Sheriff’s Office Makes Second Arrest in Fastpak Foods Shooting

(Jamarcus Terrell Abbott)

Bienville Parish Chief Investigator Darrell Mills reported that a second person has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Damarion Richardson.  The shooting around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night in the parking lot of Fastpak Foods on Second Street in Arcadia.  The shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between Shamichael Murphy and Damarion Richardson.

A little over two hours after the shooting in Arcadia, at least one or more armed men fired multiple times at a home on Plum Street in Minden.   A Minden Police detective said at least 25 shell casings from a semi-automatic weapon were recovered at the residence in the 700 block of Plum Street in Minden.  Three-year-old Aldravion Lewis was struck once and was pronounced dead at Minden Medical Center. 

Chief Investigator Mills said the Minden homicide resulted from the Arcadia shooting.  

Yesterday morning, police located the car the Abbotts and Richardson were in during the Arcadia shooting in an apartment complex parking lot in Minden.  Witnesses reported seeing bullet holes and blood on the car.  

Later that day, police arrested 24-year-old Shamichael Damohn Murphy of Arcadia, who is accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Damarion Richardson, also of Arcadia.  Murphy was charged with second-degree murder.

Last night, police arrested 23-year-old Jamarcus Terrell Abbott of Arcadia and charged him with Simple Battery and Obstruction of Justice.  Chief Investigator Mills said there may be more charges filed against Jamarcus as the investigation continues.  

Police are still searching for 25-year-old David Abbott of Arcadia for questioning in the Arcadia shooting, and in connection with the Minden shooting which resulted in the death of the child.  David Abbott has an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. 

LDWF Accepting Applications for 2021-22 Deer and Waterfowl Lottery Hunts

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for deer and waterfowl lottery hunts on LDWF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) for the 2021-2022 hunting season. The deadline to apply for the lottery hunts is Aug. 31.

Lottery hunts for deer and waterfowl will be held for people with disabilities, including veterans, on select WMAs; see the application for selections. A general waterfowl lottery hunt will be held on Sherburne WMA.

Lottery hunts for deer and waterfowl will be held for youth, those hunters between the ages of 10-17, on select WMAs. Note that a youth under the age of 10 may apply provided he or she will be 10 on or before the date of the hunt for which they apply.

Additionally, general deer lottery hunts will be held on select Louisiana Office of State Parks Property; see the application for selections.

These hunts offer the opportunity for selected hunters to experience an enjoyable, unique experience. Details of qualifications, application requirements, application deadlines and dates of the hunts are set forth in the application instructions for each lottery.

All lottery applications are only available on the LDWF website. To apply click on the link below.  You will need to update or create a customer record similar to purchasing a license and then submit an application. There is a $5 application fee and a $2 transaction fee per application. Paper applications are no longer be accepted.

For more information, contact David Hayden at or 318-487-5353.

LA 507 Bridge Construction Update

Construction on the LA 507 bridge, which is just west of Castor is progressing, but they still have work to do.

Yesterday afternoon (July 29), Erin Buchanan, Public Information Officer of the Louisiana Department of Transportation, said workers still have to do the final striping, signage, and asphalt work.  

Ms. Buchanan said she hopes the bridge will be reopened “within a month or so.”

District Attorney’s Disposition of Cases

Daniel W. Newell, District Attorney for the Second Judicial District in and for the Parish of Bienville, makes the following announcement relative to disposition of cases in Bienville Parish on the dates indicated:


