Highway 1 Blocked

Caddo deputies are working a train derailment in south Caddo Parish. The train came off the tracks and is blocking both lanes of Highway 1 near the Caddo and Red River Parish line. The highway will be closed approximately 4-5 hours while crews work to clear the train cars. Traffic is being diverted to Highway 175 to I-49.

This is the latest of four train derailments along LA 1 in or near Red River Parish in the past year.  Two of them involved trains striking water trucks.

EPICTOUCH Company Acquires CP-TEL

EPIC TOUCH CO. d/b/a/ EPICTOUCH, a leader in rural broadband in SW Kansas, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of CP-TEL Holdings, Inc. (together with its subsidiaries, “CP-TEL”), a leading broadband provider in Northwest Louisiana.

Trenton D. Boaldin, CEO of EPICTOUCH said, “The acquisition of CP-TEL, which increases the EPICTOUCH broadband subscriber base by more than fivefold, is a crucial milestone for our company’s strategic plan to grow through acquisition and strategic expansion.  We look forward to further growing the company and bolstering broadband services across our growing markets.”

Richard Gill, President and CEO of CP-TEL stated, “I’m excited at what the synergies of the combined companies will bring to both markets, and new markets as EPICTOUCH expands through additional acquisitions and strategic expansion”

Under the agreement Gill will stay on as the General Manager of CP-TEL.  Both Boaldin and Gill are committed to continued growth of the broadband company and have no plans to change the number of employees at either location.  EPICTOUCH’s Boaldin shared, “Joining the two great teams together is a great combination because both of our family owned companies share similar values and a commitment to the communities we serve.”

The acquisition was a stock transaction in which EPICTOUCH will acquired 100% of CP-TEL’s shares.  The Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative (RTFC) worked closely with EPICTOUCH in financing the acquisition.  

Getting Ready for Barry

As you wake up Friday morning, the state of Louisiana is under an emergency declaration in the wake of Barry.  Various predicted paths take the storm over most of the state.  It may be a category 1 hurricane or a tropical storm when it makes landfall.

In northwest Louisiana preparations are underway, just in case.  Forecasts from the Weather Channel call for rains beginning Saturday afternoon and continuing into Monday.  Area TV weathercasters were predicting an inch of rain or more.

The greatest threat from the weather Friday and Saturday is the heat.  Thursday afternoon the heat index hovered around 100 degrees.  It will be hot Friday, cooling somewhat Saturday and Sunday before the 90s return on Monday.  Consult your favorite weather source frequently.  As we are all aware Louisiana weather can change in an instant.

Lifeshare Blood Center is getting ready.  They posted, “We’re preparing for the storm that’s ahead in the Gulf. Our goal is to save lives that are affected by the storm. Help us save lives by donating now. Call to schedule an appointment at your nearest LifeShare donor center or schedule an appointment online at www.lifeshare.org.” 

Cleco says their service areas in the state will be affected by Barry.  Cleco offered these tips on storm preparation:

  • Prepare a storm kit – gather supplies you might need for an outage, including flashlight, batteries, canned food, manual can opener, bottled water, medication and a first aid kit.
  • Clear patio furniture and other objects that could move in high winds and cause damage or injury.
  • Charge cell phones, tablets and laptops.
  • Do not connect portable generators to your home’s electrical wiring and never operate in an enclosed space like a garage.
  • If water is getting close to your home or business, turn off individual breakers and then turn off the electricity at the main breaker.
  • Remember to call 911 and Cleco at 1-800-622-6537 to report an unsafe situation involving electricity.

The best tip is to keep informed.  If the weather becomes severe in Red River Parish, the Journal will issue special updates to our email subscribers and on our social media pages.

Bamburg Claims the Cash

The Journal’s second winner of $100 cash is Scotty Bamburg of Coushatta.  He signed up to receive text messages alerting him to every Red River High School sporting event.  And Bamburg was selected to be the weekly cash winner.

This fall the Red River Parish Journal is sending text message alerts to fans of Red River High and Riverdale Academy sports.  You will get a text approximately fifteen minutes before each game begins.  To listen to the game, just click on the link in the text message.  It is that easy.

The Journal is offering an Early Bird incentive to sign up now for text messages this fall.  Early sign up helps The Journal get everything ready. The only rules are that you are a fan of the Bulldogs or the Rebels, or you want to get both team broadcasts and you have a smart phone or other device that receives text messages.

To sign up for the text alerts, go to this link: 

CLICK HERE – > Sports Signup

Once you sign up, you will be eligible for each weekly cash drawing.  There is no need to enter again.

Congratulations again to Scotty Bamburg, this week’s winner of $100 in cash from The Journal.

Council on Aging Holds Annual Membership Meeting

The annual membership meeting was held by the Red River Council on Aging this past Tuesday afternoon.  There was a report on activities over the past year, and President Jessie Davis reported that the council’s income would probably increase next year due to increased economic activity.  And a new Board of Directors and officers were elected for the coming year.

Executive Director Liz Cannon gave a report on the programs and accomplishments during the 2018-19 year.  She noted that most programs expanded to serve more people in the parish.  For example, Cannon said, “The Community Health Fair” held this spring was the largest ever.  Over 100 people participated and got information from a record 26 vendors.”

The current Fan Drive for seniors is continuing.  Cannon said they have given out 90 fans so far.  “A donation from Vine Oil and Gas of $2,500 provided for fans and supplies for the council.”  In addition the council got some fans from Cleco and private donations.

The Food For Seniors program has 324 participants.  They receive 80 pounds of food each six times per calendar year.  There was a distribution on July 8th and the next distribution will be on September 9th.

Board President Jessie Davis reported that the council’s funds from the millage property tax will probably increase due to the increase in natural gas activity in Red River Parish.  Davis said, “There will be some new money so millage will go up a bunch.  Part of this is due to a new plant under construction on Highway 509 near the intersection of Highway 1.  As a result, Davis said, “It will mean more jobs.  It will also mean more trucks operating in the parish.”

New Officers were elected, or re-elected, for the next fiscal year.  And two new members were added to the Board of Directors.  Here is the new lineup:

Jessie Davis – President

Celia Ann Norman – Vice President

Mary Jones – Treasurer (New Member)

Barbara Brister – Secretary

Board Members Trey Lewis, Kathrine Smith, Mary Harper, Francis Baker, John Brewer (New Member), Wiley Garrett, James Brown, and Mearl Tidwell.

Liz Cannon thanked Peter Drake and Dianne Slatten for their service to the Council on Aging.  They left the board at the conclusion of their terms.

For information on any of the services offered by the Red River Council on Aging, call 932-5721.  Office hours are until 2:00 pm weekdays.

New School Site Approved By School Board

Red River is getting a new school designed to aid fifth graders who are not making the grade. The Red River Parish School Board last Monday evening approved the proposal to establish Red River Academic Academy.

Superintendent Alison Hughes said it will be one of ten sites across the state recognized as being a pioneering district.  Karen Squires told the board it is for fifth graders who are not proficient on fifth grade LEAP exams and need intensive academic interventions in English Language Arts and Math.  Students in the new Academy would not have qualified to be promoted to sixth grade.

Squires said, “We are not looking at a behavioral program.  Red River is looking only at the academic.”  Squires said it will be a year around school with students starting the program in August when all other students report.  Squires said, “They will follow the same calendar through May, then come back for June and July.”

Applications are now being accepted for the nineteen spots that will be available.  Squires said, “Parents will be a huge part of this school.” She stressed what would be expected of parents to support their children in this program.  The application has a pledge by the parent to attend quarterly progress meetings, to attend behavioral conferences, and to keep the school informed of changes in address and cell phone numbers.  Both parents are required to sign the application and go by these requirements.

The new Red River Academic Academy will eventually be housed in the new addition to Red River Junior High. Construction and site preparation began in recent days, so until the new facility is available the Academy will meet at Springville Education Center.  The Superintendent announced that current Springville Principal Jaqueline Daniels will serve as principal.  One certified teacher, one counselor, and other support personnel will be assigned to the school.

Squires and Hughes indicated to the board that the program would be demanding on students and parents.  However those who achieve could be promoted to seventh grade at the Junior High at the end of the year.  Full details are provided in the application packet. Call the School Board office for more details.

HEART Program Says Get Moving

There are few lifestyle changes that have as many benefits as exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to help with weight management, increase bone density, increase muscle mass, reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, improve heart health, prevent/manage diabetes, and treat depression and anxiety.

It’s recommended to get 150 minutes/week of moderate exercise. Many types of movement could be considered moderate exercise. Activities like mowing the lawn, gardening, dancing, manual labor, brisk walking, or chasing grandkids can increase heart rate and provide health benefits.

If you’re new to exercise and are not sure where to start, consider some of the tips below:

Start Slow– There’s no shame in easing into a new exercise routine. Start with a manageable goal, like walking to the end of the street and back twice a week.

Buddy Up-Find a friend or family member that also wants to start exercising. It’s easier to stay consistent when we have someone to keep us accountable.

Find Something You Like-If you absolutely hate walking on the treadmill, don’t force yourself to spend 20 minutes on the treadmill every night! You’re more likely to stick with an exercise routine if it’s something you enjoy.

The HEART Program is presented in Red River Parish by the MLK Health Center and Pharmacy, funded by BHP.

First Ever Parents’ Night Out!

First United Methodist Church in Coushatta is hosting a Parents’ Night Out on Friday, July 19, 2019, from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Bring the children to the church for a fun evening.  The parents will then be free to have a night to themselves.

Karen Squires is coordinating the event for First Methodist.  Squires said, “This opportunity is free of charge and is open to anyone in the Area who has children age 6 months to 10 years of age.”  She added, “We will have music, crafts, games, and a movie.”

If you are interested in participating, please complete the online form by going to “Coushatta/Wesley Chapel UMC” on Facebook.  Or call the church office to enroll your child 932-4069.   We will limit the enrollment to 20 children.

Barry Cuts Camp Short

They’re back a day early. They are tired and ready for a rest. They are the Red River 4-H students and their leaders who had been attending 4-H Camp Grant Walker. 
The group arrived Thursday morning shortly before 10:00 am. They were met by waiting parents. Their summer at Camp Grant Walker was cut short a day by concerns over an approaching tropical storm. The kids all said they had a great time but were anxious to sleep in their own beds. 
The local 4-H agent, Jacque Fontenot made sure everyone got their belongings loaded in their vehicles. She also had packets of photos for all.
The students all said they enjoyed camp and had a lot of fun. One boy said he was really tired and ready to get home. 
The Journal talked to Jayden Scott, one of the youth counselors from Coushatta. Scott echoed the fun experience and added he learned a lot. Scott said he did stunts and acted out a little and added, “ learned kids really like it when big people lead and also learn how to lead better. Right now I’m headed for a nap!” Scott was wearing a 4-H t-shirt proclaiming, “living the dream.”