Update: Bienville Parish juvenile victim named in Thursday shooting

By Paige Nash and Michelle Bates

A Bienville Parish juvenile has died and a 15-year-old is in custody following a shooting that took place Thursday evening, April 27.

According to Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance they received the first call at approximately 8:35 p.m. Arcadia Police Department was the first to arrive on the scene at an apartment complex on Washington Street in the West Town area of Arcadia. 

“Arcadia Police Department and a state trooper arrived first and began administering CPR on the victim,” said Ballance. “He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The victim, 17-year-old Dashavion Green, was shot once in the chest. 

The motive is unknown at this time.

For precautionary reasons the BPSO provided an extra School Resource Officer (SRO) to Arcadia High School.

Arcadia High School Principal Leroy Hamilton is taking the safety and well-being of all students very seriously.

“A conscious effort was made to make sure all doors were locked and administrators along with selected school staff made sure the entire campus was secure and safe,” said Hamilton. “An extra SRO patrolled the campus while counselors, interventionists and psychologists were on campus to assist with grief and emotional needs. Administrators walk the halls, monitor campus activities and direct all students and visitors through metal detectors on a daily basis.”

The Bienville Parish School District is providing counselors for students, faculty, and staff now and in the upcoming weeks. The counselors are providing a variety of mental health support including short-term individual one-on-one meetings, as well as small group grief counseling, stress management and classroom visits where students can talk about mental health topics like managing stress, signs of anxiety, and other mental health topics along those areas. Trauma based therapy is also available for students, faculty and staff.

Hamilton said, “Our prayers and condolences go out to the families affected by the incident.”

The 15-year-old was brought into the sheriff’s office for questioning along with his mother. He was placed under arrest and charged with second-degree murder. 

BPSO is in the process of locating a place to hold the teen while he awaits a hearing. 

Original story:

A 17-year-old has lost his life following a shooting that took place last night, April 27, prior to 8:30 p.m.

The shooting occurred at an apartment complex in the West Town area of Arcadia.

According to Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance the suspect is believed to be a 15-year-old male, but no arrests have been made at this time. 

The investigation is ongoing and more details will be released soon. 

BREAKING NEWS: Juvenile deceased following shooting in Arcadia

A 17-year-old has lost his life following a shooting that took place last night, April 27, prior to 8:30 p.m.

The shooting occurred at an apartment complex in the West Town area of Arcadia.

According to Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance the suspect is believed to be a 15-year-old male, but no arrests have been made at this time. 

The investigation is ongoing and more details will be released soon. 

Bulldog Terrance James named Class C 2023 ‘Player of the Year’

By Paige Nash

Gibsland-Coleman Bulldog Terrance James has been named the Louisiana Class C Player of the Year for 2023, making him the first Bulldog to receive this honor in 24 years.

The last basketball player who was named ‘Player of the Year’ from Gibsland-Coleman High School was Bernard King, in 1999.

When James began playing basketball just 5 years ago he was not aware of the opportunities that the sport would provide for him. He said, “I thought it was just fun to play at first until I got serious about it and started training to be the best player I could be and leave one of the best resumes at my school.”

He is currently ranked as the number 13 overall player and number 4 small forward in the entire state of Louisiana. He has racked up on awards and honors over his career, which began his eighth grade year when he received the Coach’s Award. That was just the start. James went on to make 1st Team All-District his sophomore year along with, Most Consistent, Most Effective, Most Blocks, Best Rebounder and Best Scorer.

His junior year, he led the Gibsland-Coleman team to a state championship win and was named District Most Valuable Player (MVP) and 1st Team All-State.

This 2022-2023 season – his senior year – he made 1st Team All-District, the 1st Team Shreveport All-Area team and named the Class C MVP. He also received an invitation to five All-Star games which included, the Louisiana High School Coaches Association/Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association (LHSCA/LHSBCA) game, Ruston, Centenary, Beast of the Week and Fastbreak All-Star games. But the icing on the cake was- Class C Player of the Year.

Being considered for this recognition, much less actually receiving it was not on the radar for the Bulldog. “Coming from a small school most talented people get overlooked,” said James.

He reflected on the five short years of his career and recalled a time soon after Kobe Bryant passed away. “My mom told me that if I couldn’t do the number 24 justice, then I needed to get a new number,” said James. “I’ve played hurt, I’ve played sick, but I never threw in the towel. If I’m not in a classroom or at work, I’m in a gym or a court somewhere.”

Along with multitudes of talent on the court James also takes his studies seriously, retaining a 3.4 grade point average his senior year. He plans to attend college upon graduation this spring to major in construction engineering, along with continuing his basketball career.

“I’ll be an engineer or I’ll play in the NBA (National Basketball Association),” said James. “Either way, I’m going to be set.”

Currently he has not decided which college he will attend just yet, but he does not plan to travel too far from his hometown of Gibsland. He said, “I gave Gibsland my all my entire career and I would love to stay local so the people that watched me play can travel to see me play at the next level. Whatever school chooses me will get a good person and a DAWG on the court.”

In recognition of Terrance James being named Louisiana Class C Player of the Year for 2023, the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches will be presenting him with an award during their upcoming 49th Annual Award Banquet in Baton Rouge. The banquet will be held at the Baton Rouge Marriot on May 6 at 6 p.m.

Parish-wide election this Saturday

Election day is Saturday, April 29, for the parish-wide sales tax renewal election.

Residents will be voting to authorize the renewal of a sales and use tax of 1% that will be levied and collected from retail, use, lease or rental, consumption, storage for use or consumption, personal property and sales of service within the parish.  

The renewal of the 1% sales and use tax is estimated to collect an amount of $3,100,00 per year for a period of ten years. If the renewal is passed, collection of the tax will begin on July 1, 2024, and end June 30, 2034.  

The proceeds raised from this tax will be used to continue providing collection and disposal of solid waste for the residents of the parish, payment of contracts for this provision that includes, acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and operation of equipment and necessary facilities.   

The remaining proceeds that are collected for the 1% sales and use tax will be used for constructing, improving and maintaining public roads and bridges in the parish.  

If you are on the mail out program, all absentee ballots must be at the Registrar Voters Office by 4:30 p.m. today, April 28th. 

For questions and concerns please reach out to Nickie Warren at 318-263-7404 or via email at bienvillerov@sos.la.gov

To find your polling location visit:


Castor Library Branch closing May 1 for repairs

The Bienville Parish Library- Castor Branch will be closed beginning May 1 – July 31 for planned repairs.

Castor’s Branch Manager Robin Word will be relocating to the Ringgold Branch during the repairs. She will still be available to assist Castor patrons with their book requests and providing library resources.

Despite this temporary closure, the WiFi will still be available if residents are in need of a hotspot.

The Bienville Parish Library branches will be open and willing to assist anyone for book check-outs, copying needs, laptop requests and more. 

If you need to contact Castor Branch Manager Robin Wood, reach out to 318-894-9770.

Saline Watermelon Festival Board preparing for their biggest year yet

The Saline Watermelon Festival board has begun preparations for the week-long, infamous Watermelon Festival.

This year things get rolling on Monday, July 3, with a kick-off dance. Tuesday is kids’ night. There will be games and entertainment for kids 0-12. On Wednesday there will be an area wide church meeting and a pageant taking place on Thursday and Friday.

