Emotions run high at LPPJ meeting

Ambulance and rescue services were the hot topic of discussion during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

By Malcolm Butler 

 

Tuesday night’s monthly Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting turned into another debate over concerns about the direction of the parish’s ambulance and rescue services starting Jan. 1 when the current contract with the Ruston Fire Department ends. 

Numerous parish residents showed up at Tuesday’s meeting to voice their displeasure over the decision by the LPPJ to vote against entering into a one-year, non-negotiable contract with the City of Ruston to provide ambulance and rescue service for parish residents through 2023.  

Despite the Ambulance Service Committee’s 7-3 vote in favor of the $654,604 proposal from the city, the LPPJ voted 6-3 against the proposal during July’s meeting.  

Thus, the LPPJ is now tasked with coming to terms on a contract with Pafford EMS to take over the ambulance service within Lincoln Parish (but outside of the Ruston City limits). However, even that contract is only half the battle. The Lincoln Parish Fire Department would be tasked with handling the emergency rescue aspect for the parish, something they are not equipped for. 

The ambulance and rescue services agreement between the city of Ruston and Lincoln Parish stood at $30,000 annually for more than 20 years, until it recently increased to $120,000 for 2022.  

A debate within the ranks of the LPPJ surfaced during the July meeting after a letter dated Jan. 31 emerged that advised of the police jury’s rejection of a proposal of $125,000 plus 5%, an offer that never reached the entire policy jury according to some members. 

Policy jury member Logan Hunt questioned Durrett during the July meeting as to why they hadn’t seen this information.  

“I can’t answer that right now,” Durrett told Hunt that night. “I’ll be glad after the meeting to discuss it with you. But we’re at this point, and we can’t go backward.” 

Resident Chris Garriga was the first to address the policy jury Tuesday night during the public comments portion of the agenda for the August meeting. 

“My concern is we had a $120,000 offer (for the city) to do fire and rescue that was given to Mr. (Melton) Milton, Mr. (Doug) Postel and Mr. (Richard) Durrett in April of 2021,” said Garriga. “That was 440 days ago that this option was presented in a 50-page binder from Chief (Chris) Womack. … The information Mr. Womack has is priceless. It is calls. It is volume. It is numbers. It is information that should have been given to every single juror at the beginning of last year. 

“In December of 2021, Greg Pafford, the owner of the largest family-owned ambulance business in the country, met with the same gentlemen about ambulance options. He recommended that the board sign with the city before the city changed their mind because it was a great deal.” 

Garriga was followed by four more parish residents, all addressing their feelings about the decision and the potential for a more expensive and possibly less efficient system starting in January. 

Keith Newsome voiced a concern about the difference with ambulances containing paramedics vs. ambulances with EMTs, knowing that paramedics are certified to offer much more critical care services that could be the difference between an individual surviving the emergency on the way to the hospital.  

“I am asking this board not to enter into a contract in haste,” said Newsome. “Call the Ruston Mayor. Call the chief of the fire department. Set up a meeting. Negotiate a contract that is acceptable to both parties. Don’t try to fix a problem that does not exist.” 

But according to Lincoln Parish Policy Jury Administrator Doug Postel, the option of using the city was no longer on the table.

“I asked the Mayor if that was an option, and he consulted with the fire chief and the answer was no,” said Postel. 

Shane Davis, the COO for Pafford in Louisiana and Mississippi, followed a short time later, clarifying some points about a possible contract between the parish and Pafford. He stated that an additional ambulance would be brought into Lincoln Parish (increasing the number servicing the parish to four … with the ability to have two more from adjoining parishes if needed). He also said that the ambulances would contain paramedics aboard them, and not EMTs. 

The suggested cost of the additional ambulance for Lincoln Parish would allegedly be $360,000. Davis stated that Lincoln Parish would join Pafford’s existing system of emergency ambulance services. During the discussion of the contract that is still in the works, it was stated that Pafford would be willing to provide $50,000 to help with rescue equipment within the parish. 

Perhaps an even bigger concern is the potential cost of the emergency rescue portion which would fall upon the Lincoln Parish Fire Department. A quote has not yet been received, but numerous jurors and residents expressed a concern about the potential cost for equipment, manpower and service. 

“Lincoln Parish Fire as of today has not hired a single person to man a rescue squad,” said Garriga. “In 140 days, the parish is in the rescue business. In 140 days, Lincoln Parish Fire will be the people you call if you get in a wreck outside the city limits. I believe the jury has put the parish fire department in a tough situation.” 

At the end of the night, emotions ran high. 

“We didn’t have just a good system (in Lincoln Parish),” said Director of Homeland Security Kip Franklin. “We had the absolute best system. And now it’s gone forever.” 

Garriga, who worked for Pafford for three years, concluded the public comments portion with high praise for Pafford’s ability to serve the Lincoln Parish community. But he also asked the jury to find out where the disconnect occurred on the initial offer from the city. 

“Pafford does a great job. Ruston Fire does a great job. We had a great system until the ball was dropped somewhere,” said Garriga. “I implore that the jury figure out where this ball was dropped because our system is going to change.” 


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Traffic violation leads to arrest of convicted felon

A motorist without a visible license plate was arrested early Sunday morning, prompting numerous traffic and weapons charges.

Ruston Police Lt. Thomas Bailey stopped a car with no visible license plate on West Alabama Ave. about 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. An Arkansas temporary tag was displayed in the back window but was unreadable from the patrol car. 

The driver, Ke’Travion Markees Smith, 23, of Dubach, could not produce valid proof of insurance on the vehicle. While speaking with the driver, Lt. Bailey smelled a strong odor consistent with raw marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A records check revealed an arrest warrant for Smith held by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Smith was arrested and the vehicle was searched.

During the search, a handgun was found under the front passenger seat. A small amount of green marijuana and digital scales were found in the center console. An open cold bottle of beer was located on the rear floorboard.

Smith was taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center where he was booked for improper display of a license plate, no proof of insurance, open container, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and the Lincoln Parish warrant. 

Bail was set at $375,000. 

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 


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Team Louisiana sees dream summer end

Team Louisiana fell 5-3 to Virginia Tuesday in Lumberton, North Carolina.

 by Malcolm Butler

Team Louisiana is coming back home with a summer of memories they will always cherish.

After a spectacular run that included the state title and a berth in the Dixie Youth World Series in North Carolina, Team Louisiana – comprised of the Ruston American 10u players – fell 5-3 to Team Virginia Tuesday afternoon.  

The loss in Lumberton, North Carolina, ended the magical run for the young men.  

“I know I’m speaking for our parents and our staff that we are just so proud of the kids for all that they accomplished this summer,” said head coach Steve Davison. “They battled down to the final out today. It wasn’t a day that we played our best baseball, but it was a good example of their grit and never-say-die attitude. We gave ourselves a chance at the end to get to the semifinals. It was a great summer for these boys that they will always remember.” 

Team Louisiana staved off elimination on Monday, rallying to defeat Team Texas 7-5 in the late innings. And on Tuesday, they tried to duplicate that feat.  

After falling behind 5-0, Team Louisiana scored three runs to cut the deficit down to two runs.  

We got off to slow start with bats,” said Davison. “We hit into inning ending double plays in the first two innings. It was just a game where it seemed like every close play went the other team’s way. Virginia was good, and they played really well. We hit a lot of ground balls right at people and they consistently made some plays.  

“We got down 5-0 and battled back. We got a good relief appearance from Grant Alexander who really shut them down and gave us a chance to get back into it.” 

Trailing 5-3 heading into its final plate appearance, Davison said he felt confident in his team’s ability to put together another rally. And Team Louisiana almost did it.  

“We had the top of the order coming up in the top of the sixth,” he said. “Joseph (Davison) worked to full count and hit a hard ground ball that their shortstop back-handed and threw him out at first. Grey Ramsey got a hit for us. Then we got another runner on by hit by pitch.  

