North DeSoto Bond Proposal

Concept renderings of proposed buildings

During their August 3 meeting, the DeSoto Parish School Board unanimously approved a resolution to call an election for November 18, 2023 for two parts of the district. North DeSoto (District No. 2) will consider a bond proposal for capital improvements in a November 2023 election.

The $130 million bond proposal proposes construction of a new North DeSoto High School, a state-of-the-art facility that will provide ample space for learning and accommodate growth, modern amenities and cutting-edge resources to foster an exceptional educational experience. Once the new high school is built, the current high school will be repurposed to accommodate the middle school students (grades 6-8). The remaining grade levels will be distributed at current sites to assure the most efficient use of facilities.

North DeSoto schools faces the challenge of accommodating the community’s rapidly growing population. In a recent five-year enrollment projection for the DeSoto Parish School Board, there is continued growth expected for the North DeSoto area. Additions were made in 2014 at the upper elementary and middle schools and those spaces are now full.

In response to growth and the increase in student population, DeSoto Parish Schools has devised a comprehensive plan to address the needs of its expanding community. In addition to the new state-of-the-art high school, the proposal also includes:

• A dedicated performing arts and career and technical education wings, and an event center that will house a competition gymnasium.
• Upgrades and expansion to the current football stadium, a new turf practice field, and an indoor multipurpose facility that will accommodate turf sports and auxiliaries such as band, cheer, dance line, and JROTC.
• A new state-of-the-art wrestling training facility.
• A new Baseball/Softball complex.

Once the new high school is built, the current high school would be repurposed to accommodate the middle school (grades 6-8). This strategic move ensures efficient utilization of existing facilities while meeting the community’s growing demands. The remaining grade levels will be distributed at current sites to assure the most efficient use of facilities. The current Lower Elementary will be expanded and renovated to provide for more PK classrooms and multi-use spaces for additional support services.

The cost to the taxpayer depends on the value of your home. For example, a $300,000 home in District No. 2 (North DeSoto) with a homestead exemption of $75,000 would have an adjusted taxable value of $225,000 which would be assessed at 10%. The increase from a millage of 3.6 to 34 would result in an annual increase of $684 per year or $57 per month.

All eligible registered voters residing in District No.2 (North DeSoto) are eligible to vote in the November election. Important dates are below:
• In-person / By Mail Registration Deadline — Oct. 18
• Geaux Vote Online Registration Deadline — Oct. 28
• Early Voting Starts — Nov. 3
• Early Voting Ends — Nov. 11
• Deadline to Request a Mail Ballot — Nov. 14
• Deadline for Mail Ballots to be Received — Nov. 17
• Election Day — Saturday, Nov. 18

If you have any questions about the proposal, contact the DeSoto Parish School Board via email at

Source: DeSoto Parish School Board

2023-2024 DeSoto Parish Principal of the Year selected

DeSoto Parish Schools

SEP 20, 2023

DeSoto Parish Schools is pleased to announce that Mansfield Elementary School Principal Mrs. Amanda LaFollette has been named the 2023-2024 DeSoto Parish Principal of the Year.

Student outcomes at Mansfield Elementary School have improved significantly this past school year. Mansfield Elementary serves as DeSoto Parish Schools’ Student Wellness program pilot and is named a model of excellence for literacy by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Superintendent Clay Corley recognizes this great work at Mansfield Elementary: “In our quest for high performance, leaders like Amanda LaFollette truly help set the standard. This accolade is a testament to her unwavering commitment, innovative leadership, and the transformative impact she continues to make at Mansfield Elementary. Our school system is fortunate to have such a dedicated educator who projects our core values to serve our students.”

Director of Administration, Ms. Lillie Giles, works closely with Principal LaFollette and has witnessed how, under LaFollette’s leadership, Mansfield Elementary has flourished in terms of school culture:

“With boldness and a commitment to improve student performance, Principal LaFollette has woven social-emotional learning needs into the fabric of the school’s cultures. Her visionary leadership style has fostered a sense of self-awareness, safety, and inclusiveness in the classroom among students and adults. This cultural change has inspired the school’s diverse team of educators to share in her vision of improved academic performance by focusing on the most powerful levers for change—teacher effectiveness and high-quality leadership to support them. Principal LaFollette richly deserves recognition and accolades for her enthusiastic pursuit of excellence and effective leadership in creating a positive school culture fostering high student performance, collaboration, and innovation.”

As a native of the DeSoto Parish, Mrs. LaFollette began her education career in the school system as a math teacher at Mansfield High School in 2002. She taught math for fourteen years at Mansfield High School, where she served as the cheerleader and the initial sponsor of the National Beta Club. After she served as a career teacher, Mrs. LaFollette became a Master Teacher in 2016, supporting math teachers both at Mansfield High School and Mansfield Middle School. LaFollette’s stint as Mansfield Elementary School’s Principal began in the 2020-2021 school year.

LaFollette’s commitment to DeSoto Parish’s core values and mission starts with creating a positive and caring culture for students:

“I am so proud of our work at Mansfield Elementary School. We intentionally create a caring culture where our students feel safe and loved, enabling them to reach their goals. Our test scores show we are growing and continuing to aim our goals high!”

As a result of Mrs. LaFollette’s selection, she will represent DeSoto Parish Schools at the state-level Principal of the Year Competition through the Louisiana Department of Education.

Source: DeSoto Parish Schools/

How ‘sweet’ it is

So it all comes back to Skittles.

Who knew?

Let us explain …

Between 2011 and 2014, Trey Hadnot was a seven-time All-America sprinter at Louisiana Tech, won 16 conference championships and was All-Western Athletic Conference 24 times.

It’s a ridiculous number of trophies and medals that his mom religiously dusts to this day in her Ruston home.

Now she has another trophy to shine since her boy and six other Tech standouts were inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame September 15

Just five days later, the University honored its six Pro Football and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, a once-in-a-lifetime sort of event with all six live and in person for a short Q&A ceremony before the unveiling of their individual statues in the new Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza in the northeast corner of Joe Aillet Stadium.

You can read about both events here and here. It was quite a lot to digest in the span of 120 hours. Wall-to-wall athletic gold. Star-spangled doubleheader for a school of any size, especially a mid-major.

