Sand & Sandbags Available Across the Parish

According to the most recent forecast from the National Hurricane Center, the majority of the rain will be to the east of Bienville Parish.  

The Police Jury has established six sand and sandbag distribution points in the parish.  Here are the site locations and contact information:

  • Arcadia City Hall
    Contact City Hall at 263-8456.
    If after hours, the Sheriff’s Office can dispatch out the public works department.
  • Gibsland Water Department
    Contact Gibsland City Hall at 843-6141
  • Castor High School
    Contact Rodney Warren at 245-0410
  • Ringgold City Hall
    Contact Ringgold City Hall at 894-4699
  • Shady Grove School
    Contact Raymond Malone at 259-2830
  • Saline Fire Station
    Contact Mayor Dorothy Satcher at 576-3272 or 576-3545
Expected Rainfall (National Hurricane Center)
Greatest Flash Flood Risk Over Next 3 Days (National Hurricane Center)

How to Create an Emergency Supply Kit

According to the National Hurricane Center, residents of Bienville Parish will experience high winds and rain from Hurricane Ida.  It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any type of emergency situation such hurricanes, storms, floods, extended power outages, and any other type of disaster.  The following is a good list of items you may need to gather for such an event.  

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find and any one of them could save your life.  Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Gasoline for Backup Generator (Never operate a generator inside)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above)
  • Soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

3-Year-Old Killed by “Accidental Discharge” of Gun

The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the fatal shooting of a 3-year-old child.

At about 10:51 p.m. on Tuesday, August 24, the Minden Medical Center contacted the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office and reported that a three-year-old gunshot victim had been brought to the emergency room by his mother, Brianna Bissel, age 22, of Hwy 80 West, Taylor, Louisiana.

The child, later identified as Timothy Murphy, was pronounced deceased at 11:01 p.m.

Sheriff Ballance described the incident as an accidental discharge of the gun.  The child, his mother, and mother’s boyfriend, Derome Williams, age 19, of Atkins Street in Arcadia, were living in a travel trailer in Taylor.  The victim was in a separate bed in the same room as his mother and her boyfriend.  The gun was in a cabinet within reach of the child.

According to statements of the mother and boyfriend and evidence obtained at the scene no foul play is suspected at this time. A complete investigative report including video statements will be submitted to District Attorney for further review.

LA Dept. of Health Recommends NOT Taking Horses Parasite Medication to Prevent or Treat Covid-19

In a statement released Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health said to “never use medications intended for animals on yourself.” 

The Louisiana Department of Health strongly recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Ivermectin is commonly used in animals to treat or prevent parasites. The FDA has not approved or authorized ivermectin for cases of COVID-19. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms in humans, as well as topical treatments for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.

The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses. Using any treatment for COVID-19 that is not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm.

Large doses of ivermectin, such as those intended for horses, can be highly toxic in humans and cause serious harm. Please be safe and do not take ivermectin unless you have a prescription for an FDA-approved use, get it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed for the condition it was prescribed for.

Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.

“I know people are concerned about the Delta variant and our recent COVID surge and may have questions,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter. “Please beware of misinformation online including around ivermectin. The FDA has not approved or authorized ivermectin for preventing or treating cases of COVID-19. If you want to prevent COVID-19, get the COVID-19 vaccine. All three vaccines are safe and effective, all three were authorized by the FDA, and Pfizer was just approved by the FDA for those 16 years old and above.”

“Ida” Heading Our Way; Gov. Declares State of Emergency

Tropical storm Ida is gaining strength and may reach hurricane strength before coming ashore.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Bienville Parish will likely see most activity from Ida beginning early Monday morning.  

Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency due to the potential impacts and further development of Tropical Storm Ida. According to the National Hurricane Center, this system is forecast to approach the northern Gulf Coast at or near major hurricane intensity Sunday. 

While there is some forecast uncertainty since the system is just forming, there is the potential for dangerous storm surge, damaging hurricane-force wind and heavy rainfall Sunday and Monday along the coast of Louisiana. A state of emergency is an administrative step that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in storm response efforts.

The Emergency Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is activated, monitoring the potential storm, and coordinating with both FEMA and parish offices of emergency preparedness.

GOHSEP is urging all Louisianans to plan accordingly. Hurricane force winds of 110 miles per hour are currently forecasted. That is a strong Category 2 hurricane, and we should always prepare for a storm one category higher. Flash flooding from heavy rains can happen very quickly. While flooded roadways, flash flooding and storm surge are the immediate concerns, there is the potential for additional weather issues beginning as early as early Sunday morning with the arrival of tropical storm force winds.

