At a December 19 Board of Directors meeting for the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, Ryan Todtenbier officially passed the gavel to John Richmond as the 2019 Chairman of the Board. John moved to Natchitoches in 2011 and has been active in the community over the past 7 years. He has served as a Member at Large on the Chamber Board for the past 2 years.
“John will be a great Chairman,” stated Todtenbier. “He’s passionate about Natchitoches and the Chamber, and is willing to put in the work necessary to be successful.”
Serving as Vice-Chairman for 2019 is Tom Matuschka. Tom has served on the Board for one year, making an impact on the Chamber through the A+ Coalition. As Vice-Chairman, he will be assuming the role of Chairman in 2020.
Other Executive Committee Members include Ryan Todtenbier, Past Chairman, and Josh Manuel, Treasurer. Members at Large rolling over from last year include: Haley Taitano, Melissa Collier, Katrice Below, Van Erikson and Nicole Ezernack. New to the Board are Members at Large Mario Fox, JoAnna Washington, Brad McCormick and Stewart Carnline, and 2019 NYP Chair Sean Baylor.
Richmond stated, “We have a young, enthusiastic group of Directors who represent a broad spectrum of business sectors and members of our community. We are positioned well to really make an impact on Natchitoches and its business environment in 2019 and for years to come.”
The Board would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Directors who rolled off this year: Past-Chairman Kirk Soileau, Mark Massia, Matthew Axsom, and 2018 NYP Chair Craig Caskey. Their leadership and vision contributed greatly to the success of the Chamber through a time of transition, and their service is very much appreciated.
“2018 was a year that really showcased what our board was capable of,” stated Chamber President Laura Lyles. “We’re excited to build on that momentum in 2019, with new initiatives, new programming, and enhanced value at all existing Chamber events.”
The Chamber will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the annual Awards Banquet, which will take place January 24th from 5:30-8:30 at the Natchitoches Events Center. Registration is open at natchitocheschamber.com. For questions, call 318-352-6894.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the residence of Assistant District Attorney Charles Seaman located near Clarence on Dec. 20 at 7:44 pm in reference to a reported alleged domestic abuse incident.
Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division and Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office responded to the scene.
As a result of the incident and investigation, Holly Seaman, 38, was determined to be the alleged aggressor in the incident which resulted in her being arrested, transported, and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 2-counts of Domestic Abuse Battery.
Seaman remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center without bond at this time.
The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office has been recused and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office will handle the prosecution of the case.
No further information is being released at this time.
Waskom Investments, LLC, dba Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, announces the permanent closing of its barbecue restaurant location at 936 University Parkway as of today, December 24, 2018. We appreciate your patronage and enjoyed doing business with you these past 4-1/2 years.
On December 22, 2018 at approximately 10:30 a.m. the Natchitoches Police Department received a call of a subject attempting to pass counterfeit ten dollar bills at Murphy USA on Keyser Avenue. Officer Tim Lee located the suspect vehicle and conducted a stop.
Through keen observation and diligent effort the officer’s search of the vehicle yielded sixteen (16) counterfeit $100 bills, along with one (1) $20 dollar bill, and three (3) $10 dollar bills.
Shawn Conlay, 38 and Christine Conlay, 37; both of Coushatta, La. were arrested and charged with 20 counts of monetary instrument abuse and placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.
During the course of the investigation it was determined that similar cases were reported in neighboring jurisdictions.
This case has been turned over to the Natchitoches Police Department Criminal Investigations Division for further investigation.
If you have any other information in reference to this investigation, please contact The Natchitoches Police Department at (318)352-8101. All calls shall remain confidential.
John Thomas “JT” Harrington of Center, Texas has been named the 2018 recipient of the Robert G. Crew Freshman Leadership Scholarship.
The Beta Omicron Alumni Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity awards the 500 dollar stipend each Fall to a freshman at Northwestern State University, recognizing a male student who has demonstrated leadership and good character through their involvement in organizations while in high school.
The Radiology major was announced as this year’s recipient at NSU Homecoming activities on Saturday, October 27, 2018.
At Shelbyville High School, Harrington earned a 3.6 GPA and was involved in the Distinguished Program, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, varsity football, track, powerlifting, and volunteered with the Special Olympics.
After graduating from NSU, Harrington plans to pursue graduate studies in nuclear medicine.
