Ponderings with Doug – August 23, 2019

What I did on my summer vacation.
by Doug

This is what I did on my summer vacation.

My summer vacation was fun. There were no article deadlines. It was hot. I went outside every day. I cut wisteria and sprayed wasps. The grass grew very fast. I mowed the grass a lot. I picked figs off the fig tree. I played with Cut-Up. He is a Pitbull puppy. I met my new neighbor Kathy. She is a beautician.

Kathy and her boyfriend John needed help. They needed help moving a sofa. I should have asked more questions. I prayed the sofa was not in their upstairs garage apartment. It was. I prayed their sofa was not a sleeper-sofa. It was. John and I “slid” it down the stairs. I shouldn’t have moved a sleeper sofa down the stairs on a Sunday afternoon. I did. Cut-Up belongs to Kathy.

I watched a pig run down Main Street. He turned right off Main Street, ran through a field and headed down Gibbs Street. I have never seen a pig running down the middle of the street. A pig running is a funny sight. The same week I saw the pig, one of my neighbors took a picture of a bear in their backyard. I suppose my pig sighting was trumped by the bear picture. I forget that our camp is mostly in the country. This summer, driving back and forth the animals stayed out of the road and I stayed out of the ditches.

This summer, I drove my father-in-law to the doctor a lot. Old people are funny. If a B-52 crashed in the backyard, he would not hear it. But he told me to get the WD-40 because the backdoor was squeaking. He likes the way I drive, because I don’t have the radio on, and I don’t talk. He has many doctors. He had cataract surgery in July. Now he can see the letter E on the eye chart. Before that he couldn’t see the wall. He says, “I see well enough to drive again.”

This summer I learned that what I want to grow in the yard doesn’t and what I don’t want to grow does.

I learned about travel trailers. I was on my way to Arcadia to get ice cream for my father-in-law. He only eats Blue Bell Butter Crunch. At exit 67 a guy pulling a travel trailer was on the shoulder of I-20. There were wisps of smoke coming out of his air conditioning unit. Ten minutes later, ice cream purchased, I passed by the travel trailer again. It was gone! All that remained were the tires and the frame. Talk about going up in smoke, that travel trailer went up on smoke during the purchase of a half-gallon of Butter Crunch. I have been pondering trading my boat in on a travel trailer. It is the choice between pouring money in the river or having money go up in smoke.

This summer, our puppy Hazel bit my mother in law on the leg. So Hazel no longer is welcomed at the Gibsland house. Hazel is a sweet dog. She suffers from aggressive ageism. My mother in law is ok. She always asks about the dogs, and Hazel. Sometimes families and dogs don’t mix.

William Barclay wrote a prayer about Jesus understanding our lives.

“We thank you that Jesus did a day’s work like any working-man, that he knew the problems of living together in a family, that he knew the frustration and irritation of serving the public, that he had to earn a living, and to face all the wearing routine of every day work and life and living, and so clothed each common task with glory.”

Jesus knows about your summer vacation. Do you know Him?

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Meet The Chiefs Night Sets the Tone for The Season!

Kevin’s Gallery

It was time to “Meet the Chiefs” as NCHS got the fast approaching football season off to a rousing start Thursday, August 22. A packed gym full of students, families and Chief supporters were introduced to the cheerleaders, chiefettes, maroon line, trainers, coaches and the football team. There was no shortage of school spirit as the NCHS marching band played the fight song and the Chief’s signature “Chop.”

The Chiefs were also selling season passes and VIP parking passes. Interested fans could also bid on a range of items such as jerseys, windbreakers and helmets. All funds raised by the auction and ticket sales go to help fund the NCHS football program. Everything from transportation to away games to feeding the team on gameday and on the way home on away games comes from this fund.

The 2019 NCHS football season promises to be quite exciting. For a very modest ticket price, you can see some hard hitting football action. You can also see young men and women achieving excellence on a number of levels. From the marching band’s superb shows and constant support of the players to the cheerleaders, chiefettes and maroon line’s well done cheers, stunting and wonderful dancing, to the trainers who spend hours in training and watching over their players, the young men and women of NCHS are a joy to watch.

The Chief’s first home game will be against North Desoto on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. Come out, bring the family, have a wonderful time and support our young people. Go Chiefs!

Chamber hosts After Hours at Oakland

Cane River National Heritage Area and Cane River Creole National Historical Park hosted a Chamber After Hours event on Aug. 22 at Oakland Plantation to kick-off a series of events that will celebrate their 25th Anniversary.

In 1994, Congress created the National Park and the National Heritage Area to preserve the culture and unique resources of the Cane River region. “Cane River is home to a diverse group of peoples and we have worked tirelessly to use National Park Service standards to authentically tell their stories with the help of our partners,” said Carrie Mardorf, Superintendent of Cane River Creole NHP.

“Our success in preserving the natural and cultural resources of the region are due in large part to the hundreds of community partners we have found over the past two decades,” remarked Rebecca Blankenbaker, Cane River National Heritage Area Executive Director. “We look forward to continuing our legacy of preservation and invite the public to join us this fall.”

Ward, Bourgeois ‘lead the charge’ in NSU return game

As a rule, assistant coach Alvin Slaughter is one of the more excitable members of the Northwestern State football staff.

That ebullience shows even more so when he begins to discuss the pair of veteran kick and punt returners the Demons will feature in 2019.

Myles Ward was an honorable mention HERO Sports Freshman All-American kick returner in his debut season of 2018 while Hayden Bourgeois flourished in his first season as the Demons’ primary punt returner.

“They are two dynamic athletes in the return game,” Slaughter said. “In addition to his athletic ability, (Hadyen’s) biggest attribute is his ability to secure the catch. He’s has the ability to break a big one, but he’s going to secure the catch and stay inside the schematic thigs we do.

“Myles Ward is one of the most explosive guys on this team. He took one to the house against SFA and was a big reason we won that game.”

Ward, a product of De La Salle High School in New Orleans, averaged 25.6 yards per return on 28 attempts as a redshirt freshman. His 94-yard touchdown return to start the second half sparked the Demons’ 35-23 win at Stephen F. Austin in the 2018 season finale.

The matchup with the Lumberjacks was one of two in which Ward averaged better than 30 yards per return after tallying 108 yards on three returns. The other came at Central Arkansas where he averaged 33 yards per try on three attempts.

Ward enters 2019 as a second-team preseason All-Southland Conference selection and someone Bourgeois says he can take something from in his return work.

“He takes it, finds a hole and hits it very fast,” Bourgeois said.

Slaughter described Bourgeois as a “steady Eddie” after his first season in the primary punt returner role. As a sophomore, Bourgeois returned 16 punts for 108 yards.

That came one season after returning 10 punts for 112 yards as a freshman. Those 10 attempts helped steel Bourgeois’ nerves after stepping into a high-pressure role as a redshirt freshman.

“It helped a lot,” Bourgeois said. “I was nervous because I hadn’t had the experience at the college level. Now, I feel more confident, and I feel better things are to come.”

While Ward and Bourgeois will “lead the charge” in the return game, according to Slaughter, they are far from the only return specialists the Demons have on the roster.

“Benaiah Franklin plays very fast,” Slaughter said. “He has some uniqueness to him as well. He has the ability to catch the ball and make a cut on a dim, to change direction. He’s fielding punts and kicks. Coby McGee, Ryan Reed and (D’Ronne) Littleton are pushing those guys who have been doing it a while. From a coaching standpoint, when you’re coaching great players who exemplify what you want them to in practice, you can’t wait to get to the game and see it all come together.”

For the return game, as in the other two phases of the game, it starts up front.

“I know my blockers are going to do a great job,” Bourgeois said. “That will make me comfortable.”

Slaughter echoed Bourgeois’ comments.

“They are probably the biggest part of the return game,” Slaughter said of the lead blockers. “As a returner myself, I understand once I get the ball or my guys get the ball, we hit a crease and go and, hopefully, we score based on making the right decision, but it starts up front with those guys sticking and staying on their blocks. Once the ball clears you, you work to the next level to make it come together. One guy may get the big explosive play and the recognition, but we know it takes 10 other guys to make it happen.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Hear all the play-by-play action LIVE on your new Radio home for NSU Demon Football… 94.9 The River.

Summer Reading Patrons Win Big

Many of you may have fond memories of visiting the library growing up. Maybe to hear a story or share in an activity with your friendly neighborhood librarian? Or perhaps you remember being visited by the bookmobile when you were just learning to read? Just because you have grown up does not mean that your local library does not have something interesting for you! The Natchitoches Parish Library (NPL), in Natchitoches, and Northeast Branch (NEB), in Campti, both have dedicated programming for adults, including a couple of programs targeted at seniors.

These special programs vary from month to month, with the NEB’s most recent being a senior adult bingo day. The section surrounding the circulation desk was transformed into a mini bingo hall for a few hours Wednesday. With over 15 participants, there was plenty of fun to be had. And, like all library programming, completely free to attend. The next NEB Senior Bingo Day will be Wednesday, September 18, at 11 AM.

The NPL also has a bi-weekly “Adult Play Day” with a variety of activities for senior adults. Friendly chatting is encouraged as participants listen to music, play Pokeno, make a craft, color, and play games with the group. Snacks, coffee, and tea are also provided courtesy of the Friends of the Natchitoches Parish Library (FONPL). The next Adult Play Day will be Thursday, September 5, from 10-11 AM.

For questions about these or any other library programs please call Alan Niette, Community Outreach Coordinator (318-238-9236).

Natchitoches Tribe of Louisiana will hold Tribal Ladies Education Meeting this Sunday

The Natchitoches Tribe of Louisiana will hold a Tribal Ladies Education Meeting on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1 pm at Browne Lake, located at 1512 Hwy. 480 in Coushatta. Contact Donna Brown at donna.brown82@yahoo.com for directions because you’ll be lost if you follow Google directions. Please RSVP so that we can have an exact head count. This will be a pot luck meal, so when you RSVP, you will receive a sign up sheet for items for the lunch so everyone doesn’t bring the same thing. There will be fry bread and a taco-like meal. Participants will learn to make fry bread, learn the history of the ribbon skirt and see how they are made as a take home project. Native American music will be played and participants will also learn a dance. This meeting will be recorded and posted so out of town and out of state members may also participate.

Chamber Congressional Update Luncheon

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce hosted U.S. Senator John Kennedy at the Lasyone’s upstairs banquet room on Aug. 22. The Senator delivered a congressional update to a crowd of over 80 business men and women. The luncheon program included the update from the senator, as well as an opportunity for the crowd to directly ask questions. Kennedy covered a broad range of hot topics, including the state of the economy, immigration, and Medicaid. The crowd asked questions about infrastructure and regulatory challenges.

LSMSA Students Advised on Schedule

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts welcomed students for their first day of classes, but before students could begin their stem cell research and concerto composing, they had to register for classes. Students worked with academic advisors on Monday, August 19 to determine class availability and schedules. The first day of fall semester class was Aug. 20. For more information about LSMSA please call 1-800-259-3173.

Northwestern State forms partnership with Keemotion technology

Northwestern State fans who tune in to live streamed volleyball and basketball games in the 2019-2020 season will see a noticeable change in the broadcast.

The NSU Athletic Department has signed a contract with Keemotion, an automated production solution, to implement its system in Prather Coliseum. The Keemotion digital ecosystem will join the Blueframe Production Truck technology NSU partnered with three years ago to further enhance live stream events on www.NSUDemons.com.

Northwestern State is the first Southland Conference member to enter into a partnership with Keemotion.

“Fan engagement and satisfaction remains a priority for NSU Athletics,” Associate Athletic Director for External Relations/Senior Woman Administrator Dr. Haley Taitano said. “With the trend of digital networks like ESPN+, Hulu, AppleTV and more, we’re focused on taking steps to keep up with these trends and provide a better-quality video stream for our fans and visiting fans alike. Currently, NSU Athletics offers a variety of viewing and listening options for our fans, including traditional radio, online streaming through Demon TV, social streaming, and watching or listening through our mobile app. This partnership with Keemotion is one that will not only enhance our digital streaming production, but also is a tool we can use for better live tweeting and video replay sharing throughout games.”

Keemotion employs motion-detecting technology that allows a mounted camera to follow live action and produce a smooth video stream to benefit casual fans and will assist Northwestern State basketball and volleyball coaches in filming and breaking down practices in a more efficient manner.

Keemotion also allows coaches to delve deeper into the analytical side of the game while integrating statistical information for fans during broadcast streams.

“Not only will our fans benefit from this enhanced streaming production, but our coaches will be able to utilize the Keemotion system to film practices, games and for recruiting purposes,” Taitano said. “This sophisticated system can do everything from tagging certain players to recognizing certain types of shots, and we can incorporate some great sponsorship opportunities into our video streaming as well.”

Based domestically in Brooklyn, New York, and internationally in Belgium, Keemotion has partnered with several NBA teams, including the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, as well as international leagues, FIBA and colleges (Columbia, Yale).

“Keemotion is very excited about our new partnership with Northwestern State University,” Keemotion Vice President of Sports Partnerships Colin Cunningham said. “They are the first program out of the Southland Conference to adopt this technology. We look forward to working with them as the automated production solution for their sporting events. With this partnership, we will be producing the highest-quality broadcasts for every single one of their games.”

Demon TV viewership passed the 1,000-member mark in the 2018-19 athletic calendar and is available in installments of a 24-hour All-Access Pass ($6.95), a recurring monthly subscription ($10.95) and a yearly pass with unlimited access ($79.95).

History Professor will speak on wrestling and football in Louisiana this Saturday

Learn about professional wrestling and football at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for a presentation this Saturday, Aug. 24 at 2 pm with Louisiana State University of Alexandria professor of history Dr. Christopher Stacey. The lecture titled “Professional Wrestling and Football: A Long History in Louisiana Sports,” will examine the careers of professional wrestler Sylvester “Junkyard Dog” Ritter and football star turned professional wrestler Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd. Dr. Stacey will discuss the relationship between pro wrestling and professional football in Louisiana and the impacts of these two great athletes to their sports.

This event is free and open to the public. Call 318-357-2492 for more information.

Community invited to join American Cemetery clean up TODAY

The community is invited to join the Natchitoches Historic Foundation and NSU students today (Friday, Aug. 23) for cleaning of the American Cemetery on Second Street at 1:15-3:15 p.m.

Last year, over 50 NSU students volunteered as part of NSU’s Demon Days 1 of 7 Service Kickoff. This initiative encourages individuals to spend one day per week engaged in service to others.

While our focus will be grounds work (trimming low hanging branches and small trees that are encroaching on grave sites and removal of fallen branches and debris), we will have D/2 Biological Solution for anyone wanting to clean tombstones. This non-hazardous and biodegradable cleaner is designed to remove mold, mosses, algae, and lichens that feed on the stone, destroying the marker. D/2 is used on the White House, World Heritage Sites, and in national cemeteries.

Volunteers are asked to bring basic gardening tools. Those wishing to clean tombstones will need assorted scrub brushes, soft scrapers (like popsicle sticks or paint stirrers), and a water bucket. We will haul off branches, so volunteers with trucks and trailers are especially needed. For more information, contact Frank Hall at 318-357-4571.

Photo Credit: Leah Jackson, NSU Director of Public Information & Media Relations

Lyles completes fellowship with Army Corps of Engineers

Dr. Christopher N. Lyles, interim director of Northwestern State University’s School of Biological and Physical Sciences and assistant professor, was awarded a fellowship through the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE). ORISE is a competitive federal appointment that recognizes academic excellence and scientific achievement. Lyles served his appointment this summer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC), Environmental laboratory located in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“I assisted Dr. Carina Jung and her research team in developing methods to measure various compounds from soil and water samples as well as assisted on a variety of projects including understanding how various concentrations of explosives (TNT, RDX, etc.) influence the amino acid composition of nectar of flowering plants,” said Lyles.

Along with the laboratory work Lyles’s proposal included training on modern scientific instrumentation and developing a pipeline for NSU students to take advantage of the ORISE program.

“It’s important to try and stay current with the modern state of technology, the faculty at the School of Biological and Physical Sciences are always writing grants and developing curriculum around new instrumentation,” said Lyles.

Lyles has been a member of Northwestern State’s faculty since 2015. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northwestern State, a Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Biology from Nicholls State University and a Doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Oklahoma.

LSMSA Faculty Member publishes new book

Dr. Robert Dalling, principal lecturer of physics at LSMSA, has published his eighth book, “Human nature, worth, and civilization.” This Big History book delves into the evolution of humans, society, religion and the world around us.

Dalling has a PhD in physics with an engineering minor involving fluid mechanics and nuclear engineering. He has professional publications in particle physics, heat flow, chaos, laser spectroscopy, and relativistic quantum mechanics, and he holds a patent for calculating the exponential rate of error growth in the weather.

Prior to his life as an educator, Dr. Dalling spent 15 years in business programming where he wrote inventory, payroll, and bookkeeping software for retail stores. His work in business resulted in a one-half-million mile trip through 48 states with one-week stays in countless towns around the U.S.

Dr. Dalling has been a member of the Sciences faculty at LSMSA since 2006. Information on his newest book can be found on Amazon.

ROTC Activation Program Sept. 5

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science will hold an activation ceremony for the 70th Demon Battalion beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 on the Kyser Hall Brickway. In case of inclement weather, the program will take place on the east concourse of Prather Coliseum. The annual program ushers in the new academic year and establishes the new battalion and its leadership.

A reception will follow the program. The public is invited. For information on ROTC at Northwestern State visit rotc.nsula.edu.

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