  • Kendrick D. Brown of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Demarcus Burns of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Simple Escape and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor. He also pled guilty to Resisting an Officer and was sentenced to 3 months in the parish jail. These sentences will run consecutively. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Shawn Anthony Chance of Independence, LA—Pled guilty to Theft of a Firearm and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor to be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Demontae Tyray Collins of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule I CDS (Synthetic Cannabinoid) and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor, which was suspended. He will be placed on 2 years supervised probation. He also pled guilty to Theft less than $1,000 and Simple Criminal Damage to Property and was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail on each, which will run concurrently. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Ethan M. Durr of Castor, LA—Pled guilty to Theft Over $1,000 but less than $5,000 and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor. He also pled guilty to Violation of a Protective Order and was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail. These sentences will run concurrently. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Jason Oregg Ford of Sibley, LA—Pled guilty to Aggravated Assault with a Firearm and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor, which was suspended. He will be placed on 3 years supervised probation.
  • Rodney D. Jenkins of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling and Possession of Schedule II CDS (Cocaine) and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor on each count, which will run concurrently. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Bill Lance Odom of Gibsland, LA—Pled guilty to two counts of Simple Burglary and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor on each count. He also pled guilty to two counts of Possession of Schedule II CDs (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor on each count. These sentences will all run concurrently. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Justin L. Rogers of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor to be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Derek Wesley Rutherford of Bienville, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • Jared Casey Smith of Dubberly, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule I CDS (Marijuana) and Distribution of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor on each, which will be run concurrently. He was given credit for any time served while awaiting sentencing.
  • James Nickalaus Wafer of Saline, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by Persons Convicted of Domestic Abuse Battery and was sentenced to credit for time served.

Gov. Promotes COVID-19 Vaccines with National Spelling Bee Champ Zaila Avant-garde

Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards released two public service announcements encouraging young people to take the COVID-19 vaccines, featuring National Spelling Bee Champion and Guinness Book World Record Holder Zaila Avant-garde. Avant-garde is herself fully vaccinated and wants other young people to take their COVID-19 vaccine so everyone can get back to normal.

“As a Guinness Book World Record Holder and National Champion, Zaila knows a thing or two about winning, which is why I think we should listen to her when she gives us advice about how to win the fight against COVID,” Gov. Edwards said. “Zaila has made all of Louisiana proud with her numerous accomplishments, but I’m most proud that she’s using her voice to speak up and encourage young people to take the COVID vaccine.”

Avant-garde visited the Governor’s Mansion last week to meet Gov. Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards and to film the public service announcements for the COVID-19 vaccine.


Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. The FDA has only authorized one of the three COVID-19 vaccines – from Pfizer – for children ages 12 to 17. Parents should confirm with the vaccine provider that their child is under 18 to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available before making an appointment.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at 1,437 locations in all of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, including at pharmacies, hospitals, health care clinics and doctor’s offices.

For a list of locations, visit LDH’s vaccine directory or visit, which is maintained by the federal government.
To get a list of vaccine locations near you text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.

If you have questions, would like to speak with a medical professional, or need help scheduling an appointment, call 211 or Louisiana’s vaccine hotline at 1-855-453-0774.

Drawdown for Black & Clear Lakes to Begin Monday

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has scheduled a drawdown of Black and Clear Lake (in neighboring Natchitoches Parish) for giant salvinia control, organic reduction and fish habitat improvement. The drawdown is designed to reduce the further expansion of giant salvinia as summer and early fall temperatures promote maximum growth.

The water control structure is scheduled to be opened on August 2, 2021, and the lake should dewater at a rate of 3-6 inches per day depending on the Red River Pool 3 water level. The lake will be lowered to a maximum drawdown water level of approximately 4 feet below normal pool stage (95 Mean Sea Level). The Black and Clear Lake control gates are scheduled to be closed on January 31, 2022, to allow the lake to refill for early spring recreational activities.

During the drawdown, an estimated 7,000-8,000 acres of water will remain open in areas of Black and Clear Lake. Boaters may still access the lake from either Black Lake Resort and Campground or Chandler’s Camp ramps located on the North side of the Hwy 9 bridge. Boaters are also advised to use caution when on the water, as numerous obstructions that are normally not seen will be present.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve access for recreational activities. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects, similar to a natural overflow lake system.

The current LDWF Black and Clear Lake Vegetation Control Plan can be viewed below.

CASA to Host Christmas in July Bingo in Arcadia Today

CASA will host Christmas in July Bingo this evening, July 30, at 6 pm in the Homer Woodard Room in downtown Arcadia (next to Luigi’s).

$20 will get you an evening’s entertainment with 10 games of bingo, supper, and there have been rumors that a special guest will make an appearance.

See flyer below for more information.

CASA, the national Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, together with its state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.

