North Bienville Fire Department refuses to respond to vehicular fire on I-20

Photo courtesy of Dubberly Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ronnie Chreene

By Paige Nash

The Bienville Parish Police Jury (BPPJ) met in a special session on Wednesday, March 29. Secretary Rodney Warren brought it to the attention of the jury that there was a vehicular fire on Interstate 20 the previous night.   

“Last night we had a fire on I-20 out near the Ada Taylor exit and the Dubberly fire department had to respond to that fire,” said Warren. “I just want you to be aware that the North Bienville fire department would not respond.”  

The Dubberly Volunteer fire department was dispatched.   

“Troop G called our dispatch. Fire District 4 in Dubberly and District 10 were dispatched to the scene. We were a little ahead of District 10, so they ended up not needing to come out,” said Dubberly VFD Chief Ronnie Chreene. “They told us that the Bienville Parish Fire District was not responding.”  

 A U-Haul service truck caught fire due to a maintenance issue.   

Chreene said, “It was pretty much burnt up when we got there, and we extinguished it.”  

The question is why did the North Bienville Fire Department Chief, Gary Hathorn, reportedly refuse to respond?  

According to the Bossier Parish Tax Assessor’s website, Hathorn currently resides in Benton, which is approximately a one-hour commute to Bienville Parish. 

Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance was in attendance and mentioned this has been an ongoing issue in the past.  

He said, “This isn’t the first time that he has refused to respond to a fire on the interstate. He (Hathorn) said if there are no injuries, or nobody is trapped, he is not going to put out a fire on the interstate unless the state pays him.”  

BPPJ Vice-President Darryl Ryder also serves on the Bienville Parish Fire District’s board. According to Ryder this issue has been addressed at previous board meetings, but no resolution has been met thus far.   

“This discussion was brought up in one of our board meetings and I had the same type of questions about not responding and the same kind of answer was given; that they do not have to respond because it is a state highway. I told him then there were going to be some issues and issues are here and I am aware of them,” said Ryder.   

He questioned Chief Hathorn asking him, “How do you not go out to a fire that is in your parish and it’s your job to respond and the reply was, ‘I am putting my firemen in harm’s way,’ but they are in harm’s way if they go to a regular house fire.”  

District 1 Bill Sims weighed in on the issue.  

Sims said, “That chief they have down there needs to come before the jury. We need to ask him some questions. I think at the next jury meeting, let’s invite him and find out what’s going on.”  

BPPJ Jerry Bates agreed to invite Chief Hathorn to the next regular scheduled police jury meeting to explain the department’s refusal to respond when they are being dispatched.  

Ryder said, “I believe in doing right, that’s the bottom line. Feelings might get hurt in the process, but if it’s the right thing to do then it’s the right thing and not responding to fires just because it’s on I-20- that’s not right. I understand every time people go out there that it’s a possibility something might happen but when you volunteer you take an oath to do that and that’s the way it is. If that’s not what you want to do, then you need to get off the fire department and I have told him (Hathorn) the same thing.”  

Ryder asked Bienville Parish District Attorney Daniel Newell if this was a legal issue.   

Newell said, “That’s getting close to malfeasance, just to decide and pick and choose the fire you want to respond to. God forbid somebody died for the delay.”   

North Bienville Parish fire department Chief Gary Hathorn could not be reached for comment.   

The next scheduled meeting will be held at the Bienville Parish Courthouse on April 12 at 9 a.m. 

Claiborne Parish man 1 of two arrested in Minden park shooting

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Claiborne Parish man and one from Webster have been arrested in conjunction with a shooting at Minden’s Ewell Park that injured four persons in Sunday.

Jamontae Holyfield, 21, of Homer is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 4 counts of carjacking. Holyfield allegedly entered a car with persons who were not involved in the shooting and then demanded to be taken to another location.

Reginald Moore Jr., 19, of Heflin, is charged with 4 counts of attempted second degree murder and 1 count of illegal use of weapons.

“There are still a lot of people coming forward with information, tips are still coming in,” Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said. “People are calling, and things are rapidly changing.”

Chief said they are following the evidence, some of which has led them to Bienville Parish.

“We can’t say much about that right now, but some of it (the evidence) could be in the Arcadia area,” McIver said.

“Gangs cross over all the time,” he continued. “They are coming to Minden from Shreveport/Bossier, Bienville, Claiborne – they have no respect for property lines.”

The chief said multiple agencies are involved including Louisiana State Police and U.S. Marshals, allowing investigations and arrests out of parish and state.

“There were so many shooters; we have people that have fled the state, fled the city, we have many other entities working with us,” he said. “We want to make sure we do everything the way we know will get full prosecution.”

Two victims are still in critical condition, he said. One is still in ICU, three have been released, but one of those is critical due to the location of one of the bullets.

“She was shot in the back of the leg, the hip and the back,” said the chief. “The one in the back hasn’t been removed. If the bullet moves, it could paralyze her; if they try to remove it, that could paralyze her, too.”

Sunday’s shooting occurred during a permitted event at Ewell Park. The chief and mayor have released evidence showing the shooting is gang-related. One of those gangs is TTS “Trained to Step” that has been on Minden Police’s radar for more than a year.

During a press conference Tuesday, McIver said the two gangs shot at each other across a ball field and playground where there were children. Mayor Nick Cox also issued a moratorium on this type of permitted event within the city limits for the foreseeable future.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

BPPJ revokes Arcadia Gun Club’s access to local gun range property

By Paige Nash

The Bienville Parish Police Jury unanimously decided to revoke the Arcadia Gun Club’s access to property previously used as a gun range, located at 21221 Highway 9 in Arcadia, just south of Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days property.  

This decision was followed by a lengthy discussion between the jurors and Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance.  

BPPJ Secretary Rodney Warren said, “Recently, we have had some issues out of what is now the defunct Arcadia Gun Club and in light of those events and after speaking with the District Attorney, the sheriff’s office and all of you, it was determined that the best course of action was to revoke the Arcadia Gun Clubs access to the property which we commonly refer to as the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office pistol range.” 

The Arcadia Gun Club was established in 1988. The club was originally made up of many members from Arcadia as well as other parts of the parish, but in recent years most of the group has consisted of members from Lincoln Parish who travel to Arcadia to use the gun range. Reportedly this group has showed favoritism to their 4-H club, denying access at various times to the local Bienville Parish 4-H group. 

Sheriff Ballance said, “Just prior to what happened out there the other day, the 4-H people had gotten in touch with me, and said they wanted to be able to shoot down there when they wanted to shoot, and they were being second fiddle. I don’t think that’s right when it’s in Bienville Parish.” 

Secretary Warren informed the jury members that he had already drafted a letter to be sent to the Arcadia Gun Club pending the passing of this agreement between the BPPJ and the sheriff’s office.  

He said, “I have already drafted a letter, informing the Arcadia Gun Club that they are to cease and desist all activities on our property and the jury hereby revokes all access by the Arcadia Gun Club to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.” 

 After entering into this new cooperative endeavor agreement between the BPPJ and BPSO it was concluded that the property would now be referred to as the Bienville Parish Firearms Training Facility. 

