Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announced the arrest of Many High School principal, Norman Ural Booker III, age-49 of Many, for alleged sexual assaults of juveniles while he was a coach in Sabine Parish in the mid-1990s. Two victims have come forward in recent months disclosing sexual acts by Booker while they were students in high school. Detectives obtained two arrests warrants from the 11th Judicial District Judge for Sexual Battery, Oral Sexual Battery, Misdemeanor Sexual Battery and 2 counts of Indecent Behavior with Juveniles. No bond has been set at this time.
This school year has certainly been full of challenges! Unfortunately, several teachers and students have tested positive or are on quarantine for COVID 19. After consulting with the Louisiana Department of Health and our administrators, we are going to close Florien High School, Zwolle Elementary School and Zwolle High School beginning Oct. 29, through Tuesday, November 3, 2020. All Sabine schools will be closed Tuesday, November 3, Election Day. Students return Wednesday, November 4, 2020. If your child is on quarantine, they must stay home the entire quarantine period of 14 days. If your child has tested positive, they must stay home the entire ten days. We are hoping this time away from school will slow the spread of COVID19. We are hopeful everyone who is ill has a full recovery.
These days will count as Virtual Instruction and assignments will be sent home via Google Classroom or traditional pencil and paper assignments. Assignments will be graded and will count.
These are trying times; please know that I do not take the health and safety of our students and staff lightly. It is very difficult for me to close a school for any period of days, because I know the students need to be in school. Health and safety must be a priority.
Thank you for your continued support. If you have questions, please contact the school or our office.
Sara P. Ebarb, EdD
Superintendent of Schools
Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announced one arrest made for felony residential contractor fraud. Charles Nathan Beaudion of Cloutierville was arrested and charged with two counts of Residential Contractor Fraud. The victim reported to Detective Greg Sculthorpe that early in the month of September 2020, he contracted Beaudion and Courtney Rene Dipley to repair damage to his roof from Hurricane Laura and he wrote Dipley two checks for $6500 each. The victim told Detective Sculthorpe that the checks were cashed and the work was never started. An arrest warrant was also obtained for Dipley for 2 counts of Residential Contractor Fraud. In 2018, Beaudion was arrested for the same crimes he committed in Rapides and Natchitoches Parishes and it was learned several complaints had been filed against him with the Better Business Bureau in recent years.
Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announced the recovery of two ATVs that were stolen last week. Two separate victims reported their green Honda ATVs missing from their homes. Detective Todd McNeely said the ATVs were located in Natchitoches Parish with help from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office. One arrest has been made and more are pending. Sheriff Mitchell commends Detective McNeely and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office for their work in locating the ATVs and finding the suspects.
There are two things Northwestern State softball head coach Donald Pickett is looking for this weekend. When his team takes the field for a three intersquad scrimmages Saturday and Sunday, Pickett wants to see confidence and aggressiveness.
The Lady Demons will play a total of three games this weekend – a doubleheader Saturday and one final scrimmage Sunday – and fans are welcome to attend. Saturday’s pair of games begin at 1 p.m., span five innings each with about 20-30 minutes between each contest. Sunday’s seven-inning affair starts at 12 p.m.
“Physically, we have a lot of talented kids on this team, so the big thing is the approach to the game,” Pickett said. “I want to see them being confident and aggressive in everything they’re doing.”
The Lady Demons have participated in full fall practices for the last few weeks. That’s nothing new. What is new, however, is the way in which NSU is practicing.
COVID-19 has made day-to-day activities quite different from years past. But that alteration hasn’t stopped the Lady Demons from improving and growing as a unit, and that credits goes to the leaders on the team.
“The team has been able to adapt to not only the COVID situation, but also to the new routine,” Pickett said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that have been around here for a few years, and they’re used to a routine that has been the same way every year. Now that’s been turned upside down. The coaches have had to adjust to that as have the players.
“We’ve had a lot of good leadership, and that’s paid off during this time.”
