Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Journal to you and your family. We are spending time with family this season and we hope you have the opportunity to do the same. The Journal will publish a brief, holiday greeting next Wednesday, then it’s back to the regular newsfeed next Friday.
Friday night Riverdale Academy is at home. Tensas Academy’s boys and girls basketball teams will be in town. The games begin at 4:00 pm with JV teams. The Journal will stream the varsity games live beginning at about 6:00 o’clock. Steven Bryant will have the platy-by-play.
Saturday December 22nd Freedom Worship Center will have a live Christmas Nativity Scene. Join them at the church on East Carroll Street for the program that begins at 5:30.
And guess who dropped by for lunch on Thursday. Santa and one of his main elves. Actually Santa had spent some of the morning at the Red River Council on Aging on Front Street. He worked with his elf (Peggy Young) passing out holiday cheer to the clients who spend their days at the council. Santa took time during lunch to present Merry Christmas wishes and candy canes to Dianne and Alvie Slatten and other folks gathered for lunch in the Depot Diner.
There is no continuing danger to members of the public following a manhunt conducted Sunday by the Sheriff’s Office. There were four suspects sought and two were captured.
A statement from Sheriff Glen Edwards to The Journal said:
“There was a manhunt off of LA 1 yesterday morning which resulted from an attempted home invasion. Two suspects have been apprehended and charged. Although two suspects are outstanding, they are no longer in the area. I am providing this information so that you are assured that the public is no longer in danger. Any release of information at this point would be counterproductive to our investigation and would hamper the identification and apprehension of additional suspects. We will do our best to issue a press release in the near future.”
Neighbors told The Journal the incident occurred in the Grand Bayou Loop area. One lady said deputies came to her home and told her to remain inside with the doors locked. Others reported seeing a large number of officers taking part in the search. And a spokesman for State Police said they had one unit dispatched to the scene for a time.
The Journal spoke with a Sheriff’s spokesperson who said the most important point is to reassure the public that there is no continuing danger from the incident.
Jennifer Feazel Mahfouz was arrested last Thursday and charged with Theft, Malfeasance and Fraud. Mahfouz was fired as Administrator of the Red River Parish Communications District last April.
The regular annual audit of the Communications District by a contract auditor turned up some suspicious transactions. The matter was turned over to the state Legislative Auditor for follow-up. The auditor released its report in July (see the July 16th issue of The Journal).
At that time the audit said the district’s former Administrator (Mahfouz) “issued 10 extra paychecks to herself…between July 2016 and January 2017.” Those extra paychecks totaled over $17,000 in 2017. In addition the report found that electronic accounting records had been altered in an attempt to cover up the discrepancies. Mahfouz told the auditors she did not realize she received extra paychecks and does not know who she overpaid herself.
On July 19th The Journal reported that District Attorney Julie Jones said she was working with the state Attorney General on the matter. “They will review the audit. They will make a thorough investigation of the results,” said Jones.
After their investigation, Attorney General Jeff Landry issued this statement:
“The people of Louisiana deserve professionals who work to make our communities better, not violate the public’s trust. My office remains committed to doing all we can to ensure public servants act in a manner that is both lawful and admirable. I commend DA Jones for her attention to this case.”
Jones issued this statement:
“I have a responsibility to the community to make sure everyone honors the law,” said Red River District Attorney Julie Jones. “I appreciate the diligence by General Landry and his office in this matter.”
On December 13th Mahfouz was arrested by the Red River Sheriff’s Office and booked on charges of Theft, False Accounting, Computer Fraud, Second Degree Injuring Public Records, Filing or Maintaining False Public Records, and Malfeasance in Office. Mahfouz posted a $10,000 surety bond that day.
District Attorney Julie Jones told The Journal that Mahfouz had been indicted by the parish grand jury earlier this month. We asked what is next in the case and Jones said, “She will be set for arraignment within 90 days of the indictment. Her arraignment date will be January 22, 2019. At the arraignment she will enter a plea and then we will proceed toward trial.”
Mahfouz remains free on bail pending the arraignment.
Denise Upshaw notified The Journal that Hickory Grove Baptist Church held their annual Christmas play on Sunday, December 9th. It was “The Fumbly Bumbly Angels.”
Upshaw said, “Pictured in the Manger Scene are Kori Allen, Ellie Norwood (sheep-in the manger), Brandy and Josh Longino, Edward Norwood, Anthony Cox, Mackenzie Grigg, Raelynn Cox, Raelynn Bice and Daniel Grigg.
Thursday is the last day to enter The Journal’s “Christmas Turkey Dinner Giveaway.” The winner will be selected tomorrow afternoon and published in Friday’s edition.
Some lucky reader will win the turkey, dressing, side dishes, cranberry sauce and everything that goes into a great holiday feast. Want desert? That is included too! But you have to enter to win.
Full contest details, rules and entry method are posted on our social media pages. Don’t wait to enter. Do it right now while you are thinking about it. And find out first thing Friday morning if you are the winner in the Journal’s first “Christmas Turkey Dinner Giveaway.” Good Luck!
Marcus Dewayne Davis is being held in the parish jail on a $1,000,000 bond. He was arrested recently on a grand jury indictment.
The Journal reported on Davis’ original arrest in the October 24th edition. The series of incidents was first reported as an altercation at the Natchitoches Meat Pie facility in the Industrial Park about 8:00 pm on October 15th. That was closely followed by a report of a gunshot victim at a residence on Jones Street. A third call came in from a residence on nearby Brittain Street.
According to the Sheriff’s Report at the time, the suspected shooter held a worker at gunpoint at the meat pie plant in what appears to be an armed robbery. The suspect forced a worker to drive him to the worker’s residence on Brittain Street. The victim tried to flee and was shot twice.
The suspect fled that scene where he encountered the second (unrelated) victim at a nearby residence on Jones Street. The second victim, unaware of the earlier incident, was shot in the face.
Davis was arrested on October 16th and held in the parish jail on a million dollar bond. Earlier this month the Red River Parish Grand Jury indicted Davis on armed robbery, attempted first degree murder, illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, aggravated kidnapping, carjacking, possession of a firearm or carrying concealed weapon by a felon, illegal carrying of weapons, and possession of schedule I synthetic Cannabinoids charges. He was rearrested and remains in the parish jail.
By Shenell R. Deville, Principal of Red River Elementary School
For the 2018-2019 school year, Red River Elementary School (RRES) has adopted the theme “Game On Team.” Every month, we are recognizing staff members as our “Most Valuable Players” MVP. These faculty members are recognized for their attendance, positive spirit, team effort, and their motivation to do above and beyond.
For the month of December our MVP Staff are from the Leadership Team: Danny Rester, Assistant Principal, Christy Suggs, Instructional Coach, Cassandra Turner, Instructional Coach, and Alvester Barfield, Instructional Coach. I am very blessed to have them on my team. They are very supportive of my vision and goals for our school.
RRES Staff Recognition Committee awarded the staff with a treat bag with their favorite snacks, a duty free lunch, a certificate, and picture on the MVP spotlight bulletin board. In addition, our our wonderful PAW Parents presented them with a basket full of sweet treats.
Six students from Coushatta are among those earning degrees from Northwestern State University. A total of 922 graduates who completed coursework in the Summer 2018 and Fall 2018 semesters were conferred degrees. The commencement speaker was State Sen. Gerald Long.
Students from Coushatta are:
LaToya Gray and Erikka Johnson, Associate of General Studies; Dillon Foshee, Bachelor of Arts; Allison Pearah, Bachelor of General Studies; Baley McAlexander, Bachelor of Science; Precious Smith, Bachelor of Social Work;
Northwestern State University recognized top graduates from the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, the Louisiana Scholars’ College and the College of Arts and Sciences during morning commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 14. From left are Kenedy Lampert of Deville, Madison Milligan of Natchitoches, Antavious Roberson of Arcadia, commencement speaker and NSU alumnus State Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore Gerald Long, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, Baley McAlexander of Coushatta, Lauren Nelson of Ringgold Hannah Glaze of LeCompte.
Two groups gathered at Green Meadow Haven last Friday morning to help the residents brighten up their rooms for Christmas. Members of the Wise Ones Working and the Sewing God’s Love house assisted residents in the making of festive holiday ornaments.
Celia Ann Norman lead the project and supplied the assembly kits. Residents smiled, joked, and laughed as they decorated miniature Christmas trees, Santa heads and Rudolph faces. The workers pitched in to assist.
After about an hour, each resident had two or three ornaments assembled just like they like them to take back to their rooms. About a dozen of Green Meadow’s residents took part. It is no exaggeration to say that a great time was had by all!
Schools in the parish are dismissing today (Dec 19th) for the Christmas-New Years holiday. Public and private schools dismiss at noon. Teachers return January 7th and Students will go back to class on the 8th of January.
Santa will be at Rivertown Market this Saturday, December 22nd 8-11 AM!!!
Also present on Saturday will be members of the Red River High School Band and Carolers playing and singing Christmas Carols.
The children of Red River Cowboy Church will be singing Christmas carols during morning worship Sunday. Young singers from the littlest angels through high school age will take part.
A PERSONAL NOTE: It is the Christmas season and unfortunately the scammers are out in force. It seems The Journal’s phone rings constantly with amazing offers or threats of legal action or whatever they can dream up. You have to act immediately, or they will repossess your first-born! Folks, hang up or even better don’t answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. If they are legit they will leave a message. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, ”Be careful out there.”
Both Red River and Riverdale basketball teams are in action this week. Red River is at home with boys and girls games against Green Oaks at about 6:00 pm Thursday. Riverdale’s boys and girls teams are at home hosting Tensas Academy. Both Red River and Riverdale games will be streamed live by Journal Sports. A notice and link to the broadcasts will be posted on The Journal’s social media pages on Thursday and Friday evenings before the broadcast.
The family of Roger Norris held a fundraiser to offset medical bills. They sold chicken plates and deserts last Saturday in the MaxWay parking lot. See the picture at the end of the article. A family member told The Journal Norris has been battling health issues for several months and the family came together to help offset the cost of being in four hospitals over three months.