And consider one Naismith inductee, former Bulldog player Leon Barmore (his jersey is retired) and Lady Techster coach, was in attendance for the statue unveiling but didn’t participate in the ceremony because he already has a statue (yawn…) over by the Thomas Assembly Center.

Had not to be impressed.

All these stars included hometown hero Hadnot, who holds all 10 of the Tech program’s Top 10 indoor 200m records, including the No.1 time of 20.48, which is moving about as briskly as a human can. (The world record is 19.92, so …20.48 defines “moving.”)

Naturally, one would want to know the secret of Hadnot’s swift success. Pregame meal of bananas and baked chicken? An hour of stretching? Prayer?

“Skittles,” he said, with an honest little-boy smile that kids wear when they’re getting away with something.

Skittles? Is that a track-and-field word for a special kind of loosening-up scissor-kick? Another word for special spikes?

Negative. It’s the candy.

“Always ate Skittles before a race,” he said. “And water. Drank lots and lots of water.”

And there you have it. Skittles. Although something tells me that diet only works if you’re Trey Hadnot.

Funny, but he started out running cross country. His coach took him and some other long-distance wannabes several miles from the school, dropped them off, told them to run back, and drove away. It wasn’t but a few minutes before the others had run off and left Hadnot, who had no real idea where he was.

Bewildered and with no Skittles to save him, Hadnot decided sprints might be his future. At least he’d never get lost.

Another quick story. A linebacker out of tiny Clinton, Glenell Sanders became a three-time All-American at Tech. With tears on his face, he introduced his family — Gwen, his wife of 30 years; Genaye, a senior at the University of Houston where she’s a bio-medical engineering major on a full soccer scholarship; and soon-to-be Captain Geraud Sanders, a 2020 Air Force graduate and fighter instructor pilot who was at the controls of one of four T-38 jets that performed the flyover Saturday at Memorial Stadium before the Tech-Nebraska football game.

“All this started,” Sanders said quietly, “because of faith in God, and because some men believed in me, and gave me a chance.”

Theirs were just two of many stories from ordinary people who managed to exceed beyond their imaginations through developing their talent and believing what a coach or parent or friend believed about them and fed into them, a couple of sweet reminders that we can make it — if we all stick together, and coach each other up.

Contact Teddy at


By Doug De Graffenried

Did you ever have one of those moments?

The other evening, I decided that supper would include steaks. I did the early morning preparation for the late afternoon cooking ritual. Those steaks were well prepped.

The other part of the steak ritual involves the grill. I have one of the wood pellet grills. It is spiffy. My cooking has improved. Once upon a time, hamburgers that I grilled were not palatable and later used as official hockey pucks. I’m much better now. The wood pellet grill needs several minutes to warm up to steak temperature. It gets very hot but helps me avoid hockey puck cooking accidents.

The cover came off. I checked the inside of the grill. Verified the nice little drip bucket would have adequate room for drippings. The wood pellets were checked and determined to be adequate. 

I reached around back to turn the grill on. Nothing! The switch glows orange when the grill is on. This switch was dark. I checked the plug, after all I had wired it with my redneck electrician method of designing an outdoor circuit. The GCFI plug was tested and verified to be working. It has a nice green light showing it’s functioning.

Never trusting the one outlet, I grabbed an extension cord and plugged everything into the other GCFI outdoor outlet. Nothing! Tried a couple of other outlets inside the shed. Nothing!

In my rapidly filling up mind, I decided the switch had gone bad. The steaks were begging to be cooked, so I reverted to the broiler inside. The steaks were marvelous. I was a little bummed about the grill though. It is not that old.

After the sumptuous steak supper, I grabbed the manual that came with the grill and turned to the troubleshooting chapter. Nothing! The switch would not light up. The grill would not come on, although clearly my redneck circuits were supplying power to the outlets.

I resolved to call and check the warranty. I walked back outside to put the cover on the grill and roll up the extension cord. That’s when I learned that I’m a dumb donkey. OK, I’m the other thing, but I can’t use that language in this family friendly publication.

The cord for the grill not only plugs into the wall, but it also plugs into the grill. The end of the cord plugged into the grill had worked its way loose. When I unplugged the grill cord from the extension cord, the other end fell to the ground.

I had to confess my stupidity. I resolved to check that end of the cord each time. But here’s the deal, I should have thought of it. Who would have thought that the other end of a power cord could come loose from where it plugged into the grill? The answer is, just about everyone!

In a conversation last week, a person said, “I don’t feel like I’m connecting with God very well these days.” I know who is unplugged. When God seems distant, you need to check both ends of the spiritual connection. If you don’t know about the two directions of a spiritual connection, come see me on Sunday, I’ll explain it to you. We might have steak!

We Have a Winner

The winner of this week’s college football pickers contest is Michael Mynes of Logansport.
Congratulations to Michael. He wins the $100 weekly prize.

The Marketplace Chevrolet College Football Pickers Contest awarded Mynes $100 for his efforts. There
is more money to be won. ENTER HERE to pick the winners of this week’s college football games. Entry
deadline is Friday at 4:00 pm, so don’t forget.

Here is a contest everyone in DeSoto Parish can enter and win. Just check the teams you think will win
their football game this week. Sometimes it’s skill and sometimes it’s luck. And this time it could be
your time. Good Luck!


It was a hot July day in Nashville, Tennessee. Bill Dees and his friend Kelton were at Kelton’s home trying to write a song. They needed a melody, a clever phrase, a catchy guitar riff, or anything else that could spark an idea. They played anything that came to mind on their guitars, discussed several phrases, but they were unimpressed with the results. They kept at it. At one point, Kelton’s wife walked into the room. Bill and Kelton’s attention immediately shifted from their task at hand to Kelton’s wife. She was a knockout. Bill and Kelton’s gaze shifted to her yellow skirt and red shoes. Anytime Bill saw a woman he thought was pretty, he exclaimed, “Mercy!” Like the involuntary actions of our bodies such as blinking our eyelids or breathing, Bill exclaimed “Mercy!” before he could stop himself. Bill shifted his gaze from Kelton’s wife to Kelton. Kelton was smiling. He looked back and Kelton’s wife was smiling as well.

