To the Voters of the City of Natchitoches

Posey-MayorTo the voters of the City of Natchitoches, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for the support we received in the Mayor’s race. Natchitoches is a truly unique place with special people, and I am humbled to be re-elected to this position. Our message has been, and will continue to be, that a unified Natchitoches offers unlimited possibilities for the future. I believe in that future—for us and for our children. I pledge my sincere “commitment to serve” to ALL the citizens of this wonderful community.

Again, my deepest thanks,

Lee Posey

JAZZ TO BE FEATURED PROMINENTLY AT NATCHITOCHES JAZZ/R&B FESTIVAL

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Some Natchitoches Jazz lovers started a festival some 22 years ago that they first referred to as “The Natchitoches Jazz Festival” and, as the name suggested, it principally featured jazz music. The following year, organizers decided to incorporate other types of music into the event and the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival was born.

This year’s festival which will be held on the downtown Natchitoches Riverbank on April 15th & 16th, will be headlined by Grand Funk Railroad, Midnight Star, and a tribute to Elvis Presely featuring James Burton and Estelle Brown on Saturday night, by Grammy-winning zydeco legend Wayne Toups on Friday night. In between, there will be 30 acts featured on 4 stages, representing many genres of music, from rock & roll, to country, to blues, to funk, to soul, to R&B, and yes, plenty of jazz.

The Jazz aficionado who may believe that the inclusion of all these other types of music has “watered down” the amount of jazz presented at the event, will be happy to learn that that is definitely not the case.

First of all, this year as has been the case nearly every year since the festival’s inception, Saturday’s events will be kicked off with a performance by the NSU Jazz Orchestra, which will feature around 25 musicians on stage.

A true jazz lover, if he or she desires, could then spend the entire day at the Jazz Stage in the beautiful setting of Beau Jardin, which is nestled under the spreading Oak Trees behind the Roque House.

Jazz Stage Chairman, Luke Brouillette, says that the Jazz Stage will feature an eclectic mix of different types of jazz music sure to please the ear of any jazz fan. When asked to outline this year’s acts he had this to say “I’m really excited about this year’s lineup on the jazz stage. At 1:00PM we’re going to hear from Dave Duplissey who is a very fine saxophonist that has been inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame twice. You can find Dave’s many recordings online at cdbaby and iTunes. At 2:15 we’ll be listening to the NSU Jazz Combo. Don’t let the fact that they are a school group fool you – these guys are dangerously good and some heavy players. At 3:30 The Cypress Lake Sextet takes the stage. The sextet is comprised mostly of music faculty of ULL. These guys are jazz monsters – you don’t want to miss it. At 4:45 is the Sabine River Brass Band playing in a traditional New Orleans brass band style that will get you feeling good and ready to dance. At 6:00 is the Lukejazz Quintet featuring jazz styles with a contemporary edge from some of the leading area musicians.”

Brouillette says that Beau Jardin is the perfect setting to enjoy jazz music. “You will be able to sit under the massive Oak Tree, sip a little wine or other beverages that will be provided there, and, listen to some of the finest Jazz Music you can hear anywhere,”. He added “In between songs and acts, you will be serenaded by birds and water rushing down the gorgeous water fall. It just doesn’t get much better than that.”

For more information concerning the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival, go to www.natchjazzfest.com

Ponderings with Doug – April 1, 2016

 

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Doug De Graffenried – First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches, Louisiana

I want you to verify my automotive hypothesis. All you must do is watch. My thesis is that men driving big trucks are not capable of driving those trucks while on their cell phones. Further my thesis states the men in big trucks, unable to drive are holding their cell phones up to their right ears. I developed my thesis when the dude in the big red Dooley ran a stop sign while on his cell phone. I hope he can read lips! The other Dooley driver couldn’t seem to fathom that the green arrow pointing left means one is free to turn left. Perhaps they were listening to driving instructions on their cell phones. Both of these guys were driving on our roads on Tuesday. I’d been behind left turn guy long enough to know he was a “distracted driver.”I could tell red truck driver was going to run the stop sign, so I sat there and observed rather than being the author of “this week I had a wreck” article .Maybe I should count my blessings that I didn’t encounter some other drivers.

When police noticed water pouring out of the cab of a truck traveling down a road in China in June 2009, they assumed the truck had mechanical problems and pulled it over. Instead of a leaky radiator, the officers found the driver naked and soaking wet from having just taken a shower—behind the wheel. He explained that his air conditioner has broken, and his wife (in the passenger seat) helped him rig up a “sprinkler kettle system” to keep him cool, complete with a bicycle wheel suspended above him to accommodate a shower curtain. To keep the dashboard dry, his wife held a sheet of plastic over it. The man was cited for reckless driving.

