Paw Parents Meeting

By Joshua Loftin

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September 19th the Red River Elementary Paw Parents had another meeting. Christy Suggs the secretary of Paw Parents said, “This is the biggest turnout we have ever had at these meetings.” 25-30 parents showed up to support their kid’s school. The group’s purpose is to provide financial support and organize events that the school doesn’t provide or budget for.

What the Paw Parents have provided the school with so far is but a phase of the new playground; new equipment and gaga pit. They have done numerous fundraisers including; volleyball tournament, pageant, Christmas Store, Carnival, and candy sales. This was all of last year’s accomplishments and now there is some new business to get done and new goals to be accomplish.

Projects and goals that parents want to achieve have now been addressed and one step further in the process. Their first achievement was purchasing $250 worth of books along with donating a huge sum amount. Up next on their list is to purchase a new dryer for the school. Also they’re wanting to get a stage for school activities, such as at the high school. Repairing some things in the school is a priority as well. Folding chairs, Academic and sport recognitions are a few more on their to – do list. A donation of $250 for the art program for new supplies. Drama/Music is all needing a $250 donation to help with a parent Christmas Program. At the meeting projects amounting to approximately $7,000 were approved for this school year.

Editor’s Note: Joshua is a junior at Red River High School and enrolled in the Advanced Careers Readiness course. On Thursday, September 21st he shadowed the Journal observing the activities of putting together the Friday edition. Those activities including covering news, doing interviews, writing stories, taking pictures, and polishing the final story. Look for additional stories by Joshua in coming editions.

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Football Fever Takes to the Airwaves

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Red River High School Football returns to the airwaves and the internet tonight . (Friday Sept 22nd). The Red River Parish Journal has made arrangements to present live play-by-play of both home and away games for the remainder of this season.

Game announcer will be Red River’s Head Track Coach Billy Henry, Sr. Color commentary will be provided by school Athletic Director Billy Henry, Jr. The Henry’s were announcers for games on KRRP several years ago.

Friday night the Bulldogs travel to Alexandria to play ASH (Alexandria Senior High). They are a 5-A school with over 80 players on the roster.

The Bulldogs are 3-0 coming into the game. ASH’s record is 1-2. Neither team has played in district competition thus far. Red River’s Coach is John Bachman, Sr. and his son, Thomas Bachman is the head coach for the ASH Trojans. This is the first time teams coached by them have met in a head-to-head contest.

You can listen to the game beginning at 6:50 pm. There is a player to click on the Journal’s home page, http://www.RedRiverParishJournal.com. Or you may follow the Journal on Facebook and listen from there. Over the air, the games will be broadcast on Coushatta’s radio station KRRP 950 AM.

Local sponsors for the broadcasts include Tyler Insurance Agency, American Bank, Quality Ford, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, Bank of Coushatta and Bethard and Bethard Attorneys. If you would like to sponsor Red River High Football, call John Brewer at the Journal, 318-564-3609.

Trip to the Ark

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A group is forming by Social Springs Baptist Church to go next month to the recreation of Noah’s Ark located in Kentucky. Church member Billy Davis filled in the details:

“We plan a van trip and the van is full. We could make it a bus trip if several additional people wish to join us. The dates are October 9 through 13th. We will drive straight thru each way. We will visit Ark Encounter on Tuesday October 10th. We will spend two days at nearby Creation Museum on Wednesday and Thursday October 11th and 12th. The group will travel home on Friday.

Room reservations are for double occupancy @ Days Inn in Florence, KY. We have tried to hold the price at $500 for tickets (3 days), lodging and transportation.”

Here is the description of the Ark from their website:
“Ark Encounter features a full size Noah’s Ark, built according to dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. This modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old. The Ark is located at Williamstown, Kentucky half way between Cincinnati and Lexington on I-75.”

For more information about the trip to see the recreated Noah’s Ark contact Social Springs Baptist Church or call Billy Davis at bdavis71068@yahoo.com. Davis said, “We would encourage more people to join our trip. If there is sufficient interest, we would get a tour bus for our group.”

Police Jury Ask For Tax Renewal

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On October 14th voters will have two tax renewals on the ballot proposed by the Police Jury. The total amount of property taxes asked for is 5 mills. Police Jury Supervisor Jessie Davis said, “It is a renewal. There currently is the same tax on the books, and it was renewed back in 2008.” Property taxes are renewed every 10 years.

There is a long list of benefits the people of Red River Parish receive from the parish Health Unit. Benefits range from immunizations, family planning, birth and death records, sight and hearing services, and many additional services. The Health Unit is supported by a 2 mill local property tax. The Red River Parish Police Jury oversees their operations and funding. Your taxes pay for those services.

Also on the October 14th ballot is a renewal of the 3 mill tax for public properties. Davis explained, “Without public properties the government would be outdoors!” Public facilities include the Courthouse, Annex, Administration Building, the Airport, the Fair Grounds, Pine Belt offices, and nearby parish Highway Barn. All of these facilities are used to house various government entities.

Davis said, “These facilities are owned by the people of Red River Parish and administered by the Police Jury. Without the property tax these buildings and grounds would suffer badly.”

The total amount of tax renewals the Police Jury is asking for is 5 mills. That is 2 mills for the Health Unit and 3 mills for all other public facilities in the parish. Voters may vote early September 30th through October 7th at the Registrar of Voters office in the Courthouse. Or you may wait until election day, October 14th to cast your vote.

Sausage Plate Fundraiser

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Talk about good…a Down Home sausage plate with all the fixings, including dessert and water, for just $10. And it is for a very worthy cause.

Members of the Softball team and the Golf team at Red River High School are selling the tickets. Ginger Craig coaches both teams and she told The Journal, “It is a joint fundraiser for both teams. The money we raise will help pay for equipment and entry fees for tournaments.”

The dinners will be available on Tuesday, October 3rd at the Fairgrounds Food Booth. They may be picked up between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm. Ask the student offering the ticket about delivery of group orders.

Mark October 3rd on your calendar. Lunch is on at the Fairgrounds.

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Facility Changes Planned at Grand Bayou

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The Grand Bayou Commission discussed updates and changes to facilities at their monthly meeting September 14th. Park Manager Rene’ Albright reported on the beach, guest accommodations, and the park store.

Albright said, “The beach is now closed due to erosion of sand in recent flooding. If we replace the sand now at the end of the season the same thing could happen again before spring. I suggest we wait until spring to redo the beach.” The commissioners agreed.

Another project is the remodeling of the showers and restrooms at the beach. Albright ask the commissioners, “Do we want to put back hot water showers? Also the outside showers need revamping and I suggest we do it while we are remodeling the beach house.” The commission agreed that the remodeling should include hot water showers inside and improving the outdoor showers and making other suggested improvements. They will now move to drawing the plans and putting the remodeling out for bids.

Expansion of the Gatehouse and building additional guest cabins was also discussed. The gatehouse would be expanded to provide sales of basic camping necessities. The camp store has closed and the expansion would allow campers to get basic needs.

The general store in the park is being vacated. Commissioners discussed remodeling that building into a handicap accessible guest cabin. At present none of the guest cabins are handicap accessible.

In addition, the commission discussed moving in two additional guest cabins. They would be placed on the lot next to the old store. That makes a total of 3 new guest cabins. Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Wiggins asked Albright and Commissioner Dallas Bryan to put together a presentation of these plans for the next commission meeting.

Post Office Repairs Completed

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The Coushatta Post Office has been repaired. Back in mid-August a motorist failed to stop in the parking lot and drove through the east wall of the building. Damage was all structural and no mail or mailboxes were damaged. See the August 16th issue of The Journal for the original story.

There was a plywood patch in the wall for weeks. And then workers rebuilding and repairing the wall.

Today there is little trace of the damage. The only giveaway would be the fresh mortar between the bricks, the brightly painted interior and an area of new floor tiles.

Thanks to postal workers “going an extra mile” patrons always were able to receive their mail. But if your box was on the east wing, you had to go to the counter to get mail for a few days.

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ETC… for September 22nd

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Riverdale Academy has announced the 2017 Homecoming Court. The members are:
Crown Bearer- Isabella Stephens
Ring Bearer – Ryder Shaver
Freshman Maid- Pacey Lindsey
Sophomore Maid- Brooklyn Azlin
Junior Maid- Alyssa Woodard
Senior Maid- Nicole Williams
Football Sweetheart – Jamie Swayze
Homecoming Queen – Gracie Almond
Homecoming is scheduled for October 6, 2017. The Rebels will host Rebul Academy. Presentations will begin at 6:00.

