Rural Communities Encouraged to Take Advantage of Rural Development Support for Federal Funding Opportunities

BATON ROUGE, La. — Following a recent meeting with the regional directors of the Governor’s Office of Rural Development, Gov. John Bel Edwards is encouraging rural communities to reach out to the Office for help taking advantage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Justice40 initiative. 

“Louisiana’s rural areas are the lifeblood of our state, and I have tasked my administration with doing everything we can to revitalize these communities,” said Gov. Edwards. “More resources are available for rural communities now than ever before and our Office of Rural Development is here to help local communities access those federal dollars.”

Office of Rural Development Executive Director Noble Ellington and his team are offering hands-on assistance to Louisiana’s rural communities, their local officials, and businesses. The Office of Rural Development wants to help rural communities participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Justice40 initiative which requires that 40 percent of the federal BIL funding be spent in impoverished and disadvantaged communities across the United States.

Local projects will be focused on but not limited to the nine pillars of rural development: broadband, clean water, economic development, education, finance, healthcare, infrastructure, workforce development and agriculture.

Contact information for your local regional director and for the Office of Rural Development can be found below and at https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/rural-development-office.  

Noble Ellington, Executive Director

318-282-2582

Noble.ellington@la.gov

Ali Armstrong, Executive Assistant and Communications Director

225-252-8234

Ali.armstrong@la.gov

1. Regional Planning Commission

Parishes: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines 

Diane Hollis, Regional Director

225-481-3144

margaret.hollis@la.gov

2. Capital Region Planning Commission

Parishes: Ascension, EBR, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana 

Major Coleman, Regional Director

225-328-3692

major.coleman@la.gov

3. South Central Planning and Development District

Parishes: Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, Terrebonne

Michelle Eroche, Regional Director

225-481-3145

michelle.eroche@la.gov

4. Acadiana Planning Commission 

Parishes: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermillion

Position Vacant — Contact Office of Rural Development Executive Director Noble Ellington for assistance.

Noble Ellington, Executive Director

318-282-2582

Noble.ellington@la.gov

5. Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development District

Parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis

Emily Stine, Regional Director

225-328-1643

emily.stine@la.gov

6. Kisatchi Delta Regional Planning and Development District

Parishes: Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon, Winn

Lindlay Howell, Regional Director

225-324-9216

lindlay.howell@la.gov

7. Coordinating & Development District

Parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine. Webster 

Carlos Jones, Regional Director

225-329-7419

carlos.jones@la.gov

8. North Delta Regional Planning & Development District

Parishes: Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll 

Bubba Chaney, Regional Director

225-324-9351

charles.chaney@la.gov


Many tries to send senior class to fourth straight title game with semis win against St. James 

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports 

MANY – Superdome or bust. 

Aside from the 2020 Louisiana state football championships (which were held in Natchitoches), advancing to New Orleans has been the program standard for Many football. 

The Tigers are just one win away from making their fourth straight title game appearance as No. 1 seed Many (11-0) hosts No. 4 seed St. James (10-2) on Friday in a semifinal matchup. 

It’s the seventh straight season in which Many has advanced to the semifinals, posting a 3-3 mark in those semifinals contest and winning the last three. 

A victory Friday means that this relatively small class of 12 seniors would have played for a state title in all four of their seasons. 

“We want this senior group to play in four state title games and go out on top,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “We have gone to seven straight semis and three straight championship games, and it’d be special to win the last game of the season.” 

The most recent team to list that accomplishment is Lafayette Christian, which won four straight titles from 2017-2020 and appeared in a fifth consecutive championship game in 2021. 

Many is navigating playoff waters that are slightly different than in years past with 12 Class 3A teams in the bracket under the LHSAA’s new playoff structure, which condensed nine playoff brackets into eight. 

St. James is a Class 3A brand name that won a state title in 2019 and made a quarterfinals appearance in 2020. 

The No. 4 seed Wildcats will be the second Class 3A team Many has faced in these playoffs after the Tigers outslugged Richwood 21-0 in the second round. 

“St. James is a very good program, and they play good football down there – always have,” Curtis said. “We’ve played them before, so we are familiar with their program. We are in (Non-Select) Division III, and we feel like we are as good as any team in that division.” 

