Delta Regional Authority Graduates 31 Fellows from the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy – Including WPJ Executive Editor

Extensive, nine-month executive leadership program fellows composed of leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors from the eight-state region.

MEMPHIS – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today graduated 31 regional leaders from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy, an extensive, nine-month executive leadership program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. The 2022 DLI class was selected from a competitive applicant pool from all eight DRA states and marks the 18th year of DLI-trained regional leaders.

“There is power in human connection, and investments in people is an invaluable tool for creating change,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “DRA’s Delta Leadership Institute brings together a diverse group of community leaders who soon realize that while their hometowns may differ, the challenges within are alike. What happens next is the cultivation of a dedicated, passionate leadership corps equipped with the knowledge and networks to bring positive growth back home to their communities.”

Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has provided leadership development to more than 700 community leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to strengthen skills development, information sharing, regional collaboration, and improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Delta.  The leadership program empowers fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks needed to address local and regional challenges. 

The graduates participated in six training sessions over the past year, learning best practices employed throughout the Delta region for economic and community development in order to catalyze innovative solutions implementable in their own community and region. DLI fellows learned from subject matter experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, public health, and other fields necessary to facilitate economic growth.

The 2022 DLI Executive Academy graduates are:


  • Aliquippa Allen, Demopolis | Executive Director, Rural Business and Training Center, Inc.
  • Nick Harrell, Butler | County Extension Coordinator, Auburn University 
  • Teirdre Owens, Northport | Outreach Coordinator, Office of Congresswoman Terri Sewell


  • Graycen Bigger, Pocahontas | Executive Director; AVP Community Development, Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority; Farmers & Merchants Bank
  • Ryan Biles, Lonoke | Owner, Architect, Kudzu Collective PLLC
  • ShaRhonda Love, Mabelvale | Partnerships Director, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Hunter Sadler, Little Rock | District Representative, Office of Congressman French Hill
  • Cody Slater, Wynne | CEO, Wynne Economic Development Corporation 
  • Leonard Williams, Pine Bluff | Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Lindsey Wingo, Jonesboro | Executive Director, Downtown Jonesboro Alliance


  • Jane Bryant, Murphysboro | Professor of Political Science and Sociology, John A Logan College
  • Byram Fager, Energy | Executive Director, Southern Illinois Community Foundation
  • Sarah Gray, Carbondale | System Director, Business and Economic Development, Southern Illinois Healthcare
  • Roni LeForge, Carbondale | Public Relations Officer, City of Carbondale


  • Cameron Edwards, Slaughters | Senior Pastor, Webb Memorial and Slaughters First United Methodist Church
  • Jason Lemle, Mayfield | President, Graves County Economic Development
  • Missy Vanderpool, Henderson | Executive Director, Henderson Economic Development


  • Kelsey Foster, New Orleans | Executive Director, Algiers Economic Development Foundation
  • Bryant Killen, Ferriday | Deputy Director, Lake Providence Port Commission-Tensas Port Commission-Vidalia Port 
  • Roderick Scott, Baton Rouge | Director, Intergovernmental Affairs, Governor’s Office, State of Louisiana
  • Ni’Shawn Stovall, Baton Rouge | Project Manager, East Baton Rouge Parish School System
  • Jodi Taylor, Winnfield | Executive Editor/Owner, Winn Parish Journal


  • Gary Bass, Bassfield | Director, Jefferson Davis County Economic Development District
  • Gia Matheny, Hernando | Community Development Director, City of Hernando
  • Tonya Neely, Jackson | Director, Office of Apprenticeship, Mississippi Department of Employment Security
  • Tiffani Perry, Holly Springs | Chief of Staff, Rust College


  • Reneé Brueckner, Perryville | Operations Director, Association of the Miraculous Medal
  • Jill Rickman, Kennett | Human Resources and Communications Manager, Kennett Board of Public Works
  • James Sisk, Poplar Bluff | City Planner, City of Poplar Bluff Missouri


  • Allica Austin, Dresden | Assistant Director, Weakley County Prevention Coalition
  • Cody Behles, Memphis | Director of Research and Innovation, University of Memphis

DLI is administered as a collaborative partnership between DRA and regional institutions of higher learning. Upon graduation, DLI fellows become members of the Delta Leadership Network (DLN), which provides peer-to-peer engagement opportunities for continued leadership development, information sharing, and collaboration with more than 700 regional alumni dedicated to the future of the Delta region.