A mandatory meeting for pageant participants will be held on Wednesday, July 5. It will be from 9:30- 11 a.m. for those participating in the Infant Miss age division (0-11 months), Baby Miss (12-23 months), Teeny Miss (2 years), Toddler Miss (3 years) and Tiny Miss (4-5 years). The meeting for those competing in Little Miss (6-7 years), Petite Miss (8-10 years), Junior Miss (11-13 years), Teen Miss (14-16 years) and Miss Watermelon (17-19 years) will be from 1- 3 p.m.

All the pageant requirements are listed in the form packets. To receive a packet reach out to Lacy Varnell.

According to vendor director Nancy Cox, they are now accepting applications.

For more details on the competitions, parade, car show, annual treasure hunt, and more follow their Facebook page: Saline Watermelon Festival.

Today is the last day to apply for JET Program

The Bienville Parish LSU AgCenter is excited to announce that the Jurors Empowering Teens (JET) is returning this summer. This is a Summer Internship Program that began in 2008 as a collaborative effort between the Bienville Parish AgCenter and the Bienville Parish Police Jury. Since then the program has gained popularity and an esteemed reputation among the community for its youth enrichment aspects.

This is a 4-week program for youth that are between the ages of 16 to 18 (a junior or senior start of Fall 2023) that allows the participants to earn an income while being employed at various public and private businesses.

Assistant Extension Agent for 4-H Development Megan Martin said, “Some jobs that they have had in the past were at nursing homes, Clerk of Court office, restaurants, schools, town halls, health clinics, etc.”

This experience provides a valuable first employment opportunity and equips them with practical skills including goal setting, resume building, interview skills, budgeting, on-the-job etiquette and personal branding.

Local businesses can contact the LSU AgCenter office if they are willing to host a child at no cost to the company. 

According to Martin, many hours have been spent reviewing the program’s growth over the years, as well as the curriculum and expectations. This year they plan to adopt the past curriculum with additional current topics that they believe are important for the youth in the community to understand. 

Applications must be submitted to the Bienville Parish LSU AgCenter office by today, April 28th. The selected youth will then move on to the interview process, which will be conducted over the next few weeks. The program will run from July 3-28, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants must have reliable transportation during the program dates. 

Reach out to ashannon@agcenter.lsu.edu to answer any questions or call the office at 318-263-7400.

Water Rangers needed in Bienville Parish

Louisiana 4-H and Farm Bureau Need You!
We are looking for young people to serve as Water Rangers in select parishes to record daily rainfall and to support Louisiana farmers and ranchers.
Louisiana does not have enough individuals reporting daily rainfall which in times of extreme weather can assist our farmers and ranchers with assistance. To be a Water Ranger all it takes is to sign up, participate in a short orientation, and then use your smart phone to record daily rainfall!
This is a great community service project and you truly are making a difference for everyone! Sign up before April 30th at:

U.S. Intelligence Officials Who Claimed Hunter Biden Laptop Story was “Russian Disinformation” Knew That Was False

It turns out that the 51 former U.S. intelligence experts who signed the letter that President Biden used in the debate with President Trump to allege that the explosive and damaging information contained in Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian fake—were, in fact, pushing the actual “Russian disinformation” campaign! 

Recall, this letter was also the “authority” used by Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media platforms to censor and hide from the American people the New York Post’s article which, in great detail, reported the truth about abundant evidence of widespread global corruption of the Biden Crime Family contained on Hunter’s ‘Laptop from Hell.’

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell testified this past week that then-Biden campaign senior adviser, now-Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, was the “impetus” of the public statement signed in October 2020 that falsely but persuasively suggested the laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was “Russian disinformation.” 

Let me try to summarize this slimy mess.

Our current Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, was the driving force behind the fabrication of a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation when they knew full well it was not.

And why did Morrell, Blinken and the rest falsely discredit the New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop as supposed Russian disinformation? 

“One intent was to share our (knowingly false) concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue; and two, it was to help Vice President Biden … to win the election.”

How should we interpret this?

Well, we all enjoy freedom of speech and the right to our own opinions, but it was of great significance and gravity that these prominent, credentialed former intelligence officials lent their names to this knowingly false statement.  Millions of Americans assumed the signatories of the letter had access to information that we, as average American citizens, did not have.  They were right.  These officials did have special knowledge and that’s the reason their signing the letter and attesting to this falsehood is all the more deceitful, manipulative, and damaging.

What was the result?

It provided a lazy, compliant, Biden-supporting national media with the justification it needed to ignore the Hunter Biden laptop story and discredit Hunter’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who went on the record before the election to substantiate much of the information on the laptop through the use of huge numbers of text messages.

Why does this matter so much?

Because the revelation of influence-peddling by Hunter Biden just prior to the election was obviously newsworthy given that former VP Biden had repeatedly said he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” 

The emails effectively proved that Joe Biden was not only aware of his son’s business dealings but actually participated in meetings in support of this lucrative, international scheme to sell access to the U.S. Government.    Thus, Joe Biden demonstrably lied directly to the American people throughout the 2020 campaign and in the Presidential Debates.

So, how should we view this joint effort by the national media and these current and former intelligence officials and other Administration officials who essentially colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden Laptop story? 

The Wall Street Journal offers a sobering admonition:  

This “partisan foray by current and former U.S. intelligence officials … should be deeply troubling to Americans on the left and right.  They have authority by dint of access to information that isn’t confirmable by the press, which takes their spin as gospel.  This is a form of political corruption that needs to be exposed … ” (WSJ, 12-5-22)

What effect would this damaging information have had on the 2020 election?

After the election, a full 17% of Biden voters polled stated that they would not have voted for Joe Biden had they known prior to the election of the information contained on the laptop.

Remember, Pres. Trump only lost the Electoral College count by a mere 44,000 votes in three swing states out of approximately 154.6 million votes cast nationwide!  

As a result of this malevolent suppression of the truth, the voice of the people was silenced, and the trajectory of American history and world history was forever changed.

This was a dirty, cynical, and corrupt political trick of the first order that we have a moral and civic obligation to unfailingly call out and expose.

(Royal Alexander was a staff member to the late U.S. Representative Clyde C. Holloway of Louisiana’s 8th congressional district, since disbanded, who also served as chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. He was also a member of the Republican State Central Committee of Louisiana from 2008-2012. He is an attorney.)

Spring time is bird watching time

I got a little excited this morning when I saw on Facebook that someone down around Alexandria had taken a photo of a special bird on his feeder. It’s a bird I start watching for about this time every spring.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak. I’ll start getting texts and calls from folks around this area who will send me a photo, asking what kind of bird this is. If you see one as they pass through and they stop for a bite on their way to their northern breeding grounds, I can guarantee it will get your attention because of the striking colors – black back, white under belly and a crimson patch on the upper chest.

As a novice birder, it all started for me as a youngster with my mom. She would hear an unfamiliar birdsong, pick up her tattered bird book as my brother, sister and I would follow her outside to find the bird she was interested in. This triggered something in me that has captivated my interest since those boyhood days.

I may be sitting on a deer stand and see a particular bird and for a moment would forget why I was on the deer hunt. I wanted to know what bird it was and I’d try to get a photo and dig out my bird book when I got home to try and identify it.

