LSMSA to present Refraction- Spring Dance Concert

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Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts and the Creative and Performing Arts Department will present the Spring Dance Concert: Refraction, March 30-April 1 in the Black Box in the Center for Performance and Technology, or the CPT, at LSMSA. This event is open to the public. Reservations are required and seating is limited. Tickets are $7, and will be paid for at the door, after reservation is made online.

Refraction, a 45 minute long original work in the style of contemporary dance, directed and choreographed by Audra Allen, will be performed by the LSMSA Dance Ensemble. Utilizing the unique performance venue of the Black Box, Refraction is an experiment of altering the pathways of light by using the human form and fabric. This new work by Allen focuses on the movement relationships of her dancers, and their exploration of her choreography. The entire performance is choreographed and performed to music by Marcelo Zarvos.

NSU and LSMSA students with current ID are free. To reserve your tickets, please visit www.eventbrite.com. For any questions please email Audra Allen at aallen@lsmsa.edu or call at (318) 357-2559. Ticket proceeds benefit future artistic endeavors of LSMSA’s Dance Ensemble.

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St. Mary’s principal resigns

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On Wednesday, March 22, Mrs. Jacque Horton resigned as principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School after many years of hard work, dedication and service. We wish her the best as she moves into the next chapter of her life. Mrs. Andrea Harrell has agreed to be the interim principal for St. Mary’s for the rest of the school year.

Tornado Warning for Central Natchitoches Parish

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The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Tornado Warning for… Central Natchitoches Parish in northwestern Louisiana… Southwestern Winn Parish in north central Louisiana…
Until 1145 PM CDT

At 1103 PM CDT, severe thunderstorms capable of producing both tornadoes and extensive straight line wind damage were located 5 miles west of Natchitoches, moving northeast at 45 mph. HAZARD…Tornado. SOURCE…Radar indicated rotation. IMPACT: Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

These dangerous storms will be near… Natchitoches around 1110 PM CDT. Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Calvin, Grand Ecore, Clear Lake, St. Maurice, Clarence, Hagewood, Provencal and Atlanta.

Recommended actions
TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

Motorists should not take shelter under highway overpasses. If you cannot safely drive away from the tornado, as a last resort, either park your vehicle and stay put, or abandon your vehicle and lie down in a low lying area and protect yourself from flying debris. Heavy rainfall may hide this tornado. Do not wait to see or hear the tornado. TAKE COVER NOW!

Readhimer man dies as a result of medical emergency

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Silas Akin, 60 of Readhimer, died March 24 at 9:42 am as a result of what is believed to be a medical emergency while operating his motor vehicle according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Police, and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS responded to reports of a vehicle off of the roadway on Hwy. 9 north of Creston. Upon their arrival they found Akin unresponsive.

The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office was contacted. Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton pronounced Akin dead at the scene.

Deputies say the preliminary investigation, reveals that Akin was operating a 2013 Ford pickup truck traveling northbound on Hwy. 9 north of Creston near milepost# 8, when he apparently experienced a medical-related complication causing him to leave the roadway.

According to Natchitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton, the apparent preliminary cause of death appears to be a medical-related issue and not the result of a traffic crash.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Police and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office investigated the incident.

We extend our sympathy to the Akin family.

Electric crew prepares for long night of work as storm winds continue to rise

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Repair work for the City’s Electric Crew may just be starting as winds have blown rotten limbs on power lines on Byrd Avenue and three poles on East Fifth near the fires station. One utility worker said it’s just getting started as the wind speed continues to increase, but he wants residents to be assured that the entire electric crew will do its best to restore power as they prepare to face a long night ahead.

Wiley Butler, National Weather Service official cooperative observer for the City of Natchitoches, shared the following information: Winds are blowing in Natchitoches from the South (170 degrees) at 23 MPH (20 knots; 10.3 m/s) gusting to 34 MPH (30 knots; 15.4 m/s). There’s a 90 percent chance of rain showers and storms, some possibly severe.

