Bienville Parish Jury Finds Man Guilty of Negligent Homicide in Death of Castor Woman

Daniel W. Newell, District Attorney for the Second Judicial District in and for the Parish of Bienville, makes the following announcement:

On April 28, 2022, after a three and a half day criminal jury trial, Dillon Floyd Bazar of Hall Summit, Louisiana was found guilty by a Bienville Parish jury of Negligent Homicide. This case is a prime but tragic example of why drinking and driving should never happen. I want to thank the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s office and Troop G of the State Police for the excellent job of investigating this case and testifying at trial. Assistant District Attorney Gray Kitchens, assisted by Tammy Jump, presented this case to the jury and obtained this unanimous verdict of guilty. Bazar is set to be sentenced on May 24, 2022 by the Honorable Glenn Fallin.

Original news release:

At around 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, April 19, 2019,  Louisiana State Police Troop G investigated a head on collision on LA4 at Watson Road which claimed the life of 47-year-old Karen Jackson Caldwell of Castor.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2014 Ford pickup driven by 23-year-old Dillion Floyd Bazar, of Hall Summit, was travelling eastbound on LA4 when it crossed the center line and struck Caldwell’s westbound 2001 Pontiac passenger car.

Due to injuries sustained in the crash, Caldwell was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bienville Parish Coroner’s office. Bazar suffered minor injuries.  Police arrested and charged Bazar with vehicular homicide, DWI, careless operation and open container. 

School Board Votes to Issue One-Time Covid-19 Pandemic Compensation – Video Attached

The Bienville Parish School Board held their regular meeting yesterday, May 5, 2022.  During the meeting, among the items considered, the school board voted in favor of issuing a one-time additional compensation for staff that worked in person to prepare, prevent, and respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

Please see the video below for the complete meeting.

Today in History – May 6

1527 – Spanish and German troops sacked Rome; many scholars consider this the end of the Renaissance.

1682 – Louis XIV of France moved his court to the Palace of Versailles.

1835 – James Gordon Bennett, Sr. published the first issue of the New York Herald.

1861 – American Civil War: Arkansas seceded from the Union.

1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ended with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac by the Army of Northern Virginia.

1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrendered to United States troops in Nebraska.

1882 – The United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers.

1889 – The Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

1910 – George V became King of Great Britain, Ireland, and many overseas territories, on the death of his father, Edward VII.

1915 – Babe Ruth, then a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, hit his first major league home run.

1935 – New Deal: Under the authority of the newly-enacted Federal Emergency Relief Administration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 7034 which created the Works Progress Administration.

1937 – Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people were killed.

1940 – John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1941 – At California’s March Field, Bob Hope performed his first USO show.

1941 – The first flight of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

1942 – World War II: On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese.

1945 – World War II: Axis Sally delivered her last propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1949 – EDSAC, the first practical electronic digital stored-program computer, ran its first operation.

1954 – Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

1960 – More than 20 million viewers watched the first televised royal wedding when Princess Margaret marries Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey.

1966 – The Rolling Stones released “Paint it Black” in the US.

1983 – The Hitler Diaries were revealed as a hoax after being examined by new experts.

1994 – Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiated at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

1996 – The body of former CIA director William Colby was found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he disappeared.

1998 – Kerry Wood struck out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his fifth career start.

1998 – Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. unveiled the first iMac.

2002– Elon Musk founded SpaceX.

2010 – In just 36 minutes, the Dow-Jones average plunged nearly 1000 points in what is known as the 2010 Flash Crash.

2013 – Three women, kidnapped and missing for more than a decade, were found alive in Cleveland, Ohio.

District Attorney’s Report – 22 Defendants Plead Guilty

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:

April 19, 2022

  • Lacey Linn Allen of Dodson, LA—Pled guilty to Theft less than $1,000 and Criminal Trespass. He was sentenced to 6 months parish jail on each. These sentences will run consecutively.

