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DeSoto LIFE May/June 2012


River City Fest Stonewall:

Garden of Quiet Memories Pelican:

Good as Gold

True Vine Nursery:

Where Love Blooms

Volume 3 Issue 3

DeSoto May/June 2012

Vol. 3 #3

The locals’ guide to events, people, and items of interest in and around our area.

Editor/Publisher Edna Wheless Layout/Art Direction Grace V. Hardesty

DeSoto Life® is published bimonthly (January, March, May, July, September, November) by Edna Wheless Co., LLC Mailing Address: P.O. Box 72 Grand Cane, LA 71032 Office Address: 9352 Hwy. 171 Grand Cane, LA 71032 Single edition FREE on newsstands. Annual subscription $16 (6 issues). Subscription questions or for advertising information Call: 318.858.3775 or 318.471.2661 Fax: 318.858.3776 e-mail: DeSoto Life does not accept and is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. We are not responsible for any pictures, articles, or misunderstandings on opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. We respect all points of view and promote free expression. We recognize all comments, letters, notes, contributions, and the participation of this community for making this magazine possible.

All rights reserved

Printed in U.S.A.

© 2012

If you want to be on our distribution list, please call 318.858.3775 or e-mail 2

from the editor “Earth laughs in flowers.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

DeSoto Life is growing…this and the March/April editions have shown not only a growth in the number of pages, but in the Spirit of the magazine. It is becoming a very hot item. To say they are flying off the racks is definitely an understatement. Consider giving gift subscriptions for folks you know will enjoy it. At only $16 a year, it’s quite a bargain. Dr. Raymond Youngblood, a lad who grew up in Pelican and now with international connections, has become worth more than his weight in gold. We’ve been working on his plans and ideas for the future that may involve DeSoto Parish; he met recently with Ben Rauschenbach, an engineer with Balar, at our Grand Cane office and, although we’re not ready to share his plans, we will introduce you to an official ‘gold miner.’ This edition also features a beautiful young lady from Mansfield who’s chosen a unique way to ride a horse; and there’s just never enough kind words to say about the Jones boys at True-Vine Nursery and the heaven on earth they have created… With our newly elected coroner, we thought you’d like to know about that very important office, and you’ll enjoy another look at Grace’s garden and how she grows fresh vegetables from what we generally throw away. Finding delightful stories like these in DeSoto Parish thrills me…there are so many good stories and folks here. I am always anxious to share what I find with you. Pour a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, put your feet up in the recliner or position yourself on your sofa with a soft pillow at your back, and prepare to enjoy this edition. From my perch At Wit’s End…I think you’re gonna just fall in love with DeSoto Life all over again. Enjoy! Edna Wheless Editor/Publisher

here’s the thing...

There will never be enough money if you entrust it to people who don’t know beans about how to manage it.




07 How Does Your Garden Grow?

09 Cover Article: Where Love Blooms True Vine Nursery is a wonderfully special place 14 The Midas Touch Read how a Pelican school boy’s dream comes true as he became an international gold miner


19 It’s Time Again for Logansport’s Favorite Festival! River City Fest takes us back to the Awesome ’80s! 20 Foot’n It for Food Filling God’s Food Pantry 29 Alliance for Innocence Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Justin M. Bloxom Memorial Garden created at North DeSoto Middle School 31 Central Student Rides English Hunter Under Saddle Style Allison Leigh Hooper is a promising and polished young lady 35 New Coroner Sworn Into Office DeSoto Parish has a new coroner


02 Publisher


02 Editor’s Letter 37 Subscriptions 38 Photos in and around DeSoto Parish


Fresh-picked True Vine Nursery peaches are prepared for grilling


31 oms o l B ve

e Lo r e h W


On the Cover: Keeping up with the Joneses— DeSoto Parish whole-sale nursery owners are making the world a prettier place.





