Today is the First Day of Fall – Autumn Equinox Explained

by Brad Dison

Today, September 22, 2021, at precisely 3:20 p.m. is the Autumn Equinox which marks the First Day of Fall.  But what is Autumn Equinox?

Autumn Equinox, also called Autumnal Equinox, is the astronomical beginning of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Equinox derives the combation of two Latin words, aequus, which means “equal” and nox, “night.”  On the equinox, the time length of day and night are roughly equal.  After the Autumn Equinox, days become shorter than nights. 

The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon.  It’s name derived from farmers who used the light from this full moon to finish their harvest. 

Pretty soon, leaves will begin to change color due to shortened daylight hours and photosynthesis.  

Can you see it?  When the Sun shines on the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico at the exact moment of the equinox, a giant “snake of sunlight” seemingly slithers down the pyramids stairs.


  1. The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Autumnal Equinox 2021: The First Day of Fall Facts.” September 16, 2021.

Fire Chief Makes Second Trip Down South to Deliver Donations

On September 13, Bienville Parish Fire District 7 traveled back down south to Terrebonne Parish to the Grand Caillou Fire Department with trailer packed with supplies donated to help the Firefighters and their families.

We would like to thank the following people and and businesses for there generous donations:

  • Saline General Store
  • Saline Food Pantry
  • Raykens Convenience Store
  • On Pointe Nutrition
  • Cane River Pest Control


  • Darryl Robertson
  • Ray and Donna Walsworth
  • Chief Adrian Batchelor- Bienville Fire Dist 6.

Respectfully submitted,

Chief Chase Walsworth

Victims of Residential Contractor Fraud Reimbursed for Losses

Sheriff John Ballance and Sgt. Michael Allen presented two cashier’s checks ($11,000 each) to the victims of residential contractor fraud in the Fryeburg area of Bienville Parish.

The purported contractor, Enrique Campuzano Mendez, age 49, of Ruston, La. was hired on two separate residential construction projects to perform services which over a course of several months were never completed.

Mendez continually provided various excuses as to why the project had not been completed and eventually quit answering texts and phone calls from the victims.

Sgt. Allen obtained arrest warrants for Mendez on two counts of residential contractor fraud and two counts of exploitation of the aged or infirmed. Mendez was arrested by Ruston P.D. on September 9, 2021 and later transported to the BPSO jail for booking.

Sheriff Ballance urges all citizens to be very cautious of any contractors who demand payment before completing their work and to always ask to see a contractor’s license.

Police Partnering in Rail Safety Week Provide Tips to Avoid a Collision

National Rail Safety Week is September 20-26, 2021. The Louisiana State Police is partnering with Louisiana Operation Lifesaver and local law enforcement agencies to bring awareness to railroad safety.

In 2020, 1,377 motor vehicle crashes occurred at public rail grade crossings resulting in 94 deaths and another 494 people injured. From 2016 to 2020, 1,620 collisions occurred when drivers went around or through a lowered gate, accounting for 21% of all collisions. These deaths were largely preventable and caused by risky driving behaviors and poor decision-making.

Here are a few tips that can keep you safe when approaching railroad grade crossings:

  • Look both ways and listen closely. This is important because trains may be traveling faster than they appear. They can also travel on any track, in any direction, at any time.
  • Trains and cars do not mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it is illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping.
  • Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming.
  • If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • At a multiple-track crossing, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross-train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember you should not stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • In case of an emergency, you can report it by calling the Emergency Notification System sign by calling the phone number listed, or by dialing 911.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

Every four hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. The goal of Rail Safety Week is to educate the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings. For more information or to schedule railroad safety presentations visit the Louisiana Operation Lifesaver website at

Deer Hunters, Taxidermists Can Win Gift Card Prizes By Helping LDWF Monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease

Deer hunters and state taxidermists will be entered into a contest for $1,000 and $500 gift cards, respectively, when they submit a sample from a mature buck harvested in the 2021-22 deer season in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced.

All submitted samples will be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD), assisting LDWF with their surveillance monitoring for this disease, which is 100-percent fatal in deer.

