Child Care Assistance Program increases reimbursement rates, income eligibility

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education announced changes to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) (will open in new tab), which provides federal funds to help low-income working families pay for child care. The changes, approved during today’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, enable more Louisiana families to afford and qualify for child care assistance.

Effective February 1, 2021:

CCAP daily reimbursement rates will be increased to reflect the state’s current market rates for child care, significantly reducing out of pocket cost for working families and increasing family choice.
Income eligibility will be increased to 65% of the State Median Income (SMI) in order to align with other child care programs, allowing families to make more income and still qualify for child care subsidy (CCAP).
Providers will be reimbursed at the state’s newly established daily reimbursement rate irrespective of their own rates to assist with paying toward the true cost of quality child care.
“To reach our goal of ensuring all students are ready for kindergarten, it’s vital that we increase access to high-quality child care for Louisiana’s most vulnerable children,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “This shift puts higher quality programs within the reach of families who need them.”

Historically, families receiving child care assistance have been limited in their options by what they can afford with the help of child care assistance. Current CCAP reimbursement rates provide access to approximately one in four centers. The rate increase will allow CCAP-eligible families to choose between three in every four centers. This change will help ensure that more low-income families that are working, in school or actively seeking work can access high-quality child care for their children. This will expand options for families who couldn’t previously afford the gap between what a provider charged and what the state pays, and thereby, open the door to families who could not previously afford child care at all.

“These necessary updates to the CCAP program help to address the real financial needs of low-income families regarding child care,” said BESE President Sandy Holloway. “Raising the reimbursement rates and expanding income eligibility will greatly increase the number of quality child care options for more families across the state that need assistance, and that ultimately leads to more children being prepared to learn on day one of kindergarten.”

“The proposed changes to the CCAP rates are one of the most significant and impactful measures we can take that will have lifelong impacts on our youngest learners,” said Alan Young, Owner of Southland Park Learning Center and Early Childhood Advisory Council Member. “These proposed changes will provide families access to additional high-quality early learning centers,ensuring every child is ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.”

“The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children applauds the Louisiana Department of Education and BESE for making the necessary changes to both the reimbursement rates and eligibility criteria of the Child Care Assistance Program,” said Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier. “These changes will help more Louisiana families get back to work to support our economy as well as support the growth and development of young children entering kindergarten ready to learn.”

The income eligibility for CCAP is being increased to approximately 200% of the federal poverty level or $43,440 for a family of three. Along with making child care affordable for more families, this change also better aligns CCAP’s income eligibility with other early childhood programs like LA 4.

The policy changes are part of a broader effort by the Department — in collaboration with BESE, child care providers, advocates and families — to unify the system of early childhood education and to prepare all children for kindergarten by increasing access to and affordability of child care statewide.

To learn more about CCAP and how to apply call 1-877-453-2721.

Demons open two-game road swing at Stephen F. Austin

NSU 32 Larry Owens NICH 21 Ryghe Lyons

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Northwestern State men’s basketball team’s scheduling non-conference scheduling philosophy is to use those games to prepare it for the Southland Conference season.

Sometimes, in coach Mike McConathy’s eyes, the Demons see things they will not see again all season. At other times, one of those non-league games allows NSU to draw on their previous experience.

One of those comes Wednesday night when the Demons (2-13, 1-3) cross the Sabine River to face longtime rival Stephen F. Austin (7-2, 3-0) in a 6:30 p.m. Southland Conference matchup.

The game can be heard on 95.9 FM Kix Country in Natchitoches and on the Demon Sports Network. Free streaming audio is available here:


“They’re really, really good,” McConathy said. “They get after it and can score the basketball. They pound it inside. They do sound a lot like that team (Gonzaga) up in Washington.”

McConathy pointed to the Lumberjacks’ propensity to score in transition as another similarity between SFA and Gonzaga, whom the Demons faced in back-to-back games Dec. 21 and 22 in Spokane, Washington.

The second of those games marked a turning point for senior forward Larry Owens, who scored 10 points in just nine minutes of that Dec. 22 game.

Owens has continued to build on his final two performances of the road trip in Washington, averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game through the Demons’ first four Southland games. A senior from Monroe, Owens produced his first career double-double against Nicholls on Jan. 13, scoring 11 points and snaring a season-best 12 rebounds.

Trenton Massner added 16 points in the loss to the Colonels as the only other Demon to crack double figures in scoring. Two other Demons – Jamaure Gregg and Carvell Teasett – added nine points with each taking a step forward.

“Jamaure Gregg has picked up his game,” McConathy said. “Larry Owens has had some good games. Trenton Massner has had some good games. Jairus (Roberson) has had some good games. Jovan Zelenbaba has had two really, really solid games. We have to get that third, fourth and fifth guy contributing points. We have to get our parts on the same page.”

Teasett added a career-high five assists in the game, something that will loom large against a Lumberjacks team that averages 22.8 points per game off turnovers.

“They’re just hard-nosed,” McConathy said of the Lumberjacks. “Defensively, they pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. They get you out of your comfort zone, and they really score in transition. Whether it’s off a steal or off a rebound, they attack and go downhill. If they don’t get that, they’ll pound the ball inside.”

While the Lumberjacks have a clear identity, the Demons still are establishing theirs.

“I think we are identifying some things,” McConathy said. “It’s hard to determine some of those things in guarantee games. We think we’ve identified what will help us, and the guys are starting to come around.”

Photo: Larry Owens (left) has averaged 10.3 points per game in his first four Southland games of the year. Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

The Elevator Girl

By Brad Dison

It was foggy in New York on the morning of July 28, 1945. Twenty-year-old Betty Lou Oliver made her way to the 102-story Empire State Building where she worked as an “elevator girl.” At 1,250 feet, it was the world’s tallest building. Prior to their push-button automation in the 1970s, elevators were manually controlled. Elevator operators controlled the elevators speed and direction by moving a large lever. Elevator operators were expected to consistently stop their elevator in perfect alignment with each floor. Betty Lou took the job as elevator girl at the Empire State Building while she awaited the return of her husband, a sailor who was overseas. Betty Lou had given proper notice and was to quit working at the Empire State Building within a couple of days.

At about 8:50 a.m., an Army B-25 Mitchell bomber with a crew of three, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith, Jr., left Bedford Army Air Field in Massachusetts en route to Newark Metropolitan Airport in New Jersey. When the pilot neared New York, he radioed the control station at LaGuardia Field for a weather report. Victor Barden, chief control operator at La Guardia reported to Smith that there was a heavy fog which was down to 900 feet, and visibility was worsening. Barden told Smith to descend to 1,000 feet once he had cleared New York City and was over New Jersey. Regulations at the time stipulated that airplanes flying over New York had to remain at an altitude of at least 1,500 feet to avoid skyscrapers. Barden radioed to Smith about the thick fog and said, “I cannot see the top of the Empire State Building now.” “Roger,” Smith responded in acknowledgement.

