Council on Aging Offers Free Tax Help.

United Way and the Red River Council on Aging have partnered to provide help in filing your taxes. There is no cost for households with an income of up to $66,000. 

Charne McDonald of United Way of Northwest Louisiana told The Journal, “If qualifying residents prefer to file their own state and federal taxes, offers free filing software online. United Way has partnered with H&R Block, who powers to help people easily and accurately file their state and federal taxes online. is a safe, easy and free way to file for taxpayers earning $66,000 or less.” 

McDonald added, “The Council on Aging in Red River is certified as a free self-help site through the other program we promote,! 

At the Council on Aging, Mary Braswell is coordinating the tax filing assistance. Braswell said, “I will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to help people file online. No appointment is necessary, just come to my office in the Council building on Front Street.” Braswell added, “Tax help is available from 12:30 to 3:00 pm through tax filing season.” 

Braswell told The Journal people wishing to take advantage of this free program do not have to be a member of the Council on Aging. The program is open to people of any age. There is a maximum income level for the service to be free.

Softball Fundraiser

In need of spirit clothing for Red River High? The softball team is selling Fan Cloth as a fundraiser. The team posted on Facebook, “If anyone would like to purchase some Bulldog apparel! Yall can hit me (Coach Zachary Thrasher) up for an order or any member of the softball team. You can also order online where there are 8 more items including youth sizes at

Superintendent’s Honor Roll Announced

Red River has publicized the Superintendent’s Honor Roll for the second nine weeks of the current school year. The high school students making the list are: 

Student Name Grade 








































Red River Crusade Taking Shape

The area pastors putting together the third annual Red River Crusade held an organizational meeting on Wednesday. They gathered for lunch at the York Chop to go over plans for the event. 

Richard Kaufman, the Evangelism Director for the Crusade, told The Journal it was a preparation meeting to go over the week long crusade and other events leading up to it. Kaufman said, “We discussed how to get more local churches involved. We have talked to several and will see more local pastors in the coming days.” 

Present at the meeting was Bro. Sam Moore, the Evangelist for the Crusade. He presented the group with an outline of the message series he will be presenting. Moore is well known in this area as a strong preacher of the gospel. He was involved in the Crusade last year. 

The Third Annual Red River Crusade will be the week of May 6 through 11 at the Red River Parish Fairgrounds. A special service Sunday evening May 5th at First Baptist Church will kick off the event.

Henry Selected to Honor Band

Red River Band Director Yasmine Jason is pictured above with Carlina Henry. Henry represents Red River Junior High School on the District Two Honor Band. She plays the clarinet. 

Henry is an eighth grader and the daughter of Springville Education Center instructor Billy Henry Sr. Jason was very complimentary of Henry’s musical accomplishment. She said, “It is her first year to try out for Honor Band and the first year she made it!” 

Jason said, “Carlina has been in band since the sixth grade. She has been playing three years now.” About the tryouts for Honor Band, Jason told The Journal, “She did a really great job. I am very proud of her.”

ETC… for February 1st.

If you travel I-20 heading to Texas this announcement from the state transportation department may be of interest: 

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that the Greenwood Rest Area and Welcome Center along I-20 eastbound (near mile marker 3) in Caddo Parish is temporarily closed for construction activities. The parking lot is being reconstructed as part of the ongoing renovation project at the rest area. The work is anticipated to last approximately two (2) weeks, weather permitting. 

Northwestern State football coach Brad Laird will discuss his 2019 signing class at the annual Demon Quarterback Club Signing Day luncheon next Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Friedman Student Union Ballroom on campus. Doors open for the buffet-style lunch presented by the Demons Unlimited Foundation at 11:30, with the program starting by noon. Admission is $20 with the event open to the public. 

Here is your public meeting schedule for February: 

The Police Jury will meet the first Monday or February 4th. They meet in the Police Jury room on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse. Remember that for 2019 the jury moved the meeting time to 5:30 for the committee meeting and 6:30 for the regular meeting. 

The Town Council meets on Tuesday Feb 12th at Town Hall. The meeting begins promptly at 5:30 pm. 

Red River and Riverdale Academy are out February 11 through 15th for Winter Break. 

The School Board meeting is the third Monday in February. It was moved to February 18th at 6:30 pm because of winter break. 

And the Chamber of Commerce board meets on Thursday, February 21st at noon. They meet in the Police Jury room on the third floor of the Red River Courthouse.