Today in History – July 30

1502 – Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1609 – Beaver Wars: At Ticonderoga (now Crown Point, New York), Samuel de Champlain shot and killed two Iroquois chiefs on behalf of his native allies.

1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first Colonial European representative assembly in the Americas, the Virginia General Assembly, convened for the first time.

1676 – Nathaniel Bacon issued the “Declaration of the People of Virginia”, which began Bacon’s Rebellion against the rule of Governor William Berkeley.

1729 – Founding of Baltimore, Maryland.

1733 – The first Masonic Grand Lodge in the future United States was constituted in Massachusetts.

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issued “eye-for-eye” order to shoot a rebel prisoner for every black prisoner shot.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of the Crater: Union forces attempted to break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.

1866 – Armed Confederate veterans in New Orleans rioted against a meeting of Radical Republicans, killing 48 people and injuring another 100.

1916 – Black Tom explosion: German agents detonated two million tons of U.S.-made munitions off the shores of Manhattan that were to be supplied to the Allies in World War I.

1928 – George Eastman showed the first amateur color motion pictures to guests at his New York house, including Thomas Edison.

1932 – Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

1935 – The first Penguin book is published, which started the paperback revolution.

1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill which created the women’s Navy auxiliary agency (WAVES).

1942 – German SS killed 25,000 Jews in Minsk, Belorussia.

1945 – World War II: Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen. Most died during the following four days, until an aircraft notices the survivors.

1946 – The first rocket attains 100 mile altitude. (White Sands, New Mexico).

1954 – Elvis Presley joined the Memphis Federation of Musicians, Local 71.

1956 – A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower which authorized In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, which established Medicare and Medicaid.

1966 – Beatles’ “Yesterday… & Today” album goes #1 which it holds for 5 weeks.

1969 – Vietnam War: US President Richard Nixon made an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and met with President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and U.S. military commanders.

1971 – Apollo program: On Apollo 15, David Scott and James Irwin on the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon landed on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover.

1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States.

1975 – Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He was never seen or heard from again.

1977 – “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1978 – The 730: Okinawa Prefecture changed its traffic on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side.

1991 -Heavy metal band Metallica released their single “Enter Sandman”.

2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line.

2004 – “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”, starring Kal Penn and John Cho, was released.

2006 – The world’s longest running music show, Top of the Pops, was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two. The show had aired for 42 years.

Bienville Community Health Center Provider Spotlight – Jun Sang Cho, DMD

Dr. Jun Sang Cho is a native of South Korea. Jun graduated from Korea Aerospace University in 1988 with a degree in Avionics and became a software engineer. In 2007, he moved to the United States of America and decided to make a career change. He is a 2011 graduate of Utah Valley University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. After graduation, he enrolled in Nova Southeastern University and earned his Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree in 2015. Jun is married and has one son and they reside in Shreveport, La. He enjoys playing tennis and has recently achieved his goal of completing a 5K marathon.


Print this page to work the puzzle.

In Cryptoquotes, one letter stands for another. In the example above, Z is used for two E’s, I for the two N’s, etc. Single letters, double letters, apostrophes, the length and formation of the words are all hints. The code letters change with each puzzle.



Previous Cryptoquote solution: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Kellerh

Angler’s Perspective: Women and Bass Fishing Part I

Today’s article may get me trouble but here it goes. Why are women not more prevalent in the bass fishing tours and why hasn’t their own pro tour taken off. Can women really compete on the pro tour with the men? Boy, these are some interesting questions that I’ll try an answer for you today and hopefully I won’t get myself in a pickle with all my lady friends.

Let’s make one thing clear, without women there probably would not be professional bass fishing tours! Now why is that? Because without the ladies back home holding down the fort, the men would not be able to go fishing! To be a professional bass fisherman, someone has to take care of kids and all their needs from doing homework to dance lessons to baseball practice to piano lessons and so on. Getting the kids up every day and ready for school and making sure they are fed, bathed and ready for bed at a descent hour. Taking care of all the bills rolling in and handling everything by themselves from a leaky faucet to changing a flat tire. This routine takes place every single day by the women who take on the role of being the home CEO. Yes, it’s a tough job and if you talk to any professional angler, they will tell without the women back at home doing all these things and raising the kids, they would not be able to be successful and fish the pro tour. It takes a special lady to be the wife of a professional bass fisherman.