The prizes are made possible by the South Louisiana Branch of the National Deer Association, assisting the efforts of LDWF to increase surveillance for CWD.

Hunters become eligible to win the $1,000 gift card by submitting a sample to LDWF for testing from a mature buck harvested in Louisiana during the 2021-22 deer season.

Taxidermists will be entered to win the $500 gift card by submitting samples from mature bucks harvested in Louisiana during the 2021-22 deer season. Both drawings will be held March 18, 2022.

Participants are asked to contact their local LDWF Field Office to submit a sample. For more information and complete contest rules go to

CWD, a fatal neurologic disease of deer, has not been detected in Louisiana. However, all three neighboring states, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, have reported positive tests. Continued sampling throughout the state remains vitally important and LDWF is asking hunters to help.

The disease is spread by contact with infected saliva, blood, urine, feces, food, water, and soil. It can be transmitted from live animals or carcasses, and creates holes in the brain tissue of infected animals. Infection with CWD can occur in deer of any sex and age, but higher infection rates are typically noted in mature bucks.

Symptoms can show 16 months or more after infection. Those symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, teeth grinding, head tremors, difficulty swallowing, excessive urination and thirst, incoordination, splay leg stance, lowered head and ears, fixed stare, fainting and lack of awareness.

Prior to hunting deer, all deer hunters, regardless of age or license status, must obtain deer tags and have tags in possession when hunting deer. Immediately upon harvesting a deer, the hunter must tag the deer with the appropriate license tag before it is moved from the harvest site.

The hunter must record the date of harvest and the parish on the carcass tag. Within 72 hours, the hunter must validate the harvest online using the LDWF website.

Rollover Delays Traffic on I-20 Near Gibsland

According to KEEL, at about 11 a.m. on Sunday morning September 19, a car travelling westbound on I-20 near Giblsand lost controll and rolled over.  Traffic was delayed for about fifteen minutes.  The occupants of the car walked around the overturned car and picked up some of the items which had been strewn in the highway during the wreck.  Bienville Parish Deputies investigated the crash.  

Today in History – September 22

1598 – Playwright and poet Ben Jonson was indicted for manslaughter as the result of a duel.

1692 – The last hanging of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials; the others were all eventually released.

1735 – Robert Walpole became the first British “Prime Minister” (actually First Lord of the Treasury) to live at 10 Downing Street.

1761 – George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were crowned King and Queen, respectively, of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1776 – Nathan Hale was hanged for spying during the American Revolution.

1789 – The office of United States Postmaster General was established.

1862 – A preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released by Abraham Lincoln.

1877 – Rudolf Virchow delivered an anti-Darwinian speech to the Congress of German Naturalist and Physicians, Munich where he spoke against the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools.

1896 – Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

1910 – The Duke of York’s Picture House opened in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

1914 – A German submarine sunk three British cruisers over a seventy-minute period, killing almost 1500 sailors.

1919 – The steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, began in Pennsylvania before spreading across the United States.

1937 – Date celebrated as the first International Hobbit Day and the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

1941 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: On the Jewish New Year Day, the German SS murdered 6,000 Jews in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Those were the survivors of the previous killings that took place a few days earlier in which about 24,000 Jews were executed.

1948 – Gail Halvorsen officially started parachuting candy to children as part of the Berlin Airlift.

1950 – Omar Bradley was promoted to rank of 5-star general in the United States Army.

1955 – On BBC radio, fictional character Grace Archer was killed in a barn fire on Brookfield Farm – the BBC denied this was to spoil the launch of rival network ITV.

1955 – Commercial television began in the UK with the launch of ITV.  It aired the first advertisement on UK TV, for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

1957 – Western “Maverick” premiered on ABC television.  It starred James Garner.

1964 – “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” premiered on NBC.  It starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum.

1973 – Henry Kissinger was sworn in as America’s first Jewish Secretary of State.

1975 – Sara Jane Moore tried to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but was foiled by the Secret Service.

1976 – TV dama “Charlie’s Angels” starring Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith debuted.

1979 – A bright flash, resembling the detonation of a nuclear weapon, was observed near the Prince Edward Islands. Its cause was never determined.

