Nursing professor nominated for Nightingale Award

Danita Potter

Dr. Danita Potter, associate professor in Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and director of NSU’s RN-BSN program, has been nominated for a Nightingale Award and will be honored for outstanding service and professionalism along with other nominees at the 17th Annual Nightingale Awards Gala Saturday, March 3. Sponsored by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation and Louisiana State Nurses Association, Nightingale Awards recognize the achievements of nurses across the state in a variety of categories. Individual and institutional categories are recognized annually.

As an honoree, Dr. Potter will be recognized in an opening processional. All nominees will be recognized with a certificate. One nominee in each category will be the recipient of the prestigious Nightingale Award, the “academy award” of quality service in the nursing and health care industry. The Nightingale Awards Gala will be at the Renaissance Hotel, Baton Rouge beginning with a cocktail hour and silent auction at 6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. Information on the Nightingale Awards can be found at

Earlier this year, Potter was named as a 2017 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership for Academic Program Fellow.

Information on NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health can be found at


Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training – Be Job Ready!

CDL Interest Meeting

The CDL program provides students with the necessary skills to begin driving a truck professionally. Students train on a state-of-the-art L3 Series truck driving simulator at the beginning of the course. After a few weeks of training on the simulator, students begin driving a real truck. The course is 240 hours.

Interest Meeting: March 8 at 5 p.m., 6587 Highway 1 Bypass, Natchitoches Campus

Requirements: 18-years-old or older, possess a valid current driver’s license, and pass a drug screen prior to enrollment.

For more information contact the Natchitoches Campus at 318-357-3162.


Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish need YOU!

By Marné Deranger

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The Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish need YOU! Specifically, they need six more people to sign up for the Master Gardener class.

The LSUAg Center will host their annual Master Gardener class starting April 2 at 3pm if they can get six more students to sign up. The 10-week course costs $150. For that fee, each student receives a stack of valuable reference material covering everything from soil to trees, bugs to berries, landscaping to disease diagnosis. Presenters are experts from across the state and become part of your network of advisors.

Master Gardeners are active in the community. They advise on city projects like the proposed Butterfly Waystation. They help build beautiful floral displays for downtown Natchitoches (Pansy baskets, tulips, and more). They advise and help maintain school and Counsel on Aging gardens. They host expert guest speakers. Most importantly, they support each other in their individual horticultural efforts. It is a group worth joining. It is a group helping keep Natchitoches beautiful.

Consider taking the class and joining the Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish. Sign up for the class by March 1, 2018 at the Parish Extension office at 624 Second Street or call 318-357-2224.

For more information or for daily tips on North Louisiana gardening, go to




MidSouth Bank: A Community-First Bank

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After spending more than 30 years working to define what it truly means to be a “community bank,” MidSouth Bank understands that it can only be as successful as the communities it serves. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to meeting the financial needs of customers throughout the Natchitoches and Sabine markets.

That’s especially true of the small business and commercial clients we serve in these areas – those companies that are the backbone of the local economy because they are the primary job creators. In 2017 alone, we loaned over $32 million dollars to local businesses involved in timber, farming, commercial real estate, oilfield services, construction, and manufacturing operations.

We’re continually investing in new technology to ensure our customers’ success allowing them to bank wherever they are. Many of our business customers utilize our accounts receivable financing, litigation financing, insurance premium financing, working capital lines of credit, and cash management products. All our customers find our eBanking options such as online and mobile banking, goDeposit, and smart phone payment options to be helpful during their busy days at home, work, or at their kids’ sporting events.

We decided long ago to invest in the Natchitoches and Sabine markets, and every day we better understand that there is untapped potential here. Our employees have decades of experience and knowledge of the two markets’ business communities and want to share in the success of the region. Our Regional President, Rhonda Jones, has 36 years of banking expertise — the last five years spent serving customers right here in our community.

In fact, under Rhonda’s leadership, we are accelerating our commitment to the area by reinvesting more resources into worthwhile projects throughout the community. Last year, we donated thousands of dollars to local organizations, secured numerous grants for low-income homeowners and provided attractive funding programs for multi-family affordable housing.

In short, we are committed to these markets, and we want you to bank with us!


Cane River Lake and Sibley Lake boat ramps Closed


Cane River Lake is currently at 99.0 MSL. Extreme Flood is 100.0 MSL. Pool Stage is 98.0 MSL.

Current Lake Status:

Cane River Lake is now Closed due to high water. Rain still in the forecast. It is extremely important that you monitor your property closely, check boats in boathouses frequently as you do not want them trapped causing property damage.

Making decisions should be based on information from the National Weather Service, Governmental Agencies, and your knowledge. Lake Levels will be available and posted as often as possible on the Commissions web site at Email Alerts will be sent as lake levels and/or conditions change. For information contact Betty Fuller @ 318-617-3235.

The boat ramps on Sibley Lake are also closed due to high water. A notification will be posted when the ramps reopen.



Ponderings with Doug – February 23, 2018


Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

He should have warned that you shall know the truth and if you speak the truth people will not be very happy about it and in some cases they will crucify you. He told His followers that the world would hate them because the world first hated Him. Are you living as a Christian in such a radial counter cultural way that the world hates you? Or are you pretty much getting along with everyone?

You see we have bumped against the prime directive of our modern culture. People just need to get along with each other. I’m sorry, our world is headed toward hell and I’m not in the mood to get along with it. I would rather call it to repentance and back to godliness.

When I was in High School there were dozens of guns brought to school each day. They were in the gun racks of pickup trucks. No one brought a gun into school. No one shot up the place. We did other strange things like pledge allegiance to the flag. We read the Ten Commandments posted on the wall above the chalk board. We were taught right and wrong. We were taught respect for authority. We were taught when it meant to be good American citizens. We didn’t worry too much about rehabilitation because criminals went to jail. You broke the law, you went to jail. You broke curfew, the coach benched you. You talked back and you were suspended. There were rules and you don’t mess with the rules.

Teachers taught math, science, literature and P.E. They were not worried about our self-esteem. They wanted us to learn to think for ourselves and to reason out our answers. Colleges did not teach remedial courses, if you couldn’t pass the course, you failed. If you failed enough you went home. Some kids went home and decided that needed to suck it up and get with the college program. There were no “safe spaces” because the world is not a safe place and you’d better figure that out quickly.

There were consequences for dumb behavior.

Do you see where I am going with this? I think it is likely my flu medicine.

I grieve the loss of young lives at the Florida High School. It is insanity. It is evil. The young man who perpetrated the offense deserves the harshest punishment the state of Florida allows. It is horrible, but it is not surprising. If you remove all the boundaries from human behavior this is what happens. When you remove the idea of humans created in the image of God and precious to God, folks will treat each other accordingly.

I am no longer surprised by human sinfulness and selfishness. I am sinful and selfish. I can preach about sin, because I am an excellent sinner. I know that about myself. It is truth that is painful but will also set me free. You and I live in a sinful, selfish world. As Christians it is our obligation to point to a better way of living. We have an obligation to speak truth to power, or in this case cultural insanity and to show the world the better way of living found in Christ. The world will not like us for that. I think we should all sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as the last hymn for Sunday and go out to battle the world!

Like I said, it is probably my flu medicine. I hope to be my usual light-hearted fluffy writing self next week. I guess the final straw for me this week is another Lucky story. He is fattening up. He is just a sweet little fellow. I took him to be neutered. I told him he was going to be tutored. The vet called and said that Lucky came through the surgery well. He also said that during the surgery they discovered and removed a BB from Lucky’s neutering zone. Who would do that to a puppy?

Good thing it is Lent. I can sit in sackcloth and ashes and mourn for our world.


Natchitoches early learning center to receive $20,000 grant

NCA Grant
NCA– The ten Type III centers in Natchitoches will receive full funding to implement new state requirements for background checks, to provide professional development for classroom curricula, and to offer CLASS-reliable training to all administrators. These funds were donated to the NSU Child and Family Network (NSU CFN), the resource and referral agency for Natchitoches Parish, via the School Readiness Tax Credit (SRTC); funds were raised through the NCA as the community liaison for the NSU CFN. The programs will be coordinated through the City of Natchitoches Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) program, led by Amy Metoyer.

“I want to thank each business that uses the state’s tax credit; the opportunity to help these centers to provide safer environments, with increased professional development for teachers, and even more [CLASS-reliable] trained teachers, is extraordinary–and this shows the power of an important public/private partnership we have in Natchitoches,” said Tony Davis, NCA Executive Director.

The centers will receive full funding to ensure that all personnel in contact with children have an extensive background check, which will include Louisiana and Federal criminal records, several registry checks and a state checks for any residences in the past five years; all are new requirements from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE. Teachers will be able to participate in extensive professional development for the Tier I curricula these centers utilize. Since teachers are evaluated on their use of the curriculum and their interactions with students (the CLASS observation), this funding will help to ensure that more administrators have an in-depth understanding of what is expected in each classroom of their facility.

The total costs to provide background checks for more than 80 staff, to offer professional development for the ten centers and more than 50 teachers for curriculum, and to ensure CLASS-reliable training for these centers, is anticipated to be between $19,500 and $20,000. These funds will help to ensure that children in early learning centers in Natchitoches Parish are taught in safe environments, with quality curricula, by teachers that understand how to best encourage the growth of each child through proper training.

This support is in addition to over $36,000 in benefits that the 10 centers have received from NSU CFN in the last year for Child Development Associate (CDA) credential training and coaching, curriculum purchases, and educational materials to support the curriculum. These funds were also from SRTC donations from local businesses, making Natchitoches Parish a leader in the state in assistance to early learning centers. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tony Davis at 318.352.7281 or email at

The mission of the NCA is to provide leadership and support for economic development and workforce solutions in and around Natchitoches parish; learn more at