$100 Weekly contest off and running

The entry blanks were published in the Journal last Friday for the first week of the “High School Pickers” contest.  Simply pick the winners of local and area high school football contest each week and win.  The best picker of the week will be awarded $100 by the Journal.

CLICK HERE to enter the current contest.  Entry deadline is 4:00 p.m. Friday, September 2, 2020.


  1. There will be a new game each week. Entries for that week must be received no later than Friday at 4:00 p.m. CT.  Each weekly contest is complete in itself. 
  2. All entries submitted must be on the official entry form. They must be submitted via the entry method provided at the bottom of the entry form. Any entries submitted in any other manner or form will not be considered.
  3. The DeSoto Pickers Contest is open to residents of DeSoto Parish as verified by driver’s license or other acceptable form of identification.
  4. Must be 18 or older to enter and win.
  5. Winner must have a valid cell phone for notification purposes.
  6. In the event of multiple entries by the same individual, the earliest entry received will be considered. Other subsequent entries will not be considered.  Incomplete entries (missing or incorrect identification, or not all games filled out) may be discarded at management’s discretion.
  7. Contest rules subject to revision and all decisions by management are final.

Enter today, right now while you are thinking about it.  CLICK HERE and you could be the first week’s $100 winner!

Storms relieve burn ban; More on the way

The parish received enough rainfall over the past few days to allow the Police Jury to lift the burn ban that had been put in place earlier this month.  Ernel Jones, president of the DeSoto Parish Police Jury had issued the ban on August 9th due to insufficient rainfall in the area.

On the morning of August 22nd, Jones issued the proclamation rescinding the ban.  Jones said, “After conferring with the Fire Chiefs in the Parish; we have received a significant amount of rainfall that will enable me to cancel the Burn Ban for DeSoto Parish.”

The rainfall this week caused a problem for motorists.  The Sheriff’s Office reported several accidents during heavy rains.  And there were road closures caused by downed trees.  Weather.com has forecast about a 50-50 chance of continued rainfall into next week.

The Police Jury is making sandbags available to the public.  Due to the recent heavy rains and in anticipation of any further weather activity, sandbags are available to DeSoto Parish residents at the Police Jury Road Department. This is located at 424 Liberty Lane in Grand Cane, LA.  Each household will be limited to 20 sandbags.  Identification as a resident of DeSoto Parish will be required as there is a limited number of sandbags available.

For any questions, please reach out to the DeSoto Parish Police Jury for further assistance.

Stanley welcomes Coach Craig

He teaches social studies and coaches baseball.  He is Dayton Craig and he recently joined the faculty at Stanley High.  Craig graduated from SHS in 2016.

He went on to earn a degree from Northwestern State University.  He did his student teaching at Many High and taught there for two years.  Also while at many Craig helped bring home two state championship titles in softball.

At Stanley High, Craig will be an assistant baseball coach.  And he will teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies.

For those broken in the pile

by Teddy Allen

The receiving line stretched from the open casket past the back door and into the lobby where we signed the guest book. 

Even after two days of a houseful of friends, the mom and dad were not close to being hugged-out. I don’t know what else you do when your child, 25, is gone. Suicide. And there’s the open casket, and you’re at church on the business end of the receiving line. 

I guess you keep accepting hugs, and you hold on. 

And you wish you could turn back the clock. 

We all wish we could turn back the clock on some things. I suppose you never wish it more than at a time exactly as this. 

Who has answers? 

And what do you do? One day a brother and son and teammate are quietly neat, efficient, a good-grades maker, a championship junior golfer, and a young believer. But after one semester at school on a golf scholarship, his room looked like the inside of a clothes-washing machine, his grades reflected indifference, his clubs just idle, old toys. A bad crowd, a bad decision, a bad deal. 

He couldn’t leave the stuff alone. The drugs. He’d have good runs, then a trip to the bad side of town. Nothing he did was out of the ordinary for a guy chasing a lie he’s bought into, hook, line, sinker, future, and life. Stories like this more often than not turn out the same way: somebody gets killed in the end. 

He was sweet. He was gentle. He helped the little-boy golfers on the course where the family lived. Polite to everybody. Lots of friends who reflected most of what he had been before The Big Lie knocked, and he’d answered, and invited him in. 

He was talented. Three years ago, he dusted off the golf clubs, practiced a few days, won the city championship, and flashed all the old promise. No big surprise: he was that good. 

But his problem was worse. And a lot bigger than he was. So, it was never a shock when the shadows would come and he’d be gone again until, at age 25, he was gone for good. 

His parents did all they could. Tens of thousands of dollars invested in the last year alone, getting him help. Loving him soft and loving him tough. Hugging him close, giving him space. Praying and hoping. They never lost hope. But for a tiny window of time, their son did. 

It must be a terrible weariness, the one that hits someone just before they call it quits. The moment when all motivation is gone. To some, it comes after a pink slip or a divorce paper or a dream’s death. Desperation blasted with a kind of veiled self-honesty that must say, “Well, this is the only way left. The only thing right. The only way out.” 

A hopeless, frustrated kind of tired and weary. Hope’s not gone, but it’s lost. And if a piece of it isn’t found quickly enough, a receiving line and a shovel and a lot of tears are just around the corner. 

When they found him in his room, his faithful dog Dice, 14, wouldn’t leave him. Dice would have stayed by him forever. Same as everyone else. But a guy at the end must feel as if he’s taking up space, and always will be. Maybe when hope is lost, the whole system breaks down. 

“His whole life, he was good to everybody but himself.” I heard that time and again on the day of the funeral, the day of the open casket, and the hold-tight-to-the-promises preaching. Heard it from people who loved him, from people scared and hurt by so much of what he’d done, people who knew the beautiful boy inside him but never could push the good deep enough in there to change his heart. 

Why do some of us in the dirty pile of broken people believe just enough to dodge the early darkness, and some of us don’t? No answer fits. But I know there’s a pile. This funeral was proof of that. 

In it is the once used and no longer wanted, the never used and never useful, the cracked and the torn and the misshapen. And I know there’s a guy who wants the pile to stay just as it is, a guy who wants us to feel worthless and hopeless and ashamed. 

But I know there’s another guy too, one who wants us to see grace and mercy and feel a conviction to change, a guy gentle and humble in heart, a man who offers rest for the weary and burdened. He champions the underdog. He loves a comeback story. And he majors in solving the problems of people broken in the pile. 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


Senator Milligan reports on the legislative session

There were not a lot of “hot topic” issues in the recent regular session of the Louisiana Legislature.  District 38 Senator Barry Milligan reported to the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce that his focus had been on security bills.

Milligan said, “We passed a package of security bills that focuses on protecting schools, the government and infrastructure.”  He said he worked with the state Superintendent of Education to give teachers a voice in schools.  Milligan noted that the DeSoto Parish School Board has established a council to accomplish this.

During the past year there were special sessions called to deal with redrawing the state’s House and Senate district lines to accommodate shifts in population reflected in the 2020 census.  Milligan said, “I will still work for all of the parish.”  He noted that Mansfield will now be split into two senate districts.  “I am pleased that I still have the bulk of DeSoto Parish,” added Milligan.  He noted that the Governor objected to the districts the legislature enacted, that a district court had agreed with the Governor, and that the state Supreme Court ruled that the districts were OK as drawn by the Legislature.

Milligan summed up the year stating, “I want to be a voice for the people.  My goal is to make this state the best.  I want our kids and grandkids to be able to stay here.”

Student accepts scholarship

Landry Price, a 2022 graduate of North DeSoto High School, has accepted a Freshman Recognition Scholarship to attend South Arkansas Community College this fall.

Price is the daughter of Mary Brooke and Joshua Waylon Palmer of Gloster, Louisiana.  In high school she was a member of the Red Coats, National Honor Society and softball team.