About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

Winn Parish Library’s October Event Calendar!

-October 9th to the 15th is ‘Teen Read Week’
-October 11th from 4p.m to 5p.m ‘Pumpkin Painting’ (kids craft)
-October 13th, beginning at 9a.m , ‘Fall Decoupaged Cutting Boards’ (Adult Craft)
-October 17th to the 21st, ‘Grab and Go Craft’
-October 23rd, “Celebrating Life, Live Drug Free”
-October 24th through the 28th is Red Ribbon Week
-October 25th from 4p.m-5:30p.m, ‘Booktacular Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt’
-October 27th, starting at 9a.m, ‘How to Paint a Turkey on Canvas’ (Adult Craft )
-October 31st, Happy Halloween! Stop in with your costume and get a treat!

For all crafts please remember to call in (3186284478) or sign up via Facebook at the Winn Parish Library’s page. Thank you Winn Parish Library for offering more to our families and community this spooky season!

WPSB Meeting Monday

The Winn Parish School Board will meet in regular public session Monday, October 3, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Winn Parish School Board in Winnfield, Louisiana.

Winn Parish School Board
October 3, 2022
5:30 p.m. – WPSB Meeting Room

A. Invocation
B. Pledge of Allegiance
C. Roll Call
D. Receive and Adopt Executive Committee Report
E. Adopt Order of Business
F. School Spotlight -Atlanta/Winnfield Middle School
G. Consider Approving Minutes – September 6, 2022
H. Consider Adopting the millage rates for the tax year 2022
I. Receive and Adopt Maintenance and Building Committee Report
J. Consider Re-advertising for Bids on the WSHS Track Repairs
K. Receive Personnel Information
L. Receive General Fund to Actual Report – September 30, 2022
M. Superintendent Comments
n. Board Member Comments

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report

Date: 9-20-22

Name: Mark Martinez 

Address: Winnfield LA 

Race: Hispanic 

Sex: Male 

Age: 39

Charge: Faillure to appear, Second degree battery 

Date: 9-22-22

Name: Bernard Tate Jr

Address: Winnfield, LA

Race: Black 

Sex: Male

Age: 56

Charge: Entry after being forbbiden 


Date: 9-23-22

Name: Carolyn A Bynog 

Address: Nachitoches, LA

Race:  White 

Sex: Female 

Age: 66

Charge: Perjury

Date: 9-25-22

Name: Michael Kevin Orlanda 

Address: Montgomery, LA

Race: N/A

Sex: Male

Age: 42

Charge: Domestic abuse battery 

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Priscilla Massey Speaks to Kiwanis

Winn Parish Library Director Priscilla Massey spoke to the Kiwanis Club, Tuesday, September 27th. She has been at her new job for almost 2 months and she said she felt she was settling in well. Massey said it was a great feeling to be back in the community. She has worked in Jonesboro at Jackson Parish Library for 7 years. She did not live in Jonesboro but drove back and forth but it is a different feeling to live and work in your community. She had also previously worked at the Winn Parish Library for 12 years as a technical specialist. She is currently working on the budget for next year.

September is Library card sign-up and Ms. Massey brought library cards and applications for those members who did not have a library card. Then she talked about the Libby app which can be downloaded on your phone, pad, kindle or computer which allows you to check out e-books, audio books, and periodicals (magazines) with your library card. The library offers access to books, periodicals, audio books, newspapers and DVDs. There are also basic office services such as copies, faxes, wi-fi and access to computers. There are currently new computers for the staff,library customers and branch libraries that are waiting to be installed. The library has a meeting room that can be used for many kinds of meetings that are open to the public. You reserve it in advance. The library is a community center used for special programming, crafts and other activities. Their motto is serving the community. They believe in the value of partnerships.

