Mayor Thompson issues statement to residents of Jonesboro


My fellow Citizens:

The last several months have presented the Town of Jonesboro with some extraordinary challenges. Our town, along with others across the nation, has felt the deadening sting of COVID 19, budget shortfalls, and more recently weather conditions of unparalleled proportions. We have faced one crisis after another. Consequently, we have had to adjust our sails by tightening spending, cutting back on overtime, deferring spending wherever possible, instituting cost saving measures and taking action to ensure that we maintain a balanced budget.

We have implemented these measures because we have no slush fund and no change to spare. Due to COVID 19 and having to comply with federal guidelines we have had to conduct monthly council meetings via conference calls and have limited business visits to city hall by appointment only. These policies and procedures were designed to prevent the spread of the virus at city hall and ultimately to protect staff and citizens of Jonesboro.

When it comes to the town’s budget, we are constantly having to juggle funds in order to provide much needed services provided by the city, fire, and police departments, community services and to comply with the state auditor’s fiscal requirements. The recent calamity concerning water leaks and outages throughout the town were of historical proportion, a situation that we cannot recall in recent history.

Throughout every sector of the town, we experienced infrastructure blow outs. As mayor, I want to publicly thank Mr. Wortham and the entire crew from the street, water, and sewer departments who went above and beyond the call of duty, working day and night to repair broken water mains in sub-human weather conditions to restore water and sewer services to the town’ citizens.

The most recent incident which caused the collapse of our infrastructure has once again brought front and center an age-old problem that has plagued the town and citizens for much too long and now must inevitably be addressed. Citizens, we have to consider a new solution to an old problem, that of fixing an antiquated, outdated infrastructure. It is almost impossible to determine the amount of loss revenue from these blowouts that are commonplace.

Unfortunately, the town of Jonesboro is experiencing rising demands amidst dwindling resources and is strapped for revenue. The town of Jonesboro’s administration simply cannot make bricks without straw. What was possible in the past is clearly no longer possible now and will certainly not be possible or desirable in the future. The problems associated with our failing infrastructure can be summed up as one of neglect that has been occurring and lingering for decades.

o fix the problem will require additional revenues. The town has come to a moment that is like the biblical warning of putting new wine in old vats. The town has patched as best as it can, an old infrastructure system that is worn out, overtaxed, and has basically lost its utility. And now we must prepare for global warming and climate change which is producing unprecedented and extreme weather conditions with more hurricanes, tornadoes, freezing weather and other unusual weather phenomena on the horizon.

I want to commend the council for working with and committing to join me in addressing and establishing new policies that will allow us to tackle head on some of these problems. Together, as citizens, we must develop creative alternatives that will allow the town to move forward in an effort to improve the quality of life for all of its citizens. We must explore new endeavors, seek out new and effective ways to apply the power of the mind, and employ the spirit of disciplined inquiry to address many of the issues that lie before us and have kept us bound and hostage for much too long.

I believe if we do so with sustained attention, sincere effort, and a unified approach, we can unravel the means and ends to moving our town forward. And as we move together, we do so with no illusion that we will produce all of the answers to which we seek definitive responses, but it is my hope and prayer that we will come forth with a plan of action and a better understanding than we now have of our dilemma and with an appropriate response to guide us in overcoming a major problem facing the town. The time is fitting, reality and the moment of truth is upon us, we must together attack these crucial and important problems if we are to become a “shinning city” upon on a hill.

Let me close on a critical and instructive note, and I do so with a firmness and fullness of heart and soul, if we the people of the Town of Jonesboro are true believers in the cause to make our little town all that it can and should be, if we are faithful to the mission of one for all and all for one, and if we are diligent in the pursuit of the mission, our dreams and hopes and the promise of the “Shinning City on a Hill” can be fulfilled.

Leslie C. Thompson

Updated information provided regarding problems with Jonesboro water system

Water issues for the Town of Jonesboro continue and the Boil Advisory that has been in effect over the past two weeks is still in effect. The good news is that if finally looks lie a light can be seen shining at the end of the proverbial tunnel as evidenced by the statement below that Jonesboro Alderman James Ginn issued this past Thursday.

Update you on the Town of Jonesboro Water System:

The good news that the pressure in the high tank is continuing to build and is now at the highest point since before the winter storm. That is a result of the 6 wells being run properly to pump water but more importantly, leaks are being identified and fixed.
The Water & Sewer Department has cut off a number of homes that had leaks due to broken pipes so those residents could make repairs. There has also been a number of repairs made by the department and contractors to some of the lines that were broke. Some of these were new breaks and some of these were previous breaks that had possibly gotten worse as a result of the storm.
The bottom line is that we are now pumping more water into the system than we are losing. While the high tank continues to fill at night, it will drop during the day because people and businesses are awake and using water. Two steps forward at night and a step back during the day.
The only section of town that still has no water is the area of Walker Road from approximately the Full Gospel Temple east toward the end of the Jonesboro service lines at approximately Casey Lane. Other areas are still experiencing low pressure and while that will continue to improve it will be slow and inconsistent.
BOIL ADVISORY is still in effect for our system and I strongly encourage you to do that.
Please help us continue to identity leaks TODAY because steady rain is in the forecast starting tonight for the next several days which of course makes it harder to find leaks.
As citizens and customers, you have been very patient with this process. We understand the frustration of all and we have been looking at solutions before the storm and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks!

Chatham Town Council calls for public hearing regarding out of town sewage rates

At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Chatham Town Council held on February 9th, Ordinance 2021-01 was introduced that called for a public hearing to be held at 5:30pm on March 9th at the Chatham Town Hall, in regard to setting sewage rates for service outside the city limits. 

Board members Marvin Davis, Toni Malone, Laverne Mixon, Sue Proffer and Mike Wilson also agreed to enter into a contract for in town, residential and business, trash pickup with The Trash Guys Company out of Downsville. The same company also purchased a 2004 garbage truck owned by the Town of Chatham that had been offered through sealed bids after it was determined their bid was the highest.

These actions were taken after Chatham Mayor Gregory Harris called the meeting to order and acknowledged visitors Sue Henderson, Brandon Myers, John Mize, Judy Cooper, Carrie Watts , Elizabeth Shoemaker, Lewis Chatham, Kelvin McGuire and Robert Harris.

Normal monthly business of approving the previous month minutes, payment of bills and acceptance of the financial statement as presented was followed by unanimous agreement to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program along with appointing Mayor Harris and Alderman Malone as Administrators. The purchase of two (2) phase pumps for the sewer lift station located at 12420 Hwy 4 was the final action taken before meeting was adjourned. 

Quitman only local team to advance to second round of LHSAA boys playoffs

One and done! That was the summation of every local high school boys basketball teams fortunes in the 2020-21 LHSAA playoffs – except for one. Quitman High is the only one left after the games of February 26th, which in relation to the first round of playoff games gave a new definition to the phrase “Black Friday.” It was dark days indeed for Jonesboro-Hodge, Weston and Saline. The loss by the Tigers and Bobcats were surprising to say the least as both were upset on their home floor by lower seeds. Weston simply fell to a stronger team. 

The results were a little better for schools that are in the Jackson Parish Journal “extended” coverage area, but not by much. Ruston, Winnfield, Dodson and Cedar Creek all took it on the chin with only Lincoln Prep and Choudrant surviving the first round. They will now join Calvin, Arcadia and Simsboro, who had first round byes, in the regional round that is slated to be played no later than Tuesday, March 2nd. 

Quitman survives Dodson to advance to 2nd round

Some thought that #11 Quitman would have an easy time with #22 Dodson. After all the Wolverines had thoroughly thumped the Panthers 81-54 just a little over a month ago. What’s more Dodson, who ends the year with an 8-11 record  had won only two of their final six games while the Wolverines, now 17-6, had won 11 of 12 games other than the two expected district 2B losses to Simsboro. Those people don’t know about playoff basketball. 

This time of year is a whole new world. This is do or die time as there is no tommorrow for the loser. The intensity of the battle is usually ramped beyond imagination especially toward the end of a game when the desperation of watching your season on the brink of ending sets in. There is only one goal. Survive and advance!

That is what Quitman did against Dodson who proved early on that this time the going would much tougher. Behind six points from Xaiden Hall and three pointer’s from both Caleb Barton and Quinton Edwards the Panthers grabbed a 14-11 lead after one. In the second Quitman buckled down on defense to hold Dodson to just three Beau Carter points and rode a pair of trey’s by freshman Logan Ponder and another from Cooper Williams to take a 24-17 lead into the break. 

In the third it looked like Quitman was on the verge of breaking the game open. Blake Carter, Ethan Everett, Joshua Smith and Williams all tallied to offset a pair of trey’s by Barton as the Wolverines took a 37-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Desperate to make up the deficit Barton, Carter and Hall started bombing away while defensively started fouling forcing Quitman to the line. Smith, Everett and Williams were undaunted though as three combined to make 7 of 10 from the stripe to keep Dodson at bay.

Smith led the Wolverines with 19 followed by Williams with 12. Everett added 8, Carter 7, Ponder 6 and Pabaya 2. Dodson was led by Barton, who on the strength of five trey’s had 18. Carter finished with 14, Hall had 12 and Edwards three. Quitman will now become the first team all year north of Alexandria to play #6 Fairview, who received a first round bye.

Tigers late rally falls short 

Jonesboro-Hodge had a 40-37 advantage over the final three quarters but the failure to make a single basket in the first eight minutes proved to be too much to overcome. As result #18 Avoyelles left with a 49-42 victory in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs. With the loss the #15 seeded Tigers ends the season with an 8-6 record while Avoyelles, who improved to 14-12 advances to play #2 Port Barre in the regionals. 