1980 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono signed a recording contract with Geffen Records.

1982 – Sitcom “Family Ties starring Michael J. Fox premiered on NBC.

1983 – The Everly Brothers reunited after 10 years apart in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

1989 – “Baywatch”, starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, debuted on NBC.

1991 – The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time.

1993 – A barge struck a railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama, and caused the deadliest train wreck in Amtrak history. Forty-seven passengers were killed.

1994 – “Friends” TV sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman debuted on NBC, starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.

1995 – An E-3B AWACS crashed outside Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska after multiple bird strikes to two of the four engines soon after takeoff; all 24 on board were killed.

1997 – Elton John released “Candle in the Wind 1997”, a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, in the US.

Library Patron of the Week Program Explained

Bienville Parish Library “Patron of the Week”!

In the early part of this year, the Bienville Parish Library Ringgold Branch manager, Naomi Wyatt began a patron appreciation program. It was such a great way to show how much our staff thinks of our patrons, it quickly became a system-wide patron appreciation program!

Each time a patron visits the library, their name goes into a jar and at the end of the week a name is picked and that individual is our — Patron of the Week! We show our gratitude with a picture that is displayed in the library and on social media (with their permission), and our patron takes home a small token of our appreciation.

History of the “Library Patron”

In the old days, becoming a library patron was by invitation only, and you went through a heavy vetting process to become a “patron”. You needed a sponsor and, only after a stringent review by other members of the library and a “substantial” monetary donation, were you given access to read the books that were part of the library’s private collection.

Bienville Parish Library Patron

Today, the term ‘library patron’ is the only holdover from the early days of private town libraries. In fact, most property owners in Bienville Parish are patrons of the library. A portion of parish property tax dollars go to support the Bienville Parish Library system so it can:

  • Provide services and resources to the community.
  • Purchase books, DVDs, CDs, and laptops with the latest software!
  • Offer programs and events that are free and open to the public.
  • Have desktop computers that the public can use to connect to the Internet, access the latest information and documents that help get their business done!

All of it and more is available – because of YOU!

Thank You for Your Support!

Each week when we draw a name from the jar, we acknowledge those things that are unique about our BPL Patrons. We want them to know how special they are to the library staff. The people that come into the library are the same people we see in town and see at church. They are our neighbors and friends. They are our “Library Patrons” and they make it possible to keep our doors open to serve our community!

So, when you visit your neighborhood library and see all the really cool things you can do there… Remember, it’s because of YOU, the people of Bienville Parish, and the patrons of the Bienville Parish Library! The greatest people on earth! THANK YOU!

Film being Shot in Shreveport Seeks Extras, Vehicles from 1960s and 1970s

by Brad Dison

Have you ever wanted to be in a movie? This could be your chance.

Do you have an old car and want to have it in a movie?  This could be your chance to do that as well.  

A thriller entitled “The Man in the White Van,” is filming in Shreveport and is casting extras (background actors/actresses) as well as vehicles from 1974 and earlier.  The tagline for the movie is: “Set in 1974 in Florida, this true-crime, Hitchcockian thriller about an ominous white van that begins stalking a young girl leads to a terrifying Halloween nightmare.”

It is easy and free to get started. 

  1. Visit
  2. Register for a free account (they have a “Pro” accounts available which are not free but this is not necessary)
  3. Complete your profile
    1. Answer as many of the questions as possible.  The more complete your profile is, the more likely you are to get a part.  (Unless you have an agent, these will be non-speaking parts)
    2. Be sure to add pictures of yourself. Most casting agents want a headshot (a picture from your chest up) and a picture of you from head to toe.   (don’t include filtered or touched-up pictures.  Casting agents are interested in your facial features, bone structure, etc.  They will be responsible for fixing your hair and makeup if necessary.)
    3. Be sure to add your correct clothing sizes.  This will aid wardrobe in having clothing that fits when you arrive.  Sometimes you will be able to wear your own clothing.  (I once got a featured part, not because of talent, but because I fit the outfit which was designed for someone who failed to show up.)
    4. Include a good phone number and email address that you check regularly.
    5. Don’t worry about not having experience.  A production assistant will give you full instructions and will help you throughout the filming process.
    6. Where it asks if you are a singer or play instruments?  Be honest and be prepared to perform in front of hundreds of people.
    7. If you want to have your vehicle(s) considered to be used in films, be sure to add photos and descriptions in the proper section.  (I have a 1965 Ford car which was cast in this movie within a few hours of me adding pictures and description in my profile.)
    8. There is even a spot in your profile where you can include photos of your pets if you would like for them to have a shot at a movie part.