Many is of course no stranger to playing opponents in higher classifications, clobbering Class 5A members Haughton and Sam Houston while handling Class 4A’s DeRidder. 

But St. James can say the same – scoring victories over Class 5A Woodlawn (Baton Rouge) and Thibodaux after nearly knocking off 5A member East St. John to start the season. 

The Wildcats strung eight regular-season wins together after losing the opener to East St. John and the finale to E.D. White. 

St. James offense has proven to be explosive, topping the 40-point mark seven times this season, including in playoff wins against No. 13 Loreauville and No. 5 Avoyelles, the latter a 48-24 walloping on the road. 

St. James will need more of that road magic if they want to break through a Many defense that has allowed just one touchdown since Oct. 14. 

The Tigers trailed No. 9 Rosepine 7-0 into the fourth quarter before Many’s offense got on track with two touchdowns in a 14-7 win. 

Curtis said the offense must be sharper. 

“We have to play up to our standard,” Curtis said. “We have been sloppy, and we know at this time of the year, you must play your ‘A’ game to win.” 

Something Many has done the last seven years to reach the semifinals and the last three to set foot on the championship stage. 

Just like Many’s side of the bracket, the other side of the Division III Non-Select pod offers a similar matchup. 

Tried and true Class 2A member Amite – who beat Many this past season in the title game – is facing Class 3A stalwart Union Parish.  

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan/Journal Sports 


Louisiana shows improvement on latest fall reading report

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Education released its Fall 2022 Reading Report today that shows how public school students in grades K-3 scored on a literacy screener given during the first 30 days of the current school year. Louisiana’s overall score improved and students in grades 1-3 grew for the second consecutive year, while kindergarten scores saw a decline. This year’s third graders earned their highest score since 2018.
 
“It’s good to see the continued reading progress for our students,” said Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education. “Ensuring children can read must remain a fundamental priority in every school across our state”

The Fall 2022 Reading Report includes state, school system, and school data for public school students in grades K-3. School systems can choose among four research-based screening assessments to administer. Students who take a screener earn either “On or Above Benchmark” or “Below Benchmark.” In August, Louisiana adopted the state’s first K-2 accountability plan. This plan will include a uniform literacy screener for students in these early grades.

“Louisiana’s comprehensive literacy plan is building momentum across the state, and we are beginning to see the impact of this foundational shift in how we teach children to read,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jenna Chiasson. “Our youngest learners were the most impacted by the disruptions of the past few years. We have the support in place to keep our students in grades 1-3 on the right track and to accelerate the progress for our new kindergarten children.”

While scores for students in grades 1-3 increased for the second consecutive year, scores declined for students entering kindergarten. These literacy screeners are given to students during the first 30 days of the school year and capture a snapshot of a child’s reading ability as they enter a new grade.

This is the latest data to show the continued progress of Louisiana students following unprecedented classroom disruptions caused by hurricanes and the pandemic. Earlier this month, Louisiana’s statewide performance score returned to its pre-pandemic level. In October, the Nation’s Report Card showed that Louisiana students avoided some of the most dramatic learning loss seen across the nation. In August, the Department released 2021-22 LEAP scores that showed Mastery rates improved in ELA and math for students in grades 3-8. 

About the annual Louisiana Fall Reading Report:Louisiana law and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) policy require that  school systems administer a literacy screener not later than thirty days after the beginning of each school year to all students in kindergarten through grade 3. Annual screening is vital for ensuring that all students are on the right track to become proficient readers by the end of third grade. School systems can choose among four research-based screening assessments. The screening assessments measure a particular skill or skills that are typically predictive of later reading success. The skills build upon each other from one grade level to the next and are appropriately matched to children’s ages and developmental stages.


Jingle and Mingle

Sabine Parish Tourist and Recreation Commission will hold a Jingle & Mingle Holiday Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 9:30-11:30 am at the Tourist Commission, located at 1601 Texas Hwy. in Many.


Sheriff’s office seeks owner of firearm found in roadway

The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office was notified of a firearm found in the roadway on Benton Road near Jamison Road in Pleasant Hill on the evening of Nov. 28.
 
Sabine Parish Sheriff Deputies took possession of the gun.
 
If this firearm belongs to you, please contact Patrol Lieutenant Jason Heard at 318-256-9241 option 6.
 
You will be required to provide the identifying information of the gun.

