergency Services Unit determined the device was either a toy bomb or training device. Authorities said they received a call at 8:52 am and the motel was quickly evacuated. Eyewitneses said the device was found in a plastic grocery store bag. A witness said a Motel 6 employee found the bag near a dumpster and brought it to the front of the motel before calling the police. The Sulphur Police Department, Sulphur Fire Department, Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Border Patrol were also on the scene. Authorities said the investigation is ongoing.

December 31,2014, Wednesday

Discrimination Protection

Under a settlement announced Friday, New Orleans public schools hae agreed to ensure that students with disabilities are properly treated and educated while also being given the chance to attend the schools they want to attend. In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued state and city school officials alleging students with disabilities did not have equal access to schools in New Orleans and were not protected from discrimination. The law center sued on behalf of children with a variety of disabilities including autism, hyperactivity and bipolar disorder. The deal needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey. The suit filed against the Louisiana Department of Education and the Orleans Parish School Board.

December 31,2014, Wednesday

End to 13 year War

The war in Afghanistan has come to an end for U.S. led coalition forces after 13 bloody years. A quiet flag-lowering ceremony at the headquarters of the NATO mission in Kabul marked the transition of the fighting from U.S. led combat troops to the Afghanistan's own security forces. Beginning Jan. 1st, the new coalition mission will provide training and support for Afghanistan's military, with the U.S. accounting for almost 11,000 of the 13,500 members of the residual force. An Associated Press tally puts the death toll among U.S. troops in the 13-year war at 2,224.

December 30,2014, Tuesday

Insurance Penalties

The cost of being uninsured in Amercia is going up significantly next year for millions of people. It's the first year all taxpayers have to report to the Internal Revenue Service whether they had health insurance for the previous year. It's a requirement under President Barack Obama's law. Those who were uninsured face fines, unless they qualify for one of about 30 exemptions, most of which involve financial hardships. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the coverage requirement and its accompanying fines were constitutionally vaild. In 2015,  all taxpayers will have to report to the IRS on their health insurance status the previous year.

December 30,2014, Tuesday

Leesville Annexs Gene Koury Road

Two new ordinances were adopted by the Leesville city council at its most recent meeting, one of which increased the size of the municipality. Ordinance No. 37 provides for the "amending and enlarging of the corporate boundaries of the City of Leesville to annex certain property west of the existing Leesville City Limits," with the annexation to include, "a portion of Section 16 an Gene Koury Road." The second ordinance unanimously adopted by the council provided for the rezoning of a property located at 1299 Moses Street. The property was officially rezoned from an A-7 Multi-Family Urban District to and A-6 MS Single Family Urband District. In other news, Allen submitted a letter to Sen. David Vitter asking for an abatement or reduction of the penalty assessed to the City of Leesville by the Internal Revenue Service for the year ending Dec. 31,2010. According to Allen, Leesville was assessed a penalty of $403,832.17 by the IRS for failing to report income during a staff change. Certain required documentation wasn't filed, thus preventing the city from complying with the IRS.

December 30,2014, Tuesday

Jimmie Davis Bridge

The thought of closing the nearly 50-year-old Jimmie Davis Bridge, that connects Shreveport to Bossier City, for a year strikes fear in the hearts of thousands of local drivers. But for safety's sake, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says it's a must. "First and foremost is safety, but second, it would just take forever if a lane was left open." DOTD spokesperson Cindy Dorfner says the project was just awarded to Tampa, Florida-based company PCL Construction, which specialized in large-scale commercial building projects. But work on the Jimmie Davis, which was built in 1968 and sees over 21,000 vehicles a day, is still months away. There will be two detours form Bossier to Shreveport- Arthur Ray Teague Parkway to the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge, or Barksdale Boulevard to I-20. And a mirror image across the river - Clyde Fant Parkway to the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge, or I-20 to I-49 if your route takes you southbound.

PayDay Lending

Online payday lenders will have to register with the Office of Financial Institutions and be subject to the same regulations as storefront lenders. The bill by Rep. Erich Ponti, R-Baton Rouge, also gives borrowers the right to enter into an installment payment plan for no extra fee if they cannot pay back loans on time. Payday loans are short-term credit offered at high interest rates. Ponti's bill was pushed by the payday loan industry to crush efforts to try to add tougher restrictions on the businesses.

