Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific rail companies are set to merge.

The merger of Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion acquisition of Kansas City Southern has been approved by federal regulators and will link the United States, Canada and Mexico.

It was reported that combining the companies will have little to no track redundancies or overlapping routes and is also expected to add more than 800 new union jobs.

The new single-line service is expected to shift about 64,000 truckloads annually from North America’s roads to rail.

The impact on Sabine Parish by the merger will be that about 12 more trains per day will be on the tracks between Kansas City, MO and Beaumont, TX.

Dr. Jessica Zhang, head of the Department of News Media, Journalism and Communication Arts, congratulates Robert Gentry on receiving the 2023 Distinguished Communications Professional Award Friday, March 17, at Northwestern State University.
Attending the awards ceremony were, left to right, Laurie Gentry, Judge Verity Gentry, Amber Gentry and Carson Sepulvado.

I was very fortunate to have been selected to receive the 2023 Distinguished Communications Professional Award at Northwestern State University on Friday, March 17.  Eight other graduates of NSU also received the award.  The presentations were made by Dr. Steve Horton, director of the Louisiana School for Math, Arts and Science, and his wife, Emilyn.

Others receiving the recognition were Doug Ireland, the late Carley McCord, Dan McDonald, James Mustian, Denise Lewis Patrick, the late Jerry Pierce, Tom Whitehead and Gary Fields.

I consider this a great honor, and I am indebted to Northwestern for remembering me.  And I might add we missed David West, head of the Northwestern News Bureau, at the affair.

And some political news.  We understand that Jeff Evans held a press conference Tuesday to announce his candidacy for Sabine Parish Sheriff.  It was held at the Zwolle Festival Grand Pavilion.

It was reported that former Sabine Sheriff Ronny Richardson and others would be there to endorse him. Richardson was beaten by Sheriff Aaron Mitchell in his bid for re-election about three years ago.

In other news, former Deputy Coby Lang quit his job at the Sheriff’s Office a few weeks ago, and rumors keep flying around that he is going to run for Sheriff.  Also talk is going around that his father, pharmacist Robby Lang, might be looking at throwing his hat in the ring, but we doubt that’s true.

Word is Jeff came to Coby and said, “Why don’t you not run for sheriff, but instead support me and if I get elected, I will name you Chief Deputy?  I will serve a term or so, and you can then be in a good position to be elected.”  We’ll see.

“Re-Elect Aaron Mitchell Sheriff” yard signs popped up all over Sabine last weekend. This one was seen on Ponder St. in Many.

Reports are that Sheriff Mitchell got an order in of 500 campaign yard signs on Friday afternoon and by Monday morning, his campaign was out of signs – every one of them had been put out. We hear more signs are on order, and the Sheriff much appreciates all the support given him and the people who want signs.

“Get Well” wishes to Leigh Ann Mitchell

And we want to send get well wishes to Sheriff Mitchell’s wife, Leigh Ann.  She has had some health concerns, but is now back home and reports are that she is recovering well.  We wish her good health and a speedy recovery.

Police Juror Stephen Steinke, left, Rep. Alan Seabaugh, center, and Sabine Chief Deputy Brad Walker, right, visit at last Thursday’s “Keep Louisiana Pro-Life” rally.

A “Keep Louisiana Pro-Life” rally was held Thursday, March 16, outside Calvary Baptist Church in Many. Rep. Alan Seabaugh attended and spoke briefly as did Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill. Among those present were Police Juror Stephen Steinke, Sabine Chief Deputy Brad Walker, and Pastor Frank Ebarb and wife Nelda of Word of Truth Church.

Rep. Seabaugh stopped by to see Observations before the event, and we appreciated the visit.

“’Keep Louisiana Pro-Life’ is designed to raise awareness and to encourage people to contact their legislators to keep Louisiana pro-life,” Seabaugh shared. “That’s what the focus of this is.”

There are deep concerns that a hard push will be made in the legislature to make abortion legal in Louisiana since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the legality of abortion was returned to the states for them to decide on a state-by-state basis.

Solicitor General Liz Murrill, left, candidate for Louisiana Attorney General, greets pro-life rally speaker Alex Seghers, right, at the event outside Calvary Baptist Church in Many.

“I’ve been 100 per cent with Louisiana Right to Life since I’ve been elected,” Seabaugh shared in his visit to Observations. “I’ve always voted with them, and I’ve always been one of the floor leaders and they’re friends of mine. So, I’m here today to show my support.”

Chemical abortion survivor Michele Smith, shown bottom left, along with Kelly Thurmon, Kathy Ellzey and Suzanne Leitz were on hand for last week’s pro-life event.

There was more than one abortion survivor attending the rally Thursday, and their accounts were heart-touching. One survivor of attempted abortion was Michele Smith, who shared with Observations the circumstance of her and her sister’s births.