Sabine Parish Assessor’s Office: Property Tax Update

There has been a lot of concern regarding not receiving tax bills yet. The 2022 property tax bills are estimated to go out possibly the second week of December. You are not able to view or pay them online at this time. We ask for your patience and would like to give reassurance they will be sent out soon by the Sheriff’s Office.

Two fourth-quarter Many touchdowns lift Tigers to quarters win at Rosepine 

JOURNAL SPORTS STAFF 

ROSEPINE – Many had its backs against the playoff wall Friday after Rosepine intercepted a Tackett Curtis pass with 10 minutes remaining and the Eagles clinging to a 7-0 lead. 

But the Tigers didn’t panic. 

All the previous playoff experience and winning paid off in the fourth quarter as Many’s defense held three times and the Tigers mustered a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 14-7 quarterfinals win in the Division III Non-Select playoffs. 

Many (11-0) trailed for the first time in the second half all season, but the Tigers secured their seventh straight trip to the semifinals with the comeback. 

“Our experience in big games helped us pull through,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “We know in the playoffs, it’s tough to win on the road. I was proud they found a way.” 

The defensive-minded game on a muddy field took shape as No. 9 seed Rosepine (10-3) ate up nearly the entire first quarter that ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Smith to give the Eagles a 7-0 edge. 

That’s the only score Many would surrender as they held stud running back Grant Ducote to 55 yards on 22 carries. 

Perhaps the most important stand the defense made was forcing a Rosepine three-and-out after Smith intercepted Curtis early in the fourth quarter. 

But the Tigers’ D stonewalled the Eagles and kept Rosepine from going on any more of their time-consuming drives. 

“Our defense has been lights out all year, and on (Rosepine’s) first drive, we had a couple of penalties to keep their drive going. And then they hit the big throw on fourth down.” 

Many’s own rushing game never got fully churning against a stout Rosepine defense, but the Tigers weathered penalties and turnovers to put together two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. 

Jamarlyn Garner, who lost a fumble in the first half, scored on a six-yard run as Many tied the game on an extra point from kicker Deacon Lafollette at the 6:57 mark in the fourth quarter. 

The touchdown was set up by a 53-yard jaunt from running back Jeremiah James, who led all rushers with 103 yards on 11 carries. 

“No penalties and no turnovers – that was the difference late,” Curtis said. “I’m proud of them for digging deep after Rosepine did a good job of playing keep away. When we had the ball, we shot ourselves in the foot.” 

Many’s defense answered the bell again with another three-and-out, setting up Many’s go-ahead touchdown. 

After a couple of strong Trent Williams’ runs, Many grabbed the lead with a Tackett Curtis 1-yard plunge to go up 14-7 with 1:51 remaining. 

Rosepine attempted one last gasp, but Many shut the Eagles down on four plays to end the game. 

It’s the second straight year in which Many topped Rosepine in the semifinals, although this past season’s 50-12 win lacked the drama of Friday’s nailbiter. 

Now Many will return home to face a hot No. 4 seed St. James squad that whipped No. 5 Avoyelles 48-24. 

Scoring Summary 

First Quarter 

2:12 R Jake Smith 8 yard TD pass, kick good 7-0 

Fourth Quarter 

6:57 M Jamarlyn Garner 6 yard TD run, Deacon Lafollette kick 7-7 

1:51 N Tackett Curtis 1 yard TD run, Lafollette kick 14-7 

Passing 

M Curtis 1-3-12, 1 Int 

R Smith 3-9-19, 1 TD 

Rushing 

M James 11-103, Aldredge 8-31, Williams 6-43, Curtis 6-21, Garner 3-6, Mitcham 1-(-3) 

R Ducote 22-55 

Receiving 

M Aldredge 1-12 

R 3-19 

Tackles 

Williams 8, Curtis 8, Carheel 6. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan/Journal Sports 


Celebrate the holidays this Saturday at Zwolle Christmas Festival

The 15th Annual Zwolle Christmas Festival will take place Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Zwolle Festival Grounds. Festivities start at 10 am with Bicycle Registration. Vendors will start selling their wares at 12 pm. Opening Ceremonies are set for 2 pm. The Noble Sons will hold a Bicycle Giveaway at 3 pm. There will be fireworks at 6 pm. THis event is hosted ny the Town of Zwolle and the Noble Sons Riding Club. FOr more information contact Torrie Sepulvado at 318-315-1241.


