Auto accidents result in death and injuries to Jackson Parish residents this past week

In the first week of January, a tornado brought devastating destruction to the residents of Jackson Parish. The first week of February has brought its own pain as well, as two separate auto accidents this past week resulted in several injuries and one death.

The first accident took place on February 1st when Kandi Temple of Quitman suffered a seizure while driving southbound on Hwy 167 causing the vehicle to go across the northbound lane, through the parking lot of Burks Welding, and crash through the wall on the north side of the Tobacco Mart in Jonesboro. According to reports, injuries were sustained to Temple and the youths in the vehicle, as well as, the store manager requiring each to be hospitalized for treatment and evaluation.

Multi-vehicle wreck claims life of Jonesboro woman

As reported by KSLA, KTAL, and KMSS new services, Louisiana State Police say 40-year-old Melissia Bolyer, originally from Jamestown, LA but recently of Jonesboro, was killed when she was hit by a semi Thursday morning. Officials say the three-vehicle crash happened around 10:30 a.m. on February 3rd on LA Hwy 507, west of LA Hwy 9.

According to authorities, a 2016 International tractor-trailer driven by 43-year-old Edtreum Loyd of Jonesboro was traveling west on LA Hwy 507. At the same time, a 2015 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was traveling east on LA Hwy 507, followed by a 2019 Nissan Versa driven by Bolyer.

At one point, police say the International crossed the center line and exited the roadway to the left. The driver of the Peterbilt took evasive action and left the road to the right. The International struck the Peterbilt before it re-entered the eastbound lane. Boyler’s Nissan was then struck by the International and left the roadway. The International overturned and also left the road. Reports indicate Boyler was unrestrained. She suffered fatal injuries, and the Bienville Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced her dead at the scene.

 

 

 


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WestRock receives prestigious Lantern Award

HODGE, La. (KNOE) – Louisiana Economic Development (LED) said they created the Lantern Awards in 1979 to recognize excellence in manufacturing and exemplary public service from businesses and employees to their local communities, and one NELA manufacturing business has done just that.

WestRock in Hodge is going to be honored as one of the recipients of the Lantern Awards during a private reception in Baton Rouge on Feb. 8westrock logo.

LED Secretary Don Pierson said the chosen manufacturers and their employees have helped the state tremendously.

“In 2022, Louisiana manufacturers and their employees contributed mightily to the resurgence of our state’s economy and the resilience of our communities,” Pierson said.

There is a total of seven recipients, one for each region.

“In the north and south, east and west, and central regions of Louisiana, these honored manufacturers have distinguished themselves by combining business acumen and community service,” Pierson said. “I’m proud to recognize them with Lantern Awards, one of LED’s highest honors, as they are a shining example for all businesses in our state.”

Honorees are chosen by Louisiana’s Regional Planning and Development Districts, based on the overall contribution of the manufacturers to their communities, including investments in employment growth and facility expansions as well as public service activities with employee participation. Recipients must also have been in operation at least three years prior to their nomination to demonstrate sustainability.

2022 Lantern Award winners:

Northeast Region: WestRock, Hodge
Acadiana Region: D&T Crawfish, Abbeville
Capital Region: Swamp Dragon LLC, Baton Rouge
Central Region: Drax Biomass, Urania
South-Central: Cospolich, Destrehan
Southeast Region: MECO, Mandeville
Southwest Region: Ingevity, DeRidder


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Signing Day! JHHS has six sign National Letters of Intent to play football collegiately

Six players from the 2022 Jonesboro-Hodge football team will be going to four colleges and universities spread over three states to continue their playing careers in college after singing National Letters of Intent on Friday. The number of players signing breaks the school record of five set a year ago and establishes a new two year total at eleven which rivals most any school in the state and stands second to none among smaller schools of the LHSAA.

Three will stay in state with Dominick Strickland and Zion Gray signing with Centenary College in Shreveport and Cameron “Smoke” Leonard going to Louisiana Christian College in Pineville. Heading to North American University in Stafford, TX is Cartavious “Hambone” Waters and Joshua Tatum while Austin Knotts takes his talents to Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO.

“I am very happy for the guys to be able to continue their careers,” said JHHS head football coach Terrance Blankenship. “They have worked hard for this opportunity and our coaching staff and everyone at JHHS wishes them success in the future.”

The number of players that have signed to play collegiately over the last two years is incredible. Eleven players in two years rivals virtually any school in the state and is especially impressive considering the fact that JHHS plays in the lowest classification of the LHSAA and is in a rural setting. It is also a gleaming example of the excellent work that Blankenship and staff does in helping young men have the opportunity to chase their dreams.. 