  • Rio De Janero Marquez Brown of Monroe, LA—Pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule I CDS (Marijuana) and Illegal Use of CDS in the Presence of Minors. He was sentenced to 2 years hard labor, which was suspended. He will be placed on 2 years supervised probation.

  • Michael Jay Brunson, Jr. of Dubberly, LA—Pled guilty to Domestic Abuse Battery Second Offense and was sentenced to 1 year hard labor.

  • Keri Rene Etheridge of Charleston, SC—Pled guilty to Flight from an Officer and was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail.

  • Gregory Gant of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to two counts Simple Cruelty to Animals and was sentenced to 6 months parish jail on each to run concurrently, which was suspended. He will be placed on 2 years supervised probation and is required to pay fines and cost to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.

  • Elton Gibson, Jr. of Hampton, GA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Use of a Moveable and was sentenced to credit for time served.

  • Shawn James Harville of Quitman, LA—Pled guilty to two counts Aggravated Assault and one count Simple Criminal Damage to Property. He was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail on each, to run concurrently, which was suspended. He will be placed on 2 years supervised probation and is required to pay fines and cost to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office and restitution to the victim.

  • Michael Tyrone Hawk of Gibsland, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and Distribution of Schedule I CDS (Marijuana) and was sentenced to 6 ½ years on each, which will run concurrently.

  • Jason Connor Howell of Campti, LA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling and was sentenced to 1 year in the parish jail.

  • Terrance Allen Lee of Bienville, LA—Pled guilty to Criminal Trespass and Resisting an Officer. He was sentenced to 30 days parish jail, which was suspended and 6 months in the parish jail, which was suspended, respectively. He will be placed on 1 year unsupervised probation.

  • Christopher Shondell Lowe of Ruston, LA—Pled guilty to Distribution of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor, which was suspended. He will be placed on 3 years supervised probation and is required to pay a fine to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.

  • Brock Henry Mathews of Coushatta, LA—Pled guilty to Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure and Criminal Damage to a Critical Infrastructure and was sentenced to 5 years hard labor on each, which will run concurrently.

  • Cody Ryan Murray of Greenwood, LA—Pled guilty to Simple Cruelty to Animals and was sentenced to credit for time served.

  • Kevon Porter of Vicksburg, MS—Pled guilty to Aggravated Flight from an Officer and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor, which was suspended. He will be placed on 2 years supervised probation and is required to pay fines and cost to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.

  • Michael I. Pyle of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Simple Criminal Damage to Property and was sentenced to 30 days in the parish jail, which was suspended.

  • Dasjuan Reed of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to Possession of Schedule I CDS (Marijuana) over 14 grams and was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail.

  • Fidel Sandoval Santos, Jr. of Gibsland, LA—Pled guilty to two counts Distribution of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine and Hydrocodone) and was sentenced to 2 years hard labor on each, which will run concurrently.

  • Bobby Joe Speed of Coushatte, LA—Pled guilty to two counts Unauthorized Use of a Moveable and was sentenced to 6 months parish jail on each, which will run concurrently. This sentenced was suspended and he will be placed on 1 year supervised probation. He also pled guilty to two counts Simple Cruelty to Animals and was sentenced to 6 months parish jail on each, which will run concurrently. This sentence was suspended and he will be placed on 1 year supervised probation.

  • Cody Stephens of Castor, LA—Pled guilty to Theft less than $1,000 and was sentenced to 6 months in the parish jail.

  • Joshua Everette Uzzle, Sr. of Jamestown, LA—Pled guilty to Domestic Abuse Battery with Child Endangerment and was sentenced to 3 years hard labor, all of which was suspended but 1 year. He will then be placed on 3 years supervised probation.

  • Robert Lajuan Weathers of Ringgold, LA—Pled guilty to two counts Distribution of Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 10 years hard labor on each, which will run concurrently. He also pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule II CDS (Methamphetamine) and was sentenced to 10 years hard labor. These sentences will run concurrently.

