Police Jury Moves Forward With 2020 Road Projects

On May 18th the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) was able to hold a public meeting for the first time in several months but the requirements of the “social distancing” was starkly evident. Instead of their usual side-by-side positions around a large meeting table each juror sat a full six feet apart at individual round tables that spread wall-to-wall across the floor at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center in Jonesboro.

Despite the inconvenience it didn’t stop Jurors: Todd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham, John McCarty, Tarneshala “Niki” Cowans, Regina Rowe, Lynn Treadway and President Amy Magee from holding a spirited discussion to begin the session about the proposed postponement of all projects slated for2020.

The result was that by a roll call vote of 5-2 it was decided to immediately begin to move forward with the 2020 planned construction projects submitted by the Road Department while, instead of cancelling all other projects until 2021, suspending them until a later date. Additional approval granted by jurors involving the Jackson Parish Road System included:

1. Adoption of the Road Capital Improvements Policy for 2021-23 which determines how roads in the Jackson Parish Road System are classified, rated and prioritized.
2. Hiring of the Riley Company of Ruston to rate and prioritize the roads in the system.
3. Adoption the 2020 Road Program and authorize the Parish Engineer to advertise for bids.
4. Adoption of the 3 year Road Program for 2020-2022.
5. Adoption of the revocation of the Public Road Policy.
6. Authorization of Parish Engineer to review issues on Hatten and Bert Road.
7. Hiring of a 4 person crew dedicated to drainage work.

It was further agreed to reassess each of the projects shown below once, or if, the Police Jury receives COVID-19 stimulus funding from the Federal and/or state government. Projects that were temporarily postponed:

1. Construction of model bin sites for Solid Waste
2. Maintenance projects unless there is a safety issue
3. Construction improvements on the Industrial Drive building
4. Funding for the Pinebelt Summer Worker Program
5. Inclusion of an Operations Manager position
6. Municipal appropriations including special projects
7. Annual municipal allocation
8. Dedication of funding for an Industrial Development board

Ordinance 0608-2020 which is in regard to Flood Damage Prevention was introduced for adoption in June meeting and department heads: Jody Stuckey – Road, Robin Sessions- Solid Waste, Robert “Bubba” Anderson- Maintenance and Gina Thomas – Secretary/Treasurer gave their reports.

Visitors to the meeting included Mr. Trae Brashear (JPPJ Insurance Agent) who presented the 2020-21 coverage program that was approved by unanimous decision and Mr. Ronald Bradley (Mayor Pre-tem of East Hodge) who requested the JPPJ assist with road repairs in the village. In final action before adjournment Ms. Judy Cooper was re-appointed to the Library Board of Control representing District 2 for a five year term effective 1/1/2020 – 12/31 2024

COVID-19 UPDATE: Rise In Recovery Locally, Hospitalization on the Decline

And then there was one! That is all that is shown to be hospitalized from the Coronavirus epidemic as of May 23rd according to statistics provided by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Another positive statistic is the rise of the number recovering with 35 shown to be no longer affected up ten from the week prior. Of the 140 people have now tested positive in Jackson Parish during the epidemic there are still 98 active cases. The death total has risen to seven.

“Please continue to pray for those affected by the virus and the health care workers taking care of them,” said Sheriff Andy Brown. “I encourage everyone to be responsible and do their part in keeping themselves and others safe by using protective equipment when you are in areas where others are gathered.”

COVID-19 statistics as of May 23rd
140 Positive cases reported
98 Active cases
35 Patients recovered
1 Hospitalized
7 Deaths

Arrest Reports: May 18th – May 25th

Shown below are arrests made from May 18th-May 25th by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Jonesboro Police Department and Hodge Police Department.

1. Phillip R. Andrews (Chatham, LA) – Aggravated assault with a firearm, Simple Battery, Driving Under Suspended License, Possession of Schedule II
2. Sam S. Sood (Chatham, LA)- Felony Criminal Damage to Property, Misdemeanor Sexual Battery – two counts
3. Tracy L. Weltz (Kingwood, TX) –Possession of Schedule I (Marijuana), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
4. Lester C. Thompson (Jonesboro, LA) –Simple Battery
5. Kers Kan Evans (Hodge, LA) – Possession of Schedule I with intent to distribute (Marijuana, Ecstasy), Illegal possession of a firearm, Illegal auxiliary lamps
6. Denesha Chester (Jonesboro, LA) – Possession of Marijuana
7. Ervin Ray Maza (Eros, LA) – Domestic Abuse/ Battery, Resisting an Officer (2 counts)
8. Benjamin M. Jiles (Dodson, LA)- Outstanding Warrant

Fishing report: Are fish really smart?

The man was reeling in his line when suddenly he noticed bubbles in the water out in front of him about 50 yards away. Immediately he pointed his trolling motor that way and slowly began to creep up on what he thought was good evidence that there may be a large fish ahead.

He was so intently looking at the phenomena he didn’t notice the large dark object that emerged out of the water on the other side of the boat until a chance glance behind him spied the spectacle. “WHAT THE H….” he screamed as his heart jumped in his throat he dang near jumped in the water.

“Howdy!” said the creature that after a closer look was recognized to be a scuba diver in full gear. “Having any luck?” After a few seconds of still trying to get his breath and calm his nerves the surprised angler responded like all fishermen do with the traditional “got a few” but then asked. “What are you diving for?”

“Doing some work for the Wildlife and Fisheries” replied the diver. “I just came across a big ‘ole catfish lying on the seat of a sunken car just a little ahead of you there. He looked to be about 20 pounds.”

“Really?” asked the angler. “Why didn’t you grab him up?

“Couldn’t” said the diver. “He kept rolling the window up on me.”

