GOHSEP: Monitor Tropical Conditions during Holiday Weekend

GOHSEP’s Crisis Action Team Activated to Monitor Hurricane Dorian

Baton Rouge (August 29, 2019) – The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security andEmergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is urging the people of Louisiana to monitor the weather forecast over the next several days due to possible tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico.

GOHSEP: Monitor Tropical Conditions during Holiday Weekend

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the exact track and possible impact to the Gulf Coast early next week.

“Because of the uncertainties with this system, it is important for you to stay informed and stay prepared,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “This is typically the time of year when we see the most tropical activity. In fact, today marks the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Louisiana. Keep your emergency supplies stocked. If you are traveling for Labor Day, modify your emergency plans to deal with the current threat. Make sure your family and business communications plans are in place to stay connected should conditions change. Use resources like GOHSEP’s Get A Game PlanApp and the ALERT FM App to receive information. If you are traveling to areas east of Louisiana, listen for critical information regarding weather alerts and possible evacuation notices. Drivers on some routes could face major delays when you combine holiday traffic with actions related to a hurricane threat. It is extremely important to stay aware of your forecast and listen for weather related advisories from the National Weather Service, local emergency managers and your local media.”


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Political Rally will be held in Marthaville on September 5

The Marthaville Heritage Society and its Good Ole Days Festival is sponsoring a Political Forum THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 FROM 6-9 PM, in Marthaville at the school GYMNASIUM and would very much for you to come and be an important part of what is being billed as “THE 2019 BIGGEST AND BEST MEET THE CANDIDATES WEST OF THE RED RIVER.”

All State, District, Parish and Local Candidates have been asked to attend.

Each State and District Candidates will be given 3 minutes to introduce themselves and their platform and the directors of the forum will have a written question selected by the directors for the candidates to address. There will be NO questions from the audience.

Parish and Local Candidates will have 2 minutes and the same question procedure.

Each Candidate can and are asked to bring yard signs, banners, literature, etc and display them, just one rule, you must remove any and all when the forum is over.

Please bring your own card table for your display of literature.

When a candidate is speaking, there can be NO outburst from an opponent or an opponent’s supporter.

Yes, there will be boxes for People’s Choice Awards, Cake Sales, T-Shirts for Sale, donation boxes and other fundraiser items for the Heritage Society needs a new roof on the MARTHVILLE HERITAGE BUILDING.

Please confirm your RSVP to: Pat Hall 318-663-8400; Donna Horn 318-652-0559; Fuzzy Hennigan 903-474-3338 or Amy Vercher 318-472-9133

Voter age Admission $1.00


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NSU’ record passing effort not enough as Demons fall at UT Martin

MARTIN, Tennessee – The Northwestern State football team got the fast start it was looking for in its season opener Thursday night.
The second half for the Demons did not play out the same.

UT Martin used a pair of non-offensive, second-half touchdowns to spoil a record-setting night for Northwestern State quarterback Shelton Eppler as the Skyhawks pulled away for a 42-20 victory at Hardy Graham Stadium.

“Give them credit, first and foremost,” second-year head coach Brad Laird said. “They came out and made plays in all three phases in the second half. We had some special teams miscues in the third quarter that gave them the momentum. We came back and had a chance to tie the score, and we had a fourth-down situation where they ended up with a defensive touchdown. You could see the momentum of the game change at that moment.”

That moment came with the Demons (0-1) trailing 28-20 with just more than 5 minutes to play.

Kaleb Fletcher rolled out on fourth and 2 and threw a pass that Wanya Moton jumped and returned 78 yards for a touchdown that put the Skyhawks (1-0) up 15 with 5:06 left.

The interception return for a score was one of four second-half touchdowns for UT Martin, all of which came from 21 or more yards. The final three scores, which came in the final 17:13 of the game, covered 55, 78 and 53 yards and occurred in all three phases of the game.

The chunk plays stood in contrast to a Northwestern State attack that ran 91 plays and outgained the Skyhawks, 483-309.

Eppler enjoyed a scintillating first half, setting in motion a night that saw him shatter school single-game records for completions (43) and attempts (62) while posting the second-highest single-game yardage total (387).