“Seeing your guys get an opportunity to play at the next level is what it’s all about,” said Blankenship. “Some may think a coaching staff is only concerned about winning games, but what is most important to me and our staff is preparing them for their next stage in life, whether it be in football or their working career.”

JHHS National Letter of Intent Signees

NAME POSITION SCHOOL LOCATION
Cartavious Waters Lineman North American University Stafford, TX
Joshua Tatum Lineman North American University Stafford, TX
Dominick Strickland Lineman Centenary College Shreveport, LA
Zion Gray Wide Receiver Centenary College Shreveport, LA
Cameron Leonard Defensive Back Louisiana Christian College Pineville, LA
Austin Knotts Lineman Culver-Stockton College Canton, MO

Seated l-r: Joshua Tatum, Austin Knotts, Zion Gray, Dominick Strickland, Cartavious Waters, Cameron Leonard


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LDOE officials visit Quitman High to recognize “Comeback Campus” achievement

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is recognizing the impact educators have made on students despite facing extraordinary obstacles over the past two years. This past Friday, Louisiana State Superintendent, Dr. Cade Brumley, BESE District 5 Representative Mrs. Ashley Ellis, Jackson Parish School Board members, and district staff came to Quitman High School on Friday to present Principal Billy Carter and staff with a “Comeback Campus” banner. 

What is a Louisiana Comeback Campus?

Louisiana Comeback Campuses are schools that increased the percentage of students scoring mastery and above and decreased the percentage of students scoring unsatisfactory in both Math and English Language Arts on statewide assessments when compared to 2019. 

Carter appointed to LHSAA Executive Committee

For over two decades, Billy Carter has helped first the students and then the faculty and staff at Quitman High School achieve great heights through his instruction and guidance as first a coach and later as Principal. Now he will look to do the same for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). “Coach” as he is fondly called, will still be the Principal at QHS but this past week he was appointed to the prestigious position as a member of the LHSAA Executive Committee, representing north Louisiana Class B schools.  


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Fantastic finishes highlight prep action as district races take shape

A year’s worth of thrilling games, fantastic finishes, gutty efforts, upsets, and yes, even disappointing losses was packed into a week’s worth of games involving local girls and boys high school basketball teams. After all the dust had settled, the chances for a district championship looked better for some and not so good for others. Below is a summary of games for Weston, Quitman, Saline, and Jonesboro-Hodge along with boxscores from each. 

Weston High School

Buzzer Beater leaves Lady Wolves in control of District 1B

Lexie Millien drained a buzzer-beating, three-pointer to put the finishing touches on an improbable 59-58 comeback victory to lift Weston over home-standing Castor this past Tuesday in the battle of district 1B frontrunners. On Friday, the Lady Wolves had no trouble in dispatching Doyline 60-37 to vault the Lady Wolves to 4-0 in district 1B play and 26-5 overall. 
Won in a Millien! There is not a young round baller that hasn’t done it. You act like you are in a packed gymnasium in front of thousands of screaming fans. Not only are you the player but the game announcer too.
“Time is winding down, Five! Four! Three!” you say as you take a shot at the goal.
“The shot goes up! It’s Good! It’s Good! It’s Good! WE WIN! WE WIN!”
You can bet Millien has acted out the above scenario countless times. She will never have to play make-believe again though. Now, she has lived the dream! With Weston trailing 58-56, Millien took a pass at the top of the key with three seconds to play. STOP! POP! SWISH!!!!! GAME OVER!
Frantic Finish! Weston looked to be out of it after a late third-quarter run by Castor gave them a 47-37 lead after three quarters.  Digging deep, Weston responded with a frantic 22-11 fourth quarter led by six points by Jessica Newton, five from Millien, and four each by Briley Peterson and Emma Kate McBride to close the gap to 58-56, setting up Millien’s last-second heroics.
First Five Fantastic! For the first time all year, the starting five scored every single point in the contest, with four reaching double figures in points. Millien, who added a team-high five steals, and Jessica Newton finished with “double-double” stat lines of 16 pts / 10 rbs and 12 pts / 16 rbs, respectively. Briley Peterson came up just short of being a third ‘double bagger” ending with a team-high 17 points and contributing 9 boards. Lainee Trosclair added ten points and Emma Kate McBride chipped in with four points, six boards, three assists, and four blocks, tying her with Newton for the team lead.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Weston 19 8 10 22 59
Castor 12 23 12 11 58
WHS scoring: Peterson 17, Millien 16, Newton 12, Trosclair 10, McBride 4
Castor scoring: Long 22, Shirley 8, Rogers 8, Smith 7, Collinsworth 6, Gray 2

