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Wednesday, April 10, 2024



The mailer, shown above, was recently sent out to celebrate the successes of the special legislative session focused on crime. The piece specifically thanked Sen. Alan Seabaugh for his hard work.


Our good Sen. Alan Seabaugh, District 31, has been staying busy, busy, busy in Baton Rouge, and we are happy to report he is making great strides.


The Senator, along with Gov. Jeff Landry, were both featured on a recent mailer that went out across the district from ProtectLAValues.org. The piece thanked Sen. Seabaugh for "Restoring Law and Order" during the recent Special Session focused on crime.


Progress noted included


Fighting Juvenile Crime: Any person 17 or older, charged with a violent felony, will be prosecuted as an adult.


Restore Justice & Protect Victims: Give victims of crime a voice and ensure capital punishment sentences are delivered.


Stand with Law Enforcement: Support police so they can do their jobs without the fear of frivolous lawsuits.


and


Tougher Sentences; No "Catch & Release": Stronger penalties and truth in sentencing, plus close probation loopholes.


"The Crime Special Session was Governor Landry's top priority and Senator Alan Seabaugh helped get the job done!" the mailer stated. The item also featured a QR Code that appreciative citizens could use to thank the Senator for his hard work.


Sen. Seabaugh has 35 bills this session at last count, several more than any other state senator. Despite an unbelievably heavy schedule of committee meetings and other official commitments, he is still carving out time to meet with constituents and attend as many district events as possible.


We learned recently the Senator will be back to his district office headquarters in Sabine soon to meet with Choctaw-Apache tribal leadership, representatives of Melrose Plantation, and others. He will also be the special guest speaker at the upcoming Heflin Annual Fire District Banquet this Friday evening, April 12. Heflin is near the northeast edge of the district just south of Minden.


District 31 is comprised of all of Sabine and Red River parishes and parts of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Rapides, Webster and Winn parishes.




Monday's eclipse in a photo released by NASA showing the event over the South Pacific.

Photo by Saadi Xahaa


What an eclipse! It may have been cloudy and rainy in Sabine, but some from this area traveled to get a good view, and others who now live elsewhere got great photos of the total eclipse that occurred in the early afternoon. The eclipse could be seen in totality across a wide swath of Arkansas, Texas, southeast Missouri and other states.


Here are some of Observations' favorite photos of the eclipse. Thank you to all who shared these pictures:



The solar eclipse over Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton, AR.

Photo by Eric Adams



Mercedes Higgins of Many and her family traveled to Timbo, AR, where she got some amazing shots of the total eclipse. Here are four of her photos we especially enjoyed.

All Photos by Mercedes Higgins



Meanwhile back home in Sabine, the Battle of Pleasant Hill posted this photo on their Facebook page, saying "The eclipse over our battlefield for you eclipse enthusiasts!"



This photo was made in Jonesboro, AR as a jet flew overhead.

Photo by Kendall Rust



This photo was shared by the Poplar Bluff [MO] Chamber of Commerce, who noted the picture of the eclipse was taken by "an amateur photographer based in Denver at the Poplar Bluff airport, who was 'photo bombed' by a skydiver!"



Melanie McCain of Natchitoches shared this amazing image of the eclipse captured by Clay Bernard of Austin, TX. Clay is the son of former Sen. Louie Bernard and wife Gayle of Natchitoches.

Photo by Clay Bernard






The March Sales Tax report has been issued by Wanda Rivers, Sales and Use Tax Administrator. It showed that tax collections in March 2024 as compared to March 2023 were down by $464,030.11. Collections in 2023 were $2,739,377.15; they were $2,275,347.04 this year. Shown above is the report.



Two men tragically perished in a house fire early Sunday morning in the Toledo Bend Lake area, according to Coroner Dr. Mark Holder. They were identified as David Sebastien, 70, of Opelousas and David Briley, 66, of Ville Platte.


The fire happened around 2 a.m. on Brunson Drive in the Lanana Bay area. There were four men inside the house and two got out. The men were at the lake for a family outing.





The "Screenagers Under the Influence" documentary will play at 6:30 p.m. at the Many Community Center [Sabine Theater], on Tuesday, April 16 in downtown Many.