The three of them chatted briefly and Kelton’s wife said she was going to a nearby store to buy something. Kelton, ever the gentleman, asked if she needed any money. Before Kelton’s wife had a chance to respond, Bill spoke up and said, “a pretty woman never needs any money.” They all smiled. Kelton’s wife turned and walked away. As she walked out of the house and onto the sidewalk, Bill heard her red high heels clicking on the pavement. Click! Click! Click! Click! Bill tapped his finger on his guitar to the same tempo as the sound of Kelton’s wife’s clicking shoes. Before the sound of Kelton’s wife’s clicking heels had faded, Kelton came up with a fitting guitar riff. Lyrics came next as if they had been there all along just waiting to be written down. By the time Kelton’s wife returned, about 40 minutes later, Bill and Kelton had finished the song.

A week later, on August 1, Bill and Kelton went into the studio to record the song. Once again, Bill tapped his finger to the tempo he remembered of Kelton’s wife walking away in her red high-heeled shoes. Click! Click! Click! Click! The studio drummer played this tempo on his snare drum, Kelton’s guitar riff was added, and finally, Kelton sang lead and Bill sang harmony. In one point in the song, Kelton said there was something missing. He needed to say something short, just a word or two. He remembered what Bill said upon seeing his wife the previous week. He sang one more word, “mercy,” and the song was finished. Bill and Kelton were pleased with the song.

On August 15, 1964, Bill and Kelton’s song was released. Less than two weeks later, their song entered the charts at number 49. By early September, newspapers all over the world predicted that the song would sell well. On September 6, the number one song in the country was “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. Bill and Kelton’s song reached number 13. A week later, September 13, Bill and Kelton’s song was at number 2 just behind “House of the Rising Sun.” A week after that, on September 20, Bill and Kelton’s song had replaced “House of the Rising Sun” in the number one spot. “In a 68-week period that began on August 8, 1963,” during the British Invasion, Kelton “was the only American artist to have a number one single in Britain.” In addition to reaching number one in the United States and the United Kingdom, Bill and Kelton’s song reached the top spot in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, and West Germany. Mercy!

When Bill and Kelton’s songwriting session was interrupted on that hot July day in 1964, none of them could have realized the impact of Kelton’s wife walking into and out of the room. Kelton’s wife’s name was Claudette. The name of the Bill and Kelton’s song came directly from Bill’s comment that “a pretty woman never needs any money.” For almost fifty years now, you and I have heard Bill and Kelton sing “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Kelton is the middle name of Roy Orbison. Mercy!


1.  The Paducah Sun, August 28, 1964, p.10.
2.  Valley Morning Star, September 6, 1964, p.3.
3.  Omaha World-Herald, September 20, 1964, p.100.
4.  Rock, The History of, and Roll. n.d. “Roy Orbison (1936-1988) | the History of Rock and Roll Radio Show.” Accessed September 24, 2023.
5.  NPR. 2008. “Mercy: Behind Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman.’” NPR. December 6, 2008.
6.  “ShieldSquare Captcha.” www.songfacts.com

Demons On Fire: Jorge Vargas and international students spice up NSU experience

Over the past several years, Northwestern State University has developed numerous transfer agreements with institutions around the world to promote study-abroad opportunities for both American and international students.  Jorge Vargas Martinez, a junior from Cartagena, Colombia, is a junior business administration major at NSU and a prime example of how international students enrich school culture.   

Vargas arrived in Natchitoches in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic in August 2021 not knowing anyone and not confident speaking English. It didn’t take long for him to make friends and get involved in all that NSU has to offer.  He is part of the Presidential Leadership Program and is a PLP mentor.  He was a Freshman Connector this past summer. He plays baritone in the Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band and works at Chick-fil-A. Working with NSU’s International Student Resource Center to assist other students, Vargas realized he enjoys helping people and is aiming to focus on human resources as a career.   

Vargas had previously visited the United States, traveling to New York City and to Colorado with his father. Since arriving at NSU, he has visited Mexico and travelled twice to France as an international student recruiter and as part of a research and international business class.  NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones, who spearheaded international recruiting years ago, is a special mentor to Vargas and other international students.      

Vargas’ humor and outgoing personality contradict his claim that he was a shy person when he first came to Northwestern.  His English vocabulary continues to grow and he is quick to teach friends foreign phrases and Colombian slang.  NSU staff visited with Vargas to discuss his experiences and why he loves the university.  The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.   

How did you arrive at NSU?  

Vargas:  This university has an agreement with my high school, Comfenalco, for the music program so all I had to do was apply and audition and get a scholarship to play with the marching band. I arrived in Fall 2021.  It was right after COVID and I was the only Colombian at that moment, and it was kind of hard, but then I found friends over here. We have a large community of international students here at NSU and I really like that.  We have a lot people here from every corner of the globe.  

What are some things you are involved in?  

Vargas: I’m a marching band member.  I used to be a Freshman Connector.  I’m an international student advisor and I’m doing recruiting sometimes.  I work for Sodexo, for the dining service that is Chick-fil-A.  I’ve been there for two years.  I started as a dishwasher and now I’m kitchen leader. That’s crazy.  I love it.  

How did you become a Freshman Connector?   

Vargas:  That’s a good story.  They offered it to me at the beginning.  I didn’t want to.  Then Dr. Jones brought me into [Director of Fraternal Leadership and Civic Engagement] Mary Katherine’s [Maggio] office.  At the table there were two papers and he said, “I need your signature on this one and this is your recommendation card. Just do it.  Trust me.  You’re going to enjoy it and have fun.”  I took his advice, and it was amazing. I loved it.  I had the chance to hang out with all these new people, get out of my comfort zone, meet my Connectors. I love them. They are cool people.  I loved my team.   

What did you add as an international student Freshman Connector?   

Vargas:  My role was to be the diversity part and taking care of all the international students and people that are from here, but they are bilingual, and provide information to them and their parents that may not speak English.  There was this dad who talked with me and said, “My daughter just wanted to be on your team.” They were from Peru, but they moved to the United States because of the Army. He told me “We saw your information before the presentation and she said, ‘I want to be able to speak Spanish with someone during this transition from high school to college.’” I was helpful.  