School Board Awards Bid for Football Field and Track Improvements

The first home football game in 2019 for Red River High is in September, which seems like a long way off. But it is closer than you might think in terms of rebuilding the field and track before then. 

On Tuesday, the Red River Parish School Board held a special called meeting at noon to award the bid for field construction. There were bids received from five companies and the amounts ranged from a high of $1.292 million to a low of $1.094 million. The low bid was submitted by GeoSurfaces, Inc. 

Board Finance Director David Jones explained the project. He said, “The football field is moving a few feet to center with a new grandstand, to be built later. The field will be re-crowned and there will be a parameter drain inside the track. There will be a pad and then turf on the field.” 

“The track itself will have a few bad spots patched,” said Jones. “The surface will have asphalt and the rubber surface will be re-laid, then the stripes will be repainted.” Jones said the track would not be completely removed, but will be repaired. 

The question of drainage was discussed. At present there are large drains around the field and spots where water stands after a rain. Jones explained that the reworking of the football field would fill in all the gaps. The turf surface will extend all the way to a drain just inside the track. 

Jones told the board that their architect, Yeager, Watson and Associates “was excited to see them get the bid. They have done good work in the past.” Jones told the board, “We hope to get all the paperwork completed by March 1st. Then 150 days to construct. I hope all the stars line up to get things done in time for the first football game in September. Let’s hope for favorable weather.” 

Board member Gary Giddens moved to award the bid to GeoSurfaces, Inc. It was seconded by Kasandra White. The board voted to approve awarding the bid.

Red River Shivers

Our area is in the grip of the coldest weather of the winter so far. However forecast snowfall and freezing rain predicted for overnight Monday did not materialize. 

Several parishes in northwest Louisiana called off school on Tuesday including Red River Parish. Here is the statement issued Monday night by Superintendent Alison Hughes: 

“Red River Parish School Board have been in contact with the National Weather Service concerning the impending winter weather and have made the decision to cancel school for Tuesday, January 29th based upon their predictions. Red River Parish is now under a winter weather advisory with possible snow and ice accumulations of 0.5″ to 1″. Temperatures are expected to remain near-freezing through noon Tuesday and icy driving conditions could persist through most of the day. 

“We want to ensure that all of our students are safe and secure.” 

Riverdale Academy made this post: 

“Due to the possibility of inclement weather and following suit with the Red River Parish School Board we will NOT have school tomorrow. We will let you know about the ballgames as soon as we have more information.” 

NSU announced that all classes would be held on Tuesday. They advised students and faculty to use caution traveling. 

The National Weather Service posted this advisory: 

“Colder temperatures are expected tonight (Tuesday) despite the thickening high clouds that will increase from the west. Look for temperatures to fall into the mid 20s to near 30 degrees across the Ark-La-Tex.” forecast a low of 31 in Coushatta this morning (Wednesday) with the high getting into the low 50s. It will be warmer Thursday and Friday with highs in the low to mid 60s and overnight lows 46 to 49. There is a slight chance of rain on Thursday and Friday.

Red River Native to Join Honor Society

Kambrie Bethard has recently been elected to membership in the University of Louisiana Lafayette chapter of The Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, most selective, and most prestigious all-discipline honor society. The organization holds extremely high standards for election. Membership is by invitation only to the University of Louisiana Lafayette’s top 7.5 percent. 

Kambrie is also a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, Criminal Justice Club, Law Club, and Kappa Delta Sorority. 

Kambrie is the daughter of Robert and Rhoda Bethard. 

Submitted by Rhoda Bethard

Youth Group Cleans Community

A local church youth group hit the streets of the Springville community last Saturday. They picked up litter and cleaned up along Springville Road and other areas. They divided into two groups to cover more ground. 

The group is from Freedom Worship Center. A youth leader of the project is Orquinta Taylor who lives on the street. Taylor told the Journal the youth are familiar with the area and knew that litter was everywhere. 

Ashanti Cole is the church pastor. Cole said, “I am always riding through and saw that nobody was cleaning up. I saw paper on the road and thought that this is a perfect place to do the youth project.” They cleaned up Springville Road and around the Zion Chapel at the road’s end. 

Taylor said, “We have about 30 youth in the church and we have 22 working here today.” They were accompanied by Cole and other adults from Freedom Worship Center. They picked up a pick-up load of trash and more.

