Health Fair is Thursday

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The annual Community health fair is coming next Thursday. The Red River Council on Aging urges everyone to come by and get your blood pressure checked. The information is free. There will be a small charge for blood work.

Vendors include home health, Christus Coushatta Health Care Center, rehab centers, LaChip, Acadian On Call, hospice, medical technology, among others. The MLK Health Center’s dietitian will be offering obesity counseling and they will be performing B.M.I. tests.

Christus Coushatta Health Care Center will offer blood tests including a Lipid Profile including cholesterol and the Comprehensive Profile that includes sodium, potassium, protein and other components of your blood. There is a modest charge for the blood work.

Get information on staying healthy Thursday April 26th at the Community Health Fair. The location is the Council on Aging 1824 Front Street. Hours are 8:30 am until noon.

Property Owners Ask For Help With Roads

RRPJ-Pox Jury Road Update-18Apr20

Tommy and Carolyn Ashworth came before the Red River Parish Police Jury this month to ask for help with Owens Road, which runs by their property. They live north of Hall Summit.

Several of the problems with Owens Road outlined by Tommy Ashworth include culverts that were not put in, the material used in road repair, ditches that have not been cleaned out, and a large hole that holds water all of the time. Ashworth said the situation is made worse by traffic from natural gas exploration in the area.

Ashworth said, “I hate to see the police jury put SP 2 or something onto the roads that will just be washed away. That is a waste of the taxpayer’s money.” And Ashworth added, “I think the gas exploration companies should share the cost of damage repair.”

Then Ashworth volunteered to help. He asked, “What is your policy on individuals doing work to clean out a ditch or do other work? Do I need a permit? Do I need to get permission ahead of time.”

Jury President Shawn Beard promised workers would be out to assess the situation. Beard said, “Everything you mentioned is being addressed as we speak. I can’t think of anything that is not being worked on right now.” Beard added, “We are looking at the best way to solve it, the most economical way to fix the road.

That lead into a discussion of the ordinance the police jury is drawing up to require companies who damage roads to fix them. Beard gave members of the jury the draft of ordinances under consideration. “Take these ordinances home and read over to make sure we have everything in here we want,” Beard told jurors, adding “I think this is a pretty good solution to everything we have been talking about.”

The police jury will consider adoption of the ordinances at the May meeting. The jury will meet May 7th at 6:00 pm. The meeting is held on the third floor of the courthouse and is open to the public.

Crusade Starts April 29th

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It’s time for the second annual Red River Crusade organized by the Red River Baptist Association. There will be a special kick-off service on Sunday and nightly meetings Monday through Saturday.

The kick off will be Sunday April 29th at 6:00 pm. It will be held at First Baptist Church in Coushatta.

The rest of the week will take place at the Fairgrounds. Each evening there will be a free hamburger supper at 6:00 pm. Revival services begin at 6:30. The Evangelist is Sam Moore. Music is by WeRCalled. And there will be a special youth night on Wednesday May 2nd.

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School Board Getting Out of Daycare

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The Jeannette Lawson Family Center is not fulfilling the mission for which it was established. School Superintendent Alison Hughes told the board it has now transitioned to a public daycare. Hughes and Finance Director David Jones presented details of the operations and showed that the center lost over a million dollars over the last few years. Hughes questioned the legitimacy of the school board running a daycare.

Hughes explained that the program was originally established as Even Start, funded by the general fund. It was a service to school employees and high school students with babies, not for the general public. At present the center is a public daycare with few school employees children and no high school student’s children.

The proposal outlined by Hughes is to discontinue the day care at the Lawson Center. The three-year-old program would be moved to Red River Elementary School. It would become a learning program to get kids ready for pre-K. Dr. Diane Newton reported that she has talked with Bienville Parish about their three-year-old program. She said, “They said it had made such a difference in the kids. They said it is the best thing ever. It will be a plus for our three year olds.”

Board member Valerie Cox asked, “What will happen to the staff at the Lawson Center?” Hughes responded, “Everyone keeps a job. Mrs. Edna Webb (currently the director) is a certified teacher and will continue to work with three year olds. The janitorial staff will probably go to the elementary school. No one will go without a position.” Webb told The Journal her only regret is that she will no longer be working with infants and young babies.

Other factors in the decision to change the program included the physical condition of the current Lawson Center building. It is in need of repair and is on the list of structures to be demolished this summer. That building was the black high school (Springville High School) building in the early part of the 20th century prior to integration.

Sheriff Warns of New Scam

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In efforts to protect personal identities and reduce medical and financial fraud, social security numbers are being removed from Medicare cards and replaced with random 11-character Medicare numbers. Beginning in June, FREE replacement cards will be mailed to current Medicare recipients. Cards are already being mailed to other parts of the US.

As usual, scammers are one step ahead of the game and are already trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people. In fact, an unsuccessful attempt to gain a local citizen’s personal information occurred within the past week in our community.
When dealing with this or any scam, Sheriff Edwards recommends the following:
Do not trust your caller ID. The name that shows on the ID may not actually be the person who is calling.

Do not provide personal information such as social security numbers and banking information over the phone.

Do your homework. Research things on-line or using other credible resources before you act.

Do not agree to and/or send monetary payments until the source is verified.

Sign up for free scam alerts at

Additional information concerning the Medicare card change and ways to deal with potential scams can be found in the attached news article from

Please share this information with friends and family members who may be unaware of the Medicare card changes and related scams.

ETC… for April 20th


The levels of Red River are receding and that has allowed the Red River Waterway Commission to reopen the boat launch at Coushatta. Most of the other launches on the river have also been reopened.

Mark your calendar for May 14th. That is the next Food For Seniors distribution date. Food boxes will be available at the Council on Aging on Front Street.

The Journal received word from the Department of Transportation that they have reopened the bridge over Flat River. The bridge near Taylortown (up US 71 toward Bossier City) on LA 527 had been closed for pillar repair.

Looking for something to do next Tuesday? Do you love great music? The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Chorus will perform Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10. The program will be Mozart’s “Magic Flute” performed by the Chamber Orchestra, Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major,” “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure featuring the Symphony Chorus with Rorex or organ and “Husitzka” by Antonin Dvorak.

Combating High STI Rates

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Red River High School is working to educate students about the high incident of Sexually Transmitted Infections. Red River Parish and Northwest Louisiana are areas of very high incident of STIs.

On Tuesday, all high school students were given the opportunity of hearing from the state Department of Health and the Red River Parish Health Unit. Groups of students went to the school auditorium for a presentation of the facts about disease prevention. There were four sessions during the day for 9th and 10th grade students and for 11th and 12th graders. There were separate sessions for girls and boys.

Iberia Watley of the Office of Public Health made the presentation. Yashica Turner of the Health Unit assisted her. Turner told The Journal the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections is very high in Northwest Louisiana. She said, “High school students don’t know the facts. They are not protecting themselves.”

Watley stressed that they were not offering sex education. They offered disease awareness and prevention. Watley’s presentation included the fact that Red River Parish is third in northwest Louisiana in Gonorrhea and forth in Chlamydia. Also present are syphilis and HIV. “Our rates in northwest Louisiana are still very high,” added Watley.

The Red River Parish School Board approved the program several months ago. Parents were given notice of the instructional sessions and had an opportunity to “opt out” their children.

April is STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) Awareness Month nationwide. And the timing of the sessions on Tuesday is especially critical because Friday is Prom Night for Red River High.

Red River Athletes Take Part in Special Olympics

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Ninety athletes from Red River and surrounding parishes competed in the Louisiana Special Olympics Red River Area Athletics Meet hosted by Northwestern State University Tuesday. Competitors, who ranged in age from children to adults, participated in a variety of track and field events that began with a torch run to open the ceremonies.

Ceremonies began with a torch run and the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” NSU’s President’s Leadership Program adopted the Special Olympics three years ago as a community impact project and enlisted help from NSU students and staff, Natchitoches Central High School and St. Mary’s School to host the games.

Ready to Learn About CASA: Awareness Social set for April 19

CASA Awareness Social


Have you been hearing the word CASA recently? Do you know a CASA? Would you like to know more about how you can help CASA? Well, now you have the perfect chance! The Annual “CASA AWARENESS SOCIAL” is scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Natchitoches.

Once a year, CASA of Central Louisiana presents a powerful program filled with a celebration of success stories, a silent auction, great food and fun and this year is even better – it has two former foster youth miracles telling their stories for all to hear!

The mission of CASA of Central Louisiana is to ensure that every child in foster care in Natchitoches, Red River and Sabine Parishes finds safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive as quickly as possible. CASA of Central Louisiana is a nonprofit organization created so the children in these parishes have a voice in court by educating and training competent Volunteer Advocates to appear on their behalf. CASA volunteers are the voice for abused and neglected children. The work is simply life changing for all involved!

Come join CASA on April 19 from 6-9 pm and learn about the organization. You will be moved and motivated to help once you hear from former CASA kids, advocates, legal representatives all while eating and sharing fellowship with a wonderful group of volunteers!

For more information about the event, call 318-238-2446. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Visit CASA online at or Text 2Help to 21000.

Help a child in need — When you give, you give an abused child a voice!


School Employee of the Month

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It was a surprise for Ross Gamble when he was presented an award as the Employee of the Month. The award is presented monthly by the school board’s insurance agency.

Gamble is a counselor at Springville Education Center and his Principal, Jacqueline Daniels nominated him for the award. In her nomination statement, Daniels said, “He works closely with our other school counselors, social workers, juvenile advocates and officials to coordinate solutions and options for our students’ needs.”

Daniels said Gamble deserved the recognition because “parents feel welcome talking to him. He works with some of our more challenging Red River students in DAP and Expulsion to offer them new strategies to solve conflicts and problems.” Daniels added, “Students feel comfortable and safe in talking with him.”

A plaque and goodie bag was presented to Gamble by Rodney Taylor, Jr. of the board’s insurance agent. Each month an employee of the school system is recognized for their outstanding work and job performance.