What’s something really memorable you’ve done?  

Vargas:  Go to the BCM.  I’m not Baptist but I love that place.  It’s the nicest place on campus. The first American person who came and talked to me here in the States was from the BCM and they saw me walking around campus and that person told me, “Hey, do you want to join to us tonight?”  I didn’t know it was a Baptist place.  They just said, “Come on and have fun and hang out with us.”   

Talk about going to France. 

Vargas: It was an international business class. You do research on the differences between France and the United States. The second time I went to do recruitment and convinced international students to come study here at NSU. I was supposed to be like a leader to take care of the rest of the people in the group but at the same time try to help them to do research and do recruitment.  I recruited seven students.  

What do you think the international students add to the university?   

Vargas: I think our energy, our traditions and culture.  We are everywhere. We have events where we teach Americans how to dance, like the Fiesta Siesta. We enjoy that. We hang out with Americans and share our energy.   

Dr. Jones is known for taking international students under his wing.  Can you talk about that?  

Vargas:  He used to be the guy in charge of international students. For me he’s just an angel.  He’s a blessing.  He takes care of everybody.  He has international students to his house and has dinner with us and takes care of us. He saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself.   

What do you love about NSU? 

Vargas: Everything! Purple and white, I love them.  I love my campus.  I love my people.  I love faculty and staff. It’s just my place to be.  I tell this story to everybody:  when I came here, I didn’t feel comfortable at the beginning, but then I realized I love it here, so I went to the Campus Marketplace and bought my cap and gown.  I also really care about the international students.  They have a lot to offer the university and the traditions that we have here. I like to try new things.  

What would you say to an international student to encourage them to come to Northwestern and what would you say to an American student to encourage them to study abroad?  

Vargas: For an international student, I would say come to Louisiana.  They have a lot of culture here. You’re going to love it here.  You’re going to feel at home. We have nice food over here. Just take the step. Don’t be scared about it.  There are people here who are going to take care of you, people like me. We are going to be completely helpful. It’s going to be kind of hard, but you’re going to have fun.  

For an American student to encourage to go abroad: Just do it.  Go out of the States, go to new places and new countries and learn a little bit about other places around the world.  

I think that people should come and try to meet an international student. If you see them around, talk to them, learn about their stories.  Everybody here at NSU has a different story.  Ask them about how they feel.  Ask them about cultures and traditions. Be open minded about it.  Get involved.  I will share the best advice I ever got in my life:  find new people every single day.  It’s worth it.    

Information on NSU’s study-abroad opportunities can be accessed at 

Caution urged for hunters using deer stands

There’s something about the deer we hunt. They’re sharper than we are and the blink of an eye or a slap at a mosquito may be all it takes to cause a deer to turn tail and run.

As a result, it’s more to the hunter’s advantage to hunt from elevated positions as deer usually are looking for danger at eye level or lower. Sitting 16 feet up a tree gives the hunter an advantage and when it comes to waylaying a wily buck, we need all the advantages we can get.

When I started deer hunting years ago, there were no tree stands on the market. If you hunted from an elevated position, it meant gathering up a bunch of two-by-fours, hammer, nails and saw to construct something that would keep you above a deer’s line of vision.

Some of the first ones I constructed were not only weird looking contraptions, they were also unsafe. Switching your Red Man from one jaw to the other was often all that was needed to flip you out and send you to the ground.

Years later as climbing stands and ladder stands came on the market, these proved safer than the man-made contraptions. Because they were so heavily used, news began filtering in of accidents resulting in falling out of stands. 

Dr. Bobby Dale, a life-long hunter, is also an emergency room physician who practices medicine in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi. Visiting with Dr. Dale at the annual conference of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association in Johnson City, Tenn., several years ago, we had occasion to talk about what is more likely to injure hunters while hunting. Dale noted that contrary to what many believe, it’s not the older and more fragile hunter who is more apt to be injured; it’s the strong, virile, younger guy.

“From what I’ve observed from patients I have seen in the ER where I practice, it’s the younger one more prone to suffer serious injuries while hunting. This is particularly true concerning falls from elevated deer stands. In fact,” Dale said, “I recently read a report that revealed the majority of bow hunters who fall from tree stands are in their 20s and 30s. Also, about 10 percent of these injuries are alcohol-related.

“While it is true that guys in their 50s and 60s and older have bones that are more easily broken, I don’t see nearly as many injuries from falling from a stand from this older group. It’s just a fact that the older guy is more cautious,” he added.

Dr. Dale noted that a fall, even one from just a few feet, can result in serious injury. Obviously, the further you fall, the more serious injuries become, he said.

“I’ve seen victims who fell from stands come to the ER with everything from closed head injuries, bleeding on the brain, spinal fractures with paralysis, broken arms, legs and ribs, collapsed lungs, ruptured spleens in addition to profuse external bleeding,” Dale said. 

While mishaps using home-made deer stands are more likely to result in serious injuries, manufactured stands can also cause falls if not used properly.

“Manufactured stands have to meet a safety code and the vast majority of these stands are safe when properly used. However, they still have to be secured to the tree in the proper manner to be completely safe. Climbing stands are quite safe but when care is not taken in using them, they can result in twisting or slipping when not correctly secured to the tree. The result can be disastrous,” he added.

With deer season rapidly approaching – archery season begins October 1 — make sure your tree stands are in top-notch working order and that you practice all the safety rules having to do with elevated deer stands. It takes only one moment of lapse in judgement or one misstep to make looking for a big buck the least of your concerns.

Contact Glynn at


September 26, 2023
CONTACT: Paige Melton OFFICE: 318-698-4033 EMAIL:

(Shreveport, LA) – In support of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the International Paper Foundation in partnership with International Paper Mansfield Mill and a $5,000 sponsorship from Community Bank of Louisiana. These funds will renew the Imagination Library in DeSoto Parish and allow additional children to enroll in the program, sponsoring 500 children in the region. 