Sheriff Balance already has plans underway for the new facility by using 10 percent of the sheriff office’s budget that is dedicated to benefit youth in the parish.  

He said, “We can have a shoot over here. Bossier has a shoot and they have different sheriff’s offices sponsor their teams along with the 4-H. I see nothing but good coming from this. We would be proud to sponsor it and be a part of it.” 

The BPSO hopes the general public, as well as local organizations will utilize the property.  

 “We want to make sure that everyone has a safe environment, and they are safe when they are on the line,” said Ballance. “We have 3 range masters that we will have down there, at least one of them, every time they shoot. Anybody that shoots down there, there has to be a range master,” said Ballance.  

The BPPJ plans to share liability with the BPSO and have intentions of working towards an agreement with the local 4-H organization. 

The newly reinstated Lady Bulldogs softball team wins 4 in a row

Photo courtesy of Gibsland-Coleman High School Facebook Page.

By Paige Nash

It has been about a decade since Gibsland-Coleman High School has had a softball team. That changed this year.

“We came to the decision to reinstate the program because we were looking for something for the girls that don’t play basketball or track something else to do,” said Head softball coach Andrew Haulcy,

The newly reinstated Lady Bulldogs softball team lost quite a few games in the beginning of the season, but it seems they have found their stride.

The Lady Bulldogs earned their first win against Kilbourne last Tuesday, March 21. High on their first win, they added two more against the Ringgold Ladyskins the following Thursday, then another against Lincoln Prep this past Tuesday, March 28. The Lady Bulldogs almost shut them out, winning 21-1.

“The team consists of 8th and 9th graders with 3 sophomores and 3 juniors, so we are a relatively young team. Out of the 18 girls that I have on the team, only two of them have any real experience playing softball,” said Haulcy. “Maybe 1 or 2 have played little league years ago in Minden but that’s it.”

A few of the players were a part of the Lady Bulldog state runner-up basketball team and state champion track team.

“This group of young ladies already knows what it takes to win. They just have to learn the game of softball and bring that winners mentality with them and they should be one of the top teams in the next few years,” he said. “The best part is that they are all eager to learn the game and are excited about playing.”

This team may be new and inexperienced, but they are making it known that they are a force to be reckoned with and Coach Haulcy has high expectations for this group.

He said, “My hopes and expectations are for them to continue to work hard and learn the game and to get better each practice and game and to have fun while doing it. Our goal is to get better each season and hopefully get to compete for a championship before this group graduates.”

The Lady Bulldogs will attempt to continue their winning streak against the Arcadia Lady Hornets on Tuesday, April 3 at 5 p.m.

Montgomery overtakes the Saline Bobcats

The Saline Varsity Bobcats out-hit Montgomery six to three, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-2 loss yesterday evening, March 30.

#5 was on the hill for Montgomery. Two runs were surrendered on six hits over seven innings, striking out three and walking one.

Shawn Staggs was on the pitcher’s mound for Saline Varsity Bobcats. Staggs went six innings, allowing four runs on three hits and striking out three.

Staggs, Bray Corley, Jacob Jones, Bryce Davis, Landon Horsfall, and Will Dison all had one hit to lead Saline Varsity Bobcats.

LAST CHANCE: Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival EARLY BIRD TICKET sale ends this week!


THIS WEEK IS YOUR LAST CHANCE to secure your 2023 tickets at the lowest price possible for the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival on May 12th & 13th.

The Early Bird sale ends March 31st at 11:59 pm!

Buy tickets and be entered in the Steel Magnolia’s Getaway Giveaway!

VIP ticket buyers will be entered into an exclusive VIP Giveaway to be announced! STAY TUNED!

Get your tickets & enter the giveaway here:


Teachers Retirement System of La. pays over 8 million to Bienville Parish beneficiaries

Baton Rouge, La. — The latest economic impact report from the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) shows that retirement dollars are fueling regional economies across Louisiana.

In Fiscal Year 2022, TRSL provided $425 million in retirement income to retirees and beneficiaries in North Louisiana (see chart below for a parish-by-parish breakdown). Statewide, TRSL retirees took home $2 billion.

Other highlights from the report:

TRSL pensions support approximately 15,507 Louisiana jobs and more than $719 million in income.

TRSL has invested more than $1.1 billion in companies that do business in Louisiana, supporting economic and job growth in the state.

Almost 90% of the retirement dollars TRSL pays out goes to individuals who live in Louisiana, where they buy local goods and services.

Less than a penny of every dollar spent at TRSL is for administrative expenses. TRSL provides a high level of service at a low cost.

More information on TRSL’s economic impact can be found in the 2023 Investing in Louisiana report.

Skin Your Smoke Wagon

There’s no way to know how many rounds I’ve fired between training, practice, qualifications, and teaching – but I estimate the number to be in the high tens of thousands.  Since beginning my law enforcement career some 15 years ago, the vast majority of rounds I’ve fired have been handgun rounds, and most of those rounds have come during drills that required me to work from a holster.  Possibly the best thing about law enforcement handgun training is that it requires the shooter to rack up a high number of pistol-drawing repetitions.  After all, if you’re not skilled at deploying the gun, it doesn’t really matter how proficient you are at shooting it.

I’ve been fortunate to have trained with a wide array of firearm instructors – not only in a law enforcement capacity, but in the private sector as well.  The late James Yeager, founder and “MFCEO” of Tactical Response in Camden, TN, developed a draw-stroke method that I adhere to above any another technique I’ve ever been privy to learn, and if you were to train with me, you’d be taught the same method.  James frequently said, “It’s not the great shot that wins a fight – it’s all the small mistakes you don’t make.”  One mistake I frequently see among students, even cops, is an improper draw-stroke, and in many instances the error goes uncorrected by the instructor cadre running the range.

Before assuming that the physical act of drawing a pistol is merely common sense, look back to the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting on December 29th, 2019, to see just how tragic it can be when good guys don’t know how to draw their firearm.  It’s likely that the incident would’ve turned out differently had the good guys undergone quality training beforehand, but that’s just educated speculation on my part.

When drawing your pistol, safety and efficiency should be the goal – not speed.  Speed will come through practice.  As my friend Brian Sparks often reminds me, “The fastest way to do anything is to do it right the first time.”  Thanks, Brian.  If you execute a safe draw-stroke (making sure you don’t point the gun at anything other than your intended target – especially yourself – being sure to keep your finger OFF the trigger) and develop the physical mechanics to make your safe draw-stroke repeatable, efficiency will be a natural biproduct.  “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” couldn’t be more applicable than it is here.  

The most common error I observe when people are executing a draw-stroke is that they don’t secure a proper, strong-hand grip on the gun while it’s still in the holster.  On the range one can simply adjust their grip once the gun is out of the holster – but in a fight for your life, you’re only going to have one shot at obtaining a perfect grip on your weapon, and that grip must be established the instant you touch your gun – every time.  Using a crappy holster will only exacerbate this problem.

