After Thirty-Six Years, the Freeman Era Comes to an End in Many

After 36 years of progressive leadership, Mayor Ken Freeman is set to retire on June 30, 2021.  When Mr. Freeman first ran in 1989 for the office of Mayor of Many, he made the following promises: To run the town as a business; to obtain as many state and federal grants as possible; to build a strong and effective police department; and to support and assist our sister communities and/or organizations in Sabine Parish.

Under his leadership, Many has seen its total assets increase from 6.2 million dollars to 18.3 million dollars, a 166 % increase. His administration is leaving the community debt free, having paid off 5.5 million dollars in long-term debt. The city’s sales tax, of 5.265% is the same as it was in 1989 when he assumed the office of the Mayor. Town of Many property taxes have not increased since his tenure as our Mayor. His reasoning for never increasing property taxes within the city limits, was to keep them lower than anywhere else in the Parish, making Many a more attractive community for new businesses in which to locate, leading to an increase in sale tax revenue by creating more jobs. Revenues for the Town of Many have increased from 1.6 million dollars in 1989 to 5 million dollars today, which represents growth of 168%. For the past 32 years, Mayor Freeman has managed to run your city with a balanced budget each year. The only time Mayor Freeman called for a tax to be voted on by the town’s citizens was in 1999, and that was to replace all the water lines in town, and add new fire hydrants to increase fire protection. It was a 10-year tax that was paid off and as he promised, your tax payments were reduced in 2010.

Under Mayor Freeman’s guidance, his administration over the years has obtained 21 million dollars in state and federal grants. These monies have been spent to provide the citizens of Many much-needed services such as an airport, which will allow jet planes to land at that location in the near future, thereby increasing industrial and tourism growth in the Parish. Grant money received was also spent on housing for rehabbing five old houses and building five new ones; purchasing needed equipment to keep our streets in good repair; and much needed improvements at the Many water and sewer plants. Additionally, grant money was spent on the recreational needs of our citizens by building the Many Baseball Park, tennis courts, a children’s playground at Sabine High Park, Leon James Park on MLK, and new playground equipment at the Many Ball Park.  Grant monies were also spent to build a walking track at the Fairgrounds which also serves as the fairway for the Sabine Parish Fair.  The Many Community Center, aka the Sabine Theatre, that provides our citizens with free movies and musical events, was also restored inside and out with grant money and donations from Parish citizens. Book Nooks, located all around the town of Many, contain donated books that are available free of charge to any Sabine Parish citizen of all ages. This project was funded by and is still managed by the Town of Many, with books that are continuously donated by our citizens. Additionally, the Many Depot was also restored with grant money and donations from citizens and will become a museum, which will open next year. Freeman has often said, “Sabine Parish has a good story to tell and we hope that the Many-Sabine Parish Historical Museum will tell our story for generations to come. “ After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, with the community being without water for a long period of time, the Mayor applied for and obtained grant monies to purchase 9 generators in 2005, so that during periods of ice and snow storms, hurricanes, and any other natural disasters, the people of Many would not be without water and sewer services. This recent one-week long ice and snow storm, the Town of Many was one of the few communities in NW Louisiana, not to lose water and sewer services.

The Mayor’s third promise was to build a strong and effective police department to protect and serve our citizens. To that end, his administration has provided funding for all new patrol vehicles with in-car communications, training, and state-of-the-art equipment including protective equipment, a canine unit, along with a special unit to help reduce drug abuse in our community. All of these improvements have made our police officers more efficient and effective in their job protecting our town’s citizens, visitors, and their property.

Finally, his last promise was to support and assist our sister communities and/or organizations in Sabine Parish. The Mayor has often said, “As a rural parish, we do not live in Many, Zwolle, Florien, Converse, Fisher, or Pleasant Hill; we live in the community of Sabine Parish and what’s good for one, will improve us all.” Mayor Freeman served on the Board of the SARC and during his tenure, he took steps to oust the corrupt administration and return it to those citizens who were least able to defend themselves. He also served on the board of the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and was instrumental in creating the Toledo Bend Advisory Committee, whose goal was to keep a consistent lake level at 172 feet msl and to provide information affecting those residents along Toledo Bend Lake. Both of these goals were accomplished and continue today. Former Governor Mike Foster appointed Freeman to a task force to develop Louisiana, specifically Toledo Bend Lake, as a destination point for retirees. He was also the Chairman of the Joint Toledo Bend Lake Board between Texas and Louisiana. Freeman was likewise the Chairman of the Sabine Industrial Development Board which acquired land to develop an industrial park for Sabine Parish and he actively solicited industry to locate in that park. Freeman was appointed to serve on the board of the El Camino Real Commission whose purpose is to four-lane Highway 6 from the Atlantic Ocean to Mexico. He served as its Chairman for two years but sat on the board for 30 years. Freeman led the charge to stop the closing of Hodges Gardens south of Florien after it was taken over by the state’s park system.  

Freeman has often said that the first impression of a community, is a lasting impression and he wants Many and Sabine Parish to have a positive impression on visitors and residents alike. To that end, he developed the “Get Off Your Fanny and Clean Up Many” program which enlisted the help of community volunteers to assist city crews with an annual spring cleaning of litter from streets and ditches throughout Many. He also began sending letters at the same time, to absentee-property owners, whose lots created either an eyesore or a health risk, in an effort to reduce blight within city limits. He also started a program by tearing down old, dilapidated structures and adding the cost to owners’ property taxes at the end of the year.  His administration built new sidewalks and planted seasonal flowers in pots and flowerbeds all throughout the town. His administration also installed wrought iron hand railings along San Antonio Avenue for our citizens and other shoppers to be safe as they shopped and walked along the Avenue. The Mayor and his administration developed the Many Christmas Festival the first Christmas he was in office, in 1989. This much-loved event consists of an hour-long parade through town ending at the Fairgrounds for the spectacular Bucky Slay Memorial Fireworks display. Mayor Freeman was instrumental in assisting local merchants with the annual “Shop at Home” program that advertises and encourages our local citizens to support their local merchants. 

Prior to the development of Homeland Security in Sabine Parish, and after calling the emergency phone number in Baton Rouge for assistance, but hearing the recording telling him “this office is closed due to the storms”, which were Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Mayor went to work again for the Parish. Because of the wide-spread power outage throughout “Sabineland”, there was a shortage of food, water, and ice. He organized the delivery and distribution of donated truckloads of the same at City Hall, which continued for several weeks following Hurricane Rita until power was restored. Freeman was appointed by the Sabine Parish School Board to the committee tasked to build the new Many Jr. High School. Freeman also has served on committees that ultimately built the Sabine Parish Animal Shelter adjacent to the Industrial Park, on land donated by the Industrial District.

In all of these many efforts, Mayor Freeman has met his goal of supporting and assisting organizations, communities, and their residents to improve the quality of life for all Sabine Parish citizens.

In thinking back over his career as the longest-serving mayor in Many’s history and also one of the longest serving mayors in the state, Mayor Freeman wants citizens to know that any decision he made, was made for you and your future, including being arrested. “I honestly believe that I am leaving your hometown in better shape than I found it in 1989. It has been my honor to serve you as your Mayor. I also want to thank all of my staff, grant writers, and council members over the years for your hard work in making Many a better place for all of us to live and work. I wish all of you and our community every success in the future,” he stated.


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Town Of Zwolle Prayer Meeting

ZWOLLE, La – Chief of Police for Zwolle, LA, Daniel Thomas held a prayer meeting for the town on Wednesday, February 24th at the town’s Fiesta Grounds. According to Chief Thomas, he felt as thought the town needed some words of encouragement and uplifting following not only the winter storm, but going on nearly two weeks with no water after damage from the storm.

The impromptu gathering had a good turn out as many from the town came to support one another, offer words of encouragement and prayers, and just join in town camaraderie. Though this has been an incredibly trying time for the small Sabine Parish town, Chief Thomas reminded its citizens that they will get through this by joining together and supporting one another and remaining patient.

The event was both held in person as well as live streamed on Facebook to allow everyone to hear his uplifting message.

While the issue with the water system has yet to be resolved, the town isn’t losing its strong town pride. Chief Thomas is hoping that once all the residential water meters are shut off that the leak will be able to be determined and fixed.