For reasons unknown, Smith descended to 1,000 feet while still over New York City. People on the ground looked skyward as they heard the low flying airplane, but they could only see the thick fog. People in nearby skyscrapers saw the B-25 pass by their windows. They, too, were unable to see the Empire State Building because of the thick fog.

At 9:52 a.m., the B-25 struck the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. The force of the crash rocked the building. Fuel from the B-25 erupted into a bright orange flame which destroyed everything on the 78th and 79th floors, and cleared the fog around the building. One of the B-25’s engines broke away from the airplane and flew nearly one hundred feet, tore through seven walls on the 79th floor, destroyed the suspension and safety cables on at least three elevators, and landed with an explosion on the roof of a nearby 17-story building. Other fragments from the airplane and from the building itself landed as far away as five blocks.

Betty Lou was in her elevator above the 80th floor when the airplane struck the building. She felt a momentary shudder. Suddenly, the elevator plummeted downward. Betty Lou clung to the handrail in the elevator to keep from floating. She felt as though the elevator was leaving her. She worked the controls of the elevator, but got no response. She continued to fall with the elevator. A searing flash of fire enveloped Betty Lou, and she raised her left arm to protect her face. A moment later the fire was gone. Betty Lou tried the controls again, but they still had no effect. She picked up the elevator’s telephone and tried to call the ground floor, but the telephone line was dead. Betty Lou yelled and pounded on the elevator floor and walls.

The elevator continued its decent. At the basement level of the Empire State Building’s elevator system were large oil buffers, one per elevator, which were designed to stop a descending elevator car during an emergency. After falling nearly 1,000 feet, the elevator struck the oil buffer’s piston. However, the elevator was traveling much too fast for the oil buffer to bring the car to a cushioned stop. The elevator struck with such force that it drove the oil buffer’s piston through the floor of the elevator and through the elevator car itself, from bottom to top. The concrete floor below the oil buffer “was crushed like an egg shell.” The piston was so large that, with the exception of an eight-inch space in one of the elevator’s corners, it penetrated and destroyed the elevator. Luckily, this eight-inch space was where Betty Lou was standing when the elevator crashed.

On a normal weekday in 1945, the Empire State Building had a population of about 65,000 people, which consisted of about 15,000 employees and 50,000 visitors. On this day, however, few visitors entered the building because thick fog and intermittent rain limited the views from the observation decks. Only a small number of the building’s employees were working inside the building because it was a Saturday morning. The 78th floor, one of the two floors which had been completely destroyed by fire, was vacant, as were the 81st to 85th floors. Firefighters extinguished the fire in less than fifty minutes. The damage caused by the crash and fire did not weaken the structural integrity of the building. Only a few people were on the streets because of the intermittent rain, none of which were injured by falling debris. Investigators estimated that only about 1,500 people were in the building. Had it not been a rainy Saturday morning, the crash would have certainly been more devastating. Of the estimated 1,500 people in the building, only fourteen people died and another twenty-six people were injured.

Betty Lou was among the injured. She was trapped in the eight-inch space in the corner of her elevator for hours before rescuers located her. She received burns from when her elevator passed through the searing fire on the 79th floor. The force of the elevator’s sudden impact broke her legs and severed her spine. She received bruises and cuts on her body from the oil buffer’s piston and fragments of her elevator. On December 2, 1945, after spending four months in the hospital, Betty Lou left the hospital and was able to walk, albeit with her legs and back in braces, five feet from her wheel chair to a waiting car. When Betty Lou arrived at work on that rainy, foggy, July morning, she had no idea that the events of the day would set a record. You see, Betty Lou Oliver holds the Guinness World Record for “longest fall survived in a lift (elevator).”

1. New York Daily News, July 29, 1945, p.90, P.170, p.297.
2. Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), July 31, 1945, p.1.
3. New York Daily News, December 3, 1945, p.276.
4. Guinness World Records. “Longest fall survived in a lift (elevator).” Accessed January 14, 2021.


Lady Demons return home against SFA

For the first time in a month Northwestern State will play a game inside Prather Coliseum. After four road trips, two postponed road games – against the same team – and plenty of growing pains along the way, the Lady Demons host preseason Southland Conference favorite Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night.

The first home conference game for first-year head coach Anna Nimz tips off at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard here:


For the second time in a little over two weeks the Lady Demons (0-8, 0-3 SLC) had their game against UIW postponed due COVID-19, adding another notch to the already unprecedented 2020-21 season.

“It was disappointing,” Nimz said. “This past weekend would have been our bye weekend and I think we would have benefited from that. Just to be able to take a step away, refresh and regroup but that’s not what the cards had for us.

“It’s crazy but every program is going through crazy. I think it’s the ones that can do their best to maintain a positive outlook, be grateful for the game we do get to play and understand that there are going to be more ups and downs.”

NSU looks to build on two solid quarters in its last outing against Nicholls, where despite another tough loss, showed some of the improvement and growth that Nimz has been looking to see.

Although turnovers continued to plague the Lady Demons in their two best quarters against Nicholls, the execution on both ends of the floor was better during that time. According to Nimz that was all due to one thing – poise.

“We were able to play with poise under pressure in the first quarter,” said Nimz. “When we took a ‘thousand one’ to slow down and think, we had success. That one second of thought allows for a pass fake pass, jump stop, better vision, we are less likely to turn it over and so much more. Playing with poise continues to be an emphasis for our program.”

Poise under pressure will go a long way for the Lady Demons on Wednesday as they face one of the best defenses in country.

Stephen F. Austin (12-4, 4-0 SLC) leads the nation in steals with a whopping 202 coming into the game and forces and average of 25.9 turnovers per game, second most in the country. With 14.4 steals per game, they rank third in the NCAA.

“They are going to full court press us,” Nimz said. “The majority of games right now, a lot of people aren’t even getting past half court and if they do, they drop into a high-pressure 2-3 zone that is great.

“We’re going to scout it and practice it and like I’ve said multiple times I just want them to play to the best of their ability and play with poise.”

NSU has struggled with ball security this season, turning the ball over an average of 22.1 times per game including a season-high 31 at Nicholls.

The Ladyjacks don’t just bring a stout defense into Prather they have the offensive firepower to go along with it.

Scoring nearly 100 points per game through their first four league games with four players shooting better than 50 percent from the field, SFA has one of the most effective and efficient offenses in the region.

“It’s an opportunity,” Nimz said. “Every day you see an underdog take on the best-of-the-best. For the Southland Conference, SFA is one of the best-of-the-best. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose and we need to play that way.”

