College of Education hosts Engage Education for next generation of teachers

Dr. Dustin Whitlock speaks to a captive audience of prospective CoE students

By Kyle Roberts

Friday afternoon at Woodard Hall saw a packed house of high school students that have identified their collective desire to take the mantle of the future teachers of tomorrow, thanks in large part to the College of Education at Louisiana Tech hosting the second annual Engage Education event as a means to give prospective students a glimpse of what the CoE offers to students.

Engage Education is our recruiting event that we hold each year and to bring in high school juniors and seniors from around the state of Louisiana, primarily from our partner districts that we already partner with in our teacher preparation program,” Assistant Professor Dr. Dustin Whitlock said. “And so we bring in high school juniors and seniors. They identify if they’re interested in being an early childhood teacher, an elementary teacher or a secondary teacher, and they follow different sessions throughout the day that are led by our Louisiana Tech teaching candidates. And so those students are showcasing what it’s like to be a part of our program, the kinds of things that they learn about, the kinds of things that they do in their coursework, the kinds of things that they’re doing as they work towards teacher certification.”

Louisiana Tech boasts a total of 15 different partner districts. A majority of students who attended this year’s Engage came from places such as Winn Parish, Monroe City, and Webster Parish.

Jeanette Hinckley is a College of Education alumna and spoke to the value of the programs like Engage Education for generating relationships with prospective students.

“After attending Engage Education, I saw what an excellent program this is for prospective students,” Hinckley said. “By seeing how excited and engaged the faculty, staff, and resident teachers are, prospective students got a glimpse of how exciting being an education major can be. One key to alumni engagement is relationship building. If you can foster a partnership with graduates by inviting them to observe activities such as Engage Education, you can develop a lifetime supporter of the College of Education.”

Whitlock also spoke to the importance of these partner districts working with Louisiana Tech in order to shepherd in a new generation of teachers. 

“These districts have realized is that their pipeline to hiring teachers starts with their own students,” Whitlock added. “There’s a lot of research that says that most teachers actually teach within 30 miles of where they went to high school. And so most teachers go back home to some degree. These these districts know that they can grow their own, in a sense, by bringing students here, building out relationships with the program. And they know that we train them well. That’s why they partner with us. And then we get to send them right back to them.”

Up next for the College of Education will be hosting its third “Living with Technology” lecture series on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. in Wyly Auditorium. 

Featured panelists include: Prerna Dua (Louisiana Tech University; Psychology), Dr. Byron Lowens (University of Michigan), and Dr. Amml Hussein (Council on Social Work Education).

The event is a free and open to the public. The Living with Technology lecture series is sponsored by Jeanette and Justin Hinckley.


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Freezing temperatures, possible wintry mix set for this week

The National Weather Service called for a cold front to enter our area overnight as temperatures dipped below freezing and could continue to do so over the next three to four nights.

Today’s and Wednesday’s highs should reach only the upper 30s while overnight lows will fall into the low 30s and even as low as the upper 20s on Friday night.

There is a strong chance of rain today (74 percent), Wednesday (89 percent) and Thursday (99 percent) with an outside chance of some wintry mix (rain and freezing rain) early Wednesday morning.

Readers are encouraged to monitor the forecast closely over the next week.

This is a reminder to take precautions when it comes to water pipes and pets. Also please check on elderly neighbors or family members during this week.


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Simsboro announces 2022 Homecoming Court

Front Row (L-R): Trenity Cheffin, Jadyn Bradley, Lauryn Vernon, Rosalie Shorts, Amani Dean
Back Row (L-R): Elycia Farris, Jahkeriah Abney, Moriah Fairley, Beatriz Hernandez, Kemira McCarter, Rayanna Pesnell

 
Simsboro High School will hold its 2022-23 homecoming activities on Friday, February 10.
 
The school announced its homecoming court which was voted on by the students peers in their respective grade levels.
 
The Homecoming Queen will be voted on by the entire high school student body and will be announced during the homecoming court presentation Friday morning.
 
The Court will then be presented again at 5:30 p.m. prior to the boys game against Downsville High School (tipoff at 6 p.m. and girls game to follow).
 
The 2022-23 Homecoming Court includes:
 
Senior Maids: 
Jadyn Bradley
Trenity Cheffin
Amani Dean
Rosalie Shorts
Lauryn Vernon
 
Junior Maids:
Moriah Fairley
Beatriz Hernandez
 
Sophomore Maids:
Jahkeria Abney
Kemira McCarter
 
Freshman Maids:
Elycia Farris
Rayanna Pesnell
 
 
 


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Lady Cougars set for colossal clash at OCS with outright district title on the line

Allie Furr and the Lady Cougars will square off tonight at OCS with the District 2-1A title on the line. (Photo by Darrell James)

By Malcolm Butler

Sometimes being a little selfish is okay.

When Cedar Creek travels to Ouachita Christian tonight for a 6 p.m. tip-off, the Lady Cougars aren’t interested in sharing anything.

Especially the District 2-1A title.

A win by Creek (18-4, 5-0) would all but solidify the outright district title with the Lady Cougars already holding a one-game lead over OCS (20-4, 3-1) by virtue of its 47-35 win over the Lady Eagles on Jan. 13 at the Brickhouse.

A loss by the Cougars creates a two-way tie with two games remaining for Creek and three games remaining for OCS. The Lady Eagles have already defeated the remaining three teams by 18, 18 and 36 points while the Lady Cougars have already defeated the remaining two teams on its schedule by 29 and 39 points.

Thus, for all intents and purpose, tonight’s match-up will determine whether Creek has to put co- in front of district champs. It’s not something the Lady Cougars want to think about.

“If we lose it is not the end of the world,” said senior guard Allie Furr. “We are still set up nicely for the playoffs. Coach Van says we have nothing to lose.”

But when asked if the Lady Cougars wanted to share the crown, Furr was quick with her reply.

“No sir,” she said. “We want to win. And we want to win bad.”

Although Creek snapped an almost four-year losing streak against OCS three weeks ago, Cougars head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg knows winning on the road against the Lady Eagles won’t be easy.

“I think we are going to have to handle some adversity,” he said. “At some point in the game we aren’t going to get a call or two. We are going to miss some shots. We are going to hit a tough spell, but can we overcome that? Can we go into their place and have a moment or two where things don’t go our way but yet we respond the right way?”

Coach Van’s players agree.

“I think we have to keep a good mindset, especially being at their place,” said senior Lillian Soto. “Playing there is always a very different atmosphere. I think if we keep our head in the game … it will be okay.”

“We just have to go in with the right mindset,” said senior Lizzie McAdams, who scored 13 points in the first win over OCS. “We have to keep our heads screwed on right and just play our game like we know how to. It will be a big atmosphere. We are just going to have to communicate with each other and play as a team.”

“We just have to give it our all and know that we can beat them,” said Furr. “We just have to be on our game. And even if we aren’t, we just have to stay within ourselves. Not get too high. Not get too low. We just have to play like we know how to play.”

Creek will put a 10-game winning streak on the line. The Lady Cougars haven’t lost since falling 56-36 at Quitman on Dec. 16, the second of back-to-back losses.

Vandenlangenberg points to those two losses as the turning point in the season for the Lady Cougars.

“Right before Christmas we had lost two games in a row against two good teams. We got beat bad,” he said. “We were facing a little bit of adversity; some doubt. I wondered if we could regroup. I think the break hit us at a good time. We came back and have won 10 games in a row and are playing our best basketball right now.

“It’s not surprising. I knew the girls could do it, but when you go through those moments where things aren’t going right and you depend on that leadership and you depend on the girls believing in what you are saying … like can we really do this? And they bought in. It’s a real tribute to the type of girls we have.”

The Lady Cougars will be vying for their first outright district title since 2018-19 when Anna Larr Roberson led the program to the league crown.

In order to snap that streak, the Lady Cougars must handle the adversity tonight in a big-game situation.

“The atmosphere is always so big,” said Furr. “There is always a big crowd because it is such a big game. With the district championship on the line, we can’t let the crowd get under our skin.”

The Cedar Creek boys will look to sweep its season series against OCS, tipping off 10 minutes after the completion of the girls game.


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Teacher Feature: Claire Haight emphasizes students’ unique characteristics

By April Clark Honaker

After teaching for five years in Ouachita Parish, Claire Haight returned home to Lincoln Parish last year. She is now in her second year of teaching first grade in Simsboro.

Haight grew up in Ruston and graduated from Cedar Creek School. From there, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University in elementary education Grades 1-5 and special education. Haight also recently completed her master’s in educational leadership from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. 

Prior to her return to Lincoln Parish, Haight gained experience teaching third and fourth grade, as well as first and second grade special education. 

These experiences taught Haight that every child is unique.

“Every child doesn’t think the same or work the same,” she said.

They all have their own strengths, which may not be the same as another child’s strengths.

“It’s not a one size fits all for everybody,” Haight said. 

Haight makes a point to work with kids on the areas they need help in.

“I make sure kids get what they need,” she said, “but I also push them to do things on their own or in groups.”

Haight especially likes working with her students on their reading skills. In first grade, some students are already reading while others are still grasping the basics. Haight enjoys watching her students begin to grasp how words go together and seeing them get excited to be able to share their skills. 

It’s rewarding for her to see how they progress throughout the year from their first assignments to their last. Haight said teaching first grade is special, too, because everything is exciting and fun at this age.

In first grade, students are just beginning to feel a little more independent, and fostering that independence is important to Haight.

“It’s hard to let them lead,” she said. “You want to help them get where they’re trying to be. It’s hard to let them struggle, but through that struggle is how they learn.” 

Although this year is only Haight’s second in her current position, she was recently selected as the lower elementary Teacher of the Year for her school.

“I’m very honored,” she said. “I’m speechless. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Haight said she is really blessed to have people around her that push and support her.

She attributes her success in the last two years to being part of Simsboro’s family atmosphere.

“I couldn’t have gotten through last year without their support,” she said.


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Arrests follows confrontation at restaurant

Ruston Police arrested a 44-year-old man for assault and battery after an incident at a local restaurant Saturday.

About 9 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Cajun Bar & Grille on Farmerville Highway regarding the confrontation. There they found a man who said he was struck in the face with a beer bottle. 

The man was attempting to control the bleeding from his nose. He said he was eating when a fight broke out between two other men.

The victim was transported to Northern Louisiana Medical Center with a suspected broken nose.

One of the two men involved in the altercation said he and his wife saw Brian Davidson, who they suspected of illegal activity. The man confronted Davidson. 

Officers viewed the restaurant’s video and saw the man push Davidson and throw a punch. Davidson then threw a beer bottle at the man who ducked, and the victim was struck.

Davidson was located at his home and arrested for aggravated assault and aggravated battery. His bail amount was not available.

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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Tech cheer places in top 10 in nation

By Breanne Pittman

Louisiana Tech cheer has claimed victory by placing top 10 in the College Nationals earlier this month.

The Tech cheer team traveled to Walt Disney World to compete against some of the best cheer programs in the country after months of preparation.

Blue-squad member Katelyn Robinson shared that the team’s overall goal weekend at nationals was just to make it beyond semifinals.

“This year we set a goal to make finals and we did,” Robinson said. “This was the first year I’ve made finals cheering for Tech, and I have been on the team for three years.”

After competing virtually in 2021, the Tech cheer team traveled to the competition, for the first time in 10 years, in 2022 but did not make it beyond semifinals.

“Placing top 10 was the best feeling ever,” Robinson said. “On day one we had to work hard for our spot, but through hard work, determination and dedication we finally were able to compete in finals with some of the best cheer programs in the country.”

Being a young team with a new coaching staff, placing at nationals was no easy task, but Coach Ashlyn Ogee said she is proud of how the team overcame trials and worked hard to achieve beyond their goal of making it to finals.

“(We) coaches are extremely proud of the team’s performance and know that next year the program can move forward,” Oglee said.

Now, the team is motivated to do even better next year, and blue-squad member Hayden Howard has high expectations that the team will only continue to grow.

“I expect the cheer team to grow from this and hopefully place higher than we did this year as we build on our success from this year,” Howard said.


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Methamphetamine found in vehicle

A deputy who stopped to check on a possibly disabled vehicle partially blocking the roadway found drugs instead.

A Lincoln Parish deputy stopped to check on the vehicle Friday night on La. Hwy. 821. The driver, Crystal G. Browder, 43, appeared extremely nervous and positioned her body in an unusual way in an attempt to block the deputy’s view into the center console when she opened it.

A subsequent search found a tin container in the console containing suspected methamphetamine.

Browder was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

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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Letter to the Editor: Concern over VA lowering eye care standard for vets

Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the Lincoln Parish Journal and its staff. The LPJ reserves the right to decline publishing submitted Letters to the Editor on a letter-by-letter basis. Letters to the Editor can be submitted via email to lpjnewsla@gmail.com.

________________________________________

by Kathy Johnson

It has come to my attention that the Veterans Affairs department in Washington is considering loosening the standards for eye surgeries at VA hospitals by allowing optometrists – who are not medical doctors or trained surgeons – to perform eye surgery on our nation’s veterans. In my professional opinion, it is reckless and unsafe to allow anyone but ophthalmologists—medical doctors specifically trained in eye surgery—to perform surgery on veterans’ eyes.

Though I have lived much of my life here in Louisiana as a military spouse, I spent many years working at the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I served numerous active-duty men and women, as well as veterans. In the pharmacy, it was my job to ensure that our front-line heroes, as well as our veterans, were equipped with the correct medications. 

This professional experience informs my resolve to ensure that only qualified health professionals provide care to one of our nation’s most important assets: veterans.

To me, this issue of allowing optometrists to perform eye surgery is no different than my experience at Fort Bragg, where only qualified pharmacists were allowed to package the medical bags for deployments. I respect all health professionals and their crafts; however, we must ensure that professionals with the proper and most in-depth training are working within their scope, especially at the VA. Otherwise, it puts our veterans’ health and safety at risk. 

When it comes to eye surgery, that means leaving it to ophthalmologists, who have years of advanced medical education, hospital internship, and clinical and surgical residency training that prepares them to perform delicate surgical procedures.

I strongly urge our elected officials – especially Senator Cassidy who serves on the influential Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and is himself a medical doctor – to ensure that the VA does not implement policies or changes that would allow optometrists to perform eye surgery on our veterans. The risk is too high. Our veterans deserve the best care available. They protected us – now we need to protect them. 


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Local nonprofit gets assistance from students

By Brennan Hillard

4 Paws Rescue, a nonprofit animal shelter in Ruston, received a helping hand thanks to a group of Louisiana Tech students.

Heather Nutt, Alyssa McReynolds, Cameron Hunter, Kourtney Frost, Savion Collins and Ella Avery decided to go above and beyond what was required of them for their marketing class’s group project.

After being assigned a project in their digital and content marketing class that required them to audit a local business’s online presence, the group of students decided to put their efforts towards helping an often overlooked nonprofit, 4 Paws Rescue.

According to their mission statement, “4 Paws is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of stray, abandoned and neglected animals in Lincoln Parish,” and has been doing so for 17 years and also provides “community education, strongly advocating spaying and neutering, heartworm prevention and responsible pet ownership.”

“We chose them because they don’t receive as much help as the other nonprofits in the area and they were on the verge of closing so they really, really needed any help they could get,” said Nutt, a senior majoring in marketing.

According to Sue Martin, Director of 4 Paws, 4 Paws has an operating cost of $9,000 a month, which now wholly comes from donations.

“We get no state, local or city funding, none,” Martin said. “We are providing the shelter that they are mandated by the state to provide, so it really makes it extra hard to understand why they are doing what they are doing.”

The students focused their efforts on overhauling 4 Paws website and reaching out to local businesses to increase the monthly donations coming into 4 Paws.

“We set up a corporate sponsorship program, to get regular donations coming in from local businesses, we made their regular community donations on their websites more functional,” Nutt said

According to Martin, public outreach and donations have increased since the website’s revamping, “We’re able to put our fundraisers on there and even sell tickets, it’s just been a blessing, they have really done a great job on that and we use it every day,” she said.

Thanks to the group, 4 Paws now has multiple ways for the public to easily monetarily show support.

“Our one that we’re pushing the most is called ACH, it’s where you transfer a monthly donation on the 19 of the month from your checking account to our operating account. The reason we’re pushing it is because you don’t have to write a check monthly, it is automatically withdrawn from your account to our operating account on the 19,” said Martin.

The public also has the option to sponsor a kennel for $50 a month, which takes care of three to four dogs, or they can donate food, toys, blankets or other supplies.

The public can also visit 4 Paws Dog Park, which Martin referred to as an “unknown gem in Ruston,” and pay the $5 entrance fee.

More information on how to get involved can be found at www.4Pawsrescueinc.org.


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Argent Financial Group announces continued sponsorship for Hambidge Creative Residency Program  

 
Argent Financial Group, a leading fiduciary wealth management firm, announced today that the company will sponsor a fellowship for the Hambidge Creative Residency Program. This will be the company’s fifth consecutive year sponsoring.  
 
The Argent Financial Distinguished Fellowship is available to residents of Ruston who work in writing, visual arts, dance, ceramics, culinary arts or music – and provides a $700 stipend along with a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia. The applications will be evaluated by the Hambidge Center’s panel review process.   
 
“Argent is proud to continue its support of the Hambidge Creative Residency Program,” said Argent Financial Group CEO Kyle McDonald. “We believe supporting Ruston’s creative residents does more than allow the individual to hone their own art, but also inspires future generations and creates a stronger, culturally robust community.”  
 
The Hambidge Creative Residency Program is the oldest residency program in the Southeast and provides a self-directed experience for creative individuals to work and produce, think, experiment or rejuvenate their talents.   
 
Each resident is given their own private studio which provides work and living space with a bathroom and full kitchen. The studios are designed to protect the time, space and solitude that allows residents to focus on their work. 
 
“We are grateful to Argent for their partnership and continued support in our mission to nurture creativity,” said Hambidge Center Development Director Kathryn Banks. “We are looking forward to giving the next Ruston resident a place to develop, explore and express their creative voice.” 
 
Past Ruston Argent Financial Distinguished Fellowship recipients include author and illustrator Chlese Jiles, visual artist Frank Hamrick, musician Shayla Blake and inaugural recipient printmaking artist Raluca Iancu. 
 
For more information and to apply, visit the Hambidge Center website at www.hambidge.org
 
 
 
About Hambidge Center 
 
For more than 85 years, the Hambidge Center has been nurturing creative talents within the arts and sciences at its 600-acre creative sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing the space and time needed for visionary works to be conceived and developed. Nine individuals are in residence at any given time — each has private accommodations and studio space, and shares communal dinners prepared by the Hambidge chef. The public is invited to the Center on Saturdays for a series of programs that include artist talks, nature hikes, gristmill visits, weaving demonstrations, gallery openings and other special events.
 
About Argent Financial Group  
 
Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $40 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate planning, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930. For more information, visit www.ArgentFinancial.com

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Grambling State among recipients of $75K Ascend grant to support student parents

Grambling State University is one of eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to join Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s Black and Native Family Futures Fund.
 
This new capacity-building fund provides financial support and expert technical assistance to selected HBCU and TCU campuses that are committed to improving the success of their student parents.
 
GSU and the other seven institutions will receive $75,000 and expert technical assistance to seed solutions for student parents on their campuses. Each institution’s work will be informed by the expertise of an enrolled student parent, who will play an advisory role in the project.
 
As part of the initiative, Grambling State will reopen its campus child development center, which closed in 2009 due to a lack of sufficient funding. Utilizing a strong two-generation (2Gen) approach, the university will provide early literacy and developmentally appropriate science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum to children enrolled in the center while also providing support services to their parents who are enrolled at the university.
 
GSU Interim Director of Family and Childhood Studies Terry Matthews said it’s still unclear as to when the university’s campus child development center will reopen.
 
