Olan Dean Garrett

Dean was born July 9, 1932, in Pelican, Louisiana, to Thomas Charles Garrett and Esther Mae Hight Garrett and God called him home on Sunday, December 25, 2022, in Mansfield, Louisiana

Dean was a lifetime resident of the Lula Community in Desoto Parish. He was a very hard worker and began his first paying job at the age of 14 as a Cowboy, rounding up and penning cows and bulls for cattle companies with his horse Dan and his dogs. Later he started working at the Mansfield Auction Barn as a foreman, a job that he loved. He also broke and trained horses for himself and the public.

He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Dean taught himself to weld at a very young age which landed him a welding job at Nabors Trailers in Mansfield. Years later he worked overseas as a welder on drilling rigs in the North Sea, Brazil, Holland, and Scotland for Penrod Drilling Company. He operated heavy equipment, did dozer work clearing land, and worked on the expansion project of Hwy 171. Dean worked for the DeSoto Parish Police Jury for 32 years and retired at the age of 85.

Dean absolutely loved deer and fox hunting with his dogs. He also enjoyed participating in Field Trials with his fox hounds and won numerous trophies. Dean also had a passion for raising a garden and loved giving it away to family and friends, raising cows, chickens, and horses, but the thing he loved and enjoyed most was spending time with his grandchildren.

Dean is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Charles Garrett and Esther Mae Hight Garrett Rascoe; son, Danny Dean Garrett; grandson, Corey Dean Roberts; great-granddaughter, Katelyn Garrett; brother, Thomas Charles Garrett, Jr.; and sisters, Mary Boyt and Edith McElroy.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 70 years, Betty Jean Tarkington Garrett; children, Carolyn Roberts Calhoun and husband, Larry, Ronald Garrett and wife, Brenda, Charlie Garrett and wife, Donna, Freda Smith and husband, Randy; grandchildren, Bridgette, Shane, Jason, Cara, Justin, Brandon, Hunter, Danny, James, Josh, Deziray, Dalton, Shelby, Morgan, Matt, Chase, Ashley, and Veronica, numerous great-grandchildren and his loving sister Missy Carroll.

Honoring Dean as pallbearers will be Larry Calhoun, Randy Smith, Vic Garrett, Rodney Rascoe, Ronnie Latham, and G.W. Hatcher.  Honorary pallbearers will be Don English, Bob Hight, and Chal Rascoe.

Funeral services celebrating the life of Olan Dean Garrett will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at Old Union Baptist Church, Benson, Louisiana. Reverend Delman Rogers and Reverend Alton Middleton will be officiating the service. Burial will follow at Old Union Cemetery, Benson, Louisiana.  A visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at the church from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service.

Water Shortage Update December 26

From Mayor Thomas Jones

We have just gotten an update from our water plant operator and water treatment supervisors that we are still pumping water to the system but had a pump to go down earlier at the treatment facility. During that time, we lost the level in our elevated tanks, which lowered our water capacity and pressure significantly. All pumps are currently pumping, and water flow is at its maximum.

The goal is to get the elevated tanks at a level today that will give the system enough pressure to get water to all of our customers.

As you spend Christmas with Family and Friends, I ask for your continued patient as our city employees work to get everything back to normal for all our water customers.

God Bless!!

Waterworks District 1

Update Christmas Day

Sorry to report that we have lost pressure over the entire system due to customer leaks and dripping faucets.  We will restore pressure as soon as possible when we can get water back into tanks.  Please check around your house for water in strange places.  Help us help you.  Everyone will be under a “boil advisory” until further notice.  You do not “have” to boil your water; this is only a notice of low pressure and that contaminants could have entered the system.  We have not had a line break.  This applies to customers of Waterworks District #1. 

South Desoto Water System

Issued 2 days ago.

At this time we are requesting that you check all water lines and cut off at the meter if needed. The water tanks are losing water quickly. We believe this is due to home pipes breaking. If our employees have to cut meters off, you will be locked out until the leak is fixed.

Water Shortage Closes Parish Offices

From Parish Administrator, Michael Norton:

“Due to water issues related to the recent winter event, the DeSoto Parish Police Jury’s main office, Office of Community Services, the Courthouse in Mansfield, the Clerk’s office, the District Attorney’s office and other jury facilities located in the immediate area of Mansfield will be closed tomorrow Tuesday 12/27/22.

The Mundy landfill, the Road Department, the Animal Shelter and the Rusty Williams Airport have running water so they will not be closed. We anticipate returning to our regular hours on Wednesday 12/28/22.”

Hard Freeze Warning Tonight

A Hard Freeze Warning is in effect for all of the Four State Region from 7 pm tonight through 10 am Sunday, as another night of prolonged subfreezing temperatures are expected. Look for temperatures to fall into the mid and upper teens areawide.