My wife and I keep our bird feeders filled with the anticipation that we just might see one that has alluded us for the past several years. In my opinion, the Painted Bunting is the most beautiful bird the Good Lord ever created. He must love birds a lot to have created one with red underparts, blue back with a bright chartreuse patch on the upper back. I can guarantee you, should you spot one, it’ll take your breath away.

Our introduction to Painted Buntings took place years ago when I spotted one on our feeder one mid-April morning. Incredibly one would show up in our yard within a few days of the same time each spring, usually around April 15 for ten years straight. For some reason, these handsome birds have shunned our feeder for the past several years but we have memories of those special times when they graced us with visits.

As beautiful as the male is, the female Painted Bunting has the distinction of being the only song bird we have with the coloration of a brilliant yellow-green. To see a pair on the feeder was a treat indeed.

This time of year, the cousin of the Painted Bunting, the Indigo Bunting is a frequent visitor to our feeders. Coloration is described in my bird book as an iridescent blue.

Another that is likely to show up is the Blue Grosbeak, slightly larger than the Indigo, blue but with rusty colored wing bars.

During winter, folks in our part of the world have visitors that usually run in packs and they love to feed on bags of thistle seed we hang. They’re rather drab in color and you wonder how they get the name Gold Finch. However, these birds undergo a transition as they head north and if we’re fortunate we get glimpses of them as the drab gray transitions to a brilliant bright yellow. Some of the birds wintering south of us are passing through now and I have seen a couple on my feeders showing off their bright yellow coloration.

There are some who can legitimately be called “birders” who are much more adept at bird identification than I am, making annual birding trips and keeping life lists of birds they identify. For novices like me, I just enjoy trying the best I can to identify those I happen to see.

My old tattered “Birds of North America” is a constant companion as I flip through dog-eared pages to see if I can correctly identify the latest little bundle of flit and feathers I see in my yard.

An Obligation to Fire

Since the first installment of Slicing the Pie, multiple questions have been submitted, and prioritizing them has been no small feat.  However, the following question is one that I’ve received firsthand on multiple occasions and that I’ve heard being discussed over the years.  So, hopefully this article will offer some insight to our readers regarding “obligation to fire.” 

Q: “If I draw my gun in a self-defense scenario, am I obligated to fire?” 

A: “Absolutely not!” 

Although I have heard this question many times, what I’ve heard even more often is some misinformed chap making a comment to the effect of “if someone forces me to pull my gun, by God, I’m using it.” An even worse rhetoric may go something like, “If I pull my gun, I’m not putting it away until it has spilled blood.”  Both statements are wholly wrong and show a complete lack of training, education, and maturity.  Mr. Colion Noir, an attorney and prominent 2nd Amendment advocate, would eloquently refer to someone making these statements as the proverbial “I wish a MF’er would Guy.”  Just because you draw your gun, does not mean it must be fired.  Not only is that belief horribly misguided, but simply making such remarks could come back to haunt you in a court of law should you ever be forced to fire your gun in self-defense. 

Imagine you were preparing to loosen a rusted bolt on your pick-up truck.  There you are, wrench in hand, having already come to the realization that your knuckles are about to be skinless, fully prepared to give yourself a hernia from all the straining you’re about to do, only to find the bolt in question is already loose enough to be removed with just your fingers.  Would you still use the wrench?  Of course not.  Just because you had on hand the tool necessary to complete a difficult job, you were able to remove that bolt with no harm to yourself and without potentially damaging the bolt.

Avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation – none of which necessarily include physical violence – are all preferred methods of conflict resolution.  Far more often than not, simply drawing a firearm, aiming it toward an attacker, and yelling “STOP!” would be enough to make most folks re-evaluate their life choices. Quite frankly, a loud verbal command to “STOP!”  coupled with the visibility of a gun’s muzzle pointed at the bad guy’s face is universally understood and will likely supersede even the most challenging of language barriers.  On the off chance the attacker persists, then yes, you might be forced to shoot that individual.  I also understand that there are situations where verbal warnings prior to firing a shot are not necessary or prudent, but to hold the belief that drawing a firearm automatically equals a mandatory press of the trigger is simply false. 

John Steinbeck wrote in his book The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, “the final weapon is the brain, all else is supplemental.”  I would urge our readers to remember that their guns are merely tools and that they, the individuals, are the weapons.  The circumstances always dictate the tactics.  Know that your true power, your most dangerous weapon, is between your ears, not in your holster. 

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


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at Ryan@9and1tactical.com

(Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney 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 advice.)

Three girls and a dog

My husband and I took the girls camping this past weekend at Lake Bistineau State Park. It is a favorite spot of ours because it is just close enough to our house that we can pop in and tend to the dogs or pick up anything we may have forgotten (which happens a lot). It is also close enough that my husband does not have to burn a ton of gas after hauling the camper and then making a second trip to fetch his boat. See, pulling a trailer is not something I would trust myself with. He would probably let me attempt to pull the camper before his boat though. A skill I will learn one of these days… maybe.  

It is also a favorite of ours for a few other reasons. One… the lake, obviously. Two… they have plenty of playground equipment to keep the girls entertained for most of the day. Three… you are bound to run into at least a handful of people you know. This is a good thing, after you have been stuck in a camper in the middle of nowhere trying to keep three kids entertained while your husband is out on the boat and there is not enough service for their I-pads to work. A little adult interaction helps keep the sanity in check.  

I think I have mentioned before though that I am not the most sociable person ever? That would be a problem, but I have my kids for that. Most of the time, they leave me no choice. 

For instance, while we were camping last Saturday the girls wanted to go on a walk. As we were taking this walk around the other campsites, the girls encountered a little fluffy dog with her human in tow. Of course, they must stop to greet the dog and only the dog, never even looking up at the lady at the other end of the leash. So, I am forced to stop being such a recluse and make small talk with her.  

Turns out, she was camping with her husband and another couple who just so happened to be family friends of mine. Small world, right? After a few more minutes of puppy kisses and small talk, we go our separate ways. Do not let me forget this important detail: the dog’s name is RayRay.  

The reason this is important is because it is all I heard for the next three hours from both Ashton and Kameron. “RayRay this, RayRay that. I want to pet RayRay. Where is RayRay?” 

Coincidentally, RayRay was staying two camps over and they see her outside a little later in the evening, so my husband and I walk over and ask the lady if the girls can pet the infamous RayRay before we head off to find something to eat.  

Somehow, things transpired into us getting invited to eat dinner with them. It was really great. The kids forced me to get out of my shell and my husband and I were able to enjoy some great fellowship with these two other couples- sharing stories and eating a delicious meal that I did not have to prepare. I feel like I say this a lot… But in case you have not read any of my past articles, I am happy as can be any time I get to eat a meal that I did not have to shop for or cook. 

Oh, and the girls (and RayRay) were completely played out by bedtime. Win-win for everybody! 

P.S. This was almost a whole week ago and I am still hearing all about RayRay. We ran into her one more time while loading up to head home on Sunday and I am pretty sure Ashton has a playdate set up with RayRay and our poodle Harley in the near future.  

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

Checking boxes and covering bases

BARBERINO-TAVARNELLE, TUSCANY— For the past several years— and for the foreseeable future— I have spent approximately 90 days each year hosting Americans in Europe. I am currently seven weeks into my Spring 2023 trips with the fourth group I’ve hosted since mid-March. We are in Tuscany. Next week I will head to Holland and Belgium to host a group of 25 Americans, most of whom have traveled with me before. For some it will be their fifth or sixth trip with me over the past six years. We are fast friends by now.