Why aren’t more women fishing the pro tours with the men? As I have just revealed, 98% of the wives/women take care of everything going on in the household. This means that the ladies have less opportunity to get away and go fishing. To fish the professional level, requires a lot of time away from home with speaking engagements, travel, practice days and the 3- or 4-day tournament itself. When it’s all said and done, an angler will be gone from home 10 to 14 days straight at a time; sometimes even up to a month if the schedule calls for back-to-back events. Honestly, most men are not programed to handle the daily household chores and commitments with the kids required to keep a house running smoothly. Yes, this is sad but true! Us men know our limitations!

Now let’s look at women competing against the men. This is where I might get into some hot live well water. First, yes women can catch fish just like the men do but there seems to be a disconnect with catching bigger fish which I feel comes into play because of technique. Most men tend to power fish more than the ladies do. By that I mean men like flip and punch heavy cover like hydrilla, lily pads, deep brush tops and flip bushes with jigs and soft plastic lures; they like to throw big crankbaits all day which can take a physical toll on even the most fit angler. Most of the women I have fished with, tend to be more finesse type fishermen with lighter/smaller lures. A lot of women I’ve noticed really like to use a Carolina rig which is also more of a finesse technique.

Nothing wrong with anything the women are using; it’s just that finesse style fishing tends to produce smaller bags weighed in on tournament day. Trust me, I know there are times when finesse techniques work better for the men as well. But this is not the norm with guys most of the time. Now I know I’ll hear from some lady bass anglers how wrong I am but all I have to go by is what I have observed in my 31 years of tournament experience fishing with the ladies or guiding some of the pro tour ladies for an upcoming event. It’s just like any other sport; women are going to do things a little differently most of the time than men do basically because of our physical makeup. Another thing that gives the men an advantage is the fact that men will more than likely make more casts in a day than the ladies therefore giving them more opportunities to catch more fish again due to the power fishing techniques men tend to use.

Understand, that these are general rules of thumb and there are exceptions to these so-called rules I’ve established. Next week we’ll take a serious look at some of the best women bass anglers of all time. I just want to make sure you understand that I’m not trying to slight the ladies at all, but I want people to understand the reasons why there aren’t more ladies fishing either the women’s pro tour like the LBAA (Lady Bass Anglers Association) or fishing on the men’s tours. Again, without the ladies, it would be very difficult for the men to go fishing and make a living on the pro tour. Till next week, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

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

The Bienville Parish Journal welcomes its readers to comment on this or any other published article.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Bienville Parish Journal.

100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish: Lightning Strikes Camping Party

On July 19, 1921, a group of people who were on a camping and fishing trip at Lake Bistineau ate watermelon under the shade of a large tree.  The group  included Mr. and Mrs. John Reeves, their children, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Harris, and  their daughter, Ms. Ola Harris.

Without warning, a lightning bolt struck the tree.  Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were seriously injured but conscious.  Their children were only slightly hurt.  The Harris family lay motionless under the tree. 

Although injured, members of the Reeves family tended to the Harris family.  Mr. and Mrs. Harris were rendered unconscious.  Within a short times, Mr. and Mrs. Harris regained consciousness.  Their injuries were surprisingly minor. 

15-year-old Ola Harris took the brunt of the lightning strike and was killed instantly.  

Source:  Bienville Democrat, July 28, 1921, p.1.


Mt. Olive Christian School’s 39th Annual Rodeo Begins Tonight

Mt. Olive Christian School will hold its 39th Annual Rodeo tonight and tomorrow night, July 30-31, at the Gantt Arena in Athens. 

The rodeo is one of the largest events held in Claiborne Parish and draws people from all over Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, and usually draws people from other countries who are visiting family in the area. 

The rodeo starts at 8 p.m.

General Admission for the rodeo is $10 and children 10 and under get in free.  The annual rodeo is a fundraiser for Mt. Olive Christian School.

