Yet another “Good Idea”…

Shannahan 2

By Kevin Shannahan

The recent decision by the BESE Board to require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or have their parents sign an opt out form in order to graduate from high school is an example of both overreach and ineffectiveness – unfortunately a common result when someone in government gets a “good idea.” It addresses a minor symptom while failing to see a much larger problem, one that will not lend itself to superficial “feel good” solutions and therefore won’t be addressed.

I was a schoolteacher in one of Louisiana’s poorest districts for four years after leaving the Air Force. After that, I worked for seven years in the Admissions Office of one of our state universities. Those jobs gave me a unique insight into the condition of secondary education in our state. I visited high schools in every parish in Louisiana where I met many bright, interesting kids, easily the equal of any in the country. While there is considerable room for improvement, our better high schools do a good job with top students. Unfortunately, such is not the case in the majority of schools I visited and in none of the poorer ones.  A bright child in one of those schools is not being educated to anywhere near his/her potential. This is a waste that borders on immoral.

Seniors not filling out financial aid paperwork is the least of our state’s educational woes. The quality of guidance in the schools is as abysmal as the education all too many of them fail to provide. There are other symptoms, many more serious than the low numbers of seniors filling out the FAFSA. How many high schools schedule homecoming or dances on the night before an ACT test date? How many  schools fail to offer the PSAT or SAT, the only gateway to a National Merit or Achievement Scholarship? I once found myself explaining what those scholarships were to a guidance counselor at a large public high school in New Orleans. Her “We don’t do that” condemned her students to unknowable lost opportunity.

The temptation to impose rules rather than know the underlying cause is a constant temptation to bureaucracies everywhere that must be constantly guarded against. If we only had one more rule, everything would be so much better…

Contrast the new BESE rule with The Taylor Opportunity Program (TOPS) one of, if not the, most successful educational reform enacted by our state. Its authors looked at the end goal-what does a young person need from his or her high school to make it through college and how can we incentivise both the student and the schools to prepare for that  future? BESE’s new rule makes government an endlessly nagging scold. “Do this! Don’t do that! We know what’s best and it’s for your own good anyway!” TOPS tells a young person “Do this and we’ll help you build a better life.”

Ask yourself how many high schools offered foreign languages before TOPS? No edict came from on high commanding high schools to offer foreign languages and  advanced math. Parents wanting the opportunity for their children bought into the idea and drove the change, bettering the district and its students. That, not nagging edicts from Baton Rouge, is how you drive positive change. Were I in charge, I would not ban dances and ballgames x amount of days from an ACT test date, nor would I declare that the PSAT/SAT must be offered in every district. Instead, I would work to change the culture so that those things would become important. Care to venture a guess as to which approach leads to lasting change?


Annual Spring Festival & Garden Show to be Held March 19

The City of Natchitoches Main Street Office is seeking vendors for the 2016 Bloomin’ on the Bricks spring festival. The 16th Annual Bloomin’ on the Bricks, Natchitoches’ spring garden festival, will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the downtown riverbank in Natchitoches’ Historic Landmark District.

The event will feature an exhibit area of lawn and garden vendors who will display and sell an assortment of items related to garden and lawn care. Vendors of lawn and garden merchandise such as landscaping, nurseries, lawn furniture, ironwork, yard art, garden décor, etc. are invited to participate in this year’s show. Vendor spaces are available for $50 per each 10×10 space.

Bloomin’ on the Bricks, organized by the Natchitoches Main Street Program, is a celebration of spring throughout the City’s Historic District. Visitors will be able to see the beauty of springtime in downtown Natchitoches through its hanging flower baskets and thousands of daffodils and tulips planted along the riverbank. The event will also feature live entertainment, children’s activities and food booths. Bloomin’ on the Bricks is free and open to the public.

For those interested in becoming a vendor at Bloomin’ on the Bricks, please contact the City of Natchitoches Main Street Office at (318) 352-2746 for more information.

Third-quarter wake-up call spurs NSU to victory against Xavier (La.)

