MONROE – The opponent is familiar, but the setup won’t be such in 2021.
The Northwestern State baseball team plays the first – and one of only three – mid-week game of the season Wednesday when it faces ULM at 6 p.m. at Warhawk Field.
The Demons (1-2) and Warhawks were longtime Southland Conference rivals before ULM headed to the Sun Belt Conference. Before the 2020 season was cut short by the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the teams had met at least twice every season since 2013.
“A lot of times we know a lot of those players,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Our players know each other. Coach Fed (Michael Federico) and those guys have done a good job, and they have a really good team. I know a lot of those guys on his staff. It’s their first game. Maybe they’ll have some early-game blues in their at-bats, but they’re usually ready to go.”
No one on the Demon roster is more familiar with the Warhawks than graduate transfer first baseman Cameron Horton, who spent the past two years at ULM.
Horton started the season opener at first base against Southern Miss and went 1-for-3 with a double in his first at-bat as a Demon ahead of his return to Monroe.
“It won’t be really emotional,” he said. “I’m excited to see the guys. You play with them for two years, and you become a family. I’m excited to be able to play against them.”
Much like the Demons, ULM was off to a fast start before the 2020 season was cut short. The Warhawks had won 12 of their first 15 games behind an offense that was hitting .316 and averaged 9.7 runs per game.
The Warhawks had pitched it well before the shutdown, working to a 3.46 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 130 innings.
Northwestern State will start junior right-hander Josh Banes (0-1, 1.32 in 2020) against ULM left-hander Cam Barlow (2-0, 4.38 in 2020). The Demons will treat one of their rare mid-week matchups this season like they do on occasion, offering plenty of pitchers an early-season audition.
“Josh will do a good job for us,” Barbier said. “He was one of our guys we trusted last year. We looked at him as possibly a fourth starter, but that will play itself out as we get into conference play and those four-game weekends.
“Some guys who were a little slow coming back for one reason or another will get their opportunity to pitch. We’ll schedule it out a little more than we would for a weekend. We’re trying to develop roles in the bullpen. We had a lot of guys hit the mound for the first time as a Demon this weekend, and they did great. They competed hard in the strike zone for the most part. We had some hiccups, but now we need to see if we can do it back-to-back, be consistent so we know what we’re getting. This game will go a long way toward that.”
While the Warhawks will play their first game since March 11, 2020, the Demons will continue to try to build an early-season rhythm after their opening-weekend series at Southern Miss was changed three times because of the winter weather and its lasting ramifications.
“It’s about playing,” Barbier said. “It’s about competing hard and getting better. I wanted us to be better in inning 18 Sunday than we were in inning one, and I thought we did that. We have to continue to do that.”
Horton echoed his coach’s thoughts on the early season.
“Just being able to play again,” Horton said about what he was most excited about when it came to Wednesday’s game. “Having last season cut short, I’m just really excited to be able to play again.”
The Natchitoches City Council met on Feb. 22. Before the meeting adjourned Mayor Ronnie Williams said the City’s Utility Department is making great strides with the water system. It was at 25 psi on Feb. 22 and was up to 51 psi as of Feb. 22. He said crews are starting to get water out to the Oak Grove area and they’re hopeful to get water to I-49 soon. This is uncharted territory and Mayor Williams said the boil advisory will continue even once crews get normal pressure restored the system (maybe through Friday). Once normal pressure is restored a water sample has to be sent to Baton Rouge for testing and the City has to wait to be cleared until the advisory can be lifted.
The most anticipated agenda item was an ordinance to repeal a portion of Ordinance No. 029 and No. 041 of 2019, relative to declaring the Summer Tree Apartments on Second Street unsafe and recommending the buildings to be demolished or repaired to comply with the building code. After much debate and community members speaking for and against the repeal the Council voted 3:2 in favor of the repeal. Council members Eddie Harrington and Dale Nielsen were against the repeal of the ordinances.
Other agenda items included:
ORDINANCES – FINAL:
Extend The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches Annexing A Tract Situated In Section 32, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, Said Tract Owned By Braxton Keyser, LLC, And Lying North Of Louisiana Highway 494, And Adjacent To The Existing Municipal Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches, Being A Total Of 13.0 Acres, More Or Less, And Further Providing For The Fixing Of A Public Hearing, Advertisement, Fixing Council District For Same, Fixing Zoning Classification And Providing For An Effective Date Of The Ordinance.