“We had first and second. They threw a pitch in the dirt and Grey made a great read on the ball and tried to take third. He was initially safe but then his momentum carried him past the bag and they were able to tag him out. It was just a bad break. We would have had second and third with one out, but instead it ended up being second and two outs. We hit another hard ground ball that they made the play on to end the game.” 

Team Louisiana’s roster included: Grant Alexander, Brycen Bennett, Barnes Causey, Kingston Culpepper, Joseph Davison, Rhodes Kilpatrick, John Cole Parker, Grey Ramsey, Jacoby Smith, Henry Walpole, Ryder Walpole, and Eli Wilson.   

They are coached by Davison, Jeff Parker and Jordan Taylor. 

 

 


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Farmerville PD files numerous charges after domestic disturbance

The Farmerville Police Department arrested a man Friday on multiple domestic-related charges.

Officers responded to a domestic disturbance on Rabun Road where a female victim suffered minor injuries when struck by a vehicle. The investigation found Demarius “Buddy” Jenkins, 30, of Farmerville had attempted to strike the woman with a vehicle before crashing into several trash cans and mailboxes. Jenkins caused minor injuries to the victim before leaving the scene. 

A short time later, FPD officers responded to a second domestic disturbance involving Jenkins and another woman on Williams Road. This victim was also battered, causing minor injuries. Jenkins was taken into custody without incident while still at the Williams Road residence. The vehicle Jenkins was operating suffered serious damage from several hit and run accidents that occurred in the early morning hours. 

Jenkins was booked at the Union Parish Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault-domestic abuse, second degree battery-domestic, aggravated criminal damage to property, misdemeanor theft, hit and run driving, domestic abuse battery, and felony criminal damage to property.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 


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Bulldogs focus on applying concepts for defense in fall camp

LA Tech is 22 days away from its season opener at Missouri.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications 

With four fall camp practices complete, the Louisiana Tech football team continues to focus on improving daily and applying concepts from meetings to the playing field.

“At this point, it is just to get better from practice three and I think we got that done,” Defensive Coordinator Scott Power said. “We wanted to run the ball better and tackle better than we did last practice. Every day we teach new concepts, so guys are learning and applying them to the field. They did a good job of that and we will try to do the same thing when we come out here for practice five.”

Heat and humidity played a significant presence on Monday as it was arguably the warmest practice the Bulldogs have participated in this camp. However, due to the work of Director of Football Sports Performance Dave Scholz and staff this summer, it hardly played a factor.

“To be honest the heat so far in the morning has not been bad yet,” Deshon Hall said. “Coach (Dave) Scholz has done a great job of getting us acclimated and prepared for these conditions. We have been out in the heat in the afternoon during summer conditioning, which is some serious heat.”

One of the major themes of camp thus far has been the focus on meeting raising expectation levels.

“Yesterday in our meetings, our coaches raised our expectation levels,” Hall stated. “We took a step in the right direction today. We made those adjustments that Coach Power asked us and we have to keep making adjustments and improving as we raise those expectations throughout fall camp.”

In addition to improving each day, some things Power has been impressed about the LA Tech defense is their retention of information, added depth and willingness to show up every day ready to work.

“I am impressed with our guys and how we have retained our information in the spring and the work they put in over the summer,” Power observed. “I think we have improved our depth from day one to where we are now. Everyone has bought into what we do and comes to work every day. It has been a really fun group to coach and work with. I want to see continued growth and improvement from our players. They have been really receptive so far in camp and I do not expect that to change.”

Both Hall and defensive back BeeJay Williamson believe that the cohesiveness throughout the program has been as strong as ever.

“As a team, we are heading in the right direction,” Hall added. “Coach Cumbie is instilling something in us that will stay with us forever. It is a different brotherly atmosphere. Louisiana Tech has always been about a brotherly atmosphere, but this staff has elevated it to the next level.”

