Trifold Tragedy! Three local teenagers perish in single car accident

The town of Jonesboro is still reeling from the fatal crash on Monday that took the life of three local teenagers, two who were students at Jonesboro-Hodge High School and left another with life threatening injuries. According to the report provided by Michael Reichardt of Louisiana State Police Troop F on July 26, 2021, shortly before 3:45 p.m., Louisiana State Police responded to a single-vehicle fatal crash on Works Road just west of LA Hwy 818 in Lincoln Parish

The initial investigation revealed a 2012 Kia Optima, driven by 19-year-old Lajermanique Nichols of Jonesboro, was traveling east on Works Road. For reasons still under investigation, the vehicle began to rotate, traveled off the road and struck a large tree.

Nichols, along with her brother,17-year-old Lajavion Nichols of Jonesboro and 16-year-old Javious Holden of Jonesboro, were unrestrained and ejected from the vehicle. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth occupant, identified as 18-year-old Edward Kary, was also ejected and sustained life threatening injuries. He was transported to a local hospital. No further report of his condition was available at time of publication. 


Brad Roller named Operations Manager by Jackson Parish Police Jury

Brad Roller has been named as Operations Manger of the Jackson Parish Police Jury. The action was one of four agenda items that was approved at the Special Called meeting that was held on Tuesday, July 27th in the Nathaniel Zeno Jr. meeting room of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) Administration Building. 

As Operations Manger, Roller will be responsible for applying for and working on federal and state grants that are available. His salary, which was not announced, will be payed out of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) meaning no addition in salary will be made to the budget. 

Board members Todd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham, John McCarty, Amy Magee (President), Tarneshala “Niki” Cowans, Regina Rowe and Lynn Treadway also agreed to enter into a lease agreement with LA Machinery. The low bidder won the contract after submitting a cost of $4,062.00 per month per grader or $8,024.00 for both. Also agreed upon was to add a Certified-Fit-for-Duty exam to the Return-To-Work policy as well as re-classifying Maintenance Supervisor Bubba Anderson to Level II. 

Doug Ireland – A passion for his profession

NOTE: This is the seventh part of a series published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal that celebrates the achievements of the six athletes and three Special Award winners that represent the Class of 2021 that will be inducted into the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame (JPSHOF) on August 7th. This week: Doug Ireland

For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part…. The statement is what two people in love quotes when pledging their undying devotion to each other. Jonesboro native, Doug Ireland, has never spoken those vows, yet you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has had a longer and more passionate love affair. In a sense you could say he has been married for over 40 years. The object of his affection is his work. Ireland did not have just one “love” but several.

When you combine them all together you come up with not only an inductee into Class of 2021 Jackson Parish Hall of Fame but also on August 28th, the 2021 recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism earning him a place in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

First love! In his youth Ireland had a raging passion for athletic competition. As a Freshman at Jonesboro-Hodge High School he not only participated in, but excelled in both football, where he earned a varsity letter and baseball, where he was a starter on the baseball team and earned a letter in football. Then in the fall of his sophomore year he suffered a devastating injury to his knee. 

Through intensive rehabilitation Ireland defied the odds and came back in time to start again for the baseball team. Unbelievably that summer he suffered another setback, this time blowing out his other knee. Undaunted Ireland spent countless hours of rigorous rehabilitation to work his way back to once again start for the baseball team as a junior.

In doing so he earned the nickname of “Penguin” by his teammates because through his efforts to strengthen his knees his thighs had grown so big that when he walked he actually kind of “wobbled” resembling the way a penguin shuffles. Ireland continued to passionately train and spurning the recommendations of many who said he should quit, he gained another letter in football in his senior season which saw JHHS finish as the 1977-78 Class 2A state runner. This was followed by him also earning All-District honors in baseball. 

Second love! Unable to bridle his passion for sports, while on the “shelf” and unable to play, Ireland assisted local sports writing legend, Raymond “Doc” Jeffries, in the press box by compiling stats during the games. Jeffress also noticed the 14 year old had a tremendous talent for writing and took him under his wing to become another “Doc’s Disciple.”  This led to him doing Jonesboro-Hodge game recaps and writing a column for the Jackson Independent through the duration of his high school days giving birth to one of the most distinguished and illustrious careers of any sports writer in the history of Louisiana. 