Lady Wolves 60 Doyline 37 (Friday) Weston shot Doyline off the court in the first quarter by making five 3-pointers, including three on the first three shots to take a commanding lead 17-4 lead that ballooned to 41- 22 by the end of three. The Lady Wolves would end the game with nine treys. Briley Peterson was the leading scorer with 15 points, followed by 13 from Lainee Trosclair and 10 by Jessica Newton who added a season-best and career-high 20 rebounds to go along with five blocks. Emma Kate McBride finished with 9, Lexie Millien had seven and Anslee Aldy scored six. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Weston 17 9 15 19 60
Doyline 4 9 9 15 37
WHS Scoring: Peterson 15, Trosclair 13, Newton 10, McBride 9, Millien 7, Aldy 6
DHS Scoring: n/a

Wolves drop 20th of the year

The “|second season” swoon continued for the beleagured Weston boys team that lost to Castor 63-52 and Doyline 85-52 to extend their district 1B losing streak to four straight without a victory. By dropping their ninth game in the eleven played since the calendar rolled over to 2023 the Wolves were saddled with their 20th loss of the year for the first time since the 2011-12 season against only nine wins.  

TEAMS 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Weston 15 7 9 24 53
Castor 12 17 18 16 63
WHS scoring: Zehr 21, Henderson 12, Mathews 11, Otwell 5, Fourd 5, Theriot 1
CHS scoring: Clark 21, Clark 16, Bolyer 7, Jordan 6, Warren 4, Wood 4, Warren 2, Cooper 2

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Weston 10 14 17 11 52
Doyline 25 25 20 15 85
WHS scoring: Otwell 12, Zehr 11, Henderson 9, Harris 5, Wages 5, Fourd 4, Mathews 3, Theriot 2
DHS scoring: Clark 32, Swain 16, Patterson 15, McClendon 15, Spears 3, Johnson 2, Clark 2

Quitman High School

Boys feel the highest of highs and lowest of lows

In what was easily the best win of the year, QHS climbed to the top of 1B mountain after round one of district play by upsetting Doyline 48-47 on Tuesday only to misfire down the stretch and suffer a demoralizing 60-57 loss to Castor on Friday, whom they had beaten just ten days earlier. The split of games left Quitman with a 16-11 overall record and tied with Doyline atop the 1B standings at 3-1. Castor moved within one game at 2-2.
QHS 48 Doyline 47: (Thursday)The contest featured one of the best scorers in north Louisiana this season. Instead, Gavyn Caskey, who had as good a week as any player in the state, stole the show. Caskey nailed six of eight 3-pointers, including four in the final frame to finish with 18 points to help Quitman rally from a 38-34 deficit after three periods,. Meanwhile “Juicy” Clark from Doyline, who scored 70 points in a contest earlier in the year and came in averaging over 30 points a game, managed only 19 points before fouling out.  While Caskey was connecting on 6 of 9 shots in all for his best scoring game of the year the rest of the Wolverines struggled to make only 12 of 49 from the field and just 3 of 18 from behind the arc. Free throw shooting was just as bad at 3 of  9 and almost cost Quitman as on three straight trips late in the game the Wolverines missed the front end of a one and, while holding on to the slim one-point lead. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman 12 12 10 14 48
Doyline 2 16 20 9 47
QHS scoring: Caskey 18, Ponder 12, Carter 9, Walker 5, Duck 2, Smith 2
DHS scoring: Clark 19, Swain 9, McClendon 8, Patterson 5, Spears 4, Clark 2

Castor 60 Quitman 57 (Friday) Missing free throws didn’t hurt QHS against Doyline. Against Castor it killed them. Holding a 57-54 lead late in the fourth quarter, QHs missed the front end of a one-and-one twice, while Castor made both of theirs and added two more baskets to slip by with the win. One night after setting a new season best, Gavyn Caskey did it again in both points (20) and in made three-pointers with seven. Logan Ponder added six three-pointers resulting in a team-high 23 points in the contest that saw Quitman shoot better from behind the arc (44%) than they did from the field (34%). 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman 16 17 8 16 57
Castor 23 15 8 14 60
QHS scoring: Ponder 23, Caskey 20, Smith 5, Carter 5, Duck 4
CHS scoring: Clark 20, Clark 15, McClendon 10, Wamen 9, Jordan 4, Wood 2

Lady Wolverines get offensive

Started from the bottom now I’m here. That could be the theme song for the Lady Wolverines this past week as by equaling their season high in points in back-to-back games Quitman evened their district record at 2-2 and moved to within one game of the  20-win mark at 19-8 overall foir the first time in four seasons.  

