School Board makes decisions for upcoming superintendent search

The Natchitoches Parish School Board held lengthy meetings on Tuesday and Thursday evening this week, Dec. 3 and 5. The majority of the talk revolved around making decisions regarding the board’s search for a new superintendent, which they plan to hire for the 2020-2021 school year.

To help them with some of the decision making, Chamber President Laura Lyles formed a Community Advisory Committee with over 20 volunteers from throughout Natchitoches. The committee put out a survey asking residents to give their anonymous input on different factors concerning what the School Board should look for in potential candidates.

There were 873 electronic responses, plus several hard copies that were turned in. Of these, 94% were Natchitoches Parish residents and 48% have children currently enrolled in the school district. There were also 22 students that completed the survey and 20% of respondents were School Board employees.

Of all the responses, 87% asked that the salary offered for the position be comparable to other districts of similar size. The majority of respondents want the new superintendent to have experience with personnel and budgeting. They want someone with integrity, commitment to the community, and is a good team builder. The leadership skills they’re looking for are problem solving, working with diverse groups of people, oral communication and strategic thinking.

The School Board voted to begin advertising on Dec. 10 with an application deadline of Feb. 7. They’ll retrieve applications from a dedicated post office box on Feb. 10. The Board approved the salary range to be set at $120,000-145,000 (Emile Metoyer voted in opposition of this).

Once the board has the applications in hand it will have to decide how many applicants to interview, choose who to interview, and the order in which the interviews will take place.

Other agenda items included:

Receive update on Parish 4-H activities

Recognize Lakeview Football Program

Approve bids for processed and frozen foods for use in the child nutrition program during Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020

Approve bids for paper and cleaning supplies for use in the child nutrition program during the period of Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020

Approve board meeting calendar for 2020


School Board recognizes Lakeview Football Program

The Natchitoches Parish School Board shook hands with players from Lakeview’s football program at its Thursday night meeting, Dec. 5. The Board recognized the student athletes for their hard work and dedication. They were treated to a cake after.

“We’ve had a lot of guys commit themselves to learning how to work as a team and win,” said Head Coach Brandon Helms. He introduced fellow coaches Kyle Woods, Todd Matney, Laurence Seawood, Cliff Jones, Chris Boyd and John Tabarlet.

He said they’ve broken 19 school records this past school year and averaged 42 points per game.

“We’re gonna continue to make this parish proud,” he said.


Local Merchants Partner with NPD to Bring Criminal to Justice

The Natchitoches Police Department responded to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center on Oct. 18 between 3:30-4 pm in reference to a shooting victim. Officers quickly learned that Jirah Lyons was riding with another individual down Amulet Street when an unknown person began shooting at their vehicle. The shooting took place in the area of Hedges Street and the heinous act nearly claimed the life of Lyons. Since then, the Natchitoches Police Department has been working tirelessly in an effort to bring the person responsible to justice.

Area businesses wishing to help have donated money to the cause and there is now a reward of $500 for information leading to the arrest of this criminal. Please contact Det. John Wynn 357-3811 or Lt. Jeff Townson 357-3852 with any assistance you can provide.

Original Release: October 18, 2019

Natchitoches Police seek public’s help in shooting that occurred on Amulet Street

The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a shooting that took place Friday afternoon on Amulet Street near Hedges Street.

On October 18, 2019 around 3:45 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were notified by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center that Jirah Lyons (B/F, 20 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) was at the hospital with a gun shot wound to the neck. Upon officers arrival to the hospital they were able to learn that Jirah Lyons and another individual were traveling on Amulet Street when an unknown individual began to shoot at their vehicle near Hedges Street.

The Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.

If you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective Alisha Roberson at (318) 357-3810. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.


NSU Calendar of Events

NSU– Here is a look at the week of Dec. 8-14 at Northwestern State University.

Dec. 8 – Jan. 12, 2020 – Registration for spring semester through NSUConnect

Dec. 9 – Jazz for Pups, NSU Jazz Combos benefit concert, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 – NSU Chamber Choir performs a program of “Lessons and Carols,” Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St., Natchitoches, 7:30 p.m.

