Shop Local: Shop the Ruston Farmers Market

One of the best ways to support local farmers, artisans and makers is to shop at the Ruston Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9AM-1PM.

Choose from a wide selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, jams, salsa, and other locally produced goods. Customers can also shop for natural skin care products, soaps, woodworks, and more, all hand-crafted by local artists and makers. Coffee is available from Railway Coffee along with breakfast from local vendors and food trucks. The Ruston Farmers Market also has live music and demos every Saturday morning!

Ponderings by Doug

A staff member was saluted at a four way stop recently. I’m sure the person at the four-way stop thought they were “in the right.” However, the traffic interaction did not go the way they envisioned, and they were beaten across the intersection by the Methodist. The aggrieved driver offered his commentary on the other person’s driving with a Roman salute. The spat continued on Facebook with the posting of the proper way to navigate a four-way stop. I have written several articles for another journal about the foibles of the four-way intersection.

There is method to the madness at a four way stop. The rule of thumb is the first one at the intersection goes first. If there is a “tie” at the intersection, the driver to the right has the right-a-way. That is pretty simple huh? It doesn’t matter how many horsepower you have under the hood, the size and number of your truck tires; the rules of a four-way stop are immutable. Thou shalt not proceed out of turn at the four-way stop, no matter how much your hurry.

The other part of the four-way law is this. When it is your turn GO. You can’t do a four way stop if you are looking at your phone. I know they are teaching the “new math” in school and four is a challenge so you must pay attention to the order of arrival at the four-way stop. If the four-way stop is too complicated, just know this, one day they will put a traffic circle in its place and you will never get off of that traffic circle. There are drivers in Alexandria who have been driving on their traffic circle for years, they can’t figure out how to get off of it.

It is not that bad in Ruston. Traffic has its own ebb and flow. I’m learning when to avoid certain roads. I’m learning where all the school traffic is and the work arounds. I enjoy driving here.

In a former town, we had a six way stop that I negotiated every day. It was at the corner of Second Street and Church Street. There was not a traffic light, but a six way stop. How is that possible? You install two left turn lanes opposite each other. You think counting to four with distracted drivers is a challenge. You should sit at that six way stop for a while. I don’t have driving patience with people who don’t know the rules of the road. I’m not talking about my rules of the road, but that actual law.

Let’s review, four-way stop is governed by the law of first come first serve. If you arrive at the same time the driver to the right has the right of way. If you have someone miscount at a four way, the proper response is mercy and not the Roman salute. Thus, ends the lesson. Hopefully, folks will follow the four-way intersection rules.

Some rules you don’t break, you prove them true. You don’t break the law of gravity. If you get too close to the edge and fall off, you prove that the law of gravity true. Spiritual rules and laws work on the same dynamic.
Jesus said, “What does it profit a person if they gain the whole world and lose their soul?”

How is your profit margin?

Lady Cougars make Marsh Madness; spring sports begin

Close games have been few and far between for Cedar Creek’s girls basketball team this season.

Smack dab in the middle of one in a do-or-cry situation Thursday night, they looked right at home.

The Lady Cougars outscored visiting St. John’s by 10 after halftime, turning a three-point deficit into a 43-36 triumph at the Brick House and earning a trip (or two) to Hammond for Marsh Madness next week.

Cedar Creek (20-3), the third seed in the LHSAA’s Division IV bracket, will play a state semifinal game against No. 2 Highland Baptist Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at the University Center in Hammond. In the other semifinal: top-seeded Ouachita Christian, the Lady Cougars’ district rival, and No. 4 St. Martin’s Episcopal.

Highland Baptist ran away from Opelousas Catholic 51-27 Thursday night.

Lincoln Parish nearly had two teams headed to Hammond. The upstart Lincoln Prep Lady Panthers belied their No. 12 seeding and barely missed stunning fourth-seeded North Central, falling 51-47.

First round LHSAA boys playoffs begin tonight involving all the parish teams, although Simsboro has the night off with a bye. Choudrant is at home while Ruston, Lincoln Prep and the Cedar Creek boys all head deep into south Louisiana for their postseason openers.

The Cedar Creek girls squad clinched its second straight state semifinal berth. But unlike last year, when the tournament was held at home sites instead of semifinalists advancing to an actual state tournament venue, this time the Final Four will be on the same stage in each bracket during an exciting week of hoops happiness in Hammond.

