NRMC – Emergency Department Receives National Award

The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Emergency Department was recently recognized by The Studer Group as Emergency Department of the Quarter for the 4th quarter of 2015. Proudly displaying their banner are members of the NRMC Emergency Department team: Michelle Garlington, Nursing Unit Manager; Pat Bailey, Charge Nurse; Dr. Marc Stokes, Medical Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine and Natchitoches Emergency Services; Latrice Preylo, LPN; Tony Peluso, RN; Beverly Sauce, RN; Lisa Lesly, RN; Dr. Tim Collins, ED physician and Medical Director for Outpatient Clinics; Robynn Jett, RN; Miki Snyder, Volunteer; Robbie Jones, House Supervisor; Melissa Britten, RN and Tracy Bishop, Charge Nurse.

The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Emergency Department was recently recognized by The Studer Group as Emergency Department of the Quarter for the 4th quarter of 2015. Proudly displaying their banner are members of the NRMC Emergency Department team:
Michelle Garlington, Nursing Unit Manager; Pat Bailey, Charge Nurse; Dr. Marc Stokes, Medical Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine and Natchitoches Emergency Services; Latrice Preylo, LPN; Tony Peluso, RN; Beverly Sauce, RN; Lisa Lesly, RN; Dr. Tim Collins, ED physician and Medical Director for Outpatient Clinics; Robynn Jett, RN; Miki Snyder, Volunteer; Robbie Jones, House Supervisor; Melissa Britten, RN and Tracy Bishop, Charge Nurse.

NRMC ED Pressrelease 9.29.2015

NPSO Deputies arrest Marthaville woman after she gave them false information during Monday evening disturbance


Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Marthaville woman on Tuesday evening after she allegedly gave them a false name during a disturbance call on Monday evening according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday evening, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to a disturbance call in the 100 block of South 3rd Street, Marthaville, La.

Deputies say while interviewing multiple subjects at the disturbance, Michael  J. Orsborn, 22 of Provencal, La. was arrested on an active Natchitoches Parish warrant for Illegal Possession of Stolen Things.

A female at the scene also gave deputies a name that deputies learned to be false on Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening, deputies returned to the residence and arrested the female without incident.


Cynthia Orsborn, 21 of the 100 block of South 3rd Street, Marthaville, La., was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Detention Center charged with Resisting an Officer.

Orsborn remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center awaiting bond.

Deputies say they have video evidence of Orsborn providing them false information on Monday evening.

Deputy D. Caballero made the arrest.

Anonymous donor creates Betty Howard Scholarship

Howard Photo

An anonymous donor has made a contribution to the Northwestern State University Foundation to establish the Betty Howard Endowed Scholarship, in memory of the late Mrs. Howard, late wife of State Rep. Frankie Howard. The scholarship will benefit a graduate of Hornbeck High School who enrolls at Northwestern State.

Betty Cavanaugh Howard was a lifelong resident of Vernon Parish, growing up in Slagle, graduating from Leesville High School and spending her married life in Hornbeck.   As the wife of State Representative and former Vernon Parish Sheriff Frankie Howard, she was affectionately known as The First Lady of Vernon Parish. Betty Howard spent 33 years as a secretary at Hornbeck High School. Family members said she knew every child and was often called to act as the tooth fairy by pulling teeth. Even after retirement, she attended Hornets’ basketball games whenever she could. She loved her family and her community and often times they were the same.  She passed away July 2 after a battle with cancer.

“We are thankful to be able to honor the memory of Mrs. Betty through this scholarship, which will benefit the students she loved at Hornbeck High School,” said Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation.  “This is a generous way for Mrs. Betty’s memory to live on by providing opportunities for to fulfill their dream of earning a degree at Northwestern State.”

NPSO Detectives make second arrest in Clarence counterfeit cash schemes


A second arrest has been made by Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies in connection with the laundering of counterfeit currency in the Clarence area according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

On Wednesday September 23rd, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to a report of counterfeit money being laundered at a Clarence convenience store in the 300 block of La. Hwy 6 in Clarence, La.

Deputies say while speaking with the complainant, they learned that a person identified as Steven Crumble entered the store to purchase a beverage and paid the clerk with a counterfeit $100 bill.

The cashier immediately recognized the currency to be counterfeit and contacted the NPSO.

The suspect left the store.

Deputies checked the local area for the suspect but were unable to find him.

Deputies completed an offense report and turned the case over to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division for investigative purposes.

On Thursday September 24th, Clarence Police contacted the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office reporting that a person identified as Steven Crumble passed a $100 bill while paying for his mail box rent at the US Post Office in Clarence, La.

Detectives responded to assist.

As the investigation progressed, detectives reviewed video surveillance and gathered additional evidence positively identifying Crumble.

Detectives went to Crumble’s residence located in the 100 block of La. Hwy 1225 near Clarence, La. and arrested him while hiding in the closet.

Steven Cornelius Crumble, 32 of the 100 block of La. Hwy 1225, Clarence, La., was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 2-counts of Monetary Instrument Abuse and 1-count of Theft.

Crumble remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Detectives Darrel Winder and Victor Kay investigated the case.

Detective Carey Etheredge of the NPSO High Tech Crime Unit said “recently we have seen an increase in counterfeit currency cases in Natchitoches Parish-businesses should be aware of this and take the appropriate measures to detect these type of illegal practices”.

“Fighting counterfeiting is a team effort between merchants and law enforcement-refer to to learn how to authenticate your money.”