Bailes to keynote Winter ’19 Commencement

Sonja Bailes, Public Relations Liaison for Bossier Parish schools, former TV reporter and anchor, and member of Louisiana Tech’s Class of 1992, will serve as the keynote speaker for the University’s winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 23, in the Thomas Assembly Center (TAC) on the Tech campus. 

Bailes’ family includes Randy Bain, news director for KTBS-TV Shreveport-Bossier, and their son Jackson. 

A graduate of Airline High in Bossier City, Bailes was awarded her BA in journalism from Tech in Winter Quarter 1992. Her advisor when she worked at KLPI, Tech’s radio station, was Tech Hall of Fame play-by-play broadcaster Dave Nitz. 

“And the legendary journalist Wiley Hilburn was my advisor when I was editor of The Tech Talk,” she said. “I was blessed to learn from two of the very best.” 

After graduation from Tech, Bailes was a familiar face to the area as a reporter and anchor, first for three years at KNOE-TV in Monroe, and then for KTBS-TV until 2011, when she accepted her current position with the Bossier Parish School Board. 

“My years spent at Louisiana Tech were some of the happiest of my life,” she said. “I formed lifelong friendships there, memories that still make me smile and shaped and molded me into the person I am today. I could never have asked for better professors and advisers — particularly in the Journalism Department — who made me into the writer I am today. They mentored, encouraged, and instilled confidence in me, and for that, I am forever grateful.” 

Her short address explores the theme of “Living Out Your Story,” a spinoff, she said, of the convocation speech she gave the freshman class in September 2013. “It was based on the Tenets of Tech and the book This I Believe,” she said, “which really resonated with me when I was asked to read it and speak about it.” 

Published in 2006, the book was a common read assignment to each freshman as part of the First Year Experience. This I Believe is a collection of the personal philosophies of a diverse group of 80 accomplished men and women. 

Winter commencement officially marks the end of the winter quarter at Louisiana Tech. Spring classes are scheduled to begin March 12.

ETC… for Friday, January 30th

Students looking for help paying for college? Check out Riverdale Academy’s Facebook page. The school has posted a number of scholarships. Their application deadline is during February. 

Here is an interesting event parents may wish to attend with their children. Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a Pick Up Your Brush painting class on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon on the second floor of South Hall. 

In the class, participants will learn the art of painting using step-by-step instructions to create a masterpiece. No special or prior skills are required. Students will take home a completed painting at the end of every class. Children ages 7 – 12 years old are allowed to enroll, but a parent must accompany the child the entire class. The parent does not have to enroll unless they participate. All supplies are included. In the class, the students will paint lovebirds. 

For more information on NSU non-credit programs, go to or call (800) 376-2422 or (318) 357-6355. To register for classes, go to To learn more about NSU’s online non-credit courses visit or 

Winter Break for students is February 11th through 15th. As a result of the break, the Red River Parish School Board is delaying its regular February meeting one week. The board will meet February 18th at 6:30 pm at the school board office. 

Gateway Brass, the brass ensemble from the United States Air Force Band of the West, will perform at Northwestern State University on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. 

CLECO notes: Unusually low temperatures are expected across Louisiana bringing with it the possibility for ice and snow. This weather event has the potential to lead to an increase in the demand for electricity, as well as the potential for hazardous conditions. 

“The lower the temperature is outside, the harder a heating system has to work, and the more energy it requires to keep your home warm,” said Hammad Chaudhry, Cleco Power Wise™ program manager. “During the winter months, customers should set their thermostats no higher than 68 degrees, if their comfort allows, for maximum efficiency.” 

In addition to lowering the thermostat, customers also can conserve energy by checking the temperature on water heaters. Experts recommend setting the water heater’s 

thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and wrapping electric water heaters and all exposed pipes. 

“With lower temperatures, customers often resort to using space heaters in an effort to warm their homes,” said John Melancon, Cleco manager of corporate safety. “If you’re using a space heater, make sure the plug isn’t frayed or torn, as it could start a fire. Also, keep the heater away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.” 

For more conservation and safety tips, follow Cleco on Facebook at @ClecoPower. Cleco customers can also find energy-saving solutions by visiting and taking advantage of the utility’s energy efficiency program, Power Wise™.

Young Writers at Red River Elementary

From Shenille Deville, Principal 

Red River Elementary School (RRES) is proud of the 13 students from Mrs. Ranette Smith-Crockett’s homeroom class who have been chosen to have their writings published. Mrs. Smith-Crockett submitted entries for all students in her class, and 13 were chosen to be published in Young Writers’ Spooky Sagas – Authors From America. Young Writers encourages reading, writing, and the enjoyment of poetry as well as creative writing. 