  • Devarious White of Ruston, LA—Pled guilty to two counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and was sentenced to 6 months on each, which will run consecutively.

293 Tons of Litter Removed During Love the Boot Week

The 2022 “Love the Boot Week!” was a huge success.  

There were 280 registered cleanup and beautification events throughout the state, several of which were in Bienville Parish.  

Nearly 8,500 volunteers collected 293 tons of trash, planted over 800 trees and plants, and refurbished nearly 60 gardens.   

Litter is harmful to Louisiana’s wildlife, but it also poses danger to our residents. Litter creates potential road hazards. It clogs drainage systems, which contribute to flooding. It can also create a breeding ground for mosquitos.

In Louisiana, an estimated $40 million in taxpayer dollars are spent each year on litter removal, abatement, education, and enforcement.

The penalties for littering in Louisiana range from $150 to $10,000 and include the possibility of community service, a one-year driver’s license suspension and even 30 days of jail time. 

International Space Station Visible to the Naked Eye Twice Tonight

The International Space Station will be visible to the naked eye tonight, weather permitting.  The station orbits the Earth at a height of 254 miles and travels at a mind-blowing 17,500 miles per hour, or 4.76 miles per second. 

  • Tonight, it will become visible at 8:50 PM in the southwestern sky and will travel to the northeast.  It will be visible for about 6 minutes.  It will move at a maximum height of about 33° above the horizon.
  • Tonight, it will become visible at 10:27 PM in the western sky and will travel to the northeast.  It will be visible for about 56 minutes.  It will move at a maximum height of about 19° above the horizon.

The space station will look like a bright star, like the North Star, and will be moving quickly across the evening sky. 

The space station passes overhead many times a day but lighting conditions usually make it difficult or impossible to see.  All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.

Mt. Lebanon Spring Festival To Be Held Tomorrow

Mt. Lebanon Historical Society’s annual Stagecoach Trail Day fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 10:00 – 3:00 at the Stagecoach Trail Museum south of Gibsland. The Country Store will serve gourmet hot dogs, snacks, desserts, and soft drinks. Events include cakewalks with music by DJ John Cole, a large silent auction, and a quilt raffle. A beautiful queen-size Nine Patch Quilt, made by Nona Sale, has been donated by Beth and Steve Fontenot. Raffle tickets are $1.00 each, and the drawing will be held at 3:00. You do not need to be present to win. Make plans to attend! This is an important fundraiser for our local museum.

Angler’s Perspective: Appreciate Those That Came Before

Every sport has legends, men or women who set a high standard for the level of play in their respective sports. In baseball you have Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter. In football you have Jim Brown, Dick Butkus, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith and Joe Montana. In bass fishing you have Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Rick Clunn and Kevin Van Dam. These are people who were champions and Hall of Famers that gave 100% in everything they did. Now most of us do not have the ability to sit down with most of these legendary athletes. But if you look around, you’ll find someone in your “backyard” who would be a great mentor and it’s probably someone you already look up to.

I’ve been blessed to know a few of these people who had an impact on my life. First was Mr. Rayford Jones who lived across the road from where I grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. So many evenings after supper, I would walk over to his house, sit on his front porch and we would talk about baseball, his garden, and how many catfish I had caught out of his ponds or as they say in Texas…. tanks. He would pay me a penny for every fly I would kill with one of his trusty flyswatters. I would also get an update how many of his cows had calves. A few times we talked about his time in the service and WWII. He was so proud to be an American and to have fought for this country. But he was also one of my biggest fans during my playing days in Mt. Pleasant. He kept up with every stat I had in football and baseball. He knew my battling average better than me most of the time. He knew how many yards I gained for every football game. He always said the same thing every time I would leave his porch, I would tell him… “good talking to you” and he would always respond “the pleasure was all mine.” It’s a shame people don’t take the time to sit on the front porch and talk anymore.

From a fishing perspective, a man by the name of David Parker had a huge impact on me as an angler. David was one of those anglers who could have competed at the highest level if he would have had the money to do so. To give you an idea of how talented he was, David won seven boats in one season. He dominated events from this region including Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. He was a jig fishing guru who taught me a lot about catching fish on a jig. He told me stories of what bass fishing was like in the early 1960’s and how he used to make his own jigs. As a kid, David would take a black bicycle innertube and use his dad’s straight razor and cut the tube into narrow strips. He would then take his mom’s sewing thread and tie the strands around a lead weight and catch fish after fish. Then one day they started making red bicycle innertubes! Now he was really excited and how he could mix black and red strands together creating the first ever multi-colored jig skirt. All this was before major fishing companies started making jigs.

But the one thing David gave me, was confidence in myself. He always said “Steve you’re just as good as any angler on the water…you just have to believe it yourself.” He would also say “If the fishing is tough for you, it’s probably tough on a lot of people.” He always made me feel good about my skills and abilities as an angler even though I was nowhere near as good as he was. David oozed in confidence and had what every angler wished they had…a sixth sense. He knew he had a bite even before the fish actually bit his lure…I’m not kidding! He had a gift that very few anglers have.

Always take the time to recognize and appreciate those that came before in whatever sport you’re participating in. These are the people who helped to set the standards that we all strive to achieve. These are our hero’s, these are the people who earned the right to be called a legend. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook.

Steve Graf – Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &
Tackle Talk Live


Print this page to work the puzzle.  If you are unable to print this page you can download it by clicking “Download” below.

In Cryptoquotes, one letter stands for another. In the example above, Z is used for two E’s, I for the two N’s, etc. Single letters, double letters, apostrophes, the length and formation of the words are all hints. The code letters change with each puzzle.



Previous Cryptoquote solution: “I failed my way to success.” ~ Thomas Edison

Two Suspects Sentenced for Burning Infant in Northwest Louisiana

MAY 4, 2022 – Hannah Barker, 26 of Montgomery, was sentenced in a Natchitoches Parish courtroom as part of a plea agreement with the state in the burning death of her 6-month old son Levi Ellerbe. She was sentenced to 30 years for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and 10 years for manslaughter.

The sentences will run concurrent and Barker will receive credit for the time she’s already served since her arrest in July of 2018.

An independent defense attorney explained that Barker will likely end up serving 6 years of her sentence with the opportunity to knock even more time off her sentence by participating in life enrichment programs while in prison. Barker’s defense stressed that the sentences were non-violent for the purpose of sentencing under the Department of Corrections.

Levi Ellerbe was six months old in July 2018 when Barker initially told police he disappeared when two men confronted her at her home and pepper-sprayed her in the face. She said she escaped the confrontation and when she returned to her home, Levi was missing. The child was found a few miles away with severe burns over 90% of his body. He died several hours later in a Shreveport hospital.

Barker’s girlfriend, Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, 29 of Natchitoches, admitted to committing the homicide.

The sentencing was done under an Alford plea for Barker. This plea allows a defendant to claim to be innocent without taking the risk of going to trial.

Barker’s attorney J. Dhu Thompson issued the following statement:
“This case is an absolute tragedy on so many levels. One is the horrific manner in which baby Levi was killed by Felicia Smith. Second is what my client has also had to endure throughout this process. She’s lost her only child to the horrible and unimaginable actions of Felicia Smith, and while having to grieve and mourn her baby boy, she’s had to do so while losing years of her life and her freedom in the process. Faced with he resources of the state against her, the emotions of the case in front of a jury and the risk of a sentence that would incarcerate her for the rest of her life, my client had to make the decision to choose what was in her best interest and to accept a plea that will allow her to get out of jail in a few years while also maintaining her innocence. This was the basis of the Alford plea done today, which as the case law provides, allows a person to accept a best interest plea under protestation of innocence.”

Immediately after Barker left the courtroom, her co-defendant Felicia Smith was led in after a request was made to move her sentencing to May 4 while the deceased families were already in attendance. She was sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter, 30 years for conspiracy to commit murder, and 10 years for cruelty to juveniles.

The sentences are consecutive and Smith will receive credit for the time she’s already served since her arrest.

Both defendants’ sentences were made without the opportunity for probation or suspension of the sentence.

Kathy Ellerbe, Levi’s paternal grandmother, provided an impact statement during the court proceeding to both defendants.

“The loss of my grandson and knowing how he was murdered has been devastating. For the past three years, our hearts have been broken and there will always be a void in our lives because of this evil. I will never forget the joy Levi brought to us in his short life. I want to remember him in a happy way and not have to relive all of this again during a trial,” said Ellerbe prior to the hearing.

Billy Ellerbe, Levi’s father, thanked Natchitoches City Police Lieutenant Jeff Townson and the first responders for their compassion in the case.

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington and Special Prosecutor Clifford R. Strider, III prosecuted the cases.

“We were able to secure convictions on both defendants, despite the lack of physical evidence on Barker, who enlisted Smith to carry out the crime. We could not allow the mother, who planned to have her baby killed, to not be held responsible for her actions,” said District Attorney Harrington.

“Both defendants are culpable in this horrible crime and today Hanna Barker admitted as such when she pleaded guilty to avoid putting her fate in the hands of a jury,” said Strider.

“In my experience prosecuting cases throughout Louisiana, this case ranks as one of the most heinous and callous acts of cruelty I have ever seen,” said Strider, who has over 40 years experience in prosecuting capital cases and violent crimes.

“After numerous meetings and extensive input from the family of the victim, we agree that today’s guilty plea and prison sentences at hard labor for both defendants will begin to bring some sense of closure to the family,” said Strider.

Harrington commended the dedicated work of the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office, the Natchitoches Police Department, and the Natchitoches Fire Department. Their commitment to justice was indispensable in obtaining these convictions. Harrington specifically noted the tireless and professional assistance rendered by Lt. Jeff Townson of the Natchitoches Police Department.

“Our prosecution team spent thousands of hours in developing this case. Every minute was worth it to secure guilty pleas from the mother who devised an evil plan to have her son killed and from Barker’s girlfriend who carried out Barker’s plan. In Barker’s case, there was little physical evidence to implicate her in the murder of Levi, but substantial circumstantial evidence was developed by law enforcement. Apparently, the threat of testimony by Smith, coupled with the circumstantial evidence, motivated Barker to accept responsibility for her actions. We were fortunate to obtain Barker’s guilty plea considering the nature of this crime and lack of physical evidence,” said Harrington.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Now Provides Free Books For Children in Bienville Parish

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is now providing free books to children under the age of five in Bienville Parish.

Jonesboro State Bank’s Pledge 10 program, in partnership with Pine Belt Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, is inspiring a love of reading for kids ages 0-5 in Bienville, Jackson, Lincoln and Winn Parishes!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.

It sounds almost too simple to be true, but by reading regularly with your children during their preschool years, you are giving them the biggest boost toward a successful education they will ever get.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library can help your child love to read just by having print books at home, reading yourself, and setting aside time daily for your children to read. Every child will have books of their very own, at no cost to you thanks to JSB Pledge 10, and Dolly Parton. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your home.

Your child can look forward to new and exciting reading adventures from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library until they turn five years old as long as you live within a covered geographic area.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free gift to your child! All you have to do is read often to inspire a lifelong love of reading!

How It Works

Each month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails a high quality, age appropriate book to all registered children, addressed to them, at no cost to the child’s family. Countless parents have shared how excited their child is when their new book arrives each month. Many groups and individuals work hard behind the scenes to make that special moment possible for each child.  Click Here for more information.

FBI Field Offices Warn of Numerous Targeted Sextortion Schemes in Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana

Recently, FBI Little Rock and FBI New Orleans have noted an increase in sextortion schemes targeting children in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. The FBI has received numerous reports of predators posing as children on social media to coerce minors into sending sexual videos of themselves and then extorting money from these underage victims. FBI Little Rock has noted an alarming uptick in these schemes targeting children in areas around El Dorado, Magnolia, and Monticello, AR. FBI New Orleans has also seen similar schemes targeting children in the Monroe, Alexandria, and Shreveport, LA areas.

Here’s how this disturbing scheme works:

  1.  A predator (posing as a child on social media) uses deception and manipulation to convince a minor victim, usually 13 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit sexual activity over video chat.
  2.  The videos or images are secretly recorded and saved by the predator.
  3.  The predator then reveals they have saved the recordings and attempts to extort money from the juvenile victim by threatening to post the videos on various social media pages.
  4.  To receive money, the predator may ask for bank account login information or request gift cards.

Sextortion is a crime. The coercion of a child by an adult to produce child sexual abuse material (CSAM) carries heavy penalties, including life sentences for offenders. To make the victimization stop, children typically notify someone—normally a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement. The embarrassment children feel from the activity they were coerced to engage in is what usually prevents them from coming forward. Sextortion offenders frequently have dozens of victims around the world, so coming forward to help law enforcement identify a predator may prevent countless future incidents of sexual exploitation.

Here are some tips to protect children online:

  • Everyone should be wary of anyone they encounter online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
  •  People can pretend to be anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
  •  Be highly suspicious if someone you meet on a game or app asks you to start communicating with them on a different platform.
  •  Encourage children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.

If you know someone who may be a victim of sextortion in Arkansas or Louisiana:

  1. Contact FBI Little Rock at 501-221-9100 or FBI New Orleans at 504-816-3000.
  2.  Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
  3.  Tell police investigators everything about the online encounters. It may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find and stop the predator.

4-H Names Ringgold’s Timothy Williams National Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Winner

Each year, state 4‑H programs nominate two outstanding individual volunteers through the 4‑H Salute to Excellence Awards. The Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award is given to an individual who has spent 10 or more years as a 4‑H volunteer while the Volunteer of the Year Award is given to an individual who has volunteered for 4‑H less than 10 years.

Ringgold’s Timothy Williams was selected as Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Leader and this year’s 4-H National Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer award winner. 

The national 4-H organization said, “Williams has tirelessly served as a volunteer and agent of change within 4-H for 22 years, actively working to create a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible program for Louisiana youth.  Since he started as a club leader in the 1990s, Williams has helped low-income high-risk youth from his community to recognize their leadership potential and utilize their talents and skills to make a better life for themselves and others.  An ambassador for civic engagement, Williams has engaged the youth of Bienville, Louisiana, in community clean-up days, adopt-a-highway projects and food pantry initiatives.  Through the 4-H program, Williams is dedicated to creating the next generation of leaders – globally knowledgeable citizens who are capable of positive community change.  Williams has served as a 4-H advisor Club Leader, Advisory Board Member, 4-H Foundation Treasurer, Vice President, and, most recently, 4-H Foundation President.  Additionally, as the school counselor at Ringgold High School, he has been instrumental in obtaining critical resources for funding and community partnerships.  His efforts in fundraising have secured thousands of dollars for Bienville Parish 4-H that have been crucial in allowing students without the financial means to participate in 4-H camps and projects.”

Congratulations, Mr. Williams, and thank you for all that you do.

New Welcome Signs Honor Gibsland-Coleman’s Winning Basketball Teams

In recognition of the Gibsland-Coleman Bulldogs basketball team winning the 2022 state championship and the Lady Bulldogs winning state runner up, the town of Gibsland placed new “Welcome to Gibsland” signs on the highways entering town.  

The Gibsland-Coleman Bulldogs posted a thank you on their Facebook page.  “We want to thank Mayor Ray Ivory and the town of Gibsland for these wonderful signs as you come in to town supporting our teams!”

The town left space on the sign to add future championship wins which are certain to happen.

Market Safe Growth

Friday, April 29, 2022 was a rough day for Wall Street. All markets suffering major losses which has been a trend for the last several months. Many stocks taking back all of the gains from 2021 and early 2022. The market is responding to worldwide and political issues. However, what you should know is that the markets are not the ONLY place you can grow your retirement dollars.

There are volatility buffers available. These financial vehicles offer safe, no risk growth. Historical ten-year average growths range from 6% to 10% returns. Yes, you read that correctly…. Zero market risk with good growth that keeps up with or out paces inflation.

Looking for better options on CD funds. Well, here you are. The safety and security of a CD with real gains AND access to funds. Oh, not to mention the interest credit is tax deferred. No more annual 1099’s to concern yourself with.

Looking for security, zero stock market risk WITH good growth… give me a call!


Saline Marathon Runner Takes Second in Frisco Railroad Run

On April 30, Saline marathon runner Don Brown competed in the annual Frisco Railroad Run half marathon held in Willard, Missouri.  

He finished the 13.1-mile race with a time of 2.12.05 and won second place in his age group.

Congratulations, Mr. Brown!

If you or someone you know (who has a connection to Bienville parish) has done or is going to do something extraordinary, please email the Bienville Parish Journal at

Today in History – May 4

1626 – Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrived in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.

1776 – Rhode Island became the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

1814 – Emperor Napoleon arrived at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.

1814 – King Ferdinand VII abolished the Spanish Constitution of 1812, and returned Spain to absolutism.

1871 – The National Association, the first professional baseball league, opened its first season in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1886 – Haymarket affair: A bomb was thrown at policemen who were trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago. The police fired into the crowd.  Eight people were killed and sixty were wounded.

1904 – The United States began construction of the Panama Canal.

1927 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was incorporated.

1932 – In Atlanta, mobster Al Capone began serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

1942 – World War II: The Battle of the Coral Sea began with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier USS Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese forces had invaded Tulagi the day before.

1944 – “Gaslight”, starring an 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her film debut, was released,

1945 – World War II: Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg was liberated by the British Army.

1945 – World War II: The German surrender at Lüneburg Heath was signed, and went into effect the following day. It encompassed all Wehrmacht units in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany.

1946 – In San Francisco Bay, U.S. Marines from the nearby Treasure Island Naval Base stopped a two-day riot at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Five people were killed in the riot.

1953 – Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.

1957 – Alan Freed hosted “Rock n’ Roll Show,” the first prime-time network rock show.

1959 – The 1st Annual Grammy Awards were held.  Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Domenico Modugno, Ross Bagdasarian, and Henry Mancini, each won 2 awards.

1961 – American civil rights movement: The “Freedom Riders” began a bus trip through the South.

1961 – Malcolm Ross and Victor Prather attained a new altitude record for manned balloon flight when they ascended in the Strato-Lab V open gondola to 113,740 feet.

1970 – Vietnam War: Kent State shootings: The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opened fire and killed four unarmed students and wounded nine others. The students were protesting the Cambodian Campaign of the United States and South Vietnam.

1973 – The 108-story Sears Tower in Chicago was topped out at 1,451 feet as the world’s tallest building.

1979 – Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1988 – The PEPCON disaster rocked Henderson, Nevada, as tons of Space Shuttle fuel detonated during a fire.

1989 – Iran–Contra affair: Former White House aide Oliver North was convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges; the convictions were later overturned on appeal.

1998 – A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gave “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement which spared him from the death penalty.

1999 -“The Mummy,” directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and John Hannah, premiered in the US.

2007 – Greensburg, Kansas was almost completely destroyed by a 1.7-mile wide EF5 tornado. It was the first-ever tornado to be rated as such with the new Enhanced Fujita scale.

