NSU recognizes top graduates

Top Grads - Morning

Northwestern State University recognized its top graduates from the Louisiana Scholars’ College, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development prior to morning commencement exercises Dec. 18. Summa Cum Laude graduates who maintained a 4.0 average are, seated from left, Carly Paige Funderburk of Florien, Lesley S. Dykes of Daphne, Alabama; Lauren Elizabeth Carroll of Monroe and Jennifer Briann Barnhill of Olla. On the back row are commencement speaker and NSU alumna Nicole Vasquez, 2016 Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year; Joanna Elizabeth McFarling of Coppell, Texas; Doretta Jean Smith of Boyce, Jared Rayshard Humbles of Baton Rouge, Tatiana Lorina of Boca Raton, Florida; Sabrina Granger Sharpe of St. Matthews, South Carolina; Haley Faircloth Campbell of Noble, NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson and Jimmy Long, a member of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Top Grads - Afternoon

Top graduates from Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health and the College of Business and Technology were recognized during afternoon commencement ceremonies Friday. The summa cum laude graduates maintained 4.0 grade point averages. From left are Daniel James of Natchitoches, commencement speaker and NSU alumna Nicole Vasquez, Louisiana’s 2016 High School Teacher of the Year; Ashton Averitt of Hornbeck and NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson.

Natchitoches Parish Port Commission Regular Meeting

Time of Meeting: 8:30 AM
Date of Meeting: December 21, 2015
Place of Meeting: Natchitoches Parish Port Commission
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457

Natchitoches pairsh Port

Regular Meeting


  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes
  3. Activity Report
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Old Business

Discussion regarding status of projects

    1. Red River Flood Impacts
  1. New Business
    1. Selection of Auditor
    1. Terral RiverService Lease
    1. FEMA Project Worksheet for Silt Removal
    1. GOHSEP MOU for 2015 Flood Impacts
    1. GCR, Inc. Professional Services Contract
    1. 2015 Budget Amendments
    1. 2016 Proposed Budget
  1. Executive Session
    1. Personnel Matters
    1. Litigation Matters

Potential litigation

Natchitoches Parish Port Commission v. DeBlieux & Kelly, Inc., Case No. 73,994B, 10th Judicial District Court, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

  1. Other Business


NSU to close for Christmas/New Year’s break


Northwestern State University will be closed Dec. 21Jan. 3 for the Christmas/New Year’s break. Administrative offices will reopen Monday, Jan. 4.

The Wellness, Recreation and Activities Center will be closed on Dec. 24 – 25 and Dec. 31Jan. 1. During the break, the WRAC will be open MondayWednesday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Starting Jan. 4, hours will be MondayThursday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Regular operating hours resume on Sunday, Jan. 10.

Watson Library will be closed for the entire break and will reopen Jan. 4.

Bossier City resident earns degree 43 years after leaving Northwestern State


For more than 40 years Lynda “Jane” Pippen Timms has had some unfinished business she has wanted to take care of.

Timms, a resident of Bossier City, attended Northwestern State from 1969 until 1972, but couldn’t complete her degree.  She checked one goal off her bucket list as she completed a bachelor’s degree in general studies this week.

“I left in 1972 to get married,” said Timms. “Then we began a family and life evolved as so much was going on. My husband and I had three children and wanted to give them my best and I knew I couldn’t work, raise them and take classes. I knew I had to do this. When I left, I knew I would come back someday.”

Timms retired from the Bossier Parish School System in 2010 and began working toward a general studies degree at Northwestern State that fall.

“For years, I kept saying I would go back and finish my degree and after a while, I know everyone didn’t take me seriously,” said Timms “I started talking to the staff at Northwestern to see what I needed to do to go back and finish.”

Her family has several ties to NSU. Her husband Mike Timms is a 1973 Northwestern graduate in business administration who was on the Demon baseball team as is her daughter Shannon Oliphint, a 2002 graduate in radiologic technology and son-in-law Troy Oliphint, a 1993 graduate in business administration.