There are 4 branch libraries-Atlanta, Calvin, Dodson and Sikes. They are associated with the schools except for Sikes that no longer has a school. Each branch has a manager. There are 8 employees in the main branch in Winnfield making a total of 8 employees.

The library is also part of an on-line data base provided by the state library. The library’s website will  take you to many different places. One of those places is which provides students and adults with homework help.

Many of the members signed up for a library card before they left the meeting. We are very happy that Ms. Massey is our new Winn Parish Library Director.


By: Glynn Harris

Forty-four year old Wesley Miller is a busy fellow. He lives along Dorcheat Bayou between Doyline and Sibley in Webster Parish. As a professional, Miller is a registered nurse who happens to be a serious outdoorsman and has made his name in at least two ways.

Two years ago, Miller put an arrow through a huge 13 point buck that scored 165 6/8 inches, a buck that stands in fourth place on the all-time trophy list for archery in Louisiana.

As much as he loves to deer hunt, there is another passion that is taking most of his time now to the point that he has put his nursing career on hold for the time being. He is one of north Louisiana’s most popular and busiest crappie guides.

“I decided that if I was going to be serious about guiding, I elected to lay my nursing job aside to see how guiding works out. So far, “said Miller “I have been as busy as I want to be guiding clients on several lakes and waterways across the state.”

We caught up with Miller recently to pick his brain a bit on what it is like to be a full-time fishing guide and how he manages to put clients on big crappie on a regular basis on our area lakes and waterways.

“Right now I’m finding fish in different places and different situations in every lake we fish. Some lakes I’m finding fish on brush piles and on others the fish are suspended in open water. I have to hunt them differently every day,” Miller said.

A recent guide trip to Grand Bayou Reservoir near Coushatta is an example of how a guide who knows his business has to adapt to changing conditions.

“I was on Grand Bayou awhile back and found schools of fish out in open water with 40 to 50 fish in each school. Using my Live Scope, we would catch a couple out of one school, move around and find another school and catch a few active fish out of it.

“We were down there again the following day and every fish we caught was over a brush pile. With this new technology, you go to a spot and if there aren’t active fish there, you go to another spot and try something else. It can change from day to day,” he said.

What about looking for crappie now that the weather is beginning to cool down? Is there a pattern you can depend on to fish for early fall crappie?

“I have found that crappie will move some when weather changes but in reality, the only time when fish really change locations is during the spring spawn. Other than that,” Miller added, “crappie will be generally in the same spot all year, maybe a little deeper or more shallow but they won’t move very far.”

Miller has some favorite jigs he and his clients use and these are jigs he ties himself and they seem to work well day in and day out.

“When I tie my jigs I use hackle feathers instead of straight-tail feathers. They look more like the gills on a bait fish than the straight ones. I also make my jigs quite small, usually less than two inches long because they look more like bait fish than larger ones,” he said.
Switching gears, Miller deer hunts on family property in Webster Parish, an area where he got the big one.

“I live ten minutes from my family farm and since I’m guiding so much, I probably won’t get to deer hunt as often as I’d like,” he said. “I should still be able to hunt afternoons and those mornings when the weather is so bad we can’t fish. Bad weather days are often your best hunting days anyhow.”
If you’re interested in booking a guide trip with Miller, you can reach him at 318/465-1668 or find him on Face Book at Big Sasquatch Outdoors.

Angler’s Perspective – The Fall Feeding Frenzy

Get ready! It’s the time of year that all anglers look forward to… the fall-feeding frenzy…where bass gorge themselves to the point that it looks like they ate a football! It’s official, the bass buffet is now open for all bass, large and small. October in the south is probably one of the best months of the year to go out and catch a lot of bass as they migrate up the creeks chasing shad. This fiesta occurs each year as the days get shorter, triggering largemouth bass to start fattening up for the long winter months. 

Probably the first question: What baits should be thrown in order to give yourself the best opportunity to catch these hungry bass? Well, that’s a million-dollar question, but today you’ll get an angler’s perspective on the best baits that will put the odds in your favor. First, you have to understand the prey you’re trying to mimic because bass can be a little finicky this time of year. Baitfish, also known as shad, is the main thing they are looking for as the bass head up the creeks. They will travel in small wolf packs rounding up and forcing balls of shad (bait fish) into shallow water where they will ambush them with force. Remember, they won’t bite just any old bait, it must be something that looks similar to what they are eating.

One of the best baits for this style of fishing is a crankbait. Several come to mind like a Bandit 100 or 200 series in a shad pattern they call pearl/black back.  Strike King also makes a great crankbait in what is called the KVD Series (designed by pro angler Kevin Van Dam). Their best colors are a green gizzard shad or what they call sexy shad. Both are great shad imitators and will get the job done. Remember, it’s not complicated, just try to throw something that looks like bait fish or shad. The next great choice would be a spinnerbait, as nothing mimics shad better than a skirted spinnerbait with either double willow blades or a three-bladed spinnerbait. The three-bladed baits are very popular and productive this time of year. 

Now let’s look at two great baits for topwater action. A Heddon Zara Spook or the Zara Puppy in a clear or shad color should be your first choice when it comes to walking-style bait. This is bait that literally walks side to side when being retrieved. It mimics bait fish running across the top of the water and bass just can’t stand it; they have to eat it! The next bait of choice for topwater is a buzz bait. This is a bait that looks similar to a spinner bait but is fished as a topwater with a big propeller-type blade. Most will come with a skirt just like a spinnerbait, but this time of year it’s better if you take the skirt off and replace it with some type of white wide tail grub, a twin tail grub, or a Zoom Horney Toad. Again, you’re just trying to mimic shad or bait fish scurrying across the water in order to trigger bass into biting.

I hope these suggestions will help you this fall as you head for your favorite body of water looking to take advantage of this awesome time of year. Another great thing about fall fishing is the fact that many of our lakes and waterways are bare of anglers since many of them are headed for the woods looking to put meat in their freezer with a deer or two, or maybe a few bushy tails.  Some days, you’ll literally have the lake all to yourself; that’s when the fun begins!  Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen. Take it from this angler, Melanoma is not something you want to deal with. 

Steve Graf – Owner Co-Host                                                                

Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &                                                 

Tackle Talk Live 

Notice of Death – September 29, 2022

Crosby Adams Jr.
January 30, 1931 – September 28, 2022

George Andrew Batson
December 27, 1944 – September 28, 2022
Service: Sunday, October 2 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church

Grace Dado Hicks
February 1, 1933 – September 25, 2022
Her family will receive friends for visitation on Saturday, October 1 at 10 am at Calvary Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Services will start at 1 pm. Burial will follow at Calvary.

Comilla Fisher Dupree
February 11, 1938 – September 24, 2022
Visitation: Friday, September 30 from 9-11 am at the First Baptist Church, located at 1116 Amulet St. in Natchitoches
Service: Friday, September 30 at 11 am at the First Baptist Church
Interment Location: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum, located at 1630 Breazeale Springs in Natchitoches

Sis. Virgie Johnson-Turner-Burton
Service: October 8 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located at 108 church St. in Natchez

Alvin “Skip” Trobaugh Vaughan, Jr.
November 27, 1946 – September 27, 2022
Service: Sunday, October 2 at 2 pm at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church

Winn Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Business of the Week – 𝗛𝗔𝗪𝗚 𝗗𝗔𝗪𝗚’𝗦 𝗕𝗔𝗥-𝗕-𝗤𝗨𝗘

Here is little background information on delicious Hawg Dawg’s Bar-B-Que!

Owners, Scott Stroud and his mother Jackie Wise started Hawg Dawgs Bar-B-Que in February 2022 after Jackie retired in January 2022. She wanted something to keep her busy after retirement and Scott enjoyed smoking meat. Then it was decided to start Hawg Dawgs Bar-B-Que!

1202 E Lafayette St.
Winnfield, La 71483
☎️ Telephone: 318-209-4009

Winn Parish Registrar of Voters Speaks to Rotary

With National Voter Registration Week coming up the first of October, the Rotary program of
September 21, 2022, presented by Rotarian of the Week and Winn Parish Registrar of Voters, Bryan
Kelley, educated Rotarians on the timely topic of voter registration, the upcoming mid-term election
scheduled for November 8, 2022 and the development of the plan to obtain a new voting system
recently mandated by the Louisiana legislature in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Mr. Kelley discussed the various methods of registering to vote in Louisiana. One can register in
person at the local Registrar of Voters office, by presenting a current official photo identification of
some type bearing his/her current address. If the ID is expired or has an incorrect address, one may still
register to vote by presenting his/her birth certificate and a document showing proof of residence such
as a utility bill. One may also go online to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website and register to vote.
Voters may also update their information on the website.

Citizens may register to vote by mailing in a completed voter registration form to the Secretary
of State, by completing the form at the Office of Motor Vehicles and/or various public assistance offices,
and at schools, which make computers available for those 16 + years old to register. Those who register
at school or at the OMV may register before they turn 18 and begin voting on their 18 th birthday.

One must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the next election if registration is done in
person. With the upcoming election, the deadline to register at the Registrar of Voters is October 11,
2022. This allows time for the state to verify the authenticity of the documents proving citizenship and
residency between registration and election. If one registers online, the state performs the verification
at the time of registration, so one may register to vote up to October 18, 2022 and vote in the
November election.

People may apply to vote by mail for medical reasons or because they are over the age of 65.
Mail-in ballots are sent to the local ROV office by the Secretary of State, and must be mailed to the local
voters when received by the ROV. Voters over age 65 will automatically continue to receive a mail
ballot, but those under age 65 must apply to vote by mail each time. The deadline to apply to vote by
mail in the upcoming election is November 3.

Early voting for the election on November 8 will be held from October 25 to November 1 from
8:30 am to 6:00 pm at the ROV office in the courthouse. Schools will be closed for election day on
Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The ballot measures on which we will vote November 8, 2022 include both our U. S. Senator and
U. S. Representative. The incumbents, Sen. John Kennedy and Julia Letlow, have several opponents each
in this round of voting. School board members will be elected parish-wide, Calvin will elect a mayor, and
Dodson will elect a chief of police and aldermen.

A measure specific to Winnfield which will be on the ballot this election cycle is a renewal of the
city’s 1-1/2 cent sales tax.

Eight Louisiana Constitution amendment proposals will also be on the ballot. You may review
the proposed amendments on the sample ballots which have been posted in the courthouse hallway
outside near the Registrar of Voters office. The Geaux Vote section of the Secretary of State’s website
has a summary of each proposed amendment, but does not yet have the full texts. The Public Affairs
Research Council’s guide, which includes an explanation of each amendment and its expected
consequences as well as a recommendation by the Council, will be issued in a couple of weeks with
respect to the proposed amendments on the November 8 ballot.

If you download the Geaux Vote application from the Secretary of State website, you can not
only quickly access your individual sample ballot but can follow election results on the app on election
night as votes are posted by the SOS office.

Mr. Kelley reported on the progress of the Voting System Committee appointed to select a new
voting system for the State of Louisiana. This committee was appointed as a result of the legislation
passed after the election in November 2020 to require a voting system with an auditable paper trail of
each vote. According to Bryan, the current voting system is becoming obsolete because the hardware
needed to repair it is no longer being manufactured, and any machine which breaks down now is likely
irreparable, so they would have to be replaced with some other system soon anyway.

The committee issued its recommendations as to the type of system we should have in June,
and the Secretary of State’s office is in the process of preparing a Request for Proposal to be submitted
to manufacturers of voting machines, and it should be issued sometime in early 2023. This will be the
third of 23 steps required to obtain and implement a new voting system statewide.

According to Mr. Kelley, the new system must use hand-marking paper ballots or a ballot-
marking device, due to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or a combination of the
two. It will also likely involve printing of ballots to preserve the paper trail and scanning of ballots to
eliminate hand-counting of ballots. With 21 more steps to go in the process of obtaining and
implementing a new voting system, it will be a few years before we see new voting machines in our

After Mr. Kelley answered questions from the audience, the meeting was adjourned with the
Rotary motto, “Service above Self!”

Winnfield Police Department Arrest Report

Date: 9-24-22

Name: Shanna Jones 

Address: Winnfield, LA 

Race: White

Sex: Female 

Age: 37

Charge: Simple battery 

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Remember This? A Sitcom Called Sally

By Brad Dison

In 2000, writer/producer Allison Gibson had an idea for a television sitcom which was set in Houston, Texas.  The lead character, Sally, was a wisecracking single mother of three children, each of whom had various emotional issues.  Sally’s husband had left her for another woman who, because of their connection to the same man, considered Sally to be her best friend, but Sally considered the other woman to be her nemesis.  This odd combination of characters and situations produced hilarious comedic mayhem.

The lead character was named Sally because Allison wrote the part with a specific actress in mind.  This Sally had won a host of awards for her acting including two Academy Awards.  Her career in television began in 1965 with a comedy called Gidget followed by The Flying Nun two years later.  She had been in a slew of blockbuster films including Smokey and the BanditSteel Magnolias, and Forrest Gump.  This Sally, Sally Field, was not interested in the sitcom and turned it down.  Allison needed a new Sally.

As luck would have it, Nell was shopping around for a sitcom to star in.  Nell began performing as a child in a singing group with her siblings.  She had planned to become an elementary school teacher, but the trajectory of her life was forever changed when she sang the Star-Spangled Banner at a rodeo in Kentucky.  Her short performance led to a singing and acting career which has lasted four decades so far.  Nell played a variety of roles in movies and television from a gun-toting tough woman who helped defend her town from creatures living underground to Colonel Sanders in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in which she wore the full goatee, white hair, and signature suit.

Nell was set to play “Sally,” the title role in the show.  That was the plan until the very last moment.  The production crew filmed the pilot twice in front of two different live studio audiences, one in the afternoon and another in the evening.  In the afternoon show, Nell’s character’s name was Sally.  In the evening show, Sally’s name was replaced with Nell’s real first name.  Everyone involved in the creation of the show paid close attention to both audiences to gauge their reactions.  After filming both pilots, it was clear that the audience responded more when the name Sally was replaced with Nell’s real first name.  Their reaction was such that the name of the show was changed again.  The show was a huge success and ran from 2001 to 2007.  Based on the audience’s reaction, the show, originally called Sally, then Deep in the Heart, was renamed again with the first name of its star, Reba McEntire.


1.    “Sally Field.” IMDb. Accessed September 22, 2022.

2.    “Reba McEntire.” IMDb. Accessed September 22, 2022.

3.    “Reba McEntire Spills Secret about Her TV Show Only Few Knew Before….” Classic Country Music. Accessed September 22, 2022.

Letters in the Key of Life

Yo Brendan! 

Word is you’re headed to church retreat to begin your high school senior year. I’ve been asked to write a letter of encouragement. You’ll get several from friends for you to read this week. Mine is a humble C+ at best, but I’m honored to be asked …  

You were born the day after I coached my final Little League game. For 10-plus years I had that privilege; most fun I’ve ever had. 

The day before you were born, we lost in the semifinals of the state championship, and if I’d have done just a couple things differently — like called time and talked to my pitcher Scarf one batter earlier — I feel certain we’d have been in the finals. And the team that won it all was better than we were but … they might not have been better than us two-out-of-three, not right then. Not on those days.  

So the next day driving up I-49, thinking about nothing other than what I have just told you, coming home after a week in South Louisiana and wishing I could turn back the clock and wishing I’d gotten my lard butt off the bucket and gone to the mound in the top of the ninth — your dad calls. 

Saw his name on the screen and knew what it was about.  

You had arrived on the scene. 

I felt better right then. 

Even though our little team of 14-year-olds didn’t quite get it done, they did as good as they possibly could have. Still, I was sad over the ending. 

And then your beginning made me happy 

Harmony of the universe and all that. God is like that sometimes.  