People also tend to stand still when drawing their gun.  When your hand goes to your gun, the rest of your body should be moving too.  Ideally, you want to move your feet and then keep moving them.  Moving targets are harder to hit with bullets or fists, so why on earth would you stand still in a fight?  If bipedal movement isn’t an option, perhaps you need to get low by dropping to a knee, or into a supine position.  Regardless, movement will always be a vital part of a well-executed draw-stroke.

If you have to draw your gun in self-defense, it’s almost certain that you’re going to say something.  You might scream or you might yell out your favorite expletive.  You know you have one.  Either way, some sound is probably going to come out of your mouth hole.  Because of that, you should issue a loud verbal command when practicing your draw-stroke.  The word “STOP” is the most effective.  It defeats most language barriers, and single-word commands are easy to remember and to replicate under stress.  Something like “stop in the name of the law, you scumbag!” is too long, and if firing becomes necessary before your verbal warning is fully stated, you’ll finish your sentence before pressing the trigger.  It’s just the way our brains are wired, and that could cost you valuable seconds.  Practicing this skill may also prevent you from calling an attacker an ugly name before sending him to the afterlife. Consider two possible statements that could be made by witnesses to the police; “I heard Bill call the guy a MF’er, then he shot the dude in the face.”  “I heard Bill yell ‘STOP’ and then the shots rang out.” Isn’t the latter preferable to the former? 

Will you be drawing your gun from concealment?  If so, have you had any instruction on how to defeat a cover garment?  Different types of clothes require different movements to access the gun.  When covering your gun with a t-shirt VS covering your gun with a sport coat the draw-stroke is the same, but accessing the firearm is wholly different.  Ladies tend to wear a broader variety of clothing, and therefore usually require multiple carry options.  Whether it’s a thigh holster under your dress, a bra holster, or any carry option that allows you to keep up with current fashion trends, you should be practicing with every setup so that you can draw your gun safely and efficiently should the need arise.

Bottom line, if you need your gun, you need to know how to access it.  There’s more to deploying a handgun than just pulling it out of a holster.  You’re more likely to shoot yourself when drawing or holstering your gun than almost any other time.  For that reason alone, you should be proficient at skinning your smoke wagon, because if you shoot yourself in a fight, it still counts – just for the other team.  If at the end of each day when you take off your gun, you perform one, smooth draw-stroke, focusing on your mechanics, you’ll have 365 free reps per year.  That’s more than most gun owners will get in a lifetime.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this quote by Colonel Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite Academy – “The only acceptable response to the threat of lethal violence is immediate and savage counterattack.  If you resist, you just may get killed.  If you don’t resist you almost certainly will get killed.  It is a tough choice, but there is only one right answer.”  

To create a savage counterattack, you must know how to get your weapon into the fight – it’s the only fighting chance you have when bad people put you on the victim menu.  Until next week…

Avoid what you can.  Defeat what you can’t.


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at

 (Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney or a medical provider, and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie,” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official legal or medical advice.)

New Easter tradition for moms – relax!

With the Easter holiday on the horizon, I wanted to again touch on the subject of holiday stress. A couple of years ago a national poll was conducted that concluded that 1 in 4 parents admit they set overly grand expectations during the holiday seasons, which resulted in stress and anxiety. The same poll also found mothers are twice as likely to be stressed over holiday preparations.  

We as mothers begin stressing weeks ahead of time. During Easter, for example, we begin stressing about getting outfits together for photos with the Easter Bunny and for Easter Day. We must find the perfect overly coordinated outfits not only for our kids, but for our entire family. We all must be cohesive, you know? It makes for better family photos and makes it at least appear as if we have our lives together, even if it is over as soon as the camera flashes.  

We stress over food preparations and shopping, who is bringing what? Call and make sure this person has this food covered, and that grandma remembers to bring that special pie that everyone loves. Who is in charge of bringing the macaroni and cheese for the kids because God forbid, they actually eat any of the other food that we have spent days preparing. But most importantly, who is bringing the wine? 

My biggest stressor is making sure we get to every single place we need to go that day in a timely manner, allowing enough time to visit with this side of the family before we head (already stuffed to the gills) to our next stop. Having a blended family can be tough during the holidays. I also have to coordinate with Emerson’s dad to share time with her. 

But then there is the fun part- the Easter Egg Hunt. No matter how stressed I may have been weeks, days or hours before this event, I always seem to forget about it during this very brief period of hiding the eggs all about the yard and then getting to watch my girls search for them, hoping to find that special egg that holds some monetary value.  

Once that is over, it is back to stressing about straightening up and packing the vehicle down with all the goodies the girls acquired over the day, back to the house to unload it all and clean up the mess I most likely left in the kitchen earlier that morning. 

The major problem with all of this is that your stress could possibly be taking away from not only your joy for the holiday, but your children’s joy, as well. They see all of the presents that the Easter bunny dropped off when they wake up on Easter morning, but they notice that you are not equally joyful because you are too busy worrying about finishing preparations for the rest of the day. They see you rushing through all the activities because you are too busy worrying about whether or not you are going to make it to your next visit on time.  

I know we cannot eliminate all the stresses and anxieties that come with an upcoming holiday, but we can control how much we take on, we can say “no” and we can choose to sit down and relish the special moments that the holidays bring.  

I want to encourage all mothers and fathers and grandparents to be present this Easter. Do not take on more than you can handle, instead try to delegate some of your responsibilities for the day to other family members that are willing to help. Enjoy your children and grandchildren. Be in the moment physically, mentally and spiritually. Do not let this day pass by just making it through.  

I am here to tell you now, my girls will most likely not have adorable matching outfits. (One of them would probably get their morning chocolate on it anyway.) You will not catch me in the kitchen basting a turkey. You most definitely will not see me in Wal-Mart the night before Easter either.  

I will show up on Easter Day with mis-matched children who will have their Easter baskets in tow. I will be excited to eat a feast that someone else prepared. I will sit and visit my grandmother whom I do not see often enough. I will not rush through these times. I will be present.  I will remember the reason we celebrate this day. I will be thankful. 

And I will bring the wine.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)

A Lifetime Love Affair

TAVARNELLE, TUSCANY— My love of bakeries goes back as far as my episodic memory will allow. The earliest bakery recollection I can drum up comes from the Blue Ribbon Bakery in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In a kid’s eyes a bakery is a wonderland of shapes, sizes, colors, and all things sweet. In 1968 if you had given six-year-old Robert a choice between all the playthings he could snatch on the toy aisle at the Ben Franklin or all the sweets he could grab behind the counter at the Blue Ribbon Bakery, it would have been a tough choice, but the cookies and cupcakes would likely have won out (and that’s coming from a boy who loved toys).

My first memory of the Blue Ribbon was going in with my mom to pick up my Batman birthday cake. It wasn’t as elaborate and colorful as today’s kid’s cakes with computer-processed images and edible ink. It was nothing more than my favorite cake of all time— yellow cake with chocolate icing— with “Happy Birthday Robert!” written in yellow script. The perfect finishing touches were the Batman and Robin figures on top.

I was a huge Batman and Robin fan and never missed the Adam West-Burt Ward television show. The Batman birthday party was notable for several reasons, not the least of which was that it was the first birthday after my dad died and I think my mom went all out to try and make it special.