Arrest Made for Vehicle Burglaries

Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces an arrest made and charges pending in the vehicle burglaries on Highway 6 East of Many early Monday morning, Nov. 21.
 
Detectives Don Flores and Lamar Thomas determined Courtland Tremaine Walker (age-20), two 17-year-olds, a 16-year-old, and a 14-year-old, all of Natchitoches were the suspects in these crimes.
 
Walker has been charged with:
-Principal to Simple Burglary, Theft of a firearm, and Simple Criminal Damage to Property $1,000-$50,000.
-Principal to Theft < $1,000 and Criminal Trespass.
-Principal to Simple Burglary and Theft of a Firearm.
 
More charges are pending on Walker and the four juveniles will face the same charges.
 
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Detectives provided resources in this investigation.
 
Sheriff Mitchell credits Sabine Parish Sheriff Patrol Deputy Phillip Cutrer with his quick, initial response and collecting evidence at the scenes early that morning.
 
Sheriff Mitchell pointed out that home video surveillance systems also provided crucial evidence in the investigation of these crimes.

Animal Control Reminder

The Town of Many reminds its citizens to please not interfere with Animal Control Officers. They’re doing their job and those who interrupt will be cited if caught. 

If a cat or dog is found in a trap, please do not let it out; instead call City Hall and they will send an officer to take care of them. Their traps have their name on them, and they do not leave them out overnight.


Down Home Christmas Concert

The Stewart Family and Friends will hold a Christmas Concert on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 pm at the Many Community Center, located at 675 San Antonio Ave. in Many. Doors will be open at 6pm and admission is free.


Sheriff’s Office investigate string of burglaries

Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reports Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives are investigating burglaries which happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 21. Several residents on Hwy. 6, East of Many, reported their vehicles had been broken into and items were missing. Among the items are purses and firearms. There were also other items taken from a garage area of another residence in the Fort Jesup area.

Detectives have obtained photo/video evidence of possible suspects and a suspect vehicle. Detectives are also working with Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Detectives to follow-up with leads in the investigation.

Sheriff Mitchell encourages everyone to keep your vehicles locked and DO NOT leave any valuables inside.

If anyone has any information, please contact Sabine CID at 318-590-9475, or submit a tip through our Sabine Parish Sheriff App.

Mayors Court: November 17

BENCH WARRANTS:
AMY BARNHILL- SPEEDING—$430
RACHEL CARMACK—SPEEDING–$430
MICHAEL CARRINGTON—REMAINING AFTER FORBIDDEN–$500
CYNTHIA CHANCE—SPEEDING, UNLICENSED DRIVER, FAIL TO REGISTER VEHICLE–$1,265
CYNTHIA CHANCE—P0SS OF MARIJUANA–$600
BRETT DIENER—NO MVI–$380
ANDREA DOWNS—SPEEDING–$430
TAMALA HALE—FAILURE TO GIVE SIGNAL–$130
SYNDNEY HARMAN—SPEEDING, UNLICENSED DRIVER–$860
KEIARRA HENRY—SPEEDING–$430
SEAN MCKENZIE—SPEEDING–$430

PICKUP ORDERS:
CHRISTOPHER ALDREDGE—EXPIRED REGISTRATION, NO SEATBELT—$875
JARED BARNES—SPEEDING–$530
DAVID COLLETT—SPEEDING–$530
MICHAEL GARNER—THEFT–$660
JAVAREA GEE—SPEEDING 17-22 OVER, UNLICENSED DRIVER—$1,069
KEVIN HOPKINS—SPEEDING–$530
ROBERT LACROIX—NO INSURANCE, DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION, OPERATING W/ONE TAIL LIGHT–$957
JAMES MANSHACK—NO DL ON PERSON—$580
ANTRONEZIA THOMAS—SPEEDING, UNLICENSED DRIVER­­­­­­—$1,000


Many football makes seventh straight quarters appearance in playoff rematch with Rosepine

ROSEPINE – Practicing on Thanksgiving Day. Balancing family and football. 

It’s something Many will do for the sixth straight season Friday when the No. 1 seed Tigers (10-0) head to No. 9 Rosepine (10-2) in the quarterfinals of the Division III Non-select playoffs. 

And for the second straight season, it’s Rosepine who is waiting to try and halt the Tigers in the quarters. 

Last year? Many won 50-12 as the Tigers marched to their third straight state championship game. 

But that was in the friendly confines of John W. Curtis Stadium. This year, Many heads south to the Vernon Parish town just north of DeRidder – a favorable road trip compared to some northern teams who are headed below Interstate 10. 

The Tigers don’t have to worry about scheduling walk-throughs at another stadium on Thanksgiving or loading up busses on the holiday. It’s about an hour south on Hwy 171. 

Many has posted a quarterfinals win in each of the last six seasons. 

“Practicing on Thanksgiving is a tradition here, and it’s expected,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “So is walking into the Superdome. To us, it’s the next step on our journey to our goal. Rosepine is very well coached. They have a very good running back in (Grant) Ducote. We will have to be ready.” 

Rosepine’s Ducote sailed past 5,000 career rushing yards in the middle of this season and owns the program rushing record. 

But Many’s defense has a track record of frustrating star players, including the nation’s No. 1 quarterback recruit in Isidore Newman’s Arch Manning as the Tigers won 25-17. 

Haughton’ high-powered offense that scored 36 points in a first-round upset of District 1-5A champion Airline? The Bucs didn’t reach the end zone in a Week 3 trip to Many as the Tigers rolled 35-3. 

Many bottled up Ducote enough in the 2021 quarterfinals as Rosepine managed just 12 points, and the Tigers defense enters this quarterfinals matchup not having allowed a point since Oct. 14 (four straight games). 

Many blanked a Richwood offense 21-0 that had scored 34 points or in six different games. 

“The defense has been playing well,” Curtis said. “They haven’t given up a point since Oct. 14. We have very good cover guys and a physical box. A lot of good players have played in some big games. 

Rosepine’s offense scored at least 40 points in nine of their 10 regular season games, but in the playoffs, that’s slipped to 27 points per game. 

The Eagles gutted out a 20-13 win at No. 25 Westlake after thumping District 3-2A member Red River 34-6 in the first round. 

While Rosepine familiarized itself with Thanksgiving football this past season, 2021 is the Eagles only quarterfinals contest in its streak of six playoff appearances. 

Many has a winning streak of six straight quarterfinals games (not to mention three straight semifinals games), and the Tigers are coming off a bit of a test this past week against Class 3A Richwood. 

The Tigers might have grown accustomed to running clocks in District 3-2A play, but Many led 7-0 at halftime against Richwood and needed two long second-half touchdown plays to break away from a stingy Richwood defense. 

Quarterback Tackett Curtis had touchdown runs of 47 and 20 yards to tack on to Jeremiah James’ 52-yard touchdown sprint on the first drive of the game. 

“Richwood was very good up front – as good as we’ve seen,” Jess Curtis said. “They held Union Parish and Trey Holley to 21 points as well. Add on top of that, we were very sloppy (two fumbles). We got going and did what we needed to do to win.” 

Rosepine’s defense has posted impressive numbers, allowing less than 10 points per game after holding seven regular season opponents to 10 points or fewer. 

But the Eagles’ strength factor (5.60) is the second-lowest in Non-Select Division III. Many’s strength factor was a 7.67 by comparison, which ranks in the top half. 

Rosepine boasts an impressive win 42-22 against Class 1A power Logansport, but in its biggest test of the season, Avoyelles went wild in a 68-45 victory. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan/Journal Sports


Many posts fourth straight shutout, topping Richwood in second round

JOURNAL STAFF 

MANY – Thanks to three consecutive shutouts and a first-round bye, the Many defense hadn’t allowed a point to an opponent in more than a month. 

The Tigers defense kept that train rolling Friday as they smothered a No. 17 Richwood offense that has been explosive at times this season as No. 1 seed Many rolled to a 21-0 second-round playoff win. 

Many allowed just 126 yards (less than yards per play) as the defense provided the offense enough space to operate and put together drives. 

“It was a defensive slugfest,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “Watching them on film, we saw that they were very good defensively, and we wanted to make sure we matched them.” 

It’s hard to imagine Many’s defense not matching up with anybody in the state, regardless of classification, after shutting out its fourth straight opponent. 

Richwood managed 10 first downs but were just 3-16 on third down. 

The Rams rushed for just 20 yards while taking to the air for the other 106. 