Here is the latest Mansfield forecast from the National Weather Service:

Tonight – Mostly clear, with a low around 18. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph.

Christmas Day – Sunny, with a high near 44. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph.

Sunday Night – Mostly clear, with a low around 25. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the evening.

Water Shortages


December 24, 2022 at 4:58:27 PM CST

The Sheriff’s office received updates from several water systems across the Parish. Generally, all water systems are in working order but can’t keep up with demand.

As the temperatures have risen above freezing today lines that were broken are beginning to leak at residences. That issue is compounded by those who are still dripping their water.

Water Systems are asking that if you have a leak to cut your water off at the meter. Several systems are being forced to shut off customer supply until holding tanks can refill. To sum it up, the system is bleeding out at the customer’s end.

Service restoration time is difficult to pinpoint as that requires customers to reduce the drain on the system.

This information was provided to our office to share with the public. Any concerns or questions should be directed to your utility provider.

A Holiday Message

From Clay J. Corley, Superintendent of Schools

As we step away for a few weeks to celebrate the holidays, I want to thank each of you for what you do for our school system, more importantly, what you do for the DeSoto Parish Schools Community. We truly live and work in a great community – there are few places left in this world where the values of family, faith, education, and community are held in high regard.

Once again, our students and staff distinguished themselves in the classroom, as evidenced by our “A” rating and #6 state ranking. But just as important, so many of our students participated in plays and performances, volunteered at local nursing homes and other community events, and gave back to the community in many different ways. This is what makes our community so great – helping neighbors in need and giving back to those who are less fortunate. What makes it even more genuine is the look of pride on the faces of our students as they volunteer or perform on stage in front of their classmates, parents, grandparents, and friends. We truly live in a great community. Each day, you see people throughout the parish and the school district giving back to the community and going above and beyond to help those in need.

The mission of DeSoto Parish Schools is to care for our students, ensure their learning, and celebrate their graduation as citizens prepared to transform their dreams into realities. Though student achievement plays a primary role in fulfilling this mission, community service is also important. We must continue to think more about others and less about ourselves. The more we focus on the greater good and less about ourselves, the stronger we become collectively. With so much tragedy happening around the world, it is the perfect year to think about helping others. As we look to 2023, let’s work together even more and make our community even better, stronger and greater.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Superintendent. Serving alongside each of you continues to be the honor and privilege of my life. On behalf of our School Board and the entire DeSoto Parish Schools family, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please have a safe and relaxing holiday break. I look forward to seeing you in 2023.

Weather Update for Friday

We’re waking up this morning to the coldest day of the year.  Overnight low forecast by the National Weather Service for Mansfield was 13 degrees with a wind chill of -3.

A Hard Freeze Watch is in effect from through noon on Saturday. The coldest air of the season is forecast during this timeframe with bitterly cold temperatures and even colder wind chills.

A Wind Chill Watch is in effect for the entire region through Friday morning. Wind chill values will drop near to below zero behind an Arctic cold front as gusty northwest winds combine with cold temperatures in the single digits to lower teens to produce dangerously cold wind chills.

The local Mansfield forecast from the weather service:

Overnight – Mostly clear, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as -3. North wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.

Friday – Mostly sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -2. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Friday Night – Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. Wind chill values as low as 9. North wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Saturday – Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday Night – Partly cloudy, with a low around 21.

Christmas Day – Sunny, with a high near 41.

Sunday Night – Mostly clear, with a low around 25.

Cold Weather Tips

Southwestern Electric Power Co. urged customers to be prepared for a potential extreme winter weather event. Forecasts predict dangerous, below-freezing temperatures, high winds and some wintry precipitation across Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. These factors can stress the electric grid and cause utility problems. SWEPCO personnel are prepared if power outages occur and are asking customers to do the same by following these tips.

Plan ahead

  • Develop a plan for you and your family. Decide now what you’ll do if there’s an extended power outage.
  • If you or a family member relies on uninterrupted electric service for health reasons, make a plan now in case there are extended outages.
  • Gather an emergency outage kit that includes a portable heater. Review and follow safety specifications before using.
  • Make sure your contact information – including your cell number – is current with family, friends and others.
  • Learn more about making an emergency kit and get other preparedness tips at SWEPCO.com/Outages/StormPrep

Stay connected

  • Charge power banks ahead of time to help keep your cell phones charged.
  • Report outages and check power restoration status at SWEPCO.com/Outages
  • Download the SWEPCO mobile app for quick access to outage information: SWEPCO.com/App.
  • Sign up to get SWEPCO alerts: SWEPCO.com/Alerts.
  • Follow SWEPCO on social media.

