NPSO: A Shreveport man with ties to Natchitoches Parish wanted by Texas and Louisiana authorities arrested

Moody is presumed innocent until proven guilty

NPSO: SHREVEPORT MAN WITH TIES TO NATCHITOCHES PARISH WANTED BY TEXAS AND LOUSIANA AUTHORITIES IN CONNECTION WITH JEWELRY STORE HEISTS ARRESTED BY NPSO DEPUTIES DURING I-49 STOP NEAR CYPRESS

(Cypress)-A Shreveport man with ties to Natchitoches Parish wanted in connection with a Texas jewelry store heist and other similar crimes in central and north Louisiana was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate-49 near Cypress on Wednesday morning according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

On July 1, 2022, at approximately 1:25 pm, Longview Police Officers responded to a reported robbery at Kay Jewelers in the Longview Mall in Longview, Texas.

Longview Police learned during the investigation, that a man and woman “posed as customers by walking up to the jewelry counter and began looking at jewelry”.

A man later identified as 39-year-old Lester Ray Moody of Shreveport allegedly reached into his pocket, pulled out a can of pepper spray, and sprayed the employee.

Moody and an unidentified female ran out of a nearby store with an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

Longview Police detectives gathered information and continued the investigation which included reviewing business surveillance video.

That would later lead to a positive identification of Moody.

Longview Police released images of Moody to the public for assistance in mid-July.

As the investigation progressed, Longview Police learned that some of the possible stolen jewelry had been sold at a local Natchitoches Pawn Shop.

Detectives with the NPSO High Tech Crime Unit went to and with the assistance of the cooperating pawn shop confirmed the expensive piece of jewelry was taken in the Longview robbery.

Detectives also gathered additional evidence at the pawnshop confirming Moody pawned the jewelry.

Detectives collected the jewelry for evidence.

NPSO Detectives obtained sufficient evidence and probable cause to secure criminal warrants signed by a 10th Judicial District Court Judge for the arrest of Moody.

The investigation continued with NPSO Detectives learning that Moody had been arrested in Rapides Parish on a similar offense and that he was wanted in Richland Parish for Armed Robbery of a Jewelry Store, and a Person of Interest in Jewelry Store robbery in Morehouse Parish.

Detectives would continue networking with Texas and Louisiana law enforcement agencies gathering intelligence information on Moody pertinent to their investigations.

On Wednesday morning August 10, NPSO Detective Sgt. V. Kay was traveling on La. Hwy 1 near Cypress when he observed Moody and an unidentified female at a local business.

Detective Kay would conduct stationary surveillance of Moody requesting assistance from patrol deputies.

Shortly thereafter Moody and the female would leave the business and as they were entering I-49 at Cypress, deputies initiated a traffic stop stopping them.

Deputies arrested Moody without incident.

The female was released at the scene.

*Lester Ray Moody, 39, of the 3400 block of Plesant Drive, Shreveport, La. was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-Count of Felony Robbery in Longview, Texas, 1-Count of Armed Robbery in Richland Parish, 2-Counts of Theft by Fraud in Natchitoches Parish, and 2 Warrants from Natchitoches Police Department.

Other charges are pending in Morehouse Parish.

Moody remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center with holds from Texas, Richland, and Morehouse Parishes.

This is an ongoing investigation.

By being alert and paying attention to his surroundings, Detective Kay may have prevented other robberies from being committed in central and north Louisiana.

We commend Detective Kay, Detective Giannone, and patrol deputies for their assistance during this arrest.

If you have any information contact NPSO High Tech Crime Unit Detectives Michael Giannone or Sgt. Victor Kay at 318-357-7811.


Update: Suspect arrested for Aggravated Arson at J.W. Thomas Apartments

Billy Stephens Jr. is presumed innocent until proven guilty

Investigators with the Natchitoches Police Department and the Natchitoches Fire Department have arrested Billy Stephens Jr. for an aggravated arson that occurred at J.W. Thomas Apartments last month.

Billy Stephens Jr. was arrested without incident and was placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

If you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Assistant Fire Chief Kory Leo at (318) 357-3860. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Original Story: The Natchitoches Fire Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Billy Stephens Jr. who is wanted for Aggravated Arson

The Natchitoches Fire Department is asking the public for assistance in locating, Billy Stephens Jr. (B/M, weighing 184 pounds, around 5’11” and 58 y.o.a.).

On June 28, 2022 around 2:03 a.m., the Natchitoches Fire Department responded to a structure fire at the Natchitoches Thomas Apartments located at 500 North Street. While the Natchitoches Fire Department was fighting the fire a witness was able to tell investigators that Billy Stephens Jr. intentionally set a basket of blankets on fire after he was told to leave the apartment. Stephens then fled the area prior to the police and fire departments arrival.

If you have seen Billy Stephens Jr. please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Assistant Fire Chief Kory Leo at (318) 357-3860. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

How to report an anonymous tip via Natchitoches Crime Stoppers:

You can also report a tip anonymously by downloading the P3 Tips app on your smart phone or by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388. All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward up to $2,000 for the arrest of an offender.

Corporal John Greely
Public Information Officer
Natchitoches Police Department

Release Date: August 8, 2022


Natchitoches Parish Fire Districts participate in training focused on electric vehicles

Natchitoches Parish-wide fire training took place on Aug. 9. NFD along with Fire Districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 10 participated in training focused on electric vehicles and the challenges they present to the fire service.

As sales of electric and hybrid vehicles increase, the fire service must adapt and modify tactics to properly respond to incidents involving these types of vehicles.

Potential hazards of electric vehicles (EV) are:

-EV batteries have little tolerance for impacts that cause penetration or significant compression. This causes the batteries to heat up and release pressurized gases that are both toxic and flammable. Penetrating traumas often result in immediate ignition. Typically, the fire will burn until the batteries are all consumed even with upwards of 30,000 gallons used to cool the batteries.

-When the upper end of the safe operating temperature range is exceeded significantly, EV batteries can heat and swell and go into thermal runaway. This can be a result of external fire exposure, overcharging, over-discharging, or internal short-circuiting. This type of EV fire will require extraordinary amounts of water to extinguish and cool the batteries.

-EV contain High Voltage components that pose a significant risk to firefighters and patients during an extrication following an accident. Knowing the location of HV components helps ensure firefighters can safely use extrication tools to access patients.

-EV can reignite multiple times due to the nature of the lithium-ion battery configuration. This poses an additional threat to vehicle removal and storage.


Louisiana’s first little league world champions celebrated at the LSHOF

They made history by becoming the first Louisiana team crowned Little League World Series Champions in 2019. Now, a celebration of their achievement is on deck with a special exhibit at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. A new exhibit called The East Bank All-Stars: Making Little League History honoring the Jefferson Parish team was unveiled on Aug. 7 during a private reception at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches.

“Winning the Little League World Series is truly a great accomplishment for such an outstanding group of young men, and to be the first team from Louisiana to win this championship, is something special,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “We are honored to be able to recognize their magical baseball season in a way that everyone who visits the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum can enjoy and feel as though they were a part of it.”

In addition to becoming Louisiana’s first Little League World Series Champions, the Eastbank All-Stars became the first team since the tournament’s expansion to 16 teams in 2001 – and second in the tournament’s history – to win the title after losing their first game. Despite that first loss in tournament play, the team from River Ridge maintained their confidence and determination to put together a six-game win streak, outscoring opponents 44-8, including three shutout victories. On August 25, 2019, the Eastbank All-Stars Little League team capped their dramatic run with an 8-0 victory over Curaçao at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The exhibition includes a diverse array of artifacts from the team’s experiences playing in the 2019 Little League World Series, many of which the players loaned for the display. Artifact highlights include equipment used and uniforms worn by the players, Mardi Gras throws made especially for the team, and items from their flight home from the White House aboard Air Force One.

“On behalf of Eastbank Little League and the members of the 2019 Louisiana state champion team, I want to thank Lt. Governor Nungesser and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum. It’s an honor to have an exhibit on display recognizing all the hard work, dedication, and accomplishments of these talented young men who were a part of Louisiana’s 2019 Little League World Series championship team,” said Eastbank All-Star Coach Scott Frasier. 

The Eastbank All-Stars:  Making Little League History will be on display at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in downtown Natchitoches through July 2023. 

The museum is located at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches and is open between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for students, senior citizens, and active military, and free for children age six and under. Visit LouisianaStateMuseum.org for more information.

THE TEAM:

Egan Prather:

Whether on the mound or behind the plate Egan Prather, #24, made a strong impact at the Little League World Series. A talented catcher but most known for his pitching performances, Egan came up BIG against New Jersey, throwing 5 1/3 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 10, which was the most by an American pitcher heading into the Championship game. In the Championship game against Curaçao, he threw a complete game shutout and struck out 6. Egan was selected to the 2019 United States All-Star team. Egan attends Brother Martin High School and is a proud member of The Crusader Varsity Baseball team.

Ryan Darrah:

Ryan Darrah, #10, was the starting center fielder and lead off batter for most of the LLWS. He made a number of on the run catches and batted .333 including a walk off single in the game vs Minnesota. Ryan bookended the run for the title with the first hit in district play against Bogalusa being a home run, and a single as the last hit of the championship game against Curaçao.

Jeff Curtis:

Jeffrey, #12, came off the bench in the 5th inning to pinch hit in the United States Championship game vs. Hawaii. He led the inning off and promptly smacked a double off the wall in dead center field to ignite a rally that ultimately led to his team taking the lead and winning the game. Jeffrey embraced his role on the team as a pinch hitter and reserve catcher/outfielder. Jeffrey attends John Curtis Christian School and is 15 years old.

Gavin Berry:

Gavin Lee Berry, #15, left fielder for the 2019 LLWS USA and International Champion team. Gavin is currently an honor roll student-athlete at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans. He continued his love for the game and earned a position as an outfielder on both the junior varsity and varsity Brother Martin baseball team. Gavin is also a current member of the Louisiana Gators Elite travel baseball team where he continues to compete in national tournaments. Gavin is known to play all outfield positions; however, his primary position is now centerfield. He is known for his speed and athleticism.  He currently runs the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds. His speed has allowed him to be an asset to his teams as a center fielder and base runner. 

Reece Roussel:

Reece Roussel, #22, played RF and batted .739 in the Little League World Series. He was 17 for 23 at the plate with his 17 hits setting a Little League World Series record. He also recorded another Little League World Series record with 7 doubles shared with teammate Marshall Louque. Other records where he tied for first include: most doubles in a game (3) and most extra-base hits in a game (4). Other awards include Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the month for August 2019 and 2019 Sports Illustrated, Sportskid.

