AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) – A candidate for State Senate District 31 was arrested last week by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office, following a hit and run, in which he was a passenger in the vehicle.
According to the sheriff’s office, Douglas Brown was the passenger in Danielle Ducote’s car on Highway 114 in Hessmer, when Ducote ran off the highway into a yard, hitting trees and shrubs and then left the scene.
A witness managed to get the plate number and called the sheriff’s office. When deputies showed up to Ducote’s home in Hessmer, she admitted to being the driver, but initially said she didn’t have a passenger. That’s when deputies said Brown, who was also in the house and appeared to be under the influence, became uncooperative and wouldn’t provide information either.
Deputies said Ducote later told deputies that Brown was in the car. Ducote was arrested and charged with hit and run and reckless operation. Her bond was set at $2000.
Brown was arrested after initially resisting and charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. His bond was set at $9500.
Calls to Brown for comment have not been returned.
Brown is running as a Republican for the State Senate District 31 seat on October 12. Also in the race are Republicans Louie Bernard, the former Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court, and Trey Flynn, an Alexandria Attorney. It is the seat being vacated by Sen. Gerald Long, who is term-limited.
Saturday, October 5 marked the fifth “Girls in Aviation Day” sponsored by Women in Aviation, International. It was also the day of a fly-in of the Ladies Love Taildraggers, a group of women who own/fly taildragger aircraft (a taildragger is an airplane with a rear wheel, also known as a conventional gear in the rear of the aircraft.) The 40 women flew into the Natchitoches Airport Friday in 20 taildragger aircraft (and with their signature high heels in front of the parked airplanes.) They spent Friday evening touring Natchitoches and seeing the sights.
On Saturday, they were joined by the Louisiana Tech chapter of Women in Aviation International who flew down in 2 LA Tech aircraft for Girls in Aviation Day. Several of the visiting pilots told the stories of how they became interested in aviation. One of the pilots is in her fifties and now makes her living on the airshow circuit. She took her first flying lesson at 32. Others are current or former military officers. Some are airline captains. One pilot was a smokejumper for the Bureau of Land Management who had 272 parachute jumps, 107 of which were into forest fires. She now flies a lead aircraft that directs larger planes that dump retardant onto forest fires. There was also a veterinary surgeon, salesforce manager and engineer. They are an eclectic and accomplished group of women with one thing in common-a love of flying.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal hopes you enjoyed your stay at our city. You are more than welcome to come back any time you wish!
I currently have a small obsession with First Lady Donna Edwards because of how she speaks about foster children and the work she has done to help the system. She calls foster children OUR CHILDREN because she says they are ours and we need to step up and help them.
These past two weeks have been difficult with twins but what has been more difficult is watching what goes on in the foster care system.
Every child’s situation is unique and there is no cookie cutter solution. The first goal is always reunification of children with their biological family. I truly believe this should be the first goal. We should not take lightly the separation of children from their family.
However we need to be realistic. A case worker told me about 10-15 years ago that the majority of children were reunified with their families and most were successful. She went on to say that in the past 5 years the majority of her cases have gone into adoption or a family member other than the parents were awarded custody.
The system is broken. It is set up to try and help the parents get their kids back but I don’t see how it is set up to help the children. I believe that parents should be given every resource needed to help them so they can be good parents but what are we sacrificing for this to happen?
Our children should not be stuck in the system for 2 years waiting for their parents to get it together.
When Hillary Clinton was First Lady she worked to get legislation passed that says children should only be in the system for a year and should not grow up in the system and age out like before. The idea was that at about 9-10 months into the process a real conversation needed to be had if reunification was realistic or if guardianship or adoption was what needed to happen.
I’m on kids #4 and #5 and I can say this is not what is happening. I have friends that just adopted from foster care and that is not what happened. I’m in a Facebook group for foster parents and this is not what is going on.
Our children can’t wait on adults to get it together.
The twins I have are a little over a year old and this is their second time in foster care. SECOND TIME! They were taken back into the state’s custody 1 month after their case was closed.