A good portion of that leadership had their spring season shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSU played 22 games in 2019 – sporting a 15-7 record – and began Southland Conference play with a three-game sweep of Sam Houston State.
The hot start to the season made the abrupt end to it that much more disappointing. That has made for an even more competitive fall ball period, and the team is looking forward to a weekend of game-like scenarios.
“It has been awhile since we’ve played some games,” Pickett said. “We’ve had two shortened versions of intersquad scrimmages so far, and the girls are excited about the weekend, and I’m looking forward to kind of seeing where we are at right now.”
Northwestern State University has modified Fall Commencement plans to follow health and safety protocols. Degrees will be conferred during five ceremonies beginning Thursday, Dec. 17-Friday, Dec. 18 in Prather Coliseum.
“Obviously, we want our graduates and their families to be able to celebrate their accomplishments, but we must keep health and safety in mind,” said Dr. Greg Handel, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We have put a lot of thought into planning a series of ceremonies and ask for the help and understanding of graduates and guests as we do our best to present safe and memorable commencement programs.”
Students who completed their degrees in May and August who wish to participate in Fall Commencement should contact the Registrar’s Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 4.
There will be two ceremonies for the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 17, degrees will be conferred to graduates earning the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Dec. 17, degrees will be conferred on graduates earning the Associate of Science in Nursing and bachelor’s and graduate degrees from the School of Allied Health.
Three ceremonies will take place on Friday. Dec. 18.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Dec 18, degrees will be conferred to all graduates of the College of Business and Technology and to graduates earning associate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Dec. 18, degrees will be conferred to all graduates earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Beginning at 4 p.m. Dec. 18, bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be conferred to all graduates of the College of Education and Human Development.
The ceremonies will all be ticketed events with Prather Coliseum limited to 25 percent capacity. Graduates will be allowed four guest tickets and tickets must be obtained in advance. Information on requesting tickets will be available in the coming weeks. Graduates and guests must wear masks and practice social distancing as Phase 3 health and safety protocols will be enforced. Handel recommended that guests with tickets arrive at least 40 minutes prior to each ceremony.
All ceremonies will be livestreamed at http://www.nsula.edu and will be recorded.
Updated information will be posted on the Northwestern State University website as plans are finalized.
“Although circumstances will limit the number of guests in the audience, we are working very hard to make this a special occasion for our graduates, especially in light of the challenges they have overcome in the last several months,” Handel said. “We look forward to a series of meaningful and memorable commencement ceremonies this December.”
Warren Ronald Shepherd
August 25, 1927 – October 28, 2020
Visitation: Sunday, November 1 from 4-7 pm at Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home.
Funeral services and entombment adjacent to his wife, will take place in Bakersfield, California.
Rhonda Rodriguez Maroney
February 27, 1967 – October 26, 2020
Service: Saturday, October 31 at 1 pm at First Assembly of God Church in Coushatta
April 24, 1926 – October 25, 2020
Service: Friday, October 30 at 11 am in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Edwin Davidson, Jr.
September 12, 2003 – October 19, 2020
Joe Louis Williams of Derry, Louisiana
October 29, 2020
Larry Lee Davis, Sr.
October 28, 2020
The Sabine Parish School District has been awarded two grants totaling nearly $1.7 million dollars in federal funding.
Alyssa Taylor of Charleston, Tennessee, and Kolton Splettstosser of Jasper, Texas, are this year’s recipients of the Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Scholarship. Taylor, who is pursuing a degree in nursing, is the first female angler to receive the scholarship. Splettstosser is pursuing a degree in mass communications.
The students were recognized by the Poche family during a socially distanced scholarship presentation Monday. Taylor and Splettstosser were awarded $4,500 each. The remainder of funds go to the Fishing Team’s general fund to help defray expenses as they attend tournaments around the country.
“Although COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Tournament earlier this year, the Poche family was able to continue their support of members of the fishing team through these scholarships,” said Director of Development Jill Bankston, CFRE.
Next year’s tournament is set for March 27, 2021, on Toledo Bend Lake.
The Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Scholarship was established by Poche’s parents, Burt and Shelley Poche and Misty Ott. Poche was a 2015 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School and an avid outdoorsman. He excelled at tournament fishing and was a member of the NCHS Fishing Team and the NSU Fishing Team as a freshman. He passed away in January 2016.
The NSU Fishing Team is open to all students and taps into the growing popularity of organized competitive bass fishing. The team competes in FLW, B.A.S.S. and Collegiate Bass circuits. NSU Fishing Team Sponsor Juddy Hamous said he encourages incoming members to apply for the scholarship and the award has been a great help to incoming students.
By Royal Alexander/Opinion
This election provides us with a choice as profound as it is clear: do we want America to remain America?
Do we wish to remain a nation that is governed by a constitution and adheres to a rule of law? Should we fight for and cling to the numerous, and rare, individual rights and liberties guaranteed to us; Do we continue to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion and religious expression; do we really believe in the 2nd Amendment and the individual right to keep and bear arms; do we still believe that our life, liberty and property cannot be denied us without due process of law—while we are presumed innocent.
Should we citizens defer to government, or is government supposed to be responsive to us; do we preserve a limited federal government with specific, enumerated powers that governs only with our consent, or a socialist model of the kind we’ve seen fail throughout history in so many places; do we believe we know best how to run—and are better at running—our lives, as well as our families and our children’s lives than the government is, or do we cede those rights of self-determination to government bureaucrats, social engineers and the ever-encroaching tentacles of the “nanny” state.
Should we pay exorbitantly higher taxes to the federal government—a government that cannot even fully block robocalls—because if we do it will somehow be able to control the warming and cooling of the earth; do we allow abortion on demand, along with the violation of conscience entailed in using the tax dollars of we who are deeply opposed to the barbaric procedure, to pay for them; do we want a vigorous oil and gas industry—even as we continue to move toward renewable energy sources—so that we are not foolishly reliant on oil from hostile foreign governments.
Do we believe that massive new taxes, regulation and a restricted, managed form of capitalism are necessary to provide our best life and society, or do we wish for a vibrant free-market economy where we may pursue our dreams of small business ownership; do we want the public schools to educate our children, or to indoctrinate them.
Do we want the best, highest-quality health care in the world, or do we turn the critical provision of health care over to government agencies and bureaucrats who are often more concerned with limiting and rationing care than with whether we are healed and cured; do we want to live under a government—as we’ve graphically witnessed this year—that defunds the police and tacitly condones violence, looting and destruction of property, or do we desire a society that is based upon law and order and a democratic process through which to seek lasting social change.
Do we seek a society filled with free and robust speech, press, petition and peaceful assembly, or the kind of country in which Political Correctness and Groupthink get us shouted down and cowed by threats of one kind or another when we seek to express the truth and our beliefs in relation to it.
We repudiated and defeated communism in the last century. It’s precursor, Socialism, is also a dark and hopeless ideology. Today, desperate, freedom-seeking people all over the world continue to perilously strap themselves and their families onto “boats” consisting of broken boards and logs, buoyed by empty plastic milk jugs, risking their lives in the hope of reaching America. They are fleeing Socialism. Why would we even conceive of granting it a stronghold here?
Do we desire a country in which elites rule, or one in which any child, of any faith, background or upbringing may grow up to be president, or anything else they dream of, pray and work for?
Do we seek a society based upon “critical race theory” that has as its foundation the belief that every societal flaw stems from American sexism, racism or some other form of prejudice or “systemic bias”; or, one in which were are judged not “by the color of our skin but by the content of our character”?
Do we want an admittedly imperfect country that never stops seeking to improve itself, or one in which social and cultural change is impossible because the ruling elite—our “government”—has arrogantly assumed it “knows better” than we, the unenlightened, the rubes, deplorables, or “maggots” as Keith Olbermann said about Trump supporters.
We should pray and vote to have America remain America.
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Sabine Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the SPJ, please send it to SPJManyLa@gmail.com.