Janelle Perez - NSU Basketball

Janelle Perez directs traffic during NSU’s 73-57 win against Xavier (La.) on Tuesday night. Photo credit: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State women’s basketball team needed a little pickup early in the second half Tuesday night.

Fourth-year co-head coach Brooke Stoehr quickly called timeout and made sure her team understood her concerns.

Buoyed by that timely timeout, Northwestern State recaptured the momentum and carried it to a 73-57 victory over visiting Xavier University of Louisiana in its final non-conference game of the season.

“Sometimes you just have to get their attention,” Stoehr said. “I didn’t like our intensity and our energy to start the second half. We had some people on the floor who weren’t playing very hard. We challenged them in the timeout. The whole gym probably heard it, and they responded. We have a great group of kids, and we love this team, but sometimes they’re not mean enough. They need to be a little more aggressive on both ends of the floor.

“I’m very proud of how they responded.”

NSU (6-5) led by 12 at halftime before the visiting Gold Nuggets (9-5) rattled off the first six points of the second half, forcing a pair of Northwestern State turnovers in the process.

After Stoehr took the timeout at the 7:45 mark of the third quarter, NSU responded with an 13-2 run across the next 6:27 to take firm control of the game.

Senior Janelle Perez and freshman Cheyenne Brown ignited the run, combining for 10 of NSU’s 13 points in that stretch.

Perez finished with a game-high 22 points and team bests in rebounds (7) and assists (4) as Northwestern State won its season-high third straight game.

Brown added 13 points as NSU put four players in double figures. Shahd Abboud (12) and Beatrice Attura (10) rounded out NSU’s double-figure scoring crew.

Brown tallied six of her points during the game-turning run and now has scored in double figures in three of the first four home games she has played in this season.

Perez, meanwhile, typified Northwestern State’s offensive efficiency Tuesday night, hitting 7 of 10 shots and knocking down all seven of her free throw attempts. Her 22 points made Perez the thrd NSU player to crack 20 points in a game this season, joining Abboud and Attura.

“It just comes down to playing basketball,” Perez said. “We’ve all played since we were younger. Being able to read each other and being able to execute the plays and being able to read the defense and taking what they give us is pretty awesome. Getting that going allows us to open up for other teammates and get them open and work with that.”

Xavier’s Donyeah Mayfield shook off an 0-for-8 first-half shooting performance to score all 13 of her team-high points in the second half, but Xavier was never fully able to recover from a sluggish 3-for-25 shooting start.

NSU shot the ball well throughout, hitting a season-high 53.5 percent of its shots.

“It’s always hard coming off a layoff,” said Stoehr, whose team last played 10 days ago. “You’re used to being in the gym every day, and you take a break from games and you wonder how much rust is going to be on. I thought our execution for the most part was really good. We got some good action off our pick and roll. We got in the paint and created. We were able, when the post helped up defensively, to finish some shots and get to the free-throw line. We got to the line 34 times. We were aggressive. That’s what you want.”

Northwestern State returns to play Saturday when it opens Southland Conference play by hosting Houston Baptist at 1 p.m. in a rematch of the 2015 Southland Conference Tournament championship game. That game is the opener of an SLC doubleheader that will feature the Houston Baptist-Northwestern State men’s game at 3 p.m. in Prather Coliseum.

Demons outlast Centenary 92-69


SHREVEPORT – Northwestern State fought off a strong effort by Division III Centenary Tuesday night, shooting 58.5 percent from the floor and pulling away for a 92-69 road win over the Gentlemen in front of 1,377, many of them Demon fans, at the Gold Dome.

NSU (3-7), winning its second straight after a 10-day layoff sandwiched around Christmas, led 45-34 at halftime, built the spread to 17 and weathered a Centenary run within 66-61. From that point, The Demons scored 12 of the next 17 points to start a game-ending 26-8 run.

Five Northwestern State players scored in double figures, led by the eighth-leading scorer in NCAA Division I, junior guard Zeek Woodley, who posted 20 points on 7 of 9 aim, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers. He also snatched 7 rebounds.

Freshman center Ishmael Lane missed only one of eight shots and recorded 15 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. Junior guard Sabri Thompson scored 14, as did freshman Malik Metoyer in his first double-digit scoring output. Sophomore point guard Devonte Hall, playing across the Red River from his hometown of Bossier City, posted 10 points and a game-best 7 points, more than his 5.7 average that ranks 40th in the country.

NSU sank 9 of 15 3-point shots and 31 of 53 overall.

The Gents, whose 7-3 record entering the game did not change since they counted the contest as an exhibition, picked up a game-best 23 points from sophomore guard Travion Kirkendoll, along with 14 apiece by Kendall Demouchet and Brandon Campbell.

Centenary remained in range most of the night despite making only 38 percent of its shots, just 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.

“There were stretches when we did some things pretty well, and definitely one of them was how we reacted when Centenary closed the gap on us in the second half,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “I thought Centenary competed very well, played a smart and tough game, and that’s what we anticipated. This was a good way to come off the break and get ready for the conference season.”

NSU opens Southland Conference play Saturday afternoon at home against Houston Baptist in a 3 p.m. game that follows a 1 o’clock women’s contest between the schools. Another Southland doubleheader follows Monday night with a 5:30 women’s tip and a 7:30 men’s start slated at Prather Coliseum as Sam Houston State visits.



Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced his intention to submit a list of three persons to the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions for consideration for appointment to the Cane River Waterway Commission. Persons interested in serving on the Cane River Waterway Commission may submit their name and contact information by mailing it to the Office of the President, P. O. Box 799, 200 Church Street, Natchitoches 71458-0779; by calling Mrs. Lynda Vance, Executive Assistant to the President at (318) 352-2714; or by sending an email to  Mrs. Vance will provide all interested persons the application instructions.

Applications must be received by close of business on Monday, January 4, 2016 in order to be considered.

PRESS RELEASE: December 29, 2015


Parish Solid Waste Schedule for New Year’s

Solid Waste Bags

Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that all Parish Solid Waste facilities, including the Parish Landfill located at 4597 Hwy. 1 North, will be closed on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016.

All Parish Solid Waste facilities will be open during their regular operating hours on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015, and will re-open on Saturday, January 2, 2016.

Questions relative to Parish Solid Waste operations may be directed to the Parish Solid Waste Department at (318) 238-3704.

Cane River Children’s Services receive donation from the Bank of Montgomery


BOM presented Jennifer Karle, Chief Executive Officer of Cane River Children’s Services, a check for $250. The donation will ensure that the boys and girls that stay at their facility a memorable holiday season and positive activities in the year to come. In the picture from left to right: Dustin, Damon, Jennifer Karle, Brooke and Logan. — with Jennifer Karle, Logan Miles Lambert, Damon Jones, Brooke Latham Harrell and Dustin Dauzat.

Thank you to Ken Hale, the Board and Staff for their continued support of the quality of life in Natchitoches Parish.

KNB Annual Fifth Grade Phone Book Recycling Contest Winners

Goldonna Elementary 5th Grade

Goldonna Elementary

Natchitoches Magnet 5th Grade

Natchitoches Magnet School

Over 3,300 Phone Books Collected for Recycling Contest

Keep Natchitoches Beautiful recently concluded its 2015 Fifth Grade Phone Book Recycling Contest.  Fifth grade students in Natchitoches Parish learned the importance of recycling by participating in the Annual Phone Book Recycling Contest, sponsored by the City of Natchitoches, Keep Natchitoches Beautiful and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

As part of America Recycles Day activities, parish fifth graders were asked to collect as many phone books as possible from mid-October through November 15, 2015.  Winners were announced for the city school and parish school that collected the most phone books. The winners were Natchitoches Magnet for City and Goldonna Elementary for Parish.  The final tally for all phone books collected for recycling was 3,303.

The winning schools received a pizza party, recycled school supplies, and a check for $150 to continue recycling efforts and education in the school.

About Keep Natchitoches Beautiful

Keep Natchitoches Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, is a program under the City of Natchitoches’ Main Street Office. Keep Natchitoches Beautiful’s mission is to encourage and organize programs that improve the appearance of Natchitoches and its environment; to enlist public support and encourage involvement in the implementation of beautification programs that focus on changing personal attitudes and behavior concerning waste handling. For more information about the program, please call (318) 352-2746.

Demons head up I 49 to Centenary for unique visit Tuesday at 6

MensBasketball - McConathy

With thousands of alumni and students in or near Shreveport-Bossier City, Northwestern State basketball coach Mike McConathy believes Tuesday night’s visit to Division III Centenary, one of NSU’s oldest rivals, makes perfect sense.

Tipoff between the Demons (2-7) and Gentlemen (7-3) is 6 p.m. at the Gold Dome on Centenary’s campus. Both teams are coming off wins before Christmas, with NSU dominating Missouri Valley 105-79 Dec. 19 and Centenary beating previously unbeaten UT Dallas 66-57 a day later at the Gold Dome.

It’s the first of three games in a week for NSU, which will open Southland Conference season at home with a pair of doubleheaders, Saturday afternoon against Houston Baptist and next Monday night against Sam Houston State.

Northwestern State and Centenary have nearly a century of history on the basketball court, last meeting in a home-and-home series early in the 2010-11 season when the Demons won 83-70 in Shreveport and 82-55 in Natchitoches. The Gentlemen left Division I athletics after that season and the teams haven’t played since, until Tuesday night.

The contest brings a few Demons back home. McConathy grew up in neighboring Bossier City and was a prep All-American at Airline High School. NSU sophomore guard Devonte Hall was an All-State star at Bossier High. Junior walk-on guard Will Poole played at Shreveport’s Byrd High, less than a mile from Centenary.

It was also drawn up to give senior point guard Jalan West a homecoming. The Bossier City native had his season ended in the opening game by a knee injury requiring surgery earlier this month.

“We look for the right opportunities to come to Shreveport-Bossier. It’s part of the heartbeat of Northwestern State University. We have one of the nation’s best nursing schools on Line Avenue not far from the Gold Dome. We have thousands of alumni and current students here and near here,” said McConathy. “We’re very appreciative to coach Adam Walsh and Centenary for being able to play this game, which we hoped would be a special hometown appearance for Jalan. Still our team is very excited about the chance to play up there and against an extremely well-coached, capable, opponent.”

NSU features one of the most explosive players in college basketball, and a product of nearby DeSoto Parish, in junior swingman Zeek Woodley. He is eighth in NCAA Division I’s scoring ranks (23.7 points per game) and 11th in free throw aim (91.7 percent), leading a squad that is the third most-accurate in the nation from the line at 79.7 percent.

Another Bossier High School product, sophomore guard Devonte Hall, has stepped in for West and been very productive. He stands 40th nationally with a 5.7 assists average and ranks 65th in assist-turnover ratio at a plus 2.68.

Centenary has five players scoring in double figures, led by Travion Kirkendoll with a 22.1 average. The Gents are scoring 78.8 points per game while the Demons average 76.8.

NSU is getting 11.7 points per game from 6-8 freshman center Ishmael Lane and 10.3 by junior guard Sabri Thompson.

The game will be broadcast on  The Demons’ veteran play by play announcer is Patrick Netherton, who was once sports information director at Centenary and still lives in Shreveport.


Early registration concludes Sunday at NSU



Early registration for the spring 2015 semester at Northwestern State University concludes Sunday, Jan. 3. Regular registration will be held Jan. 4 – 10. Spring classes begin Monday, Jan. 11.

All currently admitted students can sign up for spring classes online using NSU Connect, which is available at

Late registration is set for Jan. 11-20. An additional fee is charged for late registration.

For more information on spring registration at Northwestern State, go to

A Week Without Politics


Joe Cunningham, III

I apologize that this week’s column is so short, but I’ve essentially been on vacation for a week. From last Monday to last Wednesday, I was in Dallas, Texas, fighting with my wife over who was going to hold our brand new niece next. We found out our niece was coming on Monday morning and we spent the entire day driving to Texas (we spent the entire day on the road because we had a blowout on the way to Dallas, which is a family tradition).

