Area bank sponsors upcoming tree sale

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BOM is a Platinum Sponsor for the Natchitoches Soil & Water Conservation District’s annual tree sale set for March 8-10 in Downtown Natchitoches at the corner of Williams and St. Clair. All proceeds will directly benefit the community!

Pictured from left are Jennifer Sims, Benny Dobson , Carrie Beth Hough, and Luke Rasberry.

Women’s Resource Center holds Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

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Thursday volunteers include certified childbirth educator and parenting class instructor Susanne Taylor, food pantry organizer Becky Ham, FACS intern Madalyn Evers, front desk Ms. Trish, food pantry and supplies organizer Sue Fredieu, nurse manager Carol Green, and peer counselor Denise Phifer.

The staff and volunteers of the Women’s Resource Center met at LA Sea and Sirloin for their annual Volunteer Appreciation dinner Feb. 6. The theme was “Volunteers are Heroes,” which was complete with hero themed decorations and a playful comedic skit performed by the staff members.

The evening was filled with laughter and fellowship along with gratitude from the staff for all that the volunteers do for the women served by the WRC. The evening was capped off with the Volunteer of the Year Award being presented to Tami Takes.

Tami first became involved with the WRC in late 2013 by donating homemade crocheted baby blankets. In early 2014, Tami began volunteering all day on Wednesdays at the front desk where she would greet and check clients in and then assist them with paperwork and scheduling appointments.

But her volunteer work goes far beyond her assigned “duties.” If there is no one requiring assistance at the front desk, Tami can be found crocheting (she has now donated over 40 blankets, many made with donated yarn), working in the food pantry, sorting and filing charts, or getting supply requests together. During 2016, she volunteered to come in on numerous days outside of her regularly scheduled Wednesdays when the WRC was short staffed. And she does all this while maintaining a cheerful and upbeat attitude. Continue reading

Gumbo and Demon Basketball – a Perfect Combination

By Kevin Shannahan

Kevin’s Gallery

gumbo2017-2Northwestern State University’s Prather Colosseum was the scene of an action packed day Saturday, Feb. 25. The NSU Demons squared off against the University of New Orleans Privateers before a large crowd of Demon fans with both the men’s and women’s teams emerging victorious. Both games were hard fought contests decided by a 1 and 2 point margins of victory.

The half time of the women’s game featured a program honoring NSU Lady Demon Basketball alumnae from as far back as the 1970’s as well as more recent players.

Another hard fought contest was happening off the court as three teams battled for gumbo supremacy. NSU’s own Sodexo, Mitchell Consulting and City Bank all fielded teams in the second annual Johnny Antoon Gumbo Cookoff. The popular fundraiser for the American Cancer Society featured chili last year and raised $700 for the Cancer Society. This year featured gumbo as the main event. The crowd sampled each team’s efforts and voted by putting tickets in the team’s jar.

Pastors will provide “Ashes to Go” to community for Ash Wednesday

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Join The Rev’d Suzanne Wolfenbarger, rector of Trinity Episcopal, and Rev. Sara Ann Berger of First Presbyterian, in front of Trinity Episcopal for “Ashes to Go” on Ash Wednesday morning, March 1, from 8am – noon. All are welcome, in car or on foot. Look for the banner!

“I think it is a way of bringing the inside of the Church to the outside,” said Wolfenbarger, who started the event last year.

FD 7 to test hydrants March 28

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According to Chief Doug Birdwell, Natchitoches Parish Fire District 7 in Marthaville will perform fire hydrant tests on all fire hydrants in the Robeline Marthaville Water System and the Ajax Beaulah Water System March 28. The test is performed annually for fire rating purpose. Expect low water pressure for a couple hours.

BOM Financial Services sponsors Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament

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BOM Financial Services is a $250 sponsor of the 2nd Annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament to be held at Cypress Bend on March 25. Dylan was a member of the NSU Fishing Team and all proceeds will fund a scholarship set up in his name.

Pictured from left are Reba Phelps (BOM FS Commercial Account Executive), Shelley Poche, Burt Poche and Kristene Cruse (BOM FS Commercial Account Executive).

