Governor Edwards Announces Appointments to Nineteenth Louisiana Levee District

The Nineteenth Louisiana Levee District’s mission is to maintain the levees in Grant Parish.

Fren Allen of Colfax has been appointed to the Nineteenth Louisiana Levee District. Allen is retired.

William B. Dean of Colfax has been reappointed to the Nineteenth Louisiana Levee District. Dean is a project engineer at Pan American Engineers.

Gordon Smith Jr. of Colfax has been reappointed to the Nineteenth Louisiana Levee District. Smith is a farmer.

Appointees are charged with containing and managing the floodwaters along the major waterways of Louisiana. They advocate for their districts and the cause of flood control throughout the state. Each district sends representatives to board meetings in Baton Rouge and to other functions that are relevant to the board’s tasks. Board members serve as the voices of their citizens to the board, ensuring that board decisions keep the citizens wishes in mind.


LDWF Stresses Safety After Three Recent Boating Fatalities

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is encouraging all boaters to practice safe boating while enjoying the waterways of Louisiana. This notice comes after three people have died in boating accidents in 2021.

The Enforcement Division has witnessed an uptick in the number of boating crash incidents and boating related fatalities in past couple years.  The numbers of boating crash incidents reached 162 in 2020, up from 129 boating incidents in 2018 and 135 boating incidents in 2019. The number of boating fatalities also rose from 19 in 2018 and to 20 in 2019 and up to 24 in 2020.

The boating fatalities this month include two 15-year-old boys in Caldwell Parish with the operator of the vessel being charged with vehicular homicide and operating a vessel while intoxicated. The other boating fatality occurred in St. Landry Parish and involved a kayak that capsized and the deceased was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and never resurfaced.

“The boating crash incidents and fatality trend in the last year is disturbing to say the least,” said Col. Chad Hebert, head of LDWF’s Enforcement Division which enforces recreational boating safety laws and investigates recreational boating crash incidents.

Hebert said the growing number of accidents in 2020 was probably boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic where more people got outside, especially on the water where they could practice safe distancing and still have a good time.

“We saw an increase in the number of people recreationally boating along with a higher number of days on the water, especially in last year which we attribute to higher incidents and fatalities.” Hebert said. “While we are happy people can enjoy the outdoors during this time, we also want them to do it responsibly and in a safe manner.”

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet echoed Hebert’s sentiments about welcoming more people on the waterways, “but we have to be smart. Safe practices will be beneficial to everyone. We can help ourselves and other boaters by following the rules of the water.”

Of the 24 fatalities in 2020, 20 were recovered without wearing a PFD.  Anyone 16 years of age and younger is required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved and properly fitting PFD while underway on a vessel under 26 feet long.  Also, everyone on a vessel less than 16 feet long, propelled by a hand tiller motor, must wear a PFD while underway.

There must also be a PFD for each person on board a vessel and anyone riding on a personal watercraft must wear a PFD.

Of the 24 boating fatalities in 2020, 4 of them involved alcohol.  Nationwide, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating incidents, causing 19 percent of all deaths on the water.

In Louisiana, operating or driving a vessel while intoxicated has the same penalties as operating a vehicle.  A DWI on the water can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel while impaired. LDWF agents issued 78 citations for DWI on the water in 2018, 88 in 2019 and 72 in 2020.

Boaters are encouraged to take the LDWF approved safe boating course. It is mandatory for anyone born after Jan.1, 1984, to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF certified over 9,610 boaters in 2020.

To register for the course, visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/boater-education


The Rising China Threat

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The Chinese Communist Party has made clear that it will do whatever it determines is necessary to win what it sees as an inevitable war with the U.S.  

Economically, militarily, and geographically, the United States faces a stark and growing threat from China.  We have known this for some time but recent examples of cyberterrorism, hacking, industrial espionage and the theft annually of hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property highlight this fact.  (Over the last decade alone it is estimated that the Chinese government has stolen some $6 trillion of U.S. intellectual property).

President Trump should be highly commended for his America First agenda and for the aggressive and relentless reshaping of the trade relationship between the two countries to address the enormous and unfair trade deficit the U.S. has had with China.  In fact, long before he was, or even contemplated becoming president, Donald Trump was sounding the alarm about Chinese economic aggression.  The coronavirus crisis proved him correct when the United States and the world suddenly discovered how dependent we all are upon the Chinese supply chain for a wide variety of pharmaceuticals and other related products.  This development underscores why it is so concerning that over the decades much of American manufacturing has left the U.S. and relocated in China. 

As we reflect on our American history we can look back and recall that at one time it was both helpful and necessary—to protect American foreign policy and national security interests—to, diplomatically and strategically, align with China in order to bracket the former Soviet Union and check its international aggressions.  However, that time is long past as we are now engaged in a similar cold war with China itself.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cruel, dark, and repressive history (the CCP has executed over 100 million of its own people in the last century, as it now murders the Uyghurs in a campaign of genocide and brutally crushes the Christian faith—to say nothing of its one-child policy which has resulted in more than 500 million unborn babies slaughtered by abortion) has made clear that the CCP would not hesitate to create the Covid 19 virus in that Wuhan lab and then weaponize and release it across the world, doing the incalculable damage we continue to witness. 

In many respects, various American administrations have greatly contributed to this problem by, for example, making enormous economic benefits available to China by granting “Most Favored Nation” trading status—as well as membership in the World Trade Organization.  We have also tolerated the continued diminishment of our military power with respect to China while we, narrowly and shortsightedly, viewed America’s principal enemy to be Islamic terrorists in the Middle East as we prosecuted the War on Terror.

Although the Trump Administration strove mightily to “catch up” our depleted military we do not currently have the ability to militarily counter either the encroachment by the Chinese navy or the building of multiple military installations in the South China Sea.  It is also unnerving to realize the Chinese military is presently developing an advanced fighter aircraft that will likely equal our best fighter aircraft. 

The CCP has made clear that it will absolutely do whatever it determines is necessary to win what it sees as an inevitable war between itself and the U.S. This includes conventional—and even nuclear—warfare, terrorism, and biological, cyber, economic, data and political warfare.  The U.S. simply has no choice but to begin to plan aggressively to rebuff this multifaceted threat to America’s safety, security, and viability.

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.


State Fire Marshal’s Office Outlines 2020 Performance

BATON ROUGE, LA- State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning is announcing the agency’s 2020 performance outcomes which show, despite the operational limitations of the pandemic, taking on the new and fluid task of Covid-19 enforcement efforts and responding to multiple tropical system threats, that the agency maintained its productivity goals and remained resilient throughout the year.

“The hurdles this agency has jumped over this past year have been numerous and daunting, but I am so proud of how each section of the State Fire Marshal’s Office not only responded, but thrived, in what otherwise has been an incredibly strenuous year for so many agencies, businesses and families,” said Browning.

In 2020, deputies conducted around 35,000 final inspections of new commercial buildings opening across the state as well as compliance inspections of existing commercial buildings. In addition, deputies inspected hundreds of fireworks stands and displays and responded to thousands of impairment reports on life safety and property protection systems in commercial businesses. On top of those regular duties, deputies conducted COVID-19 compliance visits and complaint responses starting in May when Gov. John Bel Edwards moved the state from the Stay At Home order into Phase 1 of the “Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana” plan. That effort rendered more than 16,000 inspections by the year’s end, more than 12,000 of which were conducted by members of the State Fire Marshal’s Office alone. And that effort continues still today.

SFM deputies were requested to investigate almost 700 fire incidents. Of those fires, fewer than 300 were classified as incendiary, on par with the last two years’ figures. The agency’s arrest rate remains in the 40% range for a third year, more than double the national average.

Unfortunately, there were just as many lives lost this year to residential fires than the previous year, roughly 77. Only about a dozen of those cases involved structures with working smoke alarms at the time of the fires.

The agency’s Plan Review division saw a slight decrease in the number of new construction project submittals in 2020, totaling more than 15,600. However, there was a slight increase in the estimated total value amounting to more than $9.8 billion.

In addition, the SFM licensed more than 6,400 individuals and nearly 1,300 firms in 2020, bringing in around $1.7 million in revenue. Those licenses apply to a host of industries including life safety & property protection businesses, amusement ride operators, conveyance devices, firework permits and boiler systems.

Lastly, the agency’s Emergency Services division, with the Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue Task Force at the center, stayed in response mode for much of the hurricane season as the state found itself preparing for six tropical threats. Three of those– Laura, Delta and Zeta– resulted in deployment missions for a variety of needs including water rescue, evacuation and tens of thousands of building damage assessments.

“This past year has been one for the record books for all of us,” said Browning, “But I’m glad to say, for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, it’ll be a year we’ll be able to look back on with pride.”


Remember This? Prince of Peace

By Brad Dison

On April 28, 1956, Reverend Donald P. Schneider, a graduate of Northwestern Lutheran Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, made it his mission to create a new church in North Hollywood, California.  Building a church from scratch, even with the support of the United Lutheran Church, was an enormous task.  Before constructing a dedicated building for worship, Schneider had to build a congregation.  Before building a congregation, Schneider needed a building in which a congregation could gather.  Reverend Schneider’s predicament was reminiscent of the old catch 22 in which you cannot get a credit card unless you have credit, but you need a credit card to establish credit.  Schneider began searching for a place for his potential parishioners to meet.  He needed a local space which was large enough for his congregation to grow.  After a thorough search, Schneider located a company who had a spacious building and agreed to allow him to hold church services.

On September 9, a handful of curiosity-seekers gathered at the temporary church for the first time.  They held Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 10:45 a.m. worship service.  At the worship service, Schneider explained his plans for the new church.  The small congregation was enthusiastic.  On the following Sunday, Schneider noticed that there were a few more people in the congregation.  On each subsequent Sunday, the number of people in the congregation grew.             

By December, the congregation had grown from just a handful of parishioners to over seventy.  At the Sunday service held on December 2, the congregation took one more step towards becoming official.  Seventy-one people signed the organizational charter as charter members of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.  With help from the United Lutheran Church, the congregation had purchased four acres of land for the new church site.  At the time the congregation signed the organizational charter, construction workers had already begun leveling the ground in preparation for the church’s building. 

By January of 1957, leveling and grading of the building site was completed.  The congregation formed several new church groups including an adult choir, Luther League for children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, adult instruction classes, and a committee to oversee the church building’s design, construction, and administration.  By September, on the church’s first anniversary, the congregation numbered more than 200 members.

At a ceremony held on February 9, the congregation officially broke ground on the chapel.  Construction on the building was slow because the congregation paid construction costs upfront when funds were available.  When funds ran out, construction stopped.  To speed up construction, the congregation held a banquet and started a fund drive to help pay for constructions costs.  Most people in attendance donated generously.  For over a year, construction started and stopped in a seemingly endless cycle.

In May of 1958, the Prince of Peace congregation had another unfortunate setback.  Workers of the company where the congregation held their temporary worship services went on strike.  The congregation searched unsuccessfully for another suitable place to hold their worship services while the strike was being negotiated.  Construction on the church building had begun, but it was little more than a partially framed building.  The congregation agreed to postpone Sunday school classes until the strike was over.  They were determined not to postpone the worship services, however, and decided to gather in the open-air construction site.  The Mother’s Day service was plagued with a light rain and large gusts of wind.  Although the building site had no roof and the congregation’s clothing soaked up the rain, they were undeterred.  They simply ignored the weather.  Reverend Schneider fumbled only momentarily when a large gust of wind blew his prepared sermon away.  Taking the situation in stride, the congregation chuckled.  With a warm and gentle smile, Reverend Schneider continued his sermon from memory.  The reverend expected the strike and the open-air services to lower attendance.  To his surprise, attendance increased.  Donations to the building fund drive increased as well.  Within weeks, the strike ended and the congregation resumed having Sunday school and worship services inside in their previous venue.  It seemed as though the congregation had passed some sort of divine test.          

At 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 31, 1958, the congregation held a dedication service for the newly completed building.  On the following Sunday morning, September 7, the congregation held its first regularly scheduled Sunday service in the new chapel.  Reverend Schneider had succeeded in his mission of building a church from scratch.    

For almost two years, Reverend Schneider and the congregation of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church had held their worship and Sunday school services in the most unsuspecting of places.  At their last worship service in the temporary venue, Reverend Schneider presented a plaque which bore an inscription of their gratitude to the company for allowing them a place to hold their worship services.  In his sermon, Reverend Schneider said, “This morning we close a chapter on the history of our mission congregation.  We have worshiped here and, through this experience, we have formed many new friends, and God has given to us many new joys and blessings…  We have worshiped in a strange place.  We have seen strange events.  Let us be a strange people of whom others beholding us say ‘See how they love one another!’”  The “strange place” in which the congregation worshiped was the Anheuser-Busch Corporation’s Budweiser Beer tap room and cafeteria.

Sources:

  1. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), August 29, 1956, p.7.
  2. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), November 15, 1956, p.36.
  3. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), December 6, 1956, p.56.
  4. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), January 31, 1957, p.78.
  5. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), September 7, 1957, p.7.
  6. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), February 8, 1958, p.9.
  7. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), May 8, 1958, p.93.
  8. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), May 22, 1958, p.53.
  9. The Van Nuys News (Van Nuys, California), August 28, 1958, p.88.
  10. The Los Angeles Times, September 1, 1958, p.67.


COVID Defense App Launched

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the launch of COVID Defense, Louisiana’s exposure notification mobile application for Google and Android phones to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Louisianans can now receive notifications informing them if there is a risk they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. Use of the technology is completely voluntary, private, and secure. COVID Defense does not collect the location of a phone or individual to detect exposure, and it does not share a user’s identity. App users must opt in to use the tool and may opt out at any time. No personal information is required to use the app.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen staggering numbers in terms of deaths and cases and those numbers should give us pause. Last week we also reported our first case of the more contagious UK variant of COVID,” said Governor Edwards. “Until the majority of the general public has received the COVID vaccine, we cannot let up and will need to lean on every other tool available to us. COVID Defense adds another tool to our toolkit to slow the spread of this dangerous virus.”

COVID Defense can be downloaded in the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store.

When COVID Defense is voluntarily activated, the tool uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random tokens between phones without revealing the user’s identity or location. To help ensure these random tokens can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.

On a daily basis, an individual’s mobile phone will download a list of all the anonymous tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions on how to keep you and the people around you safe.

“Louisiana’s free, easy-to-use phone app will give our residents the information they need to fight COVID-19 and protect their loved ones without compromising anyone’s privacy,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Like wearing a mask, washing our hands and social distancing, COVID Defense is one more measure we can all take.”

COVID Defense works in three easy steps:

1.         Download the application

Download the free app in the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store. Add your phone to Louisiana’s exposure notification system to get COVID-19 exposure alerts and to protect those around you.

2.         Opt in anonymously

Once you opt in, COVID Defense will generate an anonymous token for your device. To help ensure these anonymous tokens can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.

3.         Get notified if exposed

On a daily basis, your phone downloads a list of all the anonymous tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions on how to keep you and the people around you safe.

For more information or to download the application, visit coviddefensela.com.


Notice of Death January 26, 2020

WINN:
Wanda “Cookie” Kay Saucier
January 23, 1950 – January 24, 2021
Service: Will be announced by the family at a later date.

John Owen Jordan
September 21, 1932 – January 25, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 28 at 1 pm at Big Creek Baptist Church

Billy E. Bailey
May 10, 1948 – January 24, 2021
Service: Thursday January 28, at 2 pm in the Chapel of Kinner & Stevens

Max Allen Orr
January 18, 1960 – January 23, 2021
Service: Wednesday, January 27 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

NATCHITOCHES:
Calvin Coolidge Campbell
February 19, 1929 – January 24, 2021
A private graveside service with Military Honors will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

Marquita Nash
December 21, 1985 – January 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Eddie Ray Pikes
May 25, 1952 – January 21, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 28 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Julia Rowzee
June 29, 1941 – January 20, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 30 at 10 am at Mt. Zion Cemetery near Montgomery

Ola Henderson
January 23, 2021
Service: Sunday, January 31 at 1:30 pm at the North Star Baptist Church in Powhatan

Edward West
February 1, 1964 – January 20, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Carla Phillips
January 18, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 30 at 1 pm in the chapel of the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches


RoyOMartin to Host Drive-by Hiring Event in Winnfield Thursday

Upcoming hiring event

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 4 – 7 p.m. at 5960 Highway 167 North Winnfield, LA
(In the parking lot of CLTCC-Huey P. Long Campus)

Make a Great Start with RoyOMartin.

Join us for a special, COVID-compliant drive-by hiring event for production team members at RoyOMartin’s plywood and timbers plant in Chopin, Louisiana. Company representatives will be on hand to collect resumes and provide details about upcoming interviews.

Competitive Wages

Starting pay is $14.50/hr., with the potential to earn up to $22.50/hr. through on-­the-job training.

Exceptional Benefits

Enjoy terrific medical benefits, including a health clinic, as well as life insurance, retirement, wellness program, and a variety of training and advancement opportunities.

A Commitment to Safety

Employee safety and wellbeing is our #1 priority. Our award-­winning safety program begins on Day 1 with new-hire orientation.

RoyOMartin.com/Careers


Qualifying for Local/Municipal March 20th Special Election Today and Tomorrow

March 20, 2021 – Open Municipal Special Election

The following is important information for the Saturday, March 20, 2021 Open Municipal Election:

  • The qualifying period for candidates is Jan. 20-22. Local and municipal candidates qualify with the clerk of court in the parish in which they are registered to vote (contact your local clerk of court for office hours). Federal and state candidates qualify in the executive offices of Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin at 8585 Archives Ave. in Baton Rouge between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Qualifying fees must be paid in the form of cash; certified or cashier’s check on a state or national bank or credit union; U.S. postal money order; or money order issued by a state or national bank or credit union and must be accompanied by the qualifying form.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person or by mail is Feb. 17.
  • The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Feb. 27.
  • Early voting is March 6-13 (excluding Sunday, March 7) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is March 16 by 4:30 p.m. You can request an absentee by mail ballot online through our Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office (other than military and overseas voters).
  • The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted mail ballot is March 19 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).

Grant Parish voters will be voting on the following positions: