Gov. Edwards: Louisiana Steps Back to Phase 2 as COVID Cases and Hospitalizations Rise

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on Nov. 24 that the aggressive third surge of COVID-19 across all regions of Louisiana has made it necessary to impose tighter mitigation measures and step back to Phase 2 in order to protect public health.

The Governor’s updated Phase 2 proclamation, which is slightly modified from the summer, takes effect on Wednesday, November 25. It calls for reducing occupancy at some businesses, decreasing gathering sizes, limiting indoor consumption at many bars and urges everyone in Louisiana to avoid gatherings with people outside of their everyday households.

Cases are increasing, hospitalizations have climbed back up to more than 1,000, the highest level since August, and to date, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 6,300 Louisianans. According to the latest report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Louisiana had 474 new cases per 100,000 people last week, which is higher than the national average for states, which is 356 per 100,000 people.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since mid-July, will continue. In addition, Gov. Edwards encourages any business that can allow its employees to work remotely to do so. He has directed all state agencies to do the same.

“There is not a single region of our state that is not seeing increases in new cases, hospitalizations and growing positivity of COVID tests, and I am incredibly concerned by Louisiana’s trajectory and our ability to continue to deliver health care to our people if our hospitals are overrun with sick patients,” Gov. Edwards said. “The data clearly tells us that we have lost all of the gains we had made and that our current mitigation efforts must be increased in order to adequately slow the spread. Now is the time to make changes, and stepping back to guidelines that closely resemble our Phase 2 restrictions is a tough but necessary step to take in order to protect the public.

“It is absolutely vital that Louisianans take this third surge of COVID seriously. While there is hopeful news about the development of an effective vaccine, the reality is that we are several months away from being able to widely vaccinate the general population in our state. This virus is with us and we must continue all of the mitigation measures including wearing a mask and social distancing in order to stay safe. All of us working together can slow the spread of COVID and flatten the curve – indeed, we already have twice. We now have more than 1,000 patients in the hospital with COVID, wiping out months of progress and leaving our hospitals in a perilous place.”


Gov. Edwards’ updated order will go into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and will run for four weeks. The Governor intends to keep these restrictions in place at least through the end of the year.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place. Major changes to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include the below:

All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.

All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can.

All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.

For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.

Retail businesses at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.

Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household. The State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID mitigation measures to make services safer.

Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.

Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.

Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.

All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate is still in place.

Successful Effort in Saving a Human Life

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces K-9 Deputy Nick Sandel recently went above and beyond in the performance of his duties.

On October 24, 2020, Deputy Sandel saved a human life by applying a tourniquet to a man who was seriously bleeding.

Sheriff Mitchell commends Deputy Sandel for his courage and selfless service to the citizens of Sabine Parish.

Deputy Sandel was presented an award by Chief Deputy Brad Walker, Sergeant David Remedies and Sheriff Mitchell.

If Our Sacred Vote is Lost, America Will Fail

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Yes, it is that serious. The hallmark of a legitimately functioning democracy in a free society is the honest exercise of the voting franchise by its citizens. Period. If people become convinced that their vote—the most powerful tool they possess to express themselves, their policy preferences, and to participate in our civic life—is not valued and protected, the rule of law will crumble. And when the rule of law is gone what results is chaos, anarchy, and the law of the jungle. Many people in this country already feel powerless and disconnected and if the hope and faith they place in their vote—their voice—is corrupted and destroyed, our nation cannot endure.

That is why what we have and are learning about the presidential election is so deeply disturbing. If even a fraction of the sworn affidavit testimony and other allegations that have surfaced since Election Day are true, this is the largest, most well-organized, and destructive fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. Win at all costs has costs and if this “election” is not challenged, fixed, and reversed we will have irreparably damaged our country. Americans may be disappointed with an outcome but if they feel the contest was conducted freely and fairly, they will accept it. But not if they believe it was rigged and stolen. Election officials are public officials, and they owe an honest accounting to the citizens they serve that their work was done according to law and with proper safeguards.

Perhaps the most upsetting thing is that we don’t know where to turn for justice. We now know most national media is highly partisan and no longer primarily concerned with pursuing objective, verifiable truth. In the past we would have relied on the FBI, but that agency’s leadership and moral authority have been compromised in the eyes of many Americans. The Department of Justice? Do we really have faith the DOJ would put America’s interests—and we the people—first, or is it also irredeemably politicized? Are there any federal agencies left that unquestionably put America’s interest first? Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will restore the constitutional order.