“Back in the early 1960s, chemical abortion was pretty popular for taking care of an unwanted pregnancy,” Smith explained. “My sister and I were about 11 months apart, and my mom was in a desperate situation financially, so she decided to go see her doctor who attempted a chemical abortion on both of us. It was 18 pills a day and three shots in his office for three days. We think it was saline, but we survived. God had a plan for us, and we are so grateful to be here today representing life!” Smith said.

Louisiana Right to Life Director of Education Alex Seghers spoke about the vital need for pro-life people to contact their legislators to continue to voice deep support for the pro-life position.

At the end of his remarks, Rep. Alan Seabaugh, right, introduced Solicitor General Liz Murrill, left, before she spoke to those gathered at the pro-life event last week.

Though Louisianans are currently 60 per cent pro-life, Seghers said, “We cannot naively assume that Louisiana will remain a pro-life state. Now, more than ever, legislators and state leaders will be relentlessly hounded to change their position and make abortion legal in this state.”

Dustin Bertrand, who was driving the big pro-life event bus to its 30 stops across the state, talked about the agonizing discovery that his birth was the product of a violent rape his mother endured as a young woman. As he spoke, he debunked a few pro-abortion talking points.

“[Pro-abortion folks] will tell you that a child born of rape is too painful a reminder for the mother to endure, that our physical characteristics and simply our existence can traumatize the mother,” he said. “It’s just not true,” he said. “My mother told me, ‘Dustin, I could never forget the horror of that night whether I had become pregnant or not. Nothing can erase that, but you are a wonderful blessing. You are a precious gift that I thank God for every day,’” he shared.

Dustin Bertrand shared the touching story of his beginnings at the “Keep Louisiana Pro-Life” rally last Thursday.

Samantha Kelly, Cenla Coordinator of the event, said “We are pro-life from the womb to the tomb without exception,” as she noted their “Protect all Babies and Help All Moms” message in large letters on the bus. “We need you to contact your legislators regularly and visit,” she requested.

“When we get a call from an expectant mother in crisis, we ask ‘What do you need? How can we help you?’” Seghers shared. “We want to help everyone,” she reiterated, “Regardless of the situation or if someone has already taken the abortion pill. We want to help that mother get needed healthcare, love and healing.”

Prior to the recent Roe v. Wade decision, Shreveport was Louisiana’s abortion capitol. A total of 7,000 to 8,000 babies were aborted per year in Shreveport, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Seghers explained the current situation at former Louisiana abortion centers, “In a crisis pregnancy, Planned Parenthood does not provide money for prenatal care or adoptive services, but they will cover the financial expense and provide every path possible for a woman to get an abortion elsewhere.”

Any woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy, whether seeking an abortion or not, is encouraged by the group to visit to find support, help and love.

(Thanks to my wife Laurie for the above article.)

Looks like a full house for the Sabine Hall of Fame banquet next Tuesday evening at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Hall in Zwolle. Chris Loupe of Zwolle will be the new inductee into the Hall of Fame. He joins his father, the late Rogers Loupe, in that distinguished group.  It will be the first time the Hall of Fame has had a second-generation inductee.


Sabine Hall of Fame Sports Award recipient Tia Holmes

Tia Q. Holmes will be honored with the Sports award next Tuesday, March 28, at the Sabine Hall of Fame banquet at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall in Zwolle. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program starts at 6:30.

Tia is the 19-year-old daughter of Destrick and Quanteequa Holmes and has two brothers, D.J. Holmes and Tre Edmonson.

Tia is a 2022 graduate of Many High School, finishing her high school career with a 3.5 GPA. She is currently enrolled at LSU-Alexandria on an athletic scholarship studying Radiology.

The young woman has played softball since she was three years old. She started with Many Dixie Youth, Sabine Shock Traveling Team, Many Jr. High Lady Tigers and Many High Lady Tigers. She is excited and honored to continue her career with LSU-A.

Some of Tia’s outstanding accomplishments include:

– Participation in the 2010 and 2017 State Championship teams for Sabine Dixie Youth League

– LSCA 1st Team All-State Utility 2019

– LSCA 1st Team All-State Pitcher 2021 and 2022

– LSWA 1st Team All-State Pitcher 2021 and 2022

Shreveport Times Offensive Player of the Year 2021 and 2022

– All-CENLA 1st Team Pitcher 2021 and 2022

– 1st Team All-District Pitcher 2019, 2021 and 2022

– District 3-2A MVP 2021 and 2022

– MHS Team MVP 2021 and 2022

– +400 Batting Average 2021 and 2022

– Most RBI 2021 and 2022

– MHS Career Homerun Leader (37) 2022

– MHS State Champions 2021 and 2022

– LHSAA Class 2-A State Tournament MVP 2021 and 2022

With Tia’s sophomore season cancelled due to Covid, her family says, “We can only imagine how she would have done with the year of 2020 stats included. During this time, she spent countless hours working at home to improve herself.”

In 2022, District 3-2A, Tia pitched a perfect semi-final game and a shutout in the finals of her Senior Year. After winning the State Championship, Tia commented in an interview, “Last year, when we were here, we had it on our minds, and we said we were coming back. All six seniors who have been together since t-ball, and that’s all we dreamed of. We thank God for giving us the opportunity.”

Tia says she has always been used to pressure. She always had confidence in their lineup that they would give her enough runs to win no matter whether she was on or not. She said she has had the privilege of working with the best and most hardworking teammates and coaches. That gave her the opportunity to gain great leadership skills and the opportunity to develop into the talented athlete she is today.

Anyone wishing to attend the banquet on March 28 should immediately call Nell Britner at (318) 256-4344 to see if any tickets remain. We heard the Sabine Hall of Fame banquet is sold out thanks to the public’s support of the honorees who will be awarded this year.

Foy Motors is a major sponsor of this year’s Sabine Hall of Fame Banquet to be held March 28. Shown presenting a check to Hall of Fame Board Member Laurie Gentry, center, are Foy staff (from left) Jerry Lynn Garcie, Dale Barnhill, Alli Guevara and Josh Haigh. The Sabine Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held next Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Hall in Zwolle. With the support of Foy Motors and other sponsors, the organization will formally recognize several outstanding citizens of Sabine Parish, past and present, whose achievements and contributions have enriched lives throughout the parish. The Sabine Hall of Fame thanks Foy Motors and Manager Robert Hable, Mayor of Many.
Curtis Family Pharmacy employees gather around John Curtis Sr. who, along with son Jess and grandson Tackett, will be honored with a Sports Award at the Sabine Hall of Fame banquet on Tuesday. From left in the front are Heather Harrrington, Julia Hartsfield, Hall of Fame honoree John Curtis and Renee Laroux. Shown back row from left are Wheeler Flaherty, Londyn Sparks, Carolyn Skerlong, Derrick Sweet, Elizabeth Rivers and Mykel Lamer. Curtis Family Pharmacy is a major sponsor of this year’s event, which will honor several Sabine people who have contributed much to life in the parish.

Other major sponsors for the March 28 event are Attorney Anna Garcie, Walmart and Midstream.

Caleb Johnston and Colin Cosenza of Many High School are The Bass Federation/Major League Fishing state champions for 2023.  Congratulations to these two great fishermen.
Tater Reynolds of Florien caught this 12.11 pound fish on March 18 and weighed it in at the Game Changer Tournament at San Miguel.  The fish is number 42 for the May 2022 to May 2023 year.
NSU Fishing Scholarship recipient Cole Pickett, center, is shown with his parents Andrea and Brad Pickett at the scholarship ceremony on Tuesday morning.

Cole Pickett, son of Brad and Andrea Pickett of Many, signed a fishing scholarship with Northwestern State University on Tuesday morning, March 21.

Cole is a 2023 graduate of Many High School and has been on the MHS Fishing Team all four years of high school.

At the scholarship announcement, NSU also shared that Cole is one of 80 incoming freshmen who have been selected to be a part of the NSU President’s Leadership Program.

Congratulations to Cole, his parents, grandfather James and great-grandmother Joann Pickett. It is a wonderful thing to see a young family member awarded for his hard work and good efforts.

SPSO TNT Agents Complete Supervisor Training

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announced on Monday that Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office Tactical Narcotic Team (TNT) Agents Lt. Jesse Branam, Sgt. Josiah Steinke and Sgt. Nick Sandel received 40 hours of training in Supervising Counterdrug Operations – Advanced last month in Bossier City.

The training was hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Louisiana and the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office. The training was also provided at no cost through the Florida National Guard Counterdrug Training Program and St. Petersburg College.

The course emphasized the fundamental policy, leadership skills and legal principles necessary to acquire proficiency in directing the efforts of a proactive drug enforcement team.

Sheriff Mitchell said his Tactical Narcotics Team has worked tirelessly over the last two and one-half years to combat the illegal drug problem in Sabine Parish. With dozens of arrests resulting in federal indictments and convictions, TNT Agents have a record of proven success in the fight against illegal narcotics.

Sheriff Mitchell and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office will continue to aggressively investigate illegal drug dealers in Sabine Parish and ensure Sabine Parish Sheriff Deputies are some of the most highly trained law enforcement officers in the State of Louisiana.

(Special thanks to Det. D.W. Seegers for the above report.)

Mr. Edwin “Ed” Pousson

We were saddened to learn of the death of 104-year-old Ed Pousson on March 13.  He died peacefully in his sleep.  We wrote about him in Observations on his 100th birthday.

He was a World War II veteran, serving in the Navy from 1939-45.  He spent most of his working career at the Exxon Refinery in Baton Rouge.  He retired in 1981 after 35 years of service.  After retirement, he and his wife Maggi moved to Toledo Bend.

We extend our deepest sympathy to members of his family.


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