Third love! This actually could be listed as his first love since the roots of this relationship date back to when he was only 12 years old. One of Ireland’s favorite pastimes while watching a sporting event on television was turning down the volume and broadcasting the game. That grew into him becoming the youngest “disc jockey” for the local radio station KTOC in the 1970’s. Upon entering college he became a play by play broadcaster as well as hosting a weekly sports show, something that he still does today every so often.

Fourth love! One of his most productive “romances” Ireland has nourished during his career was as a newspaper sports journalist. After earning his journalism degree at NSU, and spending three years as the first-ever assistant SID for fellow Class of 2021 inductee Dan McDonald, at UL-Lafayette, Ireland became an award-winning sports editor of the Natchitoches Times. 

From there he joined the Alexandria Town Talk sports staff in 1987 which first allowed readers from all over the state to enjoy his unique style of writing which made a reader feel like they were actually at an event. In an 18 month period Ireland captured 15 top three finishes in the annual Louisiana Sports Writing Association Awards contest. This included an LSWA record of nine overall awards and six first places in the 1987-88 competition. He followed that up six more awards, including two firsts, in the 1988-89 contest. Perhaps the best tribute that could be given to his style of writing was the comment that a reader gave regarding his coverage of the famous LSU vs Auburn “Earthquake” game.

“Ireland’s article was so descriptive that while reading the recap of the final play, I swear I could actually feel the ground shake.” 

For those who are not familiar with the contest, when LSU scored to win the game on the last play of the game, the crowd roared so loud and shook Tiger stadium so much that it actually registered on the Richter Scale at the LSU Seismology Department. 

Fifth love! In 1989 Ireland returned to NSU to become the Sports Information Director (SID). His 1992 Demon football media guide won Best in the Nation for Division I-AA from the College Sports Information Directors of America, and a 1997 historical feature marking Demon great Joe Delaney’s induction in the College Football Hall of Fame was second in a national CoSIDA contest.

Ireland added dozens of LSWA awards for writing and publications as the Demons’ SID, including 33 since 2000. In February 2008, he was presented the “Distinguished American Award” by the S.M. McNaughton Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Ireland was also named the Alexandria Town Talk’s Cenla Sportsman of the Year for 2012, an acknowledgement of his dual roles with the Hall of Fame and NSU Athletics. In 2016, he won the LSWA’s Story of the Year award as a correspondent for the Natchitoches Metro Leader and was also the recipient of the Southland Conference, 2016 Louis Bonnette Sports Media Award for impact in the NCAA Division I league. Ireland was also chosen for the 2020 “Mr. Basketball” award from the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches. After thirty years, Ireland ended his SID career in the summer of 2019 allowing him to nurture yet another romance of his, one that is still going strong after 30 years. 

Sixth love! When Ireland became the SID at NSU in 1989 he also became the Chairman of the Louisiana Hall of Fame that was housed in the hall of Prather Coliseum at Northwestern State. Never content to be satisfied with the status quo, Ireland spearheaded efforts leading to construction and the 2013 opening of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches, which was declared the National Architectural Project of the year. Ireland managed all aspects of the annual Hall of Fame selections and inductions from 1990-2010, and since has continued to coordinate elections while collaborating with LSHOF Foundation leaders to stage the Induction Celebration each year. 

No, Ireland has never said the vows of marriage but we should all be so lucky to have such a torrid, passionate relationship. We are extremely lucky though to have been able to catch the thousands of “bridal bouquets” that he tossed our way.

Jackson Parish School Board to hold “Special Meeting” on Wednesday

The Jackson Parish School Board (JPSB) has announced a “special meeting” to be held at the Board Room of the JPSB Central Office located at 315 Pershing Hwy. in Jonesboro. Time of meeting is set for 9:00am. Two agenda items (shown below)  will be discussed and considered by Board members: Gerry Mims, Rickey McBride, Wade McBride, Dennis Clary  (President), Gloria Davis, Mary Saulters and Calvin Waggoner. 

Agenda for special called meeting of the Jackson Parish School Board

1. Invocation – Gloria Davis
2. Pledge of Allegiance – Wade McBride
3. Call to Order
4. Consider approving policy revision to: BC – School Board Meetings
5. Discussion of the Budgets for the 2021-2022 fiscal year of the General Fund and the Special Revenue Funds.
6. Superintendent Comments
7. Adjourn

The History of Jackson Parish – The growth of Jonesboro!

Ever wondered when Jackson Parish began to be settled and why it was called such? What about how the town of Jonesboro actually got its name? Maybe you curious about how Jonesboro became the parish seat or even things like how the early settlers made their money or got around back. You are not alone. Over the next several weeks a series entitled “Blast from the Past” will be published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal designed to help shed a light on these questions and more. This week – The growth of Jonesboro

In 1910 enabling acts were introduced to the Louisiana legislature providing for the parish seat to be moved from Vernon to Jonesboro. It finally passed and in 1912 the courthouse was built. in 1926, T.H. Bond, was the Sheriff and the District Attorney was W.J. Hammon. His predecessor was Julius T. Long, who filled that office from 1912 to 1920. Judge S. D. Pearce presided over the district court with J.C. Shows being the clerk. The parish treasurer was A.H. May who was not only efficient in the discharge of his official duties but the leading spirit in all matters tending toward the civic uplift of the parish. He particularly devoted his time and talent toward the preparation of constructive publicity about the parish and engaged in the organization of a Chamber of Commerce. A.C. Morris was the parish agent being well versed in the field of agriculture and turning the Jackson Parish Fair into one of the best in the northern tier of the state.

There were two banks in Jonesboro, the Jackson Parish Bank and the Jonesboro State Bank. Through interviews conducted with employees of each, the Shreveport Times published the background of the banks and their financial state in 1926. 

“The Jackson Parish Bank, now under the direction of President A.E. Simington, was established in 1904 with a capital of $12,500.00 and deposits the first year aggregating $50,000.00,” said cashier, Wilbur C. McDonald. “Today our resources total $531,502.05 and deposits come to $468,339.62. During this entire period we have declared annual dividends, even during the World War, of 8% to 25%, In 1912 we declared a dividend of 100% and sold $10,000.00 in additional stock. Our losses have been very small during the period of 1904-1920 amounting to only $250.00.”

The Jonesboro State Bank opened for business in 1913. The bank President was O.E. Hodge, who lived in Ruston and was the largest lumberman in that section. He was also a senior partner of the Hodge, Hunt Company which had reported holdings of over 50,000 acres of timber in four parishes and owners of one the largest mills in the state, located in Hodge.

“We opened with total resources of $24,000.00 and deposits the first year of the same amount,” said cashier, Paul F. Stinson. “Today our resources are $266,159.28 and deposits are $234,978.25. Our capital stock is $15,000.00 and surplus $15,645.00. We now have over 900 accounts and growing every day.”

Fundraisers in place to defray costs in Shanda Ables Campbell cancer battle

Her fight is our fight! That is the battle cry for local residents and many others who have joined forces to give spiritual and financial help to Shanda Ables Campbell who has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. The daughter of Laura and J.T. Ables of Jonesboro is now in Little Rock, AR where she is undergoing extensive chemotherapy in hopes of defeating the dreaded disease. 

shanda ablesI want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support you’ve shown for myself and my family,” relayed Shanda in a Facebook post this past week.  “To everyone that has prayed, put me on prayer lists, bought raffle tickets, donated money, purchased t-shirt’s, called , sent text, donated food, brought chemo care packages by… I love you all. I just can’t truly express how grateful I am. Your thoughtfulness and support has made this so much more manageable.” 

What is Multiple Myeloma? Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. Normal plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that helps make up your immune system. If a plasma cell becomes cancerous, it multiplies rapidly. This is multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is considered treatable, but generally incurable although the life expectancy has improved dramatically over the last several years due to new treatments but it is a costly process.

Donations are appreciated but there are also some nice ways of showing your support through the purchase of these products and items shown below:
(1) Shanda Strong T-Shirt – Sizes available are Adult XS – 2XL. Cost is $30.00. Payments made through Venmo (ShandaStrong) or contact Beth Buccola through her Facebook page
(2) PRAY T-Shirt – Youth and Adult sizes available. . Cost is $28.00. To order contact Jaime Coke Wolfe through her Facebook site. 
(3) Raffle Tickets – Great prizes awarded for the $20.00 cost of ticket. Purchases of tickets can be made through:
Venmo: theresa_scott23 or Nichole Garrett
PayPal: theresa209 or 3185187534 (choose “friends and family” as option when submitting money)
Apple Pay: 3185187534



Weston’s Mattie Beaubouef wins three awards at National BETA Club competition

Earning the right to be in your schools scholastic achievement club – COOLl! Representing your school in a national competition – AWESOME! Coming home from Disneyland with three awards from the National BETA Convention – PRICELESS! 

That is what Weston High School student, Mattie Beaubouef, did recently when she came home with two second’s and a fourth place finish at the National BETA Club Convention held at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. Beaubouef won second in mixed media and service learning showcase and took fourth in drawing.

“We are so very proud of Mattie” said Weston High School Principal Ritchie Tolar. “She worked hard for this and deserves her recognition.”

BETA Club members must maintain a 3.5 grade point average, take part in school activities and show leadership and service characteristics. The National Convention usually draws roughly 20,000 student from across the nation during the eight days of competition.


Lady Wolverine softball team to host golf tournament Saturday, July 31

The Quitman High School softball team will host their third annual, 2-man scramble, golf tournament on Saturday, July 31st at the Jackson Parish Golf Course. Cost is $150.00 per team. Tee time is set for 8:00 am but you are asked to arrive 30 minutes early to allow for pairings to be made. A lunch will be provided. For more information contact QHS softball head coach Justin Dodson at (318) 237-6579 or sign up at the Golf Course. Proceeds go to help defray expected expenses of the upcoming season. 


Madison Stringer is 2021 D.A.R.E. essay contest winner of Northwest LA District

Quitman resident, Madison Stringer, has been selected as the Northwest District of Louisiana winner of the 2021 D.A.R.E. Essay contest. The daughter of Josh and Kasey Stringer and grand daughter of Sonya Andrews and Steve Stringer and Carl and Penny Morris is a 7th grader at Cedar Creek High School in Ruston.

Stringer wrote about the knowledge that she gained from the D.A.R.E. program which was selected as the overall winner for Lincoln Parish. The essay then advanced to compete with schools from Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Sabine, Bienville, Lincoln, Claiborne, Webster and Red River Parishes. Shown with Stringer in photo is Deputy Byron Feduccia who is the School Resource Officer and D.A.R.E. instructor for Cedar Creek.

Quitman High School Class of 1970 holds reunion

If getting together once is good and twice is better, then three times is “thrice as nice.” Especially when you are sharing a good time with the ones you graduated high school with 51 years ago. That is what 11 members of the Quitman High School Class of 1970 did recently when they met for the third time over the past several weeks to remember the ‘good ole days. ” 

Can you name the ones in the picture? For a hint here are the first names of each: (Front row) Richard, Reanee, Penny, Gayle, Jeanette, Lynn. (Back Row) Vicki, Danny, Karl, Jackie, Bill.

QHS baseball team tours La Tech Department of Kinesiology

It is one thing to work out and get in good shape. It is another to understand why you do certain exercises and to understand the mechanics of human movement. That is what the Quitman High School baseball team got to experience this past weekend thanks to David and Jessica Szymanski who gave them a tour of the Louisiana Tech Department of Kinesiology Human Performance Lab. 

Not only did the Wolverine club gain information on how to workout correctly which they hope will lead to being stronger and faster athletes but also learned more about the field of Kinesiology and where this can be a professional career. Types of normal professions a Kinesiologist will pursue include: Athletic Trainer, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Physical Therapist, Recreational Therapist and Occupational Therapist. 

The Last Request

On Wednesday, June 19, 1957, workers drilled, moved and crushed the earth at the Rattlesnake Uranium Pit Mine, 37 miles north of Monticello, Utah. 46-year-old James W. Rodgers normally worked outside the open pit mine and had only been moved inside the mine that very day to help in drilling operations. 33-year-old Charles “Chuck” Merrifield operated a power shovel, a bucket-equipped machine used for excavating earth or fragmented rock. June 19 was the first day that James and Chuck worked together.

At about 3:30 p.m., Dee Gardner, a truck driver at the mine, saw James walk from the pit to the red pickup truck assigned to James for working in the mine. The truck was owned by the mining company and painted a high-visibility red for safety. James told Dee and other workers nearby, “I guess I’m going to have to kill him (Chuck) before I leave this job.” James retrieved a .38 caliber revolver from the truck and headed back into the pit. James walked back past Dee and toward Chuck’s power shovel. Another mine worker told Dee, “I guess Rodgers is going to scare Chuck with a gun.”

At the power shovel, James motioned for Chuck to get off of the machine. Chuck stood up, put one foot down out of the cab, and James began firing his pistol. The first shot was not aimed at Chuck and hit the ground. A split second later, James aimed the pistol at Chuck and fired until the revolver was empty, with each shot taking effect. Chuck fell to the ground. Dee was afraid to move because he “felt Rodgers didn’t like [him] either.” James turned to Dee and other witnesses and said, “Well, I guess that takes care of that.” James put the pistol back in his belt and walked toward the pickup truck. He passed another mine worker as he neared his truck. James calmly told him, “Well, he asked for it and he got it.” James got into the pickup truck and drove away. Chuck died within a few short minutes.

Law enforcement officers in Utah set up roadblocks on the main roads in the area but James had taken a back road into Colorado. Utah law enforcement officers notified Colorado police near the Utah line of the shooting and told them to be on the lookout for the bright red mine truck. A policeman near Cortez, Colorado, about 100 miles east of the mine, recognized the vehicle immediately and initiated a traffic stop. The officer told James that a lot of policemen were looking for him, to which he replied, “Yes, I guess you are.” The officer arrested James without incident. He was armed with a .22 caliber rifle and the .38 caliber pistol he used in the shooting. James reassured officers that he “wasn’t going to shoot anybody else.” While in custody, James eagerly confessed to killing Chuck.

When questioned about the shooting, James told reporters, “I can’t tell you why I did it. He’d been getting on my nerves for some time, and I knew it was going to lead to serious trouble… But I just can’t explain why I did it. He came at me one time with a wrench in his hand and I thought he was going to hit me. He didn’t, but I felt he didn’t like me, and he kept on needling me. Not anything in particular, but all the time. I just couldn’t take any more of it. But I can’t tell you why I shot him.”

In court, James pled not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorneys argued that James was suffering from Syphilis which impaired his mental processes. The disease, his attorneys argued, had deteriorated his brain, which affected his thinking and reasoning capabilities. After two trials and a host of appeals, James was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad.

In the early morning hours on March 30, 1960, Sheriff Seth Wright and prison warden John Turner sat with James and waited for daylight, the time of his execution. The sheriff held a black hood that would be put over James’s head during the execution. James looked at the hood and asked the sheriff, “What you got there?” Sheriff Wright replied, “something to keep you warm.” “Don’t worry,” James answered, “I’ll be where it’s warm pretty quick.” When it was time to go to the prison field, Sheriff Wright asked if he was ready. James quipped, “Yes, give me an hour’s head start.” Just before the five riflemen “blasted him into eternity,” Sheriff Wright asked James if he had a last request. “Sure,” James replied, “how about a bullet-proof suit?” His request was denied.

Arrest Reports (July 17 – 27)

H.W. Morris (Chatham, LA) – Switched tags
Michael Waldroup (Eros, LA) – Warrant 
Ladaysia Celestine (Lake Charles, LA) – Improper Lane Change, Possession of Marijuana
Garry F. Gay (Eros, LA) – Criminal Trespass, Disturbing the peace
Latrica A. Atkins (Arcadia, LA) – Bienville Parish warrant
Johnathan C. Haynes (no listing) – Ouachita Parish warrant
Dexstine C. Snell (Jonesboro, LA) – Simple battery, Simple criminal damage to property, Disturbing the Peace
Marta Mayfield (Ponchatoula, LA) – Jackson Parish Bench Warrant
Kyle Sanders (Jonesboro, LA) – Warrants 
James Whitman (Jonesboro, LA) – Failure to appear
John O. McCarty (Chatham, LA) – Hit and run (no injury), Reckless operation
Amanda Walsworth (Jonesboro, LA) – Driving under suspension, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Nathan A. Richardson (Eros, LA) – First degree rape, Domestic abuse battery, First degree feticide
Oscar Grimsley (Jonesboro, LA) – Execution of sentence x2
Robert Lee Harvey (Quitman, LA) – Simple damage to property, Careless operation
Marshal G. Johnston (Jonesboro, LA) – Execution of sentence
DMarcya T. Jackson (Jonesboro, LA) – Simple criminal damage to property