State Fire Marshal’s Office Outlines 2020 Performance

BATON ROUGE, LA- State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning is announcing the agency’s 2020 performance outcomes which show, despite the operational limitations of the pandemic, taking on the new and fluid task of Covid-19 enforcement efforts and responding to multiple tropical system threats, that the agency maintained its productivity goals and remained resilient throughout the year.

“The hurdles this agency has jumped over this past year have been numerous and daunting, but I am so proud of how each section of the State Fire Marshal’s Office not only responded, but thrived, in what otherwise has been an incredibly strenuous year for so many agencies, businesses and families,” said Browning.

In 2020, deputies conducted around 35,000 final inspections of new commercial buildings opening across the state as well as compliance inspections of existing commercial buildings. In addition, deputies inspected hundreds of fireworks stands and displays and responded to thousands of impairment reports on life safety and property protection systems in commercial businesses. On top of those regular duties, deputies conducted COVID-19 compliance visits and complaint responses starting in May when Gov. John Bel Edwards moved the state from the Stay At Home order into Phase 1 of the “Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana” plan. That effort rendered more than 16,000 inspections by the year’s end, more than 12,000 of which were conducted by members of the State Fire Marshal’s Office alone. And that effort continues still today.

SFM deputies were requested to investigate almost 700 fire incidents. Of those fires, fewer than 300 were classified as incendiary, on par with the last two years’ figures. The agency’s arrest rate remains in the 40% range for a third year, more than double the national average.

Unfortunately, there were just as many lives lost this year to residential fires than the previous year, roughly 77. Only about a dozen of those cases involved structures with working smoke alarms at the time of the fires.

The agency’s Plan Review division saw a slight decrease in the number of new construction project submittals in 2020, totaling more than 15,600. However, there was a slight increase in the estimated total value amounting to more than $9.8 billion.

In addition, the SFM licensed more than 6,400 individuals and nearly 1,300 firms in 2020, bringing in around $1.7 million in revenue. Those licenses apply to a host of industries including life safety & property protection businesses, amusement ride operators, conveyance devices, firework permits and boiler systems.

Lastly, the agency’s Emergency Services division, with the Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue Task Force at the center, stayed in response mode for much of the hurricane season as the state found itself preparing for six tropical threats. Three of those– Laura, Delta and Zeta– resulted in deployment missions for a variety of needs including water rescue, evacuation and tens of thousands of building damage assessments.

“This past year has been one for the record books for all of us,” said Browning, “But I’m glad to say, for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, it’ll be a year we’ll be able to look back on with pride.”

Remember This? Prince of Peace

By Brad Dison

On April 28, 1956, Reverend Donald P. Schneider, a graduate of Northwestern Lutheran Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, made it his mission to create a new church in North Hollywood, California.  Building a church from scratch, even with the support of the United Lutheran Church, was an enormous task.  Before constructing a dedicated building for worship, Schneider had to build a congregation.  Before building a congregation, Schneider needed a building in which a congregation could gather.  Reverend Schneider’s predicament was reminiscent of the old catch 22 in which you cannot get a credit card unless you have credit, but you need a credit card to establish credit.  Schneider began searching for a place for his potential parishioners to meet.  He needed a local space which was large enough for his congregation to grow.  After a thorough search, Schneider located a company who had a spacious building and agreed to allow him to hold church services.

On September 9, a handful of curiosity-seekers gathered at the temporary church for the first time.  They held Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 10:45 a.m. worship service.  At the worship service, Schneider explained his plans for the new church.  The small congregation was enthusiastic.  On the following Sunday, Schneider noticed that there were a few more people in the congregation.  On each subsequent Sunday, the number of people in the congregation grew.             

By December, the congregation had grown from just a handful of parishioners to over seventy.  At the Sunday service held on December 2, the congregation took one more step towards becoming official.  Seventy-one people signed the organizational charter as charter members of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.  With help from the United Lutheran Church, the congregation had purchased four acres of land for the new church site.  At the time the congregation signed the organizational charter, construction workers had already begun leveling the ground in preparation for the church’s building. 

By January of 1957, leveling and grading of the building site was completed.  The congregation formed several new church groups including an adult choir, Luther League for children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, adult instruction classes, and a committee to oversee the church building’s design, construction, and administration.  By September, on the church’s first anniversary, the congregation numbered more than 200 members.

At a ceremony held on February 9, the congregation officially broke ground on the chapel.  Construction on the building was slow because the congregation paid construction costs upfront when funds were available.  When funds ran out, construction stopped.  To speed up construction, the congregation held a banquet and started a fund drive to help pay for constructions costs.  Most people in attendance donated generously.  For over a year, construction started and stopped in a seemingly endless cycle.