That trip was very much in doubt until the closing moments of Thursday’s battle at the Brick House.

St. John pumped in a trio of 3-pointers in the opening quarter while moving up 14-8. The Lady Cougars began to rally as Sarah Adams scored eight of her team’s 10 second-quarter points, closing the gap to 21-18 at the half.

The tables turned in the next eight minutes. Creek held the visitors to one 3-pointer, riding an 11-3 run into the lead for good, 29-24 going to the fourth. St. John’s could not overcome the deficit.

Adams, the game’s top scorer with 22, went 4-for-4 on the free throw line in the last period to salt away the outcome. Allie Furr added 10 points, all after halftime. She and Adams scored 20 of Cedar Creek’s 25 in the final two quarters.

BOYS: Ruston, No. 19 in the Class 5A bracket, visits 14th-seeded East St. John.

Lincoln Prep, also 19th, goes to No. 14 East Iberville in Class A.

Choudrant, 14th in Class B, hosts Converse at 6 tonight.

Cedar Creek, 16th in Division IV, drew No. 1 Crescent City in New Orleans.

Simsboro, seeded second in Class B, has a bye and will play its second-round game next week.

BASEBALL: After a tough start, getting no-hit by lefty Hayden Toal of Tioga Tuesday in a 12-0 loss, the Bearcats broke out the big sticks less than 24 hours later and pounded Calvary Baptist 20-1 in Bossier City. Dryson Fields had six RBI with a home run and a pair of singles. His home run was part of a 10-run third inning by the Bearcats, along with a round-tripper by Jack Whitaker.

Ruston plays in the North DeSoto tournament beginning today through Sunday in Stonewall. The Cats host Airline Tuesday.

Cedar Creek had a smashing start Wednesday, walloping Jonesboro-Hodge 19-1 on the road. Cage Shepherd had three hits and five RBI for the Cougars, whose 11-run fourth inning sealed the deal after a five-run second put them in charge.

Coach Ben Haddox’s club goes for a U.S. 167 South sweep Tuesday when it visits Winnfield at 6.

SOFTBALL: The Lady Bearcats rolled 13-1 over Winnfield Tuesday night, outhitting the visitors 13-3. Ruston went to Haughton Thursday night, and will play in a tournament beginning today at the Sterlington Sports Complex. The Lady Bearcats play at 3 p.m. today, also at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Cedar Creek celebration video and photo courtesy CCHS and Christy Mabou

Stake shares ‘Virtual Presence’ experiences on Top Hat

In the pandemic classroom, less proved more — except when it didn’t.

Dr. Joel Stake, senior lecturer in Louisiana Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, shared early in winter quarter his experience concerning the challenges and successes of teaching in a virtual classroom during the pandemic.

A takeoff on a song by The Offspring, his webinar was titled “The Kids Are Not Alright: Applying Lessons Learned from Fall 2020.” His goal in the presentation was a challenging one: how faculty can convey a Virtual Presence—or how to effectively engage and influence students in an online course.

He presented through Top Hat at the invitation of Kelly Cronin, Manager of Faculty Engagement Programs for the student engagement platform professors use both inside and outside the classroom. Top Hat provides a lecture tool that tracks attendance, asks questions, features interactive slides, and manages classroom discussions. Outside the classroom the platform features an interactive Text platform where professors can adapt, customize, or create content for their courses.

More than 300 education faculty and administration attended the webinar, which can be accessed here.

Stake uses Top Hat for creating weekly content—both written and embedded videos—assignments, quizzes, and exams, as well as an open source textbook from OpenStax that’s housed within Top Hat.

Stake discovered early in virtual learning a couple of preconceived errors in reasoning and strategy.

One, because the learning environment wasn’t in the classroom, faculty felt they needed to give students additional “things to do and add more content,” he said, to make up for the missed time.

Also, faculty were given so many new online tools at one time that the initial impulse was to try to incorporate all of them into classes.

“Both these things are overwhelming for faculty and students,” Stake said. “The first is more work, and the second meant learning multiple new programs and tools and software, either for implementation and creation of assignments from faculty or for students completing assignments.

“I would add,” he said, “the students had to do it without any training.”