Personal Dispute leads to one person being shot

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On Monday February 27, 2017, at approximately 8:45 P.M. the victim of a gunshot wound arrived at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center by way of a personal vehicle. An off duty Natchitoches Police Officer working security at the hospital quickly made contact with this victim in an effort to obtain as many facts as possible to enable the police to respond accordingly.

Leo Johnson was able to communicate with the officer and told that as he and his wife were leaving bingo paradise on Keyser Ave, he got into a dispute with three subjects at the carwash. Mr. Johnson went on to say that as he and his wife were driving away, one of the men he had gotten into the dispute with shot at him through the back window of his vehicle. Mr. Johnson was struck on the right side of his face but his wife escaped injury during the volley of gunfire. Natchitoches Police Officers and Detectives quickly arrived and began gathering information and evidence in effort to bring the shooter, or shooters, to justice.

Ultimately, Ervin Walker, 51, was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Attempted First Degree Murder and was placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

The Victim, Mr. Johnson, was transported to University Health in Shreveport, La. and at last report, was listed in stable condition.

City Council address Cultural District addition, sale of Cedar Grove Limited Partnership

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The City Council meeting Monday night, Feb. 27, was light on agenda items. Resolution #016 was added to the agenda for some City housekeeping duties for the Cane River Brewery so the owners can take advantage of tax credits.

The resolution will extend the current limits of the Natchitoches Historic District, Cultural District, including all areas of the current Local Natchitoches Historic District. The owners of the brewery ran across a little bit of an issue with the state where they needed to document that their property was in the Cultural District. When the City originally set up the Cultural District it included the Landmark District and two areas brought in as Local only. Since then the City has brought in two additional areas into the Local District, but not he Cultural District. This resolution will bring those two areas into the Cultural District as well.

Another resolution which was more or less some housekeeping for the City was a resolution approving an assignment of that agreement dated March 1, 1996, entered into by and between Cedar Grove Limited Partnership and the City from Cedar Grove Limited Partnership to Southwood Utilities Inc., authorizing Mayor Lee Posey to execute documents required or necessary to evidence that the City approves the assignment of the agreement.

Cedar Grove General Partner Ralph Ingram sold property to the City years ago for the City to build a sewage treatment plant on Laird Fletcher Road. They agreed on a price plus some other considerations Ingram wanted. One consideration the City agreed to was if Ingram developed a subdivision, he could then pump his sewage at his own expense to the City for treatment. He pays the City per home in the subdivision.

Ready to get out of this business, Ingram can’t just shut it down, so he found a buyer. The City’s approval is only needed because it was part of the original agreement.

Other agenda items included:

Revocation of dedication of a portion of St. Denis Street, a portion of Sibley Street, and a portion of Lafayette Street, being a portion of each right-of-way beginning at their intersection with the Eastern right-of-way of the Union Pacific Railroad and running back to the East for a distance, declaring that said portions of said streets are abandoned and the dedications revoked, retaining an easement across the former street for public utility purposes

Award bid for Christmas Lighting Supplies.

Approve acquisition of a 0.256 acre tract of ground located in Section 81, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, from Grand Havens LLC for $12,500

Approve the final second amended and restated power supply agreement between Cleco Power LLC and the City dated January 1, 2017 to extend the Power Supply Contract dated April 1, 2010, as extended by agreement dated June 1, 2014, for the continued sale of power and energy

Execute Change Order No. 4 to the contract between the City and Regional Construction LLC for the City Park Walking Track and Parking Project.
Pat Jones presented a financial report at the end of the meeting.  As of the end of January the revenues in the General Fund are at 64.52 percent of the budget. The expenditures are at 59.87 percent. Jones said the City continues to be on target with its expenditures.

The Utility Fund is at 58.14 percent of its budget and 61.09 percent of its expenditures with 67 percent of the year elapsed. “I see no serious problems in the General or Utility Funds,” said Jones.

Sales tax for January was at .33 percent  above last January. The revenue for the fiscal year to date is at 1.86 percent above last year. “The sales tax is still pretty flat,” said Jones. “but at least we’re still in the positive on our year to date sales tax.”

January’s TIF sales tax was at .65 percent above last January. Year to date it’s 11.33 percent below. Jones said this means the hotel/motel tax so far this year is still trailing behind last year at this time.