Photo credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

Hypocrisy and the Rise of the Cancel Culture

Royal Alexander/Opinion

It has become clearer recently that the Left is not nearly as concerned with hate speech as it is with speech it hates.

There is no consistency; no evenly applied standard. No matter how violent or hate-filled it may be, speech is allowed—if not celebrated—if it comports with the Left’s false narrative of Americans as racist, sexist, bigoted, provincial, and stupid. It is generally not allowed or mocked if it inspires millions of Americans toward a faith in God, love of country and love of family.

For recent examples, recall the orgy of violence, rioting, looting, murder and hate speech last year by Antifa and BLM that was merely deemed “peaceful protesting.” Recall the damage and destruction of hundreds of historic monuments and statues across the country; or the Church in D.C. that was nearly destroyed—the attack itself was not criticized, only that President Trump stood in front of the Church and held up a Bible. Was any of this other than the president ever denounced? No.

We are told that the rushed, unsupported 2nd impeachment of President Trump was warranted because he supposedly “incited” an insurrection at the Capitol with inflammatory, hate speech. However, there are numerous reports that the Capitol Police and other law enforcement had already been notified that there could be a disruption at the rally. How did the president, who had not even finished his speech, incite the riot?

Please remember that the impeachment article claims that President Trump supposedly incited the riot by spreading false statements that there was election fraud. This is obviously well past asserting that his rhetoric itself was dangerous. Here, the article of impeachment asserts that merely questioning the result of an election is, itself, an act of incitement. This represents a very broad suppression of constitutionally protected speech.

However, while we are on the topic of inciteful, inflammatory, hate speech let’s recall some instances in which no one was censored or banned from social media:

“We need another John Wilkes Booth.” Actor Johnny Depp referring to the assassination of Pres. Trump; “I fantasize about standing over Donald Trump’s dead body.” Actor Tom Arnold; Holding up a bloody, decapitated head of Pres. Trump. Comedian Kathy Griffin. Shooting a likeness of Pres. Trump who is placed in a body bag. Snoop Dog; “Let’s blow up the White House.” Madonna; “I’d like to take him behind a barn and beat him.” Joe Biden.

“I dream of punching him in the face.” Corey Booker, U.S. Senator; “harass his staff and supporters in public and refuse to serve them.” Maxine Waters, congresswoman; “lock a ten-year old (Barron Trump) in a cage with child molesters.” Actor Peter Fonda referring to the president’s son. Major national media and social media either applaud or ignore statements like these. Can you imagine the outrage if these things had been said about Pres. Obama?

Let’s consider another example.

President Trump and numerous conservative figures of all kinds have now been either temporarily or permanently censored and banned from Twitter and Facebook. Many that haven’t been banned outright have had large numbers of their social media followers deleted. Apple, Google, and others are now also purging conservative speech and speakers from their platforms as well. [I understand that companies like these are nominally private companies but while they enjoy the enormous benefit of Section 230 legal liability protection under federal law (Communications Decency Act), they shouldn’t be allowed to selectively censor]. Many other social media platforms have rushed this past week to join this purge.

So, the President of the United States is banned from Twitter but the Ayatollah Khamenei, head of the murderous Iranian regime and responsible for the deaths of innumerable Americans—who constantly demands “death to America and Israel” remains on Twitter. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a world class violator of civil and human rights, remains on Twitter. Porn Hub, the largest host of child porn and rape videos in the world, remains on Twitter. Planned Parenthood, proudly responsible for most of the abortions in America, remains on Twitter.

Everyone is entitled to believe, support, and vote for what and whom they wish in this country but if the national Left thinks the American people don’t recognize this clear hypocrisy and the Cancel Culture that results from it, it is mistaken.

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

Is It the Truth?

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr/Opinion
January 18, 2021

During my sophomore year at Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, my mentor, Professor Robert DeMaria, sent me and a fellow Mass Communications major to Winchester, Virginia to cover a town hall meeting. Unbeknownst to us was the fact the agenda featured a highly contentious issue, one that remains the source of division throughout our country even to this very day: the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces.

So, there we were, two young black kids, pulling into a foreign town, which was overrun by people wearing Confederate regalia, waving Confederate flags, and shouting unpleasantries. Being that I was from Louisiana, I’d encountered my fair share of Confederate flags. However, my classmate was from Brooklyn, New York, and she was terrified. I assured her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, and I advised her that I would take the issue up with our professor the following day.

Fortunately, we covered the meeting without incident. When I entered the professor’s office the next morning, he saw the anger in my eyes, and he headed me off at the pass. He stated that he would not apologize for sending us to the meeting. However, he admitted that he owed us an apology for not telling us about the hot-button issue on the agenda. More importantly, he used the opportunity as a teaching moment to stress the point that, as journalists, our duty was to find out what happened in the world on a certain day and to report it objectively to our readership or viewership. As members of the fourth estate, we were charged with reporting the facts and only the facts. In other words, ours was a quest for truth. Which brings me to the 4-Way Test.

Approximately three years ago, my father-in-law, invited me to a lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Shreveport, of which I am now a proud member. At the conclusion of the meeting, the members and guests stood and recited the test, which provides as follows:

“Of the things we think, say, or do,

1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Suffice it to say, I was fascinated by such a litmus test. And I was curious as to its origins. As it turns out, the test was penned by Herbert J. Taylor in the early 1930s. Taylor sought to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from imminent bankruptcy. He firmly believed that a change in mentality was the first step in righting the ship. After all, as I think, I am. Basically, by establishing a set of guidelines that pointed toward elevated ethics and morals, Taylor changed the overall climate of the company which, in turn, changed the company’s fortunes.

I make specific mention of the fact that the test leads off with the threshold inquiry—Is the thing true? Prior to assessing its equitableness, its benevolence, or its usefulness, Taylor weighed the veracity of the thing. Is it the truth? As I write this article, our President is in the midst of a second impeachment and our country is on the brink of violence, poised to erupt at all corners, not from without, but from within. Yet, one can channel surf the various news outlets and find altogether different versions of the truth depending upon one’s appetite. There is actually a new term for this phenomenon—“alternative facts”. I’m fairly certain my grandmother wouldn’t accept such a term. She’d just call it a lie. For his part, Dan Rather has lamented that we have entered a post-factual America.

As a nation, we’ve recently witnessed an attack, by American citizens, on the very seat of our country’s government. The day will, no doubt, go down as one of the worst in our history. Insofar as attention spans are fickle, the discussion in many circles has pivoted from the mob riot at the Capitol to the fact that various social media platforms have suspended certain individuals’ accounts in the wake of the events of January 6, 2021.