In the first half alone, Eppler was 28-for-36 for 285 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Quan Shorts, who established career highs in catches (12), yards (111) and touchdown receptions (2).

“The only thing that matters is we didn’t come away with the win,” Eppler said. “We’ll get back at it (Friday), fix what we need to fix and get ready for Week 2.”

The Demons’ passing game had to replace three of its top four receivers from a season ago but was efficient early. Eppler completed 23 of his first 27 passes, including a span of 10 straight in the second quarter, as the Demons built a 20-14 lead.

Special teams issues arose though as the Demons had an extra point bounce off the right upright after Eppler’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Corey Smallwood, who hauled in his first career score despite a Skyhawks defender being draped over him.

The missed extra point and a missed 35-yard field goal at the end of the first half – along with a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown that was nullified by a holding call – left the Demons with a six-point lead.

Northwestern State maintained that lead for much of the third quarter before a pair of Terry Williams’ punt returns swung the momentum to the Skyhawks.

Williams’ 41-yard punt return set up Peyton Logan’s 21-yard scoring run with 4:22 to play in the third that gave UT Martin a 21-20 lead.

Just more than two minutes later, Williams gathered a one-hop punt on the run and brought it back 55 yards for a touchdown.

Logan (13 carries, 149 yards) capped the scoring with a 53-yard run with 2:53 to play in the game.

“Our guys kept fighting,” Laird said. “We just couldn’t put things together in the fourth quarter.”

CREDIT: Steve Mantilla/UTM University Relations


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Gov. Edwards Announces Statewide Initiative to Improve Responses to Incidents that Threaten School Safety

Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves at Neville High School in Monroe on Aug. 29 to announce that the state is providing funding for all K-12 schools in Louisiana to begin using the RAVE Mobile Safety App that will better alert authorities to emergencies on K-12 campuses.

“Today we are taking a step forward in making our schools safer with technology that will dramatically improve reporting and response times for teachers and other educators who face emergency situations while in their classrooms,” Gov. Edwards said. “While we hope and pray that the safety of our children and their teachers is never compromised, it’s our hope that this technology will assist in protecting our schools.”

Rave Mobile Safety will provide the Rave Panic Button app to all schools that will allow teachers to quickly request immediate assistance from law enforcement or other first responders in the event of a health or safety emergency in their classroom.

This is funded with $4 million included in the state’s FY 20 budget. The app will begin to be deployed to schools across the state this fall.

“The progress that Louisiana is making to improve the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff are the direct results of the vision and leadership of Governor Edwards in creating the Blue Ribbon Commission,” stated Colonel Kevin Reeves, State Police Superintendent. “I am extremely proud of the work of my fellow Commission members including our parish and local law enforcement partners and the efforts of the men and women of the Louisiana State Police that helped bring this technology to Louisiana.”

“As tragedies at schools have escalated, leaders in education, law enforcement, and emergency response have collaborated to strengthen preparedness and crisis management,” said Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White. “Among those efforts, we have explored the use of new technologies, like the mobile app announced today, that may prove beneficial in quickly and effectively responding to an on-site emergency. Every child and every educator deserves to feel safe in their classrooms, and it’s our duty to put into place every measure to ensure that’s possible.”

The Rave Panic Button is a smart phone app designed to speed emergency response by alerting authorities when there is a medical emergency, a fire, an active shooter or another crisis. When a teacher, administrator or staff member activates the button, it simultaneously places a 911 call to dispatch help while delivering immediate notification of the type and location of the emergency to other school employees and first responders.

This type of coordination further enables schools to respond to emergencies more quickly. The state will cover the cost of the technology for all schools in Louisiana, including charter schools, either as their first line of communications or to work in hand with solutions individual school systems already have in place.

“As a school district, the first and foremost requirement we have is to work to ensure safety for all our students, faculty, and staff,” said Dr. Brent Vidrine, the Superintendent of Monroe City Schools. “This App is one more tool to help our school district be pro-active in working to ensure safer schools for all of our students and adults on campus.”