Maybe that’s why bakeries hold such a special place in my heart. It was the first step in a return to normalcy and a six-year-old’s realization that life will go on— and can be fun— after a tragedy.

Bakeries were mostly a repository for sweets and cakes during my teens and early twenties. But once I moved into restaurant ownership, they took on a new meaning and purpose. We used bakeries to supplement and supply on occasion. I’ve found that the relationship between restaurants and bakeries is a much healthier and less competitive than the relationship between most restaurants.

But, like restaurant people, bakery people are a different breed. Restaurant people are party-froward. Overall, they stay out late, live hard, enjoy life, and congregate with like types. Bakery people aren’t as party minded, mainly because their workday starts around the time restaurant people are getting their 2:00 a.m. second wind. Bakery people prefer quieter moments, a more structured working environment and less peaks and valleys during a shift.

Restaurant chefs often work by the seat of their pants using improvisation, touch, and feel. Baking is precise. It is chemistry. Both are creative.

My true love and appreciation for bakeries came from my early trips to Europe. By this time in my life, I had grown into a hardcore and devout breakfast fanatic. I woke up every morning in search of breakfast, but Europeans do breakfast much differently than we do, and those practices differ from country to country. What is universal across the continent is that bakeries that can be found in every city. In Europe bakeries became a sure thing for breakfast options.

There are three specific businesses that have molded and influenced my world view on bakeries.

1.) Bagnoli Pasticceria— I spend three months a year working overseas. A major portion of that time is working in the heart of Tuscany. In the small town of Tavarnelle there is a bakery that is one of my favorites on the planet. Bagnoli is everything I love in a bakery. It has a great morning vibe, wonderful people, and excellent pastries. I’m typing this column as I sit at my usual table by the window with my go-to pastry and hot tea.

2.) C’est la Vie Bakery— Sixteen years ago, a very talented French pastry chef moved to Hattiesburg and opened a bakery directly across the street from my office. His croissants were as good as any I had eaten in Paris. A group of regulars and I met most mornings and ate pastries while discussing world events and local gossip over expertly prepared baked goods.

3.) La Boulangerie Bakery— I also spend a healthy portion of the year in New Orleans. Almost every morning I am in the Crescent City I drive seven miles through rush hour traffic to eat a couple of croissants at the La Boulangerie on Magazine Street in Uptown.

Unfortunately, my French friend died of cancer and his bakery across from my office closed. Hattiesburg lost its only true French-inspired bakery. Six years ago, the bakery bug bit me hard and I resigned myself that Midtown Hattiesburg would have another full-service French-inspired bakery.

I am not a baker. Not by a long shot. I can make a pretty good Italian Cream Cake, but a bakery that sells only one item is born to fail. There were only two people on the planet that I was interested in working with to open a bakery. The problem was that Martha Foose and Donald Bender lived 200 miles away in Greenwood and both gotten out of the bakery game.

That didn’t stop me from launching a six-year campaign of pitching, pleading, and begging. After five years I either finally begged the correct way, or Foose and Bender grew tired of the constant beseeching. Either way, the brilliantly artistic, uber-talented, and dynamic duo moved to Hattiesburg several months ago and we are a matter of weeks away from opening the bakery of our dreams.

The married couple have a long and storied history in the bakery biz with an impressive list of awards, recognition, cookbooks, skills, and knowledge. The only thing I bring to the table is a healthy appetite and a unique love and appreciation for what bakeries have meant to me through the years.

The Batman and Robin figures from my sixth birthday cake hung around my mom’s house in a junk drawer for years. But after a few moves and a couple of house sales they got lost to that entity that secretly steals little pieces of your past that seemed so important at one point, then inconsequential, before realizing they were some of the things that mattered more than you ever expected at a time when they were truly needed.

It’s my hope that this new bakery we are about to open will also bring joy to a kid in need of a smile. Afterall, how often do we have an opportunity to be in a business that brings joy? I believe bakeries have that potential. What an honor it must be to be a component in weddings, anniversaries, celebrations, and— most of all— little kid’s birthdays. Life does go on. I can hardly wait.


Italian Cream Cake

1 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Sugar
5 large Eggs, separated
2  1 /2 cupsAll-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 cup Buttermilk
2 /3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 can Flaked coconut (3 1 /2 oz.)
1 /2 tsp Cream of Tartar
3 Tbl Grand Marnier
1 recipe  Cream Cheese Frosting

Grease and flour three nine-inch round cake pans.  Line pans with wax paper;
grease paper, and set aside. 

Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Combine flour and baking soda.  Add buttermilk and flour alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Stir in pecans, vanilla, and coconut. 

Beat egg whites at high speed in a large bowl until foamy.  Add cream of tartar; beat until
stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 or 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans; peel off wax paper; and let cool completely on wire racks.  Brush each cake layer with 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on sides and top of cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz.) pkg Cream cheese, softened
1 (3 oz.) pkg Cream cheese, softened
3 /4 cup Butter, softened
1  1 /2 Powdered sugar, sifted
1 1 /2 cups Pecans, chopped
1 Tbl Vanilla extract

Beat first three ingredients at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth.
Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy; stir in pecans
and vanilla.

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and published cookbook author who lives in Hattiesburg, Miss.)

Today in History

1492 – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued the Alhambra edict expelling Jews who were unwilling to convert to Christianity.

1776 – Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John that women were “determined to foment a rebellion” if the new Declaration of Independence failed to guarantee their rights.

1779 – Russia and Turkey signed a treaty concerning military action in Crimea.

1831 – Quebec and Montreal were incorporated as cities.

1854 – The U.S. government signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan. The act opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakotade to American trade.

1862 – Skirmishing between Rebels and Union forces took place at Island 10 on the Mississippi River.

1870 – In Perth Amboy, NJ, Thomas Munday Peterson became the first black to vote in the U.S.

1880 – Wabash, IN, became the first town to be completely illuminated with electric light.

1885 – Binney & Smith Company was founded in New York City. The company later became Crayola, LLC.

1889 – In Paris, the Eiffel Tower officially opened.

1900 – The W.E. Roach Company was the first automobile company to put an advertisement in a national magazine. The magazine was the “Saturday Evening Post”.

1900 – In France, the National Assembly passed a law reducing the workday for women and children to 11 hours.

1901 – In Russia, the Czar lashed out at Socialist-Revolutionaries with the arrests of 72 people and the seizing of two printing presses.

1902 – In Tennessee, 22 coal miners were killed by an explosion.

1904 – In India, hundreds of Tibetans were slaughtered by the British.

1905 – Kaiser Wilhelm arrived in Tangier proclaiming to support for an independent state of Morocco.

1906 – The Conference on Moroccan Reforms in Algerciras ended after two months with France and Germany in agreement.

1906 – The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States was founded to set rules in amateur sports. The organization became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.

1908 – 250,000 coal miners in Indianapolis, IN, went on strike to await a wage adjustment.

1909 – Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1917 – The U.S. purchased and took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.

1918 – For the first time in the U.S., Daylight Saving Time went into effect.

1921 – Great Britain declared a state of emergency because of the thousands of coal miners on strike.

1923 – In New York City, the first U.S. dance marathon was held. Alma Cummings set a new world record of 27 hours.