Once a part comes available which the casting agent thinks you would be good in, someone from the casting office will call or email you. 

They usually keep shooting locations secret.  They will provide you with instructions if you get cast.  

Working as an extra in films can be a lot of fun.  Good Luck!!!

Arrest Report

September 12

  • Enrique Mendez (Ruston)
    • Residential Contractor Fraud – Felony
    • Exploitation of the Infirmed – Felony
    • Exploitation of the Infirmed – Felony
    • Residential Contractor Fraud – Felony

September 13

  • Michael Jeffery (Texarkana, AR)
    • Residential Contractor Fraud – Felony
    • Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling – Felony
    • Residential Contractor Fraud – Felony
    • Exploitation of the Infirmed – Felony
    • Exploitation of the Infirmed – Felony
    • Fugitive
  • Marchale Hamilton (Homer)
    • Home Invasion – Felony – Damaged to Property
    • Domestic Abuse Aggravated Assault – Felony
  • Christopher Maranhao (Alexandria)
    • Monetary Instrument Abuse – Felony – Principal – 2 Counts

September 14

  • Samantha Smith (Castor)
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony – 3 Counts

September 15

  • Bryan Allen (Arcadia)
    • Failure to Appear Warrant – Felony
  • Bernard Gray (Castor)
    • Aggravated Battery with Dangerous Weapon – Felony

September 16

  • Brandy Coleman (Campti)
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine – Felony

September 17

  • Diamond Montgomery (Minden)
    • Failure to Appear Warrant – Misdemeanor
  • Dasjuan Reed (Ringgold)
    • Possession with Intend to Distribute Marijuana
    • Possession of Firearm/Carry Concealed Weapon by Convicted Felon – Felony
    • Illegal Carrying of Weapon in Presence of CDS – Felony
  • Ricky Duran (Natchitoches)
    • Disturbing the Peace – Appearing in an Intoxicated Condition – Misdemeanor
    • Possession of Suboxone – Felony

September 18

  • Joe Wallace (Heflin)
    • Domestic Abuse Battery Involving Strangulation – Felony

Remember This?: Can You Open This?

by Brad Dison

For centuries, humans have looked for ways to preserve food. Common methods for preserving meat included salting, drying and smoking, which made it easy to store or transport. Preserving other food varieties proved more difficult.

Warring parties struggled to keep their armies fed. Battles were usually fought in the summer and early fall when food was easily replenished. Both sides understood that winter battles were rare because of the lack of food. In many cases, soldiers returned to their homes for the winter and regrouped in the spring. Napoleon Bonaparte was largely responsible for changing that aspect of warfare.

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, Napoleon’s French Army and its allies fought in what is referred to as the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). One of Napoleon’s main difficulties was keeping his quarter of a million soldiers fed. It was Napoleon who said, “An army marches on its stomach,” which means that to be effective an army needs a constant supply of good food. If Napoleon could find a way to keep his soldiers fed, they could continue to fight year-round. This tactic would give Napoleon the advantage.

In the early years of the Napoleonic Wars, the French government offered a prize of 12,000 francs to anyone who could devise an inexpensive method for the preservation of large amounts of food. In 1809, French confectioner Nicolas Appert displayed bottles of fruits and vegetables preserved in sealed glass bottles. The food only spoiled if the seal was broken. Appert, who is considered the father of canning, won the prize on the condition that he would share his process with the public. The process was slow, expensive, and the bottles were easily broken. The Napoleonic Wars ended before the canning process was perfected.

