All is Calm…All is Bright

By Reba Phelps

There is nothing more joyous to the soul than the beautiful sights and sounds of a Christmas morning with young children. The energy seeping from their pores can be felt from the opposite end of the house, even before they wake. The happy faces while they are ripping open packages combined with the losing of batteries and parts, the mountain of torn up paper and the comparing of gifts with neighborhood kids all make for the perfect pictures and stories to be handed down for generations to come.

I do not remember a Christmas morning that did not include picking our way through a garbage can looking for something inadvertently thrown away.

Also accompanying this madness is a deep feeling of exhaustion. There is normally a month long frenzy of various Christmas parties that turn into late nights. The months of holiday shopping can quickly morph into stressful last minute gifts. The nonstop eating of casseroles from Thanksgiving to Christmas can always cause countless issues for the waistline and scales.

And, what is Christmas without the Christmas Eve church service. This is always my favorite church service of the year. It is simply beautiful with the carefully lit candles and carols being sung. All of this does help mentally prepare one for the manual labor that happens later that night while helping Santa land and unload the sleigh as well as having snacks prepared to serve him and the reindeer.

After the Christmas breakfast is served it was always time to load up the car and head to a relatives house where the day would be spent cherishing the company of loved ones. By the time the sunset had set on Christmas Day it was as if we lived a lifetime in less than forty-eight hours.

There is not much calm to speak of during the hustle and bustle of the holidays when your children are young and you have places to go.

Year by year our Christmases naturally grew a little quieter and quieter. The early morning rambunctiousness was traded for sleeping in and enjoying coffee or hot chocolate with whoever made their way to the living room first. They take a little longer to open gifts and savor the moment. There is still a twinge of excitement, but it is overall just a calm excitement. Peaceful and quiet.

This year, for reasons beyond all of our control our Christmas will even be more calm. There are not many places to go during the holidays this year. Office parties have been cancelled. Christmas concerts are being enjoyed virtually. School programs are either cancelled or moved to a virtual platform. Large family gatherings have been cancelled. Christmas Festival was greatly reduced. But, we still have the bright fireworks to light up the night sky.

It is almost as if everything we would traditionally celebrate this year has been taken and replaced with simplicity. Authentic time in peaceful solitude with immediate families seems to be the common thread of all celebrations in 2020.

Just like when Jesus was born. It was a small crowd in a humble and lowly barn. No modern luxuries to speak of or large crowds. Just a family surrounded by a few farm animals and one bright star to light up the sky. Much like the bright star we will be able to see next week for the first time in 800 years. We can always find a bright spot even in the most difficult of years.

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” – Mathew 2:10

City of Winnfield LifeShare Blood Drive

LifeShare Blood Center mobile bus will be at 405 S. Jones St in Winnfield on Monday, December 21, 2020 from 3:00 PM – 7 PM. To schedule an appointment to donate click schedule appointment

One in three people will need blood at some time in their life. When someone in the communities we serve needs blood, it is our responsibility to have it safe and readily available. The only way we can do that is through your donations.

With no substitute for human blood, volunteer blood donations saves lives right here in our community every day. If you can give blood, please do. If you can’t, please encourage and support others who can and help spread the word.Donating blood only takes a short amount of time a few times a year, or when you are eligible.

The blood donation process generally follows these steps:

  • Before giving blood, make sure that you meet the requirements, get a good night’s sleep, eat regular meals and drink plenty of fluids. 
  • After you present a photo ID and read the information sheet you will undergo a mini exam (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and iron level) and then provide confidential answers to health history questions. 
  • The donation takes place in a comfortable chair. Most donors feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted and nothing after that. 
  • After the donation, you should sit down and have a snack and beverage. If you experience any light-headedness let your donor technician know and lie down until you feel better. Do not use tobacco products for the next 30 minutes. Leave the arm bandage on and do not engage in strenuous activity or lift heavy objects for the next two to four hours. For the next 24 – 48 hours be sure to increase fluid intake. 

By being a frequent blood donor you are fulfilling an important community responsibility.

The following are general guidelines for how often you may give.

  • Whole blood donation every 56 days (8 weeks) 
  • Apheresis procedures: 
    • Double red cell every 112 days (16 weeks) 
    • Plasma every 28 days (4 weeks) 
    • Platelets every 14 days (2 weeks)

Great Gift Ideas for Bass Fishermen

By Steve Graf Owner/Co-host Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

For those of you looking for the right Christmas gift for the bass fisherman in your family, pay close attention as I’m going to give you some awesome ideas. As a kid, we all wanted the famous Red Rider BB Gun but of course there was always that one person who thought you would shoot your eye out. But when it comes to bass fishing gear, that should not figure into the thought process. Below are some of my favorite gift ideas that I think ALL serious bass fishermen will like.

1. A new set of scales- while there are many on the market today that range from $35.00 to $200.00. For the serious tournament angler who wants the best, get them the Cull-M-Rite scales. These scales are a mini computer that will store your weights and tell you what fish to cull once you’ve caught your sixth fish. While they are on the upper end of the price scale, I’ve had my Cull-M-Rite scales for at least 10 years and all I’ve had to do was change the battery. Mine came with a carrying case that will protect and keep your scales in top condition for many years. To order Cull-M-Rite scales go to

2. On the lower end of the price range KastKing Waterproof Floating Digital Fishing Scale is also a great choice at $32.99. This unit will actually float if dropped into the water. Light weight and durable and weights fish up to 50 lbs. This scale also includes a no-puncture lip gripper (for those of us who like to take good care of our fish) so you don’t have to puncture your fish to weight it. This scale can be found on

3. Another must have for all anglers is a set of rod covers from Stick Jacket. Nothing is harder on rods than taking them in and out of the rod locker. A lot of rod eyes are either torn off or damage during this process. Stick Jacket rod covers solve this problem and come in lengths of 6 1/2 ‘ up to 8 ½’. Helps eliminate rod tangles and makes rod storage much easier. A great investment! Price $8.99 per jacket from Tackle

4. If you’re looking for a great fishing reel, take a good hard look at the Diawa Tatula 150. A high-quality reel at an affordable price that will last an angler for years. Equipped with the patented Diawa T-Wing System for longer casts, comes in four model options and gear ratios but I recommend the 150HS with a 7:3:1 gear ratio as a great all-around reel. This reel is available on Amazon Prime for $149.95 (a great price)

5. Every fisherman loves a good pair of sunglasses and once again, there’s a wide price range when it comes to sunglasses. You can go the high end like Costa Del Mar (range from $135 to $250 a pair which I use strictly for fishing) but these are the best as they use real glass and offer glasses for all types of weather conditions. Or you can go with a much cheaper brand like the Strike King S11 (which I use as well) ($39.99 – $44.99). If you have a fisherman that loses glasses a lot, this might be your better option but understand there is a big difference in the optics on Costa Del Mar vs. the cheaper brands. Tackle carries both of these and many more.

6. Next, some of the most successful anglers are also the most organized anglers as well. Time is money on tournament day and the last thing an angler wants to do is search for whatever bait he needs. That’s why tackle organization is important. I use a DYMO 210D label maker ($24.99) that allows me to customize all my tackle boxes so I know exactly what I’m looking for on tournament day or when I’m storing them on the shelf. Great for shop or home use as well! Amazon carries this and many more DYMO units. Or you can order Bass Angler Magazine Tackle Labels from Tackle

7. One more item that I highly recommend that’s not just for anglers but really for anyone with a vehicle in your family. The cordless RYOBI 3 Speed Ratchet Wrench that comes in very handy when changing out a blown boat trailer or pickup tire. This tool is one of those that you don’t appreciate till you have to change a tire. WOW, what a difference it makes on the time it takes to change a tire and not to mention how much easier it is! And yes, it has plenty of torque to get the job done. It comes with an 18Volt Lithium battery that holds a charge for a long time. I do recharge mine after every use just to make sure its fully charged at all times.