1932 – The Ford Motor Co. debuted its V-8 engine.

1933 – The U.S. Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps to relieve rampant unemployment.

1933 – The “Soperton News” in Georgia became the first newspaper to publish using a pine pulp paper.

1939 – Britain and France agreed to support Poland if Germany threatened invasion.

1940 – La Guardia airport in New York officially opened to the public.

1941 – Germany began a counter offensive in North Africa.

1945 – “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.

1946 – Monarchists won the elections in Greece.

1947 – John L. Lewis called a strike in sympathy for the miners killed in an explosion in Centralia, IL, on March 25, 1947.

1948 – The Soviets in Germany began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.

1949 – Winston Churchill declared that the A-bomb was the only thing that kept the U.S.S.R. from taking over Europe.

1949 – Newfoundland entered the Canadian confederation as its 10th province.

1958 – The U.S. Navy formed the atomic submarine division.

1959 – The Dalai Lama (Lhama Dhondrub, Tenzin Gyatso) began exile by crossing the border into India where he was granted political asylum. Gyatso was the 14th Daila Lama.

1960 – The South African government declared a state of emergency after demonstrations led to the death of more than 50 Africans.

1966 – An estimated 200,000 anti-war demonstrators march in New York City. (New York)

1966 – The Soviet Union launched Luna 10, which became the first spacecraft to enter a lunar orbit.

1967 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Consular Treaty, the first bi-lateral pact with the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution.

1970 – The U.S. forces in Vietnam down a MIG-21, it was the first since September 1968.

1976 – The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Anne Quinlan could be disconnected from a respirator. Quinlan remained comatose until 1985 when she died.

1980 – U.S. President Carter deregulated the banking industry.

1981 – In Bangkok, Thailand, four of five Indonesian terrorists were killed after hijacking an airplane on March 28.

1985 – ABC-TV aired the 200th episode of “The Love Boat.”

1986 – 167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in Los Angeles.

1987 – HBO (Home Box Office) earned its first Oscar for “Down and Out in America”.

1989 – Canada and France signed a fishing rights pact.

1991 – Albania offered a multi-party election for the first time in 50 years. Incumbent President Ramiz Alia won.

1991 – Iraqi forces recaptured the northern city of Kirkuk from Kurdish guerillas.

1993 – Brandon Lee was killed accidentally while filming a movie.

1994 – “Nature” magazine announced that a complete skull of Australppithecus afarensis had been found in Ethiopia. The finding is of humankind’s earliest ancestor.

1998 – U.N. Security Council imposed arms embargo on Yugoslavia.

1998 – Buddy Hackett received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1998 – For the first time in U.S. history the federal government’s detailed financial statement was released. This occurred under the Clinton administration.

1999 – Three U.S. soldiers were captured by Yugoslav soldiers three miles from the Yugoslav border in Macedonia.

1999 – Fabio was hit in the face by a bird during a promotional ride of a new roller coaster at the Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VA. Fabio received a one-inch cut across his nose.

2000 – In Uganda, officials set the number of deaths linked to a doomsday religious cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments, at more than 900. In Kanungu, a March 17 fire at the cult’s church killed more than 530 and authorities subsequently found mass graves at various sites linked to the cult.

2004 – Air America Radio launched five stations around the U.S.

2004 – Google Inc. announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called Gmail.

2016 – Apple released the iPhone SE.

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit calendar events to

March 31 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Ringgold Branch Library – Easter Bunny Visit and Photo Op.

2078 Hall Street in Ringgold

March 31- April 1

Slabtown Festival in Downtown Ringgold

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. 

April 1 

Camp Harris 4- Person Scramble Golf Tournament – Trails End Golf Course in Arcadia, La

To sign up please contact the camp office at 927-3706, Camp Manager Harry at 455-5012 or Tournament Director Michael at 458-6100.

April 1 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Farmer’s Market in Downtown Arcadia

$20 donation to reserve a vendor spot. (Food related items only)

Call Tamara at 318-579-0310 to sign up.

April 1 (10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

Arcadia Marching Hornet Band Crawfish Boil Fundraiser- Arcadia High School 

April 4 (6p.m.)

Cool Talk and Hot Coffee with Sheriff Ballance and Deputies – Castor Community Center

111 Lodge Street in Castor

April 5 (3:30 p.m.)

Giddy Up Pediatrics Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting – 600 Factory Outlet Drive in Arcadia

April 5 (6:30 p.m.)

Arcadia Parks and Recreation Awards Night – Arcadia Depot, 2440 N. Hazel Street

April 6 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Louisiana National Bank Customer Appreciation Fish Fry

1801 North Hazel Street in Arcadia

April 6 (4:30 p.m.)

Easter Egg Hunt – Leslie Lake Retirement Center, 1355 6th Street in Arcadia

For more information contact Shae Jefferson 318-263-9581. 

April 8 (12 p.m.)

Alpha & Omega Elite Organization and L.J. Enterprise Easter Egg Hunt – Poulan Field in Arcadia

For more information contact Carlton Haulcy at 318-564-8131. 

April 8 (12 – 4 p.m.)

First Pentecostal Church of Arcadia Bake Sale – 1595 1st Street in Arcadia

April 20 (1 -2 p.m.)

Arcadia Main Branch Library – Arcadia Bowling Lanes 

Call to reserve your lane at 318-263-7410.

Notice of Death – March 30

Notice of Death – March 30, 2023

Aubrey “Poly” Lepold Guinn

Nov. 28, 1945 – March 27, 2023

Haynesville, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Friday, March 31, 2023, First Baptist Church, Haynesville.

Burial: Old Town Cemetery under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Haynesville.

James C. “Jimmy” Zachary

April 26, 1953 – March 24, 2023

Homer, La.

Visitation: 10 until 11 a.m. Friday, April 14, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Homer, La.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. immediately following visitation.

Joe Carl Lowery

Homer/Haynesville, La.

Visitation: 1 until 6 p.m. Friday, March 31, 2023 at Memorial Funeral Home, 4043 US-79 Homer, La.

Family viewing: 6 until 7 p.m.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2023, Mt. Sinai CME Church 1001 Mount Sinai Rd Haynesville, La.

Col. Brad G. Rogers

July 12, 1958 – March 22, 2023

Homer, La.

Visitation: 3 until 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1, 2023, Calvary Baptist Church, Homer.

Memorial service: 5 p.m., immediately following visitation, under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Homer.

Judy Bryant Ashcroft

March 11, 1945 – March 22, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Graveside service: 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25, 2023 at Western Cemetery, Emerson, Ark., under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Bienville Parish Journal publishes paid complete obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)

BPSO welcomes new department chaplain James Hester

By Paige Nash

James Hester has been named the new Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office (BPSO) department chaplain. Hester has previously worked for the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and Red River Fire Department for a combined 15 years. He has also served as the active Pastor of Social Springs Baptist Church in Ringgold for the last ten years and is a member of the BPSO Communications Department.  

