Wednesday, November 25, 2020

We wish all of our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. In honor of the day, we share the following:

“For Christians, Thanksgiving not only has a patriotic history, but it also has spiritual roots that go back to the Old Testament.

“In the United States, Thanksgiving is historically a day to praise and thank God the Father for blessings and to ask Him to heal the wounds of the nation. It was also a national day of penitence to humbly repent for our sinfulness and disobedience. 

“Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving:

“As a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

This writing, posted last week on social media by Monica Stewart Goings of Florien, touched our hearts.

“Been thinking a lot today about being a parent. My heart is broken for a family that has lost their child. And with that, as with each time a loss like that occurs, it causes me to stop and think about life… most especially about being a parent.

“For parents that truly love and appreciate their kids, we go through life keeping the unspoken fears tucked neatly in the back of our subconscious mind. We don’t look at those fears, we don’t discuss those fears, we do our best to keep them at bay.

“And then… tragedy strikes.

“And the subconscious mind releases the lock and we are flooded with fear.

“No one tells us when our babies are small that life is not going to be what you think it is supposed to be. No one tells us that what we assume is a correct order of nature is not, in fact, a reality. Neither age nor number will ever dictate the processes of life and death.

“To anyone taking the time to absorb these ramblings of a mother, please listen to this and hear me well.

“Your kids do not NEED the latest phone. Your kids do not NEED a big, fancy home.

“Your kids do not NEED you to bring home the six-figure income.

“Your kids need Jesus. It is YOUR responsibility to lead, guide and direct them to a personal relationship with our Savior. Do it. Start today if you haven’t already.

“Folks, you are not guaranteed the next breath… much less the next day, week, year.

“Don’t fail them. Please don’t fail them.”

David Ryals, left, of the Lousiana Rural Water Association, presents Jeremy Koss of the Many Water Department the Water Operator of 2020 for North Louisiana  Award. Koss has worked for the Town of Many since 1996.
Pictured left to right are Many Town Clerk Amie Brown, LRWA representative David Ryals, Water Operator Jeremy Koss and Mayor Ken Freeman.

Last week Jeremy Koss of the Town of Many Water Department received a prestigious award from the Louisiana Rural Water Association. His peers from around the state chose Jeremy as the Water Operator of 2020 for North Louisiana. This award is presented annually and is a high honor. 

David Ryals, Circuit Rider with the Louisiana Rural Water Association, came to Many to present Jeremy with the award. Ryals said that when Jeremy’s name was brought up to be considered for the honor, many operators from around North Louisiana immediately agreed that Jeremy was highly respected and very deserving of the award.

Jeremy, his wife Ashley LeMoine Koss, and their three daughters, Kaley, Braxton, and Reese, are a close-knit family. His wife and daughters are extremely proud of the award that their hard-working husband and dad received.

Jeremy Koss of Many grew up wanting to go to college and become a coach. After he graduated from Many High School, he attended Northwestern State University and studied to fulfil his career dreams. But something happened that changed his plans.

Jeremy took a part-time job in the Street and Clean-Up Department to help pay his college expenses. Then, in 1997, he moved over to the Water Department. He was still working part-time and attending college.

It didn’t take long for Jeremy to figure out that he could make as much working in Many’s Water Department as he could being a coach. So, he changed his career path and went to work for the Water Department full time in 1998.

Jeremy moved out to the Water Plant in 2012, and he still works there today. He has earned his Level 4 Certifications in water production and water distribution and his Level 2 Certification in water treatment.

Congratulations to Jeremy Koss on the receipt of this honor.

Rick and Mary Beth Tarver

Rick and Mary Beth Tarver of Ft. Jesup have been selected as the 2020 Honorary Parade Marshals for the Town of Many’s 2020 Christmas Parade on Dec. 19.

Better known as “MiMi” and “Papa Rick” to their family and good friends, the pair are long-time educators well known for their work with children.

The couple has made their home in Ft. Jesup for more than 50 years. High school sweethearts, they met while students at Many High School. After graduation, they headed to Northwestern State University to continue their educations. 

Mary Beth and Rick married in 1967. They have three children who kept them busy as the kids grew up. Now they have seven grandchildren, who have taken up the task of keeping their grandparents busy as ever.

Mary Beth Tarver is a well-known educator. She began her teaching career at Many High School in 1967 where she taught in the math and science departments. In 1991, she transferred to Northwestern State University’s business department. She still is employed there and teaches computer information system courses.

During her long teaching career she taught all four of her siblings:  Marg, Sis, JoAnn, and Bill. She also taught her three children – Matt, Tori, and Andy, as well as several generations of Many Tiger and NSU Demon fans.

MiMi spends her time away from the classroom on the family farm caring for their animals – mostly horses. She takes care of her daily chores and each year has conducted horse camps for several generations of young campers.

Mimi’s children all say that you will want to come back to life as one of Mimi’s animals if you believe in reincarnation. Her love of animals is one reason she believes so strongly in the work of the Sabine Humane Society where she helps out whenever she can.

Rick Tarver interrupted his college years to join the National Guard. He graduated from Ft. Benning, GA, as a 2nd Lieutenant, served in various command positions and retired after 25 years in the Guard.

He then returned to college at NSU where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Ultimately, he received his PhD in education at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Rick’s teaching career began at Ebarb and then Many Junior High School where he taught and also coached football.

He joined Norm Fletcher of Natchitoches as one of the voices of NSU Demon Football in the 1970s and ‘80s. 

Rick joined NSU as a teacher in the business department in 1997. After 25 years of service to NSU, he retired.

His retirement years are spent with MiMi and his grandchildren, keeping him busy doing what a retired service man, teacher and farmer does. Rick continues to find time once in a while to watch a football game or NASCAR race on the weekends.

The Tarvers are longtime, active members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Many. 

Their devotion to their church, their family, and their community for so many years are only a few of the reasons they were selected as the Honorary Parade Grand Marshals for the 2020 Many Christmas Parade to be held on Saturday, Dec. 19 in downtown Many.

A special thank you to Mary Brocato for the two articles above featuring Jeremy Koss and the Tarvers.

K-9 Deputy Nick Sandel, right, received a special award from Sabine Sheriff Aaron Mitchell, second from right, for his service above and beyond the call of duty. Shown at left is Chief Deputy Brad Walker and Sgt. David Remedies, second from left.

Sabine K-9 Deputy Nick Sandel was recognized Friday for his efforts in applying a tourniquet to a man who was seriously bleeding. The act saved his life. The presentation of a nice plaque recognizing Sandel’s actions was made by Sheriff Aaron Mitchell, Chief Deputy Brad Walker and Sgt. David Remedies.

“The Sheriff’s Office believes in the recognition of its deputies, their actions and outstanding efforts in service to the community and their fellow deputies,” Sheriff Mitchell said.

On Saturday night, Oct. 24, patrol units were dispatched to the Florien area in response to a 911 call of a disturbance. Deputy Sandel was the first to arrive on the scene and found a male subject with a large laceration. Without regard for his personal safety, Deputy Sandel immediately began first aid.  He applied a tourniquet to the injury and followed procedures to restrict the blood flow until medics could arrive.

Sheriff Mitchell commented, “His quick response, recognition of the severity of the medical emergency, immediate actions and effective first aid resulted directly in saving the life of the individual. A delay or failure to act could have led to a tragic outcome. Due to his dedication and willingness to preserve life, Deputy Sandel did go above and beyond his duties to save this individual.  His actions reflect credit upon himself and the department he serves.”

It turns out that only a short while before the incident, the Sheriff’s Department had a training session which included teaching on how to properly apply a tourniquet. This is a good example of how the training sessions Sheriff Mitchell has implemented are paying off for Sabine citizens. There are more training sessions to come, and the people of Sabine Parish are very grateful to have a man with a passion for doing a good job and serving to his utmost – Sheriff Aaron Mitchell.

Ty Cole Veuleman

It is with great sadness we learned of the tragic accidental death of Ty Cole Veuleman of Florien. He was only 17. Ty was an up-and-coming dirt track race car driver. He died Wednesday of last week in a freak accident at the Cocke County Convenience Center in Hartford, TN.

Deputy Lt. Chris Gregg, who arrived on the scene just before 6 p.m., found Stacy Veuleman, father of the victim, holding his deceased son.

Matthew Engle said he was called by an unidentified friend about the incident and rushed to the scene in an attempt to help. He found a 1971 Ford pickup partially on the victim’s chest. He used a jack to raise the vehicle and then removed the victim from under the wheel of the truck. He said the victim was not breathing.

Lt. Gregg said he learned the victim had had trouble starting the truck. The father said he had to short out the solenoid switch to start the truck. Investigators say it appeared the truck fell onto the right side of the victim.

They determined that even through the truck showed to be in “park,” it began rolling as the towing company attempted to load it after the accident.

Ty had raced at the Thunder Valley dirt track in Louisiana, and two weekends ago raced at Volunteer Speedway at Bulls Gap, TN in the Crate Late Model National Championship.

Observations extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Ty Veuleman.

Thank you to Dr. Ted Mims, a native of Many, for supplying us with the above information. Mims now is retired and lives in Springfield, IL.

Suddenlink? Not hardly. “Brokenlink” is more like it.

Something needs to be done about Suddenlink’s lack of service in Many. It is horrendous.

We have had a bundle deal with them for some years now, which includes internet service, a landline and cable TV.

We have also had an unbelievable amount of trouble with Suddenlink’s services since well before Hurricane Laura came through. Their service had not been dependable for some time – in fact, you could almost pretty much count on interrupted services anytime there was so much as a hard rain in the area.

We have not had landline telephone service for several weeks now. We have called, we have written, we have withheld payment and thus far nothing has done any good.

Their system of “contact” is laughable as it is impossible to reach a live person, much less get an opportunity to schedule a repair technician.

Is there anyone actually working at Suddenlink except the unreachable folks who send out the company’s bills and then deposit our payments into their bank account?

Mayor Ken Freeman wrote the company months ago about their lack of service and attention to Many.  I don’t know if they even had the courtesy to respond.

We are happy to learn the Town of Many has received several generous grants recently.

A Community Grant from the local Many Walmart was received in the amount of $2,500 to help offset costs of this year’s Christmas Parade and Fireworks show.

Additionally, another $1,000 – $500 from AEP-SWEPCO and $500 from CLECO – was also received.

All of these were used for Christmas lights that have been put up throughout the downtown Many area along with seasonal decorations. The remainder will be used for the upcoming holiday fireworks show and the purchase of age-appropriate prize giveaways which will be given to Sabine children prior to the fireworks at the Sabine Parish Fairgrounds on Saturday night, December 19.

Prizes will be awarded at the Fairgrounds immediately after the “Together Apart” 2 p.m. downtown Many Christmas parade on Dec. 19. There will be tables set up at the Fairgrounds for children to register for prizes according to age.

Please note:  social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer will be available along the parade route through town, which will have four entrances to allow controlled access to the sidewalk, and the same precautions will be taken at the Fairgrounds.

“To those merchants who have made these donations and grants to the Town of Many for Christmas decorations and prizes and to our Police Department, we the people of Many sincerely thank you,” said Mayor Ken Freeman. He continued, “We know that your generous donations and grants will be returned to you many times over as people come to Many to shop and enjoy the festivities of the Christmas parade and fireworks.”

The grant for the Many Police Dept. that the mayor referenced was a Good Neighbor Citizenship State Farm Company grant that was received in the amount of $4,851.50. The grant was applied for to provide much-needed new protective equipment for the Town of Many Police Department.

“With regard to our police department grant, State Farm’s donation will allow our police force to be more efficient and effective as they protect and serve your employees, customers, and the citizens of the Town of Many,” Mayor Freeman explained.

By our calculations, the above grants total almost $8,500 that the Town of Many was able to secure for the benefit of our community without having to dip into the poor, ole hardworking taxpayer’s pocket. We much appreciate the time and efforts made to apply for and follow through with receiving these grant monies. Every dollar obtained in this way is one less the taxpayer has to pay. That’s always a big plus in our book. 

The Turn-Ups: from left, James Wagley, Robert Rowe and Ken Cardino

Ever since late June, when the Turn-Ups set up on the sidewalk in front of Sabine Theater in downtown Many and presented a free musical concert, you have heard Observations mention this talented group at least once a month. Their first street concert inspired the creation of a five-concert series – one show a month from July until November. Turn-Ups bandleader James Wagley tells more about what this unanticipated pandemic has done for the local music scene and the Turn-Ups’ role in that endeavor:

“The idea of recent outside venues came out of the Turn-Ups’ frustration with Phase Two Pandemic guidelines which did not allow for live music to be performed inside a building,” Wagley recently explained. “Not to be dissuaded from playing, the Turn-Ups got permission from the Town of Many to set up in front of the old Sabine Theater just to play a set for anyone wanting to listen. The Town of Many and several core sponsors picked up the idea and with Laurie Gentry’s leadership, the Town of Many scheduled a series of monthly Social Distance Socials which began in July and ended on November 14.”

Wagley is enthusiastic that a second series can begin in spring of next year.

The group’s free “Standing Strong” late June concert sparked the idea for an outdoor Social Distance Social series where folks could sit on the street or walk around and enjoy the fellowship of music without having to go inside a theater or restaurant. Though they sometimes invited guest musicians to sit in, often the Turn-Ups simply drew on their own varied musical backgrounds to present a show that was particularly enjoyable and effective as street entertainment.  

The band, James Wagley on Bass and vocals, Ken Cardino on guitar and lead vocals and Robert Rowe on drums, is comprised of three musicians from Natchitoches and Sabine Parish who have been playing together and with other regional bands since the mid-‘60s.

“Robert and I founded the Frats in 1965, the first Rock band in Sabine Parish,” Wagley said. Along with Robert and James, original band members included Jack Corley, Greg Founds and Gary Troha. The Frats played somewhere in Northwest Louisiana almost every weekend throughout the members’ high school years.

“Ken Cardino has performed in local and regional bands since the early 1960s and has been singing since the early ‘80s. He is steeped in Blues, Classic Rock and ‘old’ Country. Kenny has been in many bands over the years and is a skilled artist as well as graphic and recording artist,” Wagley shared. Kenny and James made up two-thirds of the Harmon Drew Super Group string section until Harmon’s musical retirement in 2018. These two have been performing and writing songs together since the early ‘70s.

“Robert, the original Frats and Rock Foundation drummer, reunited with Cardino and me over the past four years,” Wagley said. “Most recently, [my son] Chris Wagley has joined the Turn-Ups while continuing with his single act where he performs an eclectic musical genre from ‘Outlaw Country’ to Blues, Jazz classics and more.”

The Turn-Ups have wide musical appeal due to the members’ varied background, tastes and generational differences. They generally play as a four-piece band in smaller venues, but sometimes add a horn section with extra singers for larger events.

Their stated mission is to bring live music to local venues. And you can find them doing just that – playing a wide range of musical styles, including Classic Rock and Country, Rockabilly, Blues, Americana, Rhythm and Blues, and original tunes – every 3rd Saturday of the month at Bayou Crawfish Restaurant in downtown Many from 6 to 9 p.m. The group also plays other restaurants, fairs, festivals, private parties, and corporate events throughout the Ark-La-Tex.

To take a look at their work, visit Facebook/the Turn-Ups page for photos and videos. For bookings, contact James Wagley at (318) 602-9206, or contact Kenny Cardino at (318) 470-0424 or

That’s a wrap for this Thanksgiving week. As always, thanks for reading.


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