Smoking Ban

Smoking will be prohibited within 25 feet of public entrances to state office buildings. Passage was a victory for Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, who spent years trying to add the restriction as a way to lessen exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. A person violating the new law can be fined $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $100 for subsquent offenses.

Oil Field Falls

The budget hole facing Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers next year is grim, topping $1.4 billion, but that may not even be the worst-case scenario. With oil prices continuing to plummet, Louisiana officials are readying for the possiblity they haven't yet hit rock bottom. They may have to deal with another deficit in the current $25 billion state budget before the fiscal year ends June 30, while next year's shortfall could grow even larger. About 13 percent of this year's state's general fund is tied to severance taxes and mineral royalties from engery production. Dropping oil and gas prices helped create a midyear deficit earlier this year that has been filled. But more bad news could come when the state's income forecasting panel meets in January.

Christmas Eve Wreck

Louisiana State Police, NPSO Deputies, and Life Air responded to a 2-vehicle injury crash on Interstate 49 near Cloutierville about 5:58pm on Christmas Eve. The driver of the 2001 Saturn passenger car was airlifted from the scene to University Health, with moderate injuries. The driver and passengers of the 2004 Honda Accord were transported from the scene to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with what is belived to be non-life threating injuries. Deputies say the occupants of the Honda Accord were extricated by members of Fire Districts 1 and 5.

Keurig Recall

Keurig is recalling some 7 million of its single-serve coffee brewing machines because of reported burns. Keurig says its Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with model number K10, can overheat and spray water during brewing. Keurig says it had received about 200 reports of hot liquid escaping from the brewer, including 90 reports of burn-related injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safetly Commission released details on the recall Tuesday. The recalled brewers have an identification number starting with "31" printed on the bottom. They were sold online and in stores in the U.S. and Canada between 2009 and 2014. Consumers are being urged to call Keurig Green Mountain Inc. of Waterbury, Vermont, at 1844-255-7886 to arrange for free repair.

Drowning

The coroner reported Tuesday that Jassiah Clark died from drowning. The circumstances reminded many of what happened in 1987 when the nation watched for days as 18-month-old Jessica McClure known as "Baby Jessica", held onto life after falling into a well in her aunt's backyard in Texas. There were cheers as rescuers pulled her out with only scratches. Unfortunately, there was not that same happy ending from search crews in the case of Jassiah Clark. Officers searched for two days until a frantic officer told her fellow officers she had found him. His body was found inside a hole. The  hole is now barricaded off and boarded off. The victim's aunt, Lesley Reed was unable to hold back her tears while looking at the hole and his mother was at a loss for words. A teddy bear lies on what's become a memorial of sorts with loved ones flowers and other items at the site. Daniel said the hole was a dry well for a sewer pumpint station. The well was in use in April and part of it was seen sticking up from the ground. However, the well was gone by September and everything had been leveled. The 20-foot well had been closed off with concrete and sand. " This is something that could have happened very quickly, a shift in the sand. We're still investigating. We don't know," Daneil explained. Daniel added inspectors go out to the site regularly, witht he last inspection being Monday. He said workers found no sign of a hole. The family still holds the city responsible. A ballon vigil was originally planned to take place Tuesday night on the street where Clark lived, but it was postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday at 6:30pm.

Cruelty to a Juvenile

A Beauregard Parish couple charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile could face murder charges if an injured child dies. Brittany D. Cooley, 23, and Kevin A. Waller, 28, were arrested December 16th. No bond was set, and the two remain in the Beauregard Parish Jail. The victim, Cooley's 5-month-old daughter, was transferred to an Alexandria hospital with a fractured skull and severe brusing. Joe Toler, Beauregard Sheriff's Office chief deputy, tells the Amercian Press that infant is being kept on life support so her organs can be donated. Toler writes in an email that detectives on the case have been "emotionally drained" by the investigation.

