LA Dept. of Education recognizes Quitman High School as a “Comeback Campus”

Quitman High School has been recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) as the only high school in northeast Louisiana to receive the designation of a “Comeback Campus.” In all, 41 schools from 21 parishes, earned the prestigious honor.

According to the December 5th release by the LDE, Louisiana Comeback Campuses are schools that are currently performing higher in reading and math than before the pandemic. These schools have shown significant growth despite facing obstacles from the pandemic and two historically active hurricanes over the past two years.comeback campus

Compared to the 2019 statewide assessments, Louisiana Comeback schools show an increase in the percentage of students scoring Mastery and above and a decrease in the rate of students scoring unsatisfactory in both Math and ELA in 2022. According to the release, high school Comeback Campuses also increased their ACT score.

‘I couldn’t be more proud of the Quitman students,staff, parents and community,” said QHS Principal Billy Carter. “During Covid our school was faced with many challenges but our QHS family took every challenge in stride making adjustments and overcoming each obstacle thrown our way. Our focus was teaching children and that is what we did to the best of our ability. This prestigious honor is a testament to all the hard work that was poured into our school. I am so thankful to be a part of Quitman High School.”

Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley will visit every Comeback Campus over the next few months to personally congratulate educators and students and conduct a learning walk. The learning walk is for the LDOE leaders to get insight into the approaches used to lead student growth in the Comeback schools, with hopes of using these efforts across the Louisiana School System.

Louisiana Comeback is a campaign that aims to restore and accelerate learning lost from the school disruptions of the pandemic and hurricanes. Benefits of Being a Comeback Campus include:
Access to additional funds
Participate in best practices research
Round table discussions
Lead state/national educator sessions
Recognition ceremony with banner
Recognition on LA School Finder


Weston High School names 2022-23 Students of the Year

 Weston High School has announced the selection of 2022-23 Student of the Year for the senior high, junior high, and elementary divisions. Selected as the senior high representative is Dillon Pardue, with  Ty Henderson being named in the junior high division and Rachel Bandy being chosen as the elementary honoree.

Dillon Pardue – Weston High School 12th grade Student of the Year.

Dillon, shown in the banner above, is the seventeen-year-old son of David and Cindy Pardue of Weston. He is a senior at Weston High School and maintains a 4.0 GPA. He will represent the Senior Class on the Homecoming on Friday. He runs cross country and track at WHS. He recently ran in the state meet and was awarded the LHSAA Academic All-State Award in cross country for maintaining a 4.0 or higher GPA during high school while participating in varsity athletics. He is also in Gifted and Talented Art and Music and enjoys drawing, painting, and singing.

Dillon attends Hodge United Pentecostal Church where he is active in the adult and youth choir. He also assists in teaching the students with special needs in Sunday school and is a Kid’s Praise Leader, which is the children’s group at church. In the Louisiana District UPC, Dillon serves in the capacity of an All-State Choir member and he also participates in multiple youth summer camps both as a camper and as a leader.

He enjoys serving on the Student Action Leadership Team, and for three years been a part of the summer drama at “Kid’s Kamp” at the UPC Campgrounds in Tioga. He has worked in the drama as a backstage and prop assistant, as well as an actor and singer. Dillon also is a group leader at KidZone, a three-day, children’s church camp. He also works part-time at the Weston Wolf Stop. During his free time, Dillon likes to write. One of his dreams includes becoming a published author.

Plans after high school include participating in our church camps, leading youth groups, singing, and ministering through drama this summer again in Tioga. Then he plans to attend the University of Louisiana at Monroe where he will pursue a degree in pharmacy.

Ty Henderson- Weston High School 8th grade Student of the Year

Ty is the 8th-grade son of Josh and Melinda Henderson. Ty maintains a 4.0 GPA and is an exceptional student. He is a member of the junior high baseball and basketball teams for Weston. He also competes in junior varsity basketball and varsity baseball for the Wolves. Ty is the Jr. Beta President and an active member of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he looks forward to the monthly volleyball competitions. Recently, Ty attended YEC with the youth group and also helped in the outreach program, Operation Christmas Child. In his spare time, Ty enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports, and hanging out with his friends.