Studies show that 50 percent of children in Northwest Louisiana enter kindergarten without the tools they need to be successful in school and later in life. As the largest provider in the state, UWNWLA enables the Imagination Library to mail a new, age-appropriate book each month to children’s homes at zero cost to the children’s families. Children can be enrolled in the program at birth and own a library of up to 60 books by the time they enter kindergarten, ensuring they have the proper tools for school readiness.  

“At International Paper Mansfield Mill, we embrace the opportunity to be community partners, particularly when it comes to educating the children in the communities where we live and work, “ said Paula Wood, International Paper Mansfield Mill Manager. “By being heavily involved in United Way programs such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, we’re helping youngsters plant seeds of opportunity.” 

The Imagination Library provides access to books for children in families identified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE represents the growing number of individuals and families who work hard but are still unable to afford their essential needs. The children of ALICE are especially affected when it comes to the lack of books in their homes because books are often viewed as a luxury when other family necessities are going unmet.  

“Community Bank of Louisiana is proud to support United Way and their Imagination Library,” said Jayce Simpson, Community Bank of Louisiana President & CEO. “All children should have access to books that help their continued growth and develop their imagination. The Imagination Library puts these books into the kids’ hands when they may not have access to them otherwise. This type of continued enrichment into our community’s children is at the heart of what we stand for at Community Bank.”  

“We express our deepest gratitude to the International Paper Foundation and Community Bank of Louisiana for the wonderful opportunity to collaborate in our shared commitment to promoting literacy among our children in DeSoto Parish,” said Raavin Evans, UWNWLA Director of Community Impact. “The support of these two entities has not only broadened our outreach, but it has also enabled our organization to raise greater awareness around our mission to enhance language and literacy development. International Paper Foundation and Community Bank of Louisiana stand as beacons of hope, striving to ensure that every student can pick up a book anywhere in their community and comprehend the words on its pages.” 

To learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, become a sponsor, or register your child, please visit 

When Nobody is Watching

When it comes to being great, some people are gifted and blessed while others must work at it to be great. It’s one thing to have talent, but it’s sad when people waste that God given talent. During my athletic career, I have seen some very high-level athletes that never took advantage of the talent they were blessed with. Why is this? Is it a lack of self-confidence or is it that no one ever showed faith in them as a player or as a person? Could it be a lack of determination or competitive fire that all great players possess? Even though this article is not related to fishing, today I’ll give you my experience and perspective on not what makes a great athlete, but what makes an athlete great..…..when nobody is watching.

Years ago, there was a youngster from East Texas who was a talented athlete especially in baseball. But talent alone only goes so far. It must be groomed and nurtured. As a kid living in the country, this young boy was always looking for ways to improve his baseball skills and be the best. Daily he would retreat to his backyard and spend hours throwing a rubber baseball off a big fallen tree to work on his fielding skills like one-hoppers that baseball players often get when playing the game. He worked on making backhanded plays and fielding every ball with great technique. He did this daily…….when nobody was watching.

Then one day he was looking for a way to improve on his hitting. So, he took an old blanket his mom offered and hung it on a clothesline out behind his house. (This is how people used to dry their laundry before everyone got automated driers.) Putting his creativity to work, he took an old Folger’s coffee can and cut a three-foot piece of PVC pipe and cemented it into the coffee can. Then he found an old piece of radiator hose (that was very flexible) and slid it over the top of the PVC pipe. BAM!!! There it was….the perfect batting tee. He would hit for hours off this tee so he could become a better hitter. He hit so much that he wore the covers off the balls he was hitting into that blanket…….. all when nobody was watching.

Today, batting tees are available at pretty much any sporting goods store. But back in the early 1970’s, no one had even heard of a batting tee! But this young man used his creativity and designed his own batting tee in order to become a better hitter. Through this extra work he accomplished so much and developed his baseball skills when nobody was watching that he landed a scholarship which eventually led to him being drafted in the 1983 major league baseball draft.

Another great example of doing more than what was required would be a former high school teammate and friend of his by the name of Maury Buford. If this name sounds a little familiar it should, as he was an outstanding punter in the NFL for over 8 eight years during the 1980’s and 90’s. He was the punter for the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Now as a youngster growing up, Maury discovered at a very early age that he had a talent for punting a football. He spent hours on a sandlot working on developing his punting skills. He went on to become an All-American at Texas Tech and had a great NFL career. Maury’s dedication and work ethic was on another level and allowed him to accomplished great things ……when nobody was watching.

This is how athletes become great, doing the little things and putting in the EXTRA time to develop their skills. A lot of kids today do not understand this concept and they think that the time they spend at their scheduled two-hour practice time is enough to be a great player. But great players are different. They realize that if you want to be great, you must put in the extra time away from regular practice. So remember, if you want to be great at anything like golf, tennis, basketball or tournament fishing, it’s the extra time you put in when nobody is watching that makes you great.

Till next time, if you have any comments about this or any other articles I’ve written, go to my Facebook page and give your feedback. I really appreciate all of you that take the time to read my articles. I hope in some small way you gain either knowledge or comfort in what you read.

Steve Graf

Logansport Chamber holds monthly meeting

by Nicole Tull

The Logansport Chamber of Commerce had their monthly meeting at the Logansport Library on Tuesday
evening, September 5. The members and guests dined on pulled pork sandwiches that President James Walker smoked in his barbecue pit.

Chamber member Jim Barron, owner of What-A-Burger in Joaquin, announced that there will be a
benefit on October 26 to support the Logansport High School cheerleaders. The store will offer 25% of
the sales toward the benefit.

Charlotte Miller, of the DeSoto Parish Tourist Bureau, came to talk about the Trail of Lights events and
the participation of Logansport during the Christmas season. You can check out the events for the whole
state at

In other chamber business, there will be a Pumpkin Shine in the park on Halloween. There will be
contests for decorated pumpkins, costumes, games, food, and lots of fun.

The next meeting will be 6:00pm Tuesday, October 3 at the Logansport library.