The Red River High Athletics Booster Club is selling raffle tickets through November 3rd when the Bulldogs host Holy Savior Menard. Tickets are a $5.00 donation. Not only will this help the booster club but, prizes will be on the line! A 45 Quart Yeti Tundra Cooler and 2 etched Bulldog cups will be the prizes. Drawings will be held at halftime of the Holy Savior Menard game.

September 24-27th First Baptist Church will be holding a revival. There will be different speakers each day. There will be worship as well. Refreshments will be provided after each service. There will also be supper each day before the event. “Through the pulpit – To the Pew” is the theme. Everyone is invited!

Reservation deadline is next Wednesday, Sept. 27 for Northwestern State’s annual Kiwanis Kids’ Day festivities on Sept. 30 as the Demon football team hosts Southeastern Louisiana in a 6:30 p.m. Southland Conference contest at Turpin Stadium. All school groups, Kiwanis groups, families and children are welcome to the event designed for youth in junior high school and younger children.

October 4th is the date for the Highway Priority Construction Program to hold hearings in our area. Red River and 6 other parishes will meet at 8:30 am in the Bossier Civic Center. They are seeking input on highway construction and repair for 2018-19. The public is invited.

CORRECTION: The spell checker got me! In the story on vegetation at Grand Bayou the correct name of the plant is salvinia. Also I misspelled Commissioner Dallas Bryan’s name was misspelled. The Journal apologizes for the mistake.

High School Sports Broadcasts to Resume

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It has been a couple of years since football fans were able to listen to broadcasts of local teams in action. The drought is ending this Friday night with the debut of Journal Sports.

The Red River Parish Journal will stream live all Red River High School Bulldog Football games beginning with their game against Alexandria Senior High or ASH Friday night. The broadcast begins at 6:50 pm with kickoff at 7:00 pm.

You may listen to the games live on http://www.RedRiverParishJournal.com or the Red River Parish Journal’s Facebook page. Look for the Journal Sports logo. Go to either, or both, and bookmark the location. There is no app needed, just click on the game broadcast logo on The Journal’s website or Facebook page. The games will also be carried on Coushatta’s local radio station KRRP 950.

Journal Sports is underwritten by local merchants and other local sports boosters. If you would like to sponsor the broadcasts or get additional information, call John Brewer at 318-564-3609. The sponsors will be featured in The Journal on Friday.

Coming soon, more local teams and more local sports coverage with Journal Sports.

Spraying is Complete at Grand Bayou

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This past week contractors sprayed Grand Bayou Reservoir to combat the Sylvania growth that is choking parts of the lake. The Grand Bayou Commission heard a report at it’s meeting last week that spraying began on Monday and would wrap up last Thursday.

Resort Manager Rene’ Albright reported that some of the areas that were sprayed earlier in the week were showing signs of turning brown and dying. In the recent past state Wildlife and Fisheries workers had spot sprayed, however Albright reported that this was not sufficient to stop spread of the invasive plant. She said Wildlife and Fisheries would follow up and make another evaluation of the lake in the near future. She added spot spraying would be used to provide future control of Sylvania.

Several members of the commission spoke about public misunderstanding surrounding effective means of controlling the growth. One suggestion that had been made was to draw down the lake. Resort Manager Albright said, “There has to be vegetation over 40% of the lake before a draw down would be considered.” She added it is understandable that homeowners are frustrated, adding “when you purchase a home on a beautiful lake you don’t want your waterfront and dock blocked with vegetation.

Commission member Dallas Bryant suggested using booms along the bridge on Esparanza Road to block Sylvania from coming into the lake. Bryant said, “We could spray it from the bridge and kill it before it gets into the upper part of the lake.”

And commissioners cautioned that work to control the weed could be undone by heavy rains that would wash more Sylvania in from other areas and start the cycle all over again.

The Grand Bayou Commission meets at 4:00 pm on the second Thursday of each month. Their next meeting is October 12th. Members of the public are welcome to attend.