“Yeah that’s four shutouts in a row,” Curtis said, with the last opponent to score being Winnfield all the way back on Oct. 14. “The defense comes in every week ready to play to the highest standard possible, and I’m very proud of them tonight.” 

Many’s offense started quickly as running back Jeremiah James scampered 52 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. 

But the Rams’ defense dug in their heels from there with the defenses trading stops for the rest of the half. 

The physical game featured hard hits from the likes of Tackett Curtis, Tylen Singleton, Swayze Carheel, Trenton Williams and Keaton Montgomery as Many kept Richwood’s offense under wraps. 

But perhaps Curtis’ biggest hit of the night came when he found a seam for a 47-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to put Many up 14-0. 

Many’s defense continued to tighten after halftime, surrendering just 33 second-half yards to thwart any Richwood comeback attempt. 

Curtis tacked on a 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and kicker Deacon Lafollette’s third extra point provided the final score of 21-0. 

The last drive was set up by a Lafollette 62-yard punt downed at the 3-yard line and another Many defensive stop to give the Tigers good field position. 

“We got a good drive late to put it away,” Jess Curtis said. “I’m very proud of these guys.” 

The Many offense finished with 320 yards – 275 rushing and 45 passing on 3-5 from Tackett Curtis. 

He also led the defense with 12 tackles. 

Many (10-0) will hit the road in the quarterfinals as they travel to No. 9 Rosepine (9-2), who took care of business in a 20-13 win at No. 25 Westlake. 

Scoring Summary 

First Quarter 

10:46 M Jeremiah James 52-yard TD run, Deacon Lafollete kick 7-0 

Third Quarter 

2:39 M Tackett Curtis 47-yard TD run, Lafollette kick 14-0 

Fourth Quarter 

2:40 M Curtis 20-yard TD run, Lafollette kick 21-0 

Stats 

Passing 

M Curtis 3-5-45 

R 7-25-106 

Receiving 

M Leach 1-31, McLendon 1-11, Garner 1-3 

R 7-106 

Rushing 

M James 19-129, Curtis 4-102, Garner 10-21, Aldredge 6-15, Mitcham 1-8 

R 29-20 

Tackles 

M Curtis 12, Singleton 8, Carheel 6, Williams 6 

PHOTO CREDIT: Darrin Dyess/Journal Sports 


Sabine Parish turns into Winter Wonderland

Take a drive through Cypress Bend Park Thursday through Sunday each week in December to view Louisiana’s most enchanting Christmas light display. Santa will be at Cypress Bend each Saturday of December spreading holiday cheer. Admission will be $5 per car and the lights will end Friday, Dec. 23 .   

Events in Many begins judging on Thursday, Dec. 1 for the Christmas decorating contest for businesses, yards, and homes. Moonlight Madness kicks off in downtown Many at 5 pm on Friday, Dec. 2. Come shop the block for an evening of after-hours shopping. Local businesses along with area vendors will be set up from 5-9 pm along San Antonio Avenue eager to serve you as you complete your Christmas shopping. Bring the kids to see Santa and enjoy a Christmas movie. There will also be food trucks set up along the route. Moonlight Madness is an event that even the grinch would marvel at! 

Many’s annual Christmas Festival begins Sunday, Dec. 11 with a parade at 3 pm on San Antonio Avenue, the festival will follow at 4 pm at the fairgrounds, and fireworks at 6:30 pm. Additional events taking place through the holiday season include bingo, concerts, art classes and much more! For a full schedule of events, visit www.ToledoBendLakeCountry.com or call the Sabine Parish Tourist and Recreation Commission at (318) 256-5880.  


New software makes reporting issues as easy as sending a text 

The Town of Many has a new texting service for residents looking for answers or to report an issue.

TextMyGov allows residents to receive answers or report issues about city services with just one text. Opting in to receive messages from the Town concerning road closures, water issues, or emergencies can be done by texting MANY to 91896.

The Town’s website, townofmany.org has the TextMyGov logo on the homepage and by clicking on the logo, you can get more information on how to opt in or op out to receive messages directly from the Town. Under the Contact Us tab on the homepage, click on Report an Issue for a link that takes you to the page where you can either click on the iWorQ logo or the word Portal to send requests directly to the new work management system.

 “Oh, my goodness! Are you looking to start water service, pay your water bill or disconnect service, report a pothole, or a loose dog roaming around?  Yes, wow, how easy is that?” was the reaction from lifelong Many resident Shanna Gaspard, who added, “this new service is super convenient and easy to use.”

“Our Town’s team is always looking for ways to enhance customer service for our community, and the new texting service shows how we can do this by embracing technology that is used by so many of our residents,” said Many Mayor Robert Hable. “We now have multiple ways for our residents to seek assistance in a way that suits their lives – by texting, using our free app, submitting online, or by calling our office team.”

To use the new work order service, residents should text a keyword related to their question or concern to 318-508-7997, such as “animal” or “water service” or even “pothole.” Or they can use the online option as described above.

“Nobody really wants to call somewhere for help and sit on hold for any amount of time, even if it’s just a minute. And so, the ability to send a text with a keyword and get a response and suggestions on how to address that issue, I think is a great idea,” said Many resident and Councilwoman Cherry Williams. “This new system, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is something our council all agreed that would help our residents to report, and our employees to get, work requests in a more efficient manner based on technology that we all use”, added Williams.

Gaspard, who has spent her whole life in Many and is the Director for the Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce said this new service is needed— especially for the elderly who may not be able to get around much but who almost certainly have a smart phone and understands how to send text messages.

The software uses short keywords like street, animal, water, sewer, or tree to send a response with links to helpful information on the city’s website as well as next steps for submitting a service request. The text request is then sent via email to the appropriate department’s Supervisor through the new Work Order system powered by iWorQ.

The Town’s employees understand everyone uses their phone for various reasons, and this is just one way to meet them halfway. We asked Gaspard and Williams how often they are on their phones.

“Well, I do a whole lot of business for the Chamber and the Art Guild on my phone, and I have family that live out-of-town. I would say roughly about eight hours some days,” Gaspard shared.

“Probably a little too often, as we all are, sometimes unfortunately all day long,” Williams said.

“The new text messaging system is live now and residents can begin opting in to receive or send text messages. The work order system has been used internally for the past 2 months and we will go live for the public next week after the final touches are completed”, said Suzanne Williams, the Town’s Grant Writer and implementation/training manager of these software projects. “I’m so excited we are bringing our wonderful, historic, little Town into the 21st century in a big way, utilizing technology that we have come to rely on in all areas of our lives!”, she added.

To continue to report issues or needs that residents have the old-fashioned way, a phone call to City Hall at 318-256-3651, will still be available during regular office hours during the week.  


Many unveils Christmas poster, recognizes parade honorees

Many’s 2nd Annual Poster Unveiling and Parade Honorees Reception was held on Nov. 17. The Town of Many and its Events Committee also hosted the 2nd annual poster unveiling. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and attend.

Our poster contest winner is Hannah Fulton. She did an excellent job portraying lovely San Antonio Avenue at Christmas time.

Hannah is a 2012 graduate and valedictorian from Negreet High School. After high school she earned a Bachelor degree of Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Communications and a minor in Photography at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. She worked towards a Masters in Fine Arts at Louisiana Tech.  After spending a year teaching adjunct at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), she is now teaching at Louisiana Christian University in Pineville.

Posters, postcards, and tshirts are available for purchase at Many City Hall.

We were also able to honor this years Home for Christmas parade Honorees:

Grand Marshal Mr. Louie Bernard
Honorary Grand Marshal Mr I.D. Bostian
Young Achiever Mrs. Leanna Sepulvado, owner of Golden Girls
Risings Stars Mr. Tackett Curtis and Ms. Victoria Gaspard
Business of the Year Tru Beauty owned by Mrs. Brenda Carter.

Photography by: Shelly Haigh


Food Stamp Card benefits compromised in Sabine Parish

Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reports several residents in Sabine Parish have had their SNAP benefits compromised according to the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).

At this time, it appears the benefits of some local victims were used at grocery stores in the State of Texas.

Many Police Department has also received complaints of victim benefits being used in Texas.

Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives are investigating these cases and obtaining evidence.

Sheriff Mitchell urges citizens who receive SNAP benefits to check your balance. If you notice benefits missing that you did not authorize, please report it to DCFS and your local law enforcement agency.

Please keep your SNAP benefit information confidential, and do not give your card number or PIN to anyone.