They will have all the regular rodeo events as well as their world famous musical chairs on horseback each night. This year they will also showcase the Morris Sisters Trick Riders and, as always, everyone’s favorite rodeo clown, Rudy Burns.

Bring your horse for the grand entry and get in free.

Advance tickets are $8 and are available at Gibsland Bank & Trust in Athens, Patton’s Western Wear in Ruston, GAP Farms in Arcadia and Crossroads Store in Athens.

Concessions and restrooms will be available.

For more information, advance tickets or directions to the arena, call 318-243-0674 or 318-843-4103.

Police Say Child’s Homicide in Minden Resulted from Fatal Shooting in Arcadia

(Photo by Bonnie Culverhouse – Webster Parish Journal)

According to the Webster Parish Journal and KTBS, the shooting death of a Minden child late Wednesday night appears to have resulted from a fatal shooting hours earlier in Arcadia, authorities said.

The Minden shooting happened around 11:20 p.m. when at least one or more armed men fired multiple times at a home on Plum Street.

A Minden Police detective said at least 25 shell casings from a semi-automatic weapon were recovered at the residence in the 700 block of Plum St. The child was struck once and was pronounced dead at Minden Medical Center.

The identity of the child, reportedly 3 years old, has not been released.

Minden police said on a social media post that no other details are being shared just yet as the investigation is ongoing.

In Bienville Parish, the sheriff’s office has one man in custody and is looking for two others to question in a slaying that happened around 9 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of Fastpak Foods on Second Street in Arcadia.

Shamichael Murphy, 24, of Arcadia, (see picture below) is held in the Bienville Parish Jail. He’s accused of fatally shooting Damarion Richardson, 19, also of Arcadia.

Chief Investigator Darrell Mills said the shooting is the result of a feud that’s been ongoing between the men for the past several weeks.

There were at least three witnesses to the shooting who were not injured, including the alleged shooter’s sister, Christine Murphy. Two other men — David Abbott and Jamarcus Abbott, both of Arcadia — were with Richardson, Mills said.

The sheriff’s office is looking for the Abbott brothers for further questioning. Both face possible charges stemming from the investigation into Damarion Richardson’s death, Mills said.

David Abbott is also wanted for questioning in the Minden shooting, Mills said.

“The shooting didn’t go from here to there,” Mills said of the Minden homicide. “But it resulted from the shooting here.”

The child’s death in Minden comes just over a week after an unrelated shooting at an apartment complex in Minden that claimed the life of 17-year-old Ty’Quan Morris. Three teenagers — two age 17 and one age 15 — are charged in connection with that death.

Another teenager was shot Tuesday night but is recovering.

Minden police said via the Minden Police Association Facebook page that shots fired calls have increased in the city this year during a time the number of police officers are down.

In a Facebook post just before 3 a.m. Thursday, the association made the following statement about the child’s shooting death:

It is time for the community to step up and take action. Short staffed MPD Officers patrol high crime areas, but are only as successful as their staffing limitations allow. They need the public to speak out and report these dangerous criminals. They need qualified individuals to fill their ranks.

As others try and minimize the gunfire in this once peaceful community, MPD Officers go from violent call to violent call. They know the seriousness of the pain and suffering these dangerous criminals inflict.

The short staffed Minden Police Department came when called. Every detective employed by the police department went to the multiple crime scenes to ensure the victim received the investigation that he deserved.

Prayers and deepest condolences to the family of the victim.

Again, if you would like to make an anonymous tip, please call the Minden Police Department at (318) 371-4226.

(Shamichael Damohn Murphy, accused of fatally shooting Damarion Richardson in Arcadia)

Louisiana Hits Record COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations

Yesterday, July 27, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Louisiana both hit records, the Louisiana Department of Health and Governor Edwards both urge individuals in Louisiana to take immediate precautions for their own and others’ safety.

The Louisiana Department of Health announces 6,797 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state since July 26, 2021 – the second highest single-day case count reported since January 6, 2021 (6,882 cases reported that day).

Also today, 1,390 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Louisiana. That represents an increase of 169 hospitalizations since yesterday, the largest single-day increase since March 2020. There were three days in March 2020 where the increase was larger: March 25 (220), March 31 (196) and March 26 (185).

