The Winn Parish Journal sat down with Winn Parish School Board Superintendent Steve Bartlett to ask him questions submitted by parents.
Twenty-four questions were submitted by parents. Similar questions have been combined.
Part I includes questions 1 – 12.
Question # 1 – How will this year affect the seniors? Will they be able to get all the credits they need to graduate on time?
Question # 2 – Is the block schedule still in place at Winnfield Sr. High School? If so, will the students still meet credit requirements on the reduced schedule?
Question # 3 – Will the teachers have instructional classes all day, every day except Friday, or will one period each day be a planning period? It is my understanding that Friday will be used for planning, hosting group meets, professional learning, feedback, etc.
Question # 4 – Why are teachers only getting 10 paid sick days in the middle of this pandemic? Are you worried that they would come to school sick to avoid being docked pay that’s already too little?
Question # 5 – Chrome books and the internet seem to be a major concern due to virtual learning. Are enough chrome books available to the students that need them? What are the options for internet usage if not available in their area?
Question # 6 – If we choose the virtual route, how would the students get the curriculum and interaction between them and the teachers?
Question # 7 – During the last four to five months and the uncertainty of what school would look like in the fall and the strong possibility of virtual learning, have the teachers been in workshops or training to be ready for implementation of virtual curriculum? Also has there been training or information available for the parents and students for virtual learning?
Question # 8 – If the parent/student picks one form of learning but finds it is not working, can they change? If so at what point?
Question # 9 – Will we have sports season?
Question # 10 – Due to the Phase that we are presently in, I assume no open house will be available at the schools. What is the process for parents and/students to visit and become familiar with the school and what is expected of them in this new year? Examples: pre-K, students changing schools, students new to the parish
Question # 11 – In an effort to cut costs for the school board, will students be allowed to bring their own pocket sized or travel sized containers of hand sanitizer?
Question # 12 – Why wasn’t a survey or question and answer for the parents and educators performed during the planning process to possibly build a feeling of “we are in this together”?
According to the Louisiana Department of Health website on July 30, 2020, Winn Parish reported 24 new cases of COVID 19 this week, bringing the parish total of people who have tested positive to 371. There have been two additional deaths in Winn Parish this week bringing the parish total to seven.
The latest Nursing Home Report dated July 29, 2020, reflects Winnfield Nursing & Rehab has two new cases among residents and three new cases among staff in the last week. Autumn Leaves Nursing & Rehab Center reported no new cases among residents or staff.
Winnfield Nursing & Rehab
Total COVID-19 Cases Among Residents
New COVID-19 Cases Among Residents Since Last Report (7-15-20)
Total Residents Recovered
Total COVD-19 Deaths Among Residents
Total COVID-19 Cases Among Staff
New COVID-19 Cases Among Staff Since Last Report (7-15-20)
The Rotary Club of Winnfield welcomed as their guest speaker this week, Mrs. Linda Smith. Smith was the guest of Rotarian of the week Chesney Chandler.
Smith gave a fascinating presentation on her journey to authenticate a painting that she purchased at an estate sale, which turned out to be worth a small fortune.
The Rotary Club of Winnfield hosts guest speakers like Mrs. Smith every week. To hear informative, exciting, and entertaining speakers like Mrs. Smith, why not be a guest at one of our meetings?
The Rotary Club of Winnfield meets every Wednesday at Noon for lunch at Lynda’s Country Kitchen. For more information about the Rotary Club of Winnfield, you may contact President, Jodi Taylor (832) 573-5085. You can also find club information on Facebook at Rotary Club of Winnfield Facebook Page or online at Rotary.org.
On July 14, we made the difficult decision to put our almost 14 year old retired racing Greyhound, Walter, to sleep. He had a good life, a successful racing career, love and a comfy dog bed at our house for almost 9 years. Over the last few months, we had witnessed his daily decline due to spinal stenosis, cataracts, gum disease, and hearing loss. It had become difficult for him to have a quality life, even to stand and walk. Still, the decision and the finality of the moment was and is very difficult.
As a pastor, one of the questions I am asked is will we see our pets in heaven? Do “all dogs go to heaven” as the movie says? In short, I don’t know. There is no direct indication in the Bible that our pets will or will not meet us in heaven. Theologians are split on the issue. Some say that animals do not have a soul in the same way as humans, thus they will not experience the afterlife in the same way that we do. Others say that since God created all the animals (Genesis 1-2) and made a covenant not only with Noah but all creation in Genesis 9, that animals could experience an afterlife similar to humans. Some also make a case that God promises us that heaven will be a happy place and if seeing our pet again will make us happy, then surely God has the power and the capability to make that happen. In Isaiah’s description (Isaiah 11) of the new heaven and new earth, several different kinds of animals are present. Revelation 19 describes Jesus’ return on white horses, so it appears that animals are present in heaven.
As one who learned to walk by pulling up and holding on to our American Samoyed, Cotton, who always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and started college as a pre-vet major, one who visited the LSU Veterinary school on many occasions, volunteered at the Baton Rouge Zoo, and has been owned by many dogs and cats through the years, I hope to see them again. But whatever comes, my trust is in Jesus and his grace, mercy, and love. Whatever comes, the animals I have known and loved have made me a happier and better person.
A veterinarian was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolf hound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. Belker was examined and found he was dying of cancer. The veterinarian told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, The veterinarian felt the familiar catch in his throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that he wondered if the boy understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. They sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’ Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned them. He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life – – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’
Do all dogs and pets go to heaven? I don’t know, but I certainly hope so.
Three years ago, Olivia Cohea dropped out of high school. Overwhelmed with family challenges and surrounded by naysayers telling her she was not suited for college, she was on a path that could make her just another statistic in a state filled with hard-luck stories, failed dreams, and unrealized potential. Today, she has her high school equivalency diploma, is enrolled in classes at Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s (CLTCC) Huey P. Long Campus to get an Associate Degree in Forestry and is the face of a national story about the importance of community colleges and workforce training as an alternative or a supplement to a college education.
What a difference three years makes.
“I am so grateful for having this opportunity of a lifetime. Reading both of the articles immediately brought tears to my eyes and made me overwhelmed with joy and happiness,” Cohea said. The new project includes a lengthy, in-depth report from the Center for American Progress by Marcella Bombardieri, a journalist and associate director of Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, that details the creation of the CLTCC system, its critical importance in the post-secondary education landscape and the struggles facing community colleges as well as traditional colleges and universities due to dramatic cuts to state higher education budgets. Bombardieri also adapted the report into a feature for the Boston Globe Sunday Ideas section. CLTCC Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle appreciated Bombardieri’s commitment to the story, “Marcella interviewed dozens of stakeholders and truly immersed herself in the Central Louisiana experience. The research and the time invested over the past year are undeniable in capturing the resolute spirit of Cenla. We feel like we made a true friend.”
“I look back to where I was 2-3 years ago, and I get emotional because I never thought I would make it as far as I have. I have had so much love and support from so many people along the way and it’s helped tremendously in pushing myself to achieve what goals I set,” Cohea said.
It was the Fall of 2017 and the start of Cohea’s senior year in high school when family circumstances forced her to switch schools, at which time she left high school and checked herself into the half-year Youth Challenge residential boot camp run by the Louisiana National Guard. From there she planned to enlist in the U.S. Army but was told she would need to meet minimum requirements to join.
With the Army option on hold and no high school diploma, Cohea’s job prospects were scarce. So, in January of 2019, she signed up for HiSET (high school equivalency) classes to prepare to earn her high school equivalency diploma. The classes met in Winnfield at the Huey P. Long Campus of CLTCC, which was about a 20-minute drive from the place where she was living with a friend.
During one of the HiSET classes, an instructor stopped by to talk about a new program the school was starting in Forestry. As Cochea recalls, at the end of the talk the instructor asked if anyone was interested in the new program. “Nobody else raised their hand, so I did,” she said.
That impromptu response, more of an effort of being polite than real interest, has led to a whole new world for the 20-year-old. “I didn’t think I would go through with it,” she said. “I did agriculture in high school, like Future Farmers of America, but never thought about it as a career. But I tried the class out and I loved it.”
Jeff Johnson, dean of the Winnfield campus, said the Forestry class is part of CLTCC’s Integrated Educational Training program. “Students can go into a technical program, like Forestry, and get a reduced tuition rate and work on that until they get their HiSET, then they can move into the program fulltime,” Johnson said.
In short, the Integrated Educational Training program gives students an opportunity to start taking college-style classes while they are studying for the HiSET exam so that they have a head start on a career program once they earn the high school equivalency diploma.
“We want students to understand earning a HiSET diploma is not an endpoint, it is a beginning,” Johnson said. “What Olivia is doing is exactly what the program is designed to do.”
While it sounds great – getting career training at the same time as work progresses toward earning a high school equivalency diploma – the fact is the combined workload can be difficult to manage. “The HiSET is no easy test,” Johnson said. “And for Olivia to go through both programs – it is a lot to handle, but at Huey P. Long it works really well.”
Jordan Franks, an instructor with the Forestry program, explained the school took the heightened workload into account. “While she was studying for her HiSET, we just did one 6-hour course, where students learned the scientific names of things. At first, she was unsure of herself and her ability to juggle the classes. But today she is far more confident,” Franks said.
“Low college attainment is a serious obstacle to prosperity in rural America, so I wanted to see what it looks like for a rural community to dedicate itself to improving college opportunity. In Central Louisiana,” said Bombardieri. “I found a region with farsighted vision and the dedication to build a new community college, which is a rare thing. As a result of CLTCC’s creation, hundreds more students each year are earning college credentials that help them pursue their dreams.”
Unfortunately, the state budget cuts since the Great Recession limited some of CLTCC’s progress, especially in that they prevented the college from offering most associate degree programs. So I see CLTCC as a perfect case study to show why we need to continue investing in higher education to overcome the economic harm from the pandemic.
With state budgets hurt by the new recession and colleges facing many extra costs, right now it is Congress’s responsibility to provide significant new stimulus funding for public higher education. In the long run, states also have a duty to invest in their people’s futures through higher education.”
“There were a bunch of times I wanted to quit,” Cohea admitted, noting that in addition to the school classes and studying she worked two retail jobs as well. But her interest in the Forestry classes, along with a desire to prove she could be successful, spurred her on to take the HiSET exams as soon as she could to complete that phase so she could concentrate on the Forestry program. “It’s a hands-on program. I really like that. I learn by doing, and I like that you can go out in the woods and do it,” she said. With her HiSET in hand and the head start she had with Forestry classes, Cohea expects to graduate the program in May of 2021. From there, she hasn’t decided if she will continue schooling and work toward a Bachelor’s Degree at Louisiana Tech or go straight into the job market, working for the National Forest Service or possibly a state agency. Currently, CLTCC and Louisiana Tech share an articulation agreement where over 30 credit hours transfer from the CLTCC’s Associate’s Degree to Louisiana Tech’s Bachelor’s Degree.
Franks noted Cohea was the program’s first woman Forestry student at the Huey P. Long Campus. Thanks to her enthusiasm for the program, they now have four female students. “She is definitely an encourager,” Franks said. “Her story resonates with a lot of people, especially in rural Lousiana.”
Cohea admitted she is surprised at the attention her efforts have received. While she didn’t seek the spotlight, she hopes her story will serve as an inspiration to others facing similar hardships.
“I want other people who have been where I have been to look at me and my accomplishments and be able to say ‘if she did it, then I can do it,’ because anybody can do anything they set their mind to,” she said. “If you want to get your high school diploma, do it. If you want to go to college, do it. If you want a promotion at work, strive for it and do it! You can do absolutely anything. Just because you’ve had your life surrounded by negativity and poor choices doesn’t mean that has to be your life too. You decide how you want your life to be and it will be that way. I hope my story and these articles reach people and motivate them in the way I was motivated. If nothing else comes from this, I want that to come from this.”
Enrollment for the Fall sessions is ongoing through August 17. To enroll and register, visit http://www.CLTCC.edu/apply. For more information, contact the school via email at email@example.com or call 800-278-9855.
Campaigning last year it soon became apparent that Louisiana’s second highest in the nation auto insurance rates were on the minds of just about everyone across District 22. Insurance reform was perhaps the number #1 issue discussed during the campaign and during the 2020 Regular and Special Sessions.
I’m pleased to announce that the governor has signed a comprehensive “tort” reform bill into law(HB 57) with bipartisan support from both houses of the legislature. This important legislation will go a long way in removing Louisiana from its longstanding reputation as a “judicial hellhole”, and will help create an environment more friendly to families, small businesses, and industry.
The Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020 will bring competition to the personal and commercial lines of auto insurance leading to more companies doing business in the state and offering lower premiums. Our hardworking loggers, aggregate haulers, and truckers desperately needed these important reforms to be implemented before exorbitant insurance costs forced them out of business.
We also passed SB16 which protects our armed services personnel from having their auto insurance rates raised while deployed.
We passed a series of bills designed to strengthen our 2nd Amendment Right to Keep & Bear Arms. We also passed a couple of laws that may be of interest to hunters, including HB159 that makes it legal to kill feral hogs year round.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the years to come to continue these important reforms to the legal system and insurance market. Thank you.
Miller was a tall, broad, outdoorsman. His father wanted him to become a doctor. His mother wanted him to become a cellist. Miller, however, wanted a life filled with adventure. He served in both World Wars and was an avid sportsman. Some of his favorite sports included watching bull fights, deep sea fishing, and hunting in remote locations around the world.
In the Winter of 1953-54, Miller and his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, enjoyed a vacation in Africa. They spent the second week of January, 1954, at Amboselli National Park, whose main feature is Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain on the African continent. As a late Christmas present to his wife, Miller chartered a 600-mile flightseeing trip from Nairobi, capital city of Kenya, over Lake Victoria and Lake Albert, with the main attraction being the breath-taking 400-foot Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile River in Uganda. Due to the length of the trip, a distance of over 1,000 miles, they planned to land at the halfway point, Masindi, to refuel the Cessna.
On Saturday, January 23, 1954, Miller and Mary met pilot Roy Marsh, a former Royal Air Force pilot, at the airport in Nairobi. After stowing their luggage in the small, single-engine silver and blue Cessna, Roy, Miller, and Mary set out on the beginning of what turned out to be an unforgettable, yet exciting, adventure. The trio took in the beautiful scenery as they flew over 500 miles toward Murchison Falls. They flew over some of the most inaccessible spots in Uganda. From the safety of their airplane, they gazed at crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, lions, and a plethora of other wild game in their natural habitat.
Within three miles of Murchison Falls, they ran into trouble. Without warning, a flock of Ibises, large black and white jungle birds with long, down-curved bills, descended toward the Cessna. Flying through the flock was not an option. Just one of the birds was large enough to crash the plane. Roy flew lower to try to avoid the birds, but they descended as well. Roy quickly looked in every direction but the plane was surrounded by the large birds. As they neared treetop level, Roy realized they would have to land the plane. Roy had to choose between landing on a small sandbar which was teeming with crocodiles or on an area covered by thick shrubs surrounded by a herd of elephants. Roy chose the better of the two bad choices, the elephant herd.
Roy flew just over the shrubs and slowed the engine to just above stall speed. Just before the tires on the Cessna touched the shrubs, Roy pulled back on the controls, which forced the front of the airplane into the air, and they struck the ground on the underside of the plane. The Cessna sustained only minor damage, and Roy, Miller, and Mary were unharmed. Their adventure had just begun as dusk approached.
The crash survivors assessed their situation. They were unable to call for help because the Cessna was not equipped with a radio. They knew it would be hours before anyone realized their plane was missing. They had emergency supplies but no water. They set up a campsite, and Roy and Miller took turns going to the river for water. Elephants trumpeted warnings to Roy and Miller as they walked to the river bank, which was crowded with hippos and crocodiles. That night, they built a fire for warmth and to keep predators away. Several times during the night, wild animals ventured near their campsite. Miller, being an avid outdoorsman, used a trick he had learned years earlier on one of his many jungle safaris. He howled like a wild dog, which all other animals detested. Each time he howled, the other animals answered and gave away their positions.
Searchers began looking for the missing plane when they failed to land at Masindi for refueling. A police boat left Butiaba, a small town on Lake Albert about sixty miles from Murchison Falls, but it would take several hours for it to reach the search area. When the Cessna failed to return to Nairobi, the East African Airways ordered search planes from Entebbe to join the search on the following morning. There was little anyone could do.
The next morning, search planes scoured the hills and forests around Murchison Falls for the downed aircraft. British Overseas Airways Captain R.C. Jude diverted his airplane off course and joined the search. He began his search at Murchison Falls and made larger and larger spirals until he located the downed Cessna. He radioed in the location of the crash and notified them that he saw no signs of life. He pointed out that the plane had sustained only minimal damage and reported that he suspected that the trio had survived.
Miller, Mary, and Roy did not wait around to be rescued. After a weary night in the jungle, they walked to the river and saw a tourist boat heading back from Murchison Falls. They yelled and waived to the boat and the captain sped to their location. They explained their predicament and they joined the tourists for the remainder of their return trip to Butiaba.
Miller jokingly told reporters at Butiaba that his wife’s snoring attracted elephants to their campsite. “We held our breaths about two hours while an elephant 12 paces away was silhouetted in the moonlight, listening to my wife’s snores.” Mary retorted, “I never snore. You’ve got a fixation about it.” To which Miller replied with a sly grin, “So has that elephant.”
As Miller’s adventure seemed at an end, another adventure was beginning. At about dusk, Miller and Mary boarded a DeHavilland Rapide, a twin-engine bi-wing airplane piloted by T.R. Cartwright enroute to Entebbe, a town about 175 miles to the southeast. The pilot taxied the plane to the runway and increased its speed for takeoff. As they sped down the runway the airplane hit a bump, bounced, hit another bump, and veered off of the runway where it rolled over and burst into flames. Miller forced the rear door of the airplane open and he, Mary, and T.R. scrambled from the burning plane. Miller sustained cuts, burns, and bruises. Mary suffered two cracked ribs, an injured leg, and multiple bruises. T.R. was uninjured. Miller and Mary went to a local doctor, who bandaged the cuts and burns on Miller’s head. The doctor suggested they X-ray his injured arm, but Miller just shrugged him off because he thought the injury was minor.
Through his entire weekend’s adventures, surviving two airplane crashes in two days, Miller kept his sense of humor. Clutching a bunch of bananas in one hand and a bottle of gin in the other, Miller remarked with a smile, “My luck—she is running very good.” Not wanting to test his luck further, he declined an offer for another airplane ride out of the jungle.
Miller was one of only a handful of people who were able to read their own obituary. Many newspapers around the world got the news that Miller was missing and assumed he had perished in the first crash. They compared Miller’s might to those of the characters in his books “From Whom the Bell Tolls,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Old Man and the Sea.” Miller was the middle name of…Ernest Hemingway.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 24, 1954, p.1.
Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), January 25, 1954, p.1.
The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania), January 25, 1954, p.1.
The Shreveport Times, January 26, 1954, p.1.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 27, 1954, p.4.
Corsicana Daily Sun, January 27, 1954, p.4.
The “Remember This” book is now available for preorder online at BradDison.com.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation asking them to consider funding the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in the current proposal for COVID-19 relief legislation as the last unemployment payment becomes a reality for workers impacted by the pandemic.
“I have very serious concerns about the solvency of the Trust Fund and the need for federal assistance to make sure Louisiana can continue to pay out unemployment benefits without undue burdens on Louisiana businesses. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana’s Unemployment Trust Fund was the 17th strongest in the nation. At our current trajectory, we will have to borrow from the federal government as early as September to replenish the fund to continue paying state unemployment benefits to Louisiana workers. Just as importantly, if the trust fund falls below a balance of $100 million, Louisiana law mandates that the Louisiana Workforce Commission to impose a surtax on businesses of up to 30% on taxable payroll. This would be a last resort but without congressional intervention, it will almost certainly be necessary to ensure the trust fund stays solvent. This assistance will give our workers the bridge they need to return to work, while ensuring that Louisiana businesses are able to focus their efforts on recovering safely from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. (George Orwell, 1984)
I read a comment of Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden, this week in response to President Trump’s decision to send in federal troops to protect federal property in several major American cities that remain engulfed in, and besieged by, threats of harm to individuals and police, looting and destruction of property. Biden stated that “there is no reason for the President to send federal troops into a city where people are demanding change peacefully.” That really caught my attention. “Demanding change peacefully?”
My first thought was that Mr. Biden’s mental faculties are truly failing him. My second thought was that if this is what he thinks “peacefully” demanding change looks like I would be very interested to know what he thought qualified as riots, violence, vandalism and crime. I also found stunning the comment of Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, that the federal presence “is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism.” Mayor Wheeler has since tweeted attacks on Pres. Trump’s decision as an “attack on our democracy” with his “paramilitary squads,” as well as the “violence federal officers brought to our street.” Is he insane? When law and order are gone we, by definition, no longer have “democracy,” and the “violence” he feels federal officers have brought absolutely pales in comparison to the violence that existed in Portland months before federal troops arrived to protect federal property.
I think that to truly understand the crime, destruction and breakdown of law and order we continue to witness in cities like New York City, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco we must understand what kind of elected officials have been making these decisions. For decades, Democrat mayors and city leadership (and often, governors) have been comprised of individuals who are distinctly liberal and Leftist. It is these “leaders” who have decided that the current problem is not the crime, violence and destruction caused by these “peaceful” protestors but rather is law enforcement—including the federal troops President Trump is now sending in to protect federal property. This view of law, government, and social order has been deemed “progressive.” Many of us, no doubt, regard it as highly “regressive.” Prosecutors won’t prosecute and police don’t fully engage for fear of being punished or terminated for merely enforcing the law. Criminals are praised and those who seek law and order are portrayed as guilty, and at fault.
I also cannot neglect to mention the decision of the top prosecutor in St. Louis who has decided to charge with a crime the armed couple who rebuffed the group of “peaceful protestors” who were coming toward them and trespassing onto their property. The prosecutor stated that, by standing there and protecting themselves and defending their property, they “risked creating a violent situation” during an otherwise “peaceful protest.” Again, words have lost their meaning and the truth is perverted. If the couple hadn’t been armed they might be dead or seriously injured and their property destroyed. And now, not to be outdone, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in an interview published Wednesday that he is prepared to arrest federal law enforcement officers sent by the Trump administration to quell violence in inner cities, and appeared to compare those officers to Nazis.
This is all upside down and backwards. Evil is being called good and good, evil. Right is scorned while wrong is praised. We have tolerated this indefensible lawlessness for months now. Without the safety and security made possible by law and order, the constitutional guarantees of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness are lost. In the meantime, a multitude, with quiet dignity, faith, and love of country in its heart, turns its eyes to November.
The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Winn Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.