More effective strategies proved to be simplification and centralization. Stake found trying learn to navigate all of the new software tools a daunting task, so he made an effort to put as much as possible in one place.

“My thought was, if it took more than three clicks of a mouse to get there,” he said, “it was probably too much.”

Less was more.

The second thing he found effective was over-communication.

“The clearer the instructions and the more students hear those same instructions in various forms,” he said, “the more likely they are to accomplish the task.”

In that case, more was more.

“In line with communication, I want students to see me even though we aren’t in class,” Stake said, “so I created video introductions for each week that outlined the weekly learning outcomes and the assignments for that week.”

Additionally, he began using Top Hat Community, a messaging app with course-specific channels that allows students to create their own channels for study groups or just to stay in touch.

“Last thing, I made sure that all of my assignments were aligned to the weekly learning outcomes and that the weekly learning outcomes were aligned to my overall course learning outcomes,” Stake said. “I want students to understand why I am asking them to watch a particular video or do a certain assignment.

“The hope,” he said, “was to help them stay motivated by being clear about why, so that they don’t think I’m just giving them busy work. The goal was alignment to help motivate.”

An extra challenge for Stake in engaging students during the earlier stages of the pandemic was the number of students in his virtual classrooms. For even average efficiency, confusion had to be held to a minimum.

“Joel teaches some of the largest enrollments we offer through the School of Biological Sciences,” said Dr. Bill Campbell, the School’s director. “He regularly teaches classes of approximately 175 students each quarter. The courses he teaches include Fundamentals of Biology I and Fundamentals of Biology II, courses aimed at majors other than those offered by the School of Biological Sciences.”

Although Stake teaches introductory Biology to a broad range of students, he is “able to present the course material in a way that non-Biology majors are able to appreciate and enjoy,” Campbell said. “I should also point out that he routinely receives very high student evaluations.”

After completing his PhD and serving in research and teaching roles at the University of the Virgin Islands and then Rivier University in New Hampshire, Stake and his family moved back home to Louisiana in 2015 when he accepted a position at Tech. He was the University Advisor Award nominee from the University’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences in 2019-20.


Ribbon Cutting held at new location for Ruston Community Men’s Shed

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce organized a Ribbon Cutting for Ruston Community Men’s Shed on Feb. 25. The Ruston Community Men’s Shed is not just for men nor is it a small shed. It is a place to work on projects as well as make new friends. Often people share more and get more out of a conversation working shoulder to shoulder, rather than sitting across the table. This is the spirit and driving force behind the Ruston Community Men’s Shed. They just relocated to a more spacious location at 2783 Hwy. 33 . They’re looking forward to seeing everyone there masked and distanced.

Bulldogs return to action as Owls visit

The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team got its first taste of cancellations last week.

The Bulldogs went 23 straight games beginning in late November without a single hiccup to their schedule, something not even head coach Eric Konkol would have predicted.

Strangely, a combination of snow and ice forced last weekend’s Middle Tennessee series to be canceled. Now after a two-week hiatus, LA Tech hosts Rice in a two-game series that tips off on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and then Saturday at 1 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

Despite the unintentional bye week, LA Tech moved up in the West Division standings as a result of UAB splitting with Old Dominion. The Bulldogs and Blazers are now tied for second behind North Texas.

LA Tech has won nine of the last 11 games, including the most recent 70-58 and 69-64 victories over UAB. In that series, Cobe Williams shined by averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. Kenneth Lofton, Jr. continued playing bully ball, averaging 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds to help earn his seventh C-USA Freshman of the Week honor this season.

This duo is part of a balanced scoring attack for LA Tech that includes six players averaging at least nine points per game – Isaiah Crawford (11.5), Lofton, Jr. (10.8), Kalob Ledoux (10.4), Amorie Archibald (10.4), JaColby Pemberton (9.3) and Williams (9.2).

The last time a LA Tech team had six active players averaging at least nine points this late in the season? You have to go all the way back to the 1998-99 team that prevailed as Sun Belt Conference champions.

Defense has been the name of the game though for the Bulldogs. Over the last seven contests, opponents are averaging just 60.3 points per game.

They currently rank 39th in the country in defensive efficiency and are top two in the league in field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense.

That defense will be put to the test twice this weekend with Rice coming to Ruston. The Owls are one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country, ranking first in C-USA and sixth in the country with an average of 10.6 made threes per game.