From Monday morning, when we got on the road, to today (Monday, December 28), I was completely off the grid in terms of politics. Sure, I caught a few news stories here and there but, for the most part, I did not write anything political. I have no idea what went on, nor do I really care. Instead, I focused on convincing the newborn niece that I am better than her aunt (my wife), spending time with family, reading and playing with my daughter and her new toys. I even went to go see the new Star Wars movie (it was awesome).

And, you know what? It was the most peace I’ve felt for a long time and it perfectly illustrates the dangers of living the all-political life. When everything is politicized, you start worrying about how every little thing in life is somehow political. You get almost paranoid that something is supposed to try and subvert what you think and make you switch sides.

The media is too conservative or too liberal. Movies are trying to rewrite history. Books are too slanted to read. Don’t listen to music because the singer supports someone for president. Don’t watch this team play because their star athlete expressed a political opinion you don’t like. We’re letting the politicization of everything ruin our relationships with our friends, family, and the world around us.

The political life is one that runs the risk of making us hate so many things. And, if I’ve learned anything from Star Wars, it’s that hate leads to the Dark Side (otherwise known as the Donald Trump campaign). Have a Happy New Year, everyone.

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

Parish Road Maintenance – December 28, 2015


The Natchitoches Parish Public Works Department announces that it has scheduled the following road maintenance work for December 28, 2015:
Too wet to grade roads today.  Operators will check drainage issues on roads as well as checking roads where overweight permits have been issued.
1.    Hart Rd
1.    Louis Cook Rd
1.    Unstop culvert on Longlois Rd
2.    Repair culvert on Louis Cook Rd
3.    Remove tree from Louis Cook Rd

Ponderings with Doug – December 26, 2015


Larry was homeless living out of his old car and completely broke. After not eating for two days, he entered a diner and ordered a huge breakfast. After finishing, Larry lied to the owner. He said he’d lost his billfold. The owner handed Larry at twenty dollar bill, smiled and whispered, “You must have dropped this.”

Ten years later, lots of people in Kansas City who appeared to be poor were given hundred dollar bills by a total stranger around Christmas. They were told, “Merry Christmas.” For over twenty-five years this continued. No one knew the identity of this “Secret Santa” for most of those years.

Larry, the homeless man in that diner, was finally revealed as the source. Larry Stewart had started a business, became wealthy and helped hundreds of people with acts of random kindness until his death in 2007.

Larry was blessed with the gift of giving. I have met gifted givers. They know how to give the perfect gift. Even for those office gifts given at this time, these gifted givers always share something that is meaningful or sweet.

Some of us struggle with giving the perfect gift. Some of us struggle with giving a gift that is one step above “white Elephant” status. Years ago, it was time to give my first birthday gift to my bride. She is such a good bride too. She hinted about jewelry and perfume. I heard her hints and carefully noted them. For her birthday I bought her a weed eater. That was one of my best moments, too!

That began a tradition of “return gifts.” I would purchase a Christmas gift I knew was destined to be returned. I would return the gift. We would then use the proceeds of the gift to buy what she really wanted. I have given up on her “touching it three times” method of gift selection. She has stopped touching things. I now take her Christmas shopping with me. She picks out her gift, wraps it and looks surprised on Christmas morning when she opens it. I hoped to get better, but I saw no gift giving improvement in myself. I stink at it!

I did score points earlier this week with Blue Bell Peppermint ice cream.

I hope you are a gifted gift giver. You make Christmas special for those who receive your gifts. For the rest of you, I guess I’ll be seeing you in those long lines at Customer Service today.

For God so loved the world He gave. His gift was perfect. His gift was what we wanted and what we needed.




Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced his intention to make an appointment to the Parish Library Board of Control. Persons interested in serving on the Parish Library Board of Control may submit their name and contact information by mailing it to the Office of the President, P. O. Box 799, 200 Church Street, Natchitoches 71458-0779; by calling Mrs. Lynda Vance, Executive Assistant to the President at (318) 352-2714; or by sending an email to Mrs. Vance will provide all interested persons the application instructions.



Natchitoches Veteran’s Park – A Year End Note

Veterans Park

Out next Park meeting will be Thursday Jan 14 at 3:00 in the Board Room of the Downtown City Bank – we have a full agenda which includes an update on recently completed work and planning for final park projects.

As we close the year, I would like to offer all of our members a very heartfelt “thank you” for all you do for out Natchitoches Veterans community, their families, and friends.

My holiday wish for you:  This holiday season is rich with love from your family and friends, you continue to gain from the satisfaction of helping others and that 2016 is a great year for you and your family.

Thanks and God Bless.

Bob Gillan

True Faith and Allegiance


by Kevin Shannahan

This past Friday, I had the privilege of being a guest at Northwestern State University’s Army ROTC Commissioning ceremony. NSU joined colleges from across the country as men and women of every race and background “…do solemnly swear that I will defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” Witnessing a Commissioning ceremony is a sure cure for cynicism and a celebration of America at its best.

The ceremony and oath are short and simple, a rite of passage as old as America that will continue as long as our Nation endures; each generation taking its place in the hard, dangerous-and necessary-work of the defense of our country. The oath is suited to those who would lead an Army protecting a society of free men and women. This isn’t the 1934 Wehrmacht swearing allegiance to Hitler rather than to the German government. The oath is to the Constitution, not to an individual.

Of the thousands of officers commissioned through ROTC, most will serve as reservists; some will go on full time active duty. Others, like General and Secretary of State Colin Powell, will go on to great things from a humble beginning. Most will return to civilian life in a few years, their lives enriched by their service. Located in colleges across the country, ROTC is a huge force for social mobility.

When I stood and saluted during the National Anthem and watched the ceremony, the years melted away. It was once again a fine summer’s day in “…this eighth day of June in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two-hundred and ninth…” at a small college in Georgia where I was commissioned in the Air Force. The subsequent thirty years have been quite an adventure. I have no idea where my college diploma is, but my commissioning certificate is framed and hanging in my den. Many thanks to the commander for inviting me, and Godspeed Lieutenants Cespedes and Hearne!

NPJ Profile: Dr. William A. “Bill” Ball, Jr., MD

 Dr. Ball graduated from Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport, Louisiana. He performed his Internship and Residency in General Surgery at The Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. He is the founder of Cane River Surgery Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Dr. Ball is affiliated with Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Louisiana Extended Health Care, and Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center. He is Board Certified by The American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ball is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons. He is a member of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons and the Society of General Surgeons. He is a member of the American Medical Association, Natchitoches Parish Medical Society, Louisiana Medical Society and many other professional organizations.

DA VINCI ROBOTIC SURGERY powered by Dr. William A. Ball, Jr., MD and Cane River Surgery Center! Experience cutting edge technology right here in Natchitoches!

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Demon fans make big Christmas gift to local kids

12-21-15 toy donation

Northwestern State basketball fans who enjoyed Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader sweep at Prather Coliseum by the Demons and Lady Demons also helped spread the joy of Christmas to many children in Natchitoches Parish.

Many of the 1,244 attending Saturday’s games brought toys to donate to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Toys for Tots program. Monday, NSU Athletics officials delivered over 1,000 toys to the NPSO.

Associate athletics director Adam Jonson (at left, above) and director of marketing and promotions Josh McDaniel (at right) delivered the toys, accepted by Carolyn Essex of the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Victor Jones and his staff have managed a Christmas toy drive for many years to assist families in the parish so that children can enjoy the magic of the season.

The NSU women topped Jackson State 59-54 before the Demons thrashed Missouri Valley 105-79 in the last games for both NSU squads before Christmas. The Lady Demons resume their schedule at home Tuesday evening, Dec. 29 against Xavier while the Demons play the same night in Shreveport at Centenary.

Both teams begin Southland Conference play at home Saturday, Jan. 2, with an afternoon doubleheader against Houston Baptist. Another doubleheader follows Monday evening, Jan. 4, against Sam Houston State with NSU Athletics conducting its popular annual “Chili Cookoff” event that evening.