No Easy Answer for School Board to Resolve Budget

There will be no easy answer as the Winn Parish School Board struggles to match costs against revenues for a balanced budget for the fast-approaching 2023-24 school year.

The board rejected by a 4-6 vote in a special session on June 13 the recommendation by Supt. Alfred Simmons to transfer students grades 5-12 from Atlanta High School to Winnfield schools. Yet personnel costs remain the key factor in reaching a budget by the deadline, and the Atlanta issue will be back on the agenda at the board’s July 3 meeting, it was determined at the board’s June 26 committee session. President Joe Lynn Browning announced that he will determine by week’s end if that meeting will be in the board office or in the WSHS auditorium.

Board members heard that the state’s Minimum Foundation funding is based on student population which has been on the decline in Winn for decades. That figure does not change whether a system has one school or 12, one observed. It is the duty of the superintendent to propose a budget, for the board to approve a budget, and for schools to implement the plan.

Following the earlier rejection of the Atlanta plan, Simmons came back at the committee session with an alternative plan of personnel cuts that would see a reduction of three at WSHS, three at WMS, and two at each of the other schools. The superintendent anticipated that this could be accomplished through traditional end-of-year attrition.

Leading the discussion was Personnel & Salary Committee chairman Lacey McManus who said “We’ve had more time to look over information, research, and talk. Here we are. The financial information we have speaks for itself. We must make adjustments. When we take money from the taxpayers of this state, we have to spend it wisely. One question I’ve heard is if we need to consolidate one school, then why not the whole system? We have to deal with what is now.”

Amber Cox told the board that closing the Atlanta school will not solve the problem of declining school enrollment. Simmons replied that the action is a response to the decline rather than a remedy. “We need a better plan. We need to take care of our students,” Cox retorted. Harry Scott echoed those thoughts, noting that “the board is supposed to be working for the kids. We are more divided than I’ve ever seen.”Steve Vines said, “Any time you kill a school, you kill a community.” But he also argued that when high per-student costs of a small school pull funding from other schools, it’s unfair. He added that the limited course offerings at a small school (he mentioned vocational training) puts its graduates at a disadvantage.

“The board needs to act now. Principals can’t be kept waiting to see what they’ll do when school starts.”Simmons concluded that he understands the benefits of locating schools in parish communities. But with today’s numbers, “we’ve maintained them as long as we can.” The meeting room was filled with visitors but since no actual business was conducted, there was no public comments section on the agenda. “But now would be the time for interested parties to contact their board members,” he advised as the session ended.

Winnfield’s 50th High/Senior High School Reunion!

“We can, we will, we DID!” was a common refrain heard Saturday evening, June 24, at the Winnfield Civic Center, the site of the 63rd annual Winnfield High/Winnfield Senior High School reunion. The class of 1973 was the first class with the high school motto “We can, we will,” and the school crest, and served as the host of the annual event on the 50th anniversary of their graduation from WSHS. The local tradition began in 1958 on the 50th anniversary of the graduation of the very first graduating class of Winnfield High School in 1908. The reunion has been held every year since 1958, except 2020 and 2021 when the COVID—19 pandemic inhibited the in-door gathering of large groups. Thus, this year’s reunion was only the 63rd rather than the 65th. Anyone who attended Winnfield High School or Winnfield Senior High School is eligible to attend the annual reunion. Many people don’t get on the mailing list until the year of their 50th reunion, as that class traditionally hosts the event.

The celebration this year began with the call for several “students” to report to the office of the Principal Tommy Bankston, which was replicated on the stage of the Civic Center, where those attending the event could be photographed. After opening ceremonies, around 200 people ranging in age from approximately 30 to 92 enjoyed a meal, following which Jan Shell Beville, the president of the WSHS the student body in 1973, explained how the school motto and crest were developed under the direction of Principal Bankston. The program also included a roll call of graduates by decade, a roll call of the graduating class of 1973, a video display of photographs of the deceased among the graduates of 1973 accompanied by the theme song of the television movie “Brian’s Song,” a video recounting the significant events of 1973 nationwide, within the State of Louisiana, in Winnfield, and at WSHS.