Hope you enjoyed this fish tale that was told to me by my good friend “Coyote” Guyotte. Fortunately the fish in our area aren’t that smart but you still need to know how to catch them. See below the newest edition to this section which is an updated fishing report on area waterways by local outdoor authority Glynn Harris.

CANEY LAKE – Bream fishing continues to be good fishing the shallows with crickets and worms. Crappie is being found around the deeper tops and hitting shiners and jigs. Bass have been fair to good with mostly medium sized fish reported around the points and channel drop-offs on plastic worms and deep diving crank baits. No report this week on catfish. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

OUACHITA RIVER – Water is slowly falling. Best fishing for bass and crappie has been in the backwater. Bream are also biting worms and crickets. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass fishing has been best fishing up the creeks around the grass on a variety of lures such as soft plastics, topwater lures and spinner baits. Crappie are on the flats and hitting shiners and jigs fished 6 feet deep in 10-12 foot deep water. Bream are around bedding areas and hitting crickets and worms around the lake. Catfishing has been good on set hooks baited with bream with lots of smaller channel catfish caught fishing off the banks with cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – The bream are biting worms and crickets just off the banks in 5 foot water. Crappie fishing has been best at night fishing around lighted piers on shiners or jigs. Some bass to around 4 pounds have been caught on soft plastics and spinner baits and early mornings are hitting topwater lures. Catfishing has been good on noodles and yo-yos baited with blood bait, small bream or cold worms. No report on stripers. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

See below for samples of some fish that weren’t so smart and the fishermen who got the best of them.

Robert Albright (9 lb. 2.8 oz)
Trey Tuminello
Jason and Mary Barnard
Jerry Ingles


By: Glynn Harris

Last year when I visited the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge in Madison Parish for the first time, I hoped to see a bear. It didn’t happen but I saw enough and triggered the interest in my wife sufficiently that she wanted to go see this remarkable place.

This past Monday, it all came together when we were invited by my friend and regular Tensas visitor, Dr. Terry Jones, for the trip over to tour the refuge which touches parts of three parishes, Madison, Tensas and Franklin.

This special part of our state has a fascinating history. Founded in 1980 to preserve one of the largest privately owned tracts of bottomland hardwoods remaining in the Mississippi River delta, the refuge encompasses some 80,000 acres of pure swampy bottomland hardwood majesty. This type of habitat once covered 25 million acres, the majority of which over the years was cleared to make way for farmland, the rich soils being the major attractant.

Today, these same rich soils support some 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. The largest population of the threatened Louisiana black bears live here. Tantalizing too is the fact that the last verified sighting of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, now believed to be extinct, was in 1940 on the area that now makes up the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge.

With that bit of history laid out, now back to this past Monday when we drove over to see what Tensas would show us today. She didn’t disappoint.

First, Jones led us to the check station where mandatory forms were completed so refuge managers can keep count of the number of visitors. Then we headed down Mill Road where Jones and I had seen alligators on our previous visit. While not was many as we had seen on our last visit, they were there; we watched five gators paddling easily over the waters of a borrow pit with the largest being maybe 10 feet long.

After photographing the alligators, we reversed course, drove back to the check station where Jones suggested I lead out on a slow drive down Quebec road, telling us to keep an eye out for “critters”.

“We have sometimes seen bears along this drive,” Jones said as we motored away.

A mile or so down the road, something caught my eye. There was a bear in the roadside ditch maybe ten feet from the car. She ascended the shallow bank and stopped next to a large tree. My wife and watched spellbound as two tiny bear cubs followed her up the bank. Our cameras and those of Jones who had pulled to a stop behind me were busy photographing the bear and her little ones.

They remained in the same spot as we drove off down the road talking about how fortunate we were to be able to see such a sight. Turning around half an hour later and returning to the spot, lo and behold, the trio of bears was still there.

More photos and we got to watch and photograph one of the little guys climb a few yards up the tree for a better look at these three with cameras snapping away and disrupting their afternoon of doing whatever they were doing when we spotted them

Finally, mama bear had had enough of all the attention as she glared at us sitting in our vehicles 20 steps away from her, rushed forward a few feet making a “huff..huff” sound.

We got the message. We had gotten to see what we came to see and drove away leaving the bears to themselves but with memories we won’t soon forget.

A mama black bear warily eyes photographers while one of her cubs looks on from its vantage point on the side of a tree

Jackson Parish Freedom Celebration Sponsorship Deadline May 29th

The Caney Lake Community Foundation announces that the deadline for sponsorship of the Jackson Parish Freedom Celebration set for July 4th at 400 Spillway Road in Chatham, LA is this coming Friday, May 29th.

A minimum of $100.00 gets your family or company name printed on the back of the event shirt and on the banners. The larger the donation, the bigger the print will be. Please make checks out to: Caney Lake Community Foundation and mail to 276 Spruce Drive, Chatham, LA 71226.

You can also make payment through PayPal addressed to Caneylakefoundation@yahoo.com. Please use the Friends and Family option feature since there will be no goods or services provided and show how you want your donation to be listed as.

On Saturday, July 4th, ceremonies will begin with a flagpole dedication at 9:00 am followed by a prayer service for current military and Veterans. At 9:30 am the third annual Boat Flotilla will begin to line up and go around the Smith Branch shoreline starting at 10:00 am. A fireworks show set for 9:00 pm will conclude the event.

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser will be the Grand Marshal with Representative Jack McFarland also expected to attend. The Caney Lake Community Foundation is a 501(C)(3) non-profit charity. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Remember This? The Laurieton Layover

By Brad Dison

In August, 1944, the world was at war. Everyone, it seemed, had some role to play in what was the deadliest conflict in human history. Most able-bodied men joined some branch of the military. Factories which had produced consumer goods before the war, retooled and manufactured the many tools for war including uniforms, tanks, airplanes, etc. Women, who had previously been largely responsible for keeping house, entered the workforce to fill the void by men who had joined the military, and collectively became known as “Rosie the Riveter.” School children held scrap drives where they collected scrap metals, paper, rubber, and rags for the war effort. Hollywood actors, comedians, singers, dancers, and musicians performed for soldiers in USO shows around the world to keep morale high.