Be safe

  • Treat all downed lines as dangerous — they can carry an electric current that can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If you see a fallen wire, stay away and keep others away, including children and pets. Call SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919 or 911 immediately.
  • Always use caution with any alternate sources of lighting, cooking, cooling or heating. Never operate lanterns, heaters, generators, fuel-fired stoves or burn charcoal without proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  • If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your home’s main electrical panel. This can “back-feed” electricity into outside utility lines, creating the danger of electrocution for repair crews and the public. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions, and only plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
  • Be careful when driving or walking near all utility work zones.

Christmas Couple Visit School

By LaBetha Casey

Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand at North DeSoto Upper Elementary School on Thursday, December 15, to help give approximately 767 students a big sendoff for the Christmas holiday season.  While Santa was in the upstairs hallway entertaining by  telling Christmas stories, showing magic tricks and having his picture taken with the students, Mrs. Claus was in the library reading Christmas books and singing Christmas songs for some of the other students.  The students also rotated downstairs to make some Christmas crafts with the art teacher.

Santa fielded several interesting questions from the students, such as,” Who is your favorite reindeer?”  and “How old are you?”  Mrs. Claus was asked other questions such as, “What do you feed the reindeer,?” “How did you get here?” and  “Are you real?” Another question was “Do you know Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer?” and the student was meaning the reindeer and not the song.

The theme for the second graders was Polar Express.  Their wing of the school building was decorated like a train and had a conductor taking tickets, etc. The third graders had Cajun Christmas for their theme.  The area of their classes was decorated like swamps and cabins, and they had a feast with jambalaya, meat pies and King Cake.  Fourth grade students’ theme was Christmas in Whoville with the Grinch, and the fifth grade celebration theme was Elf and New York City.

Students will return to their classes on January 5, 2023, to begin their spring semester.


The Best Barber of Canonsburg

By Brad Dison

In 1910, Pietro and Lucia and their six children emigrated from a small town in Italy to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania where Pietro earned meager wages as a millhand.  Two years after their arrival, they added their seventh child, Ronald, to their ever-growing family which eventually totaled thirteen children.  Ronald was the seventh son of a seventh son and the first of the children to be born in America.  Ronald’s family spoke Italian at home and Ronald only began to learn English when he entered elementary school, although he had picked up a few words here and there.

In 1922 or 23, sources vary on the exact year, Ronald began working in Steve Fragapane’s barbershop to earn extra money for the family.  At the barbershop, he built and tended to the fire in the fireplace and swept up hair clippings from the floor.  Ronald quickly learned that he could make more money if he were to become a barber himself, so he watched Steve and the other barbers closely.  He convinced the barbers to let him try his hand at taking a few snips here and there off of the customers.  Their confidence in Ronald grew quickly because he had a steady hand, a good eye, and he showed no outward appearance of nervousness, if it existed at all.  Ronald was always calm and cool.  Eventually, he began learning how to cut hair in all the popular styles and how to give a good, clean shave although, at his young age, he had not begun shaving himself.

Within 3 years, by the young age of 13, Ronald earned his own chair at Steve’s barbershop.  In 1926, Ronald’s father became unable to work due to a severe heart condition.  It became the responsibility of Ronald and his brothers to earn enough money for the family’s survival.

Ronald never complained and often sang the popular tunes of the day while giving a shave or a haircut, much to the delight of his customers.  Within a year, Ronald had more customers than his single chair in Fragapane’s shop could accommodate.  At the young age of 14, when most children his age were busy being children, Ronald opened his own barbershop where he employed two helpers.  On weekdays, he worked after school until midnight.  He worked longer hours on the weekend.  Ronald’s ambition was to become the best barber of Canonsburg, and he was well on his way.

It certainly seemed as if Ronald’s path in life was set.  In 1933, Ronald and some friends went to the Silver Slipper Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio, to see Freddy Carlone and his orchestra perform.  During the show, Carlone invited people from the audience to sing with his band.  Ronald’s friends urged him onto the stage.  Most of the people from the audience who sang with Carlone’s orchestra had more faith in themselves than they had talent, except for Ronald.  Carlone was so impressed with Ronald’s singing, his casual movements while he sang, and his general coolness, that he offered him a job.  He made more money as a barber than Carlone had offered to pay, but, with the reassurance of his father that he could always return to barbering, he joined the band.  