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First year coach De’Shalyn Jones excited for team’s first meet

Demons and Lady Demons open season Friday at Stephen F. Austin

NSU’s men’s and women’s cross country teams start their seasons Friday evening with a dual meet against Stephen F. Austin.

Competition for the SFA Lumberjack Opener begins at 7:10 p.m. with a 5,000 meter race for the men while the women kick off their 2-mile race at 7:30 p.m.

First year head coach De’Shalyn Jones is excited about seeing her team compete for the first time as well as the chance to scope out the competition.

“It will be the first time running at SFA for a lot of the team,” Jones said. “It will be a good opportunity to see what to expect from another team in the conference and from our team.”

The Demons and Lady Demons both finished 10th in last season’s Southland Conference Championship, one spot higher than they finished the previous season. SFA finished in the top 4 in both races.

Some notable returners for the Demons include junior Darius Groves, who finished in the top 50 in the final meet last season, and fellow junior Yannik Gerland, who finished 52nd.

The women are led by junior Isabella Hudson, who finished in the top 40, and sophomore Kirstin Elrod, who finished 55th.

Jones, an accomplished sprinter at NSU who nine Southland Conference individual titles, noted the importance of veteran leadership, especially for a relatively young team like the Lady Demons.

“Right now, we only have one senior on the team, the rest are mostly juniors and freshman,” Jones said. “We have a lot of really good freshmen coming in, and they get a chance to learn from experienced runners like Izzy (Hudson).

“It’s exciting to see them push each other through practice, and now we’ll get to see them push each other through the meet. Hopefully, it will be a good confidence booster.”

As far as her expectations for her runners, Jones is optimistic.

“I really expect for the returners to start off from where they left last year, or at least around the same spot,” Jones said. “If we have some people set PR’s, that would be lovely, but I really just want to use this meet as a basis and a good standard for the rest of the season.”

The Demons and Lady Demons compete again in Ruston on Sept. 14 in the Louisiana Tech Mook Triple-Duals.


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Plan to Reopen Train Depot Could Help Shine A Little Light on Local African American Culture

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

At the Monday August 26, 2019 meeting, the Natchitoches City Council introduced an ordinance that proposes that the City and the National Park Service partner to reopen the Trudeau Street Train Depot. The Park Service will lease the Depot from the City (which owns it). The Park Service will use the space for offices while also dedicating a space within the building to display local African American history. At this point as I understand it, they are referring to that space as an “interpretative center”. (It’s unclear what that will be. I hope it is more than a display or two in a corner. But it sounds hopeful.)

The ordinance is just an introduction at this point. It will have to go through the necessary stages and be voted on by the council Still, that evening, the news was greeted positively and for good reason. Many groups—including one I was part of—have tried to turn the beautiful 1920’s Art Deco Style depot into a black history museum, hoping it would highlight black history and add to the historic charm of Natchitoches. None of those plans succeeded. And I want to stress that this will also not be a museum. It’s actually simply, the Park Service moving offices from its current location into the Depot and offering a certain area to display African American Culture.

So in other words, if the ordinance passes the final vote, when you visit the National Park Service new offices at the Depot, you will be able to learn something about African American history as part of the visit. That may not seem like much to some. But I think it is significant that the depot will be reopened at all in the first place and that it will house information about local black culture in a neighborhood with a significant African American population. Families and especially children are just a short walk away. I give a thumbs up to both the City Council and The National Park Service and pray this wonderful plan will succeed I have always felt Natchitoches could and should do more to highlight the rich contributions of the African American people who have lived here in eras past. Although I realize recognizing African American Culture is just a small part of this project, it’s a small gesture that could surely help.

“Commit your work to the LORD and he will establish your plans.” –Proverbs 16:3


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Ponderings with Doug – August 30, 2019

Doug 08-30-19I saw this vehicle the other day and had to share.

I knew I could not explain it in my self-imposed 600-ish word limit. I needed a picture. Even with the picture, I am not sure.

Was this the result of a boating accident?

How does one get the boat back in the water from this position?

Is this guy a boat hauler for a boat dealer? Is this how he hauls his rig?

What is going on in this photograph?