“Everyone really wants to get better with each other,” BeeJay Williamson added. “Between the lines, we compete, but off the field, we love each other like our own brothers. It is a real brotherhood and we have really come together and grown.”

Tech is just 23 days from its season opener on Sept. 1 at Mizzou. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.


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Alleged speeder booked for DWI

A Choudrant woman was arrested early Saturday morning for DWI after she was clocked speeding on Interstate 20.

At about 2:30 a.m., a Louisiana State Police trooper clocked a pickup truck eastbound on I-20 at milepost 91 traveling 93 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. The truck was stopped and Alexis McKey, 18, was found to be the driver.

The trooper noticed signs of alcohol use and administered field sobriety tests. Based on performance on the tests, McKey was arrested and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.  A breath test showed a blood alcohol content of .169g%, over twice the legal limit of .08g%.

McKey was booked for first offense DWI and speeding. Bail was set at $1,500.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 


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GSU hires Phillips as volleyball coach

Paige Phillips was named the new GSU volleyball coach.

by Malcolm Butler

On Tuesday Paige Phillips was introduced as the new Grambling State head volleyball coach. 

With the season starting in less than two weeks, Phillips will be tasked with trying to move the program past the dark cloud that has hovered over it since March when the returning Lady Tigers players were all released from their scholarships by then new head coach Chelsey Lucas.

The events that followed were anything but positive, including Lucas’ ultimate termination on July 6 following an internal investigation by the school.

University Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott announced the hiring of Phillips Tuesday. Phillips has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina Central where she helped guide the program in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

Phillips has the opportunity to bring a new start to the program. 

 “We are very excited to welcome Paige Phillips to Grambling State University and to be our next head volleyball coach,” said Scott, who came under some heat of his own after originally backing up Lucas’ decision before then firing her for the same decision just months later.

“She brings a level of excitement and a wealth of knowledge to our program. She played at an HBCU and coached under one of the best volleyball coaches in Jody Brown at North Carolina Central. I am thrilled to be able to bring in a talented coach as we transition to move forward.”  

The current Grambling State website (gsutigers.com) doesn’t have a roster for the 2022 season listed as of Tuesday afternoon. It’s unknown how many of the players from last year who Lucas dismissed will actually be on this year’s roster. In the July 6 release announced the termination of Lucas it stated that all volleyball student-athletes who are on scholarship for 2022-23 would remain on the team for the upcoming year. 

However, Phillips said she is eager to get started.

“I am elated for this new opportunity at Grambling State University and look forward to leading the volleyball program to new heights,” Phillips said. “I’d also like to thank President (Rick) Gallot and Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Trayvean Scott for their visionary leadership and commitment to excellence for the volleyball program. I cannot wait to get started.”  

In 2021, Phillips assisted in North Carolina Central recording 11 victories and nine wins in conference play, the most in the Division I era for the Eagles. In addition, with her guidance, the program secured its first-ever win in the MEAC Volleyball Championship as the Eagles reached the quarterfinals.    

Phillips has served as an  assistant coach since the 2018 season before being elevated to associate head coach before departing NCCU. 

As a player for the Eagles, Phillips racked up 1,896 career assists, which remains a Division I-era record at NCCU and is fourth all-time in the program. She averaged 5.75 assists per set over four seasons, which also ranks seventh all-time at NCCU.  

Phillips graduated from North Carolina Central in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, with a concentration in pre-med. In addition, she obtained her Master’s degree in Biology and Biomedical Sciences from NCCU in 2020.  

Grambling State opens its season Aug. 26 at the Saluki Bash in Carbondale, Illinois.

 


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Don’t ask for whom the school bell tolls… 

We couldn’t afford a bicycle then, so I learned early how to stick my thumb out in the wind and hitch a ride in a pickup or on a tractor the two miles into our rural Carolina town for my first-grade classes. 

My parents believed in tough love. 

They were Old School, even though I was the very definition of New School. 

Since they had to walk to school uphill 16 miles and back home, again uphill, for 17, they figured I was getting off easy by having to flag down a ride for just two measly miles. “And FLAT miles at that!” I can hear them say, maybe tough lovingly. 

Of course, modern kids have gotten soft now and don’t hitchhike to school as they once did. Don’t get me started. . . 

Here’s something else that’s changed, and not for the better. 

No matter how “bored” or out of sorts you might have gotten with school back then — and even those of us who actually secretly sort of liked school and realized it was “good for us” wanted to run away now and then – we knew the Start Game and the End Game. And that helped. 

The Great State of South Carolina and all us little children there cut a deal with each other: the state owned us from right after Labor Day until Memorial Day. No questions asked. You’d get a day at Thanksgiving and Easter and a few days at Christmastime, the Super Bowl Week of being a kid, but the rest of the time, your denim-covered butt was in a desk at Lake View Elementary. 

BUT … they could not touch us from Memorial Day until Labor Day. No one even SAID “school” during June, July and August. We were a hands-off, school-free zone. 

Summer, with all its bee stings and scraped knees and bologna sandwiches, was ours. 

We could play AND we could make all the money, picking cucumbers or driving a tractor or, depending on how low you were to the ground, picking up tobacco sticks at the barn if your leg wasn’t long enough to reach the clutch on a Farmall yet. 

Just thinking about it makes me want to kick off my shoes and go run in the grass and step on a nail and have to go get a tetanus shot. (Even summer had its risks. But the risks were worth it.) 

Somewhere along the way, it was decided by Grownups that school would start Early, and so children are back at school this week even though it’s just now double-digits in August. (We’re talking dates, not temperature.) There will be “breaks” and the number of days spent in class will be the same now as they were back when I went to school, back when only four vowels and 22 consonants had been invented. 

And maybe it’s better that way, but you ask people from our generation, and we’ll tell you being out for three months solid was the way to go, that even the thought of hitching a ride to school in August was a two-thumbs-down deal.  

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


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Doctoral student develops award-winning technique for making pipes 

Engineering Materials and Infrastucture Systems doctoral student and member of the Louisiana Tech University chapter of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) Stephen Gordon of Shreveport has developed an “Ohmic Curing Technique for GPC Pipe” to create pipes for underground construction from low carbon emission geopolymer materials. 

Geopolymers, green alternatives to cement, are composed of industrial waste and take a long time to cure. The ohmic heating technique decreases curing time by using electricity to heat the geopolymer evenly. The process reduces the time it takes geopolymer materials to dry to a fraction of the time it takes traditional cement to cure. Using this research, crews can replace damaged roadways and rapidly cast pipes with geopolymers faster than with conventional cement methods. 

Last spring, Gordon won the Trenchless Research Competition at the 2022 NASTT No-Dig Show for a poster presentation on the novel technique. At the time, the curing process he developed took roughly 30 minutes to complete. Over the last few months, Gordon and his advisor, Dr. Shaurav Alam, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering Technology, and member of the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC), have changed the geopolymer mix to cut that time frame in half. 

Gordon, Alam, and key members of the Advanced Materials Research Lab at the TTC on Louisiana Tech’s campus presented the technique to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center using a small-scale 3-D printable beam mold also developed in the lab. 

“Without the support of Dr. Shaurav Alam, Dr. John Matthews [Director of the TTC and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering Technology, and Engineering and Technology Management], Dr. Collin Wick [Associate Dean of College of Engineering and Science Graduate Studies and Research], and the TTC, my research would not have developed into what it is now,” Gordon said. “The TTC and the wider College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University have given me many opportunities to expand and develop as an engineer. It was through the TTC that I was given the opportunity to travel to Milwaukee to attend the No-Dig Show. I am very proud to have won the award for Louisiana Tech University and the Trenchless Technology Center.” 

“Stephen is always an outside-the-box thinker,” Alam added. “We started thinking about the possibilities of geopolymerization using ohmic curing. His CRAZY mind developed the setup and the fundamental efforts to make it happen. If properly made, this rapid curing geopolymerization has the potential to reduce pavement construction time by several folds.” 

“In the time Stephen has been a graduate student at Louisiana Tech, he has been a truly outstanding student that continues to impress with his demeanor, academics, and accomplishments,” Wick said. “I am confident that he has a bright future.” 


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Help Wanted – here’s some help

With 35 years working in business and now supporting others through consulting services, I don’t know that I have seen the prolonged staffing issues across the country as we have now.  There are staffing issues impacting manufacturing industries, the service segments, governmental agencies, educational institutions, and those in non-profit organizations.  These staffing issues include unfilled positions (shortages), unreliable attendance, high turnover rates, and declining employee engagement.  We have all been impacted by staffing issues in Lincoln Parish to varying degrees.

While these issues may be just part of the times we are living in today, there are steps we can take as business owners, directors, managers, leaders, and elected officials to address the issues causing these problems.  Before I share some insights on this matter, let me be clear on two things:

  • There are exceptions to what I will share.
  • I don’t know everything about every situation.

With that said, we must start by asking a simple question – Why should someone want to work in my organization?  The real question that I am getting to here is whether we are creating desirable places for people to work.  Are we creating a work culture (environment) that is both attractive to people looking for employment and desirable for our current team members to stay?  Once we get past the obvious issues of competitive pay and benefits, the primary factor impacting hiring, retention, attendance, and engagement is culture.  

While culture has always been important, I think it matters more now than ever.  If you ever wonder why one organization struggles with staffing, and another in the same type of business, with similar pay and benefits doesn’t struggle, the answer is culture.  Workplace culture involves a number of aspects impacting the work environment.  The following suggestions can help you create a desirable culture in your workplace and address those staffing challenges.

  • Purpose:  Today’s workers want to know they are doing meaningful work.  Define purpose for your organization, define purpose in the specific roles within your organization, and focus on achieving purpose not completing tasks.  
  • Investment:  Engage with employees on a regular basis to provide feedback on performance, ask about concerns, discuss development opportunities, and inquire how they feel about staying.  If you don’t think you have time for this investment, just consider the time you are currently spending on replacing people that are leaving.
  • Team concept:  The more you can create a team atmosphere of common purpose, mutual support, encouragement, effective training, and ongoing development, the better off you will be long-term.  People want to connect.  Today’s workers grew up playing on teams, working on group projects, and participating with groups in various organizations.  We need to create that same team culture in the workplace.
  • Responsibility:  The more we can give our team members responsibility for aspects of our operation (even very small things), the more they will feel valued, appreciated, and essential to the organization.  People want to be needed and valued.

There is obviously a lot more to this concept of culture to be considered, and many more specific actions that can be taken to move this direction and address those staffing issues in your organization.  If you are struggling in this area, just consider trying a different approach.  Consider this idea of workplace culture enhancement.  It may be just what you need.


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Seventh marker on state civil rights trail to be unveiled 

 The seventh, and newest, marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail will be unveiled later this week at the former Bogalusa home of Robert “Bob” Hicks.  

The house, located at 924 Robert “Bob” Hicks Street, was the base of operations for the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement. It was a regular meeting place for Officers of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League (BCVL) and the local Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  

The marker unveiling will take place at 11:15 a.m. at the Robert “Bob” Hicks House. 

The house was a safe place for civil rights workers and served as an emergency triage station. The breakfast room became the communications center for the Bogalusa Chapter of the Deacons of Defense and Justice, an armed self-defense group who protected civil rights workers from violence. The living room was an unofficial office for the civil rights attorneys who pioneered groundbreaking lawsuits in education, housing, and employment. 

In August 2021, the 1967 Bogalusa to Baton Rouge March led by Civil Rights Activist A.Z. Young, with Robert “Bob” Hicks and Gayle Jenkins, was recognized on the Louisiana Civil Rights trail with a marker at A.Z. Young Park adjacent to the Louisiana State Capitol. 

The Civil Rights Markers are striking life-sized metal life-like figures cut from steel and stand over six feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds. The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail is supported in part by an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. 


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Remembering Kristie Michelle Palacios

A Memorial service for Kristie Michelle Palacios, age 40, of Ruston was 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at Temple Baptist Church Chapel in Ruston, LA. Rev. Dale Oden officiated under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.

A visitation was prior to the service, in the Chapel of Temple Baptist Church in Ruston.

Kristie Palacios was loved by her family, friends, children, and anyone who knew her. She loved and would do anything for her children, sisters, and husband Robbie. She was known for her huge heart and her love for people. She loved her family more than anything else, her animals Moe, 3, and little bit, and most importantly her dog Coco. She was an amazing caregiver and an even better mother to Hannah and Jacob; they were her whole entire world. Kristie was so in love with her husband Robbie Palacios, it was a story of true love that never dies. Kristie would light up any room she would walk in too. She battled a terrible disease for twenty years; she is now resting and at peace. She was taken from this world way too young, and she will be missed dearly. Kristie is predeceased by her maternal grandparents Bryant and Allie Fowler Smith; paternal grandparents, Willie and Audrey Futrell Ginn;  mother-in-law Terri Herring; and grandmother-in-law Mary Mullins. “God promises to make something good out of the storms that bring devastation to your life”- Romans 8:28 

She is survived by her husband, Robbie Palacios, of Ruston LA; her daughter Hannah Palacios, of Ruston; son Jacob Palacios of Ruston; parents Thelton and Dianne Ginn of Ruston; siblings, Shannon Sherman of Ruston; Karen Evans of Ruston; Stephanie McCosar of Choudrant; Tess Pyles of Ruston; special friends, Lauren Leedy of Simsboro; Anna Grace Howard of Ruston; aunts, Rita Ginn of Dubach; Penny Ginn of Downsville; nephews, Taylor Davis; Cody Davis; Joseph Evans; Luke Evans and a host of family and friends. 

May she fly like a butterfly in the cool breeze. Her heart and soul will rest in the heavens forever.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com.


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Remembering Alberta A. “Berta” French

Funeral services for Alberta A. “Berta” French, age 82, of Simsboro, LA were held at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at Antioch Methodist Church in Eros, LA.  Services were officiated by Bro. Bo Horne.  Interment followed in Antioch Cemetery in Eros, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston, LA.

A visitation was held at 5:00 – 7:00 PM Monday, August 8, 2022, at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston.

Berta was born on September 21, 1939, in Montgomery, AL and passed away on August 5, 2022, in West Monroe, LA.  She was a longtime member of and served as secretary of Arcadia United Methodist Church in Arcadia, LA.  Berta enjoyed cooking, camping, fishing, and softball.

She is survived her husband of 65 years, Norman E., “Buddy” French of Simsboro, LA; children, Tamara D. Dozier (Kerry) of Grady, AL; Norman E. French, Jr. of Brandon, MS; Robert Ray French (Bernadine) of Simsboro, LA; 7 grandchildren; numerous great grandchildren; and other family and friends.

Pallbearers will be Michael French, Joseph French, Dennis French, Jim Elliott, Marvin Crain, and Kerry Dozier.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com


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Notice of death — Aug. 9, 2022

Robert “Bert” Richard 
May 6, 1931 – August 8, 2022 
Visitation: 4-6 p.m. August 10 at Owens Memorial Chapel, Ruston 
Funeral: August 13, Church Point, La.  

Margaret Simpson 
October 26, 1930 – August 4, 2022 
Visitation: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, Ruston 
Funeral: 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10 at Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, Ruston 
Cemetery committal: Wednesday, Aug. 10 at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Ruston

Sara Ann Napper  
May 10, 1927 – August 7, 2022  
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Thursday, August 11, 2022, 9:00 am – 10:30 am  
Service: Simsboro City Cemetery, Thursday, August 11, 2022, 11:00 am  
Cemetery: Simsboro City Cemetery, Thursday, August 11, 2022 


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