Over 12,000 entries were submitted from many states based on perception, imagination and creativity, expression, originality, and use of language. Students were challenged to write a mini saga, a story in just 100 words. They were to create spine-tingling tales that uses atmosphere and suspense, from things that go bump in the night to Halloween pranks, creating tales that will make you scream. 

Prizes will be awarded to the school with the best set of entries, and that school will receive “The Young Writers’ Award of Excellence,” and the best published writer will receive an iPad and a trophy. Also, one runner-up will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Winners will be announced in April 2019. RRES will receive a complimentary copy of the book. In addition, the book will be sent to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to provide a lasting record of our students’ achievement. Our school name will be published as Red River Elementary. 

We are excited of the high writing standards our students have demonstrated. As the principal, I will make sure each student who has his/her work published, receives a copy of the book, and I will reward the entire class with a celebration honoring their effort and achievement. 

For more information on Young Writers, you can visit their website at 

Pictured from left to right, first row: 

ZyQuayvious Smith, Fa’Dasia Demery, Demarche Newton, Johnny Meshell, Cedric Moody, Jr., Collin Stafford, Tamija Gant, and teacher, Mrs. Ranette Smith-Crockett 

Pictured from left to right, second row: 

Rihanna Washington, Bri’Aunna Taylor, Makilah Murphy, Brodrick Winn, Skylar Roberson, and Jaskyla Williams (absent)

House Fire on Highway 480

A fire Friday evening, January 25th heavily damaged a single family dwelling on Highway 480 south of Coushatta. Deputy Fire Chief Mike Robinson said firefighters observed smoke coming from the attic of the structure when they arrived. 

Robinson said, “There was heavy fire in the attic and we knocked it down fairly quickly.” Robinson says the occupants of the house had heard noises and investigated. They found the fire and reported it. He said the house was equipped with smoke alarms. 

The structure suffered heat, smoke and water damage. “It appears the cause was electrical from a light socket,” said Robinson.

Coffee for Missions

The 2019 medial mission trip to Honduras is approaching. One fundraiser they are conducting is the sale of coffee from Honduras. Bro. James Hester posted on Facebook: 

“Is coffee a regular item on your grocery list? Are you willing to pay a little more for superior quality? What if I told you that when you buy, you will not only be getting better coffee, but that a full 70% of your purchase goes directly to spreading the Gospel? Buy a bag. Drink a cup. Spread the Gospel.” 

Editor’s Note: I purchased a bag and have made several pots of this special coffee. It is a milder blend than I am accustomed to, however it has a good flavor, especially when it is made in the old fashioned drip pot. 

Here is the link if you wish to order coffee:

Governor Appoints Three to Grand Bayou Board

The January list of the Governor’s appointments to various boards and commissions includes these for the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Reservoir District: 

The John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Reservoir District was established to develop the wealth and natural resources of the district by the conservation of soil and water for agricultural, recreational, commercial, industrial, and sanitary purposes. The district is composed of the area comprising all of Red River Parish. Commissioners of the district are statutorily required to be qualified electors of Red River Parish residing within and owning property within the district. 

N. Thomas Jones, of Coushatta, was appointed to the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Reservoir District. Jones is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Tom Jones Consulting, LLC. and is a veteran of the United States Air Force. 

Antony D. Thomas, of Hall Summit, was reappointed to the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Reservoir District. Thomas works in inside sales with Motion Industry. 

Anita S. Hinds, of Coushatta, was reappointed to the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Reservoir District. Hinds is the office manager of Alexander Industrial Maintenance.

Congressman Johnson Selected to Important House Post

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA-09) announced U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) as the ranking member for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. 


“With more than 20 years of experience in constitutional law, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. It is imperative we uphold and defend our most fundamental rights, and this subcommittee has direct jurisdiction over so many issues that help define who we are as Americans. “Of course, the Judiciary Committee will play an important role in the 116th Congress, as Democrats plan to use our committee as a vehicle to relentlessly investigate the president. My Republican colleagues and I stand ready to defend the truth and advance legislation and initiatives that serve the best interests of our country.” 