I would have loved to have seen you more as you grew up into the wonderful young man you’ve become. 

But I’ve gotten to “watch” you a lot through pictures and mostly through stories from your mom and dad. Every time they mention you, their voices are filled with joy and laughter and gratitude. Every time. It’s been fun to listen. And see. 

Seems all the stories have had happy endings. We’ve been blessed. 

I have a picture posted on my wall of you at age 3-ish sucking down a milkshake at a Shreveport burger joint, your eyes bulging and your cheeks working overtime. I have another picture of you running the bases with a batting helmet on, all business. I remember Brad pushing you into the pool and I remember us playing baseball outside your house.  

Since then, you have learned the joy of live theatre. Learned how to do long division. Figured out how to try and not be scared on a first date. Learned a lot—but you’re just beginning. Keep your mind and heart open for all God is teaching you. 

I am proud of you and love you because your mom and dad are proud of you and love you. There is never anything you could do, good or bad, that would make us love you more or less. We accept you right now as you are and are grateful for you being you. 

Maybe you get the point of all this, which is that I have always been a Brendan cheerleader and that will always be the case. It has made me proud when your parents have called me with a “Little Teddy” update. You were almost named that, but it would have been a disservice to you. You are a Brendan, and a really, really good one. 

A wise man once told me: Be kind. Love God and your neighbor. Don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s it. Enjoy this life you’ve been given. 

Your friend always, 

Uncle TA 

Contact Teddy at 

Goldonna Christmas in the Park to Host First Annual Christmas Pageant

The Goldonna Christmas in the Park Planning Committee is proud to announce the addition of the 1st Annual Christmas in the Park Beauty and Beau Pageant. The event will be held on November 19, 2022 at Goldonaa Elementary School Auditorium at 9:00am.

Girl’s categories for the pageant include: Infant Miss (0-11 months), Baby Miss (12-23 months), Toddler Miss (2-3 years), Tiny Miss (4-5 years), Little Miss (6-7 years), Petite Miss (8-10 years) Jr Miss (11-13 years), Teen Miss (14-16 years), Miss (17-20 years).

Boy’s categories for the pageant include: Baby Mister (0-23 months), Tiny Mister (2-3 years), and Little Mister (4-5 years).

The deadline to enter is Tuesday, November 1, 2022. The pageant link can be found on Facebook at

The committee decided to host a Chicken Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser this year in lieu of a fish fry to change it up a bit. For the price of $10 you will enjoy chicken spaghetti, green beans, roll, dessert and a drink. One hundred percent of the profits will go directly to the festival to offset expenses. The committee will deliver eight or more plates if you schedule ahead of time. You can pre-order with Eugene Garner (318-663-1148) or Jennifer Smith (318-413-7761).

Goldonna Elementary Junior High is working hard and in the planning phase for the return of the Fall Carnival. Mark your calendars for October 28, 2022. They are selling split the pot tickets and they are also selling Deer Corn raffle tickets again. Please contact the school office for your tickets.

The school is also celebrating Attendance Awareness Week this week and students are enjoying a week of dress up! The 3rd grade class also enjoyed the Walking Tour of Historic Natchitoches on September 27th.

Goldonna Baptist Church Kingdom Kids is up and running! Literally. Buses are busy all over Goldonna picking up and dropping off children. They meet every Wednesday night at 6:00pm and get to enjoy a great meal while they are at the church. The GBC will observe the Lord’s Supper on the 5th Sunday of October. After church lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall. The youth group is serving biscuits and sausage every Sunday before Sunday School which starts at 10:00am.

Dr. Wiley Cole is teaching an in-depth study of the book of John every Sunday at 5:00pm. which is always followed by Supper at 6:00. Archery Season kicks off this Saturday with youth deer season opening the following Saturday. K&B Deer Processing wishes everyone a fruitful deer season!

As you can see there is always something wonderful going on in the hills of Goldonna. Christmas in the Park is gearing up and still needing volunteers for this jolly ole festival. Please contact Mayor Smith if you would like to be on the committee. Bring your ideas and get ready to start planning for the jolliest year yet!

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at