I hope these ideas will help you this Christmas when it comes to getting your angler a great gift. Fishermen love gadgets and tools that will help make them better anglers. So, this Christmas, make the angler in your family happy, happy, happy with one of these or anything you think he will use. Fishing line is another thing an angler can never have too much of, but make sure you know what brand and size he likes before you buy as there are numerous options on fishing line and all lines are not created equal. If you want to hear more about these and other gift ideas over the coming weeks, tune into the Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show every Wednesday live from 11:00 till 1:00 or our replay on Saturday mornings from 6:00 till 8:00 on AM 1130 The Tiger KWKH or our You Tube Channel. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!

Notice of Death December 17, 2020

James Hobert Coe
February 29, 1940 – December 15, 2020
Service: Friday, December 18 at 10 am at Hand Cemetery in Coushatta

Tommy W. Lowe
March 23, 1967 – December 13, 2020
Service: Friday, December 18 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Johnnie Lee Brewer
March 01, 1939 – December 12, 2020
Service: Monday, December 21 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Barbara Conley
December 16, 2020
Service: Sunday, December 20 at 2:30 pm at the North Star Baptist Church on Hwy 485 near Powhatan

Gloria Besant
December 15, 2020

F. Allen Horton
August 31, 1933 – December 15, 2020
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, a private family graveside service in the Catholic Rite of Christian Burial will be held at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches on Friday, Dec. 18, under the direction of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home of Natchitoches.

Sophia Willoughby Washington
December 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Elijah Calhoun
February 11, 1960 – December 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Margaret Ann Holmes
April 26, 1954 – December 10, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Shirley Ann Remo
December 6, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Arthur M. Hardy
December 8, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Michael “Mike” Nathan Phillips
January 9, 1941 – December 13, 2020
Service: Friday, December 18 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

Tommy W. Lowe March 23, 1967 – December 13, 2020

Tommy W. Lowe, age 53 of Winnfield, Louisiana, passed away on Sunday, December 13, 2020.

Born Thursday, March 23, 1967 in Jonesboro, Louisiana, he was preceded in death by his son, Derek Lowe; parents, Damon Lowe and Carrie Deese Casper; grandfather, Millard Lowe; brother, Timothy Casper; step-father, Paul Casper; grandparents, Willie Deese and Amma Lee Deese Kirkham; and in-Laws, Donnie Williams and Lynda Williams.

Tommy married the love of his life on February 16, 1985. During their 35 years of marriage, they had three beautiful children. Tommy loved his wife and children with everything in his soul. Tommy loved the Lord. He was a fantastic husband, father, brother, uncle, etc. He was a loving, caring and compassionate man. Tommy was one of the strongest men ever. He was such a fighter. He fought his failing body with so much dignity. Tommy could always make everyone laugh, even on their lowest days. Tommy was a very adventurous person. He loved going on family vacations, especially when roller coasters were involved. Tommy loved hunting, cooking and helping his wife in her restaurant when he was able. Before his health started failing him in 2011, Tommy lived and breathed working offshore. He worked on and off in the offshore field for 18 years. To sum Tommy up, he was an Amazing Man.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 35 years, Tonya Williams Lowe; son, Alex Dewayne Lowe (Brittney Droddy); daughter, Dayva Danielle Lowe; grandmother, Margie Lowe; brothers-in-law, Bruce Todd Williams and Tracy Jay Williams; sisters, Bonnita Kay Casper (Mandy, Christy Lowe Shaddix (Danny), and Stacy Lynn Martin (John Darren); and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at Southern Funeral Home, from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM, and again on Friday, December 18, 2020, at Southern Funeral Home, from 1:00 PM until time of services.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, December 18, 2020 at Southern Funeral Home with Rev. Craig James and Rev. Lamar Carpenter officiating.