Questionable Costs

In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Louisiana homeowners, landlords and contractors applied for relief through the Road Home Program. The federal program awarded the state $9.5 billion in assistance, but a recent view of the program found some major problems dealing with non-compliance. The legislative auditor said in the last fiscal year, the Office of Community Development found more than 15,000 homeowners who applied for the assistance have not complied with the terms of the program, totaling nearly a billion dollars in questionable costs. As a result, the state may have to  pay the federal government back to the tune of $940 million. About $75 million in costs before that also remain in question. A spokesperson for the legislative auditor, said not clear if the federal government will demand repayment. In addition to homeowners, the Office of Community Development identified nearly 750 landlords and owners of small rental properties in violation of the programs rules with nearly $60 million in questionable costs. The agency also identified 282 hazardous mitigation  contractors who received over $10 million in grants, yet failed to provide the correct documentation that work had been done properly, or even was done at all.

Noble Sons

The Noble Sons riding club would like to say congratulations to Josh Buckminister of DeRidder,LA for winning the LSU BBQ pit and tail-gating package. Also, a big thank you and God Bless to everyone who purchased raffle tickets and made donations to make the annual Christmas toy give-away a bigger success than ever. We were able to give away nearly 1000 toys this year along with bicycles, computers and turkeys. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you all from The Noble Sons Riding Club.

Missing Child

The Baton Rouge Police Department is asking for your help in finding a missing 4-year-old boy who was last seen yesterday afternoon about 12:30pm. Jassiah Clark, 4, was reported missing about 10:52pm Saturday night. Jassiah was last seen near his residence located in the 5600 block of Robertson Ave wearing grey Levi shorts, Hornets jacket, and black, red, and blue Adidas tennis shoes. Jassiah is 3 feet tall and weighs 40 pounds. Anyone with information on Jassiah's whereabouts is urged to contact the BRPD's Missing Person Division at 389-3853 or Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.

Suspect Arrested

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office announces that Kasey Hailey, 34, of Marthaville,LA was arrested on Saturday, December 20,2014 by the Ruston Police Department. Hailey was taken into custody without incident at a motel in Ruston according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones. Hailey will be transferred to Natchitoches. The NPSO Deputies appreciates the assistance Ruston Police Department as well as the media and public in helping apprehend Haley.

Parrott Indicted on Stalking

On Wednesday, a grand jury assembled in the 30th District Judicial Court formally indicted James "Dennis" Parrott, the police chief for the Town of Rosepine. The grand jury returned two ture bills and one no true bill on Parrott, who was arrested in August after an investigation into criminal complaints against the 49-year-old Parrott. Parrott was indicted on two felony charges of malfeasance in office, sexual conduct, along with one count of felony stalking and one other felony charge of malfeasance in office. The grand jury, however, chose not to indict Parrott, who recently won re-election to his post, on charges of domestic abuse battery. The Louisiana Attorney General's Office will be prosecuting this case as the Vernon Parish District Attorney's Office has recused itself. Assistant Attorney General Alberto DePuy of the Criminal Division is in charge of the prosecution. Additionally, all of the judges on the 30th District Judicial Court have recused themselves. When arrested in August, Parrott was accused of stalking his estranged wife, while also utilizing the database of the police department to illegally run a license plate number. Parrott was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on Thursday in regards to the malfeasance in office, sexual conduct charges. He was later released after posting bond.

Patchwork Financing

Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use a mix of patchwork financing and modest cuts to close a budget deficit of more than $170 million. The House and Senate budget committes backed the proposal without objection Thursday, only delays before the budget had to be rebalanced to avoid a special session. Minor changes were made to the Jindal administration plan submitted last month. Financing sources were swapped. Agriculture department job cuts were scrapped. A cut to road maintenance work was eliminated. About $37 million in cuts will be made, mainly by not filling vacant jobs, reducing contracts and spending fewer dollars on travel and supplies. The rest of the gap will be filled with excess funds, like dollars from a tax amnesty program and insurance settlement.

Bus Wreck

Several children were injured in a school bus wreck on Thursday in northern Red River Parish. At least one child has been flown to University Health in Shreveport with what are described as moderate injuries. Louisiana State Police are investigating the crash, which happened on LA 515 off of LA 71 South of Coushatta just before noon. No other vehicles were involved. State police say the Riverdale Academy bus was heading southbound on LA 515 when it went off the right-hand side of the road and struck a culvert. Several other children on the bus were taken to CHRISTUS Coushatta with injuries that are not belived to be life-threatening.

Police Chase and Crash 

A suspect is dead following a chase and crash at Jwella and Meriwether in west Shreveport. Details are still coming in, but police say it all started when they were pursuing a burglary or robbery suspect. That suspect, blew a tire, hit another vehicle head on, and he was killed. Two people in the vehicle that was hit were injured. They were rushed to University Health in serious condition.