On these tours I tell my guests that my plan is to, “Cover all the bases, and check all of the boxes.” What I mean by that is the week they spend in Tuscany, or the 10 days in Spain, or 10 days in the Netherlands and Belgium, I want each of them to experience as much of the country’s culture, art, architecture, craftsmanship, personalities, landscapes, wine, spirits— and especially cuisine— as they can. It is my goal that when they are on their flight home, they will look back on the time they spent and realize how much ground we covered, and how much they experienced.

To accomplish this, we eat a lot of food. In Tuscany, our typical meals consist of way more than the typical Italian would eat daily. For those who are first time travelers it takes two or three days to get into the flow of my trips and to realize the amount of food that is going to be served. For the seasoned guests who have been with me a few times, they understand from day one.

In Tuscany, we probably cover two weeks worth of Tuscany in one week. That holds true for the food choices as well. We eat a lot of food. But, again, I want to cover all the bases and check all the boxes. I want my guests to get an accurate representation of the cuisine in this part of the world in the short time they are here. To do that we have to order a lot of food.

Sometimes guests, in the early days of a trip, will complain, “It’s too much food.”

I always reply, “No one is going to make you eat it all. Just eat what you like, or eat small portions of each.”

The beauty of this system is that there are no misses. I have cherrypicked all the restaurants and meals. I have eaten at these restaurants dozens— if not hundreds in some instances— of times. Everything is a hit. That’s one thing that happens when traveling. You can take all the recommendations and reviews you think you need, but there are still misses. I have eliminated the misses, and all the meals are perfect.

Last week a guest suggested I print T-shirts that state, “There’s more food coming.” I had never thought about it, but it’s obviously something I say often on these trips. My aim is true. I don’t want my guests to fill up on the antipasti course before getting the primi, or the secondi. And certainly not before the dessert. I never thought about how much I use that phrase because I’m typically in host mode and focused on the business at hand.

If one is going to check all the boxes and cover all the bases one must have diverse offerings at every turn. In Spain that is easy to do as we move from city to city every couple of days. The food in Madrid is much different than the food in Barcelona. The same goes with Valencia, Seville, and Malaga which is on the Mediterranean and has a plentiful seafood bounty.

I have hosted tours that included Venice, Bologna, and Milan in one week. Those are all Italian cities. But the cuisine is substantially different in each. Venice leans heavily towards the bounty from the sea, Bologna, a city that many call, “The food capital of Italy,” is very meat-centric, and Milan is a city with a lot of Austrian and French influences in their food— dairy products are used more often than in any other part of the country.

When leading groups through Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Naples the choices are easy. Rome being a major European capital the food choices are diverse and the offerings are “big city Italian.” The Amalfi Coast is full of excellent seafood that was swimming that morning. Naples is ground zero for pizza, so during those trips the job is easier. All I need to do is find the right restaurants.

In Tuscany, the area of the country that I know best, I focus on what the locals eat. We eat pizza, in the small Tuscan town of Tavarnelle-Barberino which has one of my top two pizza restaurants in the entire country in Vecchia Piazza (the other is Piccolo Buco in Rome). But there are so many other Tuscan classic dishes such as pappa pomodoro, ribollita, dishes with multiple uses of white beans, classic soups, Florentine steak, several pastas, and several dishes using truffles. The food in the countryside outside of Florence is very rustic and workmanlike. I love it. It’s right up my alley.

One thing I overlooked in the early days of my travels here was seafood. I will admit that I am a little bit of a Gulf Coast seafood snob. I believe— and still believe— that the bounty of seafood that comes from the Gulf of Mexico is the best in the world. You can tout the seafoods from the Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast, Mediterranean and other exotic locales. But the seafood I have eaten all my life that comes from the warm waters Gulf of Mexico is, according to my taste, far superior to all others. Though Tuscany does a great job with seafood. So much of this region consists of the Mediterranean coastline. One of the favorite meals I host for my guests is at an excellent seafood restaurant, Trattoria del Pesce, where we eat mussels, clams, salt-crusted sea bass, and even fish for dessert. It’s excellent.

Yesterday when I told my guests that someone in the previous group suggested I pass out T-shirts that say, “There is more food coming.” One of the new guests suggested that the back of the shirt say, “And wine too!” It’s true. They eat a lot, they drink a lot, and it’s my goal that they “want” for nothing. But we’re in Italy. We need to experience as much of this part of the world as we can in a short period of time. The fact that so many return to travel with me for a fifth or sixth time lets me know I must be doing something right.

It’s work, and sometimes it’s hard work, but if you’ve got to work somewhere, this isn’t a bad place to do it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to cover all the bases and check all the boxes.


Pasta Carbonara

No peas, no cream. That’s real Pasta Carbonara.

1 lb. Dry spaghetti pasta
1 gallon Water
¼ cup + ½ tsp Kosher salt
3 TB Extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. Guanciale or Pancetta, medium diced
2 cups  Parmigianino Reggiano, shredded
1 tsp  Fresh ground black pepper
4 each  Whole large eggs, beaten slightly, at room temperature
½ cup  Warm pasta water

Cook the spaghetti using the instructions on the package.

Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat. Add pancetta and stir frequently until cooked, about 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, grated cheese, remaining ½ tsp salt, black pepper, and pasta water (if the water is too hot you might want to add it in small amounts so the eggs won’t scramble). Mix well. Add hot spaghetti. Add the cooked pancetta and its oil over the pasta and combine thoroughly.

Divide among 6-8 serving bowls.

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

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival “TAKE ME TO THE RIVER” VIP Style

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Super VIP giveaway!

Purchase at least two $100.00 VIP tickets, and you’ll be entered into our SUPER VIP DRAWING, with a chance to win TWO SUPER VIP PASSESS!

Drawing will be held Friday, April 28, 2023 @ 4pm

There are a limited number of VIP tickets available. Get yours today!

Mark Chestnutt, Tracy Byrd and Cupid

See the full line-up here

Purchase tickets here


Today in History

0357 – Constantius II visited Rome for the first time.

1282 – Villagers in Palermo led a revolt against French rule in Sicily.

1635 – Virginia Governor John Harvey was accused of treason and removed from office.

1686 – The first volume of Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathamatic” was published.

1788 – Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the U.S. constitution.

1789 – A mutiny on the British ship Bounty took place when a rebel crew took the ship and set sail to Pitcairn Island. The mutineers left Captain W. Bligh and 18 sailors adrift.

1818 – U.S. President James Monroe proclaimed naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

1896 – The Addressograph was patented by J.S. Duncan.

1902 – A revolution broke out in the Dominican Republic.

1910 – First night air flight was performed by Claude Grahame-White in England.

1914 – W.H. Carrier patented the design of his air conditioner.

1916 – The British declared martial law throughout Ireland.

1920 – Azerbaijan joined the USSR.

1923 – The British Empire Exhibition Stadium (or Empire Stadium) opened to the public.

1930 – The first organized night baseball game was played in Independence, Kansas.

1932 – The yellow fever vaccine for humans was announced.

