Dolet Hills Workforce Reductions Next Year

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The Dolet Hills Lignite Company is going to transition from three dragline operations to one beginning early in 2019. That will be accompanied by a reduction of approximately 135 workers at the Oxbow Mine.

Dolet Hills is a subsidiary of SWEPCO and the Oxbow Mine supplies lignite to the CLECO Dolet Hills Power Station. Peter Main, spokesperson for SWEPCO told The Journal, “The power station is transitioning from year around to seasonal operations. They will generate electricity during the warmest months, typically June through September, or when requested by the regional power group.”

The change in the power generation schedule is the reason for reduction of the workforce at Dolet Hills Lignite’s Oxbow Mine. Main said, “We will continue mining year around, however we are transitioning from three draglines to one. That will result in a reduction of the number of workers at the mine, which is 274 at present. The number of employees at the Oxbow Mine will be down to 140 by the end of 2019.”

“The approximately 135 employees who are affected are being offered other opportunities with SWEPCO or the parent company, American Electric Power,” said Main. He added, “We recognize and value the contributions of our employees who safely mine coal for the plant. We will be helping those affected with a severance program.”

The Journal asked Main for specifics and he said he did not have a list of the specific positions that would be eliminated, and he did not have a specific date for the layoffs to begin, but he said it would begin early next year. And the mine workforce would be down to 140 by the end of 2019.


Severe Weather Headed our Way

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Red River Parish may be in the path of some severe weather today. Looking at Weather.com and the National Weather Service it looks like we’ll be getting rain all day, then clearing on Saturday morning.

The National Weather service posted, “An increased severe weather risk is unfolding across the region, especially during the late afternoon throughout the evening on Friday”


Christmas Parade Live on The Journal

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The first Thursday in December is always special in Coushatta. It is the date of the Christmas Parade. For the first time the Coushatta Christmas Parade will be streamed live by the Red River Parish Journal.

Overall sponsor of the video stream is Rivertown Market. Other sponsors include Better Finance, Country Market and Deli, Georgie Girl Cakery Boutique, Tray Murray State Farm Agent, School Board Member Susan Taylor and Totally Tile.

The Parade will gather at the meat pie plant in the industrial park. It will begin at 4:30 pm and wind its way to Ringgold Avenue and head south. After crossing the railroad tracks the parade route turns onto Front Street where each unit in the parade will stop in front of the stage and the judges. From there, the parade will continue to the Methodist Church where it will end.

The Journal will have its cameras set up at the stage on Front Street. You will be able to see each group perform for the judges.

Following the parade, there will be a firework show beginning at 6:00 pm. The Journal will broadcast the fireworks live Thursday evening.

At the conclusion of the evening, video of the parade and firework show will be archived on YouTube for later viewing. Please notify friends and relatives living out of the area that they can watch live Thursday evening. There will be a link on RedRiverParishJournal.com and on The Journal’s social media pages.


Is the State Holding Your Money?

RRPJ-Treasury TOP-18Nov30The state treasury has millions of dollars that belong to Louisiana residents. The State Treasurer has published an updated list of citizens it is trying to return this property to.

There are over 120 people, churches and businesses in Red River Parish on the latest list. If you think you may be entitled to some of the money, go to the State Treasurer’s website to check for yourself. Here is the link: https://louisiana.findyourunclaimedproperty.com


4-H Cookies

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Everyone loves cookies. Parish 4-H students are getting into it with a contest to see which student can bake the best cookies. Details were in the latest 4-H newsletter, The Red River Clover News and on their Facebook page.

4-H posted, “Cookie Baking Contest will be Dec. 4th for Riverdale Academy and Dec. 13th for Red River Elementary. See attached Newsletter for rules.”

The Journal is curious to see if judges are needed?


Packing Christmas Boxes

RRPJ-Fairview BC Christ Box-18Nov30The holidays are a season of giving. The spirit was on display recently at Fairview Baptist Church. Children of the church filled the boxes. Wendy Robinette posted, “This is our second year to participate in the Operation Christmas Child packing party at Fairview Baptist Church. On the way there these girls were telling me how much they loved packing these boxes and knowing that a child somewhere in an impoverished country would receive them. I love their hearts so much.”

Other churches in the area are gathering supplies to make less fortunate people in our area have a brighter Christmas. What is your church doing? Let The Journal know. Send information to RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com.


NSU Choir Holiday Service

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The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir will present a candlelight service of “Lessons and Carols” Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St. in Natchitoches. Admission is free and open to the public. Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins will conduct the Chamber Choir. This is the 28th consecutive year the NSU Chamber Choir has presented this service.

The “Lessons and Carols” is a service based upon a century-old tradition established at Kings College, Cambridge, in England, where it is performed every Christmas Eve to standing room only crowds and broadcast worldwide on the BBC. “Lessons and Carols” consists of nine lessons, readings for both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, all related to the Advent and birth of Christ. Following each lesson, the choir singing a text that relates to each of the readings. During the carols, altar servers light a variety of candles, which remain lit throughout the service. Gradually, the church is transformed from darkness into light as the Service concludes in a festive recessional.

The premier vocal ensemble at NSU, the 36-member Chamber Choir is comprised of the top vocalists at Northwestern State. Each December, the Chamber Choir performs their “Lessons and Carols” service at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which has become a Natchitoches tradition. The ensemble has sung at state ACDA and LMEA conventions, performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall, and recently placed second in the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition earlier this year.

The choir has been invited to participate in the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in Baden, Austria on May 31-June 2, 2019. NSU’s Chamber Choir was one of 10 choirs chosen from around the world along with ensembles from countries including Russia, Slovakia, Czechia, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy. Northwestern State’s ensemble was the only choir from the U.S. selected for the competition.


ETC… for Friday November 30th

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Congratulations to Riverdale Academy Boys Basketball Coach Steve Weir. He recently got his 800th career coaching win.

The Northwestern State University Jazz Combos will perform a “Jazz for Pups” Christmas concert Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

Early voting continues through late Saturday at the Registrar of Voters Office in the courthouse. Only one issue for Red River voters and that is the runoff for Secretary of State.

The holidays are coming. Many churches will be scheduling special music and or special services. First Methodist on Front Street is having their annual “Hanging of the Greens” service this Sunday morning. Send your church information to RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com.


Early Voting Underway

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There is only one item on the December 8th ballot for residents of Red River Parish. That is the runoff in the race for Secretary of State. Despite the short ballot, early voting is now going on at the Registrar of Voters Office in the courthouse. Early voting continues through Saturday evening.

Voter turnout for this election is expected to be light. This is due to the lack of local issues on the ballot. The sample ballot furnished by the Secretary of State’s Office is included with this article.

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Teen and Adult Challenge in Coushatta

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The Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge program came to Coushatta last Saturday. They set up an information booth at Rivertown Market manned by Bobby Davis, Jr. and Sebastian Ferrau. It was part of the group’s drug awareness campaign.

Ferrau explained, “The purpose of the drug awareness campaign is hope in the middle of the drug epidemic.” He said, “Secular programs typically have a two to fifteen percent success rate. Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge has a success rate of 70 to 80 percent.”

“I was homeless, a convicted felon, and a drug addict when I started Challenge,” Ferrau said. The Journal asked what was the reason for their high success rate? Ferrau said, “Teen Challenge is a Christian discipleship program. It’s free although we accept donations.”

He said he has been clean almost three years now. Ferrau said, “It’s all to the glory of God. I can’t take any credit.” More information about Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge can be found on their website.