Police search for vehicle after pursuit

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Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies are assisting Natchitoches Police Department near Natchitoches with a vehicle pursuit according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

NPSO 911 Communications advise that pursuing officers have lost the vehicle on La. Hwy 6 East near Grand Ecore.

The vehicle is described as new model white Chevrolet Impala with Florida license plates.

If you see this vehicle, contact Natchitoches Police at 352-8101 or the NPSO at 352-6432.

COMMITTEE NAMES FINALISTS FOR NORTHWESTERN PRESIDENCY

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The Northwestern State University Search Committee selected two finalists, Chris Maggio and William Wainwright, to present to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System for consideration. The Board will meet May 4 in Baton Rouge to interview the finalists and select a president.

“We had a productive two days introducing and, in some cases, reintroducing Northwestern State University to three qualified semifinalists, UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “The Board has a tough choice ahead of it. Our two finalists have roots at Northwestern and both are capable of leading this institution into a bright future.”

The Committee considered three semifinalists during a two-day process that included student, faculty, staff and community meetings on Tuesday and interviews today.

“It was an honor to serve on the presidential search committee and I am proud of the finalists we chose to present to the Board,” Student Government President John Pearce said. “We chose student-minded candidates who can build on Northwestern’s positive trajectory.”

Voting members of the search committee include UL System board members Edward Crawford, Lola Dunahoe, Pam Egan, Jimmie Martin, Shawn Murphy, Alejandro Perkins, Mark Romero, Winfred Sibille and Student Board Member Antonio Torres. Also serving as a voting member is NSU Faculty Senate President Marcia Hardy.

Serving as advisory, non-voting members are NSU Student Government Association President John Pearce, NSU Foundation President Scott Andrews, NSU Alumni Association President Monty Chicola and community member Gail Jones. UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson serves as the non-voting committee chair.

UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson led NSU prior to beginning his new role in January. Finalist Chris Maggio is serving as the university’s acting president.

 Edwin Edwards Can Still Charm Audiences, Young and Old

By Joe Darby

joedarbyHe was elected governor of our fair state four times, more than any other person in Louisiana history.

I only voted for him one of those times, when he ran against David Duke in 1991.  Faced with the choice, as we said at the time, of voting for the “crook” or the Nazi, I of course opted for the “crook.”

I was never a great fan of the governor, although many thousands of Louisianians loved him, feeling instinctively that, in spite of whatever behind-the-scenes peccadillos he may or may not have been guilty of, he was a friend of the regular folks, the everyday guy and gal.

After several failures, the federal government finally convicted him of racketeering charges in 2001 and he was sent to federal prison for 10 years.  He was released slightly early and is now the state’s most famous elder statesman.

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards visited the Northwestern State University campus Monday afternoon, April 24, to lecture to a business class, which was opened to the public.  Edwards will be 90 years old in August, but is still mentally sharp as a tack.  He looks good, too, with his appearance belying the fact that he is almost a nonagenarian.  He was interrupted a few times with a troubling cough, but appeared remarkably healthy otherwise.  He has battled pneumonia in recent years.

Addressing the college students as well as visiting older adults, the former chief executive expressed his opinions on subjects ranging from global warming to the state of national and Louisiana politics today.

Early on, he revealed what I think many political buffs like myself were not aware of.  In the runoff in his first gubernatorial race in 1971, he faced a tough challenger, State Sen. J. Bennett Johnston of Shreveport.  Edwards said Natchitoches was instrumental in the turning point of the campaign.

Both Edwards and Johnston took part in that year’s Christmas Parade.  “While he rode in an open car, waving to the crowd, I walked the entire three miles of the parade, shaking hands with everyone,” he told the class.

As a French Catholic from South Louisiana, many had told him he had no chance in North Louisiana, he said, but his person-to-person contacts made in Natchitoches may have turned the race up here around.

In a question and answer session, I asked him if his most enjoyable race was the one against Duke, a former American Nazi and a state Ku Klux Klan leader.

He responded by repeating one of everybody’s favorite Edwin Edwards stories.  He said he was in a vicious televised debate with Duke when a reporter asked him if there were any similarities at all between the two men.  “I said, well, we’re both wizards under sheets,” creating loud guffaws of laughter among the audience.  The governor never did try to hide his attraction to the ladies, nor theirs for him.

Edwards also made some self-deprecating jokes about his age and his time spent in federal prison, but he had his serious moments as well.

He called upon the students in the audience to appreciate their education and to use it wisely.  “Remember the first names of every (student) in this room,” he advised, “because you are going to be the leaders of this state before too much longer.”