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How Does Your garden

by Grace V. Hardesty


funny little thing happened in the garden this spring... Over the past several years, I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the quality of my garden’s production. Apparently, from gardening in the same area without much rotation of crops, I’ve managed to deplete my soil of the rich nutrients required for growing. Understanding the need to right that imbalance, this year I was determined to do something about it. I’ve prepared all winter long by amending my soil with various natural products to restore that mineral depletion, hoping that this would give me the beautiful and bountiful garden

graphic design & marketing

I’d started out with years ago. First, I’d read quite a bit about blossom end rot, common in plants such as squash, and something I was experiencing. It turns out that typically this is caused by a lack of calcium in soil and I was surprised to find out that it could be corrected with powdered milk! Step one of my method became ‘sprinkle powdered milk all over my soil’! Next, of course I knew I needed manure—and lots of it. Where else can a girl find lots of manure? From her big brother, of course! He’s full of it! ...Actually, he breeds, raises, and trains horses (you read about his farm in the March/April edition). That modification insured that my garden this year would be nutrient rich. Lastly, I turned out my fully composted brown and green matter from my backyard compost bin. This is where things got crazy... A week or so after final turning of the beds and planting my assortment of vegetables, hundreds of various little ‘mystery plants’ started coming up everywhere—and I mean everywhere! The seeds from my compost bin have been sprouting! Now I have an enormous garden, full of who-knows-what. I’ve thinned out and transplanted quite a few (most appear to be various winter squash, the most recent seeds we’ve discarded; tomatoes; or—from the smell of the leaves—peppers) and given others to family and friends and hope that it’s been enough to keep the remaining plants from choking each other out. One thing is for certain­— I can’t wait to find out what everything is once they start producing!

Tips for Composting graphic design + illustration photography + image retouching marketing consultation copy writing + proofreading/editing grace v hardesty 3 1 8 . 6 1 7. 2 9 0 2

1. Grass clippings add necessary nitrogen to a compost pile, but be sure to mix with the “brown” materials that add carbon. Both are necessary for quick decomposition and rich compost. 2. Worms love coffee grounds! 3. Plants that have been treated with pesticides and/or herbicides should be avoided. 4. Finished compost is usually less than half the volume of the materials you started with, but much denser. 5. Keep your compost pile in a black plastic bin and in direct sunlight. Compost decomposes fastest between 120 and 160 degrees F. 6. Compost piles should remain damp but not too wet. As you build your compost pile, make sure that each layer is moist as it is added. Find more tips at



101 Jefferson Street Mansfield, LA

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It’s not the beauty and order of

Where Love Blooms

True Vine Nursery that makes it a special place. It’s not the unusual gate depicting life at True Vine...The magic of True Vine is not what you see, it’s what you feel. It’s not just where flowers bloom...

A fully-grown and strutting white gobbler announces our arrival at the henhouse. He—along with a company of guineas, hens, roosters, and ducks—is obviously protective of the house and seems curious. It is neither the normal egg-gathering time nor the regular feeding time when the farm truck slows and stops. Huel Jones parks the truck, and he, his dad, Don, and I climb out. Not only does our parking at the entrance to the henhouse cause the turkey to strut, he gobbles ferociously as though clearly in command of what or who enters his henhouse. His gobbling stirs emotions in the other henhouse residents, so the cacophony of sound forces us to shout just to make small talk. We laugh. But we laugh often on this winding tour one of the most beautiful places in DeSoto Parish. True Vine Nursery. Similar businesses have perhaps had a more commercial appearance, but those are a far cry from True Vine. This is Jones territory, from the gate off Highway 522, a thing of beauty itself and destined to be a joy forever, to homes where the Jones families live. Living on their land is part of the heritage and history of these families whose ancestry reaches deep into the history of DeSoto Parish. Yet, True Vine is commercial in every detail, and is the largest nursery from Tyler to north of Alexandria. The discovery of lignite on ‘the old homeplace’ in 1998 resulted in the Jones families moving to the ‘new home place,’ bringing the old family home with them. The ‘old’ home is where Huel and his family live. Don’s newer home is a short distance from Huel’s. After the move, the two men began forming True Vine Nursery to supply large trees to landscapers. “We started True Vine Nursery by supplying large container trees needed by large landscapers,” Huel said. “Then we added smaller trees needed by the smaller landscapers. We sell daylilies, grass, and shrubs.” The expanse of the nursery is impressive, yet the real charm of True Vine is not in its gorgeous horticultural is in the hearts and humor of Don and Huel.