Sabine Prevention Alliance Director James Wagley shared, "This is great information for our children, youth and parents. Help us make this happen in a big way to keep our children and youth safe, sober and successful."


The film addresses vaping, drugs and alcohol use in the digital age.





Logger and forestry skill contests are a fun part of the annual Loggers and Forestry Festival to be held the third weekend in April this year.


The 2024 Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival will be held Friday-Saturday, April 19-20, at the Zwolle Festival Grounds in downtown Zwolle. As always, this event promises to be a memorable experience for locals and visitors alike.


The festival opens Friday at 4:30 p.m. with a multitude of exciting events, beginning with a Truck Show. The carnival rides can be enjoyed any time between 5 and 9 p.m. Following the Truck Show is a Talent Show, the Pink Sisters of Sabine Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, and Truck Light Show. Fans of live music can enjoy the Bernie Alan Band from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday’s gate admission is $5, and carnival armbands are $25 but must be repurchased on Saturday.


Gates open Saturday morning at 8 a.m., and admission is $10 for this jam-packed day! Events begin bright and early. Before the downtown parade begins at 10 a.m., attendees can enjoy the Jason and Roddy Rivers 1 Mile Memorial Run, a 5K run and Truck Show.


Following the parade, the fun continues with opening ceremonies, dance performances, a Princess Tea and Hero Meet and Greet, the exciting Mud Bog and more! The carnival on Saturday is from 6 to 10 p.m., and armbands will be $25.


The entertainment lineup on Saturday includes Stereodrive, who will perform from 2 to 5 p.m., Born to Boogie Band from 5 to 8 p.m., and Junior Lacrosse will end the night with a bang from 8 to 11 p.m. Don’t miss out!


For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.ToledoBendLakeCountry.com or contact the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission at (318) 256-5880.


(A special thank you to Tourist Commission Marketing Director Kelsi Horn for the above press release.)





Negreet High School’s Fishing Team got off to a great start this year. Earlier this year, Jimmy Campbell, local fishing legend and School Resource Officer at Negreet, called for students who were interested in joining a fishing team to come for a meeting. Little did he know that the newly formed team of junior high boys would walk away as the LHSAA State Champions!


The team is made up of the following seventh and eighth grade students: Graydon Barnette, Mason Campbell, John Danos, Jayden Elliott, Jackson Gore, Jax King, Mattox Leslie, Logan Pilkington, Landon Thrasher and Tyler Wilkerson.


The community jumped in with sponsorships to help the team get started. The following businesses sponsored the team: Dr. Leah V. Byles, JJE III Consulting, LTD Guide Service, Toledo Realty and Toledo Town & Tackle.


The team finished their first tournament in Caney Lake in February. In that tournament, Jackson Gore and Mattox Leslie walked away as Regional Runners-Up and qualified to fish in the state championship. Mason Campbell and Landon Thrasher placed 14th, and they qualified to fish the state championship also.


In early March, Jayden Elliott and Tyler Wilkerson punched their ticket to the state championship with Third Place in a qualifying tournament on Toledo Bend. Mason Campbell and Landon Thrasher placed 20th in this tournament.


The LHSAA State Fishing Championship was held on Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22, out of San Miguel State Park on Toledo Bend. On Day One, Campbell and Thrasher were in 12th place with 11 pounds, four ounces. Elliott and Wilkerson were close behind in 14th with nine pounds, one ounce. Gore and Leslie came in with three pounds, nine ounces. Weather conditions were tough, as a cold snap moved through the area with lots of rain.


On Day Two, weather conditions remained cool and overcast. Elliott and Wilkerson were second in line at the weigh-in with a 21-pound, four-ounce sack, with five fish - all alive. Wilkerson had landed a nine-pound, four-ounce lunker around 11:30 that morning. Campbell and Thrasher also had five fish - all alive - weighing in at seven pounds, six ounces, for a total weight of 18 pounds, ten ounces, earning them a spot in the Top Twenty at 18th.


Elliott and Wilkerson waited it out in the hot seat until their cumulative weight of thirty pounds, four ounces could not be beat, making them the 2024 LHSAA State Champions!


Wilkerson’s nine-pound lunker set them over the top and also earned him the award for "Big Bass." What an amazing comeback from 14th place on Day One!