Johnny Allen’s Experience

By Brad Dison

Johnny Allen was born on November 27, 1942, during World War II.  During his teen years, Johnny occasionally got into minor trouble, but nothing too serious.  In 1961, Seattle policemen were investigating a rash of home burglaries in which about $2,500 worth of goods and cash was stolen.  On Tuesday night, May 2, Johnny and three friends were riding around in Seattle having a good time when they were pulled over by a policeman.  Upon speaking with the boys and checking the paperwork on the car, the policeman learned that the car was stolen.  All were arrested.  Johnny and his three friends were transported to the Rainier Vista 4-H Youth Center.  Johnny was a passenger in the car and, with no evidence to prove it was he who stole the car, Johnny was eventually released to his father.  Johnny claimed he had no idea the car was stolen and his father believed him.   

Just three days later, another policeman pulled another car over in Seattle.  Just as before, the policeman learned that the car was stolen.  Just as before, Johnny was a passenger in the stolen car.  All were arrested.  This time, Johnny did not get off so easily.  After spending seven days in Rainier Vista, he was taken to court to face the judge.  The judge considered the fact that Johnny was experienced at being in stolen cars.  The public defender assigned to Johnny’s case put forth a plea bargain to the judge.  The judge suspended Johnny’s two-year sentence provided that he immediately enlists in one of the branches of the military.  Johnny had no desire to join the military, but he had less desire to go to jail.  On May 29, 1961, Johnny joined the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne and left Seattle on a southbound train for Fort Ord, California.

The United States had committed itself to stop the spread of communism in the world.  Just a month prior to James’s arrests, at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the United States covertly financed and directed the Cuban exiles’ invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.  The invasion, part of a larger mission to overthrow Fidel Castro, was an utter disaster.  Tensions between the United States and Cuba grew worse seemingly with each passing day.  Both the United States and the Soviet Union continued testing nuclear weapons despite agreements not to do so.  After the Bay of Pigs, Cuba became allied with the Soviet Union.  With tensions flaring in multiple parts of the world, it seemed likely that Johnny would eventually see military action.

After completing eight weeks of basic training, Johnny was sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the Screaming Eagles Air Assault Division.  From there, Johnny wrote a letter to his father which detailed the challenges he was experiencing: “There’s nothing but physical training and harassment [sic] here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school, that’s when you get hell.  They work you to DEATH, fussing and fighting.”

In January 1962, after eight months and eight days in the Army, Johnny finally earned his 101st Division Screaming Eagles patch.  Johnny, however, was homesick.  He missed his family.  He missed his girlfriend, Betty Jean, and he missed his guitar.  Johnny knew that he could not get a pass to return home to visit and knew they would be unable to visit him.  His guitar was another matter altogether.  He wrote to his father and pleaded for him to send his guitar, a red Danelectro Silverton electric guitar on which he had scrawled the name Betty Jean after his girlfriend, to the Army base as soon as possible.

Johnny seemed to change once his guitar arrived.  His constant strumming annoyed his fellow soldiers.  They derided him for talking to and even sleeping with his guitar.  Eventually, some of the soldiers in his unit hid his guitar.  After begging and pleading with them, the soldiers finally returned Johnny’s prized guitar.  His superior officers in the Army were displeased at Johnny’s performance as a soldier.  He often abandoned his work details to play the guitar.

In February 1962, Army Captain Gilbert Batchman sent Johnny for a physical and psychiatric examination.  Captain Batchman concluded that “Individual is unable to conform to military rules and regulations.  Misses bed checks; sleeps while supposed to be working; unsatisfactory duty performance.  Requires excessive supervision at all times.”  The Army brought up proceedings against Johnny to determine his fate in the military.  Johnny declined counsel and submitted no statements or evidence on his own behalf.  Johnny was ultimately given an honorable discharge from the Army.    

The remainder of Johnny’s short life revolved around guitars and music.  He continued to sleep next to and to talk to his guitar.  On September 18, 1970, Johnny’s girlfriend woke up and found that Johnny was unconscious and unresponsive.  Johnny was dead.  With only four years as a mainstream artist, Johnny became one of the most influential electric guitarists in history, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

In 2019, the post office at 4301 4th Street in Renton Highlands, Washington, which is about a mile from Johnny’s grave, was renamed in Johnny’s honor.  You see, Johnny Allen was the name he was born with but not the name he died with.  Four years after his birth, for reasons that have never been fully explained, Johnny’s parents changed his name to James Marshall.  The post office in Renton Highlands is now known as The James Marshall “Jimi’ Hendrix United States Post Office.  

Source: Steven Roby and Brad Schreiber, Becoming Jimi Hendrix from Southern Crossroads to Psychedelic London, The Untold Story of a Musical Genius (New York: Da Capo Press, 2010), p.9-24.

Happenings at the library

Here are a few activities at your parish library branches. 

Patrick Lewis, a lifelong patron of the Mansfield Main Library, recently donated his book, The Fight of My Life: How to get up after being knocked down to Ms. Doris Ross, Branch Manager. An excerpt from the back cover of Lewis’ book: Lewis is a fighter. He’s a man that has gone through so much in life but by the grace of God has bounced back from things that others would have succumbed to. So many times, he wanted to give up but he chose to continue to fight for his freedom mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lewis is a minister of the Gospel and has an associate degree in Theology and is a licensed Aircraft Technician. He is an entrepreneur and mentor. Through it all, he was able to accomplish his goals and the best is yet to come.

Story time at Stonewall Branch Library is every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The program is for ages 1to 3 years old. Call Miss Bekah at 318-925-9191 for more information.

The Logansport branch said a great group of ladies joined us for Happy Hour.  The group showed off their creativity making solar light holders.  Happy Hour is an adult crafting program held every 3rd Thursday of each month at 1:30.  Join us on September 15 for some creative fun.

Upcoming event at battlefield site

Join living historian John Turner for this unique walk across the Mansfield battlefield. Authentically dressed as a soldier of a unit that participated in the battle, Turner will take guests into the unit’s lines, discussing its actions through the actual words and emotions of the soldiers who were there.

The gear and weaponry carried by Civil War soldiers in the field will also be presented and discussed.

The event will be held September 17th and is an ongoing event beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Mansfield State Historic Site is located on LA Highway 175, three miles south of the town of Mansfield, Louisiana. Admission is $4 per person ages 4-61; seniors 62 and over and children 3 and under are admitted free. For more information call 318.872.1474 locally, or toll-free 888.677.6267.

Attorney General candidate drops by

Lincoln Parish District Attorney John Belton has tossed his hat into the ring for Louisiana Attorney General.  Although the election isn’t until the fall of 2023, Belton is making the rounds to gather support.

Belton spoke briefly to the DeSoto Parish  Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting last week.  Belton told the group that the current AG will run for Governor next year, opening up the office for Belton and others.

He cited his history in office as basis for the promotion to AG.  And Belton stated that he is running to keep the communities in the state safe.  He describes himself as a product of a small south Louisiana town, a young man from a rural community, who credits his family with instilling faith in God and hard work.

The DeSoto Chamber meets for lunch on the third Tuesday of each month.

ETC… For Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The annual board meeting of BackAlley Community Theatre has been rescheduled for Monday September 26th at 5:00 p.m.  It was originally scheduled for this week.

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science will host an Activation Ceremony for the 73rd Demon Battalion beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25 in the Student Union Ballroom. This marks the beginning of the academic year for ROTC cadets and introduces cadets who will have leadership roles in the Battalion.

Burn ban cancelled

The parish wide burn ban has been lifted.  Ernel Jones, president of the DeSoto Parish Police Jury had issued the ban on August 9th due to insufficient rainfall in the area.

On the morning of August 22nd, Jones issued the proclamation rescinding the ban.

Flood Watch is in effect through 7 PM CDT Tuesday evening

Widespread showers and thunderstorms will continue across the area

today and tonight. The rain will likely persist through the

overnight hours. Rainfall may be heavy at times, which could lead to

flash flooding. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches are possible

through tonight.

In addition, a couple of severe storms will be possible across East

Texas and Louisiana south of Interstate 20, mainly this afternoon

through early this evening. Damaging winds will be the primary

threat, but a brief tornado cannot be ruled out.

Here is the text of the Flash Flood Watch:

*WHAT…Flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible.

* WHERE…Portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and northeast Texas,  including the following counties and parishes, in Arkansas,  Columbia, Lafayette, Miller and Union. In Louisiana, Bienville,  Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita,  Red River, Union and Webster. In northeast Texas, Bowie, Camp,  Cass, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur and Wood.

* WHEN…Through Tuesday evening.

* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers,  creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.  Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas.

Weekly Arrest Report

This week’s report covers a date range of August 14 – August 20th of all arrests made by the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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.

DeSoto Parish crash takes one life

On Thursday, August 18, 2022, just before 5:00 p.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop G began investigating a one-vehicle fatality crash on I-49, just north of LA Hwy 175. This crash claimed the life of 54-year-old Tracey Shaver.

The initial investigation revealed a 2013 Ford F-150, driven by Shaver, was traveling north on I-49. For reasons still under investigation, Shaver exited the roadway and struck a bridge railing before overturning and ejecting the passenger from the vehicle.

Both occupants were transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport with life-threatening injuries.  Shaver was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Due to the extent of damage to the vehicle, the restraint use for both occupants is unknown at this time.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

In 2022, Troop G has investigated 23 fatal crashes, resulting in 24 deaths.

Challenge:  Pick the winners

The Journal is challenging our readers to pick the winning teams in high school football.  We will reward the best “Picker” with $100.  Yep a Benjamin!

Each week we will issue a new entry form with ten games of local interest.  There will always be the North DeSoto, Mansfield and Logansport contests.  And the Journal will highlight games of local rivals and district opponents.  Every week, into the playoffs, a new contest and a new winner.  And another Benjamin!

So, let’s get started.  Here is the first entry form.  Deadline for completing it is 4:00 pm on Friday, September 4thCLICK HERE to enter.

School scores are high

By Nicole Tull

The results are in. Even schools are graded, and our very own DeSoto parish schools received high marks. It took many components from everyone involved, including administrator, teachers and students, to make sure our schools are doing the best they can. While the pandemic did offer a hiccup for the lower grades, it did not make a lasting impact.

There are five levels schools are graded on and DeSoto schools were consistent in achieving the top two levels of Mastery and Advanced in their subjects across the board. The highest scores were for English jumping several points from the previous year. The various Math subjects were next with Biology following. As with many schools in Louisiana and other states, there is work yet to be done for Social Studies and History subjects.

Teachers have their own testing, and they are doing great in their areas, too. Teachers are encouraged to know their students and know the content of what they are teaching. They need to create an environment that is safe and enjoyable for learning. Attendance is a big focus for the teachers and students with incentives to encourage both groups to show up. Students can only learn if they are in class, and it helps to have a consistent teacher available.

Another way DeSoto schools are making a difference is with the WIN or Whatever I Need block. There is specific focus on struggling subjects tailored to each student. Also, students needing extra assistance can have an extended day opportunity to learn like they do in class. Finally, students are permitted to take ownership of their learning by teaching other students in a controlled environment. What a great way to realize their learning and aid their fellow classmates.

Mansfield Rotary Club discusses scholarships and fundraisers

By Van Reech

The regularly scheduled meeting Of the Mansfield Rotary Club was on 8/17/22 at the Mansfield Female College Museum Library for lunch.  Club Treasurer, Teri Byrd, discussed scheduling the Club’s annual clay pigeon shoot fundraiser in early spring next year.  Vice-President, Van Reech, presented a proposal to the Club to fund a scholarship or grant to the Northwest Technical Community College here in Mansfield.  The Club agrees that such an action will be a positive move to help a deserving local student at our local institution and a reinforcement of this Rotary Club’s commitment to our area.

Anyone living or working in DeSoto Parish who wants to be part of this service based group and are interested in networking with like-minded people who are leaders in the community please contact Van Reech at reechjr@yahoo.comwith the title “Membership”.  The next meeting will be at the same place and time on 8/31/22.

Another Witch Hunt: FBI Raid on Trump Home is Unprecedented and Unjustified

By Royal Alexander

A law enforcement action like this against a former president has never occurred before.  It will be construed by millions of Americans as Pres. Biden’s desperate deployment of the power of the federal government to damage his likely 2024 opponent who now leads him in national election polls.

