Funding for education, K-12 schools, state medical facilities and health units, and others providing state services were protected during the special legislative session that adjourned Wednesday. The special session dealt with an estimated 304-point-6 million-dollar shortfall in the state budget.
Area Representative Terry Brown said “my goal was to fund schools, hospitals, and infrastructure in the parishes in his district. We took care of the health unit and rural hospital in Red River parish.”
Senator Gerald Long says, “About 205 million dollars of the shortfall was absorbed through cuts in the Department of Health and Human Services. Long adds “most other state departments will have a 2 to 3 percent reduction.”
Both Long and Brown had praise for Governor John Bel Edwards’ handling of the state’s finances. Long put it this way, “Governor Edwards was absolutely remarkable in dealing the state budget situation.”
As for the future, the regular legislative session this spring will have to tackle what Senator Long terms a weak economy, a decrease in oil and gas revenues, and the need for more economic growth. Brown says, “The Easter Bunny is not going to show up and pay the indebtedness of the state.” Brown says some of the spending priorities need to be changed in order to continue state services to Louisianians who need them.
A community “Health Fair” is being planned by the Red River Council on Aging. The date has been set for Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 8:30 am until Noon. The Health Fair will be held at the Council on Aging facility at 1825 Front Street.
Health Fair coordinator Peggy Young tells the Journal they are in the process of signing up more vendors for the event. Young adds “We will have a complete list of participants and the screening tests that will be offered to publish about a month before the Health Fair.
Young says “This is a community wide event, offered to everyone whether they are over 60 years old or not. Everyone will be welcome.”
She is seeking vendors who are asked to contact the Council on Aging by phone at 318-932-5721 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a hurt? hang-up? habit? Are you addicted?
Virgie Hoof and DedeHaire conduce Celebrate Recovery every Monday night at Cowboy Church. Hoof says they recently moved their meetings from a small classroom to a much larger one due to an increase in participants.
“We would like for you to join us on Mondays” says Hoof. She describes Celebrate Recovery as “a Christ-centered 12-step program. It offers a safe place for anyone to confidentially deal with their hurts, habits and hang-ups.”
Haire adds that they always begin with a meal at 5:30. She says “Our meeting starts at 6:00 pm at Red River Cowboy Church, located on Highway 1 South at Lake End.
Hoof and Haire credit the late Billy Turner with beginning Celebrate Recovery at First United Methodist Church in Coushatta several years ago. Hoof says “when Turner developed health problems, the program faltered. I am glad I was able to pick it up a Cowboy Church and continue helping people.”
For more information, contact Virgie Hoof at 318.218.5853, DedeHaireat 318.754.8533 or William Hoof at 318.680.9345.
Why is Jasmine Jason smiling? She has some of the best music students in the state. That includes a “First Chair” student.
Jason took seven members of the Red River High School Band to the honor band competition recently. Out of 86 auditions student James Putek made first band, first chair.
“Honor band is for the best students in each high school band,” says Jason. She adds “competition is very hard, therefore she is very proud of Putek making top chair in the top band. He is the best baritone player in our district.”
The 11th annual Military Ball was held last Friday night by the Red River High School JROTC program. The men dressed in formal military uniforms and the ladies in formal gowns.
Keynote speaker for the evening was Colonel S.P. Davis (US Army, Retired). He challenged the cadets to get a good education, presenting the benefits in life an education brings. Col Davis asked young people to think about their future and what they planned to do in life. And do this in the context of what they wanted to contribute to Coushatta, Red River Parish and the state of Louisiana.
“You have to become a dreamer. Dream that dream long enough and find out what you need to do and you can live that dream.” said Col Davis. He added, “A career in the military is a great way to acquire skills that are essential to success in life.”
Superintendent Allison Hughes and Principal Carroll Daniels assisted Major Thomas Edwards and Senior Master Sargent Earl Creagh, who oversee the JROTC program, in presenting awards earned by the Cadets. These included awards for physical conditioning and educational attainment.
And the evening concluded with cutting the special Air Force Blue cake and dancing. The formal uniform jackets came off, sleeves were rolled up, shoes kicked aside, and the cadets danced into the late hours. After all it was not a school night.
It’s been the talk of the town, what would happen to the old Thomas property after it was acquired by First Baptist Church. The answer came Thursday morning.
The vacant B.L. Thomas house on Alonzo Street was razed by the Red River Parish Fire Department. The burn was controlled by firefighters.
Chief Shane Felts used the occasion to test the readiness of the fire department. Fountains of water were continually sprayed on the structure and surrounding trees to keep the fire under control. EMS stood by just in case. Alonzo Street was blocked and traffic was controlled by the sheriff’s department.
That house had been unoccupied for a number of years. Trees and bushes had grown up thick enough to completely hide it from the street. A few days ago the bushes were cut in front of the house. All but a few large trees had been cleared away and burned on Wednesday.
THE RED RIVER FOOD BANK is scheduled to be open in March. The person in charge of the food bank, Alicia Walsworth says their remodeling is complete and they will be open Saturday March 4th. Hours are 9 am to 11 am.
The food bank is a community service of the Red River Baptist Association. Walsworth says other area churches also help. She is looking for volunteers, saying they can come by when the food bank is open, or call her at 932-5940.
FAIRVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH is holding a revival beginning Sunday February 26th, running through Wednesday March 1st. Pastor Matt Endrisannounced the speaker will be Dr. Preston Nix of New Orleans, Professor of Evangelism at NOBTS.
Special emphasis Sunday at 4:30 will be a ladies fellowship with Mrs. Diane Nix. And Wednesday evening there will be special music by the church’s KidsLife organization. All services will be at Fairview Baptist Church on Highway 71 just north of the Natchitoches Parish line.
BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS CONTINUE with both the boys and girls teams from Riverdale Academy in action in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A tournament at Rebul Academy in Learned, MS. The girls game is at 2:15 and the boys play at 7:15 Friday.
Red River boys begin their playoff competition Friday night at home against Mentorship Academy. Mentorship’s record is 17-15 and are ranked #19. The Bulldogs are 14-15 and ranked #14 in 2A, according to the LHSAA website.
Two families are without a place to live following an early Sunday morning fire in the old town section of Coushatta. Fire units were called to the scene at 201 East Carroll Street about 3:40 am Sunday.
Red River Fire Chief Shane Felts said “Red River had 5 units on scene and Natchitoches Fire District 9 had 5 units including an aerial ladder truck and extra manpower.”
According to Felts the structure was a 4 room duplex apartment building. The downstairs units were occupied and the upstairs was not.
There were no injuries to occupants from the fire. Chief Felts says it “looks like the cause of the fire was electrical toward the rear of the building.
Several members and the pastor from First United Methodist Church of Coushatta pitched in for a day to help victims of last years flooding in Vernon Parish. The First United Methodist Church of Leesville is coordinating repair work for about 60 families in Vernon Parish.
Attending from Coushatta were David and Cindy Coffey, Tom and Debbie Jones and church pastor Doug Cain.
David Coffey says he and Doug Cain worked on new sheetrock for the ceiling in one house. Wife Cindy and Debbie Jones worked with two 80+ ladies hanging sheetrock on the walls.
“The house was built by the resident’s grandfather many years ago. It was still occupied even though in great need of repair” said Coffey.
Tom Jones assisted volunteers from other Louisiana churches in building decking at the flooded home of a single mother. Jones says “building a 10 by 12 foot deck was hard work.”
Two additional work days are scheduled for Saturday, April 22nd and Saturday May 13th. First Methodist of Leesville is seeking 30 volunteers for each day. Each volunteer is asked to contribute $30, which includes insurance, a bandana, and cost of materials.
Online registration is at surveymonkey.com/r/FloodResponseWorkDays
Rivertown Market is doing it again! They’re holding another of their famous meat sales. And it’s tomorrow.
Everyone in the store has been busy the last few days getting everything in place. Doors open promptly at 7 am Thursday morning. Early birds get the best bargains.
Ricky and O.D. have been preparing the meat market. This sale brings back a customer favorite whole roll rib eye steaks for $6.99 a pound. Boston Butts are $1.29 a pound. And they have your favorite franks, corn dogs, hot links and more at money saving prices.
Store Director Dallas Bryan reminds everyone that grilling season is almost here. Bryan says “its time to stock up on spare ribs and chicken breasts. Thursday Spare Ribs are just $1.79 a pound and Boneless Chicken Breast is $1.59 a pound.”
There are “Meat Sale” low prices on items you need everyday. Expect to find big savings in produce, frozen food, and many other everyday staples.
The complete list for Rivertown Market’s One Day Meat Sale is below this article.
The Red River Sheriff’s Office reports that 46 year old Stacey Deleon is being held on charges of drug possession. Deleon was arrested February 14th when deputies answered a complaint of using illegal narcotics and refusing to leave. The compliant came from someone at a home in the 3000 block of Highway 155.
A Sheriff’s narcotics agent responded and made contact with the suspect. During the interview it was discovered that the suspect had two bottles of pills. One was found to contain Clonazepam, a Schedule IV Controlled Dangerous Substance. The second bottle contained medication that was prescribed for someone else.
Deputies arrested Stacey Deleon of Many on charges of possession of a Schedule IV CDS and Possession of Legend Drug without prescription or order. She was booked into the Red River Parish Jail. Bond was set at $10,000.00. Deleon was transported to the Claiborne Detention Center for housing.
Area middle and high school students were honored Thursday night by VFW Post 7287 and Auxiliary 7287. It was the annual banquet for winners of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions.
The Voice of Democracy is an audio essay contest for students in 9-12 grade. The Post overall winner was Carly F. Chandler of Ringgold High School. She was presented with a certificate and $200 scholarship.
The Patriot’s Pen essay contest is for 5th through 8th grade students. This year’s winner to represent the post is Bailey Diane Martin of Riverdale Academy.
Here is the complete list of winners from participating schools:
Red River High School Voice of Democracy first place Kori Allen, second place Erica Grant and third place Jon Russell.
Ringgold High School Voice of Democracy first place Carly Chandler, second place Christopher Taylor and third place Kyle Smith.
Red River Junior High School Patriot’s Pen first placeLa’Dabriana Calhoun, second place Taylor Boulers, and third place Briana Jefferson.
Riverdale Academy Patriot’s Pen first place Bailey Diana Martin, second place Garrett Daniel Wilhite, and third place James Wagoner.
The Americanism program conducted each year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars involves school children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The local post presents the program in Red River and Bienville parishes.
Boys teams from both Red River High School and Riverdale Academy are embroiled in basketball playoffs. Both Riverdale teams are tournament winners. And so are the Red River girls. The Red River boys begin their quest of the state championship Friday.
Monday night the Red River Lady Bulldogs defeated Ferriday in the second round of the playoffs 81-45. Earlier they wiped out General Trass girls 100-5. Thursday night the Red River girls travel to Rayville.
This past weekend both the Riverdale Academy boys and girls teams won their South A tournament. Both play Wednesday night (Feb 23rd) in the Class A tournament at Rebul Academy.
Red River High’s boys team is beginning their playoff run. According to coach Keith Johnson, the Bulldogs play their first playoff game on Friday night at 7 pm at home. Their opponent is still to be determined because the LHSAA has announced that the brackets are being delayed and will be released Wednesday.
There is a lot of concern about wild hogs in the parish and the destruction they do to crops and farmland. Cowboy Church is attacking the problem and having fun at the same time. They are holding a “Wild Hog Hunt.”
Teams are now signing up for the hunt, which will take place March 2-4. Registration deadline is 6 pm February 25th. Entry fee is $400 for a 4-person team.
Wild hogs will be trapped and brought alive to the weigh-in on Saturday afternoon March 4th. Large cash prizes are offered for total hog weight. And there is an extra $100 for the biggest barr.
All the information on the Hog Hunt is on Cowboy Church’s facebook page. Everyone is invited to the weigh-in at 2 pm on Saturday March forth.
Tonight there is a special presentation at Victorious Life Ministries on Ringgold Avenue.
It was Mardi Gras at Red River Elementary School Friday afternoon. Kindergarten and first grade students dressed in costumes and held their own Mardi Gras parade. The pictures speak for themselves.
Over at Green Meadow Haven it was February Birthday Day. The Riverdale Academy Beta Club treated the residents, who celebrate their birthdays in February, to ice cream and birthday cake.
Representing Beta Club were Nicole Williams and Bailey LeGrande. They served cake and ice cream to residents gathered in the dining room. During February four residents are celebrating birthdays.
A second grade student at Red River Elementary School, Jacob Davis is the February Student of the Month.
Sixth grade English teacher Elizabeth Loftin from Red River Junior High School is the February Teacher of the Month.
Good Morning. It’s Friday and you are receiving another edition of the Red River Parish Journal.
The Journal is now twice weekly. Early each Wednesday and each Friday morning you will get fresh information of events happening in Red River Parish.
The Journal is free, delivered directly to your favorite electronic device. Free subscription. This is great news as a local area paper announces subscription rate increases for their weekly paper.
And there are more local events to report. So read on and enjoy this new Friday edition of the Red River Parish Journal.
Did I mention “It’s Free!”
John Brewer, Market Manager
Effective February first it will cost you more to subscribe to a local newspaper. The paper in it’s latest edition blames the need to increase annual subscriptions on an increase in postal rates.
A story published last November on the National Newspaper Association website says rate increases for local In-County papers is very slight. The article reports
“Overall, Periodicals are said to be increasing by 0.832 percent. However, the price cells most commonly used by In-County newspapers escape any changes whatsoever, a boon for publishers for at least another year, most likely.”
And from News Media Alliance website last fall “the USPS proposal also brought good news for weekly newspapers that mail their editorial product. Rates in 2017 for periodicals within-county will largely remain flat.”
The postal rate changes went into effect on January 22nd, 2017.
The local paper states its yearly subscription rate is $26. In a separate ad the paper says “Effective Feb. 1, subscriptions will increase by $10 per year.” That is nearly a 40% increase.