They are shooting at a 37.1 percent clip from deep and have taken 148 more three-point attempts than the Bulldogs this season.

Rice also had last weekend’s games against Marshall postponed. They were last in action two weeks ago, suffering losses of 77-71 and 89-66 at Western Kentucky, putting them in a tie for fifth in the West Division with UTEP.

Quincy Olivari and Travis Evee are a pair of dynamic guards averaging over 15 points per game. The duo has combined to make 133 three-pointers this season.

LA Tech leads the all-time series over Rice, 16-7. Since becoming C-USA opponents, the Bulldogs have won nine of the 11 meetings.

Game one will be streamed on while game two will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

Photo: La Tech Athletics/Donny Crowe


The Board of Supervisors approved Grambling State University’s request to enter into an agreement with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand internet connectivity to access in rural communities.

This agreement will facilitate a collaborative partnership where BroadbandUSA staff will train Grambling’s academic staff and students on broadband planning, stakeholder outreach and digital inclusion activities. In turn, the staff and students will provide direct educational training and broadband planning services to local community residents, stakeholders and organizations.

“Grambling is perfectly positioned to make a resounding impact in our surrounding communities through this partnership,” Grambling President Rick Gallot said. “There is a great demand for improved broadband access in north Louisiana, and utilizing our existing relationships with community stakeholders will help us reach traditionally underserved and rural areas with inadequate infrastructure and connectivity.”

This agreement will connect students and community stakeholders with resources and guidelines that will help them to improve broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion/equity outcomes, drive economic development, and strengthen community resilience.

Is Pre-Fishing A Waste of Time?

As I have pointed out before, tournament bass anglers are a strange bunch. We are constantly trying to outsmart, over think and over complicate how we should be catching fish. Growing up as an athlete, baseball was a sport that I truly loved, and to be good at it, took practice and lots of it. A lot of time spent in a batting cage, taking ground balls, catching fly balls and working on base running. As someone once said, “practice makes perfect.” But in bass fishing, that’s not always the case. You can spend or waste a lot of time practicing and catching fish days before an event only to have to disregard everything you put together due to a major change in weather. So many times, in my fishing career, I’ve had to adjust or abandon my game plan for a tournament. Which brings us to the question, “Is pre-fishing a waste of time?”

Well, my first reaction would be “yes” but then I think back over time how important my practice time was for me having a high finish. But so many times due to variables out of my control like a front coming through, high winds, temperature change, heavy rain, the lake rising can all contribute to a change in fish behavior. Mother Nature and what she can throw at a bass angler, can be brutal. But just like any other sport, bass fishing is a game of adjustments and sometimes due to how we caught them during our pre-fishing time, we tend to try and force the fish the bite the way they did in practice. This is major mistake when you’re competing in a tournament because bass are worse than women, they are constantly going through mood swings. (Sorry ladies)

For me the benefits of pre-fishing are getting out on the water and checking out the areas of the lake you want to fish. Looking at watercolor, is it muddy, stained or clear; what’s the water temperature and seeing what the bass are relating to. Are they on wood cover like cypress trees or maybe brush tops and laydowns off the bank? Are they in vegetation like hydrilla or coon tail moss, are they under lily pads or our newest invasive species of aquatic vegetation… Salvinia?. Are they on boat docks? Are they in the backwater or on main lake points? Now most of these questions can be answered basically by what time of year it is as to where the bass should be.

As you can see, bass fishing is more science than luck especially for a tournament bass angler. But the time you spend pre-fishing or practicing, can be crucial in determining when, where and how you will catch them on tournament day. But this is where a word that I used earlier comes into play, adjustments. Bass fishing is a constant game of adjustments and the angler that does this the best on tournament day, will be the most successful. More times than not, the conditions in which you found fish in practice, will not be the conditions you face on tournament day. So, is pre-fishing a waste of time? Well, the time of year has a lot to do with this in that with spring fishing, there are constant weather changes and fronts are more frequent making it hard to plan too far ahead for a tournament. But during the summer months, the weather is a lot more stable, and the fish are a lot more predictable as to where they will be. The fall can also be pretty easy to find fish in that bass tend to migrate up the creeks this time of year.