On August 13, 1944, a troupe of five entertainers took a Catalina flying boat from Guadalcanal and headed south for Sydney, Australia. The troupe consisted of Frances Langford, Jerry Colonna, Patty Thomas, Tony Romano, and Leslie Townes. During the flight, Leslie chatted with the pilot, Lieutenant James “Fergie” Ferguson. At about dusk, some 300 miles south of Sydney, the airplane’s left engine sputtered. Fergie’s demeanor became serious when the engine failed. He looked at his gauges and tried to restart the engine, but it would not restart. The fuel line to engine had ruptured. The Catalina quickly began losing altitude. The pilot told Leslie and the others to put on their Mae Wests, which was a slang term for inflatable life preservers used by aircrews. The name derived from the actress Mae West because, when inflated, the preserver was said to have resembled the actress’s chest and the name rhymed with breast.

Despite the pilot’s best efforts, the plane continued to lose altitude. Fergie looked for a suitable spot to land the flying boat, but there was no water in sight. The plane was fitted with wheels, but there was no clear land in the area large enough to land the plane. The only option was to lighten the airplane and hope the plain could gain altitude. In desperation, the pilot hastily ordered the troupe to throw anything they could from the plane. The troupe dumped the airplane’s heavy tool kit, Francis Langford’s and Patty Thomas’s glamourous and expensive wardrobes, the troupe’s personal baggage which included their collection of souvenirs, and several cases of cigarettes. Tony Romano refused to throw his prized guitar out of the plane.

Leslie nervously returned to the pilot, gave him a forced smile, and asked if they had thrown out enough weight for the plane to level off. Leslie’s teeth “rattled like a typewriter.” The pilot kept his focus on the controls and on the skyline. Leslie only had to look at the pilot to get his answer. The plane continued its descent. Leslie returned to the cabin with the bad news. He begrudgingly told the others that they had to dump his three cases of whiskey of a brand virtually unobtainable in Australia. Once again, Leslie returned to the pilot hoping for better news, but he had none to give. Just then, they saw the Camden Haven River just a short distance away.

Fergie aimed the plane for a straight stretch in the river. He warned the occupants that the plane was descending too quickly and would make a hard landing in the water, which would probably damage the underbelly of the plane. The occupants would have just a short time to exit the plane before it sank. The pilot had but one chance to get his landing right. Although they were landing on water, if they hit the water too fast and too hard, everyone would probably be killed on impact. If he slowed the plane too quickly, it would stall and fall out of the air like a rock. Everyone braced for impact.

Just a few feet above the water, Lieutenant Ferguson pulled back on the controls to slow the plane. The Catalina hit the water hard and bounced just a single time. The plane hit the water again and came to a quick stop. To their surprise, the plane did not sink. Luck was on their side. The plane slide to a stop on a sandbar which was just a few inches below the water level. The relieved occupants of the crashed Catalina climbed out of the plane and stood in the ankle-deep water. Luckily, no one was injured in the crash. However, Tony Romano bruised his shins as he climbed out of the beached plane. Local fishermen saw the plane crash into the river and came to their assistance. The survivors waded to shore.

They learned that the small town of Laurieton was just a short distance away. The troupe walked into the town and called the base in Sydney to report the crash. Learning that it would take some time to get a replacement plane to pick them up, the troupe put on a hastily-arranged charity show at Laurieton’s tiny town hall. Nearly all of the 300 citizens of Laurieton happily attended the biggest show to ever come to their town.

On the morning of August 15, the replacement plane arrived and transported the troupe to Sydney to continue their shows for the soldiers. During the Sydney show, Leslie told the crowd about the crash in a series of jokes. He said the pilot “ordered everyone to put on their Mae Wests. Jerry Colonna held out for a while for a Lana Turner, but he finally settled for Mae West.” The crowd roared with laughter. Leslie told the crowd about having to dump all of the belongings from the plane; “Colonna, I hate to throw out this case of liquor; I’m saving it for a sick friend,” “Who is the sick friend?” Colonna asked. “Me,” Leslie replied. The crowd roared with laughter again. He told the soldiers, “This morning we saw a shark swimming around wearing Frances Langford’s gowns, smoking a cigarette and singing, ‘I’m in the Mood for Love.’” Again, the crowd roared with laughter. Leslie told the crowd about his visit to the Laurieton post office. He told the postmaster his name and asked to use the telephone. The skeptical postmaster at first refused because he was in disbelief. He asked to see his identification as proof. Leslie showed his identification to the postmaster. The postmaster allowed Leslie to use the phone after he realized he was speaking to the real Leslie Townes “Bob” Hope.

The McAllen Monitor, August 16, 1943, p.8.
Arizona Daily Star, November 19, 1943, p.3.
The Central New Jersey Home News, August 14, 1944, p.1.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 14, 1944, p.1.
Lafayette Journal and Courier, August 15, 1944, p.1.
The Evergreen Courant, August 17. 1944, p.8.
Des Moines Tribune, August 28, 1944, p.1.
The Fresno Bee, September 5, 1955, p.17.

Caney Creek Bass Club to Host Fishing Tourney June 6th

Over two thousand dollars will be awarded to the top four placers at the Caney Creek Bass Club “Total Weight” Tournament that will be held on June 6th and hosted by Hook’s Marina. The entry fee is $100 per boat.

