Disaster Training Next Saturday

District 8 of the Louisiana Baptist Convention will hold Disaster Relief training for volunteers on Saturday.  It will be held at Clara Springs Camp.

David Cheatwood is representing District 8 in organizing the training session.  He said, “Registration is at 7:30 am and the fee is $35.00.  The fee covers a cap and t-shirt, relief worker ID badge and a background check.  All of our people are volunteers, and everyone is welcome at the training.  There is no pre-registration, just show up!”

Cheatwood said volunteers are trained in the type of recovery efforts needed in Louisiana.  There will be chain saw training, clean-up of flooded houses, feeding and doing laundry for volunteers and disaster victims.  

The session Saturday is the first of six training sessions held across the state.  Cheatwood said they train in the winter and early spring before storms or other disasters occur later in the year.

District 8 encompasses Red River, Natchitoches, DeSoto and Sabine parishes.  Cheatwood said 39 people were trained during the 2021 session.  He is hopeful that many or more will come for training on Saturday at Clara Springs Camp.


Sabine Parish Basketball Scores

Sabine Parish Basketball Scores

Thursday January 13

Ebarb Lady Rebels 54 (10-14) (2-0)
Simpson 35 (3-18) (0-1)

Simpson 50 (16-6) (2-0)
Ebarb Rebels 38 (8-17) (1-1)

Friday January 14

GIRLS

Negreet 56 (15-9) (1-0)
Converse 38 (7-19) (0-2)

Florien 48 (26-2)
Many 27 (8-11)

Zwolle 45 (21-5) (2-0) Makayla Price 14, Infinity Sepulvado 11, Justice Howard 7, Olivia Sepulvado 6, Kalijah Smith 3, Alana Sepulvado 2 and Jalen Lynch
Stanley 35 (12-9) (0-2)

BOYS

Ebarb 62 (9-17)
Saline 41 (11-14)

Hornbeck 76 (19-4) (1-1)
Pleasant Hill 73 (20-9) (0-2)

Zwolle 54 (18-4) (2-0)
Stanley 53 (8-15) (0-2)

Negreet 58 (11-14) (1-0)
Converse 23 (8-13) (0-2)

Many 75 (8-4)
Florien 56 (14-13)


Many Man leads police on foot chase resulting in multiple possession charges

Justin Jeremy Cahoun (age-34) of Many was arrested at Timbers Apartments in Many early Sunday morning for several drug charges.
 
Sabine Parish Sheriff Patrol Sergeant N. Sandel and Deputy J. Bridges responded to a disturbance call at the apartment complex just after midnight. Deputies noticed Calhoun run from his parked vehicle towards the woods near the complex.
 
Deputies observed Calhoun throw a plastic bag when they caught up to him. Deputies discovered approximately 1 ounce of suspected methamphetamine, ½ ounce of crack cocaine, 3 ounces of marijuana, Clonazepam pills, and measuring scales in the bag. Deputies also found over $1000 cash in Calhoun’s pants pocket.
 
Deputies seized the narcotics, cash, and Calhoun’s 2018 gray Volkswagen Jetta. Calhoun had several prior narcotics arrests according to his criminal history record.
 
Calhoun was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Possession with intent to distribute schedule I (Marijuana), Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth), Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Crack Cocaine), Possession of schedule IV (Clonazepam), Possession of drug paraphernalia, Second or subsequent offenses, Flight from an officer.
 
No bond has been set at this time by the 11th Judicial District Court.
 
Sheriff Aaron Mitchell wanted to recognize Sgt Sandel and Deputy Bridges for their quick action in this case to get these illegal narcotics off the streets. Sheriff Mitchell also wanted to commend all his patrol deputies who are out in the parish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep Sabine Parish citizens safe.
 
SOURCE: SPSO

The Cops Who Didn’t Come Home

Director Christopher Wray/Op-Ed
Federal Bureau of Investigation

While many Americans celebrated the holidays with their families in the final week of 2021, law enforcement kept working. And, tragically, four officers didn’t make it home to their loved ones that week. They were murdered while doing their job keeping others safe. 

Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley, ambushed while alone in her car, died on Christmas Eve. Five days later in Illinois, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley was killed during a call for assistance. On Dec. 30, also in Illinois, Bradley Police Department Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic was shot while attempting to locate the owner of dogs left in a car. And on New Year’s Eve, Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek was killed in an attempted carjacking.

These four murders brought the total number of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2021 to 73, the highest annual number since the 9/11 attacks. That’s the equivalent of one officer murdered every five days. In a year when homicides and violent crime reached distressing levels, this 20-year high hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Especially troubling is that a record number of officers killed—nearly half—had no engagement with their assailant before the attack. Each story is heartbreaking: A 30-year Florida deputy murdered one shift shy of retirement; an officer ambushed on his first day on the job, leaving behind a wife and 6-month-old son; a combat veteran and his police dog killed while serving together. 

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we experienced loss in 2021, too. Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin were murdered while doing the difficult job investigating crimes against children. FBI Task Force Officer Greg Ferency of the Terre Haute, Ind., Police Department was ambushed and killed outside an FBI office. 

When I started as FBI director, I made it my practice to call the chief or sheriff of every officer intentionally killed in the line of duty. I have now made more than 200 such calls. Each conversation reminds me that behind the uniform, the badge, and, yes, sometimes the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, there are real people. With each call, I think about the families and friends who lost someone they loved, the children who will grow up without a parent, and the communities deprived of a public servant. 

We owe it to them to redouble our efforts to take the most violent offenders off the streets and to make sure officers have the resources, equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely. Even more, we need to ensure the brave men and women know that the communities they serve have their backs.

Every day, officers willingly put themselves at risk not knowing what dangerous situation or traumatic event they might encounter. I won’t pretend every person who carries a badge is beyond reproach, but the overwhelming majority do the job with the professionalism and commitment to equal justice citizens rightly expect. 

I meet frequently with chiefs and sheriffs across the country, and they are concerned about morale and the challenges of recruiting the next generation of officers. They understand that trust and transparency are vital to safety, and they are committed to finding ways to improve interactions. And while respect must be earned, if we are going to recruit and retain the kind of people willing to put their lives on the line to protect others, we have to show that we value their sacrifices.

Civic and business leaders, government officials and responsible citizens need to consider how we talk about engaging with law enforcement. When police are miscast as lacking humanity—devoid of empathy and compassion—everyone suffers. Departments lose good officers who are hard to replace, and communities are less safe. 

As we reflect on 2021, let’s honor the memories of those who lost their lives protecting others. Let’s commit to making communities safer, finding ways to improve interactions between law enforcement and those they serve, holding everyone to the high standards befitting men and women in uniform, and valuing those who do their jobs with honor. 


Demons hire North Carolina State product Kevin Bostian to take AD job

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Northwestern State’s search for its new athletics director has wrapped up with North Carolina State graduate Kevin Bostian, a highly-accomplished fundraiser with senior-level administrative experience at several prominent Division I athletics programs, hired to take over for longtime AD Greg Burke, effective Feb. 7.

Bostian, 43, has spent the last two years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as the executive associate athletic director for development. He previously worked at his alma mater’s athletic department as a major gifts officer, after revenue generation and management positions at Georgia Southern Tennessee Tech, East Tennessee State and South Alabama.

Bostian will be introduced in Natchitoches at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom on the NSU campus. Bostian’s hire, announced Tuesday afternoon, is subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which governs Northwestern State University.

Bostian becomes just the second NSU AD since 1983, succeeding Burke, who is taking a position as a university fund raiser after 25 1/2 years in charge of the NSU Athletic Department.

A 2000 magna cum laude graduate of North Carolina State in business management, Bostian earned his master’s of business administration and master’s of sports administration from Ohio University in 2002.

He and his wife, Megan, have three children, Ayla, Zoe and Piper.

“We are elated that Kevin will be joining the university as athletic director,” Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “He has impressive credentials and extensive experience in college athletics that will assist him in re-energizing NSU’s intercollegiate sports program and guiding it to new levels of success.

“He has a steadfast commitment to student-athletes and their accomplishments on and off the field, and Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff, and other stakeholders will appreciate his genuineness, enthusiasm, and spirit of collaboration. Kevin and his family will be a valuable addition to the university and community.”

The hire culminated a two-month national search spearheaded by Kyle Bowlsby, founder of Bowlsby Sports Advisors, the search firm that coordinated the process. An alumni-based advisory committee helped hone the candidate pool down to roughly 12 semifinalists and three finalists, who were interviewed on campus in the last 36 hours.

“Northwestern State University has hired an exceptional person in Kevin Bostian,” said Bowlsby, the 34-year-old son of Bob Bowlsby, one of college athletics’ most powerful leaders as commissioner of the Big XII Conference. “He is a transformational leader who will maximize the student-athlete experience and position the athletic department for long-term success. Kevin rose quickly on our list of potential candidates as someone who is passionate and driven to make his mark on the intercollegiate athletics landscape.”

Based on a press release from Northwestern State Athletics

Photo: Graphic by Northwestern State Athletics


All washed up

We’ve all been there, up Mildew Creek without a paddle.

Such is life when your clothes-washing machine goes 10 toes up.

It didn’t really die as much as it went on strike or was just terrible at its job. If my old clothes-washing machine were a football team, it would be the Dallas Cowboys, a mind-numbing imposter.

We inherited a “water and energy efficient” washing machine; it came with the house, same as the den and kitchen sink. And it looked like a washing machine, a little white cube with knobs and buttons and a big bin.

True to its branding, it was very efficient with water — but only because it hardly used any. And if you really think about it, water is one of the main things you need to wash clothes properly. So, the trouble was, this “pretend washer” wasn’t efficient at all in getting clothes clean. You know you’re in trouble when the clothes smell worse after they’re washed than before.

You know how a wet dog smells? There’s a charm to that smell if it’s on your dog from time to time. The smell loses its sentimentality if it’s coming from your blouse or blue jeans.

Ode to a Dried-up Washer 

When your washing machine

Is all washed up,

It’s a dirty shame.

You’re out of luck

And in deep poo.

(You smell bad too.)

Even your friends and family want little to do with you if it’s 9 a.m., you’re working a desk job, and you smell like old eggs or last week’s trash.

“Honey, something stinks in here.”

“Yeah, sorry; I just washed a load of clothes.”

Something’s rotten in Denmark. Not optimal.

People could never have had this type of problem before the invention of clothes. You wore leaves. They got dirty or smelly, you threw them in the compost pile and picked yourself some new leaves, either in the yard or off the rack at The Leaves Store — “Got something in a Fig or a Palm? Size 16? Petite?”

But then some nitwit invented the snap brim hat, which led to cottage industries of neckties, pants, dresses, ascots, two-tone shoes and, eventually, the clothes-washing machine.

Sigh … It was a simpler time.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought an appliance. Maybe a toaster 10 years ago. This was different. This was Big Game Hunting, a safari.

Yet it proved as easy as studying online, then showing the nice man at the store a picture. He hit F4 and maybe a Shift, typed in the model number, looked up and said, “There’s one on the truck that just pulled up outside.”

If you ain’t got timing, you ain’t got nothin’.

Quick as he could say “Twelve months same as cash,” the deal was done. The delivery guys showed up two days later, unhooked the old and hooked up the new, did it all in maybe eight minutes, could not have been nicer, and hauled my old “washer that wasn’t really a washer” away for just $30.

“You’ll take this heavy piece of junk away from my house for just 30 bucks? When otherwise I’d have to borrow a friend and a truck and lift it and haul it myself? Glory!”

Would have paid twice that. Even three times, and I’m broke as that machine was.

For another $10, he said I could buy a “nice” plot in the Appliance Cemetery, between a busted coffee pot and a Frigidaire, and he’d bury her there. I told him I was good, to dump it in a ditch if he wanted. I’m a sentimental softie, but not in this case.

We are so spoiled, all of us. Used to, clothes-washing machines never broke down. Back then they were called “our grandmothers,” have a wash tub and washboard will travel.

Laundromats took off after World War II — talk about a lot of laundry to do — and in-house washing machines became less bulky and more affordable and, thankfully, ran on electricity and not on steam. Now they’re common as a ketchup or coffee stain.

Thank goodness for that. Especially when they actually work. I don’t look any better since getting a new washer, but I smell fresh as $736.06, plus tax.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


Natchitoches’ First Gun Show is a Resounding Success!

This past weekend, over 1,000 people attended Natchitoches’ first gun show, held Jan 15-16 at the Natchitoches Events Center. The attendees had over 80 tables featuring a range of knife and firearms vendors. While firearms were clearly the main focus of the event, there was also a popular craft vendor accompanying her husband who was selling ammunition and firearm accessories as well as a company selling rain gutter guards.

From antique military rifles such as a 1903 Springfield, M-1 Garand and M-14 to modern rifles and pistols, there was something for every taste and need. Whether you were shopping for personal protection or a scope to increase your chances next deer season, something was there for you at the Natchitoches Gun Show. There were also ample opportunities to learn and try out new equipment from the friendly and knowledgeable vendors.

The next Natchitoches Gun Show will be held at the Natchitoches Events Center May 7 & 8, 2022.


Guardian Angels

The belief in guardian angels goes back thousands of years.  The Bible mentions several instances in which God sent angels to protect or deliver people from danger.  Guardian angels are believed to be able to take on any form and can embody any person at any time.  Believers contend that guardian angels are all around us although they are usually unaware that they are guardian angels.    

On December 9, 2021, Muskogee, Oklahoma had at least two known cases where a guardian angel stepped in to help.  It happened first at an elementary school.  A seventh-grade boy was standing by a water fountain holding a water bottle.  Wishing to refill his bottle, the boy pushed the button to turn the water on while he held the bottle in his other hand.  Rather than releasing the button to remove the lid, he removed the cap with his teeth.  When he inhaled, the bottle cap slid down and lodged in his throat.  In a panic, he stumbled into the nearest classroom and mouthed the words, “I’m choking.  I’m choking.”  
 
It could have been his last breath, but his guardian angel was waiting.  The guardian angel sprang into action as if he were placed in the moment for that very purpose.  He got behind the seventh-grader and performed the Heimlich Maneuver in a manner that would have impressed most doctors.  His only experience with the life-saving technique was what he had seen on YouTube.  With a couple of thrusts, the bottle cap shot out of the panic-stricken boy’s mouth.  The boy took several deep breaths and thanked his guardian angel.  Rather than glorifying the fact that he had saved someone’s life, he humbly returned to what he had been doing before the choking boy staggered into his classroom. 
 
Later that day, a fire broke out in the back of a house in Muskogee.  As if by divine providence, a guardian angel was on his way to church with a family member when he noticed smoke and flames coming from the house.  He ran from the car toward the home.  He knocked on the door and yelled to those inside that the house was on fire.  Several people ran from the home while the guardian angel ran into the house.  A disabled woman who required a walker to get around, slowly made her way toward the front of the house.  Unfortunately, the fire was spreading more quickly than she could move.  She was gasping for breath and struggling to walk.  The guardian ran to her, put his arms around her, and quickly helped her escape from the flames.  The guardian angel remained completely calm through the whole ordeal, which could have claimed his life as well.  Had he been a few seconds later, the woman probably would have been consumed by the flames.  Once he made sure the woman was safe, he returned to his car and continued on to church.  
 
On a single December day in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the same guardian angel saved the lives of a choking boy and a disabled woman from a house fire.  People referred to him as a hero, but he just replied that “it was the right thing to do.”  For his life-saving deeds, the Muskogee Police Department and Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office named him an honorary member of their forces.  He was also recognized by the Muskogee Public Schools Board of Education during their December board meeting.  ‘I don’t want everyone to pay attention to me,” he said.  “I kind of did what I was supposed to do.”  This guardian angel was Davyon Johnson, an 11-year-old boy. 
 
1.  Medina, Eduardo. “A 6th Grader Saves the Lives of Two People On the Same Day.” The New York Times. December 26, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/us/davyon-johnson-student-saves-classmate-fire.html.

2.  Crane, Emily. “11-year-old Boy Saves Choking Classmate, Woman from Burning Home — All in One Day.” New York Post. December 23, 2021. https://nypost.com/2021/12/23/oklahoma-boy-saves-choking-classmate-woman-from-burning-home/.


Gov. Edwards, Dr. Kanter Release Statements on Louisiana Surpassing 1 Million COVID Infections

Tuesday, January 18th, Gov. John Bel Edwards and State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter released statements on Louisiana surpassing 1 million reported COVID infections. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 29,125 new cases Tuesday since January 14, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,025,748.

“Today, Louisiana reaches another sobering milestone, with our state officially reporting more than one million cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic in 2020. And, we know that because cases are underreported, in reality many more people in Louisiana have had COVID at some point in the past 22 months. And, while we are looking for early signs that this current Omicron surge is letting up, we still have far too many sick people in our state and far too many people in our hospitals with COVID. Most tragically, 15,195 Louisianans have died of this illness, which we know is now largely preventable,” Gov. Edwards said. “We have many shining lights in the darkness of this pandemic – our health care heroes who fight on the front lines each day to save lives, our teachers who are working to help our children learn under difficult circumstances, our essential workers who are keeping our economy going. But the brightest light we have are the safe and effective COVID vaccines, which are free and widely available across Louisiana to everyone five years of age and older. We know that these vaccines prevent most severe illness, hospitalization and death. It is my fervent hope and prayer each day that more Louisianans will take their vaccines and their COVID boosters and wear their masks while we are in this Omicron surge, so that we can put this pandemic in our rear view.”

“While thankfully Omicron is on average less likely to put you in the hospital than other variants, that is just an average,” said Dr. Kanter. “It is still possible to get very sick from COVID-19 as the large number of people currently hospitalized in Louisiana show us. The best possible protection against being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 is getting vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are eligible.”


Louisiana to Receive Approximately $1 Billion for Bridges from New Federal Program

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced plans to release a program that will dedicate $26.5 billion to states for investments in bridge repairs and infrastructure. The Bridge Formula Program, made possible through the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allocate federal funds over five years to rural and urban bridges that are in need of repair or rehabilitation.

Under this new program, Louisiana will receive approximately $1 billion over five years, with $202.6 million allocated this fiscal year. This funding is available to improve approximately 400 bridges in need of repair or replacement throughout the state.

“Louisiana will be well served by this program, as our funding needs for infrastructure projects are immense,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “I applaud the Biden administration for seeing the transportation needs of our nation, and state, by launching this investment program that will greatly aid our communities. Bridge closures or weight restrictions severely hinder our agriculture, manufacturing and service industries, as well a public transit, commuter travel and school bus routes. Limiting closures will provide a better overall quality of life to our residents, motorists and businesses.”

“This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure. Having shared bridge closures with the public for some time, no parish is exempt and problems exist on state and local bridges alike. I am looking forward to using more than the minimum established by USDOT to help locals address their needs as well. This bipartisan bill will allow the state to address many infrastructure needs in the coming years and I am grateful for the work that Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Troy Carter put in to get this bill passed and for their vision of infrastructure improvement in Louisiana. “

Louisiana has the third largest bridge infrastructure in the nation when the number of bridges and bridge size is accounted for. Currently, there are 7,846 state owned bridges, with 795 needing major rehabilitation or replacement, and 4,736 locally owned bridges, with 793 in need of rehabilitation or replacement.

Some of the bridges projects that will advance this year due to this funding include:

· LA 485 Bridges near Allen Louisiana (Natchitoches Parish)

· LA 1226 over Bayou Chevreuille in Natchitoches Parish

Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, which will grow the economy, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world, create good jobs, and make our transportation system more sustainable and equitable.