Dr. Chris Maggio named interim Vice President for the Student Experience.

Chris MaggioDr. Chris Maggio has been named interim vice president for the student experience at Northwestern State University. The appointment has been approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and is effective July 1. Maggio will serve while a search is conducted to fill the position on a permanent basis.

Maggio will oversee the Offices of University Recruiting, Admissions and Financial Aid along with areas under the dean of students. For the past two years, Maggio has served as assistant vice president of external affairs for university advancement. He has been a staff member at Northwestern State since 1988. He was named Dean of Students and Assistant Provost for Student Success in 2007. Maggio was selected as Director of Alumni Affairs in 1999, Director of Alumni and Development in 2003 and Executive Director of the NSU Foundation in 2005.

Under Maggio’s leadership, the NSU Foundation completed its first capital campaign in Northwestern’s history, exceeding a campaign goal of $18.84 million and raising $31 million to support the university. He has also been a faculty member in the Department of Health and Human Performance for 19 years as an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor.

Maggio has co-authored publications on student achievement and retention, student media and student affairs for state and national professional publications. He has been a co-presenter at regional, state and national conferences on the university’s Summer Bridge program, advisor training, advising student media, student affairs and alumni affairs. Maggio has made numerous presentations about Northwestern State to a variety of local and regional groups.

During his career at NSU, Maggio also served as Director of Admissions and Recruiting and Director of Enrollment Services. He joined the staff at Northwestern State as women’s track and field coach.

Maggio, a 1985 summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern, earned his master’s of education at NSU.  He received a doctorate in developmental education from Grambling State University.

He is a member of the board of directors of Exchange Bank and Trust Company and is president of the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation Board. Maggio is a eucharistic minister at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He served as a member of the City of Natchitoches’ Recreation Commission and Economic Development Commission.

Maggio is a member of professional organizations including the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, SHAPE America, the Association of Louisiana Alumni Executives and Phi Delta Kappa International.

Word to the current Parish Council

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from LTC. Charles “Sandy” McNeely. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. McNeely and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

It bears repeating, the Parish Council, and ONLY the Parish Council, can decide to allow the voters to decide whether they want to tax themselves enough to pay for road maintenance by putting a proposition on the October ballot. The Parish President, Mr. Nowlin, has no say on that matter. If an increased tax proposal (sales or millage) does not get on the ballot, the parish roads will continue to worsen due to lack of funds. If the Parish Council refuses to put a tax proposal on the October ballot, I hope the individual Council members responsible are called to task by the parish voters.

Despite the current misinformation being dispensed by certain Parish Council members, there is simply NOT enough money taken in each year to resolve the current road problems. Nor can any tax revenues dedicated to other parish activities be reassigned to the road fund without going through a parish-wide vote or the Legislature in Baton Rouge. Any parish resident can review the annual budget and in particular, the detailed expenditures for road maintenance if they choose, by simply going to Mr. Nowlin’s office. Those records are available for public scrutiny, along with the history of how the previous form of government allowed the roads to deteriorate to their present condition.

Sandy McNeely

Public Meeting on South Drive – Roadway improvements for La. 1 Business


Mayor Posey and the City of Natchitoches will host a public meeting with an update to roadway improvements on La. 1 Business at the intersection of Royal Street on Monday, July 6, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 305 Royal Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana. Representatives involved with the project will be present to provide updates and answer questions. This project will widen the northbound and southbound lane at Royal Street. Reconstruction of sewer/drainage lines is set to start the week of July 6th.

For more information, please call City Hall at (318) 352-2772.

Contact: Mayor Lee Posey, City of Natchitoches
Phone: (318) 352-2772
E-mail: cityhall@natchitochesla.gov

Road to Redemption?

DennisColemanThe Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Dennis Coleman. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Coleman and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Think it was about a decade ago that I attended a funeral at Rocky  Mount …out west of Robeline. The hearse turned off La 120 onto Post Mill Road, eventually winding up at Rocky Mount. The parish road (Post Mill) was pothole after pothole. Though driving slowly and being careful the hearse driver, unfamiliar with the road, hit several potholes and one bad one in particular. It looked like the whole car ‘pancaked.’ We made it to the church and the pallbearers unloaded the hearse and carried the coffin inside the church. I remember hearing the funeral director say, ” … closed casket.”  There was concern about what the pothole may have undone and as it turned out it was a ‘closed casket’ funeral….Have those potholes been ‘patched’ since then? Of course they have, but a PATCH is a temporary measure and only  puts off what must ultimately be done. Like a worn out pair of jeans, there’s only a certain number of times they can be ‘patched’ before the patches need patches, etc. etc.. Ultimately a new pair of jeans must be bought. Some would say there are a lot of roads in Natchitoches Parish that have reached that point. It’s time to rip it up and put down new. Now we have a road full of potholes, even a parish full of potholes, and no funds to fix them with. Hopefully,  a plan which offers a way out of this place with the Third World Country roads and into the 21st Century of Natchitoches Parish will be forthcoming.

The Advisory Commission ably points out that Road District 40 millages have not changed since 1985. In other words, we have been asking our Parish road administrators and  crews to build, maintain and repair these roads with the same funding that was present in 1985. Who could do that? By comparison, the minimum wage in 1985 was $3.35 per hour.  The tax rates have remained the same while all expenditures have increased significantly.

The Advisory Commission has delivered its report. The detractors of the report can and will begin their attacks on the report; ”it didn’t allow for this” and “it didn’t provide for that.”  This is nothing new; there are those who purport to be Christian and at the same time find fault with God’s creativity.  Sadly, there are some who “serve” in positions of leadership who seem to do whatever is necessary to impede progress, instead of embracing an opportunity for progress.  For what reason would anyone oppose moving the parish forward?

In the political arena, reports, bulletins and briefings are commonplace, and they often give off more heat than light.  The Advisory Commission’s report is the rare exception. It is thorough, it is insightful and it could not be more timely.The report submitted by the Advisory Commission offers a road map out of the current quagmire, but as realistic as it is, there are no guarantees it will be acted upon. The Parish Council, of course, has the responsibility to endorse or reject any or all of the commission’s report. It is the Council and the Council alone which must either act to move Natchitoches Parish forward or do nothing and keep the parish roads in this failing state they are now in.

Will the roads of the Parish “Rise up like a Phoenix from the flames,” or will they receive a pauper’s burial in a ‘Potter’s Field’ with the service being “Closed Casket?”

Parish Solid Waste facilities will observe Independence Day.

Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that all Parish Solid Waste facilities will observe Independence Day, and all facilities will be closed,  including the Parish Landfill located at 4597 Highway 1 North, on Saturday, July 4th, 2015.  The Solid Waste office will be closed on Friday, July 3rd.

All Parish solid waste facilities will be open during their regular operating hours on Monday, July 6.
Citizens may contact the Natchitoches Parish Solid Waste Department at (318) 238-3704 with any questions.Parishgovseal

“Heritage, Not Hate”

NPJ - CunninghamOnce upon a time, there was a terrible war. Fathers went to war against their sons, sons against fathers, brothers against brothers, and so on. It was all centered around a deeply divisive issue, but at the same time was portrayed as being centered around something only tangentially related. I am, of course, referring to the Civil War, but what was it really about?

In a large sense, yes, the war was over the issue of slavery. However, it wasn’t a matter of the South wanting to keep black slaves in oppressive conditions forever. Rather, it was an issue of state rights versus federal rights, an argument that we are actually having once again in our Supreme Courts now (wait for my next column for that). The states that would eventually form the Confederacy had two problems. The first problem is that completely abolishing slavery would hurt their economy, as the economic driver of the south was the plantation. The second problem was that states felt it was a state issue as to whether or not to force slavery to be illegal.

I’m omitting a lot there in recapping the events leading up to the Civil War, but history is not the point of this column – it’s the censorship and removal of history from modern culture.

That’s why, in the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen the push to remove what is commonly referred to as the Confederate Flag from all visible locations in society. In Charleston, South Carolina, a young man by the name of Dylann Storm Roof walked into a predominantly black church and shot many people to death. His aim was to start a race war, and photos emerged of him with the Confederate Flag. Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, called for the Confederate Flag to be removed from its position over the state house.

And Haley is absolutely right – the flag is a symbol of something the state is no longer a part of. It belongs, as Professor Jones would say, in a museum. However, it didn’t stop there. Calls from activist groups came to completely remove the flag from society grew. Amazon, Walmart, and Ebay, just to name a few, stopped selling anything with the Confederate Flag on it. The issue is now about how the flag is interpreted. And, to be honest, the common interpretation is about race. There are not very many people out there who would hang that flag from their front porch as anything other than a sign that black folks aren’t very welcome there. It’s a sad fact, but it is true in many, many places. Certainly, we should not fly that flag over state houses and government buildings. It is wrong to do so, because it alienates people from the government that is supposed to represent them.

But to call for its removal from all walks of life runs dangerous risk of obliterating what it really meant (“Heritage, Not Hate”) and rewriting history. If we were to do rewrite the meaning of the Civil War there, what will we rewrite next?

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @joec_esquire.