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February 12, 2020

Citizens take the initiative                                                 By Leo Chappelle

If you haven’t done it already, go to the Village of Harrisonburg Service League’s Facebook page or to Myles Milan McMillin’s page on Facebook and watch the video produced by Myles Milan McMillin. This professional-looking piece of videography runs only about seven minutes. It does a first class job of putting Harrisonburg’s best foot forward, featuring dramatic aerial scenes taken by drone and excellent narrations by Harrisonburg residents with fade-ins of still shots.
The object of the exercise is to place an entry in HGTV’s “Hometown Makeover Contest”. The winning community receives (you guessed it) not just a fix-up for an old house but assistance for the whole town. The usual suspect, Betty Gaither, with a little help from her friends like Susan Huff Gilley, who gets credit for the excellent script, also worked with Pam McGee Swayze on video and photography.
No matter how this plays out for Harrisonburg, the imagination and creative energy on display here speaks very well for the people of Harrisonburg in particular and for Catahoula Parish in general. I urge everyone to watch this outstanding video and to share it.
Next, the little woman and I wandered over to the Mayor of Jonesville’s office to discuss Mayor Milton Ceasar’s plans for, among other things, a “splash pad” (a paved area with water sprays in which children play). Grant money is available for such projects and they can contribute to a community’s positive sense of their quality of life.
Mayor Ceasar also has in mind a more comprehensive approach on the order of that on which Harrisonburg is working but thinks he can get help for Jonesville’s plan through Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning and Development District Six, an organization serving eight parishes in Central Louisiana. They, according to their web site, “provide free, direct technical assistance to build the ability of individuals and communities to expand home grown businesses”. They may provide assistance with grant writing, marketing, web design and more. Executive Director Heather Urena has visited Jonesville several times already.
If we understood correctly, Ceasar also has in mind something along the line of working through “Main Street America”. As nearly as I have been able to gather they’re an organization with a mission to revitalize areas and communities of historic interest. That could certainly apply to Jonesville given its connection to Native American culture, early exploration, and the timber industry.
And to top it all off we took our bi-weekly tour of the Police-Jury-in-Action. Thankfully they are not all duds but they haven’t gotten down to business yet. After the meeting, the News Booster staff had a lively debate over whether the meeting lasted fourteen minutes and forty-five seconds or fourteen minutes and fifty-two seconds. Either way it was action packed with innovative proposals for economic growth and development followed by inspiring reports of real progress toward gains in jobs and economic capacity issuing in new opportunities for everyone. 
Ha! Had you going there for a second, didn’t I? 
Actually there are people on the Police Jury who want to do the right thing for the parish, but I’m not sure they know where to start. Maybe the annual convention the Police Juries go to every year with tax dollars will do it. That’s coming up again. Oh, never mind. 


Black River Lagniappe                              By Alma Womack

Driving to town, it is always my pleasure to look at all the Hawthorne trees in their full berried glory. We always called them Haw trees, but I found out as an adult that they are properly called Hawthornes. The berries vary in color from tree to tree, from light orange all the way to a true, beautiful red. I have several Haw trees in my yard, but none have the red berries that I covet. Mine are mostly of the orange variety, and while pretty and appreciated, I would love to have a really red one like the one on the side of the road on Meringo Plantation on Highway 84.
Haws are slow growers and difficult to transplant from the wild. I have tried planting some of the berries after they dried, but no luck have I had. I do enjoy cutting a few branches and putting them in a vase by my kitchen sink, adding a bit of natural color to this colorless time of year.
Everyone knows about mayhaws and the fine jelly that is made from their springtime fruit, but the winter Haws must not be edible, for the birds leave them alone.
Years ago, there was a perfectly beautiful, full grown Haw tree on Grassy Lake at the Idalia curve. It had grown as tall as it would ever be, and was no danger to the electric lines overheard. On my way to town one day, I looked with horror at the murder that had been done to this outstanding tree. The power line people cut it down, destroyed what was one of the most perfectly shaped Haw trees in this parish. I mourn it as a great loss to our land to this day.
I was glad to see that Mayor Ceasar invited the L.E.A.D. folks to Jonesville to talk about economic development and the coming watershed project. Three jurors out of nine showed up, two left early, and one stayed. The newly appointed juror who pledged full time support for jury work wasn’t there, missing a good opportunity to make a start in fulfilling his promise to his ward and the jury.
Economic development is one of the main jobs of every police jury, and it involves going to meetings and working outside the usual 9 to 5 work hours. The nine jurors are all ambassadors for Catahoula Parish, to do what they can to attract businesses, even small ones. It involves a lot more work than showing up twice a month for ten minute meetings and walking out the door with $600 for showing up.
I am looking forward to attending the meeting in Harrisonburg on March 15th when Ginger Breithaupt will be speaking to the audience on the work of the Code 1 people who came and evaluated the strengths and possibilities of the village of Harrisonburg. I couldn’t attend the first meeting that was held with the Code 1 people, but was so glad to hear about them coming to this small, poor parish to provide some assistance to the people who truly care about the survival of Catahoula.
There will be no quick fix here, but any effort to move things forward has to be a positive proposition.
The demoncrats went down to defeat last Wednesday when the Senate voted to acquit the President on the fraudulent charges that the demoncrats had been pushing since President Trump took his oath of office in January, 2017. Tuesday night, at the conclusion of the State of the Union address, Nasty Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, quite dramatically tore up the president’s speech. She committed a felony, but no doubt will be given a pass for her crude, childish behavior. She won’t be removed until someone finally has the courage to throw a bucket of water on her, and let her melt at the podium. What a disgusting old woman.
Equally disgusting last week was the vote by the pious, self-righteous, Trump hating senator from Utah, Mittens Romney. After he begged Trump for support in his pitiful 2012 race for the presidency and his run for US Senate in 2016, he showed his true colors by turning against the man who supported him in both races.
When Mittens ran for president, he clearly won the first debate against the confused, feckless obama. But something happened in the next debates; he, his staff, the powers that be, some factor decided that he had been too rough on the worst president in American history. In the following debates, he came off as a weak, pitiful candidate, letting obama and the debate questioner get away with lies and prevarications that any high school debater would have challenged.
Ah, well, Mittens had his chance to be the leader of the free world, and he blew it big time. Now the only honorable thing for him to do would be to resign from the Republican Party, and become a full-fledged demoncrat. He thinks like them, votes like them, so by golly, let him assume their America-hating mantle. As for the people of Utah, do yourselves a favor and get rid of this turncoat as soon as possible.