He expressed concern about North Korea’s unpredictable threats, global warming and the partisanship of national as well as state politics.  While he expressed doubts about some of President Donald Trump’s policies, Edwards said he is glad that the President has approved the Keystone Oil Pipeline and will deregulate offshore oil drilling.  Both actions should help the Louisiana economy, he said.

He said that he is proud that while in prison, he helped several inmates to obtain their GED’s, which should help them to a better life when they were released.

The best thing that came out of his confinement time, he said, was his new family.  An attractive woman 51 years his junior, Trina Scott, began writing him and visiting him in prison and after his release they were married.  Out of that union, he said, came his 3-year-old son, Eli.  He said Eli may be running for governor in 2044 and he asked those who will still be alive then, to give consideration for voting for his son.

He said he didn’t want to burden Eli with his father’s name, but he wanted the lad to have the same initials.  “So we named him Ely Wallace Edwards, EWE.”

The former governor also said people often ask him if he  is related to Gov. John Bel Edwards.  “We’re not related,” he said, “but I told the governor that if someone who doesn’t like me asks him about it, tell them we’re not related.  If someone who likes me asks you, tell them we’re first cousins.”

At the end, the former governor received a standing ovation from the audience, having once again shown the fabled Edwards charm.  After all, a 2011 poll showed that almost one in three Louisianians considered him the best governor since 1980.  Not too bad, huh?
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Information for the Saturday April 29, 2017 Election for Natchitoches Parish

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The polls will be open 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.

The school board sales tax proposition is a parish wide election with the exception of voters who live inside the limits of the Village of Campti.

The Consolidated School District Number 7 of Natchitoches Parish has a 7.2 million dollar 20 year bond proposition. The voters from Precincts 2-1 (Ashland), 2-2 (Readhimer), 2-3 (Goldonna), 2-5 (Creston), 2-7 (Clarence), 2-8 (Campti), and 2-9 (Fairview) will all vote on that proposition as well as the voters from 2-4 (Bishop Friend Parish Hall) and 2-6 (Campti Police Jury Building) that live in the Consolidated School District Number 7 will vote in this election.

The final election that will be on the ballot in a portion of Natchitoches Parish is the renewal for the Fire Protection District 5 millage. Voters from 4-1 (Cypress) and 4-2 (Natchez) as well as the voters from precincts 1-2 (Council on Aging), 1-9A (NCHS Boys Gym), 4-3 (Melrose), 4-8 (Flora), and 4-9 (Llamb Heating and Air) that live in Fire District 5 will vote on this renewal election.

If you have questions about where you vote, please feel free to call the Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court at (318) 352-8152 or the Registrar of Voters office at (318) 357-2211 or check the new Secretary of State’s website application at www.GeauxVote.com. It gives information on where you vote, what is on the ballot and after the election is over, it provides instant election results.

As always, Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court David Stamey and his election team at the Clerk of Court office appreciates the over 200 election commissioners, commissioners in charge and deputy custodians that will work this parish wide election. They provide an incredible service to the voters of Natchitoches Parish working 50 precincts at 42 different polling places.

Soil Health Workshop to be held May 9

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service with the Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District and the Cane River Commission will be hosting a soil health workshop in the Cane River watershed at Glory Island Plantation on May 9  from 9 am to 12 pm. Pre-registration is required no later than May 5.

For more information or to RSVP contact Brandy Hinds at 318-357-8366 ext. 3 or email brandy.hinds@la.nacdnet.net

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Get colorful for a good cause

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Wednesday is the early registration deadline to sign up for a crazy colorful race that will help support the Natchitoches area 2017 Honduras BMDMI (Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International) mission team. The Color Honduras 5K Run/Walk Fundraiser will be held Saturday, April 29 from 9:30 am – 2 pm at First Baptist Church in Natchitoches.

Early registration ends April 22. The entry fee for early registration is $25, and includes race participation, burger and chip lunch, and event t-shirt. Registration after April 22 is $30, but still includes all amenities.

First Baptist Church Natchitoches is partnering with BMDMI to send support and workers this July. Participation in the 5k directly sponsors these charity efforts.

Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International (BMDMI) exists under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to evangelize the lost, disciple the saved, and minister to the needs of the poor. We accomplish this mission by serving thousands in Honduras, Nicaragua, and South Asia with of love of Jesus Christ.

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Relay for Life Team sponsors Tennis Mixer

By Kevin Shannahan

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Twenty-two local tennis enthusiasts spent a fun day for a good cause at NSU’s Jack Fisher Tennis Complex at a tennis mixer sponsored by the Natchitoches Women’s Care Relay for Life Team. This is the team’s first year at Relay for Life and they expect to raise around $1,000 for the American Cancer Society in addition to any funds they raise at the upcoming Relay for Life.