When the events of that infamous day are examined in context, it must be stated that the “Stop the Steal” gathering was organized around an untruthful premise (i.e., that the presidential election of 2020 was somehow fraudulent). Yet, there is no evidence of such. Due to the lack of evidence, courts all across the country have dismissed frivolous lawsuits or, otherwise, declined to hear them.

In fact, U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Louisiana’s own Bill Cassidy have admitted that Joe Biden lawfully won the 2020 presidential election. When he took the floor to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, Majority Leader McConnell stated, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.” In that same vein, Senator Graham, a staunch supporter of President Trump, noted, “It is over… [Biden] won. He’s the legitimate President to the United States… Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the President and the Vice President of the United States on January 20.” Similarly, Senator Cassidy has said, “The dozens and dozens of legal challenges from President Trump’s legal team have all been rejected, many by judges appointed by President Trump. Every one of them.” In a word, the allegations that the election was stolen are untrue.

Nevertheless, that untrue allegation has been perpetuated for months and it persists. The rhetoric surrounding it culminated in the riot at our Capital. As the rioters are being rounded up one-by-one, to a person, they now contend that they were invited to the Capitol by the President, and they were there doing what he wanted them to do. This is the defense that has been advanced by the so-called Qanon shaman, Jacob Chansley. Likewise, North Texas realtor, Jenna Ryan, has said the same. Words matter. And all speech is not protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution. In fact, the Supreme Court has held that protected speech does not extend to that which “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”.

As one trained to be both a journalist and a lawyer, it truly pains me to witness the lengths to which unscrupulous individuals will go in order to obfuscate basic truth. Notwithstanding the fact that many of us carry mobile devices that possess far more computing power than the mainframe computers that sent the first rockets to the moon, we struggle to unearth the objective truth. That said, it is worth noting that objective truth is to be distinguished from subjective truth. And facts are to be distinguished from opinions.

If we can get to the truth of the matter, we will be better positioned to address the remaining areas of inquiry. We can, then, channel our energies into educating our children for the jobs of the future, training and employing our workforce, providing fair and equal wages to hard-working Americans, addressing our country’s failing infrastructure, eradicating COVID-19, and otherwise providing healthcare to our citizens, among other things. And, in the end, just as Taylor’s 4-Way Test reversed his company’s fortunes by improving upon the decency, ethics and morality of the company’s employees, as citizens, we have the ability to effect the same impact upon our communities and our country as a whole.

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

RoyOMartin to Host Drive-by Hiring Event in Winnfield TOMORROW!

Upcoming hiring event

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 4 – 7 p.m. at 5960 Highway 167 North Winnfield, LA
(In the parking lot of CLTCC-Huey P. Long Campus)

Make a Great Start with RoyOMartin.

Join us for a special, COVID-compliant drive-by hiring event for production team members at RoyOMartin’s plywood and timbers plant in Chopin, Louisiana. Company representatives will be on hand to collect resumes and provide details about upcoming interviews.

Competitive Wages

Starting pay is $14.50/hr., with the potential to earn up to $22.50/hr. through on-­the-job training.

Exceptional Benefits

Enjoy terrific medical benefits, including a health clinic, as well as life insurance, retirement, wellness program, and a variety of training and advancement opportunities.

A Commitment to Safety

Employee safety and wellbeing is our #1 priority. Our award-­winning safety program begins on Day 1 with new-hire orientation.

Notice of Death – January 19, 2021

Wayne Frame
October 14, 1946 – January 17, 2021
Service: Friday, January 22 at 2 pm at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Natchez

Bennie Jean Metcalf Walker
April 10, 1929 – January 15, 2021
Service: Wednesday, January 20 at 10 am at Wallace Baptist Church

Judy Diane Sepulvado Fair
May 29, 1951 – January 16, 2021
Due to COVID-19 precautions, Judy was laid to rest in a private service. A celebration of her life with family and friends will be held later in the spring or summer when it is safe to gather again.

Janiece Roge’ Ainsworth
January 20, 1939 – January 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 23 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Barbara Amoateng
January 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Carla Phillips
January 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Deacon George Harris
January 15, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 23 at 1 pm at the Greenville Baptist Church in Clarence

Carolyn Jones Jackson
January 15, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 21 at 11 am at the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle

Rebecca Walker
January 15, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 23 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North
Street in Natchitoches

Rodney P. Hoover
June 28, 1967 – January 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Phillip Lyons
January 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Brandon Bernard McHenry
December 7, 1988 – January 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Robert Smith
January 19, 2021
Arrangements TBA


Unrestrained Driver Killed in Sabine Parish Crash

Sabine Parish – On January 12, 2021, shortly before 4:00 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a three-vehicle, fatal crash on Louisiana Highway 6 near Stoker Loop. This crash killed 58-year-old John Anderson of Many.

The initial investigation revealed a 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck, driven by Anderson, was traveling eastbound on Louisiana Highway 6. For reasons still under investigation, Anderson’s vehicle crossed the centerline and struck a westbound 2021 International tractor-trailer. A third vehicle, which was traveling behind the tractor-trailer, was struck by debris from the crash.

Anderson, who was unrestrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead. The other two drivers were not injured in the crash. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Buckling up is the most effective way to protect yourself during a vehicle crash. Failure to take a few seconds to buckle up can have devastating consequences. Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained day or night.

In 2021, Troop E has investigated two fatal crashes resulting in two deaths.



1. Basic reading and writing skills. High School Diploma
2. Valid Louisiana Driver’s License.
3. Basic knowledge of the various phases of maintenance and repair.
4. Any mechanical certification is a plus (preferred).
5. Additional criteria as the Board may establish.

Starting salary – According to parish school salary schedule.


DEADLINE: Monday, January 25, 2021 4:00 p.m.

Linda G. Page, Personnel Director
Natchitoches Parish School Board
P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
Phone: (318) 352-2358
Fax: (318) 352-8138

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcript, and one letter of reference.


JOB VACANCY: Benefits Coordinator and Payroll Assistant

Technical College, Associate Degree, or Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (preferred).
Proficiency in computer skills
Computer Literate (Word, Excel, MS Office)

Responsibilities of the Benefits Coordinator and Payroll Assistant include: Assisting Accountants, Managers, and the Director in the Accounting Department to maintain accurate employee benefit and payroll records.

Assist Payroll accountant preparing payroll runs and payroll reporting.
Assist in setting up new hires and maintaining employee record.
Processing documents as required for the department.
Organize payroll benefits enrollment periods.
Work through accounting-related issues with external vendors.
Be lead contact with vendors such as TRSL, First Financial, etc., to maintain accurate benefits data.
Assist Accounting Department with assigned bookkeeping duties.
Lead person in communication with any district employees and their problems with the handling of their payroll.
Responsible for wage verifications.
Other duties as assigned.