Remember to take certain steps to prepare for your family and pets. Check on friends, neighbors or family members that may struggle with their preparedness plans. People should be sure to pack masks and hand sanitizer if they evacuate and if multiple households are sheltering together, they should consider indoor masking to reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading. It is also not too late for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe, effective and widely available all across Louisiana.

For updates from the Governor’s Office, text the word ‘IDA’ to 67283.

Absentee Ballots for October 9 Election Have Been Mailed

Absentee by mail ballots for the October 9, 2021 election have been mailed out.

The Registrar of Voters asked that you “Please be on the lookout for yours if you are currently enrolled in the mail out program. We ask that you return them to us by mail as soon as you can. The last day we can accept a mail ballot in our office either by mail or by hand is October 8th by 4:30 pm.”

Today in History – August 27

1776 – Battle of Long Island: In what is now Brooklyn, New York, British forces under General William Howe defeated Americans under General George Washington.

1793 – French Revolutionary Wars: The city of Toulon revolted against the French Republic and admitted the British and Spanish fleets to seize its port, leading to the Siege of Toulon by French Revolutionary forces.

1810 – Napoleonic Wars: The French Navy defeated the British Royal Navy, which prevented them from taking the harbor of Grand Port on Île de France.

1832 – Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk tribe of Native Americans, surrendered to U.S. authorities, thus ending the Black Hawk War.

1859 – Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania which led to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.

1881 – The Georgia hurricane made landfall near Savannah, Georgia, resulting in an estimated 700 deaths.

1883 – Eruption of Krakatoa: Four enormous explosions almost completely destroyed the island of Krakatoa and caused years of climate change.

1893 – The Sea Islands hurricane struck the United States near Savannah, Georgia, and killed between 1,000 and 2,000 people.

1915 – Attempted assassination of Bishop Patrick Heffron, bishop of the Diocese of Winona by Rev. Louis M. Lesches.

1916 – World War I: The Kingdom of Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary, and entered the war as one of the Allied nations.

1918 – Mexican Revolution: Battle of Ambos Nogales: U.S. Army forces skirmish against Mexican Carrancistas in the only battle of World War I fought on American soil.

1928 – The Kellogg–Briand Pact outlawing war was signed by fifteen nations. Ultimately sixty-one nations signed it.

1939 – First flight of the turbojet-powered Heinkel He 178, the world’s first jet aircraft.

1943 – World War II: Aerial bombardment by the Luftwaffe razed to the ground the village of Vorizia in Crete.

1953 – “Roman Holiday”, starring Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and Eddie Albert, was released.

1955 – “Guinness Book of World Records” was first published.

1956 – The nuclear power station at Calder Hall in the United Kingdom was connected to the national power grid becoming the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale.

1958 – USSR launched Sputnik 3 with two dogs aboard.

1962 – The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission was launched to Venus by NASA.

1964 – Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke premiered in Los Angeles.

1965 – The Beatles spent an evening with Elvis Presley.

1970 – Jimi Hendrix created his last studio recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York, an instrumental called “Slow Blues”.

1975 – Veronica & Colin Scargill (England) completed a tandem bicycle ride, a record 18,020 miles around the world.

1980 – A massive bomb planted by extortionist John Birges exploded at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada after a failed disarming attempt by the FBI. Although the hotel was damaged, no one was injured.

1984 – US President Ronald Reagan announced the ‘Teacher in Space’ project.

1990 – “No Fences”, the second studio album by Garth Brooks, was released.  It was the Billboard Album of the Year in 1991.

2003 – Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

2004 – Hong Kong martial arts film “Hero” starring Jet Li opened in the US and became the first Chinese-language film to go to #1 at US box office.

2006 – Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky bound for Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. Of the passengers and crew, 49 of 50 were confirmed dead in the hours following the crash.

2012 – First interplanetary human voice recording was broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity.

2019 – Race car driver Jessi Combs died while setting a new fastest women’s land speed record of 522.783 mph at Alvord Desert, Oregon (posthumously awarded 2020).

2020 – Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana near the Texas border as a category 4 storm with 150 mph winds.  It killed at least 16 people.

100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish – Gibsland Boy Injured when Hit By Truck

On Saturday morning, August 20, 1921, Paxton Callihan was making ice deliveries in Gibsland.  In the days before electricity, people regularly purchased ice from a local ice plant and had it delivered to their residence.  Before the invention of the refrigerator, people placed large blocks of ice and food they wanted to keep cool in an ice box.  Many people still refer to their refrigerator as an ice box. 