Sunrise to sunset at True Vine Nursery

Don and Huel Jones take a break from a morning of picking fresh peaches right off the trees to grill for a succulent afternoon snack. “We sort of describe ourselves as being, well, sorta like Sanford and Son,” Huel says with a big grin. Add a smidgen of Andy Griffith and Barney Fife, and a pinch of Jed Clampett, and you’ll see these two very clever and wonderfully entertaining guys are truly in their element at True Vine. One smiles nonstop and one talks nonstop. Sometimes they eat while smiling and talking. Depending on the season, they may snack on justpicked tree-ripened peaches, watermelon, or blueberries. “In the summertime we sometimes cool off by eating cold watermelon,” Huel says. The business is deemed ‘wholesale only.’ “We supply our dealers and they retail to consumers. We don’t retail here. Dealers place an order, it is filled and delivered within True Vine’s service territory,” according to Huel. Planting, pruning, and harvesting—throw in regular maintenance on the place—and you have the lifestyle at True Vine Nursery.

It’s not the beauty and order of True Vine Nursery that makes it a special place, although that’s important in this type of business. It’s not the unusual gate depicting life at True Vine, designed and created by metal artisan, Raymond Liles. It’s not the three-story barn cooled on hot summer days by a really big ceiling fan. It’s not the weekly Bible studies and pot luck suppers. And it’s not the waves on the ponds that glisten like diamonds on a sunny day. The magic of True Vine is not what you see, it’s what you feel. It’s the charm and wit of two southern gentlemen whose outlook on life exudes a healthy dose of generosity, wit, and work ethic. It’s that Sanford-and-Son brand of humor that makes one want to linger a little longer, listen to a few more stories, and laugh a little more. True Vine Nursery is not just where flowers bloom… it’s where love blooms. 11






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Good as Gold T

here was not a lot to entertain a little black boy in Pelican, Louisiana in the mid-1980s. He could spend his time fishing or hunting or playing, but this wasn’t the case for a young lad named Raymond Youngblood, Jr. He spent much of his time raising and educating his siblings and working in someone’s field as a laborer—mostly without pay. From the third grade, Youngblood knew he would someday be an international businessman. Many of his classmates scoffed about such an idea. “They’d laugh and ask me what would be the name of what I’d be when I grew up. I told them I’d be an international tycoon.” As he began to mature, Youngblood learned a great deal from a man in the community who became his mentor…the late Jim Joyner from Pelican, a retired engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers. Joyner developed a friendship with him that now Dr. Youngblood says led to countless deep conversations about life and community development. The two actually met when Joyner trained some students in an Advanced Mathematics class.  “Mr. Joyner and I were great friends. We talked a lot. He was in many ways my inspiration for wanting to help to build the local community. Even now I know he is still by my side.” Youngblood went from playing with a basketball around his house to playing basketball for the Pelican Jaguars, becoming a star on the team. Following graduation he attended Panola College, Bossier Parish Community College and then Park College (now Park University) near Kansas City. In fact, the 3-point shooting record he set at Park University still stands at 52%.   After a record-setting game night and winning the sharp shooter award three years in a row at the university, a Kansas City news-


paper described Youngblood as a “3-point-shooter extraordinaire.” “My coach had a high level of expectation. There were no excuses for anything. I didn’t offer excuses if I failed at something. I simply failed at it and moved on. As young boy I never knew how to give an excuse…either something could happen or it couldn’t.” Now a mature businessman, Dr. Youngblood says he feels like a grandfather as he mingles and works with his employees. “There are only a couple of people who work for me over 35 years old. But the challenge for me is that there are 26 languages spoken inside my company.” At any given time, Dr. Youngblood’s companies can employ as many as 5,000+ people ranging in age from 16-34 years. “Most of our personnel comes from the local villages and regions. This helps with understanding the culture and translations. The languages range from Liberian English, Colombian Spanish, Twi of Ghana, Arabic of Sudan, Swahili of Uganda, and many others. I have Christians working next to Muslim, and traditional worshipers ( Juju) next to Hindu’s—but we have one focus and one formation. We consider ourselves Earth Family.” Dr. Youngblood made his first trip to Africa many years ago to broker a timber deal. Now he is considered the only known Black American gold miner [actual extractor] on the planet and currently occupies 1.6 million acres of goldfields and diamond fields in the countries of Sudan, Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, and Columbia, which he terms “key countries.” Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Peru are next…a long, long way from Pelican and DeSoto Parish.

