Grant Parish Included in U.S. Forest Service Distribution of 2020 Secure Rural Schools Payments

On April 2, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced the release of over $193 million in 2020 Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments. The money was distributed to 41 states and will be delivered as payments to over 700 eligible counties across the country. Counties rely on SRS payments to provide numerous critical services for their communities such as infrastructure, education, conservation projects, search and rescue missions and wildfire prevention programs. For detailed payment tables by county and state, click here.

SRS is a longstanding revenue share program that assists rural counties and school districts affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal land.  This most recent round of payments is the last SRS issuance, authorized under the FY 2020 appropriations package in 2019, due to an absence of recent congressional action. Public lands counties rely on programs like SRS and Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) to help maintain their budgets while bearing the responsibility of untaxable federal lands. While these payments represent a fraction of what counties would collect from property taxes and timber receipts, they are critical for local governments to continue providing the essential services their communities rely on.

If Congress fails to reauthorize SRS for FY 2021 and beyond, counties will face dramatic budgetary shortfalls which will have longstanding impacts as our nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. The last time authorization for SRS lapsed in FY 2016, counties saw an 80% decrease in federal forest payments.

According to the announcement Louisiana received $1,364,393 and Grant Parish received $583,932.09.


Remember This? Training a Milkman

By Brad Dison

Late on the Friday afternoon of December 5, 1901, E.L. McKeen, a local milkman in North Tonawanda, New York, was delivering his milk as usual.  This was in the era before automobiles were commonplace, so McKeen delivered his goods in a wagon pulled by a single horse.  He took his time whenever he made his rounds so as to not put unnecessary strain on the horse.  When moving at a slow pace, the horse could work all day with just a few, short breaks.  If the milkman hurried the horse, it required much longer and more frequent breaks.  The milkman usually seemed to be in no hurry whatsoever.

On this day, the milkman made his deliveries as if he had all the time in the world.  His load consisted of numerous small cans and large barrels of milk.  At every intersection, the milkman casually looked both ways to make sure no other traffic was coming.  When he neared the railroad crossing at Lincoln Avenue, the milkman coolly looked down the railroad tracks.  The milkman saw the Lockport train heading his direction on the tracks of the New York Central railroad.  The milkman, unable to properly gauge the speed at which the train traveled, decided that he could make it across in plenty of time.

The train, being the fastest mode of transportation of the era, barreled through the town at a speed that many people thought was impossible only a couple of decades earlier.  The engineer blew the train’s whistle as a warning, but the milkman paid little attention to it.  The engineer engaged the train’s braking system, but it was unable to stop in time.  Just as the horse stepped onto the tracks, the Lockport train struck.  The horse took the brunt of the violent impact and flew through the air.  The milkman and his wagon slammed against the train.  The cans and barrels of milk exploded in a large white gush and covered the milkman.  The force of the impact reduced the wagon to nothing more than kindling wood and scrap iron.

Witnesses to the collision rushed to the milkman’s aid.  The horse was dead.  They feared the milkman was dead as well, yet in the pile of debris, they noticed movement.  The milkman, covered from his head to his feet with cold milk, shivered as he dislodged himself from the pile of broken wood and iron.  Some of the townspeople helped the milkman stand up and asked if he needed medical attention.  The milkman reassured them that he was just fine.  He escaped with barely a scratch.

Several of the witnesses relayed another incident which happened three and a half years earlier at the same crossing at about the same hour by a milkman.  In that incident, which occurred in early May of 1897, a milkman was crossing the railroad tracks at the same intersection when he was struck by the same train, the Lockport train.  That collision nearly killed the milkman.  He spent the next couple of weeks confined to his home recovering.

The townspeople brought up yet another incident in which another local milkman was struck by a train.  About five years earlier, a milkman was walking, seemingly without a care in the world, along the railroad tracks between North Tonawanda and Gratwick when he failed to get off of the tracks in time.  The train struck the milkman but only slightly injured him.

As the townspeople spoke of the three separate incidents in which trains had hit milkmen in the vicinity, McKeen confidently told them that trains were unable to kill him.  Because of his belief that he was invincible, at least with trains, McKeen was willing to take chances most people would be too afraid to take.  You see, it was not three different milkmen in the stories the townspeople told, but one.  It was McKeen who had tempted fate and survived being hit by a train on three separate occasions.

Sources:

  1.  The Buffalo Commercial (Buffalo, New York), May 21, 1897, p.6.
  2.  The Buffalo Times, December 6, 1901, p.2.


Court Packing is Unwise and Unwarranted

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The U.S. Supreme Court has forgotten that it is emphatically its duty and province to say what the law is, even in the face of intimidation. (Marbury v. Madison)

Intimidation.  There is no other logical explanation for it.  President Biden recently announced his Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court which could more accurately be called the “Latest Liberal Effort to Pack the Court with Left Wing Judges and Justices.”  [The effort to pack or alter the Court when considered alongside discussions about adding two Democrat states and four additional Senators as well as repealing the Electoral College legislatively and ending the legislative filibuster all speak to the concerted effort of the fascist Left not to engage in political debate but to stifle it and ultimately criminalize political differences.]

Supporters and allies of President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt in 1906 and in 1912 and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 threatened to pack, alter, or otherwise undermine the Court.  The interesting thing is that liberals have never had to make good on these threats because the Supreme Court has allowed itself to be threatened and intimidated into ruling in the way the political Left wanted it to.

To his eternal credit, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently stated that packing the Court would undermine and harm the public’s perception of the Court and the rule of law.  “Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust.”

These attacks on the Court are both tragic and a perversion of what our Framers intended as the role of the Supreme Court in our Separation of Powers.  There is nothing more critical to the preservation of our constitutional form of government than the abiding presence of a fair and impartial judiciary.  Nothing.  If a party loses in court, they may be disappointed, but they will accept the results if they believe they had a fair trial and “their day in court.”

That is why it is poisonous to our democratic form of government to do what the national Left is trying to do to our Supreme Court in order to advance a liberal agenda it most likely cannot advance in the appropriate and legal way—through legislation in Congress.  It is also corrosive to the trust Americans must have in the judicial system to create the impression that the courts are nothing more than a third political branch.  

As such, it is a complete dereliction of the Supreme Court to allow itself to be forced into the position that it is making policy and serving as a “Super Legislature.”  That is fundamentally not its role.

However, even if the Court could somehow “save” itself as an institution by caving into political pressure, to what end would it do so?  It would forever be viewed as weak, cowardly, and untrustworthy.  It would certainly no longer hold its honorable and exalted place as one-third of our constitutional system of government.  In fact, the very reason the Framers provided federal judges with life tenure and undiminished salary was to remove and insulate them from politics and political pressure.  

Well, turnabout is fair play.  If Democrats attempt to pack the Court with new justices, the Republican Party can always limit or strip the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to hear appellate (appeals) cases.  This is because the Constitution clearly affords the Congress this power under Article III, Section 2. One way to begin this would be, for example, to limit all cases seeking to “find” new substantive due process rights in the Constitution as the Court did, unconstitutionally, in Roe v. Wade.   Congress could also withdraw jurisdiction from the Court and prohibit it from hearing cases involving issues such as, for example, immigration, a right to die, a guaranteed basic income and congressional redistricting.  By doing so, Congress would simply be limiting the Supreme Court to its express, original, and traditional role.

The Supreme Court must be viewed as—and truly serve as—a fair, impartial and neutral arbiter of law or it will be viewed as illegitimate.  Fearlessly reasserting its independence is the only way the Court can preserve its legitimacy and discharge its constitutional duty.  It must do so, or the delicate balance maintained by our system of checks and balances will be lost and the belief in America as a free and just society, imperiled.

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 is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


Winn Parish School Board – Notice of Vacancy

The Winn Parish School Board is requesting applications for the position of Superintendent

The deadline for applying is May 14, 2021

Interested persons may obtain applications and instructions by visiting our website at https://www.winnpsb.us

Completed applications must be postmarked by the application deadline and must be mailed to:

Winn Superintendent Search
P.O. Box 1100
Winnfield, LA 71483

Minimum Requirements:

Certified (or eligible for immediate certification as confirmed in writing by LDOE) as Superintendent of Schools in the State of Louisiana

Salary: Negotiated by the Board

Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. *Winn Parish School Board does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of service.


Notice of Death April 20, 2021

GRANT:
None to report

WINN:
“Dub” William Len Huffman
September 15, 1938 – April 18, 2021
Service: Wednesday, April 21 at 10 am at Kinner & Stevens Funeral Home

Kadence Raylynne Blundell
March 10, 2005 – April 16, 2021
Service: Wednesday, April 21 at 10 am at Southern Funeral Home

NATCHITOCHES:
Preston Lance Tilley
1-7-1980 – 4/20/21
Arrangements are being handled by Blanchard-St. Denis. Natchitoches. The family will receive visitors Thursday, April 22 and services will be held Friday, April 23. More information to be released soon.

Marvin Louis Freeman
July 09, 1962 – April 18, 2021
Service: Wednesday, April 21 at 2 pm at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Robeline

Terry G. Waxham
March 08, 1940 – April 18, 2021
No service details

Donnie Ray Armstrong
February 1, 1953 – April 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Rickey Lane Smith Sr.
October 7, 1968 – April 17, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Thelma Jean Morris
April 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Annie Belle Davis
April 15, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Mary “Margaret” Gant Barnhill
March 17, 1939 – April 16, 2021
Service: Thursday, April 22 at 10 am at Blanchard St.-Denis Funeral Home, in Natchitoches

SABINE:
Edna Genevieve Moore Dufour
April 1, 1944 – April 15, 2021
Service: Friday, April 23 at 1 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home, located at 355 Capitol St. in Many

Jackie Ruth Holcomb
July 17, 1943 – April 18, 2021
Service: Saturday, April 24 at 2 pm at Mt. Olive Cemetery


Remember This? Sweet Kiss

By Brad Dison

Frank Hayes was an apprentice jockey originally from Ireland. Rather than a full-fledged jockey, Frank was employed as a stable hand and horse trainer. In 1923, the twenty-year old had been working with horses for about five years, had raced only occasionally, and had never won a race. Frank’s passion was to become a professional jockey. Frank’s boss saw that he had potential and offered him a chance to prove himself in an upcoming race. In his determination to win, Frank took drastic measures in his preparations for the race. To qualify to ride in the race, Frank had to weigh 130 pounds or less. At 145 pounds, Frank was too heavy. He needed to lose weight quickly. Frank used every trick known to jockeys, and, according to newspaper accounts, lost fifteen pounds in 24 hours, a feat which hardly seems likely or possible. Whether Frank lost fifteen pounds in a single day or over a period of a few days, his quick weight loss was extraordinary. By the time of weigh-in, according to the judges Frank weighed exactly 130 pounds. He was able to compete.

On June 4, 1923, Frank was “piloting” a horse called “Sweet Kiss” in a steeplechase at Belmont Park, a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in Elmont, New York, just east of New York City. Steeple chasing originated in Ireland and took its name from the church steeple used for orientation in plotting the course’s direction. While thoroughbred racing typically uses an oval track, a steeplechase track is made up of obstacles for the horses to jump, usually hedges or fences with pools of water on the far side.

On that day in 1923, the odds were twenty to one against “Sweet Kiss.” It was a long shot. The horses lined up in their starting gate and awaited the sound of the pistol. Pow!!! The gates opened and the horses were off. Another horse, Gimmie, gained a slight lead from the start. Frank held his body as close as possible to Sweet Kiss’s back to lessen wind resistance. Patrons of the horse race could see little more of Frank than his bright silk jockey uniform as he and Sweet Kiss sped past them. The horse and jockey seemed to soar gracefully and effortlessly over each of the twelve obstacles on the two-mile track. The crowd roared with cheers. In the final turn, Sweet Kiss took the lead. When Sweet Kiss leaped gracefully over the final obstacle and straightened out for the run to the finish line, Frank swayed in the saddle. He slipped to one side for just a moment but quickly recovered.

The crowd cheered as Frank and Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line at Belmont track. Sweet Kiss won by a length and a half. Frank showed no emotion although it was the first time, he won a horserace. By all accounts, Frank piloted Sweet Kiss to an easy victory. After crossing the finish line, Sweet Kiss trotted then walked toward the judges stand. Rather than sitting up in the saddle like all of the other jockeys, Frank remained in his racing position, close to Sweet Kiss’s back. The crowd continued to cheer for Frank and the horse. Suddenly, Frank fell from the horse onto the track. Attendants hurried onto the track to attend to Frank. They quickly realized that Frank would never race again.

You see, during the race Frank suffered a massive heart attack. He died just as Sweet Kiss landed his last jump of the race. Doctors attributed Frank’s death to his incredibly quick weight loss. Three days later, Frank was buried in his bright silk jockey uniform. Frank Hayes holds the Guinness World Record as the first (and only) jockey to ride to victory… after his own death.

Sources:
1. Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, New York), June 5, 1923, p.11.
2. Des Moines Tribune (Des Moines, Iowa), June 5, 1923, p. 16.
3. The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), June 6, 1923, p.10.
|4. “First Deceased Jockey to Win a Race,” Guinness World Records, accessed April 2, 2021, guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/first-deceased-jockey-to-win-a-race.


Out of Extreme Caution, Louisiana Department of Health Puts Temporary Pause on All Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Louisiana Department of Health is placing a temporary pause on all administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while federal health agencies investigate whether six reported cases of blood clotting in other states were caused by the vaccine. Providers in the state of Louisiana will continue to use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and all Louisianans are encouraged to take advantage of the available vaccines, so the state can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and put the pandemic in its rearview.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution over six reported U.S. cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.

“Today’s pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is out of an abundance of caution. This morning, I had a call with White House officials and other governors to discuss this issue as we work to safely get as many Louisianans 16 and older vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible. While I understand that this news may be concerning, I remain committed to working alongside public health experts to make sure people can get the answers they need to make an informed decision,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Right now, there are two safe and effective vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – available and being administered in Louisiana and I encourage everyone in Louisiana to keep their appointments and to take advantage of the vaccines we have available. Nearly one million Louisianans have already completed their vaccinations against COVID-19. There have been around 85,000 Johnson and Johnson doses administered in Louisiana and no reported cases of this rare blood clot that we are aware of. In the short-term, this means some community vaccination events may have to be rescheduled or shifted to use Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for now and working with the team from the Louisiana Department of Health and health care officials, we will continue the important work of administering vaccines.”

“While this news is frustrating and concerning, we appreciate the FDA acting with abundant caution and transparency,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer. “We do not yet know whether these reported cases of blood clotting were caused by the vaccine. The State of Louisiana takes vaccine safety very seriously, and this temporary pause should give the public and providers confidence the system of monitoring and safety checks are working as intended.”

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, LDH is temporarily pausing in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, chest pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

Minor side effects are a normal sign the body is building protection. Side effects may include pain and swelling in the arm, fever, chills, tiredness or a headache. Most side effects will go away in a few days or less.

Vaccine availability of Pfizer and Moderna will continue uninterrupted.


A New and Growing Crisis on Our Southern Border

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

No nation can long remain a sovereign nation if it cannot control, secure, and defend its own borders

It is not often we are presented in national policy with such a clear contrast—a clear connection between cause and effect—but that is what is on display on our southern border. 

As reflected in the latest data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the overall tally for all illegal immigrants, of all ages, encountered on our southern border in March was 172,000, a 71% percent increase from the already high numbers in February, the Biden Administration’s first full month in office. That’s up from 103,731 in March 2019 and way up from 50,347 in March 2018.  Sadly, this includes 18,890unaccompanied children, compared to 9,380 in March 2019 and 5,244 in March 2018.

It’s worth asking why the number of those attempting illegal entry into the U.S. has increased so dramatically in 2021.  The only logical answer is the drastic change in immigration policy in the Biden Administration.  

It’s been feebly argued that these droves are the result of a “seasonal surge” of workers who seek unfilled jobs here. (This assertion is undermined by the fact that, in a political gift to the unions, there are no new avenues for guest workers who would on a short-term basis be allowed to take unfilled American jobs). Seasonal workers may impact the number but the drastic surge we are seeing can only be credibly attributed to Biden promises and policies. His words and actions have created the impression that now is the time to try to sneak into America.

Also, most importantly, why has the border wall and the fencing and technology it includes not been continued to completion?  It’s clear that the area in which the wall has not been finished is where illegals are most heavily pouring into the country.  The wall unquestionably slows if not stop entirely the flow of illegal activity.  What video and documentary evidence there makes clear is that the surge at the border is about much more than children and their parents seeking jobs or even asylum in the U.S.  Instead, the drug trafficking from Mexico has hugely increased as large amounts of drugs including marijuana and heroin have been seized at the border.  This, of course, says nothing about the human traffickers and terrorists who are coming into the country.

And—while the national media often does not report honestly anyway—why has it been denied access to the southern border by the Biden Administration?(Can you imagine the screaming if the Trump Administration had denied press access this way?).  The answer of course is that the southern border has become both a humanitarian disaster and magnet for illegal activity that the Biden Administration does not wish the American People to witness.

The American people must quickly demand that our federal government take the necessary steps to stop this influx and secure our borders.  No immigration reform legislation has a chance until we first stop the illegal activity.

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 is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.