Buy tickets now for Lions Club Fish Fry

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The Natchitoches Lions Club will hold a Fish Fry Fundraiser Friday, April 7 from 11 am – 1 pm. Meals are $10, which includes fish, hush puppies, fries, dessert and a water. Pickup will be at the Holy Cross Church Parking Lot on Second Street. Orders of five or more can be delivered.  Proceeds will benefit Lions Club projects. Lions members are also selling meals in advance. For more information contact Tina Reagan at 663-6782 or 357-0207.

Severe Thunderstorms Possible This Afternoon and Tonight

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Showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase and intensify this afternoon over East Texas, Southeast Oklahoma, Southwest Arkansas, and extreme Northwest Louisiana, ahead of a strong upper level storm system that will drift east into Southern Oklahoma. In fact, there is an ENHANCED risk for severe thunderstorms across portions of Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas, and Northwest Louisiana, with a SLIGHT risk in place for the remainder of the region surrounding the Enhanced Risk. A line of strong to severe thunderstorms are expected to reach a DeQueen, AR to New Boston, Longview, and Jacksonville, TX line between 4-6 pm, a Prescott, AR to Shreveport, LA to Lufkin, TX line between 7-9 pm, and an El Dorado, AR to Ruston and Natchitoches, LA line between 10 pm and 1 am.

In addition, strong southerly winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph are expected areawide today and this evening. Thus, a Lake Wind Advisory is in effect for the entire Four State Region from 10 AM today through 1 AM CDT Saturday. Winds will diminish as the showers and thunderstorms push east across the area this evening.

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Affordable healthcare is a moral, not political issue

By Edwin Crayton/Natchitoches

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When you’re lying on a bed sick, you’re not a Democrat or a Republican. You’re not a red state resident or blue state resident. You’re just a human being in need of good medical help. And that’s the way we as moral beings should see you. Neither race, nor politics or class or income, nor anything should determine whether you get the help you need. That is the promise of a free society: compassion for all. But it’s sadly, not the reality in America today.

The truth is your race, class and income do in fact determine the quality of healthcare you get or whether you get healthcare at all. Polls show in fact that one of the main reasons poor people—particularly poor minorities— tend to die of diseases like cancer is because they tend to see a doctor later than those who are better off and that means that by the time they seek medical help, it’s often too late. An article in the December 29, 2015 issue of the online version of the Washington Post said, “In the United States, access to primary care seems to be a matter of who can afford it. Poor children are much less likely than rich children to see a doctor or a dentist for outpatient treatment or checkups.” In short money is in fact determining who lives or dies in some cases. That kind of dreary fact is one of the things that drove concerned citizens nationwide and their political leaders to create affordable healthcare legislation.

Although I disagreed with President Obama on many moral issues such as his support for abortion and homosexuality marriage. ( I am pro-life, anti-abortion and as a Christian, I agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and therefore should not be normalized, just as no sin should be.) However, I did agree with him on one moral issue: we in this country need affordable healthcare. I disagree with those who say it’s socialism to want to provide affordable healthcare for people. It’s not socialism to want to help people stay healthy and to want to make sure that who you are doesn’t determine whether you get decent healthcare or more drastically, whether you get to live or die. Not only is that Christian, but instead of being socialist, it’s as American as apple pie to me. Unfortunately, in Washington right now, there are many in both parties who don’t see it quite this way. The issue of healthcare reform is to them just another political football to kick around. And I believe both parties are guilty. When either party suggests something regarding healthcare, the other party seems determined to fight it. It’s almost as if they have agreed to oppose whatever idea the other suggests in order to spite them. The trouble with that kind of senseless strategy is that the public is paying for such nasty politics with its life, literally. Both parties need to calm down, realize the election is over and work on a good healthcare reform plan that works in a bipartisan way.

Healthcare is not about political issues. It’s about your mom getting a mammogram she needs. It’s about your husband or son getting a cancer exam that catches the problem in the earliest stage when it can be dealt with effectively. It’s about not losing a relative or friend simply because he or she could not afford to seek help. Denying people access to healthcare by denying real human beings the ability to afford medical help is criminal. That’s why as the Republicans come up with their version of healthcare reform it’s important that we as citizens give them input on what we expect this reform to look like. Write letters, attend public meetings, but make your voice heard. Whether we are on the right or left politically, we all need to get involved. Tell your political leader to work with the other party to create a good plan that works. Someone dying just because they don’t have money should never be acceptable to any of us. Healthcare reform should not be designed to win elections. It should be designed to heal people. All the people.

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.

Morgan Quick Road Closure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that the Morgan Quick Road will be temporarily closed to all traffic beginning around 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 27, 2017.

The temporary closure is needed to allow the Parish Highway Department to replace a deteriorated cross-drain structure located approximately 1.3 miles west of the junction of this road with Old Hwy. 9.  It is anticipated that the duration of the temporary closure will not exceed two days.

The schedule for this work could be altered by inclement weather, in which case the road will remain open to traffic until such time as conditions allow the work to be performed.  In this event, a subsequent press release will be issued.

For additional details, please contact the Parish Highway Department at (318) 357-2200.

Spring Break – NSU

NSU-Spring Break

Northwestern State University will hold its spring break March 27-31. Classes will resume Sunday, April 2. Administrative offices will be open during the break.

Watson Library will be closed March 25-26 and April 1-2. The library will be open March 27 – 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to noon on March 31. Watson Library will resume regular hours on Sunday, April 2.

The Wellness, Recreation and Activity Center will be open 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 26. Operating hours will be from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 27-31 and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 1. Regular hours will resume on Sunday, April 2.

Ponderings with Doug – March 24, 2017

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The other day we got cut off in Walmart.

That happens all the time in the parking lot. It doesn’t bother me because that is the way folks drive out there. I was cut off in the check-out line. It was Sunday afternoon and we were not in a hurry. We didn’t have much in our basket. We were walking up to a vacant register. Those are rare in Walmart. But there she was. Nothing on the belt by her register and she was standing there with a smile. I was grateful for our fortune as I turned into her line and prepared for a pleasant checkout experience. When coming up from the other direction was a lady, and I use that term loosely, with a full basket of stuff. She ran up and slammed her buggy against the register and started handing her items to the stunned Walmart employee. Wrong-Way Wanda came from the wrong direction. Her buggy was pointed in the wrong direction. She was standing at the plastic bag carousel of the check-out facility. Wanda handed the items out of her basket rather than placing them on the belt. Well she couldn’t. She hadn’t reached the belt yet. She stood there backwards, but she was first in that line!

I have now been cut off in the checkout line at Walmart.

Another nice employee in Walmart invited us into her empty checkout line.

This empty line was actually passed over by Wrong-Way Wanda. My bride was “preacher wife not pleased.” Preachers are cursed at times that we can’t curse at times. Preacher’s spouses have no such prohibition. My bride was talking loudly under her breath about the rudeness of some people. At this point I was in prayer, “Lord, get us out of here before this Walmart scene goes viral.” My bride once managed an apartment complex in Lubbock, Texas. It was late night and I was on the phone with her. I heard, “pop…pop…pop” in the background. I asked, “What was that?” She said, “Gunshots, let me go outside and see what happened.” My bride is fearless. She wanted to walk over and converse with Wanda about her buggy driving. I blocked her path by unloading our basket quickly.

We did check out and left the store before the rude, thoughtless, selfish, arrogant and not very nice Wrong-Way Wanda finished checking out her groceries. What the heck, there is no way to make the lady and what she did sound nice or even funny. It was low hanging fruit illustrating the decline of civility in our culture. I thought at the time that she might be fodder for an article. I was thinking about taking her picture, but she deserves some anonymity.

I have thought about her this week. Maybe she had an emergency. Maybe she had a sick child at home. Maybe she was late for work. You know, I am weary of doing that. Maybe she was simply rude and thought her hurry constituted a reason to be first at any cost. “C’mon man,” going backwards to a Walmart check out so you can be first in line. If she is your mom, wife or sister, I don’t want to hear from you. If you are Wrong-Way Wanda, call me, we’ll talk.

Wednesday I was in Sam’s in Alexandria. There are people still standing in the checkout lines in that Sam’s from the Christmas season. The checkout lines in that place are notorious even early when folks with Business Cards shop. I was in no hurry. Got my stuff and got in line. I was in line behind a guy who had one of those flat rolling pallets. It was stacked higher than he was tall. He had hundreds of dollars of stuff. It was one of those stacks that told he was in charge the food for a Scout jamboree or he was in charge of the concession stand at the baseball field. This dude had some merchandise. I pulled up and he saw my short stack and said, “Would you like to go ahead of me?” I thanked him and declined his offer. I said, “Go ahead, please.” He checked out and paid cash. I like cash and credit cards at Sam’s, they don’t slow things down.

The person behind me was fortunate as well. Not only didn’t I have much stuff, I turn all the stuff where the bar codes are upright. I checked out one hundred and seventy dollars in less than 30 seconds. The clerk thanked me for turning items with barcodes visible and making his job easier. I play this game to see how fast I can check out of Sam’s. It is one of my little quirky things. This was a ratio record, amount of purchase divided by checkout time.

A broad spectrum of human behavior is experienced in a check-out line. I pray that God would give me grace that when you share a check-out line with me, it would be a pleasant experience for all involved.

Can we be Christian even in the check-out line?

Parish Council Meeting – Watch Now

You asked and we’re delivering.  NPJ has been overwhelmed with requests for the video coverage of the Parish Council meeting held Monday, March 2oth.  You can now watch the two-part video on the NPJ YouTube channel.

PART ONE

PART TWO

REPRESENTATIVE COX GETTING READY FOR LEGISLATIVE SESSION

NPJ -Rep Kenny Cox-17Mar24The legislative session is less than three weeks away. The Journal sat down with Representative Kenny Cox for a discussion of the issues that he sees are facing Louisiana. Those include doing something to reduce the incarceration rate in the state and funding for TOPS while making students accountable for their scholarships. Cox also expressed concern for the overall condition of the state budget.

Cox said “People in prison for non violent crimes are costing the state $36,000 to $46,000 per year and that is a large drain on the state budget. In addition Louisiana has a high incarceration rate.” Cox favors changes that move non-violent offenders from prisoners to being productive citizens. He said “It’s a budget, image and social thing. The money spent on incarceration could be put toward education to give them the ability to provide for their families. And it would improve the state’s image as well.”

On TOPS, Cox said perhaps the state should look at providing TOPS for students who will be working in job areas that are needed in Louisiana. And Cox adds “These are the things that we will fund. A students should have to spend three to five years working in the state after graduation. If a student does not do that, they should have to pay the scholarship back.” Cox says making the student accountable for the TOPS scholarship is something that is not done at present.

Another item Representative Cox is interested in is maintaining local services. Cox said “We have to budget funds to protect those agencies that provide service to people in local areas.”

There have been discussions around the capital on increasing the state tax on gasoline. On that, Cox said “If there is a gas tax it has to go for fixing our decaying road system. It has to be for that only. It has to be dedicated, But that will not help the rest of the budget.”

Another source of potential revenue is to tax oil and gas that passes through Louisiana ports. Cox said a use tax should be added, but that is not a popular issue with lawmakers. “If you use our port system and you use out pipeline facilities, we should be getting something for that” Cox added.

The regular session of the legislature will convene on Monday April 10th. It must adjourn no later than Thursday June 8th.

Defense takes edge in Demons’ second spring scrimmage

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Gary Hardamon photos

The Northwestern State defense claimed the upper hand Thursday afternoon in an hour-long, 52-snap situational scrimmage at Turpin Stadium, turning the tables five days after the Demons’ offense piled up 587 yards in the first scrimmage of spring football practice.

The defense stymied the offense on 17 of 24 third down plays, including 14 of the first 16, and held the offense scoreless in two of four two-minute drill scenarios. The scrimmage was the 10th of 15 spring workouts, sandwiched with an hour of drills before the competition segment.

“It was really good to see the defense step up, although we didn’t think they played badly in the first scrimmage. The offense did a great job then, made some big plays, scored some points, but today it tilted the defense’s way,” said head coach Jay Thomas. “The offense did counterpunch and made some plays in the two-minute drill.”

Three quarterbacks combined to complete 15 of 29 passes for 174 yards, with one interception, by sophomore safety Malik Sonnier. The offense ran for 95 yards on 23 carries, including a 29-yard burst by Ronald Green.

Top tacklers included sophomore linebacker Ronald Malbrough (five tackles, three solo), sophomore end Brice Borgeson (four tackles, and a quarterback hurry), and sophomore linebacker Dezinarell Gray (four tackles, all solo).

“We had good intensity, came out with the right focus. You worry about that in practice 10, leading into spring break,” said first-year defensive coordinator Brad Laird. “Are there things to correct? Yeah, but we took a step today in the direction Northwestern State needs to go.”

Redshirt freshman Kenny Sears threw for 119 yards on 7 of 12 aim. Senior J.D. Almond went 6 of 12 for 38 yards while junior college transfer Clay Holgorsen was 2 of 5 for 17 yards and was intercepted.

Redshirt freshman running back Tyreik Campbell had the scrimmage’s only touchdown, a five-yard sweep that capped a six-play, 65-yard drive highlighted by Sears’ 38-yard strike into the wind to LSU transfer Jazz Ferguson.

Almond guided a nine-play, 57-yard drive including Green’s 29-yard run that helped produce a 25-yard Eric Piccione field goal.

Sophomore Jared West led the backs with 44 yards rushing on seven carries. Junior college transfer Marquisian Chapman topped the receivers with four catches for 30 yards, while Ferguson had two for 50.
The competition was sprinkled with several brief altercations as tempers flared.

“It got a little heated today,” said Thomas, who had both coordinators gather their troops at the end of the scrimmage to address the situation. “Don’t know if that was having spring break on the horizon, or the grind of three weeks of spring ball coming to the fore, but it gave us an opportunity to teach the guys how to be intense but disciplined. We will be disciplined.”

NSU students head out Friday afternoon for spring break. The Demons resume spring practice Monday night, April 3, with the 28th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game Saturday morning, April 8.

Scoring plays:
Eric Piccione 25 field goal
Tyreik Campell 5 run (Austyn Fendrick kick)

Passing (15-29-1, 174 yards):
Kenny Sears 7-12, 119 yards; J.D. Almond 6-12, 38 yards; Clay Holgorsen 2-5-1, 17 yards.

Receiving (15-174):
Marquisian Chapman 4-30; Jazz Ferguson 2-50; Ronald Green 2-5; Tanner Ash 1-30; Kalen Meggs 1-19; Jaylen Watson 1-15; Tyreik Campbell 1-11; Gavin Landry 1-5; Bryson Bourque 1-5; Glenn Irons 1-4.

Rushing (23-95, 1 TD)
Jared West 7-44; Ronald Green 5-34; Nigel Dora 8-11; Kenny Sears 1-9; Tyreik Campbell 1-5, TD; Team 1-minus 8.

Defensive stats:
Ronald Malbrough 5 tackles, 3 solo; Brice Borgeson 4 tackles, 1 QB hurry; Dezinarell Gray 4 tackles, 4 solos; Dazarie Hall 3 tackles, 3 solo; Darian Raymond 3 tackles, 2 solo; Lionel Williams 3 tackles, 1 solo; Stanley Woodley 3 tackles; Nick Pierotti 3 tackles, 2 solo; Ian Edwards 2 tackles, 2 solo; Deshon Ficklin 2 tackles, 1 solo; Charlie Matthews 2 tackles; Zak Krolczyk 1 tackle, 1 solo; Manuel Mukes 1 tackle; Ricky Chatman 1 tackle; Deshon Hayes 1 tackle; Malik Sonnier, 1 interception; Ike Warren, 1 pass breakup; Lyn Clark, 2 QB hurries; Peyton Guidry, 1 QB hurry.