BOM President and CEO Meets with US Senator

BOM with Cassidy

Ken Hale, BOM President/CEO and Chairman of the Board for the Louisiana Bankers Association, met with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy in Baton Rouge on March 29. Pictured above (from right) are LBA Chief Operating Officer Ginger Laurent, John Fusilier of Evangeline Bank and Trust, Brandt Dufrene of First National Bank USA, Pres Kennedy of Bank of Zachary, Sen. Cassidy, LBA Chairman Ken Hale of BOM, Pat Biglane of Concordia Bank, Brian North of Fifth District Savings Bank, Gary Littlefield of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust and LBA Chief Executive Officer Robert Taylor. Topics discussed during the meeting included regulatory relief legislation in Congress, beneficial ownership regulation, BSA, tax reform, unfair credit union competition and taxation, flood insurance and the shrinking number of community banks in the country.



Citizen reports lead to felony drug arrests

Alred and Frost.png

Alert citizens reported suspicious activity in their neighborhood to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, which resulted in the arrests of a Sabine Parish man and a Natchitoches Parish man on felony drug charges and warrants according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies responded to reports of suspicious activity in the area of Chinquapin Drive off of Hwy. 3191 near Natchitoches on April 10 at 3:30 am.

Citizens saw a suspicious male walking around in the area and then leaving in what appeared to be small tan pickup truck. Deputies responded to check the area but were unable to locate any suspicious activity on Chinquapin Drive. Three deputies continued to check nearby streets.

Shortly thereafter deputies discovered a small tan 2004 Nissan pickup truck backed in a private driveway in the 5200 block of Hwy. 1 with a male identified as Daniel Frost standing outside the vehicle and a male driver sitting inside the vehicle identified as James Alford.

Deputies were familiar with both individuals because of prior criminal arrests in Natchitoches Parish. Frost and Alford appeared nervous. When deputies asked Alford if there were was anything illegal in the vehicle, he replied “yes drugs, meth and it all belonged to him.”

A local warrants check revealed an outstanding Failure to Appear Warrant for Child Support on Frost. He was placed under arrest without incident.

Deputies conducted a search of the vehicle, seizing a syringe loaded with suspected methamphetamine, a container containing suspected methamphetamine and other syringes.

Alford was placed under arrest without incident.

As a result:

*James Alford, 53, of the 4100 block of Peason Road, Florien, La. was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Possession of CDS Schedule II Methamphetamine-2nd Offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Alford, convicted of Possession of Methamphetamine in Sabine Parish in 2014 remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center with bond set at $7,500.

*Daniel Lee Frost, 33, of the 100 block of Bob Cooper Road, Natchitoches, La. was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Failure to Appear for Child Support in the Tenth Judicial District Court.

Frost remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center with bond set at $350 dollars.

Deputies say concerned citizens paying attention to suspicious activity in their community contacting law enforcement with an accurate description of the vehicle led to these arrests.

We thank them for taking part in keeping our neighborhoods safe from criminal activity.

If you see something suspicious-say something contact law enforcement.

Deputies A. Llorence, D. Caballero and M. Smith made the arrests.


Puzzle Peace

By Reba

Reba_Puzzle Peace Main Graphic

I made one last Christmas shopping trip last year on Dec. 23, even though I vow every year to be finished by Dec. 1. Maybe next year. I was browsing the board game aisle because that’s what 11-year-olds and college freshmen love. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of my children called it the “bored” game aisle.

I ran into one of my first great loves. I knew within the depths of my soul this would bring us hours of entertainment. We’d spend the holidays nestled by the fireplace. I had visions of us laughing, joking, drinking hot chocolate and inviting friends and neighbors over to join in the fun.

Kind of like a trailer for a Hallmark Christmas movie.

I quickly snatched the 500 piece puzzle and gently placed it in my buggy as if it were the last one. I knew there were 10 more just like it on the shelf, but I was ready to start making memories. When I got home I proudly showed the puzzle to my daughters. I was met with much less enthusiasm than I expected.

I’m sure they were just trying to compartmentalize the joy and excitement they were feeling. That’s okay. I was too. Overlooking their lack of enthusiasm I cleaned off the kitchen table. I’d already done the math. With three people and 500 pieces we should be done before the Christmas meal had to be served on the table. This should have been the case.

Jigsaw Puzzles 101 teaches you to build your edges first. Simple right? Well, should have been. This particular puzzle didn’t have all straight edges. It boasted several oddly shaped interlocking pieces that formed the edges. That’s okay. I just had to use the left part of my brain more than I anticipated during my vacation. Building the edges should not have crept past Christmas Day and Christmas dinner, but it did.

The next task consisted of sorting the rest of the pieces into colors or patterns. This should have been an easy task but this village featured lots of snow and a multi-hued winter sky pattern. It also had various people and pets in the picture.

At New Year’s Eve I barely had the edges and the first snowy bank completed. My children had long since moved on with their lives. I was enticing anyone who had a pulse to stop by for a snack, a glass of wine…..and, “oh would you like to help with my puzzle?” This puzzle predicament soon became the fodder of all my Snap Chat stories. I would sit at my table for hours on end staring, hoping and praying that something would make sense.

Maybe the next piece would be the catalyst that would make all of these other pieces fit. I was even contemplating using scissors to reshape some of the pieces. Yes, it was mid-January and I planned on cheating. I was trying to force pieces to fit where they clearly wouldn’t. If the sky piece matched the bricked cottage size-wise I forced it in. I was past caring. I even started an email to the puzzle company to let them know I had purchased a lemon puzzle and needed a replacement quickly.

Towards the beginning of February, my friends began avoiding my calls. When asked what I had planned after work or on weekends I just reminded them I was living in puzzle purgatory and please move on without me.

But, this was okay because I had an untapped market. A secret weapon. While sitting at my table one Saturday, my youngest walked through the kitchen with her friends. They were young, healthy, none of them wore glasses, and they were more than eager to help this desperate mother fulfill her mission in life.

This was the turning point in my puzzle predicament. The pieces began to fit. I was a matter of minutes away from the moment I’d been waiting for. It was Feb. 10 and the final destination was approaching.

Suddenly, without warning, my dreams were crushed. I was one piece short. The man hours logged for this project were astronomical and I wasn’t able to complete it! While I was ready to fire off email #2 to the puzzle maker utilizing my four letter vocabulary, I chose to reflect.

This breathtakingly beautiful “Twilight in the Village” scene had me on the verge of: friends questioning my sanity, cheating, offering kids money, and forcing pieces to fit.

All for what?

I sat there alone at my kitchen table running my hand over the puzzle, marveling at the workmanship and cleverness of puzzles. I couldn’t help but think what life is like when all of the pieces fit. When the pieces fit they interlock and become one large picture because that’s the way they were designed. It’s an overwhelming thought. When we try to force things that are ill-fitting, ill-timed and outside of God’s will for us we will always end up in despair and lacking peace.

We were all created with a void that only one thing satisfies. I kept the imperfect puzzle as a reminder.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mathew 6:33



Cane River Find Your Park Festival Set for April 21

Find Your Park 2018 FB Event Cover (2)

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) and the Cane River Creole National Historical Park will host the 2nd Annual Cane River Find Your Park Festival on Saturday, April 21.

Held at the Oakland Plantation Unit of the park, the festival will showcase the cultural and natural resources located in the Cane River and Red River regions. Events include hands on activities for children, agricultural demonstrations, games, and a petting zoo! “Our goal was to create an event that brings the park to life and encourage families to explore Cane River and discover the National Park and Heritage Area in their backyard,” commented Rebecca Blankenbaker, CRNHA Director of Communications. The second year of the festival will continue to feature other federal and state partners like the US Army Corps of Engineers, Kisatchie National Forest, and Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site. “From blacksmith demonstrations to a children’s petting zoo there will be something for everyone to enjoy,” Blankenbaker continued.

The Cane River Find Your Park Festival is free and open to the public. Activities will occur from 10AM-3PM at Oakland Plantation located at 4386 Highway 494, Natchez, LA 71456.

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that manages the congressionally designated Cane River National Heritage Area. Its mission is to preserve and promote the cultural and natural resources of Cane River and encourage economic development by strengthening heritage tourism in the region.

Find Your Park 2018 Poster


Maleficent Movie in Many

Movie fans are in for a big treat Saturday, April 21, at the Many Community Center.