In 1810, British merchant Peter Durand patented the first process to seal food in cans rather than in glass bottles. In 1811, a Londoner named Bryan Donkin bought Durand’s patent, developed Appert’s process further, and packaged food in sealed air-tight cans made from tinned wrought iron. The process was still expensive as each can was made one at a time by hand at a rate of about six per hour. Eating the expensive canned foods became a status symbol for the upper-crust to flaunt their wealth. Although canned food was too expensive for ordinary citizens, the British Army and Royal Navy provided canned food for its men. Wars remained the main demand for canned food.

Hungry people used varying methods to get into the cans with varying success. The cans were so tough that manufacturers printed instructions on each can explaining the method to open them with a hammer and chisel. Soldiers on the battlefield often cut their hands and fingers as they struggled with their bayonets and knives to open the cans. Another common method was to smash the cans with whatever was handy, which usually resulted in spillage of most of the can’s contents.

In the early 1850s, manufacturers began using steel rather than wrought iron in their cans. The steel cans were thinner, lighter, and easier to open. As the thinner cans became more common, clerks in grocery stores opened cans for customers to take home.

In 1858, Ezra J. Warner patented the first practical can opener, which was little more than a blade that cut into the lid. The user repeated the cuts all the way around the can in a sawing fashion until the lid was able to be opened enough to get the contents out. It’s hard to believe that the first can opener was invented almost 50 years after the invention of the tin can. The standard toothed-wheel can opener, the one found in most homes today, was invented in 1926, over 110 years after the tin can was first patented.


  1. Eschner, Kat. “Why the Can Opener Wasn’t Invented Until Almost 50 Years After the Can.” Smithsonian Magazine. August 24, 2017.
  2. Wisdom Biscuits. “How Did People Open Cans Before Can Openers Were Invented?.” Accessed September 18, 2021.

Notice of Death – September 21, 2021

  • Debbie Burcham Gros
    June 03, 1951 – September 16, 2021
    Memorial Service: Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 2:00 PM at Rockett Funeral Home, 2438 Military Road in Ringgold.
  • Bobby Mixon Bradshaw
    October 13, 1935 – September 18, 2021
    Service: Friday, September 24, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., at the Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery in Friendship.
  • Essie Lee Winzer
    August 19, 1944 – September 20, 2021
    Service: TBA
  • Geneva Smith Manuel
    October 4, 1938 – September 21, 2021
    Service: TBA

“Got em!” All Night Manhunt Leads to Arrest of Two Juveniles

“Got em!” Sheriff John Ballance said.

After an exhaustive all-night search by authorities in Bienville Parish which included the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department, North Bienville Parish Fire District, agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wade Correctional Center Chase Team and Louisiana State Police, the manhunt is over.

Sheriff John Ballance said at 9:30 a.m. on September 17, tracking dogs led police to a mill pond on the old Woodard Walker sawmill site off Hwy 80 in Taylor.  Officers noticed small ripples coming from some brush in an otherwise calm pond.  The two suspects were hiding under the brush in the pond.  

The two suspects, one white male and one black male, surrendered and exited the water.  The black male was wearing an ankle monitor.  When asked why he was wearing an ankle monitor, the black male said he “had some issues.” 

Both suspects were barefooted.  They had lost their shoes while trying to evade capture.  One of the suspects said there was a lot of quicksand in the area. 

Deputies learned that black male was 17 years old and the white male was 15 years old.  Since they are juveniles, their names are not being released and their photos only show them from the back.   

The Ford pickup was stolen from Gautier, Mississippi, a town on the gulf coast near Biloxi.  By the quickest route, Gautier is about 5 1/2 to 6 hours from Arcadia.   

See below for previous articles pertaining to this manhunt.

Original Article 10:43 p.m. September 15, 2021:

According to KSLA, folks in the Ada-Taylor area have been advised to stay inside as a manhunt continues for two men.

The manhunt began at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15 in the western part of Bienville Parish.

A Ford Pickup occupied by two men was clocked at 99 mph on Interstate 20.

They drove west into Webster Parish when a deputy fell in behind them.

They crossed the median and doubled back into Bienville Parish.

They did the same thing a few more times then finally took the Ada-Taylor exit off I-20, went down a dirt road and drove off into a creek.

