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.

Sources:
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.

Betty Ruth Womack August 25, 1933 – May 12, 2020

Mrs. Betty Ruth Womack was joyfully escorted through the portals of Heaven and into the presence of our Lord and Savior on May 12, 2020. Betty Hall Womack was a proud “Wife” of 62 years and cherished her title as “Mom” to her 3 children. She was employed by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for several years before she and her husband Kenneth Mize Womack began operating their successful flooring business.

For entertainment Betty cherished her time visiting family and friends and meeting with her “Red Hat Ladies.” She also enjoyed being a part of several ministries in the Houston area, including teaching young children in Sunday School, establishing a new church, and praying for and counseling with people. Her house was always a meeting place including for the Boy Scout Troops where the “Den Mother” welcomed everyone with the love of Christ that was apparent in all her actions.

Those that are left to cherish her memory are her children, Tony Womack & Tye, LaDonna Green & Terry, Kenneth Hurl Womack & Lisa; grandchildren, Shawn Womack, John Quarles, Kasi Kendrick, Dustin Womack, William Womack; 8 great grandchildren. Mrs. Womack was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Mize Womack; parents, Hoke Hurl Hall & Virgie Mary (Armer) Hall; sisters, Mary Hall Griffin, Wanda Hall Hopping.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, May 16, 2020 in the chapel of Edmonds Funeral Home of Jonesboro with interment following at Springhill Cemetery near Jonesboro. Serving the family as pallbearers were Shawn Womack, John Quarles, Seth Lowe, Mize Womack, Dustin Womack, Max Quarles, William Womack.

Sharon Kay Horton April 05, 1944 – May 10, 2020

Mrs. Sharon Kay Horton, age 76 of Quitman, was escorted into the presence of the Lord Sunday, May 10, 2020 following a lengthy period of declining health. The loving wife, mother, grandmother and daughter owned and operated the Git-N-Go convenience store with her husband from 1978 to 1995. She was a genuine friend of all and never met a stranger, no matter who they were. A memorial service to honor her life was held on May 15th at her residence.

Those left to cherish her memory are her husband of over 58 years, Donald Wayne Horton; children, Johnny Jay Horton, Delmon Loryn Horton & Judy, Penny D. Hinton & Kemp; grandchildren, Marsha Freeman & Leyon, Ray Hattaway & Jessica, Del Horton & Christy, Max Horton, Dusty Hinton & Kat, Johnathan Horton, Cody Hinton & Megan; 21 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; siblings Dale Junior Jones/ Buddy, Jeraldine Smiley, Shelia Jones. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest Dale & Betty Jane (Sparks) Jones; sisters, Rebecca Harmon, Connie Railton, Deborah Yansak.

Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers Seeks Help

Do you know these subjects or identify the owner of the vehicle shown below?

The Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office is requesting your help. Around April 27, 2020 two unidentified males committed a theft in the North part of Jackson Parish. If you know who these people are please contact Crime Stoppers of North Delta at 318-388-CASH (2274), or via Facebook, or on the P3 tips app from your app store, or at www.crimestoppersnorthdelta.com Remember calls are confidential, you never give your name, never go to court.