Addiction is real. Falling on hard times happens. But if your children are taken you have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to work on yourself and fix the situation without having to meet your children’s needs.
With one of the babies I had, their mother found a new partner and was engaged in the 5 months I had them. My mom looked at me and made the comment that you can’t find a boyfriend and she is engaged now. Yea, because I’m taking care of her kid.
I follow a ton of blogs about foster care and adoption and daily people are posting pictures of their adoption days. These cute sweet kids holding signs saying they’ve been in care for XYZ number of days. Why are these numbers 700+? I saw one the other day and it was 1,653 days. WHY?
Why can’t we do better? Why is this system broken? Why can’t we have real conversations about what is best for these children?
I don’t have every answer but I do know children should not be in the system for two and three years. We need to hold everyone in the system accountable for what is going on with our children.
I do believe some parents will try their best and get it together and I pray they have the time do so. However some just aren’t going to get it together for one reason or another and their children don’t deserve to sit in foster homes for years.
We need to demand better laws, policies, and procedures from those that have the power to do so. We need case workers and supervisors who have the heart and passion needed to not think of this as just some job but want what is best for these kids. We need judges and lawyers that say enough is enough. We need foster families that are wonderful and take care of our children and ask questions and take a personal interest in every child. We need churches and communities that help support foster children.
There are some amazing case workers, supervisors, judges, lawyers, and foster parents but of course there are some that are not. These children deserve EVERY person in the case to be wonderful, caring, and hard working.
We need to have real conversations. They might hurt some feelings but we are adults and these children deserve more!
DID YOU KNOW? Louisiana has improved foster care over the last few years with new policies and has increased adoptions every year. The state is one of 12 being recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services for the increase in the amount of foster children placed in permanent homes. We have improved but we need to do better! Talk to foster parents and see how you can help them. Think about adopting from the foster care system. Contact your senators and representatives and tell them you care about the foster care system and they need to step up and help. Scream it from the top of your lungs that you care about OUR children and want something done!
Downtown Natchitoches was filled with several thousand visitors as the 13th annual Natchitoches Car Show was held October 5. There was something for every automotive taste as the show featured around 400 cars ranging from all original parts, to lovingly restored, to imaginatively configured art cars.
The Natchitoches Lions Club and their LEO youth group had their traditional split the pot fundraiser for the Lions summer camp. Top-notch live musical entertainment could be found throughout the day on three stages.
The Natchitoches Car Show has grown over the past 13 years into one of the largest and most eagerly awaited events held in the city.
Lakeview Jr & Sr High School is proud to present its 2019-2020 Homecoming Court. Senior Maids are: Ka’Bri’an Bonier, Zaria Edwards, A’Shanti Garner, Joella Seay, Raven Speir, and Emily Windham. Junior Maids are: Shakayla Browder and Zenobia Poydras. Sophomore Maids are: Morghen Demery and Sara Garner. Freshman Maids are: Rebecca Gallien and Marlesha Paige. Come out Oct. 18 as Lakeview celebrates homecoming with tailgating, fireworks, and family fun while watching the Lakeview Gators take on Darbonne Woods. The fun starts with tailgating at 5 p.m. We’ll see you at the swamp!
Pictured above on front row from left are Senior maids: Joella Seay, Ka’Bri’an Bonier, Emily Windham, Raven Speir, A’Shanti Garner, Zaria Edwards. On second Row are Junior Maids Zenobia Poydras, Shakayla Browder, Sophomore Maids Sara Garner, Morghen Demery, Junior Maids Rebecca Gallien and Marlesha Paige.
Danny Von Kanel, who won the “Service Above Self” award from the Natchitoches Rotary Club in 2016, is a 5th and 6th grade music teacher at East Natchitoches Elementary and Middle School. As well as being a teacher, he is a husband, father, grandfather, and director for the East Natchitoches School of Fine Arts.
The school of fine arts gives 3rd through 12th grade students the chance to participate in various art classes including piano, drama, voice, violin, and many more. Since the school opened five years ago, over 200 children have participated. Each year, 45-60 kids participate in the program. There is no audition process so any child willing to put in the work is able to participate. All they have to do is sign a contract.
Von Kannel has a “zero tolerance” behavior policy, ensuring that the ones who come to the East Natchitoches School of Fine Arts really want to be there. Many would never have had a chance to take art lessons without Von Kanel’s school, since outside lessons can be expensive.
“Every student needs that opportunity,” said Von Kanel. “A chance to explore the arts.”
Von Kanel commutes weekly from way outside of Natchitoches Parish. He is from Franklinton, Louisiana, which is about four and a half hours away. Every Friday afternoon he drives home, and every Sunday, he drives back to Natchitoches.
Most teachers would never make this commitment, but Von Kannel says that he has made an investment of time (nine years), He loves the school, the staff, and the students.
“I get all my fulfillment in the School of Fine Arts and I know that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be,” he said.
Carol Garcia-Rachal received this year’s Em W. Knipmeyer Excellence in Teaching Award at St. Mary’s Catholic School. Em. W. Knipmeyer was the principal of St. Mary’s from 1975 – 1979 and again in 1980. Her sister and her family established the award. Pictured from left are Principal Andrea Harrell, Carol Garcia-Rachal, Joe Stamey, and David Stamey.
The week of Oct. 7-12 is Homecoming for current and past classes. This will be a great opportunity to gather and cheer the Natchitoches Central High School Chiefs on to victory. On Saturday the spirit groups painted signs for display in the school and at the stadium Friday night. The NCHS Volleyball team hosted the North/South Volleyball tournament on Friday and Saturday. Fourteen schools participated in the tournament.
There will be spirit dress days at school all week. Students will participate for points toward the class with the most spirit for the week. Classes will compete in spirit signs, dress days, pep rally and daily spirit wars. NCHS art student Kara Pullig designed a new Spirit Stick to be awarded to the class with the most spirit for the week.
A pep rally will be held on the riverbank on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6 pm. The Homecoming Queen will be crowned at the pep rally. NCHS band will perform and the classes will compete for the Spirit Stick. The Chiefs will play Southwood HS on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 pm. Many alumni classes are planning on tailgating before the game. The NCHS boys and girl’s basketball team will be having a Fish Dinner sale at the stadium. Tickets are available from any member of the team. Walk-up sales are encouraged. Proceeds go to the support of NCHS basketball. There will be a homecoming Dance at the school on Saturday night to finish the week. The Chiefs would like to extend an invitation to its many supporters to come be part of this week.
Applications are being accepted for the Central Louisiana Instructional Partnership, a paid teacher residency program that develops middle school math and science teachers for high-needs schools in Central Louisiana. The deadline to apply for the CLIP cohort slated to begin in summer 2020 is March 30.
Applicants selected for the CLIP residency program will complete a 15-month accelerated graduate program of study culminating in a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Northwestern State University and a professional teaching certification. CLIP residents receive full tuition and an additional $36,000 stipend during their residency. Residents agree to teach in a Central Louisiana school for at least three years after they graduate.
The first group of 11 CLIP residents began its work in June. CLIP Field Coordinator Jennifer Cowley said now is the best time for potential candidates to begin the application process for the second cohort, which will start its graduate work next summer.
To qualify, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree, must not have a teacher certification, and must meet Northwestern State University’s Master of Teaching graduate school requirements. To apply, interested persons should complete and submit the CLIP application, release form, essay and a current resume. Applications should also be made to NSU’s graduate school. Application forms and more details can be found at http://www.theorchardfoundation.org/clip. Complete CLIP program requirements will be reviewed during the applicant interview process.
While completing their graduate coursework, residents will be immersed in an academic year school-based residency in a high-needs school identified by the nine partner public school districts. CLIP residents will experience a variety of learning opportunities alongside a trained and experienced mentor teacher. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be placed in CLIP-participating schools and will receive two years of induction support with sustained coaching and professional development.
The Orchard Foundation, a nonprofit local education fund and the education arm of The Rapides Foundation, serves as the lead organization for CLIP. Project Partners include: the nine Central Louisiana School Districts of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn; NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education & Human Development and College of Business & Technology-Computer Information Systems; Urban Learning & Leadership Center; EvalWorks; and The Rapides Foundation. CLIP is funded through a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership grant program.
For more information, contact Cowley at 318-767-3017.
Homecoming is a time of celebrating alumni who return to their alma mater.
As such, the Northwestern State N-Club has a fun-filled weekend schedule in conjunction with the Oct. 19 Homecoming game against Central Arkansas.
The weekend, open to all N-Club members, kicks off with the annual Homecoming Parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18, and heads to the “Rocking the Riverbank” celebration where N-Club members can gather under the N-Club tent and listen to live music from Live 5 Band. Admission to the N-Club tent area is free for all members. Following the pep rally on the riverbank, all N-Club members are encouraged to return to campus for NSU’s 7 p.m. soccer match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Admission to that game is free thanks to the sponsorship of the Louisiana Army National Guard.
The NSU soccer reunion will take place Oct. 18 with all soccer alumnae being honored at halftime. For more information on the reunion and to register, go to http://www.NSUDemons.com/soccerreunion.
The fun continues Saturday with the N-Club Hall of Fame ceremony at 10 a.m. inside Magale Recital Hall. The ceremony is free to attend, and all N-Club members will be invited to participate in our letter jacket ceremony which will take place at the start of the event. N-Club members will present letter jackets on stage to our current student-athletes who earned their first letter this past spring. For more information on the event and this year’s inductees, visit nsudemons.com/nclub.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Lady Demons volleyball team hosts McNeese with all Northwestern State volleyball alumnae being recognized prior to the match. For more information on the volleyball reunion and to register, go to http://www.NSUDemons.com/volleyballreunion.
The N-Club Tailgate beings at 2 p.m. at the N-Club tent on the football practice field outside Turpin Stadium. Also at 2 p.m., the Northwestern State men’s basketball team will host its annual alumni game inside Prather Coliseum. All basketball alumni are invited to participate in the N-Club tailgate and attend the football game. For more information and to register, go to http://www.NSUDemons.com/mbbalumnigame.
The weekend full of events wraps up at 5 p.m. when the N-Club N-Zone in the south end zone of Turpin Stadium opens to N-Club members prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff against Central Arkansas.
N-Club membership is open to all former athletes who earned a letter while competing for NSU and is just $60 per year.
“We have tried to reinvigorate the N-Club over the last couple of years with special events to make our former athletes feel welcome and special when they return to campus,” Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs Dr. Haley Taitano said. “We are really looking forward to seeing our alumni from so many different sports come home to celebrate with us.”
Third grade students from schools in Natchitoches Parish visited many historical places in downtown Natchitoches during the week of Sept. 23-27. This program is organized by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN). Eighth grade students portrayed characters that had a part in the area’s history.
Students toured all the historic pieces in the LA Sports Hall of Fame and listened to music by Ed Huey who showed them how to play a harmonica and a diddly bo, a one-stringed guitar usually made from cigar boxes. Natchitoches Lions Club and LEO members passed out lemonade and cookies provided by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
Other stops included the Lemee House, the Prudhomme Rouquier House, the First United Methodist Church, Trinity Espiscopal Church, and the Immaculate Conception Church.
Some of the last stops were the Roque House and beau Jardin. Students learned about the different types of boats that came down the Mississippi River. Students also loved hearing the history of the Roque House.
The Elkins family donated a new American flag to Provencal Elementary and Junior High School in memory of Thomas T. Elkins. Elkins graduated from Northwestern State University and was a former Natchitoches Parish teacher and principal. He taught at Natchitoches High School and Flora High School; he was principal of Robeline High School and Parks Elementary School. Elkins was also a member of the Natchitoches Parish Hospital Board and served two terms as mayor of Robeline.
Provencal 3rd Grader Will Elkins and 8th grader Leyton Whittington helped raise the new flag with Rodney Meziere, PJHS 7-8th grade ELA teacher and 4-H sponsor.
Pictured above from left are Mary Yount, Provencal principal, Thomas and Loree Elkins (son and daughter-in-law of Thomas T. Elkins), Will Elkins (a third grader at Provencal and great-grandson), Deanna Elkins (Provencal 6th and 7th grade ELA teacher), David Elkins (retired NCHS teacher/principal and grandson of Thomas T. Elkins), and Dewayne Poe (Provencal Discipline Coordinator).
Booker T. Rollins September 04, 1954 – October 03, 2019 Service: Tuesday, October 6 at 12 pm at the Asbury United Methodist Church, located at 704 5th Street in Natchitoches
Gerome Henson January 27, 1933 – October 04, 2019 Visitation: Tuesday, October 8 from 9-11 am at First Baptist Church of Natchitoches Service: Tuesday, October 8 at 11 am at First Baptist Church of Natchitoches Interment: American Cemetery of Natchitoches
L. (Laurence) Michael Caruthers August 07, 1971 – September 28, 2019 Service: Sunday, October 13 at the 1:30 pm at the Rosa Chapel United Methodist Church in the Marthaville Community
Curtis Huntley September 21, 2019 Arrangements TBA
Era Louise Smart November 03, 1929 – October 04, 2019 Service: Tuesday, October 8 at 2 pm in the Southern Funeral Home Chapel
Position: Water & Sewer Department – Maintenance Mechanic II
Description: Performs a variety of semi-skilled maintenance work and operates a variety of equipment in the construction, operation, repair, maintenance, and replacement of City water, sewer and storm drainage facilities and systems.
Qualifications: Must be able to acquire a LA Water or Sewer Operator Certification. Applicants that already have certification are preferred and will be eligible for an increased pay rate.
Contact: City of Natchitoches Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches LA 71458-0037.
Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St, Natchitoches, LA or you can download an application at www.natchitochesla.gov
Deadline: Applications will be accepted through October 14, 2019.
THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNIY EMPLOYER
I am Lee Waskom and I am running for Parish President to make a difference in Natchitoches Parish. We need new, effective leadership in our Parish. The Current Administration has been unable to solve our problems. This position paper will be my last before early voting ends and the primary election of October 12th! Please remember to vote! Through these position papers, I hope I have helped illuminate the multitude of areas under the jurisdiction and management of the Parish President and Parish Council. Natchitoches Parish needs a successful business manager, that can efficiently steward our limited tax dollars in a much more cost effective and fair way to citizens of all of Natchitoches Parish.
Today, I would like to discuss with you the Government Buildings Fund and the Health Unit Fund. The revenue source for each of these funds is a 3-mil property tax levied parish-wide. Revenue for these Funds is collected by the Sheriff’s Tax Collection Department and the majority of it is distributed in January of each year.
The Government Buildings Fund is a dedicated fund for the maintenance and operation of the Parish Courthouse, the Old Parish Courthouse, the Live Oak Building, the old Highway Department Building, the old Robeline Library building and numerous polling places.
The Parish Courthouse, which is home to the Tax Assessor, the Registrar of Voters, the Sheriff’s Department, the Clerk of Court, the District Atttorney’s office, the 10th Judicial District and Parish Administrative offices, is scheduled for an expansion project for security improvements. The majority of the funds for this project are being funded by the State through the Capital Outlay program.
The Live Oak Building, which is located at the corner of 2nd Street and St. Denis Street, houses the Coroner, the Child Support Division for the District Attorney’s office, and the Parish Finance Department. The Live Oak Building has benefited from cosmetic upgrades and a roof replacement in recent years, but work is still needed to replace deteriorating pipes throughout the building.
Currently, the Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association utilizes the first floor of the Old Parish Courthouse, which is in dire needs of maintenance and repairs. Plagued for years with a leaking roof, the building needs lead paint, mold and asbestos remediation. Upgrades to its electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems are also needed. One of my main priorities will be to obtain grants and outside funding needed to bring this historic building back to its original glory and to provide much needed space for other departments.
Many of the buildings owned by the Parish, such as the Old Robeline Library, are vacant and are not being used. A study of the financial cost of maintaining these buildings verses the benefit of ownership is needed. As Parish President, I will explore the options of revitalizing the buildings and putting them back to use for the public or declaring them as surplus and putting the taxpayer’s money to better use on the buildings that are being used.
The Parish Health Unit Fund supports the maintenance and support of the Health Department, as mandated by La R. S. 40:12 and 40:26. $300,000 of the revenues generated by the Health Unit Fund are transferred annually to the General Fund for the purpose of funding inmate costs. Monies from the Health Unit Fund are also utilized to pay for costs incurred by the Coroner’s office for interdictions and pauper burials.
The Parish’s mosquito control program is also operated out of the Health Department. With the rise of mosquito-borne illnesses and diseases, the Parish’s Mosquito Control operations should be given more resources. Previous efforts to contract out services have fallen short of expectations. A study for developing and funding an in-house operation for trapping and testing for outbreaks should be explored.
Finally, the Parish has been setting aside monies from the Health Unit Fund each year for the construction and operation of a parish-wide animal shelter. Currently, the City of Natchitoches operates its own animal shelter and the responsibility of animal control outside of the City has fallen on the Sheriff’s Department. Non-profit organizations such as the Humane Society and Hope for Paws help fill in the gap of caring for and adopting out abandoned animals but more should be done by the Parish to fulfill its mandated obligations in this area. As Parish President, I will meet with all interested parties and will explore all options available, including outside funding opportunities, to better serve the animal control needs of the residents of the Parish.
These positions papers that have been presented to you, the voters, to help educate the public on the duties and responsibilities of the Parish President. We need new leadership and a new approach to solve, not only our road problems, but to more effectively merge and consolidate the many mandated programs and costs to the Parish, that are required by state law. As your Parish President, I pledge to remove waste from our budget, consolidate resources and maximize use of our current revenues. The current administration and its leadership have failed to provide the most basic needs regarding our infrastructure and their patchwork attempts to put lipstick on this pig has been a miserable failure!
The Natchitoches Parish School Board meeting on Oct. 3 was one of substance. Though the agenda was short, many things was discussed in regards to student health services and the reevaluation of transportation.
Members of the board of Outpatient Medical Center made a presentation during the meeting. They presented the opportunity to delegate funds to provide behavioral health coverage for students and staff at three school locations to start.
“Our goal is to help students to be less stressed and more focused by pinpointing the root causes of some of their issues, address them, and help the student manage them in order to succeed,” stated Doris Kochinsky, Director of Behavior Health Service at Outpatient Medical Center. “We will work with the schools and parents alike to do so.”
It was also mentioned that these services would extend to the teachers as well and any parents seeking help can receive a referral.
Another big topic of discussion at the meeting was about transportation and issues some parents were having with drivers on their children’s bus route. This topic was originally brought up on Oct. 1 at the School Board Committee meeting when parents raised complaints about there not being a driver for their child’s route for at least six days. This issue caused some of the kids to be late for school and even left after school for a significant period of time according to the two parents.
These allegations were met with explanations as to why it happened and a promise to take efficient action to prevent it in the future.
At Thursday’s meeting Ecco Ride presented a new initiative to ensure the constant availability of Ecco drivers and incentives for recruiting and keeping those drivers. They, along with members of the school board, believe this should fix the bulk of the issues in regards to absentee drivers.
Also discussed at the meeting:
The board voted to 7:4 in favor of considering taking action to move forward with OpenGov.
The board voted all in favor of considering including orchestra programs in the group of programs receiving supplemental funding.
The board voted all in favor of considering accepting resignation notice from the Superintendent, with the understanding that an extension will not be granted upon completion of current contract.
The board voted all in favor of considering approving Video Surveillance Procedures.
The board voted to proceed into Executive Session around 7pm to discuss a parent complaint regarding a school personnel incident.