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NSU adds high-scoring junior college guard DeAndre Love

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After averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and making 51 percent of his 3-pointers at Eastern Arizona College last season, first-team all-region wing player DeAndre Love has signed to play his final two seasons of college basketball for Northwestern State.

Veteran Demons’ coach Mike McConathy announced Love’s addition on Wednesday. The 6-4, 190-pounder also drained 80 percent of his free throws for the EAC Gila Monsters while earning first-team All-Region 1 and first-team all-conference accolades.

“DeAndre will add value in so many ways to our program: on campus, in our community, and on the basketball court,” said McConathy, preparing for his 19th season at NSU as the winningest coach in Louisiana college basketball history. “DeAndre has spent the last couple of seasons in a great junior college program playing for Coach Maurice Leitzke.  Our styles of play match which will make for an easy transition between programs.”

Love, a product of West Seattle (Wash.) High School where he played for coach Keffrey Fazio, made immediate impact in junior college. The son of Shemetta Younger helped the 2015-16 Gila Monsters to a 23-9 record and the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 1 championship game.

“The addition of DeAndre to our team increases our athleticism,” said McConathy. “He is great in the open court, a lefty with the ability to score at all three levels – driving to the rim, from mid-range, and from behind the arc.  He is a playmaker that plays at a fast pace.  Defensively, he can guard multiple positions in our defensive schemes.”

Love joins a big recruiting class that began forming last fall during the early signing period, when NSU added three players to its 2017-18 roster: 6-8, 265-pound post player Larry Owens of Monroe-Carroll, guard C.J. Jones of Monroe-Wossman, and swingman Caleb Starks from Lafayette Christian.

This spring, the Demons have brought two more prep standouts on board, California swingman Vontay Ott and Maryland’s Darian Dixon.

McConathy likes the blend of talent between the newcomers and his returning letterwinners from a squad that won its last three games, including a victory over NCAA Tournament entry New Orleans and ending Stephen F. Austin’s five-year, 45-game homecourt Southland Conference win streak.

“We look forward to DeAndre having an impact from day one in our program.  He has been well prepared in high school and junior college to compete and succeed at a high level,” said McConathy. “He meets a specific need in our program that complements our returners as well as the rest of our 2017 recruiting class.”

The Demon basketball program has graduated nearly 90 percent of its seniors in McConathy’s tenure while ranking among the best performing men’s teams in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate reports in five years, including 2015-16.

NSU has made seven Southland Conference Tournament championship game appearances, winning in 2001, 2006 and 2013 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Demons have won a pair of NCAA Tournament contests, including a 2006 victory over 15th-ranked Iowa. NSU has ranked among the top scoring teams in NCAA Division I three times in the last four years, leading the country at 84 points per game in 2014-15.

Cane River Thunder Full Throttle Motorcycle Rally

By Kevin Shannahan

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The Nakatosh Chapter of the Priesthood Motorcycle Ministry held its 6th annual Cane River Thunder Full Throttle Motorcycle Rally at the parish fair grounds April 22.  The 13 members of the local chapter were joined by fellow bikers and supporters from around Louisiana and surrounding states in a day-long rally that culminated in a program to honor 5 local veterans. The rally was held to raise funds for “Operation Homefront” which features several programs supporting military members and their families. The Nakatosh Chapter expects to raise around $4,000 for this worthy cause. In addition to a Skittles run and a run down the Cane River, the rally featured a “Best Bike” contest and biker games in which riders and their passengers displayed their ability to handle their motorcycles under challenging conditions.

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UPDATE – Two Natchitoches men arrested in connection with November disturbance

UPDATE – The STATE OF LOUISIANA dismisses all charges against Kenneth Babers.

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Carl L. Means

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies arrested two men in connection with a November disturbance involving a firearm according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies responded to a 911 call at 121 Miller Drive in Natchitoches Nov. 14 in connection with an aggravated assault involving a firearm.

During the course of the investigation, deputies arrested Kenneth Wayne Babers, 49, of 103 Magnolia Circle in Natchitoches.

Babers was booked into the Natchitoches Detention Center and charged with 1-count of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. He was released on a $5,000 appearance bond signed by a bondsman pending his court appearance.

Following Babers release, Babers filed a complaint with NPSO detectives alleging that Carl L. Means, 68 of Natchitoches, pulled a weapon on him.

Means turned himself in to NPSO Deputies Dec. 21 at 1:45 p.m. He was booked into the Detention Center and charged with 1-count of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. He was released on a $5,000 bond signed by a bondsman pending his court appearance.

The investigation is currently continuing. When completed the case will be turned over to the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Involved in the investigation were: Asst. Chief of Investigations R. Turner, Detective Darrel Winder assisted by the NPSO Patrol Division.

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Kenneth Babers

Cane River NHA Presents Lunch and Learn Lecture at Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS

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Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA), will host a brown bag lunch and learn lecture entitled, “Finding Meaning and Preserving the Past: Mapping the Cultural Resources in the Cane River National Heritage Area” Friday, April 28 from 11:30 am – 1 pm at the Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS.

Guest lecturer Adam Cox will discuss the Cane River Heritage Inventory & Map, an online database created for CRNHA using the Arches platform to enhance the public’s access to historic information about the area. Adam Cox holds a BA in Anthropology from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has worked with GIS since 2011, beginning in cultural resource management and historic preservation but finding work in many different fields–from hazard mitigation planning to co-teaching software classes.

Cox will show how this project came about and provide a demonstration of the database’s most interesting features, one of which being an interactive web map that includes many historic maps–from Sanborn Insurance Maps of Natchitoches to previously unpublished “confiscated” Civil War Confederate maps of the whole parish. Another important feature that will be shown is the inclusion of historic audio interviews made in the 1970s with Natchitoches Parish residents about life in the region as well as a comprehensive survey of the American Cemetery in Natchitoches.

The lecture is free, but space is limited. Bring your own brown bag lunch. For reservations or questions, contact Cane River NHA at 318-356-5555.

Notice of Death – April 27, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Mildred Speir
December 24, 1928 – April 25, 2017
Service: Saturday, April 29 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery
Visitation: Friday, April 28 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Elizabeth “Betty” Lasyone
January 16, 1942 – April 25, 2017
Visitation: Friday, April 28 from 5-8 pm and Saturday, April 29 from 9:30-11 am
Service: Saturday, April 29 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Homes Interment: Cox-Guin Cemetery in Winnfield.

Gregory Charles Derry
October 19, 1966 – April 23, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, April 29 from 12-1 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Chapel
Service: Saturday, April 29 at 1 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Chapel in Natchitoches
Interment: Methodist Cemetery in Allen

Bobby Lynn Gorum
December 17, 1963 – April 21, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, April 29 from 10-11 am at Trinity Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, April 29 at 11 am at Trinity Baptist Church in Natchitoches

Patricia Bennett Greenland
September 24, 1942 – April 24, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, April 27 from 5-8 pm and Friday, April 28 from 9-11 am
Service: Friday, April 28 at 11 am in the chapel of Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield

Payne Drive Closed for Repairs – May 1, 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that, weather permitting, the one block section of Payne Drive located between Michelle Drive and Miller Drive will be temporarily closed to all traffic on Monday, May 1, 2017.

The temporary road closure is necessary in order to allow Parish Highway crews to make repairs to both abutments of a short timber bridge located within that block of Payne Drive.

It is anticipated that the temporary closure will begin around 8:00 a.m. and extend until late afternoon.

Because of the continued closure of a bridge on Miller Drive that was damaged during the March 8, 2016, flash flood event, traffic must detour around the work area via Michelle Drive and Cherie Drive.

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

Lions Club meets NSU athlete and high school scholarship recipients

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Head Baseball Coach for Northwestern State University Bobby Barbier visited the Natchitoches Lions Club April 24 with first base student athlete Dave Fry from Grapevine, Texas.

Fry said he originally thought he’d be playing baseball at a college in Texas, that is until NSU recruited him. Not knowing what he was getting into, he first assumed everyone in Louisiana had pet alligators. After meeting a lot of people who have impacted his life, he said he’s lucky to be in Natchitoches.

Barbier said his sister worked at the Natchitoches Lions Camp for 7-8 years. She found the camp when she was 15-years-old and fell in love with it. Because of her experiences there, she’s now a special education teacher in St. Charles Parish. Barbier’s 14-year-old nephew, who has spinal bifida, attends the camp each summer.

“You should be proud of what you do,” Barbier told the club members. “It’s amazing the amount of lives you guys have affected.”

Speaking of the lives the Lions Club members have an impact on, two high school students received scholarships for their outstanding academic and civic accomplishments. Rae-Gan Rogers, visiting the club with her aunt Rose Sarpy, received the Dr. Raymond Gilbert Scholarship. She plans to attend NSU to major in sports medicine.

Jackson Carroll, visiting with his parents Brian Carroll and Laurie Berry, received the Will Taylor Scholarship. He plans to attend NSU to major in resource management. His goal is to become a soil conservationist for the USDA.

In other Lions Club news, the Natchitoches club was recognized at the State Convention April 22 for 2015-16 for the most referrals to the Lions Club Eye Foundation. It was also recognized by the Lions Camp Director as the club that made the biggest contribution for the year. Michelle Waskom received an award from Lions International for the 8-L District, which Natchitoches falls under. She was also named Council Chair to serve alongside the new District Governor, Natchitoches Lions Club member Mimi Stoker.

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