As Paxton was driving through Gibsland, 10-year-old Richard Hart ran in front of the truck.  Paxton had no time to swerve or to stop.  The ice truck rocked as it ran over young Richard.  Paxton must have thought he had killed the child.  Once he was able to stop, Paxton and several bystanders ran to Richard to check on his condition.  To their relief, Richard was alive.  The wheels of the truck had broken one of Richard’s legs.  They quickly took Richard to the local doctor for medical attention.  Richard was certainly more cautions around vehicles after this harrowing incident.

Source:  Bienville Democrat, September 1, 1921, p.1. 

Angler’s Perspective: The Most Fun I Ever Had Fishing

I’ve been fishing tournaments since 1990 and have loved every minute with most of the guys or gals I’ve had the pleasure to fish with. I’ve participated in team and pro/am events and each format is unique unto itself. But one question I’ve been asked over the years, is what have I enjoyed the most? Well, my experience with team trails has been awesome and I have had the best partners an angler could ever ask for. Nothing is more fun than you and a buddy (team partner) going out and putting a pattern together and doing well. And nothing is more rewarding than crawling into the back of a touring pro’s boat and catching fish. Fishing at the highest level certainly has its rewards but it can also be your worst nightmare if you draw the wrong pro.

Some pros are super nice and will do whatever they can to help a co-angler catch fish. Then there are some who won’t give you the time of day even if they’re wearing a watch. But the majority of the pros are great guys who want to see their co-anglers succeed. I’ve always tried to make sure my co-anglers catch fish because I’ve been a co-angler myself before and know what’ it’s like to be ignored or even recognized that you’re in the boat. I’ve always looked at it like this… the co-angler that’s fishing in my boat has paid his hard-earned money to fish just like I have. But the difference is that my entry fee is double what the co-angler pays and that’s why you’re at the mercy of the pro/boater in a pro/am event as the pro/boater has complete control of the boat at all times.

But to answer the question of my most rewarding year; was fishing as a co-angler on the FLW Tour in 2004. What an awesome experience that was to get in the boat with some of the best anglers on the planet and watch them work their magic. But the one thing I figured out real early, was that there is no magic…professional bass fishermen are on another level when it comes to skills like reading the water, understanding their electronics, not to mention their ability to cast and put baits in places average anglers would not even attempt. The skill level of the B.A.S.S. Elite and Major League Fishing (MLF) Series guys is off the chart and amazing to see in person. In 2004, I had the pleasure to fish with some of the best to ever wet a hook like former FLW and Basmaster Classic Champion Dion Hibdon, 2020 Elite Series Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt, Japanese MLF Pro Shin Fukea and Texas MLF Pro Kelly Jordan. All of these guys were not only great anglers, but fine people as well. I learned a lot during my eight hours of fishing with each of these guys.

But why was 2004 the most fun I ever had fishing? First of all, I drew some of the top anglers on tour and caught a lot of fish behind these guys as I had three Top 10 finishes that year. But what I really enjoyed the most that year as a co-angler, I did not have to worry about all the details that come with fishing the pro/boater side. Co-anglers don’t have to worry about finding fish, putting gas in the boat, making sure they have enough oil in the reservoir, charging the batteries, or fixing and repairing things on the boat. Co-anglers don’t have to worry about a blown tire on their boat trailer or the wheel bearings going out. All I had to do was show up, put my tackle in the boat and go fishing with the best anglers in America! Not a bad way to go fishing and enjoy the day while learning from the best in the business.

One thing that’s very disappointing to me in 2021, is that MLF (formerly FLW) and the B.A.S.S. Elite Series Pro Circuits have eliminated the co-angler. The Elite Series does have what they call the Marshall program which is where you can apply and pay to sit in the boat and observed all day. But Major League Fishing (MLF) has not allowed that yet as their pros have a referee (who records each fish they catch) and a camera man. So, in the future when someone asks me “What’s the most fun you ever had fishing?” I’ll always reply 2004! Till we meet again, 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

Gibsland Resident Graduates from Louisiana Tech this Summer

Louisiana Tech University has announced graduates from its Summer 2021 commencement ceremonies held May 22-23. 

Just one of the many graduates from the Summer session was from Bienville Parish. 

DeVante L. Williams of Gibsland graduated with a Bachelor of Science.  

I spoke with DeVante following his graduation.  He said, “My degree is Business Management with a concentration in entrepreneurship. My plans after college are to expand my DJ career, I want to be a travel DJ. I plan to get my CDL, and to own a few businesses. I plan to move out of Bienville Parish, maybe to California or Texas. I love DJing.  It was a struggle in the beginning, but I’m blessed to be as booked as much as I am now. I enjoy going different places and meeting new people. It excites me seeing them dance and having fun off of the music I play for them.”

Congratulations and good luck, DeVante!!!  


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:  “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” ~ Tony Robbins

Local Artist’s Paintings on Exhibit Beginning Today, Reception Tonight

River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria is hosting an exhibition of local artist Elizabeth Morgan’s paintings. 

Elizabeth usually downplays her artistic abilities by saying, “Basically, I paint and draw stuff.”

You may remember that another of Elizabeth’s paintings, entitled Lifting the Sky, was selected for inclusion in the Alexandria Museum of Art’s 34th Annual International Juried Art Competition.  Click here for more information on that event going on now and to see more of her artwork.

The opening reception is from 5-7pm at River Oaks Square Arts Center.

The show will be up until the end of September.

Elizabeth’s studio is on the the first floor of River Oaks Square Arts Center and all are welcome to tour her studio week days from 10am-5pm.

River Oaks Square Arts Center is located at 1330 Second Street in Alexandria.

Elizabeth works in all mediums from pencil to paint and sometimes even sculpture. She is known for detailed leaf drawings and oil paintings. Elizabeth now works fulltime in her Studio at River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria, La where she has been a resident artist since 2018.

Organizations/ Memberships

  • Allied ASID
  • Member – Oil Painters of America
  • Member – Portrait Society of America

Juried exhibitions

  • River Oaks Square Arts Center-5×5 – National Call – 2018
  • R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, La. – “Bloom”- International Call – 2019
  • River Oaks Square Arts Center, Alexandria, La -“5×5” – National Call -2019
  • Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Show, Alexandria, La – National Call – 2019
  • R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, La – “Muse”- International Call – 2019
  • Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, La -” Pause” – Local call -2020
  • River Oaks Square Arts Center, Alexandria, La.- 5×5- 2020
  • Alexandria Museum of Art, “34th Annual September Competition” – International Call- 2021

Non juried exhibitions/ group shows/group events

  • Louisiana Tech University Senior show 1998
  • CAS, Cookeville, TN 2009
  • Ruston Peach Festival, NCLAC- 2nd Place
  • River Oaks Square Arts Center, Resident Artist Group Show/ 2019,2020,2021
  • Contemporary Artist Guild, Plein Air Marksville, Merit award
  • StArtle PopUp Show, 2019
  • Contemporary Artist Guild, 2020, Merit award
  • StArtle Group Show, 2020

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FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

Since Dec. 11, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been available under EUA in individuals 16 years of age and older, and the authorization was expanded to include those 12 through 15 years of age on May 10, 2021. EUAs can be used by the FDA during public health emergencies to provide access to medical products that may be effective in preventing, diagnosing, or treating a disease, provided that the FDA determines that the known and potential benefits of a product, when used to prevent, diagnose, or treat the disease, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products. For all vaccines, the FDA evaluates data and information included in the manufacturer’s submission of a biologics license application (BLA). A BLA is a comprehensive document that is submitted to the agency providing very specific requirements. For Comirnaty, the BLA builds on the extensive data and information previously submitted that supported the EUA, such as preclinical and clinical data and information, as well as details of the manufacturing process, vaccine testing results to ensure vaccine quality, and inspections of the sites where the vaccine is made. The agency conducts its own analyses of the information in the BLA to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective and meets the FDA’s standards for approval.

Comirnaty contains messenger RNA (mRNA), a kind of genetic material. The mRNA is used by the body to make a mimic of one of the proteins in the virus that causes COVID-19. The result of a person receiving this vaccine is that their immune system will ultimately react defensively to the virus that causes COVID-19. The mRNA in Comirnaty is only present in the body for a short time and is not incorporated into – nor does it alter – an individual’s genetic material. Comirnaty has the same formulation as the EUA vaccine and is administered as a series of two doses, three weeks apart.

“Our scientific and medical experts conducted an incredibly thorough and thoughtful evaluation of this vaccine. We evaluated scientific data and information included in hundreds of thousands of pages, conducted our own analyses of Comirnaty’s safety and effectiveness, and performed a detailed assessment of the manufacturing processes, including inspections of the manufacturing facilities,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We have not lost sight that the COVID-19 public health crisis continues in the U.S. and that the public is counting on safe and effective vaccines. The public and medical community can be confident that although we approved this vaccine expeditiously, it was fully in keeping with our existing high standards for vaccines in the U.S.”