TABLED A Second Supplemental Bond Ordinance Amending and Supplementing Ordinance No. 1 of 2015 providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of not to exceed Four Million Dollars ($4,000,000) of Utilities Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2021, of the City of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana; prescribing the form, terms and conditions of said Refunding Bonds, designating the date, denomination and place of payment of said Refunding Bonds, providing for the payment thereof in principal and interest; authorizing the agreement with the Paying Agent; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.
Authorize A Franchise In Favor Of Paul’s Party Boat, To Operate A Tour Boat Business Within The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches
Adopt A Citizen Participation Plan/Citizen Complaint Procedure And Appoint A Citizen Complaint Officer For Compliance With The Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
Adopt A Procurement Policy For The Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
TABLED Address Administrative Aspects Of The Proposed Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
Making great strides with water system were 25 psi yesterday. Were 51 psi today. Starting to get water out to oak grove. Hopeful to get water to I-49 soon. Uncharted territory. Boil Advisory will continue even once we get back to normal pressure (maybe through Friday). Looking into whether we can lift the advisory in sections. Once we get back to normal pressure have to send a water sample to baton Rouge for testing and we have to wait to be cleared until the advisory can be lifted.
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, March 8, 2021.
As conditions continue to improve in regards to power and water restoration, Northwestern State University will begin holding in-person classes beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24 on campuses in Natchitoches, Leesville and Alexandria. Faculty and staff work schedules will also return to normal Wednesday.
The university will make a decision and announcement about whether to reopen the Shreveport campus as soon as water issues are resolved. Until that announcement is made, classes on the Shreveport campus will remain virtual.
As of Monday, Feb. 22, NSU administrators continued to work with local plumbers and electricians to identify and repair water leaks and electrical issues while communities in the region remained under a boil advisory. Residents should boil water for 1 full minute before consuming it. Those who do have water should conserve it.
Some problems persisted at University Columns Building 2 and Building 7 Monday but the Clubhouse remains open where residential students can utilize warming/charging stations and other amenities. Student may also opt to temporarily relocate to another residential facility. Laundry facilities were not yet available Monday as building managers awaited water pressure to return to 100 percent.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress on the water pressure and that is expected to continue to improve,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.
Residential students who have been at their homes can begin traveling back to Natchitoches beginning Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Dining hours at Iberville on Tuesday, Feb. 23 will be 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for brunch and 4:3-6:30 p.m. for dinner. Chick-fil-A will be open from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Steak ‘n Shake will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday. Dining hours will return to normal on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Iberville will be open from 7-10 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30-7 p.m. for dinner.
Chick-fil-A will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. beginning Wednesday but with limited menu items until the boil advisory is lifted, due to company guidelines. They will only offer items that require no water such as nuggets, Chick-fil-A sandwiches, spicy sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled nuggets, waffle fries and cookies.
Beginning Wednesday, Steak n Shake will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Vic’s will be open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Café DeMon is closed until further notice due to the boil advisory.
The 24-hour computer lab in Russell Hall is open and operational.
The NSU Post Office will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Feb. 23. Friday hours are 8 a.m.-noon. Please keep in mind that all three major delivery companies are behind schedule due to the twin challenges of weather and COVID-19. Items that were scheduled for delivery last week or this week may be subject to significant delays.
Watson Library will be open from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 and will resume regular hours Wednesday, Feb. 24. Access and Disability Services will be open from 1-4:30 p.m. Tuesday and resume regular hours Wednesday.
Offices in the Student Services Center, including Financial Aid, Admissions, Recruiting, First Year Experience and Vice President of Student Experience/Dean of Students will be open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday.
The NSU Food Pantry will be open from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday.
Health Services will be open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In the Student Union, Esports will be open from 3:30-9 p.m. Tuesday. Counseling and Career Services will be open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. the Lobby and meeting rooms will be open from noon9 p.m.
The NSU WRAC is in full operation. Hours are 5:30 am.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
In the event of an emergency, students should call University Police at (318) 357-5431 or (318) 471-4184.
Residential students can also contact the RA on call as follows:
University Columns RA on Call – (318) 663-7992 University Place 1 RA on call – (318) 471-0551 University Place 2 RA on call – (318) 471-0179 Varnado Hall RA on call – (318) 471-3382
NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State secured two significant gifts toward its Sports Performance Center project, director of athletics Greg Burke announced Monday.
Ken and Frannie Odom made a $100,000 donation to the Demons Unlimited Foundation dedicated to the 11,600 square foot strength and conditioning annex to the NSU Athletic Fieldhouse.
“This gift from Ken and Frannie Odom exemplifies their continuing generosity and support for the university,” said NSU president Dr. Chris Maggio. “The contribution from the Odoms will have a meaningful positive impact on Northwestern for years to come.
“We are deeply grateful to them for this major gift and their long-standing dedication to NSU.”
NSU also received another $100,000 gift within the past week from a donor who wished to remain anonymous.
The Demons Unlimited Foundation is the private fundraising arm of NSU Athletics which generates funding for facility improvement, athletics scholarships, salary stipends and other measures to ensure maximum competitiveness for each of NSU’s 14 Division I teams.
“NSU Athletics is appreciative of the generous contributions from Ken and Frannie, as well as the anonymous donor, which reflect growing momentum for the Sports Performance Center project,” said Burke, who indicated additional announcements regarding support for the project were on the horizon. “The Odom’s support of the Demons Unlimited Foundation annual fund in recent years has impacted all 14 of NSU’s teams in the same way that the Sports Performance Center project will be a ‘game changer’ for each of those sports.”
The sprawling strength and conditioning facility, which will be constructed on the back end of the Athletic Fieldhouse, will include a new weight room with space for more than 100 student-athletes, a 25-foot artificial turf pad, a new nutrition center, student-athlete lounge area and offices for the strength staff.
The second phase of the project will convert the current weight room into a high-tech rehabilitation center along with other sports medicine upgrades.
The third phase will be the renovation of the current “Eugene Christmas Training Room.”
Ken Odom, a 1972 NSU graduate, is a Sarepta native and the retired CEO of Aeropres, a Specialty Chemical and Gas Processing Company based in Shreveport. Several members of the Odom family, including Ken’s son, Kevin, hold degrees from NSU.
“NSU has been such a large part of my family’s life from education to sports that giving back just feels like the right thing to do. Frannie and I are hoping that our contribution will inspire others to follow suit and help make this important project a reality in the near future,” Odom said.
State Fire Marshal deputies are investigating a fire investigation in Natchitoches involving one death. Just before 11 a.m. on Feb. 21 firefighters were called to the 1900 block of Highway 6 for a report of a trailer fire. Fire crews later discovered the body of who is believed to be a female resident of the trailer inside. More information will be released as it becomes available.
NATCHITOCHES – A little wrinkle set Carvell Teasett free Monday night, and the freshman guard took full advantage.
Teasett scored or assisted on 20 straight Northwestern State points in the second half of its Southland Conference men’s basketball matchup with Houston Baptist, helping the Demons hold on for an 86-80 win that extended their win streak to six games.
The win also secured the second straight Southland Conference berth for Northwestern State.
“There’s one thing that led into that – and it was unbelievable what he did – but we made an adjustment offensively which allowed him to get loose,” 22nd-year head coach Mike McConathy said. “We had been so stagnant offensively, and he just took advantage of it. I’ll be honest, I’ve had some great ones like Zeek Woodley and Jalan West, who could light it up, but that was a pretty big shooting exhibition.”
With Northwestern State (8-14, 7-4) trailing 60-57, Teasett went to work, starting with a wraparound pass to set up a Jamaure Gregg layup with 7:54 to play. Then came the shooting exhibition that led McConathy to recall some of NSU’s most recent binge scorers.
Starting with his game-tying 3 at the 6:51 mark, Teasett sank five straight 3-pointers and split a pair of free throws in a six-possession stretch that turned a three-point deficit into a seven-point NSU lead.
Teasett bookended the blitz by threading a perfect pass to Trenton Massner for a layup and an eight-point Demon lead with 2:02 to play.
“I was just taking the right shots, not hesitating because I have a problem with hesitating, and it throws my shot off,” said Teasett, who hit 7 of 9 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 25 points. “After I hit two, I was like, ‘I’m just going to keep letting it go.’ They kept hitting the bottom of the net, so I kept shooting.”
The Demons needed every one of Teasett’s big shots and big passes because for the second time in as many meetings this season, the Huskies (4-14, 3-7) erased a double-figure Northwestern State lead to take a second-half advantage.
Trailing by 13 after Massner buried a 3-pointer with 19:03 to play in the game, the Huskies saw their freshman guard, Brycen Long, shoot them back into the game. Long hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second half – including three in a 1:51 stretch that whittled a 12-point NSU lead to four.
Long’s 14 points tied Jade Tse for the team lead as four Huskies cracked double figures.
HBU took its first lead of the game with 9:24 to play on a pair of Za-Ontay Boothman free throws.
The surge was reminiscent of what the Huskies did on Jan. 2 when they used a second-half rally to force overtime and grab a six-point win.
“During a free throw, I was talking to one of their players and said it felt like here we go again,” said Massner, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. “We got out on the right side of it this time, so it was a much better feeling. Rebounding down the stretch was key. Everybody had some big rebounds. Whoever came in made big plays.”
While Teasett and Massner were the only two Demons to crack double figures, five other players had either six or eight points, including Jovan Zelenbaba, who knocked down a his only two 3-point tries as part of an overall 13-for-25 performance from the 3-point line for the Demons.
The 13 made 3s were a season high for Northwestern State, who has shot 21-for-40 (52.5 percent) from 3-point range in its past two games.
“He did a great job and had some great moments,” McConathy said of Zelenbaba, who set a career high with three steals. “He’s going to be a really good player. He’s such a great athlete that he gets to going a little too fast.”
That balanced attack allowed the Demons to extend their longest winning streak since the 2013-14 season, and it gave NSU a win in a game where it did not play its best basketball.
“The best part of this game was we not me,” McConathy said. “Everybody was fired up when those shots went in. Everybody fed off that.”
The Demons return to action Wednesday night when they host Stephen F. Austin. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. inside Prather Coliseum.
Lillie Frazier Bell retired from Northwestern State University in 2018, having served as the university’s first female and first Black registrar, leading a loyal staff known for its efficiency and professionalism. Bell had planned to spend retirement travelling and spending time with family, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of a special trip to Australia and other activities.
Bell graduated from St. Matthew High School near Melrose in 1966 and earned an associate degree in secretarial science from Natchitoches Technical College in 1971. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at NSU in 1985 and a master’s in Student Personnel Services in 1998.
Bell worked in the Office of the Registrar for 31 years, 22 as registrar and nine as assistant registrar, during which time there were many changes at the university – in administration, in technology and in wider culture. She worked with four university presidents, Dr. Robert Alost, Dr. Randall J. Webb, Dr. Jim Henderson and Dr. Chris Maggio. Bell made certain that each new administration was aware of state and federal laws and that policies, regulations and procedures were followed at NSU.
Keeping busy and having just received her first COVID-19 vaccination, Bell was doing well last week when she made time for a Zoom chat with a former colleague about her years as Registrar, the rewards of her long career and some of her current endeavors.
NSU: In your career, there were many changes at the university. What were some ways you had to adapt?
LB: When I first started working at NSU, we had arena type registration. I would set-up the Student Union building for advisement and registration. We used machines, which were called terminals to register students. Once computers were made available in academic departments, I assisted with the implementation and training of faculty, advisors and staff members to process registration for students. Even though students were able to register in their academic departments, but they still had to go to Prather Coliseum and stand in long lines to pay their fees.
After the free drop add period, students would have to come to the Office of the Registrar and wait in long lines to register, add, and drop courses, etc. Faculty had to use grade books and grade rosters to record their grades.
I assisted with the implementation of four different Student Information Systems (SIS, SIS-PLUS, SIS 2000, and the BANNER System) Web for Faculty and Advisors, Web for Students, and three different Degree Audit systems. I also was responsible for granting access to and the ensuring the security of these different systems. These implemented systems enabled students to register, add and drop their classes, view their graduation requirements, view their midterm and final grades, request their academic transcript, etc. In addition, these enhanced systems allowed faculty members to enter their own grades, advise students, register students and perform other functions.
NSU: What were some challenges you overcame during your time as Registrar?
LB: My biggest challenge was the implementation of the Banner Student Information System. With Banner, we had to relearn everything. The entire office had to relearn how to do their job. Another challenge was to ensure that all staff members were given the opportunity to engage in professional development and training session to enable them to deliver excellent administrative and academic services.
Some of the proudest moments of my career were the fact that the Office of the Registrar was known as a number one leader for the implementation of advanced student technology applications and the consistent display and devotion, loyalty and teamwork from my staff members that made me feel blessed and proud to have them on my side.
NSU: What are some memorable moments that you carried with you?
LB: Successful leadership in organizing more than 60 different commencement ceremonies. During one semester, I had to supervise and coordinate five commencement ceremonies while Prather Coliseum was being repaired. Another memorable moment was when the parking lot at Prather Coliseum was under complete construction. I had to supervise and coordinate the parking for two commencement ceremonies for over 5,000 people.
NSU: What were some funny or rewarding times?
LB: There were times when we would receive requests from students for their transcripts. When we could not locate a transcript for these students, they would argue and insist that they attended and know that they received grades from Northwestern State University. Later, I would discover that they attended Northwestern University in Illinois.
Some rewarding times were when a student or students would send me a postcard, telephone call or come in person and just say “Thank you.” Also, it was and still is rewarding to hear from former NSU students that I made an impact in their lives.
NSU: As a woman of color, did you set out to “break the glass ceiling” and did you find acceptance in your leadership role at NSU?
LB: No, I did not set out to “break the glass ceiling.” My mother instilled in me to always do my best in whatever job I had. I was the first Black woman to be hired and hold the position of secretary/bookkeeper/circulation assistant at the Natchitoches Parish Library from April 1971 to August of 1981. I did my best in that job.
I was the first Black woman to be appointed as the assistant registrar at NSU in 1989. At first, it was hard, and the pressure was sometimes unbearable. I learned and performed all job functions in the Registrar’s Office. I became known and respected by the University community as the “go-to person” for the Office of the Registrar while serving as the assistant registrar.
I did find acceptance in my leadership role at NSU. I was the first Black woman to be appointed as the University Registrar at NSU and held that position from January 1996 until I retired on June 30, 2018. During my tenure as Registrar, I had the support and acceptance of the former University President Dr. Webb, who used to be a registrar at another institution. He was aware of the difficulties that I encountered as Registrar. I also had the support and acceptance from several provosts and vice presidents for Academic Affairs, and from Carl Jones, the vice president for Business Affairs. I chaired 10 different committees, and many times was the only Black woman. I was not intimidated because I knew my job and was respected by members of the committees. I felt that my leadership role at NSU was respected, accepted and most of the times appreciated by the University community.
I assisted and served students, faculty, and staff from a wide variety of different cultures. My motto was and still is to follow the Golden Rule – to do unto others as I would have them to do unto me.
NSU: A lot of people do not realize everything that the Registrar is responsible for. Did your duties expand as technology became more integrated into higher education?
LB: Yes, it is so true that a lot of people do not realize everything that the Registrar is responsible for. I consider the Office of the Registrar to be the front door of the University. The Office of the Registrar assists students from admission to the University to graduation from the University. This is the only office on campus that has a never-ending relationship with students due to their academic records.
The expansion of technology required me to stay abreast of many computer software programs. I had to become more involved in the implementation of related integrated technology applications in support of enhanced student academic services.
NSU: Your staff was known for its efficiency. Did you model that professionalism?
LB: Yes. As Registrar, one of my main goals and mission were to provide effective and professional academic service to students, faculty and staff. I also thrived to maintain the highest level of academic integrity according to state and federal guidelines.
NSU: The staff in the Registrar’s office is mostly women. Is that a change from when you began your career?
LB: No, there was only one male in the Registrar’s office when I first started working there as a typist clerk.
NSU: When you retired, you said you intended to travel, but COVID threw a wrench into those plans. How do you keep busy and what are your plans?
LB: At first, my husband and I did travel from August 2018 – February 2020. We do intend to continue traveling once the pandemic is over or cleared.
I keep busy — sometimes too busy. I am the owner and business manager of Bell’s Rental Properties, LLC. Also, I am working at home part-time for our three adult children as a business manager for Bell’s Graphics Creativitees; serving as consultant for Bell Healthcare Training School and Bell’s Properties, LLC; and Bell-Anderson We Truck 4 You, LLC.
I am happily married to my husband, Willie Bell. We will celebrate our 54th wedding anniversary this year in October. We have two sons, Darrin C. Bell and his wife Letecia and Christopher R. Bell and his wife Yolanda, and one daughter, Cassaundra R. Bell Anderson and her husband Mark; 10 Grandchildren, one grandson-in-law, and one granddaughter-in-law. Also, we are expecting the delivery of our first great grandson in July of this year.
I am spending more time studying my Bible, listening to spiritual music and sermons. I am still enjoying my retired life. My plans are to continue to enjoy my current career as an owner and business manager and assisting my adult children with their business affairs as needed. I love being a wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and looking forward to being a great grandmother. I love spending time with my husband and my family.
I enjoyed my life as registrar and have so much respect for the faculty and staff and university family. It makes you feel good that you had an impact on so many lives.
HATTIESBURG, Mississippi – The Northwestern State baseball team was able to overcome too many walks in an opening-day doubleheader split against Southern Miss on Sunday.
Monday’s series finale, however, saw the homestanding Golden Eagles take advantage of everything the Demons failed to do correctly, taking the series with a 10-0, seven-inning victory at Pete Taylor Park.
Four Northwestern State pitchers issued 11 walks and the Demons (1-2) committed three errors, leading to five unearned runs for Southern Miss (2-1).
Left-hander Drew Boyd (1-0) tossed five scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles, striking out nine without issuing a walk.
Boyd surrendered two hits – a first-inning Daunte Stuart single and a fifth-inning Hilton Brown triple – before Matthew Adams worked two hitless innings to finish the game.
Levi David (0-1) took the loss in his first career start, allowing seven runs (four earned) in two innings. The two biggest swings of the game came from Southern Miss center fielder Reed Trimble, who delivered three-run home runs in the second and third innings as the Golden Eagles built a 9-0 lead after three innings.
Nik Millsap worked three innings for NSU in relief, allowing a pair of unearned runs before turning things over to Will Hine, who worked a scoreless sixth inning in his Demon debut.
Freshman right-hander Thomas Sotile allowed a run in the seventh inning in his first outing in an NSU uniform.
The Demons return to action Wednesday when they face ULM in Monroe. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Warhawk Field.
Southern Miss 10, Northwestern State 0 (7 innings) NSU 000 000 0 – 0 2 3 USM 234 000 1 – 10 6 0 W – Drew Boyd (1-0). L – Levi David (0-1). 3B – NSU, Hilton Brown. HR – USM, Reed Trimble 2 (2). Highlights: USM, Trimble 2-4, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs; Reece Ewing 2-4.
By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Take five, and no that’s not referring to the candy bar or a short hiatus during the production of a movie. Take five is referring to the fifth take on the Northwestern State softball team’s season opener.
NSU is slated to host Grambling on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Lady Demon Diamond. There’s a possibility that the two could play a doubleheader, beginning at 5 p.m. Whatever the case may be, it’s the fifth different season-opening opponent that has appeared on the Lady Demons’ schedule.
“We are just so anxious to get out on the field, and it just seems like we are hitting a road block every single time,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “Losing 11 ball games to begin the year, I’ve never experienced that. Usually you may lose three or four games all year, max. This year it has been wild with all the weather we’ve had the last couple of weeks.”
The Lady Demons were originally supposed to commence the year at the Lady Demon Classic against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Health and weather concerns transformed the Lady Demon Classic into a three-game home series against Tarleton State. That was soon canceled because to travel concerns due to inclement weather.
NSU was slated to travel to Waco, Texas, this past weekend for the Baylor Getterman Classic, but that was called off because of adverse weather in the region. That was replaced with a doubleheader at ULM, which couldn’t happen because of field conditions.
With all that in the rearview mirror, the Lady Demons are trying to stay focused on what lies ahead.
“I think every one is frustrated,” Pickett said. “We were so excited to finally play our season, then stuff happens that we can’t control. (The team) is still going about working and doing the right things every day, so they’ll be ready to go when we finally do get out here and get going.”
The Lady Demons are coming off an abbreviated 2020 season that saw them finish at 15-7 overall and 3-0 in Southland Conference play. NSU finished off a sweep of Sam Houston before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Northwestern State returns nearly everyone from a season ago. Each of its top-five hitters — senior outfielders Hayley Barbazon, Kaitlyn St. Clair and Elise Vincent along with junior designated player Jensen Howell and freshman infielder Kat Marshall — had a cumulative batting average of .333 in 2020.
It’s a similar story in the circle for NSU. All four players who recorded a pitch in 2020 come back.
That distinguished group is led by Howell who made 12 appearances, 10 starts, compiling a record of 8-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 71 strikeouts. Senior Samantha Guile, sophomore Bronte Rhoden and junior E.C. Delafield round out the returning staff.
Those aforementioned players don’t include junior second baseman Cayla Jones and sophomore catcher Alexis Perry who both made the preseason All-Southland team — along with Barbazon, Delafield and Vincent. The veteran-loaded roster combined with the young talent has the Lady Demons eyeing a top-tier finish in the Southland Conference.
“This team has a lot of good qualities about it and has a lot of positives going for it,” Pickett said. “We have to get out on the field and see where we are and move forward each and every day.”
The Tigers went 3-15 in their shortened 2020 season. India Wells returns after leading Grambling offensively last season, boasting a batting average of .300 with two RBIs. Trya Triplett and Fayth McQueary also come back following a season that saw them hit .297 and .231, respectively.
Payton Shells leads the Tigers in the circle, as she logged a 3.89 ERA in 27 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts last season. Ja’Lynn Bonner returns, and she tossed 31 innings in 2020 with 12 strikeouts.
NSU and Grambling battle one another most years. The Lady Demons own the upper hand, laying claim to a 29-3 all-time record against the Tigers, however, Pickett knows this matchup won’t be easy.
“Familiarity definitely makes everything tougher,” Pickett said. “When you’re playing someone you’re familiar with, they know your strengths, you know theirs. Whoever executes the best will come out on top.”
Following the game against Grambling, Northwestern State will travel to Mobile, Alabama, for the Jaguar Classic. The Lady Demons will open the tournament against SIU-Edwardsville on Friday at 10 a.m. The field also Middle Tennessee, Missouri and South Alabama.
That statement from Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams aptly sums up the response to our recent unprecedented cold snap. A combination of prolonged below freezing temperatures, snow and freezing rain brought down trees and power lines throughout the parish. The cold caused pipes to freeze and burst, further stressing water systems throughout the area. Roads were rendered impassible by ice, further complicating relief efforts. The past week has posed a monumental challenge!
Bucket trucks and the roar of chain saws were a ubiquitous presence as crews worked virtually around the clock to restore power to critical installations and homes. They fixed downed lines, cut away fallen trees and replaced components such as transformers. All of these repairs took place in temperatures well below freezing and with components often covered in ice. The Journal met up with two crews from Lafayette who had come up to Natchitoches to lend a hand. They, and our city’s crews, restored power to 99% of the city in the space of a few days, a truly impressive feat, especially considering the extent of the outage and the miserable working conditions.
Electrical power was not the only challenge facing our community. The extreme cold caused pipes to freeze and burst all over the parish. Crews drove the streets, looking for evidence of leaks. They assisted homeowners in shutting off their water supply if they had a leak and were unable to do so. They continue to work to restore water service to areas cut off and to bring the water pressure up in the entire system.
The extreme weather conditions, power and water failures can create a dangerous and potentially deadly situation for our community’s most vulnerable residents. Community leaders, the Red Cross and government quickly worked together to establish a warming shelter at the MLK Community Center. One could charge phones, get out of the cold weather and have a safe, warm place to spend the night. It was a literal lifesaver.
Law enforcement throughout the parish assisted stranded drivers and assisted with spotting downed powerlines and water leaks. They also provided security at the warming shelter. The Fire Department was on the alert for house fires caused by increased heater use. They also delivered water to keep essential facilities operating. Emergency Medical Services kept the ambulances running for the safety of our citizens.
Natchitoches Sheriff Stuart Wright and Mary Jones, Assistant Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for the parish, arranged with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness for shipments of bottled water. Parish President John Richmond had the water sent to fire stations throughout the parish for citizens who needed it. Parish governmental employees also assisted with clearing roads and removing downed trees.
The foremost responsibility of a government is public safety. If a state fails there, nothing else they do really matters all that much. I spent much of the past few days in town, driving and walking around. What I saw in our city restored my faith in the essential goodness of our fellow citizens and of the competence of the men and women of local government when it really counts. Time and again, over the past week, I have seen people doing hard, physical, and occasionally dangerous work, yet I never saw anyone being anything less than cheerful in what were cold, wet and miserable conditions.
Police officers and deputies manned barricades, directed traffic, kept information flowing and assisted countless numbers of their fellow citizens. The officers and deputies were often assisted in rescues by ordinary citizens who saw a need and pitched in. The Fire Department responded to calls, the ambulance service assisted victims and the Utility Department got the power going. The white city trucks have been a constant presence on the streets as workers respond to calls, proactively look for potential problems and tirelessly work, often soaked by water leaks in freezing temperatures, to get the water system back up. Men and women all over the parish are working with a quiet competence that is truly impressive. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for a job well done!
We’ve all just experienced what many are calling an unprecedented weather event and sadly that description seems to be turning into an excuse for the maladies we are experiencing with our water system and with it a wealth of misunderstanding. Many questions being asked of our government officials display a lack of understanding of the system and unfortunately some of the answers being given display the same amount of ignorance.
In order to understand the demands placed on water systems, first we have to delve into a little background of how these systems are supposed to work. The following five (5) minute video will explain the basics of our water system.
There used to be a sign outside of the water plant touting the ability of the plant to treat eight million gallons (8,000,000) gallons of water per day. Treating that raw water and the ability to pressurize the system and maintain an adequate reserve in the water towers is critical. The following eleven (11) minute video will go a long way in our understanding of the roles the plant’s pumps and water towers play. It is well worth the time and will allow us to ask questions and make informed decisions on preventing the preventable.
The Natchitoches City Council meeting will be open to the public at the next regular meeting on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Occupancy for the Council Chamber is limited to 25% or 26 people total. Temperature checks will be given before entering the chamber. Seating markers will be placed on the chairs. Any Citizen that wishes to observe the City Council meeting live may do so at:
If you have any comments that you would like to make on any agenda item, you can email those comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be read into record. Also, during the meeting if you have any comments on the agenda item being considered, you may call 318-521-1023 and you will be placed on speaker phone to make your comments. You must state your name for the record and you will be limited to 3 minutes for your comments. Please remember that this is not a question and answer session and please speak clearly for the record. Since we are allowing for a public comment period, agenda items will take longer than usual because we will allow 45 seconds between the reading of the item and the vote being taken, for any public comment. For additional questions, please call 318-357-3821.
Natchitoches City Council will have a pre-council meeting beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. to discuss non-agenda items. The City Council meeting will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month and will be reserved to only items on the Agenda. The public is invited to both the pre-council meetings and council meetings with the understanding that items not on the agenda will not be discussed at the scheduled council meetings, but the public is welcome to discuss any topic at the pre-council meetings. The City Council Meetings are held at the Natchitoches City Council Chambers located at 716 Second Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana.
PUBLIC NOTICE for PUBLIC HEARING
The City of Natchitoches will hold a public hearing at 5:00 p.m. on February 22, 2021 at the City of Natchitoches City Council Chambers, 716 2nd Street, Natchitoches, LA. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and obtain views concerning the submission of an application for funding under the State of Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvements Program. The following items will be discussed at the hearing:
The amount of funds available for proposed community development activities; The range of activities available that may be undertaken, including the estimated amount of funds proposed to be used for activities that will benefit persons of low and moderate income; The plans of the City for minimizing displaced persons as a result of activities assisted with such funds and the benefits to be provided by the City to persons actually displaced as a result of such activities; and, The City’s past performance on LCDBG projects funded by the State of Louisiana.
All residents, particularly low- and moderate-income persons and residents of slum and blighted areas of the Parish are encouraged to attend this meeting. Accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and non-English speaking individuals provided that at least three (3) day notice is received by the City. Those citizens unable to attend this hearing may submit their views and proposals until February 22, 2021 in writing to:
City of Natchitoches Attn: Stacy McQueary, City Council Clerk P. O. Box 37 Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037
The City of Natchitoches is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage all small and minority-owned firms and women’s business enterprises to apply.
READING AND APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 8, 2021
ORDINANCES – FINAL: #002 Nielsen Ordinance Extending The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches Annexing A Tract Situated In Section 32, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, Said Tract Owned By Braxton Keyser, LLC, And Lying North Of Louisiana Highway 494, And Adjacent To The Existing Municipal Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches, Being A Total Of 13.0 Acres, More Or Less, And Further Providing For The Fixing Of A Public Hearing, Advertisement, Fixing Council District For Same, Fixing Zoning Classification And Providing For An Effective Date Of The Ordinance.
#004 Harrington A Second Supplemental Bond Ordinance Amending and Supplementing Ordinance No. 1 of 2015 providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of not to exceed Four Million Dollars ($4,000,000) of Utilities Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2021, of the City of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana; prescribing the form, terms and conditions of said Refunding Bonds, designating the date, denomination and place of payment of said Refunding Bonds, providing for the payment thereof in principal and interest; authorizing the agreement with the Paying Agent; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.
#007 Nielsen Ordinance Authorizing A Franchise In Favor Of Paul’s Party Boat, To Operate A Tour Boat Business Within The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches, Confirming The Term Of The Franchise, Conditions, And Considerations For Said Franchise And Authorizing The Mayor To Execute The Said Franchise Agreement On Behalf Of The City Providing For Advertising, Further Providing For Severability, And Further Providing For A Repealer And Effective Date Of Ordinance.
#008 Smith Ordinance To Repeal A Portion Of Ordinance No. 029 Of 2019, Relative To Declaring Certain Buildings Unsafe And Recommending The Buildings To Be Demolished Or Repaired To Comply With The Building Code, And To Otherwise Provide With Respect Thereto.
#009 Harrington Ordinance To Repeal Ordinance No. 041 Of 2019, Relative To Declaring Certain Buildings Unsafe And Recommending The Buildings To Be Demolished Or Repaired To Comply With The Building Code, And To Otherwise Provide With Respect Thereto.
RESOLUTIONS: #014 Petite Resolution Authorizing Mayor Ronnie Williams, Jr., To Adopt A Citizen Participation Plan/Citizen Complaint Procedure And Appoint A Citizen Complaint Officer For Compliance With The Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
#015 Elie Resolution To Adopt A Procurement Policy For The Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
#016 Smith Resolution Addressing Administrative Aspects Of The Proposed Louisiana Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (LCDBG-CV) HVAC Improvement Program.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, March 8, 2021.