The effort was there. Sadly, the execution wasn’t. Not only in the early goings but more devastating, late in the game. Down 27-16 at the half, J-H began a stirring rally that saw Tigers pull to within 42-39 with 5:39 remaining. and had Avoyelles horribly reeling offensively and ripe for the taking. Four straight possessions saw J-H have a shot at tying the contest but only managed to make a Cameron Joe free throw. 

Avoyelles finally scored their first points of the fourth quarter with 2:28 to go to take a 44-40 lead that was stretched to 47-42 with 1:10 to go. Two more missed trey’s by the Tigers forced them to put Avoyelles on the line for one and one opportunities three times in twenty seconds. They missed all three of the front end shots but each time got it right back, once on rebounding the missed shot and twice more on J-H turnovers that sealed the Tigers fate. 

Both teams shot atrociously from the field during the game as each made under 30% of their shots. From the line the Tigers were only 11 of 21 for just over a 50% average while Avoyelles was even worse making only 32% of their charity shots after a 10 of 31 effort. 

A silver lining to the contest was the strong play of underclassman Cameron Joe, who along with junior, Justin Calahan paced the Tigers in scoring with 13 each and provided the fuel for the second half rally. No other J-H player scored more than four, which was accomplished by both Javion Andrews and Devonte’ Mozee, who will also return next year along with four more who played extensive minutes in the contest giving the Tigers a good nucleus to build on. 

Weston overmatched in loss to Negreet

The contest allowed both teams tp reach the “20” mark on the season but how it is applied proves the disparity between the two almost as much as the score did. Negreet’s convincing 72-54 victory improved their record to 20-11 and set up a regional round matchup against Pitkin. Meanwhile the loss eliminated Weston from the playoffs and saddled the Wolves with their 20th loss of the year, something that hasn’t taken place in over a decade. 

It was just one of those methodical whippings that take place when one team is simply better than the other. Weston showed plenty of grit and determination but just simply didn’t  have the firepower to compete. As result a 19-10 Weston disadvantage at the end of one became a 37-22 Negreet lead at the break that basically sealed the outcome. 

Jace Holt led Weston in scoring with 18 followed by Davis Tolar with 10. Braden Theriot added 7 and both Cooper Harvey and Eli McBride scored all six of their points in the final quarter. Kaden Shirley had 3, Tate Henderson 2 and Landon Roberts finished with his first quarter free throw. Kobe Goss led Negreet with 25.

Stanley’s second half surge sinks Saline

With their 68-64 upset victory, #23 seed Stanley High earned the distinction of being the highest seed advance in the state tourney in the contest that was a tale of two halves. All was going well for #10 Saline after two quarters of play. The Bobcat’s two top guns, Ethan Roberts and Titus Malone, were having their way to the tune of 16 and 10 points respectively to helped Saline to what seemed to be a commanding 37-27 lead.

In the second half two things happened. Stanley started to control the glass, especially on the offensive end and the referees started blowing their whistle seemingly on every possession. The result was that Stanley made several, second and even third chance, baskets and the Panthers made 15 of 26 free throws to just five for Saline that dramatically changed the course of the game that ended with Saline seeing their season end with an 8-9 record and Stanley (11-13) advancing to the regional round to play Zwolle. Roberts finished with 29 points for Saline while Malone added 16 and Titus Jackson 13. Jacob Jones and Blake Clifton had three points apiece.

Boxscores for each of the games involving local schools

#11 Quitman (17-6)1113131552
#22 Dodson (8-11)143102047

QHS scoring: Smith 19, Williams 12, Everett 8, Carter 7, Ponder 6, Pabaya 2
DHS scoring: Barton 18, Carter 14, Hall 12, Edwards 

#15 JHHS (8-6)21419742
#18 Avoyelles (14-12)121515749

JHHS scoring: Joe 13, Calahan 13, Andrews 4, Mozee 4, Tew 2, Kary 2, McGuire 2, Malone 1, Nichols 1
AHS scoring: Wright 14, Francisco 12, Bibbins 11, Smith 7, Jones 3, James 2

#9 Negreet (20-11)1918171872
#24 Weston (9-20)1012131954

NHS scoring; Goss 25, Byles 13, Glynn 12, Lehp 8, Tarpley 8, Rogers 4, Holmes 1
WHS scoring; Holt 18, Tolar 10, Theriot 7, McBride 6, Harvey 6, Shirley 3, Henderson 2, Roberts 1

#10 Saline (8-9)1720131464
#23 Stanley (11-13)91820 2168

Saline scoring; Roberts 29, Malone 16, Jackson 13, Clifton 3, Jones 3
Stanley scoring; Williams 17, Pinkey 14, Rogers 13, Collins 8, Maxie 8, Loftin 8

Local prep baseball and softball teams in full swing this week

The chase for basketball gold has come to an end for Jackson Parish Journal area schools meaning now the prep focus shifts to the diamonds. Fans of all three Jackson Parish schools (JHHS, Quitman, Weston) and neighboring Saline will have several opportunities this week to see their favorite baseball and softball teams in action as home games for all four schools will be played at the Jackson Parish Recreation Department Complex.

Schedule of games for March 1st – March 6th

March 1 – MondayJHHS at Simsboro – Softball4:00pm
Natchitoches-Central at Saline – Softball6:00pm
Quitman at Castor – Softball5:00pm
Saline at Huntington – Baseball5:00pm
Haynesville at JHHS – Baseball4:30pm
March 2 – TuesdayJHHS at Ringgold – Softball5:00pm
Georgetown at Weston – Softball4:00pm
Castor at Quitman – Softball5:30pm
Saline at Simsboro – Softball4:30pm
Quitman at Castor – Baseball (JV,V)4:00 pm
Lakeview at Saline – Baseball6:00pm
March 4 – ThursdayCalvin at JHHS – Softball (DH)4:00pm
Ruston at Quitman – Softball5:30pm
Weston at Winnfield – Softball5:00pm
Saline at Summerfield – Softball3:30pm
JHHS at Union High – Baseball6:00pm
Saline at Lakeview – Baseball6:00pm
March 5 – FridayQuitman/Weston at Choudrant Tourney – Softball
(Games at JPRD Complex)
March 6, SaturdayQuitman/Weston at Choudrant Tourney – Softball
(Games at JPRD Complex)

Season starts to mixed reviews for local teams

The 2021 baseball and softball season has gotten of to mixed reviews for the four schools that will be calling the Jackson Parish Recreation Department complex home this year, or at least for the early part of it. Quitman High School has had the best start as they have smashed their way to a 4-1 start in softball. Conversely, the Jonesboro-Hodge baseball team simply got smashed in their only game of the year to date. The Saline Softballers are sitting at 2-2 after four games while the Weston girls were very close to having the same record but are still searching for their first win in the Kim Shows era after four games.  The JHHS softball team and baseball squads from Weston, Saline and Quitman are set to begin their season this week. Recap of games played from February 24th – 28th:

Wednesday, February 24th:

Quitman 13 Loyola 2 (Softball): The Lady Wolverines stepped off the bus swinging and erupted for nine runs in the first two innings. The offensive onslaught combined with three hit pitching from Madison Kaye Brymer, Maggie Guyotte and Cali Deal paced Quitman to their second straight, 10-run rule victory of the year, this time over a Class 3A opponent.  Madeline Vail, Cali Deal, Jada Naron and Skylar Hall opened with singles and Madison Kaye Brymer slapped a double to plate four runs in the top half of the first. Loyola got their only runs of the game via a walk and a homer in the bottom half but Quitman blew it open with four more in the second as Brymer, Deal and Naron got their second hit of the game and Taylor Harvey her first..

After Vail singled and stole two bases to give Quitman another run in the third the Lady Wolverines added two more in the fourth when Madison Chaplin singled with two outs, stole a pair of bases and scored on a Vail single along with Karley Huckaby who had walked. Naron scored the final run, her team leading third, in the top of the fifth to round out the scoring. Deal made her varsity debut a successful one by going 3/3 and scoring a pair of runs while K’ing out all three batters she faced in her one inning on the mound. Naron (3RBI, 3RS), Vail (2RBI, RS), Brymer (2RBI, RS) and Hall (RS) got two hits each. The Lady Wolverines also 11 stolen bases led by Chaplin with three and both Harvey and Naron with two each.

Cedar Creek 18 JHHS 1 (baseball): At least new JHHS head man, Ethan Roberts, can say that his team led the first inning of the first game that he coached. That still won’t take the sting out of the beatdown that was finalized 2 1//2 inning later after Cedar Creek turned 10 hits, 12 walks and 5 Tigers errors into 18 runs. J-H took the 1-0 lead after Marcus Thompson, Chandler Harvey and Drew Davis coaxed three straight walks and Logan Smith knocked in Thompson with a SAC fly.

Other than Bryce Ethridge getting hit by a pitch in the second and Smith singling in the fourth that was all the offensive the Tigers would muster as the Tigers would fan 10 times to make the final 12 outs. The J-H pitching staff wouldn’t fare as well as Davis, Nathan Vines and Ethridge handed out 12 walks and 10 hits. 

Thursday, February 25th:

Castor 15 Weston 12 (Softball) For six innings it looked like new Weston head coach Kim Shows would get a victory in her very first game. The Lady Wolves led 12-10 against perineal Class B power Castor but three hits and a pair of walks combined with three Weston errors, led to a five run seventh inning, that resulted in a 15-12 loss. 

The Lady Wolves came out swinging heavy lumber with four straight extra base knocks to take a 4-1 lead in the first. Lexi Barmore got it all started with a two run homerun in her first at bat of the year to plate Audrey Welch who had reached on a fielders choice to put Weston on top after spotting Castor an early run. Jacie Ledford followed with a triple followed by back to back doubles by Macie Hall and Mallory Tolar that both drove in runs. 

Hall smashed her first round tripper of the year to plate Ledford who had singled to give Weston a 6-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth only to see Castor score six runs via three hits and three walks off of a tiring Tolar, who was replaced on the hill by Emma Kate McBride. Weston came right back in the bottom half when walks to Hall and Taylor Chatham coupled with hits from Tolar and Mary Catherine Hay and an RBI by Alaina Trosclair put the Lady Wolves back on top at 10-8. Castor tied it up in the top of the sixth but once again, Weston claimed the lead after Hall reached on an error and both Hay and Chatham singled to score two runs setting up the fateful final inning. 

McBride, Barmore, Ledford, Hall, Tolar and Hay all had two hits apiece for Weston. Hall, Barmore and Chatham had two RBI each with Hall scoring four and both Hay and Ledford adding a pair to lead the Weston offensive attack that ended up with 13 total hits. Barmore and Ledford also stole a base. Emma Kate McBride took the loss in relief of Tolar despite the pair only allowing 7 hits and 3 earned runs to the vaunted Castor attack. The culprit in the loss was 10 Weston errors. 

February 241234567RHE
Cedar Creek06390xx18101

WP: Parlo; LP: Davis
2B: (CC) Stephens, Gremillion, Ramsey, Shepherd 
RBI: (CC) Shepherd 5, Gremillion 3, Stephens 3, Parlo 2, Ramsey 2, Smith 2, Mitchum, Thompson
SB: (JH) Thompson 2, Ethridge, (CC) Stephens 3, Parlo, Wade, Ramsey, Smith

February 241234567RHE
Quitman 54121xx13130

WP – Brymer
2B – Brymer
RBI – Naron 3, Brymer 2, Vail 2, Guyotte, Williams
SB – Chaplin 3, Harvey 2, Naron 2, Borland, Deal, Hall, Leach

February 251234567RHE

WP: Morgan
LP: McBride
2B: Hall (W), Tolar (W)
3B: Ledford (W)
HR: Hall (W), Barmore (W)
RBI: Nailes (C) – 3, Barmore (W) – 2, Chatham (W) – 2, Hall (W) – 2, Hay (W), Ledford (W), Tolar (W), Trosclair (W), Welch
SB: Myers (C) – 2, Morgan (C), Barmore (W), Ledford (W)

Friday, February 26th

Hamburg, AR 6 Weston 5 (Softball – Polar Bear Classic): Weston lost late again after spotting Hamburg four runs over the first three innings before storming back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth in the Polar Bear Classic played at ULM in Monroe. The Arkansas visitors won it by plating single runs in the fifth and sixth while Weston managed to score one in the fifth and had three batters reach base in the sixth only to come away empty handed. It was a bitter loss to swallow as Weston outhit Hamburg 9-6 but left seven on base, hit into three double plays and had a runner cut down at home.

Down 4-0, Weston cut the margin in half when Alaina Trosclair reached on the first of six Hamburg errors and scored on a triple by Emma Kate McBride, who then got tagged out at the plate attempting to score on a passed ball. Lexi Barmore followed with a single and was driven in by Macie Hall’s hit. The Lady Wolves tied it up one inning later when Mallory Tolar singled and Trosclair doubled with two outs setting up a McBride grounder to short that was ruled an error but scored both runs. McBride and Barmore both got two hits, drove in one and scored a run to lead the Lady Wolves with Hall, Audry Welch and Trosclair, who scored twice, getting a hit apiece.

February 261234567RHE
Hamburg (AR)1030110666

WP – Meeks, LP – McBride
2B: (W) Tolar, Trosclair, (H) Meeks
3B: (W) McBride, (H) Pennington
RBI: (W) Barmore, Hall, McBride; (H) Pennington 2, Edwards, Tippen
SB: (W) McBride: (H) Meeks 2, Edwards

Sterlington 10 Quitman 3 (Softball- Polar Bear Classic): Five errors and six runners left on base accompanied by two big innings by Sterlington was to much to overcome as Quitman dropped their first of the year in the Polar Bear Classic played on Sterlington’s home field. Quitman simply never could get their vaunted attack started as it was just one of those games where seemingly every hard hit ball was right at a defender. 

Quitman tied it up in the top of the third when Karlee Huckaby got plunked, went to third on an error off the bat of Madeline Vail and scored on a passed ball. When Madison Chaplin scored in the top of the fifth after singling and stealing two bases, including home Quitman was still down by four after Sterlington had plated five in the bottom of the fourth. Down 10-1 after four more Sterlington runs, Karlee Huckabee got a two out single, stole second and scored on a Vail single, which represented the third time she had reached in the game. Eighth grader Cali Deal took the loss in her first varsity start despite giving up only 3 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.

February 261234567RHE

2B: Guyotte
RBI: Vail
SB: Chaplin 2, Brymer, Huckaby, Williams

Saturday, February 27

Quitman 18 Union Parish 3 (Softball – Polar Bear Classic) Apparently the Lady Wolverines didn’t take to being shut down by Sterlington the game before as they exploded for a season best 16 runs in the first inning against Class 3A Union Parish to coast to the four inning victory called early due to the “mercy rule.” Quitman showed no mercy in their initial at bat after seventh grader Maggie Guyotte had struck out the side in the top of the first. The Lady Wolverines completely batted around twice with all nine starters scoring and seven of them crossing home plate twice. Madison Kaye Brymer led the onslaught with two hits in two at bats, 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Madison Vail (RBI, RS) also got two hits while Madison Chaplin stole her team leading 6th and 7th base of the year, scored 3 runs and knocked in a pair in her first appearance of the season as leadoff batter. Jada Naron (2RS, 2RBI), Karley Huckaby (2RS, 2SB, RS) and Cali Deal (3B, RS, RBI) all got one hit apiece while Summer Grilette (SB), Guyotte, Bethany Leach (SB), Emily Borland (SB) and Skylar Hall (SB) all scored. Averie Williams also scored twice and stole two bases after twice reaching base on  errors. Guyotte got the victory after striking out the side in both innings she pitched and not allowing an earned run.

Saturday – 27th1234567RHE
Union Parish0120xxx346

WP – Guyotte
2B: Brymer, Huckaby
3B: Deal
RBI: Brymer 4, Chaplin 2, Naron 2, Deal, Huckaby, Vail
SB: Chaplin 2, Huckaby 2, Williams 2, Borland, Grilette, Hall, Leach

Ruston 19 Weston 3 (Polar Bear Classic): Fans didn’t even have time to get popcorn and a drink in this one as it was over before it really even began. Class 5A Ruston High sent 24 batters to the plate in top of the first and scored 18 runs as Weston pitching put 11 on base via walks or getting plunked. Don’t forget the four errors that were made. To Weston’s credit they kept fighting to score two in the first and another in the second before the game was called due to the 15 run advantage after three innings. Jacie Ledford hit a double to plate Lexi Barmore and then scored on a wild pitch for Weston’s first two runs. That was followed by Alaina Trosclair ripping a triple to center and scoring on a passed ball in the third but the two extra base hits were all the Lady Wolves could muster. Mallory Tolar was the hard luck loser after giving up only 4 earned runs of the 12 that were scored in the two thirds of an inning she pitched

Saturday – 27th123RHE

WP – Lee; LP – Tolar
2B: Ledford
3B: Trosclair
HR: McMillan 
RBI: McMillan 3, Milsaps, Lee, Dixon, Ledford
SB: Dixson 2, Leggett, Parker, Ledford 

Quitman 16 Weston 0 (Polar Bear Classic) Once again, Weston fell hopelessly behind in the early going but this time it wasn’t free passes that did most of the damage but rather the Quitman bats. The six Weston errors didn’t help either. In the  Polar Bear classic matchup that was the second of the day for both teams the Lady Wolverines tattooed Weston pitching for 16 runs and 12 hits in the first two innings that included two home runs and a pair of doubles. Madison Kaye Brymer got one of each while Cali Deal stroked the other two bagger and Madison Chaplin got the onslaught started with a lead off jack. Cali Deal won her first varsity start ever by allowing only singles by Lexi Barmore and Mary Catherine Hay in her three innings of work.

The “big bopping” Brymer (4RBI, 3RS) and Jada Naron (3RBI, RS) led the way with three hits apiece while Chaplin (HR, 2RBI, RS, SB) and Skylar Hall (2RS, 2SB) had two hit each. Bethany Leach, Maggie Guyotte and Averie Williams (2SB) also scored a pair of runs. Karley Huckaby stole 2 bases and scored a run as well.



Saturday – 27th123RHE

WP – Deal; LP – McBride
2B: Brymer, Deal
HR: Brymer, Chaplin
RBI: Brymer 4, Naron 3, Chaplin, Williams
SB: Williams 2, Huckaby 2, Hall 2, Chaplin, Grilette, Naron

Additional area games: 

Saline 23 Ringgold 2; Saline 17 Ringgold 4 (Softball): Saline evened their season slate to 2-2 by scoring 40 runs in eight innings over two games for the pair of “mercy rule” victories. The stars of the game were the entire starting nine as every single player got at least one hit and scored at least one run in both games. Of note was Jordan Williams who scored 7 runs and got five hits including a home run and a pair of doubles. Karah Zumwalt and Kylie Bates crossed home plate six times while Ava Toms, Sydney Thomas s and Aybra Kelly tallied five times each over the two games. Jayden Williams got both victories on the mound.