Rachel Bandy-Weston High School 5th grade Student of the Year

Rachel is the 5th-grade daughter of Michelle Walker and William Bandy. Rachel has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout all grades in school. Rachel is currently a member of the Louisiana Gunsmoke 11U travel team where she plays centerfield and pitches. She received game MVP 2 times throughout the season which allowed her to participate in the Louisiana All-State showcase tournament in Alexandria. Rachel also participates in the Jackson Parish recreation softball league where she has made the All-Star team for the past 3 years. She was named player of the game in the All-Star tournament this past summer in Broussard, LA. Rachel is a member of 4-H where she participated in the 4-H cooking class and the 4-H Holiday cooking contest and won 3 rd place in the pie division. Rachel is an active member of Ebenezer Baptist Church with whom she attended her first church camp at Seeker Springs this past summer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, doing crafts, reading, and swimming.


Police Jury seeks your help regarding local internet availabilty

Attention Jackson Parish residents, please see below regarding internet availability at your home address and/or business. The Federal Communications Broadband Service has mapped the United States to determine if the internet is available in all areas, and also to see what the internet speeds are. Please follow the instructions below at your earliest convenience. This will help to ensure the FCC has accurate information.

“We need your help to challenge the new Federal Communications Commission broadband service location and availability maps. This is critically important as we eliminate the digital divide as quickly as possible! We need to submit challenges by the 1st week of January of 2023.”

The FCC recently published new #broadband maps to help determine how much federal funding states will receive to shore up gaps in internet service. As part of the mapping process, states, residents, cities, counties, businesses, etc. have the ability to challenge the accuracy of these maps.

The map shares where how internet coverage areas exist, the technology internet is delivered with (fiber/wireless/satellite/etc.), and where service gaps are perceived. However, metrics used are showing areas covered that might not be.

IMPORTANT: This map from the FCC will determine how much funding Louisiana receives. We can challenge/change this map, but it will take a strategic concerted effort across the state and through our networks. Our ask to you is that you share this information with your constituents, coworkers, neighbors, and friends and encourage them to go to the website to check to see what buildings are shown as covered. We need them to share their stories, challenge areas “served” that are not, and make sure their voices are heard.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW

Link to FCC challenge video: https://lnkd.in/g2Zz2SUD
1. Point your browser to: https://lnkd.in/gdecdqYb
2. LOCALITY: Type in the address and select from the auto-generated location options.
3. When the map renders, verify that the locator dot is centered on the correct rooftop.
4. If not, click on the “Location Challenge” link in the upper right corner of the map and type in the contact information, and select the appropriate Challenge Type and any documentation if available.
5. Click Submit.
6. SERVICE AVAILABILITY: Check the Provider, Technology, and Speeds available at this address.
7. If any information is incorrect, click on “Availability Challenge” and select any of the providers that are incorrect.
8. Enter Challenge or Feedback, the contact information, and you may either describe your experience or upload a documentation image or file.
9. Click Submit.

To learn more click here


Jackson Parish residents to vote on three Constitutional Amendments on Saturday, December 10th

On Saturday.,December 10th, Jackson Parish residents will have the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to approve three proposed constitutional amendments. Polls will open at 7:00am and close at 8:00pm.

Below is a synopsis of what each amemdment is about. 

Proposed Amendment No. 1
Act 279 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article I, Section 10 of the Louisiana Constitution.
“Do you support an amendment to provide that no person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state?”

Proposed Amendment No. 2
Act 281 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article X, Section 3(B)(1) and (C) of the Louisiana Constitution.
“Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?”

Proposed Amendment No. 3
Act 280 of the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature proposing to amend Article X, Section 43(C) of the Louisiana Constitution.
“Do you support an amendment to make appointed members of the State Police Commission subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate?”


JHHS opens week ranked #1 among Division IV schools


Prep basketball action over the next several days will see local girls and boys varsity basketball teams playing in tournaments for the second straight weekend except for Weston High who will host Claiborne Christian on Thursday.