Hester participated in a week-long training program called the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) Rapid Response Team Law Enforcement Chaplain Training in Charleston, South Carolina. Pastors, chaplains, active and retired law enforcement officers traveled from New York City, Chicago, parts of Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana and the Carolinas to take part in this program that is geared toward biblical based training. Completion of this program equips the participants with better knowledge on what to say or -what not to say- to those who have been affected by man-made or natural disasters.  

“The chaplain training in Charleston last week turned into a revival meeting of sorts,” said Hester. “We immediately formed a special bond and all in attendance remarked throughout the week that it was a series of divine appointments.” 

This curriculum covered a broad range of topics relating to the multitude of challenges and obstacles that present-day law enforcement agents face. Subjects that were discussed included Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Critical Incident Stress Management and Introduction to Crisis Ministry.  

“We also learned some very sobering statistics regarding law enforcement officers, such as 80 percent will experience traumatic incidents during their careers,” said Hester. “10-15 percent will be diagnosed with PTSD, the number of officers who die from suicide is more than double the number killed in the line of duty, with a lifetime suicide idealization at 23 percent among female officers and 25 percent among male officers. The struggles, as they say, are real and many are unique to the job of the law enforcement officer.” 

That is where the department chaplain steps in. They serve as a confidant, counselor and a friend to the men and woman who serve, as well as their families. Some of those duties include crisis response, spiritual guidance, prayer ministry within the sheriff’s department and community, among many other things.  

Hester is excited to expand his role at the BPSO. 

“Public service has always been near and dear to my heart. The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office is more than a workplace; it is a family,” said Hester. “The servant’s heart that defines our leadership runs throughout the ranks. The men and women I serve with see their role as more than a career; it is a calling. They are honored to truly serve the citizens of Bienville Parish. I see them go above and beyond on every shift and I consider myself blessed to be part of such a great team.” 

Hester believes there is an undercurrent of revival among the nations “Thin Blue Line,” and he is encouraged by it. With the support of God, his wife, Sheriff John Ballance and the Bienville Parish community, he is ready to serve to the best of his abilities.  

If you see a BPSO unit out and about, look for the words, ‘In God We Trust’ emblazoned across the back glass. We may be referred to as the authorities, but that is the ultimate Divine Authority upon Whom we depend,” said Hester.  

Craig Jenkins named as LDOE Outstanding School Support Employee Finalist

Yesterday, March 28, The Louisiana Department of Education announced the finalists for the state’s “Outstanding School Support Employee” awards program. The 10 finalists represent schools across Louisiana and a wide range of professions. Employees eligible for the annual honor serve students and families in roles such as bus driver, food service worker, clerical, and custodial.

“Support staff are the backbone of our schools,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “These professionals are often the unsung heroes who keep our buildings safe, drive students to and from school, create welcoming environments for families, and support our teachers. Congratulations to our finalists.”

The finalists will be recognized during the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meeting on April 19. Finalists were selected among over 700 nominees submitted from across the state. All public school systems were eligible to make one selection per category: elementary, middle, and high school.

The finalists for the 2023 Louisiana Outstanding School Support Employee Awards are:


  • Central Community School System: Brandy Singleton (Food Service/Tanglewood Elementary)
  • Lafayette Parish School System: Angela Batiste (Paraprofessional/Katharine Drexel Elementary)
  • Morehouse Parish School Board: Tiffany Goldsby (Clerical/Morehouse Elementary


  • Bienville Parish School Board: Craig Jenkins (Paraprofessional/Arcadia School)
  • Jefferson Parish Schools: Angel Walker (Paraprofessional/Gretna Middle)
  • Shreveport Charter/Linwood Public Charter School: Rosemary Miles (Custodial)


  • Avoyelles Parish School Board: Linda Daigrepont (Paraprofessional/Marksville High)
  • Iberville Parish Schools: Melvin Walker III (Paraprofessional/East Iberville High)
  • St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools: Donna Scott (Bus Driver/West St. John High)
  • West Feliciana Parish Schools: Trina Washington (Custodial/West Feliciana High)
The LDOE recognizes that outstanding school support staff are critical to school success. Annually, the Department recognizes and celebrates some of the state’s most exceptional school support staff through the Outstanding School Support Employees award program. This program provides the opportunity to acknowledge those support employees who have rendered time and talents beyond the call of duty. These staff exemplify Louisiana’s best in the education profession and play an integral role in school and student success.

ROAD CLOSURE: La Southern Railroad crossing beginning April 2

ROAD CLOSURE: LA 4 at the Louisiana Southern Railroad crossing, Bienville Parish
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that beginning on Saturday, April 2, 2023 at 7:00 a.m., LA 4 at the Louisiana Southern Railroad crossing near the Village of Danville in Bienville Parish will be closed.

This closure is scheduled to take place until Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 6:00 a.m., and is necessary to allow the railroad company to make repairs to its tracks.

This railroad crossing is located approximately 1.7 miles east of the intersection with LA 155.

Alternate route: Detour signage will in place.

Restrictions/Permits: Total closure at the specified location. All vehicles will need to detour.

This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.

Safety reminder:

DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Area residents should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking near an active construction zone.

Additional information:

Call 511, visit, or download the Louisiana 511 mobile app for additional information. Out-of-state travelers may call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at, by selecting MyDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.

Contact Information:

Erin Buchanan
Public Information Officer
Shreveport-Bossier District
(318) 549-8402

Francis and Clarence (Bud) Mason: Slabtown Farewell Letter

Thanks for the Memories.

Our adventure with Slabtown began shortly after we “graduated” from teaching at Ringgold High School. Joy and Herb Sams, our friends, needed help with the many responsibilities of planning and implementing various events. They had been major contributors since its inception nearly forty years ago.

We became involved in 2003, when Bud became Vice-President and held several offices for years after that. I tagged along and became more involved in the Beauty Pageant, the Essay Contest and as of the last few years working on the Treasure Hunt expedition.

It’s been 18 years of hard work and frustration and at the same time very rewarding and exciting. My favorite parts have been seeing the delight in the children’s faces as they watch the parade and the winners in the different events-ecstatic with their accomplishment.

Most of all we pray that our service and contributions to make Ringgold a better place for all of us to live and thrive will be carried on in the years to come. Our greatest pleasure would be to see that the enthusiasm and peaceable working together of our community would continue. Many Commissioners will make for lighter work and more enjoyment for everyone. We’re thankful to have been a part of making ‘Ringgold Strong.”

Thank You Ringgold,

Frances and Clarence (Bud) Mason

DAR’s Dorcheat -Bisteneau Chapter recognizes Vietnam Veterans

Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion Wiley- Peavy Post #74, and Hunter Rickerson VFW Post #2885 and Auxiliary are sponsoring an Armed Forces Day of Recognition with special guests being those who served in the Vietnam War.

On May 20, 2023, a ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. with the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Highway sign which will be placed at mile marker 40 on I-20 two miles east of Goodwill Road Exit.

The celebration will continue at the American Legion Hall in Minden. A free lunch will be served provided by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and former Senator Ryan Gatti. The program to honor our Armed Forces will begin at noon with a special recognition of Vietnam veterans honoring the 50 year anniversary of the Presidential Proclamation for the departure of American troops from Vietnam.

America’s involvement in the conflict in Vietnam began twenty years prior to President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of the U. S. military personnel to support the ineffectual regime of South Vietnam in 1961. Those in the U. S. government feared a tipping of power if the communist incursion by North Vietnam was not stopped. By 1964 the South Vietnamese government was crumbling, and President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam. A year later the North Vietnamese offensives forced President Johnson into a choice: either escalate the U. S. military involvement or withdrawal. Johnson chose to involve our military even deeper than previously, and soon troop levels jumped to 300,000 with the U.S. Air Force beginning the largest bombing campaign in history.

The war dragged on and the dissatisfaction in America with the U. S. involvement, the high number of casualties, and the revealing of U.S. involvement with war crimes caused much opposition to the war. By 1969, the protests against the war escalated while the number of U.S. troops reached nearly 550,000 in Vietnam. When President Richard Nixon took office he began troop withdrawal but intensified bombing. President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos hoping to block enemy supply routes. There were few positive results of this campaign, and protests escalated in America. Vietnam became the war we could not win, and U. S. citizens wanted our troops out of the country. In an effort to end America’s eight year involvement in Vietnam, representatives of the U. S., North and South Vietnam and the Vietcong met in Paris in early January 1973 to enter into peace talks. Known as the Paris Peace Accords the formal title was the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” which was signed on January 27. On March 29, 1973, the last American military unit left Vietnam.

Mid Week Update: Bienville Parish Baseball/Softball


Ringgold vs. Castor (Friday, March 24)

The Ringgold Redskins were scheduled to play the Castor Tigers on Friday, March 24, but the game was rescheduled due to the weather. That game is now set to be played on April 17.

Ringgold vs. Haynesville (Monday, March 27)

Even though Ringgold Varsity Redskins and Haynesville both had their opportunities, it was Haynesville that eventually prevailed 15-12 on Monday.  The game was tied at nine with Haynesville batting in the top of the seventh when #7 grounded out, scoring two runs.

Ringgold Varsity Redskins collected nine hits and Haynesville had 12 in the high-scoring affair.

Haynesville got things moving in the first inning.  #1 grounded out, scoring one run.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ringgold Varsity Redskins tied things up at nine when Jacksyn Moore singled on a 3-1 count, scoring two runs.

After Haynesville scored three runs in the top of the fourth, Ringgold Varsity Redskins answered with three of their own.  Haynesville scored when #20 singled on a 2-0 count, scoring two runs and #10 singled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run.  Ringgold Varsity Redskins then answered when Jarred Durr was hit by a pitch, driving in a run and Gunner Grigsby drew a walk, scoring one run.

#1 got the win for Haynesville. The hurler surrendered six runs on two hits over three innings, striking out six.  #5 threw four innings in relief out of the bullpen.

Moore took the loss for Ringgold Varsity Redskins. The hurler lasted four innings, allowing six hits and seven runs while striking out five and walking zero.

Ringgold Varsity Redskins tallied nine hits in the game.  Moore, Durr, and Jyshawn Marshall each had multiple hits for Ringgold Varsity Redskins.  Marshall, Durr, and Moore each collected two hits to lead Ringgold Varsity Redskins.

Haynesville tallied 12 hits.  #5, #16, and #10 all managed multiple hits for Haynesville.  #5 led Haynesville with four hits in five at bats.  Haynesville was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error. #9 had the most chances in the field with 13.  Haynesville tore up the base paths, as five players stole at least two bases. #4 led the way with five.

The Ringgold Redskins are scheduled to play a double header against Homer tomorrow, March 30, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. They will play Plain Dealing on Friday, March 31, at 5 p.m. All of these games will be played at home.

Saline vs. Dodson (Friday, March 24)

The Saline Bobcats were scheduled to play the Dodson Panthers on Friday, March 24, but the game was rescheduled due to the weather. They will play Montgomery tomorrow, March 30, at 5 p.m. at home.


Gibsland-Coleman vs. Ringgold (Thursday, March 23)

Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs’s two pitchers didn’t allow a single hit, as Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs defeated Lady Skins 11-6 on Thursday. Baleigh H struck out Alaina M to get the last out of the game.

Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs didn’t take the lead until later in the game.  Maddison T drew a walk, scoring one run.

Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs got things moving in the first inning.  Samora S was hit by a pitch, driving in a run.

Lady Skins evened things up at six in the bottom of the second inning.

T led things off on the rubber for Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs. The pitcher surrendered six runs on zero hits over two innings, striking out two.

Hilary B toed the rubber for Lady Skins. The pitcher surrendered five runs on zero hits over one-third of an inning, striking out one.  Sydney B threw three and two-thirds innings in relief out of the bullpen.

H went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs in hits.  H led Gibsland-Coleman Varsity Bulldogs with three stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with 11 stolen bases.

Taylor W went 0-for-1 at the plate as W led the team with  one run batted in.

“Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.” Any reuse or republication of this story must include the preceding attribution.

Politicians and diapers

There are many differences between the French and Americans. Over here, it’s common for conservatives to look down on European nations, reserving greater amounts of agitation for Parisians and their fellow countrymen and women. 

You know the jokes. The ones about the white flags. The ones about World War II. The ones about Freedom Fries. Etc. Tensions reached an all-time high about 20 years ago when they wouldn’t join in a war that turned out to be as false as they said it was. No WMDs. And Iraq, as well as the entire Middle East, is more unstable now than at any point in modern history. A lot of good men and women died. 

We have differences. And they extend beyond drinking hot brown water and eating snails. 

But there’s one area in which we could learn a lot from the nation across the Pond. 

They know how to stand up for themselves, and they know their government works for them and not the other way around. The French have always held their politicians accountable. These are the people that invented the guillotine and went on a bloody rampage against king and queen and nobility a few hundred years ago because of the greed and apathy of the ruling class. 

Currently, the French are having nationwide protests because of workers rights and governmental lunacy. This is standard operating procedure for French citizens when they don’t like what their government is doing. And as a result, the French enjoy a much better standard of living than us and have happier lives because they will take nothing less. I saw a video of a garbage truck full of trash being dumped on a politician’s yard because of the politician’ policy stances. The nation is at a standstill because its people will not budge. 

Meanwhile, over here in little Louisiana, a state with deep French roots, we’ve got a politician pushing a bill that would triple legislator pay. Being a politician shouldn’t be a career. Politicians shouldn’t be deified and made celebrities and asked for autographs and have rallies celebrating them. 

In society long ago, politicians and actors were treated relatively poorly because they didn’t add much value to society. Somewhere along the way, Americans changed and actors and politicians went from being our servants to our overlords. 

We need to be more like the French in our view of elected officials. They shouldn’t talk down to us. They shouldn’t look down on us. They work for us. 

The old joke goes politicians are like diapers. They should both be changed often and for the same reasons. 

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)

Ridiculous Chocolate Cake

I am not a fan of chocolate cake, but this right here is absolutely divine! If you are a milk chocolate lover, this is 100% for you!  Peep these Mini Easter Bundts!  I made these in the Pampered Chef Mini Bundt Pan, let them cool, and frosted them halfway.  I used mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on before adding the Peep bunny. You can definitely make this in any cake pan. 