DEADLINE: Monday, January 25, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.

Linda G. Page, Director of Personnel
Natchitoches Parish School Board
310 Royal Street, P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016

Application packets should consist of a letter of application, resume’, original transcripts from institutions awarding degree, (3) job related references.


The Family Secret

By Brad Dison

In 1936, Walden Cassotto was born into a poor Italian-American family in East Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City. Shortly thereafter, Walden’s family, which consisted of his sister, Vanina “Nina” Cassotto, and mother, Paula “Polly” Cassotto, moved to an Italian Catholic neighborhood in the Bronx, one of the five boroughs of New York City. Polly’s husband, Sam, a petty criminal and drug addict, died in prison before Walden was born. Walden’s family had a secret.

In 1944, when Walden was eight years old, he began suffering from sore throat and fever. Unbeknownst to Polly and Nina, Walden had a bacterial infection called streptococcus, commonly called strep throat. They treated Walden’s sore throat and fever as well as they knew how, but it was far from enough. Lacking proper medical attention, Walden developed an inflammatory disease known as rheumatic fever which severely damaged his heart. The doctor’s prognosis was grim. Walden’s chances of living until the age of sixteen were not good. His heart was so weakened by the fever that Walden only had the slimmest chance of surviving past the age of thirty-five. Polly and Nina would have preferred to keep his weakened heart a secret, “but,” Nina later explained “how can you bring up a child without telling him why he can’t jump rope or play ball?”

Walden’s life changed drastically. Polly and Nina became overprotective. Nina remembered that Walden “used to play stickball and he’d go up to hit and someone else would run for him.” Both of them constantly reminded him that he was unable to do certain physical activities because of his weakened heart. “However,” Nina added, “It didn’t keep him from doing what he wanted to do.”

In 1968, when Walden was thirty-two years old, circumstances forced Nina to reveal the family secret to Walden. (Polly, Walden’s mother, had died nine years earlier.) Nina had always hoped no one would ever discover the family secret, especially Walden. Polly and Nina taught Walden to always be honest. Nina declared “We were a very truthful family… Once you tell a lie, that lie must become the truth for the rest of your life,” a lesson she and Polly certainly relayed to Walden constantly in his younger days. With the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the Vietnam War, Walden considered seeking a political office in California. Nina knew that if Walden ran for office, his political rivals would discover the family secret and would use it against him. Nina feared that Walden’s weakened heart would be unable to survive the shock. Unable to deter Walden from his political aspirations, Nina could not avoid the family secret any longer.

Calmly, carefully and cautiously, Nina told Walden that Polly’s husband, Sam, was not his real father. Sam died in prison nineteen months before Walden was born. Walden listened intently. She explained that Walden’s mother had broken off her relationship with Walden’s real father shortly after she became pregnant. Walden’s mother never told his father of the pregnancy. Walden sat in silence and stared at Nina as she continued. She explained that Polly was not his mother. The woman who claimed to be Walden’s mother was, in fact, his grandmother. Walden was in shock. After a few deep breaths, Nina revealed that she, the girl thought to be his older sister, was his mother. Nina explained that she was seventeen-years-old and unwed when she got pregnant. Rather than having a forced marriage to someone she was not in love with, Nina broke up with him. When they moved into the Italian Catholic neighborhood in the Bronx shortly after Walden was born, Polly and Nina created the story so that the family would not be ostracized in the local community. Nina did not reveal the name of Walden’s real father, nor did she ever.

At first, Walden was understanding and compassionate toward Nina. “You must be the strongest woman in the world,” he told Nina. “No, the strongest person in the world.” Over time, however, Walden became bitter over the family secret. It churned in his mind and “poisoned his relationship” with Nina. “You told the biggest lie a woman could ever tell,” Walden exclaimed to Nina. “You denied your own child!” Everything Walden thought he knew about his family had been a lie. His own family, the people he trusted most, had lied to him his entire life.

Walden ultimately decided not to seek political office but continued working in his original career field. Despite his doctor’s expectations, Walden surpassed his thirty-fifth birthday, but not without complications. Beginning in the late 1960s, doctors often had to administer oxygen to Walden due to his weakened heart. In 1971, Walden had open heart surgery to replace two heart valves. Two years later, at the age of thirty-seven, Walden died in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, following an open-heart surgery to replace one of the heart valves he received in the 1971 operation. Walden once said “I’d like to be a legend by the time I’m 25 years old.” Whether or not people considered him a legend when he was twenty-five is debatable. He certainly is a legend now. When he was twenty-one years old, Walden recorded “Splish Splash”, and within a year he recorded and released “Dream Lover”, “Mack the Knife”, and “Beyond the Sea”. You and I know Robert Walden Cassotto as Bobby Darin.


1. The Record (Hackensack, New Jersey), September 24, 1981, p.21.
2. The Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1973, p.3.
3. “Strep Throat.” Accessed January 5, 2021.
4. “Rheumatic Fever.” Accessed January 5, 2021.
5. DiOrio, Al. Bobby Darin. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2004.

RoyOMartin to Host Drive-by Hiring Event in Winnfield Next Week

Upcoming hiring event

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 4 – 7 p.m. at 5960 Highway 167 North Winnfield, LA
(In the parking lot of CLTCC-Huey P. Long Campus)

Make a Great Start with RoyOMartin.

Join us for a special, COVID-compliant drive-by hiring event for production team members at RoyOMartin’s plywood and timbers plant in Chopin, Louisiana. Company representatives will be on hand to collect resumes and provide details about upcoming interviews.

Competitive Wages

Starting pay is $14.50/hr., with the potential to earn up to $22.50/hr. through on-­the-job training.

Exceptional Benefits

Enjoy terrific medical benefits, including a health clinic, as well as life insurance, retirement, wellness program, and a variety of training and advancement opportunities.

A Commitment to Safety

Employee safety and wellbeing is our #1 priority. Our award-­winning safety program begins on Day 1 with new-hire orientation.

Censorship: The Purge of Conservative Speech

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Trump is banned while Ayatollah Khameni, head of a murderous Iranian regime, still allowed

The long-anticipated purging of conservatives and conservative speech has begun. We have our first preview of life under the Left as Twitter purges Pres. Trump and others while Parler faces bans from Apple and Google. Now Amazon has kicked Parler off of its web hosting service as well.

These powerful tech companies are making aggressive moves against conservative figures on their respective platforms, with Twitter purging prominent conservative accounts including President Trump, who received a permanent ban. Apple has now threatened to ban new social media app Parler from its app store over its allegedly insufficient “content moderation policies.” Google outright banned the Parler app from its own software-sharing system.

Twitter on Friday also banned the accounts of Sidney Powell, former federal prosecutor and election attorney, and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, for supposedly violating the company’s content rules. Numerous conservative political figures, commentators and journalists have also reported having hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers deleted. Among numerous others, Fox News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade and commentators Todd Starnes and Terrence K. Williams report losing tens of thousands of followers in just a few hours. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has responded that “silencing speech is dangerous. It’s un-American. Sadly, this isn’t a new tactic of the Left. They’ve worked to silence opposing voices for years. We can’t let them silence 75 million Americans. This isn’t the CCP.”

As we know, Parler has presented itself as a free speech alternative to Twitter and has attracted a flood of new users. It now faces major pressure from Apple to tighten and make more restrictive its content rules. As noted above, Apple has notified Parler that it would ban it from its App Store software sharing system if Parler did not “reform” its policies to restrict what Apple deems “violent speech.” This is the very definition of censorship.

It’s important to truthfully acknowledge what we are seeing now. Censorship of speech and expression may be new to us but it’s not new to Twitter, Google, and Facebook. These tech giants, in the interest of making huge sums of money, have been willing to “collaborate” with highly repressive governments in countries like China, Iran and Russia in the suppression of speech.

Suffice it to say that this is not a road we as a nation want to go down. When companies like these wield unchecked power to remove large numbers of people from their platforms—platforms that have become indispensable to free speech that shapes our public discourse—we face a grave danger.

Our constitutionally protected freedom of speech and expression, as well as our guarantee of religious liberty, are too closely tied to our rights as free citizens to ever allow censorship in this manner. The only legitimate response to speech we strongly object to is not to censor or suppress that speech but to answer it with more speech that explains the defect or error of it. Totalitarian and authoritarian states—not the United States—employ these tools to keep their citizens oppressed and enslaved. We simply cannot allow or embrace actions of this kind.

Note: YouTube announced it is suspending President Donald Trump’s Channel – January 13, 2021

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

Gov. Edwards Extends Louisiana’s Phase 2 COVID Mitigation Measures

January 12, 2021 – Gov. John Bel Edwards today extended his modified Phase 2 order, keeping COVID mitigation measures in place for another 28 days, and strongly recommended that all businesses in Louisiana move to remote work for as many employees as possible, as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in Louisiana. The Governor’s statewide mask mandate also stays in place.

“What we are seeing is a huge spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations across the state, putting us in a dangerous position where we are seeing major stress on our health care systems. These continued mitigation measures are completely necessary, but they only work if people follow them. Informal social gatherings are the biggest culprit right now and people need to understand that you should not be spending time with those outside of your household unless it is absolutely necessary,” Gov. Edwards said. “We also strongly recommend that any employer who can should have their employees work from home whenever possible. We are very fortunate to live in a time when we have the technology to do many things from the safety of our own home that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago. Let’s take advantage of that technology in order to slow the spread.

“These are the things we were doing at the start of the pandemic. But as things have gone on, people have gotten more lax. It’s time to buckle down with what we know works, and that’s wearing masks, social distancing, staying at home when you are ill and keeping to your own household.”

The Governor’s new order expires on February 10, 2021.

SWEPCO provides update on winter storm restoration

SHREVEPORT– Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) crews continue to maneuver through slush and mud in Central Louisiana to access some of the hardest hit areas of Sunday’s winter storm while making significant progress in East Texas.

Heavy wet, snow brought down trees and power lines in rural Central Louisiana, slowing power restoration to SWEPCO customers. Estimated restoration times for Central Louisiana have been moved to 10 p.m. Wednesday.

In East Texas, crews have made significant progress restoring power. Estimated restoration times for customers in Longview, Marshall and Carthage have been moved from Wednesday night to this evening.

“The quickest way to get restoration estimates for your home or business is to enroll in outage alerts through SWEPCO’s website,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Region Distribution Operations.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, about 9,000 customers remained without power as crews continued to work as safely and quickly as possible to restore service. More than 400 tree and line personnel from SWEPCO, its sister company Public Service of Oklahoma, and outside contract crews continue to work to restore service. As work wraps in Northwest Louisiana, crews will move south to join those already deployed in Central Louisiana.

At the peak early Monday morning, about 60,400 customers were without power in Louisiana and East Texas.

SWEPCO estimates most Louisiana customers will be restored by 10 p.m. Wednesday and the majority of East Texas customers by 10 p.m. Tuesday. The following are updated estimated times of restoration by community. Estimates are for 95% of customers who can take power. Many customers’ power will be restored sooner.

Central Louisiana

Mansfield and Natchitoches: 10 p.m. Wednesday

East Texas

Henderson: noon Wednesday

Kilgore: 10 p.m. Wednesday

Always assume that any downed utility line is energized and stay away. Report downed lines immediately to SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919.

If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.

How to report, track outages

Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage.

Notice of Death – January 12, 2021

Earl Ebarb
December 29, 1932 – January 11, 2021
private family service


Ralph Metoyer
January 12, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Joy Nell Vascocu
June 29, 1944 – January 10, 2021
A family memorial service will be held at a later date.

Deacon Joe Oliphant
January 10, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Nevelyn Gayle Carroll
September 13, 1950 – January 6, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Jessie L. Hendricks
August 19, 1964 – January 7, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Joseph Conrage “Joe Boy” Balthazar, Jr.
November 21, 1933 – January 03, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 14 at 10:30 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Natchez

Alice Oliver
December 24, 2020
Arrangements TBA

McTavish Raymond
June 22, 1972 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Martha Killian
April 25, 1938 – January 10, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 14 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Homes in Winnfield

Earlene Long Boyett
April 17, 1930 – January 11, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 14 at 1:30 pm at Corinth Tabernacle Cemetery

Mellie Faye Barton
December 10, 1948 – January 07, 2021
Service: Tuesday, January 12 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield

Mary Nell Dickson
February 13, 1933 – January 07, 2021
Service: Wednesday, January 13 at 11 am at Springville Cemetery

COVID vaccine that exceeds hospital uptake can go to any eligible groups

In light of a busy but successful first day of vaccine distribution to pharmacies, the Department of Health has given guidance to hospitals that any remaining current or future vaccine allotments that exceed hospital uptake can be used for any currently eligible groups.

“We are so encouraged by our residents’ clear demand for the COVID vaccine,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of LDH. “While demand is clearly outpacing supply, this is just the start. We do anticipate vaccine will become increasingly available in the coming weeks and months, and as it does we will continue to bring additional vaccination sites online. For now, 10,700 newly eligible residents will have the opportunity to get vaccinated this week, and that’s progress. Thank you for your patience

“In the meantime, we will continue to work with our hospital partners to make the COVID vaccine increasingly available for their eligible patients and community members,” Dr. Phillips added.

