Wednesday, April 24, 2019

We are rather behind on Observations since we have been gone for a couple of weeks, so we are attempting to somewhat catch up this week.

Some of the folks who live in our neighborhood and a few special Many friends got together for a cruise to the Yucatan in Mexico recently. In the group were, first row, left to right: Kayla Hataway, Kelli Hataway and Vicki Isgitt. Second row: Carolyn Gates, Laurie Gentry, Diane Migliore, Donna Ammons, Cheryl Wooley, Mary Ellen Freeman and Larry Hataway. Third row: John Migliore, Mr. Observations, Mayor Ken Freeman, Kenneth Ammons, Donnie Wooley and Alan Isgitt. Not pictured is Bob Gates.

My wife Laurie and I, right, with my daughter Jody, left, and grandson Jayden, center.

The next day after returning from the neighborhood cruise, we left for another cruise with daughter Jody and grandson Jayden. They now live in Tega Cay, SC, and Jayden was out of school for Spring Break. We had a wonderful time. It just ended too soon.

Springtime means that snakes are out – some of them poisonous, so be careful. Shown above is Daniel Allen with a coral snake he came upon while working.

Daniel Allen, owner of Daniel Allen Pest Services of Many, had what could have been a close call on April 3 about 6 p.m. when he was bitten by a coral snake. He was taken by helicopter to LSU in Shreveport. He was not given the anti-venom because he did not show signs of respiratory distress or neurological problems, but he was in a lot of pain. He said that prayers from a lot of people pulled him through.  Thankfully, he was back at work the next week.

Coral snakes have the second-strongest venom of any snake, but are generally considered less dangerous than rattlesnakes because the coral snake has a less effective poison-delivery system.

The coral snake has bands of red that touch smaller bands of yellow. There are look-alikes with similar bands of red, yellow and black, such as the common milk snake, but remember if, “Red touches yellow, kill a fellow.”

And the story doesn’t end there. On April 9, Daniel was spraying for mosquitos on the edge of his woods line and found another coral snake. So, again we caution readers to be alert and careful of coral and other snakes.

Left: A swarm of bees nestled under a picnic table at Double D’s Burgers & More in Zwolle recently, and Right: Beekeeper Coy Birdwell carefully collects the bees to transport them to his bee box hives located near his home in Marthaville,

Double D’s Burgers and More at 2445 Obrie St. in Zwolle had to close down a while on April 16 because hundreds stopped by that they just couldn’t handle. Owner Dewayne Martinez said a large swarm of bees took over the place when they landed under an outside picnic table and stayed. He temporarily closed the drive-in because he didn’t want anyone to get stung.

The next day, beekeeper Coy Birdwell of Marthaville came over and got the bees.  And Double D’s opened up again that afternoon.

If you have an unwanted swarm or hive of bees, give Coy a call. His number is (318) 472-6711, and he’d love to take them off your hands. We can sure vouch for the honey his bees make! We trust the honey from the Double D’s bees will be just as wonderful as the rest of Double D’s food.

With this column, I start my sixth year of writing Observations for  It’s a lot of enjoyment doing it each week and I appreciate Tedd Dumas for allowing me the opportunity. I am also very appreciative of each and every reader. It is a pleasure to read and enjoy the comments shared each week by our readers who follow the Facebook post link to the column, and I also thank the many readers who faithfully visit each week to see Observations. Though we don’t see names or locations of those readers, every click made on Observations is counted, and it is an impressive number. I truly appreciate you all.

Just before we hit the high seas, Bethsadia Baptist Church of Many held their 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off and it was a big success despite the cool, rainy weather. In fact, the weather actually added to the enjoyment of the chili for everyone, best we could tell.

Once again, my wife Laurie and I were asked to help judge the entries. This year, the other chili cook-off judges were Nichols owner Lauren Moore and husband Sean, Chamber of Commerce Director Shanna Gaspard, Sheriff Ronny Richardson and State Farm Insurance Agent Buddy Wood.

 We had a great time and appreciate all that Bethsadia Baptist does for the community. Hats off to Pastor Jay Begbie, his wife Sissy and all of their congregation for a great event.

Awarded 1st Place in the 2nd Annual Bethsadia Baptist Church Chili Cook-Off was Junior Johnson, left, shown with Pastor Jay Begbie. Walker Automotive got 2nd Place, center. They were represented by Sissy Begbie, Pastor Jay’s wife who works at there. Earning 3rd Place was Foy Motors, represented by Melton Millikan, right.
Winning the Tasters’ Choice Award was Shannon Self, upper left, and Hottest Chili went to Louisiana Senate Candidate Rodney Schamerhorn, upper right. Shown below are the church pastor and his wife along with the chili cook-off judges. Left to right are Pastor Jay Begbie, Sheriff Ronny Richardson, Lauren Moore, Sean Moore, Sissy Begbie, Laurie Gentry, Yours truly and Chamber of Commerce Director Shanna Gaspard.

The damage done by the tornado that hit Fisher Sunday afternoon, April 14, is still evident. Many large trees were blown down and there was damage to homes and other structures. One of the photos above show the damage to a home when a tree fell on it. The other shows just how close a home came to being hit by trees. We want to recognize Fisher Mayor Susan Slay for her support and leadership during this crisis.