In May of 1958, the Prince of Peace congregation had another unfortunate setback.  Workers of the company where the congregation held their temporary worship services went on strike.  The congregation searched unsuccessfully for another suitable place to hold their worship services while the strike was being negotiated.  Construction on the church building had begun, but it was little more than a partially framed building.  The congregation agreed to postpone Sunday school classes until the strike was over.  They were determined not to postpone the worship services, however, and decided to gather in the open-air construction site.  The Mother’s Day service was plagued with a light rain and large gusts of wind.  Although the building site had no roof and the congregation’s clothing soaked up the rain, they were undeterred.  They simply ignored the weather.  Reverend Schneider fumbled only momentarily when a large gust of wind blew his prepared sermon away.  Taking the situation in stride, the congregation chuckled.  With a warm and gentle smile, Reverend Schneider continued his sermon from memory.  The reverend expected the strike and the open-air services to lower attendance.  To his surprise, attendance increased.  Donations to the building fund drive increased as well.  Within weeks, the strike ended and the congregation resumed having Sunday school and worship services inside in their previous venue.  It seemed as though the congregation had passed some sort of divine test.          

At 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 31, 1958, the congregation held a dedication service for the newly completed building.  On the following Sunday morning, September 7, the congregation held its first regularly scheduled Sunday service in the new chapel.  Reverend Schneider had succeeded in his mission of building a church from scratch.    

For almost two years, Reverend Schneider and the congregation of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church had held their worship and Sunday school services in the most unsuspecting of places.  At their last worship service in the temporary venue, Reverend Schneider presented a plaque which bore an inscription of their gratitude to the company for allowing them a place to hold their worship services.  In his sermon, Reverend Schneider said, “This morning we close a chapter on the history of our mission congregation.  We have worshiped here and, through this experience, we have formed many new friends, and God has given to us many new joys and blessings…  We have worshiped in a strange place.  We have seen strange events.  Let us be a strange people of whom others beholding us say ‘See how they love one another!’”  The “strange place” in which the congregation worshiped was the Anheuser-Busch Corporation’s Budweiser Beer tap room and cafeteria.


  1. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), August 29, 1956, p.7.
  2. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), November 15, 1956, p.36.
  3. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), December 6, 1956, p.56.
  4. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), January 31, 1957, p.78.
  5. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), September 7, 1957, p.7.
  6. Valley Times (North Hollywood, California), February 8, 1958, p.9.
  7. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), May 8, 1958, p.93.
  8. Valley News (Van Nuys, California), May 22, 1958, p.53.
  9. The Van Nuys News (Van Nuys, California), August 28, 1958, p.88.
  10. The Los Angeles Times, September 1, 1958, p.67.

COVID Defense App Launched

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the launch of COVID Defense, Louisiana’s exposure notification mobile application for Google and Android phones to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Louisianans can now receive notifications informing them if there is a risk they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. Use of the technology is completely voluntary, private, and secure. COVID Defense does not collect the location of a phone or individual to detect exposure, and it does not share a user’s identity. App users must opt in to use the tool and may opt out at any time. No personal information is required to use the app.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen staggering numbers in terms of deaths and cases and those numbers should give us pause. Last week we also reported our first case of the more contagious UK variant of COVID,” said Governor Edwards. “Until the majority of the general public has received the COVID vaccine, we cannot let up and will need to lean on every other tool available to us. COVID Defense adds another tool to our toolkit to slow the spread of this dangerous virus.”

COVID Defense can be downloaded in the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store.

When COVID Defense is voluntarily activated, the tool uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random tokens between phones without revealing the user’s identity or location. To help ensure these random tokens can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.

On a daily basis, an individual’s mobile phone will download a list of all the anonymous tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions on how to keep you and the people around you safe.

“Louisiana’s free, easy-to-use phone app will give our residents the information they need to fight COVID-19 and protect their loved ones without compromising anyone’s privacy,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Like wearing a mask, washing our hands and social distancing, COVID Defense is one more measure we can all take.”

COVID Defense works in three easy steps:

1.         Download the application

Download the free app in the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store. Add your phone to Louisiana’s exposure notification system to get COVID-19 exposure alerts and to protect those around you.

2.         Opt in anonymously

Once you opt in, COVID Defense will generate an anonymous token for your device. To help ensure these anonymous tokens can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.

3.         Get notified if exposed

On a daily basis, your phone downloads a list of all the anonymous tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions on how to keep you and the people around you safe.

For more information or to download the application, visit

Notice of Death January 26, 2021

Wanda “Cookie” Kay Saucier
January 23, 1950 – January 24, 2021
Service: Will be announced by the family at a later date.

John Owen Jordan
September 21, 1932 – January 25, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 28 at 1 pm at Big Creek Baptist Church

Billy E. Bailey
May 10, 1948 – January 24, 2021
Service: Thursday January 28, at 2 pm in the Chapel of Kinner & Stevens

Max Allen Orr
January 18, 1960 – January 23, 2021
Service: Wednesday, January 27 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Calvin Coolidge Campbell
February 19, 1929 – January 24, 2021
A private graveside service with Military Honors will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

Marquita Nash
December 21, 1985 – January 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Eddie Ray Pikes
May 25, 1952 – January 21, 2021
Service: Thursday, January 28 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Julia Rowzee
June 29, 1941 – January 20, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 30 at 10 am at Mt. Zion Cemetery near Montgomery

Ola Henderson
January 23, 2021
Service: Sunday, January 31 at 1:30 pm at the North Star Baptist Church in Powhatan

Edward West
February 1, 1964 – January 20, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Carla Phillips
January 18, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 30 at 1 pm in the chapel of the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Qualifying: March 20, 2021 Election

Election Qualifiers for the March 20, 2021 Election in Louisiana

U.S. Representative
5th Congressional Dist.
Sandra “Candy” ChristopheAlexandriaDemocratBlackFemale
Chad ConerlyKentwoodRepublicanWhiteMale
“Jim” DavisMonroeNo PartyBlackMale
Allen GuilloryLawtellRepulicanBlackMale
Jessica Honsinger HollisterBogalusaDemocratWhiteFemale
Robert LansdenPonchatoulaRepublicanWhiteMale
Julia LetlowRayville, LARepublicanWhiteFemale
Jaycee MagnusonOpelousasRepublicanWhiteFemale
Horace Melton IIIShreveportRepublicanWhiteMale
M.V. “Vinny” MendozaPonchatoulaIndependentOtherMale
Richard H. PannellDry ProngRepublicanWhite Male
Sancha SmithOpelousasRepublicanBlackFemale
Errol Victor Sr.SlidellRepublican BlackMale

Judge, Court of Appeal
2nd, 2nd Dist., Election Section 1
Jeffrey L. “Jeff” RobinsonRustonRepublicanWhite Male

BESE District 4CityPartyRaceGender
Shelly McFarlandWinnfieldRepublicanWhiteFemale
Michael MelerineShreveportRepublicanWhiteMale
John MiklovichShreveportIndependentWhite Male
Emma ShepardShreveportDemocratBlackFemale
Cody WhitakerWinnfieldNo PartyWhite Male
“Cassie” WilliamsBossier CityDemocratBlackFemale

Police Juror District 7CityPartyRaceGender
Jesse Delane CoxTullosRepublicanWhite Male
Robert L. “Bob” HuttoTullosDemocratWhiteMale
“Frank” McLarenAtlantaNo PartyWhiteMale
Scottie ParkerWinnfieldNo PartyWhiteMale

Constable Justice of the Peace
Ward 7
Jason BlundellWinnfieldNo PartyWhite Male

Louisiana Forest Festival Volunteer Meeting

The Louisiana Forest Festival is going BIG this year so we need lots of help! 

The Louisiana Forest Festival is having a volunteer meeting tonight at 5:30 PM at the Louisiana Loggers Building located at 9125 US-84, Winnfield, LA 71483. Come by and learn about our exciting plans and how you can be a part of this historic festival. 

The 2021 Louisiana Forest Festival will be held April 23-24, 2021, in Winnfield, LA. The LFF was reorganized in 1979, and salutes the timber industry in the state. 

The festival represents historical and modern forestry and logging practices as they pay homage to the history of forestry and celebrate the future with deep roots in the forestry community. The festival encompasses a wide variety of timber-related activities. There are numerous forestry equipment displays and related exhibits.

Professional lumberjack sports competitors come from throughout the United States to participate in the show. There will be 13 lumberjack events to cheer on with six different chainsaw events. In addition to forestry activities; The festival will host a wide variety of vendors, homemade crafts, contests, prize drawings, entertainers and fantastic food throughout the day.

Winnfield Police Department Arrest Report

City of Winnfield Police Department
Name: Ricardo Brown
Date: 1-20-2021
Address: Homeless
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Charge: Unauthorized Entry of Inhabited Dwelling (Attempted), Criminal Trespass
Bond: Not Listed

Name: Nigil D. Foster
Date: 01-21-2021
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 30
Charge: Battery of a Dating Partner
Bond: No Bond Serving 30 Days in Jail Ordered by Judge Gates

Name: Justin T. Wise
Date: 1-23-2021
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Charge: Aggravated Battery
Bond: Not Listed

Have A CDL? The Winn Parish Police Jury Highway Departments Wants to Talk to You!

The following position is currently open at the Winn Parish Police Jury. Applications may be picked up at the Winn Parish Police Jury office.

Job Title: Dump Truck Driver:
Department: Highway Department
Description: Under direct supervision of Road Superintendent, operates trucks and other light equipment used in construction and maintenance; performs a variety of manual tasks in connection with such operations; and performs other duties as required. This is an entry-level job.
Examples of Work: Equipment Operation-Drive or operate such equipment as 5 yard dump, stake, and flatbed trucks, small farm type tractors with blade or bush hog. Provides routine maintenance on equipment, assists in mechanical repairs, performs physical labor as required; maintains simple records of equipment operations; may operate less complex equipment as needed; and services assigned equipment daily. 
Minimum Qualifications: Training and Experience -Three (3) months of experience operating one or more kinds of equipment specified for the class, OR six ( 6) months to one (1) year of experience in general labor or maintenance work.
Licenses and Certificates: Must Possess CDL license. 

Calling All High School & College Students – Create an Ad – Win A Scholarship – Save A Life

Project Yellow Light National Distracted Driving PSA Scholarship Competition

Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition for high school and college aged students designed to bring about change.

People know distracted driving is dangerous, but they do it anyway. As an applicant you have one clear mission: create a PSA to encourage your friends to avoid distracted driving, specifically using your phone while driving. Whether it’s sending a text, commenting on a photo, or messaging your friends in your favorite app, it’s never ok to message while driving. Together, we can spread the word and help keep our roads safer.

If you’re interested in applying for the scholarship, you can Start Here


Phlebotomy Class to Begin Feb. 1

An online phlebotomy technician training course through Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will begin on Monday, February 1.

This nine-week course is broken down into two parts. The first part will be six weeks of online classroom instruction that concludes March 12. The second part will be a face-to-face hands-on portion that will meet March 15, 17 and 19 at NSU’s Natchitoches Campus from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Clinical labs will be on March 22-April 2.

Once the skills/hands-on portion has been completed, students will be given up to two weeks to obtain their required clinical time. This course is designed to teach entry-level phlebotomy skills to students interested in pursuing a career in phlebotomy. Students are required to complete classroom instruction and 100 venipunctures before they will be allowed to take the board exam. Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will be eligible to take the National Board Certification Exam on-site through the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals on April 7. This course also includes Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification through the American Heart Association. There is a possibility of random drug screening at the student’s expense at the clinical site.

The registration fee for the class is $950.To participate, students must provide proof of high school diploma, GED or official transcript and must pay $150 National Board Certification and material fee to the instructor the first night of class. This fee is in addition to the registration fees Those taking the class must have a set of solid scrubs for clinical days of any color. An electronic book is available at no cost and will be posted in the online class.

To register for classes, go to

Federal Student Loan Payments Pause Will Be Extended

At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education for the U.S. Department of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%. Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families. They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.

Notice of Death January 24, 2021

Valda Hanner
November 30, 1941 – January 22, 2021
Monday January 25, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., at Pollock Cemetery, Pollock

David G. Bryant
December 18, 1939 – January 23, 2021
Service: Tuesday, January 26 at 11 am in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Ola Henderson
January 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Edward West
February 1, 1964 – January 20, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Carla Phillips
January 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Rodney P. Hoover
June 28, 1967 – January 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Phillip Lyons
January 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Brandon Bernard McHenry
December 7, 1988 – January 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Qualifying for Local/Municipal March 20th Special Election Ends Today – Here’s Who’s Qualified So Far

Note: This information is UNOFFICIAL until qualifying is closed.

March 20, 2021 – Open Municipal Special Election

The following is important information for the Saturday, March 20, 2021 Open Municipal Election:

  • The qualifying period for candidates is Jan. 20-22. Local and municipal candidates qualify with the clerk of court in the parish in which they are registered to vote (contact your local clerk of court for office hours). Federal and state candidates qualify in the executive offices of Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin at 8585 Archives Ave. in Baton Rouge between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Qualifying fees must be paid in the form of cash; certified or cashier’s check on a state or national bank or credit union; U.S. postal money order; or money order issued by a state or national bank or credit union and must be accompanied by the qualifying form.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person or by mail is Feb. 17.
  • The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Feb. 27.
  • Early voting is March 6-13 (excluding Sunday, March 7) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is March 16 by 4:30 p.m. You can request an absentee by mail ballot online through our Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office (other than military and overseas voters).
  • The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted mail ballot is March 19 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).