Maleficent is the feature film. It starts at 7 p.m. and it’s FREE to everyone.

A combination of fantasy and fairy tale with lots of special effects, it’s a Movies in Many selection that the entire family — moms, dads, kids, grandparents too — are sure to enjoy.

Maleficent is the classic fairy tale about how good always overcomes evil.

Angelina Jolie stars as a beautiful young woman of pure heart, Maleficent, who has an idyllic life in a forest kingdom. When an invading army threatens the land, Maleficent rises up to become its fiercest protector. However, a terrible betrayal hardens her heart and twists her into a creature bent on revenge. She engages in an epic battle with the invading king’s successor, then curses his newborn daughter, Aurora — realizing only later that the child holds the key to peace in the kingdom.

Produced by Walt Disney films, the movie has some spectacular scenes that are breathtaking and a little frightening at the same time.

The story line and plot are well developed, and the entire movie has the feeling of a fairy tale, which will appeal to both adults and children.

As always, the admission is free. Concessions are only $1.00 each for popcorn and soft drinks. No outside drinks, alcohol or food are allowed in the theater.

Backpacks and large purses are also not allowed.

Movies in Many is sponsored by Many Mayor Ken Freeman, the Town of Many, and the
Many Cultural District Advisory Committee. The Cultural District in Many was created four years ago. The Advisory Committee’s purpose is to plan and bring the arts, entertainment and culture to the Town of Many.

Movies in Many are always free and play on the first and third Saturday of every month.


Happy Hours Craft Class April 21 will feature distressed wooden frames

SPJ-Distressed Wood Frames

Happy Hours Craft Classes will meet Saturday afternoon, April 21. Students will learn practice new techniques to make new wooden picture frames look old.
Shanna Gaspard, preident of the Depot Art Guild and a talented artisan, will teach the class. It’s a three-hour class from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Many Historic Depot Museum. Cost of the class is $20, and students will take their distressed wood picture frames home with them. A reservation for the class should be made by calling Gaspard at 318-602-1614 so that she can purchase class supplies in advance.

Gaspard said the techniques are varied, and after students take the class, they will be able to purchase inexpensive picture frames and distress them rather than paying for expensive distressed frames at store.

She also said this is a fun class for parents and children, or grandmothers and grandchildren to take together. She promised the children would really enjoy this class.
The class numbers are limited so it’s important to call 318-602-1614 and ask Gaspard to save a spot. .. or two.

Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims

Sabine DA

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 8-14. The Sabine Parish District Attorney’s VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM is designed to assist the victim, through the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ensure that you are treated with the dignity, respect, and courtesy that you deserve. The focus of this program is to provide victims with information and assistance needed in resolving problems they may have as a result of a crime.




Moondogs Synonymous with Jazz R&B Festival

Jazz Fest_Moondogs


Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs have been synonymous with the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival for its entire 22 year history.

Not only are they the only band to have played the Festival every one of its 22 years, but they actually loaned the Festival their sound equipment during its formative years.

“Oh, both the Festival and The Moondogs have come a long way in the last 22 years, ” laughed Festival Chairman and The Moondogs bandleader, Rodney Harrington. “In those first few years when we were just trying to get the Festival off the ground, it had no money to pay for sound equipment and so The Moondogs simply loaned our equipment to the Festival.”

Fast forward 22 years, and the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival has become one of the top music festivals in the south, featuring national artists like this year’s headliners Starship, Ohio Players, Rick Derringer, and Maggie Rose and also featuring a state-of-the-art sound and light system.

At the same time, The Moondogs have become one of the most popular and in-demand acts in Louisiana and, indeed, the entire region. They have been referred to one music critic as “Quite simply, Louisiana’s best show band.” They have garnered several awards, and performed across the south including being invited to perform for the last six years at the hugely popular “Bands on the Beach” concert series in Pensacola, Florida. Robbie Schrock of the Santa Rosa Island Authority who books the event, called The Moondogs: “The best band we have ever had perform at Bands on the Beach.”

Wherever The Moondogs travel to play, they always promote their hometown.

“We kind of feel like we are unofficial Ambassadors of Natchitoches on the road,” said Harrington. “At Pensacola every year for example, we teach the folks in the crowd, which always numbers in the thousands, how to say ‘Natchitoches’.”