Runners-Up in the tournament went to Many High School seniors Colin Cosenza and Caleb Johnston with 28 pounds, 12 ounces. Both the championship and runners-up fishing trophies remained in Sabine parish.


Elliott, Wilkerson, Johnston, and Cosenza all qualified for the national and world championships, which will be held in June on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. The world championship will be open to additional members of the Negreet team.


(Special thanks to Negreet Assistant Principal Julia Campbell for the above report.)



WE GET LETTERS. Observations always loves to hear from longtime friend and reader Ronald Byrd of South Boston, VA. His latest note follows:


"Reading today's Observations, I felt right at home, recognizing names of several of those honored at the Hall of Fame Event and loving that picture of Sheriff Mitchell with Ms. Alma Cross. That told a story; he is not only a super sheriff, but also a fine and caring young man. With respect to the paragraph on the Battle of Pleasant Hill, I arrived about 30 years late, being treated to one of the reenactments in about 1994 or so; it was well worth attending, learning something about those terrible times. The continued development around Many and Toledo Bend and the cultural events such as the Patsy Cline tribute are refreshing also, making me second guess my final relocation to Virginia. South Boston, VA is a fine place, but your Observations make me homesick for Northwest Louisiana. Keep up the good work, Robert, Laurie, and Company! Ronny"





Many High School Band Director Scott DeBose recently announced, "We would like to invite everyone to the Many Band's Spring Concerts. Our first concert will be Tuesday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the MHS Gym and will feature the 6th Grade Band, 7th-8th Grade Band and the 7th-12th Grade Concert Band. Admission is free for this event. 


"Our second concert will be on Tuesday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sabine Theater and will feature the award-winning 7th-12th Grade band performing almost a dozen musical selections. Tickets for this event are $ 6 per person.


"Thank you for your support of music education and our student musicians!"



Don't miss it! It all happens this weekend: the 44th Annual Battle of Pleasant Hill and "Always... Patsy Cline." Lots to enjoy going on right here in Sabine:








NSU Computer Information Systems major Brandon Jordan of Many, above, shows off his technology competition awards, including two national championship awards and a national runner-up award.


Brandon Jordan, a computer information systems major at Northwestern State University, won two national championships and was a national runner-up at the U.S. Information Technology Collegiate Conference held in Shreveport.


Jordan, a junior from Many, won first in PC Troubleshooting and Security and second in Network Design. Northwestern State students have won 19 national championships in various information technology competitions since 2000.  

 

The USITCC is produced by the Foundation for IT Education as part of its ongoing efforts to fulfill its mission of promoting information technology research and education and to encourage and support individuals entering and considering entering the information technology profession. The Foundation offers scholarships to students enrolled in undergraduate collegiate information technology-related programs across America. 

 

“It was a good environment to connect and chat with people and I did happen to make some valuable connections,” said Jordan. “The competitions were a great opportunity to test my knowledge, especially the network design competition. I got a chance to see where my strengths and weaknesses lie.”  

 

Jordan said he did not formally prepare for the competition, but applied the knowledge he has learned while learning and working in the informational technology field. He said he learns in his CIS classes, by watching YouTube videos and from his own experience.  

 

“I spend much of my time working hands-on with computer equipment, both software and hardware,” Jordan said. “For example, I have my own rack server that I use to host and test different servers and operating systems, which to me is not only fun, but serves as another important vessel to learn. Coursework is obviously also very useful; for example, I have happened to not know a lot in-depth about computer networking prior to some time ago, but the CompTIA Network+ class here has helped me learn a lot more on that subject.”  

 

Jordan credited the computer information systems faculty including his advisor Associate Professor Dr. Sarah Wright and Associate Professor Dr. Eddie Horton for helping him as he has gone through the CIS program at NSU.  

 

“The professors at the College of Business and Technology that have helped to guide me and push me towards expanding my horizons,” Jordan said. “Dr. Wright has helped me countless times, and Dr. Horton continues to provide me with useful resources and activities. The coursework makes you adapt to and think beyond what the average technologically inclined person may be used to. If you can use the instruction at NSU as a backboard to propel additional studies, the results are going to be fantastic.”  

 

For more information on Northwestern State’s computer information systems program, go to nsula.edu/cis.  


(Special thanks to David West, Director of Communications at Northwestern State University, for the article above.)


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