Jefferson wrote powerfully in the Declaration of Independence that government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed” and when government no longer serves its essential purpose in protecting and preserving the freedoms and liberties of our citizens—our unalienable rights—it must be “altered or abolished.” In fact, it is our right and duty to “throw off such government…”

If this apparent theft of a national election is allowed to stand, it may spark the second American revolution. The great Silent Majority in this country, including the 73 million Americans who voted for President Trump, are simply not going to tolerate this. We should continue to pray for our nation and speak out demanding that justice be done—which includes continuing this investigation until every legal vote is counted, correctly and transparently.

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

Celebrating Thanksgiving

As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the CDC says the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. If having guests to your home, limit the number of guests, have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use. If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. Have guests bring their own food and drink and if sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Other Thanksgiving activities to consider include a virtual Thanksgiving meal with family and friends who don’t live with you, watching television and playing games with people in your household, online shopping, and delivering food to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others.

Everyone can make Thanksgiving safer by wearing a mask and staying at least 6 feet from others who do not live with you.

This Holiday Season Do What’s Best for You and Your Loved Ones
Being away from family and friends during the holidays can be hard. Hard choices to be apart this year may mean that you can spend many more years with your loved ones. When you talk with your friends and family about plans, it’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others.

Do what is best for your health and the health of your loved ones. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, take care of your body, and stay active to lessen fatigue, anxiety, and sadness. This year spend time with those in your own household.

Baby Gumm

By Brad Dison

Frank Gumm was the owner of the New Grand theater in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. His wife, Ethel, was a former actress, pianist and singer. Together, they had three daughters, Suzanne, Virginia, and Frances. Being the youngest, the family called Frances “Baby.” With the help of their mother, the three Gumm sisters developed their voices and their ears for music. Before her third birthday, Baby showed an aptitude for singing and dancing. Even at such a young age, Baby was persistent and practiced constantly.

Just before Christmas, 1925, Baby decided that it was time to make her performance debut on amateur night at her father’s theater. If her parents made any attempt to dissuade her, it failed miserably. She was a determined three-year-old. She selected a seasonal song and rehearsed it numerous times in front of the family on the stairs which led to the second floor of their home. On the evening of the performance, Baby wore a white dress donned with sprigs of holly for a seasonal flare. Someone led her onto the stage and showed her where to stand. She waited patiently and calmly behind the curtain. Perhaps she had not yet reached the age when stage freight develops.

The curtains parted and the public got their first glance at Baby. Seeing such a small child alone on such a large stage must have been a curious sight. The crowd probably thought the performance was going to be just another “cute” act at which they were supposed to politely smile and clap. The orchestra gave Baby a chord as a vocal cue. That was all she needed. Baby began singing the song and the orchestra came in right on cue. As she sang “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way,” the audience members’ eyebrows raised and their mouths dropped. Baby sang in perfect pitch, with perfect timing, and did not miss a single syllable of the lyrics. The crowd cheered as the song neared the ending and the orchestra played the last few notes. Baby’s successful debut was over, or so everyone thought.

As soon as the orchestra finished the last note, Baby began singing the song from the beginning again. The shocked conductor played along and led the orchestra through “Jingle Bells” a second time. Again, Baby performed it flawlessly. Just as before, the crowd cheered for Baby, but she was still not through. She started the song over and the orchestra played along again. She performed “Jingle Bells” the third time just as perfectly as her first two performances. Fearing that Baby would begin the song for a fourth time, her father marched out onto the stage, picked Baby up, and carried her backstage. Even over their cheering, the crowd chuckled as they heard Baby yelling from backstage, “I want to sing some more.” However, this was to be her only performance at her father’s New Grand Theater.

Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Lancaster, California, about an hour and a half north of Hollywood. Baby’s parents developed two different singing acts under different names. One act featured Baby’s sisters, while the other act featured her parents. For some unknown reason, Baby was not included in either act.

In 1926, when Baby was four years old, her parents enrolled her in a training program which prepared children for the stage. Baby’s talent and wit quickly drew attention. She tried out and got the feature role of Cupid in a production held in downtown Los Angeles. Vaudevillian performer Gus Edwards watched Baby perform and met her and her two sisters after the show. Their mother mentioned to Gus that Baby’s older sisters performed as a duo. Gus watched eagerly as Baby’s sisters performed a song from their act, followed by another song from Baby. At Gus’s suggestion, Baby and her sisters formed a trio.