NSU Calendar of Events

NSU– Here is a look at the week of Dec. 8-14 at Northwestern State University.

Dec. 8 – Jan. 12, 2020 – Registration for spring semester through NSUConnect

Dec. 9 – Jazz for Pups, NSU Jazz Combos benefit concert, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 – NSU Chamber Choir performs a program of “Lessons and Carols,” Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St., Natchitoches, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 11-13 – Makers’ Faire, Hanchey Gallery, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dec. 12 – “Cherokee Plantation on the Cane River” book signing, Watson Library, 4 p.m.

Dec. 14 – Christmas Gala at the Strand Theatre, 619 Louisiana Ave., Shreveport, 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 11-13 – Makers’ Faire, Hanchey Gallery, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dec. 12 – “Cherokee Plantation on the Cane River” book signing, Watson Library, 4 p.m.


Friends, family and community celebrate resident's 100th Birthday

Mayor Lee Posey and City Council Member Eddie Harrington presented Houston Cook with a special plaque of recognition on behalf of his 100th birthday on Dec. 5 at the Community Care Center.

“I appreciate this more than I know how to tell you,” said Houston.

Family and friends gathered earlier in the day for a party with cake and ice cream.

“Natchitoches loves you and we appreciate what you’ve done for your country,” said Posey.

Houston served in the Army from 1941-1945 as a mechanic and technician. He was in the 4th infantry division. His regiment was the very first to land on any of the beaches on D-Day. They landed on Utah Beach.

Posey has known Houston for almost 50 years. Posey worked at Tennessee Gas and Houston was a part of a great group of men that taught him a lot while he worked his summer job. Years later Houston lived in Posey’s district while he served as a City Council member from 1988-2008.

Houston’s daughter Regina Lugene Smith and granddaughter Veronica Cook were with him to celebrate such a special day, as well as Scooter Perot, who used to take care of Houston’s lawn when they were neighbors. His niece Layna and Jim Grau drove in from Florida. Also there to visit him were childhood friends Cheryl and Gary Jeter.

And Houston had plenty of birthday wishes from the over 100 birthday cards he received from friends and family.

Eddie Harrington, his wife Emily, and their two children Alice and Edmund met Houston through the First United Methodist Church.

“My wife brought dinner to him one evening and, knowing I’m a history buff, she told me he had several war medals on the wall,” said Eddie. “I had to go meet him.”

Eddie was amazed to discover Mr. Cook had landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, liberated Paris and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He then discovered, among several medals, Mr. Cook had received a French Legion of Honor. This award is the highest French honor for military service. Napoleon himself created this honor for his elite veteran troops.

Alice’s first grade class even watched a video about World War II and made cards for Mr. Cook’s birthday party.

“It was very important to Emily and I to have our kids get to know Mr Cook,” Eddie said. “My kids, like most, are into super heroes, and Mr. Cook is a real life super hero. They may not fully understand now but one day they will be able to say ‘I knew a man who landed on the beaches on D-Day. I knew a true hero.’”


Ponderings with Doug – December 6, 2019

I have been Santa twice in my life.

I danced fifteen shows with the Lake Charles Civic Ballet as Santa. I have the picture that went into the newspaper on the shelf in my office. I was also paid for my dancing. That makes me a professional dancer. I am no place near dancing with the stars. I was the “most active” Santa in the history of that ballet company. I look at that picture now and wonder,

“What were you thinking?”

Half of the shows were in Lafayette. In Lafayette we took a school bus from our hotel to the civic center. I was wearing street clothes. I was in a bus surrounded by kids and some of their parents. The little tyke sitting across the aisle was a boy of four or five. He was one of the elves in the show. I asked him, “What is Santa bringing you for Christmas?” His mom answered from her window seat, “In our household we don’t believe in Santa or other myths.” I made a mental note to avoid further conversations with this mom.