1937 – The first animated-cartoon electric sign was displayed on a building on Broadway in New York City. It was created by Douglas Leight.

1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by Italian partisans as they attempted to flee the country.

1946 – The Allies indicted Tojo with 55 counts of war crimes.

1947 – Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl and five others set out in a balsa wood craft known as Kon Tiki to prove that Peruvian Indians could have settled in Polynesia. The trip began in Peru and took 101 days to complete the crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

1952 – The U.S. occupation of Japan officially ended when a treaty with the U.S. and 47 other countries went into effect.

1953 – French troops evacuated northern Laos.

1957 – Mike Wallace was seen on TV for the first time. He was the host of “Mike Wallace Interviews.”

1959 – Arthur Godfrey was seen for the last time in the final broadcast of “Arthur Godfrey and His Friends” on CBS-TV.

1962 – In the Sahara Desert of Algeria, a team led by Red Adair used explosives to put out the well fire known as the Devil’s Cigarette Lighter. The fire was caused by a pipe rupture on November 6, 1961.

1965 – The U.S. Army and Marines invaded the Dominican Republic to evacuate Americans.

1967 – Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army and was stripped of boxing title. He cited religious grounds for his refusal.

1969 – Charles de Gaulle resigned as president of France.

1969 – In Santa Rosa, CA, Charles M. Schulz’s Redwood Empire Ice Arena opened.

1985 – The largest sand castle in the world was completed near St. Petersburg, FL. It was four stories tall.

1988 – In Maui, HI, one flight attendant was killed when the fuselage of a Boeing 737 ripped open in mid-flight.

1989 – Mobil announced that they were divesting from South Africa because congressional restrictions were too costly.

1992 – The U.S. Agriculture Department unveiled a pyramid-shaped recommended-diet chart.

1994 – Former CIA official Aldrich Ames, who had given U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and then Russia, pled guilty to espionage and tax evasion. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

1996 – U.S. President Clinton gave a 4 1/2 hour videotaped testimony as a defense witness in the criminal trial of his former Whitewater business partners.

1997 – A worldwide treaty to ban chemical weapons took effect. Russia and other countries such as Iraq and North Korea did not sign.

1999 – The U.S. House of Representatives rejected (on a tie vote of 213-213) a measure expressing support for NATO’s five-week-old air campaign in Yugoslavia. The House also voted to limit the president’s authority to use ground forces in Yugoslavia.

2000 – Jay Leno received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2001 – A Russian rocket launched from Central Asia with the first space tourist aboard. The crew consisted of California businessman Dennis Tito and two cosmonauts. The destination was the international space station.

2008 – India set a world record when it sent 10 satellites into orbit from a single launch.

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit events to bpjnewsla@gmail.com

April 24-28 (7 p.m.)

Tent Meeting – Downtown Ringgold near Gazebo behind First Baptist

For more information call #903- 276- 7873

April 28 (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Local Job Fair – Gibsland Branch Library 

Vendors will be available to answer questions and review applications and resumes on the spot. 

April 28 ( 6 p.m.)

ACT-SO Apolla Style Talent Show – Crawford Elementary Gym 

Opened to 9-12th grade students

April 28 (6 p.m.)

Friday Night Basketball – Downtown Gym – Ringgold

Grades 2-5 (Parent must present signed waivers at the doors for participating children)

$5 Admission

April 29

Parish-wide sales tax renewal election.

If you have any questions please reach out to Bienville Registrar Nickie Warren at 318-263-7407 or email bienvillerov@sos.la.gov

April 30 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

First Pentecostal Church of Arcadia – Friends and Family Day

There will be food, games, activities and giveaways.

May 1 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Castor Farmers Market – Castor Rails to Trails Pavilion

May 1 (6:30 p.m.)

S & P Barber and Styling Academy’s 2023 Graduation Ceremony 

700 Factory Outlet Drive in Arcadia

May 5 (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

House of Raeford Truck Load Sale – 3867 Second Street in Arcadia


May 6 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Farmer’s Market – Depot in Downtown Arcadia

May 6 (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

Mt. Lebanon Historical Society’s – Stagecoach Trail Day Festival

May 11-12

Castor High School Kindergarten Round-up for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year

May 12

4th Annual Louisiana Sheriffs for St. Jude Golf Tournament – Trails End Golf Course – 400 Par Road 256 in Arcadia

Registration is at 8 a.m. and tee off at 9 a.m.

May 26 at 5 p.m. – May 27 at 6 p.m.

The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival – Downtown Gibsland

Please check out their Facebook event page for a full list of speakers, performances, and parade times

Notice of Death – April 27

Notice of Death – April 27, 2023

Catherine Boddie

July 31, 1927 – April 24, 2023

Arcadia, La.

Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. Friday, April 28, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Arcadia.

Burial: Bear Creek Cemetery

Larry Bennett Litton Sr.

May 3, 1955 – April 24, 2023

Fairview Alpha, La.

Visitation: 11 a.m. until service time Friday, April 28, 2023, Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. immediately following service.

Burial: Zion Cemetery.

Sue Walker Camp

Dec. 16, 1944 – April 21, 2023

Shongaloo/Minden, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Friday, April 28, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home Chapel, Springhill.

Burial: Western Cemetery, Emerson, Ark.

Henry Luther Boggs

June 10, 1934 – April 24, 2023

Visitation and memorial service: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, 2023, Cottage Grove Presbyterian Church, Plain Dealing, La.

Judy Ann Wise

January 24, 1948 – April 20, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Visitation: 1 until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Old Shongaloo Rock Church.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Old Shongaloo Cemetery, under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Kenneth Edward Rice

August 22, 1950 – April 1, 2023

Ringgold, La.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Barksdale Baptist Church.

Celebration of Life to follow immediately.

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

Gibsland woman indicted for Covid-19 PPP Fraud

Following a nationwide coordinated law enforcement action plan to combat Covid-19 health care fraud by the United States Department of Justice, a Gibsland woman was federally indicted following an investigation by a grand jury. 

On Thursday, April 20, Shaqualia Lewis (also known as Shaqualia Lewis Chatman), 35, was indicted for an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1 million in funds from federal programs. 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Louisiana, Lewis was charged with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1.1 million in funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). 

These federal programs were intended for low-interest financing to small businesses, renters and homeowners in regions affected by declared disasters. 

According to the indictment, Lewis, a registered nurse, caused the submission of numerous fraudulent loan applications that contained false statements regarding a purported business and the intended use of the loan funds. 

The funds were allegedly used for personal expenses, such as gambling and contracting work on her home. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought hardships to many American citizens and those who have chosen to abuse the assistance that was provided is appalling,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “We will continue to join with our federal and state and local partners to investigate and prosecute any who may have defrauded the government through these programs that were offered to help people. 

United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown joined with the Department of Justice also announced criminal charges against 18 defendants in 9 federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various fraud schemes involving health care services that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and allegedly resulted in over $490 million in COVID-19 related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally funded pandemic programs. 

“Today’s announcement marks the largest-ever coordinated law enforcement action in the United States targeting health care fraud schemes that exploit the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. “The Criminal Division’s Health Care Fraud Unit and our partners are committed to putting an end to pandemic-related fraud and holding accountable anyone seeking to profit from a public health emergency.” 

To report a COVID-19-related fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. 