The Gumm Sisters performed a wide variety of popular songs and became a popular act. “Gee, we had a lot of fun,” Baby remembered. “I was the smallest, so I was always in the middle with my arms around Suzanne and Virginia. If things seemed to be dull, I used to tickle them in the ribs. Virginia thought it was funny, but Suzanne took things more seriously. I certainly did catch it when we got off the stage.”

Ethel, acting as manager of the Gumm Sisters, drove the trio from California to Chicago to perform at the Oriental theater. “We were to have billing and everything,” Baby reminisced, “and did we get it! We no sooner arrived on the scene than we saw there, in lights on the marquee, a sign reading ‘The Glum Sisters.’” The girls were disheartened. George Jessel, another performer on the same bill, felt sorry for the girls. He suggested they change the name of their act. From then on, the trio performed under a new name. Soon thereafter, the trio dissolved when Suzanne, and then Virginia, married.

Baby, now twelve years old, went on vacation with her parents to Lake Tahoe. While there, she performed in a program at the lodge. A talent scout from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios happened to be at the performance. A few days later, the talent scout called and asked her to audition at the studio, as they were looking for girl singers.

Entering the grand gates of the movie studio would have intimidated most aspiring performers, but Baby remained calm. When she began singing at the audition, everyone within earshot stopped and listened. Baby had a “childish freshness, naturalness and enthusiasm.” More experts entered the room and she sang again. Then another group of experts listened. All of them agreed and suggested that Louis B. Mayer, head manager of MGM, give her an audition. Mayer, usually busy with a myriad of tasks, auditioned her on the spot. Baby sang beautifully and gracefully. Mayer immediately signed her to a film contract.

Baby went on to have a successful career in motion pictures, television, and as a recording artist. She starred as a farm girl from Kansas in one of the most beloved films of all time. You know Frances “Baby” Gumm by her world-famous stage name…Judy Garland.

1. The Atlanta Constitution, October 6, 1940, p.53.

Notice of Death – November 24, 2020

Marilyn Kaye Laroux
January 15, 1943 – November 23, 2020
Service: Saturday, November 28 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Troy Clyde Gaddis
April 1, 1933 – November 21, 2020
Service: Wednesday, November 25 at 2 pm at Spring Ridge Baptist Church

Eric Evans
November 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Ophelia “Tootsie” Dumars
November 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Aquila Maxie
November 22, 1992 – November 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Doris Ann Adams
November 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Ashisa Michelle Moore
July 9, 1977 – November 18, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Stacy Harold “Pedro” Griffin
June 24, 1967 – November 22, 2020
Service: Wednesday, November 25 at 10 am at Piney Woods Christian Church

Mary F. Bemont
January 07, 1939 – November 22, 2020
Service: Wednesday, November 25 at 2 pm in the chapel of Southern Funeral Home

Aaron Hardwell Jr.
September 4, 1981 – November 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Elder Henry Bush
November 19, 2020
Service: Friday, November 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Dr. James Aubrey Guin
September 02, 1942 – November 22, 2020
Service: Wednesday, November 25 at 2 pm at Ashland Baptist Church

Tony Davis announces resignation from BESE District 4 seat

In 2015, the people of BESE District 4 elected me to represent them and – in a vote of confidence I may never have the joy of repeating – the same constituency re-elected me without opposition to a second term. I will never be able to express my gratitude for the trust placed in me to represent the nearly 600,000 citizens of District 4.

In 2020, I was blessed with a new professional role—a role I eagerly pursued—to oversee work I genuinely enjoy; it was a good decision for my family and for my professional career. Over the course of the year, however, my responsibilities have grown to the point that I no longer feel confident that I am putting the time, effort, and energy into the representation for which I was elected and that my constituents deserve. It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter as notice that I will step down from the BESE District 4 seat as of January 20, 2021.

I ran for BESE in 2015 with what I felt was a strong understanding of the role. Looking back, I can say with a smile, “I was wrong.” While the challenges were bigger than I anticipated and the learning curve steeper than I expected, the opportunities to change and shape Louisiana for the better were far more numerous than I could have ever thought possible. To ensure my time in this position was used to create positive change was a responsibility I never took lightly.

Over the past five years as Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee, I have worked with my fellow BESE members and a variety of stakeholders to find consensus where appropriate while holding the line where necessary. I have supported choice for the families of this state, revamped and expanded career training opportunities for students, and led efforts to expand and support early childhood education—all of which are critical to improving Louisianans’ potential for success in life. I have worked with legislative leaders, Department staff, board members, and diverse stakeholders to guide the MFP each year. Through it all, I have fought to ensure we maintain accountability and high expectations for all our students.

Since being elected, I have had the pleasure to serve with two boards comprised of diverse stakeholders with different backgrounds and while we did not always agree on “how” to best serve students, I have never doubted that we all wanted what was best for Louisiana students.

Ultimately, I have weighed each decision I’ve had to make against our students and our future—how do we make both better? I believe I have held true to that standard and leave with only one regret—not being able to finish my obligation to this term and the people of District 4. I wish the best to my fellow BESE members and hope they remember that the children of Louisiana trust them and are relying on them to make the best decisions—not the easy decisions—for enhancing and advancing education in our great state.

NSU Men’s Basketball: Demons add Anacoco wing Shaun Riley

The Northwestern State men’s basketball team’s early signing period began with the addition of an athletic wing who is off to a fast start in his senior season.

Shaun Riley, a forward from Anacoco High School, signed his letter of intent with the Demons on Wednesday, continuing NSU’s longstanding connection with area high schools.

“We are very excited to sign such a talented young man, who is right in our own backyard,” said coach Mike McConathy, whose 22nd season at the helm of the NSU program begins Nov. 25 at No. 14 Texas Tech.

“Shaun fills an identified need within our program. He combines a great, competitive nature with explosive athleticism. He is an above-the-rim player who fits in with the fast pace we want to play in our program.”

The 6-foot-6, 195-pound Riley has helped lead Anacoco to wins in its first three games of the season, averaging 19.6 points and 10 rebounds per game in those contests.

“Shaun attacks the glass on both ends very well, understands the game and is a great teammate,” McConathy said. “He is first-class in every way on and off the court. Shaun will thrive within our program because of his work ethic. He will add value to our team, university and community immediately. We look forward to him wearing NSU purple.”

Riley’s high school coach, Randy Carlisle, echoed McConathy’s sentiments about the athletic wing.

“He is a great athlete who can make an immediate impact at NSU,” said Carlisle, a college teammate of McConathy’s who has won five Louisiana state championships and two Texas state crowns and is approaching 900 career wins.

“He is a classy young man with unlimited potential.”

Sheriff Mitchell announces new phone system

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces that tomorrow evening, November 19th, the Sheriff’s Office will be transferring to an automated telephone system. This will affect the 318-256-9241 phone number.

Citizens will be required to select a number for the department within the Sheriff’s Office they wish to speak with. This will take the call volume from Dispatch so they will be able to focus more on Emergency 911 calls and radio traffic.

Sheriff Mitchell urges citizens to please be patient with us as we transfer to this system. As always, if you have an emergency, please dial 911.

Project Celebration, Inc. hosts site visit

Thursday, November 19, 2020 Project Celebration, Inc. hosted State Representative Rodney Schamerhorn and Senator Louie Bernard for a site visit.

We’re grateful that Project Celebration had an opportunity to share with their local representative and senator about the amazing work they do for children in Sabine Parish.  Keep it up the good work!

Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Mall is coming to Natchitoches on November 28

The Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Mall will celebrate its 15th year in operation on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 9 am – 4:30 pm at the Natchitoches Events Center, located at 750 Second Street in Natchitoches. This event is free and open to the public.

There will be gifts for the whole family, from adults to children. Over 75 vendors from a four-state area will come to Natchitoches to sell their wares.

“The best part is everything offered at our craft market is handmade,” said organizer Cheryl Gianforte.

Following State Fire Marshal recommendations, 10-foot aisles will separate vendors, giving guests room to browse. A counter will be stationed at the door so the facility doesn’t become crowded. There will be one entrance and one exit (although all exits will be accessible). There will also be sanitizing stations throughout the space. Masks are recommended.

The Rapides Foundation encourages you to “Have a Healthy Holiday”

The Rapides Foundation is encouraging everyone to “Have a Healthy Holiday” with healthier holiday recipes and preparation videos, simple exercise videos, and tips to keep you on track with your health goals during the busy holiday season.

To give you a jump-start on a healthy holiday menu, the Foundation features 30 recipes on its website. Preparation videos for each of the featured recipes are available to watch on the website, social media platforms and on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

The Foundation can also help you learn how to incorporate simple exercises into your daily activities. Video demonstrations of simple exercises like squats, bends, pushups, lunges and many others are available to view. A challenge calendar with daily fitness and nutrition challenges is also available for download.

Here are some tips for creating a healthy holiday plan during this busy season:

· Eat Smart: Choose fresh, non-processed food options whenever possible. Before leaving for a party, drink plenty of water, and eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to overindulge.

· Get moving: Sneak in any calorie-burning activity you can. Check out the exercise tips and videos on our website and YouTube channel. Some other simple tips: take the stairs, dance, play with your kids, and trim the tree. It may not seem like much, but any extra activity throughout the day will burn calories and relieve stress.

· Sleep well: Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You may be tempted to stay up until the wee hours wrapping presents, but research has shown that constant sleep deprivation leads to weight gain. Sleeping well will keep your metabolism and body running at top speed and efficiency.

· Find joy: Laugh, reflect and enjoy the time spent with the people you love. There’s so much more to the holidays than overindulging.

Notice of Death – November 19, 2020

Doris Ann Adams
November 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Ashisa Michelle Moore
July 9, 1977 – November 18, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Ella D. Byone
March 30, 1930 – November 13, 2020
Service: Saturday, November 21 at 11 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville

Gloria S. Milsap
March 26, 1952 – November 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Doretha Harris
November 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Linnie Fay Masters
July 12, 1938 – November 18, 2020
Service: Saturday, November 21 at 1 pm at the New Life Pentecostal Church

Betty Jean LeBaron
March 28, 1938 – November 17, 2020
Visitation: Saturday, November 21 from 1-2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

D.A.R.E Senior Mentors

Deputy James Campbell is pictured with Dustin Rogers and Kobe Gass who were chosen as the 20-21 D.A.R.E. Senior Mentors for Negreet High School. These boys will serve as mentors for the graduating Grade 5 D.A.R.E. class and will present a speech at graduation imploring our graduates to live a healthy lifestyle and make smart, drug-free choices.

Dustin plans to go into the workforce after graduation and work for Keiwit Corporation in the heavy haul division. Kobe will attend college at Northwestern State University. Both seniors play Varsity basketball and help lead our Indians on the path to victory!

Two Area Lawmakers Recognized by LABI

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has recognized two of the area’s members of the legislature in conjunction with LABI’s Free Enterprise Awards. They are Senator Louis Bernard and Representative Gabe Firment.

LABI’s CEO Stephen Waguespack said, “During these sessions( regular and special legislative sessions), we saw a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to support smart, pro-business measures.” Waguespack continued, “Their work will both help our economy begin to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple hurricanes, as well as start the process of breaking down the persistent barriers to business growth that have held Louisiana back for decades.”

A record 69 legislators (nearly 50 percent of the entire body) were named as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), scoring a perfect 100 percent on bills important to LABI and the state’s business community during both sessions. Bernard and Firment were noted as members of the group.

House District 22 representative Firment said, “I was honored to be recognized as a “Most Valuable Policymaker” Thursday evening at the LABI Free Enterprise Awards. The award was given to representatives and senators who scored a perfect 100 percent on bills important to the state’s business community. As your District 22 state representative I will always recognize the importance of creating an environment where businesses small and large can prosper and succeed.”

Live Music is Back: Concert Honoring Our Healthcare Heroes

Presented by the Natchitoches Jazz and R&B Festival

All proceeds support the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation Moms & Babies Campaign to provide advanced technology and medical care for the Labor and Delivery department.

Featuring: Badd Apple opening for Johnny Earthquake and the Moon Dogs with Special Guest – world famous Wayne Toups

Friday, November 20th at 6:30 PM

Natchitoches Riverbank

Tickets: $10 General Admission (Cash only at gate)

$5 Healthcare Workers and First Responders (Cash only at gate)


This is a COVID-19 compliant event.

Thank you to our incredible sponsors supporting the concert and our Healthcare Heroes:

Cunningham Insurance Group
BOM Bank
Jimmy Granger’s Natchitoches Ford Lincoln
City Bank and Trust
Epictouch High-speed Internet & Voice
Engage Federal Credit Union
Alliance Compressors
Harrington Law Firm
Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant
Hargrove Roofing
Baldridge-Dumas Communication
Natchitoches Tourist Commission
Elite Radio Group
Natchitoches Parish Journal
Natchitoches Times
Natchitoches Regional Medical Center

Sabine Parish K-9 Team

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces his K-9 Deputies, Nick Sandel and Josiah Steinke, recently received certifications in Shreveport, Louisiana through the National Police Canine Association (NPCA). Sandel and Steinke have been training every Wednesday for the last several weeks with Shreveport PD and other agency K-9s from across Northwest Louisiana.