Will Andrade;

Will, #5, played 3B/Pitcher. He made ESPNs top ten plays of the day – twice at SW regionals.  He pitched 9 innings with zero earned runs at the World Series.  He was the winning pitcher against Hawaii in the US championship game on his 12th  birthday. He currently attends Holy Cross High School.

Peyton Spadoni:

Peyton, #6, had a great time meeting the players from all over the world. He especially enjoyed playing ping pong and video games with the Italian and Australian players in the clubhouse. Peyton’s best moment on the field was getting a base hit in the US Championship game. He was often chosen or pushed into being the team’s public spokesperson. He recited the Little League Player pledge on the field before the World Championship game, conducted interviews, and even was pushed to the front to speak at Trump’s rally in front of a huge crowd in Lake Charles.  Creating memories with his teammates and coaches was something he will never forget! Peyton attends Rummel High School.

Conner Perrot:

Conner, #9, was the first baseman/pitcher for the Southwest Little League Team.  Highlights include a home run and being part of a triple play in Waco that made ESPN’s top play of the day.  It was exciting to learn that my picture was featured in the New Orleans newspaper with the tagline “Let’s Go”. Conner attends Rummel High School.

Alton Shorts:

Alton, #2, is 15 years old and entering the 10th grade. He plays 3rd Base and Short Stop at De La Salle High school. He also plays Basketball. 

Stan Wiltz, IV:

Stan Wiltz, #4, played shortstop for the Southwest Team during the Little League World Series. He along with his teammates was featured for a triple play on ESPN top ten plays. He ended both the US Championship and the World Championship with the final outs. He is still enjoying baseball with his high school Brother Martin. In addition, Stan plays for the LA Gators.

Derek DeLatte:                                                                                                                          

Derek (#7) batted .400 in Williamsport and led off the World Championship game with a line drive to center field and came around to score what wound up being the winning run. In the Regional to get to the World Series, he led the team in hitting, batting a whopping .777. He only struck out one time in all of regular league play, district, state, regionals, and the World Series. Derek made the varsity team this summer at Jesuit High School in New Orleans as a rising freshman. As an 8th grader last year, Derek had a 4.0 in the classroom.

Ryder Planchard:                                                                                                                     

Ryder Planchard, #3, is15 years old and a current Sophomore at Holy Cross High School in New Orleans.  He played catcher, 3rd base, and pitched during the LLWS. The opportunity he had with Little League and the places he went as well as the people he met will last a lifetime.  It was truly something he never will forget and was an amazing experience.

Marshall Louque 

Marshall, #23, was the starting 3rd baseman and pitcher for Eastbank.  He pitched against Texas West and hit 2 home runs to put Eastbank in the championship game.  He also started in the championship game against Texas West claiming the title of Southwest regional Champs, punching their ticket to Williamsport.  While in Williamsport, Marshall was the starting pitcher for the first game against Hawaii.  He threw a no-hitter against Virginia to place Southwest into the USA championship game and holds the record for most doubles in Little League. Marshall attends Lutcher High School.  His freshman year as a starter for the varsity baseball team was a stellar one.  Marshall helped Lutcher claim the 2022 3A baseball Championship. Marshall was named district MVP, Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year, All Metro, and 2nd Team All American Small Schools.  Finishing his freshman debut with a batting average of .480, 61 hits, 6 home runs, 52 RBIs and his pitching era of .246.  Marshall is being highly recruited by several colleges.


Give lightning some distance, because a bolt packs quite a jolt

The folks at the TV station had cautioned everyone about the possibility of thunderstorms in our area. OK, so we had been warned, so while we kept our eyes on the skies, life around our house was continuing as normal, one morning about a year ago.

As the rain began falling, I made sure our garage door was closed and I settled down with my morning coffee inside rather than taking my usual treasured spot on the back porch. Kay was folding laundry as we watched the rain fall, the sky darkens and periodic flashes of lightning and accompanying thunder drew closer.

Without warning, it sounded as if a bomb detonated inside our house. The explosion was ear-splitting and with all the tall pines around our house, we knew that a bolt struck one of them.

Recovering from the blast, I cautiously stepped into the garage to begin assessing the damage. Strangely, the garage door I had closed only moments ago had opened by itself. Hitting the switch to close it, nothing happened; the bolt had knocked out the remote control.

Next, I checked our alarm system; it was also dead. The biggie, though, was when we activated the central air system and it was inoperative.

The sum total of damages resulted in replacement and repair costs approaching $2,000. Fortunately, homeowners insurance paid a portion but we had to pay the difference.

I began a search later that day for the tree that lightning had struck to cause such damage to our home. It was not until several weeks later that I noticed the tell-tale results of a dying tree, the little white globs of resin that begin showing up once a tree begins it demise. Bugs had started working on the tree that lightning had struck, a tall pine that stood within 10 steps of our garage.

Lightning is something that can be deadly. A typical lightning flash is about 300 million volts and about 30,000 amps. In comparison, the household current is 120 volts and 15 amps. Wow, no wonder we experienced damage when it hit a tree so close to our house.

When lightning strikes a tree, water in the cells instantly begins to boil, creating steam and the expanding steam can explode, cracking or stripping off the bark.

Another source said that lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the U.S. Did you know you can be struck by lightning when the center of the thunderstorm is 10 miles away?

Several years ago, I witnessed the aftermath of a lightning strike on a big oak at Lincoln Parish Park. The tree was virtually blown apart with strips of bark catapulted several yards from the trunk.

On another occasion, hay was being baled in the pasture across the road from our home with round bales on the ground waiting for pick-up. A bolt of lightning struck one of the bales and I watched in amazement during a heavy rainstorm as the bale caught fire and was burning.

This is the time of year when folks are out on the lake fishing, boating, or skiing and it’s also the time when thunderstorms can crop up quickly. If skies darken and the rumble of thunder is heard, it’s time to leave the water and seek shelter until the storm passes.

Lightning can be deadly and can do strange things, like causing a garage door to open by itself or setting a hay bale on fire.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Congratulations to our outdoors columnist, Glynn Harris, for adding to his legendary awards stash in the recently-announced Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association writing contest.

LOWA celebrated its 75th-anniversary last weekend with its annual convention in Thibodaux. Excellence in Craft awards were presented and Harris collected three articles he wrote for various publications before joining the Natchitoches Parish Journal this spring.

He won first and third-place awards for his syndicated articles and a first in the “magazine short story” category. A Goldonna native and proud Northwestern State University graduate, Harris is one of the most acclaimed outdoors writers in LOWA history.

Harris is a weekly contributor to the Natchitoches Parish Journal, with his column appearing every Friday.

Contact Glynn at GlynnHarris37@gmail.com


NRMC Launches Program for Northwestern State University Student Health Services

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) is pleased to announce that the health system will be overseeing all aspects of clinical care and services for Northwestern State University’s (NSU) student health needs with the commencement of the fall semester.

“We are ready to serve the students at NSU and help them in any way needed,” explained Kirk Soileau, NRMC Chief Executive Officer. “This program further strengthens the relationship between the hospital and the university. NSU is a wonderful university with a growing student body. With this new service, students will benefit from having access to a broad spectrum of care including services beyond the campus infirmary should they need it.”

Soileau noted that this service will become an extension of the NRMC Walk-In Clinic, and students will have access to care 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can also access Telemedicine services and have access to NRMC Pharmacy services. The retail Pharmacy, located in the Multispecialty Clinic on Keyser Avenue, is open 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

The medical directors of the student-focused service are Dr. Mary Long and Dr. Michelle Mayeaux. The clinic manager is Charlotte Rhodes, RN; Nanette Bienville, RN, oversees NRMC clinics; and Misty Lester, RN, is the nurse practitioner coordinator.

Pictured (L to R): Jessica Nash, RN Director of Health Services; Kirk Soileau, NRMC CEO; Dr. Marcus Jones, NSU President; Misty Lester, NP; Jennifer Kelly Executive Director of External Affairs; Beth Houghtby, RN; Yvonne Grant, RN; and Charlotte Rhodes, NRMC Walk-In Clinic Manager.


To Him, Baseball is Still America’s Game

By Joe Darby

It’s 6:15 p.m. on a Thursday evening as I write this. A few minutes ago I watched some of the pre-game ceremonies for this year’s Major League Baseball’s Field of Dreams game. If you’re a fan, you know what I’m talking about. If not, let me explain.

In 1989, Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones starred in what is probably the best baseball movie ever made, with some arguments perhaps being made for “The Natural.” Field of Dreams, if you didn’t see it, it involves an Iowa corn farmer, Costner, who hears voices that direct him on amazing quests to build a ball field in his corn field, track down a mysterious, reclusive writer, and finally search out an old physician (Burt Lancaster) who in his youth appeared on one major league game only.

These quests are fulfilled and all come together in a way that makes for such a heart-warming ending (also involving Costner’s deceased dad) that this film has become almost a cult favorite over the years. I know I love it and have seen it many times. “If you build it, they will come,” the voice told Costner’s character.

And come they did. One of the great scenes in the movie is when the disgraced 1919 Chicago White Sox, who threw the World Series that year to the Cincinnati Reds, emerges from Costner’s corn field in wonderment, to play a game. This is a chance to redeem themselves for the greatest sin ever committed in baseball. And they do so. It’s a beautiful moment.

So, Major League Baseball, always open to finding ways to promote the game, has initiated an annual Field of Dreams game, played in a specially built ballpark adjacent to the area in Iowa where the movie was filmed 33 years ago. This year the game was between the Reds, who wore replicas of their 1919 uniforms, and the Chicago Cubs, who donned uniforms that the pennant-winning Cubs wore back in 1929. Both teams, rather than running in from their dugouts, came onto the field from the corn patch. Another very special moment for ball fans.

I love this game. I will acknowledge that football is consistently more exciting than baseball, although the diamond game does have its moments. And baseball cannot compete with basketball for speed and action..

But, by gosh, baseball is still America’s game. It’s part of our history. Soldiers from the Revolutionary War played primitive forms of the game, with many men on each side, and the game was even more popular in the Civil War, taking the soldiers’ minds off the war for a couple of hours of fun and exercise.

Pro football didn’t get started until the 1920s, and then it was pretty primitive. The NBA came along even later. But the National League got underway in 1876, for gosh sake. That’s 146 years ago! The American League, a comparative baby, started big league games in 1903. There’s a connectivity to this game that runs through generations.

My grandfather Tom Armstrong was born in 1880. I played catch with him when I was a lad in the late 1940s and he was in his 60s. He also loved baseball and had what he called his special Lollapalooza pitch. It wasn’t easy for a little boy to catch, I can tell you. He would have been in his 20s when the early greats like Ty Cobb, Hans Wagner, and Christy Mathewson were playing. He was already in middle age when Babe Ruth was flourishing in the 1920s.

My dad was a fan of the stars of the 1930s and ’40s. I fell in love with the game in the early ’50s, becoming an instant fan of the great New York Yankees teams of those years, with Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford. I still love the sport and I’m still a Yankee fan, although I just like to watch the game. I am getting ready to go back and watch the contest between the Reds and Cubs. I hope you saw it too.


NSU calendar for August 14-20

Here is a look at the week of August 14-20 at Northwestern State University.

August 14 – Registration for the fall semester

August 14 – Sept. 2 — Hotter ‘N Hell National Collegiate Art Exhibition, Hanchey Gallery. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

August 14 – New Student Convocation, A.A. Fredericks Auditorium, 5 p.m.

August 15 – Start of the fall semester

August 15-23 – Late registration for the fall semester


Critiquing High School Fishing

By Steve Graf

Before I give my unsolicited opinion, understand one thing; I love that high school bass fishing is really taking off. I think it’s great for the sport and these kids are the future of bass fishing! These young anglers today are quick learners, especially when it comes to the electronics side of fishing. These mini-computers on bass boats today are information superhighways and shortcuts on how to catch bass. Operating these units is second nature for the up-and-coming generation of young anglers.

But I’m tired of watching YouTube videos where the dad, uncle, or professional fishing guide tells them where they need to fish and what bait they should tie on. The sport has become who can hire the best pro or guide for their kid’s team. This is not good for the sport down the road and it’s simply not a level playing field!

Here’s what I question about high school tournaments on tournament day: Are kids being taught the right way? Are they being taught the ethics of fishing bass tournaments? Are they being taught how to find fish rather than a boat captain telling them where they need to make their next cast? Are they netting their own fish or is the boat captain? Are they making the decisions on tournament day or is the boat captain making them?

First, let’s look at this from my viewpoint as a self-taught angler that has fished tournament trails since the early 1990s. This viewpoint is not only mine but many other tournament anglers all across bass fishing. One thing that’s really starting to get under my skin is how parents or grandparents are employing pro anglers or fishing guides as their kids’ boat captains. So, if you’re the parent of a kid who wants to fish in high school tournaments, please stop doing this! I understand boat captains can be hard to find and I appreciate anyone who volunteers to be a boat captain and take kids fishing.

I look at boat captains the same way I look at Dixie Youth or Little League coaches. Some have no clue on how to teach or play the game of baseball, but they are willing to volunteer their time for the sake of the kids. I applaud all volunteers who do this! But the purpose of the boat captain should be to drive the boat and make sure the kids are safe on the water, not to take kids out and show them exactly where the fish are! Baseball coaches can’t hit or pitch for their baseball teams, then why should a boat captain make decisions or net their kid’s fish?

The toughest thing to learn as a bass angler is how to find fish. So, when a pro guide or a seasoned tournament angler shows them exactly where to cast and how to catch the fish, then the kids haven’t learned anything. I’m not against the boat captain explaining why the fish are there after the kids have found them, but the teaching part should be done during the practice session…not on tournament day!

Next, the boat captains should not be allowed to net the fish the high school kids are catching. This too is part of the learning curve all young anglers need to learn to master along with bait tying, bait selection, map reading, and how to cull their catch. These are TEAM tournaments and I emphasize the word TEAM! Let the kids do their own netting and learn to work together. Let them learn how to read the water and know what baits they should be using based on their observations. The reward for them personally will be so much greater than having a pro/guide or boat captain doing these things for them!

While I sound a little harsh, that’s my intent! I want kids to learn on their own. This is how the two “C’s” are built….confidence and character. I want kids to be able to stand alone as an angler year from now, whether they are a touring pro or just fishing open tournaments. When you learn on your own as an angler, it makes you a better fisherman. Do I want to see these kids have success? Absolutely!!!! But I want to see them learn for themselves and make their own decisions as a TEAM with no outside influence from a boat captain. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Steve Graf – Owner Co-Host Hook’N Up
& Track’N Down Show & Tackle Talk Live


NSU rower Victoria Dettinger wraps up a busy summer

Northwestern State University All-American rower Victoria Dettinger completed a busy summer of training and competition at two events.

Dettinger, a junior psychology major from Rochester, Minnesota, won the Women’s Open 1x competition at the Midwest Summer Sprint Championships in Nashport, Ohio. She made the semifinals in the u23 Single and made the dash final in the single, a 500-meter race, at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.

These events were the first time Dettinger has competed in a solo event.

“Being in a single is a very different experience from being in a team boat,” she said. “In a single, your race plan is completely up to you and you can change it on the fly depending on what is happening in the race. It is a little more difficult, in my opinion, though because in team boats there’s other people and you aren’t just rowing for yourself, you’re rowing for them as well. In a single, there’s really no one there to push you except yourself.”

Dettinger said she gained a great deal from being at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta with rowers from around the world.

“Canadian Henley was an amazing experience,” said Dettinger. “There were some really talented rowers there and it was so fun to get to see them and race against them.”

Earlier this summer, Dettinger completed training at the USRowing High-Performance Camp in Jacksonville, Florida, at the USRowing Summer National Championships. She was part of the Women’s U23 8+ that won the national championship and was in the W2- with Allie Alton of the University of Texas that took the bronze medal. Dettinger then attended the USRowing Marietta Training Center Development Camp in Marietta, Ohio.

“It’s a very quick turnaround between the end of summer rowing and the start of the semester,” said Dettinger. “There’s a lot to get done in just a few days and it’s going to be difficult to switch my focus from being entirely on rowing to class work as well. I’m excited to be back rowing with my team and I can’t wait to see what we can do this year.”


2022 Christmas Angels Pageant Cancelled

The Christmas Angels Pageant announced that, as everything stands currently, there will not be a Christmas Angels pageant for 2022. The organization offers its apologies for this unfortunate circumstance and hopes everyone can understand. It hopes to be able to bring this pageant back in full swing next year.


Notice of Death – August 11, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:
Kenneth Ray Heard, Sr.
April 10, 1946 – August 10, 2022
Service: Saturday, August 13 at 11 am in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Ami Nichole Knotts-Sparks
January 2, 1983 – August 8, 2022
Service: Friday, August 12 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Velma Jean Turner (Jeannie)
April 9, 1958 – August 8, 2022
Visitation: Tuesday, August 16 from 9-11 am
Funeral Service: Tuesday, August 16 at 11 am
Interment: Nativity Catholic Church in Campti, LA

Bertha Roberson
July 1, 1957 – August 7, 2022
Final care arrangements for Mrs. Roberson include a wake service Friday evening, August 12 from 6-8 pm at Winnfield Funeral Home in Natchitoches. On Saturday morning, August 13, family and friends will meet at Lawrence Serenity Sanctum for a 9:30 a.m. graveside service. The Rev. Rodney Irchirl will officiate.

SABINE:
James L. Carter Sr.
May 31, 1940 – August 6, 2022
Service: Friday, August 12 at 10 am at Sardis Cemetery in Atlanta

WINN:
Raymond Howard Moore
July 10, 1955 – August 9, 2022
Service: Saturday, August 13 at 10 am at Southern Funeral Home

Joyce Murlene Walker
April 19, 1945 – August 8, 2022
Service: Saturday, August 13 at 10 am at Southern Funeral Home

Natchitoches Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or npjnatla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge.  You may email them to npjnatla@gmail.com)


BURN BAN LIFTED

Parish President John Richmond has lifted the Parish-wide burn ban due to recent rainfall. While the recent rain has alleviated the dry conditions necessitating the burn ban, President Richmond still encourages residents to take extreme care while burning materials, whether in contained or open areas.


Entergy partners with United Way to distribute bill credits to customers, qualifying customers to receive $150 bill credit

Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana have committed nearly $4.4 million to Louisiana United Ways for bill payment assistance for residential customers. Funding has been allocated to Louisiana from the $10 million in shareholder donations previously announced by Entergy Corporation.

Beginning Aug. 17, qualifying customers in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Washington parishes will be able to apply for a one-time $150 credit on their utility bill through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana at http://www.unitedwaysela.org. Additional local United Ways across Louisiana will open their application process shortly.

To qualify, customers must have a total household income of up to 250% of the federal poverty level, which equates to $69,000 for a family of four. Customers are encouraged to visit http://www.entergy.com/answers for the most up-to-date information on bill assistance.

Along with the $4.4 million pledge, a $425,000 supplemental donation will be made to Entergy’s The Power to Care program to help low-income older adults and customers with disabilities in Louisiana with their bills. The supplemental donation to The Power to Care is in addition to $1.4 million that has already been donated to The Power to Care for low-income older adults and customers with disabilities in Louisiana.

In addition to a supplemental donation for The Power Care, grants totaling $450,000 will be made to local nonprofits throughout Louisiana. Information regarding those organizations will be provided once they are selected.

“By partnering with the United Way, we are reaching additional customers who may not qualify for other assistance programs,” said Deanna Rodriguez, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO. “Aligning with our community partners is the best way we know how to ensure these funds go where they’re needed the most.”

“We know these are difficult times for our communities,” said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. “We want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to lessen the burden our customers may be facing when they receive their bills.”

Additional customer assistance

For Entergy Louisiana customers: Convenience fees for payments made to third-party vendors will be credited back to residential customers’ accounts through November. To be eligible for the late fee credits, customers will need to verify their household income being less than $40,000. The process for customers to verify is being finalized.

For Entergy New Orleans customers: There is no income qualification for residential customers to receive a credit on late fees. The credit for late fees, effective June 1, will be applied automatically to customer accounts. Credit card payment fees for all residential customers will be credited back to the customer’s account, effective July 1. Customers will receive credits for late fees and credit card fees through Nov. 1. In addition, there is a moratorium on disconnects for nonpayment until Nov. 1, 2022. If a customer has received a disconnect notice they can disregard that; however, customers are encouraged to set up payment arrangements to avoid large balances accumulating on their accounts.

Customers can receive incentives for installing energy efficient upgrades through the Entergy Solutions program for Entergy Louisiana customers and the Energy Smart program for Entergy New Orleans customers. Examples of eligible energy efficiency upgrades available at little to no cost include LED bulbs, smart thermostats, AC tune-ups, duct sealing and insulation.

Customers are also encouraged to use the myAdvisor tool on myentergy.com to manage their energy usage. The usage and cost tool can compare usage history by month, day and hour.

About Entergy New Orleans
Entergy New Orleans, LLC provides electricity to more than 209,000 customers and natural gas to more than 110,000 customers in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

About Entergy Louisiana
Entergy Louisiana, LLC provides electric service to more than one million customers in 58 parishes and natural gas service to more than 94,000 customers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Natchitoches Parish School District Announces Fast Forward Program

NPSB is proud to offer the Fast Forward Program for our high school students! The Fast Forward Program will prepare students for current and emerging professions that expose students to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations.

Students in the Fast Forward Program will have the option to participate in one of two pathways: Associate’s Degree Pathway or Technical Diploma Pathway.

Students who are in the 10th grade or higher and qualify for dual-enrollment courses are eligible to enroll in the Fast Forward Program at their high school.

It is our goal that each student will graduate not only with his/her high school diploma, but also equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in whatever future endeavors lie ahead. Whether you are planning on employment, military, technical school, or college, the work you do in high school can prepare you for what’s next and can either open opportunities for you or limit them.

Degrees Offered
What is an Associate’s Degree?

These post-secondary degrees provide students with a recognized two-year degree that will allow students to either immediately enter the workforce and/or continue to pursue a four-year degree.

What is a Technical Diploma?

These post-secondary degrees provide students with the career and technical skills necessary to enter the workforce. Students engage in skills that provide nationally recognized industry-based certifications.

All degrees listed can be completed online or in-person. If interested in obtaining one of the below degrees, please contact your school’s degree coordinator for more information on course requirements.

BPCC Associate’s Degrees

Business Administration
Computer Information Systems
Cyber Security
Software Development
System Admin Cloud Computing
Health Care Management-Health Studies
BPCC Technical Diplomas
Welding
Manufacturing
NSU Associate’s Degrees
General Studies

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Natchitoches Central

Denise Martin
Denise.Martin@npsb.la

Lakeview
Germaine Metoyer-Wynn
gwynn@npsb.la

NPTCC
Chelsea Calhoun
Chelsea.Calhoun@npsb.la


Natchitoches Junior High is on the Move!

NJH Principal Alexa Bernard-Conday & Vice Principal Chase Stepp

The young men and women of the Natchitoches Junior High/Frankie Ray Jackson School are off to a fantastic start for the 2022-23 school year. Several hundred students and their families gathered at the school for its Open House Wednesday, August 10. Second year principal, Alexa Bernard-Conday is looking to build on last year’s success when the students of NJH raised their proficiency scores in all four content areas, Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. She is joined in this worthy quest by Assistant Principal Chase Stepp, Academic Co-Ordinator Robert Carnline and 40 faculty and staff members. The young men and women of NJH are on the move!

The 360 students of the NJH family do not have to stop learning and growing when the final bell rings. The school offers a full range of sports as well as cheerleading for boys and girls to choose from. The youngsters can stretch their minds and learn with the school’s band, art club, 4-H, Boys to Men, Kiwanis, yearbook, journalism and other after school programs. Along with East Natchitoches Elementary, NJH has been a major presence at the Regional Science Fairs held at LSU-A each year. First Sergeant Shelby of the NCHS Army JROTC Program heads a contingent of cadets at NJH.

As a writer for the Natchitoches Parish Journal and a former teacher in one of the poorest parishes in our state, I have long maintained that there are talented, capable, and intelligent children in each and every one of the parish’s schools. It is quite evident that the leadership, faculty, and staff of Natchitoches Junior High share that belief. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes all the best to the young men and women of Natchitoches Junior High as they learn, grow, and get better. Go NJH!


BOIL ADVISORY: Natchitoches Water System

PWS ID# 1069007 Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

Payne Subdivision within the City of Natchitoches Distribution System did experience a low-pressure problem on Aug. 10 in the above-mentioned area of the water supply system. This drop in system pressure below 20 pounds has been caused by a water main break in which the main had to be shut off to make repairs.

Because of this drop in system pressure, the water within our water distribution system is of questionable microbiological quality.

Therefore, as a precaution, the City of Natchitoches Distribution System is issuing a BOIL ADVISORY effective immediately for Payne Subdivision. This BOIL ADVISORY is to remain in effect until rescinded by the Water System.

It is recommended that all consumers in Payne Subdivision disinfect their water before consuming it (including fountain drinks), making ice, brushing teeth, or using it for food preparation or rinsing of foods by the following means:

Boil water for one (1) full minute in a clean container. The one minute starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (The flat taste can be eliminated by shaking the water in a clean bottle or pouring it from one clean container to another, or by adding a pinch of salt to each quart of water that is boiled.)

Again, please be sure to disinfect your own water prior to consumption until you have been advised otherwise.

This Boil advisory does not affect the remainder of the City of Natchitoches Water Distribution System.


Bid Information for Leasing of Hunting Property at NPSB

Bids/Proposals will be accepted until September 2, 2022 2:00 p.m. and will be policy opened and read aloud at that time in the School Board’s Central Office, 310 Royal Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 71457•
5709. Please find bid·related documents at WWW.CENTRALBIDDING.COM or with Natchitoches Parish Journal and Natchitoches Times. Bids/Proposals received after the date and time of opening will not be considered. Facsimile transmissions will not be considered. Additional information may be obtained
upon request by contacting Michelle Demery, Purchasing Coordinator, at Michelle.Demery@npsb.la or 318·352·2358, Ext. 1155, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Bids may be mailed in or dropped off at 310 Royal Street.

The Board reserves the right to reject any or all bids.

Other terms and conditions:

1) Bidder must acknowledge their acceptance of the template leave and its terms which is attach herein on their bid offer.

2) All parcels of land up for bid have a minimum bid per acre of $7 except parcel #8040076300 which has a minimum bid of $4 per acre.

3) Each Iesae is for three years and the bidder must state their bid for each year separately. An example is “Year 1-$7, Year 2-$8 and Year 3-$9”

4) Bidder must bid for each parcel separable In a separately sealed envelope with parcel umber identified on the outside of the envelope.

S) Bidder must provide proof of easement to the parcel being bided. Example is “Using Water Well Road as Easement”

/s/
____________________________
Lee Waskom, Director of Business Affairs

/s/
____________________________
Grant Eloi, ED.D. Secretary-Treasurer
Natchitoches Parish School Board


Cassidy Announces $63.1 Million for Louisiana from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Texas Street, Natchitoches

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) announced on Aug. 10 that Louisiana will receive a total of $63,143,406 from funds increased by his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This funding will go towards constructing and rehabilitating our state’s highways, bridges, and public transportation infrastructure.

“Our transportation infrastructure has suffered from neglect and lack of funding for decades,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Louisiana is seeing the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

$22,164,000 – City of Shreveport

This grant will provide federal funding to construct roadway and intersection improvements on the approximately 1.6 mile healthcare corridor at the nexus of I-49 and I-20 in Shreveport.

$20,000,000 – City of Gonzales

This grant will provide federal funding to construct the Baton Rouge Train Station and Gonzales Train Station along the planned Baton Rouge-New Orleans (BR-NO) Inter-City Rail Service.

$17,253,272 – City of Natchitoches

This grant will provide federal funding to rehabilitate the Texas Street Business Corridor from the Highway 1 South Bypass to Washington Street.

$2,626,679 – Lafourche Parish

This grant will provide federal funding to construct a new bridge over Bayou Lafourche on State Highways 1 and 308 between Lockport and Larose.

$1,099,455 – Plaquemines Parish

This grant will provide federal funding to replace a gravel roadway with a hard-surface roadway to the Pointe-a-la-Hache ferry facility.


Eight Northwestern State players selected Preseason All-Conference, four on first team

A league-high eight members of the Northwestern State soccer team earned preseason All-Southland Conference, the conference announced Wednesday.

NSU has four selections on the first team and four more on the second team.

Reigning SLC Player of the Year Olivia Draguicevich returns, aiming to earn NSU a second consecutive conference title. She is joined on the first team by the three-time SLC Defender of the Year Nicole Henry, Hallie Field and Delaney Wells.

Draguicevich, who was named NSU’s first ever All-Louisiana Player of the Year in addition to the SLC’s Player of the Year, scored 13 goals and recorded 29 points in her award-winning junior season in 2021. Her 13 goals were tied for the second most in program history for a single season.

The senior owns school records in conference goals scored (18), game-winning goals (13) and conference game-winning goals (11). She is also tied for fourth in career goals scored (24), seventh in career shots on goal (63) and eighth in career points (53).

Henry, a graduate student from Tomball, Texas, and Field, a senior from Frisco, Texas, also were chosen to the first team. The pair led a backline that helped NSU post a single-season record 12 shutouts, which was second nationally.

The pair were each in the top three in minutes last season for non-goalkeepers.

All three were named First Team All-SLC in the postseason in 2021.

Wells, a product of Flower Mound, Texas, rounds out the first team selections. The junior was fourth on the team in 2021 in points with seven, scoring three goals and registering three helpers. She scored the game-winning goal against UIW on Sept. 17. Wells was named Second Team All-Conference in 2021.

In addition to the four first teamers, it also had four—Natalee Henry, Caroline Hilliard, Jayme Haynes and newcomer Gracie Armstrong—chosen to the second team.

Natalee Henry, a graduate student from Tomball, Texas, was second on the team with 14 points, scoring five goals and dishing out four assists. The performance earned her a Second Team All-SLC honors last season.

Hilliard earned the SLC Freshman of the Year last year, the school’s first such honor since Heather Penico in 2002, which earned her a spot on the second team. Haynes, a fellow defender, also was a huge part of the record-breaking defense for NSU. Haynes was named Third Team All-Conference in 2021.

Armstrong, a midfielder, was brought in after her record-setting stint at Colorado State. A two-time First Team All-Mountain West selection with the Rams, she held 11 school records and finished in the top three in 19 categories at the conclusion of her time at CSU.

She started 43 of the 44 games she played in with the Rams, tallying 11 goals and 13 assists for 35 points in her three seasons at CSU.

NSU begins its season with an exhibition contest against Little Rock on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex. The regular season starts on Aug. 21 when NSU travels to Louisiana Tech, the first of four straight matches to begin the season on the road.