The chance performance at the Silver Slipper Ballroom set into motion an unexpected career change for Ronald, a career which lasted the remainder of his life, a career in which he sold millions of records, acted in numerous Hollywood pictures, hosted numerous radio and television variety shows, and hosted yearly Christmas shows from 1948 until 1994.  Rather than being known as the best barber in Canonsburg, as he originally wanted, he became known as the best ex-barber in the world.   In 1955, Franklin Avenue, the street where Ronald was born and grew up, was renamed in his honor.  In the 1960s, Ronald became the highest-paid performer in the history of television to that date.  You may recognize some of his songs such as “Till the End of Time”, “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes”, and “Catch a Falling Star.”  Nowadays, he is mostly associated with Christmas due to his recordings of Christmas songs.  In 1954, Ronald introduced a Christmas song in which he mentioned his home state.  He sang, “From Pennsylvania folks are traveling down to Dixie’s sunny shore, from Atlantic to Pacific gee the traffic is terrific.”  The song was “Home for the Holidays.”  Ronald’s full name was …Pierino Ronald “Perry” Como.

Merry Christmas!!!


  1. Star-Gazette, November 27, 1955, p.44.
  2. Albuquerque Journal, December 13, 1980, p.19.
  3. Tyler Morning Telegraph, August 1, 1983, p.11.

Sheriff’s Captain Retires

Sheriff Jayson Richardson would like to announce the retirement of Captain Dean Register from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office.  Parties have been held, tears have been shed, and Dean and his family are looking forward to a bright future with a little less stress!  Goodbye tension, hello Pension!

Dean began his career very early in life.  At 15 years old while still in school, it was Mr. M.C. “Buster” Thomas that asked him “What are you currently doing to make your community better?”  Dean took those words to heart and joined the Logansport Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, and even worked as a Reserve for the Logansport Police Department all by the time he turned 18 years old.  One night while working EMS he received a call that a young man had been shot in a terrible accident, and Dean ended up by the boys side as he passed away.  The incident had a major impact on his life, and his future as it would turn out.  He made a commitment that night to himself and God that he would do everything in his power to help the youth of our community.  Dean would later become a Reserve Deputy for the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office in 1988 at 21 years old, but it wasn’t until 1994 that he accepted a full time position at the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office in the Detention Center as a jailer.  By 1996 he had moved into position as a Court Baliff, and his personal commitment really became a reality after graduating the D.A.R.E. Academy in 1998.  Dean would continue being the Parish’s well known D.A.R.E. officer for 24 years, known to most as “Deputy Dean” even as he moved up in rank.  He continued to serve in D.A.R.E. while also working as a Sergeant over the Baliffs, Lieutenant over Special Services, and eventually retiring as the Captain over Special Services.  He has worked under four DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s including: Frenchie Lambert, Hugh Bennett, Rodney Arbuckle, and current Sheriff, Jayson Richardson.  We had the opportunity to sit down with Dean today and hear stories that spanned over 35+ years working in public service to the Parish.  We asked several questions, and the following were his departing words:

Q:  Who do you take after the most, your mother or father?

A:  I think I take after both, really.  My mother had a very caring heart, especially for others.  And my father loved telling jokes and pulling pranks all the time.  I can’t say I take after one more than the other, just a little bit of both.

Q:  Who is someone in your life that you have learned the most from?

A:  Retired Deputy Carl Wilkinson probably had the largest impact on my life when it comes to work ethic.  He was also a DARE officer for Caddo Sheriff’s Office.  Rev. Arthur Washington and Rev. Don Scott were my biggest mentors in life when it came to faith and ministry.  They taught me how to love all of God’s people, and be a good servant.

Q:  What is a skill you possess that has nothing to do with your job?

A:  I enjoy fishing and hunting just like the next guy, but lately I’ve really taken up a passion of restoring old pedal cars.  I’ve also gotten into collecting and restoring cast iron skillets of all kinds.  It’s something that may not be too common, but I’ve enjoyed it.

Q:  What have you enjoyed the most from your years of service:

A:  The students.  Having an opportunity to teach, mentor, and minister to so many in our area, both on and off the job has been the biggest blessing.

Q:  What is the key to a happy life?

A:  Live, Laugh, & Love.  As cliche as it may sound, it’s still true.  Have a good personal relationship with God, and a family that shares in your faith as well.  This will keep the joy alive in your life.

Q:  What do you appreciate most about DeSoto Parish (the community)?

A:  From my time here, from what I’ve seen, I think it doesn’t matter where you are from or the differences you may have with others….when tragedy strikes we all come together and help.  That’s probably what makes our parish such a great place to live, and makes it easy to serve as well.

Q:  Do you have a favorite verse, phrase, motto that you live by?

A:  Psalm 19:14 says:  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasant in your site, Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”

Q:  What is one decision you have made that has changed your life for the better?

A:  When I was still a young man, I met a girl in my youth group at church that ended up becoming my wife.  We were married on December 17, 1988, right along the time I was figuring out what my own future would look like.  Now 34 years later we have raised 3 wonderful children, and 3 grandchildren.  Mary has always been a believer in me from the start, and she’s always encouraged me to do my best in everything.  Without her, and Christ on my side, I would not be where I am today. 