Sandel & K-9 “Kay” (pronounced “Kī”), a five year old male Dutch Shepherd, received Narcotics Certification in Marijuana, Cocaine and Methamphetamine. Sandel & “Kay” also received their Patrol 1 Certification in Criminal Apprehension and Human Detection. Sandel has been a Patrol Deputy for 5 years.

Steinke & K-9 “Tessa”, an eight year old female Belgian Malinois, received Narcotics Certification in Marijuana, Cocaine and Methamphetamine. Steinke has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 3 years and is a member of the Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team.

Sheriff Mitchell has proven again he is committed to having up-to-date, highly trained Deputies on his staff. Sheriff Mitchell said trained K-9s are crucial in the fight of illegal narcotics. Sheriff Mitchell commends Sandel and Steinke for their hard work, extra hours and time to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Sabine Parish.

LEH awards grants for humanities programs, including Fort Jesup Historic Site, Inc.

Grant recipients represent libraries, museums and community groups from 19 parishes

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has awarded 33 Rebirth Grants and Rebirth PL Grants to organizations statewide, including libraries, university divisions and other non-profit organizations, in support of humanities programs. With a total of $163,726 awarded, the projects are based in 19 different parishes, and several programs have a statewide focus.

Fort Jesup Historic Site, Inc.
Settlers and Soldiers of “No Man’s Land”
Sabine Parish  $4,618

Now in its seventh year, the Rebirth Grants program supports projects that provide access to the humanities to Louisiana residents. Eligible projects include public humanities programs; documentary photography, radio, and digital humanities projects; and humanities-based educational initiatives. In October, thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including $43,774 made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the LEH awarded 22 Rebirth Grants in 11 parishes for a combined total of $108,236.

“Rebirth Grants allow organizations big and small to offer high-quality public programs within their communities,” said Miranda Restovic, LEH’s president and executive director. “The LEH is proud to support local partners in delivering meaningful humanities programs across Louisiana.”

This year, the LEH was also able to award an additional 11 Rebirth PL Grants in support of Louisiana public libraries’ transition to virtual programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Made possible by the NEH through the CARES Act, with additional support from the Union Pacific Foundation, public libraries in 11 parishes received Rebirth PL Grants totaling $55,490.

The LEH received 113 applications for the 2020 Rebirth and Rebirth PL Grant opportunities, and a review committee of scholars, LEH board members and staff selected the 33 projects and organizations for support. The types of funded projects include oral history and archaeological initiatives, lecture series, podcasts, exhibitions, and more exploring topics as varied as agricultural festival pageant queens, the lived experiences of enslaved people on Evergreen Plantation, French-speaking Cajun soldiers in World War II and the Louisiana transgender community.

“This was the most competitive pool of grant proposals we’ve reviewed since opening the Rebirth grant stream six years ago, not only in the number of applications submitted, but in the quality of proposals and diversity of subject matter explored,” said Chris Robert, grants manager and assistant media editor at the LEH. “There is clearly substantial want and need from our partners for funding to bring quality humanities educational experiences to their communities.”


It’s Not Over Till Supreme Court Says It Is

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. Joseph Stalin

It’s been interesting to watch virtually all major media declare that former VP Biden “won” the election. It’s humorous to see Biden standing in front of the “Office of the President Elect” banner because there is no such office or position. It’s a positive development to see the General Services Administration (GSA) not release federal funds for the so-called “Biden Transition” to begin given no winner of the election has been ascertained.

The hatred for Pres. Trump is so great that every imaginable form of distraction and confusion that can be enlisted to obscure the fact that no winner has been certified is being employed. As an attorney, I succeed or fail based upon the strength of the evidence I present in court. Period. Not feelings, opinions, or innuendo. Just evidence. So, if the Trump Campaign is not able to gather and produce for the courts adequate, reliable evidence that widespread fraud has occurred, Pres. Trump will lose the argument and the race. But not until.

What do we know? We know that hundreds of individuals—alleging 1000s of instances of fraud—in a position to know have signed affidavits that they have personal knowledge of fraud. Affidavits are evidence and used in courts daily across the country. An affidavit is a written statement, under oath, that is sworn to be true. Signing an affidavit that contains false information can subject the individual to criminal penalties.

Are all these people lying? Very unlikely. Further, the more we learn about this Dominion computer software the more stunning it becomes. This software was written for the sole purpose of switching votes electronically, in real time—for cheating. We also know that as many as 30 states use this same software to administer elections. This is a major problem.

All of this is to say nothing of allegations that in Philadelphia, contrary to Pennsylvania state law, election observers were denied the right to monitor the counting of approximately 120,000 ballots because they were forced to stand back and away, for a 20-hour period, from where the counting was taking place. As a result, observers could not tell whether the ballots were correctly postmarked, addressed, signed, and sealed as required by law. There are also allegations that ballots were backdated to appear timely.
In Wisconsin, allegations that after election observers had gone home—sometime between 3-4 am—over 100,000 ballots “appeared” and were counted and, in a statistically improbable way, all the ballots appeared to have voted for one candidate. In Milwaukee, the county moved quickly to alter its website registration portal, so the pro-Biden vote tally did not appear so statistically improbable.

In Michigan, allegations that observers were also denied access, again contrary to state law, to counting locations from which to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process. One woman who identified herself as an election volunteer in Clark County stated she had found a box of 500 ballots outside of the vote counting facility inscribed with the names of individuals who were not on the County’s voter rolls. In Detroit, windows were boarded up preventing poll watchers from viewing the counting of ballots.

Our sacred right to vote is a fundamental right and held inviolate for American citizens including the 73 million who voted for President Trump.
If former VP Biden becomes president under these circumstances he would delegitimize and lame-duck his presidency at its very beginning. Win at all costs has costs. People can accept losing if they lose fairly and squarely and the contest was conducted honestly. We’re a long way from knowing that.

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


JOB TITLE: Mechanic I


ESSENTIAL DUTIES: Will be required to provide maintenance and repairs to city vehicles and equipment. Must be able to operate a variety of diagnostic instruments, hand tools and electrical and air driven tools. Maintain records, prepare reports and other maintenance records of all vehicles and mechanical equipment.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: High School diploma, or GED Equivalent. Minimum of (2) years related experience.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches LA 71458-0037.

Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or may be downloaded at

Applications will be accepted through: December 1, 2020


The Three Spinsters

By Brad Dison

January 31, 1945 was a freezing cold day in Frederick, Maryland. The temperature dipped down to just 15° Fahrenheit. Wind gusts up to twenty-seven miles per hour made the cold temperature feel even colder. Most people remained indoors by their fireplaces to keep warm.

Over forty-five years earlier, three elderly ladies who had never married moved into a two story, drafty house in Frederick. Its only source of heat was a couple of small fireplaces. The three spinsters had decided to pool their money together and share all of their expenses. Through the years, the three spinsters relied on each other for everything.

January 31, 1945, was no different. The three spinsters were in their twilight years and were totally devoted to each other. Lillie, the youngest of the three at seventy-five years old, was bedridden and depended on the other two for her very survival. Fannie was seventy-eight years old and Ellen was eighty-eight. The two able-bodied spinsters cooked, cleaned, tended to the fire, and did the other various chores required of the household. However, a series of unfortunate events befell the spinsters.

On the evening of January 31, grocery store clerk Grayson Haller was making his normal grocery delivery to the spinsters’ home. The roads and sidewalks were covered in ice and snow. Grayson struggled to keep his footing. As he carefully walked on the sidewalk, he saw a large bundle lying near the icy path to the spinsters’ home. He curiously but cautiously entered the spinsters’ yard. He starred at the bundle as he drew closer. Suddenly, he recognized the shape. He dropped the groceries and knelt down beside the bundle. It was 88-year-old Ellen, the oldest of the three spinsters. He tried to help Ellen, but he was too late. Her body was frozen. Grayson ran as fast as he could on the slippery ice for help.

Within a few minutes, Grayson and a police investigator returned to the spinsters’ home. The investigator knelt down beside Ellen and tried to determine what had happened to her. Grayson knocked on the door, took a deep breath, and prepared himself to deliver the bad news to Fannie and Lillie. No one answered. The investigator found that Ellen had a serious injury on her head. Grayson knocked again. Still no answer. He and the investigator feared that something bad had also happened to Fannie and Lillie.

Grayson and the investigator cautiously entered the house. It was as cold inside the house as outside. The investigator noted as he looked through the first-floor rooms that there were no signs of a struggle. No chairs or other furniture was overturned. Nothing appeared to be broken. The house was neat and tidy. The fire in the fireplace had burned out. In the kitchen they made a ghastly discovery. The cold, lifeless body of 78-year-old Fannie lay on the kitchen floor. Sadly, there was nothing Grayson or the investigator could do for her. They continued to search the house.