Symphony Awards of Distinction

Symphony Awards

In celebration of its 50th season, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society Board of Directors recognized several individuals with Awards of Distinction to honor members who exemplify exception and continuous service to the organization. The names of honorees will be placed on a plaque that will hang permanently in Magale Recital Hall. The award winners were recognized during Sunday’s season-opening symphony concert at Northwestern State University, entitled “A New Birth of Freedom.” Recognized were, from left, Jim Bob Key; Loren Ford representing her father James A. Ford, Cynthia Brown representing her mother Martha C. Roberson, Richard Rose, Carol Williams representing her mother Margaret Adkins and Bill Brent, director of operations and special projects for the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Also honored was the late Joseph B. Carlucci. A reception honoring award recipients and celebrating the 50th year of the Symphony Society took place following the concert with entertainment provided by the Natchitoches Central High School Symphonic Orchestra.

Hoops – NSU’s McConathy begins 10th year on top 25 panel of coaching voters

McConathy 2015 timeout

As he begins his 10th season on the USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches ranking the country’s top 25 college basketball teams, Northwestern State’s Mike McConathy has a near-perfect record.

In nine seasons of casting a preseason ballot, weekly votes over four winter months and a final top 25 list on the night of the national championship game, he’s missed only one vote. After a restless journey back home from a mid-December 2006 game at Hawaii, McConathy realized too late he hadn’t sent in that week’s top 25 in his first season on the voting panel.

“Since then, my voting record is way better than my coaching record,” said the winningest coach in Louisiana college basketball history.

USA Today officials sent preseason instructions to the panel voters this week. The National Association of Basketball Coaches collaborates in choosing coaches to vote each season. The preseason top 25 ballots are due Oct. 12 with the results published, along with the roster of voters, online on Oct. 15.

“This poll is a really good gauge of the best teams in college basketball because it involves coaches from every conference and representing programs at every level of Division I,” said McConathy. “It’s a privilege to be involved and to represent Northwestern State and the Southland Conference, and mid-major programs.”

In season, votes are due by noon Eastern time each Monday. NSU plays nearly every Saturday and several times early in the following week. While McConathy keeps watch on results of noteworthy games daily, when honing in on his ballot, he opens his door and asks for input. Discussions often enliven road trips.

“It’s more fun than work. I enjoy involving our staff and discussing it with them. They each have a different perspective and background in college basketball so I’ll get some input that helps me fill out the best possible top 25 that week,” he said

There’s a simple overriding premise applied as McConathy reviews possible top 25 teams.

“Strength of schedule matters. Teams can have a great record and not have beaten anybody of significance, so it’s harder to get a handle on how good they are. Even though they’re doing a really, really good job, without games against quality opponents, it’s difficult to evaluate them against the other top teams in the country,” he said.

NSU’s status as a successful and nationally-respected mid-major basketball program naturally is reflected in McConathy’s voting philosophy. The Demons have four postseason tournament appearances in his 16 seasons, including a pair of NCAA Tournament wins, and have traditionally played one of the country’s stronger non-conference schedules.

“I try to give mid-majors more of a good look. They deserve a chance. If their schedule isn’t strong, it’s difficult to give them extra consideration as one of the top 25 teams in the country. But if they schedule well, given the opportunity, really good mid-major teams find their way into the poll,” he said.

“There are more mid-majors earning their way into the NCAA Tournament since I’ve been voting on the poll, and more who are advancing in the tournament. That demonstrates that there is great depth around Division I basketball and it’s not just the name brand programs that are the best teams in the country week to week and year to year,” said McConathy.

His top 25 voting consistency is rivalled by his dedication to making his way to the voting booths on Election Day.

“I’m great at going to the polls, but there’s no doubt I’m better at ranking the best basketball teams than I have been in casting votes for winning candidates,” he said.

NPSO Search and Rescue Divers recover Stolen Vehicle in Black Lake from Grant Parish

Stolen Truck 1

This morning at approximately 6:13am, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches Fire District #9, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS Paramedics NPSO Search and Rescue Divers consisting of members of the NPSO, Natchitoches City Fire Department and Natchitoches Fire District #9 responded to reports of a vehicle in Black Lake off of La. Hwy 9 near old Bell’s Camp.

Deputies say information gathered during the initial response to the call suggested the vehicle was possibly intentionally driven into the lake.

Deputies believed the vehicle to be unoccupied when it entered the water.

Divers entered the water recovering the 2012 Ford F-250 at approximately 8:52am, which had reportedly been stolen from the Montgomery Town Hall in Grant Parish during the night.

Deputies say after a local wrecker service recovered the vehicle, they also observed it to be vandalized.

There were no reported injuries.

Sheriff Victor Jones said the investigation is currently continuing by detectives with the Natchitoches and Grant Parish Sheriff’s Offices.

“Detectives are in the process of interviewing potential suspects at this time”.

Stolen Truck 2

Stolen Truck 3

Visibility Hazards in the City of Natchitoches – can you see the truck?

Bird Ave looking at Williams Avenue

Bird Ave looking at Williams Avenue

The city of Natchitoches or La DOTD needs to address this danger. The telephone company continues to add to the number of items on this corner that restrict visibility. Vehicles traveling on Williams Ave regularly go faster than the 40 MPH speed limit and entering Williams Ave from Bird is a real hazard. I have instructed my family that if I am in an accident due to this hazard, they should seek legal counsel as there are parties that are responsible for creating and allowing this hazard to expand.

There are many other such hazardous intersections inside the city limits of Natchitoches.  If you have identified others, please send a picture and description to  Then report them to the Mayor and each council member.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Ben Rushing. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Rushing and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

The utility boxes and make entering Williams Ave dangerous.

The utility boxes make entering Williams Ave dangerous.

Stelly Scholarship set up as part of Perpetually Purple program at NSU


Northwestern State graduate and former football quarterback Vic Stelly and his wife Terry decided to do something significant for a place which will always be close to their hearts.

Through the recently initiated “Perpetually Purple” endowed giving program, Vic (BS ’62) and Terry (MRS ’60) have named the Demons Unlimited Foundation as the $10,000 beneficiary of a life insurance policy with the proceeds designated to establish the “Vic and Terry Stelly Athletic Scholarship.”

“Northwestern will always be a special place for Terry and me, as that is where we first met, and started our family,” he said.  “The help and guidance I received from our football coaches – (Jack) Clayton, (Alvin ‘Cracker’) Brown, (Walter) Ledet, (Gene) Knecht, and (Earnest ‘Slim’) Howell – plus my student teacher adviser, Coach (Tynes) Hildebrand, was tremendously valuable in my future teaching, coaching, business and political life.”

Vic was a quarterback on the 1958-61 Demon football teams and was also president of the “N” Club.  He met Terry, who came to NSU from her hometown of Longview, Texas, during his freshman year.

“When I first met Terry, I couldn’t help but notice how cute she was, plus I assumed she was rich since her family always drove new vehicles.  Little did I know that her Dad was a car salesman so he always drove demonstrators!” he said, chuckling.

After graduating from NSU in the spring of 1962, the Stelly moved to Baton Rouge to begin Vic’s 12-year career as a football coach at Redemptorist and Broadmoor High Schools and later at McNeese State.  He later spent 25 years as a State Farm Insurance agent, while serving four years on the Calcasieu Parish School Board  and 16 years in the Louisiana legislature.  He has also served on the state Board of Regents for higher education and on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation Board, among many other civic activities.

In 2006, Stelly was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame.

NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke expressed appreciation to the Stellys, while noting that close to a dozen commitments – some of them outright and others deferred – to the “Perpetually Purple” program have been made in the past four months.

“The (Perpetually Purple) program has traction and continues to gain momentum thanks to generous supporters like Vic and Terry Stelly.  I have enjoyed getting to know the Stellys and have become good friends with Vic, with whom I pretty much have a standing breakfast meeting every July during the Southland Conference football media event in Lake Charles,” said Burke.

The Perpetually Purple program is managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation, with a goal to grow the endowment, through outright donations or deferred gifts, over the next five years from $1.5 million to over $5 million, he said.   “Annual gifts and fund raising events for NSU Athletics are imperative on an ongoing basis, but development of the Perpetually Purple endowment program is equally important,” said Burke. “NSU coaches, staff and student-athletes will be able to count on those endowed funds each and every year.”

Burke said the vehicles through which commitments are being made to the “Perpetually Purple” program have been varied.

“Making a consideration for the NSU athletic program in their estate planning, which is what Vic and Terry did, represents another popular and easy way to further solidify the future of NSU Athletics.  Others may choose to make an outright gift which will have an immediate impact on the athletic program.  The bottom line is there is a way for everyone to participate,” said Burke.

Earnings from the 57 permanent funds which comprise the current $1.5 million endowment total are utilized to balance the athletic department’s annual scholarship budget.

“Current endowment funding ensures that all 14 NSU sports can continue offering the maximum number of scholarships permitted by NCAA guidelines,” said Burke. “Being able to do so is paramount to sustaining a high level of competitiveness but more importantly, continues to provide opportunities for young people to receive a scholarship which can lead to earning a college degree.  Based on the fact that the five-year NCAA Graduation Success Rate of NSU Athletics is right at 70 percent over the past five years, endowment funds are a worthwhile investment.”

A fundamental goal of the initial push is to reach the $5 million milestone, allowing the endowment to completely underwrite book scholarships for all NSU student-athletes, an expense of nearly $200,000 currently paid by annual gifts to the DUF, he said. Annual gift revenues will then be redirected to more significantly enhance facilities, bolster recruiting budgets, retain or hire outstanding coaches, and offset ever-increasing scholarship costs.

A minimum of $10,000 is required to create an endowment fund. It can be established with an outright gift such as cash, a stock transfer or property sale, a life insurance policy, or can be included as a provision in a will or bequest.

Arrangements can be made to fund an endowment over an extended period of time. Achievement by NSU Athletics has been aligned with the program’s cornerstone values of academic achievement, personal responsibility and competitive success.

In each of the last two semesters, student-athletes have set new NSU Athletics records for the department’s cumulative GPA, a 2.96 in the Fall 2014 semester. There were a Southland-best 96 fall sports student-athletes who posted at least a 3.0 GPA while competing in football, women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country in 2014. NSU remains one of the few Division I athletics programs in the south to own a perfect slate, penalty free, in the 12-year history of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate annual report.

Meanwhile, NSU Athletics last month won the inaugural Southland Strong Community Service Award as student-athletes compiled over 3,100 hours of civic assistance during the 2014-15 academic year, more than 900 ahead of the second-place institution. For the second straight year, Northwestern State competitors swept the Southland’s Steve McCarty Citizenship Awards for service activities, with soccer senior Jackie Strug and football junior quarterback Daniel Hazlewood winning the awards.

Competitively, NSU has posted 10 Southland Conference regular-season or tournament championships in the past 26 months, and made eight NCAA Tournament appearances in five sports, while track and field athletes have won nine All-America awards for top 16 finishes at NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, and the men’s track team finished tied for 20th in team standings at the 2014 NCAA Outdoors. NSU is the only university north of I-10 in Louisiana to have an NCAA Tournament appearance in any sport in that span.

Burke offered that the level of success accomplished by NSU teams is positive in many ways, including local economic impact, overall recruiting and image for the University, and earned media.

“That is why support of NSU Athletics at all levels and in all ways is so important – we must sustain and continue to raise the bar on our level of success,” he said.

2015 Reading on the River with the Service League of Natchitoches


Reading on the River will be held Saturday, November 7, 2015, at the Boys and Girls Club at 660 Martin Luther King Junior Drive from 9 am until noon. This is a free, fun family event for children ages 3 – 8 years old and their parents sponsored by the Service League of Natchitoches. There will be book-related activities that children will enjoy and provide parents with ideas for activities they can do at home that will help their children become better readers. There will be at least one free book for each child that attends.

A variety of activities have been planned for this year’s Reading on the River. There will be Literacy Tents where the children will be entertained with stories and craft projects. Representatives from various local agencies and businesses will have booths providing information of interest to all. There will also be face painting and t-shirts for sale. And last, but not least, there will be the Book Zone where each child may select at least one book that they can take home. If you would like to donate books to this cause, you can drop them off at Terrell Brothers of Natchitoches at 310 Texas Street. For more information you can contact Mary Beth Van Sickle, Service League of Natchitoches, Reading on the River Chairman at 318-315-1745.


Northwestern State University will host its 2015 Homecoming celebration


On October 16-17, Northwestern State University will host its 2015 Homecoming celebration with events for students, alumni and the community.

This year’s theme, selected by the Student Activities Board, is “The Homecoming Games,” a take on the popular “Hunger Games” book and movie series.  Reunions, receptions and other events are planned, including the popular Homecoming parade, pep rally, Rockin’ on the Riverbank Festival, tailgating, football and the presentation of the Homecoming Honor Court.

“This year’s Homecoming celebration will include everyone’s favorite traditions such as the parade, pep rally and Rockin’ on the Riverbank, which draws students, alumni and the Natchitoches community together for a great kick-off to the weekend,” said Vanner Erikson, associate director of Alumni Affairs. “We are also excited about some new features as well, such as the first-ever Homecoming Breakfast at Collins Pavilion.  It will be a super start what promises to be a great day of get-togethers and tailgating.”

Festivities will begin Friday, Oct. 16 with the annual Homecoming Golf Tournament at the NSU Rec Complex.  Four-man teams are invited to participate in the scramble, which will include lunch, contests and more.
The annual Homecoming parade will begin at 5:30 p.m., with floats created by NSU students proceeding from campus to the Fleur de Lis Stage on the downtown riverbank where the pep rally will take place. The pep rally will include performances by spirit groups and the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band, recognition of the football team and Honor Court and announcements of the winners of the week’s student competitions.

Following the pep rally, NSU will present 80s tribute rock and roll band L.A. ROXX to entertain during the Rockin’ on the Riverbank until 10 p.m. where alumni and friends are encouraged to gather with friends and enjoy the music and festivities.

Saturday’s activities will include several reunions and receptions for departments and Greek organizations.  Dates and times for organizational reunions may change.  Alumni and friends are encouraged to verify activity details beforehand.

Events will begin with the alumni breakfast at Collins Pavilion at 8 a.m. that will include coffee, bloody marys and mimosas.  There is no charge to attend, but RSVPs are required. The Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development will hold a reunion at the Teacher Education Center for graduates from 1995 and 2005 beginning at 9:30, followed by an induction ceremony for the newest members of the Hall of Distinguished Educators at 10 a.m.

The N Club Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Magale Recital and a reception for the School of Business’s Outstanding Business Awards will begin at 11 a.m. in Russell Hall.  The Demon Regiment will host an open house beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the James A. Noe Military Science Building.

Tailgating activities for alumni and friends at Collins Pavilion and Demon Alley will begin at 3 p.m.  A meal is available for $5 and is free to members of the Alumni Association.  Non-members can join the Alumni Association at and can prepay to attend the tailgate or pay at the event. The Hospitality Management and Tourism program will hold a Turning 21 Tailgate beginning at 3 p.m.

Pregame activities will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Turpin Stadium.  Kickoff to the Demon’s football game versus Lamar University is at 6 p.m. with halftime ceremonies and the Honor Court presentation at approximately 7:30 p.m.  Tickets to the game can be purchased in advanced by calling the NSU Athletic Ticket Office at (318) 357-4268.
Information, a schedule of events and registration links for all events listed are available at or by contacting Erikson at or calling (318) 357-4415.

Football — Northwestern State still searching for first win after 49-21 loss to Central Arkansas

Ed Eagan broke the NSU career receptions mark Saturday, making 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-21 loss to Central Arkansas. PHOTO: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photolab

Ed Eagan broke the NSU career receptions mark Saturday, making 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-21 loss to Central Arkansas.
PHOTO: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photolab

With both teams hungry for their first wins of the season, a balanced Central Arkansas team dominated Northwestern State in a 49-21 Bears’ win Saturday at Turpin Stadium.

The Bears (1-2, 1-0 Southland Conference) scored the first 28 points of the game and never led by fewer than 21 points after that.

The Demons (0-4, 0-2 SLC) allowed more than 500 offensive yards for the third consecutive game as the Bears racked up 521 yards. UCA rushed for 267 and passed for 254 yards. Sophomore quarterback Hayden Hildebrand, who replaced injured starter Taylor Reed late in the first quarter, threw for 201 yards on 12-of-16 passing with three touchdowns.

“The guys that we rely on to make plays for us, we couldn’t quite make them tonight,” said NSU coach Jay Thomas. “UCA deserves a lot of credit coming off a bye week, and they got rolling early.

“We needed to win this one, but we didn’t want to make this game bigger than it was with a bunch of young guys. We’re not catching the breaks right now, but we’re going to keep fighting.”

The disappointing loss overshadowed a record-breaking individual effort from NSU senior receiver Ed Eagan.

Eagan, who entered the game tied with Derrick Doyle for NSU’s career receptions record at 126, caught 10 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Eagan nudged his career mark to 136 receptions despite being in only his third season as a receiver.

Eagan also set the Southland Conference record for career kick returns with 108. He moved into second place in the conference’s career kick return yardage with 2,449 yards, trailing Texas State’s Karrington Bush by 79 yards. Eagan returned six kicks for 115 yards Saturday.

But Eagan, who dropped multiple passes, knows NSU’s offense overall must improve.

“It’s an honor to hold (NSU’s career receptions) mark, and I’m thankful for it,” said Eagan, who broke the record on NSU’s first offensive play. “I wasn’t really thinking about it tonight.

“I’ve got to execute better, and those dropped balls are nobody’s fault but mine. I do feel like I need to lead this team even though we have other playmakers around me. I have to execute better.”

NSU’s two conference losses have come at home, and the Demons will attempt to scratch the win column Saturday at Incarnate Word on Saturday in a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Sophomore quarterback J.D. Almond played the entire game Saturday against Central Arkansas, throwing for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-33 passing.

“I’m very comfortable and confident, and a lot of that has to do with the great group of guys I have around me,” Almond said. “It felt good to play the whole game, and you have to build off every snap.

“I have a lot of faith in our guys, and we’re not going to lay down.”

UCA scored the first 28 points of the game before NSU finally caught traction late in the second quarter.

After a Matt Cummins 47-yard field goal capped UCA’s first drive, UCA cashed in a touchdown on a fumble by Almond. Reed found receiver Desmond Smith for a 16-yard pass, and a 2-point conversion by Scott Matiaha put UCA up 11-0.

The Bears tacked on two Blake Veasley rushing touchdowns to increase their lead to 25-0 with 4:25 left in the second quarter. Reed set up the first score with a 54-yard run, and the second Veasley score was aided by three plays of 10-plus yards to engineer the 80-yard drive.

After a Demons punt return miscue that led to a fumble on the NSU 11-yard line, the Demons held UCA to a 22-yard Jace Denker field goal as UCA led 28-0.

NSU moved the ball through the air on its final drive of the first half, resulting in an Eagan 6-yard touchdown catch from J.D. Almond. Eagan caught a short pass before reverse pivoting to avoid and defender and walked in for the score. Almond threw for 63 of his 108 first-half passing yards on that drive.

Earlier in the half, NSU had an opportunity for points, but UCA safety Bobby Watkins intercepted Almond in the end zone – one of three NSU turnovers in the half.

In the second half, Hildebrand hooked up with Jacquez McMillian for a 45-yard score to lead 35-7.

NSU responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a De’Mard Llorens touchdown to slice UCA’s lead to 35-14.

The Demons threatened to cross midfield in an attempt to close the deficit even more, but Almond missed an open receiver on fourth down to effectively end the comeback.

Hildebrand connected with Jatavious Wilson for a 42-yard touchdown strike on the next play.

Eagan leapt over a UCA defender for a 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and his two touchdown catches were his first of the season.

Former classmates to present recital Oct. 1

October Recital

Former classmates Leah Forsyth and Staci Spring will present a recital at Northwestern State University Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

Forsyth and Spring will be assisted by Elen Bogacz on piano and narrator David Steele. The program will include compositions by Geoffrey Bush, Jenni Brandon, Robert Hutchinson, J.W. Kalliwoda and George Gershwin with solo works with piano, trios and a bassoon/oboe duo.

Forsyth is an instructor of oboe at Northwestern State and Spring teaches bassoon at Stephen F. Austin State University. Forsyth and Spring attended graduate school together at Florida State University.

Spring joined the faculty of Stephen F. Austin in 2013. In addition to running the bassoon studio, Spring teaches courses in music history and woodwind methods, and performs with the Stone Fort Wind Quintet. A versatile musician, she has performed numerous solo and chamber recitals, and is the principal bassoonist for the Texarkana and Longview symphony orchestras.

Prior to joining the SFA faculty, Spring was an active teacher and freelance musician in the Abilene, Texas, area from 2007-2013. She maintained a private studio of middle school and high school students, taught lessons and music courses at McMurry, Hardin-Simmons, and Abilene Christian universities, co-founded the chamber group Key City Winds, and performed regularly with the Abilene Philharmonic, San Angelo Symphony, and Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra.

Spring is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas, where she studied bassoon performance and completed a related field in music education. She holds dual masters degrees in bassoon performance and historical musicology from Florida State. She completed her undergraduate studies at Brevard College.

Forsyth has been a member of NSU’s faculty since 2011. She was oboist with the United States Army Field Band in Washington D.C., from 2007-2011, where she also performed regularly throughout the United States with the Woodwind Ambassadors Quintet.  She was solo English horn with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra from 2005-2007.

A native of central Ohio, Forsyth holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree from Florida State. She has performed with the Tallahassee Symphony, Charleston (S.C.) Symphony, Ohio Light Opera, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, and the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. She was also a member of the Favorable Winds Quintet, performing throughout central Ohio from 2005-2007.

Forsyth holds the positions of principal oboe of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, and second oboe with the Texarkana Symphony. She performs regularly with the Shreveport Symphony as well as other orchestras throughout Louisiana and Texas. Forsyth is a founding member of the Three Reeds Duo with husband and saxophonist Paul Forsyth. Three Reeds performs throughout the world, building a repertoire ranging from baroque and classical transcriptions to contemporary and newly commissioned works.  For more information on Leah Forsyth, please visit

NPD Makes Arrests On Two Church Burglaries And Recover Stolen Church Property

Church Items

On Friday, September 18, 2015 the Natchitoches Police Department (NPD) responded to the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church located at 911 Fifth St. in reference to a burglary which had occurred during the previous night. Officials at St. Anthony’s reported the theft of multiple religious ceremonial artifacts along with a religious relic. The items stolen had an estimated value greater than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00).

In addition, on Sunday, September 20, 2015 the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the Immaculate Conception Church located at 145 Church St. in reference to a reported theft. Officials at the Immaculate Conception Church reported the theft of one of church’s security cameras.

As a result of the reported burglary and theft the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division was notified and began carrying out investigations into both incidents. Investigators were able to obtain video footage of the person responsible for stealing the security camera from the Immaculate Conception Church. The suspect was later identified by investigators as Layna Jones.

Investigators also received tips from the public which implicated multiple suspects along with Layna Jones as being involved in the burglary of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, investigators obtained warrants for the arrest of Layna Jones, 42 year old, white, female residing at 920 Second St., Natchitoches, LA who was as located and arrested on one count of LA R.S. 14:67 Theft and one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building. Also arrested was Daniel Ryder, 42 year old, white, male, no current address, on one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building. Both Jones and Ryder were transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where they await bonds. Furthermore, as a result of the arrests investigators were able to recover most of the reported artifacts along with the stolen religious relic.

The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division has also secured a warrant for the immediate apprehension and arrest of Jess Meshell, 26 year old, white, male residing at 920 Second St., Natchitoches, LA. Meshell is being sought on one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building.

Investigators stated that they’re expecting to make more arrests in reference to these incidents and they’re encouraging anyone with knowledge of where additional stolen items may be located or anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of Jess Meshell to immediately contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or they may contact Investigator John Greely or Investigator William Connell of the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at (318) 238-3911.       All calls shall be kept confidential

Asst. Chief Cary Hargrove would like to give a very special thanks to all of the citizens who came forward providing information in regards to both investigations and he added that investigators won’t rest until all of the artifacts stolen are returned and all suspects involved are arrested.

Authorized for Release By: Asst. Chief Cary Hargrove

Ponderings with Doug – September 25, 2015

dougthumbIf you are reading this, it didn’t happen.

If you don’t know, the end of the world or some other apocalyptic event was to happen on Wednesday, September 23rd. I am writing this article on Wednesday morning. I awoke very early just in case it was the last day. Of course, no last day would be complete without anEgg Mc Muffin.Then I went to Walmart for dog food. I bought enough dog food for six days. Did that show my lack of faith?

I can’t figure out what was ending on September 23rd.Too many things are mixed up in all this end of the world mess. The preppers want us to prepare for the end of America. On their websites you can find books about the supplies you will need at the end of time and the ammunition necessary to keep the zombie hoards at bay and the stocks that will grow during the apocalypse thus protecting your retirement. Why do we assume that the end of time means chaos, gunfire and a reordering of our retirement plans?If the EMP asteroid people are right, the earth is wiped out. End of story!

The Christians also pulled out their Bibles and calendars.One guy who has studied the Bible for fifteen years(I rolled my eyes at his credentials, but you couldn’t see that) came up with all these gruesome and far-fetched end of time scenarios happening this week. Did I mention that he has a book for sale? For those of you who are not ancient or a connoisseur of apocalyptic literature, you might not remember Hal Lindsey. Every four years or so, Hal moved his date back and published another book about the end of time. He is living quite comfortably right now on book royalties. What he predicted because he had a “secret” understanding of scripture never happened. End of time books sell, loving your neighbor books don’t. Go figure.

A growth industry was discovered when the preppers went Christian. Now you can purchase ammunition that has been blessed, declared kosher and guaranteed to shoot those heathen zombies who are coming for your stuff. Maybe all this end of times stuff is the adult version of going to a scary movie. We like to be frightened. There are some scary scenarios out there. What Jesus said about the end of time and what this growth industry touts are not close.

I can’t find one passage where Jesus commanded us to build bunkers, arm ourselves and wait for what should be a joyous day of redemption. It seems we are doing the opposite of what the Lord commanded. A better witness to our confidence in Jesus would be to do as He said do, “watch and pray.” Jesus’ idea of watch had very little to do with watching for “signs of the times” and more to do with “watching how you are living.” Are you showing your love for your neighbor or for the stranger? Ah, we don’t buy books on those subjects.

Y’all, by that I refer to my brothers and sisters in Christ, if any of you will claim me; we need to be about the business of Jesus. What is that business? How about telling your neighbor or a stranger about the love of God in Jesus Christ? Can we live with joyous confidence in Christ’s care for us, no matter what?

We are all sinners. Christ died for us while we were sinners. We are made right with God through the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” But don’t stop there. Jesus also said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Is your joy complete? Or has your joy been stolen because you are trying to figure out what happens “in the end?” There is only one way to prepare for the end. His name is Jesus. Do you believe in the care of Christ for you? Really? Do you? I am celebrating this last day by asking Jesus to make my “joy complete.”

If you are reading these words, it didn’t happen—again! But don’t give up there is always that red moon on Sunday night!

Article on Confederate Flag Draws Threat


City Hall Flags – Provencal, Louisiana

By Edwin Crayton

An anonymous caller has threatened of one of the content providers of the Natchitoches Parish for running an article asking why the Confederate flag flies over city hall in Provencal, Louisiana. Read the article at

The fact that someone actually threatened a life merely for publishing an article questioning the flag’s legitimacy illustrates the vicious hatred that still surrounds the controversial symbol.  And it also demonstrates why a growing number of people across the nation are calling for it to be removed from government buildings.  In the interest of full disclosure, I must share that I wrote that article on the Confederate flag flying over the city hall.

The article simply polled whites and African Americans and asked them what they felt when they saw the Confederate flag flying. While several whites and African Americans differed on whether the flag is positive or negative, most agreed that some saw it as a symbol of heritage and people in both groups also acknowledged that it stirred up division.

Indeed, one thing no one can deny, the flag is indeed divisive and tends to open up old wounds. Perhaps this is why even General Robert E. Lee, the south’s top general in the Civil War distanced himself from the flag. In a story from, quite surprisingly, Lee is quoted as having said about the flag, “I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war,” Lee is said to have written this in a letter declining to attend a battlefield Memorial in Gettysburg. The CNN article goes on to comment that there were no flags flown at his funeral, “Confederate or otherwise.”Read the article at:

Before the Journal article ran, the city hall at Provencal flew two Confederate flags. But curiously after the news story ran, one of the Confederate flags was replaced with an African Liberation flag but it was flown upside down for some reason. I wondered if that was on purpose or just an accident resulting from ignorance of the flag. So I called Provencal’s mayor to ask about that and about the Confederate flag they’re still flying, but did got get a response by press time.

Supporters of the flag claim that they support it because it’s part of their heritage. But what heritage are they referring to? A look at the history of the Confederate flag, which is technically referred to as the “battle flag” reveals that the truth is, the flag’s entire history has been connected to hate and violence. After a lull in popularity for years, in the 1950s and 60s, the flag began to experience a rebirth, as the Klux Klux Klan and other racist groups began to use the symbol in their opposition to integration and to demonstrate support of white supremacy. Indeed the KKK uses it today quite prominently. In the1950s, angry white mobs who tried to prevent 9 black children from integrating schools in Little Rock, waved the flag as they attacked and cursed the brave high school students, who had to be led into schools by armed federal officers for protection. In the tragic murder of white Civil Rights worker Viola Liuzzo, the flag appeared at rallies as people actually celebrated her killing. But its impact as a racist symbol isn’t limited to America. In a story on, Matthew Speiser wrote an article that reported that in Germany today, because Nazis are banned from flying the Swastika, they fly the Confederate flag. He adds, “Nazis have adopted the Confederate flag and variations of it because of its historical association as a symbol of racism and white supremacy.” And then of course, we know that Dylan Roof, the young racist who shot the African American church goers in church, prior to the act, had a photo taken of himself holding a Confederate flag. Ironically, despite his act of hatred, in this case the hate crime didn’t inspire racial violence, but offers of Christian forgiveness from the church.

With a heritage of violence, division and racism like that, the question should be, why would anyone really try to claim with a straight face that the flag is just about heritage? And again, if it is, is it a heritage we need to celebrate? To be fair, people have a right to wear it or display it at home. But the question is, should a government building fly such a clearly divisive symbol since government facilities are supposed to represent all the people? When a person feels he must threaten someone simply for an article that criticizes the flag, the final question we all need to ask is, is flying any flag really worth all that?

Rebel Flag

The flag we’ve come to know as the Confederate Flag is really the Battle Flag of the Confederacy and was not the original flag. The sad but historical reality is the flag is most famous for being the one used by white supremacist groups starting in the 1950s and continuing today.

General – Northwestern State rebrands N-Club


The start of the 2015-16 athletic year at Northwestern State has provided the launching pad for a renewed outreach to former NSU athletes to continue their relationship with the university’s athletic program through membership in the N-Club.

Haley Blount, assistant athletic director for marketing and development and a school record holder in the pole vault, is spearheading the revitalization of the athletic letterwinners’ organization.

The N-Club has been in existence since at least the early 1930s, operated by student-athletes into the 1960s. Alumni who were letterwinners assumed leadership and created a support organization called the Graduate N-Club, which functioned effectively from the late 1960s until recent rebranding and restructuring.

“The N-Club creates the perfect opportunity for former letterwinners to stay connected to NSU, as well as to their former teammates and friends,” Blount said. “As we grow and aspire to foster a culture of continued success within the athletics department, N-Club members will be given the unique opportunity of providing meaningful feedback on various aspects of NSU athletics and sport specific ventures.”

“We look forward to quickly shaping the N-Club into something that our current student-athletes aspire to join, once their competition days at NSU are done,” she said. “Our goal is to completely embrace just graduated competitors so they remain bonded with NSU athletics while contributing to an even more satisfying experience for those who follow in their footsteps.”

The N-Club will foster an environment encouraging social interaction, volunteerism and financial support of NSU Athletics, she said.

Membership in the N-Club is open to all former student-athletes who earned a letter while competing at Northwestern State. The N-Club is governed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation board of directors and the members of the N-Club Committee, which includes at least one member from each sport currently offered by NSU.

“The Northwestern N-Club provides the opportunity to stay connected to former teammates,” said football letterman and Bossier Parish businessman Rudy Hines, who has his new N-Club certificate framed and displayed in his office. “For years, I really didn’t have anything in my office to show I had played ball for the Demons.  It also gives me great pride to belong to this group of NSU letterman with my son Blake, who is also an NSU letterman (track and field).”

The N-Club also serves as the official host of the annual N-Club Hall of Fame induction ceremony, staged at homecoming each fall.

N-Club membership is free for first-year graduates and is $60 after the first year. A five-year membership is discounted to $250.

Among benefits of membership are free tailgating for home football games and invitations to exclusive N-Club events. Members will be able to participate in letter award ceremonies to current student-athletes. Special gear available exclusively to N-Club members will be on sale soon, and each N-Club member receives a lapel pin and certificate suitable for framing.

For information, contact Blount at 318-357-4278 or by e-mail at Online memberships can be secured and complete N-Club information obtained by visiting and going to the Demons Unlimited button at the top of the home page, and clicking on the N-Club link.

Natchitoches Man Hurt in Helicopter Crash in Texas


TYLER COUNTY, TX (North of Houston, TX) – Alfred Christian Bell, 48, of Natchitoches, Louisiana was injured today when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Tyler County this  morning.

According to the DPS report, dispatch received the report at 10:40 a.m. from County Line Road, which is just off of US 190 and 12 miles west of Woodville.

Bell was the only person on the helicopter. He was taken from the scene by an ambulance and then flown to a Houston hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

According to the DPS, Bell had only been in the air for about a minute or two, spraying herbicides when he started having engine problems. He was able to fly over several pine trees before crashing into a clear field.

An investigation of the crash is pending.

Photos: Texas D.P.S.

“And So It Begins”

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

And so it begins. Technically, it started with Rick Perry and his money problems, but now seeing Scott Walker bow out of the presidential race it’s becoming real – there are consequences to what do you, what you say, and how much money you rake in (obvious exception is Donald Trump: see below).

Rick Perry was getting very little money. Sadly, most people could not see how much better he was this cycle because they were still hearing “Oops” from 2012. Scott Walker now has faced some money troubles, but his campaign suffered from a free fall in the polls he could not recover from. Having met Walker in person, and hearing him tell his story, is so awesome that you can’t help but imagine a Walker presidency. However, Walker suffered from a campaign team out of Washington that actively hates the Republican base, and so his natural message of limited government and curbing union power over the labor force was drowned out amid flip-flopping campaign issues and confusingly introduced policy points.

Walker donors – the big donors – are now taking their money either to Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. Rubio has seen some big donors come his way, Bush not so much. Ted Cruz is still well-funded with small dollar donations and the reputation of being an outsider amongst a bunch of insiders.

Cruz and Rubio are playing it smart. A mix of message and passion for each has suited them very well. The other candidates (Trump again excluded) have not been able to muster up that same kind of energy among their supporters. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Bobby Jindal is the only governor left in the race that could make the same play and get support, and my guess would be that he’s playing the long game by keeping costs low and putting his message out there in any way he can. His social media game has been, as the kids say, on point lately.

But, ultimately, no matter how Jindal does, it is far more likely (at this point) that the final candidates on the Republican side will be Rubio and Cruz. I’m a little more partial to Rubio, but either would be an interesting way for the Republican Party to go. And, if I were to guess, the Republicans in Washington D.C. would be far more likely to support Rubio than Cruz as they would see him as someone easier to work with.

This leaves one very big question unanswered, however: What in God’s name are we going to do with Trump? Well, his polling is already going down, and I think his supporters will jump ship eventually as he flounders. They’ll go to Fiorina and Carson and, when those two bow out, they’ll move to Cruz. If it plays out like this, I imagine 2016 is going to be a very, very fun year for the political junkies within us.

Witch Way to Main Street Set for October 31

The City of Natchitoches and Natchitoches Main Street Program will sponsor Witch Way to Main Street, a safe and free trick-or-treating event, in downtown Natchitoches on Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Witch Way to Main Street will take place on the downtown riverbank and will allow children age 12 and younger to trick-or-treat at participating downtown businesses and sponsored booths. Witch Way will also feature face painting, Sparky the Fire Dog, a Haunted House, tours of the “Haunted” Natchitoches Parish Library Bookmobile, games and more!

Children must be in costume and accompanied by an adult to participate. Candy and prizes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Natchitoches police officers will be on duty to ensure children’s safety.

Area businesses and organizations are encouraged to sponsor booths and games at Witch Way. Booths may feature interactive games, activities and/or candy distribution.

For more information on Witch Way to Main Street, please call the Natchitoches Main Street office at (318) 352-2746.

Free Trick-or-Treating Event for Children