Dept. of Fine and Graphic Art will host annual Maker’s Faire

Northwestern State University’s Department of Fine and Graphic Art will host the annual Maker’s Faire in Orville Hanchey Gallery next week. Dates and times are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 and 10 am.-5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10.

Students and faculty from the department host the sale each December at the start of the gift-giving season to offer unique and original artwork in a variety of mediums that includes paintings, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, photographs, mixed media and more. Prices are reasonable and shoppers may be able to visit with the artists.

For more information, contact Professor of Art Matt DeFord at (318) 357-6560.


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Rotary Club holds meeting at LSMSA, tours new dorms, recognizes senior as Student of the Month

The Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts (LSMSA) Dr. Steve Horton welcomed the Rotary Club of Natchitoches to lunch and a tour of LSMSA’s new dormitory on Nov. 30. He thanked many in the community who are partners in supporting LSMSA, such as The City of Natchitoches, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Natchitoches Sheriff’s Department, and the LSMSA Foundation.

LSMSA Foundation Executive Director Ali Landry spoke to the Rotarians about how the Foundation supports the school.

LSMSA Senior Olutunmike Adeleye was recognized as the Rotary Student of the Month for her exemplary work throughout her 4 years at the Louisiana School. She was awarded a scholarship provided by Rotarians Steve Crews and Ronald Corkern of Corkern, Crews, Guillet, and Johnson.

Brittany Goldberg received Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow Award. Rotarian Aaron Johnson presented her with the award.

Photos by Rebekah Maricelli, LSMSA Senior External Affairs Officer, and Rotary Club member Dr. Ron McBride.


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Lady Demons look to turn learning effort into winning effort at Arkansas State

JONESBORO, Ark. – Northwestern State may have lost the first two games of its week-long road trip, but they were anything but losing efforts on the floor. Ask any person that watched the games at Kansas State and Wichita State and it’s easy to see why head coach Anna Nimz readily called the games “learning efforts.”

“There’s something to be said for playing these bigger conference schools and these upper-level basketball teams,” Nimz said. “I think they’re starting to see that they can play. Collectively as a group they’re continuing to grow together on the court and off the court.

“I think they’re starting to see that if we put it all together, we keep growing, keep being coachable, keep fixing stuff they see a little further than the game that day. I think they’re having some fun and when you can mix the work with that, you’re going to have a better group.”

The Lady Demons (3-3) carry their tremendous effort at Wichita State to their next game on Thursday at Arkansas State (4-4) looking to continue to progression and turn what they have so far into a win.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen with a subscription on ESPN+. Live Action Audio will be on 95.9 FM Kix Country in the Natchitoches area.

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In the span of just a few hours the Lady Demons were able to turn one great quarter against Kansas State into three against Wichita State. NSU held leads after the first 10 minutes in both games, but a handful of scoring droughts cost it against the Wildcats. While the seven-minute drought against the Shockers proved costly, that was the only instance in a game where the Lady Demons pulled within a point in the third quarter.

“If we’re able to stay on the trajectory that it’s going, it’s going to be exciting,” Nimz said. “To watch them at K-State and to grow from one game to the next and if we’re able to grow every single game and every single practice I really am excited for the girls and what their future holds.”

Monette Bolden has been an integral part of the maturation of the team with her calm and experience on the floor setting the tone from the start. She had nine points in the first quarter on Monday and finished the game with 17 adding five rebounds and five assists not leaving the floor the entire night.

The Lady Demons continue to get production up and down the roster with Jasmin Dixon providing impeccable defense and getting a breakout performance from Jiselle Woodson against the Shockers that Nimz thinks will propel the NJCAA All-American ahead.

“We’ve been waiting for it,” she said. “Just really happy for her and I loved her reactions to every shot. She had confidence and I think that was her “ah-ha” moment that we’ve talked about with different kids to progress her forward with great confidence that she can play at that level.”

The learning efforts of the past two games have given the Lady Demons confidence going into another challenge against Arkansas State who are looking for retribution following a pair of losses during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The Red Wolves lost games to Oral Roberts and former Southland Conference team Abilene Christian by similar scores of 81-62 (ORU) and 81-69 (ACU). Abilene shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the game while Oral Roberts came in at 45 percent, a trend this year for the ASU defense.

In their eight games this year opponents have shot better than 40 percent from the floor five times with three instances of 45 percent or better. While the Lady Demons have hovered around 36 percent for the majority of the season, their conference-leading defense have held opponents to less than 60 points a game.

“Arkansas State’s incredibly fast, incredibly athletic, really good on the boards especially on the offensive end so we’re going to have to go there with an even bigger chip,” Nimz said. “How we came out of the gate in the last two games, it’s got to grow Thursday. By no means can we dip at all or that game’s not going to go the way we want it.”

Regardless of the outcome on Thursday, the lessons learned, and experiences gained thus far will pay dividends for the Lady Demons down the road as they continue to evolve and prepare for conference play.

“I think if we continue to buy in to the process and understand that we’re going to have ups and downs, we’re going to go through droughts and it’s how we correct those and really fine tune things,” Nimz said. “That’s just part of the growth and maturity of the team and that’s going to happen.”

Photo: Shocker Athletics


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American Legion Auxiliary to operate Food Post during Christmas Festival to benefit local Veterans

The Gordon Peters Post, Unit 10, of the American Legion Auxiliary in Natchitoches encourages you to visit our Post located at the corner of Fourth and Saint Denis Streets (the old Tin House location) for gumbo, chili, hot dogs, drinks, etc. for sale at reasonable prices. Our Post will be open for food sales on Saturday, Dec. 4, Christmas Festival Day, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Parking is available at reasonable rates as well.

All proceeds will benefit our local Veterans.


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‘Hoops, they did it again’ at the Mac Braxton Classic

This year’s Mac Braxton Classic consisted of some of the top female talents from surrounding areas. Atlanta standout, Princess Goff, continued to show her advanced scoring ability with three 30+ scoring games in the tournament. Jameasha Frierson of Southwood showed why she is the #5 player for the class of 2023 in Louisiana, leading the Lady Cowboys to a 57-37 victory over Jonesboro Tigers. Other standout performers were Xabrianna Jackson of Jonesboro with a 28-point performance and Malayshia Tate of Summerfield with a 20-point performance.

Coach Fuller states, “Every year I am amazed with the amount of talent that goes unseen in small rural area schools. That is why I’ll be forever grateful to God for the opportunity that He has afforded me to shine a light on girls’ basketball in this area, by setting a platform where college coaches can see the unseen.”

The Lakeview Lady Gators picked up where they left off with another tournament win, bringing their record to 5-0. The Lady Gators took the court being led in by fans favorite, Trinity Browder, with poms poms in both hands. Yet, the Fisher sisters (Jameisha and Janaiya) put on a show, combining with over half of Lakeview’s points, 41 out of 76; 21 points and 20 points respectively to a dominating victory of 76 to 30 over the Montgomery Tigers.

The Summerfield Rebels also fell prey to the Lakeview Lady Gators with a loss of 58-70. Although the Lady Gators found themselves down in the first few minutes of the game, Timberlyn Washington led the Lady Gators on a 10-point scoring streak to finish the first quarter with the Lady Gators leading 17-12. Timberlyn Washington continued to lead the Lady Gators throughout the game finishing with 24 points. Saniyah Marshall also made her presence felt by scoring her 2nd double-double of the season with 14 point and 12 rebounds.

Coach Fuller stated, “Summerfield was a great test with much respect to Malayshia Tate, a true floor general.” I’m proud of the way our bench played in the tournament. If we continue to get this type of play from Hailey Poydras and Asharia Smith, there is no limit to how far this team can go,” said Coach Fuller.

The Mac Braxton Classic is always a reminder of the Great Lady Gators who have excelled on the court. The Gators are still coming out of “The Swamp” to continue their legacy with Gator Pride. Special thanks to the Braxton Family for continuing to impact lives as Coach Braxton did through the Mac Braxton Annual Scholarship.


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NSU will relax mask mandate on all campuses

Following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing several weeks of sustained improvement to low/moderate transmission of COVID-19 in Natchitoches Parish, Northwestern State University has relaxed its indoor mask mandate effective immediately in public spaces on all campuses for all fully-vaccinated individuals. For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, the indoor mask mandate remains in place. Masks will still be required in classrooms, but not required in other facilities on campus.

“Out of an abundance of caution as we approach cold and flu season, monitor the fluid situation of COVID-19, and monitor the Omicron variant, the mask mandate will remain in place in the classroom setting for all individuals,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. “Students, faculty and staff are asked to continue to observe COVID-19 health and safety protocols and mitigation measures in classrooms.”

The University will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends, including the Omicron variant. Masking protocols are subject to change if transmission patterns and rates increase, or positivity rates in Natchitoches Parish increase. As of today, there have been no reported cases of the Omicron variant in the United States.

Information on NSU’s COVID-19 protocols can be found at https://www.nsula.edu/return-to-campus/.


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Public invited to attend Multicultural Christmas Concert on December 7

The 13th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert will be held on Tuesday Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Treen Auditorium located on the campus of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. The concert is a benefit for Cane River Children’s Services. The concert is free and open to the general public, but donations will be accepted.

The concert will include a variety of both sacred and secular Christmas performances, and will feature seasonal songs performed by Allyson Adams, Justin Cruse, Callie Dupont, Jill Dupont, Julia Dupont, Jesse Foshee and the LSMSA Chorale, directed by Lisa Benner; seasonal readings by Megan Lowe and Mary Linn Wernet; dancing by the Anointed to Praise Dancers, choreographed by Shereka Jefferson; piano performances by Pearl Merry and a performance on steel pan by Oliver Molina.

The Multicultural Christmas Concert is sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Center for Inclusion and Diversity and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

For more information please contact (318) 357-4332


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Notice of Death – December 1, 2021

Louis Remedies Jr.
November 7, 1946 – November 27, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Tristen Shane Small
March 12, 2001 – November 27, 2021
Service: Thursday, December 2 at 12 pm at First Baptist Church in Hornbeck

Elizabeth Mitchell
May 14, 1924 – November 29, 2021
Service: Tuesday, December 7 at 2 pm at First United Methodist Church of Many


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NSU – Advisory committee formed for athletic director search – See Members

A 10-member advisory committee has been appointed to work with a national sports consulting and search firm in seeking Northwestern State University’s new athletic director.

Northwestern President Dr. Marcus Jones said the first meeting of advisory committee members with the search firm, Bowlsby Sports Advisors, is scheduled for this week.

Members of the advisory committee are former NSU student-athletes Kelee Grimes Roddy, Kenny Knotts, Carlos Treadway and Mike Wilburn; Demons Unlimited Foundation President Mike Newton; NSU Foundation President John Manno; NSU Vice President for Student Affairs Reatha Cox; NSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Greg Handel; NSU Foundation board member Terry Moore and NSU Student Government Association President Tja’h Edwards.

Jones said dozens of other Northwestern stakeholders, including alumni, faculty and staff members, former student-athletes, athletic department staff members, donors, community leaders and others have been named to serve on focus groups that will be invited to provide input to the search firm.

The NSU administrative committee serving as the liaison between the university and the national consulting and search firm is comprised of Jones, Vice President for External Affairs Jerry Pierce, and Assistant Vice President for External Affairs Drake Owens.

Greg Burke, who has been athletic director at Northwestern since 1996, requested to be reassigned to a fund-raising position at the university and will continue to serve as athletic director during the search for his successor.

Jones said it is anticipated that a new athletic director will be selected in six to eight weeks.

Applications and inquiries related to the position may be directed to Kyle Bowlsby at Kyle@bowlsbysportsadvisors.com.


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ROAD CLOSURES FOR NATCHITOCHES CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

In lieu of this weekend’s events, Natchitoches will see road closures beginning Saturday, Dec. 4 at 5 am in preparation for the 95th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Road closures are as follow:

At 5 am, the barricades in the downtown area will go up, including the Church Street Bridge.

At 5:30 am, the gate entrances at Church Street and Williams Avenue will be open and armbands can be purchased at this location.

At 6 am, the Jefferson Street from Amulet Street to Touline will CLOSE to vehicle traffic.

At 6 am, Washington Street from Texas Street to Lafayette Street will CLOSE to vehicular traffic.

At 6:30 am, all other gates will be open for access to downtown and armbands will be on sale.

At 11 am, Second Street from University Parkway to Lafayette Street will CLOSE to vehicular traffic.

At 11 am, University Parkway from Jefferson Street to Second Street will CLOSE for the parade line up.

At 11 am, the Pine Street/Keyser Avenue Bridge will close to vehicular traffic and all parade route barricades from University Parkway north to Lafayette Street will go up for the parade which begins at 1 pm.

At 11 am, eastbound traffic on University Parkway will be stopped at Boyd Street and westbound traffic on Mill Street will be stopped at Airport Road beginning at 11 am.

At 5 pm, the Church Street Bridge will CLOSE to foot traffic for firework preparations.

At 5 pm, barricades on Williams Avenue north of Henry Avenue to St. Maurice Lane and the intersections of East Second Street with Stephens Avenue, St. Claire, Whitfeld Drive, Sirod Street, and Adelaide Street will go in place. No public parking is allowed on the streets mentioned above beginning at 10 am on Festival Day.

After the parade has ended and foot traffic allows, Jefferson Street and Second Street will open from Amulet Street south to University Parkway.


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Checkmate: Notre Dame’s loss is LSU’s huge gain

By Doug Ireland, Journal Sports

Lots of people will check their Powerball tickets tonight at 10 p.m., hoping they’ve hit the jackpot, able to claim a cash prize that will be worth about $103 million once taxes are levied.

Brian Kelly already won. Notre Dame’s all-time winningest football coach is the newly minted, emphasis on the word “minted,” man in charge at LSU.

So did Lincoln Riley. He was the guy nearly everybody thought was going to be the LSU football coach. Instead, he headed west, not south, from Oklahoma and is the new top Trojan at Southern Cal.

They are each poised to collect more than $10 million annually for at least the next decade from their new jobs, after shocking everyone at their old ones. Riley became embroiled in speculation last Friday that he was going to be the new head Tiger, and didn’t refute anything until the postgame press conference after OU’s loss to Oklahoma State late Saturday night, when he denied he was heading to Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, in Tiger Stadium that evening, during the second half of the spectacular finale for fired head coach Ed Orgeron, word began circulating among the very well connected that there wouldn’t be a Lincoln driving to the LSU football facility.

Everybody fond of the purple and gold was ebullient about the thrilling finish of the game, won with 20 seconds left 27-24 by the Tigers over Texas A&M at the expense of the man initially at the center of speculation about the LSU post, Aggies’ coach Jimbo Fisher.

LSU beat one of its biggest rivals. The Tigers sent out the colorful, passionate and loyal Coach O in unforgettable style; or, if you prefer an alternate version, LSU finally shed itself of Coach O and his ineffective staff while knocking off those oddball Aggies led by Fisher, the man who spurned the Tigers five years earlier, thereby opening the door for that crazy Cajun to take the helm.

Whatever the perspective, Tigers were hootin’ and hollerin’ about stunning A&M, until a seemingly astute reporter asked Riley a pointed question in aptly-named Stillwater, Okla.

LSU’s anticipated coronation of the Sooners’ brilliant young coach was off. Turns out, the reporter was too specific with that question. By lunchtime Sunday, Riley, family and some of his staff were packing bags for the Left Coast.

Talk about a plot twist. For many Tiger fans, and in the eyes of much of the national and Louisiana media, the heir apparent had been kidnapped and found a new home. What seemed to be a master move by LSU’s low-key but highly effective coaching search manager, athletics director Scott Woodward, was apparently up in smoke. There were possibilities, but compared to Riley, they all seemed like three-day-old Thanksgiving leftovers – palatable, just not worthy of great enthusiasm.

Florida took a flier on Ragin’ Cajun coach Billy Napier, who was on the outer edges of LSU’s sphere of interest. No Napier? No matter. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, former Tiger defensive coordinator and successful second-year Baylor head coach Dave Dave Aranda, even former Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion coach Doug Pederson (who played at ULM, then the NFL, and began coaching in Shreveport at Calvary Baptist High School 15 years ago) were appealing options.

Nobody had Notre Dame’s Kelly on the list. Not the three-time national coach of the year. Not the guy whose record in the last five seasons (54-9) was virtually identical to Riley (55-10) at OU. Not the coach who has more victories (284 in 31 total seasons, said LSU’s announcement) than any active coach in big-time college football. Not the man who led the fabled Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and a 113-40 record in his 12 seasons in South Bend.

Nope. Because just last week, Kelly was asked if he would ever leave the Irish, and snapped off an answer dismissing the suggestion. Even a $250 million deal (his figure) would still have to pass his bride’s muster, they loved South Bend so much.

Behind the scenes, however, there were tremors. Notre Dame players don’t have a spacious, cutting-edge academic study center – they often do homework in the hallways of the Irish football facility. They don’t have their own training table (code for bottomless buffet), but have to retask a recruiting lounge into a dining area. These concerns and others were discussed by Kelly and his boss, UND athletics director Jack Swarbrick, but nothing was happening. Swarbrick said Tuesday he noted some “Freudian slips” by Kelly recently revealing some “restlessness” and said he wasn’t shocked at Kelly’s departure. He was the only one.

Today, Kelly, for a dozen seasons in charge of the storied football program on an iconic campus featuring Touchdown Jesus, is in his first day on the job across the street from Mike the Tiger’s lair. The former Golden Domer now will have LSU’s Golden Girls cheering for him.

He’s not Nick Saban of Alabama, or Clemson’s Dabo Sweeney, or Lincoln Riley. But he is universally regarded on that level in the college game. Nobody, except his agent Trace Armstrong, saw him moving to another college. He’s often been suggested as an NFL coach, with the Chicago Bears said to have him on their short list for that anticipated opening.

But Armstrong saw opportunity, and knew his client preferred coaching on campus. Armstrong’s reward: he will collect as much as three percent, the industry standard for negotiating coaching contracts, of Kelly’s LSU haul.

Even more spectacular than that roughly $300,000 annual commission? Armstrong is also Riley’s agent. He’ll be cashing in those California dollars, too.

Did Riley have both USC and LSU on his table, and when he went west, Kelly bolted for the Bayou State?

Or were they just better fits where they’ve landed – Kelly with one of this century’s most dominant programs, with all the resources in place, and Riley ready to restore the luster at once-proud USC?

It seems Armstrong, a former Florida star and longtime NFL defensive tackle, was playing chess while his counterparts were playing checkers. The short, pudgy, quiet guy at the next table: the LSU AD, Woodward.

When it appeared he was boxed out of the glamorous Riley sweepstakes, within 24 hours, Woodward completed the mission of scoring a “home run hire” replacing Orgeron. Checkmate, y’all.

He took Notre Dame’s king, and nobody can argue LSU football on Dec. 1, 2021, isn’t what Kelly said in the Tigers’ press release Tuesday.

“Our potential is unlimited.”


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‘Louisiana Feed Your Soul’ float to appear in Natchitoches Christmas Parade this Saturday

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism will be celebrating atop the “LOUISIANA FEED YOUR SOUL” Float in the 95th Natchitoches Christmas Parade welcoming over 100,000 visitors expected to enjoy the city chosen among the Top 5 Christmas Festivals in the nation. The historic streets of downtown Natchitoches will be filled with the music and magic of the holiday season followed by a fireworks extravaganza over the Cane River. The Lt. Governor’s lighted float features colorful designs including the state flag, Cajun fiddler, boiling pot of crawfish, riverboat and state bird, the Brown Pelican.


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NPSO: NATCHITOCHES MAN RELEASED FROM JAIL ON MONDAY, STEALS VEHICLE TUESDAY MORNING, LEADS POLICE ON 25-MILE PURSUIT

An 18-year-old Natchitoches man is in jail after he allegedly stole a vehicle, then led Louisiana State Police and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies on a 25-mile pursuit before crashing on La. Hwy 117 south of Provencal on Tuesday morning according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

It all began Tuesday morning, Nov. 30, at approximately 7:37am, when a female called NATCOM 911 Center reporting that her black 2021 Toyota Camry had been stolen while she was inside a business in the 200 block of Keyser Avenue in Natchitoches.

Natchitoches Police responded to the scene to gather information for an offense report and to enter the vehicle in NCIC as stolen.

NATCOM 911 Center issued a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) message to all Natchitoches Parish law enforcement agencies for the missing vehicle.

At 9:10am, Louisiana State Police Trooper John Axsom and NPSO Deputy Silas Axsom were sitting stationary in the Natchez area, when they observed the stolen Toyota Camry traveling southbound on La. Hwy 1 in Natchez.

They attempted to stop the vehicle with emergency lights on, however, the operator failed to stop leading state police and deputies on a 25-mile pursuit traveling down La. Hwy 1 to Cypress, then La. Hwy 120 to I-49, then northbound on I-49 exiting at the Waterwell exit turning left on La. Hwy 478 to La. Hwy 120 at Flora reaching speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. The vehicle then turned right on La. Hwy 120 traveling into Provencal turning left traveling south on La. Hwy 117.

Deputies say as they were traveling southbound on La. Hwy 117 south of the Vernon Wester Road entering a curve to the right, the vehicle crossed the center-line leaving the roadway on the left side, going airborne for a short distance striking a utility pole then several trees coming to a rest in an upright position.

Additional NPSO Units were deployed in the area to assist.

The suspect identified as 18-year-old Matthew O’Sean Robinson, of the 1200 block of Allen Street, Natchitoches was taken into custody without incident. Deputies did request Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS respond to the scene to assess Robinson for injuries due to the crash.

He was released at the scene with no transport.

Robinson was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center with State Police charges of Unauthorized Use of a Moveable valued over $15,000, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Criminal Damage to Property, Aggravated Obstruction of a Highway, Possession of CDS I Marijuana, No Drivers License, Driving Left of Center and several other traffic violations.

Robinson was released from the Natchitoches Detention Center on Monday on two previous motor vehicle theft charges. Deputies say when they asked Robinson where he got the vehicle from, he replied that he stole it because he likes stealing vehicles.

Robinson remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center with other charges pending by Natchitoches Police Department.

The vehicle which received heavy damage was recovered from the scene by a local towing service.


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Leafing through your 2021, book by book

By Teddy Allen

Is this the 12th month of 2021 or the 24rd month of 2020? When Waylon Jennings recorded “Stop the World and Let Me Off” in 1965, he was a man way, way ahead of his time.

Crazy, crazy …

But things are getting better, as evidenced by our annual Best Books of the Year list. You won’t find any pandemic-related works here like you did last year. Who can forget the 2020 bestsellers, like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or 1,501 Ways To Make Banana Bread, or The Vaccine Two-Step: Let’s Give it a Shot.

And of course, everyone’s favorite recent trilogy, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Don’t Work, followed by the recently published Why Masks Might or Might Not Work.

Crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy…

For years we’ve published our favorite books in late December, but in a rare moment of logical thinking, I figured it would be best to do this now in case you need a Christmas present idea. So …

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson was my favorite book of the year. Published in 2000 and on my shelf since, I just got around to reading it, about the Galveston hurricane, Sept. 8, 1900. I have a friend who’s read it three times, and I can understand why.

These others get four of five stars:

News of the World (2016) by Paulette Jiles, about a 72-year-old man in post-Civil War times on a journey from Wichita Falls to San Antonio. In small towns along the way, he reads the news to people who have no access to it. His companion is a girl, 10, kidnapped but now safe, who he’s returning to her family. She basically brings him to life again. I haven’t seen the movie yet, starring Tom Hanks.

Also The Music of the Statler BrothersAn Anthology (2020) by the retired group’s lead singer, Don Reid, and Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (2020) by Dolly Parton. And two books by the late Carl Reiner, My Anecdotal Life (2003) and I Just Remembered (2013). I listened to the authors read the Parton and Reiner books, which was part of the joy. Same with a couple of Dick Van Dyke books, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business (2011) and Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Living Well Longer (2016). Van Dyke will be 96 Dec. 13. Also Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned (2005), written and read by Alan Alda, if you happen to be a fan. Finally, This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith and Life (2013), a nice surprise by the entirely likeable Gavin MacLeod from “The Love Boat” and Murray on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Same with the just-released The Boys, written and read by brothers Ron and Clint Howard, about growing up as child actors but mainly about their endearing relationship with their less-successful actor parents.

Loved it.

Other biggies:

Life Lessons (2021), a book of semi-Sunday school lessons, also by the Statlers’ Don Reid;

A Burning in My Bones (2021), the authorized biography of Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message, authored by Winn Collier;

Also The End of Me (2015) by Kyle Idelman, about the tricky business of dying to self, Improving Your Serve (2004) by Chuck Swindoll, and Anne Lamott’s 2012 Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. Pastor Tim Keller and others would suggest she left out confession, that;

Help, Sorry, Thanks, Wow would be a more exact title, but most all agree, including Keller, that it’s a thoughtful and most helpful little book.

Also four of five stars to Inside Comedy (2021) a semi-modern history of comedy by David Steinberg, The Only Plane in the Sky (2019), an exhaustive oral history of 9/11 by Garett Graff, Squeeze Me (2020) by Carl Hiassen, who writes brilliant novel after brilliant novel defending his native Florida, pointing out political absurdities in ways that are scorching and funny, and The Queen’s Gambit (2003) by the late Walter Tevis about a female chess prodigy. (The recent drama series on Netflix, set during the Cold War 1950s, is as many thumbs-up as you can give it.)

Three of five stars to The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (2020) by Erik Larson, The Dutch House (2019), a novel by Ann Patchett, and March Violets (1989), a Berlin noir-like novel by a new guy for me, the late Phillip Kerr, about his German private eye Bernie Gunther.

Finally got around to Moneyball (2011) by Michael Lewis; loved it. And Tobacco Road (1932) by Erskine Caldwell. Re-read The Adventures of Huck Finn (1884) by Mark Twain and The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (2002) by Steven Pressfield, always a good call.

See you at the library. Read on!

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


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Northwestern State can’t handle early surge from No. 15 Houston in loss

Houston flexed its defensive muscle and sharp-shooting accuracy Tuesday, dropping 60 first-half points en route to a 99-58 defeat of Northwestern State.

Marcus Sasser drained three 3-pointers in the four minutes and made seven from distance in the first half for the No. 15 Cougars (6-1). Sasser scored 23 of his game-high 26 in the first half.

Only Tulsa’s Jeriah Horne (28 points) has scored more points against NSU (1-7) in a full game this season than Sasser had in the first half.

“Our turnovers were frustrating, and we finished with 21 of them,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “Houston pounded us on the boards partly because we started leaking out down the floor thinking one of our guys was going to get the ball.

“We have to finish plays. The epitome of the first half was when Houston got a rebound and scored at the buzzer because we didn’t play through the horn. We finished plays against Stephen F. Austin on Sunday, but we didn’t finish tonight.”

NSU freshman Emareyon McDonald more than doubled his previous career high with 17 points, including 10 in the first half. McDonald made three 3-pointers and shot 4-of-9 overall with three assists and three steals.

The Cougars, who shoot 38 percent from deep this season, nailed 11 of 22 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14.

Houston used its gritty man-to-man defense to cash in 22 points off 14 NSU turnovers and turned 12 offensive rebounds in 12 second-chance points. The Cougars finished with 32 points off 21 NSU mistakes.

Sasser’s dead-eye performance early set the tone for Houston’s early 12-3 edge in the opening minutes, a lead that ballooned to 15 points (22-7) just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Demons struggled offensively in the opening minutes as six turnovers and 3-for-9 shooting set the stage for Houston.

NSU stabilized with six Kendal Coleman points and a 3-pointer from LaTerrance Reed, but Houston dumped 31 points in the final 7:25 of the period to reach 60.

Coleman scored 11 on 5-of-9 shooting, reaching double figures in all eight games this season.

The Demons started the second half in much better form, scoring 14 of the first 21 second-half points in the opening 5:25.

Three-pointers from Cedric Garrett and Zurabi Zhgenti highlighted a 5-of-8 start from the field.

The Demons attacked the basket, particularly in the second half, making a season-high 15 free throws on 19 attempts. NSU had been averaging just six made free throws per game.

NSU outscored Houston for most of the second half before the Cougars piled on late, taking the second half 39-33.

“We did have a lot of positive things happen in the second half, and guys like Zurabi Zhgenti and Jalen King were more aggressive in the second half,” McConathy said. “(McDonald) made all six of his free throws and continues to play well offensively.

“We’ll have to go and work on offensive and defensive execution, especially the way Houston made 3-pointers against our zone, but what can you do. Those guys are on pogo sticks. We’re better than we were two weeks ago.”

Houston had five guys in double figures with Taze Moore (17 points), Tramon Mark (12 points), Jamal Shead (12 points) and Kyler Edwards (10 points) joining Sasser. The Cougars finished shooting 54 percent from the field while NSU shot 38 percent, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range.

The Cougars attempted 23 more shots than NSU thanks to a plus-20 rebounding margin.

NSU heads to Monroe for a rematch with ULM on Saturday, looking to avenge a 30-point loss to the Warhawks on Nov. 22 in Ruston as part of Louisiana Tech’s Lanky Wells Memorial Classic.


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CDC cuts ribbon on new trike track

Northwestern State University’s Marie Shaw Dunn Child Development Center hosted a ribbon cutting for the school’s new trike track and track naming ceremony Nov. 19. Members of the CDC family, administrators and community officials were present for the event.

The Taylor Starnes family ticket was drawn from a hopper in the inaugural track naming ceremony. The track will be named Taylor’s Trike Track for the next year when another raffle will take place.

“This new tradition will continue every year. A new name will be chosen for the path at the Sip and See at the beginning of every school year in August,” said Faith Stanfield, CDC director.

Updates and an expansion to the CDC playground have been in development for the last year and a half, Stanfield said.

“This year we turned the vision into a reality. The playground project began with the planning of our first ever Art Through Our Eyes expo. Donations were given at the expo. This past year, Mrs. Marsha Bernard Kirkland, a former NSU Child Development Center teacher, passed away. In lieu of flowers, her family created the Marsha Bernard Kirkland Playground Fund,” Stanfield said.

When the CDC was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC team used the time to begin renovating the existing trike track as phase one to the playground project. The expansion went beyond an already existing fence and circular road to encompass the entire playground with a painted road, directional arrows and road signs to promote literacy.

Funding for the project was also secured through the School Readiness Tax Credit, which is designed to support quality early care and education. The SRTC provides businesses with a dollar for dollar refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for donations to child care resource and referral agencies.

The Child Development Center for three- and four-year-old children began in 1935 as a laboratory experience for students majoring in home economics with a concentration in child development. Dunn, for whom the center is named, created the child development concentration at NSU and started the nursery school, the first of its kind at a college in Louisiana. It was originally open to the children of faculty and employees. Eventually, child development broadened into early childhood education and is now part of the School of Education.

Earlier this year, the CDC was reaccredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for another five-year term, through July 1, 2026, and was named a five-star center.

Information on the CDC and applications for enrollment are available at http://cdc.nsula.edu/.

Pictured: NSU Child Development Center teachers, administrators and families gathered for a ribbon-cutting to open the preschool’s new trike track. Joining students were CDC teachers, back row from left, Joni Prewitt, Kelsey Collins and Director Faith Stanfield.


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Natchitoches Parish seniors invited to Christmas Bash at Council on Aging

The Natchitoches Parish Council on Aging is calling all seniors to attend a Christmas Bash on Monday, Dec. 6 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Council on Aging’s gym. Located at 1016 Keyser Avenue. The event will offer door prizes, snacks, vendors and visits with Santa! Free COVID vaccines will also be available for ages 12 and up. Each participant will receive a FREE ham as well as one entry toward a drawing for a $100 gift card.

For more information or questions, please call 318-357-3250.


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Goldonna News – 11-30-21

If you were to ask anyone in Goldonna exactly when the Christmas in the Park celebration began, you may receive varying replies. But if you ask Eugene Garner, he can almost tell you when the seeds were planted and when it began to sprout and grow! One thing the entire Village can agree on is the fact that they all love and cherish the Christmas season and the visitors that it brings to the area.

One of the many special characteristics that lends itself to the celebration is that it is one hundred percent funded by donations and fundraisers direct from the residents and area businesses. Mr. Garner promised one of the founding members that it would always be free and open to the public. This also means that the vendors who participate are also not-for-profit.

The vendors are made up of local churches, non-profits, youth groups, and schools. This was designed many years ago to keep the focus of the celebration as a joyous time for families and the entire town to get together and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Through the years it has been mentioned that the Village may want to extend invitations to private vendors to potentially earn more profits. At this time they are staying with the original design of the celebration but are not ruling out future changes.

The Christmas in the Park Celebration is managed by, hosted and presented by the Village of Goldonna which includes the alderman. The celebration would not be possible without the hard working committee who plans all year long as well. Mr. Eugene Garner has been a volunteer of the CITP since its inception.

It is not too late to purchase a Split the Pot Ticket! Rumor has it that the pot is now over $1000 and still growing daily! Please contact Mayor Smith or Eugene Garner if you would like to purchase a ticket.

There is still plenty of room in the parade route if you want to scoot in! Please contact Jade Burke at 318-471-8976 if you wish to participate. You will also be able to find more information about Goldonna Christmas in the Park on their new Facebook page. A link will be shared soon.

If you have news that you would like to contribute please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com


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Crimson Tide Comes to the Swamp

Lakeview Gators hosted the Minden Crimson Tide on Nov. 27. The game was a rematch to a battle in the Lakeside Tournament where Lakeview prevailed. Minden, in the previous game, was able to slow down the Lakeview speed.

The second game was a totally different game in terms of speed. Lakeview was able to speed Minden up and of course create turnovers. Minden did a great job of not turning the ball over as much as most Lakeview opponents. Lakeview was still able to speed the game up off made baskets and determined the outcome early in the third quarter.

Once again, Coach Williams got to see what his young players could do. Lakeview emptied the bench in the 4th quarter.

“They are getting a lot of game experience early,” he said, referring to his young players. “Hopefully as the season progresses, they can start contributing to our already deep rotation. They will definitely contribute next year, which in return helps build tradition at Lakeview.”

Lakeview defeated Minden 64 to 43.

Javonte Howard 17 points, Cliff Jones 17 Points, Andre Sowell 13 points

Andre Sowell 11 rebounds, Cliff Jones 9 rebounds, Dillon Pikes 8 rebounds

Devonte Rice 3 steals, Dillon Pikes 3 steals


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