In February, the scholarship was renamed in memory of Robert G. Crew, an alumnus of Pi Kappa Phi and longtime administrator at Northwestern State University, as a tribute to his lifelong dedication to helping students achieve success.
September 7, 1956 – December 20, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, December 23 from 3-9:30 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Monday, December 24 at 11:30 am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Natchitoches
Interment: Bay Springs Cemetery in Chopin
Mary Louise Carson
January 2, 1927 – December 20, 2018
Service: Wednesday, December 26 at 12 pm in the Chapel of Kramer Funeral Home
Interment: Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Visitation: Wednesday, December 26 from 8:30 am – 12 pm in the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home Chapel
Jerry Wayne Leslie
January 02, 1942 – December 20, 2018
Service: Thursday, December 27 at 12 pm in the Chapel of Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield
Interment: Beech Creek Cemetery near Olla
Left to right, Josh Axsom, Dalton Leach, Stephanie Nicholas, Matthew Axsom, Anthony Bass, Ms Jackson, Kerry McCormic, David Woods, the new Trane unit, and the old AC!
AxsomAir is very grateful to the Natchitoches community for choosing us to be your premier service provider for AC, Heating, and Plumbing service and new system installation. As God has blessed our company we were excited to give back to the area through “Heat the Town”, a program where we made heater repairs for those in need. We took nominations on our Facebook page from December 1-20, 2018 of those you knew who needed help. We are excited to report we were able to help several families! “What was really a blessing, said Josh Axsom (project manager, AxsomAir), was seeing our team give back as well! Our guys volunteered their time to bless others with the gift of heat, just in time for Christmas!”
One nomination that really stood out to us was a lady whose heater was leaking dangerous carbon monoxide into her airstream. AxsomAir Service Tech Anthony Bass also reported this lady’s AC was really old and had numerous freon leaks.
“I decided to reach out to our manufacturing partner, Trane, said Josh Axsom. I called our Trane Territory Manager David Woods, and explained the situation to him. David conferred with Rowan Ledbetter, Trane sales leader, and Trane decided to donate a complete new AC and Heat system!!”
“We are grateful to have such a great partner with Trane, said Matthew Axsom (AxsomAir General Manager). We couldn’t have done this without their help!”
On Friday, December 21, 2018 team members from AxsomAir surprised the special nominee, Ms Tamela Jackson, showing up unannounced with David Woods to present her with her new Trane complete system and get it installed!!
We want to thank everyone who participated in Heat the Town this year and wish you and yours a very merry Christmas!!
Who would like a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings? Apparently, most people who read the Natchitoches Parish Journal! NPJ would like to thank everyone who entered our contest.
Congratulations to Patricia Pratt Fanks of Natchitoches. She won a Christmas Turkey and all the fixings for a super holiday meal. Franks was selected from hundreds of entries in The NPJ’s first “Christmas Turkey Dinner” giveaway.
Look forward to more fun contests and prize giveaways in 2019.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all from the Natchitoches Parish Journal.
I am thrilled to be writing you today as your new Chamber President! It is only my third full week on the job, but we in the Chamber office are working diligently to revitalize our Chamber and start the new year off fresh. We are revamping our membership packages and adding innovative new ways to add value for our members. We are developing exciting new programs, events, and Chamber initiatives that will increase business for our members and positively impact our beloved community. We are planning a jam-packed Board retreat to empower our energetic new Board of Directors to affect change in our business community. I think you’ll be pleased to hear what’s in store for you, our valuable members, at our 2019 Chamber Awards Banquet, where we will celebrate our 100th anniversary as the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce.
After taking a year off due to unforeseen weather related issues, the infamous, “Cat Burglar Carolers,” once again struck unsuspecting neighbors in the Whitfield-St Clair area. Well, most were unsuspecting unless they read the friendly warning on the Facebook Neighborhood Watch page.
The carolers, who’s ages range from 6-15 and travel from as far as Upper St. Clair, met in early December to begin the vigorous training that is required to be a caroler. The children were required to participate in high intensity cardio to make sure they could withstand the physical demands of running through yards in the dead of night with only a street light to aid their vision.
The other areas of training consisted of a strict diet that limits sugar and encourages lean protein and vegetables. This was solely based on the honor system with no true means of recordable accountability. Last, but not least, was team building. The carolers participated in various activities that encouraged team resolutions to simple every day caroling problems.