The payout that is slated to be $1,000.00 for first, $550.00 for second, $325.00 for third and $250.00 for fourth is 85% of the money taken in and based on a minimum of 25 boats entering. Big Bass and 7 lb. Bass side competitions are also available.

Registration is at 5:00 am at Hook’s Marina with a rules meeting scheduled for 6:00 am and first lines in the water slated for 7:00 am. Rules of the tournament are as follows:

1. There will be 3 periods of fishing that last 2.5 hours long.
2. Between periods 1 & 2 there will be a 30 minute break for weigh-ins.
3. At the end of periods 1 & 2 you have 15 minutes to check in at weight keepers table or be assessed at 3 minute penalty. Everybody must check in.
4. This is a total weight tourney. Bass must weigh at least one pound.
5. Ten fish limit per boat.
6. You can weight at any time
7. All fish must be weighed at end of each period
8. No fishing 100 feet from all marina docks.
9. No fishing 24 hours before tourney
10. Caney Lake Bass Club not liable for personal injury or loss.

Quitman’s Makayla Stewart Honored by Area Media

It is one of the most unjust ironies of the Coronavirus epidemic. No, it wasn’t a matter of life or death as sadly many situations dealing with COVID-19 has become. It didn’t even have an economic impact. What it did do was cause one of Jackson Parish’s greatest athletes to miss out on a never before done accomplishment in the history of LHSAA girls track and field.

When the LHSAA cancelled the spring sports campaign a few months back it denied Makayla Stewart of Quitman High School the opportunity to win a fourth consecutive pole vault state championship in Class B. Never before in the long history of high school track and field, has a female won state in an event for four consecutive years. She would have done so without breaking a sweat.

What is even more incredible is that pole vaulting isn’t even her best athletic activity. While she didn’t get the chance to be named All-State first team track and field for four straight years, which state title winners receive it still wouldn’t have measured up to what she has accomplished in Cheerleading.

In each of her four years of Cheerleading competition in high school Stewart was named not only All-State but named first team ALL-AMERICAN every year as well. Twice Stewart has won NATIONAL Jump-Off titles.

Her unrivaled achievements drew notice this past week when NBC-NEWS10 television station and the MyArkLaMiss.com website honored the vivacious QHS graduate by posting her picture and a short blog on the weekly program entitled “Senior Night” which is presented by Creed and Creed Attorney Group.

Nothing can take the place of standing on a podium with a first place medal in your hand but hopefully for this incredibly talented and personable young woman who always put her school and team above her own personal gain, this recognition will take some of the sting out of the way her high school career ended.

The Jackson Parish Journal wishes you good luck Makayla and looks forward to following your accomplishments in the future.

Area Nursing Home Medical Staff’s Recognized

Recognizing unselfish service! Arcadia Mayor Olandis Millican(center) and District B Judge candidate Yumeaka Robinson Washington (right) shown bringing food to the medical staff of a local nursing home.

If there is a silver lining to America having to suffer through the Coronavirus epidemic it is the honor and respect that medical professionals have earned for their unselfish work in treating the ill. No other group has had to put their own safety and well-being on the line as those who daily take extreme risks in order that those who are most likely to become infected are safe.

This is especially true for those who work in nursing homes across the nation where the epidemic has proven percentage wise to be most the deadly. Of the 281 nursing homes in Louisiana the death total has now risen to over 900 with several reporting mortality rates of over 25% of their residents according to the Louisiana Department of Health Nursing Home report issued on May 18, 2020. In Jackson, Bienville and Lincoln Parishes alone there have been 117 cases reported that have resulted in 25 deaths.

Candidate for Division B (Jackson/Bienville/Claiborne) Judge Yumeaka Robinson Washington along with Mayor of Arcadia, Olandis Millican recently showed their appreciation by feeding the staff of Willow Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Leslie Lakes Retirement Center in Bienville Parish and Forest Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jonesboro during National Skilled Care Nursing Week.

“These facilities have been hit hard by COVID-19,” said Washington. “This has been very emotionally and physically draining on the staff. Please continue to uplift and pray for our frontline medical workers.”

Statistics of Jackson/Bienville/Lincoln Parish nursing homes – per LDH report May 18th.


JHHS Looking Forward to Getting Back on Football Field

Spring practice is as much a part of a high school football program as playing the games on Friday nights in the fall. Normally there is not a day gone by players from virtually every school in the state are going through the rigors of preparing for the upcoming season. That was not the case this year due to the Coronavirus epidemic that not only forced cancellation of all spring athletic activities but caused every school across the state to be shuttered.

Happy days will be here again for prep football coaches, including Jonesboro-Hodge head man Terrance Blankenship as LHSAA executive director Eddie Bodine has announced that schools can begin summer activities and practices on June 8th.

“To say that our staff is eager to get back on the field with the guys is an understatement,” said Blankenship. “In all my years of coaching I have never had to go so long without being able to work with the kids. We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to get caught up but we are looking forward to it.”

Jackson Parish Watershed Commission Reduces Duck Blind Permits Fees for Seniors and Veterans

Thanks to the Jackson Parish Watershed Commission (JPWC) the cost for duck blind permits and fees for senior citizens (over 65) and Veterans will only cost $50.00 this year. This was approved by Lavelle Smith, Benson Bagwell, Jay Mallard, Bert Brown, Roy Barlow and Daniel Ponder at the regularly scheduled May 21st meeting held at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center in Jonesboro. Absent was Vickie Pace.

Building permits were granted for Scott Campbell, Eric Vige and Clay McConnell but the vote to install gates at the Ebenezer and Spillway launch sites was tabled until the next monthly meeting slated for June 18th.

Death Notices (May 16th – May 23rd)

Mary Elinor Burnum (July 29, 1932 – May 16, 2020)

Mrs. Mary Burnum, age 87 of Quitman, entered through the portals of Heaven on Saturday, May 16, 2020 following a lengthy period of declining health. Not only was Mrs. Burnum a member of Hodge Baptist Church and an active member of the Jackson Parish Chapter of the American Cancer Society she was a longtime educator in the Jackson Parish School system serving as Principal at Jonesboro-Hodge Middle School, Hodge Elementary and Jasper Henderson Elementary at Chatham.

She also taught at Jonesboro-Hodge High School and obtained her Masters Degree at La. Tech University in Education and Administration. She was a wonderful cook and loved to bake but the greatest love in her life was spending time with her grandchildren.

Those left to cherish her memory are her children, Dawna Keys & George, Renae Wallace & Wayne, Joel E. Burnum, Jr. & Millie; grandchildren, Quint Keys, Adam Keys, Seth Keys, Justin Keys, Ryan Keys, Brittney Junot, Kathleen Richard, Kasie Woods and Joe Burnam; 14 great-grandchildren; sister, Frances Sisemore; sister-in-law, Marguerite Harvey; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Mrs. Burnum was preceded in death by her husband, Joel E.Burnum, Sr.; parents, Plennie & Roberta Lambert Harvey; brother, Preston Harvey.

Graveside funeral services were held at the Walnut Ridge Cemetery with Rev. Stuart Toms officiating. Serving the family as pallbearers were Quint Keys, Adam Keys, Seth Keys, Justin Keys, Ryan Keys, Joe Burnum, Marc Junot, Ryan Richard, Jay Woods. The family asks that any memorials in honor of Mrs. Burnum be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Hodge Baptist Church.


Carol A. Verret September 11, 1966 – May 17, 2020

Mrs. Carol A. Verret, age 53 of Jonesboro, passed from this life on Sunday, May 17, 202 after a life of service to others as a nurse, loving mother and grandmother. Those left to cherish her memory are her son, Christopher Brothwell & wife Sharon; grandchildren, William Wisdom, Payton Smith, Emma Grimaldo, James Smith, Elora Castro, Christopher Smith; sisters, Eileen Linton, Judy Trout; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Thomas M. Linton, Jr.; mother, Claire Simmonds. The family will hold a memorial service to honor her life at a later date.

Joe Annie Hargrove January 06, 1927 – May 20, 2020

Joe Annie Hargrove, 93, of Quitman, Louisiana and who resided in Heber Springs, Arkansas, went peacefully to be with her Lord on May 20, 2020. She was lovingly cared for by her daughter, Ruth Ann. Born on January 6, 1927 to the late Joseph and Annie Ricks Shovan of Quitman, Louisiana she was married to James William Hargrove Sr. on July 9, 1947. She spent 39 wonderful years with “Bill” before his passing in November 1986. Joe is also preceded in death by one sister, Willene Shields.

She is survived by her daughter, Ruth Ann Hargrove-Graves (Hugh) of Tumbling Shoals, Arkansas; son James William Hargrove Jr. “Billy” of Natchez, Mississippi; three grandchildren, Tracy Ann Orr (Andrew) of Pineville, Louisiana, Christy K. Foval (Doug) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Amanda Hargrove of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; a great grandson, Derek Kaltenbacher (Marina) of Baton Rouge, LA; two great-great grandchildren, Noah and Levi Kaltenbacher; a brother, Dalton Shovan of Quitman, Louisiana; and a host of nieces and nephews, as well as many friends and family who will miss her dearly.

Joe was affectionately known as the “Cake Lady” locally as she found joy in baking and cooking for those she loved. Her Coconut Cakes were especially popular and requested at every social gathering. She was a devoted member and elder of Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Quitman, Louisiana and served her congregation and community selflessly. Joe Annie loved God, and her faith was present in everything she did. She enjoyed working outside and took great pride in her garden, often using her home-grown herbs to prepare meals for her family and friends and will be remembered as a selfless, loving, southern lady who loved to do for others.

Professionally, Joe Annie and her husband Bill managed the Bienville Apartment Complex in Natchez, MS from 1969-1989 and worked for Bell South/AT&T telephone company in Natchez, Mississippi and Jackson, Mississippi where she retired in 1991.

A Celebration of Life service was held at Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Quitman, Louisiana on May 26, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Antioch Cemetery Fund or the Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church in her memory.

Sarah Willene Thomas June 06, 1927 – May 23, 2020

Mrs. Sarah Willene Thomas, age 92 of Jonesboro, went to be with her Lord and Savior Saturday, May 23, 2020. Affectionately known as “Nana”, Mrs. Thomas was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. Everyone knew that to know her was to love her. Mrs. Thomas began working her first job at the age of 80 as she dedicated her time to bake a little love into each pie and pound cake she sold at Traina’s Bakery.

She was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother that enjoyed taking care of her family and anyone she could help along the way. She not only had a talent for baking pies, but also in gardening as well. Mrs. Thomas was a longtime member at Highway Chapel Church of God. She loved her church and was pleased to bring guests along to church with her.

Funeral services are to held at the Highway Chapel Church of God near Quitman at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 with Reverend Marvin Denton officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Olive West Cemetery under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home. Serving the family as pallbearers will be Phillip Thomas, Jr., Corey Thomas, Mickey Chevallier, Carson Chevallier, Roger Williams, Roger Council.

Those left to cherish her memory are her sons, Phillip H. Thomas, Sr. (Jamie), Charles Bruce Thomas (Toni); grandchildren, Phillip H. Thomas, Jr. (Karen), Melissa Aldy (Jeremie), Michael Corey Thomas (Gina), Sunni Chevallier (Mickey); Great grandchildren, Ella Rose Thomas, Tony and Thomas Cotton, Taden and Mason Thomas, Keely, Kipton, Tyler, Carson, Caitlyn Chevallier; brother, Charles “Sonny” Ray Harvey. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Billy E. Thomas; parents, Charles ans Mary Elizabeth (Vail) Harvey.

