Weekly Arrest Report

Report from the Red River Sheriff’s Office for November 18-25, 2022.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Hall Summit House Heavily Damaged, Two Firefighters Injured

From Red River Fire Chief John Woodfin

On Wednesday, units from the Red River Parish Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire in Hall Summit.  The house was about 50 percent involved when firefighters arrived.

During efforts to extinguish the blaze, two Firefighters were injured.  A beam on the porch collapsed on them while making entry into the structure.  Identities of the firefighters and their condition was not made public.

Woodfin said, “Firefighters made an excellent stop on the fire.”

One Makes All-Academic Football Team

One local football player has made the 2022-23 All-Academic Boys Football Team.  The rankings were published by LHSAA.

Elijah Harper, the Quarterback of the Red River Bulldogs made the list.  Harper is a senior and has a 4.0 academic average.  The Bulldogs play non-select in Division 3.

Below is the complete ranking published by LHSAA so sports fans can check out other area players and how they ranked.

More Organization and More Community Service

The newly organized Red River Kiwanis club met Monday at First Methodist Church.  They continue getting the club organized.  And they are already at work helping with several community projects.

Kiwanians continue to expand their first project, to collect socks and underwear for elementary school children.  More drop off locations are planned as well as deliveries of the socks and underwear to the schools in the parish.

Another project involving local schools is Terrific Kids.  Members volunteered to be the liaison with various schools to get the program going.

Upcoming on December 12th, Red River schools will hold an open house at the new Administration Building and other facilities at the Coushatta campus on East Carroll Street.  Kiwanis members will provide hot chocolate and coffee to visitors to the Administration building all day.

Other projects Red River Kiwanis is exploring is a coat drive to benefit local children and help with the third annual Christmas Giveaway to be held on Saturday December 10th.

The Kiwanis Club meets on the third Monday of each month at 5:00 pm at First Methodist Church.  Prospective members are invited to attend the December meeting and discover what Kiwanis is all about.

Shavarash and the Trolleybus

Brad Dison

The morning of September 16, 1976 was chilly in Yerevan, Armenia.  The streets were busy with commuters heading to work and other various destinations.  The city used trolleybuses powered by electric lines above the highway to transport the masses of people to their destinations.  Windows wrapped around the entirety of the upper half of the trolleybuses to allow for better visibility.  As it was a chilly morning, all the windows were closed to keep the cold air out.  One such trolleybus was loaded with 91 people and its driver.  As the trolleybus neared Yerevan Lake, something happened.  Some people claimed the passengers and the driver got into a physical altercation, while others argued that the driver had a medical emergency, probably a heart attack.  Regardless of the cause, the trolleybus veered off the roadway.  The arms connecting the trolleybus to the electric wires snapped.  Although the trolleybus had lost its power source, it rolled on its wheels down an embankment and straight into the frigid waters of Yerevan Lake.   One witness said the sound was “so loud, as if a bomb went off.”  Within seconds, the trolleybus was completely submerged.

Sometimes it seems like the right people are in the right place at the right time.  23-year-old Shavarash Karapetyan and his brother Kamo were nearby, heard the crash, and rushed to the water’s edge.  Both Shavarash and Kamo were finswimming champions, a sport in which the swimmers wear fins to increase their speed in the water.  At the time, Shavarash had won 37 gold medals and held nine world records for finswimming.  He had earned nicknames such as “Goldfish” and “Amphibian.”  On this day, however, neither Shavarash nor Kamo had their fins.  Without hesitation, Shavarash sprang into action.  As they ran, Shavarash told Kamo to help him from the shore. 

Shavarash dove into the frigid water and swam to the spot where the trolleybus sank.  He swam down 33 feet where the trolleybus rested on the lake floor.  Shavarash tried to look into the windows of the trolleybus but, at that depth, all he saw was darkness.  Shavarash knocked out one of the trolleybus’s windows.  Air rushed out of the trolleybus.  The change in air pressure by the broken glass forced shards of glass into Shavarash’s skin.  Nine of the passengers exited through the window and swam to the surface. 