A few of the hazards that accompany caroling include; falling down while running to a new house. Every caroler must take a knee until the injured has recovered. Assisting fellow carolers as they load into the truck bed and as they disembark. Sharing the duties of passing out the autographed Christmas cards and candy canes. The older carolers assume responsibility for the younger carolers.
It is a complete team effort.
This may seem a little over the top but I run a tight ship and not everyone makes the cut. The carolers learn very quickly that only the most well behaved get to ring that door bell. During practices they were judged based on the most stylish approach to the door bell, getting back in line as quickly as possible as well as good posture. Last, and certainly not least, is the intense discipline needed to carryout all of the aforementioned tasks with zero yelling and horseplay.
This year we chose 14 houses in our area based on Facebook request or neighbor nominations. All of the houses chosen had one common thread that bound them together. They could use some Christmas cheer.
On caroling night all of the carolers show up in their holiday brightest. This includes red Santa hats, light up necklaces, holiday scarves, and possibly an ugly sweater or too. Once everyone arrives they set out on a mission to make the neighbors smile and spread Christmas cheer.
Some houses invite the children in to play with their dogs. Some houses invite the kids in for a snack or send the kids off with a snack. I dare not think this is the reason for their loyal dedication to the cause. Every house visited ends bringing a smile to children’s faces as well.
At the end of the evening the carolers celebrate the end of the caroling season with a pizza party at my house and plans begin for the next year. We are always looking to expand the group and take on new carolers. The current group agrees that we should recruit a musician or two for next season.
Even though the children had loads of fun and there was lots of work behind the scenes the true blessing came with each door that we knocked on. So many people were surprised and just smiled endlessly. Caroling as a child, for myself, built long lasting great memories and it goes without saying…. that these children are spreading joy and cheer by putting others first and remembering the true reason for the season.
Cat Burglar Carolers for the 2018 year include:
Jude Coleman, Sophia Pleasant, Carson Lyles, Kyson McKnight, Teegan McKnight, Gabriel McKnight, Molly Coleman, Sidney Hicks, Ally Jett, Rannon Jett, and Colby Jett.
Team Building: Meredith Phelps Quality Control: Laura Lyles Herding carolers on performance night:
Coree McKnight, Micah & Caron Coleman, Laura Lyles, and Shelley Pleasant
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people”
A slate of alumni of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity have been elected to guide the efforts of the alumni chapter in 2019. Wes Breeden, Chris Alley, David Morgan, Sr., Shayne Creppel, Joey Kliebert, Lane Luckie, Cameron Moises, and Robert Broadwell will serve as officers for the 2019 board of directors. These volunteers will manage the Beta Omicron Alumni Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Housing Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that exists to advance the interests of the student chapter and provide education housing facilities to undergraduate members.
As president, Wes Breeden will be responsible for the overall strategic direction of the alumni group. Breeden will implement the vision plan for the group, as well as manage the activities of committees and other board members, including the Council of Advisors.
As vice president, Chris Alley will serve in the absence of the president, direct alumni member recruitment. Alley will also coordinate with other board members to oversee recruitment of alumni members and will also assist the director of alumni events in the creation and development of regional alumni groups across Louisiana.
As treasurer, David Morgan, Senior will ensure the financial well-being of the alumni chapter by creating a budget, overseeing all accounting duties (including accounts receivable/ payable), collection and deposit of alumni dues, file tax returns, file a Louisiana Domestic Corporation report, and develop a long-term financial plan.
As secretary, Shayne Creppel will be responsible for maintaining all official meeting minutes and notices, produce and update a member directory, and serve as the official custodian of all member records.
Overseeing the direction of undergraduate housing is the primary responsibility of Joey Kliebert. As director of housing, Kliebert will be the primary liaison to the student residents of the alumni association/ housing corporation-owned property at 730 University Parkway in Natchitoches. He will oversee leasing, the safety and maintenance of the chapter house, as well as identify ways to improve the housing experience for our student members.
Lane Luckie will serve as director of communications, coordinating all communication efforts among alumni, which includes the publication of an alumni newsletter, email blasts, video presentations, and the maintenance of the chapter website and social media.
Cameron Moises will serve the board as director of alumni engagement and chapter outreach. Annual gatherings, such as Homecoming, the Founders’ Day observance, Morgan ‘Extra Mile’ Scholarship Banquet, Ability Experience events, and reunions will be under his direction. He will serve as the primary liaison with the student chapter for event planning. Moises will also maintain contact with the student chapter to educate seniors of their life-long responsibility as members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. He will also coordinate any graduating senior ceremonies, as well as work with the Vice President to recruit these graduating members to join the alumni chapter.
Robert Broadwell will be assigned to chair the ad-hoc Housing Exploration committee, which is tasked with researching and securing future housing options for the Beta Omicron chapter.
A student representative to the board of directors will be named at a later date.
The board of directors will be supported by several committees, as well as the dozens of dues-paying alumni chapter members. Those members supporting the efforts of the alumni chapter are listed below. To join, please click the document below and return the membership form and dues to the address provided.
Click here to join the Beta Omicron Alumni Chapter or renew your annual dues.
2018-2019 dues-paying members:
Wil Adams (BO 417)
Mike Allain (BO 197)
Chris Alley (BO 467)
Steven Austin (BO 317)
Sean Austin (BO 516)
Andy Bachman (BO 168)
Cody Bourque (BO 435)
Nick Breaux (BO 445)
Wes Breeden (BO 286)
Robert Broadwell (BO 198)
Stan Brouillette (BO 205)
Kevin Bruce (BO 469)
Steven Carrier (BO 351)
Rodney Clements (BO 383)
Greg Comeaux (BO 333)
Austin Craft (BO 522)
Shayne Creppel (BO 463)
Shawn Daily (BO 252)
George Etheredge (BO 181)
Larry Gracie, PhD (BO 115)
Jonathan Grant (BO 305)
Chase Harvey (BO 475)
Doug Ireland (BO 452)
Bruce Kinder (BO 231)
Joey Kliebert (BO 367)
DJ Klucznik (BO 391)
Dean Lemoine (BO 579)
Robert Lockwood (BO 335)
Lane Luckie (BO 405)
Bill Luckie (BO 431)
Chris Lyles, PhD (BO 322)
Steve McCutcheon (BO 141)
Michael Melsheimer (BO 376)
Cameron Moises (BO 454)
David Morgan (BO 173)
David Morgan, Junior (BO 307)
Bill Morrison, PhD (BO 451)
Logan Nolan (BO 325)
John Parish (BO 221)
Alan Pasch (BO 357)
Jason Phillips (BO 286)
Chris Reich (BO 511)
Taylor Richard (BO 438)
Chris Sanders (BO 460)
Derek Sandoval (BO 506)
Randy Smith (BO 389)
Mark Springer (BO 523)
Jason Stelly (BO 355)
Kyle Thomas (BO 290)
Cory Wilson (BO 311)
BOM is excited to sponsor the Lakeview High School Basketball Team. Pictured from left are Head Coach Brian Williams, Kerrell Nora, Christopher Small Jr, Tiffany Woods (BOM Branch Manager & Lender in Montgomery), Principal William Hymes, and Assistant Coach Dewaskie Fuller. Let’s go Gators!
The East Natchitoches Elementary School of Fine Arts final registration days are scheduled for January 7-10, Monday through Thursday, from 3:15-5:30 P.M.
The cost of the School of Fine Arts is a one-time fee of $30.00 per student. Each student who registers receives a $150.00 scholarship credited to their account to pay their teacher. This is for students in grades 3-12 in all Natchitoches Parish Public Schools.
One-hour group classes once a week for twelve weeks are offered in drama, keyboard, guitar, art, dance and sculpture (pottery making). Thirty-minute private lessons once a week for twelve weeks are offered in piano, voice, drums, flute, trumpet, trombone, and violin.
Contact the East Natchitoches Elementary School at 318-352-4516 or 985-590-9055 for more information. Danny R. Von Kanel is the director of the School of Fine Arts. Chrystal Davis is the principal at East Natchitoches Elementary School and Mr. Dale Skinner is the Superintendent of Schools for the Natchitoches Parish Public School District.
Members of Creston Baptist Church of Creston and members of the “Busy Bees” organization donated hand quilted male and female prayer blankets for Hospice of Natchitoches patients. Accepting blankets from Sharon Cowart (left) and Maxine Council (right) is Dominick Metoyer, RN-Administrator of Hospice of Natchitoches.