Early voting for 5th Congressional District starts Friday, March 6th

Early voting for the Louisiana Congressional 5th District seat that was vacated a result of the death of Luke Letlow, who won the seat in the November 2020 elections, will begin on Friday, March 6th and run until March 13th. In Jackson Parish early votes can be cast at the Jackson Parish Courthouse each day from 8:30am – 6:00 pm, excluding Sunday. 

To be eligible to vote you must have one of the following:
1. Driver’s license or Louisiana wallet digital driver’s license
2. Louisiana Special ID
3. US military identification care that contains applicants name and picture
4. Some other generally recognized picture ID that contains name and signature

Voters who have no picture ID may complete and sign a Voter Identification Affidavit in order to vote; however this is subject to be challenged by law. 

Candidates who have qualified to run:

Sandra “Candy” Christophe – Democrat
Chad Conerly – Republican
“Jim” Davis – No Party
Allen Guillory –  Republican
Robert Lansden – Republican
Julia Letlow – Republican
Jaycee Magnuson – Republican
Horace Melton – Republican
M.V. “Vinny” Mendoza – Independent
Richard H. Pannell – Republican
Sancha Smith – Republican
Errol Victor Sr. – Republican

Regular election day is March 20, 2021 with a runoff election, if necessary, to take place on April, 24, 2021.




Jackson Parish School Board to appoint School Health Advisory Council at Monday meeting

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Jackson Parish School Board (JPSB) that will be held at the Jonesboro-Hodge High School Cafeteria this Monday evening at 6:00pm a School Health Advisory Council is slated to be appointed. The council will consist of a member from the Jackson Parish Hospital, two physical education teachers, a school nurse, counselor, parent and a JPSB member.

The expected action is among several other agenda items that is planned to be taken including the normal payment of bills and considering to accept a bid for a refrigerated truck, electronic equipment and teaching resources as well as authorizing a contractor to paint the old gym at Quitman High School. The public is invited to attend but all visitors are required to adhere to mask mandate policies. 

Cowans and Shallowhorn leap for Louisiana at Sunbelt Conference Track Championship

When Kaprecia “Shy” Cowans and Reggie Shallowhorn had the opportunity for a brief reunion earlier this past week it brought together the most decorated female and male athlete in Jonesboro-Hodge High School sports history. One would think that would be a rare occasion, right? Wrong!

Actually, the pair who own more athletic records than anyone else in JHHS lore, has had the chance to catch up to each quite often during the NCAA indoor and outdoor track seasons over the past two years. That is because each now leaps for Louisiana, as in, the University of Louisiana -Lafayette (ULL) and the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM).

What brought them to the same place this past week was the Sunbelt Conference Indoor Track Championship held at the Birmingham Complex in Birmingham, Alabama. While neither ULL or ULM won a team title both former Tigers represented well with a top ten and a top twenty finish. 

Shallowhorn not only finished in the top ten but earned points for his ULM men’s squad by clearing 2.00 meters (6’56”) to place in a tie for sixth in the high jump. Cowans nearly finished in the top twenty in two events after leaping to a personal best 11.22 meters (36′ 9.75″) in the triple jump to finish 19th overall and 5.33 meters (17′ 6″) in the long jump to finish in 24th and second best on the ULL squad. 

The pair, who are both majoring in Biology at their respective universities, are off to good starts in the 2021 Indoor Track season which has found both of them competing in more than one event, which is seldom seen on the university level and a great testament to their skills. 

Cowans placed sixth and earned points in the long jump at the LSU Purple Tiger meet and the Arkansas State University Scarlett and Black Invitational and finished in 11th in the Jaguar Invitational where she also grabbed 15th in the triple jump before setting her best mark ever at the Sunbelt Indoor Championships. Her best mark in the long jump is 18′ 5.75″ which was set at the McNeese Indoor Invitational last year. 

Shallowhorn began the season with a third place finish in the high jump at the LSU Purple Tiger and another third in the long jump at the LSU Louisiana Invitational with a personal best of 20′ 6.36″ where he also placed sixth in the high jump.  That was followed by him coming in 9th at the USA Jaguar Invitational before his tie for 6th place at the Sunbelt Conference Indoor Championships. It was at the same event last year where he leaped 2.05 (6′ 7 1/4″) for his personal best. 


National Champion Alex Walker recognized by Quitman High during FFA week

In honor of national Future Farmers of America week (February 21-27) the Quitman High School Chapter celebrates Alex Walker being named the 2020 National Champion in vegetable production and Louisiana state star farmer. During his four years as a member of the Quitman FFA, the son of Leo and Christie Walker, also earned 3 first-place, 17 second-place, 2 third-place banners and a fourth-place banner in Supervised Agricultural Efficiency (SAE) project competition.

Making the tremendous amount of banners won even more impressive is that an FFA student is only allowed to place first in only one SAE per year, and once the member places first in a certain SAE, they can no longer compete in that project. As result, Walker had SAE’s in Ag Processing, Ag Sales, Ag Services, Beef Production, Diversified Agricultural
Production, Diversified Crop Production, Diversified Livestock Production, Fruit Production, Nursery Operations, Outdoor Recreation, Poultry Production, Small Animal Production, Specialty Crop Production, and Vegetable Production.alex walker

The sophomore Forestry major at Louisiana Tech University retains his membership as a Quitman FFA member as he seeks the coveted FFA American Degree. The American Degree is earned by less than one percent of all FFA members and is the highest degree that can be achieved in the organization. It is the culmination of their supervised agriculture experience, leadership skills and community involvement.

“I was reluctant to get this involved at first,” Walker said when reflecting on how he began his FFA career, “My parents forced me to spend my summer vacations at the FFA state conventions with my brother when I was younger,”

Fast forward seven years to August of 2016 when Walker zipped up his own FFA jacket for the first time and never looked back. With his 2018 First Place win in Specialty Crop Production, Walker earned a Silver placement at nationals. With his 2019 First Place win in Diversified Crop Production, Walker earned a Gold placement at nationals. He served as chapter president his senior year and served as Area I Sentinel for two years.

The 2020 Louisiana State Convention was canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic and Walker learned he won First Place in Vegetable Production via YouTube. It was the placement he had been working for after logging hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” in his Vegetable Production SAE. Walker plowed, planted, gathered and sold his produce for five years.
In a year like no other, once Walker learned that he had qualified as a national finalist he had to respond to the judge’s questions in a video submission instead of competing at the national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He learned he was a national champion on a zoom call at Quitman High School with the three other finalists during a live telecast of the National FFA Convention. Walker is only the tenth Louisiana FFA student to win a national championship for an SAE since Louisiana FFA was established in 1930. Walker also learned that he was named Louisiana State Star Farmer via YouTube. Star Farmer is the highest achievement Louisiana FFA can bestow upon an FFA member with an SAE in production agriculture. The award represents achievements in production, leadership, and community service.

Walker was recently interviewed at the family farm by This Week In Louisiana Agriculture and his segment will air in March 2021.Nowadays he can be found most Saturdays at the Ruston Farmers Market where he is a regular vendor at the Joywalk Daylily Garden and Produce Booth. During the summer he can also be found at various locations in Lincoln or Jackson Parish selling his watermelons and produce and is thankful to all the people who have purchased his produce and watermelons and hopes for their continued support in the future.

He is also thankful to his chapter members and advisor, Marty Cantrell. Cantrell who worked tirelessly to make sure he and all FFA members made it to camp, competition and conventions. Walker’s national championship is the second under Cantrell with his prior being for a LDE. As a staunch advocate for FFA, Walker urges everyone to support their local chapter because the funding helps pay for summer camp, the competition fees, and state and national convention fees.

Walker also acknowledges the late Dan Stout, former Quitman FFA Advisor, and his brother, Nick Walker who is now in his second year of vet school at Lincoln Memorial University in Ewing, Virginia, for giving him a competitive
spirit. His brother was a prior State Star Farmer and fierce SAE competitor. Lastly, he thanks his parents for all the miles they have logged during the past eleven years attending state and national FFA conventions and for all their help, support, and encouragement.

An FFA member is allowed to display the three highest pins they have earned on the front of their jacket. Walker’s FFA jacket is adorned with the blue medal reflecting that he is a national finalist, the blue and gold medal
representing that he is a national champion, and the pin recognizing him as the State Star Farmer. When he unzips his jacket for the last time, Walker will not put away the friendships he formed, the memories made, or the life lessons he
learned along the way.

Is pre-fishing a waste of time?

As I have pointed out before, tournament bass anglers are a strange bunch. We are constantly trying to outsmart, over think and over complicate how we should be catching fish. Growing up as an athlete, baseball was a sport that I truly loved, and to be good at it, took practice and lots of it. A lot of time spent in a batting cage, taking ground balls, catching fly balls and working on base running. As someone once said, “practice makes perfect.” But in bass fishing, that’s not always the case. You can spend or waste a lot of time practicing and catching fish days before an event only to have to disregard everything you put together due to a major change in weather. So many times, in my fishing career, I’ve had to adjust or abandon my game plan for a tournament. Which brings us to the question, “Is pre-fishing a waste of time?”

Well, my first reaction would be “yes” but then I think back over time how important my practice time was for me having a high finish. But so many times due to variables out of my control like a front coming through, high winds, temperature change, heavy rain, the lake rising can all contribute to a change in fish behavior. Mother Nature and what she can throw at a bass angler, can be brutal. But just like any other sport, bass fishing is a game of adjustments and sometimes due to how we caught them during our pre-fishing time, we tend to try and force the fish the bite the way they did in practice. This is major mistake when you’re competing in a tournament because bass are worse than women, they are constantly going through mood swings. (Sorry ladies)

For me the benefits of pre-fishing are getting out on the water and checking out the areas of the lake you want to fish. Looking at watercolor, is it muddy, stained or clear; what’s the water temperature and seeing what the bass are relating to. Are they on wood cover like cypress trees or maybe brush tops and laydowns off the bank? Are they in vegetation like hydrilla or coon tail moss, are they under lily pads or our newest invasive species of aquatic vegetation… Salvinia?. Are they on boat docks? Are they in the backwater or on main lake points? Now most of these questions can be answered basically by what time of year it is as to where the bass should be.

As you can see, bass fishing is more science than luck especially for a tournament bass angler. But the time you spend pre-fishing or practicing, can be crucial in determining when, where and how you will catch them on tournament day. But this is where a word that I used earlier comes into play, adjustments. Bass fishing is a constant game of adjustments and the angler that does this the best on tournament day, will be the most successful. More times than not, the conditions in which you found fish in practice, will not be the conditions you face on tournament day. So, is pre-fishing a waste of time? Well, the time of year has a lot to do with this in that with spring fishing, there are constant weather changes and fronts are more frequent making it hard to plan too far ahead for a tournament. But during the summer months, the weather is a lot more stable, and the fish are a lot more predictable as to where they will be. The fall can also be pretty easy to find fish in that bass tend to migrate up the creeks this time of year.

As you can see, pre-fishing can have it advantages. It all depends on what time of year it is. To hear more fishing tips, tune in to Tackle Live every Monday on our Facebook page at 12:30 CST as we discuss the latest news and tournament results from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and other great bodies of water found right here in the Ark-La-Tex region. Until next time, don’t forget to set the hook!! – Steve Graf

Public Notices

Utilities, Inc. of Louisiana Joyce Water Supply is currently in violation of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids as set forth by the State [Part XII of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code (LAC 51:Xll)] and the Federal Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR Part 141).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) set drinking water standards and requires the disinfection of drinking water. Where disinfection is used in the treatment of drinking water, disinfectants combine with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter present in water to form chemicals called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). EPA and LDHH set standards for controlling the levels of disinfectants and DBPs in drinking water, including trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acid (HAAs).

Some people who drink water containing THMs in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. Some people who drink water containing HAA5s in excess of the MCL over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

In December 1998, EPA set enforceable drinking water standards for TTHMs at 80 parts per billion (ppb) and for HAA5 at 60 parts per billion (ppb) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects. Compliance with the TTHMs and HAA5 standards for public water systems servicing less than 10,000 individuals initially became effective and enforceable on January 1, 2004. Compliance with the TTHMs standard is determine by calculating a locational running annual average (LRRA) of quarterly TTHMs sample results. Compliance calculations performed for the fourth quarter of 2020 show that the system’s current TTHMs LRAAs are 95 ppb at sample location DBP01 – 6758 Hwy 84 and 94 ppb at sample location DBP02 – 340 Louisiana. Thus, the system is currently in violation of TTHMs standards.

Construction of the GAC (granulated activated charcoal) system has been completed and the filtration system is now online. The GAC system will assist with the reduction of TTHM and HAA5 concentrations. UIL has kept LDH informed of our progress.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. If you have any questions, contact the UIL Compliance Administrator at 985-893-6646 – Opt. 2.

This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. EPA and LDH do not consider this violation to have any serious adverse health effects on human health as a result of short-term exposure; however, continued long-term exposure to TTHMs and HAA5 levels above the standard (e.g., 20 years of exposure) has the potential to have serious adverse effects on human health. 

Utilities, Inc. of Louisiana Paradise Point Water Supply is currently in violation of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids as set forth by the State [Part XII of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code (LAC 51:Xll)] and the Federal Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR Part 141).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) set drinking water standards and requires the disinfection of drinking water. Where disinfection is used in the treatment of drinking water, disinfectants combine with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter present in water to form chemicals called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). EPA and LDHH set standards for controlling the levels of disinfectants and DBPs in drinking water, including trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acid (HAAs).

Some people who drink water containing THMs in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. Some people who drink water containing HAA5s in excess of the MCL over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

In December 1998, EPA set enforceable drinking water standards for TTHMs at 80 parts per billion (ppb) and for HAA5 at 60 parts per billion (ppb) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects. Compliance with the TTHMs and HAA5 standards for public water systems servicing less than 10,000 individuals initially became effective and enforceable on January 1, 2004. Compliance with the TTHMs standard is determine by calculating a locational running annual average (LRRA) of quarterly TTHMs sample results. Compliance calculations performed for the fourth quarter of 2020 show that the system’s current TTHMs LRAAs are 83 ppb at sample location DBP01 – 119 Eden Drive. Thus, the system is currently in violation of TTHMs standards.

UIL will be installing by the end of February an automatic flush valve. The automatic flush valve will assist with the reduction of TTHM and HAA5 concentrations. UIL has kept LDH informed of our progress.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. If you have any questions, contact the UIL Compliance Administrator at 985-893-6646 – Opt. 2.

This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. EPA and LDH do not consider this violation to have any serious adverse health effects on human health as a result of short-term exposure; however, continued long-term exposure to TTHMs and HAA5 levels above the standard (e.g., 20 years of exposure) has the potential to have serious adverse effects on human health.

Town of Chatham Board of Alderman Meeting Minutes
February 9, 2021

The Chatham Town Council met in regular session with the following members present: Mayor Gregory Harris, Marvin Davis, Toni Malone, Laverne Mixon, Sue Proffer and Mike Wilson. Visitors were: Sue Henderson, Brandon Myers, John Mize, Judy Cooper, Carrie Watts , Elizabeth Shoemaker, Lewis Chatham, Kelvin McGuire and Robert Harris.
Meeting was called to order and invocation given.

Toni Malone offered the motion, seconded by Marvin Davis, and approved unanimously, to accept as read, the minutes of the regular meeting held on January 12, 2021 and the special called meeting held on January 19, 2021. Toni Malone offered the motion, seconded by Marvin Davis and approved by all, to pay the monthly bills.

Sealed bids, for the sale of the 2004 garbage truck, were opened and reviewed. Motion was offered by Sue Proffer, seconded by Toni Malone and approved by all, to sell to the highest bidder, The Trash Guys.

Toni Malone offered the motion, seconded by Sue Proffer and approved by all, agreeing to enter into a contract with The Trash Guys, to pick up trash for residential and business with-in the city limits.

Motion was offered by Toni Malone, seconded by Sue Proffer and approve by all, to table Resolution 2020-14, until the regular meeting on March 9, 2021.

Motion was offered by Toni Malone, seconded by Laverne Mixon and approved unanimously, to adopt Resolution 2021-04, agreeing to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and appointing Gregory Harris and Toni Malone to serve as Administrators.

Motion by Toni Malone, seconded by Mike Wilson and approved unanimously, to introduce Ordinance 2021-01, setting the sewerage rates for service outside the city limits. Public hearing will be at 5:30 pm, Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Mike Wilson offered the motion, seconded by Sue Proffer and approved unanimously, to purchase (2) two phase pumps for the sewer lift station located at 12420 Hwy 4.

The financial statements were presented and reviewed by Mayor and Council. Motion was offered by Toni Malone, seconded by Laverne Mixon and approved to accept the financial statements as presented

Motion to adjourn was offered by Marvin Davis, seconded Sue Proffer and approved by all.


Death Notices

James Edward Conn
May 6, 1942 – February 21, 2021

James Edward Conn, 78, of Pine Bluff, passed away Sunday, February 21, 2021. He was born May 6, 1942 in Jackson Parish, Louisiana to the late R.E. and Orene Robison Conn. James was reared and attended school in Chatham, Louisiana, then attended Perkins Seminary at Southern Methodist University. He then served in the ministry, serving at Mineral Springs First United Methodist Church, St. Luke United Methodist Church, Center Grove United Methodist Church and Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church.

James was preceded in death by his parents; and one brother, Ricky Conn. Survivors include his wife, Judy Wright Conn, whom he married October 28, 1961 in Chatham, Louisiana; two sons, Todd Conn (Debbie) and Chris Conn (Jenny); five sisters, Floy Moon, Geradine Folds, Barbara Ann Richardson (A.H.), Debbie Rogers (Bobby) and Teresa Conn; 5 grandchildren, Lindsey Conn, Brantly Conn, Ashlyn Billingsley, Shaun Boner and Dan Berjac; and 2 great grandchildren, Brooklyn Hultz and Camron Hultz. Graveside service were held on Thursday, February 25, 2021 with Bro. Russell Rhodes officiating. Burial followed in the Concord Cemetery at Jackson Parish, Louisiana. 

Donny Osborne
February 19, 1950 – February 09, 2021

Donnie Wayne Osborne was born February 19, 1950 as the fourth child of Dollene and Frank Osborne Sr. of Jonesboro, Louisiana. Donnie entered the United States Army soon after High School during the Vietnam War. He served 2 years honorably. Donnie moved to Atlanta, Georgia, he worked at a Printing Factory for many years. He retired and moved to California then Jonesboro, La. He was united in marriage to Patsy Beard.

Donnie was an entrepreneur licensed in air conditioning & heating, washers & dryers, etc.
He worked for many year in Jonesboro-Hodge, St. Rest areas. Donnie loved his craft. As his health started failing he passed knowledge & tools on to Cousin Earnest Cottonham (Baby Jr.) and inspired him to go to school to get his certification. Preceding his death is his Father Frank Osborne Sr., his Sister Ida Mae Osborne Nash, his two Brothers Frank Osborne Jr., James Earl Osborne Sr. He leaves to cherish his memory his Mother Dollene Osborne of Jonesboro, La. His Wife Patsy Beard & Son Derrick Osborne of Jonesboro, La. His 3 Sisters, Nieces & Nephews, Uncles & Aunts a host of Cousins & Friends.

Funeral services were held February 26, 2021 at the Paradise Funeral Home Chapel in Jonesboro. Interment followed at the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Quitman. 

Dorothy Mae Willis
November 02, 1936 – February 20, 2021

Ms. Dorothy Mae Willis, age 84 of Shreveport, met her Lord and Savior on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Dorothy is a graduate of Jonesboro-Hodge High School in Jonesboro, La. She was a member of Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, La and had been living in Heritage Manor South Nursing Home for the past 22 years. She worked for Jackson Parish Hospital and at the Jackson Parish Courthouse throughout her working career. She also enjoyed playing the piano for New Hope Baptist Church in Jonesboro, La. Dorothy had a big heart and loved her family fiercely with every bit of it. She will be greatly missed by all that knew her and loved her.

Those left to cherish her memory are her siblings and their families; brother, Homer Willis and wife Debbie of Shreveport, La; sister, Gloria Dean Hood of Saline, La; sister, Hazel Lawrence of Shreveport; a number of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Zennie Zeline and Willie Mae Willis; brother, J.E. Willis; niece, Kimberly Blankenship; nephew, David Ray Hood. A graveside service was held Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery with Bro. Aaron Coffey officiating. Burial followed under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home.

Kathey Ann King
March 10, 1965 – February 19, 2021

Kathey Ann Wilson King, 55 years old, passed away peacefully with her loved ones by her side on Friday, February 19, 2021 after a brief illness. She was born in Winnfield, Louisiana on March 10, 1965, the daughter of Kitty Wilson of Hodge, La. and Richard David Wilson (Peggy Jo) of Tullos, La.

Kathey lived a fun-loving life, filled with the love of her grandchildren for whom she enjoyed sewing clothes for every event and special occasion. She loved quilting, crocheting, knitting with all of her quilting friends and also loved everything that had to do with flamingos of which she collected. She also loved being in her yard gardening. Everyone who met Kathey instantly loved her as she had a contagious laugh and smile. You seldom had a conversation with her that she did not mention her “crush,” Mike Rowe – or Led Zepplin and other 80’s rock bands. But the majority of her conversation was always about her precious children, grandchildren and her sweet little pups, Jack Russells, Wiener dogs and plain ole mutts – all of whom she loved to take fishing.

Kathey attended LaSalle High School in Olla, La. from 1978-83. She graduated from the University of Louisiana Lafayette and received her Bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Land Management. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Kathey put her degree to use as the accountant and bookkeeper for King Drilling Company in Tullos, La. for many years.

Along with her parents, she is survived by one brother, David Earl Wilson (Angela) of Tullos, Louisiana; her three children, Lauren King Aucoin (Phil), Jeffery King, and Will King all of Jonesboro, Louisiana and their father Mark King of Tullos, La. Also left to cherish her memory are three grandchildren: Scarlett Kate, Charlie, Vera and Lennon Aucoin as well as very dear friends and caretakers, Brenda Edmonston & Brenda Simmons. A private family graveside ceremony was held Friday, February 26th at the Crossroads Baptist Church Cemetery in Winn Parish.

Bernice Malone
April 13, 1936 – February 21, 2021

Ms. Bernice Malone, age 84, was laid to rest this past Saturday following funeral services at the Sandhill Baptist Church in Quitman, LA. under the direction of Paradise Funeral Home in Jonesboro.

Mollie Sue Wilkins
February 26, 1947 – February 23, 2021

Mrs. Mollie Sue Wilkins, age 73 of Ruston, passed through the heavenly gates Tuesday, February 23, 2021 follow a period of declining health. Mrs. Wilkins was a sweet and loving person who enjoyed helping people in any way that she could. She loved to bake and supplied everyone with plenty of pies. She was best-known for her wonderful pecan pies and she always felt blessed to be able to bless others with them. She will be remembered best for her dumpling making. She made her dumplings out love and used her cooking as an effective tool in ministering to others. She loved her family dearly and relished the time she was able to spend with them. To them she was the best Mom and Meme that anyone could ever ask for.

Those left to cherish her sweet memory are her daughter, Angie (Wilkins) Thompson & Chris; grandchildren, Madalynn Plunkett, Jocie Carpenter; sister, Robbie Carol Evans & Bill; niece, Kathy Brown; nephew, Michael Brown; extended family, Kaye and Tim Andrews and family. Mrs. Wilkins was preceded in death by her parents; Joseph and Ethel (Walsworth) Spradlin. A memorial service was held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at the First Baptist Church in Ruston.

Doruther Stephens
March 03, 1935 – February 23, 2021

Mrs. Doruther Stephens, age 85 of Ruston and formerly of Jonesboro, died Tuesday, February 23, 2021 following a period of declining health. Mrs. Stephens was a loving and kind lady who loved to laugh and enjoy life with her family and friends. All of her children were the apples of her eye. Those left to cherish her memory include her children, John Smith, Gary Smith, Jeannie Presley, Wanda Swanner, James Smith; 13 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brother, Carl Rentz.

Graveside services for Mrs. Stephens are scheduled for Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at Transport Cemetery near Dodson with Reverend David “Bubba” Walsworth officiating and under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home of Jonesboro.

James “Bo” Young Jr.
October 14, 1956 – February 16 – 2021

ames Wilson Young, Jr. was born to the late James Wilson Young, Sr. and Velma Lee Anders
Young on October 14, 1956. He was known to most as “Bo”. He joined Robinson Chapel C.M.E.
Church of Eros at an early age where he remained faithful until his demise.
Bo attended Jasper Henderson in his early years and graduated Chatham High School in 1974.
Of his first union to the late Deloris Brazil, two wonderful children Chasity Young and Cory
Young were born. He later married Shirley Washington in December of 2000 where his beloved
family extended.

Bo was a veteran of the United States Army where he was honorably discharged after
dedicated years of service to our country. He was known for his continuous joking and being
the life of the party. He could make the world laugh. When he was surrounded by those he
loved he would walk through the door and say, “The Champ is here!” After he made everyone
laugh the would say, “I love it when a bunch of playas get together!” He will always be known
to his family and friends as a living legend.
Bo was preceded in death by his father James Young Sr., mother Velma Lee Anders Young, and
sister Patricia Young Elmore.

James Wilson “Bo” Young, Jr. leaves to cherish his memories: wife Shirley Washington Young of
Natchitoches, La; daughter Chasity Young of Eros, La; son Cory Young (Melissa) of Calhoun, La;
stepdaughters Phyllis and Felicia Washington of Natchitoches, La; stepsons Lester Washington
of Houston, TX, Ronnie Washington (Valerie), Jimmy Washington (Deloris), Randall Washington
(Mary), Reginald Washington, and Terrell Washington all of Natchitoches, La; grandson
DeAndre’ Young of San Diego, CA; sisters Winifred Mayo (Jerome) of Eros, La, Gwendolyn
Drayton of West Monroe, La, and Olga Haulcy (Donald) of Arcadia, La; a cousin that holds a
special place in his heart Quaone Anders; someone very close to him that he always treated like
a daughter Nakeisha Cowan; two special friends Susan McDonald and Rachel Smith; a host of
other grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held at Anders Farms in Eros, LA on February 27th, 2021 under the direction of Paradise Funeral Home in Jonesboro, LA

Boil Advisory still in effect for Jonesboro

In a statement provided on Tuesday afternoon, Town of Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson said the boil advisory for those on the Jonesboro water system is still in effect and most likely will remain in place throughout the weekend. Thompson also encourages everyone to continue to converse their usage for the next several days so that the wells can fill up quicker which is necessary for full water pressure to be able to be obtained. water

“At this point we are still under a boil advisory” said Thompson. “It appears that the only hurdle we have left is getting the wells and water tank filled back up to full capacity but in order to be as safe as possible we need to continue on our current course of action until further notice. As soon as we can verify that the water is safe, we will issue a statement. I thank our residents for their patience through these unprecedented times.”

A boil advisory is issued because the community’s water is, or could be, contaminated with germs that can make you sick. Standard recommendations on what to do usually include this advice:

  1. Use bottled or boiled water for drinking and to prepare and cook food.
  2. If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute then allow it to cool before use.
  3. Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  4. Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Town of Jonesboro receives Community Development Block Grant

February 9th MinsThe Town of Jonesboro has received a Community Development Block Grant from the state of Louisiana in the amount of $1,199,451.00 to help with repairs at several lift stations. The announcement was made by Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson during his update at the regularly schedule monthly meeting of the Jonesboro Board of Alderman that was held by tele-conference on Tuesday, February 9th. 

After the roll call indicated that Aldermen Devin Flowers, Nia Evans-Johnson, James Ginn, Robbie Siadek and Pete Stringer were all present the meeting began with a public hearing on Ordinance 2021-001, which relates to the sale of a certain tract of land owned by the Town of Jonesboro being declared as surplus property. After no comments were given within the allotted time given the hearing was closed followed by the town council moving forward with the adoption of the ordinance.

In additional business it was agreed to allow a trailer house to be moved from 415 Northeast St. to 218 Holley Drive and the recommendation by the Jonesboro Police Department to terminate Lana Horton was approved. Reports from the Fire, Police and Public Works was then accepted as was the bills, financials and meeting minutes from the month of January. In final business, Resolutions 2021-003, 004 and 005 regarding the South, East and North Ponds were then approved.

To review Ordinance 2021-001 please click on the following: Ordinance 2021-001 (2)

To review February 9th meeting minutes click on the following: February 9th Mins


Lady Tigers and Quitman bounced in second round of LHSAA playoffs

No school in Jackson Parish has ever won a girls prep state basketball championship. It won’t happen this year either. That was assured Tuesday evening when Jonesboro-Hodge and Quitman, both who entered the contests as home favorites according to their seeds, got bounced from the 2020-21 LHSAA playoffs – HARD!

They weren’t alone as it was a bad night for north Louisiana teams all around. Only two team from the Jackson Parish Journal coverage area are still alive (Cedar Creek and Lincoln Prep) and only ten teams from above Alexandria lived to play another round. Four of those were in Class 5A (West Monroe, Captain Shreve, Parkway and Benton) while two play in Division IV (Cedar Creek and Ouachita Christian.) Of special note Huntington of Shreveport beat Bolton 100-31 in Class 4A action for the most points scored in the playoffs to date. In other contests involving JPJ coverage area teams Ruston fell to Hahnville 42-38, Choudrant lost to Anacoco 63-38 and Calvin fell to Reeves 64-39. 

Bell City 47 Quitman 42:  Behind Clara Womack’s five trey’s Quitman led 21-19 at the half. In the second half Quitman personified the temperatures that plagued the area last week as they went cold, as in bitter frigid cold.  The Lady Wolverines made only four baskets and just 11 points the entire second half. It wasn’t as if Bell City was doing anything special as Quitman had many good looks that just didn’t go down. 

“It was just one of those nights where we just couldn’t score, especially in the second half,” said QHS head coach Kyle Leach. “I am extremely proud of our defensive effort as we held one of the best scorers in the state well below her average and even though we couldn’t make anything still had a chance till late when we had to start taking chances.”

The loss ended one of the best seasons in QHS history that saw the Lady Wolverines win 23 games against only 3 losses. Bell City improves to 16-7 and now faces #5 Anacoco. Womack led Quitman with 19 points followed by Emma Carter with eight. Brayli Stewart and Cali Deal with three each and Kaylee Ford had two. Bell City was led by Josie Ogea with 19. 

Rayville 86 JHHS 64: The Lady Tigers were simply overmatched by the swarming Hornets who was noticeably quicker, shot better, out-rebounded and forced more turnovers in the contest played at Weston High due to the JHHS gymnasium still not having water available. That is not a slight to J-H, who ended the year with 13-6 record. Rayville is just all around a better team, that makes one wonder how in the world they got a #9 ranking.

Of the nine losses they suffered this year seven were to Class 5A schools. The other two were to the second ranked team in Division II, which is the equivalent of a Class 3A school. The undefeated district 2-2A champs have now won 10 in a row to improve to 16-9 and since their district schedule and the two playoffs games they are averaging 80 points a game, by far the best in the state. Xabrianna Jackson led JHHS with 28 points followed by Chamya Waters with 15 and Yahzmynne Andrews with 10. Zymea Hoggro had seven and Jessica Bradford four. Rayville was led by Amari West who had 40 points and Lalaina Wood with 12. 

Stars live up to the hype! The two contests pitted four of the better guards in the state in seniors Bell City’s, Josie Ogea and Quitman’s, Clara Womack in the Class B matchup w and junior’s Xabrianna Jackson and Amari West of Rayville. Each came in with star billing and lived up to the hype by playing tremendously.  Ogea, who is committed to play at LSU-Eunice, scored 10 points of her 20 points in the pivotal fourth quarter to break open a close game while Womack was unstoppable in the first half making five trey’s and scoring 17 points. Jackson also had a big night with 28 points that included an impressive 10 of 12 showing from the free throw line but none had the game that West had. The junior Rayville standout made three trey’s, went 7/7 from the line and scored 38 of her 40 points in only three quarters. 

#13 Bell City (16-7)811101847
#4 Quitnan (23-3)10114732

BCHS scoring: Ogea 20, Merritt 10, Leonards 9, Wiche 6, Folse 2
QHS scoring: Womack 19, Carter 8, Stewart 3, Deal 3, Ford 2

#8 JHHS (13-6)1319161664
#9 Rayville (16-9)2224242186

JHHS scoring: Andrews 28, Waters 15, Andrews 10, Hoggro 7, Bradford 4
RHS scoring; West 40, Wood 12, Smith 11, Miller 9, Webb 8, Webb 3, Jackson 2, Jones 1

Jonesboro schools remain in virtual classroom status for Wednesday

Jonesboro schools will remain in virtual classroom status on Wednesday. The statement was issued by Jackson Parish Schools Superintendent, David Claxton, after consulting with Town of Jonesboro officials about the ongoing water transmission issues that have plagued the town for the last two weeks. 

No information was given on when Jonesboro schools would be able to return to holding sessions on campus. Daily updates can be obtained by visiting the Jackson Parish School District webpage:


LHSAA boys basketball playoff brackets released

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) 2020-21 boys basketball playoff brackets has been released. A total of 275 schools in seven classes and five divisions will compete for the right to play in “Marsh Madness,” as the state tournament is affectionately dubbed, from March 11-13 on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) in Hammond.

Jonesboro-Hodge and Quitman along three other Jackson Parish Journal area coverage teams Saline, Winnfield and Choudrant will host first round games on Friday, February 26th. Weston, Ruston, Lincoln-Prep and Dodson will hit the road. Arcadia and Simsboro each first round byes meaning both along with Calvin (Class C) and Cedar Creek (Division IV),who competes in 16 team brackets, will see their playoff chase begin on March 2nd. 

In respect to the three Jackson Parish schools, JHHS received a #15 seed and will face #18 Avoyelles Parish (13-12) in a Class 2A matchup at either JHHS or Weston depending on the ongoing water situation that is plaguing the Town of Jonesboro.  Quitman at #11 in Class B will host #22 Dodson while #25 Weston will trek to #9 Negreet.

In other first round games, tenth seeded Saline and #14 Choudrant will welcome #23 Stanley and #19 Converse repectively in Class B, while #10 Winnfield will play host to #23 St. Helena. In Class 5A, Ruston and Lincoln Prep, both seeded #19 in their classes, will travel to East St. John and East Iberville. 

Full brackets for each area school: class 5A, class 2A, class A, class B, class C, division IV

Jackson Parish Library in Jonesboro is open, Chatham still closed

After the week of winter weather and severe problems with water transmission brought activity to a standstill the Jackson Parish Library (JPL) in Jonesboro is pleased to announce that they are once again open to the public. The news is not as good at the Chatham branch which will remain closed until further notice due to water damage suffered from a busted line in the ceiling sprinkler system that caused some flooding.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are late in returning books and materials that were scheduled to be brought back during the week of February 14th-21st you won’t be fined as long as returns are made by the end of this week. 

Scheduled events for February!

February 25th – STRESS LESS – Taking care of your heart! The LSU-Ag Center is offering important information on taking care of your heart this Thursday, February 26th from 11:00-11:30am. To register please call Cathy Judd at 318-251-5134 or Kimberlyn Jones at 318-263 -7400.

February 26th – Last call for Bookmobile design submittals! Only two more days are left to submit artwork for the exterior design of the new bookmobile that the JPL will be receiving this summer.  One winner will have their design featured on the bookmobile while all other designs will be displayed throughout the Jonesboro Branch for the community to view. 

Artist of the Month! Four more days are left to submit your artwork to have a chance to be selected as Artist of the Month. To make a submittal contact Joanna at 318-259-5697 or send by email to:

Win at T-Shirt! To help celebrate the upcoming March 2nd birthday of Dr. Seuss, readers up to the fourth grade are challenged to read as many Dr. Seuss books as possible with a T-Shirt given away to everyone who reads at least ten books. There are a few rules….
1. You must check the book out from the Library
2. A log must be kept showing what books were read.
3. Books must be read by March 2nd. 

Harry Potter collection available on Hoopla! – The entire Harry Potter collection has landed is now available through hoopla! You can enjoy the ebooks & audiobooks with your library card!

Free hand sanitizer given with checkout! While supplies last free hand sanitizers are given with each checkout throughout the month of February 

Black History Month – Only a few more days are left to be able to see the featured books available for check out in celebration of Black History Month on prominent individuals and events that have helped change the course of history. 

Learn about the COVID-19 vaccine – Do you have questions concerning the COVID-19 vaccine? Ms. Jeanette White from the Office of Public Health will be available at the Jonesboro branch, by appointment only, every Monday and Thursday at 1:00pm to answer any questions you may have and provide information. To secure an appointment either call 318-259-6601, send fax to 318-259-1146 or send email to:

Pine Belt Multi-Purpose representative available for consultation – Client Service Manager TyAnne Williams is available for consultation. You can receive help with Unemployment Application Assistance, SNAP Benefits Application, Medicaid/Medicare Enrollment, Social Security Benefits Application and Social Security Card Applications. Information on Financial Counseling Courses, Commodities Distribution and Senior Food Boxes will also be provided. To secure an appointment please call 318-259-6444.

SNAP Program assistance – Ms. Jerlissa Elzy, who is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach Coordinator is available for assistance with Food Stamp Applications and redetermination as well as helping with a simplified report by calling 318-237-7764 or 318-322-3567.

Children programs 

Art Classes: To register for March art classes please come by the Jonesboro Branch and speak with Terrye Shackleford or contact her by phone at 318-259-5697.  Classes are tentatively scheduled to be held from 4:00 to 5:00pm on select Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at the Jonesboro Branch and on select Monday’s at the Chatham Branch. 

“Grab and Go” program: Art work supplies and instructions can be picked up at the Jonesboro Branch and taken home for those who are registered. 

Reading Eggs and Math Seeds program enrolling. If you would like to enroll your child please contact: Terrye Shackleford at 318-269-5697. Please be prepared to provide a cell phone number that can be used for a text to be received that will contain your child’s username and password for the program. Please note that this program is NOT HELD AT THE LIBRARY but is for use at home. As a requirement you must have internet service at your home to participate. Your child can work on an iPad, Laptop, Computer or Kindle of any kind. There is no cost to participate. 

Homework Louisiana – Powered by and found at this online service is very beneficial in providing assistance with school studies for students of all ages. 

Outreach Services

Monthly personalized delivery of books, audiobooks, magazines and more are available to residents of Jackson Parish, including Nursing Home residents and in-home daycares.

Additional Services and Resources

Binge Box – Checkout multiple movies for one week that counts as only one checkout. 

Vox Books  (Books that talk) – The first audio books that live in print books. The attached VOX Reader transforms an ordinary print book into an all-in-one read along. No need for computers, tablets or CD’s. Simply push a button to listen and read. 

Flipster – An easy to use resource for viewing best selling digital magazines. 

Freegal Music – Service that provides access to virtually every song ever recorded in over 100 countries. Includes catalog of legendary artists and over 40,000 music videos. 

Chilton Automotive Guide – A must for those do-it-yourself auto repair projects. Provides detailed sketches and instructions on virtually every repair job and new parts installation for all makes and models of automobiles. 

PrinterOn – Printing can be done from your Smartphone or Tablets through this free app by sending an email along with attachments to: or

Fax and copy services: Available at both branches. Pricing dependent on size. 

Jonesboro Branch information:

Address: 614 South Polk Avenue
Phone: 318-259-5697
Fax: 318-259-3374
Hours of operation: Monday – Friday (8:00am – 5:30pm), Saturday (8:00am – 12:00pm)

Chatham Branch information:

Address: 1500 Pine Street
Phone: 318-249-2980
Fax: 318-249-2981
Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday (8:30am – 6:00pm), Friday & Saturday (8:30am-12:30pm)

Rummage Sale to benefit St. Jude’s this Saturday at Beech Springs Baptist Church

Mark your calendar for Saturday, February 27th and get up early to come and support Beech Springs Baptist Church Rummage Sale to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and additional select charities. Doors to the Fellowship Hall of Beech Springs Baptist Church, located at 3942 Beech Springs Road in Quitman, that is overflowing with merchandise, goods and clothing, will open at 7:00am with the sale lasting till 3:00pm.

The initial response was tremendous as local residents stepped up big time by donating more items than ever before in the nine year history of the annual event  The hopes now are that you will continue to show your support by attending and making purchases or if you desire, simply make a donation.  Your support will not only help a child or an under-privileged person, it can also be instrumental in saving a life. 


Final week of discounted oil change at Jay Mallard Ford

Time is running out for Jackson Parish Journal readers to get $10.00 off on any oil change performed by the certified service staff at Jay Mallard Ford. The offer will remain in effect until February 28th so you need to make arrangements now to have your oil changed by certified and factory trained technicians. Drive-in’s are welcome but in order to minimize the time it takes it is advised to call in advance  at 318-259-9881 and make an appointment.

Quitman smashes Saline 19-3 in season opener

Saline took a 2-1 first inning lead but Quitman batted around twice in the top of the second inning on the strength of 7 hits, five walks and five errors to plate 15 runs on their way to a 19-3 season opening victory. The contest was played at the Jackson Parish Recreation Department on Monday.williams

The Wolverines totaled 11 hits in the contests led by a 4/4 performance by leadoff batter Madeline Vail, who also scored 2 runs. Madison Kaye Brymer went 2/3 with a triple, scored three and drove in three more as did Marley Bell who added two runs of her own. Karley Huckaby, Averie Williams (shown in picture), Emily Maxwell and Taylor Harvey also scored a pair of runs each.

Seventh grader, Maggie Guyotte, won her varsity debut after giving up just one hit and striking out four in two innings of work. Williams, who led Saline at the plate with a double and two runs scored took the loss for Saline who fell to 0-2 on the year following a loss to Zwolle earlier in the day. Zummah also scored for Saline.

Quitman (1-0)11521xxx19121
Saline (0-2)201xxxx315

WP- Guyotte, LP – J. Williams
2B – J. Williams 
3B – Brymer 
RBI – Brymer – 3, Bell – 3
SB – Harvey 2, Huckaby 2

The Unsinkable Stoker

At the turn of the twentieth century, traveling by commercial steamships, commonly called ocean liners, was all the rage. The finest luxuries were reserved exclusively for first class passengers such as the most exquisite dining saloons, elaborate state rooms, libraries, smoking rooms, gymnasiums, and exclusive access to the main deck, called the promenade deck. Second class passengers enjoyed more modest experiences with sparsely decorated smaller state rooms, smoking rooms, libraries, and dining facilities. Third class passengers were housed in cabins that contained little more than a bed, were fed adequate meals, and had access to few, if any, amenities.

Deep in the bowels of these mammoth vessels, well below the third-class areas, were the ships’ engine rooms and boiler rooms. These rooms were extremely hot and dirty. Workers in the boiler rooms usually worked shirtless due to the heat and were collectively called “the black gang” because they were usually covered with black coal soot. Black gangs consisted of stokers, firemen, trimmers, and a “peggy,” the firemen’s steward who brought food and refreshments to the group.

John Priest was a professional seaman from the port city of Southampton, England. He worked as a black gang stoker on several British steam ships. He and the other stokers had the back-breaking task of shoveling coal into the boiler’s firebox. John had worked on the sea since his youth and planned to have a long seafaring career.

In April 1915, on the eve of World War I, the British Admiralty converted the two-year-old RMS Alcantara, a royal mail ship, into an armed merchant cruiser. Workers fitted 6-inch guns, antiaircraft guns, and added depth charges to the ship. For almost a year, with John as part of the ship’s black gang, the Alcantara searched for German ships and submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean. On February 29, 1916, the Alcantara intercepted the Greif, a German merchant raider ship disguised as a Norwegian ship. The crew of the Alcantara signaled the Greif to stop for inspection. The Greif slowed to a near stop, but as the Alcantara reached a distance of about 2,000 yards away, the crew of the Greif increased its speed and opened fire. The Alcantara returned fire. For nearly two hours, the ships exchanged volleys, and both received extensive, fatal damages. The Alcantara capsized and sank, followed by the Greif later that same day. 68 men from the Alcantara died along with 230 men from the Greif. John was injured by shrapnel from a torpedo, but he survived.

The British Admiralty requisitioned the passenger ship HMHS Britannic as a hospital ship. Rooms on the upper deck which had been designed for pleasure were transformed into rooms for the wounded. The first-class dining and reception rooms were transformed into operating rooms. On the morning of November 21, 1916, Britannic was transporting wounded soldiers from the Greek island of Lemnos back to England through the Kea Channel when an explosion rocked the ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Britannic, exactly a month earlier, a German submarine, the U-73, had planted mines in the Kea Channel. All efforts to save the Britannic failed. Within 65 minutes after striking the mine, Britannic disappeared into the water. Britannic holds the record for being the largest ship lost in World War I and is the world’s largest sunken passenger ship. Once again, John survived.

The British Admiralty converted the RMS Asturius, a royal mail ship, into a hospital ship. John joined the black gang of the Asturius. On the night of March 20, 1917, John’s ship was steaming toward Southampton with all of its navigational lights on. Large illuminated red crosses distinguished John’s ship as a hospital ship. The Asturius had just disembarked approximately 1,000 wounded soldiers at Avonmouth and was headed for Southampton, England. At around midnight, German U-boat UC-66 torpedoed John’s ship. The crew aimed the damaged ship toward the shore and ran it aground. Nearly two dozen people died and many more were injured but again, John survived.

John was next assigned to the SS Donegal. Built in 1904, the Donegal served as a passenger ferry for an English railway company until World War I. The British Admiralty converted this ship into an ambulance ship to ferry wounded soldiers from France back to England. On April 17, 1917, the Donegal was ferrying 610 lightly wounded soldiers across the English Channel. Ambulance ships had been required to be clearly marked and lit to make them easier to identify. However, the British Navy disregarded these requirements after the Germany Navy began targeting these marked ships. The Donegal was not marked as an ambulance ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Donegal, a German submarine, the UC-21, was lurking beneath the water. The German submarine fired torpedoes at the Donegal. Explosions shook the ship. Within a matter of minutes, the Donegal sank. The blasts from the torpedoes and subsequent sinking claimed the lives of 29 wounded British soldiers and 12 members of the crew. John survived, albeit with a serious head injury.

John’s reputation preceded him. Rumors of John’s survival record spread throughout black gangs in England. Rumors also spread that many of John’s black gang coworkers did not survive the sinking’s. Many believed that it was bad luck to work on the same ship as the unsinkable stoker. Each time John arrived at a new ship to take his place among its black gang, the other workers refused to work. John, in body, may have been unsinkable, but his career was not. Unable to find a black gang that would work with him, John had no choice but to find employment on dry land. His days at sea had ended.

John Priest, the unsinkable stoker, holds the distinction of being the only person to survive the sinking’s of five ships which included the HMHS Asturias, RMS Alcantara, SS Donegal, HMHS Britannic, and another ship. The first ship’s sinking which John Priest miraculously survived, albeit with frost-bitten toes and an injured leg, happened on the morning of April 15, 1912. That ship, arguably the most famous ship in history, was called the RMS Titanic.stoker