Q:  What advice would you offer to someone looking to Law Enforcement as a possible career?

A:  Well, my choice was a calling.  It was something that changed deep in my heart that made me want to serve others from a very young age.  I’d say even if it isn’t a calling, you must have a real desire to love everyone, to serve everyone, and you must be willing to do that 24/7…not just when you clock in.  It cannot be lip-service.  It must come from the heart.

We cannot say enough about what Capt. Dean Register has meant to this office, or how much he has accomplished for DeSoto Parish as a whole.  His face and name are known by most, whether you call him Captain, Deputy Dean, Dad, or grandpaw….he means a lot to so many.  We are certain that he will continue to serve the citizens of this parish in many ways, including in ministry.  We congratulate Dean on a well established career, and a very well earned retirement!

Bringing Cheer to Nursing Home

Last week Dispatchers with the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office spent some time with the residents of DeSoto Retirement & Rehabilitation in Mansfield.  Dispatchers from 911, Sheriff, Fire and EMS brought dozens of goodie bags and door prizes for a fun BINGO game.  They concluded the visit by singing a few favorite hymns. 

Residents were excited to see the deputies stay to play BINGO.  They said, “We really enjoyed the visit, especially during the Christmas season.

If Santa Claus Was a Bass Pro

By Steve Graf

Just for kicks and giggles, let’s pretend that Santa Claus became a touring bass pro. What would that look like? Who would be his major sponsors? What would be his favorite technique? What brand boat would Santa run, or would he just transform his sleigh into a fishing machine?

First, Santa would probably have to lose a few pounds in order to compete at the highest level. Fishing the tour is a grind and it’s not for someone carrying 50 to 80 pounds of extra weight. But the extra weight would come in handy for insulation on those cold early-season boat runs. He would definitely have to give up the cookies and gingerbread that he so dearly loves while joining the North Pole Fitness Center.

Now that we have a much slimmer Santa, let’s look at who would sponsor Jolly Ole Saint Nick. Obviously, it would have to be the best sponsors in the industry on a global level. When it comes to what rod and reel line he would choose, I think his first choice would be 13 Fishing. Since 2012 this company has risen to the highest ranks in the fishing industry. Of course, Santa would want nothing but the best and I think he would choose 13 Fishing’s Concept A3 series as his reel of choice. 

What kind of fisherman would Santa be? More than likely a power fisherman. A guy of his stature and physical presence would probably like to chunk and wind a spinnerbait or crankbait, or maybe he would like to flip and pitch a jig. Either way, he would be an angler who would never pick up a spinning rod, or as some pros call it…a Fairy wand.

Now, what kind of fishing line would he spool on his reels? Well, that’s an easy answer! Only the best will do for the man in the big red suit, so that would be Seaguar fishing line. They carry the best fluorocarbon and braided lines made on the planet. As for hooks, what would he use? Again, it’s a no-brainer! He would choose a Japanese brand, Gamakatsu Hooks, the number one brand used by the best pros in the world. Not even his elves could produce a better hook from scratch.

What about a boat…what brand of the boat would fit Santa and fulfill his every need? One thing we’ve made clear, Santa likes the latest and greatest when it comes to products and has nothing but the highest of standards. There are lots of boats that would be okay, like Ranger, Skeeter or Bass Cat, but today he would choose Caymas. This would give him the best combination in terms of speed, ride, comfort, and fishability. Caymas truly is not only a great boat but one of the newest brands on the market today and becoming very popular among tournament anglers. Don’t just take my word for it, stop by The Boat Shop in Shreveport, Louisiana, and see for yourself why so many anglers are switching over.

Can you imagine how his boat would be wrapped? There would be all the colors of Christmas and every sponsor would be displayed proudly all the while paying homage to Rudolph and the other eight reindeer with their photo image on the wrap. Obviously, there would be a grand display of red and green Christmas lights from bow to stern that would light up an entire body of water. No one would have a better-looking boat than Santa with his heated boat seats and automatic hot chocolate dispenser!  Oh, he’ll also need a truck to pull that Caymas boat with. How about a new Ford F150 4X4 pick-up truck. This would complete Santa’s fishing rig and have him hitting the tournament trail in style. 

Christmas is a special time of year and the fact that Santa is real makes it even more special. Like I still remind my kids who are now in their 20s and 30s, when you stop believing, he stops leaving the gifts you so enjoy. But at our house, we know the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate it by honoring the birth of Jesus by making a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls and placing a candle in the middle and singing happy birthday to our Lord and Savior.  I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at what kind of fishing pro-Saint Nick would be if he chose to change his profession. Till next time good luck, good fishing, and Merry Christmas! Here’s hoping your stocking is filled with some great bass-catching lures and plenty of sunscreens!

Open House

By Nicole Tull

DeSoto Parish 4-H held their Open House at the David Means Memorial 4-H Center in Grand Cane. SarahJayne Driskill, the newly hired 4-H agent, had set up several craft stations for the children and adults to create holiday fun. You could choose one or all the stations and could revisit if you found a particular craft to your liking.

For the crafters that like to be colorful, there were coloring sheets, gingerbread men to decorate, coffee filter snowflakes and ornaments to paint. For those that are hands on with constructing there were ornaments to assemble, pipe cleaner wreaths, and snowflakes to cut out.

Anyone not wanting to make a craft was encouraged to write a letter to Santa. There was even a mailbox to tuck your letter in.

Joshua Salley, the Ag agent, grilled some hot dogs for the event. The junior leaders were peddling hot cocoa and popcorn to raise money for their club events. The junior leaders were also helpful with the craft stations by helping explain the process of each craft. What a fun way to hone leadership skills.

These kids do more than grow crops, raise animals and learn disciplines, they cultivate character to make better leaders for tomorrow.

Notice of Death – December 23, 2022

William Henderson

October 19, 1967 to December 15, 2022

Funeral Service Saturday December 24, 2022 at 1:00 pm at Morning Glory B.C. in Mansfield.

Jesse Sumers, Sr.

September 22, 1966 to December 17, 2022

Service: Saturday, January 7, 2022 at 11:00 am at New Friendship B.C. in Frierson, LA.


The DeSoto 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.  Contact your funeral provider or DeSotoParishJournal@gmail.com. Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above with no link to the obituary are FREE of charge.)

ETC… For Friday, December 23, 2022

Here is a last minute reminder from the Town of Stonewall.  Santa will be at the Town Hall beginning from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.  So, bring the kids for Cookies & Coco With Santa.  It is a chance for them to present Santa with their wish list.

The Sheriff said, “Our offices will be closed, but Patrol, Corrections, and Dispatch will remain available around the clock.  It’s gonna be COLD come Thursday/Friday, so here are a couple of common sense things to remember:

#1.  Keep those pets warm.

#2.  Bridges may ice over.

#3.  Space Heaters need space. 

#4.  Do NOT plug heaters into power strips/extension cords!

Did we make it simple and short enough?  Everyone stays safe, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend with family and friends!

Some Helpful Scam Info

Recently the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident who was in fear she had been scammed.  We wanted to share the details of that call, and what you should do if you feel you have been victimized.

The resident received a call from someone claiming to work for Google.  The scammer stated that they had repeatedly attempted to reach the resident through email but had not received a response.  The resident was then informed that her Google Account had been compromised, which was the reason they were reaching out.  They wanted to assist her in changing her login information.  The story was not all that believable; however, the resident could not remember her Google password to login, and she says the scammer provided her password to her.  This made the story more believable, in her opinion.  It wasn’t long before the scammer offered to help by requesting access to connect to the residents computer….and after connecting they tried to sell her a “Firewall Software” for $1,800.  At this point the resident began to feel as though she was being scammed and ended the call.  In this case, it is likely that the damage was already done.


It isn’t that difficult to obtain a password these days.  Pretending to be Google or another company, these scammers will setup entire websites that look very real, then they will send you emails hoping that you click their link to login.  This is one way your login information can be stolen.   So yes, those emails and texts you sometimes receive stating that there is an issue with your PayPal account, or that your FedEx package has a problem, or to click a link to fix something on your Facebook page….those are all potential scams to watch out for.  A great rule of thumb is to NEVER trust unsolicited emails, calls, or texts.  If you are truly concerned that the email or text may be real, do not use any methods of contact that are provided to you.  Exit the email or text and follow up on your account in the same way you usually would.  But do NOT click ANY of their links.


This scammers real goal was establishing a connection to her computer.  Think about it, on your computer you login to everything.  Your credit card accounts, your bank accounts, social media, bills, amazon, etc.  Many even store all of those logins in their Google Chrome browser, which would provide access to everything.  EVEN IF you may not store passwords, allowing a connection to your computer gives the scammer an opportunity to secretly install software that will send them your login info the next time you go to any of those sites.  When they have your login, they have access to your finances.


First and foremost, disconnect from the internet.  Power down your computer completely.  The scammer cannot continue that connection if your computer does not have internet access and it powered down.  If you allowed the scammer to connect to your computer it is possible something was installed. Seek a computer tech to assist you to clean up that machine soon.   Also, keep a close eye on all of your accounts for unusual transactions.  If you feel certain that your financial information was compromised, you may even contact your card holders and either cancel or place a hold on those cards.

