Women’s Basketball — Northwestern State faces tall challenge, early tip at No. 11 Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas – Northwestern State women’s basketball co-head coach Brooke Stoehr always puts together a challenging non-conference schedule with the hope of strengthening her team for the season’s stretch run.

One of the biggest, literally and figuratively, challenges of the non-conference season arrives Wednesday when Northwestern State faces No. 11 Texas at 11 a.m. in the Frank Erwin Center.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Stoehr, whose team plays its second game in four days in Texas after a 74-36 loss at SMU on Sunday.

“They’re extremely large. Any time you can expose your players to big-time environments where you’re competing against some of the best athletes in the country, it teaches and shows them this is how you have to play in order to compete at this level.”

Today’s game wraps up a stretch of three games in six days for Northwestern State (1-1), which defeated LeTourneau, 73-44, in its season opener Friday before falling to SMU on Sunday.

Stoehr cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the disparate outcomes in the first two games.

“It’s Game 2 of the season,” she said. “Just like I said last year after Game 2, it’s Game 2 of the season. We’ll continue to get better. We’ll use these first nine or 10 games to figure out who we are and how we need to play and what gives us the best chance to win so we’re ready when conference play starts.”

This marks the third straight season in which the Demons have traveled to Austin. In each of the previous two seasons, Northwestern State has reached the NCAA Tournament, lending credence to the success of NSU’s scheduling philosophy.

Much like SMU, which featured a pair of taller inside presences in 6-foot-5 Stephanie Collins and 6-3 Alicia Froling, the Longhorns will deploy a lineup that will provide NSU with a physical challenge.

Texas’ roster features seven players who stand 6-1 or taller, topped by 6-7 senior Imani Boyette. Boyette was one of six Longhorns who reached double figures in a season-opening 90-53 win against Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.

“This is the first time our freshmen have experienced this,” Stoehr said. “Our returners have been through it. We need to get (the freshmen) to learn to compete every single possession and that pace and that tempo.”

Wednesday’s game will be broadcast across the Demon Sports Network by reaching NSUDemons.com. Tony Taglavore will handle the play-by-play action.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee statement on the Mayor of Natchitoches’ Confederate Battle Flag Ban:

Battle of Pleasant Hill

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee was deeply troubled by the recent ban request from Mayor Posey to the Natchitoches Festival of Lights Committee concerning the flying of Confederate flags by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As of today, Mr. Posey has decided to exclude and offend a group of people who have participated in the city’s parade for the past 25 years with no incident.

The flags the SCV fly are used in historical context. The main goal of the SCV is to preserve the history and memories of the Confederate soldier. Many do this by going to great lengths to display their uniforms and flags accurately. Flying the flags of the Confederate States of America is a major part of that historical display of respect for the men who chose to fight for the Confederacy, asking them to do otherwise is offensive to the members of the SCV and is not representing the historical context of the Confederate soldier.

As a committee that also goes to great lengths to preserve history, it was very troubling to us that our Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Queen was told she was unwelcome to ride in the Christmas Lights Parade because on her crown is a flag of the Southern Cross and because of what our event represents. This causes an issue with our Battle Queen because she is required, per her contract, to ride in the Christmas Parade. After consulting with a Natchitoches Festival of Lights committee individual, we were told she could ride in the parade if she did not wear her crown or have any flag.

The Battle Queen’s crown is her calling card. It advertises to the public who she is. A ban on her crown would cause her to be singled out, embarrassed, and diminish her ability to represent her festival to the best of her ability. This is not a condition we feel is acceptable for our Battle Queen.

When the SCV LA Division Commander, Mr. Thomas Taylor, spoke with Mayor Posey on Thursday, November 12, 2015, we asked Mr. Taylor to represent our Battle Queen in his talks with Mayor Posey.  During that meeting the SCV were told they are unwelcome at the parade, but our Battle Queen would be allowed to ride in the parade with her crown, barring she did not carry a flag. This is still troubling to our committee because there is still a ban on Confederate flags. We are concerned for the safety of our Battle Queen and that she may be turned away from the parade because of her crown. We have been given no assurance from the Festival of Lights or the City of Natchitoches that if our Battle Queen attends they will be able to keep her from harm because of the flag on her crown and because of the nature of our festival.

As an event that is involved in a local historical battle, we feel it is disrespectful of Mayor Posey to allow our Battle Queens crown, but not the SCV, who attend our event and help us to reenact history for the public.
The Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and The Battle of Pleasant Hill are organizations dedicated to preserving history for future generations to learn and enjoy.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee stands with the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee has agreed to accept another event’s invitation to a Louisiana festival where there are no restrictions on our Queen, where she is free to represent her festival to the best of her ability and is assured of her safety at that festival. As of this date, we will be reconsidering any future Battle Queens inclusion to the Natchitoches Festival of Lights Parade and Festival because of the ban on Confederate flags and the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We hope the City of Natchitoches and the Natchitoches Festival of Lights would reconsider this ban for future events.

Katelyn Nichole Yates
November  17, 2015

Weather -A Four State Impact

Timing and Overview:

An intense squall line is expected to develop near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and rapidly shift east into East Texas and southeast Oklahoma through the mid to late morning hours, and continue on into southwest Arkansas and northern Louisiana by late morning through the afternoon and early evening hours. This linear complex of storms will pose a primary threat of damaging straight-line winds while isolated tornadoes and large hail, while lesser threats, will also be in play.  An enhanced risk for tornadoes will be in play for our extreme eastern areas of north central Louisiana and southern Arkansas, which is a change from the previous forecast. Flash flooding will also be a concern due to the intense rainfall rates expected along the squall line as it advances eastward.

Four State Impacts: Tornadoes:  Isolated, possibly embedded within the squall line. Portions of north central Louisiana will see an enhanced risk for tornadoes.

Winds:  Some of the stronger, more intense storms embedded within the squall line may produce winds of 60-70 mph, which will likely down trees and power lines. Given that the soils remain near saturation from recent heavy rainfall, even sub-severe winds may uproot trees.

Hail:  Hail up to the size of quarters will be possible.

Rainfall:  Widespread 2-4 inches will be common (with locally heavier amounts), enhancing the risk for flash flooding.

 

WeatherOutlook 11-17-15

Sons of Confederate Veterans respond to Mayor Lee Posey

Natchitoches response SCVPage1

Natchitoches response SCVPage2

ThomasETaylor

Thomas E. Taylor Commander, Louisiana Division Sons of Confederate Veterans

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Thomas E. Taylor. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Taylor 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 NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

The Three Stooges want a pay raise

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One thing I’ve learned about the old police jury system, it was a great training ground for those inclined to the robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Though it was unmercifully unethical, it became commonplace. You see, what the good ol’ boys learned and haven’t forgotten is that the Parish operates on multiple Funds. There’s the General Fund and there’s the Road District 40 Fund and others.

Under the police jury system, it was standard procedure to take money from the General and transfer it to the Road District 40 Fund before the end of the fiscal year. When the new year began, the money was ‘repaid’ from the Road fund to the General Fund, which left the current year strapped for funds again. They did this repeatedly for the past few decades. It is in violation of the State’s budgeting laws for municipalities and they were cited in the annual audit each and every time…but that’s another story.

Today, three former police jurymen sit on the five-member Council: Bedgood, Paige and Salter. These three have completed their “training” on the jury system and have now tried to infuse their brand of “Leadership” into the current Parish Council. You see, these guys know that the Road District 40 is broke, but their pay ($500 for meeting about an hour a month) comes from the GENERAL FUND, and they have decided that “post-election” would be a good time to ‘tap’ that fund for a pay raise ($1,200.00 per month – an increase of 140%!).

Though one of them is not returning to the Council, two of the three will be back at the trough for another term and, given the way the same group chose to end their final term on the jury, it is expected they will unite and show all the citizens of Natchitoches Parish “what they can accomplish in spirit of unity.” A spirit that is and has been a rarity on anything that might have benefitted those who placed them on the Council to begin with.

Finally, Moe, Larry and Curly have brought out their act once again in hopes they bring the house down, or at least the Parish Council down. Make no mistake, that is their goal. Oh, you probably won’t see the “Curly Shuffle” or Moe slapping Larry, but the name-calling, “Nitwit” and “Imbecile” will likely fit in perfectly.

DennisColeman
The 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 or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Natchitoches Press Conference on Flag Ban

 

Here is Mayor Posey’s statement from today’s press conference concerning the decision made regarding the display of the Confederate Flag in this year’s Christmas Festival Parade.  The statement reads:

“On November 2nd, a letter was sent to the Christmas Festival Committee requesting they prohibit a public display of the Confederate Battle Flag in this year’s Christmas Festival Parade. If you are one of the citizens who is upset over this decision, here are the reasons for this outcome.

First and foremost, this request was not made due to any threats made by any individual or group of people. Personally, and after serious discussion with various interested parties, the decision was made because it was the right thing to do. The sincerity of those to whom this flag represents history, culture, and heritage was never questioned or doubted.

As Mayor, I am accountable to all citizens who live in our city, and for many the Confederate Flag is a symbol of hate, bigotry, violence, and division. This may be due in large part to the fact that the flag has, over the years, been sabotaged by hate groups and other individuals in our society whose horrific crimes have had as their backdrop this symbol of the Southern Confederacy.

To be clear, the City of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate Flag from public display. In fact, in a meeting with representatives of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, we asked if they would be willing to march in uniform and carry the original Confederate Flag as opposed to the Battle Flag. They rejected this suggestion.

The Christmas Festival Parade should be a symbol of the Christmas Season and should be associated with peace, love, and unity. This occasion should be a time when we leave our differences on the doorstep and gather to observe and embrace ‘good will toward men.’

I am proud to be the Mayor of our city. I consider one of my greatest responsibilities to be the promotion of unity and togetherness among those I serve. I truly believe that our Christmas Festival should seek to bind us, not divide us. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season.

Respectfully,

Lee Posey, Mayor”

PressConference11-16-15

Photos: Kevin Shannahan

Hall of Fame – Billy Cannon’s Tuesday evening event at museum postponed due to weather

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The risk of severe weather and forecast of heavy rain and thunderstorms Tuesday has forced the postponement of Tuesday evening’s scheduled appearance by the legendary Billy Cannon at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

Cannon, to date the only LSU football player to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, was slated to visit the museum from 5-7 Tuesday evening for a book signing and question and answer session open free of charge.

The appearance is being rescheduled for mid-December, providing those coming to Natchitoches opportunity to enjoy the lights and holiday spirit of Louisiana’s “City of Lights” along with being able to meet Dr. Cannon and get his new book personally inscribed.  The date for the event will be announced shortly. The fabled Christmas lights in Natchitoches will be turned on this Saturday night for the first time this year.

When rescheduled next month, the event will also include a question and answer session in the museum.

Cannon is one of over 60 LSU sports heroes enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The museum is located at 800 Front Street, at the north traffic circle in historic downtown Natchitoches, recently chosen as the country’s “Best Small Town in the South” by USAToday.com voters. Free parking is available on Front Street, the riverfront or one block to the rear of the museum at the Natchitoches Events Center (750 Second Street).

For more information about the event and the book, contact:

Lisa Babin, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, LisaBabin@LaSportsHall.com, 318-458-0166;

Jennae Biddiscombe, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum,  jbiddiscombe@crt.la.gov, 318-357-2493;

Erin Rolfs, LSU Press, erolfs@lsu.edu, 225-578-8282.

NATCHITOCHES MAYORIAL UPDATE ON DECISION REGARDING CONFEDERATE FLAG

PRESS CONFERENCE 11/16/15 (TODAY) AT 4:00 P.M. 

Rebel Flag

NATCHITOCHES – Mayor Lee Posey will hold a press conference today, November 16, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at the Natchitoches Arts Center located at 716 Second Street in Natchitoches. The press conference will be in response to the decision made regarding the Confederate Flag.

Contact: Samantha Bonnette, City of Natchitoches
Phone:(318) 352-2746
Email: sbonnette@natchitochesla.gov
11/16/15
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES NEIGHBORHOOD LIGHTING CONTEST

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The Natchitoches Christmas Festival Committee invites residents to get in the holiday spirit and shine brightly in the 2nd Annual Neighborhood Lighting Contest.  Judging will be completed by Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles on the evening of December 10, 2015.

From November 21 through January 6, downtown Natchitoches is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. “The Neighborhood Lighting Contest is a great way to get everyone involved in the Christmas festivities,” stated Marian Keator, Neighborhood Lighting Committee chair.  “Since Natchitoches is the City of Lights, we hope that everyone will show their Christmas spirit and help light the way for the season!”

Homes will be judged on holiday lights and yard displays. Homes must be within the city limits of Natchitoches.  There is no entry fee for the contest.  Anyone interested in participating should email Samantha Bonnette at sbonnette@natchitochesla.gov with their name, address and phone number.

All entries will be judged on the evening of December 10, 2015. A total of 12 winners will be announced. Winners will receive a lighted-spirit stick, yard sign and bragging rights.

For more information, please contact Samantha Bonnette at (318) 352-2746 or via email at sbonnette@natchitochesla.gov.

HDBA Xmas Logo

Leesville SNA raises money for Crisis Pregnancy Center

SNA donation Crisis Pregnancy Center

Under the faculty leadership of Debbie Hickman, Linda Nichols and Stacey Joslin, the Student Nurses Association (SNA) at Northwestern State University’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus held an Incrediball tournament to benefit the Community Pregnancy Center in Beauregard Parish. The tournament raised $1,200, presented to Crisis Pregnancy Director Theresa Allen.  From left are SNA officers Emily Vest, Secretary; Megan Taylor, vice President; Allen, Jessica McMickin, president, and Sherry Guajardo, treasurer.

Bedgood’s Bravado

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 or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

I noticed that Parish Councilman Rodney Bedgood has gotten placed on the Agenda for the upcoming Council meeting consideration for a pay raise for the Council members. Really? Is this the same group that has sat on their collective hands for the past four years; not a single member of the Council had the intestinal fortitude to offer real suggestions to be considered for the improvement of the roads of the Parish. And is this the same Mr. Bedgood who sought and was recently re-elected to this job? I do remember Mr. Bedgood for his antics at one Council meeting. It seems he had some photographs that he was sharing with the other members…jumping around from person to person pointing out that his constituents had to drive on these roads… Oh, not to forget, the reason for Mr. Bedgood’s animated behavior — it was being considered to pay a private land owner to pick up litter around a dumpsite which was located on his property. THE COUNCIL VOTED NOT TO DO THAT.

We all hear and grow tired of hearing about the ‘records’ of those elected to public office. The issue here begs the question, “What has the Council accomplished?” More importantly, what has been done that would bring an improvement to the worn out roads of Natchitoches Parish? Have the accomplishments of the Council been so numerous that the citizenry feels compelled to pay more for their service? Hardly.

I have no idea what the pay should be, but I would suggest that, based on the past and current performance, that a method of ‘repayment’ should be made available for those on the current Council. The citizens of Natchitoches Parish have for too long been underserved by those elected to serve. A little more than four years ago, it was voted that the Home Rule Charter be adopted, replacing a century or more of the former police jury. That was progress, but some on the current Council seem unashamed to hinder that progress in any way possible. The very idea of a pay raise should have been repressed by anyone with a conscience. Could that be…?

Volleyball — NSU set to end season, say goodbye to three seniors

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The three Northwestern State volleyball seniors joked after Thursday’s five-set win against Incarnate Word they were trying to squeeze out just a little more time on the court.

Head coach Sean Kiracofe’s responded he was fine with that plan – as long as the team picked up a win.

It worked out fine, and Kiracofe would be OK with the same scenario playing out Saturday when NSU wraps up its 2015 season with a 2 p.m. matinee against Southland Conference foe Abliene Christian.

The match will mark the end of the careers of middle blockers Glynna Johnson and Amanda Kunz and outside hitter Caiti O’Connell, who helped lead Northwestern State (7-21, 5-10) to its first NCAA Tournament appearance a season ago.

“You always hear that college goes by faster than you believe, and it’s true,” said O’Connell, who delivered a season-high 18 kills Thursday against Incarnate Word.

“It’s been such a blessing to be here for five years. We worked really hard to build a team that is really driven and focused. If you see the upperclassmen working hard, it rolls down the line. The upperclassmen every year have shown that.”

O’Connell became the seventh member of Northwestern State’s 1,000-kill club on Oct. 15 at New Orleans.

The milestone was special anyway, but the sequence meant even more to O’Connell.

“It’s something you don’t hear often and something I didn’t realize I was close to,” said O’Connell, a member of the Southland Conference All-Tournament team in 2014 and the All-Louisiana Freshman of the Year in 2012. “To be the seventh one was cool, the coincidence of it all. Seven is my favorite number.”

Johnson will leave Northwestern State as the school’s single-season and career leader in block assists. She will leave in the top three in block solos as well, having been an imposing part of the NSU block for four seasons.

Offensively, Johnson has enjoyed her most productive offensive season as a senior. She enters Saturday’s match needing three kills to set a new personal single-season high. Her average of 1.84 kills per set is the highest of her career.

“It’s gone faster than I expected,” Johnson said. “I feel like I just moved in yesterday, like I was a freshman yesterday. Now, it’s my last game. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, because it’s gone by so fast.”

Kunz, Johnson’s fellow starting middle blocker, saved her most productive season for 2015.

Breaking into the starting lineup on a full-time basis, Kunz is tied for the team lead in block solos (23) and second in block assists (70). She also ranks fourth on the team in kills (176) and service aces (24).

“Going in a couple of matches the last couple of years helped me get ready for this year,” Kunz said. “I’m so blessed and so grateful to have been able to play this year and do what I’ve done.”

Like her teammates, Kunz’ mind goes back to this past November when NSU captured its first Southland Conference Tournament title and the resulting NCAA Tournament bid.

“That probably is one of the top moments of my career here,” she said. “Just being able to see the focus, the determination and the drive to do that was really cool to be a part of.”

Despite having coached them for only one season, Kiracofe knows what the trio has meant to the program.

“They’ve had great careers,” Kiracofe said. “I feel very lucky to have had that talent coming in. We’re going to miss them, and hopefully we can go out with a win and send them off in style.”