LDH remains in support of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for vaccination. On December 20, 2020, ACIP recommended vaccination for Phase 1A (healthcare personnel and long-term-care facility residents). ACIP also recommended that if vaccine was still available, the 1B priority group should also be offered vaccine. Louisiana’s 1B COVID vaccine priority group includes persons ages 70 years or older; and various outpatient healthcare provider types.

Effective immediately, LDH is encouraging hospitals to begin using any remaining current and future vaccine allotments that exceed hospital uptake to begin vaccinating any and all of the following:

Persons ages 70 years or older in the community,
Outpatient clinic providers and clinic staff,
Urgent care clinic providers and staff,
Community care clinic providers and staff,
Behavioral health providers and staff,
Dialysis center providers, staff and clients (if not already being vaccinated by their dialysis centers),
Home health service providers and recipients,
Dental providers and staff, and
Students, residents, faculty and staff of allied health schools (if not already receiving vaccine or in a plan to receive from their respective schools).


LDH cannot make appointments at participating pharmacies for eligible residents. LDH has published the list of participating pharmacies, along with their locations and contact information, on its website: Eligible residents must contact a participating pharmacy and make an appointment at the pharmacy.

We are committed to the equitable distribution and administration of vaccines, and are actively working to enroll more pharmacies in our LINKS system — especially those in underserved communities.
Louisiana is still in the middle of a pandemic: Wear a mask

On January 4, LDH reported 1,891 COVID hospitalizations — the highest number of COVID hospitalizations since April 16, Louisiana’s first surge of the pandemic. And, the impact of the holidays remains to be seen.

Residents should continue to follow public health measures, like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe.

Getting Closer

It’s a sign…that Hobby Lobby is getting closer to its projected opening date in mid-March. The location will bring 35-50 jobs paying $17 per hour (FT) and $11 per hour (PT) to the community.

Please Object

An Open Letter to the Louisiana Congressional Delegation
By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Dear Louisiana Congressional Delegation:

I respectfully request that you object in the joint session on Jan. 6th.

Whether the election outcome is altered as a result is not the point. The point is that millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Louisianans believe as an article of faith that this election has been stolen and the outcome, therefore, is illegitimate. The theft that has occurred, particularly in the disputed battleground states, is both alarming and unacceptable in a free society like ours.

In addition to the large, inexplicable flips in online vote counts, the massive unverified mail-in ballots and the magical appearance of “midnight” ballots, a witness at a hearing this week hacked into a voting machine live, in real time, during a hearing on voter fraud.

The fact that a fearful and impotent U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear this case on its merits makes even more important the exercise of your constitutional prerogative, duty, and responsibility. The Framers, in Article II, clearly gave the power to determine electors to state legislatures and that express constitutional power simply cannot be squared with the non-legislative election activities in many of these states.
We simply cannot allow the sacred vote—the constitutional right that preserves and protects all the others—and the most powerful tool we possess to choose the kind of country we will live in—to be degraded or stolen. Our republic cannot last if Americans become convinced their vote no longer counts and that they truly have no voice. The core constitutional principle of our “government by consent of the governed” is mortally threatened. If this is not challenged now, political corruption of this kind will only become more widespread and more sophisticated.

Please object. I realize that you will be harshly maligned by the often dishonest national “news” media and perhaps by the Republican Senate Caucus as well. However, you will be beloved by many in this state. And, your actions regarding this constitutionally and statutorily created remedy—designed for these very circumstances—will be viewed as a profile in courage. To remain silent, however, could be interpreted to suggest a tacit endorsement of the organized corruption of Nov. 3rd.

I note that those now calling for the country to “move on” from the election certainly never did so in 2016. Not only did the losing 2016 presidential candidate never stop attacking others after her loss but the winning candidate was never given a fair opportunity to govern, facing as he did a coup attempt to remove him—a duly elected president, a completely false three-year Russia collusion hoax investigation, and an impeachment effort with no legal or constitutional basis, to name only three.

Please remember that dozens, if not hundreds, of brave individuals came forward to describe the fraudulent activities they witnessed. To ignore them is inexcusable. At the very least, Congress has a duty to hear and consider the information brought forth by our fellow citizens. These witnesses, at a significant personal cost to themselves, certainly believe their actions were necessary to save the country. The least we should hope for is that our elected officials demonstrate the same resolve. Facts don’t lose their stubborn durability because they are ignored. The truth doesn’t lose its intrinsic value because it is rejected, suppressed, or denied.

Thank you for considering my request.

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

Marion’s Mission

By Brad Dison

Marion had always surrounded herself with animals. “I’ve loved animals since I was in the womb,” Marion proclaimed. “It is so embedded in me.” When Marion’s parents brought her home from the hospital, she joked that if their marmalade cat named Toby had not approved of her, she would have been sent back to the hospital without a second thought. One of her earliest memories was riding in the mountains in the saddle with her father. Marion’s parents spent a lot of time in the mountains in California. There, she learned a deep respect and love for nature.

Marion’s parents often brought home pets. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, Marion’s father worked as an electrical engineer. Even with the advanced position, Marion’s family struggled financially. To make extra money, Marion’s father built radios to sell. Most people struggled to afford food, much less a radio, and sales were sporadic. Potential customers wanted the radios but had no expendable income. Marion’s father often traded the radios for other goods. Many times, Marion’s father traded a radio for a dog. Providing food for his family became increasingly difficult with each trade. “Now, the radios didn’t eat,” Marion recalled, “but the dogs did, which was not the best business thing in the world.” At one point, Marion remembered that they wound up with about twenty dogs.

Marion’s love of animals inspired her to become a U.S. Forest Ranger. Her mission was to devote her life to wildlife preservation. However, those dreams were dashed early on when she learned that women were not allowed to be forest rangers. At that time, men and women had clearly defined gender roles. Marion had no choice but to select another career path.

Following high school graduation in 1939, Marion entered a career field which was open to both men and women. Unfortunately for her, it was not in the field of wildlife preservation, her dream profession. However, her successful career afforded her the ability to help with wildlife preservation in other ways. For over fifty years, Marion worked with the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens and is still on the board of trustees. She once pointed out in an interview that “I’ve even got my own key to the Los Angeles Zoo.” Marion usually visits the zoo before it is open to the public. She has spent so much time at the zoo that many of the animals recognize her, approach her, and go for walks with her. Marion and many of the animals have bonded over the years.

On November 9, 2010, Marion got her childhood wish. The U.S. Forest Service proclaimed her an honorary forest ranger during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. During the ceremony, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell apologized to Marion; “I am sorry you couldn’t join us before…You would have made marvelous contributions to our agency and to the cause of conservation across the United States.” “Your passion for animals, for nature, for wildlife, perfectly suits you to our profession.” Marion responded, “Whether I’ve been a legitimate forest ranger or not, I’ve been working for the cause for the last 89 years, and I will continue to work for it as much as I can. In my heart I’ve been a forest ranger all of my life. Now I’m official. I know this is an honorary position, but it’s also one where I can use a voice to try to protect the remaining beautiful parts of this gorgeous world we live on.” Marion stressed the importance of protecting natural habitats for wildlife. “Wilderness is getting harder and harder to find these days on our beautiful planet, and we’re abusing our planet to the point of almost no return. Once you pave it over, it never comes back.”

As she hugged a Smokey Bear teddy bear and proudly wore her ranger hat and badge, she said, “I cannot thank you enough. As excited as I am today, as grateful as I am – I know two people who would be over the moon – my mom and dad.” At the conclusion of her speech, Marion told the crowd of onlookers, “I’m going to a wonderful celebration for Tina Fey this evening, and it’s a formal affair. Do you think it would be alright if I wore my hat?” The onlookers laughed and applauded.

Marion continues to work at her mission. Her professional career has enabled her to better help with wildlife preservation than if she had become a U.S. Forest Ranger all those years ago. Marion’s career began with a single spoken word in a live radio commercial. The word she had to say was “Parkay.” She was worried enough that she would make a mistake that she had the word written down in front of her during the broadcast. The broadcast was a success and Marion’s career flourished soon thereafter. She began working in the television industry in the 1940s, when television was in its infancy, and has never stopped. She has worked on several memorable television shows such as “Petticoat Junction,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Love Boat,” “Mama’s Family,” “Empty Nest,” and many more. Marion holds the Guinness World Record for the “Longest TV career by an entertainer.” In addition to her television roles, Marion has also starred in many motion pictures, but she is probably most associated with her character, Rose, on the television series “The Golden Girls.” Marion, whose continuing lifelong mission is wildlife preservation, is the middle name of Betty White.

1. Guiness World Records. “Longest Tv Career by an Entertainer (Female).” Accessed December 3, 2020.
2. “Betty White Interview – Part 1 of 5” Accessed December 3, 2020.
3. “Forest Service makes actress Betty White honorary ranger.” Accessed December 3, 2020.
4. “Betty White: My Life at the Zoo.” Accessed December 3, 2020.
5. “Betty White Becomes Honorary Forest Ranger.” Accessed December 3, 2020.
6. The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), November 19, 1989, p.7.
7. Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. “Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.” Accessed January 1, 2021.

Louisiana ranks 44 out of 50 states for Migration Growth

If you’re of the opinion Tennessee is a fun place to visit and would be a beautiful spot to live, take a number and get in line. U-Haul® customers are well ahead of you.

The Volunteer State posted the largest net gain of U-Haul® trucks crossing its borders in 2020, making it the No. 1 U-Haul growth state for the first time.

Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually.

Tennessee’s influx of do-it-yourself movers during a turbulent year marked by the coronavirus pandemic means that a state other than Florida and Texas tops the growth rankings for the first time since 2015, when North Carolina led the way.

U-Haul customers made Texas and Florida their top two destinations from 2016-19. Texas had the largest net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks for three consecutive years before Florida flipped the order and became No. 1 last year. Texas is second for growth, and Florida third, for 2020.

Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia round out the top 10 states for 2020 growth as self-movers continue to migrate to the Southeast, as well as markets in the Southwest, Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

California ranks last by a wide margin, supplanting Illinois as the state with the greatest net loss of U-Haul trucks. California has ranked 48th or lower since 2016. Illinois has been 49th or 50th since 2015, when U-Haul began ranking states based on annual net gain.

“I’m seeing a lot of people from California move (to Tennessee) because they’re attracted to our lifestyle,” noted Jeff Porter, U-Haul Company of Nashville president. “Tennessee has no income tax and is very business-friendly. There are plenty of jobs. People and companies are taking note. Places like Nashville, Murfreesboro and Clarksville are attracting tons of new residents. Nashville is ever-growing, and even the era of COVID-19 isn’t slowing that. We were seeing movement before the virus hit, but I think the situation has pushed a lot more people away from the West Coast to our state.”

East and Central Tennessee are enjoying the biggest gains in U-Haul arrivals. The top growth cities include Knoxville, the Tri-Cities, Cookeville, Clarksville, Cleveland, Murfreesboro and Maryville.

Arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks into Tennessee jumped 12% while departures rose only 9% over 2019, with that disparity catapulting it up the charts. Arrivals accounted for 50.6% of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Tennessee, which ranked No. 12 among growth states a year ago.

“The best thing about Tennessee is the southern hospitality. People are decent to one another,” said Clay McQuade, U-Haul Company of Knoxville president. “I believe the draw to Tennessee is the rural atmosphere. The government is still not so oppressive on zoning and regulation, so people are able to build, and cities are friendly to business. Tourism is a big draw in this region, mostly for the Great Smoky Mountains. There’s plenty to do outdoors.

“U-Haul is growing right alongside the state. We just added adaptive reuse conversions of closed Kmart® stores for new facilities in Kingsport and Bristol, and are currently building a ground-up store in Knoxville to meet customer demand for our products and services.”

While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the Company’s growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents.

U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The geographical coverage from more than 22,000 U-Haul truck- and trailer-sharing locations provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry.

* On charts (see below) previous year’s rankings in parentheses. Washington, D.C. is its own U-Haul market and is listed among growth states for migration trends purposes. Hawaii is not included since state-to-state truck transactions are inapplicable.

Ceramics class to begin Jan. 14

A beginning ceramics class, “Playing in the Mud,” will be offered through Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education starting Thursday, Jan. 14. The class will be offered on Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. through Feb. 18 in Room 113 of the Fine Arts Annex.
The fee is $125 plus a $20 material fee paid directly to the instructor on the first night of class. Enrollment to the class is limited.

This course is an introduction to working with clay. The student will learn hand-building and sculptural techniques, as well as work on the potter’s wheel. There will also be room for intermediate and advanced students to take the class who want to use the facilities during the class time.

Notice of Death – January 5, 2021

Laney A. Wright
June 20, 1951 – December 31, 2020
Service: Friday, January 8 at 1 pm at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville

Bonnie Edwards Rachal
December 28, 2020
Service: Wednesday, January 6 at 11 am at New Life Evangelism Center

Alice Oliver
December 24, 2020
Arrangements TBA

McTavish Raymond
June 22, 1972 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Daniel “Danny” Earl Boyett
May 18, 1957 – December 29, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Janet Brookins
August 26, 1957 – December 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Glennie “Glenola” Stone
August 24, 1952 – January 02, 2021
Service: Wednesday, January 6 at 12 pm at Hickory Grove Cemetery