I am certain there are some people in our reading audience that know exactly what this is all about. With the fishing folks here, this might even be a resident of Natchitoches Parish. Of course, the truck has a yellow license plate, therefore we conclude the truck is not registered in the state of Louisiana.

Does the picture clarify or confuse? What do you make of the picture?
In the olden days, I kept a notepad in the car with me. When I was driving all the places I must, if I saw something, I would make a note of it. Some of my previous newspaper articles read like a travel journal of things I saw on

I-49, I-10 or I-20.

I don’t keep a notepad with me any longer. Just like you, I have my phone. When I see something interesting, if I am able, I get a picture of it. Is taking a picture while driving the same crime as texting and driving? I confess.

The digital culture has transformed us from word people to picture people. Social media would not work without pictures or video. The mavens of social media are so creative in the images they post.

Christians are people of the book. We are word people. But to my brothers and sisters of the faith I would say that “the word became flesh.” In preaching, teaching and explaining so many times a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope you have passed your orientation and are fully participating in this digital visual culture.

I reminded the church last Sunday that we live in a camera culture. Everyone has cameras and when you think you are not being recorded you likely are. As the Bible says, “Live circumspectly.” Live carefully as a Jesus follower because someone is filming the moment. A powerful affirmation of the faith if they catch you in a servant moment. I powerful detriment to the faith if they record you in a sinful moment.

The other day I set off the self-check thing at WallyWorld. It sent out some obnoxious buzzing sound. I was caught. Thankfully the nice supervisor came over. She said, let me see what this machine is squawking about. She hit a button on the machine and ran the Doug Checking out of Walmart video. My great offense was that I took out my wallet and held it too close to the scanner and the machine thought I was trying to abscond with a wallet. When you are checking out your own items at Walmart you are being filmed. The camera is above you. Look out or look up in Walmart.

This brings us back to the picture. What is going on in the photograph? The driver of the pickup truck knows for sure. For those of us looking at the photograph interpretation is a matter of perspective.

In this digital world, make sure your behavior and actions are not a matter of interpretation but clearly are consistent with who you are and what you profess to believe.

“All the world’s a stage” and someone is capturing your act on their phone!


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NATCHITOCHES PARISH GOVERNMENT OFFICES CLOSE FOR LABOR DAY

Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced that the Parish Government offices, along with the Parish landfill and limb pit, will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2019 in observance of Labor Day. They will reopen on Tuesday, September 3. Parish-wide bin sites and compactor stations will be open for regular business hours on Monday.

For any questions about Parish closures, contact the Parish Government offices at 318.352.2714.


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BOM Sponsors NSU TRIO SSS

BOM is proud to sponsor the TRIO Student Support Services at NSU. This program works with first generation, low income, and students with disabilities. Each academic year they provide learning opportunities for students through various activities such as financial literacy workshops, personal and professional development, tutoring services, advising services, academic recognition, and academic resources to meet students needs to establish connections to the campus and community.

Pictured from left are Emily Breedlove, Jamie Flanagan, Assistant Director/Advisor & Instructor, and Katrice Below.


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Pianist Peter Collins to perform Sept. 12

Pianist Peter Collins will perform at Northwestern State University Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. The concert is part of the Louisiana Piano Series International. Tickets are $15. Students are admitted free. Dr. Francis Yang and Dr. Christine Burczyk Allen are the organizers of the Louisiana Piano Series International.

The concert will feature the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Collins will perform four works by Gottschalk, “Vision (Etude),” “Marche Funèbre,” “Reflets du passé” and “La chute des feuilles” (Falling Leaves.)

Collins lives in New Orleans and is active as a performer, independent piano teacher and music researcher. He is a professor emeritus from Missouri State University where he taught and served as keyboard area coordinator for 25 years.

Collins received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory. After winning awards in several piano competitions (the Washington International Piano Competition, the University of Maryland International Piano Competition, the American Chopin Competition, the American Beethoven Foundation) he was granted the Regents’ Fellowship at the University of Michigan to pursue his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

While on the faculty of Missouri State, Collins received college and university awards in teaching. He originated the Missouri Chamber Players and toured Europe four times with members of the ensemble in concerts of music by American composers. His performance profile also includes several presentations of the complete sonata cycles of Mozart and Beethoven.