Chief Thomas has encouraged every resident to cooperate with shutting off their own meters for the time being as he says the only way to make progress is to complete this step of inconvenience first. He states that Zwolle is “in this together” and hopes everyone can “work together and get this done”

Citizens are encouraged to follow the Zwolle Police Department on Facebook for the most recent updates on the water situation.


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Routine Traffic Stop Results In Recovery Of Two Stolen Firearms

MANY, La – A routine traffic stop in Many, Louisiana turned into a string of arrests on Thursday, February 25th, 2021.

According to The Many Chief of Police, Cheryl Wooley, Officer Jason Hughes of the Many Police Department (pictured above) made a routine traffic stop on Thursday in which two stolen weapons were recovered. Four adults and one juvenile were arrested in connection with the traffic stop and weapon recovery. The adults were booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center where they remain. The information of the juvenile is not being released at this time. The charges are as follows:

DKendrick Cornillious Pittman, 21, arrested on charges of possession of schedule IV, possession of firearm in presence of controlled dangerous substance, possession of stolen firearm, possession of controlled dangerous substance in presence of juvenile, contributing to the delinquency of juvenile

Quacie Delmanique Allen Kerlegon, 20, arrested on charges of possession of firearm in presence of controlled dangerous substance, possession of stolen firearm, possession of controlled dangerous substance in presence of juvenile, contributing to delinquency of a juvenile, possession of schedule I, possession of schedule II, possession of schedule IV

Hilton Nathaniel Frazier, 21, arrested on charges of possession of firearm in presence of controlled dangerous substance, possession of stolen firearm, possession of controlled dangerous substance in presence of juvenile, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, possession of schedule I, possession of schedule II, possession of schedule IV

Garlando Rashon Pittman, 19, arrested on charges of possession of firearm in presence of controlled dangerous substance, possession of stolen firearm, possession of controlled dangerous substance in presence of juvenile, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, possession of schedule I, possession of schedule II, possession of schedule IV

SOURCE: MANY POLICE DEPARTMENT


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SWEPCO thanks customers for patience, conserving energy during extreme weather

SWEPCO would like to thank all customers for their patience throughout last week’s severe weather event. Louisiana experienced record low temperatures, reaching as low as 7° F in Natchitoches, and 23,200 customers were without power at the peak of the storm.

“We greatly appreciate everyone for bearing with us over the past week,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We understand the issues that outages can create for our customers, and that’s why our crews worked around-the-clock in hazardous conditions to restore power for everyone.”

A crew of 1,500 workers, including more than 300 SWEPCO employees, worked out of three basecamps to assist in restoration efforts. Power had been restored for the majority of customers across Northwest Louisiana by Sunday night.

The storm caused almost a half-inch of ice to accumulate between Sabine and Natchitoches parishes. Temperatures remained near 32° F for much of the storm.

When temperatures reach extreme lows, power demand creates a heavy load on the regional electric grid. SWEPCO would like to thank all customers who helped conserve energy over the past week. Everyone working together to provide small contributions—such as minor adjustments to thermostats and reduced use of lighting and appliances—can make a significant difference to the overall electric system.

SWEPCO customers can report and check the status of outages by downloading the SWEPCO Customer Mobile App at SWEPCO.com/App or visiting SWEPCO.com/Outages.

More information on what do to prepare for an outage and safety tips can be found at SWEPCO.com/Outages.


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LHSAA Girls Basketball Playoffs

SABINE PARISH, La – Three area girls have been named in the Shreveport Times as basketball players to watch going into playoffs.

According to the Times, the following high school basketball players will be the standout players through the playoffs.

“Zwolle: Olivia Sepulvado, a junior, averages 18.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists this season.

Many: Lyric Scott, a senior point guard, leads the team with 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and four steals a game.

Florien: Kylee Strother averages 14.7 points and is part of an intense team.”

Following Tuesday’s game, however, only three Sabine Parish Schools, Zwolle, Florien, and Ebarb, remain in the playoffs to potentially bring home the title of State Champions.

Of the 18 “Players to Watch”, Olivia Sepulvado, a junior at Zwolle High School, is excited to “go show everybody the heart and rit [the] Lady Hawks have” as she says that “it doesn’t matter what you are ranked, anyone can beat anybody at any time”.

No matter the outcome, one thing is for certain, the parish is rallying behind these teams! Sheriff Aaron Mitchell and the staff of the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office wished all the teams luck in a Facebook post this week stating that “Sabine Parish has had talented basketball teams for years and most schools qualify for the playoffs every year. Sheriff Mitchell wants the teams to make Sabine Parish proud and bring home the wins!”

What an exciting representation of athletic talent in the area! Sabine Parish is proud to have three incredible teams representing the area in these playoff games and we wish them the very best. Bring home another title ladies!


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Opportunity: Compliance Auditor

OMC seeks a skilled Compliance Auditor to investigate, audit, and prepare reports to executive officers and the policy-making Board. For assigned compliance matters, this executive level position will assess and track healthcare compliance with procedures, policies, federal requirements, Joint Commission standards, etc. Must have experience with healthcare compliance and ability to prepare reports that meet expectations.

Salary based on job related experiences and qualifications.

This is an exempt position that assumes assigned emergency duties when necessary.

For a full set of responsibilities and qualifications contact the OMC executive office at 318-357-2071 or email info@outpatientmedical.org.

EOE


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Perspective is Everything

As I sat there with a racing heart and a nervous sweat in full motion it seemed to take forever for my high school English teacher to deliver her first graded paper of the year. Like most teachers, their reputation proceeds them. This one was known to be tough as nails and seemed to take great joy in the power that the red ink pen in her hand evoked. Rumor had it that she rarely gave a grade above a C and she did not put up with any humor or shenanigans in her class. The best of the best students barely skated by and warned every student that came behind them.

Simply put, she could fail you and you would have a repeat Senior year or a summer school enrollment. I knew without a doubt that I had poured my heart and soul into this paper. This would be the paper that would set the tone for the entire year and I had full confidence that I would earn the C that appeared to be her best grade.

I sat in my seat and looked straight ahead trying not to use my peripheral eyesight to see her exact location. Breathing in and out just trying to stay alive… she then appeared out of nowhere to slap the paper down on my desk. It was face down, and she gave me a very stern side eye at the very same time. There appeared to be something on her mind as she walked away. Not being able to wait for another second I flipped the paper over to see a large red “B” on the top of my paper with a small handwritten note beside it.

It was a blur of teary eyes and pure joy as I clutched the paper tight and celebrated my victory. Everyone around me was silently comparing their grades and I proudly showed off my kill. I had the highest grade within a two-seat radius and I wasn’t even concerning myself with her handwritten note until all of the high fives were delivered. My new pride and confidence radiated for the rest of the day.

There were not many occasions where I was actually proud to show my parents my work but, in this case, I knew they would be thrilled. When I handed the paper over to my mother, she applauded the hard-earned grade but she had a look of concern and advised me that my teacher was accusing me of cheating.

Keep in mind, at this point, I still had not read the handwritten note. I was too mesmerized by my grade.

My mother read the note out loud, “You are much smarter on paper than you are when you speak”.

Well, I just perplexed at my mother’s doubt and unbelief and I had no clue because she was being a negative Nancy. I knew I did not cheat and I was well aware of the man hours that went into this paper. From that day forward I chose to tell myself that I was a good writer. So much so, that the world’s biggest critic thinks that I can do this.

What was probably meant as an, “I have my eye on you comment”, truly made me feel as though I could write good sentences. And, sometimes even put them together to make a decent story. I completely chose to take her words as a compliment and build on top of it. From that moment I ventured out and started believing in myself and my abilities.

There is no doubt in my mind that my teacher’s words were seeds planted that eventually grew into a love of writing. It would have been so easy to be offended by her words and then make the decision not to learn and grow in her class. In our daily lives we are faced with so many decisions on a daily basis. The perspective we choose to respond with can change the trajectory of our lives. If you are always looking for and expecting the worst in people, you will surely find it. If you are always looking for and expecting the best in people you will find that as well.

“Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport” – Steven Furtick

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…. if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8


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Opportunity: Auto Body Technician

Title: Auto Body Technician

Battery Warehouse INC. d.b.a. Tony’s Body Shop & Collision Center & Towing Service in Natchitoches, La is looking for a full-time, experienced Auto Body Technician to join our team. We are dedicated to serving our customers by providing exceptional service in a timely manner.

Applicants must be able to work at production shop pace and demonstrate concern for quality in accordance with dealer and factory standards.