Summary of Recommendations for 2023 Constitutional Amendments

There will be 4 constitutional amendments on the ballot this Oct. 14th election and 4 more constitutional amendments on the Nov. 18th ballot.* Please know that there are often credible, principled reasons to view such measures differently. Below are my respectful recommendations:

Constitutional Amendments on October 14th Ballot

Amendment #1:  Prohibiting Donations to Conduct Elections 

“Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of funds, goods or services from a foreign government or a nongovernmental source to conduct elections and election functions and duties unless the use is authorized by the secretary of state through policies established in accordance with law?”

This Amendment, otherwise known as the “Zuckerbucks” bill in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars Meta Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, spent trying to influence elections in 2020, is an important one.  It is designed to prohibit the use of financial or other donations from outside sources such as a non-governmental source (i.e., Zuckerberg) or a foreign government to administer (i.e., influence) elections in Louisiana.

Recommendation: Yes.

Amendment #2:   Protection for Worship in Churches.

“Do you support an amendment to provide that the freedom of worship in a church or other place of worship is a fundamental right that is worthy of the highest order of protection?”

This reinforces what the U.S. Supreme Court has already provided for free exercise of religion.  Namely, providing the highest level of constitutional protection for the freedom to worship—specifically in a church or another place of worship—requiring courts to apply the strictest level of judicial review (Strict Scrutiny) to challenges when government bodies restrict access to places of worship.  The current constitutional protections don’t specifically single out houses of worship for this protection, but this does.

Recommendation:  Yes.

Amendment #3:  Surplus Spending on Retirement Debt

“Do you support an amendment to require that a minimum of twenty-five percent (25%) of any money designated as non-recurring state revenue be applied toward the balance of the unfunded accrued liability of the state retirement systems?”

This Amendment would require lawmakers to use 25% of any state surplus to pay retirement debt for the four state retirement systems.  Currently, the requirement is for lawmakers to spend 10% of any state surplus to pay retirement debt for two state retirement systems through 2029.

Recommendation:  No recommendation.  Louisiana has a $17 billion-dollar unfunded accrued liability in pension benefits, but it also has a multi-billion-dollar backlog of deficient roads, bridges, coastal restoration projects and water systems to which state dollars could flow.  Voters should decide what state spending they prioritize regarding this surplus revenue.

Amendment #4:   Property Tax Exemptions for Nonprofit Organizations

“Do you support an amendment to deny a property tax exemption to a non-profit corporation or association that owns residential property in such a state of disrepair that it endangers public health or safety?”

This would allow local government officials to remove a property tax exemption from nonprofit organizations that lease housing (apartments, etc.) and have repeated public health or safety violations.  Otherwise, the current system of property tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations—including for those that have repeated public health and safety violations—would be maintained.

Recommendation:  Yes.

Constitutional Amendments on November 18th Ballot

 [Note: I will more fully address these amendments before the Nov. 18th election]

Amendment #1:   Deadlines to Veto Bills and Rules for Veto Sessions

This would allow lawmakers to try to override a governor’s veto without calling a separate veto session if they are already in a legislative session.  It also adds further details about the deadlines for a governor to veto bills.  Otherwise, lawmakers’ attempts to override a governor’s vetoes would occur in a separate session.

Amendment #2:  Repeal of Inactive Special Funds in the Constitution

This Amendment would remove six inactive funds with zero or near-zero balances from the Louisiana Constitution.  Otherwise, these six inactive funds would remain.

Amendment #3 Property Tax Exemptions for First Responders

This would allow a parish governing authority to give an extra property tax exemption to police, firefighters and certain other first responders who own homes and live in the given parish. 

Amendment #4:  Rule Changes for the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund 

This would tighten the rules on the allowed use of a seven-year-old state trust fund that collects dollars from corporate tax collections and oil and gas production in Louisiana making it more difficult for elected officials to spend this trust fund money. 

Thank you for your consideration.

(*PAR Louisiana).

Royal Alexander

New business holds ribbon cutting

by Nicole Tull

The Logansport Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Stateline Liquor in Logansport
on Friday, August 25. Jay and Jodie Fruge own the establishment located across from the Post

Geaux Get Cheesy served light refreshments and vendors were on hand with samples of
their product. The Fruge’s welcomed patrons and gave out tshirts. Door prizes were given
throughout the afternoon.

This & That…Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Grand Cane Fall Market is September 30 from 8am to 2pm at 8366 Hwy 171, Grand Cane. Vendors, entertainment, local shops and restaurants will be open open. To register as a vendor email

DeSoto Parish Cattlemen’s Association 4th Quarter meeting. Monday, October 16 at 6pm at the DeSoto parish Extension Office, 10117 Hwy 171, Grand Cane. Mr. Bubba Rutherford with Rutherford Land and Cattle will be the guest speaker discussing the outlook on the cattle market for 2024. Please RSVP to by October 13 for the meal count. This will be the last meeting for this year.

Notice of Death – September 26, 2023

Thomas Ray Swilley
December 3, 1945 — September 25, 2023
Service: Thursday, September 28 2pm at Rose Neath Funeral Homes – Mansfield

The DeSoto Parish Journal publishes “Remembrances of Loved Ones” with unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $70. The Remembrance will be included in the emails sent to subscribers.  Contact your funeral provider or Must be paid in advance of publication.

Another Contest Starts Today

Another contest has begun in the Marketplace Chevrolet College Football Pickers Contest.  The entry blank is live.  CLICK HERE to enter and win.  The person guessing the outcomes of 10 college football games will win $100.

Our latest winner is Michael Mynes of Logansport.  The $100 prize is on the way to Michael.  You could be the next winner this week. 

Accident claims the life of Stanley High School student.

 Desoto Parish Sheriff’s office released information on an ATV accident that happened at 12:45 a.m., September 23, 2023. The accident was reported near Hwy 539 and Bobcat Lane and involved two female juveniles from the Stanley area. They confirmed that the accident resulted in one fatality.

Troop G worked with Desoto deputies and later released the name of 17-year-old Aubrey Hubier as the accident victim. The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2-16 Honda UTV, driven by Hubier, was traveling north on LA Hwy 539. For reasons still under investigation, Hubier failed to maintain control of the UTV, exited the roadway to the left, and struck a tree.

Hubier was a senior student at Stanley High School. The Desoto Parish School Board also released a statement that acknowledged Aubrey as a much-loved student, avid softball player, and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The district stated that they will offer support for students and staff at Stanley through the crisis response team. Counselors and other support staff will be on campus on Monday and throughout the week.

Funeral services for Aubrey Louise Hubier are scheduled for Monday, September 25, at 2:00 p.m. at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Logansport under the direction of Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home. Visitation will be Monday from 12:00 p.m. until the service at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.

Logansport Bond Proposal

Concept Rendering of football stadium

During their August 3 meeting, the DeSoto Parish School Board unanimously approved a resolution to call an election for November 18, 2023 for two parts of the district. Logansport (District No. 1) will consider a bond proposal for capital improvements in the November 2023 election.

The $23 million building bond proposal is focused on safety, security, and modernization of current facilities. While Logansport has seen some upgrades over the past few years, there are areas that are desperately in need of updates including the stadium, gymnasium, band room, and more.
Safety and security upgrades are needed to limit access points to the school and create better access control. A central corridor will be created to provide consistency across the schools in the district and give a sense of pride and community spaces, while providing an increased element of security, as well as creating modernized and innovative spaces to serve the students and the community.

Logansport has used portable classrooms to serve different programs and the plan creates new spaces to bring those programs into the actual facility, eliminating the need for mobile classrooms and improving safety, security, and programming for the young learner programs including birth to two, three-year-old preschool, and staff offices.

The plan would impact the football stadium, parts of which were built in 1952 and moved to the current location in 1995. The proposal to upgrade the stadium has been a community priority that has been brought up more and more in recent years. While LHS is proud to have state of the art equipment in some parts of the stadium, there are areas that need attention due to ADA compliance, the need for improved restrooms, concessions, seating, and parking areas.

The plan also impacts the band program, creating a new space for the band by renovating an existing space that is larger, better for sound, and closer to the field. Additionally, the proposal would also provide upgrades to the current gymnasium with an updated facade, modern look, and an expanded lobby to accommodate events. Plans to upgrade the gymnasium were developed in recent years but were put on hold due to high bid prices.

The cost to the taxpayer depends on the value of your home. For example, a $200,000 home in District No. 1 (Logansport) with a homestead exemption of $75,000 would have an adjusted taxable value of $125,000 which would be assessed at 10%. The increase from a millage rate of 1.6 to 13.15 would result in an annual increase of $144.38 per year or $12.03 per month.

All eligible registered voters residing in District No. 1 (Logansport) are eligible to vote in the November election. Important dates are below:
• In-person / By Mail Registration Deadline — Oct. 18
• Geaux Vote Online Registration Deadline — Oct. 28
• Early Voting Starts — Nov. 3
• Early Voting Ends — Nov. 11
• Deadline to Request a Mail Ballot — Nov. 14
• Deadline for Mail Ballots to be Received — Nov. 17
• Election Day — Saturday, Nov. 18

If you have any questions about the proposal, contact the DeSoto Parish School Board via email at

Source: DeSoto Parish School Board (

Congratulations Week Three Winner

The Journal congratulates last week’s winners in the Marketplace Chevrolet College Football Pickers
Contest. And we are launching a new contest for this week.

Congratulations to John Russell. He did the best job of predicting the winners of 10 college football
games, so he gets this week’s $100 prize. The Journal has another $100 waiting for you in our brand-
new contest.

CLICK HERE to enter and win. Deadline for entry is Friday, September 22 nd at 4:00 pm. Submit your
entry right now, while you are thinking about it. And tell everyone to enter. They might be the winner
this week.

The Marketplace Chevrolet College Football Pickers Contest is open to all residents of DeSoto Parish.
And everyone who enters will be given a complimentary subscription to the DeSoto Parish Journal.

Fentanyl Exposure closes DPSO Front Office

News Release
September 18, 2023
Sheriff Jayson Richardson
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office

Around 11:30 am on the morning of September 18th, an evidence supervisor was found suffering from possible exposure to fentanyl. While assisting him, two other employees were exposed. All three required transport to hospital facilities, and all three are currently in stable condition. Our offices are closed while LSP hazmat clears the room of any further exposure. We ask that the public keep our deputies and their family in your prayers as they recover.

Mark Pierce, PIO
Public Relations & Social Media
Cellular Forensics Operator/Analyst
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office
Cell: (318) 461-0504
Office: (318) 872-3956 Ext. 251

LoanSHARK brings world to you

DID YOU KNOW: If your library does not own the materials you need, public library staff can request them via LoanSHARK, an online catalog of materials in all Louisiana public libraries that allows your library to borrow from other public and academic libraries in Louisiana as well as nationwide.

LoanSHARK requests can be made at your local public library, and the materials will be shipped to that library for you to check out. LoanSHARK brings the world’s collections to your library’s doorstep. Check it out here:

Source: State Library of Louisiana/Billy Nungesser Lt. Governor of Louisiana

What Calvin Coolidge (might have) said …?

The scene from The Andy Griffith Show, in black-and-white of course, is one you could have starred in at most any time this past Scorching Summer of 2023.

 Two chairs on the wide sidewalk outside Floyd’s Barber Shop. Floyd sits in the one nearest his shop’s door, on the left of your TV screen. He is blank-faced and lazily working a whicker fan in front of his face. Up walks Sheriff Andy Taylor, who takes a seat and, as he crosses his legs, says, “Howdy, Floyd.”

 Floyd, with no small amount of effort, the heat evident on a face that, even in black-and-white, is obviously ashen: “92.”

 Andy: “It feels it.”

 Floyd: “I just looked at the thermometer over the door (points his whicker fan that way). You know what it says?”

 Andy: “92?”

 Floyd, slack-jawed and fanning, a folded newspaper, no doubt The Mayberry Gazette, resting on his lap under his other hand: “92. Like an oven. Hot! Ohhh … it’s HOT.”

 Andy: “Well, like Mark Twain said, ‘Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.’”

 Floyd, stops fanning and looks at Andy: “He say that?”

 Andy: “Yep.”

 Floyd: “I thought Calvin Coolidge said that.”

 Andy: “No. No Floyd. Calvin Coolidge didn’t say that.”

 Floyd: “What’d Calvin Coolidge say?”