Shavarash swam in through the trolleybus’s broken window and used his hands to feel around for passengers in the darkness.  When his hands felt something, he clutched it, swam to the surface, and handed the person off to Kamo.  Then, he dove down again and repeated the process.  Each dive took Shavarash about 25 seconds.  Although he was a champion swimmer, Shavarash was quickly losing strength.  He would not give up.  He could not give up.  Shavarash dove down 38 times before his body could go no further.  He almost drowned several times but somehow barely made it to the surface in time, gasping for air.  On his last dive, Shavarash felt around inside the trolleybus for a passenger, clutched something, and swam up.  On the surface, Shavarash was horrified to learn that, rather than a victim, he was grasping one of the trolleybus’s seat cushions.    

Shavarash could swim no more.  His body was exhausted.  His lungs were injured and he could hardly breath.  Shavarash wanted to go back down but Kamo pulled him from the water.  He could do no more.  In all, Shavarash helped get 46 people to the surface—nine escaped when Shavarash broke the trolleybus’s window, and he pulled 37 people to the surface. 

Within minutes of the crash, doctors from a nearby hospital rushed to the scene to render what aid they could right there on the shore.  Once Shavarash’s strength gave out and Kamo pulled him from the water, the doctors struggled to save his life as well.  Ambulances loaded with survivors raced to the hospital and returned to the shore to transport more survivors, one of them being Shavarash.  Of the passengers Shavarash pulled to the surface, 20 survived.  Shavarash spent over a month in the hospital.  He was diagnosed with septic fever, double-sided pneumonia, and nervous prostration. 

Shavarash survived the trolleybus accident, but it haunts him to this day.  Shavarash nearly drowned several times.  He said later, “I could imagine the agony of those 92 people and I knew how they would die.  I had nightmares about that cushion for a long time.  I could have saved someone else’s life.  In difficult moments like this, your love for fellow humans grows even stronger.”

Shavarash returned to swimming upon his release from the hospital, but he would never be the same.  Swimming underwater was physically and mentally painful.  True to form, however, Shavarash would not give up.  Just a few months after the trolleybus accident, Shavarash competed in a finswimming championship.  Knowing how he was struggling, Kamo ran alongside the pool just in case Shavarash lost consciousness.  But Shavarash did not lose consciousness.  He came in first place and set another world record.  Following this win, Shavarash retired from the sport he so dearly loved.  He could no longer bear to be underwater.

Shavarash was awarded the Medal “For the Salvation of the Drowning” and the Order of the Badge of Honor. What was Shavarash doing just before the trolleybus accident you wonder?  What was he doing just before he dove down to a depth of 33 feet 38 times and helped 47 people from the sunken trolleybus?  You see, Shavarash was already exhausted when he entered the water.  Shavarash had just completed the final portion of that morning’s rigorous training event, a 12-mile run.

Source:  AuroraPrize.com. “Twenty-Five Seconds per Life.” Accessed November 21, 2022. auroraprize.com/en/twenty-five-seconds-life.

First Celebration of the Year

The Red River Junior High PBIS team (positive behavior intervention & supports) had its first big celebration of the school year last week. Students used their Classcraft points to purchase specific items.

There were many games that were set up such as PAC-Man, Connect 4, air hockey, darts, Twister, and ping pong.

The Junior High said, “We are super proud of our kids for their hard work and great behavior.

Another First Place

Teacher Amanda Cason at Riverdale Academy reported another top achievement playing the stock market.  Cason said, “I heard from New York today that Riverdale Academy got first place in our region for the stock market game.”  Riverdale also got first place last year.

“It was no easy task, said Cason.  She said “The stock market was up and down during the entire session. Congratulations Georgia and Emily. I am so proud of you both..”

Oh, the Shame of Zeroing

By Steve Graf

It doesn’t matter how good you think you are or how many tournaments you have won, there will come a time when you just can’t figure the fish out and you come to the scales with nothing. This is the number one fear amongst all anglers who fish in tournaments. Anglers will literally wake up in a cold sweat at night when they have this nightmare. But let’s take a deeper look at the psyche of what goes through an angler’s mind as the day unfolds and they come in with no fish in the live well.

Very few times an angler left the ramp on tournament day because he did not feel good about his game plan. Most anglers usually have a good idea about what and how they’ll catch them on that particular day. But as the day unfolds and the clock is ticking, if an angler does not have fish in the live well by 10:00 AM, at some point he starts to second guess his game plan. He starts thinking (which is usually not a good thing) about how he should have started out deep rather than shallow, how he should have thrown a topwater bait early instead of a worm. Maybe he should have run up the lake instead of staying on the south end or how he should have fished the grass instead of the bushes. But no matter what, pressure starts to build especially when the clock strikes one o’clock with no fish in the box and a weigh-in time of three o’clock. For me, I tell myself, “If I’m going to catch them, I’ve only got two hours to figure them out!”

The next thing you know it’s two o’clock and you still have nothing to show for all the casts you’ve made. It’s at this point most anglers start to panic and start to visualize coming to the weigh-in with a big fat zero. You start to fish too fast and make bad casts, you get hung up more often and have to go and retrieve your bait in places you can’t get to. So, then you end up breaking off whatever bait you’re throwing, with the internal clock in your head moving faster, as you waste even more time looking for another bait and having to re-rig. It’s during these high-pressure times that you backlash a reel so bad that you have to put it away so that you can cut the backlash out when you get home. Then with only minutes to go, you hook the fish of a lifetime, only to watch it come off and swim away right before you get ready to swing it into the boat. A fitting end to a very frustrating day!

Then it’s time to head for the weigh-in and you hope everyone is gone by the time you get there…but that’s never the case. It’s funny how when you have twenty pounds of fish in the live well, no one ever asks how you did. But when you have zero, it seems everyone in the tournament, including their grandma, wants to know what you’ve got. But oh, the shame and embarrassment of having to say, “Zero!” It just doesn’t get any worse than that! So, it’s at this time you head straight for the boat ramp, load your boat, tuck your tail between your legs, pull your cap down low so maybe no one recognizes you, and head home. If you want to see who did not catch fish that day, watch the parking lot at the ramp and see just how fast an angler can load his boat and get out of there.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about the misery of what an angler goes through on those days when he just doesn’t catch them. But the thing that’s great about the end of a tournament is it means there’s an opportunity for redemption at the next event. Forget it and move on because that tournament is over and there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome of that event.  Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Funding, Violence At Juvenile Facilities, And A Leader’s Resignation

The following report from The Center Square indicates the state juvenile justice system has problems at facilities statewide.  Recently the Ware Youth Center north of Coushatta has been in the news amid allegations of mistreatment of youth housed there.  See earlier items published by The Journal.

(The Center Square) – Louisiana’s deputy secretary of youth services has resigned amid struggles with violence and other issues at facilities across the state that youth justice reform advocates have blamed on a lack of funding.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Friday resignation of Deputy Secretary for Youth Services William Sommers, who will be replaced by Office of Juvenile Justice Assistant Secretary Ortha “Curtis” Nelson.

“I am grateful to Bill for his service to our state,” Edwards said. “He joined us during one of the most difficult periods in Louisiana’s history, leading OJJ through the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating natural disasters. Bill has also worked diligently to address the recent challenges within OJJ.”

Editor’s Note:  It was Governor Edwards who ordered an investigation into the Ware Youth Center shortly after the New York Times’ investigative story was published.

Sommers, who has led the agency since 2020, departs amid intense scrutiny of the state’s juvenile justice system, which faced multiple escapes and violent clashes at several facilities this summer. The problems prompted a plan to transfer some high-risk youth to the state’s infamous Angola State Penitentiary, an effort headed by Nelson.

Sommers’ resignation comes just days after he penned a letter with Nelson to state judges last week pleading for help to release some youth from OJJ facilities that are now at capacity.

“In the coming days, OJJ legal division will start filing motions to modify pursuant to LSA – CH. C. Article 898 (B) seeking your approval to modify the dispositions of the use at the agency believe can be safely reintegrated back into the community,” the letter read. “We are seeking the consideration to grant these motions as there are no other ways to remove youth from the local detention centers pending placement unless we, for safely, release those youth who qualify for community-based rehabilitation services.”

The request stemmed in part from youth destroying facilities, but Sommers also highlighted the agency’s struggles with staffing, noting in a March budget hearing that the position of an entry juvenile justice specialist has a turnover rate of 298%.

“We’re faced with a critical staff shortage, the scope of which was never anticipated or imagined,” Sommers said at the time.

Somers recommended changes in facility designs, attracting more hires to fill vacancies, and recruiting a more diverse staff, and he asked lawmakers for additional funding to make it happen. Edwards, the governor, requested a $9 million increase in the OJJ’s $150 million budget this year, which lawmakers obliged.

The OJJ budget peaked at $182.5 million in 2008-09, then faced steep cuts until it bottomed out at $111.3 million by 2013-14. The OJJ budget has slowly rebounded since to $150.3 million in 2021-22.

Many of the issues plaguing OJJ predated Sommers’ tenure, and they’ve contributed to the years-long controversy over how the state approaches juvenile justice. Louisiana officials have for years promised to have a more rehabilitative model for dealing with troubled youth, and Gina Womack, director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, told The Advocate that Sommers’ departure is an opportunity to follow through with creating a gentler system.

“We are not surprised that Sommers has resigned, as the entire youth justice system is a sinking ship in Louisiana and is rife with failure,” she said. “We hope this is an opportunity for the state to shift its approach from a punitive system towards its overdue promise of a therapeutic model, and that shift starts with its leadership.”

Edwards praised Nelson for his dedication to the youth justice system throughout his 30-year career and expressed confidence he’s the right pick to lead the troubled agency moving forward.

“Curtis has decades of experience helping troubled youth and their families,” Edwards said. “He understands the issues and challenges facing our juvenile system, and I’m confident in his leadership and ability to help us address the problems within OJJ and make improvements.”

We Have A Tree!

When Woman Church meets in December there will be a Christmas Tree.  The thank you goes out to Mrs. Ann Anderson.

Woman Church posted, “We had a suggestion by someone that the ladies can bring an ornament the night of Woman Church and  put them on the tree.  If you have one that you would like to donate or let us borrow, it will be greatly appreciated.”

It costs us about $150-$200 to provide meals for Woman Church.  They are seeking an individual or church that would like to sponsor a whole meal or make a monetary donation toward a meal we would appreciate it.

For the December, they will be cooking taco soup.  Plan to join Woman Church for a meal and message at The Shop December 13th.  The message will be presented by the Co-Founder of Woman of Courage, Louisiana, Allie Hammitt.

Students Gather for Camp Culinary

Over the past few days, The Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center was busy hosting the 2nd Annual, 2022 Camp Culinary Program! This state-wide program is a partnership between the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Program and The Family & Consumer Science Department.

27 youth from across the state were in attendance, and we had a blast learning about The History of Cajun & Creole Culinary Cuisine, and campers participated in many engaging lessons featuring topics including food & kitchen safety, safe knife skills, and covered many different culinary techniques, equipment, and concepts.

Dally Bell is one of those attending from Red River parish.  She is learning lots of good cooking skills!

The program was offered during this time of year in order to further prepare youth participants to assist with Holiday meal preparations in the upcoming months, and to advance the retention of our rich Cajun Culinary History.

A very special thanks to our parent volunteers, Camp Staff and our talented instructors: LSU AgCenter Area Nutrition Agents and Formally Trained Chefs Quincy Vidrine & Kimberlyn Jones, along with LSU AgCenter Area Nutrition Agent Breanna Stabb and FCS Regional Coordinator Jennifer Duhon!

