Pack Today and Distribute Monday

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This morning volunteers will pack up to 1,000 backpacks at the gym of Red River High. The packing party is from 8:30 am until noon. They are preparing for the second annual Back to School Bash.

Superintendent Alison Hughes issued this statement on the Monday event:

“We are very excited to announce that we will be hosting our 2nd annual Back To School Bash at Red River High School on Monday, July 30th at 5:30.

“We will be offering backpacks filled with supplies for grades Pre-K thru 8. Student’s grades 9-12 will be receiving bags filled with the supplies they need for the upcoming school year.

“We will also be very excited to offer free haircuts, school uniforms, access to community agencies and vendors, as well as a hot dog dinner and other fun activities.

“Last year this event was attended by over 1200 students, parents, and community members. Let’s make this year even bigger as we start our new school year of ensuring that every student has what they need to be successful.”

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United Way Contributes to Back to School BASH

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United Way of Northwest Louisiana will help hundreds of families in Red River Parish by offering free backpacks and school supplies. The United Way ALICE study of financial hardship says 54 percent of children living in Red River Parish are unprepared for kindergarten and 48 percent of third graders are scoring below grade level – both decreased numbers from the previous year. It is the goal of United Way NWLA to help children become prepared for school so they can focus on learning once inside the classroom.

United Way NWLA will also celebrate the first full year since the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Red River Parish. Since the programs introductory year, more than 100 children have had access to brand new, age-appropriate books at no cost to them. Through the program, a child receives a new book every month until their fifth birthday in preparation for kindergarten. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is sponsored by BHP in Red River Parish.

United Way’s 2nd Annual Back to School Bash will distribute more than 1,000 backpacks with school supplies to ensure Red River Parish Public School students are prepared to learn. There will also be community resource vendors plus food and games for families. The event will be held Monday, July 30, 2018 from 5:30 – 8pm.

Weather is Hot But Don’t Burn

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There is some relief from the heat coming in the next few days according to the National Weather Service. However our area remains very dry causing many parishes and counties to issue bans on outdoor burning.

The Red River Parish burn ban was issued Monday morning. Red River was the first parish in northwest Louisiana to issue the ban on burning. Shortly after 9:00 am Monday The Journal was notified of the ban by the fire department. The statement from Fire Chief Shane Felts said that no outdoor burning of any kind would be permitted in the parish until further notice.

By Monday afternoon Caddo Parish was added to the list of parishes and counties with a ban in effect. The updated map from the National Weather Service on Thursday shows the burn ban is spreading like wildfire.

There has been very little rain in recent days and the “Fire Danger” signs have been set on “extreme” as a reminder of the danger of wildfires. The regional forecast includes only a slight chance of rain in our region over the next few days. And it will continue to be very hot. Heat advisories have been posted nearly every day this week, including into Friday.

Fun Day Tomorrow

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From Pastor Larry Sales and Chris Hoppock.
On July 28th the Pentecostals of Martin will be hosting a Kids/Youth Fun Day. Everyone is invited to come out to the church, located at 159 Kellogg Road, and enjoy a day of food, fun and fellowship. Though this event is being hosted for the children of the community, all are invited to come out and enjoy the fun.

The church will provide food and games for the children and youth. There will also be inflatable water slides. It is asked of anyone planning to enjoy the water slides that they please dress modestly, as this is an event sponsored by a Christian church.

The following morning, after Sunday morning service, the church will be passing out assorted school supplies for all school-aged children. The child must be present in order to receive school supplies. The Pentecostals of Martin is an Apostolic church with services packed with powerful anointed singing and passionate revival preaching. All are invited to join us at any regular service as we gather to enter into the presence of God.

Church contact information:
Pastor Larry Sales
318-932-5600
larrydsales@aol.com
Facebook: The Pentecostals of Martin

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ETC… for July 27th

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The Louisiana Department of Health reminds us to take precautions dealing with the extreme heat we are getting this summer. Among their suggestions are drink plenty of liquids, wear loose fitting clothing, and stay out of the heat and do not engage in physical activities in the heat of the day. They also suggest you check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly and those living along.

The area folks on this year’s mission trip have arrived. Bro James Hester posted, “Feet on the ground in Honduras. Hands reaching out to serve. Lips proclaiming the Gospel. Names written down in glory. The first three things we an do. Only God can do the last one. When we do what we can, He is faithful to do what only He can. It works at home too.”

First Methodist Church invites men in the community to join them for breakfast Monday, July 30th. Breakfast will be served at the Parsonage next to the church beginning at 6:30 am.

Lunch Price Going Up

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The price of a meal at the Red River Council on Aging will increase on September 1st. For the past fifteen years the daily meal contribution has been $3.00. The COA Board voted July 17th to make the increase to $4.00.

Letters are being distributed to patrons having lunch at the Depot Diner on Front Street and to recipients of the Meals on Wheels lunches. The letters explain that the actual cost of serving a hot meal in the diner is $11.60 and the cost of providing the meal to home bound participants is actually $17.48.

At the Board meeting Executive Director Liz Cannon explained the financial situation facing the Council on Aging. Cannon said during the past 12 months 13,706 meals were served in the diner and an additional 11,783 meals were delivered to homes. The total is 25,489 hot meals served to persons 60 and over.

Cannon said she had reviewed minutes from board meetings going back about fifteen years and the meal donation had always been $3.00. “It is going to put a strain on some people, I know,” Cannon added “If donations don’t increase we will have to make a change in the meals program.”

Reviewing the budget situation, Cannon said, “Donations are down. Our money is the tightest it has ever been. I feel like we need to go up on the means to a $4.00 contribution.” She added, Some people receiving the meals at home are not making the $3.00 donation. I feel that some families that receive the meals could afford to pay for the meals, but they don’t make the donation,” added Cannon.

Celia Ann Norman made the motion for the meal contribution increase to $4.00 and Dianne Slatten seconded it. The board approved the motion with no dissenting votes. Nutrition Director Michael Braswell sent out the notices to patrons of the meals program. He noted, “A portion of this cost is partially funded through the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs. The funding, however, does not meet the full cost of the program. That is why your contributions are so important.”

Four School Board Members Face Opposition

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The final list of qualifiers for local elections this fall show four of the seven Red River Parish School Board members facing opposition. The other three had no challengers.

District 1 member Gene Longino, District 2 member Ricky Cannon, and District 3 member Gary Giddens did not get an opponent. That means they are in effect elected to another term.

In District 4, Incumbent Cleve Miller faces a challenge from John Lewis. Kasandria White, member from District 5 will run against Donald Everett. Valeria Cox, the representative from District 6 is being challenged by Andre’ Cole. And to represent District 7, Susan Taylor will face Chandra Wilson. The current school board with Superintendent Alison Hughes is pictured below.

The other local race is for Mayor of Hall Summit. Current Mayor William Lary Wimberly is being challenged by Danny Rex Scott. All other officials of Hall Summit face no opposition. Police Chief Charles Loftin is unopposed as are the three Aldermen Babara Perrin, Kathleen J. Quick and Antony Thomas.

Only one person qualified for the position of Constable Justice of the Peace District C. Sharon Moore Bradley was the only person to qualify.

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Band Camp a Success

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For the past two weeks members of the Red River High School Bulldog band have been meeting every day for their annual camp. Here is the story from Band Director Yasmine Jason.

The band completed a successful Band camp on July 20, 2018. The band had camp for two weeks, every day, from 8am-5pm. The band was pushed to learn the songs that they will play this year for football season and what they will perform in competitions.

Band members this year had to be more flexible in rehearsal space due to the construction being done at Red River. The normal band hall was unavailable due to electricity being turned off for construction safety. Band members had to be versatile and rehearse in numerous different areas on campus, including high school classrooms.

“I’m extremely thankful for the administration here at the high school for being so flexible and helpful in making sure Band Camp was a success for the students,” says Band Director Yasmine Jason, “Canceling the camp was simply not an option and the kids did a truly amazing job.”

You can see the Red River High School Bulldog Band at every football game and at parades throughout the community.

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NSU Program Rated Tops in the Nation

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Northwestern State University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Unified Public Safety Administration was named the best overall law enforcement program in the nation and the second most affordable by collegechoice.net. The Masters of Arts in Art was ranked fourth by thebestschools.org and fifth by bestcolleges.com. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems was ranked eighth in the country by the bestschools.org.

The degree program in Unified Public Safety Administration prepares students for professional careers in fire and emergency medical service administration, law enforcement administration, emergency management administration and related public safety careers.

“We are proud and honored by this ranking,” said Unified Public Safety Administration Coordinator Jack Atherton. “Graduates of this program make significant contributions to the field of public safety in Louisiana and beyond.”

ETC… for July 25th

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Here is an item for your August calendar. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is having Homecoming on August 26th. Sunday School will be at 9:45, Service at 11:00 with a lunch after. Todd Pickard will be the visiting preacher for the homecoming observance.

The start of school is upon us. Teachers go back and preparatory work begins as early as July 30th for some. First day for children is August 7th.

Football jamborees will be held soon. The first game for Riverdale Academy is August 17th. Red River’s first game is August 31st.

Also in August will be these public meetings:
The Police Jury is Monday August 6th at 6:00 pm at the courthouse.
The School Board meets Monday August 13th at 6:30 at the school Administration building on Alonzo Street.
Coushatta Town Council meets at Town Hall on Tuesday August 14th at 5:30.