Gulf Storm Update

As soon as the 2020 Hurricane Season began the first storm was forming far south in the Gulf of Mexico.   It was named Cristobal and forecast movements put the storm coming ashore in South Louisiana this weekend.

Here is the Thursday update from the National Weather Service:
Tropical Depression Cristobal will continue to meander near the Bay of Campeche today and Friday, before shifting north through the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Cristobal is expected to make landfall late Sunday night along the Louisiana coast, then weakening to a tropical depression as it moves farther inland into North Louisiana on Monday.

Local weather forecasts are predicting the storm will come up through central Louisiana after making landfall this weekend.  Increased rainfall in our area is expected as a result of the storm moving through.


Courthouse is Reopening

The Red River Parish Police Jury voted Wednesday to reopen the courthouse.  Restrictions on the public coming to the courthouse were imposed in response to Governor John Bel Edwards’ original Stay at Home proclamation.  Now that Louisiana is moving to Phase Two of reopening, the restricted access to the Red River Courthouse is being eased.

The move by the Police Jury does not mean that the public can come and go as they please or that persons who do not have business with one agency or another can come in unannounced.

Juror William Brown made the motion to let the heads of agencies within the courthouse make the decision on access to their office and any conditions for granting access.  Brown’s motion maintains the security and health screening at the front entrance.  Those not passing the screening would be turned away.  The head of the agency that person wished to see would have the option of admitting the person or not.

There was much discussion that went into drawing up the new access plan.  Views expressed ranged from easing all restrictions to maintaining the status quo.  There was concern expressed for the health and safety of employees of the various agencies to liability concerns for lifting some restrictions that resulted in a person becoming infected.

Jury President Shawn Beard opened the discussion with the suggestion that the jury leave it up to each department head to set the requirements for their office.  There was also talk of enforcing a 6-foot social distancing, washing hands, and other safety measures.

Vice-President Ben Taylor said, “Inside the office area is an area of concern.  Let people in every department do what they feel comfortable with.”  Juror Jessie Davis said, “We don’t just let anybody come in and get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom, or visit.  We already have it in place that people who come have an appointment here.”

The jury approved the motion.  The head of each agency will publish and post their own guidelines for doing business with that office.  To wear a mask or not and the number of people who will be allowed in that office at one time will be up to the department head.

The front door screening will be maintained.  Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus the Sheriff’ Department manned the security screenings for everyone coming to the courthouse.  They are also doing temperature checks and asking health questions.  That process will continue.  The major change at the front door is that they will no longer insist that everyone wear a mask.

These changes are effective immediately.


Register for 4-H Summer Camp

The Red River Parish 4-H office is reminding students that virtual 4-H camp registration is now open to 4-H members and non 4-H members ages 6-18.  There are four weeks available for signing up.  Call 932-4342 or message if you have any questions!  Be sure to register TODAY! Click here to register: https://bit.ly/LA4-HCamp

The state 4-H office posted earlier this week, “It’s TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY and we couldn’t think of a better day for another challenge! We want to see your most awesome building blocks and Legos creations! Post a picture of yourself with it below and tag #Louisiana4H! 

Oh and–just as a reminder, the first track of Virtual Summer Camp is SET and is running in 6 days! Be sure to register TODAY! Click here to register: https://bit.ly/LA4-HCamp

Parents: For more information on how these Legos and building blocks are “creating the next generation of engineers”, check out the article below from Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-lego-is-constructing-the-next-generation-of-engineers-37671528/.


Dr. Robert Peters Says Goodbye

I have ended my tenure as Headmaster of Riverdale Academy.  I was born on a cold morning in Dixie, so I was a Rebel before there were Riverdale Rebels.  It was an honor and a privilege to serve as Headmaster of Riverdale Academy.  My calling has always been to further the intellectual and spiritual growth of young men and women, all the way back to 1968 when I taught German in Kindergarten.

This morning, about 6:00 a.m., being in that stupor between wakefulness and sleep, my bedroom having turned green, a pleasant green, when into that room, enlarging as a visitor entered, came a friend, mentor and teacher, – now deceased – impeccably dressed as a priest wearing his hallmark glasses which, as they were set, directly reflected his demeanor at the moment: they were set at full professor and commanding officer> (He had commanded thousands of men in the moments of their deaths.)  His message was terse and to the point:  he barked with authority but with love in his light Russian accent: Peters, you have work to do!!!

I assume that I will not be retiring soon!

Riverdale Academy then posted, “We would like to thank Dr. Peters for all of his hard work and dedication as headmaster of Riverdale Academy. We wish you nothing but the best. Once a Rebel, always a Rebel!”


Phase Two Proclamation Issued

Thursday Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the order moving Louisiana to Phase Two of the White House plan for reopening, while cautioning members of the public and businesses to continue to take mitigation measures, like wearing masks when in public, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 as more people will be interacting with each other.

“I continue to be very proud of the work the people of Louisiana and our health care heroes are doing to slow the spread of COVID-19 and getting us to the point where we can open more businesses and expand the occupancy of others this Friday. In addition, Louisiana has effectively ramped up testing and contact tracing to help identify problem areas and contain the spread,” Gov. Edwards said. “However, the public should not let its guard down. COVID-19 is still a real issue in our communities, and it is still necessary that people wear masks while in public, wash their hands frequently and maintain good social distancing so that we can prevent cases from spiking as we ease restrictions in Phase Two.”

The Governor’s order follows the White House plan for Opening Up America Again. Major changes in Phase Two include allowing churches, places of worship and many more businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitization. In addition, the state strongly recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.

A second order outlines extensions of legal deadlines and other administrative matters. Some Office of Motor Vehicles and other deadlines remain suspended until July 31. Other legal and administrative deadlines are suspended until June 15, including evictions and foreclosure procedures. Legal prescription remains suspended through July 5.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Health have issued guidance for churches and different types of businesses to help them enter Phase Two in a way that ensures they operate safely and at the maximum level allowed. Business owners and faith leaders can find information at OpenSafely.la.gov. 

Phase Two in Louisiana will last at least 21 days. Because more businesses will be open to more patrons and because the CDC has clarified that the illness is most likely to spread through the air and not on surfaces, the Governor and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage individuals to wear masks whenever they are in public and recommend that people who enter businesses that are not taking proper precautions consider the risk to their health and their family in doing so.


COVID-19 Update – June 5th

The latest report from the Louisiana Department of Health said Red River Parish has had 51 cases of the COVID-19 virus.  There have been seven deaths.  A total of 538 tests have been performed in the parish.

Statewide, the virus is responsible for the loss of 2,772 lives.  There have been 41,562 cases reported with 31,728 people presumed recovered.  Across the state 411,186 tests have been performed.


Mobile Testing Site Denied

On Wednesday the Red River Parish Police Jury denied a request to set up mobile testing sites in the parish.  Jury Supervisor Jessie Davis told the jury that they had received a request for mobile testing.  Davis did not identify the party making the proposal.

Discussion centered on the need for additional testing capacity in the parish.  Jury President Shawn Beard said, “No on the grounds that there is not a lack of testing.  The hospital is doing a very good job.”  He added, “They are all surrounding us, so I don’t see where it is necessary.

Juror William Brown offered the motion to deny.  He was concerned that it was setting up for a new expense.  Juror John “June Bug” Moore seconded the motion.

Juror Brandon Hillman is Administrator of Christus Coushatta Health Care Center.  He recused himself from voting on the motion because of a possible conflict of interest.  Christus Coushatta offers virus testing.


Big Gator Snarls Traffic

Monday morning travelers on Highway 1 ran into a traffic slow-down.  Red River Deputies answered the call to see what was happening.

The Sheriff’s Office reported on June 3, 2020 Red River Communications received a call at approximately 6:09 a.m. in reference to a dead alligator obstructing the roadway. The gator had been struck by a southbound vehicle near the intersection of Highway 1 and Halbmaier Road just north of Armistead. The involved vehicle suffered two blown tires and moderate damage.

Deputies cleared the roadway and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted in reference to disposal of the dead gator. The gator was estimated to be approximately eleven feet in length.

Thanks to the Sheriff’s Office, Darie Dabo and Casey Wood for the photos.


Riverdale Academy Named National Beta School of Distinction

National Beta is proud to announce Riverdale Academy as a 2019-2020 National School of Distinction. This award is an honor for Beta Clubs striving towards academic achievement, exemplary character, demonstrated leadership and service to others. With an ongoing quest to instill these qualities in more students, the National Beta School of Distinction Award is designed to award those schools that show an increase in membership for the current school year.

“This was my second year with Beta Club at Riverdale Academy, and it has been a joy to watch the students serve in the community and in the school.  Our club is growing, and I look forward to our future events and service opportunities.”  -Amanda Cason

Award recipients received a National Beta School of Distinction banner to proudly display as a symbol of their accomplishment.

“This prestigious honor is a true indication of Riverdale Academy’s dedication to academic excellence, leadership development and commitment to celebrating their student’s achievements,” said National Beta’s Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Hart.

About National Beta: National Beta is the largest independent, non-profit, educational youth organization in America. Since its beginnings in 1934, National Beta has been committed to providing students with a positive experience in a supportive manner in grades 4-12. The organization recognizes outstanding achievement, promotes character and social responsibility, encourages service involvement to school and community, and fosters leadership skills.