Quitman 66 Doyline24 (Tuesday) The Lady Wolverines dominated Doyline in the first and third periods by a combined score of 39-4 and despite not scoring in the fourth quarter still equaled their season best in points to win by over 40 points for their first district 1B victory of the year. Coming to grips with the fact that senior point guard Bethany Leach was most likely lost for the year, QHS dug deep to pick up the slack, as five players finished in double figures led by Cali Deal with 23. points. Summer Grillette continued her late scoring spree by adding 11 followed by Brayli Stewart, Emma Carter, and 8th grader Anna Leach who has stepped in admirably in place of her namesake. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman 18 27 21 0 66
Doyline 2 17 2 3 24
QHS scoring: Deal 23, Grillette 11, Leach 10, Stewart 10, Carter 10, Folks 2
DHS scoring: Sumlin 8, Harris 7, Handy 6, Martin 3

Quitman 66 Castor 58:(Friday) Cali Deal hit 17 of 21 free throws leading to a career-high 31 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds to lead QHS to a repeat performance of tying their season high in points. Anna Leach also scored a career-high finishing with 15 points, the fourth time in the last five games the 8th grader has reached double figures in scoring. As a team, Quitman made 14 of 15 from the charity stripe in the first half to build a 32-22 lead.  

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman 13 19 20 14 66
Castor 11 11 23 13 58
QHS scoring: Deal 31, Leach 15, Stewart 9, Carter 6, Gray 4, Grillette 1
CHS scoring: Long 20, Smith 16, Cottonham 9, Shirley 7, Gray 5, Rogers 3

Saline High School

Girls secure tie for district 2C title

Saline 66 Georgetown 64 (OT): Alaya Gray made a last second basket to send the game into overtime and with twins Alaya and Alana on the bench with five fouls each, Kasidy Sims and Sydney Thomas both scored four points in overtime to give Saline the win after trailing 47-36 at the end of three.Sims set a new career high with 20 points followed by the Gray twins Alaya and Alana Gray added 10. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 OT TOTAL
Saline 11 11 14 22 8 66
Georgetown 9 17 21 10 4 63
SHS scoring:Sims 20 Alaya Gray 18, Alana Gray 11 Thomas 10, Malone 4
GHS scorin: n/a

Saline 50 Calvin 37: The reversal of the seasons fortune is remarkable. After 12 games to start the season Saline was sitting with a 1-11 record. Write this one off, right? Oh,  how wrong can you be. With Kacidy Sims scoring in double figures  in two straight games for the first time all season and both Gray girls hitting double digits, Saline improved their district mark to 6-0 and is just a win against 0-17 Central-Jonesville away from securing the title. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Saline 10 12 19 9 50
Calvin 2 7 10 18 37
SHS scoring: Alaya Gray 17, Sims 15, Alana Gray 12, Lard 4, Thomas 2
CHS scoring: Peters 14, Barnes 11, Barnes 9, Fernandez 2, Womack 1

Bobcats stay in range of district title

By beating Georgetown and Calvin on back to back nights the Saline boys stayed one game back of Atlanta but need some help in order to draw even with the Bulldogs. Regardless, the two victories moved the Bobcats season record to three games over .500 at 17-14 for the first time all season. 

Saline 56 Georgetown 42 (Thursday) Will Dison and freshman Gavin Dailey led a balanced scoring attack with 12 and 10 respectively and Wesley Crawford, back from a bad ankle injury scored all nine of his points in the first quarter as Saline methodically ripped Georgetown apart. DJ Rager- Ridley, who has had a big uptick in productioin as of late also had nine followed by Jacob Jones who was one point back with eight. Shawn Staggs and Maddox Williams finished iwth four. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Saline 16 10 21 9 56
Georgetown 9 9 18 6 42
SHS scoring: Dison 12, Dailey 10, Crawford 9, Rager-Ridley 9, Jones 8, Staggs 4, Williams 4
GHS scoring: n/a

Saline 56 Calvin 46 (Friday): Saline jumped all over the defending Class C state runnerup going up 20-3 by the end of the first quarter and never looking back. Wesley Crawford led 8 Bobcats who scored in the contest with 14 followed by late season sparkplug Gaavin Dailey who ended with 13 points. DJ Reager- Ridley added ten and Shawn Stagg eight. Jacob Jones finished with five and three other had two points each. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Saline 20 10 18 8 56
Calvin 3 14 15 14 46
SHS scoring: Crawford 14, Dailey 13, Rager-Ridley 10, Staggs 8, Jones 5, Dison 2, Ferguson 2, Williams 2
CHS scoring; n/a

Red River drowns JHHS boys 

The trip to Red River ended with the boy’s chances of staying in the upper echelon of the District 3-2A race getting all wet. The Tigers led 11-9 after one but by scoring only four points in the second fell behind 20-15 at intermission. It got worse in the second half as Red river flowed through the Tiger defense for 42 points while giving up only 27 to the Tigers in the 62-42 loss. Zion Gray scored 16 and Savantez Phillips added 14. No other JH player scored more than four in the game. 