2008 – Seth MacFarlane reached an agreement worth $100 million with Fox to keep “Family Guy” and “American Dad” on television until 2012, which made MacFarlane the world’s highest paid television writer.

Remember This?: Reys in the City of Light

Hans Augusto Rey was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1898. Following World War I, in which Hans served, he designed posters for a circus and studied art at Hamburg University. Hans struggled to make a living with the postwar inflation in Germany. In 1924, Hans accepted a job in Brazil where he composed commercial lettering for advertisements and offices and sold bathtubs along the Amazon River.

In 1935, Hans met Margret Elisabeth Waldstein, a fellow artist and Jew who was also from Hamburg. Their similar interests drew them together and they married later the same year. Together, the Reys began a joint career which consisted of magazine work, advertising, and illustrating books. The couple was so busy with work that they delayed their honeymoon. Finally, the Reys planned a honeymoon trip through Europe. They visited their homeland of Hamburg and eventually made their way to Paris, France. The Reys loved Paris so they kept putting off their return to Brazil. Four years later, still in Paris, they found themselves in a precarious situation.

In 1939, Paris began preparing for what they realized was an inevitable war with Germany. Paris underwent a drastic transformation. City workers dug miles of trenches in the city squares and parks that the Reys enjoyed visiting. Signs throughout the city pointed the way to the nearest trench. The city distributed gas masks to its civilians. Children were evacuated from the city into the coutryside. The beautiful Parisian lights—Paris is still known as the City of Light—were turned off at night as a precaution against German air raids. Workers removed the stained-glass windows from the Sainte-Chapelle and placed them in storage. Curators at the Louvre, aided by packers, cataloged and transported major works of art in crates which were labelled only with numbers to disguise their contents. The works of art were transported in trucks at night in slow convoys with their headlights off. Historically significant buildings and architectural landmarks were surrounded by walls of sandbags. The city rationed certain foods and gasoline.

After months of waiting, the Germans attacked France on May 10, 1940. With each passing day, the Nazis drew closer to Paris. Eighteen days later, the British realized that France would fall to the Germans and withdrew their soldiers to the beaches of Dunkirk. While retreating British soldiers were being loading onto ships, Germain airplanes attacked relentlessly. Refugees from the battle zone started pouring into Paris. On June 3, the Germans began bombing Paris and its suburbs. A week later, the French government fled Paris. Fearful Parisians followed their example and fled from the city using any means available including trains, cars, buses, wagons, carts, bicycles, and on foot.

In June of 1940, the Reys knew their honeymoon in Paris had come to an end. With no other means of transportation available, they fashioned bicycles out of discarded broken bicycles. They had no choice but to abandon most of their possessions. As they prepared to flee, Hans grabbed the manuscripts of a children’s books that he and Margret had written and threw them into a bag. Hans grabbed the bag and they pedaled their way through the throngs of people leaving Paris. The Reys eventually made their way to a ship which was heading to America. The Reys were unable to relax because they were aware the German U-boats and warships were targeting ships in the Atlantic Ocean. In the Fall of 1940, the Reys arrived safely in New York.

Within a month of their arrival, American book publisher Houghton Mifflin agreed to publish the Reys’ children’s book. In 1946, after the end of World War II, the Reys became American citizens. People so loved their children’s book, that they eventually wrote a whole series based on the two main characters. By 1997, at the time of Margret’s death and twenty years after Hans’s death, the books had sold more than 20 million copies in more than a dozen languages. The tales have been adapted for television, films, and video games. For the rest of her life, people asked Margret “were you afraid?” She always replied, “you don’t have time to be afraid.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Margret said, “Actually, it was fun.” The manuscript carried by the Reys as they fled Paris on makeshift bicycles told the tale of the man in the yellow hat and his pet monkey,… “Curious George.”

1. The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware), November 19, 1953, p.13.
2. The Springfield News-Leader (Springfield, Missouri), January 17, 1997, p.22.