“To see this current rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is becoming increasingly scary,” said Gov. Edwards. “We reported nearly 6,800 cases today in addition to the nearly 8,000 that were reported from the weekend. And today, there are close to 1,400 COVID patients hospitalized statewide – approximately 90 percent of whom are unvaccinated. This is the largest single daily increase since March of last year. As I said recently, this surge is on us, and that means it is up to each of us to do our part to bring it to an end. It’s within our power. Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. It is the best way to put it behind us. In addition, I am recommending that everyone, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks while indoors if six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. For anyone asking the question when will this end, the answer is simple: when we decide to do what it takes to end it. The most impactful tools to make that happen are free and widely available- the three safe and effective vaccines. I am pleading with everyone who is not vaccinated and is of age to make the decision today to get vaccinated.”

“COVID is surging in Louisiana and it is not slowing down. As the dangerous and dominant Delta variant continues to spread and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to skyrocket, we urge all individuals in Louisiana to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “Mask while indoors and get tested if you suspect you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. These are public health emergency measures that will limit death and suffering during this fourth surge. To ultimately put this pandemic behind us we need many more Louisianans to go sleeves up, which is why it’s so encouraging to see our weekly vaccination rate climbing.”

Individuals can call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 to get their questions answered, speak directly with a medical professional, find a vaccine provider near them, and schedule an appointment today.

$240 Million Sawmill Coming to Bienville Parish

Earlier today, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Hunt Forest Products co-owner James D. Hunt and Tolko President and CEO Brad Thorlakson announced that the companies will develop a new $240 million sawmill in Bienville Parish. Resulting from the collaboration of these two companies, the joint venture company will create 130 direct new jobs, with an average salary of $57,400, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the new sawmill will result in 387 indirect jobs for a total of more than 500 new jobs in North Louisiana. Approximately 300 construction jobs will be created.

Sourcing timber locally, the state-of-the-art sawmill will require approximately 1.3 million tons of wood annually to produce an estimated 320 million board feet of lumber. The facility will be located on approximately 225 acres in Bienville Parish, near the community of Taylor, Louisiana. Construction on the new facility is expected to start in early 2022, with commercial operations starting in early 2023.

“The partnership of Hunt and Tolko is providing tremendous benefits to our state, particularly in the heart of Louisiana’s timber industry,” said Gov. Edwards. “This new facility will be a great economic boost to Louisiana’s Northwest Region, resulting in hundreds of direct and indirect new jobs across the construction, forestry, industrial services and retail sectors of Bienville Parish and beyond.”

The sawmill in Bienville will be the second project resulting from the collaboration of Hunt Forest Products and Tolko. The two companies partnered to develop a $115 million lumber mill in Urania, Louisiana, in February 2018. Operating under the name LaSalle Lumber Company LLC, the Urania plant has created 120 direct jobs, exceeding the initial plans for 107 new jobs.

“We are excited to be bringing our second high-tech sawmill and the skilled jobs it will provide,” said Hunt. “This sawmill will provide a local outlet for the massive inventory of southern yellow pine that exists in this state. It will boost the local economy, bring a new generation of sawmill technology to this part of the state and provide another such outlet for regional Louisiana timber. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The new lumber mill will be a foreign direct investment, or FDI, project, as Tolko Industries Ltd. is a 60-year-old, family-owned Canadian forestry company that produces a wide range of forest products for customers around the world. Based in Vernon, British Columbia, Tolko will own a 50 percent share in the mill. Hunt Forest Products, which is based in Ruston, Louisiana, will own the other 50 percent and will manage and operate the mill on a day-to-day basis.

“Our first venture into the United States was in partnership with Hunt Forest Products, a family-owned company like ours, and that has been very successful,” said Thorlakson. “So, we are looking forward to working with the Hunt family again to bring another state-of-the-art sawmill, and jobs, to Louisiana.”

LED and North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) began working with Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries on a new sawmill in North Louisiana in October 2020. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the companies a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive services of LED FastStart® – ranked the No. 1 workforce development program in the nation for the past 11 years. FastStart will work in coordination with Bossier Parish Community College, or BPCC, to build and equip the local workforce with the skills required for the new state-of the-art sawmill. The package also includes a performance-based grant of $2 million, subject to the companies reaching specified investment and payroll benchmarks. The companies are expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs for the sawmill.

“We are absolutely delighted to hear of the project to develop a new state-of-the-art mill in Bienville Parish,” said President William “Bill” Sims of the Bienville Parish Police Jury. “The Bienville Parish Police Jury will do whatever it takes to encourage economic development in our parish and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries.”

“This new, state-of-the-art sawmill will make a notable impact in Bienville Parish,” said Justyn Dixon, NLEP President and CEO. “Where a strong company chooses to invest speaks highly of that geographic location, and we are proud to serve a community suitable for this great partnership. Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries deciding to make this substantial investment and new job creation into North Louisiana solidifies NLEP’s message that our region is a prime location for companies to grow and succeed. We gladly welcome this additional investment to North Louisiana.”

Clerk’s Office Mails Out Jury Notices

The Clerk’s Office will be mailing out notices for Criminal Petit Jury beginning on Wednesday, July 28th.  

Check the list below to see if you should expect to receive a notice.

Clerk of Court Eddie Holmes requests that those included on the list “Please wait until you receive your summons before trying to be excused as we must have the documentation in order to excuse you.”


Governor, LDH Recommend All Louisianans Wear Masks Indoors for Duration of Fourth COVID Surge

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Louisiana, and following the designation of Louisiana by the White House as a “state of concern” because of its rapid case growth and insufficient vaccination rate, Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health issued updated guidance recommending that all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks indoors when at least six feet of distancing is not physically possible during the fourth surge of COVID-19.

Updated LDH guidance on masking, testing for vaccinated people and workplace accommodations is part of Louisiana’s strategy for ending its fourth surge of COVID, alongside increasing its vaccination rate. Additional measures may be announced later if the situation worsens.

“The White House has notified Louisiana that we are a State of Concern because we are the leading edge of the COVID-19 surge, due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant among the unvaccinated in our state. Indeed, Louisiana leads the nation in case growth, with 47 cases per capita. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched our case counts and hospitalizations continue to climb, and it necessitates additional guidance for how all people should stay safe in Louisiana right now, including wearing masks indoors, when unable to maintain social distancing, testing after suspected exposure even if they are vaccinated and, if possible, working remotely from home to limit exposure to groups,” Gov. John Bel Edward said. “Right now, Louisiana has the best tool it has ever had to fight this surge: the COVID-19 vaccines. Encouragingly, our weekly vaccination rate has bumped up which I believe means everyone knows how urgent the situation is. We need even more people in our state to go sleeves up and take the COVID-19 vaccine. Increased vaccinations, when coupled with more masking, testing and distance, can get us out of the fourth surge, but only if people take action quickly.”

“We are in a very dangerous surge right now,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “To ensure their own safety people in Louisiana should take precautions immediately. Masking and testing will limit death and suffering until we make it through this.”


In light of sharply increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout Louisiana, and as the nation learns more about the transmission dynamics of Delta breakthrough cases, today the Louisiana Department of Health recommends additional layers of protection for all residents, regardless of vaccination status. This updated guidance includes:

  • All people – vaccinated and unvaccinated – should wear face masks while indoors if six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
  • All businesses should review their operations to accommodate employees in a way that reduces unnecessary contact to avoid the spread of COVID in the workplace.
  • All people should take a COVID test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
  • If positive, they should isolate immediately.
  • If negative, they should retest again between five and seven days post-exposure.
  • If they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point they should test and immediately isolate pending the results.

This guidance will remain in place at least until Louisiana is safely out of its fourth COVID-19 surge, with additional guidance and mitigation measures put in place if and when necessary to slow the spread of the more contagious and virulent Delta variant and preserve hospital capacity.

The following guidance from LDH and the CDC has not yet changed:

  • At this time CDC advises that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19, and LDH is not yet altering this guidance.
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, even those who are fully vaccinated or without a known exposure, should get tested.
  • Anyone who tests positive should immediately isolate. Isolation (for those who test positive for COVID-19) typically consists of:
  • If symptomatic, at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, symptoms are improving, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication
  • If asymptomatic but with a positive test, 10 days from the time the test sample was collected

Local leaders may implement mitigation measures that are more comprehensive that the current state guidelines should they feel this is best for their communities. In addition, local school boards currently set masking and mitigation policies for their schools.


Under the Governor’s proclamation, heads of state government agencies will be authorized to enact masking procedures and mandates indoors when social distancing is not possible. Starting Monday, June 26, executive branch agencies in the Governor’s cabinet will mandate masks indoors of state buildings when distancing is not possible, for employees and visitors.

In addition, appointing authorities are directed to review their current operations to accommodate employees in a way that reduces unnecessary contact to avoid the spread of COVID in the workplace.

  • Click here to view the data from today’s presentation.
  • Click here to read the Governor’s updated public health emergency order.


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms and the CDC continues to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes may be to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Mt. Lebanon Independence Day Flag Raising Ceremony Draws Crowd

Mt. Lebanon Museum hosted its annual Independence Day flag raising ceremony and breakfast on Saturday, July 3rd. Over 45 guests attended, 13 of whom were veterans.

Pictured from left to right: Joy Bennet Cuervo (Air Force), James Everage (Army), Mike Stephenson (Army), Wallace Reed (Army), Don Bennett (Marines), Wayne Carter (Air Force), Terry Clason (Marines), Charles Butler (Air Force), Lorris Carter (Air Force), Lestar Martin (Army), Tommy Youngblood (Army), Robert Bond (Navy), and Jack Land (Army).

Parish Library Hosts Library Babies Literacy Outreach Program

Bienville Parish Library began its community literacy outreach program, Library Babies, in mid-March 2021. The BPL Library Babies program is designed to encourage parents with newborns up to 24-months and toddlers, ages 3 to 5 years of age to read to their children. The mission of the program is to provide materials that will help parents engage in developmentally appropriate literacy activities with their babies. Parents are a critical part of the developmental equation. Babies need human stimuli. They naturally seek out faces and would rather listen to speech or singing than any other kind of sound.

Reading aloud to babies is an ideal form of stimulation because it engages visual, auditory, interactive, and attention processes in a pleasurable setting. Babies who are read to and are engaged in lots of verbal interaction show superior language (and math) skills when compared to children who are not as verbally engaged.

BPL’s Partnership with BPL Health Unit
The Bienville Parish Library has partnered with the Bienville Parish Health Unit/WIC Clinic. The Nurse Case Managers work closely with their clients and determine how and when the kits are presented to parents. A few minutes of conversation with the new parents, emphasizing that it is crucial to talk to and read to their babies in order to activate the learning process, will make parents aware of their important role in exposing their child to books and reading.

The BPL Library Babies Bags
Fully-assembled bags that are available introduce parents to the Bienville Parish Library and include an invitation to visit their neighborhood library to take advantage of all the resources that are available. The bags feature a variety of brochures with reading tips and early literacy information from nationally-recognized educational organizations.

  • Mom/Newborn (newborn to 24-months of age) Bag
    Selection of board books to read to their child which become a permanent part of their child’s book collection.
  • Toddler/Pre-K (Ages 3,4, and 5 years) Bag
    Selection of books geared for older children for parents to read to their child which can become a permanent part of their child’s book collection.

Check out all our online resources by visiting our website For more information on the Library Babies Literacy Outreach Program, or any of the other services available at the Bienville Parish Library, please call (318) 263-7410, or visit your neighborhood Bienville Parish Library branch.

About the WIC Program
WIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children (under 5 years old). WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition information, breastfeeding promotion, breastfeeding support and referrals to other health and social services. The foods provided may include infant formula, infant fruits/vegetables and infant cereal, adult cereals low in sugar and high in iron, as well as milk, cheese, juice, eggs, peanut butter or dried beans/peas, whole grains, canned fish and fresh fruits and vegetables.

For more information about the Bienville Parish Health Unit WIC Clinic, located at 1285 Pine Street in Arcadia, Louisiana, call (318) 263-2125.