Albert Barnes Sr. August 09, 1946 – May 20, 2020

A private service will be held at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Jonesboro, LA on Friday, May 29th at 11:00 am for Mr. Albert Barnes Sr. who went to be with the lord at the age of 73 years old. Interment will follow at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Cemetery under the direction of Paradise Funeral Home in Jonesboro.

Jonesboro Board of Aldermen set Public Hearing to Discuss Revised Budget

A public hearing date of June 9th was set by the Jonesboro Board of Aldermen during their monthly meeting that was held on May 12th via tele-conference. The hearing will allow Jonesboro residents to discuss Ordinance 2020-002 regarding the acceptance of a revised 2020-21 town budget.

Council members James Ginn, Pete Stringer, Nia Evans-Johnson, Robbie Siadek and Devin Flowers also adopted Ordinance 2020-001 which amended the Jonesboro Floodplain Protective Ordinance that was first put in place in 1988.

Further action taken by the council included the approval to authorize the sale of surplus items and to enter into a contract with Denmon Engineering for the removal of obstructions at the Jonesboro airport, who will also handle the advertisement for bids for the work required.

Police Chief, James “Spike” Harris followed by giving an update on the Police Department where he asked council members to revisit his request for new hiring candidates and to approve the termination of Geraldo Fournier. The meeting concluded following Mayor Leslie Thompson and council members expressing comments.

For copy of the revised town budget that is to be considered see below.

COVID-19 Update: Jimmie Davis State Park and Courthouse reopened

Phase One of Governor Jon Bel Edwards plan for the reopening of the state of Louisiana began this past Friday, May 15th. For area residents this meant not only the ability to go to their favorite restaurant once again but more importantly the reopening of two key facilities in the Jimmie Davis State Park and the Jackson Parish Courthouse.

“We are ecstatic about being able to see our customers back,” said Jimmie Davis State Park Manager Paul Florence. “The park without people in it, without kids playing, without families cooking hamburgers, it’s just not right.”

It is vitally important though, that area residents understand that even though that some of the restrictions that were imposed have been lifted the danger of the Coronavirus is still eminent and needs to be treated with extreme caution. This is evidenced by the continued growth of those affected by the virus in Jackson Parish.

According to the May 15th report provided by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office there are now 126 people that have tested positive. Of those, 93 are still active cases, two are currently hospitalized and the death total has grown to six. Twenty seven people have recovered.

Jackson Parish Arrest Reports: May 12th – May 17th

See below for the arrests made by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Hodge Police Department and Jonesboro Police Department

1. Kole D. Clark (Sikes, LA) – DWI, Careless Operation
2. Dustin W Lebrun (Jonesboro, LA) – Bench Warrant
3. Marco Jenkins (Ruston, LA) – Criminal Trespass, Theft over $1,500.00
4. Samuel Frost Jr. (Ruston, LA)- Possession of Schedule II, Possession of Marijuana, improper tail-light
5. Kaprianna Smith (Jonesboro, LA) – Disturbing the Peace
6. Linda Maples (Dodson, LA) – Bench Warrant from Winn and Jackson Parish, P&P Warrant
7. Victoria Williams (Winnfield, LA) – Possession of Schedule I (Marijuana)
8. Billy Ray Smith Jr. (Ruston, LA) –Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Loud Music
9. Ashton Guage Waffor (Eros, LA) – Carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Ouachita Parish warrant
10. Tyreek R. Smith (Jonesboro, LA) – Resisting arrest by giving a false name, warrant for execution of sentence
11. Denesha Lashay Chester (Jonesboro, LA) – Possession of Marijuana
12. Jontae C. Nichols (Jonesboro, LA) – Assault and Battery
13. Winston Dupre Jr. (Pollock, LA) – DWI (2nd Offense), Driving under suspended license, Improper Lane change, switched license plate
14. Laterrian Lewis (Jonesboro, LA)- 2nd degree battery, Home invasion, Resisting an Officer, Damage to Property, no license on person, reckless operation, expired plates, Possession of Schedule 4, Obstruction of Justice, Introduction of Contraband

Fishing Report: It’s Not Just Bass Being Caught

It had been a long day on the lake. The young man in his large and fancy fiberglass boat equipped with a powerful inboard motor and all the modern tools used to catch fish pulled alongside an old-time at the dock that was sitting in his 12 foot aluminum boat that had only a trolling motor attached.

“How did you do?” asked the youngster as he pulled his stringer of two small bass out of the live-well. “Fair to middlin” replied the old-timer. The young man started to tie up his big rig when he took another look over which caused his jaw to drop.

What was causing his stunned expression was the large stringer of big bass ranging from 5-9 pounds that the old-timer was retrieving from his ice chest. “Wow” said the newbie. “Where did you catch all them?” The old-timer wisely looked at his young protégé and calmly said “I caught them right in the mouth!” That is the way of fishing! Someone may tell you what the fish are hitting on but you will never get them to relay where the “honey-hole” is.

Caney Lake continued to provide anglers with nice catches but as the temperature began heating up those fishing local ponds had great luck as well. If you are lucky (or skilled) enough to catch a “good-un” or a nice stringer send your name and a picture to the Jackson Parish Journal at jpjjacksonla@gmail.com so we can let others celebrate with you.

See below for a sample of the wide variety of fish and even a big loggerhead that was brought home this past week.

Josh Roberts
Brayden and Melissa Carmichael
James Lasyone
Brent Mize
Brent Mize

Financial Assistance Available to Families of Children Who Receive Free or Reduced-Price Meals at School

Governor Jon Bell Edwards has announced that or families of children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school may be eligible for financial assistance to replace those meals under the new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program underwritten by the US Department of Agriculture.

Local school systems will notify families who had children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade they might be eligible for P-EBT. The families must then apply if they wish to receive the benefits. The application will be available in a P-EBT portal on the LDE website. The deadline to apply is June 7. These benefits are intended to cover 50 school days, from the onset of statewide school facility closures on March 16th through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

“This might be the only way some of our most vulnerable children can obtain a nutritious breakfast or lunch,” Edwards said. “Louisiana is grateful to Congress, President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for making this benefit available and speeding its implementation.

Louisiana had an estimated 611,430 children eligible for free and reduced-price breakfast or lunch this spring, about 85 percent of all students in prekindergarten through grade 12. Acting Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Beth Scioneaux echoed her appreciation.

“Schools do more than educate our children; they also provide them with healthy, nutritious meals. With school facilities closed for the duration of the school year, students cannot access these meals,”

The P-EBT benefit amounts to $5.70 per day per child. That’s $285 for the 50 days, the same as the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs reimbursement rates. Louisiana officials estimate the state could distribute almost $174.3 million via P-EBT.

Once the child’s information is verified, DCFS will mail a P-EBT debit card loaded with $285 per child, and instructions for using the card. State officials expect to begin mailing cards May 26. Benefits will be available for 365 days. The cards may be used at any store that accepts SNAP to buy SNAP-eligible food items.

The P-EBT program was authorized by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. In obtaining federal approval for P-EBT, Louisiana joins more than 22 other states participating in the program.

Remember This? The Disappearance of Mary Miller

By Brad Dison

At around 10 o’clock on a cold Friday night, December 3, 1926, 36-year-old Mary Miller drove away from her home in Sunningdale, England, following an argument with her husband, Archie. All day Saturday, family and friends tried to locate Mary but were unsuccessful. On Sunday, a young boy found a car hanging vicariously over the edge of a cliff above a deep chalk pit near Guilford. Police arrived and searched the car. Inside they found women’s clothing, a fur coat, a leather case with some papers inside, and Mary’s driver’s license. Police searched the chalk pit, nearby houses, woods, and ponds nearby, but found no trace of Mary.

Investigators returned to Mary’s home and spoke with her husband. Archie said that Mary had suffered from “nervous prostration.” “She was a very nervous case.” He told detectives that he left before Mary, and that it was unlike Mary to go for a drive at that time of night alone. “The only explanation I can give,” Archie said, “is that she is suffering from loss of memory. My wife had a serious nervous breakdown last spring and had recuperated in France.” Archie explained that Mary’s “nervous breakdown,” was due to the death of her mother.

Many people resigned to the fact that Mary had committed suicide. Only days before, Mary had remarked to a family member that “unless I can get away from Sunningdale, it will be the end.” Before leaving home on Friday night, Mary wrote a letter to her husband which police said “amounts to a tragic farewell message, indicating that the end has been reached and she was resolved to sacrifice everything and commit some drastic act.” Mary left her husband’s letter unsealed along with a sealed letter which was only to be opened in the event that her body was found.

Family and friends told investigators that Archie’s and Mary’s home life appeared to be happy. Together, they had on child, a young daughter named Rosalind. However, the couple’s marriage was far from happy. Four months earlier, Archie told Mary that he wanted a divorce because he had fallen in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. On the day of Mary’s disappearance, Archie told Mary that he planned to spend the weekend with his mistress.

By the third day of the search, the number of people searching for Mary grew from just a few policemen to include hundreds of volunteers. Some of the searchers used bloodhounds but none of the dogs picked up the slightest scent. Policemen and volunteers widened the search. Pilots in two “aeroplanes” joined the search and flew low over the area. Searchers dragged every pond and searched all of the woods for miles around. Unable to search through thickets, one farmer used his tractor to cut paths into dense woodlands. A potential witness came forward and told investigators that she had heard screams near her home a short distance away from the search area. Volunteers and policemen searched that area and dragged the nearby stream. All of their searches proved fruitless.

Several searchers focused their efforts on a pond near where the young boy found Mary’s car, a pond locally referred to as “Silent Pool.” Near the abandoned car, searchers found a tin can with a note inside which read; “Ask Candle Lanche. She knows more about the Silent Pool…” Investigators were unable to determine who Candle Lanche was or even if the note was directly related to Mary’s disappearance. Local legends persisted that the pond was bottomless. For several days and nights searchers dropped grappling hooks from long ropes into the murky waters of “Silent Pool,” but found nothing. By this point, searchers held out little hope that Mary was still alive and expected to recover her body at any point.

Scotland Yard detectives received “only the vaguest clews” about Mary’s actions after leaving her house following the argument with Archie. A gravel pit worker told police that at about 6:20 on the morning after Mary drove away from her home, he helped Mary start her car near where the young boy found it abandoned. The farmer said Mary’s “head was bare and her hair was covered with frost. Her teeth chattered with the cold and her manner was distressed.” Once the car started, Mary drove away. The young boy found Mary’s car two hours later. Two men saw Mary’s photograph in area newspapers and told police that they saw a woman resembling Mary around noon three days after she went missing. The woman had “a vacant look in her eyes,” and was walking rapidly toward London. Police found no other potential witnesses.

Just when almost everyone had accepted that they would never find Mary alive there was a glimmer of hope. Archie’s brother, a resident of London, received a letter from Mary which was dated after her disappearance. In the letter, Mary wrote that she had been ill and was going to a spa in Yorkshire for treatment. Based on this letter, police suspended the search for Mary’s body. However, they still needed to find Mary to ensure that she was alive and well.