Prayer Rally

Gov. Bobby Jindal is defending his headlining a prayer rally on Louisiana State University's campus next month that has drawn the ire of student protesters who say the group hosting the event promotes discrimination and an anti-gay agenda. The Jan. 24th prayer rally is expected to draw throusands of people to LSU's campus for what Jindal, a Roman Catholic, describes in an invitation as "a time of worship,prayer, fasting and repentance." But the event, called The Response, has drawn heavy criticism because of the views of its sponsor organization,  the Mississippi-based Amercian Family Association. The organization has linked same-sex marriage and abortion to disasters like tornadoes and Hurricane Katrina. Jindal sidestepped a question Wednesday about the organization's controversial comments and maintained his enthusiastic support for the event.

Cruelty of an Infant

Two DeRidder residents have been charged with cruelty in the case of an infant now on life support at a Rapides Parish hospital. Brittany D. Cooley, 23 and Kevin A. Waller, 28, were arrested on Tuesday. Both were charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile after a report of a 5-month-old girl at a Beauregard Parish hospital with a fractured skull and severe brusing, according to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office. Cooley is the child's mother, and Waller is Cooley's boyfriend, according to the office. The girl now is on life support at an unnamed Rapides Parish hospital. Cooley and Waller both were booked into the Beauregard Parish Jail, but bond has not been set. An investigation is continuing, according to the release.

$51 Million Bond

Investigators said the search of a man's home resulted in his arrest on more than 500 child porn counts and a bond set at more than $51 million. The Office of the Louisiana Attorney General reported Brian Schaller, 42, of Denham Springs, was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on the following charges: Possession of child pornography (540 counts), possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, illegal use of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of persons under 17 yeard old. His bond was set at $51,002,000. A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said authorities searched Schaller's home on December 10th and found hundreds of images of child porn on his computer. She added the office's cyber crimes unit was assisted by the FBI, Homeland Security, and Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office in making the arrest. The investigation is ongoing.

Calhoun Man Killed

Earlier yesterday morning, a single vehicle crash killed a man from Calhoun,LA. Troopers responded to the crash around 9:45am, which occurred on LA Hwy 34 at LA Hwy 126. The crash involved a 2008 Toyota Tundra, driven by Billy W. Berry. The Toyota was eastbound on LA Hwy 34 when Berry lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a ditch embankment before colliding with a tree. Berry was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead. Routine toxicology tests are pendind, the crash remains under investigation.

New Information from Fatal Crash

New information has been released by State Police regarding a fatal vehicle accident that took place on Hwy 171 near Longville on Sunday. Investigators originally reported that a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by 28-year-old Kristi B. Poteet of DeRidder was traveling south in the northbound lanes of US 171, when her vehicle collided head-on with a 1993 Chevrolet Caprice driven by 41-year-old Ricky M. Gill of Singer. Now, reports indicate that Gill had been driving south in the northbound lanes, while Poteet was traveling north in the northbound lanes. Impairment on the part of Gill is suspected to be a factor in the crash, and toxicology results are pending.

Questioning Education Contracts

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration raised questions Tuesday whether Superintendent of Education John White is dividing his department's contracts into smaller pieces to sidestep oversight and public bid requirements. The questions sparked immediate criticism from the president of the state's top school board, who accused the administration of harassing the education department because of an ongoing disagreement over the Common Core education standards. State law provides certain dollar benchmarks for when contracts must be publicly bid, depending on contract type. Also, since July, the Jindal administration has required the Department of Education to get approval for any contract above $2,000.

Unsafe Driving

A crash early Friday Killed four people in Avoyelles Parish prompted the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police to issue a call for motorists to make safety a priority. But the bad news kept coming through the weekend, by Monday morning 11 people in Central Louisiana had died in wrecks. From the Avoyelles Parish fiery crash to a wrong-way crash Sunday afternoon in Beauregard Parish that killed three. Edmonson's letter asked for a commitment from Louisiana drivers to wear seat belts, to never drive impaired and to avoid distracted driving. Those three points were or might have been factors in some of the fatal crashed from this past weekend, however. Lack of seat belts was a factor in four crashes. Suspected impairment was a factor in two incidents. Speeding also was cited in two of the wrecks. Louisiana ranked sixth in the nation for worst drivers, according to a recent survey by website www.carinsurancecomparison.com.