Many thanks go to members of the reunion committee chaired by Jan Shell Beville, Kiah Beville, Karen Collins Garrett, Mary Lou Coon Blackley, Debbie Smith Henry, Connie Turner Sullivan, Steve Adams, Tammy Adams, Linda Clardy Smith, Lionell Johnson, James Johnson and Sharon Leeper Waxley.

World War II Vet Interview with Hiram Wright

Hiram Wright’s World War II Experience Goes from Utah Beach to German POW Camp

Bob Holeman conducted this series of interviews with local World War II veterans in 2011-12. Most of these 34 American heroes have passed away in the decade since).

Hiram Wright, former judge to Winn’s Eighth Judicial District, was one who left his story for future generations. That story is of a young Army lieutenant with the 90th Division, Infantry, Co. I, who landed on Utah Beach one week after the initial D-Day Invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. A little less than a month later, his unit was surrounded by German tanks and forced to surrender as they fought in the hedgerows of France. The captured soldiers were hauled in cattle cars by rail across France and Germany and into Poland to various detention camps. Wright finally took advantage of German disarray as the Russian army advanced on Berlin to make good his escape.

His story actually began in rural northeast Louisiana. His father, Howard Wright, received his degree in education at Louisiana State Normal and became the teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in the Nichol community of Catahoula Parish. The school provided him a house, a cow and $25 a month. He married Rowena Randall and the family began to grow, eventually to six children. Hiram was fourth in line.Things went well, as he went on to teach in Jonesville, eventually becoming superintendent of the Catahoula Parish School System. Son Hiram, born in 1923, was a good student at Block High and an athlete looking forward to playing his senior year on the varsity football squad. But the elder Wright, believing it was time to be closer to LSU as his children approached college age, took a Baton Rouge position as secretary of the Louisiana Teachers Association.

Wright was naturally disappointed that he would not play football at the school where he’d grown up but made the best of his studies at Baton Rouge High. With his older brother, Howard Jr., in LSU’s Law School, Wright chose to study Government when he enrolled at the Old War Skule the following year. He also joined ROTC but his undergraduate studies would be cut short. In April 1943, the military called up all ROTC cadets and Wright found himself on the way to Camp Beauregard as a private in the U.S. Army.

His widow, Betty Poe Wright, picks up the account: “While there, these young men were doing a lot of things they weren’t used to. Like kitchen duty and marching. They were getting used to Army life and found themselves doing things that would get their bodies in condition for what lay ahead.

“Once at Fort Benning, GA, Hiram attended Officers Candidate School where he had classroom instruction plus tactical problems on how to solve enemy battle obstacles that could occur. He completed OCS in June 1943. As a second lieutenant, he worked to train new recruits. Once, it was so dark on a night march that each soldier had to grab hold of the belt of the man in front of him to keep up. Hiram was at the lead, with only one man ahead of him. He was holding the belt when suddenly it dropped from his grasp. Hiram yelled out and the soldier called back, ‘I’m down here.’ He’d fallen down a steep creek ravine.

“Before they got orders to go overseas, Hiram served at Camp Butner, NC, Camp Livingston, LA, and Fort McClellan, AL. As an officer, he was leading men in maneuvers and marches of 15 or 20 miles. On a long march, if a soldier sat down and declared he couldn’t go any farther, Hiram would encourage him to put just one foot ahead of the other, one step at a time. And they could finish the march.

“Then the orders came to ship out to Europe. He arrived in England on May 24, 1944. There he continued training men just like he’d done here, marching, handling firearms and teaching the recruits how to shoot. Then one night when they were out marching on the beach, they could hear the roar of big guns and the flashing lights of explosions in the sky over the English Channel. They knew the invasion was under way.

“Hiram never talked much about the crossing or what happened when they landed. He just said it was June 12 when they landed. They went in on Utah Beach in Normandy. I can’t tell you much about what happened over the next few weeks. But the officers had radios to keep in touch with the command unit. And the French farmers grew thick hedgerows to mark the boundaries of their properties. It was a really difficult fighting area because you couldn’t see through the hedges.