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Principal, Teachers and Students of the Year to be recognized at School Board meeting

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting that will be held at 11:00am on Monday, February 6th, the Jackson Parish School Board will recognize the best of the best students, teachers, and principal from the elementary, junior high and high school divisions in the Jackson Parish School District. 

The Best of 2022-23

Ella Simonelli – 5th Grade Jackson Parish Student of the Year
Ty Henderson – 8th Grade Jackson Parish Student of the Year
Dillon Pardue – 12th Grade Jackson Parish Student of the Year
LaJulia Blankenship – Jackson Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year
Megan Rackley – Jackson Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year
Haley Staples – Jackson Parish High School Teacher of the Year
Billy Carter – Jackson Parish Principal of the Year

In additional action, Matthew Margaglio from Kolder, Slaven and Company, LLC will present the 2022 audit, a School Board Member training resolution will be considered for adoption and reports from the various committee chairs will be given with recommendations offered for approval. 

In accordance with the Americans Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance, please contact David Claxton at 318-259-4456 describing the assistance that is necessary.


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Chamber of Commerce shows appreciation to Jonesboro Public Works Dept.

To show appreciation and gratitude for the incredible work done in hanging the thousands of beautiful Christmas lights and putting up decorations for the Christmas in the Pines Festival this past December the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce provided lunch to the members of the Town of Jonesboro Public Works department. They were served food prepared by local vendor, Scrap Iron B-B-Q, owned and operated by Robin and Tina Sessions. 

(l-r) Carl Johnson, Yumeaka Washington and Warren Bradley.


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Naakyah Walker wins J-HES Spelling Bee Championship

On Thursday, February 2, 2023, Jonesboro-Hodge Elementary School held its 2nd Annual Spelling Bee. The spelling bee consisted of participants in Grades 3-5 interested in advancing their vocabulary. Each participant demonstrated a new level of self-confidence, communication, and public speaking skills, and for that, we are VERY proud of them!

On behalf of J-HES, a special congratulations go to FIRST PLACE SPELLING BEE CHAMPION Miss Naakyah Walker (4th Grade) who will proceed to the Regional Competition in Shreveport next month.

Spelling Bee Winners:

1st Place: Naakyah Walker (4th Grade)
2nd Place: Kristacia Howard (4th Grade)
3rd Place: Krisina Chen (4th Grade)

Superlatives:

Best Enunciation: Emily Gilbert (5th Grade)
Most Improved: Antoine Spivey (4th Grade)
Best Sportsmanship: Brady Malone (4th Grade)
Poise Award: Stacy Ballio (3rd Grade)
Spirit Award: Jarhyeon Harris (4th Grade)

Special thanks to the committee for making this event possible: Mrs. Bozeman (Coordinator); Mrs. Duncan (Pronouncer); Ms. Collinsworth & Ms. Wynee (Judges/RecordKeeper); Ms. Jack, Coach Paggett, Coach Garner, Ms.Hudson, Deputy Cole, and Mr. Barron (Decor/Logistics)

J-HES Basketball teams sweep Simsboro 

Levi Martin goes for two of his game high 8 pts.

The JHES Tigers competed vs. Simsboro Elementary Monday night in fantastic fashion as the Lady Tigers and Tigers were both successful in their respective contests for the first time in their inaugural season.

The Lady Tigers played their competition even in the first quarter but put up a steel curtain with respect to their opponent’s basket, not allowing the Simsboro Lady Tigers to score another basket in the next three quarters. Timberly Wilson and Jeniah Mays were strong in the paint and also led the Tigers in scoring. Final Score: J-HES 14 Simsboro 2.

The Tigers in like fashion struck first for the first time this season and never looked back in the contest. Taking a 16 to 7 lead at the half the Tigers were led defensively by Levi Martin with 4 blocks and an impressive 9 rebounds. The biggest spark offensively came from “Mr. Instant Offense” Andrew Watkins who scored 7 points in the first. Levi Martin and Cannon Tatum led the Tigers with 8 apiece while the aggressive Tiger defense held Simsboro to just 5 points in the second half. Final Score: J-HES 31 Simsboro 12.

Cannon “Downtown’ Tatum laces the nets!