Concerned drivers in Needham, Massachusetts, called to notify police that a vehicle was driving erratically, crossing double yellow lines, and tailgating other cars. When police caught up to the driver they found him eating a bowl of cereal with milk. His excuse for reckless driving, “I was hungry.”

Amanda Meyer, a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida, was driving her cruiser when she glanced down at her dashboard mounted computer. When she looked up, there as a tanker truck stopped at a railroad crossing. She swerved…but not in time to avoid the 40-mph collision. Thankfully, the gas tanker was empty, but Meyer, who suffered minor injuries, was cited for reckless driving and fined. $149.

Years ago when James Poole was my District Superintendent he told me about this one:

VINTON, La. — Police were surprised when a driver wearing only a towel got out of a van, then got back in and sped off. They were stunned when the van hit a tree and disgorged 20 naked people.”The Lord told them to get rid of their belongings and go to Louisiana,so they did.” Vinton Police Chief Dennis Drouillard said.

All 20 were from Floydada, Texas, about 550 miles from the southwest Louisiana town of Vinton.Driver Sammy Rodriguez and his brother, Danny, both said they were Pentecostal preachers, Drouillard said.

James Poole was pastoring the Methodist church in Vinton, Louisiana at the time. He tells the story with much more humor than the newspaper did. Talk about distracted drivers!

The Bible advises us to “be careful how you walk.” Maybe an updated translation would read, “Be careful how you drive.”

State Capitol & NSU will join 8 other ULS schools to greet lawmakers. ULS Day at the Capitol April 11

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University will join other schools in the University of Louisiana System for ULS Day at the Capitol on Monday, April 11. Each campus in the 9-university system will staff a table in Memorial Hall at the Louisiana State Capitol from 1-5 p.m. to promote the theme “Making Higher Education a Priority.” Students, faculty, staff, alumni, stakeholders and community partners of the university are invited to participate and connect with legislators. For information on NSU’s participation in the ULS Day at the Capitol, contact Leah Jackson, NSU’s director of Informational Services, at (318) 357-4553 or jacksonl@nsula.edu.

Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish, and Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, for Louisiana Survivors

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BATON ROUGE, La. – Disaster recovery centers will open Thursday, March 31, in Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish, and Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, to help Louisiana flood survivors. The centers are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays until further notice. The disaster recovery centers are located at the following addresses: Sheriff’s Office of Community Services 726 3rd Street Natchitoches, La.

Softball Game Cancelled – NSU v La Tech

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RUSTON – Wednesday’s softball game between Northwestern State and Louisiana Tech has been postponed because of expected severe thunderstorms in North Louisiana. The game has been rescheduled for April 12 at 6 p.m. in Ruston. NSU (20-11) will return to action Friday when the Lady Demons host Lamar in a 3 p.m. doubleheader.

How to Stop Medicaid Fraud

By John Kennedy State Treasurer
Not long ago, employees at a Minnesota mental health agency blew the whistle on what they described as years of Medicaid fraud. Officials are still tallying up the damage, but the fraud is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

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John Kennedy

Do a Google search for Medicaid fraud in Louisiana, and you’ll find that it’s not just a problem for our neighbors in the north. Medicaid fraud is a problem across the U.S., and that includes Louisiana.

Here in Louisiana, a Prairieville couple started a personal health care business funded solely with Medicaid money. Then they skipped the mandatory training that their workers were supposed to receive to become certified personal care attendants. Not only did this couple bill the Medicaid program more than $7 million, but they put their patients’ lives at risk by assigning them care workers who couldn’t even perform basic life-saving measures.

The Medicaid program is big and complex. It’s ripe for fraud and abuse. It’s no surprise that people are cheating the system. And, in Louisiana, Medicaid is an $8.3 billion program. Dr. Donald Berwick, former administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, testified to Congress that 10% of Medicaid spending is fraudulent. That’s $830 million in Louisiana.

We’re struggling as a state right now. We’re talking about making drastic cuts to public services. We ought to be talking about taking drastic measures against Medicaid fraud.

Fraud comes in different forms. Some of it’s easy to prevent. For example, California uses data analytics (the science of using algorithms to examine raw data in order to draw conclusions from the data), similar to that used by credit card companies, to identify provider billing trends and anomalies that indicate fraud, thereby stopping the fraud before a fraudulent claim is paid. Front-end anti-fraud measures like this save more taxpayer money than trying to recover the funds after the fact, sometimes referred to as the “chase-and-pay” approach.

Though technically not fraud, we also need to discourage Medicaid patients from treating emergency rooms like a primary care doctor’s office. We can place community health workers in ER waiting rooms to redirect to private providers those with problems that aren’t really emergencies. Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital accomplishes this through the Patient Navigator Program. We can also require copays for emergency care for nonemergencies.

Additionally, we need to ensure that those receiving Medicaid actually are eligible for it. This is a bigger problem than you might think. Pre-enrollment investigations (including background checks) of applicants to make sure they qualify for Medicaid is vitally important.

In Louisiana, Bayou Health is the way most Medicaid patients receive care. Five Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs, administer the program. They pay the doctors and the other providers. The state pays the MCOs a fixed amount per month, per Medicaid patient to manage the patient’s care, and the MCOs pay the doctors and other providers a portion at the fixed per member, per month rate to treat the patient. Those rates are where the money is. Overpayments due to fraud trigger a higher rate, as a Washington state audit of its MCOs shows. The incentive to root out the fraud, or the payments that shouldn’t be made, can be strengthened because each year’s new rates are based on last year’s rates.

Do the math. If we stop just a fraction of the fraud – and there’s probably much more than that – we’d save the state between $150 million and $200 million a year. Think about that. We wouldn’t have to worry as much about how to pay for TOPS. We wouldn’t have to worry as much about how to pay our hard-working teachers. All we’ve got to do is keep a better eye on the Medicaid cash register. Right now, we’re keeping the cash register drawer open and asking people not to help themselves to any money while we go on break. Then we’re paying them for every dollar that’s stolen.

What we also need to do is put more auditors at the state Department of Health and Hospitals, as envisioned by House Bill 89 in the 2016 special session, which failed to pass. We need to give each auditor a desk, a computer and a coffee cup with his name on it. We need to let them know that what they’re going to be doing for years to come is stopping the state from making fraudulent Medicaid payments. And we need to put them to work now.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2016
Contact: Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission.  The views and opinions expressed are 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 CITY COUNCIL MEETING – MARCH 28, 2016

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City Council 03-28-2016

 

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
These are not the official minutes

READING AND APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MARCH 14, 2016

Special Recognition: Natchitoches Central Boys Basketball Team – State
Championship For The Second Time In Three Years.Defeated Scotlandville 54-52 In
The 5A Title Game.  POSTPONED

 

ORDINANCES – FINAL:

#012   APPROVED  Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For The Electrical Distribution Along Hwy 478to I-49, Phase II (Bid No. 0574) To T&D Solutions Of Alexandria, LA In The Amount Of $88,800.00

#013   APPROVED  Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For The Christmas Lighting Supplies (Bid No. 0578) To Christmas Lights, Inc., Of Edmond, OK In The Amount Of $28,35.64 

ORDINANCE – INTRODUCTION:

#014   INTRODUCED   Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For The Chateau Saint Denis Parking Lot (Bid No. 0579)To Page Builders Of Natchitoches, LA In The Amount Of $394,440.00 

RESOLUTIONS:

#016   INTRODUCED   Resolution Approving A Temporary Site License With New Cingular Wireless PCS And Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute Same On Behalf Of The City Of Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Agreement Would Provide For Improved Communications For Citizens Of And Visitors To The City Of Natchitoches During A Period Of Increased Tourism From October 1, 2016 Through January 15, 2017.

REPORTS:  Pat Jones – Financial Report  BUDGET ATTACHED

CLICK HERE for the BUDGET REPORT 03-28-16 CON

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be April 11, 2016.

John Harris Passed In A Car Accident. Keep The Harris Family In Thoughts And Prayers. A Memorial Service Will Be Held Tuesday, March 29 At Calvary Baptist Church In Many, LA. Visitation Is From 4-6 P.M. Memorial At 6 P.M. With Reception To Follow In The Fellowship Hall. In Lieu Of Flowers Donations Can Be Made To Project Celebration in Many, LA.

The City Of Natchitoches Relay For Life Team Will Sell Hamburger Plates Friday, April 1st from 11 A.M.- 1 P.M. At The City Hall Parking Lot.  Plates Are $5 And Include A Hamburger, Chips and Cookie. Pre-Orders of 5 Or More Can Be Delivered. The Goal Is 500. To Place An Order Call The City Clerk’s Office at 318-352-2772.

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
These are not the official minutes

Faculty represented at the Louisiana Historical Association

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Faculty from Northwestern State University represented the university at the 58th annual meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association in Baton Rouge. Dr. Charles Pellegrin, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Science, chaired and provided commentary on a session entitled “Anti-Alien and Native American Actiism and Existential Alienation in 20th Century Louisiana.” As director of the Southern Studies Institute at NSU, Pellegrine also chaired the nomination committee and served on the program committee of the LHA. Dr. James MacDonald, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Science, chaired a session entitled “The Political Culture of Slavery, Race, the Law and Property in Louisiana. MacDonald has presented at the LHA five times since joining the NSU faculty in 2007. Mary Linn Wernet, university archivist and head of NSU’s Cammie G. Henry Research Center, chaired a session titled “Louisiana Women and their Politics: Sourcing their Stories.” Wernet’s paper, “Women’s Political Collections of NSU’s Cammie G. Henry Research Center,” was part of the session. Wernet is also serving a term on the LHA board of directors. From left are Pellegrin, MacDonald and Wernet.