He has completed nine compact-disc recording projects (for the Albany, MSR and Centaur labels) featuring works of living American composers, music by women composers, original arrangements and transcriptions and piano music of 19th-century New Orleans.


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Notice of Death – August 29, 2019

NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Billie Carter
November 03, 1930 – August 28, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, August 31 from 1-2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, August 31 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery

Pat McDonald
May 04, 1954 – August 29, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Charles L. Helaire
August 28, 2019
Arrangements TBA

SanCedrick DeAngello Green
August 21, 1978 – August 27, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Billy Ray “Goat” Milam
October 11, 1930 – August 27, 2019
Service: Friday, September 6 at 10:30 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

James William Johnson
April 8, 1938 – August 22, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, August 31, 2019 from 9 -10:30 am at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 11 am at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum in Natchitoches

James D. Barnes
August 23, 2019
Arrangements TBA

RAPIDES PARISH:

Betty Mary Hippler Laurent
November 30, 1929 – August 26, 2019
Service: Friday, August 29 at 10 am at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church

Jerry Judson Phillips
December 18, 1935 – August 24, 2019
Interment: Friday, August 29 at 1 pm at Alexandria Memorial Gardens


Chamber to Host Moderated Candidate Forums

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce will host two public, moderated candidate forums for the upcoming election. On Wednesday, September 25, the Chamber will host a Sheriff’s candidate forum. On Thursday, September 26, the Chamber will host a Parish Office candidate forum, with the candidates running for Parish Council and Parish President. Both forums will take place at Northwestern State University’s Creative and Performing Arts Annex, in Magale Recital Hall, 143 Central Avenue, from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. The forums will be facilitated and hosted by the Chamber and sponsored by NSU’s Student Government Association.

Every candidate running for either Parish Sheriff, President, or Council received a letter inviting them to attend their respective forum. With their letter, they also received a questionnaire, and a request to submit their answers back to the Chamber by noon on September 5th. Each candidate’s response will be posted and available to view at natchitocheschamber.com/candidatesrespond on September 6th. The responses will also be sent out to local media. See below for the questions that were sent to each candidate.

These forums will be free and open to the public. Both forums will follow the same format as the School Board Candidate forum that was previously hosted by the A+ Coalition, an initiative of the Chamber. Each candidate for Parish President and Parish Council will be given the opportunity to speak for three minutes on questions 5 and 6, and each candidate for Parish Sheriff will be given the opportunity to speak for three minutes on questions 3 and 4. The audience will be given the chance to submit written questions to the candidates at the beginning of the event. Questions will be presented by the moderator, and to keep the forum fair, each candidate will have an allotted amount of time to respond to the questions posed. There will be a timer with a signal card to keep each candidate on track. For Parish Council, questions will be required to be addressed to the district, and not an individual candidate.

The Chamber is hosting these forums with the intent of promoting civic engagement and civic literacy. The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce helps foster a thriving community through transformative leadership, collaboration, and innovation.


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Excited Demons set for season opener at UT Martin – TONIGHT!

MARTIN, Tennessee – Senior quarterback Shelton Eppler’s personality usually is best described as even-keeled.

When it comes to Thursday’s season opener at UT Martin, Eppler can sum up his feelings in one word.

“I’m very excited,” Eppler said, using a word echoed by his head coach and several teammates as the 2019 season draws closer. “We finally get to hit someone other than ourselves. I know our defense is very excited. I’m ready to go out and see what this team is made of.”

The Demons (5-6 in 2018) and Skyhawks (2-9) meet at 6:30 p.m. inside Hardy M. Graham Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Demon Sports Network, flagshipped by 94.9 FM The River in Natchitoches.

Free streaming audio is available right here:

Listen LIVE:  Click Here

Eppler’s excitement may be slightly out of character, but it is echoed by head coach Brad Laird, who kicks off his second season in charge of his alma mater.

“We’re all excited about game week,” Laird said. “Even as we’ve implemented UT Martin, it’s still been Northwestern State vs. Northwestern State at practice. We’ve put in more scout team work, but until we’re able to take the field, to be somewhere else other than Turpin Stadium, you don’t really get to feel it.

“You’re always excited for that first week. This is a Thursday game, so things are a little different, but I’m excited for our team and this opportunity.”

Northwestern State begins the season on the road for the fourth straight season and the fifth time in the past seven seasons.

Laird said the location of the game doesn’t matter to him.

“I like road games,” he said. “Sure, we all wish we could play all 12 at home. We love playing at Turpin Stadium. We love our fans. We love our community. Road trips help build team chemistry.

“On this trip, when we leave Wednesday morning, our guys will be together from then until when we get back around 8 a.m. Friday. We get to talk about different things. On the bus, we’re not always talking about football. It’s an opportunity to talk about different things and do different things.”

One of those could be to start the season with a road victory.

Both the Demons and Skyhawks reside in conferences that produced multiple FCS playoff teams a season ago. Three Southland teams reached the 24-team tournament while Ohio Valley Conference members Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri State were part of the postseason.

The success of their conferences puts NSU’s and UT Martin’s 2018 records in perspective.

“We’re better than we were last year,” Laird said. “We’re still 0-0, just like UT Martin. They were 2-9, but they lost five games by seven points or less, two in overtimes. They lost by six to Jacksonville State, who’s preseason No. 6, in overtime. Each team is different, but they got better form last year to this year, just like we did.”

Eppler gives the Demons a strong linchpin offensively after throwing for 2,639 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first season after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College. The Demons also return running backs Jared West and Stadford Anderson, who combined for 1,075 rushing yards.

West and Anderson will run behind an experienced offensive line that features four seniors in the rotation. Similarly, the Demons’ defensive line is a veteran group that will give Northwestern State a chance to be strong where it matters most.

On top of that, the entire Demons coaching staff returns intact, which has helped all three phases of the game entering Year 2 of the Laird era.

“When coach Laird became coach, we had a meeting and guys didn’t show up on time,” senior punter Parker Pastorello said. “We kept having that meeting until everyone was there on time. Everyone had to buy in if they wanted to be on this team and get to the point where we are now. The culture has shifted from when I first got here. Last year, we had that shift. This year, we’re ready to take it all. I’m excited about it.”


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Louisiana is the World Champion — of Little League Baseball

By Joe Darby

Louisiana is enjoying a world championship. Brought to us by a great group of little children. The boys that I’m talking about would probably resent being referred to as little children, but after all, they range in age from only 10 to 12 years old.

The lads are from Jefferson Parish’ East Bank, which includes the cities of Kenner and Harahan and unincorporated areas like Metairie and River Ridge. The latter community, in fact, was the name by which they were known in the 2019 Little League playoffs.

These boys went through five levels of competition, winning local, state and regional tournaments, before they won the national championship last week.

So there they were, in Williamsport, Pa., the home of the Little League World Series, to face Curacao for all the marbles. Curacao is a rather small island in the Caribbean, close to the Venezuelan coast. They have produced some talented Major League ballplayers in recent years and it’s likely that some of the kids on the 2019 Curacao Little League team may end up in the Bigs also.

But, in last Saturday’s game, they were no match for the boys from East Jeff. The pitcher, Egan Prather, tossed a two-hit game against the lads from Curacao, who had been hitting very well in the tournament up to that point. A Louisiana player who also hit quite well was Reece Roussell, who broke the Little League World Series record by banging out 17 hits in the championship tournament.

I watched the game, from start to finish, and it was over before I expected. I thought the game was to go seven innings, but it was in fact, six. So when the Louisiana boys got Curacao to line out in their final at bat in the bottom of the sixth, I was surprised to see the players’ jubilation and the traditional dog pile, as they jumped into a heap in the center of the diamond.

But what a pleasant surprise it was for me. Sometimes we Louisianians don’t have too much to brag about — except for our people, our food, our joie de vivre — but I digress. Last weekend a bunch of pre-teen boys from the suburbs of New Orleans brought us some much deserved pleasure and pride. Well done, lads.


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Kris Vidos: Mayor of Campti Candidacy Announcement

I’ve lived in Campti since about 2010. I was a field tech and I bought a house in the middle of my territory. I had a good friend that lived on the same block so I thought it was a good spot.

I like to fix things. It doesn’t matter what it is. I like to look at how things work and if it’s not right I like to fix it. Most of the time I work in IT and travel around doing contract jobs involving computer system and network installation, administration, troubleshooting and optimization. I’m hanging around right now because the town is harassing me over my house and property.

I’ve had a poor experience in general dealing with the town government. I have difficulty viewing or obtaining copies of laws. I feel I’ve been harassed over my house. I’ve tried working with the town but it’s not working out.

I’d like to change things that bother me about Campti. I want:

For the town to help its people instead of harassing, fining and squeezing them for money.
To reduce or remove costly permit requirements to install or restore utilities.
To reduce or remove franchise fees for utilities.
To make it easier to get exceptions to current permit requirements.
To make water bills consistent and lower if possible.
To make local laws available for viewing online and be able to view and get a copy at the town hall.
To have incomplete, overly restrictive, incorrect and unconstitutional laws repealed.

Some other things I’d like to do are:

Bring back our municipal court.
Hire local people to police the area instead of the sheriff’s department.
Make Campti a marijuana sanctuary.
Have a bar-b-q with free food for the town’s people at the town meeting on the second Tuesday of each month.

Some things I’d like researched are:

Opening a local grocery store and farmer’s market perhaps selling local goods on consignment.
A solar farm to help mitigate the town’s power usage.
A water park.
Repair, upgrade and maintenance of roads, water and sewer systems.
Water drainage throughout the town.
A local credit union.
Small business help center for local businesses.

I’ve never managed a town. I manage and automate computer systems. When I look at any task I try to automate it. I can find ways to use low cost computer systems to bring new services to the people of Campti. I’m going to have to learn how to manage a town. I hope we can bring the townspeople together to let us decide what we want Campti to be.


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Walk of Fame: The plaques are back

The City has good news for fans of the Walk of Fame plaques that previously resided on the sidewalk in front of City Bank on St. Denis Street in downtown Natchitoches. Some of them have found new homes!

Seven were installed in the pocket park on the corner of Pine and Cypress, which is funded by the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC). This park is dedicated to Susan Harling, so it was a natural fit for the six main ladies from the Steel magnolia movie that Natchitoches is famous for. Granite plaques honoring Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton were set onto raised concrete slabs and surrounded by a brick border. The seventh plaque for Bobby Harling is located on the Cypress Street side of park beside the interpretive plaque for Susan Harling.

Community development and maintenance crews built forms in the shop, poured concrete slabs at a slight angle for easy viewing.

The plaques were removed from the bank’s sidewalk when the City redid St. Denis Street. The plaques became an issue over many years as a slip hazard and when the City had the opportunity to remove them they did. The plaques went into storage for the short term, but different people came forward expressing their desire for the plaques to be on display once more.

There’s ongoing discussion to install the plaques for Producer Ray Stark, Gene Callahan and Director Herbert Ross at the Steel Magnolia house location. Callahan was instrumental in bringing the movie to Natchitoches.

There’s also talk about installing the plaques for Cammie Henry, Clementine Hunter, Kate Chopin, Caroline Dormon, and Luis Juchereau De St. Denis at the Jefferson Street Pocket Park, which would happen as soon as they complete landscaping at the park.

The City has spoken with the National Park Service about installing the plaques for John Wayne and John Ford at one of its properties south of Natchitoches.

No further comments have been made about the other plaques, which include Pat Listach, Jackie Smith, Natchitoches Dixie Debs, Grits Gresham, Bobby Hebert, Stan Humphries, Nettles Brown, Ray Stark, Herbert Ross, Gary Reasons, Gene Callahan, and Joe Dumars.

The reinstallation of plaques which relate to movies filmed in Natchitoches is happening at the perfect time according to Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Arlene Gould. The Natchitoches Film Trail will launch on Nov. 9 with a special Blush and Bashful event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Steel Magnolias and a new brochure to outline Steel Magnolias and other movies filmed in the area. This comes in the wake of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser launching the Louisiana Film Trail last year, on the 100 year anniversary of the filming of the original Tarzan movie, which was filmed in 1918 in Morgan City.


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NSU announces 2019-20 tenure, promotion list

Sixteen Northwestern State University faculty have received tenure and 25 have received promotion effective with the start of the 2019-20 academic year, according to Dr. Greg Handel, provost and vice president for academic affairs. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System approved the tenure and promotion recommendations.

Faculty who received tenure were Dr. Nicholaus Cummins and Mirla G. Enriquez of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts, Dr. Gregory Bouck, Dr. Erik Braun and Dr. Katrina Jordan of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development and Dr. Jafar F. AlSharab of the Department of Engineering Technology.

Also receiving tenure were Dr. Julie Gayle, Dr. Cheryl Adair, Dianna Hill, Dr. Anna Morris. Dr. Robyn Ray and Dr. Rebecca N. Weston of the of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, Dr. Cynthia Doffitt and Millard Mangrum of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, Dorothy W. Jones of the Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences and Denise Bailey of the Department of Social Work.

Those promoted from associate professor to professor were Dr. Dana Clawson and Dr. Kelli W. Haynes of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, Dr. Wanda Goleman of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, Dr. Keith Dromm of the Louisiana Scholars’ College, Dr. Shane Rasmussen of the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies and Dr. Julie McDonald of the School of Business.

Faculty promoted from assistant professor to associate professor were Adair, Dr. Debra Clark, Dr. Donald Johnston, Morris, Ray, Weston and Dr. Kathleen Tate of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, Cummins, Enriquez, Doffitt, AlSharab, Dr. Nabin Sapkota of the Department of Engineering Technology, Dr. Marcia M. Hardy, Dr. Carmella Parker and Dr. Sarah Wright of the School of Business, Bouck, Braun and Jordan.

Leah Forsyth of the School of Creative and Performing Arts was promoted to assistant professor.


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New master’s in computer information systems approved for Northwestern State

A Master’s of Science in Computer Information Systems at Northwestern State University has been approved by the State Board of Regents.

The 33-hour degree program would be offered completely online, the only program of its type offered by a public college or university in Louisiana. Students would take nine required classes along with two electives.

“Students seeking a MS in Computer Information Systems will enhance their knowledge in a variety of areas within information systems while relating this knowledge to the success of an organization and using it to improve organizational information systems,” said Curtis Penrod, coordinator of the computer information systems program. “The online nature of this degree will allow working adults to further their education wherever they are located and at times convenient to their busy schedules. This degree will help further the growing information technology sector in Louisiana.”

This will be the first graduate program offered by the School of Business in more than 30 years.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this new master’s degree that will help fulfill the need of a knowledgeable workforce in the high-demand areas of computer systems and related technologies,” said Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne, dean of the College of Business and Technology. “The curriculum content includes practical applications which provide the foundation for students seeking leadership and research opportunities. The completely online degree program will allow students to advance their knowledge and skill-sets from anywhere in the world. It is a win, win, win for our students, our community and our state.”

The required classes are advanced cyber security, strategic data management and analysis, advanced data communication systems, data structures and algorithm analysis, strategic information systems project management, applied project management, strategic application of enterprise software, research methods in computer information systems and research project and/or thesis.

The elective choices are emerging technologies and human-computer interaction, advanced mobile development, information assurance and decision support systems.

Three of the top 10 largest areas of growth requiring a baccalaureate degree are in the computer information system field. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree can return to college to increase computer information systems skills and develop new skills. Those without information systems backgrounds can develop new skills to change to an occupation with a higher salary and larger number of job prospects.

The master’s program would build up on Northwestern State’s nationally recognized bachelor’s program in computer information systems. Enrollment in the program has nearly doubled over the past five years to more than 300 with the assistance of a grant from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and GDIT. New concentrations in application development, networking and systems management, web development, core programming and cyber security have been added. The program has been ranked first in the nation by bestcollegereviews.org. Students in the undergraduate program have won 17 national championships since 2000 at the Association of Information Technology Professionals National Collegiate Conference.


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