Sheriff’s Deputies Investigating Homicide in Gibsland

The Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in finding out who shot a man to death Friday evening.  

According to Sheriff John Ballance, “Bienville Parish Sheriff’s deputies are currently investigating the homicide of Dennis Rushing, 58, which occurred at his residence on Fifth Street in Gibsland in the evening hours of September 24, 2021. Rushing sustained fatal gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene by Bienville Parish Coroner Don Smith. Investigators have interviewed several potential witnesses and are continuing to follow up on several leads but are not ready to name a suspect in the shooting. If anyone has any information regarding the homicide, please contact the sheriff’s office at 318-263-2215.”


Governor Extends Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate for Another Month

Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks, until October 27, as the state’s overall COVID-19 outlook improves following the state’s worst COVID-19 surge of the entire pandemic. The statewide mask mandate includes K-12 schools and college campuses.

“There is no doubt that our COVID-19 situation in Louisiana has improved since the peak of our fourth surge, which was largely driven by the Delta variant, and for that I am deeply grateful,” said Gov. Edwards. “Even so, the amount of COVID in Louisiana is still incredibly high, at 243 cases for every 100,000 people, as it is disproportionately driven by transmission in those five to 18 years old. This is why to support continued decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths, I am extending Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks, including in our K-12 schools and on college campuses,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Masks have been proven to help slow the spread of COVID-19, with recent federal data from the Centers for Disease Control showing that schools without masking requirements are 3.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak than schools where children and staff members are masked. We must do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us who are vulnerable, including wearing masks indoors and getting the safe, effective and totally free COVID-19 vaccine.

“On August 4, the day that the mask mandate was put back into place, only 37 percent of Louisianans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of today, that is up to more than 45 percent. While that improvement is something to be proud of, it is not enough. Currently, our hospitalizations are down, but they are still roughly four times the pre-Delta surge baseline. In the month of September alone, Louisiana reported that 1,470 people died of COVID, which is tragic, as we know that the vast majority of these deaths were likely preventable. We have to get Louisiana’s vaccine rate up even more so that we have strong vaccine protection in our communities. Just over half of all people in Louisiana who are eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated. That’s why masking right now is important still.”

“Our COVID-19 indicators continue to move in the right direction and that is critical, but we are still wading in COVID,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer at the Louisiana Department of Health. “All 64 parishes are currently at the highest possible level on our community risk scale. With the highly transmissible Delta variant circulating throughout the state, masking indoors is how we stay safe and protect our loved ones.”

STATEWIDE MASK MANDATE

Face masks that properly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose should be worn indoors at all times, unless a person is in a home, under the Governor’s statewide mask mandate, which will be in place until at least October 27, 2021.

The order requires face coverings for everyone age 5 or older or enrolled in kindergarten, except for the following:

  • Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
  • Anyone who is consuming a drink or food
  • Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired
  • Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
  • Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes
  • Face coverings are highly encouraged for those ages 2 to 4 as tolerated.

As with the Governor’s previous mandate, children younger than kindergarten age are exempted if they cannot wear a mask. However, the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage indoor mask wearing in public for all children aged two and older, especially as they are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine.

HOW TO GET A COVID VACCINE IN LOUISIANA

Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19, as they are proven to reduce the likelihood that a person will get a serious case of COVID, be hospitalized or die of the illness. They are safe, free and available all across Louisiana for anyone who is 12 or older.

Everyone aged 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. The FDA has fully approved the first COVID-19 vaccine – from Pfizer – for everyone 16 years old and up.

The Pfizer vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 through 15 years of age. 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 more than 1,000 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 vaccines.gov, 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.

COVID-19 BOOSTER DOSES

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health made booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine available to adults at increased risk, following new guidance from the CDC. Anyone who is six months out from their two-dose Pfizer series is now eligible to receive a booster shot if they are:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Age 18 or older and have one of many underlying medical conditions OR
  • Age 18 or older and live or work in a setting that places you at risk of being exposed to COVID

As always, LDH recommends people discuss their individual situation and risk/benefit analysis with their doctor or medical practitioner. CDC and LDH will evaluate with similar urgency available data in the coming weeks to swiftly make additional recommendations for other populations or people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.


Film Seeks Vehicles from 1950s, 1960s and 1970s

(Cars on the set of “The Man in the White Van”)

See your car on the big screen!

Filming is continuing on “The Man in the White Van” in the Shreveport area and they need vehicles for background shots.  They are looking for a wide variety of cars in various conditions as long as they are drivable.  

There are other upcoming film productions in the Shreveport area.  They will need an even wider range of vehicles.  You can submit those as well.

Being on a film set can be a lot of fun.  You get to see some of the magic of filmmaking, meet new people who love cars, and you get paid for it.  

It is easy and free to submit your car for casting in films.  You can register more than one vehicle.  


Eight Minors Summoned to Court Following Cedar Creek Civil Lawsuit

Eight minors have been summoned to appear at juvenile court.

Earlier this month, parents of a minor who formerly attended Cedar Creek School in neighboring Lincoln Parish filed a civil lawsuit against faculty, administration and the parents of eight minors who also attended Cedar Creek School. The civil lawsuit claims that the minors sexually abused and bullied the plaintiff. 

According to KNOE, the eight minors listed in the civil lawsuit are the ones summoned to juvenile court.

According to two sources, juvenile summons generally means that charges have been filed against a minor, and the individual in question will go to juvenile court.

Several students of the school are residents of Bienville Parish, although they may not be involved in the lawsuit.


Today in History – September 29

1789 – The United States Department of War first established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.

1829 – The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

1885 – The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool, England.

1907 – The cornerstone was laid at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (better known as Washington National Cathedral) in Washington, D.C.

1915 – First transcontinental radio telephone message sent by U.S. naval radio station at Arlington, Virginia, to naval radio station at Mare Island, San Francisco.

1916 – American oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire.

1923 – The First American Track & Field championships for women were held.

1927 – Telephone service began between US & Mexico.

1936 – Radio was used for first time for a presidential campaign.

1940 – Two Royal Air Force airplanes (Avro Ansons) collided in mid-air over New South Wales, Australia, remained locked together, then landed safely.

1949 – The Communist Party of China wrote the Common Programme for the future People’s Republic of China.

1950 – Telephone Answering Machine was created by Bell Laboratories.

1953 – “Milton Berle Show” premiered on NBC.

1957 – The Kyshtym disaster was the third-worst nuclear accident ever recorded.

1957 – Buddy Holly & Crickets released second single: “Oh Boy!”/”Not Fade Away”.

1958 – “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran peaked at #8 in US; #18 in UK.

1959 – Little Anthony & the Imperials recorded “Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop”.

1960 – “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ricky Valance peaked at #1 in UK.

1961 – Bob Dylan’s first recording session.  He played backup harmonica for Caroline Hester.

1962 – “Alley Cat” by Bent Fabric & His Piano peaked at #7.

1962 – “Green Onions” by Booker T & MG’s peaked at #3.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy authorized the use of federal troops to integrate the University of Mississippi.

1963 – Rolling Stones first tour.  They were the opening act for Bo Diddley and the Everly Brothers.

1966 – The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.

1967 – Gladys Knight & Pips released “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”.

1969 – Jackie DeShannon got a Gold Record for “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”.

1971 – Ron Hunt was hit by a pitch for record 50th time in a season.

1972 – Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defense, was almost thrown overboard on a ferry by an artist wanting to confront him on his role in escalating US involvement in the Vietnam war.  McNamara did not press charges against the artist.

1973 – “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk peaked at #1.

1976 – TV show “Alice” debuts on CBS.

1976 – While attempting to shoot soda bottles, Jerry Lee Lewis hit his bass player Norman Owens twice in the chest.

1977 – James Brown’s band walked out claiming they were underpaid & overworked.

1979 – “Bad Case Of Loving You” by Robert Palmer peaked at #14.

1979 – “Lonesome Loser” by Little River Band peaked at #6.

1979 – “Message In A Bottle” by Police peaked at #1 in UK.

1982 -First broadcast of comedy “Cheers” on NBC starring Ted Danson and Shelley Long.

1984  – “Drive” by Cars peaked at #3.

1984 – “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince & Revolution peaked at #1.

1985 – “MacGyver” starring Richard Dean Anderson, debuted on ABC.

1987 – “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” by Whitney Houston hit #1.

1988 – NASA launched STS-26, the first mission since the Challenger disaster.

1989 – Zsa Zsa Gabor was convicted of slapping a police officer in Beverly Hills.

1990 – “Love & Affection” by Nelson peaked at #1 on pop singles chart.

1990 – Construction of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (better known as Washington National Cathedral) was completed in Washington, D.C.  Construction began in 1907.  (see above)

2004 – The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.

2004 – Burt Rutan’s Ansari SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the Ansari X Prize.

2006 – A Boeing 737 and an Embraer 600 collided in mid-air.  The accident killed 154 people and triggered a Brazilian aviation crisis.

2007 – Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.


Arrest Report

September 20

  • Debra Dean (Homer)
    • Failure to Appear Warrant – Misdemeanor
    • Violation of ProbationParole

September 21

  • Danielle Joiner (Ringgold)
    • Violation of Probation/Parole
  • Michael Malone (Quitman)
    • Fugitive
    • Simple Cruelty to Animals – Misdemeanor
  • Darius Brown (Ringgold)
    • First Degree Rape (Sex Offense) – Felony

September 22

  • Joe Johnson (Gibsland)
    • Distribution of Marijuana – Felony
    • Distribution of Marijuana – Felony
    • Distribution of Marijuana – Felony
  • James Stroud (Coushatta)
    • Fugitive
    • Violation of Probation/Parole

September 23

  • Michael Hawk (Gibsland)
    • Distribution of Marijuana – Felony
    • Distribution of Marijuana – Felony
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony – Principal

September 24

  • Brandon Butler (Dubberly)
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
    • Simple Criminal Damage to Property – Felony
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
    • Possession of Firearm/Carry Concealed Weapon by Convicted Felon – Felony
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
    • Simple Burglary – Immovable Structure – Felony
  • Skyla Gray (Jonesboro)
    • Domestic Abuse Battery with Child Endangerment – Felony

September 25

  • Cody Stephens (Castor)
    • Theft – Felony
  • Tarkedria Hill (Hall Summit)
    • D.W.I. – 1st Offense (BAC .08 to .15) – Misdemeanor
    • Careless Operation
  • Orvis Porter (Garland, TX)
    • D.W.I. – 1st Offense (BAC .08 to .15) – Misdemeanor

Remember This?: The General Plot

In 1945, General inherited a large multilevel house which was in disrepair. The wooden structure was in danger of collapsing and the masonry was crumbling. The floors creaked and swayed, especially when walked on. The light fixtures in the lower rooms swayed when someone walked on the floors above. One light fixture in the house seemed to be lower with each passing day. General referred to the creaking and moaning of the house’s rotting timbers as ghosts. General had an architect inspect the house who remarked that “the beams [in the house] are staying up there from force of habit only.” The house was in danger of collapsing. The last straw came in June of 1948 when a leg of a piano crashed through an upper floor and through the ceiling of the dining room. In November of 1949, General moved into a residence nearby so that the house he inherited could be reconstructed. The house had too much sentimental value for it to be demolished.

Not everyone liked General. In fact, some people wanted to kill General and he knew it. For this reason, General surrounded himself with bodyguards, some of which were police officers.

At about 2:15 on the afternoon of November 1, 1950, two men, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, set a plan into motion to murder General. They had learned that General had moved into the temporary residence. Griselio approached the residence from the west side, while Oscar approached from the east. Police officer Donald Birdzell stood on the front steps of the residence. Oscar, with pistol in hand, snuck up behind the Birdzell and pulled the trigger. Snap!!! Oscar had forgotten to chamber a round in his pistol. Birdzell turned as Oscar chambered a round. Oscar fired the pistol and struck Birdzell in his right knee. As Oscar approached the steps which led to the front door, another bodyguard stepped out of the residence and shot Oscar in the chest. Oscar collapsed and writhed in pain at the foot of the steps.

Meanwhile, on the west side of the residence, Griselio shot police officer Leslie Coffelt four times at close range. He turned his pistol on policeman Joseph Downs and shot him three times. Griselio shot officer Birdzell in his other knee. Griselio had no more rounds in the gun and stopped to reload. General, who had been taking a nap on the second floor, peered out of a window directly over the front door to see what the commotion was. General was a First World War combat veteran and was not frightened by the gunfire. People yelled for General to get away from the window. He obeyed their command. At that moment, Coffelt, though severely injured, fired a single shot at Griselio before falling to the ground unconscious. The bullet from Coffelt’s pistol struck Griselio in the head and killed him instantly.

When the shooting was over, three guards were wounded including 40-year-old Leslie Coffelt, who died later that evening during surgery. Oscar survived and spent the next 29 years in prison. In an interview with Time magazine about the murder plot, General calmly said, “the only thing you have to worry about is bad luck.” General grinned and said, “I never have bad luck.” General remarked that he was unafraid because he “had been shot at by professionals” during the First World War.

Although the shooting lasted less than a minute, General survived a murder attempt in what was described as “the biggest gunfight in Secret Service history.” You see, the house General inherited was the White House. General was the Secret Service’s code name for… President Harry Truman.

(The entrance to General’s temporary residence (1) where one of the would-be assassins was wounded. The other tumbled into bushes (2), fatally shot. Shots were fired from sentry box (3) at the gunmen while two guards were wounded in the other box (4). A guard on duty at the entrance steps was wounded and stumbled into the street (5). General appeared at window (6).)

Sources:
1. The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 1950, p.1.
2. Mahan, Sydney. “66 Years Ago Today, President Truman Survived an Assassination Attempt at Blair House.” Washingtonian. November 1, 2016. https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/11/01/president-truman-assassination-attempt-blair-house/.


Notice of Death – September 28, 2021

  • Lynn Louise Loe Barefield
    December 1, 1958 – September 24, 2021
    Visitation:  9:30 a.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1680 First Street, Arcadia.
    Service: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1680 First Street, Arcadia.  Burial to follow directly after at Bear Creek Cemetery in Bryceland.
  • George Wesley Taylor, Sr.
    March 11, 1937 – September 23, 2021
    Visitation:  11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, October 2, 2021 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Arcadia.
    Graveside service:  1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 2, 2021, at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Mt. Lebanon.