Jonesboro-Hodge ranked #1 among ”non-select” Division IV schools as of December 5th rankings shown in Geaux Preps, will compete in the West Ouachita High School Tournament that will take place December 8-10 while Quitman, #23 in Divison V and neighboring Saline, #28, will take part in the Cedar Creek Tourney that will be held on the same dates in Ruston. Thie Lady Wolverines play Haynesvill at 5:15pm on Thursday while the boys face Calvin at the same time on Friday. Weston is the only school that will have a home game for the remainder of the week as they host Claiborne Christian on Thursday. The action begins with a junior varsity girls’ game at 5:00pm, followed by junior varsity boys, varsity girls, and varsity boys’ games.

Team Records and state rankings (as of December 4th)

SCHOOLBOYS RECORDRANKINGGIRLS RECORDRANKING
Jonesboro-Hodge2-0#1 – Divison IV0-5#39 – Division IV
Quitman7-4#23 – Divison V8-3#12 – Division V
Weston3-8#39 – Division V12-2#19 – Division V

Boys Individual Statistical Leaders (as of December 4th)

SCHOOLPPGRPGAPGSPGBPG3-Pointers
JHHSAjay Tew – 17.0Savantev Phillips – 8.0Ajay Tew – 4.5Jarrius Lumpkin – 3.0Savantev Phillips – 2.0Ajay Tew – 8
QuitmanLogan Ponder – 12.1Blake Carter – 9.4Blake Carter – 2.0Logan Ponder – 1.8Blake Carter 2.2Eli Walker – 10
WestonMitchel Mathews – 12.88n/an/an/an/an/a
PPG – Points Per Game, RPG – Rebounds Per Game, APG – Assists Per Game, SPG – Steals Per Game, BPG – Blocks Per Game

Girls Individual Statistical Leaders (as of December 4th)

SCHOOLPPGRPGAPGSPGBPG3-Pointers
JHHSMorgan McGee – 7.0Hoggro/Davis – 5.0A’Joriana Hoggro – 2.03 tied with 1.3Tyya Davis – 1.04 tied with 1
QuitmanCali Deal – 13.7Cali Deal – 6.7Bethany Leach – 3.2Bethany Leach – 2.9Cali Deal – 0.7Brayli Stewart – 20
WestonEmma Kate McBride – 15.6Briley Peterson – 9.0Emma Kate McBride – 3.5Briley Peterson – 2.9Lainee Trosclair – 0.4Emma Kate McBride – 30
PPG – Points Per Game, RPG – Rebounds Per Game, APG – Assists Per Game, SPG – Steals Per Game, BPG – Blocks Per Game

Tuesday Tilts! WHS and QHS bring out the brooms; JHHS loses first, Saline wins 2nd straight

After missing several games this past week Tait Henderson returned to the lineup. To say he was a sight for sore eyes is an understatement! The result was a 22-point effort that helped lift Weston to an impressive 79-75 victory over Class 5A West Ouachita that put to end a three-game skid. With the victory, WHS improved to 4-9 on the season while West Ouachita fell to 2-6 on the year. 

It was an especially sweet victory for WHS head coach Jacob Otwell, who saw his squad fall behind 25-16 after one period only to dig deep and rally for a season-best 50 second-half points and their best scoring effort of the year. Mitchel Mathews and Bryce Zehr also came up big for the Wolves with 22 and 18 points respectively, including combining for 12 of 15 crucial free throws down the stretch. Braden Theriot added 8 and Ja’Michael Fourd chipped in with 7. Jude Otwell scored two to round out the scoring. 

Weston 75 West Ouachita 47 (Girls): According to WHS head coach Stacy Tucker, the Lady Wolves played their worst game of the year in the 55-51 Monday loss to Summerfield. Just one night later Weston played their best to win their local area-leading 13th victory against only 3 losses. 

“We played our most complete game of the year tonight,” beamed Tucker. “I was really proud of the way the girls bounced back.” 

Anslee Aldy drained a pair of three pointers in the first quarter, Lexie Millien hit two mortriple-doublethe second and Emma Kate McBride did the “triple double dip” in the third period as WHS raced out to a 64-36 lead heading into the fourth frame. McBride led Weston with 23 points followed closely by Briley Peterson, who parlayed a 7 of 8 showing from the line for 22 points. Mill, had 13, Aldy 8, Jessica Newton 4, Laine Trosclair 3 and Jacie Ledfort two to round out the scoring. 

Quitman 44 Calvin 29 (boys):  December is known as the month for giving. Don’t tell that to the Wolverines boys basketball team, who have been as stingy with points as the Grinch is with toys. For the third straight game in December the Wolverines held an opponent to under 35 points and  a second straight giving up less than 30. Offensively, Eli Walker made 7 of 12 shots including 3 of 7 from behind the arc to pace the Wolverines with 18 points in the low-scoring affair. Logan Pteam-highed 10 and Blake Carter 7 to go alonthree-pointeram high 11 rebounds. Gavyn Caskey added a three pointer and both Brayden Smith and Noah Leach scored two. The fourth straight victory for Mike Black’s squad improves QHS to 8-4 on the year while Calvin fell to 9-4 , with their third straight loss.

Quitman 48 Calvin 25 (girls): It wouldn’t have been surprising to hear QHS head coach Kyle Leach humming the 2018 LL Cool J smash hit – Going back to Cali! Who could blame him after the Sophomore sensation had her way with Calvin to the tune of 16 points and 12 rebounds, while also dropping five dimes and making five steals? Brayli Stewart and Bethany Leach chipped in with 10 points each, while Emma Carter and AJ Gray added four each. Anna Leach and Summer GrilletteWolverines’ed two apiece. The victory improved the Lady Wolverines record to 9-3 on the year while Calvin dropped their fifth straight to fall to 4-8.

JHHS goes cold at Caldwell! 

Jonesboro-Hodge did a pretty good job of holding down Caldwell High School to just 66 points on their home floor in both the girls and boys contests against Jonesboro-Hodge. The problem was that the JH girls had 36 turnovers and managed only 24 points in th.girls game and the boys scored a season low 37 points.. The loss was the sixth straight for the Lady Tigers while the boys, who entered the game ranked #1 among “non-selct” schools in Divison IV, dropped their first of the year in three tries. Kaelin Palmer and Morgan McGee scored six each to lead the girls scoring effort followed closely behind by McKenzie Bradford who had five. Nthe o individual statistics were available for the boys at time of press. 

Saline boys win second straight!

After falling to Arcadia in a close game at the Bienville Parish Tournament at the first of the month, Steam’s head coach Klint Robinson had a feeling that his teams fortunes were going to take a turn for the better. He was right! With their 56-28 victory over Ouachita Christian on Monday and a 44-41 victory over Castor on Tuesday, the Bobcats have won more games in two days than they had all season long prior. Wesley Crwaford paved the way against Castor with 15 points bouyed by three 3-pointers while Maddox Williams added a season best eight. Will Dyson added 7, D.J. Rager-Ridley scored 6 and Eli Ferguson finished .th foback-to-backaggs and Gaven Dailey added two each.. The back-to-back wins lifted Saline’s record to 3-9 on the year while Castor fell to 4-6. 

 

 

 


School Board approves new fencing for Jonesboro-Hodge Softball Field

This spring when a softball is hit high enough, long enough and far enough to go out of the ballpark at the Jonesboro-Hodge High School Softball Field it will be sailing over a new fence. That is being made possible by the members of the Jackson Parish School Board, who at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting for December agreed to accept  the low quote of $50,000.00 from JBW Fence Installation and Repair LLC for the new fencing to be paid from Jonesboro District funds.

The meeting began with Gloria Davis, Gerry Mims, Wade McBride and Mary Saulters voting to elect Dennis Clary as Vice President for 2023. Calvin Waggoner and Rickey McBride were absent. The following notice was then read..

Notice is hereby given  that at its meeting to be held on Monday, January 9, 2023 the Parish School Board plans to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election to be held in Consolidated School District No. 1 to authorize the continuation of an ad valorem tax therein.

After payment of the General Fund, Federal Program, Food Service, Sales Tax, Special Education and District Maintenance bills the following actions were approved. 

Payment of $26,896.24 to No Red Ink for Grades 5-12 English curriculum to be used at Jonesboro Hodge Middle School, Jonesboro Hodge High School, Quitman High School and Weston High School, to be paid from ESSERS III funds.

Payment of $19,250.00 to D2i Data for the renewal of the accountability platform that assists in analyzing data-driven school improvement plans, to be paid from ESSER III funds.  

Payment of $12,222.00 to ZOHO Corp for Network Management for the District, to be paid from General Fund.
Payment of $30,000.00 to New Directions: Educational Solutions for educational consultation in UIR/CIR schools during the second semester, to be paid from Redesign funds.

Accept low quote of $65,467.00 from Morse Covers Inc. for material and labor to construct a walkway cover at Weston High School, to be paid from ESSERS II.

Approve the Change Order for Quitman High School Renovation project.

 


J-H Elementary School recognizes December honorees

The Jonesboro Hodge Elementary School PBIS team and PTO would like to recognize the Student and Teachers of the Month for December.

Teacher of the MonthJoanna Chreiten
Student of the MonthBryce Martin
Support Teacher of the MonthDebra Pagett

These stakeholders embody and are the epitome of the PAWS model of excellence:
P  – prepare yourself
A  – act respectfully
W  – work together
S  – safety first

We are so grateful for our dedicated staff and our excellent students!

Go Tigers!


Santa Claus is coming to the Jackson Parish Library Chatham Branch on Saturday

Here comes Santa Claus! Here comes Santa Claus! 

Library Board confirms Stevens and Malone 

It can’t be said that the confirmation of Pam Stevens and Lyndsey Malone for full-time status with benefits is some kind of Christmas gift. They earned it! Still, it was a welcome thing to hear when the Jackson Parish Library Board of Control officially approved that the date of the probationary period for both had ended. 

“We are very pleased to have Pam and Lyndsey as part of our team,” said JPL Director Floyd Knox. “Both bring unique skills and talents and are tremendous to work with. We look forward to them being here a long time.”

In another action, board members approved a change order to the Library Park Project that is currently under construction. The change was made due to a Fire Marshal’s decision that a ramp had to be built next to where some steps were planned. After discussion with the engineer, architect, contractor, and Library staff it was decided instead to simply make the area level through the hauling in of more dirt.  


MIDWEST STYLE DEER MANAGEMENT WORKING IN SABINE

There is an area in Louisiana capable of naturally producing habitat amenable to growing big healthy bucks and does. Land along the Mississippi delta is rich in nutrients with plants growing naturally there that are highly nutritious. Deer that feed on such a bountiful buffet tend to grow larger bodies with bucks sporting impressive racks.

The northern part of the state, for the most part, consists of rolling red clay hills and pine trees, not the type of habitat where deer can reach their maximum potential.

Sabine Parish is just such a location with habitat basically that you don’t expect to see deer grow to impressive weights and antler growth.

Ten years ago, something began taking shape to change the production of deer in a portion of Sabine Parish from piney woods averages to eye-popping characteristics. A group of hunters, who own and lease some 3,000 acres in Sabine Parish decided to see if their piney woods could do something to produce higher quality deer. Ryan Masters was one of the group who set out to see if it could be done.

“Ten years or so ago, I was fortunate to be able to hunt in the Midwest. I began wondering how those guys up there had much bigger deer that we had here in our part of Louisiana,” said Masters.

“I began realizing that up there, they were allowed only one buck tag per season and bucks must be five years old or older. It started dawning on me that I get six tags and can hunt deer for over two months and there is no restriction on age or antler size here,” he said.

Masters and his friends decided to try and do something about it. Could bigger bucks be raised in Sabine Parish? They were determined to try and find out.

“We developed what we’re calling the ‘Midwest Style’ of management. We changed our regulations to allowing members to take only one buck a year and the one they can take has to be at least five years old. Our property is in the piney woods with not much quality natural deer food. We keep food plots out all year and we developed our own protein blend of supplemental
food we have been using on our club.

“We studied up on things that can help any area produce more quality animals and learned that the amount of sunlight, the amount of minerals, the availability of water sources along with genetics are keys to raising deer that are above the norm,” Masters said.

By the 2018 deer season, Masters and his friends began seeing positive results from their more aggressive approach.

On a personal note, I write stories of big bucks taken around the state for LA Sportsman magazine and just about every year, I’ll be hearing about and writing about one the Masters’ group has produced. The current 2022-23 season has produced one when Ryan Masters son, Joel, downed a big 10 point buck weighing 220 pounds with an inside spread of over 20 inches, a buck with antlers measurements of 156 2/8 inches.

By improving the land you’re permitted to hunt, providing year around nutritious food sources high in protein, limit the number of bucks members can take during season and passing on those smaller bucks giving them time to grow and reach their potential, results are possible.

“I am able to tell folks that if they want to grow big deer on marginal habitat,” Masters said, “it can be done.”

”Ryan Masters displays a buck he downed on his club’s property in Sabine Parish showing that bigger deer can be grown on marginal property.” Courtesy photo

FISHING REPORT

BLACK BAYOU – Crappie fishing is fair on jigs and shiners. No report on bass or bream. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing continues to be good with some nice fish caught on soft plastics around brush. Crappie fishing has been good also with some slabs caught on jigs or shiners.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is on a slight rise and bass fishing has been best fishing the sloughs with soft plastics and crank baits. Crappie fishing has been fair in the river on jigs or shiners. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing had continued to be good along the edges of the deeper channels on shiners or jigs. Bass fishing has improved along the channel edges on crank baits. Bream are slow while catfish are biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been good in the deeper channels with shiners seeming to be preferred over jigs. Bass have been fair fishing crank baits off the points. A few catfish have been caught on cold worms with jug fishing using chunks of wieners taking a few. The bream and stripers are slow. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia
Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Jigging spoons and tail spinners are working best on bass bouncing these lures off the bottom in 18-20 foot deep water. Soft plastics and deep diving crank baits have been producing some around humps just off the channels. Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing the deep tops on shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish.. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie fishing has improved both around the slips and on the lower end of the lake on shiners or jigs. Catfishing continues to be good. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water has come up just a bit. Some real slab crappie have been caught as well as bass in the 3-4 pound range. No report on bream or catfish. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


Galilee Missionary Baptist Church to honor Warren Johnson Jr. on Wednesday

Beginning at 7:00pm a night of celebration will be had at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, located at 320 East 5th Street in Hodge, on Wednesday, December 7th where Warren Johnson Jr. will be recognized for his 15 years of service as Minister to the appreciative congregation. Special Guest Speaker will be Dr. Reginald L. Staten. 

“I accepted my call to preach God’s Holy Word and rendered my first sermon December 7, 2007,” reflected Johnson Jr. “I am privileged to celebrate 15 years in ministry, by God’s grace.”


Hodge United Pentecostal Church to present The Wonder of Christmas

There are certain things that you just simply have to experience. One is the annual Christmas Musical that is performed by the incredibly talented and gifted members of the Hodge United Pentecostal Church. This year’s production, The Wonder of Christmas, will take place on December 17th and 18th beginning at 7:00pm each night in the sanctuary located at 4545 Quitman Hwy (Hwy 167) in Hodge. As the presentation always brings a packed house and pre-service giveaways will take place it is highly recommended to arrive early.  Come get your spirit lifted and celebrate the Wonder of Christmas! 


What will you read in 2023?

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right.

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one.

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never.

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile.

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg.

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius.

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years.

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making of The Godfather and was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing.

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention.

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich.

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Does by Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already.

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice.

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on!

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


Top Christmas scams of 2022

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – According to Better Business Bureau (BBB) consumer advocate, Jo Ann Deal, the International Association of Better Business Bureau (IABBB) has gathered information on all kinds of scams.

Deal said many people locally still buy gift cards even though they can’t afford them. She said one woman who is a lady of sound, mind, and body got a letter from someone she hadn’t heard from in years about a home improvement program. Deal said the lady was then persuaded to go to the bank to ask for a loan.

Here is a list of scams Deal said to be on the lookout for.

Top Scams of Christmas 2022:

Social Media gift exchanges
Free gift cards
Alerts about compromised accounts
Fake shipping notifications
Misleading social media ads

Deal added that if you hear someone say “send a gift card” you are talking to a scammer. She also said if someone contacts you out of the blue on social media, they could be an imposter trying to scam you. The BBB wishes all a very merry and SAFE FROM SCAMMERS Christmas.