Apply in person:

2170 Hwy 6
Natchitoches, LA
318-357-0677


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Is Pre-Fishing A Waste of Time?

As I have pointed out before, tournament bass anglers are a strange bunch. We are constantly trying to outsmart, over think and over complicate how we should be catching fish. Growing up as an athlete, baseball was a sport that I truly loved, and to be good at it, took practice and lots of it. A lot of time spent in a batting cage, taking ground balls, catching fly balls and working on base running. As someone once said, “practice makes perfect.” But in bass fishing, that’s not always the case. You can spend or waste a lot of time practicing and catching fish days before an event only to have to disregard everything you put together due to a major change in weather. So many times, in my fishing career, I’ve had to adjust or abandon my game plan for a tournament. Which brings us to the question, “Is pre-fishing a waste of time?”

Well, my first reaction would be “yes” but then I think back over time how important my practice time was for me having a high finish. But so many times due to variables out of my control like a front coming through, high winds, temperature change, heavy rain, the lake rising can all contribute to a change in fish behavior. Mother Nature and what she can throw at a bass angler, can be brutal. But just like any other sport, bass fishing is a game of adjustments and sometimes due to how we caught them during our pre-fishing time, we tend to try and force the fish the bite the way they did in practice. This is major mistake when you’re competing in a tournament because bass are worse than women, they are constantly going through mood swings. (Sorry ladies)

For me the benefits of pre-fishing are getting out on the water and checking out the areas of the lake you want to fish. Looking at watercolor, is it muddy, stained or clear; what’s the water temperature and seeing what the bass are relating to. Are they on wood cover like cypress trees or maybe brush tops and laydowns off the bank? Are they in vegetation like hydrilla or coon tail moss, are they under lily pads or our newest invasive species of aquatic vegetation… Salvinia?. Are they on boat docks? Are they in the backwater or on main lake points? Now most of these questions can be answered basically by what time of year it is as to where the bass should be.

As you can see, bass fishing is more science than luck especially for a tournament bass angler. But the time you spend pre-fishing or practicing, can be crucial in determining when, where and how you will catch them on tournament day. But this is where a word that I used earlier comes into play, adjustments. Bass fishing is a constant game of adjustments and the angler that does this the best on tournament day, will be the most successful. More times than not, the conditions in which you found fish in practice, will not be the conditions you face on tournament day. So, is pre-fishing a waste of time? Well, the time of year has a lot to do with this in that with spring fishing, there are constant weather changes and fronts are more frequent making it hard to plan too far ahead for a tournament. But during the summer months, the weather is a lot more stable, and the fish are a lot more predictable as to where they will be. The fall can also be pretty easy to find fish in that bass tend to migrate up the creeks this time of year.

As you can see, pre-fishing can have it advantages. It all depends on what time of year it is. To hear more fishing tips, tune in to Tackle Live every Monday on our Facebook page at 12:30 CST as we discuss the latest news and tournament results from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and other great bodies of water found right here in the Ark-La-Tex region. Until next time, don’t forget to set the hook!!


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Notice of Death – February 25, 2021

NATCHITOCHES:
Dorothy Fay Martin
May 19, 1932 – February 25, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Vernell Brooks
April 29, 1982 – February 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ray H. Allen
March 22, 1933 – February 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Brother Christopher Willis Jr.
September 17, 2009 – February 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Mattie Mae Casson
August 6, 1961 – February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Nathaniel Scott
February 19, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ada James
February 15, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 1 pm in the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Atlanta

Alvin Smith
February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel,located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

SABINE:
Barbara Ann Veuleman
January 24, 1943 – February 25, 2021
Service: Sunday, February 28 at 2 pm at Friendship Nazarene

Jackie Rivers
November 3, 1958 – February 21, 2021
Service: Friday, February 26 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

WINN:
Audrey Mae Patton Peavy
March 31, 1939 – February 24, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 1 pm at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Winnfield

Stafford Bill Moses
February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Funeral Home Chapel, located at 117 MLK Drive in Winnfield

Wanda Sue O’Bryan
April 08, 1944 – February 22, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am at Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Calvin

RED RIVER:
Sandy (Lysander) Allen Webb
October 17, 1951 – February 22, 2021
Service: Friday, February 26 at 11 am at Springville Cemetery in Coushatta


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