That’s when the two men, both described as being in their early 20s and one wearing all black, bailed out of the truck.

Deputies learned that the truck was stolen from Mississippi.

At one point, Sheriff John Ballance said, they got a report from someone who said two people were trying to get into their vehicle.

Law officers, a Louisiana State Police helicopter, drones and tracking dogs from Wade Correctional Center have been searching for them ever since.

Sheriff Ballance said they would be out there all night if need be because they are worried about the safety of folks who live in the area.

UPDATE 8:48 a.m. September 16, 2021:

Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Deputies searched throughout the night for two suspects who ran into the woods near Taylor following a high speed chase on Interstate 20. 

At 8:00 a.m. this morning, September 16, Sheriff John Ballance said they, “Had a sighting this morning on the railroad tracks at Taylor.”  He also said Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are searching also.  “Wade [Correctional Center tracking] dogs are on the way.”  Sheriff Ballance said they have a “Drone on the way also!”

If you live in the the Ada-Taylor, use caution when going to your vehicles.  If you see anyone in the area fitting the provided description (both described as being in their early 20s and one wearing all black) do not approach them.  Report it to the Sheriff’s Office at  (318) 263-2302 or call 911.

Know Before You Vote – Constitutional Amendments on November 13th Ballot Explained

Clerk of Court Eddie Holmes wants you to Know Before You Vote!!!

In a statement released on September 15, Holmes said, “On November 13, we will be voting on 4 constitutional amendments. These are just as important as our local elections as they affect ALL of us and how our State operates.

Amendments 1, 2, and 4 directly relate to our TAXES and State budget. It is very important that you get informed on the issues and cast your vote.

The Louisiana Public Affairs Research organization does an excellent job of explaining the (often) confusing wording you will see on the ballot.

Please take time to read them.”

100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish – Wildcatter Dies in Elevator Accident

On September 17, 1921, Carl Edwards, a well-like oil wildcatter who was new to the region, was working with an oil field crew in Bienville Parish.     

An oil wildcatter is an individual who drills wildcat wells, which are exploration oil wells drilled in areas not known to be oil fields.

They had reached a depth of 2,180 feet and were nearing the end of their shift when the oil derrick’s elevator, a hinged device which wraps around the pipework, was inexplicably released.  The elevator struck Edwards in the head and fractured his skull.  He died instantly.

Source: Shreveport Times, September 18, 1921, p.13.


Early in the morning between 2:00 and 3:00 on Sunday morning, September 11, 1921, people in Athens were awakened by a loud explosion.  Burglars used an “unusually heavy charge of explosive” to blow open the safe at Baker Bros. & Co. store, and the explosion was heard from a great distance.  The burglars made their getaway without being seen. 

Claiborne Parish Sheriff Coleman contacted Bienville Parish Sheriff John Currie and had him come to the scene.  In the early morning hours of August 8, 1921, burglars had blown open the safe at Ed Hart’s store in Gibsland.  Sheriff Coleman thought the two crimes could be connected.  The burglars in Gibsland also used an unusually heavy charge of explosive and fled the scene without taking the contents of the safe which amounted to about $600.00.  Sheriff Currie procured bloodhounds from Shreveport but the dogs were unable to track the burglars.  The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department arrested several people but had to release them for lack of evidence.

Based on the evidence at the scene in Athens, Sheriff Currie believed the same parties were responsible for both burglaries.  They used bloodhounds from Shreveport to try to track the burglars but were unable to locate the guilty parties.  They were unable to determine the amount of loss to Baker Bros. & Co.  No one was ever convicted of either burglary.


  1.  The Bienville Democrat, August 11, 1921, p.7.
  2.  The Bienville Democrat, September 15, 1921, p.1.

Angler’s Perspective: Scouting Really Does Pay Off

Not all tournaments are tough and not all tournaments are as hot as a fish fryer. BUT THIS ONE WAS! This event was held on Sam Rayburn in August which is the toughest month for bass fishing. As you have read in one my previous articles on July 16th of this year “Why I hate Summers…Now” this tournament reminded me of why I hate summertime fishing period. Temperatures reached the upper 90’s all three days but we got a little reprieve on Thursday’s pre-fishing with an occasional thunderstorm rolling across Sam Rayburn.

