News headlines for Nov. 21, 2014


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See our Christmas calendar HERE.

30th JDC jury finds Vernon woman 'not guilty' on drug charge

VERNON PARISH -- A 30th Judicial District Court jury on Friday unanimously found a Vernon Parish woman 'not guilty' of a drug distribution charge.
Annie Cummings, 61, was arrested in December 2013 following an investigation by the Vernon Parish Narcotics Task Force. More HERE.

Independent audit, mandated by settlement, examines water quality of Beauregard Water District 3 system

LONGVILLE -- The findings of a third party audit that focuses on water quality in the Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 3 system were released last week.
A May 30 settlement between the water district and RESTORE, a local environmental group, outlined that an independent audit be done, examining the district's operations, "to determine if any current concerns about Safe Drinking Water Act compliance exist." More HERE.

Authorities searching for work release inmate who walked off from site on La. 28 West

RAPIDES PARISH -- The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is currently working a walk off of a work release inmate from the parish on La. 28 West.
Authorities say at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday, a work release inmate assigned to the Rapides Parish Highway Department walked off from the job site. He was last seen walking toward the back of the compound. More HERE.

'Miracle on Washington' Christmas festival to feature family fun, music, vendors, food -- and the 'Grinch'

DERIDDER -- Beauregard Parish's "Miracle on Washington" Christmas festival, themed this year as "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 in downtown DeRidder.
The event, organized annually by the Beauregard Tourist Commission, will feature music, food, shopping, carriage rides, horse and buggy rides, a petting zoo, a real snow slide, magic show, jump station and much more.
The festival kicks off at 10 a.m., the same time the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce's Christmas Parade is set to roll. More HERE.

Vernon Parish Library Board memorializes longtime president

VERNON PARISH -- The Vernon Parish Library Board honored the longtime service of Finly Stanly on Tuesday.
Stanly, who passed away in March at age 91, served the panel as board president for over three decades, from 1982 to 2014. More HERE.

Leesville woman accused of stealing cell phone from nursing home resident

VERNON PARISH -- A 48-year-old Leesville woman is accused of taking a cell phone from a nursing home resident.
According to a news release, Amy Hicks was arrested Nov. 7 after a complaint was filed by the administrator of a local nursing home. More HERE.

Sabine State Bank slates benefit gumbo cookoff for Dec. 1

LEESVILLE -- Sabine State Bank & Trust, in Leesville, will host a benefit gumbo cookoff on Monday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To show your community support, simply make a $5 donation, test all the gumbos and vote for your favorite one.
These proceeds will be deposited into the bank's Christmas fund which benefits local families in need during the holidays. More HERE.

Five family members from Texas, heading for vacation, killed in single-vehicle crash near Monroe

MONROE -- Five family members from Texas en route to Disney World for a vacation were killed Wednesday near Monroe, according to Louisiana State Police, Troop F.
Troopers say the single-vehicle crash happened around 10:46 p.m. on I-20, just west of Calhoun.
Troopers say the preliminary investigation revealed that the family was traveling in a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by a 16-year-old juvenile. More HERE.

Cleco offers new programs to help participating commercial and residential customers reduce energy consumption

The following is a news release from Cleco:

PINEVILLE -- Cleco is now offering energy efficiency programs to help participating commercial and residential customers reduce energy consumption. More HERE.

13th annual "Country Christmas" lights display set Dec. 2-20 at Rebel State

MARTHAVILLE -- Guests are invited to Rebel State Historic Site and the Louisiana Country Music Museum, during the month of December, to see over 75,000 Christmas lights and displays, hear the sounds of traditional Christmas music and visit with Santa Claus. More HERE.

General obligation bond refinancing saves taxpayers $12 million

The following is a Nov. 19 news release from State Treasurer John Kennedy:

BATON ROUGE -- State Treasurer John Kennedy announced Wednesday that the refinancing of $228.54 million in general obligation bonds is complete, saving taxpayers $12 million.  
"We refinanced to generate savings on money that was borrowed to fund construction projects across Louisiana," said Kennedy. "Just like homeowners refinance their mortgages, we refinanced bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates." More HERE.

Leesville men arrested in connection with armed robbery at La. 10 store

VERNON PARISH -- Two Leesville men have been arrested in relation to the armed robbery that happened Nov. 11 at Speedy Bee's on La. 10 in Vernon Parish.
According to a news release from Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft, Stephen West and Chase Campbell, both 24, were arrested Friday. More HERE.

Zwolle man accused in stabbing death of stepfather

SABINE PARISH -- A 27-year-old Zwolle man is accused of stabbing his stepfather to death during a Sunday altercation.
According to a news release from the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office, Dustin G. Rivers allegedly stabbed 51-year-old Howard L. Ferguson to death following a disturbance at a home. More HERE.

Washington Post article chronicles rare illness, death of former Beauregard school superintendent; highlights widow's crusade for a cure

A Nov. 17, 2014, Washington Post article chronicles the rare illness and death of former Beauregard Parish school superintendent Gary Brewer and the crusade of his widow, Kathy, to find a cure.
Brewer died from complications from Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD), a very rare disease, in 2007.
Read the full story HERE.

Army completes environmental study for possible force reductions

By Cathy Kropp

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Nov. 13, 2014) -- The Department of the Army announces the availability of the Finding of No Significant Impact for the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment.
The Army evaluated the environmental impacts of potential reductions of active-component Soldiers and Army civilians (Army employees) at 30 installations. The Army determined that there are no significant impacts, other than socioeconomic impacts, and that preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required.
As a result of current budgetary projections, the Army must reduce its active component end strength to a level below that analyzed in the January 2013 Programmatic Environmental Assessment. More HERE.

Jasper authorities looking for persons of interest in death investigation

JASPER, TEXAS -- Jasper County, Texas authorities continue to search for a couple who are considered persons of interest in the murder of an elderly man, west of Jasper.
Authorities say on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 85-year-old Herbert W. Deaton was reported missing from his home. Two days later, his body was found.
KJAS-FM Radio reports that preliminary results of an autopsy showed that the death was caused by homicidal violence. More HERE.

Crime Stoppers looking for information in firearm thefts

VERNON PARISH -- The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is seeking assistance from the public in identifying those responsible for the burglary of a home in the area of La. 10 in Vernon Parish. More HERE.

Fisher to turn on Christmas lights during Nov. 28 celebration

FISHER -- The Christmas lights in the historic Village of Fisher, in Sabine Parish, will be turned on at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28. More HERE.

More headlines this week:

Financial reporting late, cash overstated, according to CLTCC audit report

The following is a Nov. 17 news release from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office:

Officials at the six-campus Central Louisiana Technical Community College failed to accurately prepare the 2013 annual fiscal report and had to hire an outside accounting firm for $9,000 to correct a number of errors in the original version, a report released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office said. More HERE.

La. Guard's 256th Tiger Brigade welcomes DeRidder native as new Senior Enlisted Advisor

By Sgt. Greg Stevens and Spc. Noshoba Davis, 256th IBCT

CAMP BEAUREGARD -- The Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick L. Sandel Jr., as its new senior enlisted advisor during an official Change of Responsibility ceremony on the parade field at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, on Nov. 15.
The Change of Responsibility is an event rich in symbolism and heritage. The ceremony focuses on the changing of positions between the outgoing and incoming sergeants major by the transferring of colors. More HERE.

Dead cougar found in Calcasieu Parish

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

The following is a Nov. 17 news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) responded to a report of a dead cougar along La. Hwy. 12 in Calcasieu Parish, west of DeQuincy. The animal was found late afternoon on Friday, Nov. 7.
A necropsy performed by LDWF staff determined that the cougar was a 70-pound adult that had been declawed on all four paws. More HERE.

Early voting for Dec. 6 election is Nov. 22-29

Early voting for the Saturday, Dec. 6 election is Nov. 22 through Nov. 29 (except Sunday and Nov. 27-28 for the Thanksgiving holiday) from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at parish Registrar of Voters' offices. More HERE.

"Dashing for a Cure" run, walk set Dec. 13 in Merryville

MERRYVILLE -- Sara's Hope For A Cure's "Dashing for a Cure" Fun Run and Walk, to be held on the streets of Merryville, is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13.
Those participating are encouraged to wear Christmas clothing and costumes. More HERE.

Some headlines last week:

Two men accused in death of Starks man

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- Two men are accused in the death of a man in Starks.
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, Marlon R. Bamburg Jr. and Darrell P. Brantley have been booked on second-degree murder. More HERE.

VPSO: Vernon Parish child who suffered snake bite on Tuesday doing fine

VERNON PARISH -- A Vernon Parish child was bitten by a snake on Tuesday in the Camp Baker area, but is doing well, according to her family.
According to Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft, deputies responded to a report of three missing girls -- ages 11, 12 and 14 -- at about 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Craft said deputies responded to the area of Hickory Ridge Road/Camp Baker Road in a wooded area close to the girls' home. More HERE.

Vinton bus driver booked on sex-related charges

CALCASIEU PARISH -- A 38-year-old Vinton woman was arrested this week for carnal knowledge of a juvenile after authorities said she had an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old male. More HERE.

Many man pleads guilty in federal court on drug charges

A Many man pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Sabine Parish.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, 32-year-old Cassius L. Medlock pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. More HERE.

Murphy USA Station opens near Leesville Wal-Mart

LEESVILLE -- The Murphy USA station near the Leesville Wal-Mart is open and ready for business.
Management and staff members were at the store on Thursday morning, putting on the finishing touches as part of a "soft opening."
Georgann Gerlitz is the district manager. She said the store is a 1,400-square-foot walk-in. It will be open 24/7. More HERE.

Leesville council signs off on retail alcohol permit, makes board appointment, among Monday action

LEESVILLE -- The Leesville City Council on Monday unanimously favored a resolution approving the application for a Class "B" Package Store retail alcoholic beverage permit for the Murphy USA station slated to open soon near Wal-Mart. More HERE.

Officials: History Channel plans to film in Leesville, 'soapbox derby' will be recreated

LEESVILLE -- The History Channel is planning to explore the history of the American tradition of the soapbox derby, and the channel plans to do some filming in downtown Leesville.
The 'Louisiana State Championship Soapbox Derby' has already been held this year, but the channel is working with the event's organizers to recreate it for the segment. More HERE.

Natchitoches man sentenced to 70 months in prison for role in illegal drug conspiracy

SHREVEPORT -- A Natchitoches man was sentenced last week to 70 months in prison for conspiring to sell cocaine and methamphetamine, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.
Finley reports that 39-year-old James R. Smith Jr. was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald Walter for one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. More HERE.

VFW Post 3619 to host free Thanksgiving for spouses, veterans and their families

DERIDDER -- All military spouses, veterans and their families are welcome to the VFW Post 3619 and Ladies Auxiliary in DeRidder from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27 for a Thanksgiving meal. More HERE.

Spring registration underway at McNeese

The following is a news release from McNeese State University:

Registration for McNeese State University’s spring 2015 semester is currently underway through Jan. 12. Spring classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Jan. 5 is the deadline to apply for admission to be eligible for spring regular registration. More HERE.

Locals place in 60th annual McNeese Rodeo competition

LAKE CHARLES -- Some local members of the McNeese State University women's rodeo team placed in the university's recent 60th McNeese Rodeo competition.
Overall, the women's team took first place, while the men's team took third. More HERE.

Dan Nance, former 105.7 News Director, longtime Fort Polk PAO, passes away

LEESVILLE -- Dan Nance, a former KVVP-FM 105.7 News Director and longtime Fort Polk Public Affairs Officer, has died.
Nance, 57, of Leesville, earned his degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern State University. He served as News Director at 105.7 until he went to work at Fort Polk. He retired as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer there after more than two decades. He was honored to receive the Commander's Award, which is the highest installation civilian award that can be given. More HERE.

Moss Bluff man booked on DWI, fourth offense

A Moss Bluff man was booked Thursday on DWI, fourth offense, according to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said 47-year-old Melvin R. Maddox was traveling east in a truck on I-210, merging onto I-10 westbound when he was observed leaving his lane of travel.A traffic stop was conducted. More HERE.

One flag at a time: Soldiers place flags at veterans' cemetery in Leesville


"Always at stake are the freedoms we have fought so hard to defend. There will always be those who will want to take away our freedoms and way of life. At its heart, it's a test of wills, and we as a nation through generations of veterans, have shown that we will prevail." - Lt. Col. Charles Fisher, 94th BSB, 4th Brigade, 10th Mtn. Div. More HERE.

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