Construction is underway on a project to improve sidewalks in town. The first new sidewalks are being built between Town Hall and Red River High School on East Carroll Street.
Town Council at its regular Monday night meeting approved a recommendation from the Town Engineer Brad Graff to award the sidewalk bid to Mack Henry Lewis.
Construction worker Leonard Lewis this week was directing traffic around construction equipment removing the old sidewalk in front of several homes. And
Town Clerk Stephanie Babers confirmed for The Journal that the construction on East Carroll Street is the first of the sidewalk improvements that are being made.
Mayor Johnny Cox described the improvements as being “very much needed.” Cox told The Journal “we have allocated $10,000 to make sidewalks smooth.”
Concrete for the new sidewalk was poured Thursday.
For Coushatta native Cody Hogan, his dream is about to become reality. At least he and roping partner Lightning Aguilera are well on their way.
They recently competed in the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in Rapid City, South Dakota. And they split the win by roping their steer in a lightning-fast time of 4.2 seconds.
Hogan credits their success to lots of practice. He says “We really prepared ourselves and our horses before making the trip” to South Dakota. Hogan adds that they knew if they roped sharp and smart they would have a good chance to win.
And like all good cowboys, Cody Hogan gives a lot of credit to his horse Two Short. He says they get along well, describing Two Short as his best friend.
February is the month to recertify, or sign up for the first time, for the Red River Council on Aging’s Food for Seniors program. Sign up at the Council on Aging on Front Street, or call 932-5721 for more information.
The Journal talked with Regina Horton, the Certifying Clerk of the program. Horton says the program is for residents of Red River Parish who are 60 or older. There are also income guidelines established by USDA that must be met.
Horton says “We’re recertifying people currently in the program, but the deadline is the end of February.” She adds “Anyone in the parish who meets the guidelines can join the program.”
The Red River Council on Aging’s Food for Seniors program is in cooperation with Catholic Charities. Distribution days in 2017 are March 13th, May 8th, July 10th, September 11th, and November 13th. Food boxes will be distributed from 8:30 am to 11:00 am on each of those days.
Bingo!!! You’ll hear that called out many times each week at Green Meadow Heaven. Activities Director Amanda Cannon says bingo is the most popular event with the residents.
Cannon and her assistant Mary Tom Cowser say the residents just love it. And they fill the dining room at least three times a week to play and win prizes.
Other popular activities include church services and bible studies. Cowser says they also like games, especially athletic contests such as bean-bag tosses.
Top executives of Red River United, a teachers union, complained Monday night to the Red River Parish School Board that teachers are not getting all they are entitled to from a sales tax passed back in 1974. The superintendent and board members expresses disbelief of union claims.
Jackie Lansdale, head of Red River United and Wanda Flores, parish chapter president, presented complaints of teachers they say they represent. Lansdale told the board “teachers in Red River Parish were calling her that they weren’t getting their percent from sales tax collections.” Lansdale adds “teachers got only 12 percent, instead of 20 percent.”
Another complaint from the teachers, says Lansdale, is “that not everyone is getting pay raises. And teachers are required to take part in workshops outside of the workday and not being compensated for it” adds Lansdale.
Neither Lansdale nor Flores presented the board with any specific complaint filed by a teacher. And they did not say how many teachers were complaining. But Lansdale questioned the board’s intent in their spending priorities. A spokesperson with the teachers union, Brooke Harvey, told The Journal they did not have specific figures on the number of teachers in the parish that are members, saying “a lot, maybe about half, I think.”
Later during the meeting board member Cleve Miller said he was disappointed in the information Lansdale had presented. “We have gone overboard to do what we are supposed to do” said Miller. He added that he “feels any unhappy employees should have come to the board.”
Valerie Cox, Chair of the School Board commented “some things were based upon what teachers said…some were not factual.” Cox says she thinks the board has gone over and beyond for it’s employees.
Superintendent Allison Hughes expressed disbelief in a large group of dissatisfied employees. Hughes saying “maybe two or three, but I don’t believe there is a large group of unhappy employees.
It’s time to sign up for the spring soccer season at Open Door Fellowship. ODF Sports is looking for boys and girls ages 5 to 14 to participate. No experience is necessary.
Open Door Fellowship’s Youth Pastor, J P Handy, says online registration is now underway. Cost is $45 per child which includes their uniform. All children are welcome and membership in Open Door Fellowship is not required.
Last spring Handy says that 75 to 80 kids played soccer last spring. There were about that same number who played flag football last fall in the ODF Sports program.
In addition to players, Handy says they are seeking volunteer coaches, referees and other workers.
Registration runs through March 8th. Practice sessions will be held during March. And teams will play each Saturday in April.
Get more information, and register at tshq.bluesombrero.com/odfsports. Or you may call the church office at 318-932-6267.