“At one point, the unit had gone as far as they could go. They spotted German tanks approaching, ‘Tigers,” they called them. Hiram radioed for air support, saying that without it, they’d have to fall back. The general denied retreat as an option, threatening court-martial. Air support did finally arrive but it was much too late. The tanks advanced, firing and killing many of our men. The Americans kept firing their guns and bazookas until they were out of ammunition and surrounded. They finally had to surrender. That was July 7, 1944.”

In contrast to stories of prisoner abuse by Japanese troops, Wright never told of abuse by the Germans. One story, in fact, showed humanity. “There were many wounded Americans,” Mrs. Wright continued. “The Germans rounded up bicycles from the neighboring houses. These were for the wounded, with the healthy soldiers helping them. They began to make their way to a place to load the POWs into cattle boxcars. It was only then that the American planes arrived overhead.

“At the railroad, men were packed so tightly into the cars that they couldn’t sit down. It was a slow process as they began to cross the country. Every time planes would fly over, the train stopped and the German guards ran to hide in the woods, leaving our men on the train at-risk. All along the way, they’d stop and interrogate our soldiers, trying to get any information they could from them. At one point, Hiram asked for food for his men. An officer said he could kill a cow, which he did. Then they cooked it overnight and served the meat and juice…in helmets…to the men, handing them from one man to the next.

“They crossed France and Germany and entered Poland. All along the way, they stopped, leaving POWs at various internment camps and interrogating the officers. Hiram wouldn’t say anything, afraid they the Germans might find and hurt his family. They put him into solitary confinement and didn’t let him out until he admitted he was from ‘Wham, Louisiana.’

“The prisoners couldn’t tell where they were but could see out through the slats in the boxcar walls that snow was on the ground. Figuring it was near Christmas, one soldier began singing ‘Silent Night’ and others joined in. After a while, they could hear the voices of their guards, also singing ‘Silent Night’ in German. The train finally reached Poznan, Poland, and Oflag 64, where Hiram and other officers, including J.C. Scherer who he befriended, were held.”

The detention camp was a barbed-wire enclosure with dormitories and some brick buildings. There wasn’t much for the men, about 500 when Wright arrived, to do and their chief focus was food, because there wasn’t much of it. Breakfast was a cup of ersatz, a substitute coffee that didn’t taste so good but at least was warm. Lunch was some thin cabbage soup, a bit of uncooked meat…and bone…and a small portion of black bread. Supper was potatoes or turnips and ersatz. Red Cross food packages were infrequent but when they arrived, lifted morale. Powdered milk, sugar, meat spread, spam, crackers, jam and margarine. Wright told the Rotary Club in 1948 how he contrived a makeshift oven out of tin cans to bake a “delicious” chocolate pie from the Red Cross bonanza. But that was rare. Rations were even worse over time as the camp population grew to 1,300. Wright weighted 165 pounds when he stepped ashore in Normandy. Upon his escape after six and a half months of confinement, he was down to 130 pounds…though he was still wearing the same clothes.

“They took everything from the American soldiers,” Mrs. Wright said. “When Hiram first left for the Army, his mother gave him a khaki-colored New Testament. Whenever the guards came around, he hid that on top of his head, under his Army-issue knit cap. Because he refused to cooperate, he spent a lot of time in solitary. He told me that if hadn’t been for that New Testament he had to read when he was alone, he might not have made it through the war.

“At the end, as the Russians were moving in on Berlin, the German fighting moved that way, too, so they started shifting the camps. All the Oflag 64 prisoners who could march moved out. Those who were hospitalized were left behind. They’d sleep in barns at night. Some of the Americans had learned enough German to tell the guards that the Russians would be here any minute. It made them nervous enough that some of the Americans were able to slip away into the woods. Hiram and his buddy Scherer were among them. That was January 22, 1945.

“They made their way to a nearby railroad and grabbed onto a passing boxcar and held on in the freezing cold. The train stopped at a little town. Scherer was able to drop to the ground but Hiram’s hands were frozen to the rails. Finally they were able to pull him down and a Polish officer gave him something warm to drink from a Thermos. The pair began traveling with a group of escapees, some Polish who were unable to recognize their own towns due to all the bombing.”

Passing Russian tanks would stop and together, soldiers and refugees would drink a toast to victory with a beverage that also served as their tank fuel…probably vodka. ‘Stalin, Roosevelt, Kaput!” they’d cheer and down the burning liquid. At one point, the Russians took all the filthy clothes from the escapees while they showered. They baked the clothes in an oven to kill the lice, then gave the cleaned clothes back to the grateful refugees.

When the group finally made their way to the Black Sea, they boarded a British ship headed for Port Said, Egypt. On March 11, 1945, Wright was able to send home an Army-approve memo, ‘Dear Folks, I’m free and in Allied hands. Safe & in good health. Hiram.’ While there, he also bought a silver pin and bracelet for the girl he’d later marry. From there, ships carried this weary soldier to Italy, then England and at last back to the States.

The Army was impressed with the skills and determination Wright, now a first lieutenant, had shown and in February 1946 tried to persuade him to re-enlist so that his country could benefit from his accumulated knowledge. But he would not be persuaded and went to LSU Law School instead. There he studied and finished with Winnfield native Charles Beck and came here to open a law practice in the back of a barbershop.

“Hiram had a wonderful personality. Over time, he was elected as City Attorney and then City Judge. District Judge Harwell Allen, because of poor health, knew his time was limited. He wanted Hiram to follow him in office. He encouraged some businessmen to go down to Baton Rouge to ask Gov. Edwards to appoint Hiram as interim judge. Later, the people elected him judge here in 1974 and he served until 1984 when he retired.” Wright died January 9, 2002.

During his undergraduate days at LSU, Wright noticed two pretty Texas girls, Betty and big sister Rose Poe, as they were moving in across the street from him. He came knocking on the door in no time. “We rode the same city bus to classes every day and got to know each other very well. I have every letter he wrote to me during the war. Later, he lined them up according to their postmarks to help piece together a timeline for himself.”

Upon his return, Wright traveled to Beaumont to see his girl again. They were married June 9, 1946. The couple has four children. Jim, Earle and Katherine W. King were all born on September 9, in 1950, 1952 and 1955 respectively. Mary Elizabeth W. Vaughan was born May 17. 1962. They have seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Winnfield Rotarians Celebrate Installation, Hear About Their Impact on World

(Cutline for the photo used in the header above PDG Pamela Stewart from the Rotary Club of Lincoln installs and pins Kim Futrell as incoming president of the Rotary Club of Winnfield.)

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Mary Lou Blackley, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Winnfield, told members at their June 22 Installation Dinner that she’s proud of what this local service organization has accomplished under her presidency, with scholarships, Youth Leadership campers, dictionaries for third-graders, school uniforms, member support of the Food Pantry and the 5K Walk & Run Fundraiser.

But she also admitted that she’s happy to hand the reins over to incoming president Kim Futrell who responded in accepting the responsibilities that while she is a relative newcomer to Rotary, she is “looking forward to doing a lot of good things with a great group to work with.” Fittingly, a theme of the Rotary Foundation, the funding arm of this international organization, is “Doing Good in the World.” Conducting the installation of the new president Kim Futrell and ongoing secretary-treasurer Jennifer Vidrine was the past governor of District 6190 (north Louisiana), Pamela Stewart of the Lincoln club. She challenged Futrell, along the theme of outgoing international president Jennifer Jones, to Imagine hope, to Imagine dreams and to Imagine change. The speaker reminded members that the Winnfield club is in its 96th year, chartered on May 13, 1927.

During that time members have not only supported the local community through involvement, projects and sponsorships, it has also made a difference in the quality of life for people around the world through giving to the Rotary Foundation. Giving through the years has added up to $128,248. So where does that money go? For basic education and literacy projects. For community and economic development projects. For disease prevention and treatment projects. For maternal and child health projects. For peace-building and conflict resolution projects. For water, sanitation and hygiene projects. For environmental projects.

And since 1985, Rotary has worked tirelessly, garnering support from other organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to eradicate polio from the world. “We’re This Close” has been a refrain for a decade as the number of polio victims has dropped from 365,000 annually to just a handful. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two endemic countries where this childhood disease has not been wiped out. But it only takes one exposure to bring it back (as recent occurrences in New York and London proved). Rotarians know that every single case must be resolved. And for those who don’t believe that people in those two countries aren’t involved in the fight, a report at the recent international convention in Melbourne, Australia, showed that 370,000 Pakistani volunteers (with a security force of 80,000) went out in a three-day immunization drive of 44 million children, despite the fact that 64 workers were killed in the process.

Rotary officers here in Winnfield for the new year are secretary-treasurer Jennifer Vidrine, immediate past president Mary Lou Blackley, president Kim Futrell and, performing the installations, PDG Pamela Stewart.

Learning Tree: Forward Growth!

Across from the local Farmers Market, to the left of the United Methodist Church, sits Learning Tree. It’s one of only two full fledge childcare facilities within Winnfield. 

Learning Tree began taking shape from the bones of its predecessor, ‘Kid’s World,’ in 2021. What started as a fee-based after-school, summer, and holiday childcare program has now transitioned into a free four-day, after-school, Christian-based curriculum accommodating 25 children from grades Pre-K through 4th.

Keeping with Winn Primary School’s release schedule, the children are off the van and beginning their afternoons within the facility after 3 pm. With a short bathroom break and a little snack, they’re into their rotated lessons of the day consisting of subjects like bible study, music, reading comprehension, cooking, crafts, and even group STEM (science, tech, engineering, mathematics) projects based on their message of the week, all wrapped up by 5:30 for parent pick-up. While the subject matter and established environment Learning Tree offers its children is a daily priority, the heart of the program is to nurture each child with the same love and kindness shown to man by Christ.

The United Methodist Church and its ministry have safeguarded this ideal for over 30 years to maintain this community opportunity and have the expectation to see it through for many more to come. Tommy Harrel (a member of the United Methodist Church and Learning Tree volunteer) expressed to WPJ’s reporter his belief in the program and, even more so, the bridge it creates between the church and the community, “Learning Tree’s survival and that of every other child care program before it through the church, to me, shows an emphasis of the congregation’s faith and determination to see the idea behind it all thrive. You don’t want to build a bridge just to walk over it once.”

Despite Learning Tree’s smaller headcount in comparison to its ‘Kid’s World’ era, the program is pushing forward with not only a new director (Kaycie Kile) for the 2023-24 semester but several new initiatives their staff and administrative board are confident will bring the stability necessary to keep the program both relevant and secure as a resource for the community. Initially functioning Monday through Thursday, from 3 pm to 5 pm, the program will retain the same four-day schedule introduced in our district this fall, and for the first time since reestablishing as ‘Learning Tree,’ the program will soon be offering additional opportunities for childcare outside of the school schedule for its families.

Currently, Learning Tree has no open seats within its program as they wrap up summer re-enrollment and address their families about the changes soon to occur. They retain a waitlist and welcome all applications (within the guidelines), though they ask for patience and remind the public that spots are limited. For further information on the program, donations, or application attempts, please call the United Methodist Main Office at (318-628-4181).

Local Man Successful in Business, Makes a Difference in Lives of Others Through Scholarships

Ashlie Moon, Danny Keyes, Donny Moon, Jane Purser, Austin Stevenson, Carolyn Phillips, Haywood Bass, Barbara Bass, and Dr. Jane Griffin, all pictured above

Haywood Bass, a 1947 graduate of Winnfield High School, told a small gathering at First Presbyterian
Church, Winnfield, that he’d been blessed not only by the Lord but through support by a half dozen individuals and corporations that allowed Bass Electronics in Baton Rouge to thrive. The money came in and he observed that “money is only good for what you can buy with it. I had the opportunity to help humanity.” He chose, in part, to invest in his hometown through donations of sound systems to WSHS, to the Winnfield Civic Center, to the Presbyterian Church and to anonymous scholarships through the years. The goal of the scholarships, explained Carolyn Phillips, is to offer the college experience to students who might not otherwise have that opportunity. Some have gone all the way to receive their degrees. Others have simply “enjoyed the taste of college life.”

The most recent recipient, Austin Stevenson, was at the June 24 presentation where county agent Donny Moon described the young man’s keen interest in agriculture through his involvement in 4-H and FFA. He went all the way to receive his BS degree in Agriculture from Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia, with plans to become an Ag instructor. Of that goal, Moon observed that Stevenson “can be relied on. He got involved. He learned the skills. Now he’s ready to give back to the people of this state, through the classroom. He will make a difference.”

It was Danny Keyes who opened the presentation with a talk on the Huey P. Long Trade School. The Technical College. Vo-Tech. Technical Community College. “The name continued to change,” he said, “but the goal continues to be the same: teaching students a trade. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor through higher education or a carpenter through the technical system. You’ve got a trade and you trade your skills for income.”

The story of the June 24 presentation was that of a hometown individual who was able to trade his skills into a highly successful business. This, in turn, allowed him to reinvest in young people back home, giving them an opportunity for success of their own.

FBC at ELK Park!

It’s 6 p.m. Sunday. Church night. But members of First Baptist, Winnfield, are not in their air-conditioned sanctuary listening to their pastor. Instead, they are out in near-100 degree weather at the

Earl K. Long Park entertaining local children. The church had promoted this as a “Block Party,” inviting youngsters and their families to enjoy an afternoon of fun, featuring snow cones, hot dogs, games, face-painting and a magic show. “This is the latest in the outreach ministry of First Baptist,” explained one member. “We strive to do something outside of the walls of our church once a month to benefit the community. That might be door-to-door visitations, helping folks with their yard work or something fun like this.”

From the appearance of the FBC congregation, as they work and move through the park, they enjoy providing a little fun for the neighborhood children. Even the pastor may find some magic in this interaction with the community as he conducts a magic show for the youngsters under the EKL pavilion.

Power Outage Triggers A Memory!


By: Glynn Harris

Having lost power for several hours last weekend due to a storm, memories emerged of acolumn I wrote years ago for Louisiana Conservationist magazine. With your indulgence, I’m sharing that column with you.


As I have experienced more and more birthdays, I have noticed that I seem to possess the uncanny ability to dredge up and bring into sharp focus vivid details of things that happened to me ages ago. It thus seems a paradox that I can’t ever seem to remember where I laid my glasses. It takes very little to get me off on a stroll down memory lane taking with me, whomever happens to be within earshot. My most recent, if reluctant, companion for a trip down the lane was Melissa, our teenager. She actually had no choice because a brief but savage storm had zapped us, rendering inoperative everything electrical. And that included TV, stereo and jam box. With no juice, there was no “Night Court” re-runs; no screeching disc jockey spinning such ditties “I’m Too Broke To Pay Attention, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”. Boredom was closing in on her, so I mercifully came to her rescue. Sitting her down, I began blazing a trail down memory lane, kicking off with a phrase teens love to hear from thelips of their parents…”When I was your age…”

Not wanting to appear overly eager to hear my “back when” stories she masked her gleewith a facial expression like the one you get when the dental assistant comes to the door, callsyour name and asks sweetly, “Ready for that root canal?”“Back when I was your age, we didn’t have electricity, television , running water, indoorplumbing but boy, did we have fun!”(I’ll bet…).“You wouldn’t catch us sitting around the house bored. No sir-ree, we’d go down to thecreek and catch frogs, crawfish and bugs.”(I think I’m going to be sick…)“We’d take the shovel and dig in cow patties for fish bait. Then we’d go catch us a bunchof mudcats.”(Well WHOOP-de do…)“And we’d go snipe hunting down in the deep woods after dark. You talk about scary,especially when the rest of the kids went off and left you all alone there in the dark holding thesack and waiting for a snipe. Bet you’d get a kick out that, wouldn’t you?”(I can’t believe I’m missing Three’s Company…)“And the games we played…deer and dog, red rover, pop-the-whip. Then for some realexcitement, we’d sneak over after dark and turn over a neighbor’s privy.”(Dear Lord, PLEASE make the power come back on!)

“If you can find an old inner tube, I can make us a sling shot. When I was your age, we’dget us a pocketful of rocks, take our sling shots and shoot snakes, turtles and frogs.”(Personally, I’d rather have chicken pox…)Without warning, the power came back on and, like a shot, she was up to the television.“Wait,” I called after her, “I didn’t get to the good part about how we made flying jennies andcars out of grandma’s snuff bottles. By the say, have you seen my glasses?(You’re wearing ‘em….)“Oh….”

Museum Director, Shonna Moss, Speaks To Winnfield Rotary Club

“My start date as the director of the Louisiana Political Museum & Hall of Fame was November 1, 2022,”says local citizen and new executive director of the museum, Shonna Moss, “and we have been very busyever since.” One of the museum employees has taken another position, so the current staff includes Ms.Moss and Jennifer Beck Loftin, whom she describes as a hard worker with creativity and vision.Ms. Moss started just in time to manage and coordinate the 2023 induction banquet. The board ofdirectors selected the slate of political heavy hitters to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2023 as ofDecember 1, 2022, and the staff hit the ground running to arrange the annual induction banquet whichwas help at the World War II Museum in New Orleans in March 2023.

Since that time, Ms. Moss and her staff have accomplished a lot at the museum itself. They have updatedthe list of Inductees to the Hall of Fame, moved all the inductee displays, except those of the very firstinductees, from their former locations to the large new display case in the center room of the museum.The gift shop is in a different location, treasury reports are now up to date, the museum is now open from9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and advertising of the museum has been increased. Ms.Moss said the museum had 400 visitors in the month of May. One addition to the schedule planned is toopen the museum on Saturdays from 10:00 to 2:00 when volunteers are available for Saturdays.

The museum archives have been reorganized and moved to the exhibit building next door to the depotbuilding. They are available to the public during the noon hour and after regular business hours if oneschedules an appointment in advance. The exhibit building is being refurbished and rearranged to allowuse of the building for meetings. The museum facility is available for event rental for $150.Future plans and goals include connecting the exhibit building with the depot building, archives loadedonline, audio and video of museum materials accessed via QR code scan, new security system, repair,sprucing up and allowing public access of the gazebo. Unfortunately, the antique train car which wasdamaged by vandalism some years ago, appears to be unsalvageable.

Local citizens can look forward to the accomplishment of those plans, goals and improvements in the next few years.

Jury Moves to Tap Fema Funds for Multiple Roads Repair

The Winn Parish Police Jury voted at its June 20 meeting to advertise for base material/pit run for a series of parish roads due FEMA-funding repairs caused by damage from hurricanes Laura and Delta.

Rock and pit run may not sound like much more than dirt to some but are the base building blocks of parish roads. Further, explained jury secretary-treasurer Karen Tyler, the parish governing body must have its suppliers in place (for rock and for base material) before it can secure the next link in the process, that of contract haulers to transport materials to the road projects.

Jury crews and equipment will perform the roadwork when materials are delivered. FEMA funding for the roads, although “obligated,” may not be received by the parish in a lump sum manner, said Tyler. Of the first eight project batches, Winn has received $966,113 of $1.07 million in obligations.

Hurricane Delta (October 2020) projects include the roads of Rabbit, Firetower and Peppers ($104,191).

Other groupings relate to Hurricane Laura (August 2020). Included are (1) Campground, McGinty, River, Waterwell, Morning Star and Old Alexandria ($176,682); (2) Packton-Alexandria ($102,397); (3) Leon Carpenter and Willard Taylor ($211,152); (4) Guy Gaar, H. Bustin and John Ingles ($214,536); (5) Holmes Cemetery, Iron Bridge and Julius Smith ($95,822); (6) J. White ($58,277); as well as signage in the amount of $3,058.

FEMA has obligated another nearly $5 million (with some $4.5 million as “eligible”) for a second series of local road projects but funding will likely not be released until work is complete on a portion of the above listings.

Those project groupings include the roads; (1) Braxton, Brewer, Dark, E. Parker, Fatheree, Carter Crossing, Deloy Green and Gaars Mill ($1.66 million); (2) Buckskin, Buddy Bates, Doug McCarty, Lonehill Church, Floyd Johnson and McCartney Camp ($604,435); McDavid, Roebuck, Tom Hudson, Weatherford and Womack ($715,581); Allbritton, Big Creek, Buddy Taylor, Harper, GW Horn, Clayton Holmes, Davison, E. Mercer and Elmer Jones ($1.24 million); and Manuel Long, Mars Hill, McLain, Mitchell, New Mars Hill and Wilder ($270,060)

Funding also sought by the jury but not yet obligated by FEMA include two additional groups: (1) Chee Chee Dam, Coldwater, Frank White, Stumps Camp and Meyers Camp and (2) Hurricane Grove, Jake Creel, Leach, McDaniel Loop, Starnes, Welcome Home, Whiskey Hollow and Henry Sanders.

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report

Date: 6-21-23
Name: Dexter Lavor Powell
Address: Dodson, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 45 
Charge: Violation of a protective order, Cyberstalking

Date: 6-22-23
Name: Hezekiah K Ballard  
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 19
Charge: Failure to appear 

Date: 6-23-23
Name: Donald J Coffey
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White 
Sex: Male 
Age: 34 
Charge: Failure to appear (x2)

Date: 6-24-23
Name: Stephen Beauchamp 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 44
Charge: Failure to appear 

Date: 6-25-23
Name: Thomas Anding Jr
Address: Shelbyville, TX
Race: White 
Sex: Male
Age: 50
Charge: Speeding, Open container 

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.

Winnfield Police Department Arrest Report

Date: 6-23-23
Name: Kendrell J Wilson 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 32
Charge: Theft 

Date: 6-23-23
Name: Marcus D Booker 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 36
Charge: Criminal trespassing, Prohibited acts 

Date: 6-24-23
Name: Latonya Campbell 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Female
Age: 40
Charge: Direct contempt of court 

Date: 6-24-23
Name: Kathy A Butler 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Female 
Age: 49
Charge: Aggravated battery 

Date: 6-24-23
Name: Lashaunda Hardwell 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Female 
Age: 40
Charge: Aggravated battery, Direct contempt of court 

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.

Bob Holeman Takes Helm at Winn Parish Journal

Gene Autry sang it first: “I’m back in the saddle again.” Who would have thought that after 35 years inthe weekly newspaper business here and in Coushatta, I’d come back to the news business using this newonline medium?

I had the opportunity to launch the Winn Parish Journal six years ago but declined as I was still gettingused to my retirement lifestyle that began late in 2008. That opportunity arose again recently and Idecided to step out into this informational platform that is new to me. The Journal has the potential toprovide reliable news coverage for the community that has been good to Diane and me for nearly fourdecades. That’s a service I hope to provide.

Those who watched my work through 25 years at the Winn Parish Enterprise will understand that I willbring no personal agenda, no political agenda to my work at the Journal. Those of you who are younger,please be assured that I’ll strive to provide coverage of community events and unbiased reporting of newshappenings in the issues of the Journal.

I would ask your patience at the outset as this old dog learns this new trick. But I’ll come around to theNew Way. I’ve learned, for instance, that even if a meeting is long and fact-filled, I need to write a storythat is short with facts condensed. There’s more to learn.

Please subscribe. It’s free. If you looked up the Journal at, click the red “Join”button at the bottom. The same thing applies if you arrived at the Journal via Facebook. There is no costand the Journal will automatically arrive in your email early in the morning on publication day. Rightnow that’s Wednesday but we look to expand once we get our feet on the ground. The more subscriberswe have, the better the Journal. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Tell your children andgrandchildren who’ve moved to others parts of the country and want to stay in touch with happenings intheir hometown.

Thanks for all.