You can always file a report with the Sheriff’s Office if you have been scammed, but if you just want information or advice on topics like this one you can always call our Deputy of Public Relations, Mark Pierce at 318-461-0504.  While I do not assist in filing a report, I would be happy to chat and offer advice on what you can do to protect yourself from financial fraud.

We Will Get Very Cold Weather

Hazardous Weather Outlook from the National Weather Service:

Wednesday through Monday, a strong surge of very cold Arctic air is still expected to arrive

by Thursday afternoon, with a slight chance of wintry precipitation for portions of the area. No accumulations or impacts are expected from any wintry precipitation that does fall.

The primary concern at this time will be the extreme cold with a prolonged period of below

freezing temperatures into the Christmas weekend.



* WHAT…Sub-freezing temperatures ranging from 4 to 12 degrees   possible. In addition, wind chill values below 0 degrees will be   possible.

* WHERE…Portions of south central and southwest Arkansas,  north central and northwest Louisiana, southeast Oklahoma and east and northeast Texas.

* WHEN…From Thursday evening through Saturday morning.

* IMPACTS…Frost and freeze conditions could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.

Narcotics Roundup This Month

On December 14, 2022, DeSoto Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Agents wrapped up several investigations leading to 6 arrests in our Parish. The suspects listed below were taken into custody on multiple charges related to the Distribution of dangerous drugs that could negatively impact our community.

Across our nation we have all witnessed dangerous drugs, sometimes mixed with fentanyl, killing our residents and our children in record numbers.  Make no mistake, here in DeSoto Parish we will swiftly enforce the law to maintain the utmost safety within our community, with training and experience on our side.  We will not tolerate its existence within, or the trafficking across these parish lines. 

If you have information that could save a life, our Crime Stoppers tip line is always open, and available anonymously.  As always, we value and seek out your help in keeping our community safe.  Crime Stoppers:  1-800-505-7867 or P3Tips.com

Here are the suspects and their charges:

Wanted Suspect:  Kristopher N. Williams

Kristopher Neal Williams has been listed to DeSoto Crime Stoppers on charges of Possession of Schedule I (Marijuana), Possession of Schedule II (Meth), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Proper Equipment Required on a Vehicle.

You know the drill; Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for any tip that leads to the arrest of suspects listed. You can send in an anonymous tip, and we will pay you some anonymous Christmas Cash.  Call 1-800-505-7867 or visit the website at P3Tips.com.  Or you can just open the Sheriff App and send your tip from there by filling out the form under “Forms & Tips.”  

Remember, all wanted suspects posted are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Sargent Banta Retires

Sheriff Jayson Richardson and staff of the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to congratulate Sgt. Keith Banta on his official retirement, as of today!   You may have seen Keith in our post earlier this week, delivering 300 boxes of chicken to residents for Christmas!

Sgt. Banta walks away with an extensive career that spans multiple agencies, with many accomplishments, and under several administrations.  Keith began his career in the late 1980’s working as a Corrections Deputy for the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office.  It wasn’t long before he took a position at Minden Police Department as a Lieutenant in Patrol.  There he also worked as a K-9 handler, and in S.W.A.T.  

Keith Banta joined the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office in 2004 under then Sheriff Arbuckle where he worked on the very first Federal Task Force Agency for the DEA.  He began his career with DPSO as a Narcotics Sergeant and served on the Tri-Parish Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshall’s Apprehension Team as well.  Keith has moved around the department over the years becoming familiar with nearly every division that exists.  Under Sheriff Jayson Richardson, Sgt. Banta has served as a Sergeant on Patrol, and in Special Services.  He retires today with 18 years at the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office, and 16 days shy of 35 year’s service overall.   Keith asked for no parties, stating he wanted to exit just as quietly as he entered law enforcement.  He had but one word for the younger generation looking to get into a law enforcement career:  “Remember, you are not John Wayne, and this ain’t the movies.”   Needless to say, Sgt. Banta took his years of service very seriously, and wore his badge with great pride.  We hope he enjoys retirement with as much energy as he provided to his community over the last three decades.

Stonewall Christmas Parade Rolled Saturday

By LaBetha Casey

The chill in the air did not dispel the thrill of the 7th annual Stonewall Christmas parade held on the North DeSoto School campus on Saturday afternoon, December 17.  With a theme of Elf on the Shelf, approximately 43 entries were vying for trophies that were presented by parade organizer, Charlotte Newcomb.  The names of the winners who were judged by Mart and Carolyn Thomas and announced prior to parade were: Best of Theme–Boy Scout Troop #160, Elfin Award–International Student Exchange, Best Performing Group–Evolution Twirl, Most Spirited–The Little School, and Committee Award–Trail Lizards Jeep Club.  Several local businesses had made contributions to fund the parade. 

Volunteers were on hand to accept donations of toys to be distributed to needy children throughout the community.  A table with hot chocolate was set up to help warm those who were awaiting the start of the parade.

Newcomb was sorely disappointed that the “exquisite” ride that was supposed to carry Santa throughout the parade had mechanical problems and was unable to fulfill its duties.  However, DeSoto Parish Fire District #3 came to the rescue with one of their firetrucks to escort Santa and his helpers.

About 6:35 PM, Sheriff Jayson Richardson offered the prayer just before the parade rolled out.  There were vehicles of all sizes ranging from 4-wheelers to a large wrecker truck adorned with flashing lights.  Many of the vehicles and/or floats shared the Christmas spirit with Christmas music. An abundance of goodies of all sorts were thrown to the parade watchers.

Riding in a 1949 Ford pickup truck owned and restored by Dennis Shirley was Grand Marshal, Sarah Copeland.  When asked why she was chosen as Grand Marshal, she replied,” The parade organizers wanted to honor me as someone who had a children’s book published and released this year.  Also, I started the Little Free Library located in the Stonewall park.”  Though the main focus is for children’s books to be available, adults can also take a book and/or leave a book for free.  Copeland started the free library for the joy of sharing reading with the community.  Sitting beside her in the back of the truck was her 7 year-old son, John, who is the main character in her recently released book.

The best Christmas movie is, of course …  

By Teddy Allen

Although the answer seems a paradox, the debate over Santa’s best reindeer is easy: it’s Rudolph, by a nose.  

Deciding the best Christmastime movie, that’s a whole other sleigh full of toys.  

Any sane person would of course say the warm but comedic Scrooged from 1988 is the best. It stars Bill Murray as a rotten, entitled TV exec, a modern-day Scrooge who sees the light after experiences with three unforgettable spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future.  

But then any person with Christmas truly in his heart would say that’s not even the best movie based on Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol. That spots belongs to The Muppet Christmas Carol from 1992, the brilliant comedy musical starring Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as his wife, and you get the picture. (The Rats stole the show. I love a funny Muppet rat. In a top hat. And a scarf.) 

But then a person with anything more than figgy pudding for brains would agree that even the 1984 made-for-TV drama A Christmas Carol starring a George C. Scott as Scrooge was the best — unless you go another route entirely and raise your hand for A Christmas Story from 1983, now a Christmas classic thanks to Ralphie and his quest for the Red Ryder, and thanks to the late Jean Shepherd, who wrote the story in his 1966 book, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

And we haven’t even mentioned The Grinch or Charlie Brown yet. Gee whiz …   

To each his own in Christmas movies. One man’s Top Gun: Maverick (good!) is another man’s Top Gun (the original: booo!). If we’re choosing reels for reals, I shouldn’t even be given a vote since I’m the only American living or dead who has never seen Christmas Vacation or Home Alone or Die Hard all the way through. 

Maybe one of these lonely days …  

But maybe on this we can agree. Our favorite movies, should we think about it, were lacking in production value, were grainy and hardly in sharp color, and had no script. They weren’t pretty, but they were authentic. My favorites were filmed in the 1960s, a less-than-celebrated decade marked by indoor wood paneling and shag rugs and shaggy hair and bright colors. The ’60s put the “T” in “Tacky.” 

But boy, did it turn out some great Christmas movies. All filmed live. 

Dad in the T-shirt with “the camera,” a projector with two-big bulbs. Looked like he was filming with a giant insect. In nearly every shot, the “actors and actresses” — us and our aunts and uncles and cousins and Christmas morning friends — are shielding our eyes from the double deadly bright Lumen Rays of Death emitted from this contraption our father was shooting us with. (The smarter children of that era decided early on to become eye doctors and specialize in the treatment of “Holiday Retina Burn” — and they’re retired today and have no clue how much money they have stashed, all because of those torturing Christmas bulbs.) 

In those filmed-at-home movies, I see in my mind the old scene with a 4-year-old boy and the bike. My baby sister holding a doll, and big sis, Sissy, with combs and a pink dress. A chihuahua dragging wrapping paper across the wood floor. 

That archaic filming machine captured us with magic sets and footballs and Hot Wheels and Barbies and E-Z-Bakes. Captured Christmases cold and Christmases warm and Christmases wet. Scenes around the table with grandmothers and grandfathers, year after year, older as we grew, but still grainy, shading our eyes, as if trying to squint into the future, with no idea as to how much these movies would mean to us when we finally got there.  

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu or on Twitter @MamaLuvsManning