Winn Parish Pre-K Round Up Scheduled

Winn Parish Pre-K Round Up will begin May 1, 2020. Information for registering a pre-k student for the 2020-2021 school year may be obtained at the following locations: Atlanta High School, Calvin High School, Dodson High School, Winnfield Primary School, and the Winn Parish School Board Office located at 304 E. Court St, Winnfield, Louisiana 71483. 

All students must be four years old on or before September 30, 2020 to enter the four-year-old program. Information required for registration includes:

  1. A completed Winn Parish Early Childhood Application
  2. Income verification
  3. Copy of child’s social security card

The Winn Parish Early Childhood Application will be included in the folders obtained at the above listed locations. Parents/caregivers should provide a copy of the income verification which may be a SNAP/CAFE letter stating the child’s name with a valid effective and end date or two (2) consecutive check stubs for each parent or caregiver (within 2 months April, 2020) or current foster care placement agreement form (DCFS). A copy of the child’s social security card should be included for data entry at the school site. Other information that will be required before the school year begins is a copy of the child’s birth certificate, immunization record, and parent/caregiver’s proof of residence in the form of a current utility bill, Louisiana driver’s license, state-issued ID Card, or current lease/mortgage statement. All completed registration information in folders must be returned to Amanda Taylor at the Winn Parish School Board Office at 304 E Court St in Winnfield, LA by May 22, 2020. Please call Amanda Taylor tot the Winn Parish School Board Office at 318-628-6936 or email if you have any questions or concerns.

Gov. Edwards Extends Stay-at-Home Order Until May 15 to Continue Flattening Curve, Slowing Spread of COVID-19

Tuesday, April 27th, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will extend Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Louisiana does not currently meet the White House criteria for entering Phase One of reopening.

While Louisiana has seen positive, improving trends statewide in terms of new case growth and new hospitalizations, in several regions across the state, new cases and hospitalizations continue to increase or to plateau, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health. The White House criteria calls for declining numbers of new cases and hospitalizations, among other things.

“Thanks to the commitment of the people of Louisiana, our state has made progress in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, we still have a little work to do before we meet the criteria to safely move to the next phase of reopening, so I will extend the state’s Stay at Home order until May 15, with a few minor changes,” Gov. Edwards said. “While this is not the announcement I want to make, I am hopeful, and all of Louisiana should be hopeful, that we will enter into the next phase of reopening soon, in mid-May. I am anxious to get all areas of our economy reopened, but if we accelerate too quickly, we may have to slam on the brakes. That will be bad for public health and for businesses, bad for our people and bad for our state.”

Gov. Edwards’ decision is based on regional data that shows that while overall new cases and hospitalizations have decreased, this is not the case in several regions. In the Baton Rouge and Monroe regions, both new cases and new hospitalizations have increased. Some increases are also being seen in terms of new cases in Acadiana and a plateau for hospitalizations in Southwest Louisiana and a plateau of new cases on the Northshore.

Under the extended order, which will be issued on Friday, May 1, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things.

Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open. Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with fewer than 10 people total inside.

Three major changes in the new Stay at Home order include:
Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.

Restaurants will be allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.

All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.

Additionally, both the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly urge everyone to wear masks when in public.

“Wearing cloth masks or protective face coverings is part of the new normal,” Gov. Edwards said. “Wearing a mask is being a good neighbor and in Louisiana, we pride ourselves on being good neighbors. Your mask protects me and other people and my mask protects you.”

Hopefully, Louisiana will meet the White House criteria and move to Phase 1 on May 15, provided symptoms, new case counts and hospitalizations decrease and the state continues to surge testing and contact tracing capacity. Phase 1 lifts the Stay at Home order and eases restrictions on some public spaces like houses of worship and restaurants and opens other businesses that have been closed such as barber shops and salons, but with restrictions on occupancy and strict requirements for personal distancing and masks to keep everyone safe. Phase One occupancy for these businesses will be limited to 25 percent.

As Louisiana prepares for its next phase of reopening, business owners and faith leaders are encouraged to plan as well, including understanding their building’s maximum occupancy limits, which may require contacting local government or the State Fire Marshal’s office. They should also plan on ensuring their employees have masks.

Gov. Edwards intends to make his next announcement on moving to Phase 1 in Louisiana on or by May 11.

State Officials Respond to Governor Extending “Stay Home” Order

“I am disappointed,” said State Senator Louis Bernard, “I had hoped this would be an avenue to start businesses back to work.” Bernard and Representative Gabe Firment would have preferred a different decision from the Governor.

Bernard said, “The Governor is taking the advice of the medical community. The medical team preaches still maintaining distancing to keep the numbers down. Businesses are significantly hurting, and many may not come back from this.” Bernard added the current situation is really tough and it is causing a lot of stress among business owners and their employees.

Firment said he had hoped the Governor would have implemented Phase 1 of President Trump’s Guidelines for Reopening America on a regional or parish by parish basis. Firment said, “A little perspective: Grant/LaSalle – 33 positive cases per LDH (Louisiana Department of Health). Orleans/Jefferson – 12,469 positive cases. But the Stay at Home Order was arbitrarily applied to the entire state.” Firment added, “More food for thought: We can pack hundreds of people into Lowes or Home Depot, but we are not allowed to worship in church one day a week. You can get an abortion, but you can’t get a haircut….

District 23 Representative Kenny Cox is concerned with opening up too quickly and the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19. Cox said the Governor acted based upon the numbers of cases. Cox said, “What we’re seeing from the rural population, there is an uptick in Natchitoches and DeSoto parishes.”

Representative Cox is concerned with the economy. “Everyone wants to put folks back to work, but you have to follow the rules. If you make the wrong decision you could cost people their lives.”

Cox also is concerned with so many unknowns. He said, “No one can tell me you can’t be reinfected. My grandson told me ‘If you have the money and you are sick or die, what good is it?’ and that’s so.” Cox added, “Two weeks delay may not seem like a lot, but if you have a resurgence of the virus, then what.”

Bernard said there has been “a tsunami of applications coming in. It has clogged the system. The federal and state governments had nothing in place to handle the volume of applications.” Bernard told The Journal he has been working with local banks and they cannot get applications they have received into the system.

Representative Firment added, “Please know that myself and other conservative legislators in the state hear you loud and clear and are working to move our state forward in accordance with President Trump’s phased approach to reopening.”

Then there is the issue of payback. This has not been addressed at the state or federal level. Senator Bernard reminded us, “We will have to consider paying it back. It was almost unanimous in Congress that this had to be done. And I think we’ve learned a lot and to be better prepared next time.”

Louisiana Department of Health Update for 4/28/20

Defend Against COVID-19

Stay home. Follow the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. Only leave your home if it is necessary for essential work or for essential items. Click here to read the Stay at Home order that expires on April 30.

Defend Against COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Recognize the symptoms. Cover your cough. Wash your hands. Stay home especially if you are sick.

Maintain a Social Distance of 6ft. Social distancing means keeping 6ft. of physical space between yourself and others. This helps to prevent the spread of illness.

Organized Ownership

By Kevin Daugherty

In this installment of Land Talk, I’m going to discuss what I call “organized ownership.” Managing joint ownerships, keeping good records, and involving the next generation is extremely important to the business side of rural property ownership and making sure our land is taken care of now and in the future.

A Joint ownership is a property that is held in the name of two or more owners. It can be a real nightmare if the parties don’t get along or have different desires and opinions about how the property should be managed. I see this all the time, and it creates a very awkward situation when I, as a forester or real estate agent, have to assume the role of referee. The scenario typically goes something like this: for one reason or another, the owners haven’t communicated and gotten on the same page about how the property is going to be managed. One or two decide they want to harvest timber or divest of the property altogether. They bring a forester or real estate agent in to attempt to get things rolling and THEN bring the other owners in and propose it to them. For whatever reason, they are against it, and a long and drawn out back-and-forth ensues. This situation often ends in a stalemate where nothing is done at all. Or, even worse, it winds up in court with family members opposing each other.

My advice is to make communication a priority. Don’t wait to talk about it until it’s time to do something. Bring every owner in on a civil conversation. Find out what everyone’s desires for the property are and then attempt to make a plan that satisfies all involved. Don’t leave out the minority (percentage) owners, as they have a say as well. Think ahead about issues you’ll face as an ownership team. Good questions to start with are:

  • How can you get documents signed by all owners in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Who will be the contact person for hunting lessees, foresters, real estate agents, or other professionals that may get involved?  If one or more became owners through heirship, have necessary legal proceedings such as a Succession been completed?
  • Should we form an LLC or not?
  • Do we want to keep the property long-term, or might we wish to sell it at some point? (this could be a critical factor in deciding whether or not to cut timber or enter into a long-term agreement)? 

These are just a few of the issues joint owners face. Keep in mind that, as an owner passes away, he or she may have multiple heirs. That potentially makes one ownership become two or more. Not dealing with these issues up front will likely make things a lot more complicated later down the road. Start now and get these issues resolved before any other action is taken.

Whether you are the sole owner of a rural property or a joint owner, keep organized records. Prepare for the inevitable day when your heirs will need information such as maps, timber cruise and harvest records, information on mineral leases, and contact information for foresters and hunting lessees. Don’t make them have to perform an exhaustive search; make it easy for them.

Get children involved, whether they’re 12 or 30, and make them aware of the details about the property. Don’t assume the next generation is or is not interested. Ask them and listen to what they say. Treat sons and daughters the same, never assuming daughters aren’t interested. Don’t suppress any attempts by the next generation to open the discussion on ownership transition. Regret over conversations not had is a sad thing. Remember, the more they are involved now, the smoother their transition into ownership will be, and, hopefully, the better the property will be managed in the future.

Being organized can increase the enjoyment of land ownership, make the resources easier to manage, and relieve you of some anxiety. Until next time, get out and enjoy your land!

Kevin Daugherty is a forestry and wildlife consultant, real estate agent, and the managing member of ForestLand Associates, LLC. He’s a member of the Association of Consulting Foresters, Louisiana Forestry Association, Society of American Foresters, and is a Land Certification Inspector for the Quality Deer Management Association. He and his wife live in rural Winn Parish. For questions about this article Kevin can be reached at (318) 312-1240 or 

Emergency Election Plan Passes

Louisiana’s emergency election plan has passed the Legislature on a mail ballot, but it was not unanimous among local lawmakers. The plan is to change the voting method for the spring elections. Those elections were postponed from March and April to July and August.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said, “This is a great result for Louisiana’s voters and election workers, especially those most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. I want to thank President Cortez, Speaker Schexnayder, Chairwoman Hewitt, and Chairman Dwight as well as the Attorney General and the Governor for the strong partnership in developing this emergency election plan. Our plan serves as a pragmatic and temporary response to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging our nation. I am grateful the legislature has approved this plan, which will have immediate and positive outcomes for Louisiana voters and residents.”

One member of the area delegation objected to the plan. District 22 Representative Gabe Firment voted “no” on the question. In a message to constituents Firment explained his vote, “Citizens of District 22 please be advised that I voted NO on the Emergency Election Plan. Mail-in voting has a HUGE potential for fraud and could destroy the integrity of our elections.”

Senator Louis Bernard said, “Louisiana will not be a mail-in state. This is a temporary plan that is not applicable to the fall (Presidential) election.” Bernard told The Journal that the plan had been worked out with the Louisiana Attorney General and others and it does not make any drastic changes to the election system.

Bernard said, “We have to accommodate those who have the disease, those who are caring for them, and those under quarantine.”

Fagan’s Visit

By Brad Dison

Michael Fagan was thirty-one-years-old, married, and had four children between the ages of three and ten. Michael was an insomniac. To combat his insomnia, he often wandered around town in the early morning hours. When his wife or other family members asked where he had been, he always replied with a sly grin: “I’ve been to see my girlfriend.” No one took Michael’s explanation seriously. Michael was not having an affair. He had a different interest.

Michael liked to break into a house, the same house, have a look around, and usually left no clues that he had been there. He broke into the same house no less than a dozen times. Rather than breaking in, which implies that he damaged property to get it, Michael always entered through unlocked windows. Michael was no thief. The only thing Michael ever took was what amounted to about half a bottle of cheap wine. Michael just liked being inside this particular house.

At about 6:45 a.m. on July 9, 1982, Michael, exhausted and depressed from lack of sleep, climbed over the railing to the house, walked over to an unlocked window, and climbed in. Uninterested in what he found in that room, rather than going out of the door into the hall, Michael exited the same window he had entered. Michaels craving was not quenched. Outside, Michael climbed a drainpipe to the roof. He removed his sandals and socks for reasons he never revealed. He crossed a narrow ledge and found another unlocked window. In he went.

Michael spent time looking at various pictures on the walls in the hallway, which led him to a doorway. He entered the room and spent a few minutes looking around. Michael broke a glass ash tray with the intent of slashing his wrists. He picked up a shard of the glass and, rather than continuing with his plan, he saw a door in the room and decided to explore what was on the other side.

At about 7:15 a.m., Michael entered the room. Unable to see well in the dimly lit room, Michael opened the curtains to get a better look. As the morning sunlight shone into the room, he found himself staring into the eyes of the lady of the house. Neither Michael nor the lady showed their surprise. They began to talk as if they were old friends although they had never met.

At 7:18 a.m., the lady calmly picked up the telephone and alerted the police. Michael did not react. He could have attacked the lady or he could have run from the room. He waited until the lady hung up the phone and continued his conversation with her. At 7:24 a.m., the lady, astounded that officers had not yet arrived, called the police a second time. As with the first call, Michael made no reaction. During their discussion, Michael asked her for a cigarette. She explained that the cigarettes were in a nearby pantry. As they reached the pantry, help finally arrived. Police arrested Michael and transported him to jail. Rather than spending time in jail for his “visit,” Michael spent six months in a psychiatric hospital.

The house Michael had broken into in the early morning hours of July 9 was originally known as Bucking House, but is now known as Buckingham Palace. The lady with whom Michael had a conversation with was Queen Elizabeth II of England.

If you have questions or comments, please visit

The London Observer, July 11, 1982, p.1.
The London Guardian, July 13, 1982, p.1.
The London Guardian, July 22, 1982, p.2.

Notice of Death April 28, 2020

Please note that the State Law limits number of people during the visitation period and attendance at the service to ten (10) or less and that social distancing be observed! This must be strictly enforced! Thank you in advance for your cooperation. It is designed for the safety of the family, our staff and the general public.

Christopher James Leyda
October 23, 1992 – April 27, 2020
Service: Thursday, April 30 at 2 pm in the Garden of Memories of Winnfield

James Douglas Head
October 05, 1944 – April 27, 2020
Service: Thursday, April 30 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home

James (Jim) Frank Kirkland
April 5, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Hattie Mae Thomas Prudhomme
April 28, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Louisiana Department of Health Update for 4/26/20

Positive cases are reported by parish of residence. Tests are reported by the parish where the test was administered. Only cases of persons testing positive for COVID-19 with accurate and complete address information are matched and counted.

Commercial testing update
Before Friday, LDH reported COVID-19 cases by parish of residence while it reported on tests by the parish where those tests are administered. The Department did this because it was based on data received from commercial labs, but this made it harder to understand the full picture of what COVID-19 testing capacity looked like across the state.

LDH has designed a rigorous method for reporting commercial tests by parish of residence. If it is unclear what the parish of residence is for a person tested, LDH will cross reference using Medicaid information and if that doesn’t work then it will consult LexisNexis.

Up until now, this was a manual process. Taking the time to do this comprehensive review allowed the LDH team to put into place the algorithm to shift from commercial tests reported to commercial tests performed because this is a more meaningful indicator. In making this shift there is a discrepancy of about 35,000 tests. Updated commercial testing data is now on the dashboard. This update does not impact the positive case count.

Tests are assigned to parish based on the location the test is administered, not the parish of residence of the individual being tested. Case and death counts are assigned to Parishes based on patient residence. Patients may be hospitalized or seek care outside their Parish of residence.

All information on the LDH website reflects the most current information provided to the State. It is subject to change based on further investigations, and will be updated accordingly.

Winn Parish Arrest Report

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office
Name: Robert Dewayne Caskey
Date: 4-21-19

Name: Patrick “Bo” Hampton
Date: 4-21-20

Name: Steven Delane Barton
Date: 4-22-20

Name: Rodney E. Bennett
Date: 4-24-20

Winnfield Police Department

No Arrest

Hawk Chick Drama

By Bob Holeman

I hesitate to write of our nesting hawks again so soon for fear of sounding like that friend who opens the conversation with “Here, let me show you some more pictures of my grandchildren.”

But drama demands an update.

It was raining as Sunday’s storm approached a week ago and I was cleaning mildew from the front porch pillars. I spotted what appeared to be s dishrag at the base of the nearby pine and feared correctly that it was the soaked, lifeless body of one of three hawk chicks we’d been observing from our patio.

We buried it in the corner of shrubs near the pine that had been its home for such a short time.

Monday was a pretty day, fresh as always when sun follows rain, and I was happy to report to Diane that I’d spotted the mother in her nest 60 feet up, feeding the two surviving siblings. So we had no qualms as we left home on business early Tuesday, another pleasant morning. Then the drama began.
Upon return, Diane went into the house and I headed around front to check the hawk tree. There on the green grass lay the two chicks, motionless, blowflies buzzing all around. I didn’t approach closely. “A mother’s entire brood, gone,” I thought to myself as I circled back to the kitchen door to give Diane the bad news. I stopped first in the storeroom to get gloves.
We met at the kitchen door but it was Diane who spoke first, telling me she’d gone out the front door, only to see the chicks on the ground. “But they’re alive. They are moving.”

She was right. Like pigeon-size harp seals they lay a few feet apart, with only slight motion of their heads. I fetched an Amazon box, put in some pine straw and carefully placed the little guys with my gloved hands into this shelter from the flies. A burlap bag over the top, like the cover over a parrot’s cage, kept them calm.

As they lay, their beaks were open, tongues out. They looked thirsty. I poured a little bottled water into their open mouths. The first sip seemed to bring lip-smacking appreciation. The second, however, got their attention and they stood up, their developing wings outstretched in protest. This might be good, I thought, as they didn’t appear to be injured despite an impressive fall.

Diane had begun making calls to locate a hawk expert. The vet. The Alexandria Zoo. Wildlife & Fisheries. All led us to a WL&F website for certified wildlife rehabilitators. I spoke with Dale Barry, the raptor guy in Monroe. His plan: create a new nest, interim housing for the hawk family, out of an old milk crate and some pine straw and nail it high on the tree. If the parents accept this and resume feeding their chicks, we’re on our way. If this doesn’t happen by morning, he suggested we’d have to bring the young birds to him. “Or let nature take its course.”

We had the crate and pine straw. We have a short A-frame ladder but borrowed the longer extension ladder from my neighbor, the same ladder we borrow every year to hang our Christmas star. With neighbors helping steady the ladder and documenting the event, I secured anchors about 20 feet up the nest pine. I was ready to come down and load the baby birds into their new home when I heard a shout from below, “Snake!”

There was a beat-up garden snake at the feet of one of the youngsters. My guess is that while we were getting things ready on the carport side of the house, Momma Hawk had not given up on her babies. She dropped them some lunch. The reptile was not the predator but the prey. Just to make sure, I whacked him against the tree before dropping lunch into the crate with the chicks, putting on the burlap cover and heading up the ladder once more.

Now we’d wait. We’d done what we could. Would the hawks’ innate nurturing instincts be so strong that they’d accept this makeshift plastic nest over the real thing 40 feet higher for the sake of their babies? We saw no direct evidence of this acceptance that evening but I did notice the chicks actively bobbing up and down, pecking as we’d seen when feeding. This could have been the snake or perhaps a fresh meal.

I rose earlier than normal the next morning, filled with anxiety-tinged hope. I was rewarded as I peered through Laura’s room window to see the mother perched on the crate’s edge. She dropped her head down as if leaving something for the kids, straightened up and flew off. I called our WL&F contact later to report that things were looking good.

When a new storm hit the second night, the mother lay over the chicks, wings outspread, providing shelter and protection. Both Momma and Dad bring in food: snakes, frogs, mice and treats unidentifiable. Momma usually stays to help the youngsters with the tearing process. Dad generally drops off meals and leaves. The mother also brings in new straw and twigs to improve this nest she found.

Laura’s room is now our observatory. Borrowed camouflage netting covers the window, with one gap where my camera is mounted on a tripod. Another is there for Diane with binoculars to view or her iPhone to record the adventure. Our being able to watch interactions of this bird family just a few feet beyond our own window has been like a gift from God to a couple nearly home-bound due to virus protocol.

Legislative Task Force Holds First Meeting

The Louisiana Legislative Advisory Task Force on Economic Recovery formed last week by Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder  met for the first time last Thursday. The group is charged with developing comprehensive policy, legislative, and regulatory recommendations to immediately re-start the Louisiana economy and to invest in the long-term recovery of households, workers, and businesses from the COVID-19 crisis.

Thurday’s meeting was largely organizational, as former Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux was selected as the Task Force’s vice chair, and members were assigned into specific study groups. In addition, members were updated on the economic and medical outlooks for the state and heard presentations from US Chamber Chair Maura Donahue, LABI President Stephen Waguespack and the leaders of chambers and business groups from around the state. 

The Task Force’s next meeting is set for Thursday, April 30, at 8:30 am.

Any ideas, questions or comments about the task force and its meetings can be emailed to


Public Affairs Research Council Releases New Commentary on Reopening the State

The Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) released a new commentary yesterday, detailing the various factors that government officials will have to consider when reopening the state. PAR’s commentary touches on issues such as local control, testing, liability, and small business concerns, in addition to identifying data trends in terms of Coronavirus cases and fatalities. To read PAR’s entire commentary, click HERE.

Louisiana Business Community Releases Full Framework for “Safe at Work” Reopening of Economy

The framework, developed in partnership with executives across a broad array of industry sectors and with peer business organizations and associations from around the state, includes the following sections:

  • Health and Safety First
  • Stay at Home and Safe at Work Order
  • Be Healthier, Safer, and Smarter at Work
  • Legal Protections for Recovering Businesses
  • Childcare and Daycare
  • PPE Supplies for Reopening Business
  • Consistent Statewide Regulations for Reopening
  • Second Wave Concerns
  • Disadvantaged Businesses and Rural Regions
  • Gradual or Phases of Reopening, Sector Considerations
  • External Readings on Reopening the Economy

The framework is meant to serve as a start to the conversation for returning more employees and businesses to work. Both the executive summary and full commentary have been shared with Governor Edwards’ administration and legislative leaders with the commitment of continued collaboration and support of the Resilient Louisiana Commission and legislative task force as both begin work to strengthen sectors of the economy and recommend return-to-work practices.

You can read the framework here: