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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

This photo was taken at Holly Park on the Texas side of Toledo Bend Lake Monday afternoon. Fred Oden was the photographer.

A tornado hit Holly Park on Toledo Bend about 1:15 p.m. on Monday. This RV was left hanging in a tree. Numerous vehicles were tossed around, turned over or left hanging in trees.

During the bad weather a relief value turned on, venting natural gas pressure. As a result, Hwy. 174 at Bruce Rd. near Pleasant Hill had to be closed down for a short while, according to Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell.

Trees and power lines were down in Pleasant Hill, according to Sheriff Aaron Mitchell. This damage was done to structures on the Old Mitchell Rd.

Northwest Louisiana was almost solid red at one point on Monday as the National Weather Service issued several dozen tornado warnings.

It came through Sabineland Monday. It was called Hurricane Beryl, and it hit the south Texas coast Sunday, then headed this way. We started noticing it about noon Monday, and for the rest of the afternoon everyone kept watch.

According to reports, there were 67 tornado warnings issued by the U.S. Weather Service in Shreveport. The main areas affected in Sabine Parish were around Noble, Converse and Pleasant Hill.

And Tuesday morning we awakened, and the sun was shining.

There was lots to enjoy at Anderson's in Coushatta on Saturday. The Anderson family pulled out all the stops for their 25th Anniversary.

Anderson’s Produce and Plant Farm celebrated their 25th Anniversary in a big way last Saturday, July 6. Owner Jason Anderson and fiancé Shanna Tracy rolled out the red carpet, as did Jason’s father, local legend Junebug Anderson, and his wife, Kathy.

Serving up homemade peach cobbler made with fresh Anderson's peaches were Kathy Anderson, left, her daughter, Laura Walker, right, and her granddaughter Ellie Walker, center. It was a wonderful treat!

Enjoying the festivities were State Sen. Alan Seabaugh, right, and wife Laura, center. The couple brought their sweet, little 5-month-old granddaughter out with them for their Saturday adventure, and she was very curious about all the activity! The Seabaughs are shown here with Junebug Anderson, left.

The event featured free La Casa Del Taco food truck tacos, free homemade peach cobbler made from Anderson’s farm peaches topped with Blue Bell vanilla, delicious samples of fruits and dips, a big waterslide for the kids, an onsite DJ, snow cones, and of course, a great selection of vegetables, fruits, shelled peas and beans, fresh specialty meats, beautiful plants, cold drinks and other items.

We left with more than we could carry! And we’ll be going back again soon.

It’s refreshing to see hard work rewarded, good folks give back to the community, and families having a great time enjoying the bounty of God’s good earth.  

Sisters Michele Smith, left, and Rosemarie Fenchel, right, are abortion survivors. They are shown here with their loving mother, Mary.

Michele Smith and Rosemarie Fenchel are resilient women with a story that deserves to be told. 


Mrs. Smith is the survivor of a chemical and saline abortion attempt, an attempt that was also used on her older sister, Mrs. Fenchel, who also survived. In 2023, both became speakers with the Abortion Survivors Network (ASN) whose goal is to provide support and love to abortion survivors, moms who have experienced failed abortions, and adoptive parents of survivors. They also provide policymakers and professionals with real-life stories and data. They are the only sisters connected to ASN who have both survived an abortion attempt. The sisters also recently spoke at the 2024 National Pro-Life Summit. 

In 2020, Mrs. Smith received a call from her 91-year-old mother explaining the circumstances of Michele’s birth. Her mother told her that when she was pregnant with her, she already had six kids and was living in a three-room apartment.

“My mom was very desperate, and she didn't know what to do so she called her OBGYN, and he told her to come into his office, and he began the abortion process with my life in the womb,” Mrs. Smith said. 

“So, she did what he said and took 18 pills a day of methotrexate for three days which is 54 pills, in total, over three days; [she] also [took] saline shots. She miraculously found out she was still pregnant with me,” Michele shared.

Her mother also revealed she had done the same thing with Rosemarie. Mrs. Fenchel said, “I called my mom, and she greeted me ‘oh, my miracle angel.’ My mom had been calling Michele and I her miracle angels over the last five years.”

At first, they were unsure as to why their mother had coined them as ‘her miracle angels,’ but they now knew why. While Mrs. Smith suffered no side effects from the abortion attempt, her sister did. Mrs. Fenchel was born with her feet turned outward due to the Methotrexate, but the issue was correctable.   

Both women have a deep respect and love for their mother. After learning that she was a survivor of abortion, Mrs. Fenchel said, “Immediately I told her I forgave her. I told her, ‘Thank you so much for telling us, Mom. We are miracle angels. God did protect us in the womb.’” Mrs. Smith also forgave her mother immediately. 

Before learning the truth, there were feelings and fears the sisters had that they didn’t quite understand. Mrs. Fenchel explained:

“I never felt like I measured up. I felt inadequate even though I went to college and had a career. I hid the secret of being poor and poverty stricken. I did gain professional accolades, but I hid behind this facade of poverty mentality because if people knew who I was, I would be called a fraud. After finding out our story, I no longer have this. I felt this inferiority, but God helped me. I know who I am in God and how He saved me and called me His daughter.”

Mary, the sisters’ mother, loves it when they share their story because it could save a baby's life. Mrs. Mary has forgiven herself and found forgiveness from her daughters by the sharing of their story. They hope to help others find this forgiveness through what they do. By loving survivors, mothers, and families who are affected by abortion, they hope to take away the shame and guilt they feel about the decision and restore them with support. They do not aim to cause more pain or pass judgement, but to simply love those who need it.

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Fenchel were both recently accepted through a competitive application process to attend the Vita Institute at Notre Dame University. This intensive prolife training program for leaders in the national and international pro-life movement is offered through the De Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame. This institute helps prolife leaders become more effective in their practice, no matter where that may be.

While there, they got to experience good fellowship with other attendees and speakers as well as learn. The sisters and other ASN ambassadors were given the chance to share their stories with those at the institute. Some attendees had never even heard of abortion survivors.

This is one reason Mrs. Smith feels strongly about their efforts, saying, “It's so important that we share our stories. Sometimes it's uncomfortable, [but] we can impact the way people see life in the womb. If you look at it, we were actually aborted, but we survived to tell about it. All the babies who were aborted... never had the chance to talk about it. We are the voice for the voiceless.”

When the sisters were young, they noticed they had a special bond. After learning about their shared experience, they knew they were more than sisters; they were survivors. This is how “More Than Sisters” was created. While right now, this only covers their joint speaking engagements, they hope to do more as a pair such as author a book, create a Facebook page, or even start a podcast. There is also Louie’s Pizza and Prayer, an outreach Mrs. Smith does with her husband. Established in 2016, they give away free pizza to different missions such as disaster relief or pregnancy resource centers, and they also partner with churches.

Because they are the voice for the voiceless, they want women who may be considering an abortion to know that they don’t have to walk through this challenging time alone. Once the decision to abort is made, it can’t be taken back. Neither of these women would be here today if their mother’s abortion attempt had been successful.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and needs support, you can contact Michele Smith at or Rosemarie Fenchel at Mrs. Smith also works with Sabine Parish Citizens for Life, and the sisters love sharing their stories with any local churches or anyone who has an ear to listen.

(Special thanks to Observations Intern Lauren Ray for the inspiring story above.)

ARRESTED: Lee Allen Gordon

All persons are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

An undercover investigation by the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Florien man last week.  Lee Allen Gordon, 44, was reportedly communicating with what he thought was a 16-year-old girl, which included asking for nude pictures.  Gordon planned to come to Grant Parish and meet her in Montgomery.

When Gordon arrived, he was arrested for Computer Aided Solicitation for Sexual Purposes and Indecent Behavior with Juveniles by Grant Parish Deputies.

Sabine Sales and Use Tax Administrator Wanda Rivers announced that June sales tax collections were again down for June this year compared to June 2023.  Collections last year were $2,987,557.98 compared to $2,550,134.94 this year.  That is a decrease of $437,423.04 with all taxing bodies in the parish showing less collected.

Ms. Rivers noted that all area parishes also showed less taxes collected in June compared to last year.

Former Sabine Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Bennett took the top photo of a B2 Stealth Bomber that flew over Sabine Parish recently.  A lot of folks in this area saw it and, as far as I know, this is the first time a Stealth Bomber had flown over the area.  The plane was flying south to north.  The photo was taken Wednesday, June 26, at about 8 p.m.  The second photo, below, was taken the same day in DeRidder.

This antique organ, circa mid-1890s, is still available. It was made by the Cornish Pianos and Organs Company, constructed of hand finished, solid black walnut. It is in good condition and all the keys and stops still work. Above the sheet music “desk” is a beautiful beveled French plate mirror. It is a beautiful piece of musical history that still plays. If interested, call (318) 332-8653.

WE GET LETTERS.  It is always a pleasure to hear from your readers.  This one came from Ronny Byrd in South Boston, VA.

“I’d make you an offer on that beautiful antique organ you have for sale, but:  (1) I couldn’t play it and (2)  surely it is already sold.  What a magnificent piece! [NOTE:  Unfortunately, it hasn’t sold.]

“Please tell Nell Britner hello and happy birthday from me and that life in one’s 90s can be fulfilling and happy, a thought offered from one about to turn 92.

“I couldn’t believe all the swearing in today’s Observations.  Let me change that to ‘swearing in.’  And seriously, while the federal government leaves a lot to be desired right now, folks in Sabine and Many should be very pleased with their local government.  While I’m observing from afar, it is obvious that you folks live in a community whose governmental officials are doing a good job despite the natural individual disagreements that will always occur.  A little lagniappe was offered in describing the improvements to the Youth Services Center in Zwolle.  Folks in that Sabine Community Connection, unnamed in the article, deserve a pat on the back!"

Get well wishes to Sabine Parish School Board Member Dale Skinner of Belmont.  He has been in ICU in Shreveport, but we understand he is now a private room and on the road to recovery.  His many friends wish him the best.

And former Many Mayor Ken Freeman was in Houston at M.D. Anderson Hospital earlier this week concerning a tumor he has on his brain.  He is looking forward to a successful plan of action.  We, too, remember him in our prayers and wish him a speedy recovery.

We Are Proud To Be Americans

Let’s Proudly Show Our Colors!

Broadlines located on Fisher Road South in Many.

Thanks for showing your colors.

Join the Wild Turkey Survey - the Bird, not the Beverage

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Wild Turkey Population Survey, which began in 2022, has added a tool to the agency’s effort to track the species throughout the state. LDWF is asking the public to continue to participate in the survey throughout the year to support wild turkey conservation efforts.

Wild turkey reproduction has been tracked by the LDWF since 1994 with a survey conducted by volunteer participants during the summer. It provides important date about reproduction and recruitment in Louisiana turkey flocks. However, over the years, the number of observations has declined, which has resulted in less reliable data. The new online reporting component will supplement the summer surveys, which continue.

“We’ve been pleased with how this web-based tracking component has allowed us to expand our survey,’’ LDWF Small Game/Wild Turkey Program Manager Cody Cedotal said. “Anyone is able to assist us in our effort to keep track of our state’s turkey populations. The good thing about it is you can report sightings to us at any time of the year, not just in the summer or during turkey season. If you see one, we’d like to know.’’

The data obtained allows managers to monitor population trends and enable efforts to support turkey populations.

Once the portal to the survey is open, click “LA Turkey Survey Data Entry” to see specific instructions and log each separate wild turkey observation. Participants are asked to provide their name, date, location and the number of males (adults or juveniles), females, and/or poults seen.

Persons may also keep up with observations as they come in by visiting the “Turkey Survey Dashboard” for updates, which will show reported sightings by parish and track the number of birds seen.

For more information contact Cody Cedotal at (225) 765-2361 or



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