In Dr. Youngblood’s secured compound and at the mines, the operation works 24 hours a day. “Workers are in the field by 4:45 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. with perhaps from 54 to 100+ miners per day on a single mining site. No one is late in the morning, including myself. Twice in the past five years the crew has left me behind at the compound for being two minutes late. No work…no pay…no respect from the team,especially if it’s consistently a problem. This is our culture. There are no excuses. Decisions are made at times with overwhelming information and many times with very little information, but a decision must be made. This is what I teach my people. Each person pulls his own weight and trains and mentors others until there is nothing left. But we all know there is always something to learn.” Dr. Youngblood says he learned from a man who knew too well that there is always something to be learned. And that man was Mr. Joyner. In the bush [jungle], which is how Dr. Youngblood describes his work area, work days generally end after 12 hours for the average miner. The site operates 365/24/7, but the average miner works 4 days per week. They use both manual and mechanized methods. They use large-scale heavy equipment and machinery to dig open pits (known as placer mining) and tunnels for hard rock, turning approximately 600 tons of earth per hour. If fate smiles, Dr. Youngblood, with corporate offices in Ghana, Africa, will open his United States Headquarters in Pelican. Last year he leased the former bank building in Pelican from the DeSoto Parish Police Jury and is beginning to create new office space within the walls of the small historic building. “I hope to have airspace there to land my corporate plane, but if land is not available, I know how to drive from the DeSoto Parish airport to Pelican. After all, that’s a drive that I love to make,” Dr. Youngblood says. “Since I started this life, I have lived with encouragement and mentoring from Mr. Joyner. I wish he was here to continue what we started and to be a part of what I am about to do. I miss our conversations that always started with these words: “Raymond, I am old and white, and you are young and black, the perfect combination to get in to a heap of trouble...the perfect combination for us to be able to walk through any door [obstacles]. I miss my friend,” Dr. Youngblood adds, wishing he could once again sit and talk things over with him. “There is one major thing I really loved, admired, and miss about Mr. J., if he wanted to do something he would only ask one time…if you responded or didn’t respond he would move forward immediately.” “I am looking at the possibility of returning to DeSoto Parish to build equipment with which to mine gold, diamonds, and other minerals. I’m reviewing different locations throughout Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas for a place now that will fill the need for mining equipment manufacturing. If I don’t find it, then I will do what I always do, I will design, create, and build it. Pelican is an ideal place to build a plant, especially since many years ago Pelican was keen on perhaps being a business park of Shreveport/Bossier, but for whatever reason this never progressed.  I can create thousands of jobs.” Based on what Dr. Youngblood says, knows, and believes, he could earn billions in mining gold in foreign countries. And if that is the case, he indeed could provide jobs and an economic boost not only for DeSoto Parish, but for the entire region. He likes to hire locals first.

What is his goal for using the money Dr. Youngblood says he will earn if his plans materialize? “I’m tired of all these treatments for people who are ill. Since I was a little boy I have heard about research for cures. I’m an adult now and the same research is still going on for treatments of all kinds…but no cures. Everybody has a treatment, but I want researchers, scientists, and inventors to come up with actual cures. And with money, you can find the cures. From what I have seen in all my travels, I know cures exist for many things out there. It’s just that in our world today, we seem to be okay with treating diseases. I’m not for treatments only…I want to help find actual cures.” Dr. Youngblood’s plan is three-pronged. “What I’m focusing on is a simple system that will provide a continuing supply of money to fund our operations. For example, this plan is one that will allow us to take a miner and village with minerals to be mined, a country that wants to purchase what you mine, and a country which will supply experts; when you combine these three elements you have a recipe to cure economic woes anywhere.” ABOVE: African Chieftan Ceremony in appointment of Dr. Youngblood BELOW: Some of the equipment required in the mining fields



“You are not just a project number to me. You are my friend, my neighbor, my community.” — Chris Locke, Project Designer




May 18-20

29th Annual River City Fest May 18-20 It’s festival time again in Logansport!


he River City Fest Committee is working hard making preparations for this year’s River City Festival and invites all to attend! This year’s festival is a tribute to the ’80s and is centered around the opening of the time capsule, buried on the river front in 1987 and set to be opened on the 25th anniversary of the burial. Everyone who participated in the burial of the capsule in 1987 is invited to participate in the ceremony. All graduating classes of the ’80s are invited to join us for an ’80s reunion on Saturday, May 19 at an area specifically designated for classes to set up tents and visit. There’ll be an ’80s band

for nightly entertainment with various musicians during the day. Contact Tammy Timmons at for more information. Applications are being accepting for anyone interested in participating in the parade, volleyball tournament, pageant, car show, or as an arts/craft vendor. Check out, email, or call Francie at 318-617-9363 if interested in participating in the activities!

RCF is “Foot’n It for Food” to Fill God’s Food Pantry!


he River City Festival has selected God’s Food Pantry in Logansport as this year’s charity walk recipient and “Will Walk 4 Food” to raise money to help support this important community service program. Longstreet’s Mayor, Mrs. Sue Fields, is director of God’s Food Pantry which serves an average of 250 families monthly in our community. The average cost of one box of food is about $75.00. “This service was established in 2000 by several members of our community who recognized the need,” Fields said. “Food is ordered from the Northwest Food Bank and delivered weekly to the bank.” Due to the limited amount of USDA food items, the food bank must pay retail price for approximately 75% of the food they distribute, “making it costly to provide this ongoing service,” Fields added. Many volunteers help support this operation. For those unable to come to the Food Bank in person, teams of volunteers deliver the food to their doors. Support God’s Food Pantry by participating in the 2-mile walk.


The entry fee for the walk is $15.00 and includes a free t-shirt. There will also be a canned food drive during the festival. Bring a nonperishable food item to the festival and receive a free Duck Derby ticket for a chance to win cash prizes. Ms. Bobbie Childress Volunteers are needed to assist and Ms. Sue Fields with the canned food drive, so please work tirelessly to contact us if you are interested in keep the Food Bank helping. The drive will take place all up and running. three days of the festival. The Walk will be Saturday morning, May 19, at 8:00. In order to receive a shirt, you must return your entry fee no later than May 12 with your name, phone number, shirt size, and a check made payable to ‘RCF Walk’ in the amount of $15.00, or mail it to River City Fest, PO Box 926, Logansport, LA 71049.


t r o p s ! n 2 a 1 g 0 o L t2

Visit iver City Fes R g n i ur


y l d n e i r f a y o j n En u f a d n a n w o t ! t n e v e l a v i t s fe

Richard Johnson, DeSoto Parish District Attorney 208 Adams Street, Mansfield, Louisiana

318- 872-2991


The Logansport Chamber of Commerce welcomes all visitors and friends

River City Fest 24

Have a great weekend!



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Garden of Quiet Memories

Justin Bloxom Memorial Garden Becomes The Justin M. Bloxom Alliance for Innocence held a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony March 30 for the Justin Bloxom Memorial Garden at North DeSoto Middle School in Stonewall, Louisiana. The Garden was built to honor the memory of middle-school student Justin Bloxom, who was abducted and murdered on March

30, 2010. In addition to creating a beautiful place where Justin will always be remembered, the garden will serve as a healing place for the students and residents of DeSoto Parish. Establishment of the garden is a cooperative effort of The Justin Bloxom Alliance for Innocence, North DeSoto Middle School, DeSoto Parish School Board, and The Gardens of Louisiana.

Garden Design Elements • Designed by Scott Crane of The Gardens of Louisiana. • The shape is like a big hug. The trees spread out from a top point, like angel wings creating a hug. There are 13 trees: twelve white crape myrtle trees representing Justin’s age when he died and one Japanese Red Maple representing the singular loss of Justin. • The garden was designed so it can serve as an outdoor classroom. There are low seating walls throughout the garden, as well as numerous benches. • A memorial marker honoring Justin will be at the top point in the raised bed. • There are two walkways that will contain memorial bricks from donors to remember or honor an individual of their choosing. • The trees, shrub, and plants feature the school colors of red, blue, and white, and include Natchez white crape myrtle trees, a Japanese Maple, emerald snow loropetalum, blue plumbago, and red lantana. Seasonal plants include white dianthus, blue daze, and red salvia. • Funding for the garden came from individuals and businesses that purchased various elements or through in-kind donations. • Future donations will provide funding for perpetual maintenance the garden and for other focus areas of the Alliance.

The Justin Bloxom Alliance for Innocence was formed following the senseless murder of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom. It is a private, not-for-profit organization formed in a proactive effort to increase awareness among young people of internet, social media, and cell phone predator danger through education. The alliance focuses on bringing educational resources, including expert testimonials, scholarship opportunities, and a curriculum on safety and crime prevention for each technological medium to middle and high school students and educators. The foundation’s fundraising efforts will support its Victim’s Advocate Fund, dedicated to ensuring that victims of sexual abuse have continued access to professional counseling.

Time, Material, & Construction Donations

Many people and businesses donated time and materials, or heavily discounted materials.

• T ina Pickett of Gardens of Louisiana LLC – she was responsible for getting the donations of garden materials; her crew installed trees, shrubs, and perennials. • Design – Scott Crane • Ralph Whitley and J.R. Mitchell of Ralph Whitley Construction – concrete patio and walls • Grady Golden and Clay Toms of Builders Supply – concrete • Jim Burford of Dirtworks – many, many cubic yards of dirt and river sand • Bill Stampley of ABC Block in Bossier City – split-face bricks and wall caps

• House Nursery, Tyler TX – Japanese Maple • True Vine Nursery in Mansfield – Crape Myrtles • Flemming Landscape & Irrigation – Loropetlum • Louisiana Nursery in Keithville – Blue Plumbago • Akins Nursery of Shreveport – Red Lantana, White Dianthus, and Blue Daze • DeSoto Town and Country – garden soil • Grady Reddy of Reddy Electric – electrical work • Paul Christie Irrigation – Irrigation • Corner Collection on Line – Benches • Custodial staff at the school – added the finishing touches

How to Help

To receive a donation form, please send a request to: The “Justice for Justin” Facebook page. Mail donations to: The Justice Bloxom Alliance for Innocence, 446 Dudley Dr., Shreveport, LA 71104 Stop by and make a donation at the Mansfield, Stonewall, and Shreveport locations of Progressive National Bank in the name of the Justin Bloxom Alliance for Innocence.


-On y a r p S rs e n i l d Be 30

Allison Leigh Hooper is a polished and promising student avid about riding English Hunter under saddle style.


t 13 years of age, Allison Leigh Hooper is a polished and promising 5 foot 7 ½ inch student at Central High School in Grand Cane. She is involved in many events at the school including sports. But the one sport she is totally avid about is riding English Hunter under saddle style. “I started this type of riding when I was about 9 or 10 years old,” says the startlingly beautiful young lady. “I went to shows in Oklahoma with my mom and that’s where I met Kyle Simmons from Marshall, who is now my trainer.” Alli says she started practicing western-style riding then began schooling in the English riding, something she has done for about three years. “I practice riding in Marshall at Kyle Smith Performance Horses farm, often on the weekends, depending on what’s going on at school,” Alli says. She boards her horse Rachal, at the Kyle Simmons facility. But she rides Vincent, an English riding horse that is about 10 years or 11 years old. “This kind of riding is not hard but it’s not easy,” is the way Alli describes the English style of riding. “One must put effort into it and be devoted to it. You can’t just jump on the horse and expect him or her to do all the work…you have to work with the animal.” So where exactly does Alli participate in events? “We’ve gone to different states such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.” Generally she and her mother travel together to the events, and for the most part Alli comes away a winner. When asked to describe the riding abilities needed to be a First Place winner, she explains that getting first place depends on the kinds of shows. “At different shows they give different awards,” she says. “They give horse treats, buckets of barn supplies, and so forth. But to win at performance, you must first win the trust of the horse you are riding…be nice to the horse, and learn and know how to handle the animal. My horse just keeps getting better and better every time in these events and that’s how I know I’m doing the right thing with him,” she says. Doing the “right thing” in preparation for the participation includes brushing him off, picking his hooves, and spraying with a fly retardant. “Then I put in his fake tail…he doesn’t have much of a tail, but everyone does the same thing,” she says with a broad smile. The young lady-like rider had just returned from Oklahoma prior to this interview where she won third and fourth in the Novice Youth Division. English Hunter Under Saddle Style: English pleasure is

