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


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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 or visiting

More information on what do to prepare for an outage and safety tips can be found at

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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


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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

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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

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

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

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

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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Notice From Pendleton Water System

Pendleton water released the following statement this week regarding the maintenance to the water system following last weeks storms;

It is very important that everyone that has turned on their main valve for water service to check their meter! Make sure you are not registering any water usage on your meter when you are not using any water in your home or camp. Eight leaks were found in the Sandy Point Area alone today, and we are sure there are still many more throughout the rest of the system that have not been identified.

If you have a leak and refuse to turn off your water, we will be forced to turn it off and you will be assessed the appropriate fees. This is not something we want to have to do.

We are unable to begin an appropriate flushing routine until the leaks to homes and camps are fixed or shut-off During this time you may experience water quality that is less than desirable. We ask that you be patient and keep in mind that many of the other water systems in the area are still without water or on a limited schedule.

Lastly, we would like to thank the many people that have been helping and volunteering to help get us back up and running! As an example, we had one of your (non-paid) board members walk five miles today helping locate leaks!

Thank you again,
Pendleton Water

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Mouthwatering Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

How many times have you stressed about what to cook? You rack your brain for just the right flavor combination, roam the aisles of the grocery store aimlessly hoping something will just stand out; stressing until you just revert to your fall back of frozen pizza or chicken nuggets and macaroni. Well, we’d love to spice up your recipe book just a bit! Each week we will bring you a recipe from a local that’s old hat to them but new and exciting to you!

This week, we get to start with a submission from yours truly! This is one of my absolute favorite easy dishes because who isn’t a fan of excessive cheese, fresh bell peppers, and delicious pasta? For this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta dish you’ll need just a few ingredients;

3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
32 Oz Chicken Broth
1 lb penne pasta
1 Red bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
1 Green bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
2 Tablespoons butter
30 Oz red enchilada sauce
8 Oz cream cheese
6 Whole green onions chopped
1-1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
Optional – 1/2 cup milk (for a creamier sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Start by bringing your chicken broth to a boil and adding the chicken breasts. Water may need to be added depending on the size of the pot so that the chicken is able to be fully submerged and cooked thoroughly. Let the chicken boil for roughly 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely though. Once Cooked, drain the broth and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces or shred for a finer texture and put back into the large pot to combine with the sauce we will make.

On another burner, start your pasta boiling but only allow a cook time of about 7 minutes to make it very al dente as it will finish cooking in the oven. Once cooked, drain off the water and set the pasta aside.

While the chicken and pasta are boiling, get your fresh bell pepper and green onions to chop. Admire how delicious your fresh veggies look! These will be the flavor of the dish! First chop the green onions and set aside, these will be to garnish the dish. Next you’ll want to chop the bell peppers into small chunks and add them to a medium sized skillet to sauté. Add in the butter and place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture. Sauté for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

In the pot with the chicken, pour in the enchilada sauce and add the cream cheese. Turn the fire on medium heat and stir the cream cheese around until it’s blended in with sauce. Next add in the bell peppers, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, (optional milk), and stir until all combined. Once combined, add in the pasta and allow to simmer on medium for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Finally, pour the pasta mix into a large casserole dish and cover with the remaining shredded cheese and top with the chopped green onions. Place the dish into the oven on 350 F. For about 20 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt. This simple dish is quick and delicious for a family meal. Best of all, it makes for the perfect leftover meal!

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Town Of Zwolle Still Without Running Water Following Winter Storm

The town of Zwolle, Louisiana remains without water following the week of intense winter storms throughout the area. After days of trying to fix the problem locally, the town of Zwolle made the decision to call in for help from L & L Construction. It has been determined that the issue is being caused by an unidentified leak within the town. As of Monday, the construction company believed the leak to be coming from an area near Weyerhaeuser. However it was later discovered this was not the issue. The company continues to work (pictured above) to find the source of the problem and repair it.

Chief Daniel Thomas has worked diligently to not only help locate the leak, but to keep the town informed with consistent updates. In a quick interview he stated that the town has been “working with homeland security to get drinking water to the local nursing home, group home, elderly, and the citizens” of the town. Chief Thomas, along with the Zwolle Police Department, has been going door to door passing out water as needed to make sure everyone is being taken care of.

As of Tuesday, February 23rd, Chief Thomas made then following post to the ZPD Facebook page;

“Water Update: Everyone will see the town employees cutting your water meters off at your residence. This will allow the main tank to get to full capacity. After this is done the water will be turned back on and it will have enough pressure for leaks to be found. The problem can’t be fixed until we find out where it is. When the problem has been found your water will be turned back by the town employees. Thanks for your patience!!!”

Due to the disruption of running water to the town, Zwolle Elementary and High School remain on a virtual learning schedule and will continue to do so until the leak is identified and water is fully restored.

At this time, bottled water is available to those who need it at the Fiesta Grounds in Zwolle, Louisiana.

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State Fire Marshal Warns of Heat Lamp Dangers After Horses Die in Barn Fire

One of Three Animal Warming-Related Fires Throughout Winter Storm

BATON ROUGE- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) is calling on Louisiana residents to reconsider the use of heat lamps to warm pets in cold, outdoor conditions following several similar fires this week, including the latest in north Louisiana that claimed the lives of seven horses.

“Heat lamps seem like a simple solution, but in reality, they’re a fire hazard similar to a space heater that are unfortunately left unattended frequently,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “These lamps being placed close to bedding and left on for extended periods of time are not only dangerous for the animals you’re trying to warm, but if a fire starts, you’re jeopardizing your property and your family’s lives too.”

Around 8:30 p.m. on February 20, the South Bossier Fire Department responded to a report of a barn fire located in the 1900 block of Highway 154 in Elm Grove. Firefighters discovered that seven horses had died in the fire. Three of the horses belonged to the property owner, but four were being boarded there.

After an assessment of the scene, including witness statements, deputies determined the fire began as a result of an overheated heat lamp that was left on in the barn to keep the horses warm.

Two other fire investigations this week involved heat lamps warming cats and dogs outdoors that overheated creating fires. In one case in the Houma area, the dog being warmed died in the resulting fire. In the other case, in Livingston Parish, three people suffered minor injuries trying to escape the fire.

“The best plan of action for protecting pets from frigid temperatures is to bring them inside,” said Browning, “For livestock and larger animals, there are various ways to provide warmth with extra bedding and blankets. We encourage everyone to use this opportunity to reevaluate their preparedness for extreme cold weather and alter your warming game plan now.”

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The Unsinkable Stoker

By Brad Dison

At the turn of the twentieth century, traveling by commercial steamships, commonly called ocean liners, was all the rage. The finest luxuries were reserved exclusively for first class passengers such as the most exquisite dining saloons, elaborate state rooms, libraries, smoking rooms, gymnasiums, and exclusive access to the main deck, called the promenade deck. Second class passengers enjoyed more modest experiences with sparsely decorated smaller state rooms, smoking rooms, libraries, and dining facilities. Third class passengers were housed in cabins that contained little more than a bed, were fed adequate meals, and had access to few, if any, amenities.

Deep in the bowels of these mammoth vessels, well below the third-class areas, were the ships’ engine rooms and boiler rooms. These rooms were extremely hot and dirty. Workers in the boiler rooms usually worked shirtless due to the heat and were collectively called “the black gang” because they were usually covered with black coal soot. Black gangs consisted of stokers, firemen, trimmers, and a “peggy,” the firemen’s steward who brought food and refreshments to the group.

John Priest was a professional seaman from the port city of Southampton, England. He worked as a black gang stoker on several British steam ships. He and the other stokers had the back-breaking task of shoveling coal into the boiler’s firebox. John had worked on the sea since his youth, and planned to have a long seafaring career.

In April, 1915, on the eve of World War I, the British Admiralty converted the two-year-old RMS Alcantara, a royal mail ship, into an armed merchant cruiser. Workers fitted 6-inch guns, antiaircraft guns, and added depth charges to the ship. For almost a year, with John as part of the ship’s black gang, the Alcantara searched for German ships and submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean. On February 29, 1916, the Alcantara intercepted the Greif, a German merchant raider ship disguised as a Norwegian ship. The crew of the Alcantara signaled the Greif to stop for inspection. The Greif slowed to a near stop, but as the Alcantara reached a distance of about 2,000 yards away, the crew of the Greif increased its speed and opened fire. The Alcantara returned fire. For nearly two hours, the ships exchanged volleys, and both received extensive, fatal damages. The Alcantara capsized and sank, followed by the Greif later that same day. 68 men from the Alcantara died along with 230 men from the Greif. John was injured by shrapnel from a torpedo, but he survived.

The British Admiralty requisitioned the passenger ship HMHS Britannic as a hospital ship. Rooms on the upper deck which had been designed for pleasure were transformed into rooms for the wounded. The first-class dining and reception rooms were transformed into operating rooms. On the morning of November 21, 1916, Britannic was transporting wounded soldiers from the Greek island of Lemnos back to England through the Kea Channel when an explosion rocked the ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Britannic, exactly a month earlier, a German submarine, the U-73, had planted mines in the Kea Channel. All efforts to save the Britannic failed. Within 65 minutes after striking the mine, Britannic disappeared into the water. Britannic holds the record for being the largest ship lost in World War I and is the world’s largest sunken passenger ship. Once again, John survived.

The British Admiralty converted the RMS Asturius, a royal mail ship, into a hospital ship. John joined the black gang of the Asturius. On the night of March 20, 1917, John’s ship was steaming toward Southampton with all of its navigational lights on. Large illuminated red crosses distinguished John’s ship as a hospital ship. The Asturius had just disembarked approximately 1,000 wounded soldiers at Avonmouth and was headed for Southampton, England. At around midnight, German U-boat UC-66 torpedoed John’s ship. The crew aimed the damaged ship toward the shore and ran it aground. Nearly two dozen people died and many more were injured but again, John survived.

John was next assigned to the SS Donegal. Built in 1904, the Donegal served as a passenger ferry for an English railway company until World War I. The British Admiralty converted this ship into an ambulance ship to ferry wounded soldiers from France back to England. On April 17, 1917, the Donegal was ferrying 610 lightly wounded soldiers across the English Channel. Ambulance ships had been required to be clearly marked and lit to make them easier to identify. However, the British Navy disregarded these requirements after the Germany Navy began targeting these marked ships. The Donegal was not marked as an ambulance ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Donegal, a German submarine, the UC-21, was lurking beneath the water. The German submarine fired torpedoes at the Donegal. Explosions shook the ship. Within a matter of minutes, the Donegal sank. The blasts from the torpedoes and subsequent sinking claimed the lives of 29 wounded British soldiers and 12 members of the crew. John survived, albeit with a serious head injury.

John’s reputation preceded him. Rumors of John’s survival record spread throughout black gangs in England. Rumors also spread that many of John’s black gang coworkers did not survive the sinkings. Many believed that it was bad luck to work on the same ship as the unsinkable stoker. Each time John arrived at a new ship to take his place among its black gang, the other workers refused to work. John, in body, may have been unsinkable, but his career was not. Unable to find a black gang that would work with him, John had no choice but to find employment on dry land. His days at sea had ended.

John Priest, the unsinkable stoker, holds the distinction of being the only person to survive the sinkings of five ships which included the HMHS Asturias, RMS Alcantara, SS Donegal, HMHS Britannic, and another ship. The first ship’s sinking which John Priest miraculously survived, albeit with frost-bitten toes and an injured leg, happened on the morning of April 15, 1912. That ship, arguably the most famous ship in history, was called the RMS Titanic.

1. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), April 17, 1912, p.2.
2. The Guardian (London, England), March 28, 1917, p.5.
3. The Times (London, England), April 23, 1917, p.10.

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Rush Limbaugh: The Lion That Roared

Royal Alexander/Opinion

By simply but powerfully extolling the virtues of traditional American values, he built a vast conservative movement still growing at the time of his death

Despite what his critics have claimed in the wake of his passing, the legacy of Rush Limbaugh is really not complicated at all.

Over 32 years, he reached millions of Americans daily and, by merely reminding his vast audience of the unique nature of America’s miraculous founding, he created a solid, permanent, conservative movement in this country. They trusted him to be their constant, their anchor in an increasingly putrid cultural cesspool. He, in turn, empowered them with the truth and they never left him because he never left them.

Some of his detractors this week have referred to Rush’s legacy as “controversial” or “divisive” or that his rhetoric was “harsh.” Only to the Left, which was not nearly as offended by his manner as it was by his message.

However, to the great Silent Majority in this country, he was positively and powerfully enlightening. Using simple but compelling word pictures, he articulated daily what traditional American values really are. His substantial but succinctly stated commentary created the opportunity for millions of Americans to listen, learn, and ultimately come to the conclusion that “I’m a conservative.” It’s hypocritical to hear the Left describe Rush as having “dog-whistled” various “dark” messages to conservatives. All the while, of course, the harsh daily mocking of conservatives from the tabloid media on the Left is never condemned.

What is some of this “negative” commentary Rush offered? That it is Ok to love America, to believe that America, while not perfect, is truly exceptional and truly the “last best hope of man on earth”; that it is perfectly acceptable and logical to put “America First”; that it’s perfectly acceptable and legitimate to be unapologetically pro-family, pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment.

He made clear that it’s not only acceptable but completely accurate to believe that our free market economy has lifted millions out of poverty and is the envy of the world; to believe that a strong national defense, lower taxes, less regulation, limited government and religious freedom are, demonstrably, the best national policy; that it’s Ok to expect legal immigrants to learn our language and assimilate into our culture and to expect illegal aliens to be kept out of our country; to recognize that much of our public education system has failed abysmally and that our children are not being educated at all but, rather, indoctrinated in Marxist thought.

He was one of the first to notice and then call out the Cancel Culture that, fueled by the unfettered power of a social media sector that enormously benefits from (and abuses) federal law—as well as the national tabloid media, had arisen like a virus to stamp out conservative speech. He was also one of the first to note the treacherous effect on our constitutional republic of a massive, permanent, liberal federal bureaucracy we now know as the “Deep State.”

Rush Limbaugh was truly a lion who roared and his voice and message will continue to ring out long after his death by providing a political and historical roadmap in our quest to preserve America’s liberty and greatness.

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Be an Inspiration

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr./Opinion

As a consequence of my mother’s military service, I was fortunate to spend some of my early childhood growing up in Germany. Due to the Europeans’ widespread use of the rail system, we frequently traveled by train. Suffice it to say, I soon developed an affinity for that particular mode of transportation. During the Summer of 2016, I was fortunate to share the experience with my children when we drove to Marshall, Texas and caught the Amtrak Texas Eagle to Dallas.

Aside from the gentleman who entered the train carrying what can only be described as a case for chainsaw, we had a fabulous time. And, the roundtrip fare was less than the cost of fuel, had we driven. The train was equipped with a viewing cabin, which afforded panoramic views of the East Texas countryside. We enjoyed each other’s company, and the difference in travel time proved to be negligible.

The train deposited us at Union Station, which left only a short walk to the Hyatt Regency. During our weekend in Dallas, we walked everywhere we wanted to go. Among our destinations was Dealey Plaza and the museum that is located on the 6th floor of what was formerly the Texas School Book Depository.

Although I am a fan of the former President, I didn’t deceive myself into thinking that my young children would want to spend a great deal of time being inundated with information relative to JFK. However, quite to my surprise, the kids were in no rush to leave the museum, the “grassy knoll”, or the plaza area. Like most of us, they were taken in by the aura of a leader, who, despite his very human flaws, nevertheless inspired.

As we rode the Texas Eagle back to Marshall, my wife and I began to debrief on the weekend’s trip. As we shared our thoughts, a particular one resonated in my mind: How vitally important it is to have leaders who inspire. To that point, I recently came across the following JFK quote: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.” What an amazing concept! Certainly, many leaders have referenced an appreciation for Kennedy. And many cite him as one who inspired their actions. Yet, he was a relatively young man when he left his mark on history.

Much like JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young man when he went to Birmingham to address the injustices that pervaded the city. In fact, he was only thirty-four. As it regards Birmingham, this past February, my wife and I took a group of high school students to visit the city. While in Birmingham, we visited sites such as the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed on September 15, 1963. As a consequence of the bombing, four young girls lost their lives. Ironically, our tour guide advised us that the Sunday School lesson that morning was titled “A Love That Forgives”.

The church bombing was one of three such bombings that had occurred within an 11-day span and came on the heels of a Federal Court order that mandated the integration of Alabama’s public school system. In this light, it is seen that the bombings were instituted as push back against the progress that was being made due to the Civil Rights Movement, which was being spearheaded by the young Dr. King. Again, despite their youth, both JFK and MLK were able to achieve great things because they inspired others to be more than themselves.

Although they provide monumental examples of inspiration from the standpoint of iconic, national heroes, trust that the influence of local, hometown heroes cannot be overstated. Due to the fact that we encounter our local heroes and heroines on a regular basis, their influence has the potential to be even more pervasive and lasting. In short, we can actually touch them.

We should also be aware of the fact that we can each live a life worthy of emulation. We can live the type of life that serves as an inspiration to others. Even our chance encounters can leave a lasting impression. That impression can be a good one, or it can be an unpleasant one. We CAN be difference makers should we choose to do so.

In closing, I’d like to reference another JFK quote. During his 1961 address to the National Industrial Conference Board, President Kennedy stated, “For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great…not for what it is, though of this we are greatly proud…but, for what it someday can, and, through the effort of us all, someday will be.” Soaring rhetoric meant to inspire and capture a soaring ideal.

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NSU Shreveport classes remain virtual; all other classes resume Wednesday

Northwestern State University will resume classes on all learning platforms (face-to-face, online and Hy-flex) on campuses in Natchitoches, Leesville and Alexandria Wednesday, Feb. 24. Classes on NSU’s Shreveport campus will continue to be held virtually until all water issues have been resolved.

“All face-to-face classes will remain virtual for the Shreveport campus. All nursing and radiology clinical students on each campus should check with their coordinators regarding their clinical assignments for the remainder of the week,” said Dr. Joel Hicks, interim dean of NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health. “Most Shreveport clinical students are able to attend their clinical courses, however, and the Alexandria, Natchitoches and Leesville students are able to go to their clinical rotations.”

All support offices and computer labs on campuses in Natchitoches, Leesville and Alexandria will be open Wednesday. Shreveport offices will remain closed until water has been restored to the campus. The university will make an announcement about when the Shreveport campus will reopen as soon as water issues are resolved.

Power and water have been restored to all residential buildings, according to Director of Housing and Residence Life Stephanie Dyjack. Water pressures continues to improve, but laundry facilities will not open until Wednesday to ensure full water pressure has been restored. Water issues persisted at University Columns Clubhouse, which is no longer being utilized as a warming/charging location.

Residents returning to campus are reminded that the boil advisory for the city and parish are still in effect. Residents should boil water for one minute before consuming. Bottled water is available for residential students in each building’s clubhouse every afternoon.

Dining facilities will resume normal hours Wednesday, except for Café DeMon, which will remain closed while the boil advisory remains in effect. Chick-fil-A will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. beginning Wednesday but with limited menu items until the boil advisory is lifted, due to company guidelines. They will only offer items that require no water such as nuggets, Chick-fil-A sandwiches, spicy sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled nuggets, waffle fries and cookies.

“We appreciate the patience of our students and the university community as we’ve worked diligently to repair damage caused by last week’s winter ice storm,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “It has taken a tremendous amount of teamwork and efforts are still ongoing with regards to our Shreveport campus. We will make an announcement regarding the Shreveport campus as soon as water is fully restored.”

In the event of an emergency, students should call University Police at (318) 357-5431.

Residential students can also contact the RA on call as follows:

University Columns RA on Call – (318) 663-7992
University Place 1 RA on call – (318) 471-0551
University Place 2 RA on call – (318) 471-0179
Varnado Hall RA on call – (318) 471-3382

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Notice of Death – February 23, 2021

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
Arrangements TBA

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

Stafford Bill Moses
February 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

James “Sap” Anders
February 1, 1941 – February 14, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 2 pm at Cedar Grove Baptist Church

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

Kenneth “Kenny” Ray Blundell
November 26, 1949 – February 21, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Doris Pendarvis
February 16, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 11 am at Beulah Church

Kenneth Simmons
February 14, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Gloria Folden
February 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

William Sherwood Ward
May 08, 1938 – February 21, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 4 pm at Holley Springs Cemetery

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Cattle Ranchers Work Round The Clock To Save Livestock During Unprecedented Winter Weather

With frigid temperatures affecting everything from the roads, to school closures, to busted water pipes, and power outages, one thing many aren’t considering is the effect on local livestock.

If you weren’t raised around livestock or currently in a situation where caring for outdoor animals is part of your day-to-day life, it can be easy to forget the harsh effects the cold can have on all animals. Local cattle rancher, Kresha Matkin, has called attention to this terrible reality through a Facebook post made calling for prayers from friends and family.

According to a post made Thursday, her ranch has experienced two tough losses of cattle already due directly to the winter weather. She says the difficulties go far beyond what anyone can see from an outside perspective. What may look like just needing to warm a few animals, becomes so much more.

Kresha and her husband Brad Matkin have been working nonstop since the start of this winter storm to make sure their cattle live through this. From dealing with equipment that won’t crank in the cold, to having to “shovel out all of the troughs before feeding hay and feed every day”. They are even having to physically bust up all of the water in the troughs several times a day to make sure the animals have access to food and water.

Kresha said that the entire Matkin family, including their kids, has jumped in to help. From “carrying feed buckets, to smashing ice in the water troughs, to holding gates in the snow and ice, I’m very proud of them!”

It’s clear the ranchers and their families are doing all they can to ensure a safe winter for the cattle they can save. Though the losses are still tough.

“It’s the most helpless feeling in the world to hold an animal while it dies and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just make it comfortable. We put many hours in this week though and hopefully, we are past the worst” Kresha expressed how difficult this situation has been on their entire family both physically and emotionally.

This tough winter is being felt across Sabine Parish. Kay Anthony, another local cattle farmer stated that; “it has taken all day to feed and hay the cattle. This has been rough on them and us! We’ve not seen anything like this in 36 years!”

While the effects of this storm on local agriculture and livestock may feel distant to anyone not directly involved, a bad season for farmers could have a drastic ripple effect on the local and statewide economy. According to the LSU Ag Center, agriculture plays a vital role in the statewide economy bringing in roughly $26 billion in revenue annually.

The Matkin family, the Anthony family, and so many more local ranch families have been working round the clock to care for their livestock to in turn be able to provide food for those across the parish and state as well.

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Sabine Parish Not Out Of The Woods Yet From Winter Weather Devastation

SABINE PARISH, La – While the worst may be over, we aren’t completely out of the woods yet.

This past week has brought unprecedented winter weather conditions for the state of Louisiana. Due to this, the roads have become impassable, power has been knocked out, pipes have frozen and burst, and hundreds of drivers have either crashed or had to abandon their vehicles throughout the state.

While the worst of the weather conditions are over following last night’s hard freeze, thousands remain without power and water throughout Sabine Parish and so many more are unable to return to work just yet due to the condition of local roads.

The diligent work of linemen and water companies in Sabine Parish along with local law enforcement is inching the area closer to a return to normalcy following a devastating week.

According to a post made by the Town of Many, “all water wells are running and the water plant is running” but due to a leak that has yet to be located water is being lost fast which is affecting overall water pressure for the parish. Citizens of the parish are asked to look out of their windows and see if they notice a water leak anywhere. If found or if a leak is seen anywhere in town locals are asked to call 318-256-3651 or 318-581-7306 and report it.

Pendleton Water has made the following statement as well: Due to the extreme cold weather and many of our customers developing leaks, we have not been able to keep up with the demand. We have had to turn off certain sections of the system to help correct the problem. If you are out of water, please shut your water off at your main valve. If you have neighbors that have vacant camps, ask them to have their main shut off as well. By doing this you will help speed up the process of restoring water to your neighborhood.

Along with watching for water leaks, local LEOs are urging everyone to continue to stay off of the roads as they remain dangerous and now it has been reported that local gas stations are completely out of gasoline, though diesel is still available at this time. There isn’t an exact timeline when the town will have fuel again. If driving is unavoidable, proceed with extreme caution and drive much slower than you typically would.

As more information regarding the local conditions becomes available, we will update. Be sure to follow the Sabine Parish Journal on Facebook for the latest local news regarding this winter storm.

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Heart Health

By Reba Phelps

The month of February is famous for embodying all matters related to the heart. It is recognized as National Heart Health Month. The ever so romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day, is also celebrated in February. National Wear Red Day is also recognized on the first Friday of the month. Needless to say, it is difficult to let the month go by without paying homage to the beating muscle that resides inside of your chest.

If heart health is a true concern of yours you can even visit You will see a plethora of health information that covers everything that could possibly go wrong with your heart and how to fix it.

During the month of February many health care facilities will even offer free exams, workshops, and even quizzes so you can calculate your heart health and rid yourself of the dangerous risks associated with not paying enough attention to the beating of your heart.

And, if you do not recognize February as healthy heart month you may fall into the category of celebrating the state of your heart. Your heart could be smitten with a brand new love that you are celebrating for the very first time. Or, your heart could be celebrating the old and familiar love of longtime Valentine. You could also be like many people who avoid Valentine’s Day all together because their heart was broken at some point and they never fully recovered.

Sometimes hearts cannot be trusted because they carry scars that were not caused by genetics or lack of exercise and a healthy diet.

No stone has been uncovered when it comes to the American Heart Association providing health information, they have thought of everything when it comes to tips and tricks to guard your heart. But, there is one disease of the heart that simply cannot be cured by modern medicines, exercise or diet and not many people speak of it. While it seems that there is an endless supply of ways to heal an unhealthy heart found on, it simply does not offer resolve for a heart of stone. How exactly does one cure a heart of stone?

A stone cold or calloused heart is something that grows gradually through years of emotional aches and pains. It can do extensive eternal damage that often cannot be repaired until it is too late. According to, a study from Concordia University confirms that bitterness can actually affect your metabolism, immune response, organ functions and this can lead to physical disease.

There are many different avenues for the treatment of the health issues caused by the unmanaged heart. You can get your health insurance card ready because there is no shortage of physicians and health coaches just waiting to help you. With the proper care you can make strides in turning your health around in a short amount of time.

However, for the bitter heart, there is one great physician who is waiting to hear from you. There is never a wait for an appointment and you do not have to worry about preferred providers, co-pays or deductibles. He is ready for you to lay your cares, bitterness and worries at his feet. It is normally not cured with just one conversation with him, it takes repeated conversations. Sometimes, multiple times a day. He wants to build that longterm relationship with you and fill your heart with his peace.

He wants to give you joy instead of mourning and beauty instead of ashes. He wants your heart or stone to become one of flesh. He wants you to be healthy and full of love to give others.

“My flesh and heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

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Angler’s Perspective

Making Babies

For a bass angler, this is the best time of the year to fish. The early spring and warming water temperatures bring big bass shallow in order to make babies. This is a time of year known by bass anglers as the “spawn.” It’s when bass come out of their deep water winter haunts and start the process of producing young fry (baby bass). Many an angler has laid awake at night dreaming of catching that fish of a lifetime during the months of late February, March and April. While there are some fish that live shallow year around, there’s also a group of bass that live deep all year long until Mother Nature says “go make babies.” This is when your bigger female bass pull into the shallow waters and become more susceptible to being caught while making beds and laying their eggs when conditions are right.

Now some northern states have rules that prevent anglers from fishing during the spawning season and will actually close their lakes during this time of year. This is mainly due to the fact that northern states have a much shorter growing season. It’s also a way to ensure the bass has a better opportunity to spawn without interruption or being caught and taken off the bed. But here in the south, anglers take full advantage of this opportunity by what we call “sight fishing.” Sight fishing is where an angler attempts to see and catch a bass in shallow water while it’s sitting on a bed. Now for the most part, the male bass (anglers call a buck) will come in days before the females and actually look for a place to build the nest (or bed). The females bass sit just off the first drop out in deeper water waiting for the water to warm up. Now it varies on what is the exact water temp for bass to spawn but it can range from 58 up to 65 degrees. This is what I consider stage one of three.

The second stage is where the female pulls up into the shallow water pairing up with a male and continuing to prepare the bed. But once the female commits to coming in and laying her eggs, there’s not much that will cause her to pull off the bed other than a major cold front or hard falling water. It’s truly amazing how resilient bass are and how Mother Nature herself will make sure conditions are right.

Stage three is when the female is now ready to lay her eggs. She literally starts to rock and roll from side to side while the buck bass hits her on her side in order to loosen up her eggs as she deposits them into the bed. It’s at this point the male will fertilize the eggs and the female will leave and pull out to first drop off and recover. Sometimes they will head for the nearest cover like a brush top or maybe a boat dock as they go through recovery mode. The male will hang around and protect the eggs even after they turn into fry (baby bass). This protection period by the male only lasts so long, as at some point they will actually turn against and feed on the fry themselves. So how can the fry protect themselves? Well they need good cover like brush or good thick vegetation like hydrilla (grass) where they can hide from the bigger fish which allows them to reach a size where they can fend for themselves.

Once again, I hope you learned something from all this spawning talk and I hope you have a better understanding of how Mother Nature works. The spawn really is an amazing process that keeps our lakes and rivers stock with good quantities of fish. Tune in every Monday on our Facebook page at 12:30 CST. for Tackle Talk Live 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!!!

Steve Graf
Tackle Talk Live &
The Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

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