Grayson and the investigator walked up the stairs to the second floor. In one of the bedrooms, they made another shocking discovery. Lillie, the bedridden spinster who relied on Ellen and Fannie for everything, was not in her bed. Her cold, lifeless body, dressed only in her undergarments, lay on the bedroom floor. Grayson was overcome with grief.

Other investigators converged on the home of the three spinsters. They found no evidence that anyone had broken into the home. There was no damage to any of the doors or windows. There was no evidence of a struggle. Nothing seemed to be missing or out of place. Upon looking at the bodies of the three spinsters, Ellen was the only one with an apparent injury.

Following a short but precise investigation, the police concluded that the three spinsters, Ellen, Fannie, and Lillie, died on the same day, but not as a result of foul play. They surmised that Fannie was in the kitchen and had either a brain aneurism or a heart attack. When she fell to the floor, Ellen ran to her aid. Unable to revive her, Ellen ran from the house to get help. Ellen slipped on the icy path and hit her head, an injury which incapacitated her. They concluded that she had frozen to death where she had fallen. Lillie lay in bed until the fire was in danger of going out. Apparently, Lillie dragged herself from her bed towards the fireplace with the intent of adding more wood and stoking the fire. Lillie’s strength gave out before she reached the fireplace. The fire burned quickly out. Clad only in her undergarments, she also froze to death. The three spinsters died from what can only be described as a series of unfortunate events. The three spinsters all shared the last name of Flinn. Ellen, Fannie, and Lillie were sisters.

1. The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), January 31, 1945, p.32.
2. The Centralia Enterprise and Tribune (Centralia, Wisconsin), February 1, 1945, p.13. [erroneously listed as July 11, 1891]3. The Daily Times (Salisbury, Maryland), February 1, 1945, p.3.
4. The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland), February 1, 1945, p.12.
5. The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Weather History for Frederick.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
6. Find A Grave. “Ellen J. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
7. Find A Grave. “Fannie M. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
8. Find A Grave. “Lillie L. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.


Letters from LSMSA: The Toll of the Storms

In times of uncertainty and turmoil, it’s important to look at how the recent storms have been affecting LSMSA students.

By Kaitlyn Kahn (Zachary, Class of ’21)

On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. Laura was one of the strongest storms to ever hit Louisiana, reaching up to 150 mph winds. On Sept. 21, tragedy struck again. Tropical Storm Beta made landfall in East Texas, not far from the Louisiana border, resulting once more in widespread flooding and destruction. In late October, with less than a month remaining in the hurricane season, Tropical Storm Zeta strengthened to a hurricane before making landfall on the Gulf Coast, again leaving a trail of wind and rain across parts of Louisiana.

LSMSA students across the state felt the effects, from thrashing winds, to torrential rains, to wee-long academic breaks resulting from the storms.

Many students saw destruction first hand, like Allison J. From Lake Charles, who said, “Seeing my town basically destroyed has been rough; whenever I drive around town I see damage everywhere. My family and I were fortunate to not have substantial damage to our house but I know that many people cannot say the same and that’s heartbreaking.”

Beyond the devastation the storms left behind, many students have been displaced to environments not conducive for work or a sound state of mind. LSMSA senior Treyauna P. Of Lake Charles shared that she had to stay with a friend after her home was totaled by Hurricane Laura, causing her increased stress and anxiety and a loss of motivation.

For other students, such as Juliana A. Of Thibodeaux, the storms haven’t left physical damage, but have instead had a more emotional impact as school assignments fell behind die to electrical outages, wifi connectivity and other challenges. The storms, combined with school obligations and Coronavirus took a great toll on students’ motivation and psyche.

“Emails are very overwhelming,” said Juliana A. “I tend to search for emails concerning my classes and I receive a lot of emails…that are very unnecessary.”

One of the most important things students at LSMSA share is a sense of community. Having friends and trusted adults who reach out can truly help those who are feeling lost in these unprecedented times. LSMSA students who were polled suggested several ways to improve quality of life during these stressful times, including participating in food and clothing drives, helping neighbors clean up debris, volunteering in safe settings, and simply reaching out to check on others and make sure they’re alright emotionally.

As we approach the end of this storm season, be sure to check on fellow students as well as Louisiana residents. It can make the difference.