Dylan and Aiden’s Homecoming

A Fictional Story By Junior Johnson

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It was a joyous homecoming at the Johnson household when Aiden and Dylan arrived. Because of Dylan’s brave and heroic efforts his brother was spared the hangman’s noose after being framed for a murder he didn’t commit.  The real culprit was now behind bars and justice would soon be served.

Neighbors who’d heard the good news hurried to tell their mother that her boys were on their way home safely.  Plans were underway for a big celebration and friends were helping prepare a big cookout in their honor.

The boy’s father, Daniel Johnson, had died three years earlier fighting for the Confederate Army at the Battle of Mansfield during the Civil War Red River Campaign.

It’d been a difficult time for the family.  At the time of their father’s death, Aiden was only 14-years-old and Dylan had just turned eight.  Trying to keep their small farm going had taken everything they could do just to make ends meet.

Things were beginning to look up after it was discovered that the railroad was looking at a portion of their property to run a rail line across.  The money the family would receive would go a long way in providing security for their future.

Aiden had already made plans to purchase a small herd of cattle that could graze on a large field near their home.  A nearby river would provide all the water needed for the animals.

This had been a dream of their father before the War and it looked like the boys were going to make his plans become a reality.

As the boys rode up to the house their mother rushed out to meet them with tears of joy in her eyes.  Cheers rang out from friends and family who were gathered about.  The smell of roasting beef over a fire filled the air.  A long table was filled with cakes and pies, beans, fresh baked bread, and gallons of iced tea.  It was a feast waiting to be devoured.

After hugs and kisses from their mother, Dylan and Aiden mingled with well-wishers. Dylan was the hero of the day.  His bravery was that of a person beyond his tender years. He was touched by all the glory that was heaped upon him, yet was very modest and said he just wanted to help his big brother.

Reverend Cryer called everyone together to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for this Blessed day and the meal they were about to receive.  The boy’s mother had an announcement. Two days before, she had met with officials of the railroad and had closed a deal which provided the family with financial security for the near future.  It was a bittersweet feeling knowing that Aiden’s life was about to be unfairly taken.

Now with her two sons standing safely by her side she thanked God and her friends for all their support.  It was time to enjoy the feast and rejoice.  The future looked bright and promising.

As everyone began to enjoy their delicious meal the sound of approaching horses thundered in the distance.  As the riders approached they were being led by the Sheriff. He hurriedly dismounted and searched for Mrs. Johnson.  He had bad news for her.

Once he discovered that Dylan and Aiden were safe he told her that the evil Carpetbagger had killed a guard and escaped from the jail.  His whereabouts weren’t known but he was heard saying that if he escaped he planned to find and kill both Dylan and Aiden.

The entire crowd was in shock.  What a horrible turn of events.  Only moments before everyone was overjoyed at the news of Aiden being spared, and the good fortune awaiting the family from the sale of property to the railroad.  Now a new danger faced them all.

The boy’s mother rushed to them and clutched both to her tightly as she began to cry.

What were they going to do?

Stay tuned for more tales of Dylan and Aiden.

NSU to dedicate Jimmy D. Long Sr. Student Services Center March 9

jimmy-d-long2017Northwestern State University will dedicate the Jimmy D. Long Sr. Student Services Center Thursday, March 9. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. outside the Student Services Center. The public is invited to attend.

The Jimmy D. Long Student Services Center was completed in 2012. The 34,451 square foot facility is on the former site of West Caspari Hall. The $8.5 million Student Services Center was the first state-funded new building constructed on the Northwestern State campus in more than 30 years.

“Jimmy Long was a giant in education in Louisiana,” said Northwestern State Acting President Dr. Chris Maggio. “Countless thousands of students benefitted from his leadership on educational issues in the Legislature and on the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System.  He had a deep passion for helping students and especially those at Northwestern.  It is appropriate that this building which was designed to provide services to students is being named in Jimmy Long’s honor.”

The Student Services Center is home to the Offices of University Recruiting, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Financial Aid, Student Employment Scholarships, Admissions, Veteran’s Affairs and the Vice President for the Student Experience as well as the Registrar’s Office, One Card Office and Cashier’s Office.

Long served eight consecutive terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000. He was appointed to Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System in 2001. Long passed away in August.

He served two terms as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, which is the governing board for Northwestern State University and eight other universities across the state.  It is the largest higher education system in Louisiana with more than 90,000 students.

Long’s 32-year tenure in the legislature was one of the longest in the state’s history, and colleagues recognized him with a resolution during his last term designating him as “Dean of the Legislature.”

Chairman of the House Education Committee for 16 years and a long-time member of the Southern Regional Education Board, Long was recognized as a leading authority in Louisiana and throughout the South on education-related legislation.

He introduced legislation to establish the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern and was also an author of the bill to create the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches.

Long, who attended Northwestern State, helped obtain millions of dollars over the years for construction and renovation projects at the school and for highways, bridges and other major improvements in his legislative district.

Cited by The Times of Shreveport as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Century in Northwest Louisiana, Long is a member of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame and the Northwestern Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line.

He was a lifelong business leader and cattleman in Natchitoches who received numerous other honors for his leadership in civic, professional and church activities.

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Magnet Student Council sponsors Mardi Gras Ball

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Natchitoches Magnet Student Council sponsored a Mardi Gras Ball for the junior high students March 17 .

The following students represented their grade levels: Duchess Laura Dove, Duke Devin Helaire, King Tanner Sims, Queen London Wright, Lady Jillian Thompson, and Lord Joshua Nolley.

NPSO DEPUTIES LOOKING FOR FLORA MAN WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OF A BUSINESS

brister-npso-022717Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies are currently looking for a Robeline man wanted in connection with the unauthorized entry of a business near the Melrose community in south Natchitoches Parish according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies are currently looking for 33-year-old Derek J. Brister, W/M, approximately 5’08”, 170 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.

Brister has an address in the 300 block of Pump Station Road near Flora, La.

Deputies say since February 18th, they have responded to five calls for service involving Brister at a residence in the 100 block of Felix Roge Road near Melrose.

Each time deputies have responded Brister has fled the area before units arrived on scene.

Brister is currently wanted by the NPSO for Unauthorized Entry of a Business, Criminal Damage to Property and Simple Battery in connection with the incidents.

If you see Brister, deputies ask that you contact the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at 352-6432 or 911.

NPSO: Photo and Release

National Champions visit Lions Club

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An impressive group of FFA students from Natchitoches Central High School shared their  stories about the hours of hard work and dedication that went into the preparation to compete in Agronomy and win 1st Place at the National level. They each maintain a 4.0 GPA. Aaron Beaubouef is their teacher, advisor and encourager. A 5,000 point system was used to grade the teams and they received 4,344 of the possible points (the most accumulated points ever earned by any Agronomy team). The 2nd Place team had 300 points less than that. They placed Individually at Nationals as well. Brooklyn Hampton placed 7th, Dylan Daniels placed 4th, Bradley Scott placed 2nd and Preston Tibbett placed 1st.

Pictured from left are Lion President Tina Ragan, Aaron Beaubouef, Brooklyn Hampton, Bradley Scott, Dylan Daniels and Preston Tibbett.

Beware the Mythical Beast

By Ida B. Torn

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According to the Internet, Bigfoot lives in Kisatchie National Forest. This past week, I learned that there, apparently, is another mythical beast living in Natchitoches Parish that I was always told didn’t exist. I’m talking about fairness.

I often hear folks talking about fairness when it comes to the Parish Road System. It pains me to admit it, but I lose all patience when fairness is brought up. Fairness only exists when the results have a direct benefit to or for the person talking. In essence, fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Case in point, Pardee Road has been discussed at the last three Parish Council meetings and has been the subject of multiple news articles recently. One article stated that it would cost $705,000 to reconstruct and overlay Pardee Rd.

According to the Louisiana Tax Commission, there were 60 parcels of land along Pardee Road assessed in 2016 which generated $666.11 in revenues for Road District 40. Of those 60 parcels, 25 owners paid absolutely nothing into the District while 7 owners paid almost 68% of those revenues. Yet, the landowners along Pardee Rd. argue that they do pay taxes and, therefore, it is only fair that their road be fixed.

Psychologytoday.com ran an article in 2012 that discussed how elusive fairness really is. In part, it stated that there are three different ideas about fairness (sameness, deservedness and need) and that “Ideologues believe that only their notion of fairness is correct.” Based on this article, residents on Pardee Rd. will never get their road fixed. The residents certainly cannot argue sameness or deservedness. They could try arguing for need, but they would have to argue that the needs of Pardee Rd. are more important than the needs of the rest of the Parish.

Even if the residents of Pardee Rd. could convince the rest of the Parish to put aside their own needs, overlaying Pardee Rd. would likely violate Section 4-06 of the Home Rule Charter, which specifically states that (A) funds shall be used for the benefit of the parish as a whole according to a priority ranking; and (B) the most critical needs existing parish-wide according to the priority ranking shall be met first. Criteria for priority ranking shall include population served by a given road and economic necessity of the road to provide transportation for agriculture, industry and business operations.

I doubt that Pardee Rd. will ever meet the criteria to be at the top of the priority list and maybe that’s not fair but fairness is a myth. We need to have rational, realistic conversations about what it’s going to take to fix the road system in our Parish. If folks continue to argue about fairness we’ll never find a resolution and we might as well buy a sturdy pair of shoes and emulate Bigfoot.

Natchitoches Farm Bureau agent tackles new adventure in South Carolina

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Farm Bureau brought Myrna Lemoine and her husband to Natchitoches in 1988 when he came to work for the company. Soon enough, Don Brown asked Myrna to work for them as well.

March 1 she will begin a new adventure in South Carolina. After her husband retired the couple decided to move over 800 miles away to be closer to their family. Myrna has two daughters and seven grandchildren who live in the Palmetto State.

Myrna’s office in Natchitoches has a prominent display of collectible plates she’s acquired from some of the places she’s traveled to including Rome, London, New York, Paris and Alaska. “I’ve been so blessed,” she said. “I’ve been able to travel all over the world and it’s been a wonderful journey.”

Her journey isn’t over with Farm Bureau. She’s transferring to an office there, so Myrna sees this as her next big adventure. But she’ll never forget Natchitoches.

“Natchitoches has been so good to me,” she said. “I can’t put it into words. I’ve enjoyed serving the people in the community, taking care of their insurance needs and making sure they’re covered.”

Myrna said the best part about working for Farm Bureau is knowing at the end of the day that she’s taken care of everyone; that she has no regrets. When asked what success is, Myrna said the company has given her the opportunity to provide for herself and her family.

“In the morning you have two choices,” she said. “You can have a good day or a bad day. When the phone rings at my office I see it as an opportunity to serve people. That personal commitment is the difference between Farm Bureau and a lot of other companies. It’s so impersonal to but insurance over the Internet. Besides that, we’ve been bundling since before Flo was even born. We take an interest in our clients and we serve them to the best of our abilities.”

While she’s looking forward, Myrna wants to thank everyone she’s been graced to have in her life, from clients to friends, from the bottom of her heart.

Normal scrapbook donated to NSU Archives

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A Hessmer couple donated a Louisiana State Normal scrapbook they found at a garage sale to the Cammie G. Henry Research Center at Northwestern State University. Donald and Ellen Johnson found the book, believed to belong to students Sadie and Sue Annie Stinston who attended Normal, as NSU was known from 1994-1944.

“The scrapbook was created during their Normal School days while they were studying home economics,” said University Archivist Mary Linn Wernet.

Wernet said the Johnsons began going to garage and estate sales several years ago and have found letters, yearbooks, posters, scrapbooks, pictures and other memorabilia. After looking through them, they often find an archive, library or museum and offer the items for historic collections.

Donald and Ellen Johnson are such fine stewards of the past,” Wernet said. “They truly understand the importance of allowing a past document, letter, pamphlet, poster and photograph of a former age to be proper cataloged and preserved for future generations. The scrapbook will be properly identified, preserved and made available for future NSU students, scholars and families related to Sadie and Sue Annie Stinston.”

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center is housed on the third floor of NSU’s Watson Library. Collections include Louisiana books, archival material, microfilm, maps, newspapers, oral history tapes and documents that date from the early 1700s to the present. For research questions, tours or special appointments, contact Wernet at (318) 357-4585 or email wernet@nsula.edu. Information is also available at library.nsula.edu/Cammie-henry-research-center.