Timms found out about 80 hours she had taken would apply toward a degree. She decided to pursue her degree online through eNSU, Northwestern State’s electronic campus.

“I am a reserved person so an online degree was right for me,” said Timms. “I thought I might be a bit intimidated going back into a traditional classroom and I really enjoyed online classes. I could not have had a better experience.”

As a recent retiree, Timms wanted to take classes at her own pace as she progressed towards a degree.

“I took six hours a semester,” she said. “We have six grandchildren and I wanted to be there to enjoy all their activities. I would set aside time each day to study and it fit into my schedule.”

Timms said her classes were enjoyable, but there was one big obstacle, math.

“The biggest problem was the math classes. I was really worried about them, but with some help from some great instructors I did well,” said Timms. “In fact, last week, I was able to help my granddaughter who is in the eighth grade with her math homework. A couple of days ago, I even dreamed about a math problem and solved it.”

Timms had high praise for the faculty she worked with and her advisor, Steve Hicks, executive director of academic advising services at NSU.

“Everyone at Northwestern has been so supportive and encouraging,” said Timms.

Scholarship honors memory of artist George Wolfe

Wolfe Scholarship

The family of artist George Wolfe established a scholarship in his memory to benefit a Northwestern State University student majoring in fine and graphic art. From left are Dr. Greg Handel, director of NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts; Jill Bankston, associate director of development; donors Vonna and David Wolfe, Matt DeFord, director of the Department of Fine + Graphic Art, and Drake Owens, director of the NSU Foundation.

The family of a well-known Natchitoches artist created a scholarship that will benefit a Northwestern State University student majoring in fine and graphic art.  The George Wolfe Endowed Scholarship honors the legacy of a long-time artist and educator who inspired creativity in those around him. David and Vonna Wolfe of Austin, Texas, initiated the endowed scholarship through a donation of $5,000 to the NSU Foundation that will be matched by State Farm.

A native of New Orleans, Wolfe was locally known for his dragons, life-size rhinoceros and 12-foot Don Quixote sculptures.

“My dad truly enjoyed Natchitoches and the time he spent both teaching and learning at NSU. He was indeed a lifelong learner,” David Wolfe said.  “We relish providing the scholarship to say thanks while helping someone else grow.”

Wolfe graduated from Warren Easton High School in New Orleans, Louisiana State University, University of New Orleans and Northwestern State, where he completed his third master’s degree.  He encouraged everyone to further their education, expand their horizons and meet challenges with creativity.   He passed away in 2014.

David Wolfe said the ideal recipient for the scholarship would be a person devoted to and as passionate about visual art as his father was and someone who would give back, such as a student who plans to teach arts.  David Wolfe said that were his father could give advice to young students, he would encourage them to enjoy and embrace their work.

“You may be working on an assigned art project, but remember in the end it will be seen as your artwork, regardless of why you did it so give it your best effort.    Stretch your boundaries. Always try new mediums although they will often not feel natural or comfortable at first,” David Wolfe said.

NSU honored for supporting Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day

Kim Liner, Northwestern State University’s Cenla campus manager, left, accepted an award on behalf of the university presented by Dustin Matthews of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance during Manufacturing Day.

Northwestern State University was recently recognized at the Central Louisiana Manufacturing Managers Council for the institution’s support of Manufacturing Day.

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event that addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is and what it isn’t. During the month of October, more than 200 students from area high schools and institutions of higher education learned about opportunities for employment available in manufacturing careers by participating in presentations and tours. Participating employers included Cleco, Union Tank Car Co., Stella-Jones, Boise-Cascade, Baker Manufacturing, Alliance Compressors, AFCO Industries, Hayes Manufacturing, Crest Industries, RoyOMartin, Procter & Gamble, Eclectic Products and Kerotest Manufacturing.