Ringgold School Complex partially closed due to storm damage

The Ringgold School Complex suffered damages from the storm that passed through the community on April 15. 

According to school officials, there were leaks in the roof that caused water damage to large areas of the building.

School was cancelled last Friday, April 21, for all students.

After much discussion between the Bienville Parish School Board and Ringgold School staff, it was decided that all students would report to school yesterday, April 25, to receive information on how to proceed for the remainder of the school year or until the issue has been resolved. 

From Wednesday, April 26, through Tuesday, May 2, only 3rd-grade students will report to the elementary school for LEAP testing. No other elementary grades will be allowed to attend during that time period. The testing dates for fourth grade students were changed to Wednesday, May 3, to Tuesday, May 9. The testing schedule for fifth grade students remains the same, Wednesday, May 10, through Tuesday, May 16.

For high school, 9th and 10th grade students will be testing today, April 26. 

Bus drivers are adjusting their routes, so students should be at their designated bus stop early.

This schedule is subject to change.

The students received packets of schoolwork from their teachers on Tuesday to bring home and instructions on how to complete it. 

School officials understand the inconvenience of this situation and are working diligently to have it resolved in order to provide a safe learning environment for the students of the Ringgold School Complex. 

In order to help relieve the community the school will be providing and dropping off breakfast and lunch emergency meals to various areas of the town for the students not attending beginning today, April 26. 

A driver will deliver meals according to the following locations and times:

Bienville I Apartments – 11 a.m.

Bienville II Apartments – 11:15 a.m.

Oaktree Apartments – 11:30 a.m.

Ringgold Town Hall – 11:45 a.m.

Jamestown Post Office – 12:10 p.m.

Meals will also be available for pick-up at the school in between the hours of 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please contact the school in advance.

Ringgold Elementary School: 894-2911 

Ringgold High School: 894-2271

Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce ‘jazzed things up’ for 38th Annual Chamber Banquet

New board members pictured from left to right: Vicki Pickett, Deanna Curtis, Kim Rigdon, Melanie Jordan, Katherine Mixon, Moe Letlow, Vicki Caskey, Levi Hicks, Eddie Holmes and Wayne Gray

By Michelle Bates

The 38th annual Arcadia Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce Banquet went off without a hitch Monday, April 24. 

Themed “We’re Jazzing Things Up,” the title sponsor for the event and Chamber Champion for 2023 is Bienville Lumber Company LLC, A Hunt-Tolko Partnership. As the title sponsor and Chamber Champion, Bienville Lumber will be mentioned at every chamber event throughout the year.

Small Business of the Year went to Nelson Wood Products. Nelson Wood Products engages in the sale of secondary wood products for production and packaging for sawmills, plywood plants and pallet mills. Mike Nelson, Owner of Nelson Wood Products, accepted the award for small business of the year in memory of his mother, Nelda, and father, R.J., who played a monumental role in the success of this business. He thanked everyone from his family to his employees for 37 years of service to the Castor community and beyond.

Large Business of the Year went to House of Raeford, which houses 75 percent of its employees in Bienville Parish with the plant in Arcadia and the hatchery in Gibsland. House of Raeford has been in Arcadia since 2000. The business has been prominent in its community service, where employees are involved in several community service projects throughout the year.

The 2023 Woman of the Year is Vicki Caskey. She has worked in advertising and marketing across North Louisiana and East Texas for the past 20-plus years. Most notably, she ran The Minute Magazine for 10 years, a magazine that began in Minden 25 years ago. She took a local publication reaching only Minden and grew it to reach all of the towns along the I-20 corridor from Texas to Mississippi and even into Arkansas. When the owner of the magazine decided to quit publishing The Minute at the end of 2018, Vicki continued working with several of her advertising clients on a contractual basis to help promote their businesses.

Caskey also dove into community service when she moved to Bienville Parish. She is a past member of the Arcadia Service Club and Past Executive Director of the Arcadia Bienville Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as a member of the Arcadia Literature Club, Arcadia Bienville Chamber Board Member, committee member benefiting local animal shelters and member of the First Baptist Church of Arcadia where she serves on the Special Occasions Committee.

Along with Arcadia Mayor O’Landis Millican, Caskey helped found the Krewe of Arcadia Mardi Gras Bal. Again, this group gives back in big ways to local charity organizations. They are in their third year and growing.

Most notably in her community service, she is the president and founder of Wiggin’ Out, a 12-year-old organization serving men, women and children of North Louisiana fighting any type of cancer. This organization has served over 1,000 individuals and raised well over $100,000 in its 12 years of service. She is proud to tell you, the board of seven all volunteer their time. No one is paid to serve. All proceeds, aside for minimal basic business expenses, go right back into the community.

The 2023 Man of the Year is Victor Rogers. Rogers has served Arcadia in law enforcement for 42 years, the last several as Arcadia’s police chief. He retired in December 2022.

The Heritage Award went posthumously to H. Russell Davis, who passed away in February. Davis was an attorney who served the Bienville Parish Police Jury as its attorney and had a practice in Arcadia. He served as an assistant district attorney for Bienville, Claiborne and Jackson parishes for 15 years. He was born in Ruston in 1948 and graduated from Arcadia High School in 1966. He
graduated from law school in 1973. He has three children, Rebecca Cruse, Maryanne Smith and Dr. Richard Davis. His daughter, Maryanne Smith, accepted the award on his behalf.

The guest speaker was Rep. Mike Johnson, of the 4 th Congressional District. He talked to audience members about the state of the country, where it’s been and where it’s headed. He also praised the students who gave the invocation, led the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem. Kaiden Moore, a fifth grade student, led the invocation, while Zyon Bell, a high school junior, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Katie Bogan, a 7th grader, sang the National Anthem.

Scholarship awards were presented to Makenzie Waggoner by the Chamber of Commerce for $750; I’Yonna Williams for $750, also by the Chamber of Commerce; a $1,000 scholarship to Ar’Ronlisha Bradford from the Arcadia Service Club.

The new board of directors for 2023 include: Vicki Pickett, Moe Letlow, Melanie Jordan, Kim Rigdon, Tom Martin, Deanna Curtis, Dorothy Satcher, Vicki Caskey, Emmalee Tingle, Dan Loe, Levi Hicks, Amber Chandler, Eddie Holmes and Katherine Mixon.

Outgoing board members include Brian Fletcher, Don Smith, Pam Guin, Nikki Bryant and Regina Swint.

Diamond Sponsors for this year include Willow Ridge Nursing and Rehab, Bienville Medical Center and Gibsland Bank and Trust.

Platinum Sponsors include Louisiana National Bank, Sheriff John Ballance, Timberland Services LLC, House of Raeford, Edwoard Jones and Wimberly Agency.

Gold Sponsors include Bank of Montgomery and the Town of Ringgold.

Appreciation went to The Bienville Democrat, the Bienville Parish 4-H Club (which served dinner), the Bienville Parish Police Jury, the Town of Arcadia and Fast Pak

Catering Services. Any tips left to the servers went to the 4-H club.

Sentencing for April 2023

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


Austin Havard of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. He was sentenced to 1 year of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 1 year supervised probation. He also pled guilty to Simple Burglary. He was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 2 years supervised probation. He also pled guilty to 3 counts of Criminal Trespass. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail for each count, which was suspended.