Later that afternoon I was backstage dressed as Santa. That little boy came up to me and tugged on my arm.

“Santa,” he said.

“I really do believe in you.”

Perhaps children develop their own belief systems despite our best efforts.

The other time I was Santa was at an elementary school in Bienville Parish. It was part of my duty as the father of two kids in the school. I walked around distributing candy and read stories to the children. As I was leaving that day a little boy blocked my path. He looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t believe in you because you didn’t come to my house last year.” That little boy still haunts my heart.

I should also count the first Christmas I was Santa for my kids. Andrew wanted a Teenage Ninja Turtle blimp. The blimp had a zillion parts. It also included the Yuletide lie, “some assembly required.” I began assembly at one in the morning and finished at four a.m. The kids were waking us up at five. In later years, Andrew confessed to hiding in the hall and watching us assemble his blimp.

That blimp led to our great family gift giving tradition, gift cards! No assembly required!

Can you tell, I’m thinking about the Christmas parade which will conclude with Santa? He will show up and the boys and girls will be excited and hopeful when they see him.

While you are pondering the existential ramifications of belief in Santa, remember we are celebrating the gospel truth that the creator of the universe was born into our world as a helpless baby. God loves you so much that He risked helplessness to come to earth to show His love for you.


ET hosts 5th annual Robotics Competition

Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology hosted the fifth annual Robotics Competition for middle school students Dec. 4, drawing 16 teams from regional schools who participated in several competitions.

Teams competed in a speed challenge, strength challenge, accuracy, maze and tug of war with robots that measured 12 x 12 x 12 inches. Winning teams received trophies and cash prizes to purchase technology.

Winners were Caddo Middle Magnet, first place; Rapides Academy, second place, and Donnie Bickham, third place. Other schools that participated were Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy and Natchitoches Magnet.

The agenda included a Smart Structures Show with demonstrations by students from NSU’s Engineering Technology Department and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.

Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of the Department of Engineering Technology, said the event is a way to recruit youngsters to pursue studies in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM). The event was supported by the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Coalition.

“Scientists and engineers are the people who build technology,” Al-Sharab said.

Information on NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology is available at https://engrtech.nsula.edu.

Rapides – Maze:

Lawson Kirsch and Kerry Fennix from Rapides Academy tested their robot prior to the maze competition at Northwestern State University’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. Rapides Academy won second place in the competition.

Natchitoches Magnet – Strength:

Timothy Rodriguez, center, and Marquis Miles, right, from Natchitoches Magnet School readied their robot for strength competition while NSU Engineering Technology student Caleb Vining recorded stats during NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. This is the first year Natchitoches Magnet’s Robotics Club has participated.

Tug of War:

Engineering Technology student Christopher Barron organized a tug of war showdown between two middle schools participating in NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. The event is designed to encourage interest in STEM studies and offer mentoring and resource information to regional schools through NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology.

1st Place Caddo Middle Magnet:

A team from Caddo Middle Magnet won first place at Northwestern State University’s fifth annual Robotics Competition.

2nd Place Rapides Academy:

Rapides Academy from Alexandria won second place at NSU’s Fifth annual Robotics Competition.

3rd Place Donnie Bickham:

Donnie Bickham Middle School from Shreveport won third place in NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition.


Young at Heart – FUMC Dec 4 Meeting

Young at Heart met Dec. 4 for its luncheon and a program of Christmas music by Dale Higginbotham and wife Linda on Piano and the entire group singing Christmas Carols. Pictured are Linda and Dale Higginbotham.

Blessing was made by Rev. Ron Brown and a first-time visitor was Susan Gunther.

Those celebrating birthdays in December were Elaine Johnson, Sophie Packard, Liz Smart, Liz Parchim, Beth Bright Windham, Sonny Evans, Evelyn Evans, Viola Porter, Dale Higginbotham, and Ethelene Bright. Also, Coach Leon Johnson and Elaine Johnson, and Leta Brown and Ron Brown were celebrating their anniversary.

Decorations were on an Angels theme provided by the Koinonia women’s circle.

The non-denominational Young at Heart meets at First Methodist at 411 2nd street on first Wednesdays most months to celebrate and enjoy a pot-luck lunch. Next month the first is on the first, so they will meet on January 8, 2020.


NSU Softball: Northwestern State announces tough 2020 schedule

The road to the 2019 Southland Conference softball championship literally went through Natchitoches as Northwestern State hosted the league tournament this past season.

It’s more figurative in 2020 with Southeastern hosting the SLC Tournament, but the Lady Demons will host many of the conference’s top teams from this past season as NSU released its 2020 softball schedule Thursday.

The Lady Demons welcome the top four seeds from this past season’s tournament to Natchitoches and another tournament participant as NSU plays five of its nine conference series at home.

NSU will prepare for that conference slate with a diverse non-conference schedule.

While the early slab of games doesn’t feature as many Power Five opponents as usual (only LSU in Baton Rouge on March 18), the Lady Demons will face five other national postseason participants in non-conference action.

NSU starts its season Feb. 8-9 at the Houston Invitational, which features NCAA Tournament members Houston and Fordham (Atlantic 10 champion) along with UMass-Lowell and Valparaiso.

“We get to play some different teams, and we’ll see how we match up against different styles of play,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett, who will enter his 12th season at NSU. “It’ll be a challenge to play against teams we don’t normally get to play against.

“The schedule is a little more diverse than in the past, and we’re excited about that.”

The Lady Demons host its second straight Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission Lady Demon Classic from Feb. 14-16. NSU will play Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Murray State three times each.

NSU cruises down to the Mardi Gras Mambo Tournament (Feb. 21-23) in Youngsville where they’ll face five different teams, including NCAA Tournament member Detroit Mercy (Horizon champion) and NISC participant Middle Tennessee. The Lady Demons will also face Houston Baptist in a non-conference contest along with Jacksonville and Mississippi Valley State.

Middle Tennessee is one of three opponents who played in the NISC, joining SLC members Stephen F. Austin and McNeese. Combine those with six NCAA Tournament opponents, and the Lady Demons play 17 games against nine opponents who reached national postseason events.

“The (NISC) makes the (regular season) more important because if you get to 30 wins or more, you can get invited to that tournament,” Pickett said. “We’ve been invited a couple of times but haven’t been able to make it work, but it gets you that postseason opportunity and extra experience in those bracket games. That helps you when you play in the SLC Tournament, and you’re competing against quality teams and getting better.”

The Lady Demons remain on the road for a Feb. 27 midweek at Jackson State before heading up to the Memphis Blues City Classic from Feb. 28-March 1.

Aside from Memphis, NSU will face Western Illinois, Northern Illinois, Evansville and North Alabama.

After a March 3 midweek at Grambling, NSU begins SLC play by hosting defending champion Sam Houston State (March 6-7).

The Lady Demons host SLC Tournament participant Lamar the following weekend (March 13-14) before hitting the road to LSU (March 18).

“It’s great that we play five of our nine series at home, but we host the top four teams from last year in terms of tournament seeding,” Pickett said. “It’s a challenging schedule that includes us playing against all seven of the other tournament teams from last year.

NSU will get a taste of SLC Tournament host Southeastern (March 20-21) in its first road conference series.

“It also benefits to play at the tournament site in Hammond because our freshmen and sophomores hadn’t played there yet,” Pickett said. “They can get a taste of it in that series before we go down there.”

NSU hosts NCAA Tournament member Louisiana Tech in a March 25 midweek and will return the trip against the Conference USA champion on April 1.

The Lady Demons will finish the five-game home stand with a series against Nicholls (March 27-28) and a March 31 midweek against Grambling.

A seven-game road trip awaits the Louisiana Tech midweek before heading to Central Arkansas (April 3-4) and Abilene Christian (April 10-11).

NSU returns home to face Stephen F. Austin (April 17-18) with an April 21 midweek against Southern.

The Lady Demons make its final road trip of the season to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (April 24-25) before finishing its season at home against McNeese (May 1-2).

The SLC Tournament will take place May 5-8 at Southeastern.

NORTHWESTERN STATE SOFTBALL SCHEDULE

Houston Invitational
Feb. 8 UMass-Lowell 9 a.m.
Feb. 8 Valpo 11 a.m.
Feb. 9 Fordham 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 9 at Houston 2 p.m.

NHDDC Lady Demon Classic
Feb. 14 Murray State Noon
Feb. 14 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 11 a.m.
Feb. 15 Murray State 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 Murray State 10 a.m.
Feb. 16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 12:30 p.m.

Mardi Gras Mambo Tournament (Youngsville)
Feb. 21 Houston Baptist 3 p.m.
Feb. 21 Detroit Mercy 5 p.m.
Feb. 22 Middle Tennessee 3 p.m.
Feb. 23 Jacksonville 10 a.m.
Feb. 23 Mississippi Valley St. 2 p.m.
Feb. 27 at Jackson State (DH) 3 p.m.

Memphis Blues City Classic
Feb. 28 at Memphis 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 28 Western Illinois 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 29 Evansville 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 29 North Alabama 4:30 p.m.
March 1 Northern Illinois 9 a.m.
March 3 at Grambling 3 p.m.
March 6 *Sam Houston St. (DH) 4 p.m.
March 7 *Sam Houston St. 1 p.m.
March 13 *Lamar (DH) 4 p.m.
March 14 *Lamar 1 p.m.
March 18 at LSU 6 p.m.
March 20 *at Southeastern 5 p.m.
March 21 *at Southeastern Noon
March 25 Louisiana Tech 6 p.m.
March 27 *Nicholls (DH) 4 p.m.
March 28 *Nicholls Noon
March 31 Grambling 6 p.m.
April 1 at Louisiana Tech 6 p.m.
April 3 *at Central Arkansas 4 p.m.
April 4 *at Central Arkansas 1 p.m.
April 10 *at Abilene Christian (DH) 5 p.m.
April 11 *at Abilene Christian Noon
April 17 *Stephen F. Austin (DH) 4 p.m.
April 18 *Stephen F. Austin 1 p.m.
April 21 Southern 5 p.m.
April 24 *at TAMU-CC 1 p.m.
April 25 *at TAMU-CC Noon
May 1 *McNeese TBA
May 2 *McNeese TBA


Natchitoches Native Serves Aboard USS Paul Hamilton

Natchitoches native Lona Rachal joined the Navy in 2016. Military service was a dream she always wanted to pursue.

Lona is the daughter of Priscilla Gay and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Rachal Jr. of Natchitoches. She attended Northwestern State University Lab Schools and graduated from Natchitoches Central High School in 1999. She briefly attended NSU before going on to graduate as Outstanding Graduate in Modern Languages from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette in 2006.

“Serving my country is an honor because I love my family and the morals and values that the military protects for our country,” said Lona. “I had good jobs after graduating high school, but the military was always in the back of my mind. I just had to know if it was for me. I didn’t want to look back later on in my life and say, ‘I wish I had done it, and regret that I never tried.’ Plus, if you know me personally, you know that I love a good adventure.”

Lona is definitely getting the adventure she loves. She works on the USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), the best guided missile destroyer in the Fleet! This ship’s primary mission is ballistic missile defense (BMD), and it is part of the nuclear defense triad. The ship and its crew is capable of completing 25 other missions as well, including undersea warfare, cyber warfare, and anti-surface warfare.

Lona is a Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, so she takes care of the more than 350 crew members, as well as any civilian contractors that come onboard.

“I do my best to keep everyone healthy and happy by providing high quality medical care and keeping a positive attitude,” she said. “I run sick call, assist with medical treatments, and teach the crew basic lifesaving skills. Additionally, I am the command photographer and serve as an assistant Career Counselor onboard. I am taking on the role of Lay Leader onboard, which is the command’s religious program leader.”

At the end of the day, Lona’s passion is helping sailors. The crew aboard the USS Paul Hamilton is a great group of individuals who make every day a joy for her.

“The amount of support and respect I receive from the upper chain of command all the way to the newest check-ins makes what I do the best,” she said. “I love getting to pass my knowledge to the other corpsmen, as well as undesignated sailors who are looking for inspiration in career choices.”


LSWA names Robin Fambrough, Kent Lowe 2020 Distinguished Service Award inductees

Baton Rouge prep sportswriter Robin Fambrough and veteran LSU basketball sports information director Kent Lowe have been selected for the 2020 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, and will be inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame next June.

Fambrough has produced and coordinated high school sports coverage for the Baton Rouge Advocate for 30 years, while also serving the LSWA in leadership capacities including a crucial stint as the organization’s first female president in 1999-2001. As the LSWA’s liaison with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association since the mid-1990s, she has played a pivotal role for both organizations.

Lowe, senior associate sports communications director for LSU since 2000, has won national and state awards for his press releases, columns and publications at LSU. The longtime LSWA treasurer, and a past president of the organization, Lowe has been the driving force since 2002 behind the Cox Sports Television show spotlighting the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies. He has also been an acclaimed bowling columnist for The Advocate, along with being involved in the thoroughbred racing public relations field at Louisiana Downs and assisting with the Independence Bowl in his hometown of Shreveport.

The DSA honor, to be made official June 27 in Natchitoches, means they will be among the elite 12-person Class of 2020 being inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Fambrough and Lowe were selected from a 24-person pool of outstanding nominees for the state’s top sports journalism honor.

The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism is the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state. Recipients are chosen by the 35-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on nominees’ professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national arenas, with leadership in the LSWA a contributing factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.

Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 433 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Just 64 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception 37 years ago in 1982.

Fambrough and Lowe will be among the 2020 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 27, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the highlight of the 2020 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 25, with a regionally-televised (Cox Sports Television) press conference at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.

Outdoorsman Phil Robertson, recognized internationally as the Duck Commander, and former LSU football coach Nick Saban, who won 75 percent of his games and the 2003 national championship in five seasons with the Tigers, join eight-time Mr. Olympia world bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman and another global sports figure, Sweet Lou Dunbar of the Harlem Globetrotters, among a star-studded group of eight competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

The LSHOF Class of 2020 also includes a pair of multiple-year Pro Bowl NFL standouts, New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn and Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, a star at UL Lafayette, along with two extraordinary basketball players: New Orleans native Kerry Kittles, a two-time All-America guard at Villanova who averaged 14 points in an eight-year NBA career, and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball legend Angela Turner, who helped her teams to four straight national championship game appearances including wins in 1981 and 1982.

Also honored with enshrinement in the Class of 2020 will be the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner and the inaugural recipient of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Ambassador Award, to be announced this week.

The 2020 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

The selection of Fambrough and Lowe was jointly announced Tuesday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Lenny Vangilder.

“Robin and Kent are truly transcendent figures in our state’s sports journalism history,” said Ireland. “For better than three decades, they have filled leadership roles in their fields. Robin has been a guiding force in high school sports coverage not only for the Advocate’s readers, but benefitting the LSWA and the LHSAA through her unique roles associated with the organizations. On the college level, through his leadership of the state’s SIDs, All-Louisiana teams, and his influence in the sports information field nationally, and his deep involvement with the LSWA and our annual Hall of Fame induction activities, Kent has an equally distinctive status.”

In spring 2019, Fambrough became the fourth sportswriter, and the first female reporter, to be inducted in the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame. In her 30th year at The Advocate, and in 29 years as the lead high school sportswriter, she has been recognized five times as the LSWA’s Division I prep writer of the year.

The Louisville, Kentucky, native received the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s prep journalism award in 2001 and 2016. Fambrough was presented the LHSAA’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award, the 2003 DSA from the Louisiana High School Coaches Association, and the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association.

A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Fambrough also worked for two other Louisiana newspapers, the Daily Comet in Thibodaux and the Alexandria Town Talk.

She served as the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s first female president from 1999-2001 at a pivotal time as the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies moved to Shreveport, gaining traction for development of a museum. Fambrough has been part of the LSWA’s Hall of Fame selection committee for three decades.

She has coordinated the LSWA’s All-State selection process in all prep sports for nearly her entire tenure at The Advocate. Fambrough has been a liaison between the LSWA and the LHSAA, providing vital insight to help facilitate best practices for prep coverage by the media and assisting in the development of the Louisiana High School Sports Hall.

Fambrough is on the selection committee for the high school hall and also coordinates The Advocate’s prestigious Star of Stars High School Sports Awards each spring.

A member of the LSU Sports Communications staff since August 1988 who started his 32nd athletic year at LSU in August 2019, Lowe was appointed senior associate communications director in August 2000. He serves as the primary media contact for the LSU men’s basketball team and assists in the overall Sports Communications office in other sports as needed.

In June 2018, Lowe was presented the College Sports Information Directors of America Achievement Award for the University Division (Division I) recognizing his accomplishments in the profession on a national scale. Only one winner is chosen annually.

He has also for the past 26 years written an award-winning bowling column for The Advocate after writing a bowling column for the Shreveport Times for a decade. In 2018, he was inducted into the Louisiana State Bowling Association Hall of Fame for his service to the sport. He was previously inducted into the Baton Rouge Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

Lowe was the 2009 recipient of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America Media Award which recognizes a national and/or local, non-bowling industry media representative who, through either print or electronic media, made a significant contribution to further the sport of and business of bowling.

An expert kegler as well, in 2018, he won the Baton Rouge City bowling singles championship.

Lowe, 61, came to LSU from Louisiana Downs where he served in several capacities for the Bossier City racetrack. He was head writer, broadcast director and later publicity director, broadcasting race results on stations in three states, including two 50,000-watt stations. Lowe hosted a weekly talk show and stakes races live from the track including several radio broadcasts of the $1 million Super Derby which was broadcast on a network of stations in a three-state area and Armed Forced Radio.

During the 1980s, he worked with 2019 DSA winner Dave Nitz on the opening two years of modern-era minor league baseball broadcasts in Shreveport.

Lowe is a member of CoSIDA, which voted his 2010 men’s basketball media guide “Best in the Nation” and his 2012 men’s basketball guide third in the nation. He is a member of CoSIDA’s prestigious Academic All-American committee as well.

Lowe is also a past president and current treasurer of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association who has won numerous first-place awards for writing, media guides and fact sheets in the group’s annual media contest.

He has much radio and TV broadcast and production experience with LSU and the LSWA. In 1988-89, he was the play-by-play voice for LSU women’s basketball. For over a decade, he has done color for LSU softball and women’s basketball broadcasts.

Lowe began his professional writing career under Hall of Famers Bill McIntyre and Gerry Robichaux at the Shreveport Times and began writing bowling in Baton Rouge under the editorship of Butch Muir.

The Shreveport native is heavily involved with the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and for the past 17 years has helped host and produce the now live, nationally-televised induction ceremonies. Lowe was the driving force behind getting Cox Sports Television on board as the Hall’s TV partner.

A 1979 graduate from LSU-Shreveport, he earned his masters’ degree at LSU in 1982, working in the sports information office under CoSIDA and LSHOF Hall of Famer Paul Manasseh.

Lowe was named Mr. Jesuit Flyer as a senior at Shreveport’s Jesuit (now Loyola) High School. He has stayed connected in his hometown in an iconic role on the Independence Bowl game day staff for three decades as the press box announcer and unofficial historian.

The 2020 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 25, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Saturday night, June 27 Induction Dinner and Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available through the LaSportsHall.com website.

Anyone can receive quarterly e-mails about the 2020 Induction Celebration and other Hall of Fame news by signing up on the LaSportsHall.com website.

Adding to the 350 sports competitors currently enshrined, 19 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 64 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 433 current members of the Hall of Fame before this summer’s inductions.

The 2020 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040.


CITY OF NATCHITOCHES: Assistant Recreation Director

POSITION: Assistant Recreation Director – Recreation Department

DESCRIPTION: Assists the Recreation Director in performing a variety of complex professional and administrative work in planning, developing, scheduling, directing and implementing a year round, city wide recreation program.

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited university in Recreation or Parks Administration or other related field and at least 6 months related experience.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department, located at 1400 Sabine St. or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or may be downloaded at www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION:

Applications will be accepted through December 9, 2019

The City of Natchitoches is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.


Natchitoches Youth named 2020 Young Hunter Award Winner

Republished from biggame.org

DSC is pleased to announce DSC Life Member Kaylee Ann Stacy, of Natchitoches, Louisiana, as the 2020 recipient of the Colin Caruthers Young Hunter Award. This award honors young hunters who have met a very strict set of criteria for hunting and academic achievement, as well as community service and leadership.

The award is named for Colin Caruthers, the son of Tommy and Pat Caruthers, longtime DSC Life Members who have been integral to the development of outdoor education programs for DSC. Colin was an avid hunter and wildlife enthusiast from an early age. A people person, he thrived on the camaraderie of the hunting lease and enjoyed learning from other hunters. DSC honors this young hunter’s devotion to hunting and conservation through this award.

This honor will be bestowed on Stacy at the DSC Annual Convention, Heritage, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, at the gala banquet. This event will be held in the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. Following the awards ceremony, there will be a live auction to raise funds for the DSC mission.

An 8th grader at Northwestern State University of Lousiana Middle Laboratory School, Stacy has already established herself as an exceptional hunter and conservationist. She has enjoyed numerous hunts with her family in North America, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand. She has had the opportunity to harvest many impressive animals, such as greater kudu, Moluccan rusa deer, chamois, Himalayan tahr and others.

Stacy has already accumulated numerous hunting achievements, including several trophy awards from DSC. She is also a life member of seven hunting conservation organizations including DSC, NRA, RMEF, HSC, SCI, TGR and WSF and a member of DU. Stacy volunteered as an auction assistant at the 2019 DSC Life Member Breakfast.

“We are delighted to encourage young hunters with this honor,” Colin Caruthers Young Hunter Award Committee Chair Amy Callendar said. “Kaylee is the type of hunter whose enthusiasm and commitment are infectious, and she gives us hope for the future of conservation and our hunting heritage.”

Stacy said, “I love to hunt with my mom and dad. I am involved in several different hunting and conservation organizations. All of these organizations promote hunters’ safety and awareness, wildlife conservation, and achievement recognition for accomplished hunters. Furthering my skills in hunting are valuable life skills. Hunting and wildlife conservation continues to teach me respect, patience, safety, and self-discipline.”

Stacy’s accomplishments continue outside the hunting world as well. She is an active member of 4-H, a member of the NSU Middle Lab Cheer Team, a member of the Jr. Beta club, a violinist with the school orchestra and is involved in numerous citizenship and community volunteer projects. Congratulations to this outstanding young hunter!

For more information, visit www.biggame.org.

About DSC

A member of IUCN and FACE, DSC is a mission-focused conservation organization, funded by hunters from around the world. With an administrative staff of less than 15 and a volunteer army of 500, DSC hosts the Greatest Hunters Convention on the Planet™ that raises funds for grants in conservation, outdoor education and hunter advocacy. In the past five years, more than $5 million has been channeled to qualified projects, organizations and programs in support of that mission. 

About DSCF

DSC Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. DSC Foundation serves the mission of DSC to conserve wildlife and wilderness lands, to educate youth and the general public and to promote and protect the rights and interests of hunters worldwide.