FDA Evaluation of Safety and Effectiveness Data for Approval for 16 Years of Age and Older

The first EUA, issued Dec. 11, for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older was based on safety and effectiveness data from a randomized, controlled, blinded ongoing clinical trial of thousands of individuals.

To support the FDA’s approval decision today, the FDA reviewed updated data from the clinical trial which supported the EUA and included a longer duration of follow-up in a larger clinical trial population.

Specifically, in the FDA’s review for approval, the agency analyzed effectiveness data from approximately 20,000 vaccine and 20,000 placebo recipients ages 16 and older who did not have evidence of the COVID-19 virus infection within a week of receiving the second dose. The safety of Comirnaty was evaluated in approximately 22,000 people who received the vaccine and 22,000 people who received a placebo 16 years of age and older.

Based on results from the clinical trial, the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease.

More than half of the clinical trial participants were followed for safety outcomes for at least four months after the second dose. Overall, approximately 12,000 recipients have been followed for at least 6 months.

The most commonly reported side effects by those clinical trial participants who received Comirnaty were pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, chills, and fever. The vaccine is effective in preventing COVID-19 and potentially serious outcomes including hospitalization and death.

Additionally, the FDA conducted a rigorous evaluation of the post-authorization safety surveillance data pertaining to myocarditis and pericarditis following administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and has determined that the data demonstrate increased risks, particularly within the seven days following the second dose. The observed risk is higher among males under 40 years of age compared to females and older males. The observed risk is highest in males 12 through 17 years of age. Available data from short-term follow-up suggest that most individuals have had resolution of symptoms. However, some individuals required intensive care support. Information is not yet available about potential long-term health outcomes. The Comirnaty Prescribing Information includes a warning about these risks.

Ongoing Safety Monitoring

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have monitoring systems in place to ensure that any safety concerns continue to be identified and evaluated in a timely manner. In addition, the FDA is requiring the company to conduct postmarketing studies to further assess the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with Comirnaty. These studies will include an evaluation of long-term outcomes among individuals who develop myocarditis following vaccination with Comirnaty. In addition, although not FDA requirements, the company has committed to additional post-marketing safety studies, including conducting a pregnancy registry study to evaluate pregnancy and infant outcomes after receipt of Comirnaty during pregnancy.

The FDA granted this application Priority Review. The approval was granted to BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH.

Bienville Parish Under Heat Advisory Until 7 PM This Evening

Temperatures are expected to reach 97°F today.  Heat index values from 105 to 109 degrees are expected.

Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illness.

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned areas if possible, stay out of the sun for long durations, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911.

Huge Turnout to See World’s Largest Steam Locomotive – Videos Attached

(Photo by Gary Dison)

by Brad Dison

On Monday, August 23, the ground shook as the World’s Largest Steam Locomotive passed through North Louisiana.  Several members of my family and I drove to several spots we had scouted during the previous week to witness the passing of Big Boy 4014, what some have referred to as “the beast.”   

To our surprise, people were parked on both sides of the road anywhere the train tracks were visible.  A lone photographer perched himself precariously on the outer side of a bridge railing and waited with his camera ready for the split second Big Boy would cross a short trestle.  I would love to see that picture.  We arrived at the southernmost stop about 45 minutes before the train was due to pass.  Only a handful of people were waiting, but the number of anxious people grew, cameras in hand, until we heard the first deep bellow of the steam train’s horn.  Those of us who had not seen Big Boy 4014 before were stunned by the speed this 1.2 million pound locomotive was able to pull a compliment of about 14 trains cars.  The ground shook.  The blast of the horn was deafening.  Within seconds, it was gone.

We, the large contingent of train chasers of which we joined, raced to the next pre-scouted location.  There was a lot of traffic, but everyone was trying to beat the train to get more pictures.  With our hearts beating quickly, we finally caught up with and overtook the train.  We made it to our second location with about a minute to spare.  While we waited for the train to arrive and tried to catch our breath, another train chaser told us he had followed the train since it left New Orleans earlier that morning.  He said that other people had followed the train all along its route since it left Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Then, the warning bells sounded and the railroad crossing bars came down.  Again, we heard the deep bellows of the train’s horn.  Everyone, it seemed, had equipment at the ready to capture the moment.  Again, the ground shook and the blasting of the steam train’s horn was almost too much for the sense to bear.  A few seconds and it was gone again. 

Like drivers in the 24 hours of Le Mans, we ran back to our cars and raced towards Natchitoches.  The road was even more packed than it had been just a few minutes earlier.  The closer we got to the historic train depot in Natchitoches, the larger the crowds got.  We had scouted a different route which we figured would have less traffic.  We were right, but traffic lights stopped us from reaching the depot before the train.  We parked and walked swiftly toward the depot.  The size of the crowd reminded me of being at the Natchitoches Christmas Festival but the temperature did not.  It was 99 degrees and the “feel like” temperature was 115.  We finally got a closer look at the locomotive.  Everyone in the crowd seemed to be in awe of the World War II era behemoth.  The train’s engineer and other personnel must have felt like rock stars.  At the smallest of movements, people snapped pictures of them.  A simple wave of one of their hands and people aimed at them with phones and cameras.  Finally, after many strange hissing sounds from the locomotive and a couple of loud blasts from its horn, the train slowly pulled away from the depot.  All cameras were aimed at the train until it was out of sight.  

Back in the car with the air conditioning blowing at full force, we raced to our next filming location.  Well, we tried to race.  Similar to the traffic after the fireworks at the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, we sat and waited.  The occupants of two cars who were too anxious to see the locomotive at the depot to properly park their cars, parked them directly in the street.  Traffic was slow until we got near the bowling alley just north of town.  We were certain that the train had gotten too far ahead for us to safely catch up.  We drove on anyway.  In what seemed like an hour but was really only a few minutes, we reached the spot near Powhatan where the train tracks were again parallel with the highway.  Crowds of people waited with cameras in hand.  We were ahead of the train, but not by much.   We slowed and let the locomotive catch up.  We drove parallel with the train for a few miles until it became too dangerous.  Cars were driving parallel to the train in both lanes of the highway with little worry of oncoming traffic.  When an oncoming car approached, the left lane of traffic would quickly hit their brakes.  We watched as Big Boy 4014 slowly pulled away.  Until we meet again, Big Boy!

Here are some facts about Big Boy 4014:

  1. Big Boy 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December of 1941;
  2. It ran over 1 million miles in its 18 years of service;
  3. Its last run was July 21, 1959, but it officially retired in Dec. 1961, its 20th anniversary;
  4. Restoration began in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2013;
  5. It was Converted from coal burning to oil burning;
  6. In May, 2019, Restoration was completed, and Big Boy returned to service;
  7. This is one of only 25 Big Boys built;
  8. Only eight survive, seven of them are on public display;
  9. This is the only “Big Boy” which is operational;
  10. The locomotive is about 133 feet long, which is about the length of a traditional diesel locomotive plus a regular size school bus plus a modern full-size sedan;
  11. It’s so long that the locomotive is hinged to allow it to go around curves;
  12. It Weighs about 1.2 million pounds;
  13. It weighs about the same as three modern diesel locomotives, which is equivalent to around 300 Ford F150 Pickups;
  14. Big Boys can reach speeds of about 80 mph but is limited to 55 mph in regular service;
  15. It takes nearly 1.5 miles to stop Big Boy traveling at 55 mph (never try to beat any train at a railroad crossing);
  16. It holds 25,000 gallons of water;
  17. It originally carried 56,000 lbs. of coal;
  18. It has a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, meaning it has:
    1. 4 pilot wheels in front
    2. 8 wheels for first engine
    3. 8 wheels for second engine
    4. 4 wheels trailing to support the back of the locomotive 

In 1985, another Big Boy, number 8444, passed through Natchitoches.  We have just a few clues that the following footage was taken in 1984 and not yesterday:  The numbers on the side of the Locomotive are 8444 and not 4014.  Also, there are no SUVs in the footage, only cars from that era.  People’s fascination with steam trains, especially ones this large, has not diminished.  In 1985, people of all ages gathered all along the rail line to witness the train’s passing just as they did on Monday.  Will our romantic notions of the steam era ever be extinguished?  I certainly hope not.    

Library Cards Offer Superpowers


School has started and whether you’re in a school classroom, hybrid learning, virtual learning, or homeschool, there is one school supply that will give you superpowers — a Bienville Parish Library card! When you get to your sixth birthday (or your parents or guardian feels you’re ready), it’s time to get your first library card!

You need a few things before you can get your card and here’s your list:

  1. An adult with ID: it can be a parent or legal guardian and they will need a valid photo ID.
  2. Proof of residence: a piece of mail addressed to your parent’s/guardian’s house where you live. (water bill, electric bill, or any piece of mail with a physical house address printed on the envelope.)
  3. Most important: YOU! We need you to be with your parents or guardian so you can sign or print your first and last name neatly on the signature line!


Your first library card is free, but if you happen to lose it, or your dog chews it up, it’s $1.00 to replace! You’ll receive your library card and a nifty pocket sleeve protector to store your card in so it won’t get bent and protect your personal ID barcode. Your librarian might give you a few other things like a book bag to keep your library books safe from pets or a little brother or sister! Ask your librarian for a few bookmarks to help save your place as you’re reading, (NOTE: Librarians cry when you dog-ear pages! So ALWAYS use a bookmark!)

You can check out three (3) books the very first time. Your books will be due back in two weeks, and when you return them on or before the due date, you can check out more (with permission from your parent or guardian). This shows adults, and especially your favorite librarian, you are grown up and can handle this awesome borrowing responsibility!


Yes, fines happen, even to superheroes — If you do happen to have an overdue fine, it’s 5-cents a day per book – so pay attention to the due dates! Your due date is printed on a receipt and placed in your book. Be sure to keep up with that receipt. If you haven’t finished reading your books by the due date, you can renew your books at any Bienville Parish Library – that’s pretty cool. Turn in the books you have finished reading and renew the book(s) you haven’t finished yet and check out more – all your books will be due at the same time!


A library card is your passport to great knowledge! There are all kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction that will boost your brainpower! If homework is your kryptonite, your neighborhood Bienville Parish Library has access to HomeworkLA, a FREE online tutoring service that will help you defeat villainous subjects and get your GPA soaring again! There are tons of online databases and applications that will help you with school projects and bulk-up serious brain muscle!


Let’s introduce you to just a couple of our newest Superhero Readers! We’ll go in alphabetical order – because that’s how librarians like to do things!

Meet Walker S. Cutlip, he’s just gotten his first library card! He is now part of a special group of kids with a Bienville Parish Library card and calls Arcadia Main his home library – He’s energized with superpowers! We’ll be seeing more of Walker and his family at the library! Congratulations Walker!

Now let’s meet Luis P. Wilson, V., he’s received his first library card from the Castor Branch. Luis and his parents have close ties to the Castor Library and are huge supporters of their neighborhood Bienville Parish Library! The Wilsons’ are the proud parents of a superhero reader! Congratulations Luis!


All superheroes need super friends, so get to know your neighborhood Bienville Parish Librarians! They’ll help you find new books, new authors, new information, and help you connect you to the world!

When you’re ready for your library card, visit your neighborhood Bienville Parish Library, get your library card, and become a Superhero Reader!

Remember This?: The Right Face

American Gothic is one of only a few paintings which has transcended being merely a painting and has become a cultural icon.  Like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream and James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, commonly known as Whistler’s Mother, American Gothic has become one of the most famous paintings in the world.

In the summer of 1930, Grant Wood, a painter from Cedar Rapids, Michigan, was riding with a friend and fellow painter named John Sharp through the town of Eldon, Iowa.  The two painters were looking for inspiration when Grant spotted a little farmhouse with a distinctive upper window.  Grant later explained the he “saw such an American Gothic house in southern Iowa, and I imagined American Gothic people with their faces stretched out long, to go with it.” 

Grant made a quick sketch of the house on the back of an envelope.  On the following day, Grant got the permission of the homeowners and made a more detailed sketch with oil paints from the front yard.  Grant never saw the house again.  Back in his studio, Grant began painting the gothic farmhouse.  Needing more detail, he requested and received a photograph of the house from the homeowners.  Throughout the process of painting the house, the background in the painting, he considered who he would get to be the male and female models for the people in the painting. 

He took great care in picking the female model because he needed someone who would be unoffended by his stretching her face in the painting.  After considering several friends and family members, he settled on Nan Graham.  Grant said Nan’s, “face is nearly as round as mine so I had to do a great deal of stretching.”

Grant struggled to find the right face for the male figure for his painting, a struggle which had held up the works of other famous artists.  While painting the Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci had trouble finding the right face for Judas, which he said had to be villainous.  Leonardo spent days walking the streets of Milan, Italy in search of just the right face.  Each face he saw was eliminated for one reason or another until he finally found his Judas.  Similarly, Grant looked carefully at every man he met and considered everyone he knew.  Years before Grant had the idea for the painting, Byron McKeeby had built a bridge for him.  Grant, somewhat of a starving artist, traded a bridge for a bridge.  In lieu of payment, Byron accepted a painting by Grant of a famous bridge in Paris.  Byron had just the right face for Grant’s painting.  With little convincing, Byron agreed to be the male model for Grant’s American Gothic.  A short while later, Grant finished the painting.

In October of 1930, the Art Institute of Chicago accepted two of Grant’s paintings, Stone City and American Gothic, for inclusion in their annual American Artists exposition.  Hundreds of paintings were submitted and rejected.  The Art Institute would accept no more than two paintings each year from the same artist.  For Grant to have two entries accepted was an exceptional honor.  In addition, Grant won the coveted Norman Wait Harris bronze medal and a cash prize of $300 for American Gothic.  Newspapers at the time described it as “a painting of a Gothic type home at Eldon, IA with two imaginary figures of the artist’s conception of Gothic individuals in the foreground.”

When the exhibition opened, American Gothic became an instant hit.  Newspapers throughout the United States published photographs of the painting and incorrectly described the subjects in the foreground as being of a farmer and his wife.  Wood set the record straight and explained that it was a farmer and his daughter.  In late November, Wood learned that the Friends of American Art had purchased American Gothic for inclusion in the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection. 

Not all who saw the painting were impressed.  Mrs. Earl Robinson of Collins, Iowa suggested the artist “hang the portrait in one of our Iowa cheese factories because the woman’s face would positively sour milk.”  In response, Mrs. Nan Graham, the lady in the painting, said she was proud to have been the model for the painting and retorted, “I wish that jealous woman would send me her photograph.  I have a very appropriate place to hang it.”  The lady in the painting whom Grant carefully selected was his younger sister.   

Byron McKeeby, uncomfortable with the publicity he received from the painting, said all of the publicity should go to Grant.  For five years Byron refused to admit his connection with the painting.  “Grant chose the face, I didn’t,” he said with his usual warm smile.  It was true that Grant traded a bridge for a bridge.  Byron build Grant a bridge and Grant gave Byron a painting of a famous bridge he had painted in Paris, a painting which is now much more valuable than the bridge Byron made for Grant.  You see, Byron was Dr. Byron McKeeby, Grant Wood’s dentist.


The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), October 28, 1930, p. 5.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), October 29, 1930, p. 19.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), November 27, 1930, p. 12.
The Des Moines Register, December 28, 1930, p.39.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), January 25, 1931, p.4.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), February 28, 1931, p.5.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), March 24, 1935, p.4.

Today in History – August 25

766 – Emperor Constantine V humiliated nineteen high-ranking officials, after discovering a plot against him. He executed the leaders, Constantine Podopagouros and his brother Strategios.

1609 – Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.

1814 – War of 1812: On the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torched the Library of Congress, United States Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.

1835 – The first Great Moon Hoax article was published in The New York Sun, announcing the discovery of life and civilization on the Moon.

1875 – Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 21 hours and 45 minutes.

1894 – Kitasato Shibasaburō discovered the infectious agent of the bubonic plague and published his findings in The Lancet.

1916 – The United States National Park Service was created.

1944 – World War II: Paris was liberated by the Allies.

1945 – Ten days after World War II ends with Japan announcing its surrender, armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party killed U.S. intelligence officer John Birch, regarded by some of the American right as the first victim of the Cold War.

1950 – To avert a threatened strike during the Korean War, President Truman ordered Secretary of the Army Frank Pace to seize control of the nation’s railroads.

1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, was assassinated by a former member of his group.

1967 – The Beatles went to Wales to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1970 – Elton John’s first US appearance (Troubador – West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California).

1973 – Butch Trucks, drummer of the Allman Brothers, received chest injuries in a car crash.  He was charged with speeding and driving while under the influence of intoxicants.

1975 – Bruce Springsteen’s landmark third album “Born To Run” was released.

1981 – Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn.

1986 – Warner Bros. released Paul Simon’s seventh solo album “Graceland”, a blend of pop, African, zydeco, and rock music.  It won the Grammy for album of the year in 1987 and sold over 16 million copies.

1989 – Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune, the last planet in the Solar System at the time, due to Pluto being within Neptune’s orbit from 1979 to 1999.

2001 – American singer Aaliyah and several members of her record company were killed as their overloaded aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas.

2012 – Voyager 1 spacecraft entered interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.

Arrest Report

August 20

  • Stephanie Keeton (Minden)
    • Simple Criminal Damage to Property – Misdemeanor
    • Theft – Misdemeanor
    • Criminal Trespass – Immovable Structure – Misdemeanor
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
    • Fugitive
    • Enter/Remain After Being Forbidden – Immovable Structure – Misdemeanor

August 21

  • Damien Bess (Castor)
    • Stalking – Misemeanor – Principal
    • Simple Criminal Damage to Property – Misdemeanor – Principal