Disposal of Demolition Debris from Flooded Homes in Natchitoches Parish

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Flood Debris 2016

Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that the Parish of Natchitoches is in the process of contracting for the collection and disposal of demolition debris removed from Parish residences that were flooded as a result of the recent storm event.

Residents may therefore place demolition debris on the Parish right-of-way behind the roadside ditch for pickup by the debris removal contractor.

President Nowlin cautions that metal and white goods, furniture and other bulk items, carpet, and other materials must be separated from construction debris and woodwaste, since only the latter materials are allowed for disposal in the Parish Landfill.

Residents are also cautioned to not place removed materials in or near the travelway where they can pose a hazard to traffic, or in roadside ditches where they can obstruct drainage.

The above provisions apply ONLY to citizens who reside on roads in the Parish of Natchitoches system, NOT to those who reside on State routes or streets within the City of Natchitoches.

Parish residents may also bring removed materials to the nearest Parish-operated bin site or compactor station for disposal.

For the convenience of residents in the Black Lake area, President Nowlin also advises that the operating hours at the Hart Road compactor station will be temporarily extended for the remainder of this week. This site therefore will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. beginning Wednesday, March 30, and extending through Friday, April 1, rather than closing from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day as is normally done.

Questions relative to the disposal of demolition debris should be directed to the Parish Solid Waste Department at (318) 238-3704.

Cane River Lake Update -March 29, 2016

Downtown Riverbank

Cane River Lake – 2016 Flood

The lake is currently at 98.8 MSL and falling. Spillway gates are open. Lake remains closed to boat traffic. There is significant rain in the forecast. Visit www.caneriverwaterway.com for daily historic flood level readings. For more information and/or questions contact Betty Fuller 318-617-3235 cell, 318-357-3007 office, 318-379-2878 home.

Baseball — Demons, ULM open home-and-home series at Brown-Stroud Field on Tuesday

Jeffrey Stovall

Jeffrey Stovall will start Tuesday’s game against ULM. Credit: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

NATCHITOCHES – Part of Northwestern State’s two-game baseball series with ULM is rather unique.

Another part of it is something that likely does not rate highly with pitching coaches across the country.

The Demons (12-11) and Warhawks (10-13) open a two-game, home-and-home series at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Brown-Stroud Field. The return game is set for Wednesday at the same time at Warhawk Field in Monroe.

“You’re getting to the point in the year where you’re running out of opportunities to play two in the middle of the week,” fourth-year head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I know (pitching) coach (Bobby) Barbier would rather us not play two in the middle of the week. All pitching coaches across the country (wouldn’t). We need some guys to pitch. You don’t anticipate a complete game in the middle of the week like (Jeffrey) Stovall gave us last week.”

Stovall (2-2) is scheduled to start the first game against the Warhawks. Against Grambling on March 24, Stovall spun his second career complete game in a 2-1 Northwestern State win.

With two midweek games scheduled, the Demons likely have plenty of innings to go around, although Burroughs and his staff were appreciative of Stovall’s outing.

“His secondary pitches haven’t been what he wants them to be or what we want them to be,” Burroughs said. “He had his breaking ball against Grambling. It was really good. He’s not walking a lot of people, but he’s gotten behind a lot in the count a lot this year, which is something he hasn’t done. Hat’s off to him for grinding through it. He’s figuring it out.”

While Stovall turned in his best outing of the season, the Demons offense battled through a weekend that saw them produce their highest run total of the season (10 vs. Stephen F. Austin on Thursday) but score a total of seven runs in the other three games.

NSU has won three of the first four games of its season-long five-game homestand, claiming one- and two-run wins sandwiched around its 10-3 rout of SFA on Thursday.

“This team’s capable of putting up a lot of runs,” Burroughs said. “I know the average fan will look at our numbers and won’t read that into it. We have a mantra here, ‘Hit the ball hard and you’ll win.’

“Daniel Garner doesn’t have anything to show for it, but he crushed two balls (Saturday) as hard as any we’ve hit all year, and they land in the center fielder’s glove. He can’t control that. This team’s capable of putting up big numbers. We keep talking about priming the pump, and when the water comes out, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”

ULM will start left-hander Ethan Daily (2-2, 7.47) in Tuesday’s series opener.

Probable starters

Tuesday: ULM LHP Ethan Daily (2-2, 7.47) at Northwestern State RHP Jeffrey Stovall (2-2, 5.01)

Wednesday: Northwestern State TBA at ULM RHP Cole Hendrix (0-0, 2.45)