Participating students came from area high schools, Central Louisiana Technical & Community College and Northwestern State. The Central Louisiana Manufacturing Managers Council, CLTCC, NSU, the Rapides Parish School Board and the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance sponsored the local Manufacturing Day.

Horton family establishes Perpetually Purple athletic scholarship


Northwestern State Athletics has long benefitted from the supportive influence of Donald Horton, the late Coushatta attorney and businessman, and his wife Pat.

With the recent establishment of the Donald and Pat Horton Family Athletic Scholarship, their impact will always be significant for NSU student-athletes.

The donation is the latest in a rapidly developing series of gifts and commitments in the recently-initiated “Perpetually Purple” endowed giving program managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation.   Horton, a 1967 Northwestern State graduate, was an active supporter of his alma mater for decades, including his involvement with the Demons Unlimited Foundation’s forerunner, the NSU Athletic Association. He was a board member for nearly 30 years and served as president for more than 12 years before his passing in June 2013 at the age of 68.

Donald and Pat were constantly involved with special events and were focal figures among Demon fans at many NSU games home and away.  He drew the plans for the tailgating zone south of Turpin Stadium, NSU’s football stadium, with cable TV, water and electrical connections provided to patrons, changing the face of game day activity at Northwestern when it was opened for the 2003 season. Before the 2015 season opener, the area was renamed “Donald’s Demon Alley.”

Pat is a DUF board member and remains active assisting with events like the bi-annual Scholarship Auction.

“Pat Horton, along with her sons, Leland and John, are appreciated for generously establishing this endowed scholarship which continues the momentum for the Demons Unlimited Foundation Perpetually Purple program,” said NSU director of athletics Greg Burke. “Donald Horton lived his life as a visionary on a personal and professional level, thus his family’s decision to initiate this scholarship is very appropriate.  Furthermore, Donald would be pleased to know that his family name will forever be associated with the NSU athletic program and more importantly, will provide an opportunity for a young person to attend NSU on an athletic scholarship.”

Horton’s family embraced the chance to participate in the Perpetually Purple program.

“Donald and Pat Horton have enjoyed supporting Northwestern State University since he graduated from NSU in 1967,” said their son, Leland. “Donald started at NSU as a student-athlete, and the Horton family understands how important student athletes are to the NSU experience. The Hortons are proud to have this opportunity to provide a deserving student-athlete with a better opportunity to join the NSU family.”

Horton, a Tulane Law School graduate, was a key figure in creation of the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Waterway in Red River Parish, while serving as legal counsel for the Red River Waterway Commission. He was half-owner in The Famous Natchitoches Louisiana Meat Pie Company, which distributes the unique dish nationally and maintains substantial operations in Coushatta.

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, said Burke.

“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 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.

To inquire about the Perpetually Purple program, contact Burke (burkeg@nsula.edu, 318-357-5251), associate AD and DUF executive director Adam Jonson (jonsona@nsula.edu, 318-357-4295) or assistant AD Haley Blount (blounth@nsula.edu, 318-357-4278). Information is also available on the NSUDemons.com website.

NSU, CLTCC sign C4M agreement


Administrators from Northwestern State University and Central Louisiana Technical Community College signed an agreement Wednesday that will allow students who earn the Certificate for Manufacturing (C4M) at CLTCC to apply the certification to seven hours of credit in NSU’s engineering technology baccalaureate degree program.

“We are at a pivotal time in Louisiana with $100-200 billion in industrial expansion that has the potential to revolutionize our economy for generations to come, but it is dependent on our ability to develop talent,” said NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson.

“We put the mission of business and industry out front and agree to meet at that mission,” said CLTCC Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle.  “If you complete the C4M, you complete one quarter of a degree from CLTCC and several hours of credit towards a degree at NSU. We’re looking forward to doing more.  We want to bring to Cenla what people have not seen before.”

