The 4th Annual Antonio’s Dream Arena Memorial Rodeo will be held Sept. 20-21 at 8 pm nightly. Events include bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding, ranch bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie down roping and hometown barrel racers. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are free.
The arena, located at 10867 Hwy. 1, is the fulfillment of a dream Antonio Esparza had ever since he was a boy. Antonio passed away four years ago, but his mother Pam made sure his dream came true last year by hosting the inaugural rodeo in his
Antonio always loved going to the rodeo when he was growing up. He especially loved to watch the bull riding. His dream was to raise bulls and own an arena. He was looking at buying land to make this dream a reality when he passed away. Pam bought the exact piece of land Antonio wanted and constructed an arena in his memory.
The arena is also a tribute to the special bond Antonio shared with his friends, the late Brandon Boyd, the late Todd Roque, the late Blaine Foshee. and Rusty Moss. These cowboys are all rodeoing in heaven together. A special feature at this year’s rodeo will be a balloon release in their honor Friday night at the opening ceremonies.
The Sabine River Rodeo Company will provide stock and cowboys. The LA Rodeo Cowboy Association and the Tri-State Rodeo Association will participate. PRCA entertainer Dwayne Poteet will provide the entertainment. For more information, contact Pam Esparza at 318-471-9996.
Northwestern State University’s first couple were the first very customers catered to by Waitr – Natchitoches, a food delivery and carryout service that delivers individual and group food orders from local restaurants and eateries. Dr. Chris and Mrs. Jennifer Maggio were also the first ever university president to be the first delivery, having ordered a meat pie lunch from Lasyone’s that was delivered Monday. Natchitoches users can download the Waitr App and use the code FORKEM for free delivery until Sept. 29. Waitr is also networking with NSU’s Career Center to hire NSU students as drivers. “We are excited to be a part of the Natchitoches community, and we grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the University and the NSU Career Center,” said Bryan Horton, Waitr Market Manager of Alexandria/Natchitoches. “We have a variety of restaurants to choose from, and we hope to continue to grow and make Waitr a staple in this great community…and always, Fork ‘em, Demons!”
Join the Natchitoches Parish Journal and 94.9 The River this evening at The Landing for the WAIT-R APP Launch party.
The Ben Johnson Educational Center in partnership with the Coordinations and Development Corporation held a Meet, Greet, and Learn event on Sept. 13.
Board Member Ed Ward thanked everyone for attending for helping the Center be a stepping stone and an improvement to society at large.
The main event was the graduation of the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program’s first cohort: Christian Anderson, Phoenix Pichon, and Jamarcus Jackson.S
President of the Ben Johnson Foundation Claire Prymus said she is excited about the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program and collaborating with the Workforce Development Center Center.
The Legacy Café is a part of the Ben D. Johnson Education Center and functions as the hands-on training environment for the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program. The fresh, made-from-scratch menu offers breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, 7AM to 2PM. All proceeds from the Café supports the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program.
Director of Workforce Development Angie Rymer said that people come from all different walks of life and some need more work skills than others. The Ben Johnson Educational Center covers the training and Workforce Development handles the financial part to get students where they need to be.
The Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program serves young people ages 17 – 24, who are out of work and out of school. The program offers job readiness and culinary training; and provides support to help students overcome their barriers to getting and keeping a job. In addition, participants receive a stipend and get breakfast and lunch daily.
In June, the BDJ Center was approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents and is now a Licensed Proprietary School. The responsibility of a proprietary school is to prepare individuals for gainful employment.
This allows the BDJ Center to build a strong working relationship with the Workforce Commission and ultimately help young people in the community enter and remain in the workforce and have more self-sufficient lives.
Keynote Speaker Ava Dejoie, Secretary of the LA Workforce Commission said the work being done at the Ben Johnson Educational Center in Natchitoches is truly planting seeds and building a legacy.
“Dream big,” she said. “The sky’s the limit. There’s no one pathway.”
You can get involved with the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program in more than one way.
Donate to the program at the Center’s website www.BDJCenter.org
Like the Center’s Facebook pages BDJCenter and 400MLK
Patronize the Café located 400 MLK Drive, Suite J or make an online order for delivery at www.ezstreetdelivery.com
Use the Café for your office lunches, plant events and private parties
BOM is a maroon sponsor of the NCHS Football Program. Pictured from left are 33-Derick Payne, Kyler Burns, 16-Nathan Lawson, 11-Carlos Moses, Coach Byron Keller, 45-John Waskom, 5-Derienne Robinson, Katrice Below, and 3-Jaylin White. Good luck and Go Chiefs!
Students at the Natchitoches Magnet School received Terrific Kid certificates from the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club for the month of September recognizing them for their character development, self-esteem and perseverance.
Pictured are Aiden Bush, Jasmyn Carpenter, Myonah Bernstine, Bryan Chen, Lexi Powell, Axel Laning, Belladonna Jones, Ferguson-Max-Deford, Mackynzie Goleman, Avery Mitchell, Mia Dawson, Adaleigh Perot, Chance Fontenot, Kevin Rodriguez, Derhani Alexander, and Akeelah Wade. Pictured with them are Principal Stephonie French and Kiwanian Annette Roque.
Now, Dear Readers, here is something completely different. I hope you like it.
From time to time, I have this daydream about what, I suppose, is my version of what Heaven could be like.
I’m standing on a hilltop, which is covered with lush, dark green grass. I’m in a circular clearing which is surrounded by lovely shrubbery and flowering bushes, like azaleas, camellias and thornless roses.
There is music literally in the air, old time music like “Shenandoah” and “The Streets of Laredo,” being played on a slow beat by strings — violins, cellos and other stringed instruments.
I’m dancing with my beloved wife Mary when up comes my Mama. She wants to dance with her son, so Mama and I hold each other at arm’s length, slowly twirl to the beautiful music and look into each other’s faces and her face is radiant with beauty and joy, just like it used to be. Over there is Daddy, in a sharp brown suit with a red tie, holding hands with his two girls, my sisters Patsy and Joan.
And there’s Grandpa Armstrong, dancing with his daughter Rita, my aunt and Mama’s younger sister. Grandma Armstrong smiles and looks on, slowly moving her head from side to side in time with the music. They’ve been here more than 50 years already, which seems like no time to them.
And just coming out of the bushes, like the baseball players came out of the cornfield in the movie “Field of Dreams,” are grandparents Dr. J.W. Darby Sr. and his wife, born Maud Baker. I didn’t know them on earth. I must go over shortly and greet them.
And there, also, comes Great-grandfather John Baker, who survived serving in the Civil War with the 10th Missouri Confederate Regiment. He takes his daughter, Grandma Maud, in his arms as Dr. Darby smiles and releases his wife to her father.
Over there is my first wife, Rachel. Our faces light up as we spot each other, because there is no animosity in Heaven and all old hurts are forgiven.
More ancestors are arriving, whom I’ve never met, but I instinctively know who they all are. I see F.O. Darby and his wife Julie Beauvais, who’ve been here well over 100 years. They, too, survived the Civil War although their home was ransacked by Northern troops. I had always thought, for some reason, that Great-great-grandmother Julie would have been an unusually beautiful woman. I was right. She is stunning and her French heritage is obvious in her lovely face.
In the short time we have been gathering, many years have passed on earth, and here come my precious daughters, Becky and Liz. Mama doesn’t mind when I pause in our dance and go over to embrace my beloved girls.
The patch of grass on the hilltop is getting a little crowded but I have never felt such peace, such love, such joy, back on earth. The happiness, as we all gather, pervades the very air itself.
My gosh, here is old St. Denis himself, the founder of Natchitoches. His great granddaughter Constance DeBlanc, married young Francois Darby in New Iberia in 1806. So they, too, also make up a small part of what was my earthly DNA. Even in Heaven St. Denis’ charisma is evident and other ancestors gather around to speak with the tall French Canadian as he recounts a few of his earthly adventures.
More and more people come, the late arrivals now wearing the clothes of the 17th, 16th and 15th centuries, then even more are here, in Medieval garb. Soon my ancestors are wearing clothes of the ancient days. And as more and more of us gather, so grows stronger the overwhelming feeling of love and happiness.
Yes, this is Heaven without a doubt. Because Jesus is here, smiling, walking among us and greeting us one and all, clasping our hands and letting us know we are most welcome in his domain.
Looking for a bounce back win following a tough weekend at Texas A&M, the Northwestern State volleyball team held off a scrappy Prairie View A&M on Wednesday afternoon.
The Lady Demons were pushed for the first time on their home floor but came away with the 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 28-26) win to move to 2-0 at Prather Coliseum and 7-5 overall this season.
“They (Prairie View A&M) have been taking a ton teams to five sets,” coach Sean Kiracofe said. “It was hard from a scout standpoint to pinpoint exactly what it was, other than you knew that they were scrappy and they played hard.
“They came out and fought for every single point and kept the ball alive and did smart things with it. At least in set two we turned around and gave them free points. When we were able to compose ourselves in one, three, and four we did good stuff with the ball and got out with wins.”
With nearly 250 elementary students in attendance the Lady Demons put on an early show for the young crowd. Tied at 10 in the first set, NSU took control of the match with a 6-1 thanks a pair of kills each from Hannah Brister and Darria Williams.
PVAMU fought back within three, but another 6-1 run by the Lady Demons, capped with a Reagan Lee and Skylar Besch block, gave NSU the first set 25-17.
In a close from the start second set, the Lady Demons would be their own worst enemy, especially late in the frame. Two service errors, an attack error and a reception error in the final stretch allowed the Lady Panthers to steal the second set 25-20 and even the match at one.
Down 11-9 in the third, NSU made its first big push to seize the momentum. A 9-1 run gave the Lady Demons a commanding 18-12 lead. During Cayman Sutton’s service rotation, NSU scored six straight points, all on kills from Lee, and Williams, Alexis Warren.
In her groove, Warren hammered down three of the final four kills that put NSU ahead 2-1 in the match.
“I felt really comfortable,” Warren said. “I know my position out there. We didn’t have Hannah but we know everyone on the team can do everything. Charli (Fouts) really stepped up and took her place and I think we did a great job moving the ball around. They were scrappy but just knowing the different shots that we have.”
The Lady Demons held a comfortable lead until a PVAMU run made the fourth sets much more interesting. A 15-5 stretch by the Lady Panthers put them ahead 22-20, poised to force the match to a decisive fifth set.
With the pressure on, PVAMU began to lose its edge, giving the Lady Demons eight of their last nine points on various errors. Warren’s kill making it 27-26 was the only point scored via a kill for NSU, leading to the match-point PVAMU attack error.
Warren recorded her fourth kill-dig double-double of the season, with a season-best 19 kills. Cayman Sutton and Megan Lohmiller each set season-bests with 27 assists and 20 digs respectively.
The Lady Demons travel to Atlanta, Georgia this weekend for a pair of matches in the Georgia State Tournament. Stay connected to NSU volleyball by following @NSUDemonsVB on Twitter and Instagram or by liking Northwestern State volleyball on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services
Since July 2nd, 2019 nine Infant/ Toddler Type III Childcare Lead Teachers began a twelve week face-to-face Making the Most of Childhood Interactions (MMCI) Program to develop awareness and enact growth in their classrooms.
Teachers were able to:
* Learn alongside their peers in small group-coaching sessions * Watch and reflect on real classroom videos of other teachers * Learn to identify and describe effective interactions in the classroom * Build skills, insights, and strategies to apply CLASS concepts to teaching * Receive CEUs toward professional certification
Research shows that CLASS (MMCI):
* Improves teacher scores in all CLASS domains * Fosters a positive relationship between teachers and their coaches * Helps teachers feel more connected to and supported by their colleagues During the twelve weeks, participants were instructed by Amy Metoyer, City of Natchitoches Early Childhood Coordinator. “This group of ladies were a range of educators that were new to education and some working in Early Childhood for 30 plus years. All of the ladies displayed high levels of love and dedication to their careers, students, and professional development growth. Although I have taught many trainings, this particular course has allowed me to connect with teachers on a higher level with the motivation to go above and beyond in assisting them.”
According to participants this course has “opened our minds to even more meaningful moments in our classrooms and a deeper understanding of how State and local observers score our classroom interactions” stated Angel Scott. In addition “the past three months allowed opportunities to collaborate with peers/sisters in other child care centers. I had a lot of fun and learned so much. Thank you Mrs. Amy for such an amazing job on teaching us an giving the best advice you could possibly give no matter what we threw at you” said Courtney Ivy.
Every Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K classroom in Childcare, Headstart, and Public school receive site ratings based upon these interactions in their classroom. These scores can be viewed at www.TeachingTomorrowNow.com by clicking the sites logo.
Want you child to be in any of these classrooms at a local Type III Childcare center? You can enroll students year round in all of their classrooms. Infants, 6 weeks – 15 month; Toddlers 15 months – 36 months; and Pre-k 3-5 year olds (additional before and after school care is available for students 6 – age 12). All ages offer academically age appropriate classroom instructions that will prepare them for their next developmental stage in life and preparation for Kindergarten.
For additional information about Type III Childcare sites or tuition payment assistance (Child Care Assistance- CCAP) please contact the City of Natchitoches, Early Childhood Education & Development at 318-238-7505 or 318-471-5240.
Pictured above on front row from left are Courtney Ivy & Taylor Gabell, Bright Beginnings, Inc.; Shelby Greer, Lil Rascals; and Sandi Smith, Tiny Tots Daycare Preschool. On back row are Aneesha Abdullah, A to Z 123 Preschool and Learning Center; Christina Hardy, Funtime Palace; Brittany Bedgood, Cobblestones Child Development Center, LLC; Angel Scott, Fay’s Daycare and Learning Center; and Samantha Gourdon, Cobblestones Child Development Center, LLC.
In college, Jena Nelson studied theatre at Northwestern State University and began working in the profession after graduation. Teaching was nowhere in her plans, but one day that changed.
“I was actually working as a director and agent at the time, and I was asked to teach an acting class to some inner-city kids. I was hooked,” said Nelson. “I loved watching these kids come alive and find joy in creating art. I started teaching full-time, and I have never looked back. “
Fourteen years later, she has shown her skills as an educator. Nelson was named Oklahoma’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Tuesday. Nelson was chosen from a field of 12 finalists and over the next year will speak around the state and serve as Oklahoma’s ambassador of teaching in addition to her duties as an eighth grade English composition and academic enhancement teacher at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“Jena’s passion for teaching and her dedication to her students show in everything she does,” said Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “She uses her past experiences to go beyond the curriculum and create nurturing relationships with the children in her classroom, and that shows in the tremendous difference she’s made in the lives of her students.”
Nelson said she was honored to be a finalist and didn’t expect to win the award.
“I was absolutely shocked. I am truly thrilled to represent my profession, peers, and students on a statewide level,” she said.
In working with students, Nelson said her teaching philosophy is simple.
“Inspire them, teach them and get out of their way,” she said. “I believe that in this day and age that kids need someone to look up to. In the era of YouTube stars, and flash in the pan celebrities, kids need true professional role models that can say, ‘I have made mistakes, but I believe in every single one of you.’ I tell my students from day one that it is OK to make mistakes in class because I am going to make them too.
“They are granted a fresh start every day so that they can show the same leadership to other students. Too often we give up on the kids that are not easy to love, like or teach. I find that I gravitate towards those kids first, and I work to establish a positive relationship with each of them so that they know that this is a safe environment for them to thrive in.”
Nelson uses her theatrical background in the classroom using props, catchphrases, pool noodles, kinetic learning, songs and choreography to teach writing and “engage a generation that thrives on being entertained.”
“I use my high energy personality with skills honed through my background in theatre every day to engage the kids and celebrate those little victories and encourage those who want to quit to not give up,” said Nelson. “For me, every hour is a different show.”
According to Nelson, the support and guidance she received at NSU led to her success. In her previous position as a drama teacher at Edmond High School, she encouraged several students to come to Northwestern State where they gained roles in several productions and earned degrees.
“You cannot help but be inspired and challenged by the high-quality professors at NSU,” said Nelson. “I have sent many students over the years to many universities across the country. However, the ones that I send to NSU have been the most prepared students for the workforce, and for life. NSU thrives on creating well-rounded students with the emphasis on work ethic and community. I am proud to be a Demon for life.”
The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a shooting that took place on Clarence Drive near Southbend Drive.
On September 18, 2019 around 3:40 a.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department responded to Clarence Drive in reference to gun shots being fired in the area. While officers were responding to Clarence Drive they were notified that Cameron Conant (B/M, 24 years of age of Natchitoches) was at the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with a gun shot wound to the face. Officers at the hospital were able to learn that Cameron Conant and another individual were traveling on Clarence Drive when an unknown individual began to shoot at their vehicle near Southbend Drive.
Cameron Conant was transported to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport with non-life threatening injuries.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.
If you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective Rudy Glass at (318) 357-3178. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.
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You may also provide tips that will be anonymous via our Tipsoft Product. Simply send the tip by using your smartphones (download the free application) or by texting (Text-A-Tip) to CRIMES (274637). Use NPDTIPS before typing your message.
Michael (Mike) Wilson February 11, 1946 – September 18, 2019 Visitation: Thursday, September 19 at 5 pm at Holly Grove Nazarene Church in Robeline Service: Friday, September 20 at 10 am at Holly Grove Nazarene Church Interment: Rocky Mount Cemetery
Effola Zeno Ivey September 18, 2019 Arrangements TBA
Elijajuan Walker February 28, 1986 – September 15, 2019 Arrangements TBA
Daniel Beaudion August 15, 1986 – September 15, 2019 Visitation: Saturday, September 21 from 9-10 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Service: Saturday, September 21 at 10 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville Interment: St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery
Robert W. Neuman September 14, 1930 – September 09, 2019 Service: Saturday, October 5 from 4-6 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. Reception: Saturday, October from 6-9 pm at 202 Bird Avenue
RED RIVER PARISH:
Lisa Carole Harris Dupree September 05, 1970 – September 14, 2019 Service: Thursday, September 19 2 pm at Broadmoor Baptist Church
Parish Council still cannot see Eye to Eye on Bermuda Road Re-pavement/Repairs
As the Parish continues to fix roads, the argument about the importance of which roads have precedence over others came up. The argument mainly focus on the ongoing need of repairs to Bermuda Road.
Though this was not an item on the agenda, Patsy Ward-Hoover brought it up as a non-agenda item to be discuss and invited up residents of that district that travel Bermuda Road to speak on their grievances with how the road repairs are being handled.
Each asked respectfully of the Council that if not repaved that repairs be made to the road sooner than later.
Chris Paige made a point to address that more money is being spent on less traveled roads in districts with smaller populations. As to which, some of those Council members remained silent on the issue.
Rodney Bedgood, however, introduced a partial solution by speaking on the possibility of re-purposing some of the asphalt from his district for the repairs to a portion of Bermuda Road. It received lukewarm reception from other Council members, but no one seemed opposed to it if it can be done.
The other major topic of the meeting turned out to be the Council’s decision 3 to 2 to not go into executive session to discuss legal strategy regarding ongoing lawsuits against the Natchitoches Parish Government.
Other Items on the Agenda:
Council voted YES to the re-appointment of Ms. Karen Terrel to the Natchitoches Parish Library Board of Control.
Council voted YES to the re-appointment of Mr. Ludlow McNeely to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 6 Board.
Council voted YES to the re-appointment of Mr. Mark Waskom to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 6 Board.
Council voted YES to the appointment of Ms. Dee Dee Dunagan to the Natchitoches Parish Housing Authority to replace Regina Keyser.
Council voted YES to the appointment of Mr. Jimmy Atherton to the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission to replace Tony Swords.
Council voted YES to adopting Ordinance 013-2019 to effect a zoning change from an I-A Industry-Agriculture District to an B-1 Business District for commercial use on a 3.77 acre tract of land, parcel #0010277800, situated in Section 83, T9N, R7W along Louisiana Highway 3278 in Natchitoches, as shown on the Survey attached hereto; and otherwise to provide with respect thereto.
Council voted YES to adopting Ordinance 014-2019 for an Operation Budget Amendment.
Council voted YES to approve the assessed valued levied by the Tax Assessor, Dollie C. Mahoney.
Council voted YES to adopt Resolution in recognizing the importance of the United States Census and encouraging all Natchitoches Parish Resident to Participate in being Counted.
Council voted YES to approving the Video Streaming of the Natchitoches Parish Council meetings on the Natchitoches Parish Website and from the Council Meeting room using Natchitoches Parish Government equipment.
Council voted YES to awarding the construction contract for the Courthouse ADA Renovations to DSW Contruction, LLC, Many, LA., in the amount of $120,775.00, and to authorize the Parish President to execute the Notice of Award and Construction Agreement upon receipt of the contractor’s performance and payment bonds and certificate of insurance.
Council voted YES to approving the Louisiana Department of Economic Development of the following action pursuant to %03 (H) (I) of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
Council voted NO to approving the Resolution from Fire District #1 to change the membership of the Fire District #1 Board of Commissioners from seven to five members.
Council voted NO on The Parish Council to hold an executive session in accordance with LSA-R.S. 42:17 (A) (2) to conduct strategy sessions with respect to prospective litigation after formal written demand of litigation to discuss the litigating position of Natchitoches Parish Government in the matters of McMurtry v. Natchitoches Parish Government, at and Lynda Vance v. Rick Nowlin, Parish President.
Council voted YES to approving the Parish President to secure additional legal Counsel for employment matters at the recommendation from the District Attorney’s Office.