Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chief Deputy Brad Walker stands at the new entrance gate going up at the Sabine Detention Center. 

Much-needed improvements at the Sabine Parish Detention Center are currently in progress under the administration of Sheriff Aaron Mitchell and his Chief Deputy Brad Walker.  There were a lot of things that needed to be done at the facility when the two took office July 1.

A second perimeter fence is currently under construction around the center.  It will go around the whole compound, with only one entrance gate.  In the past, persons could simply drive to the front of the facility.  When finished, the new entrance will require that persons be allowed to enter; they will not be able to enter at will.  There will be two cameras at the gate and it will always remain closed.

Chief Deputy Walker last week gave Observations a tour of the work being done.  In the past, persons threw contraband over the fence and prisoners could pick it up.  Now, prisoners allowed between the new perimeter fence and the old fence will be limited, hopefully cutting way down on the amount of contraband making its way into the prison.

The new outer fence is 10 ft. tall with three strands of razor wire on top, making it about 12 ft. high.  There will be lights around the new fence at night and cameras will be used for surveillance.

The car wash rack, which was just inside the original fence, has been moved.  Prisoners were originally brought into this area, where other prisoners washed vehicles.  This caused several problems, among them contraband being brought into the jail. 

In other matters, the National Rifle Association gave the Sheriff’s Office a grant of $7,100 to purchase rock for the road going to the shooting range.  A lot of junk near the range will be hauled off, which will improve the area’s appearance.  A parking lot at the range will also be designated and rock placed on it.

The Sheriff’s Department will again go back to farming.  Already, Irish potatoes and beans have been planted.  They are getting ready to plant a nice patch of peas.

In other improvements, a house on the grounds has been refurbished.  A shed near the firing range has been cleaned out, is being repaired and will be used for storage of equipment.

Chief Walker said it is anticipated the Sheriff’s Office will get a grant from FEMA to purchase a new generator to operate at the jail should the power go off.  There was an old generator that would not work.  The Sheriff’s Office has borrowed a generator from the Homeland Security Office currently.

Already, a new camera system has been installed in the jail.  The roof on the building and Dormitory A have been repaired after damage by Hurricane Laura.

On an added note, Chief Deputy Walker said all Sheriff’s Deputies have to qualify annually on the firing range.  This will be held during April.  This is part of the ongoing program of Sheriff Mitchell to see that all deputies receive all the training possible.  Hats off to him and Chief Walker for their passion to try to have the best Sheriff’s Department possible.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Sabine Sheriff’s Office and the Many Police Department report that the Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry presented training on Thursday, April 8, to area law enforcement on issues such as trauma, domestic violence, strangulation, report writing and more.

The event was held at Many’s Project Celebration, Inc. facility.

District Attorney Don Burkett’s office along with Assistant DA Anna Garcie also presented training at the day-long event.

The training sought to help trainees achieve high standards of victim-centered care and offender accountability, while reducing gender-based violence, holding perpetrators accountable, and giving victims of these crimes support, compassion and justice.

Kudos to all involved for continually training and educating our local law enforcement officers.

Alderwoman Anita Wolf Darwin had an enthusiastic turnout for Saturday’s Autism Awareness Walk. Shown at top, attendees in front of the event’s bounce house for kids; lower left, two riding a horse on the walk; lower right, walkers and a four-wheeler make their way down San Antonio Ave.
Anita Wolf Darwin, Alderwoman, Dist. B

More kudos to the Many PD for escorting and assuring safety at Saturday’s 5th Annual Autism Awareness Walk which went through downtown Many.

Anita Wolf Darwin, Town of Many Alderwoman, Dist. B, and others organized the walk, which included people walking, riding four-wheelers, a go cart and even a horse-riding participant.

The event ended with snow cones, a jump house and fried fish plates.

We hear from Mayor-Elect Robert Hable and others who participated that the walk was a great success.

Northwestern State University Head Basketball Coach Mike McConathy was guest at the Tuesday, April 6, meeting of Pete Abington’s Vultures Luncheon Club.  Pictured, left to right, are Pete Abington, John Curtis, Coach McConathy, District Attorney Don Burkett and Don Scaife.

MARK IT DOWN, MARK IT DOWN:  The upcoming Political Forum featuring the runoff candidates for Police Juror, Dist. 3, will be broadcast on KWLV 107.1 and KTEZ 99.9 next Wednesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. It will also be livestreamed on the BDC Radio Facebook page.

Don’t miss it! Learn all about Joseph Hendon and Stephen Steinke as they share their respective plans if elected juror, their guiding values and explain why they each believe they deserve your vote on Election Day, April 24.

As with the mayoral Political Forum, the broadcast will be moderated by Laurie Gentry.

Registrar of Voters Zack Faircloth reports that 34 persons cast their ballots in early voting Saturday.  He said about 90 percent either voted for Dist. 3 Police Juror or on the Fire District Tax Renewal.  On the first day of early voting in the first primary, 45 voted.  Early voting continues at the Registrar’s Office until Saturday at 6 p.m.

Parish wide, voters will decide on whom to send to the BESE Board.  Republican Michael Melerine and Democrat Cassie Williams are in the runoff.  Voters in Fire Protection District No. 1 will decide on the renewal of a 8.50 mill tax for 10 years.  And voters in Police Jury Dist. 3 will decide between Joseph A. Hendon and Stephen M. Steinke, who are in the runoff.

A new Family Dollar Store coming to Toledo Bend. That is, according to Realtor Lewis McBride who keeps up with such things. He said it will be located right next to the Dollar General Store.

Congratulations to Many Tigers Head Football Coach Jess Curtis, shown above addressing the team. He was named the Louisiana Football Coaches Association “2A Coach of the Year.”

Jess’s wife Wendy posted recently, “They say that legends are made. This is true with hard work and the ability to lead young men into the world through attention to not only their athleticism, but also their best interests. I am so proud of my husband.”

You are not alone, Wendy. We are all proud of him and what he and his entire staff bring to Many and Sabine with their dedication to our youth and standards of excellence.

The medallions were taken off a cemetery vase.

The Zwolle VFW Post 5187 is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft of three medallions from a headstone at Cassel Cemetery in the Converse area.  They were stolen during March. 

If you have information contact VFW Post Commander Walter Korb at (318) 567-2965 or the Sheriff’s Office at (318) 256-9241.  If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (318) 256-4511 or submit a tip through the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s App.

Miss Zwolle Tamale Fiesta 2020

Miss Zwolle Tamale Fiesta 2020 Canada Sepulvado is looking forward to the 45th celebration tentatively sent for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9. 

The fiesta weekend is filled with activities including a parade, tamale making demonstrations, arts and crafts, street dance, music, treasure hunt, costume contest, music, treasure hunt, arm wrestling, tamale eating contest, mud bog and more!

Folks around Zwolle are excited about it, so mark your calendar now.

Zwolle Mayor Pie Martinez, center, and two members of the Town Council, Martha Henderson at left and Carolyn Cutright-Price at right, participated in the flag raising ceremony.
Members of the Zwolle Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5187 at Zwolle are responsible for the beautiful “Freedom Circle” at Zwolle.  VFW Post Commander is Walt Korb.
A large, beautiful U.S. flag was raised during the ceremonies at Zwolle on April 6.

Zwolle VFW Post 5187 held ceremonies Tuesday, April 6, on the beautiful “Freedom Circle” they constructed on the west side of Hwy. 171 in Zwolle.  The ceremony celebrated the raising of a large American Flag in the center of “Freedom Circle.”  An official flag ceremony will be held on Flag Day, June 14, and everyone is invited.  Mayor Pie Martinez and members of the Council offered thanks to VFW Commander Walt Korb and the VFW members for their time and hard work in creating this meaningful circle of flags.  It is a must-see for tourists and residents of the area.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, shown left, who has a longer title than degrees on a thermometer is the highest-paid employee in the entire Federal Government.  The latest year for which federal salaries are available, 2019, shows that he drew $417,608.  His title is “Director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”  According to reports, Dr. Fauci first said masks were not needed and that the public should not obtain masks, as supplies should be reserved for health care professionals.  Then he ventured everyone needed to wear one mask.  Then later he said if one is good, two would be better.  Then later it was said three might be even better, if you could breathe with them on.  The Lone Ranger has been resurrected and a mask has been put on him.  But he was ahead of the times, because he wore a mask long before it was mandated. 

In a related matter, we saw this sign Sunday at a bank in Hope, AR:  “Friendly Reminder: Masks are required to enter bank.”  Banks used to keep you out if you were wearing a mask; now you can’t come in unless you have one on.  Boy, how times have changed.

And at Hardison Mill Homestead Hall near Pottsville, TN, we saw this sign on the door:

Has anybody studied the transmission rate of COVID among Muslim women? Those burkas some of them wear that cover everything but the eyes should offer a lot of protection. Dr. Fauci ought to go to work studying that. Could be that he would have even more recommendations for all of us afterward.

And last, but not least, on the topic of masks, we recently saw these attractive new nose masks to wear while eating out. They were developed in Mexico.  We fully expect them to turn up on noses all over Sabine Parish before long.

On a restroom door at a convenience store in Bradley, AR, we saw this sign:  “You can’t pee for free.  You must buy something.”

Mayor Ken Freeman, left, and Deputy Clerk Janice Randow

The Town of Many recently recognized Deputy Clerk Janice Randow as follows:

“The Town of Many is pleased to announce that Deputy Clerk Janice Randow attended a Records Management class in Baton Rouge on March 16th and received a certificate.  She is officially the Records Retention Officer for the Town of Many through the Louisiana Secretary of State.  We would like to congratulate Janice on her hard work.”

We add our hearty congratulations, as well. The Town is fortunate to have Randow. She works hard, puts her heart into everything she does and really keeps the ball rolling. 

The Sabine Parish School Board Monday night voted to name the softball field at Negreet School “Buddy V. Field,” in honor of long-time supporter and School Board Member, the late Buddy Veuleman.  His daughter, Dr. Leah Byles, currently serves on the Board

“He had a lot of love for the community,” Supt. Sarah Ebarb commented.  “He did a lot of things.  He truly had a love for academics, not just sports.”

Dale Skinner, Dist. 9, said, “Buddy looked out for all the schools.  He was like me: he had an opinion.  And he was right most of the time.”

Buddy’s widow and a delegation of interested persons were present at the meeting.

At the Monday night meeting of the Sabine Parish School Board, Dale Skinner, Dist. 9, brought up discussion about pay to teachers who are suspended after being charged with alleged sexual activities with students.  At the beginning of the discussion, President Terrell Snelling, Dist. 7, reminded that the Board could not discuss specific individuals.

Supt. Sarah Ebarb said when these persons are placed on leave they have to be paid, saying thereafter it depends on the circumstances.

Daron Chandler, Dist. 1, questioned if the employees have to be paid if they are indicted, and Supt. Ebarb said that doesn’t matter.  It was pointed out that when a case goes to the Grand Jury, only the prosecution is presented and the defense is not.  Supt. Ebarb said some of the considerations are whether the person is tenured, the charges brought and the weight of the charges. She noted that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Skinner asked what the Board’s policy on such a matter is and was told the Board does not have a policy.  He said he was told a teacher in Pleasant Hill was charged in an alleged sexual matter and was fired without pay.  Supt. Ebarb said that was not true, that the individual got several months’ pay, that the person was not tenured, and that it made a difference. Supt. Ebarb said the action taken is governed by many issues on the basis of the individual. Legalities also enter into the decision making.

In closing discussion, Skinner said he has a problem when parents want to speak and “We don’t hear them.”  He continued, “Something that important, we ought to let people speak before the Board.”

In another matter, Skinner asked what future plans were for the SPARK school.  He said, “We got information that it was going virtual.  Have we voted on that?”

Back early last year, Supt. Ebarb sent out an email to Board members presenting that online instruction might be an option.  She told Skinner, “We didn’t bring it before the Board because we didn’t do it.  It will be left like it is.”

“We didn’t have any problems when Charlie Mason was there,” Skinner said.  “Have you discussed going virtual with him?”  Supt. Ebarb said she had.  It was noted that there are three teachers at SPARK and 39 students.

And at the meeting, the Board finalized giving a one-time gross salary supplement of $2,000 to all full-time employees.  The vote to do this was unanimous.

Ebarb Coach Taylor Lee

The Louisiana Sports Writers Association has released this year’s All-State teams that include several from Sabine Parish.

Ebarb Coach Taylor Lee was named Coach of the Year for Class C Schools. And Zach Parrie, also of Ebarb, was named Player of the Year, in addition to making the first team.  Chrisoric McGhee of Pleasant Hill made Honorable Mention.

In the Class 2A category, Ze’Quarrius Rhone of Many was named to the second team.

In Class B named to the second team were Corbyn Jones of Zwolle.  Honorable mention went to Jaydn Lehn of Negreet and Sean Laughlin of Converse.  In girls basketball, Kylee Strother of Florien, Olivia Sepulvado of Zwolle and Abby Rivers of Converse were named to the second team.

Several Vernon Parish Players were listed, as follows:  Class B First Team were Drew Tebbe, who also was named Outstanding Player and Shaun Riley, both of Anacoco; Second team, Landry Alligood of Anacoco; Class C second team, Jaren Mitcham of Hornbeck; and Honorable mention in the Class C girls, Hannah Dahlhoff of Hornbeck.

Special thanks to Don Scaife of Many for providing this information to Observations.

Bussy Mims, right, and special friend Carol Torsone

Our friend of many years, Dr. Ted “Bussy” Mims was strutting high as he visited friends in Many on Monday.  He had with him friend Carol Torsone of Raleigh, NC.  Bussy is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Mims. 

He received his degree from Northwestern and other places, and taught school around here for a while.  He ended up at the University of Illinois at Springfield, IL where he was head of the Computer Department there and made quite a name for himself in the field.  It is always good to hear from Bussy and even better to see him.

“Maleficent 2” is the Walt Disney movie scheduled to play at Movies in Many in the Many Community Center [Sabine Theater] this Saturday, April 17 at 7 p.m.

The movie is free and is sponsored by The Town of Many Cultural District Advisory Committee, Many Mayor Ken Freeman and the Many City Council.

“Maleficent 2” is the sequel to “Maleficent 1” and stars Angelina Jolie as the Mistress  of Evil.

The story goes like this:  Maleficent travels to a grand old castle to celebrate young Aurora’s upcoming wedding to Prince Phillip. While there, she meets Aurora’s future mother-in-law — a conniving queen who hatches a devious plot to destroy the land’s fairies. Hoping to stop her, Maleficent joins forces with a seasoned warrior and a group of outcasts to battle the queen and her powerful army.

With a PG rating, it’s a movie the entire family can enjoy. It’s the retelling of the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” and has life lessons for everyone throughout the entire movie. Bring the parents, the children, the grandparents, and cousins to Movies in Many on Saturday, April 17.  The Many Community Center will open at 6:30 p.m., and this intriguing fairy tale will be entertaining for every member of the family.  Remember, it’s totally free!  Concessions are on sale for only $1 each.  See you at the movies!

A special Thank You to Mary Brocato for the above article on Movies in Many.

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