Interment will follow in the Garden of Memories in Winnfield.

Serving the family as pallbearers will be Glen Alford, Rodger Guin, Bruce Austin, Colby Ray, Ethan Boone, and Glyn Mixon.

Winn Parish Arrest Report

The Winn Parish Journal is changing the format of the Arrest Report. We will post arrest from Winnfield Police Department on Monday and arrest from Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Department
Name: Jordyn L. Askin
Date: 12-11-2020
Address: Midland, TX
Race: White
Gender: Male
Age: 36
Charge: Failure to Appear
Bond: No Bond

Name: Kevin G. Weaver
Date: 12-12-2020
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White
Gender: Male
Age: 53
Charge: Possession of Schedule II Meth, No Turn Signal, Prohibited Acts – Paraphernalia
Bond: Not Listed

Name: Brandy Nicole Coleman
Date: 12-13-2020
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Charge: Failure to Stop, Turn Signal Required,  Possession of CDS Schedule I, Possession of CDS Schedule II
Bond: $20,000, Held for Bienville SO

Name: Aaron M. Poisso
Date: 12-14-2020
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White
Gender: Male
Age: 26
Charge: Bench Warrant Failure to Appear, Resisting With Force or Violence
Bond: Not Listed

Name: Thomas C. Tibbd
Date: 12-14-2020
Address: Tullos, LA
Race: White 
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Charge: Improper Lane Use, Driving Under Suspension, Expired Motor Vehicle Inspection, DWI 1st
Bond: Not Listed

Delta Deadline to Register for FEMA Assistance is December 16

BATON ROUGE, La. —Renters and homeowners in parishes designated for FEMA assistance afterHurricane Delta have until Dec. 16 to register for help.

Federal assistance includes help for temporary housing, rental assistance and repair or replacement of damaged property.

Additionally, grants may be available to help with other expenses such as medical and dental care, childcare, funeral and burial costs, replacing essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle repairs and cleanup.

To see if you live in a designated parish,

For more information or to register for assistance:

Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY at 800-877-8339).
Visit the FEMA
To find a drive-thru DRC you can text 43362 and type DRC and your zipcode (i.e. DRC 12345).
To receive a link to download the FEMA app:
· Apple devices: text APPLE to 43362

· Android devices: text ANDROID to 43362


Call 211 or text 527435837 to 898-211. For Louisiana evacuees that are now out-of-state, please call 337-310-4636. To get support, this number also is valid for TTY out-of-state users.
Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, Or, for Hurricane Delta, visit Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at

Celebrating Thanksgiving Amidst A Pandemic Part II of II Part

I believe I would be correct in stating that there is no one who has not been affected or touched in some way by the pandemic.  People, we must continue to pray fervently that God will endow mankind with the wisdom, knowledge, and wherewithal to produce a safe and effective vaccine or cure that will deliver the nation from the scourge of COVID 19 and enable world populations to get through this pandemic. We have seen or stood at the grave side with grieving family’s member as they said goodbye and laid loved ones to rest. Hospitals across the nation are once again filled with COVID patients, and with makeshift morgues located nearby to receive the deceased.  Too many people have lost loved ones to the virus, many of our friends and supporters have stood at the grave side with family members as they bid farewell to loved ones.  For those of us who remain and have been blessed to witness the dawning of a new day with more health than sickness, having presence of mind and thoughts, equipped with the ability and strength to move about, have a morsel of bread to eat, and raiment’s to clothe our bodies, a few dollars to spare, a roof over our heads, to attend church of choice without fear of death, arrest or persecution, we have much to be thankful for, even during this pandemic.  Though our patience is being tested beyond the boundaries of our faith and hope, we have to hang in there, and though our strength gets a little weak, our backs may be against the wall, trusted friends may turn and walk away, hang on, hang on in there!! 