In tandem with the signing, which took place at RoyOMartin, L.L.C., in Alexandria, RoyOMartin President and CFO Roy O. Martin III announced the intention to sponsor 25 individuals to participate in the company’s 16-week GED tutoring program in which C4M will be a component.

C4M is an industry-based certification piloted at CLTCC that is tailored to reflect industry needs and create a map for individuals interested in pursuing more advanced credentials. Mark Henton, dean of Technical Programs at CLTCC, said C4M provides an introduction to manufacturing, tools and equipment, automation and fabrication, process technology and machining.

“C4M is similar to the time when everyone was pushed to become computer literate. C4M allows individuals to become manufacturing literate. It introduces the student to a career and allows them to look at different facets of manufacturing,” Henton said. “We see the potential for a lot of partnerships like this.”

Dr. Ali Ahmad, director of NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology, thanked Henton for this role in developing the agreement, as well as industry partners.

“What is unusual is the eagerness for cooperation.  There are agreements and discussions between the university, the community colleges and industry,” Ahmad said.

Northwestern State has several agreements in place with CLTCC that help students and faculty reach their educational goals.  Last week, the Louisiana Board of Regents approved a collaboration between the schools in which NSU will offer an associate degree in engineering technology that will move to CLTCC when the community college completes accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Martin, who serves on the Louisiana Board of Regents and whose company has 1,100 employees, said his company values people and is willing to invest in individuals who are inadequately educated but want to go to work. His goal is to help 25 individuals pass the bronze level WorkKeys job skills assessment, obtain their GED and move forward.

“In the last few years, our universities have worked to transform so students get skills to meeting the jobs that Louisiana is going to have,” Martin said.

Johnny Earthquake & The Moondogs to appear at the 2015 Natchitoches Christmas Festival!

It wouldn’t be Christmas Fest in Natchitoches without Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs on the banks of Cane River! On Saturday  December 19th, The Moondogs will once again be taking the stage during the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival of lights. A Christmas-themed set from The Moondogs is one you do NOT want to miss!

This will be The Moondogs last public performance for 2015 in Natchitoches and the first public performance since the Natchitoches Jazz and R&B Festival. You don’t want to miss this!

The Moondogs return to Spirit’s for 2nd annual Christmas show!

Last year, The Moondogs played a Christmas show to a PACKED crowd at Spirit’s in Alexandria. This was also a canned food drive to benefit the Cenla Food Bank. Last year was such a success with all of the canned food donations, we are doing it again!

Come hang out with us at Spirit’s in Alexandria on December 16th from 8-10PM and support a great organization, the Cenla Food Bank. Price of admission is one canned good. Let’s make this years canned food drive even better than the last!

Kennedy’s Options


Joe Cunningham, III

The race for David Vitter’s U.S. Senate seat is on. Congressman John Fleming has announced, and Congressman Charles Boustany will make his announcement soon. The other players will take to the field soon enough, and another tough election cycle in the state will begin again.

There is one person who an outlier, and that is John Neely Kennedy, the state’s treasurer. A lot of pundits imagine he’ll jump in. I’m skeptical for multiple reasons. The first is that Kennedy is so popular in the state. Democrats didn’t even try to field a decent candidate for that race this fall. He won overwhelmingly.

Kennedy has been the benefactor of a lot of luck. He lost to David Vitter in the 2004 Senate election (he ran as a Democrat). He lost to Mary Landrieu in 2008 (he ran as a Republican). Losing both of those races, Kennedy has stayed in state government, and has been the fiscal conservative voice in contrast to the budgetary tricks used throughout Bobby Jindal’s tenure as governor. He is more popular than ever, and his polling looks pretty good.

And that is the second reason Kennedy should not run. He is in prime position to win the governor’s mansion from John Bel Edwards in 2019. Historically, Democrats do not hold the governor’s spot for more than one term. Kennedy knows the state’s finances better than most, and with Edwards revealing himself to be further to the left than he portrayed himself in the campaign, Kennedy can take what he was saying about Jindal, crank it up to eleven, and set himself as the strong conservative voice against a Democratic administration.

The third reason Kennedy needs to run is because the Republican Party in the state has an incredibly shallow bench. While the national party has a wide range of figureheads, here in Louisiana, the party is seriously lacking in leadership. The governor is supposed to be the de facto leader of the party, but that was one of Jindal’s biggest failings. Kennedy is the state leader who has been in statewide public office the longest and has been fighting for conservatism the most.

Kennedy is in a prime position to win whatever office he wants, but the choice between Senator and Governor should be very clear. He can wield more power as governor and affect a bigger change when it’s all said and done.

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jcunninghamwrites.

Radio M*A*S*H -2015 Results

RadioMASH2015 Final Group Pic

Thank you for making the 20th annual Radio M*A*S*H (Make A Smile Happen) a tremendous success.  With your help and commitment to the Natchitoches area, many  boys and girls will have a Merry Christmas this year.

The 2015 Radio M*A*S*H raised $23,627.00 in cash and toys collected at the tent between December 10th, 11th and 12th.  Elite Radio Group’s Market Manager, Bill Vance, said “We are overwhelmed at the generosity of the folks here in Natchitoches Parish as they turned out in a very large way to help Make A Smile Happen for our children and grandchildren at Christmas – Thank You Natchitoches Parish”

Radio M*A*S*H was created by The Elite Radio Group in 1996 to promote the annual toy drive with the Natchitoches Area Jaycees.  On the second weekend of December each year, the Elite Radio Group moves each of its radio stations to a tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  We bring 94.9 The River, My92.3 and KNOC-AM to broadcast for 54 hours straight, providing folks an opportunity to donate new toys and cash to help us Make A Smile Happen for Christmas!


MASH2015 TShirt Sponsors


Scenes and Posts from Radio M*A*S*H 2015:










Ponderings with Doug – November 11, 2015


I was watching all the immigration stuff this week. One of the TV people, a guest legal expert said, “This is not fair.” I went to a Bible to look up the concept of fairness. The Bible does not speak of fairness. Maybe the law books say something about fairness.

My only connection with the law is that I raised lawyer. I heard TV legal experts talk about the immigrationproposal as unconstitutional and disqualifying for the candidate.

United States Federal law states,

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

It is from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, it is also known as the McCarran-Walter Act. While it might not be fair, it seems the law gives the President of the United States certain rights as regards entry into the United States. It is not fair, but it is the law of the land.

If you want to experience a rich full life forget fairness. Life is not fair. Jesus was not fair. Jesus said, “The last will be first and the first will be last.” That is wonderful if you are at the end of the line, but what about those people standing in the front of the line. He told stories about workers in the field. The early morning workers had a contract. The mid-day hires had an oral agreement for wages. By the time the late afternoon crew was hired, they had a job with only a promise of just compensation. The last were paid the same as the first. That is not fair! Want to holler “unfair,” consider the older brother standing out in the field listening to the sounds of celebration for the younger brother who has returned home

There is a thief right now in heaven. This guy is walking the streets of gold. He is listening to the angelic choirs. He knows Jesus. He did nothing. He never confessed his sins or repented. He never joined the church. He was never baptized. He never served on the finance committee. He never had a prayer. In the end that is all it took.

“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus told him, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

We know him as the thief on the cross, Jesus knows him by name.

It is not fair!

Star Wars storms Natchitoches


Photos: Kevin Shannahan


The first Star Wars in the Park was held Sat Night in the First United Methodist Church  gym. It was a fundraiser for CASA sponsored by the Natchitoches Young Professionals, Blue Frog Technology and the Harrington Law Firm and has raised over $1,500.00 for this great cause. Fans of all ages got to see their favorite Star Wars characters and have their picture taken with them. Jedi Sarah Dyess showed off her lightsaber skills while Eddie Harrington and the 501st Legion provided the Imperial Stormtroopers.