Nicholas Dshawn Cockerham of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule II CDS-Methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor. He also pled guilty to Possession of Firearm With CDS. He was sentenced to 5 years hard labor.

Jermario Givens of Ridgeland, MS—Pled guilty to Aggravated Flight From an Officer. He was sentenced to 3 years of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 3 years supervised probation. He also pled guilty to Illegal Use of CDS in Presence of Minors. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail, which was suspended. He was ordered to pay $738 in fines and costs.

Jeremy Gray of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Aggravated Assault With a Firearm. He was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 3 years supervised probation. He was ordered to pay $500 in fines and costs.

Timothy Gray of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to 3 counts of Distribution of Schedule I CDS-Marijuana. He was sentenced to 3 years of hard labor on each, all but 2 years being suspended. These charges will run consecutively. He will be placed on 3 year supervised probation once he is released.

Tommy L. Gray of Castor, LA—Pled guilty to Theft Over $1,000.00 Less Than $5,000.00. He was sentenced to 1 year of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 1 year supervised probation. He was ordered to pay restitution and court costs.

Dustin Lamar Hargrove of Simsboro, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon. He was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor without benefit of probation, parole or suspended sentence.

John A. Harper of Princeton, TX—Pled guilty to Simple Battery of Persons With Infirmities and Simple Cruelty to Animals. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail, which was suspended. He was placed on 6 months of unsupervised probation. He was ordered to pay $1098 in fines and costs.

Torrell Jenkins of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Exploitation of Persons With Infirmities. He was sentenced to 3 years of hard labor, which all but 1 year was suspended. He was placed on 3 years supervised probation. He was ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Jasmine Lajoyce Moore of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule I CDS-Marijuana. She was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor, which was suspended. She was placed on 2 years supervised probation. She was ordered to pay $303 in court costs.

Lucas W. Nunn of Saline, LA—Pled guilty to Domestic Abuse Battery and Violation of a Protective Order. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail, which was suspended. He was placed on 1 year supervised probation.

Alisha Shanay Rhodes of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Aggravated Second Degree Battery. She was sentenced to 7 years of hard labor, with all but 5 years was suspended. She will be placed on 2 years supervised probation when she is released.

Tervin Roberson of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to 3 counts of Distribution of Schedule II CDS-Methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor for each, all but the time served in jail was suspended. He was placed on 3 years supervised probation.

Alexander F. Stevens of Shreveport, LA—Pled guilty to 2 counts of Theft Over $1,000 Less than $5,000. He was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor to count one, which was suspended. He was placed on 2 years supervised probation. He was sentenced to 1 year in parish jail on count two. He was ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Brandon Sullivan of Castor, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Simple Assault. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail.

Karderrick Taylor of Bossier City, LA—Pled guilty to Illegal Carrying of Weapons. He was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail, which was suspended. He was placed on 1 year supervised probation. He was ordered to pay $1,238 in fines and costs.

Cordairo Walker of Arcadia, LA—Pled guilty to Aggravated Battery. He was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor, which was suspended. He was placed on 2 years supervised probation. He was ordered to pay $881 in fines and costs.

Kevin Wood of Coushatta, LA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure and Criminal Damage to a Critical Infrastructure. He was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor on each count.

Bienville Parish School Board honors students with Academic Banquet

Bienville Parish School Superintendent William Wysinger (right) presents a plaque of appreciation to guest speaker, Judge William Rick Warren (left).

By Michelle Bates

The annual Bienville Parish Academic Banquet was held Tuesday, April 18, at the Arcadia Events Center. Judge William Rick Warren, a graduate of Castor High School, was the guest speaker.

Certificates were presented to the following students in recognition for maintaining a cumulative 3.50 or greater grade point average.

Arcadia High School – presented by Board Members Oswald Townsend, Sharon Boston, and Assistant Principal Marcus Jackson:

Ninth Grade: Raniya J. Cockerham, Eriya Goodwin, Jeremiah Mays and Shakiyah Wyatt (4.0 GPA);

Tenth Grade: Rihanna N. Adams, Mariah Dunn, Tikera D. Fields (4.0 GPA) (24 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport), Simone A. Glover (12 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport), Radtravious Z. Jackson, Jayla Mendenhall, Brianna M. Morris and Joseph S. Salvaterra (4.0 GPA) (12 hours of dual enrollment at Bossier Parish Community College)

Eleventh Grade: Dimitri Q.R. Carr (4.0 GPA) (24 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Sha’Meciyah G. Castle (9 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport), Jamen D. Davis and Kalel A. Harmon (4.0 GPA) (18 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Twelfth Grade: Angelica M. Blake (19 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport), Jada A. Breazeale (22 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport), Thomas L. Harmon (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Vanterian A. Haulcy (48 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Esmeralda Leonardo-Amado (16 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport) and Jamyria D. Shepherd (22 hours of dual enrollment at Southern University of Shreveport).

Castor High School – presented by Board Member Colton Guin and High School Principal JoyDee Wallace –

Ninth Grade: Elizabeth D. Harvey, Ayden Hays, Breanna Hines, Kassie L. Jones, Avery C. Jordan, Jerry L. Joyner, Kelly E. Perry, Kimberlynn L. Short, Haydan C. Thomas and Autumn L. Watson;

Tenth Grade: Jenna L. Braggs, Leanne J. Colson (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Malorie B. Cooper, Cole J. Martin (9 hours of dual enrollment at Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College), Anna K. Myers (4.0 GPA) (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Kaylie A. Shirley (3 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Eleventh Grade: Anna G. Bates (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Ambree Collinsworth (18 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Talyn E. Layfield, Anaiah L. Johnson (33 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Collin D Outz, Kalena J. Smith and Malina G. Warren (30 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Twelfth Grade: Shellie K. Dove (36 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Kaylan R. Long, and Ayden C. Ortego (39 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC).

Gibsland-Coleman High School – presented by High School Principal Samuel Andrews and Board Member Derrika Bailey –

Ninth Grade: Jordan Allen and Brian Wright Jr.

Tenth Grade: Baleigh Haulcy (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Devery Moore Jr. (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Kenaiah Robinson (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), and Samora Sampson (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Eleventh Grade: Madison Harris (13 hours of dual enrollment at NWLTCC), Meghan Harris (13 hours of dual enrollment at
NWLTCC), Hermaya Jenkins (13 hours of dual enrollment at NWLTCC) and Jennifer Smith (30 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC);

Twelfth Grade: Joshua Adams (36 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Miss GCHS Ar’Ronisha Bradford (36 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Dadrail Chatman Jr. (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Richard Smith, and Jasmine Sneed (36 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC).

Ringgold High School – presented by Principal Marchello Gates and Board Members Darren Iverson and Martha Grigg –

Ninth Grade: Alyssa Clifton (9 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC) and Leighton Roderick;

Tenth Grade: Faith Clifton, Breniya Glover, Jaxon Page and Nicholas Plunkett (33 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC);

Eleventh Grade: Shyloh Bell (24 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Zyon Bell (21 hours of dual enrollment at NWLTCC and 27 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Kierstyn Mattison (9 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Heather Parker (47 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Taylor Weathers (49 hours
of dual enrollment at BPCC) and Trevor Williams (24 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Twelfth Grade: Hilary Bates (60 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Serenity Burns (48 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC) and Faron Tipps.

Saline High School – presented by High School Principal Scott Canady and Board Members Colton Guin and Donald Calloway –

Ninth Grade: Brooklynne L. Bellard (4.0 GPA), Addison C. Davis, Ella G. Dison and Tyla P. Malone;

Tenth Grade: Keira A. Blewer, Hanna G. Cannon, Drake R. Lewis, Lilly J. Martin (4.0 GPA), Clara M. Mauthe (4.0 GPA) (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC) and Dominic W. Wilfong (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Eleventh Grade: Charles M. Culliford, Bryce A. Davis, Vivien M. Grebe, Jacob W. Hawkins (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Max R. Kaser, Aybra D. Kelly (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Alyssa L. Odom (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Sydney C. Thomas (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Jaydan P. Williams (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Jordan M. Williams (4.0 GPA) (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC)

Twelfth Grade: Wesley K. Crawford (9 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), William F. Dison (18 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Nathaniel “Drew” Golden (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Jacob E. Jones (21 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Delonte Rager-Ridley (6 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Mason C. Scott (15 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC), Shawn P. Staggs (12 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC) and Bailey I. Welch (18 hours of dual enrollment at BPCC).

Superintendent William Wysinger presented plaques to the students who maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

Bienville Parish Banquet Coordinator Timothy Williams expressed a sincere thank you to the following for their assistance in making the banquet a success: Tyrone Roberson – T&J Catering; Mary Hutchinson and Michelle Fields – Invitations, Certificates, Programs and Decorations, Counselors; Principals, Mayor O’Landis Millican, Catrice Hudson, Superintendent William Wysinger and the Bienville Parish School Board Members.

Students who received a 4.0 grade point average.

Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana holding Board of Trustee Election

2023 TRSL Board of Trustees elections: There’s still time to qualify as a candidate.
Time is running out to qualify as a candidate for one of the three seats up for election this year on the TRSL Board of Trustees. TRSL must receive your letter of intent by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28.
Serving on the Board of Trustees is an important public service role that allows you to actively participate in the management and safeguarding of System assets that provide retirement income for thousands of TRSL members. The board usually meets once a month in Baton Rouge.
If you’re an active member employed in Districts 2, 3 or 4, and you’re interested in serving, take a look at the election policy and procedures.   
The map below show which parishes are included in District 4.

The Congressman and the trouble with things that are popular

A Congressman came to town on Monday. The Honorable Mike Johnson, of the fourth congressional district (that’s our neck-a the woods), was in South Webster over at Lakeside for a history lesson, a Q&A session, and a bit of life coaching. 

I’ve heard the congressman speak before including when he was practicing law and fighting in courtrooms to let Americans live by the writings of our Founding Fathers. You know – the freedom of’s and the freedom to’s.  

I’ve come away impressed every time I’ve heard the man speak. I hold very low opinions of many politicians, but not so for Congressman Johnson. The reason is a simple one – I believe what he’s telling me because I know he believes it. I know he’s honest. 

Two things from Monday that resonate. 

He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

Boy. You can say that again. 


I said you can say that again. 


He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

I’ve written about being a reed in the storm. The analogy is when the storms blow in it’s not the reed that breaks. It’s the mighty oak. The one that stands against the wind is the one that takes the hits and sometimes loses everything. The weeds, the reeds, the mire and the muck, well, they stay alive because they can bend to the will of the roar. 

I’m a reed a lot of times. So are you. So too are we all. We go along with things we know are wrong because standing against them, being an oak, will likely just get us knocked flat. And sometimes you’re not going to get back up to answer that bell. 

I’ve nodded my head and gone along with what was popular because it was easy. Because I was a coward. Because I valued the world of men more than the world beyond. So instead of fire from my belly and a cry of NO, I just shrug and go about my way with all the other reeds. Apathy becomes a way of life and before long you’re believing it when you’re told 2+2=5. 

I know all this to be true and I think you do, too.

So what’s to be done? What can one person do against such recklessness? 

Break the chains of apathy. Read. Educate yourself. Go to political events and ask questions. Don’t have a cynical and distrustful view of education. Education is, as it has always been, the answer to everything. You want real weapons? Don’t go to the gun shop. Go to the library. 

Learn. Question. Berate if you have to. And then, then after all that is done, do the single most important thing you can do as an American citizen.


Vote for candidates who share your beliefs. Vote for city council. Vote for police jury. Vote for school board. Vote for sheriff. Vote locally. That’s where change begins. Not in Washington. Vote for good men and women and tell them what you want for this nation, for your family, for those who will come after you. And most importantly, vote out the others. 

We only have one responsibility in this life. And that’s to leave the world a little bit better than you found it. Picking up arms isn’t the answer. Picking up a book is. 

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

Horsing Around

Robert LeRoy Parker was a “medium short, stocky build, with blue eyes and an infectious smile.  His sense of humor was highly developed; he made friends easily, was highly dependable when he chose, and was loyal to his friends.”  He could “outrope, outride, and outshoot any man on the range.  He drank sparingly and never allowed women to interfere with his business.”  His business, at this time, was working cattle. 

Sometime in the 1870s, the exact date has been lost to history, Robert stole a saddle and several horses near Circleville, Utah.  Two deputies tracked Robert for miles through the desert and got a lucky break.  They found Robert asleep at camp.  Before he was fully awake and aware, the deputies handcuffed Robert.  Anyone else in that situation would have admitted defeat, but not Robert.  One newspaper reported that Robert’s “mind worked like chain lightning.”  As the deputies were transporting Robert from his camp in the desert to the nearest jail, they stopped near a spring to prepare lunch.  The deputies built a fire and got enough water from the spring to boil a pot of coffee.  One of the deputies went back to the spring to fetch more water while the other deputy stayed to guard their prisoner.  Robert sat near the fire directly across from the guarding deputy.  The deputy squatted by the fire to check on the coffee.  At that instant, Robert kicked the boiling coffee in the face of the deputy.  The deputy grabbed his face and screamed.  Robert snatched the deputy’s pistol from its holster and trained the pistol on the second deputy.  He disarmed the second deputy, retrieved the handcuff keys, and removed the restraints.  In less than a minute, Robert jumped into his stolen saddle and rode away with the stolen horses and the deputies’ two horses. 

In most other cases, that would have been the end of the story.  By most accounts, Robert was a likable, caring guy.  After riding a couple of miles from where he made his escape, he realized that the deputies’ water canteens were still tied to the saddle of their horses.  He knew the area well enough to know that the next nearest spring to the deputies was about 30 miles away.  He knew the deputies would try to walk to some sort of civilization but without their water canteens they would certainly perish.  Robert rode back to the stranded deputies and, to their surprise, returned their water canteens and gave them directions to the next nearest watering hole.  The shocked deputies thanked Robert as he rode away again. 

Robert’s criminal career continued for more than a decade, and he joined forces with other like-minded criminals.  The pressure of continually being pursued by law enforcement officers convinced Robert to leave the country for South America.  He and his most infamous partner purportedly died in a shootout on November 7, 1908.  Robert used many aliases during his criminal career including Santiago Maxwell, Jim Lowe, George Cassidy, and Mike Cassidy.  You and I know Robert LeRoy Parker as Butch Cassidy.  His partner’s alias was the Sundance Kid.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, March 19, 1950, p.63.