Victim Identified

State Police have identified the third victim in the Beauregard Parish crash on Hwy 171 near Longville on Sunday. According to investigators, a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by 28-year-old Kristi B. Poteet was traveling south in the northbound lanes of US 171, when her vehicle collided head-on with a 1993 Chevrolet Caprice driven by 41-year-old Ricky M. Gill of Singer. Gill and Poteet were pronounced dead at the scene, along with 30-year-old Brian Edward Taylor of DeRidder. Taylor was a passenger in Poteet's vehicle. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. The crash remains under investigation, and routine toxicology samples will be submitted for analysis.

Rebel State Historic Site

Rebel State Historic Site invites all acoustic musicians to come out and jam on Saturday, December 20th from 1-5pm. Whether you are an experienced musician or just learning, this event offers something for everyone. A  variety of different musical techniques and styles will be discussed and demonstrated. For more information call 888-677-3600 toll free or 472-6255.

Many Wins First State Title

Kentrell Maxie scored the go-ahead touchdown with 4:37 to go in the game, lifting the No. 1 Tigers to their first-ever State Championship in football as they downed the No. 2 Yellow Jackets in the Mercedes Benz Superdome Friday night, 22-15. The Tigers capped a perfect 15-0 season by handing the Yellow Jackets (14-1) their first loss in 24 games, which also avenging a 34-20 loss to Kinder last year in the Superdome in the Class 2A title game.

Bus Crash

LSP Troopers and NPSO Deputies respong to Injury Crash on La. Hwy 6 West near Hagewood; Bus enroute to LHSAA State Football Championship. Louisiana State Police, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies and Natchitoches EMS Paramedics responded to a two-vehicle injury crash on La. Hwy 6 on Friday morning at approximately 10:02am. The driver of the 2010 Ford F-150 was transported from the scene by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The driver and fifty-six passengers on the 2007 MCI Charter Bus traveling from Many,LA to the game were uninjuried. The bus included the Many High band. The crash is being investigated by Louisiana State Police Troop-E alexandria.

$635M Unclaimed Money

Need some help paying for Christmas gifts? You might want to search the state's unclaimed property database, which contains $635 million in unclaimed money owed to people around Louisiana. Old savings and checking accounts, payroll checks, stocks and dividends, insurance proceeds, oil and gas royalty payments and other items are sent to the state when a business cannot locate someone. State Treasurer John Kennedy has been trying to give the money back, printing advertisements in newspapers and traveling to malls to tell people about the database. He's even slapped the website address on the side of a truck in the Natchitoches Christmas parade. Kennedy said Friday more than 500,000 people are owed money. He's urging people to check out the state's unclaimed property website over the holiday season.

Selling State Vehicles

Gov. Bobby Jindal's adminstration intends to sell 709 state vehicles at auction early next year as a cost-cutting move. Ruth Johnson, deputy commissioner of adminstration, said Thursday the vehicles aren't being used enough to justify the continued maintenance costs. In a statement, the governor's Division of Administration estimated the sales could bring in $700,000 to $1.4 million for a state struggling with repeated budget shortfalls. The Jindal adminstration says of the 11,000 vehicles across the state agencies, more than 1,400 were driven less than 15,000 miles over the last year. The adminstration says it's cheaper to pay employees for travel than to pay maintenance for those vehicles, so half of them will be sold. Administration officials notified the agencies this week, giving them two weeks to turn over the vehicles.

Iowa Man's Death

Early Wednesday evening a single vehicle crash killed a man from Iowa. He was not wearing his seat belt and the driver is suspected of being impaired. Police responded to the crash which occurred on LA Hwy 6 West of US Hwy 171. The crash involved a 2004 Dodge Neon, driven by Heather Ruth Knippers of Jefferson,IA. The Dodge was westbound when Knippers lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a ditch. Knippers was not wearing her seat belt and received minor injuries. She was transported to Sabine Medical Center. Her passengers, identified as Roger Lavere Davis of Jefferson,IA and Christopher Adair Knippers of Jefferson,IA, were not wearing their seat belts. Christoper Knippers received moderate injuries and was transported to LSU Medical Center for treatment. Davis was transported to Sabine Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Heather Knippers is suspected of driving impaired. She was booked into the Sabine Parish Jail and charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring, careless operation, and driving under suspension. The crash remains under investigation.

New Life for Hanging Jail

The Gothic Hanging Jail in downtown DeRidder was built in 1914 and shuttered in 1984 due to safety concerns. Over the years, many have expressed a desire to do something with the facility. The wheels may be in motion for that to finally happen. On Tuesday, members of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury building and grounds committee toured the facility. "We have individuals that are all over this parish that just love this old building and feel bonded to it, so everybody's looking forward to opening it for tourists," Police Juror Llewellyn Smith said. Smith said the committee would meet with the fire marshal soon to look at how to make the building safer and more accessible.

Confiscated Ammunition

The Jasper County Sheriff's Office has confiscated over one thousand rounds of stolen ammunition. A search warrant was issued over the weekend at the home of Gary Rene Smith Jr., also known as "G", in the Rock Hill community south of Jasper. Deputies say the stolen property was located buried in the ground on the property. Along with the ammunition, deputies seized firearm magazines and other assorted firearm paraphernalia. Included in the ammunition is .50 caliber rounds, .223 rounds, .9mm rounds, shotgun shells, .357 rounds, .380 rounds, and .22 caliber rounds. Deputies say the stolen property appears to be stolen out of the Kirbyville area.

History Channel Visit Postponed

Last month, the Leader reported the news of a visit from History Channel personnel who planned to film a recreation of Leesville's own Soapbox Derby, Friday, however, that news changed. According to Main Street Manager Sam Kincade, a History Channell representative said the visit, which was scheduled to take place next Sunday, December 14th, was cancelled. However, this is only a postponement until an as-yet-unspecified future date. When more information becomes available we will let everyone know.

District Three Water

A meeting at Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 3 centered on an audit of the district. That audit is the result of a settlement between environmental group Restore and District 3.  The audit released in November, and discussed Monday, cited problems with keeping records and meeting DHH state standards. Most of the issues in the audit focused on various problems in keeping records. The district is working to comply with all of the regulatory recommendations from the audit.

Christmas Concert

The Many Band would like to invite everyone to our annual Christmas concert. The concert will be Monday, December 15th at 7:00pm in the Many High School Gym. Performances will include the 5th Grade Music Class, the 6th Grade,7th Grade, and 8th-12th Grade Bands, admission is free.

Taking on The Dome

Tickets can be purchased for this Fridays Class 2A State Championship game at MHS office through Wednesday from 8am until 3pm each day general admission tickets, $13 each. The Bank of Montgomery has a bus for the Many High School Cheerleaders and sponsors. Aslo another bus from Bank of Montgomery will be taking faculity members. For more information contact Daniel Bennett at the Bank of Montgomery, Many Branch.

Youths Cited

The Many Police Department has cited three Many youths thus far in their investigation of reported car windows being shot out by air-guns. The youths will be charged with various charges including Criminal Damage to Property. Authorities are in the process of interviewing the suspects and other arrest are pending. A final value of damage which will run into the hundereds has not been determinded at this time.

Welsh Duo Arrested

A Welsh man and woman have been arrested on numerous drug-related charges, authorities said. The Welsh Police Department said Anthony Dugas, 32, and Ashley Hopkins, 26, were arrested Wednesday morning after a search warrant was executed at a home in the 500 block of Welsh Street. Dugas and Hopkins were arrested on the following charges: crack cocaine possession, cocaine possession, marijuana possession, possession of schedule II narcotics, possession of Schedule IV narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was pending for Dugas and Hopkins.

Seeking Assistance

The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is seeking assistance from the public in identifying the persons shown in a surveillance video from a local bank. The white female and white male suspects are driving a white 4 door sedan, possibly a Buick. The suspects presented a forged check at the bank on November 24,2014 and received a cash therin. Anyone with information regarding the identity of these persons can contact the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-238-1311 or 337-238-7248. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 337-239-2233. You do not have to give your name a code number will be assigned to you. Sheriff Craft would like to take this opportunity to remind citizens to be vigilant regarding their credit cards and bank accounts. The holiday season is fast approaching and monetary crimes usually become more prevalent during the Christmas buying season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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