On December 14, 1926, a maidservant at a health spa in Harrogate, some 230 miles north of where Mary’s abandoned car was found, contacted police. She reported that photographs of Mary in the newspapers looked similar to a guest in the spa who registered as Mrs. Teresa Neele, of Capetown, South Africa. Neele, detectives noted, was the surname of Archie’s mistress. The guest arrived on the evening of December 4, the day Mary’s abandoned car was discovered. The guest was popular at the hotel. She sang, danced, played billiards, and went into town every day. The guest seemed perfectly normal. The only reason the maidservant contacted police was that the guest so closely resembled photographs of the missing woman.

Archie drove to the health spa to determine whether or not the guest was Mary. Archie recognized Mary immediately, but Mary did not recognize Archie as her husband. At first, Mary thought Archie was just an acquaintance “whose identity she did not quite fix.” After they spoke for a while, she recognized a closeness with Archie but thought he was her brother. Archie explained that he was her husband and that they had a daughter. Mary had no memory of either. After their discussion, Archie told reporters, “There is no question of her identity; she is my wife. She is suffering from complete loss of memory. She does not know who she is. We are hoping to take her to London to-morrow to see doctors and specialists, and we are hoping that with rest and quiet she will be fully restored.”

Within a few months, Mary’s memory recovered, mostly. Although she lived another fifty years, she was never able to explain her disappearance. She always claimed to have no memory of the event. She and Archie divorced. A week after their divorce was finalized, Archie married Nancy Neele. Mary continued her career as a writer and, four years after her disappearance, married an archaeologist.

In her career, which spanned several decades, Mary wrote sixty-six detective novels, many of which revolved around fictional detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. She also authored fourteen short story collections, six romance novels, several plays, one of which is the world’s longest-running play entitled “The Mousetrap.” Mary is the best-selling novelist of all time with sales of over two billion books in many languages. Mary’s full name was Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. Her first husband’s name was Archie Christie. You know her as Agatha Christie.

The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), December 6, 1926, p.2.
The Shreveport Times, December 7, 1926, p.1.
The Boston Globe, December 8, 1926, p.10.
The Evening Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), December 8, 1926, p.9.
The Plain Speaker (Hazelton, Pennsylvania), December 8, 1926, p.4.
The New York Daily News, December 8, 1926, p.148.
The Shreveport Times, December 8, 1926, p.14.
Arizona Republic, December 9, 1926, p.10.
The Miami Herald, December 10, 1926, p.1.
The Windsor Star, December 9, 1926, p.7.
The Charlotte Observer, December 12, 1926, p.36.
Fort Worth Record-Telegram, December 13, 1926, p.2.
York Daily Record, December 13, 1926, p.7.
The London Guardian, December 15, 1926, p.11.
“The Home of Agatha Christie.” Accessed April 19, 2020. https://www.agathachristie.com/.

Racing Resumes at Chatham Speedway But No Fans Allowed

The good news is that races are once again being held at the Chatham Raceway. The bad news is that until Governor Jon Bel Edwards approves the second stage of the reopening of the state, which hopefully will take place sometime in June, no fans are going to be allowed at the track.

This past Saturday, May 16th, the track opened their 2020 summer season with eight races including the “Ark-La-Tex Wing Modified” that drew a good amount of fans rooting for their favorite drivers. After the racing was completed track officials were informed by Region 4, Corporal, Mark Franks of the State of Louisiana Fire Marshall Office that the track had violated the “Phase One” state reopening requirements set for by Governor Jon Bel Edwards.

Jackson Parish Fire Marshall representative Mark Treadway explained further. ‘Races can be held but Phase One doesn’t allow for spectators to be allowed at the track.”

This Friday and Saturday, May 22nd-23rd, competitors will once again get to take to the track for Limited, Street Stock, B-Mod, Factory and Compact car racing for regular purses. Beginners will also be competing and no entry fee is required.

The feature races of the weekend will be the two day Mississippi Super Late Model Series where the winner will receive $2,500.00 and competitors will get $200.00 for starting on Friday and a $5,000.00 winner’s check and $300.00 for starting on Saturday. There is a $100 entry fee for each night.

Jackson Parish Early Childhood Network Taking Applications for Fall Programs

Online registration is now available for parents who wish to enter their pre-school children in the fall programs that will be available at all Jackson Parish public schools, Class A licensed childcare centers and the Head Start Center.

Age requirements to be eligible to be accepted into the pre-K programs are:

1. J-H Elementary, Quitman High School, Weston High School – Age 4 by September 30, 2020
2. Union Bee Head Start Center – Ages 3-4 by September 30, 2020
3. Sharon’s Lil’ Angels Childcare Center – Ages 0-3

Required documents you must have include: Birth Certificate, Immunization Record, Social Security Card, two proofs of residence and proof of income (two most current paycheck stubs for ALL income in the household).

Applications are to be submitted to: jgrade.jpsb.us/register and must be complete for consideration. Class sizes are limited and submission of registration form does not guarantee enrollment at that time. Registrants will be contacted later this summer to verify your child’s placement. Once classes are filled applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Jackson Parish Small Businesses Offered Help

The Coronavirus has been not only detrimental to the health of Americans but also their wealth. In an attempt to help small business owners across the nation a $2 trillion dollar economic rescue package officially known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) has been put in place.

President Trump signed this act into law authorizing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer 100% guarantees for up to $349 billion in loans for small businesses that need to cover payroll, rent, and other bills. It is called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and its purpose is to save jobs and keep our nations small businesses afloat.

The verification process starts HERE with a five page on-line eligibility application. Please be prepared with your payroll, rental and/or mortgage, and utility costs. The program is funded by both private lenders and the U.S. Treasury and runs through June 30. Loan payments are deferred at least six months and include a 10-year term with interest capped at 4%.

The SBA has stated that companies that keep employees on the payroll for eight weeks will receive loan forgiveness for the portion of the loan used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. For more information, check out the Small Business Administration’s website.