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Royalty’s Restaurant features Valentine’s Day Dinner prepared by renowned special guest chef

Looking for a special way to spend Valentine’s Day? Thanks to Jonesboro’s newest eatery, Royalty’s Restaurant, you and your love one have the opportunity to turn your dreams of delicacy into edible enchantment at Royalty’s location at 122 Jimmie Davis Blvd. or in the comfort of your own home with a dinner prepared by Chef Odom of the renowned Odom’s Kitchen out of Baton Rouge. 

Reservations are for two people and are required in advance to reserve seating for 5:00 or 6:00pm. Space is limited so it isvday flyer 2 - Copy recommended to book your reservations today by calling (318) 395-5060 or (225)-395-9821. You can also go online to www.eatwithodom’s.com or:

For 5:00pm Reservations: click here
For 6:00pm Reservations: click here

Valentine’s Day Dinner by Odom’s Kitchen Menu


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Registration begins Monday for JPRD Baseball/Softball/T-Ball Summer League

The Jackson Parish Recreation District (JPRD) announces that  registration for summer league baseball, softball and T-Ball begins on February 6th (Monday) and runs until February 24th. Costs are: $30.00 for boy and girls aged 3-4 and $50.00 for boys and girls of ages 5 & up. There will be a $10.00 fee added for any late registration. To register go to the administrative building at the JPRD Sports Complex, located at 5254 Hwy 4 West just outside of Jonesboro or send check or money order to:

JPRD
PO Box 315
Jonesboro, LA 71251

JPRD Baseball/Softball/TBall Registration Form


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HUNTING SQUEALERS – A BLAST FROM THE PAST

I suppose it’s normal, when you get older, to revisit more frequently those special times and events that define who you are. One such activity that put an indelible mark on my life will seem insignificant to some who never experienced it, nor would they care to. I’ll explain.

When I was growing up on the rural route near Goldonna in Natchitoches Parish, hunting in fall and winter was as natural then as driving through the Burger Doodle for a burger and fries is today. There were neither deer nor turkeys to hunt in the woods where I grew up but beeches and oaks growing along the creek banks harbored plenty of squirrels. For real excitement, I knew
I could head down to the slough and more than likely, I’d be able to get a shot at a few wood ducks.

I’m not sure if in the 1950’s, I knew the proper name of wood ducks, the colorful little ducks that made their living in the sloughs and back waters down in Saline swamp. They weresimply “squealers”, deriving their name, I assume, from the high-pitched call they made as they careened through the timber on their way to shallow areas in the swamp to feed.
From the time I was old enough to tag along with my dad, we hunted squealers practically every morning before school. In no way did our early morning squealer hunts resemble duck hunting today. There were no blinds; no decoys; no dogs; no calls. We gathered at dawn with other fathers and sons to pass-shoot squealers at the Sand Flats, a narrow spit of sand dotted with blackjack oaks that lay on the east side of Saline Bayou.

For as long as I can remember, wood ducks flew across the Sand Flats after leaving their roost on their way to a feeding area. I’d like to think that they still fly the same route today. I’m sure they flew across other areas along Saline, but since blackjack oaks don’t grow tall, the ducks generally flew lower over the Sand Flats. I don’t recall killing very many squealers on these
early morning forays, but the anticipation that I might was temptation enough to prod a teenager from a warm bed, morning after morning, for less than half an hour of wing-shooting action.

As I grew older, we took squealer hunting to another level. Instead of shooting for half an hour at the Sand Flats, we pulled on hip boots and drove as far as the old truck would take us down into the swamp, down to where Fordoche creek spilled out of its banks across the lowlands under the hardwoods to create a shallow green-tree reservoir.

Just about every morning during Christmas vacation from college, I’d join my brother, my dad, and two cousins to wade out into an old brake where squealers came to feed. On rare occasions, a mallard or two would drop in but for the most part, wood ducks were all we saw.

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to relive this experience once again when I joined three other members of our hunting club before daylight for a squealer hunt. One member had seen ducks pouring into a particular portion of our flooded woods several days in a row while he sat on his deer stand. On this particular morning, we gave the deer a rest, pulled on waders, laid aside deer rifles and picked up shotguns. We splashed our way to the flooded woods, spread out 75 yards or so apart and were waiting when the first “whee-o-wee” echoed through the flooded oaks.

The shooting was fast and furious and within 45 minutes, it was over. We collected seven squealers, one short of a two-bird-per-hunter limit and were back at camp by the time the sunbroke over the horizon.

For a few fun-filled exciting minutes, I was down on the old brake with my brother and cousins, waiting in flooded timber at daybreak, listening for the first squealer to announce its  arrival. 

I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a hunting experience more. On second thought, maybe I do. Perhaps it was the last time I shot squealers down on the old brake back home.

”Hunting wood ducks is best done down in the swamp where squealer ducks like to hang out.” Courtesy photo

FISHING REPORT

BLACK BAYOU – No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE – No report. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is rising with current and fishing has been slow this week. No reports on crappie or bass. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – A flood gate has been opened to release water that is quite high. Even so, the ACT tourney was held last week with a bunch of nice crappie being caught along channel edges and on the flats. Winning total in this catch, weigh and release event totaled 208 fish 1 pound and over. No report on bass, bream or catfish this week. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE –Crappie fishing continues to be fair to good with jigs and shiners picking up some fish in deep water. Bass are fair to good with some weighed in during a tournament in the 7 pound bracket. No report this week on bream, stripers or catfish.. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE –Jigging spoons and tail spinners are picking up a few bass and yellow bass bouncing these lures off the bottom in deep water. Soft plastics and deep diving crank baits have been producing some around humps just off the channels. Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing the deep tops on shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish.. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – With cold, windy and wet weather, there have been no fishermen out this week. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall but because of inclement weather, there has been no fishing on the lake this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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Caney Storage filling need for extended storage of RV, boat, campers, vehicles and other large items

(Paid Advertorial by Jeff Hairston) 

Seven years ago, my wife and I moved to Jackson Parish after living in Monroe for 38 years. One thing we noticed about Jackson Parish is the lack of RV and Boat Storage. With Caney Lake being one of the main centerpieces in the Parish we were surprised.
The popularity of Caney Lake brings people with RVs, campers, and boats from North Louisiana, and beyond, to fish or just play in the lake.

In 2021, we decided to invest in the Parish and build an RV / Boat storage facility, and would name it Caney Storage. We have looked at lots of other storage facilities and brought, what we think, is the best of everything to this new development. We purchased land and built Caney Storage located halfway between Chatham and Jonesboro at 110 North Lake Drive off of Hwy 4, just ¼ mile from the Caney Lake bridge. This location is almost geographically centered in Jackson Parish and is convenient to all  Jackson Parish residents with the added amenity of being very close to Caney Lake and Jimmie Davis State Park.

Providing the utmost security for your belongings, this canopy-covered RV and boat storage facility has an electric gate code keypad entrance, an 8’ security fence, security cameras, security lighting, and electrical outlets.

We built this facility based on what we would expect from someone if we were storing our RV, boat, camper, vehicle or any other large items for an extended period.

For more information please visit our website at www.caneystorage.com for more information on space sizes and rates or call 318-348-8822


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Jackson Parish School District Recognizes National School Counseling Week

National School Counseling Week 2023 is Feb. 6-10, 2023, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within school systems. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. The theme this year is “Dream Big.”

In our rural parish, we have several tremendous counselors that go above and beyond their job duties to ensure that each student’s needs are met. This week we are honoring those counselors with a spotlight in our local paper.jp school district logo

Jonesboro Hodge Elementary School boasts two counselors that work with our students, with one counselor focusing on services for students which are specifically for Wrap Around schools. If you are not familiar with Wrap Around, it is the idea of focusing on the child as a whole. These services are focused on academics, of course, but also include maintaining a Family Resource Center, which has clothing, hygiene products, food, etc., as well as specifically working with students and parents on attendance issues, behavior, social-emotional issues, as well as physical needs. The Wrap Around counselor also provides counseling sessions with students in order to improve their social skills, self-control, and behavior.

Tristen Bergholtz is the Wrap Around counselor for JHES and she has brought her expertise and knowledge to JHES. She hails from Florida with her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and her graduate degree from our own Louisiana State University! She has been in education for the past 10 years and began her career as a special education teacher before moving to counseling. Mrs. Bergholtz is a Louisiana Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor and her goals at JHES are to help improve the academic, attendance, and social-emotional development of all students. She is hopeful in the future that every school counselor in Louisiana will have the opportunity to provide students with a comprehensive school counseling program. Going with the theme of School Counseling Week, Mrs. Bergholtz stated, “Big dreams are accomplished by taking lots of little steps, one at a time.” She loves working with students and helping them discover that they have the tools needed to achieve their goals. Mrs. Bergholtz’s hobbies include reading, hiking, and of course, spending time with her family. Her husband, Benjamin Bergholtz, and their three children currently reside in Ruston, LA. She loves her Tiger Family!!

Jonesboro Hodge Elementary’s school counselor, Rachelle Mason, has had an enormous impact on the school for the past six years. She stays busy with scheduling, state testing, as well as special populations accommodations. Mrs. Mason also is the counselor for Jonesboro Hodge Middle School. She juggles the responsibilities of each school with finesse and grace. Although she has very little time to complete all her duties at both schools, she is continually patient and kind to everyone she works with, especially taking time to help students to be successful. Kudos to Mrs. Mason for taking on the task of counselor for two amazing schools. Mrs. Mason loves both of her schools and is a fighting Tiger for her students!!

