NEW ALICE REPORT REVEALS AN INCREASE IN ALICE AND POVERTY HOUSEHOLDS IN LOUISIANA

Northwest Louisiana ranks higher than the state average of households struggling to make ends meet.

Shreveport, Louisiana – New research shows that in Louisiana, 1,735,620 households – 51 percent – could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2018, according to the ALICE Report released today by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, in partnership with Louisiana United Ways. This is a 3 percent increase from the previous report released in 2018 with 2016 data, and it is projected to continue to climb due to the health and economic crisis of COVID-19. 33 percent of these households fall into the ALICE threshold, while 18 percent are poverty stricken.

ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings, and are one emergency from falling into poverty. These individuals earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the parish.

“Now more than ever, it is important that we use this crucial tool to gauge the immediate needs of ALICE during these challenging times we are facing,” said Dr. Bruce Willson, UWNWLA President/CEO. “Our hardworking families are not only struggling to afford their basic needs, but they are experiencing furlough, reduced wages, or being laid-off completely. The updated ALICE report will allow us to have a better look at problematic areas in Northwest Louisiana to ensure that we are aiding this vulnerable population the right way.”

The ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report includes measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses, that show how many Louisiana workers are struggling financially, and why.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed countless ALICE workers provide essential services on the front lines, often times without adequate healthcare access and optimal childcare supports,” said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. “They are our friends, family, and people we rely on every day – through good times and hard times.”

United Way of Northwest Louisiana operates a dozen programs in-house to improve the lives of ALICE families and individuals in the areas of health, education, financial stability and essential needs. The agency helps families save money on prescription medications through FamilyWize, issues free books monthly to children under five through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, offers a confidential 24/7 help line to get connected to local and government resources known as 211, and offers tools to become more financially stable. Most recently they established the United for NWLA Fund, which is an emergency response fund working to help individuals in Northwest Louisiana affected by COVID-19.

United Way of Northwest Louisiana funds 28 local nonprofit programs that help children, adults, veterans and families thrive. If your service organization would like more information about ways to use the ALICE data or work with United Way NWLA on improving the lives of those struggling to make ends meet in this region, please contact the United Way NWLA office.

The ALICE Report for Louisiana provides high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of who is struggling in our communities. To produce the ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers for the ALICE Project collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 24 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report. This collaborative model, ensures each ALICE Report presents unbiased data that is replicable and sensitive to local context. Working closely with United Ways, the ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions. This ALICE Report for Louisiana is made possible by generous corporate support from the Entergy Corporation.


NSU will host All-Greek Centennial Celebration in 2021

Northwestern State University will host a Greek Centennial Celebration April 9-11, 2021. All members of every fraternity and sorority chapter that has ever called NSU home is invited to join the celebration. The weekend celebration will include a riverbank festival, gala and All-Greek worship service.

Festivities will begin Friday, April 9 at Flavor of Louisiana, NSU’s popular spring fund raiser and seafood extravaganza. Saturday’s events will begin with a family-friendly Greek Riverbank Festival with designated areas for each decade of alumni and friends to visit and reconnect. Saturday evening will feature a semi-formal Greek Centennial Gala for alumni and current members of the Greek community to celebrate 100 years of tradition and leadership at NSU. Greek awards for chapters and individuals as well as recognition of the “100 for 100” recipients will take place. An ecumenical worship service and communion will take place on Sunday morning, April 11 to celebrate a century of brother- and sisterhood.

In conjunction, a Greek Centennial History Book will be available for purchase that will feature snapshots from 100 years of Greek life at Northwestern State and the “100 for 100” honorees. Those are 100 noteworthy individuals who over the last 100 years demonstrated their commitment to Greek life and Northwestern State University.

Organizers have also put together a Greek Leadership Fund that will assist in the development of leadership through project and program funding with student members.

Information on the celebration is available at https://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/greeks100/.

The roots of Greek life at NSU began with local sororities established in the early 1900s that took the form of literary societies. Only one used Greek letters as part of their name.

“They were short lived, being abolished in 1911 by newly appointed president V.L. Roy as he felt they were a distraction from the scholarly pursuits the students should be focused on at the then named Louisiana Normal School,” said Shayne Creppel, director of Fraternal Leadership and Civic Engagement at NSU.

“According to campus lore, in 1921 a group of six young men established a Greek letter fraternity, Sigma Delta Tau,” Creppel said. “The fraternity met off campus in secret for fear of notoriously strict President Roy finding out about their group. The fraternity grew in size over the next few years and decided to seek approval from President Roy. The group hosted a banquet and invited the school president. He was so impressed with the quality of the men in the fraternity that he gave official recognition to the group in 1925. The following year the first national women’s sorority was established at the school, Delta Sigma Epsilon. Delta Sigma Epsilon was later absorbed by Delta Zeta national sorority and Sigma Delta Tau became affiliated with the national fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma. This 1921 establishment of Sigma Delta Tau is viewed as the beginning of Greek Life at NSU as we now know it and a century of leadership and tradition.”

Creppel said Greek life is more relevant today than ever.

“These organizations provide valuable skills that students will need to be successful for life after college. Many of our most dedicated and engaged alumni credit their fraternity and sorority experience as a key component to their success after graduating from NSU,” he said. “Fraternities and sororities also help our students feel connected and provide a home away from home which is vital to college success. Students who are engaged and feel connected do better in college and are more likely to graduate. We feel that there is a place for every student in fraternity and sorority life at NSU.”

“As a student, I did not realize how valuable my Greek experience would be in the years to come. As a member of a Greek organization, you are considered campus leaders and play a large part in on-campus activities and events. Many of the Greek members hold leadership positions and are involved in other campus organizations such as SGA, SAB, Freshman Connection and many more,” said Nikki Ceaser Small, a member of the Centennial planning committee. “My Greek experience has truly impacted my life. As members, we are charged with the obligation to continue the legacy of scholarship and service by giving back to our community. I take pride in being affiliated with a value system where all strive for similar goals and share the same principles and values.”

“Greek organizations have been an integral part of the student experience for decades,” said planning committee member Leah Middlebrook. “Greek organizations teach leadership skills, responsibility, accountability and time management. Members of Greek organizations often become leaders on campus and have the ability to share the skills learned through their Greek organizations with other parts of campus life. A major component of Greek life is philanthropy and giving back to the city, campus and community.

“Being Greek at NSU made my college experience a memorable one,” said Danielle Antoon Cobb, associate director of Alumni Affairs. “Even if your Greek organization is no longer on campus at NSU, I encourage you and your friends to come back to where some of your fondest college memories took place. Our planning committee is working hard to make sure that all of the weekend events will cater to everyone. It will definitely be a great time to rekindle friendships and meet others who like you, have Greek life at NSU to thank for lasting memories.”


Natchitoches Art Guild to hold Kids’ Creative Canvases Competition in September

Due to the current health crisis, the 2020 Kids’ Creative Canvases Competition, sponsored by the Natchitoches Art Guild and Gallery, originally scheduled for June has been moved to September. We announce this call to art, open to students from 1st grade to 12th in the Natchitoches Art Gallery at 584 Front Street, Suite 102 in Natchitoches.

NAGG is currently accepting applications for the event which runs from Sept. 13-27. Application forms and canvases can be obtained from the gallery during regular gallery hours Sunday through Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm.

The entry fee of $10 provides each participant the opportunity to display original work in the gallery and the required canvas. Each student will be allowed (1) one entry, with a maximum of 60 total entries. Due to legal restrictions, works cannot be sold through the gallery.

Prizes will be awarded in each category – Elementary, Junior High and High School, with awards being presented on Sept. 27. In compliance with current guidelines, and in order to do our part in keeping safe, each category award will be presented at staggered intervals to minimize contact. Sadly, we must limit attendance to the artist and parents/guardian.


SECOND RUN OF FISHING UNIVERSITY SEGMENT FEATURING NATCHITOCHES AUGUST 10-15

NATCHITOCHES – Fishing University is a 32 year old, Emmy nominated TV program, airing 11 times per week, and seen in all 50 states and 51 other countries. Fishing University visited Natchitoches in October 2019, where fishing legends Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier competed in a friendly competition on Sibley Lake and Cane River Lake while being filmed.

During their visit, the gentlemen also hosted an hour long program at Lakeview High School where the local fishing teams including Natchitoches Central High School, Lakeview High School, Northwestern State University and a host of other students sat in.

In addition to the two celebrities, three local gentlemen talked about the importance of education and how it landed them successful careers in the outdoors. Those participating from our area were Johnny Ledet Owner of T’Johnny’s Seafood and competitive angler and Brett Hortman, Director of the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery.

The show featuring Natchitoches will air on the following dates, times and networks:

Monday, August 10th
WFN at 9:00am

Tuesday, August 11th
WFN at 1:00am
WFN at 5:00pm
WFN at 9:00pm

Thursday, August 13th
WFN at 4:00am

Saturday, August 15th
WFN at 10:00pm

Network codes: WFN=World Fishing Network

For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office at (318) 352-2772.


Notice of Death – August 9, 2020

NATCHITOCHES:
John Desha
July 6, 1959 – August 5, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Myrtis Bell Handy
August 1, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Wayne North
January 02, 1959 – August 08, 2020
Visitation: Tuesday the 11th from 5 pm until 8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service:   Burial will follow at Springhill Cemetery near Jonesboro, LA.

SABINE:
Huey Wayne Isgitt
February 7, 1937 – August 7, 2020
Service: Tuesday, August 11 at 10 am at Emmanuel Pentecostal Church

WINN:
William David White, Jr.
September 20, 1928 – July 29, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Dusty Ray LeBaron
September 14, 1983 – July 27, 2020
Arrangements TBA


Early Voting – for 08-07-20

Early Voting for the August 15, 2020 Election as of the Close-Of-Business on Friday,  August 7, 2020.

TOTALS In Person Mail In
202 146 56

WHITE BLACK OTHER
126 73 3

DEM REP OTHER
94 75 33

MALE FEMALE
79 130

  • Full Reports from the SOS 


Tappedtober cancels 2020 event

The growth and community support of the Tappedtober Craft Beer & Wine Festival over the last two years has been a truly humbling experience for our dedicated team. To put on an event, which has attracted over 5000 attendees in such a short time, is no small task. Our team spends the better part of 6 months making things happen in preparation.

With the recent announcement by Governor John Bel Edwards to extend Phase 2 restrictions through August 28th and the uncertainty of holding a mass gathering in the near future, our team at Tappedtober has decided to put the fun on hold and cancel our 2020 event.

Tappedtober is not just festival. It is a vital fundraising event the ensures healthcare excellence is available at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center. We are grateful for our faithful and community caring sponsors. You can learn more at tappedtober.com.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tappedtober is Natchitoches, Louisiana’s very first Craft Beer and Wine Festival. This annual event is known for the family environment, top-notch entertainment, big screen football, and, of course, the best beer and wine on the planet. Over 45 craft beer brands will be on hand in the beer pavilion. This family event has something for everyone: Kid Zone, incredible music line-up, football games on a giant digital screen, fireworks, food trucks, games, and much more. 100% of all proceeds support the missions of the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation.

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation exists to ensure NRMC is equipped to excel in delivering healthcare excellence to every member of our community. The Foundation does this through funding technology advancements (i.e. 3D mammography), new healthcare services, nursing & allied health scholarships, and community wellness grants.

Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation was formed to ease the burden of access to healthcare for our most vulnerable patients (i.e. transportation, gas cards, lodging, dietary & financial assistance). Through generous community support, the funds to purchase the van are on hand. Now our goal is the operational costs of the transportation assistance program.


Court denies appeal over display of Confederate flag in Natchitoches’ 2015 Christmas Festival parade

An appeal in the United State Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by the Louisiana Division Sons of Confederate Veterans against the City of Natchitoches was denied on July 30. The SCV appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgement dismissing claims that the City, the Historic District Business Association (HDBA) and certain individuals violated the group’s first and fourteenth amendment right of free speech and due process by denying its application to participate in the 2015 Christmas parade.

Natchitoches Mayor Lee Posey had sent a letter to the HDBA Christmas Festival Committee in November of 2015 requesting the display of the Confederate flag be prohibited in the parade. The HDBA then wrote to the SCV, denying its application to participate in the parade.

The SCV, in turn, filed suit in August of 2016 (with several amendments leading up to September of 2017) against the mayor, three City officials, and the HDBA.

In the end, the conclusion was that the SCV failed to raise a material fact dispute on its claims against the City. The mayor was not a final policymaker because he did not control the HDBA’s decision to deny the SCV’s parade application. The SCV’s claims against the HDBA were also barred by the statute of limitations.


Notice of Death – August 7, 2020

NATCHITOCHES:
Eleanor Gill
November 07, 1932 – August 04, 2020
Service: Saturday August 8 at 9 am at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Campti

John Desha
July 6, 1959 – August 5, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Myrtis Bell Handy
August 1, 2020
Arrangements TBA

SABINE:
Robert “Bobby” A. Craig
June 1, 1940 – August 6, 2020
Service: Saturday, August 8 at 11 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

WINN:
William David White, Jr.
September 20, 1928 – July 29, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Dusty Ray LeBaron
September 14, 1983 – July 27, 2020
Arrangements TBA


Early Voting – for 08-06-20

Early Voting for the August 15, 2020 Election as of the Close-Of-Business on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

TOTALS In Person Mail In
128 79 49

WHITE BLACK OTHER
66 57 5

DEM REP OTHER
66 43 19

MALE FEMALE
40 88

  • Full Reports from the SOS 


School Board recognized former superintendent, discusses tax exemption applications

The Natchitoches Parish School Board met briefly for its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 6. Board President Billy Benefield kicked things off by recognizing former Superintendent Dale Skinner for his 50 plus years in education in the state of Louisiana.

In other business the school board decided to table an item to consider approving a tax exemption application for Alliance Compressors LLC. Board member Russ Danzy initially made a motion to approve 40 percent of the 80 percent tax exemption Alliance is applying for, but Board member Reba Phelps said tabling the item would allow some of the members more time to research the subject. The deadline to submit the paperwork is Aug. 23 so the Board will set a date for a special called meeting soon so this item can be handled before the deadline.

The Board did approve two tax exemption applications for RoyOMartin, however with Board members Emile Metoyer and Dorothy McGaskey voting against the item and Tankeia Palmer and Katrina Willis being absent/unable to vote electronically, Metoyer said they didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the items. Since a roll call vote had already been done, Superintendent Grant Eloi said he would get a ruling on the matter asap and would let the board know. If the vote can’t be upheld, the item will be added to the agenda for the special called meeting.

Other agenda items included:

Approve memorandum of understanding between the Outpatient Medical Center and the Board

Approve a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Louisiana Technical Community College and the Board

Approve Dual Enrollment Agreement between Northwestern State University and the Board

Approve two-year performance contracts for administrators

Approve Strong Start final plan

Approve new job descriptions for increased Covid-19 related duties

Approve Covid leave policy

Approve Title IX policy

Approve Emergency Closing of Schools policy

Approve Public Health Emergency policy


Willie, Waylon and the Girls

By Reba Phelps

In a joint family effort to rescue and redeem ourselves from an overabundance of screen time we made a conscious decision to simply put our phones down as much as possible. Just step away from the electronics for a while to enjoy the little things in life.

As a family, we decided to take walks together, cook more meals together and read. We made an effort to not let our phones be the first thing we pick up in the mornings. This proved extremely hard as I use mine as an alarm clock.

And, if I am being brutally honest, I would need to confess my sins. Mom had slightly more of a screen time addiction than my offsprings did. This is not normal behavior. I am a middle aged woman and should detest technology, apps, social media and any joy that a smart phone has to offer. Parents are supposed to be the role model and not the cautionary tale.

To begin the healing process for me I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for thirty days. I also deleted my Instagram and Twitter account for thirty days. I deleted my SnapChat off and on for the thirty day trial period because I decided I was missing the funny videos exchanged between mother and daughter and my work friends. It wasn’t a great excuse but SnapChat was my least used app anyway.

We even decided to take a mother-daughter road trip to San Antonio to enjoy the Texas Hill Country.

The only stipulation was I asked my girls to not pick up their phones until we got past Many, LA. I assumed this would be a major struggle for the twenty-seven mile hike and we would bicker until we made it to our destination. Before we left the house we prayed for a safe trip and that really set the tone for us. We were already in good spirits. No one even mentioned the moratorium that was placed on electronics.

Words cannot describe how much we laughed, enjoyed each others company and poked fun at each other for various reasons. I am sure that when people passed us they questioned our sanity.

Once we crossed into downtown Many, I knew in my heart this is where we would say our goodbyes. I would tune into my Podcast list and they would turn their affection to whatever Netflix held for them. Funny thing happened in Sabine Parish though.

No one picked up a phone. We just kept visiting and laughing.

We each took a turn playing DJ and ended up listening to a smorgasbord of music. Taylor Swift. Dwight Yoakam. Waylon Jennigs. Lauren Daigle. We even threw in a little old school rap.

We drove through Toledo Town and admired all of the new construction (with awesome BOM signs in front of them). Still no one dove for a phone. We crossed Pendleton Bridge. Still chatting. Still laughing and sharing past stories about years gone by. We were having so much fun and a screen was nowhere to be found.

I will spare you the boredom of the turn by turn navigation of the road trip but I kept a close eye on the clock so I could measure every ounce of our enjoyment. We cherished a solid three hour screen-free journey. I was simply amazed and appreciative that we made it way past Many just having each other as our entertainment.

Once we were past Lufkin the road didn’t look very familiar to me. But maybe our navigation found a new and more improved route. Famous last words. It appeared that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. The paved state highway in which we were traveling soon turned to gravel and none of us had a cell phone signal.

The feeling of concern grew heavier and it just lingered in the air. I was the adult in charge so I tried to make my daughters feel safe and secure. Fake it until you make it. We were making small, nervous talk until, we looked out the side window and noticed the most majestic triple rainbow.

It is true when they say things are bigger in Texas. This rainbow boasted the deepest hues of violet that we have ever seen. It was so astounding that we had to stop and photograph this sight. With our phones. God promises in this rainbow brought us the peace we were looking for.

When we finally made our mostly-screen-free-journey to San Antonio we were met by a special friend. An earthly angel of sorts. She so graciously opened her home to us for the duration of the trip and even played tour guide for the first day. We were blessed beyond measure on our journey for many reasons.

We had ample time to enjoy each other as God intends for us to find joy with our family.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:8-11


Sports brings everyone together to win: Scholarship honors legacies of Eddie Robinson, George Floyd

The Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund at Grambling State University established the Eddie Robinson Teacher Education-Civility Scholarship in association with the George Floyd Foundation on Aug. 6 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches, La.

The mission of the Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund is to serve as a beacon of light to illuminate the magnificent, admirable and historic life of Coach Eddie G. Robinson by serving as a source of inspiration to future generations through promotion of academic excellence, athletics, life skills and moral values.

Likewise, the George Floyd Foundation has three areas it focuses on: social justice and education, youth services, and workforce development.

“We believe this scholarship hits all three,” said Tezlyn Figaro, senior advisor at the George Floyd Foundation. “It allows opportunity for those to be educated, particularly in the social justice area by carrying the name of George Floyd. This is the first scholarship to be created with many to come in the future.”

According to Figaro, the marriage between the Edie Robinson Legacy Fund and the George Floyd Foundation is a marriage built upon the importance of education and giving people other opportunities. George Floyd’s love for the game was important.

“What’s become even more important is the love the George Floyd Foundation has to continue to move the ball, not just physically on the field but by creating opportunities outside of football,” she shared.

The groups decided to meet at the LA Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. Doug Ireland, chairman of the museum’s support group FLASH (Friends of Louisiana Sports and History), spoke to the museum’s efforts to continually celebrate excellence among trailblazing members of society who have been incredible sports figures.

There is none greater than Eddie Robinson. He has a strong presence in the LA Sports Hall of Fame as one of its inductees and with the Grambling alum in the Natchitoches community.

“Coach Rob represented everything that is good about America,” said Ireland. “We’re trying to be a better America everyday. We fall short everyday. But we keep climbing. This scholarship is a very tangible step in that direction. It will enable students to represent Coach Rob and to stand for what Floyd did in his lifetime.”

The idea for this scholarship initiative began with Eddie Robinson III, executive director for the Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund and Ralph Wilson, Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund Scholarships and Endowments Coordinator.

“Robinson started as a teacher himself at a very young age and ultimately became one of the greatest college coaches on this side of the sun,” said Wilson.

This scholarship will reach African American males from across the country who are college bound and encourage them to become teachers through an institution of the student’s choice. The recipient has to commit to serving as a true agent of change through civility because there’s a need for true civility.

There will be 10 scholarships available at $1,000 each. Wilson said they hope to grow this dollar amount after a two-year period. Students can apply via the Common Black College Application for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“The passing of George Floyd not only inspired a nation to a quasi new modern day civil right movement, but it also inspired the world,” said Robinson III. “My grandfather taught and coached quite a few student athletes, in particular he recruited students from Floyd’s high school [to play at Grambling]…I’m sure George Floyd was heavily impacted by black coaches and black male teachers. We wanted to make sure all our youth today know who Eddie Robinson was and is today through his charity. We wanted to forge a partnership with the family to keep Floyd’s legacy going. I believe this partnership is a match made in heaven.”

The Floyd family agrees. Rodney Floyd, George’s brother, thanked everyone in attendance on behalf of the family and the foundation.

“This scholarship initiative is a great start toward change,” he said.

Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams added to the family’s sentiment. “This scholarship will allow youth the opportunity to advance their education while pursuing their sports career to ensure that Uncle did not die in vain,” he said.

Figaro encourages anyone interested in establishing a similar scholarship to contact the George Floyd Foundation directly. For more information go online to http://www.thegeorgefloydfoundation.org.

“We appreciate that Eddie and Ralph sought the family’s permission to use George Floyd’s name,” she said. “It was important to have the family’s voice involved in the process as opposed to just using the name or a hashtag. They were focused on the importance of creating a partnership.”

After the presentation of a plaque of a certificate of establishment, the group walked down to the riverbank stage where Floyd’s family members met Natchitoches residents Dominique O’Con, Julisa LaCour and Tremaine Washington, members of the Unheard Voice of Natchitoches Facebook group and organizers of a protest for Injustice in Natchitoches. Rev. Steven Harris was also there as one of the organizing members for another peaceful protest that took place on the steps of the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse. The group then continued its tour of the area before going to lunch at the Legacy Cafe.

Pictured above from left are Ralph Wilson, Floyd’s first cousin Shareeduh Tate, Eddie Robinson III, Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, his big sister LaTonya Floyd, brother Rodney Floyd, and first cousin Tera Brown.


Letter from Eugean Garner for proposition millage

I would like to take this opportunity to differentiate the original bond issue that was voted on in 2017 and the upcoming election proposition for August 15, 2020. Reverend Harris and myself have done our best to be as transparent as possible as to how the tax payers money has been spent since going into effect. The original $7.2 million bond that passed in 2017 took care of all of the upgrades listed below for Lakeview, Goldonna & Fairview campuses.

Completed Items

1.  Fairview Elementary / Jr. High School
* New LED lighting
* New air conditioning system
* New playground equipment on both playgrounds
* New LED sign in front of the school
* Paint for interior of school
* Wax for the floors
* Tennis balls for the desks, chairs and tables to protect the floors
* Lawn Mower
* Softball field
* Upcoming walking track

2.  Lakeview Jr./ Sr. High School
* New LED lighting
* New air conditioning system
* New LED sign in front of the school
* New Culinary arts kitchen
* Newly renovated restrooms throughout campus
* Newly renovated of Football field
* Newly renovated all weather 8-lane track
* New sprinkler system
* Newly renovated boy’s ballpark, restroom, concession and press box
* Newly built girl’s ballpark, restroom, concession and press box
* Newly renovated Multipurpose weight room
* New sidewalks around the campus
* Activity bus

3.  Goldonna Elementary / Jr. High School
* Newly renovated roof for auditorium
* Newly renovated roof for lower building
*New air conditioning system in the auditorium
* New air conditioning system in the cafeteria
* New walk-in freezer and cooler for cafeteria
* New sidewalk canopies
* New floor tile throughout campus
* New parking lot
* Newly renovated faculty bathroom
* Newly renovated student bathrooms throughout campus
* Newly placed entrance / exit in upper building
* New basketball court
* New playground area

Incomplete Items

Fairview
* Sidewalks and walking path from parking lot to ballfield back around to the main building
* Cosmetic updates to the restrooms on campus

Goldonna
* Security fence around campus
* Renovate roof on the office building

Where the original bond was to update each of the campuses, the upcoming proposition for 12 millage if passed will be solely dedicated to the maintenance and upkeep of buildings and grounds including air conditioner, roof, heating repairs, equipment repairs, all of which is to keep our facilities in good working order and conditions and safe for the students, faculty and staff. The proposed millage will be in effect for the next 10 years with every cent being used strictly on the maintenance and upkeep of the facilities and absolutely no funding from this millage will go toward any employee.

The current millage will expire at midnight December 31, 2020. If this proposition is not renewed/passed, it is with 100% certainty the three facilities will deteriorate and have no funding to upkeep and maintain. It is critical that we anticipate the needs required to maintain our schools now and vote to pass the proposed millage. For the past 50+ years, the millage has been set at 7 mills, which has not met the needs of upkeep, therefore we are seeking an increase of 5 mills to be added to the previous 7 mills for a total of 12 mills to ensure adequate funds to maintain and upkeep the three schools.

Since the public hearings, there have been some concerns brought to our attention such as the need for a new girls softball field at Lakeview. Originally the plans were to renovate the old softball field, where restrooms and concession stands had fallen apart. During the process, however the administrator, architect and coaches decided it would be more feasible to build a new softball field where it provides access to parking spaces that are already in place and puts the new field closer while making cuts in other areas to allow this change.

Reverend Harris and myself would like to thank each of you in advance for your support. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us directly so that we can answer your concerns.

Please see the attached flyer for quick Q&A information about the proposition.

Eugean Garner
Natchitoches Parish School Board Member