The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has jurisdiction over the following subject matters: constitutional rights, constitutional amend-ments, federal civil rights, claims against the United States, non-immigration private claims bills, ethics in government, tort liability including medical malpractice and product liability, legal reform generally, other appropriate matters as referred by the chairman and relevant oversight. 

Johnson was appointed to both the House Judiciary Committee as well as the House Committee on Natural Resources for the 116th Congress.

Jones Named Shreveport Airport Director


Recently elected Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins has appointed Lt. General (Retired) Tom Jones interim Director of Airports. Jones previously served as Vice Commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, as well as interim Aviation Director for the City of San Antonio where he managed day-to-day operations at San Antonio International and Stinson Municipal Airport. Jones is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the Naval War College. 

“Lt. Gen. Jones brings over 35 years of senior military leadership and management experience to Shreveport Airports,” Mayor Perkins said. “He reorganized San Antonio’s Aviation Department to better reflect the City’s strategic plan, and he is going to help Shreveport through this transition period. Tom will also work alongside the Airport Authority Board to identify a qualified permanent replacement that shares the objectives outlined by myself and the City Council,” Perkins concluded. 

Jones told The Journal, “I’m an interim guy while the Mayor searches for a permanent solution. I am offering short term help due to the resignation of the previous airport director.” And Jones added, “Because of other obligations I have no intentions of staying there full time.”

Doctors Degree Earned by Coushatta Student

From Rhoda Bethard 

On December 7, 2018, Kara Rae Bethard graduated with her Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her doctorate degree program focused on evidence-based clinical research in order for Kara to advance her clinical knowledge and skills to better serve her patients with communication and swallowing disorders. Presently, Kara uses her Speech and Language Pathologist skills to serve the elderly population. 

Kara is the daughter of Robert and Roberta Bethard and currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Taylor Photos

Here are more of the great photos and historic notes of our parish from Joe Taylor. 

You are looking at the foot bridge over bayou Nicholas. The photographer is standing in front of what today is Nettles Funeral Home. The bridge was built in the early 1900’s and demolished in the late ‘30’s. Looking east down Carroll Street. 

A picture from the annual May Fete. An annual event that included just about the entire elementary school, so it was well attended as the parents all came. Under the direction of principal Leo Abington. This appears to be little Dutch boys and girls in a skit. Right to Left are: 

Susan Strother, Pat Hayden, Pat Blount, Rebecca Rayburn, Mary J. Drake, Donald Horton, Ann M. Davis, Walter Lee, Bennie S. Huckabay, Ann Wilson, Ralph Pylant, Steve Jones, and Billie Brumfield. 

Front street in the late forties. Probably on a Saturday when all the farmers came to town. The photographer is standing at the front of the Model hotel looking south down the main business section. 

This small unassuming building was the city hall for Coushatta for forty years. People of a certain age will remember it fondly for we all called it the “calaboose“ because it had two jail cells on the bottom floor and one room above it that took care of all of the towns business. My how government has grown.

Caldwell Named Employee of the Month

Erikka Caldwell is the Employee of the Month for Red River Schools. She is a Nurse’s Assistant at Red River Elementary. 

Caldwell was nominated by Principal Shenell Deville. In the nomination statement, Deville said, “Caldwell has been a Nurse’s Assistant with Red River Elementary School for three years. Erikka is one of my most valuable support staff persons.” 

“I can depend upon Erikka to get things done,” added Deville. She added, “I depend on her to assist me with many tasks. They can hear me calling her name throughout the office and hallways.” Deville said that Caldwell always responds with, “I’m on my way Ms. Deville.” 

The school’s insurance agency presented Caldwell with a plaque and goodie bag.

Soccer Registration For the Spring

Registration for the spring soccer season at Open Door Fellowship is now underway. Soccer registration runs through the end of February. ODF shares the gospel of Christ to children and their families through sports. Sign up today to play soccer this spring. 

Information can be found at, including registration forms and all information. That website said, “ODF Sports programs are designed to introduce young athletes to each game while providing a safe environment to grow in the sport. We believe strongly in teaching sportsmanship and character as fundamentals of life. 

Players are assigned to soccer teams by age. And rules of the game are modified to provide appropriate challenges for each age group. ODF invites you to get involved in the program. ODF Sports offers opportunities for volunteers to serve as coaches, referees, team mons and dads, concession workers and other needed jobs. Contact the church office for more information at 932-6267. 

Open Door sport fields are located adjacent to the church at 285 Esperana Road. Online registration and fee payment are available through the website. Here is the link to register: