Grant Parish LDH COVID Weekly Update 11/17/20

According to the Louisiana Department of Health website on November 17, 2020, Grant Parish reported 79 new positive cases in the last week bringing the total positive case count to 637. Confirmed deaths due to COVID is 31. There are 46 active positive cases in Grant Parish. 

The week of 10/22 – 11/04 Grant Parish two week cumulative incidence was 71.17. Placing Grant Parish in the “Moderately High” category. 

The latest Nursing Home Report dated  November 12, 2020, reflects one new cases among residents, and no new case among staff reported for this week at Colfax Reunion Nursing & Rehab Center. 

Resident Census73
Total COVID-19 Cases
Among Residents
New COVID-19 Cases
Among Residents
Since Last Report (10-28-20)
Of Total Resident Cases, Number Whose Infections Began at this Facility68
Total Residents
Total COVD-19 Deaths
Among Residents
Total COVID-19 Cases
Among Staff
New COVID-19 Cases
Among Staff
Since Last Report (10-28-20)
Total Staff Recovered35

Two Area Lawmakers Recognized by LABI

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has recognized two of the area’s members of the legislature in conjunction with LABI’s Free Enterprise Awards. They are Senator Louis Bernard and Representative Gabe Firment.

LABI’s CEO Stephen Waguespack said, “During these sessions( regular and special legislative sessions), we saw a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to support smart, pro-business measures.” Waguespack continued, “Their work will both help our economy begin to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple hurricanes, as well as start the process of breaking down the persistent barriers to business growth that have held Louisiana back for decades.”

A record 69 legislators (nearly 50 percent of the entire body) were named as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), scoring a perfect 100 percent on bills important to LABI and the state’s business community during both sessions. Bernard and Firment were noted as members of the group.

House District 22 representative Firment said, “I was honored to be recognized as a “Most Valuable Policymaker” Thursday evening at the LABI Free Enterprise Awards. The award was given to representatives and senators who scored a perfect 100 percent on bills important to the state’s business community. As your District 22 state representative I will always recognize the importance of creating an environment where businesses small and large can prosper and succeed.”

His Cup Runneth Over

By Trevor Fry

Here’s a fact! Randell Fletcher has attended more funerals than anyone in Grant Parish history! If ever there was a man who earned frequent flyer points at funeral homes, it was him. He knows virtually every family in the parish. While the rest of us feel awkward attending funerals, Randell knows just what to say to comfort grieving family members of the departed. It’s one of his many gifts, and his presence helps families heal.

So when and where did the legend of Randell Fletcher start? Back when doctors made house calls. Dr. Brian came to Verda in 1935 and delivered Randell Fletcher into the world. He was the only child of Aaron and Edna Fletcher. He was born in the heart of The Great Depression, and in his early years experienced that watershed event in American History.

The Fletchers are one of Grant Parish’s oldest pioneer families. They originally settled in the piney hills around Verda and Hargis in the late 1700s. Later they moved further west to the banks of the Red River in Aloha, where Randell and his bride, Geraldine Hale Fletcher, make their home.

Randell met Geraldine in the first grade at Verda School. They married at the age of 19. On November 26th, they will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. Randell graduated from Verda High in 1953. He earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from NSU in education. His brief stint in Natchitoches was the only time he lived outside his beloved Grant Parish.
In 1958, Randell starting teaching at Colfax High. He continued teaching at Colfax for 20 years. While he was teaching, he decided to enter politics to help make an impact in his parish, and was voted on to the Police Jury at the age of 35.

In 1978, he decided to make a career change. He retired from the educator ranks and ran for Grant Parish Tax Assessor. He handily won that position at age 40, and served the parish another 20 years in that capacity. Remarkably, between Colfax School and the Assessor’s office at the courthouse, he worked 40 years in one city block! As he always says, “the people of Grant Parish have been good to me.”

Randell voluntarily stepped down as Assessor after 20 years of service, to focus on missionary work. He went on 16 mission trips to Latin America to help spread the gospel. That is who Randell Fletcher is. He is the Lord’s servant who cares about others and wants to improves the lives of everyone.

Undoubtedly, Randell’s most important character trait is his faith. He joined Verda Baptist Church in 1948. He has faithfully served as Deacon since 1957. He also acted as the church’s Treasurer for decades, and organized mission trips. In his tenure at Verda Baptist Church, he has seen 24 pastors come and go (and sometimes was probably glad to see their tailights!)

Randell has a compassionate quality about him that permeates his life. When he comes into my law office, he asks my staff about their families before we can even think about conducting business. And he genuinely cares. He’s not asking just to be polite; he wants to really know about their well-being. He’s like a kind and loving grandfather, which is why he is the Patriarch of Grant Parish.

On the home-front, Randell and Geraldine raised three children, Steve, Becky and Celeste, who are all brilliant. Steve is a successful pharmacist. Becky is an elementary education supervisor at the Grant Parish School Board. Becky’s leadership in overseeing our elementary curriculum is one of the major reasons why Grant Parish schools now outrank Rapides Parish in school performance scores. And Celeste is an accomplished writer. In fact, to my knowledge, Celeste is the only person living in Grant Parish who has been published by a big 5 publishing house in New York City.

On the political scene, everytime there is an election, eager candidates make an obligatory beeline to Aloha and hope to secure his blessing. Simply put, there is no greater seal of approval in Grant Parish than Randall Fletcher’s endorsement. Few politicians succeed in getting a commitment however, as he doesn’t like to pick one friend over the other. Because you see, Randall Fletcher has no enemies. He loves all people in our parish, which is why you will never see a campaign sign at the end of his driveway.

Another chapter in Randell’s story is the Bank of Montgomery (BOM). His wife Geraldine started off as a teller at BOM. Also, his dad Aaron was on the BOM Board. After his father passed away, Randell succeeded to his Dad’s spot on the BOM Board in 1990. At that time BOM had only one branch. BOM has experienced meteoritic growth since then, and has a large footprint across central Louisiana, and now even into Texas.

Additionally, Randell’s farm is a seminal part of his life. He owns over 1000 acres and is one of the largest landowners in Grant Parish. The Fletchers raise cattle, and also farm row crops in the rich Red River alluvial soil. His farm in Aloha is breathtakingly beautiful, and is one of the most idyllic scenes in the entire parish.

As for public service, Randell currently sits on the prestigious Red River Waterway Commission as Grant Parish’s sole representative. And he was also appointed by the Governor to sit on the Grant Parish Board of Election Supervisors to ensure the sanctity of our elections. He has served on on countless other boards and commissions representing our community. Service to his community has been, is, and will always be part of his life.

“The people of Grant Parish have been good to me.” That is Randell Fletcher’s humble response everytime you mention one of the countless honors bestowed upon him over the years. His cup runneth over and he has lived a remarkable life that is an inspiration to his fellow man. So I have made a feeble attempt at describing the blueprint of the most respected man in Grant Parish history. But don’t bother trying to replicate the recipe. You cannot clone greatness.

Motorcycle Clubs Deliver Toys to Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office

On November 14, 2020, the Circuit Riders Motorcycle Ministry, Loyal to One, Confederates, and the Faith Riders rode to the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office, where they delivered toys, shoes, and donations for the Sheriff’s Toys for Kids program.    

Lee Bratton, the President of Circuit Riders, reiterated that the purpose of the Circuit Riders toy delivery ride was to help others, being servants in the manner that Christ would want them to be.

My Opinion – It’s Not Over Till Supreme Court Says It Is

By Royal Alexander

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.  Joseph Stalin

It’s been interesting to watch virtually all major media declare that former VP Biden “won” the election.  It’s humorous to see Biden standing in front of the “Office of the President Elect” banner because there is no such office or position.  It’s a positive development to see the General Services Administration (GSA) not release federal funds for the so-called “Biden Transition” to begin given no winner of the election has been ascertained. 

The hatred for Pres. Trump is so great that every imaginable form of distraction and confusion that can be enlisted to obscure the fact that no winner has been certified is being employed.  As an attorney, I succeed or fail based upon the strength of the evidence I present in court.  Period.  Not feelings, opinions, or innuendo.  Just evidence.  So, if the Trump Campaign is not able to gather and produce for the courts adequate, reliable evidence that widespread fraud has occurred, Pres. Trump will lose the argument and the race.  But not until.

What do we know? We know that hundreds of individuals—alleging 1000s of instances of fraud—in a position to know have signed affidavits that they have personal knowledge of fraud.  Affidavits are evidence and used in courts daily across the country.  An affidavit is a written statement, under oath, that is sworn to be true.  Signing an affidavit that contains false information can subject the individual to criminal penalties.

Are all these people lying? Very unlikely.  Further, the more we learn about this Dominion computer software the more stunning it becomes.  This software was written for the sole purpose of switching votes electronically, in real time—for cheating.  We also know that as many as 30 states use this same software to administer elections.  This is a major problem. 

All of this is to say nothing of allegations that in Philadelphia, contrary to Pennsylvania state law, election observers were denied the right to monitor the counting of approximately 120,000 ballots because they were forced to stand back and away, for a 20-hour period, from where the counting was taking place.  As a result, observers could not tell whether the ballots were correctly postmarked, addressed, signed, and sealed as required by law.  There are also allegations that ballots were backdated to appear timely.  

In Wisconsin, allegations that after election observers had gone home—sometime between 3-4 am—over 100,000 ballots “appeared” and were counted and, in a statistically improbable way, all the ballots appeared to have voted for one candidate.  In Milwaukee, the county moved quickly to alter its website registration portal, so the pro-Biden vote tally did not appear so statistically improbable.

In Michigan, allegations that observers were also denied access, again contrary to state law, to counting locations from which to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process.  One woman who identified herself as an election volunteer in Clark County stated she had found a box of 500 ballots outside of the vote counting facility inscribed with the names of individuals who were not on the County’s voter rolls.  In Detroit, windows were boarded up preventing poll watchers from viewing the counting of ballots.

Our sacred right to vote is a fundamental right and held inviolate for American citizens including the 73 million who voted for President Trump.

If former VP Biden becomes president under these circumstances he would delegitimize and lame-duck his presidency at its very beginning.  Win at all costs has costs.  People can accept losing if they lose fairly and squarely and the contest was conducted honestly.  We’re a long way from knowing that. 

The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Grant Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Remember This? The Three Spinsters

By Brad Dison

January 31, 1945 was a freezing cold day in Frederick, Maryland.  The temperature dipped down to just 15° Fahrenheit.  Wind gusts up to twenty-seven miles per hour made the cold temperature feel even colder.  Most people remained indoors by their fireplaces to keep warm. 

Over forty-five years earlier, three elderly ladies who had never married moved into a two story, drafty house in Frederick.  Its only source of heat was a couple of small fireplaces.  The three spinsters had decided to pool their money together and share all of their expenses.  Through the years, the three spinsters relied on each other for everything.

January 31, 1945, was no different.  The three spinsters were in their twilight years and were totally devoted to each other.  Lillie, the youngest of the three at seventy-five years old, was bedridden and depended on the other two for her very survival.  Fannie was seventy-eight years old and Ellen was eighty-eight.  The two able-bodied spinsters cooked, cleaned, tended to the fire, and did the other various chores required of the household.  However, a series of unfortunate events befell the spinsters.

On the evening of January 31, grocery store clerk Grayson Haller was making his normal grocery delivery to the spinsters’ home.  The roads and sidewalks were covered in ice and snow.  Grayson struggled to keep his footing.  As he carefully walked on the sidewalk, he saw a large bundle lying near the icy path to the spinsters’ home.  He curiously but cautiously entered the spinsters’ yard.  He starred at the bundle as he drew closer.  Suddenly, he recognized the shape.  He dropped the groceries and knelt down beside the bundle.  It was 88-year-old Ellen, the oldest of the three spinsters.  He tried to help Ellen, but he was too late.  Her body was frozen.  Grayson ran as fast as he could on the slippery ice for help.

Within a few minutes, Grayson and a police investigator returned to the spinsters’ home.  The investigator knelt down beside Ellen and tried to determine what had happened to her.  Grayson knocked on the door, took a deep breath, and prepared himself to deliver the bad news to Fannie and Lillie.  No one answered.  The investigator found that Ellen had a serious injury on her head.  Grayson knocked again.  Still no answer.  He and the investigator feared that something bad had also happened to Fannie and Lillie. 

Grayson and the investigator cautiously entered the house.  It was as cold inside the house as outside.  The investigator noted as he looked through the first-floor rooms that there were no signs of a struggle.  No chairs or other furniture was overturned.  Nothing appeared to be broken.  The house was neat and tidy.  The fire in the fireplace had burned out.  In the kitchen they made a ghastly discovery.  The cold, lifeless body of 78-year-old Fannie lay on the kitchen floor.  Sadly, there was nothing Grayson or the investigator could do for her.  They continued to search the house. 

Grayson and the investigator walked up the stairs to the second floor.  In one of the bedrooms, they made another shocking discovery.  Lillie, the bedridden spinster who relied on Ellen and Fannie for everything, was not in her bed.  Her cold, lifeless body, dressed only in her undergarments, lay on the bedroom floor.  Grayson was overcome with grief. 

Other investigators converged on the home of the three spinsters.  They found no evidence that anyone had broken into the home.  There was no damage to any of the doors or windows.  There was no evidence of a struggle.  Nothing seemed to be missing or out of place.  Upon looking at the bodies of the three spinsters, Ellen was the only one with an apparent injury. 

Following a short but precise investigation, the police concluded that the three spinsters, Ellen, Fannie, and Lillie, died on the same day, but not as a result of foul play.  They surmised that Fannie was in the kitchen and had either a brain aneurism or a heart attack.  When she fell to the floor, Ellen ran to her aid.  Unable to revive her, Ellen ran from the house to get help.  Ellen slipped on the icy path and hit her head, an injury which incapacitated her.  They concluded that she had frozen to death where she had fallen.  Lillie lay in bed until the fire was in danger of going out.  Apparently, Lillie dragged herself from her bed towards the fireplace with the intent of adding more wood and stoking the fire.  Lillie’s strength gave out before she reached the fireplace.  The fire burned quickly out.  Clad only in her undergarments, she also froze to death.  The three spinsters died from what can only be described as a series of unfortunate events.  The three spinsters all shared the last name of Flinn.  Ellen, Fannie, and Lillie were sisters.

For more Real Stories about Real People …with a Twist, order your copy of “Remember This?” at or from   



  1. The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), January 31, 1945, p.32.
  2. The Centralia Enterprise and Tribune (Centralia, Wisconsin), February 1, 1945, p.13. [erroneously listed as July 11, 1891]
  3. The Daily Times (Salisbury, Maryland), February 1, 1945, p.3.
  4. The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland), February 1, 1945, p.12.
  5. The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Weather History for Frederick.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
  6. Find A Grave. “Ellen J. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
  7. Find A Grave. “Fannie M. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.
  8. Find A Grave. “Lillie L. Flinn.” Accessed November 15, 2020.

Notice of Death November 17, 2020

Gwen Fuqua Melder
February 21, 1934 – November 13, 2020
Visitation: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at Rush Funeral Home, Pineville
Service: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at 1:00 p.m.

Ella D. Byone
March 30, 1930 – November 13, 2020
Service: Saturday, November 21 at 11 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville

Gloria S. Milsap
March 26, 1952 – November 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Doretha Harris
November 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Valerie Groves
November 9, 2020
Arrangements TBA

A Tribute For Our Heroes On Veterans Day

By The Veterans Site News

Veterans Day is a time to honor all the brave men and women among us who, at one time or another, put on the uniform and served to protect our country, our liberty and our lives.

For those who never served in the military, it is impossible to understand the sacrifices that have been made for all Americans by those few brave ones; the time spent away from family or personal pursuits, the physical toll of training and fighting, the scars that remain when the battle is over. Every citizen owes a debt that can never be repaid, a debt to every veteran for their service and our freedom. And while we can never truly understand their sacrifice or repay their service, we can honor them, be thankful for them and remember them.

Not a day goes by that American citizens should forget the price that has been paid by our veterans, but on Veterans Day we pause to make sure we are thankful for each and every man and woman who wore the uniform. For so many, those veterans are sons and daughters, siblings, parents, grandparents, relatives or friends. Sadly, others are homeless or struggling.

On Veterans Day we remember them all, and we express our gratitude for what they have done. We are also thankful to have them with us — whether or not we know them personally.

“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away,” said President Ronald Reagan on Veterans Day in 1985. “The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.”

He continued by saying:

“There’s always someone who is remembering for us. No matter what time of year it is or what time of day, there are always people who come to this cemetery, leave a flag or a flower or a little rock on a headstone. And they stop and bow their heads and communicate what they wished to communicate. They say, ‘Hello, Johnny,’ or ‘Hello, Bob. We still think of you. You’re still with us. We never got over you, and we pray for you still, and we’ll see you again. We’ll all meet again.’ In a way, they represent us, these relatives and friends, and they speak for us as they walk among the headstones and remember. It’s not so hard to summon memory, but it’s hard to recapture meaning.”

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardsmen — we are thankful to them all for their service. Veterans Day is their day. Make sure you take time this Veterans Day to do something special for a veteran. Tell them “thank you,” attend a parade or ceremony, volunteer or donate to a veterans’ organization, or perform a random act of kindness to let a veteran know that they are not forgotten, and neither is their service.

To all the heroes have served our country, we thank you and honor you on this Veterans Day. Thank you for all your sacrifices and for fighting for our freedom!