The Moondogs will be performing on Saturday on the main stage, and will be joined by Rick Derringer, and Derringer’s old band mate with Edgar Winter’s White Trash, saxophonist, John Smith.


Fishing Tournament this weekend will benefit The CHildren’s Miracle Network

Fishing Tourney

The 2018 Despino’s Tire Bass Tournament will be held in Toledo Bend at the San Miguel Park Toledo Bend on Saturday, April 14. All proceeds of the tournament go to The Children’s Miracle Network.

****1ST PLACE $20,000 Guaranteed****
*******30 Places Pay*******


$250 Entry
$10 Big Bass

Friday, April 13 4pm – 7pm @ San Miguel Toledo
Friday, April 13 7am – 7pm @ Jim’s South store location on Burt Kouns in Shreveport
Saturday, April 14 4:30AM – 6:00AM
*At least ONE team member MUST register!

Saturday, April 14
First Cast: 6:15AM
Check-in: 3:00PM at San Miguel Park Toledo Bend

If you have any questions or would like to be a sponsor, please call 318.445.4561 or 318.447.0102.



It Just So Happens……

By Reba

Reba_It Just So Happens

It just so happens that shortly after I filed for divorce this past summer a fierce storm hit Natchitoches. While our street had been spared many times in the past, this time was different. The kids and I were home alone. Nestled in our laundry room with a flashlight we said a few prayers. Based on the loud noises and our house vibrating we were certain extensive damage awaited us once we exited the safety of this interior room.

Once we thought the storm has passed we walked outside to see if anything was left. There were massive trees and power lines down and, since it was after dark, the exact devastation was hard to calculate. One thing we noticed was the chain saws mixing with intense thunder and lightning in the background.

My 22-year-old pear trees had fallen on the roof and my daughter’s car. We couldn’t get past the porch because of the debris. Four neighbors showed up to ask if we were okay and if I wanted them to start removing the trees. My insurance agent mind took over. I needed photos for the potential claim before we removed anything.

Then my over protective genes took over. I said it may not be prudent to run chainsaws while it’s lightning.

The next morning I had countless friends and neighbors who showed up with chainsaws, blowers, and mostly importantly, a servants heart to help clean up the destruction. Within a few hours the trees were removed. My daughter’s car had minimal damage so the dream of a new sports car quickly faded away. Once we finished my house we continued down the street offering assistance.

The storm was a wonderful distraction that kept me from dealing with the wounds of a fresh divorce.

I spent rest of the summer going through the motions of trying to be a normal person. Whatever “normal” meant. A lot of my time was devoted to making sure my daughters were less devastated about the divorce than I was. I also spent lots of time with my friends and family. They all made me feel loved and listened to. But I was still hurting, and hiding it.

It was the longest summer of my life.

Once early fall hit I vaguely remembered a longtime friend posting a link to her church’s website. I went online to see if they offered divorce counseling. I didn’t see anything on the website so I messaged my friend. She quickly told me where to find the information and mentioned she had attended some of their other life care classes and really benefited from them.

It just so happens, they had a divorce class starting within the next two weeks. When I attended my first class I was extremely nervous. I prayed before I went and asked God to open my heart because it was badly wounded and scarred. I wasn’t sure anything could reach me. At the meeting, we introduced ourselves to the group. As luck would have it I was the first one in line. I bravely said my name and how long I was married and then, out of no where, the tears came and they wouldn’t stop. It was as if my soul had finally made peace and I knew I was about to take a journey of healing and restoration.

I met weekly for eight weeks with the most amazing group of women from very different backgrounds and in different stages of healing. Some were married over 30 years, some were thinking of filing for divorce, some were abused mentally and verbally and some were divorced for a long time and just now dealing with the emotional trauma.

During this class we had a bible study that was tailored for divorcees. We had “share time” and at first I found it very hard to really share the depths of my hurt, as did the other ladies. Week after week we became more honest and open and this was when the true healing began. I can honestly say that this class made me a better person. It made me a more forgiving person and a better mother during the darkest time of my life.

It just so happens, I experienced lots of storms during the summer of 2017 but God met each and every one of them with hope, help, healing and faith for a brighter future.

God also opened my eyes to realize there are no “Just So Happens.” God happens. God is continuously orchestrating our lives to make beauty out of our ashes.

Psalm 27:4-5 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek his temple. For the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.


Many Cultural District Advisory Committee and Mayor Ken Freeman set important goals to enhance culture and entertainment

book nook 1


The Many Cultural District Advisory Committee and Mayor Ken Freeman set important goals to bring culture and entertainment including movies, music, and creative classes to Many citizens.

The first goal was the renovation and restoration of the old Sabine Theatre to convert it to a community center. That goal was met 3 years ago, and the Many Community Center is now the site of free movies twice each month, at least one music show every month, as well as plays, pageants, choral groups and other entertainment.

A second goal was the installation of book nooks, providing free books in little lending libraries scattered throughout Many’s Cultural District. It too has now been fulfilled. City workers installed the 12 book nooks in March.

Nancy Richard, a member of the Cultural District Advisory Committee, was in charge of the year-long project. She worked hard to develop specific plans and scouted out locations. SARC carpenters built the book nooks, with Richard closely monitoring their progress.

“Nancy was the perfect choice for this extensive project,” said Mary Brocato, chairperson of the Cultural District Advisory Committee. “She loves books, is an avid reader, and an extremely well organized person. I knew she would bring this ambitious project to completion and that it would be perfectly done. And that’s exactly what this hardworking volunteer did for our town. When you see Nancy, please be sure to thank her. I really don’t believe we would have these wonderful book nooks if not for Nancy’s hard work and dedication.”

Talented members of the Depot Art Gallery primped and painted the little houses with literary themes. Shanna Gaspard, president of the Depot Art Guild, said the project was work but also a lot of fun. Gaspard’s granddaughter Victoria even joined in the fun.

Generous donors made it financially possible to build the book nooks. They are Southern Parts Warehouse, Betty Kaye Miller, Jenkins Logging, District Attorney Don Burkett, Mayor and Mrs. Ken Freeman, State Representative Frankie Howard, Judge Elizabeth Pickett, Boise Cascade, Lewis McBryde Real Estate, Amanda Lambert, Foy Motor Company, Boise Cascade, and one anonymous donor.


Project Celebration building
Sabine Medical Center
Behind the Methodist Church at the Boy Scout Hut
Bethel Baptist Church
New Jerusalem Baptist Church
Many Depot
Many Police Station
LSU Agriculture Center
Sabine Bank Building/old post office
Judge Elizabeth Pickett’s office
Sabine Parish Courthouse
Lou’s Candles and Gifts
“It’s not the job of the sponsors or the monitors to place books in the free lending libraries. If people only take books and never bring any to the little libraries, then this effort won’t work. So please take a book, but leave a book too,” emphasized Brocato.

“t’s been a real community effort to bring these book nooks to Many,” Mayor Freeman said. “We want to encourage reading among people of all ages. This is one special and fun way that we can do that in our hometown.”

Freeman remarked that the project has been extremely successful in Vernon Parish and has book nooks throughout the historical district of Leesville and several small towns throughout Vernon Parish. “That is what we hope will happen here in Sabine Parish,” concluded Freeman. “Book Nooks in every community of Sabine Parish. That’s what we’d like to see.”

One measure as to whether people are using the book nooks is that books, especially children’s books, seem to disappear from the nooks very quickly after being placed in them.

Brocato said she monitors the Sabine Medical Center’s book nook. “I can put books in the little library on a Monday afternoon, and many of them are gone by the next day,” she said. “I think that means that people are taking books to read.”

People who wish to donate books are encouraged to drop them off at any of the book nooks located around town or Many City Hall. As the shelves in the book nooks empty, a member of the Cultural District Committee will replace them with more good books to read.

Now that the book nooks are installed, the committee and Mayor Freeman have begun work on a third goal: the renovation and conversion of the historic old Many Depot into a true Historical Museum. They are hoping to complete this ambitious project by early 2019.




Happy Hours painting class on April 14

AprilShowers 18

APRIL SHOWERS is the painting scheduled for the April 14 Happy Hours creative class at the Depot Museum.

“It’s certainly an appropriate painting for this month since we’ve been having so much rain,” said Shanna Dees Gaspard, president of the Depot Art Guild, one of the sponsors of the weekly Happy Hours classes.