 Andy: “I don’t know.”

 Floyd, fanning again, then turning back to Andy: “You sure Mark Twain didn’t get that from Calvin Coolidge?”

 Andy: “No Floyd. Mark Twain lived before Calvin Coolidge.”

 Floyd, sitting up a bit and leaning toward Andy: “Oh … he COULDN’T have gotten it from him. NO … but it’s HOT.”

 And so it went, all summer in Mayberry over in Carolina back in the early 1960s — and all summer here in North Louisiana.

 Funny deal about the weather. It gets hot around here and few seem to remember that it is always hot in the summer here. Some are cooler than others, but they’re all hot.

 Summer of 1982, I had the privilege of helping build the bypass in Camden, Arkansas. (It’s a heckuva bypass, if you’re ever up that way.) My job was to walk in front of the grader — the big tractor that has the smoothing blade — and knock the dirt off stakes, driven at equal heights, so the driver could see them and make the dirt level for the rebar and pavement that’s to come. There is not a lot of shade in roadwork, as there are few trees in the middle of roads. And it was more than 100 degrees 21 days straight.

 That was — clears throat — 40 years ago.

 It’s always been hot. Next summer, it’s going to be hot again. (Just a guess.)

 But you’ve made it! Hold out ’til Saturday and you’ve made it to autumn!

 This is being typed on an evening where the outside temperature is mid-70s as we head into October, and what a fine month it is. October might just be the best of all the months — if it didn’t mean cold weather was coming.

 And then what will you and Andy and Floyd talk about? Probably the weather. And possibly, during an ice storm, wish for a day like one we complained about in July, whicker fan in hand.

 At least that’s what Mark Twain said … or maybe it was Calvin Coolidge.

 Contact Teddy at

Site Manager retires

 The Mansfield State Historic Site bids a fond farewell to retiring Site Manager Scott Dearman, who has been with Mansfield State Historic Site and the Louisiana Office of State Parks for the last 30 years.
Scott has been a voice for Mansfield for three decades, starting in the 1990s as a Law Enforcement Ranger, then becoming the Interpretive Ranger, and finally as the Site Manager.

In all that time, he has become one of the most knowledgeable people anywhere in the world on the Battle of Mansfield and the Red River Campaign of the American Civil War. Every chance he had, he would be brushing up on the history of the battle, and you could often find him very meticulously researching another chapter of Civil War history to aid in his interpretation of the site to his visitors!

His friendly nature and drive to better the site made Mansfield a great place to work for both staff and volunteers, and he will be sorely missed by everyone. His level of knowledge, care for the resources under his supervision, and kind personal and professional nature reflected great credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Louisiana State Park Service.

As Scott rides off into the sunset to embark on his next adventure, Mansfield prepares to welcome and embrace a new manager at the site in the next couple of weeks. For Scott, from the staff of Mansfield State Historic Site, “we want to say best wishes in the days ahead and thank you for the memories!”

Hunting Season is here!

There are many ways that we as outdoorsmen can enjoy the great outdoors. There’s fishing, a very popular hobby by many, and there’s camping which takes the outdoor experience to another level. Maybe your idea of being outdoors involves playing golf or maybe exercising. But for thousands of others…there’s hunting, which for many is the main reason they wake up every day! Hunters, in most cases, are very hard-core outdoorsmen who have a serious passion for pursuing wild game from doves and squirrel to ducks and bucks. But why?

To understand a hunter, you need to be a hunter or live with one. This group has the same mind set and passion for the outdoors that LSU Tiger fans have for football…they’re crazy! Hunters put in a lot of time and effort to not only hunt, but to get ready for the hunt. Just like a bass tournament angler, preparation is key to being successful and is a part of the grind that hunters must go through to increase their chances for success in the fall. For most hunters, all the preseason planning is just as much fun as the hunt itself…or is it?

Whether they are on a lease or hunting public land, hunters have a lot of work to do. When it comes to certain things needing to be done, they tend to have more flexibility on a private lease than they might on public hunting land. But most leases, public and private, do not want hunters to put nails into trees since at some point, the landowner or timber company will probably be harvesting the timber. But most of the time, they’re okay with you cutting a few shooting lanes, bush hogging pipelines, or planting food plots on old logging roads.

For deer hunters, the next season begins only a few months after the last one ended. Deer hunters do not get much of a break as they start the process of preparing for next season by planting food plots, fixing feeders, and repairing deer stands. Most take their ATV or UTV vehicles in for service due to the abuse their machines have gone through.

For duck hunters, the biggest job is building the blind. Some simply rebrush blinds they’ve used for years, while others may build new blinds in different locations. Make no mistake, the amount of work to build a duck blind is no less than what a deer hunter must do. Duck hunters must go out and gather moss and cut brush so they can brush-in their blind. This takes time and lots of work to secure the brush to the blind. Of course, all this takes place when temperatures are usually in the 90’s, so sweating is a major part of both a duck and deer hunter’s world as they prepare for another season.

There you have it ladies, now you know why your husbands are gone so long during hunting season, and especially during the months leading up to the hunting season. Hunting requires hard work and long hours of preparation to guarantee success. But don’t try and justify the cost of hunting because when it comes down to dollars spent versus pounds of meat put int the freezer, you’ll see it does not come out very well for the hunter. But it’s all worth it when that back strap comes straight off the grill and is sitting in front of you at dinner time. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Till next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to invite me for supper when back strap is served!

Steve Graf

SAVE THE DATE for the Northwest LA Youth Summit

The Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health and the Shreveport Police Department are hosting the 2nd Annual Northwest Louisiana Youth Summit on Saturday, November 4. The summit is for youth ages 10 to 18 and their parents. The event is FREE to attend.

Registration and a breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. and the program will start at 9 a.m. and go until 12:30 p.m. with a motivational luncheon to follow. The summit will take place at the Southern Hills Park and Community Center at 1002 W. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport.

If you are interested in participating as a vendor or have more questions, please contact Yolanda Duckworth, the Region 7 Opioid Prevention Outreach Coordinator, at

Ana Deloach VanEaton
Communications Coordinator for Regions 7 & 8
Office of Public Health