ETC… For Friday, November 2, 2022

On Thursday the National Weather Service in Shreveport said, “Locally heavy rainfall Thanksgiving Day through Friday could pose a flood risk across flood prone/poor drainage areas.  Rainfall amounts through Saturday could total 2-4 inches across the Four State Region with isolated higher amounts.

Red River 4-H is having a Pecan Sale.  There are a limited number of Pecans for sale.  Price is $15.00 per pound, available in chocolate, sugared, crunch, plain and roasted.  Call 4-H at 318-932-4342 to check on quantity before coming by office.

Just came across one of my all-time favorite photos in the Journal.  No caption needed!

Community Thanksgiving Service

Several local churches got together for the 2022 Community Thanksgiving Service last Sunday evening.  Worshipers filled First Methodist Church for the 5:00 pm service.

Several local ministers participated in the service including Matt Endris of Fairview Baptist Church, Evangelist David Hanna, and host pastor Rev. Stuart Sherman.  The Thanksgiving message was delivered by Tommy Eason of East Point Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

Special music was Prayer of Thanksgiving sung by the community choir featuring voices for several local churches.  And NSU music student Jack Stanley accompanied the choir on trumpet.

An hour of fellowship and refreshments followed the service.

Over The River And Through The ’Hood, Complaining Away We Go

By Teddy Allen

With the Pilgrims held up as our example, we learned early to “be grateful.”

As they dragged us to various in-laws’ in assorted neighborhoods for turkey and pumpkin pie and secondhand smoke, our parents reminded us that at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 (give or take), the settlers of the New World had it much tougher than we do. They had to eat outside. They didn’t have potatoes over here yet. The yeast rolls didn’t rise. William Bradford forgot to pick up a Marie Callender’s Apple Crumb Cobbler at the store, and the cable went out halfway through the Detroit Lions-Chicago Cardinals football game.

“And they didn’t even complain,” our parents said.

“Bet they got drunk then,” I said.

“No, they most certainly did not!”

The Pilgrims really WERE tough; I would have complained if there’d been no potatoes. Loud and clear. They could have heard me back over in England. 

But to hear our parents testify, no one 40 years ago ever complained about anything, especially on Thanksgiving. When you are spoiled like I am, that is setting the bar sort of high. But hey, I’m old school too and really not much of a complainer – as long as everything goes right. That’s just me.

This week, complaining is a given. This week is about the pre-Thanksgiving misgivings about “where we’re going for Thanksgiving.” Do you know where you’re going yet? Or what you’re bringing? Or the order in which you’re going to whomever’s house when? Are we all on the same page?

It can be dicey.

“Are we going to grandmama’s?”

“Not this year. But we’re not sure. We might.”

“When will we know?”

“I don’t know. Who are you, Dan Rather? We’ll know when we hear from everybody and decide.”

“It’s Tuesday.”

“Then good! Since Thanksgiving is on Thursday, as it usually is, that means we don’t have to know yet.”

“We’re cutting it close.”

“I’ll show you what cutting it close is, mister!”

“I was just asking…”

“Well just quit just asking, mister man. Your grandmother might meet us at Big Aunty’s. We might go there.”

“Not to Big Aunty’s! Big Aunty can’t cook, momma. Big Aunty won’t have nothing even done until supper. We’ll starve.”

“She most certainly will have, and you most certainly will not starve. I’ll make you a pimento cheese to hold you over. We might just all bring different things.”

“What do you mean, ‘we all?’ Who all is coming?”

“Aunt Jean will bring the macaroni and cheese and we’ll bring the bean casserole and…”

“Momma that means Uncle Lester is coming. He’s a professional smoker. We’ll all smell like something burnt. They’ll be ashes in the macaroni.”

“No there will not!”

“There was last year.”

“You’ll think last year if you don’t shut up! Now I mean it!”

“Can we just stay home and make hamburgers?”

“NO! We can be thankful and not complain about gummy rice and ashes in the food and Jello with nuts in it and getting your picture taken. And if I hear one word, ONE MORE WORD….”

Precious memories. And Happy Thanksgiving; I hope you get where you’re going.

(Originally ran Nov. 20, 2009)

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Four Lady Rebel Softball Players Earn All-MAIS Honors

By Molly Seales

This year Riverdale Academy had four players make the All-MAIS softball team. Senior pitcher/first baseman Jessie Kate Cobb made the most of her senior season. In addition to winning 11 games on the mound and her .378 batting average, Cobb had 28 hits, including 2 doubles and 21 RBIs. Sophomore catcher Jadyn King put up impressive numbers as well. Along with her .425 batting average, which included 34 hits, 8 of which were doubles, a triple, and 16 RBIs, King was near perfect in the field. She had an outstanding .980 fielding percentage with only 3 errors behind the plate the entire season.

Freshman slugger Julia Grace Riggs also earned All-MAIS honors. Last year as an 8th grader, Riggs worked her way up to a starting position at 3rd base, where she continued to thrive this year. She had a .312 batting average with 8 doubles, a triple, and a homerun. Riggs also led the team in RBIs with 23. Another freshman, Hanna Catherine Huddleston, had a fabulous year on the diamond. She had a .362 batting average, recording 25 hits, including 5 doubles and 3 triples, which were the most on the team for this year. She also had a .769 fielding percentage with only 6 errors on the year in her centerfield position.

The future looks bright for Lady Rebel softball as three of the four All-MAIS players return next season. Congratulations ladies! The Riverdale family is proud of you all!

Seven Lady Rebels Earn Softball All-District Honors

By Molly Seales

The 2022 softball all-district teams have been announced, and the Riverdale Lady Rebels placed seven players on the team. First team players were senior pitcher/first baseman Jessie Kate Cobb. Cobb was the starting pitcher for most of the games, collecting 11 wins on the mound and recording a .378 batting average her senior season. She also knocked in 21 RBIs.

Sophomore catcher Jadyn King was also a first-team selection. She had a .425 batting average and led the team in doubles with 8. She also racked up 16 RBIs and had a stellar fielding percentage of .980.

Rounding out the first team was senior first baseman/pitcher Emma Clemons, who made the most of her senior season with some impressive numbers. Clemons pitched some crucial quality innings for the Lady Rebels and had 2 saves this season. She batted .294 with 6 doubles, a triple, and 10 RBIs. She had an outstanding .913 fielding percentage and led the team in double plays with 4.

Second team all-district honors went to Freshmen Mary Claire Jones, Hanna Catherine Huddleston and Julia Grace Riggs.  Jones was the leadoff hitter with a .230 batting average. Jones had a double, 2 triples, a homerun, and 19 RBIs from the leadoff position. She also had a fielding percentage of .827.

Huddleston, a center fielder, put up a .362 batting average, 19 RBIs, and led the team in triples with three. Riggs, a 3rdbaseman, had a .312 batting average and led the team in doubles with 8. She also led the team in RBIs, knocking in 23.

Junior Kylie Donald earned all-district honorable mention. She had a .281 batting average with 18 hits, including 5 doubles, and knocking in 18 RBIs.

With 5 of the 7 all-district players returning, expect the Lady Rebels to be back strong for the 2023 season. Riverdale is very proud of all of you!

A Thanksgiving Reflection

By Royal Alexander

As we approach Thanksgiving week it may do us all some good to take a deep breath and realize that although this past year was at times difficult, we have made it.  We have persevered through another year and that is commendable in and of itself.

I always try to remind myself of something I heard years ago (I don’t recall the author) regarding our blessings as Americans. When asked how he was doing, this man replied “well, I was born in America, and I have my health, so I feel like I’ve already won the lottery.”

I thought it was a great response and perspective!

Our recently passed Veterans Day makes me grateful not only for our current military heroes but also for those who were grievously wounded and those 1.1 million American service men and women since the Revolutionary War to the present day who died defending America, placing on the altar of freedom that “last full measure of devotion.”

And for what was this enormous sacrifice made?

For the defense and preservation of the freedoms and liberties we often take for granted.  These fundamental rights include the ability to speak out and peacefully express our opinions—to one another and to our government; to defend ourselves in court when we are accused of a crime; to arm ourselves under the 2nd Amendment so we may protect ourselves and our families against crime—and even, according to our Founders’ intent, from an unjust U.S. government; and to pray and gather as millions of us will do with our loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.

We are thankful that our Declaration of Independence remains the “promise” of America and that through our Constitution, as simple as it is profound, we as a Nation also remain dedicated to the continued “fulfillment of the promise” of America.  The Declaration’s transcendent recognition of both our intrinsic human value and that our rights come not from government but from God: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It’s true America will continue to have to grapple with and solve many challenges that face our country. We will need to overcome the self-inflicted economic pain and international vulnerabilities directly caused by our government’s breathtakingly poor policy choices, along with other struggles.  Yet, I am encouraged at the thought of the tremendous talent and ingenuity of the American entrepreneur and the stunning ability of the free market and free people to adapt to tough times, as we have so many times in American history.

In his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, President George Washington declared:

“…it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor … I recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” (www.mountvernon.org).

Fast forward to 1981 and the first and second Thanksgiving Day addresses by President Reagan who echoed Washington’s beliefs.

In 1981, in his first Thanksgiving Address to the American people, President Reagan, for whom my brother Tom worked in the White House at this time, reminded all Americans that God, not government, is the source of the multitude of national blessings bestowed upon all Americans, and that charity toward one another is engrained upon our national soul.

President Reagan pointed out that “Long before there was a government welfare program, this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character.”

In his second Thanksgiving Day message in 1982, President Reagan said that “I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom.”

This week I hope we are able to unplug from social media and other distractions and reconnect ourselves with our families, our faith, and personally and publicly reaffirm what should be our galactic gratitude for the abundant blessings that all Americans have received from above.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Red River Honor Societies Hold Inductions

Last Thursday the chapters of the National Honor Society at Red River High and Red River Junior High held induction ceremonies for new members.  Both schools issued congratulations to the students inducted.

The National Honor Society ceremony was conducted at Red River High. There were 25 new candidates. Congratulations to Red River High School’s 2022-2023 National Honor Society Inductees.

Also on Thursday, the second class of the Red River Junior High chapter of the National Junior Honor Society was inducted in a ceremony. The Junior High said, “We are so proud of our students and know they will represent all of RRJH well. What an accomplishment. Congratulations.”

Upcoming Master Gardener Class

The LSU AgCenter in Natchitoches will host a Master Gardener Class starting in February. The class will meet on Tuesdays starting February 21st. The cost is $150 which covers all class materials. For more information or to get registration papers, contact Randall Mallette, county agent, at 357-2224. Registration is due to the AgCenter office by January 20th.

This class is great for any level of gardener, including topics ranging from fruits and vegetables to soils, weeds and bugs taught by agents and specialists from across the state. After completing the class, students are invited to join the local Master Gardener Association.

For more information contact Randall Mallette, County Agent, at the local LSU AgCenter Extension Office 318-357-2224. You can also visit us on the web at lsuagcenter.com or at 624 Second St. 

Have You Seen It?

Or maybe you are not supposed to see it!  It is the new “ghost lettered” Coushatta police cruiser.  The special lettering is very hard to see against the white vehicle.  Maybe that is the purpose of it.

Coushatta Police Chief Kevin Stafford told the Journal the town has had the vehicle for about a year.  However, Stafford said the new lettering has only been recently applied.

So be cautious, look before you fudge on a stop sign or try to beat the light.  You never know who might be watching.

Weekly Arrest Report

Report from the Red River Sheriff’s Office for November 11-18, 2022.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Notice of Death – November 23, 2022

Danny R. Guice

September 19, 1954 to November 18, 2022

View full obituary here:


Joyce Council

August 18, 1941 to November 20, 20-22

Services 11:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at Rockett-Nettles Chapel.

The Red River Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $70. The obituary will be included in the emails sent to subscribers and to social media.  Contact your funeral provider or RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com. Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above with no link to the obituary are FREE of charge.)