In business news around and about: Dairy Queen is now Dairy Mark and will be opening soon. Everyone is looking forward to the opening of Curtis Pharmacy. The building looks ready. Hopefully it will open sometime during May. We’ll keep you posted. Burger King has been completely remodeled and is now open. The new look is great. And the foundation is being poured for Toledo Health out near Toledo Town.

Town of Many Alderman at Large Mary Brocato recently announced she will seek to remain in her position on the City Council in the upcoming fall election.

Brocato is well-known throughout the area for her many years as an educator at Many High School and Northwestern State University, and more recently for her work as chairperson of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee. Early in her career, she served as Press Secretary for Gov. John McKeithen. She has also worked as a reporter and writer, as well as a producer and director of television news. Brocato holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism.

Mary Brocato, Candidate for Town of Many Alderman at Large

She was appointed to the Council by Mayor Ken Freeman in December 2018 after the death of Barbara Peterson, who was Alderman at Large on the City Council.

“Six months ago, Many Mayor Ken Freeman appointed me to the City Council to fill the position created by the sad death of Barbara Peterson. I told the mayor that I would have to think about it before I decided if I would run for the City Council alderman at large position in the special election to be held in October 2019,” Brocato said.

In the last several years, Brocato has been instrumental in getting a cultural district in Many organized, which is part of a statewide downtown revitalization program for areas to celebrate their local culture, music, art, literature and history.

From that effort sprang “Movies in Many” and “Music in Many,” two series that provide free and low-cost entertainment to Sabine Parish families. To start “Movies in Many,” renovation of the historic Sabine Theater was critical, which Brocato spearheaded with the Cultural District Advisory Committee, helping raise funds to purchase a new screen and other items needed to renovate and redecorate the theater.

Another major project Brocato has helped oversee is the current renovation at the historic Many Depot on Hwy. 171 Bypass so it may be used for a Sabine “No Man’s Land” museum, which will hopefully open this summer.

Other Cultural District projects under Brocato’s leadership include monthly “Happy Hours” Art, Photography, Jewelry-making and Crafts classes at the Depot, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis tribute concerts, Mom’s Morning Out movies and childcare, the construction and installation of free lending libraries throughout town, as well as helping with the beautification of downtown with new decorative railings and handholds.

“I truly enjoy serving on the City Council because it gives me the ability to do even more for our town and our people to make Many an even better community to live, work and enjoy life in. After much thought and prayer, I have decided that I WILL RUN for the Many City Council in October. I want to continue to serve our citizens and our community and will work very hard to help make Many an even better place for us all to to live. I hope you will vote for me in October. Thank you for your confidence in me and for your support and vote,” Brocato shared in a written statement.

Two hardworking, lovely young ladies: Presley Stewart, left, and Annalise Sylvia, right –

Some local ladies made it onto the Demons Cheer Squad at Northwestern State University when auditions were held April 13-14, and we couldn’t be more proud. They are Presley Stewart, the daughter of Bo and Lisa Stewart of Florien, and Annalise Sylvia, the daughter of Chris and Frances Sylvia of Many.

Congratulations to Presley and Annalise. We wish them the best at NSU!

God is still in the miracle business.

Like most churches, over the years our church has seen a decline in overall attendance and, of course, with that comes a decline in finances as well.

As we all know, it takes money to maintain the sanctuary and other buildings, money to hold programs for the youth, serve the community, buy supplies, and keep a good church staff.

A roof on one of the buildings at First United Methodist Church of Many recently reached the end of its guaranteed life and had begun to suffer disrepair, so it was decided a replacement had to be funded. A few other projects were also needed around the property. So, with God’s leadership, Pastor Gloria Youngblood and church leaders undertook to ask the congregation to prayerfully consider what God would have each family give to the effort to get a new roof on.

It was explained the total expense to do everything on the “to-do” list would be $92,000, but of those needs the roof was first priority. We all hoped enough would come in to get the roof done, but we weren’t sure about how much might come in for the other items on the list.

Easter Sunday was designated as “Miracle Sunday,” and that is when a one-time special offering was taken. We are happy to report over $102,000 came in – $10,000 above the needed amount to do all the work needed around the church.

All that our pastor and church leaders asked was for members to pray and seek God’s leadership as to how much they could afford to give. That was it.

The Holy Spirit did its work, and on Easter Sunday we celebrated not only God’s greatest miracle, but also the small, every day miracles God faithfully works when we take the time to seek and act upon His guidance.

FUMC-Many’s beautiful new labyrinth, left, and a handmade cross, right, made by Skyler Gilcreast. The cross was featured at the center of the labyrinth following the stations of the cross, which were presented along the path for Good Friday and Easter weekend.

Members of First United Methodist Church of Many have also been busy building a beautiful labyrinth on the once-vacant lot across Main Street from the front of the sanctuary and Family Life Center.

Many persons participated in its design and installation, and we will feature a full article on the project in an upcoming Observations. Suffice to say for now, lots of hard work had the special site ready for use by Good Friday and Easter weekend.

It has been enjoyed by several already and is a unique addition to our community’s worship opportunities.

That’s a wrap. We appreciate your faithful readership these last five years, and I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas for future columns. Call me at (318) 332-7873 or send an email to To see recently archived Observations, scroll through the pages below. For older ones, visit our Observations page on Facebook, where they are listed under Photos and dated in Albums. To print, send or save this week’s columns, please click on the icon below.


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