“We do not have a timeline,” Matthews said. “We are in the process of writing another grant for the funding of the GSU Child Care Center.”
 
But it’s something GSU President Rick Gallot feels strongly about accomplishing as soon as possible.
 
“The GSU Nursery School, soon to be renamed the GSU Child Development Center, is one that is dear to my heart as I attended this school during my developmental years from pre-K to Kindergarten,” Gallot wrote in a letter to the Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “Studies have shown that literacy begins at the very early stages of childhood and as a father, I am personally committed to ensuring that we reopen this school soon. It is critically important to have childcare professionals who are knowledgeable of the factors that impact early literacy development.  The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is ready to partner with you in creating cutting-edge technologies, strategies, and best practices in early childhood development and early literacy using the 2Gen Model in support of our student-parents and the entire student body.”
 
 
Thay Holden, a non-traditional senior student majoring in Family and Consumer Sciences at GSU is also a wife, mother of five children, entrepreneur, and a former teacher who feels the Black and Native Family Futures Fund and reopening of the university’s campus child development center will be of great benefit.
 
“The need for a childcare center at GSU is so important for all students like me who need an affordable place to take their child(ren) that is also safe and nurturing,” Holden wrote in a letter supporting Grambling’s involvement in the program. “Going to class and finding childcare can be an ongoing challenge but knowing that your child is being taken care of while you’re in class can lessen the load.”
 
Ascend, with support from Lumina Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, created the Black and Native Family Futures Fund, targeted HBCUs and TCUs for the initiative because it feels that with institutional cultures that are rooted in family, community, and holistic support, those types of institutions are uniquely positioned to identify and address the needs of Black and Native American student parents.
 
“Supporting institutional change is a central focus of our expanded work to transform higher education with student-parent success in mind,” said David Croom, associate director of Postsecondary Success for Parents at Ascend. “HBCUs and TCUs have long done more with less in supporting their student parents and this Fund aims to infuse resources and support into their efforts. We are excited to learn alongside them.”
 
The seven other institutions joining in the partnership with Ascend for the launch of this fund are Blackfeet Community College pm Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana; Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland;  Diné College (across the Navajo Nation; New Mexico and Arizona);   Jarvis Christian University in Hawkins, Texas;  North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina;  Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama;  and Stone Child College (Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation; Box Elder, Montana).
 
“Student parents are at the center of any effort to achieve racial equity in higher education,” said Dr. Zainab Okolo, strategy officer at Lumina Foundation. “We are proud to work alongside Ascend and these eight innovative institutions, who are investing in the success of Black and Native student parents and in their institution’s future as well.”


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Grambling State School of Nursing to host forum January 31 for prospective healthcare professionals

It’s a profession that has always been important and in demand. Nursing has become even more crucial and needed than ever before in recent years and Grambling State University (GSU) can provide the education and experience needed to become part of that demand. Those interested in the field have an opportunity to learn more about Grambling State’s School of Nursing during a forum to be held both in-person and virtually at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31 live from the Bettye Smith Nursing building auditorium on GSU’s campus.

“There has always been a shortage of nurses — it’s hard to imagine there ever being enough,” said Dr. Meg Brown, associate dean for the School of Nursing at GSU. “I’ve been in the profession a long time and there has always been a need for more nurses. There are so many paths a nursing degree can take a graduate at the baccalaureate level. And one of the best things about nursing is [that] it’s a profession that will never go away. Sometimes you see a profession kind of fade away as times change. That’s never going to happen in nursing. That need is always going to be there.”

During the forum, those interested in potentially becoming part of GSU’s School of Nursing will be able to take part in a question-and-answer session while also learning about curriculum requirements and TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) test dates and application deadlines.

Those unable to attend the forum in-person at GSU’s Nursing Auditorium can get the Zoom link by emailing brownmar@gram.edu.


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Louisiana Tech Softball Alumni Weekend set for April 14-16; RSVP’s requested 

More than 50 alumni returned in 2022 for Lady Techster Softball Alumni Weekend at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field. (photo by Darrell James)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications

All former Louisiana Tech softball players, managers and coaches and their families are invited back for Alumni Weekend set for April 14-16 at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

The Lady Techsters will host UTSA in a three-game Conference USA series with games set for Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

“Our alumni weekend is special,” said Tech head coach Josh Taylor.  “The support we receive from our alumni is second to none, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome back all of the amazing women that have represented Louisiana Tech softball in such a manner that makes everyone proud. This weekend is the epitome of what the LA Tech Family is all about.”

A number of events are scheduled surrounding the game on that Saturday.

Following the contest on Saturday, all former Lady Techster softball players, managers and coaches who are in attendance will be recognized on the field. Following introductions of all alumni as well as current Lady Techster players and coaches, a “team photo” will be taken on the field.

All alumni and their families will then be allowed to tour the Origin Bank Soccer and Softball Complex including locker room, team meeting room, players’ lounge, coaches’ offices, sports medicine and the indoor hitting facility.

An Alumni Cookout (RSVPs are required per the online signup form) will be held as parents of current team will volunteer their time to cook for the current team and alums and their families.

The day will be capped by “Hitting Under the Lights,” an opportunity for all former players to take some swings o Dr. Billy Bundrick Field. 

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our alumni back to Ruston,” Taylor said.

All alumni will receive up to two free tickets for the weekend while additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate ($10).

To RSVP for the weekend, all former players, managers and coaches should fill out this form. A member of the LA Tech Ticket Office will contact alums about additional ticket needs (based on the submitted form) leading up to the weekend. Any ticket questions can be sent to Ashley Brooks at 318-257-5329 or at abrooks@latech.edu;

Questions pertaining to any other aspect of Alumni Weekend can be sent to Malcolm Butler at malcolm@latech.edu or 318-614-4513.

Last year’s inaugural Alumni Weekend was a tremendous success with more than 50 alums returning to The Billy. We hope to see everyone back this year while also seeing some “new” faces. 


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Notice of death — Jan. 30, 2023

Alice Ray Frazier Stewart
March 20, 1927 – January 26, 2023
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Thursday, February 2, 2023, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Service: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Thursday, February 2, 2023, 1:00 pm
Cemetery: Cook Cemetery, Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dr. Tomas Jared Reeves
March 26, 1951 – January 24, 2023
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Friday, February 17, 2023, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Service: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Friday, February 17, 2023, 2:00 pm


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Ruston to remove sirens, replace with CodeRED

Lincoln Parish’s “sirens song” is about to go away.

Instead of the sirens, which are currently positioned around town, to alert citizens to bad weather, city officials are urging people to sign up for the free CodeRED Alert System, which Mayor Ronny Walker said can alert all citizens about upcoming severe weather.

“We found that the CodeRED that we have is much more efficient and quicker than the old fashioned sirens,” Walker said. “Plus everybody in every corner of our city can get the CodeRED alert, while the sirens don’t cover the entire city.”

Walker said another benefit of CodeRED is clarification.

“The other thing is the sirens — people call them tornado sirens but they’re really bad weather sirens,” he said. “They can’t tell you what’s coming. The CodeRED can tell you what’s coming — high winds, flooding, tornados, whatever it might be. They’re much more efficient.”

Walker added that the sirens have to be set off manually, and CodeRED is automatic. Also, CodeRED alerts can be received on a landline, a cell phone or even an iPad.

“We feel like we’ll be able to cover our city better,” Walker said.

CodeRED has is a free service and, other than severe weather alerts, will send information out about street closures, emergency information, and any other alerts to its citizens. Other examples include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices and missing child reports. To sign up, click HERE.

 


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Lady Cougars powerlifting team claims historic win

Cedar Creek’s girls powerlifting team defeated three other defending state champions on Saturday in Port Allen. (Courtesy Photo)

by Malcolm Butler

History is always tough to compare from one era to another.

Make it even more difficult when you are comparing historical data from one sport to another.

Regardless, the Cedar Creek girl’s powerlifting team recorded arguably one of the biggest wins in school history this weekend by capturing the team title at an event hosted by Port Allen.

The Lady Cougars defeated all comers, including defending state champions in Tioga (2 straight), Port Allen (9 straight), and Lutcher (15 straight) as well as 21 other schools competing at the meet. Creek edged Lutcher and Port Allen for the team title.

“I am almost speechless,” said head coach Jacob Angevine.”This might be one of the best athletic team accomplishments in school history. But we know the real trophy we want comes in March. I told the girls after the meet to celebrate this for 24 hours and then it is back to work on Monday. We have to stay focused.”

Angevine, who coached the Creek girls to the state title last year, said Saturday’s meeting didn’t start as fast as he would have liked, but that he was proud of the way the girls responded.

“We battled some adversity after missing some squats early in the day, but we stayed the course,” said Angevine. “We had quite a strong day with the bench and deadlift. This was a perfect run through for regionals and state as some of the best competition in the state competed this weekend.”

Five different Lady Cougars captured the individual title for their respective class while a total of 10 made the podium (top three finish).

Alli Claire Johnson (535 pounds in 97-pound weightclass), Madelyn Carroll (765 pounds in 123-pound class), Peyton Muse (785 pounds in 132-pound class), Lauren Enterkin (900 pounds in 165-pound class) and Ashlyn Bourn (900 pounds in 181-pound class) all finished first in their respective weigh classes.

Emma Moore (755 pounds in 123-pound class) and Ainsley Riley (865 pounds in 148-pound class) finished second. Paisly Hamby (630 pounds in 114-pound class), Olivia Salter (840 pounds n 165-pound class) and Kate Harris (710 pounds in 198-pound class) were all third in their classes.

Enterkin was named the Most Outstanding Lifter for platforms for the 165-pound and up classifications.

Other Lady Cougars who helped in the team accomplishment included Abigail Head (460 pounds in the 123-pound class), Elli Dickerson (720 pounds in the 148-pound class), Catherine Grace Calvert (565 pounds in the 148-pound class), Avery Bourn (870 pounds in the 220-pound class) and Sara Satcher (645 pounds in the 220-pound class).

 
 
 


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Investigation leads to drugs, gun

Ruston Police arrested a man on drug and weapons charges Thursday during the investigation of an aggravated assault. 

Daniel Spivey, 20, of Ruston was stopped on North Chatham Road because he matched the description of an aggravated assault suspect from an earlier call. 

Spivey admitted to having a firearm earlier but initially claimed he threw it out the window of his moving car. He later admitted the firearm was inside his residence and agreed to take officers to it. 

Ruston Police and Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office accompanied Spivey into the residence where he retrieved a shoebox and removed a large plastic bag. The bag contained several large bags of marijuana along with smaller bags of marijuana consistent with packaging for illegal sale. A digital scale and empty bags for packaging narcotics are also found along with suspected THC wax and a Glock .40 caliber pistol.

Spivey claimed ownership of all the items but denied ever purchasing any of them, stating he found the items because he is “lucky.”

Spivey was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and illegal possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled substance.

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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Letter to the Editor: LPPJ did the right, but unpopular thing with administrator position

Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the Lincoln Parish Journal and its staff. The LPJ reserves the right to decline publishing submitted Letters to the Editor on a letter-by-letter basis. Letters to the Editor can be submitted via email to lpjnewsla@gmail.com.

______________________________________

From Mark Richardson

Born in Ruston and has called Ruston home for 43 years

Much has been said about the January 10th meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting and the 8-4 vote to not renew the contract with Administrator Doug Postel. But what I haven’t heard is any support for the 8 who decided that three years was long enough for them to decide whether to continue down the road with him as Administrator. Did the Jury handle this perfectly? No.  Did they act on behalf of the vocal majority who spoke to Doug’s character before the meeting? No.  Did they make their decision based on what would have been the popular thing to do? No.  Did they do the politically correct thing to extend their careers as Jurors? No. I think we all agree that No is the answer to all of those questions. So here’s the one where it gets debatable. Did they know something that me and you don’t know? Yes, I believe that they did. Why else would 8 people jeopardize their time on the Jury? Why?

A very wise old man taught me that when you can’t figure out the ‘why’ of some situation, the answer is usually money. In Lincoln Parish, a $100,000 per year job is rare. I know there are some, but not many. Most people that make more than that take many risks and own their own small business. $100,000 in Lincoln Parish puts you in rare company, very rare. When you make that kind of money, certain things are expected.  Among those things are that the job you are being paid $100,000 to do is your priority, work wise. You can’t for example have a side gig. Own and operate your own business ‘after hours’.  Right, wrong or indifferent, the perception of your loyalty will be questioned if you do. My guess, if I follow the old man’s wisdom, is that the 8 decided they weren’t getting the taxpayers money worth.

That brings me to the 4 that voted yes to the renewal. If the 8 knew something, then didn’t the 4 yes men know the same thing? Everybody wants to pile on the 8 and oust them in the October elections.  Well my question is, what about the 4? Did they act in the taxpayer’s best interest?

The Jury as a whole did themselves no favors in their handling of this. They told us we didn’t need to know why they voted the way they did. Legally, they couldn’t tell us and I get that. Why there are so many in our community, some of them lawyers, that don’t get that fact is a mystery. The last thing the Jury needs is a lawsuit.  But the Jury could have communicated that from the outset with a clear and unified message. They did try to communicate, but the message that they couldn’t discuss personnel issues was not emphasized. Hopefully they will learn from this. These Jurors are people just like me and you. They have day jobs. They don’t have a staff of people telling them how to handle these kind of situations. And they need to be given a break from the hateful way they have been treated in all forms of media.  My guess is half of these commentaries come from people who couldn’t tell you who their Jury rep is unless you gave them 5 minutes and a Google search.

To you 8 who have been chastised, berated and even threatened, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for going against the grain and voting your conscience. Peace be with you and yours.


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Fight investigation ends with DWI arrest

A Jonesboro woman was arrested following the investigation of a fight call at the Sundown Tavern late Wednesday night.

Officers responded to Sundown where the complainant said he did not wish to press charges but wanted the individuals banned from returning to the business. He said he was called racially charged slurs by the driver and occupant of a red Toyota Camry.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office spotted the vehicle on La. Highway 33 and stopped it after observing it travel 12 miles per hour over the speed limit and crossing the center line. Ruston Police responded to the scene of the stop.

The driver, Megan E. Hammonds, 32, of Jonesboro, refused to submit to field sobriety tests. She admitted to officers her driver’s license was suspended and the car’s license plate was expired.

A records check revealed an outstanding warrant for Hammonds from Ruston City Court for failure to appear on an expired license plate charge.

Hammonds was arrested, taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, and administered a breath test, yielding a result of 0.206g%, over twice the Louisiana legal limit.

Hammonds was booked for DWI, driving under suspension, expired license plate, and the warrant. Bail was set at $3,500.

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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How Allen Greene amassed power in new parish

By Wesley Harris

Lincoln Parish is commemorating the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1873. This is part two of the LPJ’s examination of the early days of our parish. 

Allen Greene is credited with the creation of Lincoln Parish in 1873, but how did the farmer and businessman manage to pull off such a political coup? 

Greene typified the Reconstruction-era “scalawag”—a local citizen who allied himself with the Radical Republicans who controlled national and state government to achieve personal political and financial aspirations. Scalawags were considered traitors to the South. White citizens considered them as bad, if not worse, than the carpetbaggers from the North.

Both respected and despised, Greene was a savvy businessman and a generous, sociable neighbor. While he opposed Louisiana’s succession from the Union before the Civil War, he supported individual Confederate soldiers—one of his sons fought for the South. Unlike most Unionists, Greene owned slaves. After the war, however, he sided with the victors, developed relationships with newly freed black citizens, and created his own short-lived political dynasty in the heart of the white Democrat majority. His choice of allies led to death threats and a gunfight that left him wounded.

With the escalating struggle for control of the state, the fall elections of 1872 were destined to be plagued by controversy and conflict.

Judge Evander McNair Graham, a highly respected attorney and former Confederate officer, seemed certain to win the state senate race for the district that included Jackson Parish and would later become much of present-day Lincoln Parish. Graham’s support extended well beyond the parish seat of Vernon as he served clients throughout the region and former soldiers from his command lived all over north Louisiana. No one expected Allen Greene to enter the race.

Greene waited until Election Day to add his name to the ballot, infuriating many in the local electorate. The last thing they wanted was a scalawag elbowing his way into the election at the last minute. Greene’s three sons William, Charles, and Jackson accompanied him to the polls in Vernon. Jackson Greene was a commissioner of the election at the polls, keeping a tally sheet. Charles had been appointed a United States commissioner to monitor the election. 

Since the supervisor was slow in tallying the vote, Allen Greene went home to Greensboro, his home west of Vienna, and returned the following day to examine the results. The count showed Graham garnering twice the votes of Greene and another candidate combined. However, Greene claimed victory to the outrage of the local white citizenry. Longtime friends took offense and battle lines were drawn.

A confrontation between the Greenes and another local family broke out. Two sons of Captain J. Y. Allen, a respected Vernon resident, met Allen Greene and son Charles near the Jackson Parish courthouse. Gunfire filled the street as bullets replaced angry words. The Vernon Standard gave a brief account:   

“A difficulty occurred here on last Tuesday between Charles W. Allen, Wm. J. Allen, Allen Greene and his son, Charles J. Greene, which resulted in the shooting of C. W. Allen and both of the Greenes. C. W. Allen was shot first by Allen Greene through the left thigh, just above the knee, and also through the right leg, breaking the bones of the same and shattering them badly. His wounds are very painful and serious, but are not thought to be fatal. Both of the Greenes were shot in the head, but their wounds are not considered dangerous.” 

The sheriff arrested all four men who appeared the next morning before the judge—Greene’s opponent in the senatorial race, E. M. Graham. The defendants waived a preliminary examination and Graham bound them over to appear at the next session of the district court. Since a fire at the Jackson Parish courthouse later destroyed the records of the incident, we do not know the specific charges or the ultimate outcome. Most likely, all charges were eventually dismissed. In Greene’s extensive writing over the next few years, he mentions the shootout several times but never a court disposition.

Greene obtained affidavits from voters who claimed to have been intimidated along with accusations of fraud. It was no longer a matter of how many ballots were in the box but whether they had gotten there by fraud by denying persons the opportunity to vote. Based on these allegations, Greene claimed the election. The final decision lay with the state’s returning board.

The returning board examined the results of all Louisiana elections in November 1872 and in most cases ruled the Republican candidate the winner. The board approved and certified Allen Greene was the lawfully elected senator from the 19th District. The approved results by the board gave Greene substantially more votes than what had been tallied locally.

Greene’s first move as senator in collaboration with son Charles, a state representative, was to secure passage of an act creating a new parish from portions of Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, and Union to be named after President Abraham Lincoln.  For the new parish, Governor William Pitt Kellogg appointed a slate of officers submitted by Greene. The hand-chosen officials gave Greene complete control of every aspect of local government.

Greene’s lock on the Lincoln Parish political machine led to talk of mass revolt, but elder citizens counseled restraint and suggested a petition asking Greene, his three sons, and several other officials to resign. An overwhelming majority of Lincoln Parish taxpayers—white landowners—signed it. But the Radicals had the governor and the federal government behind them. 

Federal troops were stationed throughout Louisiana, ostensibly to enforce Reconstruction, protect freedmen, and support U.S. marshals and local officials in enforcing the law. Greene’s numerous pleas for troops in Lincoln Parish to back his government fiefdom were finally answered in 1873 when the 7th Cavalry of the U. S. Army rode into Vienna.

Next: Troops raid Lincoln Parish


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Student charged with drugs at school

A 13-year-old student at Union Parish Junior High School has been charged with distributing marijuana on campus. 

According to the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office, its school resource officer and narcotics units learned during an investigation that the student took marijuana edibles to the school campus in Farmerville and distributed them to another 13-year-old student. 

After consuming the edibles, the other student required treatment at a local hospital for a suspected drug overdose. 

After being taken into custody, the accused student was released to a guardian pending a court appearance.

UPSO said the case is still under investigation and additional arrests are expected.


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