Talented artist Kimberley Remedies will teach the class which meets from 1-4 p.m. Students will take their finished artwork home with them.

Happy Hours Creative Classes are sponsored by the Depot Art Guild, the Town of Many, Mayor Ken Freeman and the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee. They’re part of a plan to bring art, entertainment, creative and cultural activities to the Town of Many and the surrounding area.

Reservations should be made for the class by calling Remedies in advance so that she can purchase the canvasses, paint, brushes, and any other items needed for the class. Her phone number is 337-424-6526.

The cost of the class is $20 which is used to pay for supplies and materials.

Easter Bunny visits Many

Many Easter_2693

The Easter Bunny made an early appearance at the Many Community Center to welcome children to the special Easter party and movie.

He assured the kids that he would be visiting them again on Easter Sunday morning. But in the meantime he left candy and Easter favors as gifts to those children attending.

This is the third year the Town of Many, Mayor Ken Freeman and the Cultural District Advisory Committee have sponsored an Easter party and free movie for the children of Many and surrounding areas. Those attending had their pictures made with the Easter Bunny, enjoyed free popcorn and juice, and received Easter eggs with candy as a preview for Easter morning.

Many Mayor Ken Freeman said he enjoyed seeing the children in their Easter finery and so excited to meet the Easter Bunny. “We plan to have an Easter party every year for our families in this area,” Freeman said. “It’s a joy to see young children so excited over meeting the bunny and seeing a free movie.”




CLTCC awarded $250,000 grant from Coughlin Saunders Foundation


CLTCC awarded $250,000 grant from Coughlin Saunders Foundation plus $250,000 match from state to purchase new equipment, enhance classroom instruction

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) was able to acquire new equipment and enhance classroom learning for students thanks to $500,000 in total grants funds from the Coughlin Saunders Foundation and the Louisiana Community Technical College System (LCTCS).

The Coughlin Saunders Foundation awarded CLTCC $250,000 to purchase equipment for five program areas: Nursing & Allied Health, Manufacturing, Welding, Electrical Technology, and Drafting & Design Technology. LCTCS matched the Coughlin Saunders grant with another $250,000 from the Workforce Training Rapid Response Grant.

The college will demonstrate some of the new equipment during a press conference with the Coughlin Saunders Foundation at the Alexandria Campus Saturday, April 7 at 1 p.m.

“We are using the generous donation from the Coughlin Saunders Foundation to expand our instruction and create more opportunities for hands-on learning in the classroom, which will make our graduates more employable,” said Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle. “This is the third most recent grant we have received from a private foundation, and we are so grateful for this strong community support.”

“Our goal is to promote the Alexandria area through leadership in philanthropy,” said Sally Saunders Cockerham, Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Coughlin Saunders Foundation. “We believe CLTCC is serving our citizens, and we view this donation as an investment in the high-wage, high-demand careers identified in Central Louisiana.”

Equipment purchased with the grants funds include nursing simulators, pumps and piping trainers, hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical trainers, manufacturing tools, welding machines, electrical trainers and more.

The new equipment will expand CLTCC’s capabilities in the following areas:

· Reduced student-to-training equipment ratio – there will be more training equipment for each individual student (less sharing).

· More capacity – increase in the number of available classroom seats.

· Decrease in out-of-pocket expenses for students – students will not have to purchase their own tools.

· Improvement in technical skills – simulation equipment and trainers will give students access to latest technology.

· Safer work environment due to new equipment.

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is a two-year technical and community college offering associate degrees, technical diplomas, industry certificates, and customized training in more than 20 disciplines to support local workforce development and prepare students for good-paying jobs. CLTCC serves 11 parishes in Central Louisiana through its nine campuses and provides instruction in three state prisons and two federal correctional institutions. For more information, visit

The Coughlin Saunders Foundation strives to make a difference in the Alexandria/Pineville living environment through leadership in philanthropy.


Men’s Conference is Saturday


Saturday morning at 9:00 am begins the Men’s Conference at Red River Cowboy Church. The theme is from Matthew 4:19 “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

One of the event coordinators, Lyle Kniffin said there will be a full slate of activities on Saturday. Featured guest speaker will be Stephen Patton, pastor at Lewis Chapel from the Little Egypt community on LA 120. Kniffin said, “He is a hunter, a fisherman, humorist and pastor. We will be there to show people who normally don’t go to church that we Christians can still have a good time.”

The day’s activities include a raffle for a Henry .22 magnum rifle. Participants may take part is fish casting, a turkey shoot, and everyone gets to enjoy a free fish fry.

Kniffin invited all men in the area to attend. He said, “It’s all about loving your fellow man…just love your brother!”

Red River Cowboy Church is located at Lake End on Highway 1 south at LA 174.

70 Easter Dresses

By Reba


Being on this earth for 42 Easters thus far I’ve learned a thing or two about Easter fashion and finding the perfect Easter dress for myself and my two daughters. Having been a mother for the past 19 years I’m also well aware of the Easter candy shuffle. There’s a lot of man hours dedicated to compiling a legendary Easter basket that contains the perfect consistency of sugary confections and trendy items, most of which will likely be lost or broken before the following Monday.

When I was a child we didn’t have a lot of extra money, but my mother always made sure we had an Easter dress. It may have been purchased from a clearance rack, a hand me down from a cousin or neighbor, or even from a garage sale, but we always had a dress. It was deemed one of the only Sundays where you had to be presentable. It didn’t matter if we looked like ragamuffins the other 51 Sundays of the year.

Being a preacher’s daughter and a preacher’s daughter-in-law (for 22 years) I’m well versed in the different styles of Easter Sermons that come along with the fanfare of Easter Sunday morning. It’s that obligatory church attendance that will have you wondering who all of the new faces are in church. More times than not, you may not see these people until next year unless you run into them at the local Walmart.

Easter Sundays are different for a preacher’s family. There are weeks of preparations that go into the sermon, crowd control, and special music. They’ll arrive at church earlier than normal and typically stay longer as well. Meaning, the family doesn’t eat until much later, which has them running a high risk of having “hangry” kids and inpatient Preacher’s wives.

My favorite Easter Sunday growing up was when my dad invited a lot of extra people over for lunch and my mother was very much unprepared. But, her four-letter vocabulary was very prepared for the occasion. We still chuckle at the thought of my soft spoken mother articulating her displeasure with her entire bank of swear words.

There is no stress like Holy Week stress.

The Easter stress finally caught up with me this year as I told my youngest daughter to text me a few things she may want in her basket this year. I was met with dead silence, then she weakly uttered the words, “the Easter Bunny isn’t real.” Oops. Sorry kiddo. Life is full of little white parental lies.

This year has been different for so many reasons. When I stopped long enough to do the math on the amount of time, energy and money that was dedicated to purchasing 42 Easter dresses for myself, 18 for my oldest and 10 for my youngest it was completely overwhelming and a little disheartening. So disheartening I’m thinking of wearing jeans Sunday morning.

Easter isn’t about the dress or a fashion show. It’s not about the perfectly filled basket. It’s not about the perfect family meal. It’s not about the perfect guest list for lunch. It’s not about perfectly well behaved children and a dozen pictures posted to prove how perfect our life is.

I’m a Christian who is ashamed to admit that her prior 42 Easters were all about the perfection. All about the dress and stress.

I am walking into my 43rd Easter as a divorced and flawed Christian believer who’s faith has been tested tremendously for the last 10 months dealing with the loss of a family unit. But, due to this it’s the first year I’ve spent time reflecting on the events that led up to the Crucifixion of Christ. My eyes have been opened and my heart filled with the true meaning of Easter Sunday for the first time in my life and I am grateful for this tragedy that has brought me closer to him.

“Then Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man!”

John 19-5


Pi Kappa Phi alumnus inducted into Sabine Parish Hall of Fame

Sabine Hall of Fame


Ronald Knott was inducted into the Sabine Parish Hall of Fame at its Annual Induction Banquet March 27. Born in Converse, Knott now lives in Euless, Texas. He is a former Navy fighter pilot, a former Delta Airlines pilot, has authored multiple books, and was a 1956 chartering member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.


Tales of Another Dog He Has Known and Loved


Did you hear the one about a dog walking into a bar?

Well, I actually saw it. Yes, one of my dogs walked into a bar. Hopefully you want to know how that came about and I’d love to tell you.

Back in the 1990s, before Mary and I got back together following the 40-year gap in our relationship between being high school sweethearts and later being reunited, I was in my second bachelorhood.

I lived in the historic old McDonoughville section of Gretna, across the river from New Orleans, and there was an old fashioned neighborhood bar around the corner from my house. My neighbor, fellow newspaper reporter and best friend Vince and I would occasionally walk around to the bar on a Saturday afternoon to have a cool one or two.

It was a dog-friendly bar and one day we decided to take Bouse (I’ll explain that name later) with us. The nice bartender immediately took to Bouse and gave him a bowl of milk while Vince and I nursed a beer.

Well, a week or so later, I had hooked up Bouse to a long leash on the front porch and was busy doing something in the back of the house when I heard a knock at the door. One of the neighborhood youngsters said, “Mr., your dog got out of his collar and he’s gone around the corner.”

I trotted to the intersection just in time to see Bouse almost at the front door of the bar. By the time I got to him, he’d gone inside but I had to tell the bartender that we didn’t have time for a drink So I had to herd Bouse, without a leash or collar, back to the house. He wasn’t pleased because, dog gone it, he really wanted another bowl of good, cold milk.

Now, about his name. I’d gotten him from the Times-Picayune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Walt Handelsman. (How many folks have had a dog that belonged to a Pulitzer winner, I wonder.) Walt’s family was growing and he said he had to get rid of either a dog or a kid, so he chose a dog. The dog’s name was Lucky at the time, because he had survived being a street dog in Uptown New Orleans, and he and I hit it off right away

I’d go home at lunchtime every day to feed him and let him out and when I’d see him I got into the habit of saying, “Hi, Boo.” Boo, as you may know, is a popular informal nickname in South Louisiana. Anyway, Boo sort of morphed into Bouse (pronounced like loose) and that became his name.

He was a shaggy haired lovable guy who really enjoyed his meals. When I wasn’t home, he’d jump up on my sofa, leaving tons of yellow and white hairs. When I’d see that, I’d fuss at him and tell him No. He must have wondered how in the world I knew he had been on the couch. But, he was a good dog and apparently quit that particular misdeed because after a while I saw no more hairs on the sofa.

He loved to sit on the front porch and he hated cats. One day a cat approached on the street and Bouse took off down the porch steps after him. Poor dog forgot he was attached to his leash and when the leash ran out, Bouse was flipped over on his back, like a roped calf at a rodeo. He wasn’t hurt but his dignity suffered in front of the hated feline, I’m sure.

I must admit, he didn’t hate every single cat on the planet. When Mary and I got back together in 1999, she had a cat, Pearl. When she brought Pearl into the house, Bouse stiffened and must have thought, “What is this woman doing with that creature?” However, Mary warned him to be good and Bouse and Pearl tolerated each other from then on, even taking naps while lying just a few feet apart. I don’t think Bouse ever asked Pearl to go to the bar with him, however.

As he aged, Bouse went deaf, but I could communicate with him through hand signals. To ask him if he wanted to go out into the back yard, I’d swing my arms toward the back door and he would run to it, ready to go outside.

I thought he was totally deaf, but he wasn’t. When Warren Morris hit his game winning home run for LSU in the 1996 College World Series, I hollered so loud that I woke up Bouse from a nap. Or maybe he felt vibrations in the wooden floor boards!
Bouse later developed arthritis and we gave him prescription meds from a vet. I think those powerful meds affected his liver because his appetite just quit. For this chubby fellow to want to quit eating was awfully ominous. I knew the end had come when he turned down a bite from a roast beef poor boy.

So, like so many others, Bouse was euthanized and went to doggie heaven, I’m sure. Her certainly deserved it Except for hating cats and wanting to visit a bar now and then, he was just about perfect.

Next week, I want to tell you about Belle. She was something.

BOM Sponsors Sabine Parish Livestock Fund

BOM to Sabine 4H.JPG


BOM was proud to sponsor the Sabine Parish Spring Livestock Fund. Sabine Parish had about 50 youth representing 4-H or FFA and they exhibited their animals at the Spring Livestock Show. Our donation helped fund the Premier Exhibitor Award Winners. In the picture from left to right: Chris Pearce, County Agent, Daniel Bennett, BOM Market President & Commercial Lender, and Darrell Simmons, Many High School Ag Teacher.