This past Monday, the FBI, in an unannounced raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, broke dangerous new ground in the increasing politicization of our government institutions.  Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has stated that he personally approved the raid that reportedly included 30 agents—including SWAT teams—in 20 government vehicles swarming Mar-a-Lago in the Palm Beach darkness. 

As such, he, and Biden—who certainly had prior knowledge of the raid—will squarely bear the cost of this dangerous political gambit.

Let’s look at the larger issue here.

The FBI asserts the raid is related to the alleged mishandling by President Trump of classified documents and/or violations of a federal statute entitled the Presidential Records Act.  However, these types of document disputes between a former president and the feds have occurred before and are virtually always worked out amicably with the former president’s lawyers meeting with federal agency lawyers and agreeing on how to resolve the issue.  At most, a subpoena for such documents could be employed. 

But never this.

You know what really highlights the great partisan dishonesty here? The galactic double standard with respect to Hillary Clinton’s mishandling and destruction of classified information before her 2016 campaign for president: Her wiping of her server and the destruction of her blackberries with hammers.

Yet, she was never prosecuted.

What about the deliberate effort by the FBI to aid Joe Biden by suppressing the Hunter Biden “laptop from hell”—deeming it “foreign disinformation”—even though we later learned that the FBI had been in possession of the laptop for about a year and knew it was credible.

Since the 2020 election, polls have concluded that had the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop not been suppressed, 16 percent of voters who were unaware of the laptop scandal would not have voted for Biden.  This impact was far more than enough to steal the election for Biden in an election where the difference was 44,000 votes in three key swing states.  (This, of course, is aside from the direct election fraud proven by the 2000 Mules documentary).

The laptop makes clear that the Biden Crime Family, including ‘the Big Guy,’ benefitted to the tune of millions of dollars from the Chinese government.  The laptop contained not only details of the corrupt leveraging by Hunter Biden of his family connections with other nations in exchange for multi millions of dollars, but it also directly implicated through emails and voicemails then-presidential candidate, Joe Biden, himself.

Is the FBI really in a strong position to take an unprecedented action of this kind given its recent history—which includes the Russia Collusion Hoax and the literal attempt by the very top leadership at the FBI—Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page—to remove a duly elected president based upon total fabrications that have since been conclusively proven to be categorical lies?

What about the Steele dossier lie, the false and misleading information used to secure FISA warrants in the Carter Page matter, and the fraudulent and hugely distracting two-year, $32 million taxpayer-dollars inquisition by Robert Mueller that yielded nothing?  What about the grossly abusive treatment by the FBI of Gen. Michael Flynn when the agency fabricated a charge, hatched a plan, and created a crime to entrap him?

In short, will Americans overlook all of these examples of our own federal government grossly abusing its own regulations and core due process guarantees in an attempt to protect and favor a given president?

Scott McKay, publisher of The Hayride, has stated: “There are no documents at Mar-A-Lago worth staging an FBI raid on a former president’s home. That’s the kind of provocative move that can start a civil war.”

No one seeks that, of course, but if the national Left thinks the American people are going to continue tolerating the flagrant abuse of Donald Trump by our federal government agencies it is mistaken.

What many Americans justifiably fear is that if someone as wealthy, powerful and influential as President Trump can be attacked so dishonestly by our own government, no American is safe from the heel of the boot of an out-of-control federal government.

A new chamber member

The DeSoto Parish Chamber of Commerce is celebrating their

newest member.  He is Robby Latham with Robby Latham State Farm.

Latham was introduced at chamber meet this week. Also at the August meeting the chamber reported on a successful membership drive recently.  Several businesses and individuals are interested in the work of the chamber in promoting the parish.

Pelican library conducts Lego Challenge

The Pelican Branch of the DeSoto Parish Library reports youngsters had so much fun during our Lego Challenge STEM program. Activities included building the tallest tower, a musical instrument that made sound, and a boat that actually floated in water.

The most difficult challenge appeared to be building a house while blindfolded. The library reported, “These guys did an excellent job. And their little sister got in on the action as well.”

Check the Pelican branch library on social media and be on the lookout for the next STEM Challenge.

The Good Ole Days

By Steve Graf

As a kid who was raised in the outdoors of East Texas, my days growing up in Mt. Pleasant were filled with fun, fishing, hunting, and work. A water hose was more than something you watered the garden with; it was a survival tool while we played outside all day. You had freedom as a kid as long as you made it home before the streetlights came on. We were up at sunrise and hated sunsets. Our childhood was spent outside and not inside the house. We lived in the great outdoors and found many ways to entertain ourselves. Today, we’ll go back in time and take a good look at what it was like growing up in the late 60s and early 70s…the good ole days. 

Kids of my generation were made and told to get outside and play…and play we did! We played in the ditches, streets, and creeks. We climbed trees for fun and ran barefoot and shirtless daily. Sunscreen did not exist, and we cut the grass barefoot until a parent caught us and made us put on shoes. Our main form of transportation was a bicycle, and we rode our bikes five to ten miles daily. We raced, jump ditches, and ended most of our days by riding our bikes behind the city mosquito fogging truck at dusk as it made its way through town. It’s a miracle we did not die from lung cancer or get run over by a car.

We met at the city swimming pool at least twice a week hoping to get a glimpse of the high school girls sunning and putting on tanning oil. We challenged ourselves to go off the high dive and survive! We peed in the pool because it was convenient while looking around to make sure no one saw us. We played piggyback wars in the water and dove for money at the bottom of the pool. But no one wore a bathing suit…we wore cut-off jeans which I believe are banned at pools today.

Every afternoon we sat under a shade tree listening for the music coming from the ice cream truck as it came within hearing distance. Then we raced into our houses and begged for money and quickly ran back outside just in time to stop the ice cream truck before he got out of sight. We were so out of breath that we could hardly order what we wanted. Some days under that shade tree, we ate watermelon that had been put on ice earlier in the day. But a watermelon feast was not complete without a seed spitting contest, which I excelled at! Just another talent God blessed me with! We made homemade ice cream by turning the handle on a wooden bucket.  Yes, it was hard work, but the reward was worth it!

I learned to hunt at the age of 8 by hunting squirrels with my best friend (Kevin) and his dad, who I called Uncle Tracy. Not really related, but for some reason, I always called Kevin’s mom, Aunt Nancy, and his dad, Uncle Tracy. Uncle Tracy was a great squirrel hunter and taught us how to do it the right way. He took the time to not only take us hunting but teach us gun safety as well. He taught us how to stalk squirrels while keeping an eye out for snakes. There were days when Uncle Tracy would go by himself, and I believe it was so he could get his limit. Due to our inability to stalk quietly, Uncle Tracy gave us nicknames…lead foot and stumblebum. Not sure who was which, but I’m pretty sure the names were fitting.

Uncle Tracy was a great teacher as he taught us how to be patient and take a good shot. I learned to shoot with a single shot 410 and I think that’s why I became pretty good with a shotgun later in life.  My idea of duck hunting was sneaking up behind the dam on our stock ponds at our ranch and shooting ducks while they were sitting on the water. The problem was after I shot them, I had to wait for the wind to blow the ducks closer to shore so I could retrieve them. But one thing was for certain, I never left behind a single duck no matter how long it took for them to drift to the shore. A good hunter doesn’t condone wanton waste.

Next week, I’ll go into more detail about my youth and how my generation was shaped by the time we spent in the great outdoors. Till then, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

SWEPCO to help with high bill concerns

Southwestern Electric Power Co. in a news release announced new measures to help residential customers facing high bills due to increased demand and rising fuel costs.

All SWEPCO residential customers can get their late fees waived and take advantage of an extended payment plan that gives them up to 12 months to pay their bill in full. In some cases, deposits can also be waived. These are similar programs offered during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand customers are concerned about the rising cost of electricity across our region as we have experienced record-breaking heat this summer coupled with rising fuel costs,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and Chief Operating Officer. “We want to give customers every opportunity to keep their electric service connected at home. These new measures will allow customers the ability to continue paying toward their electric bill while giving them peace of mind knowing they will remain connected to their service.”

Residential customers wishing to get late fees and deposits waived must call 1-888-216-3523 to speak with a SWEPCO representative who can also help set them up on an extended payment plan.