generic term for a number of different English riding classes seen at horse shows in the United States, where the horse is ridden in either hunt seat or saddle seat tack. In the average English pleasure class, horses perform as a group, exhibiting the natural gaits of the walk, trot, and canter, and may also be asked to extend the trot or to perform a hand gallop. Horses are judged on their manners, performance, quality, and conformation. The horse is to give the impression of being a pleasure to ride. The horse is usually ridden on contact with the rein, and the horse is penalized if it must be ridden on strong contact, gapes its mouth, does not respond willingly to light aids, or does not travel in balance. The horse should move straight, with a steady rhythm and a free and flowing stride. The horse should not come behind the bit, or travel too fast.



Summer Music Workshop Scheduled LRHS Association President

Charles R. Adams

announces the schedule for the first

Summer Music Workshop to be held June 4-8, 2012. Three workshops will be held simultaneously and taught by experienced musicians. The first sessions will focus on strings, keyboard, and drums. Selected students will be notified by May 1, 2012. Sessions for both adults and students will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 nightly. All classes will be held at St. Peter Church of God in Christ, 1408 Lovell Lane, Logansport, LA where Elder Dwight Gatlin presides.



New Coroner and Staff Take Office “We want to thank Dr. Grindle, Ron Crager, and the staff for the work they’ve done to serve our community.” Jeffrey Evans, MD, DeSoto Coroner


eSoto Parish has a new coroner. Dr. Jeffrey Evans took the oath of office recently to become the first physician as coroner since Dr. Jack Grindle took the same oath in 1972. Following Dr. Grindle’s retirement, Ron Crager served as coroner for approximately a year, but Louisiana law only allows a non-physician to be coroner if no physician qualifies; otherwise, it is a legal requirement that the coroner be a licensed physician. So when Dr. Evans qualified he filled the position, bringing over 30 years of medical experience to lead the department. Although this office may not ordinarily rank as one of high profile, it most assuredly becomes one the instance a death occurs, especially if that death is of unusual circumstances. The official duties of a coroner’s office are simple, but decisions made by this office are vastly important.

In Louisiana, a coroner: (1) is responsible for investigating causes and manners of certain deaths as deemed by Louisiana law, although the coroner does not investigate every death (2) orders autopsies in certain deaths (3) approves all cremations (4) investigates deaths to rule out the possibility of a crime or public health hazard (5) is responsible for death certificates of all cases under his jurisdiction

The coroner is also responsible for sanity investigations, such as issuing orders of protective custody, as well as all sexual assaults under police investigation. DeSoto Parish Police Jury funds the office of the coroner and this year has budgeted $130,000 for the office and staff which includes a chief deputy coroner and three investigators. The team includes Chief Deputy Billy Locke, who brings law enforcement experience to the office; Erin Deutsch, who brings national board certification and a death investigation degree to the job; Cynthia Hendrickson, who brings EMT experience; and Lauren Cross, who also brings law enforcement to the department. Interestingly, the staff of the DeSoto Parish Coroner’s office has other full-time jobs. They alternate ‘on-call shifts’ for DeSoto Coroner’s Office for which they receive $8.33 per day plus a callout fee. The coroner receives an annual salary of $18,000, $1,000 travel expenses, and this year the office was provided a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 4-wheel drive pickup truck. Staff members must be available 24/7 and cover the entire parish. Dr. Evans has required all of his investigators to complete the ABMDI (American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators) training which provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to make scientific, lawful decisions on the job. The cost of this training is borne by the office of the coroner as shown in its annual budget. Furthermore, all investigators who carry a weapon on duty for protection have been Louisiana POST certified with that weapon. In order to address sexual assault investigations, Dr. Evans

has designated Katie Price, RN, to fill the position of SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner; formerly known as SANE). Price has received specialized training to perform forensic exams for sexual assault investigations. Under the lead of the new coroner, DeSoto Coroner’s Office is working closely with Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office. Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office operates extremely well and offers its knowledge and guidance to help DeSoto operations run more smoothly and appropriately. By offering their transportation services to DeSoto, the Caddo Coroner’s Office has helped cut transportation costs for DeSoto. Any successful office has definite goals in mind and the office of DeSoto’s coroner is no different. Its goals are (1) to ensure sexual assault investigations go as smoothly as possible for the victim, (2) to have trained, qualified personnel with medical and forensic knowledge performing these investigations, and (3) to be effective in prosecuting the offenders. Regarding sanity cases, it is extremely important and necessary to have trained, qualified personnel who know Louisiana law in order to help keep communities safe by issuing protective custody orders when necessary. Perhaps the most important goal of this office is to send trained and qualified persons with scientific knowledge and investigative abilities to investigate deaths in the parish and to create optimum working relationships with all entities involved in deaths in the parish including law enforcement, hospital staff, district attorneys, and funeral homes. “We’re going the extra mile to serve the people of DeSoto Parish,” said Billy Locke, Chief Deputy Coroner.



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Events, people, and items of interest in and around our area.

Seen at the April 3, 2012 Books and Biscuits Book Club are: (front row) Lin Landis, Jerline Jackson, Marietta Blackmon, Toni Chaffin, Carol Huff; (back row) Eddie McGee, Mary Odenwelder, Evelyn Noles, Patricia Smithy, Ginny Wanamaker, Toni Chaffin, Joyce Smelly, Bobbie Cunningham and Marcia Calhoun. (Not Pictured: Carole Canfield).

(Left to Right) Brice Alger (visitor), Valda Barry (visitor), Mayor Kathryn Freeman, Mayor Marsha Lea Richardson, Mayor Charles Waldon, Linda Vidler (visitor), and Charlotte Farmer (visitor) attended the Mayor’s Meeting at the Village Restaurant in Grand Cane in April. Ideas were shared on various ways to bring parish municipalities together to promote the parish; ideas discussed were a Christmas Trail of Lights, miles of sales where folks could hold rummage sales along the roadways in the parish, and dates of events to avoid conflicts. Absent were the Mayors of Mansfield, Longstreet, Keachi, South Mansfield, and Stanley.

Large group of walkers participated in Color Our World with Less Cancer 5K walk in April. The Walk was sponsored by DeSoto Regional Health System. Goody bags with cancer awareness information inside was given to participants.


Clista Andrews Calhoun Community Auditorium

(Pictured from left to right) Shown at a recent appreciation fish fry on the premises are Donald Ray Alexander, Major Ross, Harold Henderson, Ricky Walker, Raymond Powell, Glen Edwards, Mayor Curtis McCoy, Brian Phillips, Barbara Va, Riemer Calhoun Jr., Tim Pilinski, and Rebecca Mosely. (Not Shown: Mac Hudson, Franklin White, and Louis Jones.) This fish fry was planned to thank everyone helping to breathe life to the former Mansfield Female College Museum Lyceum, destined to become a large meeting space for events for folks in and around DeSoto Parish. It belongs to the Friends of the Mansfield Female College Museum; the former Women’s College is now a state-owned and managed museum.

(Above, Above Right, and Right) Crowds packed historic Main Street in Grand Cane for the La La Festival celebrating Louisiana’s 200th birthday. (Photos by Sara Antone)

Dudley Castille band entertaining the crowd at recent La La Festival in Grand Cane. (Photo by Sara Antone)



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May-June 2012 (rev)  
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May-June 2012 edition of DeSoto Life Magazine