This event was a grind in all phases of summertime fishing, as the bite was super tough. Normally, summer events are won in the first two hours of the day, but we were under a full moon so that gave us a good mid-day bite. For me, I thought I had a great starting spot based on my practice the day before, as I had found a good group of bass that were schooling (feeding) at daylight. It was an area just off the main lake with a great supply of baitfish. But this, as it turned out, was not the case. My schooling fish disappeared or decided not to show themselves as I and my co-angler OJ (not the OJ your thinking) left this area after hour one with zero fish in the live well.

This is why you scout(pre-fish)! So, I had to switch to plan B and do something different. My next stop would be the 147 bridge which always has fish on it, but the bridge seems to be more of a timing thing. If you’re there at the right time, you can fill your live well pretty quick with good keepers. One thing that makes the 147-bridge productive, is if the Corp of Engineers is pulling water at the dam. This creates current around the lake and under the bridge which makes the baitfish more active, making the bass bite so much better. As we pulled up to the bridge, schooling bass showed themselves and I was able to catch my first two keepers of the day on a top water bait called a Yellow Magic. Schooling fish a lot of times are smaller in size and are not always keeper fish, but every once in a while, you can get lucky and catch a few good ones.

By now it’s close to 10 o’clock but I’m not in panic mode just yet, as I’ve got two descent fish in the boat and my co-angler caught a keeper fish as well, which would eventually keep him from zeroing. So, I pulled up the trolling motor and headed to an area where I had found some good keeper bass on cypress trees. It was a stretch of cypress trees that seemed to have a bass on every one of them the day before. With only two bass in the boat, I immediately started catching solid keeper fish (2 pounders) and got my limit of five in the boat by 11 o’clock. I actually culled one of my smaller fish as well. So now I’m ready to make a move and head for deeper water where I felt I had better fish in twenty feet of water.

his was an area I was a little excited about because I had shaken off what I felt was three or four really good fish in practice the day before. One thing I’ve learned from a good friend of mine who is one of the best anglers I know, is that when scouting for a tournament, it’s a good idea to not hook fish two days before a tournament. So rather than use a hook on the big 10-inch worm I was throwing, I used what is known as a screw lock. This way you can fish the worm, but you don’t have to worry about hooking the fish. The bass still bite the worm, therefore revealing their location, allowing you to come back and catch them on tournament day. So, after a few casts, I set the hook on a 3.7-pound bass which got me a little excited. Ten minutes later I catch another 3 plus pound bass, but this would be the last fish I would catch off this spot, as the bite shut down.

So, with twelve pounds of fish in the live well, I still needed bigger fish in order to get a check. So, I decided to go back to the area where I started that morning because I felt the fish were there, but maybe they would bite better in the afternoon, which is not uncommon when you’re fishing under a full moon. The prime-time bite for this day based off the Isolunar chart, was from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. This chart has proven itself to be very accurate over my years of fishing. Now this does not guarantee you’ll catch fish at this time, but I try and make sure I’m in a good area during the prime feeding period. As I returned to this area, I noticed the baitfish were a little more active. So, I started fishing cypress trees located on a small point. On about the fourth tree, I pitched my V&M Baby Swamp Hog and my line slowly started moving off the tree. I knew it was a really good fish as I set the hook on a 4.96-pound bass that now gave me over sixteen pounds, which landed me in 2nd place for this event.

This turned out to be a great event for me, as things came together pretty much the way it played out in practice. Again, this is why you scout, because you never know how things will play out on tournament day. Oh, and don’t forget about the screw lock tip; this is a great way to scout and locate fish without hooking them. Till next time, 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

Today in History – September 17

1683 – Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to report the existence of bacteria.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: The Invasion of Canada began with the Siege of Fort St. Jean.

1776 – The Presidio of San Francisco was founded in New Spain.

1778 – The Treaty of Fort Pitt was signed. It was the first formal treaty between the United States and a Native American tribe.

1787 – The United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia.

1789 – William Herschel discovered Mimas, satellite of Saturn.

1849 – American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.

1859 – Joshua A. Norton declared himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States.”

1859 – James Donnelly was sentenced to hang for murdering Patrick Farrell, but a petition for clemency reduced his sentence to 7 years in Kingston Penitentiary.

1862 – American Civil War: George B. McClellan halted the northward drive of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history.

1862 – American Civil War: The Allegheny Arsenal explosion resulted in the single largest civilian disaster during the war.

1872 – Phillip W Pratt patented his sprinkler system for extinguishing fires.

1908 – The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashed, killing Selfridge, who became the first airplane fatality.

1916 – World War I: Manfred von Richthofen (“The Red Baron”), a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, won his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.

1928 – The Okeechobee hurricane struck southeastern Florida and killed more than 2,500 people.

1954 – “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding was published by Faber and Faber in London.

1957 – Two male attorneys “stand in” as actress Sophia Loren & producer Carlo Ponti wed by proxy in Juarez, Mexico.

1961 – The world’s first retractable roof stadium, the Civic Arena, opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1961 – “Car 54, Where are You?” premiered on TV.

1964 – “Bewitched” premiered on ABC.

1964 – The Beatles were paid a then record $150,000 for a concert (Kansas).

1964 – The Supremes released “Baby Love”.

1965 – CBS premiere of WWII sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes”.

1966 – “Mission Impossible” premiered on CBS.

1967 – New Orleans Saints played their first NFL game. They lost to the LA Rams 27-13.

1972 – TV comedy “M*A*S*H”, adapted from the movie, starring Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Wayne Rogers, and McLean Stevenson debuted on CBS.

1976 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise was unveiled by NASA.

1976 – Ringo Starr released “Ringo’s Rotogravure” album.

1982 – “Bad to the Bone” single by George Thorogood and the Destroyers was first released.

1983 – Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

1991 – The first version of the Linux kernel (0.01) was released to the Internet.

2001 – The New York Stock Exchange reopened for trading after the September 11 attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.

2006 – Fourpeaked Mountain in Alaska erupted, the first eruption for the volcano in at least 10,000 years.

2010 – The 54 year run of the soap opera “As the World Turns” ended.

2013 – Grand Theft Auto V earned more than half a billion dollars on its first day of release.

2016 – Two bombs exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and Manhattan. Thirty-one people were injured in the Manhattan bombing.

2018 – A Russian reconnaissance aircraft carrying 15 people on board was shot down by a Syrian surface-to-air missile over the Mediterranean Sea.


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:  “Please forgive me for not publishing the cryptoquote last week. My memory slips sometimes.” ~ Brad Dison

Carolina Baptist Church to Hold Fundraiser Tomorrow in Saline & Jonesboro

Tomorrow, Carolina Baptist Church will host two fundraisers, one in downtown Saline and another at Wal-mart in Jonesboro.

Downtown Saline

Church members will be set up beginning at 10:00 a.m. They will be selling Grilled Chicken Plates (Grilled Chicken Quarter, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Roll & Dessert) – $10.00.  They will also have a Bake Sale.

Wal-Mart in Jonesboro

Church members will also hold a Bake Sale at Wal-Mart in Jonesboro from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

Bake Sales will include:

  • Coconut Cake: $15
  • Peanut Butter Cake: $15 (SOLD)*
  • Pecan Upside Down Cake: $15
  • Texas Tornado Cake: $12
  • Cream Cheese Cake: $12
  • Vanilla Wafer Bundt Cake: $12
  • German Chocolate Cuocakes (9): $10
  • Red Velver Cake/Cream Cheese Frosting: $10
  • Strawberry Cake/Strawberry Mist Frosting: $10
  • Brownies with Nuts: $10
  • Pecan Pie: $10
  • Brownies without Nuts: $8
  • Funfetti Cupcakes (9): $8
  • Banana Nut Bread: $8 (1 SOLD)*
  • Apple Pie Bread: $8
  • Buttermilk Pie: $8
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (2 dozen): $8
  • M&M Cookies (20): $6

All support is deeply appreciated and donations are welcome!