This Thanksgiving my wife Jan and I took some time to visit with our son Zachary in New Orleans.  Out of fear and respect for COVID 19 and for fellow citizens we stayed indoors most of the visit, watching television, dining on good food, fellowshipping and giving thanks.  We asked that Zach be tested for the virus before we arrived which he did.  We always wore our masks during outings.  Jan had prepared a delightful meal earlier in the week which we took with us to New Orleans.  It was a wonderful visit, and we enjoyed the quiet time together.

As I reflected upon God’s goodness, mercy, and grace, how we traveled the dangerous highways to New Orleans without incident, how in my senior years and in the twilight of life I am still able to get out of bed each morning, (although at times lacking clarity of mind, strength of body and soul) how both Jan and I have made it through several illnesses including bouts with cancer, how we were able to experience the breaking and dawning of a new day, how God has blessed us to see our children graduate from college and professional school and are now able to fend for themselves.  I reflected on how we were able to hang in there when our backs were against the wall, when we needed a little grace and our faith was tested, how we were able to hang in there!!  I could not help but reflect upon the times when we were blessed to overcome many of life’s challenges and disappointments, especially when critics and circumstances indicated that failure and defeat was our destiny.  In those moments of reflection and being overcome emotionally, I had to confess that it was only by God’s grace and mercy that we are still standing, and that God’s grace and mercy has always been sufficient and more than enough to see us through.

Equally concerning, I also reflected upon the mean and ugly allegations that were brought against Jan several years ago, the innuendoes, the under-breath comments, the slander and deliberate acts instituted against us by known adversaries whose intentions were to persecute, oppress and destroy us for trying to make a difference in the lives of God’s people. I well remember how God delivered us from the hands of our enemies.   We learned of the rumors that we would never succeed in our effort and attempts to liberate and make a difference in the lives of people in Jonesboro.  Thanks be to God we have done a whole lot of good and will not retreat in our commitment to continue to do some good.  We were blessed and given the strength, courage, and fortitude to stand upright and stay focused and to trust and believe God’s promises.

We were able to hang on in there, to keep the forward look and commit to never give up or quit the race of life or to give up on our ministry to touch and provide hope to communities throughout northeast Louisiana!  Yes, we are grateful and thankful for the ability and wherewithal to hang on in there!!  Throughout the night and each day that I arise, I give God praise, glory, and thanksgiving for enabling us to hang on and hang on in there.  Walter Hawkins in a song entitled Thank you Lord said it this way; “It could have been me outdoors with no shoes and no clothes, just another number with a tragic end.”  WC Martin and Chas. H Gabriel nailed it this way; “Trust in God wherever you may be, upon on the land or on the rolling sea, for come what may, from day to day, our heavenly father watches over us”.

Whatever you may be facing in this season, just keep looking ahead to a season where laughter, peace, prosperity, and joy will fill your space once again.  And  when your faith begins to flicker as it will  at times , when you lack the strength to keep moving, when your back is against the wall and you can’t see your way through the fog of disappointment and uncertainty, when  COVID 19 has taken a tremendous toll on you and your family, and when you are faced with a multitude of problems, trust God and pray for a little more grace to help you hang in there and see you through!!  Be thankful and “hang in there!!

Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.  

My Opinion – Facebook to Face the Music: Feds, 46 States Sue

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The Federal Trade Commission and 46 states sued Facebook, Inc., this past week alleging that the huge social media platform has engaged in buying and freezing out small start-up businesses in order to eliminate competition.  Specifically, the broad antitrust case is being brought to force Facebook to sell and/or unload its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram.  The lawsuits allege that the lack of competition, in and of itself, has damaged customers, including with weakened privacy protections.  

(I note that a few weeks ago the DOJ also brought a case alleging that Google had, through unfair trade practices and monopolistic activities, illegally created a monopoly in its search engine business). 

I find these developments to be positive and encouraging both for the reasons alleged in the respective lawsuits, and for others. 

In addition to unfair trade practices and antitrust conduct, the censorship we have witnessed from Facebook (and Twitter, for that matter) is stunning. Recall that only a few days before the presidential election, Facebook (and Twitter) blocked access to damaging news regarding Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate, Joe Biden, simply because Facebook principals favored Biden for president.  The news story involved the discovery of credible evidence in the form of emails revealing that Hunter Biden clearly leveraged his dad’s then-position as VP by gaining favors from his dad that benefited the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.  

Regardless, Facebook immediately stated that it “was reducing [the New York Post article’s] distribution on our platform.”  What this really means is Facebook would tweak and alter its algorithms to limit the ability of users to view, discuss or share the Biden article. 

(Note, this past week YouTube, the video streaming giant, stated it will remove from its platform all new content that alleges that widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  More censorship).  

These are perfect examples of why millions of Americans trust neither the national media nor social media.  This is the behavior of totalitarian regimes and dictatorships.  Not America.

It’s simply insufficient to say that no duty of fairness and evenhandedness is owed by Facebook (as well as Twitter and Google) because the First Amendment only applies to government, not private, actors.  Government censorship of speech is not the only kind.  Private sector suppression of speech is equally threatening, chilling, and damaging.  Democracy can only function with a free exchange of information.  These tech giants may not be government actors, but they are quasi-public entities, and they are behemoths.  They are essentially monopolies and possess enormous leverage as a result. 

Facebook owes a duty of fairness for many reasons, not least because Facebook (and Twitter) directly benefit from a valuable legal advantage contained in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  This law protects it from any legal liability for content published on its site, much of which may be defamatory.  Facebook should not be allowed to receive valuable federal benefits on the one hand then also take the position that “we are a private company so we can suppress speech whenever we like.”

Facebook is no longer, if it ever was, a neutral arbiter simply operating an information exchange platform.  It has become the equivalent of a media company that regularly makes editorial decisions in the composition of its news feed and in so doing, reflects a distinctly Leftist bent.  It remains legally unaccountable for damage done by the content on its platform and has broad discretion to censor 3rd party speech.  This is too much.  I am hopeful changes to Section 230 will be made to limit the legal protections of Facebook and other social media companies.

Given its special status, Facebook has an obligation to act in the public interest and it is not doing so.  I support the Feds either breaking it up on grounds of antitrust and monopoly or Congress removing its Section 230 advantage and regulating it as a public utility.  It’s the best way to ensure that free market competition and innovation succeed.

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.

Remember This? A Grand Adventure

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world.  The Colorado River carved out the canyon over millions of years.  The canyon measures about 277 miles long, 18 miles at its widest span, and reaches a depth of over a mile.  Millions of visitors flock to the canyon each year to see the unique landscape.  In 2016, the Kleins, 47-year-old Eric, his 46-year-old wife Karen, and their 10-year-old son Isaac were on vacation in Arizona and wanted to see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  They had driven some thirty-five hours across the country from Easton, Pennsylvania, and the Grand Canyon was to be the highlight of their trip.

It had been snowing for some time on that Thursday afternoon.  The ground was blanketed with thick snow but the main roads were clear.  Unbeknownst to the Klein family, the snowfall was just the beginning of a larger snowstorm which was heading their way.  Being from Pennsylvania, they were unconcerned about driving in snow.  They travelled along Arizona Highway 89A until they reached State Route 67, the only main road which led to the North Rim.  To their surprise, Route 67 was closed for the winter.  Eric used his cell phone and found an alternate route to reach the North Rim.  Undeterred by this setback, they trudged ahead.  They turned off of the main highway and onto their alternate route.  They drove for a few miles until they reached a spot where the road was impassable.  They turned their vehicle around and headed back to the main highway.  Within a short distance, the vehicle’s tires lost traction in the accumulating snow.  The Klein family was stuck. 

The Kleins were not too concerned because Eric could use his cell phone to call for help.  None of the sources mention Karen having a cell phone.  By this time, the snow was falling in thick sheets.  Eric tried to call for help but he had no signal.  Karen, a marathon runner and triathlete, was in better physical condition than her husband and they decided that she should go for help.  Karen wore a parka, a knit cap, and hiking boots, clothes which were not considered snow gear.  Karen reassured Eric and Isaac that she would soon return and walked away in the snow.  Within seconds, she was out of sight.

In the car, Eric and Isaac impatiently waited for Karen’s return.  Minutes turned into hours.  Eric and Isaac used the car’s heater to stay warm.  To save gasoline, Eric would turn the engine off occasionally.  When the cold became almost unbearable for him and Isaac, Eric would crank the car again.  Eric and Isaac spent a slow evening, night, and morning in the car.  Finally, the car ran out of gas. 

Eric decided that he and Isaac would abandon the car and try to go in search of help.  It was Friday afternoon.  Karen had been gone a full 24 hours.  Eric and Isaac trudged through the deep snow.  Eric regularly checked his cell phone for signal but none was available.  Eric saw a high hill a short distance away.  He and Isaac climbed the hill and Eric looked at his cell phone.  His expectation of having cell signal was almost nonexistent.  To Eric’s surprise, his phone had reception.  He quickly called 911 and told them of their dire situation.  Within a short while, searchers rescued Eric and Isaac.  Eric asked about his wife, but they had no knowledge that anyone was missing until Eric’s 911 call.  The rescuers took Eric and Isaac to a hospital in Kanab, Utah, where they were treated for exposure.  Now they had to find Karen.

Searchers used all of their resources which included helicopters and car-sized snowmobiles in their search for Karen.  On Saturday morning, searchers on snowmobiles located her tracks.  They followed her tracks for about 26 miles through snow that sometimes reached a depth of three feet.  Her tracks led to a cabin at the park entrance station which had been closed for the winter.  From the outside, the cabin looked deserted.  No lights were on and there was no smoke coming from the chimney.  They ran to the cabin, threw open the door, and found Karen lying on a bed in the freezing cold cabin.  One of the rescuers said that Karen “was too exhausted to even make a fire.”  They took Karen to the same hospital where they had taken Eric and Isaac.  Her condition was more serious than Eric’s or Isaac’s, but not life-threatening. 

To save her family, Karen walked for more than 24 hours non-stop, for a distance of about 26 miles, in snow up to three feet deep, without proper snow gear.  Karen, Eric, Isaac, and the host of search and rescue personnel considered their survival a Christmas miracle because they were reunited on Christmas Day.                           


  1. Albuquerque Journal, December 25, 2016, p.B18.
  2. National Park Service. “Grand Canyon National Park.” Accessed December 10, 2020.


Dr. Stephen Wheat Pioneers Use of Hand-Held Ultrasound for Early Leprosy Diagnosis

Sometimes it takes the isolation of a pandemic to allow a mind to journey uninterrupted to discovery. It was during the great plague of London that Sir Isaac Newton developed Calculus, the spectrum, and started his study of the laws of motion. It has been during the Covid-19 pandemic that Natchitoches electrodiagnostic specialist Dr. Stephen Wheat discovered that using the emerging technology of a hand-held ultrasound could give new hope to the greater than four million individuals worldwide suffering with undiagnosed leprosy.

In January of 2019, Dr. Wheat began to successfully use the emerging technology of a hand-held ultrasound known as the Butterfly iQ in his neuromuscular and skeletal electrodiagnostic specialty. The Butterfly iQ is one the world’s first dependable, hand-held, whole body ultrasound devices portable enough to be used with a smartphone or tablet. Dr. Wheat began to hypothesize how using a “pocket” ultrasound device such as the affordable Butterfly IQ might change the efficacy with which the world diagnosed this terrible disease, especially in remote countries where the disease often goes undiagnosed.

Having attended medical school in Louisiana and specialized in both internal medicine and physical medicine before becoming an electro diagnostician, Dr. Wheat was familiar with the National Hansen’s Disease Clinical Center, the only institution in the U.S. exclusively devoted to leprosy consulting, research, and training. He was also aware of the challenges to diagnosing Hansen’s Disease, and had learned that high resolution ultrasound was a newer technology being brought into the diagnostic process.

Dr. Wheat’s work with ultrasound in his electrodiagnostic specialty and his interest in using this emerging technology in the diagnosis of leprosy became known to Michael Stephen Cartwright, MD, professor of Neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Cartwright was working with the National Hansen’s Disease Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Barbara M. Stryjewska and the Louisiana State University Veterinary Center in Baton Rouge, where the nine-banded armadillo was being used in Leprosy research. Cartwright asked Wheat if he would travel to the Vet Center to test his theory of the efficacy of using the hand-held ultrasound on the nine-banded armadillo, the only other natural host for leprosy besides humans.

After months of research, human and nine-banded armadillo trials, and much discussion among Wheat, Stryjewska, and Cartwright, this esteemed team proposes that using a hand-held ultrasound, such as the Butterfly iQ that is 1/10th the cost of larger ultrasound machines, will make the diagnosis of Hansen’s Disease affordable in any city in America, any location in the world. “This can transform medical missionary work,” says Dr. Wheat, who has worked as a medical missionary in Kenya East Africa.

The Bible often referred to people with leprosy as “unclean” and placed them “outside the camp.” In medieval Spain, victims of leprosy were declared legally dead and their property dispersed. In Norway, Hansen’s Disease patients had cowbells placed around their necks to warn others of their coming. Mohammed advised his followers to flee lepers as one would a lion. It is estimated that today three million people worldwide are living with the irreversible disabilities resulting from Leprosy. Drs. Wheat, Stryjewska, and Cartwright are excited about the opportunity to diagnose this reversible but dreaded disease earlier and faster across the globe, and to give those millions of people suffering with undiagnosed Leprosy a fighting chance for a cure against this historically dreaded illness.

Notice of Death December 15, 2020

Tommy W. Lowe
March 23, 1967 – December 13, 2020
Service: Friday, December 18 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

F. Allen Horton
August 31, 1933 – December 15, 2020
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, a private family graveside service in the Catholic Rite of Christian Burial will be held at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches on Friday, Dec. 18, under the direction of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home of Natchitoches.

Sophia Willoughby Washington
December 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Gloria Marie LaCaze
July 09, 1940 – December 11, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 16 at 11 am at Weaver Cemetery in Flora

Elijah Calhoun
February 11, 1960 – December 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Margaret Ann Holmes
April 26, 1954 – December 10, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Ruby Lucille Ferri
October 02, 1925 – December 02, 2020
Services are pending due to Covid 19.

Shirley Ann Remo
December 6, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Arthur M. Hardy
December 8, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Operation Save A Kid’s Shop With A Cop Program Brings Christmas Joy to Winn Parish Children

Operation Save A Kid held it’s annual Shop With A Cop at Walmart in Winnfield Saturday. 

This year’s event provided 46 children with $100 to shop for Christmas presents at Walmart. Winn Parish first responders from Winnfield Police Department, Winnfield Fire Department, Winn Parish Fire District 3, and Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office escorted each child on their shopping spree.

Program director Jesse Phillips explained the number of children participating was cut almost in half this year due to Walmart’s COVID restrictions restricting the number of people inside the store. Last year over 100 children participated. “Everyone is very generous. Although Winnfield is a small town, the people have big hearts,” said Phillips

Operation Save A Kid also hosts a hay ride at Halloween and Christmas and, Bridging the Gap in Summer for children in Winn Parish.