Nestled next to the Jackson Parish School Board office is Jonesboro Hodge High School. A school renowned for its amazing sports history, as well as having students that have graduated and spent their lives improving our fine parish. Our wonderful counselor at JHHS is Debbie Connor. Ms. Connor knows the educational arena well, as she has been in education for over 40 years. This veteran educator is originally from Winnfield, Louisiana, of which Winn Parish has been our sports rival for many years. She now calls Jonesboro home. Ms. Connor graduated from NSU in Natchitoches, Louisiana with several certifications, which include secondary mathematics, and secondary business education, as well as a Master’s degree in guidance and counseling. She assists students with the “Dream Big” theme by helping them make a post-secondary plan for their future while they are still enrolled in high school. Her goal is to provide support to students, parents, and staff at JHHS. Ms. Connor loves to interact with students in her job capacity and help them plan for their future. “I enjoy supporting them while they work toward their goals,” she stated. Her personal goal is to serve as a productive Christian member of the community and travel to as many new places as possible. Her interests and hobbies include mission work, puzzles, traveling, visiting family and friends, and meeting new people of other cultures. She loves to observe their living styles and how they interact with others. Ms. Connor is a calm leader in the storm, but a fighting Tiger on the field! Fight the good fight!

Quitman High School is a rural school that sits off of highway 167 in Quitman, Louisiana. It serves over 800 students and boasts of many accomplishments, including academics and sports. A huge part of their success is due to their school counselor, Kasie Woods. Mrs. Woods is a Quitman hometown native and has been in education for over 20 years. She received her degrees from Louisiana Tech University and currently has a Master’s in School Counseling. She has been in her current position as a school counselor for the last 5 years. Mrs. Woods taught pre-kindergarten for 15 years before moving into counseling. She stated the best part of her position is working with students and helping them to reach their highest potential, which is the most rewarding part of her day. She plans on continuing her career as a counselor. Mrs. Woods, her husband Jay, and their two children currently live in Ansley, Louisiana. Mrs. Woods is a fearless QHS leader. Go Wolverines!!

Dr. Deona Austin recently joined the Wolverine pack at QHS. She has been a counselor for 28 years. She began her career many years ago in Jonesboro, LA, and returned recently to our parish. Dr. Austin has degrees in English Education, Human Relations and Supervision, Secondary School Counseling, and Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University and Walden University. Dr. Austin is a member of the Louisiana Counseling Association, Louisiana School Counselor Association, and Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Organization for Women Educators. She is active in Zion Hill Baptist Church. Her accomplishments include National Counselor Certification and National School Counselor Certification. Dr. Austin teaches educational psychology at Northwestern State University. Her husband of 33 years is Paul Austin. They have five children, and nine grandchildren, and reside in Winnfield, LA. She has a mini dachshund named Chip. Dr. Austin is an exceptional pack leader in the field of counseling.

Situated just off Highway 4 East in Jackson Parish is the small community of Weston. This community supports Weston High School with its student population of nearly 700 in grades pre-k through 12. Weston is located between Jonesboro and Chatham, Louisiana, and is approximately 8 miles from Jonesboro. WHS has bragging rights in baseball, softball, and basketball, as well as academics. At this exceptional school, two counselors report for duties each day.

Our counselors are supported by their principals at each school which is: JHES-Ms. Danielle Copeland, JHMS-Mr. Brent Carpenter, JHHS-Ms. Chevonda Leonard, QHS-Mr. Billy Carter, and WHS-Mr. Ritchie Tolar. We appreciate the support you have given to our school counselors!

Do something nice for your counselors the week of February 6-10, 2023. They deserve it!

Jackson Parish School District Counselors

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Daily Devotional by Pam Ford Davis

He Saw the Light!

I wonder if Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Piñata are still popular children’s games. I do know that it’s hard to find what’s aimed at while wearing a blindfold.

Blindness is not a game; it’s reality for many.

“As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him (John 9:1-3 NASB).”

God’s miraculous works …

Jesus is the Light of the world; He brought the blind man out of darkness.

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.’ When He had said this, He spit on the ground, and made mud from the saliva, and applied the mud to his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he left and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:5-7 NASB).”

Seeing, he saw the Light! He believed and worshiped the Son of Man.

Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered by saying, ‘And who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’ And he said, ‘I believe, Lord.’ And he worshiped Him (John 9:35b-38 NASB).”


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