This cake recipe is also found in The Copper Whisk Cookbook, and I make it all the time.  It keeps well for a few days (if leftovers last that long)!  These little cakes are perfect for any Easter get together.  Little hands will be reaching for them until they are gone.

Ridiculous Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients
• 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
• 1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
• 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
• 3 eggs
• 1/3 cup oil
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 cups chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients
• 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
• 1/4 cup cocoa
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream (depending on consistency add more if desired)
• Chocolate chips 


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease Bundt pan. In stand mixer combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix on low for 30 seconds then medium for 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake for 60 minutes or until cake is set. Cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, beat butter, cocoa and powdered sugar in a stand mixer until combined. Add in vanilla and cream. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Frost the cake and sprinkle more chocolate chips over the top.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.)

Britton’s Grandfather’s Photo

Britton set a goal for himself that would terrify the toughest of people.  He wanted to become the youngest person to climb the tallest mountains on each of the world’s continents, what mountain climbers refer to as the “Seven Summits.”  At the time, less than 100 people had ever accomplished this feat.  When asked why he would make such an attempt, Britton said, “I dreamed of throwing myself at a goal, at a challenge that seemed so insurmountable in the face of the odds, that I was willing to risk death in the name of success.”  By 2001, Britton had climbed Denali, Aconcagua, Elbrus, and Kilimanjaro, four of the seven highest mountains.  By 2004, Britton had conquered Mount Kosciuszko in Australia.  In January of 2004, Britton reached the summit of Vinson, the tallest mountain in Antarctica.  On January 23, on the day Britton returned home to Greenwich, Connecticut, his 76-year-old beloved grandfather, Bob, died.  Britton was crushed.  

Britton had just one more mountain to go to become the youngest person to reach each of the Seven Summits, Mount Everest.  Within weeks of tackling Vinson, as he began packing for Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest, Britton’s thoughts kept returning to his grandfather.  “His memory will be pushing me to strive even harder than I’ve ever strived before,” he said.  “He really just pushed me to push the boundaries and seek the outer limits of whatever I was doing.”  To honor his grandfather, Britton packed a photo of Bob to take to the summit of Mount Everest. 

Finally, in March of 2004, Britton began his climb up Mount Everest with Bob’s photo in his pack.  For two months, Britton and his team struggled through winds which reached up to 125 miles per hour, had to use ladders tied to each other to cross 50-foot deep and 30-foot-wide crevasses, and, had to wear oxygen masks when the air became too thin to breath.  At one point, a falling boulder barely missed hitting his face by only a few inches.  On May 24, Britton became the youngest person at the time to reach the Seven Summits.  While atop the summit, Britton removed his grandfather’s photo from his pack and carefully buried it on Mount Everest.      

Britton grandfather was certainly an inspiration to his grandson Britton, but he also inspired and entertained millions of children on television.  From 1948-1952, he was Clarabell the Clown on the “Howdy Doody Show.” From 1953-1955 he was Corny the Clown on “Time for Fun,” and from 1954-1955 he was Tinker the Toymaker on “Tinker’s Workshop.”  From 1955 to 1985, Bob hosted a children’s television program for which he is most remembered.  The photo which remains atop mount Everest is of Britton Keeshan’s grandfather, Robert James “Bob” Keeshan, but you and I know Bob as Captain Kangaroo.


1.     Ledger-Enquirer, January 29, 2004, p.2.

2.     The Sentinel, February 3, 2004, p.33.

3.     Rutland Daily Herald, May 27, 2004, p.16.

4.     Daily Record, June 10, 2004, p.1.

5.     “Britton Keeshan ’00 Recounts Seven Summits Quest at All-School Meeting, The Phillipian, accessed March 25, 2023.

BPSO Cool Talk and Hot Coffee event tomorrow in Arcadia

Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance and deputies will be hosting two “Cool Talk and Hot Coffee” events.  

The first one will be held tomorrow, March 30, at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Gymnasium at 2249 North Hazel Street in Arcadia.  

Residents who cannot attend the first event have a second chance on Tuesday, April 4 at 6 p.m. at the Castor Community Center located at 111 Lodge Street.  

“We are inviting the public to attend either of these meetings to better inform the public of the duties of the sheriff and provide information on all aspects of law enforcement’s role in providing a safer Bienville Parish,” said Sheriff Ballance. “We will also have a question-and-answer session following the presentation.” 

The events will focus on building neighborhood comradeship and strengthening the relationship between local law enforcement and the community. Topics of discussion will include criminal investigations, understanding the patrol division, corrections, dispatch, narcotics, and juvenile/school resources. 

The magic of sticking together

Standing in line for more than two hours in a receiving line at the funeral home, not just standing in line but moving in line and sharing in line and encouraging in line — living in line — gives you time to think.

For starters, even though you don’t know everyone in line and they don’t know you, you feel a part of a greater good, a part of the force that was this life and this family you are here to honor. This one life, in ways special to each of us, touched all these people and hundreds more who couldn’t be here.

The emotional mix is stunning: the uncomfortable feeling of loss and unfairness, and at the same time gratitude for being able to count among your friends this life that radiated a deep and unselfish goodness.

It’s early spring and yet so many are going through a storm. There will always be storms but if you live long enough, they will now and then come one right after the other and you can’t keep the pieces all picked up, for yourself or for your friends. You are tying but more pieces keep falling. Breaking.

Mercy at the loss lately, and the threat of more loss. It all combines to remind me how little control we have, and how I am blind at times to things I do have control over. Which is pathetic. Sad. I am waiting in line to hug the family of a friend who was a master of doing the little things. I’m not sure he even thought so much about it. He just did them. He was aware that he had control over these little actions. He knew they made the difference.

And the difference is real, because all these people are around me. To thank him.

You can make someone happier today. You can. It might be paying for coffee for the person behind you in line at the drive-thru, or it might be calling an old friend, or thanking your Sunday school teacher, or the custodian who keeps your building clean, or the boss who signs the checks.

You ever color a picture and send it to someone for no reason? I do. It’s stupid. But it’s a surprise, and they’ll always call to thank you, because for one moment an ordinary day held a silly surprise for them, and only heaven knows how those kinds of things make a difference, but they do.

I’ve heard these things called “the smallest acts of love.” Remind someone how strong they’ve been. Compliment them for whatever makes them them. Praise. Encourage. Smile. These little things add up.

Our friend we lost, he did lots of big things. Beautiful things. He made the world prettier, literally. But when I think of him — and this has been for years, not just now — I am always left with how he made me feel. He had plenty to do but when we were together, he was present. Honest. Funny without meaning to be because he was just him. A friend.

We are all just people but somehow, we have the gift inside that, if we share it, has the potential to help a sister or brother over the next hill. The smallest thing, if it’s real, can be the thing that holds up, can be the stuff that works. The smallest thing can make a difference.

And that’s when, in the middle of the storms, the miracles show up. In the smallest, most sincere acts. One thoughtful moment, one honest ear to listen or hand to hold. Be present and be ready. We need you. You can make the difference that makes the difference for someone today, and the difference for today can make the difference for forever.

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning