Four SPSO Deputies Recognized

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces four of his Deputies have completed their Louisiana POST Level 1 Certification for Basic Law Enforcement Peace Officers on May 12, 2021.

Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) was established by Act 397 of 1976 to develop training standards for peace officers in the State of Louisiana.

Deputy Josh Sandel, Deputy Jarod Weldon and Detective Shelly Sepulvado completed their 17 weeks, 305 hours of training at the LaFourche Sheriff’s Regional P.O.S.T. Academy in Thibodaux, LA.
Detective Chris Abrahams completed his 16 weeks of training at the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy in Plain Dealing, LA.

Deputy Sandel is a Patrolman under Lieutenant Jason Heard. Deputy Weldon is a School Resource Officer under Lieutenant Walter Meshell. Detective Sepulvado and Detective Abrahams are assigned to CID under Chief Detective Anthony Lowe Jr.

Sheriff Mitchell congratulates and commends these Deputies for their determination and sacrifice over the last four months. Sheriff Mitchell knows first-hand it was not an easy task, but these four Deputies have proven they have what it takes to serve and protect the citizens of Sabine Parish.


Ceremony Held In Honor Of National Police Week

Mitzi Harris, Luci Collins and Glenda McComic with Project Celebration, Inc hosted a small ceremony this morning in honor of National Police Week.
PCI provided donuts, cinnamon rolls and orange juice. PCI wanted to show its appreciation of the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies, as well as honor all officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Several Deputies and Officers from across Sabine Parish were in attendance.
Sabine Parish Sheriff Chaplain Anthony Lowe Sr began with an opening prayer.
Chief Detective Anthony Lowe Jr gave statistics of fallen officers across the country and in Louisiana. Chief Detective Lowe said this job is a “calling”, not just anyone can handle or perform the job duties of a police officer.
CID Administrative Assistant Michelle Counts read a poem entitled “We Remember The Officers”.
Sheriff Aaron Mitchell read the names and information of the four officers who have died in the line of duty in Sabine Parish. They are Louisiana State Police Sergeant C.J. Miller, Sabine Parish Sheriff Detective Jimmy A Kinney, Many Police Officer Waymon W. Ferguson, and Zwolle Police Officer Howard Evans Jr.
Chief Deputy Brad Walker read some information and statistics about COVID-19 in law enforcement during the past year.
Many Police Chief Cheryl Wooley expressed her appreciation to law enforcement officers.
Detective Chris Abrahams expressed his love of the job and read a quote “I Am A Sheepdog”.
Sheriff Mitchell and his staff greatly appreciate PCI for showing its support of law enforcement.
Sheriff Mitchell also portrayed his sincere gratitude to the citizens of Sabine Parish for their overwhelming support of the job he is doing as the Sheriff of Sabine Parish.

Update: Zwolle Police Department Continues Forensics Training

UPDATE: Chief Daniel Thomas announced Thursday that the ZPD has now completed another round of forensic training.

“Zwolle PD Completes level 2 of DNA analysis training. We would like to express our gratitude to The North Louisiana Forensic Sciences Center for making this training possible.”

Original Story: 

On Thursday, May 6th The Zwolle Police Department announced their completion of class one of a DNA analysis training course.

The local police department, led by Daniel Thomas, attended first part of the training class at the North Louisiana Forensic Sciences Center in Shreveport this week.

Everyone from the Zwolle Police Department was in attendance and ready to learn.

The Center, located in Shreveport, opened in 2017 and has been serving as the location for all DNA testing within North Louisiana.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff was eager for the center to open in 2017 stating; “”People think that DNA is something you can get by in just a matter of minutes,” Prator said. “The truth of the matter is it takes weeks to get a DNA sample back and it’s about $600 worth of work fo r each sample. There’s a lot of work to it. This will help to streamline that some and it will help to put everything under one roof.”

Now having served the community for nearly five years, the center has served its purpose and then some.

Chief of Police for Zwolle, Daniel Thomas, said that officers will continue to be trained “in order to make them more effective in solving crimes and making our community a better and safer place”

Chief Thomas would like to thank the North Louisiana Forensic Sciences Center for hosting this class. Chief Thomas is very proud of his officers on this great accomplishment.


Be Still and Know…..

May is all about moms and I am very blessed to share Stephanie McKinney’s story with you this week. She is teacher in Natchitoches Parish who cherishes the fact that she can use her past hurts and life lessons to assist parents and students as they go through the same things that God has delivered her from. These are Stephanie’s words…..

Beyonce praises it but it is very challenging to go from a, what you thought, happy family of four to a single mom raising two boys ages 13 and 8.

When I was married, I worked as a Teacher’s Aide in my hometown in Texas. I brought home about $800 a month. It was fine when I was married because he had a good job. I just worked to pay a few bills and then had some fun money leftover. After the divorce, I was broke. I had a house note, all the bills, and two sons to raise. I received a little child support. And my parents helped when needed but they couldn’t do much financially.

But guess what?

Every month my bills were paid, we never did without meals, and I had a little left over so we could continue to do occasional fun things. Every single month. I worried how I was going to make it happen? How can I pay my bills not to lose my home? I had so many worries and fears but God always provided. I vividly remember, I was down to my last few dollars and my monthly paycheck was still a week away. Thankfully, every bill was paid that month but I still needed gas money and one of the boys needed something for school. I could either get a few dollars in gas or give the money to my son. I chose my son. I always chose my sons.

I would have enough to get back and forth to work but we couldn’t go anywhere else. When I opened my wallet to give him the money, tucked behind my few one dollar bills there was a twenty dollar bill. He knew what I needed and He provided it for me. I swear it wasn’t there before. I cried thankful tears for hours

A year after the divorce, I decided to go to school for my teaching degree. I had an amazing group of teachers and administrators helping me and encouraging me. Every time I thought I couldn’t make it, one of them would step in, without even knowing it was needed, and encourage me to keep pushing.

My entire college education was provided by grants and it would have been impossible otherwise.

It took me longer than the average person because I had to work while raising two kids alone. But, with God, I made it. My whole reason for wanting to be a teacher is because my oldest son has a learning disability. In third grade he was considered a bad kid. Talking and disruptive, the whole nine yards. He’s actually a great human, but the teachers only saw the bad. In fourth grade, he had amazing teachers who knew right away that he didn’t have ADHD, he had a reading comprehension problem. They helped guide us through what accommodations he needed and it helped tremendously.

I remember crying in the meetings thinking that I somehow let my baby down. They assured me that I hadn’t and that we would all get through it together. And we did. I learned many things I could demand for him. I learned to push him when he needed it but mostly, I learned to stand up for his rights. It took a year but he got on the right track.

God laid it on my heart to get my degree so I could help other mom’s get through that.

I wanted to be there to hug them when they are scared when educators are telling them, “Something isn’t right with your child.” I can say, ”I honestly know how you feel. I promise, we will get through this.” Even though the chips were stacked against me, God knew what He had called me to do and He provided the path for that to happen. Next year, I will be doing SBLC full time on my campus, and I truly believe this was my calling from the beginning.

Divorce is hard. Being a single mother is hard. I would honestly do it all over again. I’ve learned so much about myself.I have wonderful memories of just me and my boys all piled into my full size bed for the first few months after he was gone because we all wanted to be close to each other. Memories of special times, birthdays, holidays, and just regular days. My sons and I have a very close bond that is unbreakable. It is because of what we went through together and what they saw me go through alone. With God’s help, I picked myself up, and pushed on because not doing so would have negatively impacted their lives and they deserve better than that. God made sure the three of us came out of top.

If I had to give advice to women going through a divorce or separation, it would be this: It’s hard. There are times you want to scream, cry and be angry. Keep your dignity and your pride. Hold your head up. You’re walking through darkness right now and it might seem like you’ll never come out of it, but I promise you will. And the other side is so much better than your past life. Just keep moving, reach out for help when needed, pray, and always remember, you not only have God but you also have a lot of people who support you that He has placed along your path. They are there for a reason. And if you don’t have anyone like that, I’ll be happy to hold your hand until the sun is shining on you again.

One verse that held true during that time was this, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” Because I never once, did I want.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” – Psalm 23:1

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Download Now: GoNatchitoches App

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) and its partners kick off Spring and Summer celebrations and encourage residents and visitors to download the GoNatchitoches app. The app serves as your one-stop-shop trip planner and a community calendar that serves as an interactive way to map out everything visitors and residents want to see and do in Natchitoches.

The GoNatchitoches app provides a new way to explore what Natchitoches offers, including upcoming events, popular attractions, restaurants, tours, lodging, shops, landmarks, and much more. Users can view it all at once or search by categories like Attractions, Dining, Arts & Culture, Lodging, and many others.
See a festival you don’t want to miss? Click “Add,” and the event will be added to your plan, and you’ll be sent a reminder.

That restaurant everyone keeps telling you about? Click “Add,” and you won’t forget to try it.
Want to invite some friends? Share your plan with them via social media, email, or SMS text message.
Need a reminder for upcoming events? Turn on the push notifications for the app!
No need to waste time or another sheet of paper. With this planner, GoNatchitoches can help you get organized and maximize your time so that you can have more fun in Natchitoches.

Already on your way to Natchitoches or live here? Download the app for your iPhone or Android and take your plan with you! Just type “GoNatchitoches” in the search box of your app store.

The “GoNatchitoches” project is a coalition between the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the City of Natchitoches, Cane River National Heritage Area, Northwestern State University, the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission, the Natchitoches Historic District Business Association, the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

Opportunity: Bus Drivers

POSITION: Bus Drivers – Ecco Ride

DESCRIPTION: Ecco Ride is now accepting applications for Bus Drivers in Natchitoches Parish.

· Health, Life, Dental, Vision, 401K

· Drivers have daily minimum, plus charter opportunities

· Air-conditioned buses

QUALIFICATIONS: Must be 21 years of age with a clean driving record, no criminal background, pre-employment drug screen, ability to obtain a CDL Class B license with P and S endorsements, and a passion for children and giving back to the community. Full training is provided.

CONTACT: Call to learn more 318-352-6465 or apply online at

USA boxer Tim Dement recalls the 1972 Olympic Games Saturday at La. Sports Hall of Fame

USA Olympic boxer Tim Dement, a Bossier City native, will be the featured guest Saturday afternoon at 2 for a free Olympic Glory program at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches, to share his memories of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Dement will take questions and talk in the museum’s Atmos Energy Gallery. Admission is free beginning at 1 o’clock. The museum is located facing the traffic circle at the north end of Front Street.

He competed in the flyweight division at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Dement, a 17-year-old underdog, beat Bobby Hunter during the 1972 Olympic trials in the flyweight class, shocking the world and becoming a favorite of ABC Television’s Howard Cosell.

In Munich, Dement finished ninth overall at the 1972 Olympic Games, losing his second bout to Calixto Pérez. He became a Bossier Parish sheriff’s deputy and has retired after a long law enforcement career, but remains active as a coach and mentor in the Shreveport-Bossier boxing community. He was recently involved in hosting the USA Boxing Association Championships held in Shreveport.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum is bringing four world-class Olympians to the museum as part of a month-long lecture series called “Olympic Glory.” The program will inspire conversations about the role of sports in American culture and how the values of discipline, determination, sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, perseverance, and doing your personal best mirror the values necessary to achieve success in everyday life.

“Olympic Glory” is supported through a Rebirth Grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Friends of Louisiana Sports and History (FLASH). The four-part series will involve interviews between Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Chairman and FLASH president Doug Ireland and Dement, along with two more Olympians from Louisiana. The programs began last Saturday with two-time Olympic medalist Hollis Conway, who grew up in Shreveport and lives in Lafayette.

On May 22, Baton Rouge volleyball icon Danielle Scott (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics) is the featured guest. The series concludes May 29 with Alexandria’s Warren Morris, the LSU baseball legend who medaled in the 1996 Atlanta Games a few weeks after hitting the walk-off home run giving the Tigers their 1996 College World Series championship.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, 800 Front Street, Natchitoches, is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Normal admission, not charged for programs like the Olympic Glory series, is $6 for adults, $5 for students, seniors, and active duty military, and free for children six and younger. For more information, visit

PHOTO:  Tim Dement (at right, in white USA gear) is shown competing in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

NPSB Opportunity: Instructional Specialist

NSU Elementary / Middle Lab School

● Valid Teaching Certificate
● Master’s Degree in Education (preferred)
● Minimum of five years of teaching experience with evidence of successfully impacting student achievement, particularly those who have the greatest needs.

The Instructional Specialist is a critical lever in improving student achievement. The role of the Instructional Specialist is to build teacher capacity and deepen teachers’ understanding of instructional practices as related to Louisiana Student Standards and Data-Driven Instruction.

SALARY: Salary based on teacher pay scale with applicant’s years of experience, and the addition of a substantial Instructional Specialist stipend.


DEADLINE: Thursday, May 20, 2021

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

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of the following:
● Resume’
● Evidence of successful teaching experience (for example, VAM, Student
Performance Data, COMPASS, CLASS, etc.)
● Original transcripts from institution(s) awarding degree
● Three professional letters of recommendation, one of which is from your immediate supervisor

Submit a ten-to-fifteen-minute video clip of a model lesson involving students or
professional development session involving teachers where the applicant is leading the
event (share link via Google Drive to

Northwestern State comes up short against SFA, slated to play Sam Houston in elimination game Friday

By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant

HAMMOND – The Northwestern State softball team came up short Thursday night against Stephen F. Austin in its second game of the Southland Conference tournament. But it wasn’t for a lack of opportunities.

The Lady Demons pushed runners into scoring position numerous times but lacked the critical hit. That resulted in top-seeded SFA claiming a 4-1 victory over No. 4-seeded NSU.

“There are a lot of great things in that game,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “But against the best team in the conference, you’ve got to play your best game, and those were the things we didn’t do.”

Northwestern State (23-21) falls to the losers’ bracket. The Lady Demons battle No. 6-seeded Sam Houston at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Stephen F. Austin (35-10) advances to play No. 3-seeded McNeese at 4 p.m.

The Lady Demons put themselves in positions to score for a majority of the night. And the first inning was the one instance where they took advantage.

Freshman infielder Keely DuBois laced a single down the left-field line in the top of the first that staked NSU to the early 1-0 advantage. Unfortunately for the Lady Demons, DuBois big hit didn’t become contagious.

Aside from the first inning, NSU put a runner in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The most threatening was the top of the fifth when the Lady Demons put the first three runners on but couldn’t muster a run.

NSU made SFA starter Kassidy Wilbur — the Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year — grind to improve her record to 30-4. She went all seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits with 10 strikeouts.

Junior Jensen Howell received the start for NSU. She lasted two innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with one strikeout, dropping to 6-10 on the season.

Freshman Kenzie Seely entered in relief, and pitched another strong outing. She tossed the final four frames, surrendering zero earned run on one hit with one strikeout.

The Lady Jacks scored the pair off Howell in the second to take a 2-1 edge. The tacked on single runs in the third and fifth innings, respectively.

NSU enters its game against Sam Houston having beaten the Bearkats twice during the regular season.

Photo: Beverly Vincent

Angler’s Perspective: Wrapping Up a National Championship

In April, I fished the American Bass Anglers Ray Scott National Championship on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee. This is a four-day event you have to qualify for by finishing in the top ten overall in your division. There are divisions all over the United States especially the Eastern half of the country from Texas up to Minnesota over to Maine and down to Florida. For me, this makes my fifth Ray Scott Championship that I have qualified for in the last 6 years.

Covid 19 has had a big impact on this event the last two years and all the protocol that goes with it. Don’t get me wrong, ABA (American Bass Anglers) does a great job with organizing this event. We no longer have a pre-tournament banquet to honor the Anglers of the Year and we don’t have the great door prizes anymore; something the anglers really miss. The night before the event we do a personal check-in and pick up some free product, caps and t-shirts. We still have a meal but it’s in a to-go box and this year we had beef nachos. If there’s one thing anglers can do, it’s eat! This is also when you have to be on guard for fishing information designed to throw an angler off his game. We call this ‘dock talk” and its people who like to talk to hear themselves. While none of us are fishing for a living, we are fishing for thousands of dollars and a new loaded 20-foot Triton boat and the one and only opportunity for one of us to be a true national champion.

Day one was not what I expected as I only weighed two fish for 5.21 lbs. Now even though I felt good about what I thought I could catch, the first thing I noticed as I arrived at my starting spot, was how the water level had dropped. From the time I arrived at Chickamauga on Sunday, the lake was 3 feet low and continued to fall each day. But I was able to find fish in two areas on the northern end of the lake. One was a creek that held some good quality fish, and the other was a spawning flat with fish on beds. As I have said before, tournament fishing is a game of decisions and if you choose wrong, you will take yourself out of the competition. This is exactly what I did by choosing to fish the northern end of the lake instead of south. Now I did pre-fish on the south end with some success but, it was very crowded as there was not a fifty-yard stretch that did not have a boat on it. I don’t fish well in crowds, and it was at this point (day 2 of practice) that I decided to fish north. I really felt good about this decision especially after my day 3 practice with the fish I found. One thing you have to understand about river systems like Chickamauga, the water closest to the dam (south end) remains more stable than the water level up the lake. So, while the south end remained more stable with little effect on the fishing, the northern end had a constant drop in water level every day which pulled the fish out of the areas I had, or they were so shallow I could not even get to them by day two of the tournament. These are not excuses but just the facts as to how all the anglers that committed to going up the lake, struggled to weigh not just quality but even a five fish limit.

I still had a great time on this trip and like my previous five Ray Scott National Championship events, it was a huge success. ABA Tournament Director Chris Wayand does an outstanding job running this tournament and I encourage anyone who wants to fish a really good circuit, jump on board with the ABA Open Series or fish the new ABA Top 150 Solo Tour. By writing these articles, I hope you learn from my mistakes. The one great thing about any sport is that once that event is over (win or lose) you have the opportunity to redeem yourself and get better. Even at 60 years of age and all my experience as an angler, I’m still learning. Remember, it is through failure that we become better. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!

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