As you can see, pre-fishing can have it advantages. It all depends on what time of year it is. To hear more fishing tips, tune in to Tackle Live every Monday on our Facebook page at 12:30 CST as we discuss the latest news and tournament results from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and other great bodies of water found right here in the Ark-La-Tex region. Until next time, don’t forget to set the hook!!

Techsters wrap up CUSA regular season at Rice

HOUSTON – Louisiana Tech and Rice have played some memorable contests during the 27-game history of the series.

And the Owls and the Lady Techsters look to add two more chapters to this series Friday and Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. Tip-off for Friday is 2 p.m. and the game can be seen on while Saturday’s contest is at 4 p.m. on ESPN+. Both games can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 99.3 FM.

The Lady Techsters (13-7, 8-6) lead the all-time series 15-12, although the Owls have won four straight, including an overtime victory in Ruston last year. Rice enters the contest with a 22-game C-USA winning streak at home with its last loss coming at the hands of LA Tech in 2017-18.

“This Rice team is very good at home,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “They are very confident at home. They are very comfortable at home. We are going to have to play with a great amount of intensity and confidence.”

Tech hasn’t played since a two-game road sweep at UAB two weekends ago. Games against Middle Tennessee last weekend were canceled due to travel issues caused by winter weather.

Rice (13-2, 9-1) flew past the weather but dropped its first Conference USA game, splitting a two-game road sweep at Marshall. The Thundering Herd defeated the Owls 68-56 Sunday afternoon to snap Rice’s 9-game winning streak. The only other loss by the Owls this season came at 4th ranked Texas A&M (57-53).

The Owls are led by 6-foot-9-inch Nancy Mulkey (16.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.2 bpg), who poses a huge defensive obstacle for opposing teams.

“It’s like when I played I knew I had Ayana Walker and Cheryl Ford and Takeisha Lewis behind me if I got beat, to block and alter shots,” said LA Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “You talk about having a rim protector, (Mulkey) is the epitome of that. She forces you to take tough shots, to alter your shots. She forces you to take contested jumpers.”

Rice ranks No 1 in C-USA in scoring defense (57.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.341). The Owls have held seven opponents to under 55 points this year.

“They do a good job of defending without fouling so they don’t put teams at the free throw line. They keep people in front of them. They typically have good inside position because they are allowed to stay in front of you and they know if they do get beaten then they have a rim protector behind them to help. It starts on the defensive end with them.”

The Lady Techsters are no defensive slouch either. Tech ranks No. 2 in Conference USA in scoring defense (59.1 ppg) and No. 3 in field goal percentage defense (.384) and has held 13 of its 14 league opponents to 63 points or less.

Photo: Tom Morris

Let Crown Club of Ruston… Egg your Yard!

Each yard will receive the requested amount of candy filled eggs and a personalized letter from the Easter Bunny!  Contact Crown Club’s or Junior Auxiliary’s page to reserve your delivery from the Easter Bunny!

2021 Easter Yard Egging

Crown Club of Ruston presents an Easter Yard Egging fundraiser.  This fundraiser offers three order options – two, four, or six dozen treat filled eggs to be hidden in your front yard along with a personalized letter from the Easter Bunny. Crown Club members will deliver eggs on the two available dates of April 2nd or April 3rd. The children will then find the eggs on April 4th (Easter morning). The price ranges from $20 to $60 depending on the order option.  Multiple payment methods are offered through cash, check, or Paypal.

For more, information please contact

Printable form available:

As weather permits, busy weekend for Tech teams

Pending Mother Nature’s cooperation, this weekend is full of Louisiana Tech Athletics events as eight of the Tech teams have competitions scheduled over the next few days.

BASEBALL: Coach Lane Burroughs and the Bulldogs will open the newly-reconstructed J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park this weekend as they host a three-game series against Southern.

Despite not being able to have fans this weekend due to unfinished facilities resulting from the winter storm, Tech will host the Jaguars with the opening game tonight at 6. Saturday’s contest is set for a 2 p.m. start time and Sunday’s first pitch is 1 o’clock.

All three games this weekend can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network: Friday (KNBB 99.3 FM), Saturday (TBA) and Sunday (KNBB 99.3 FM).

The Bulldogs are coming off a season-opening trip that saw them defeat Air Force and drop games against LSU and UL-Lafayette.

SOFTBALL: After seeing eight of its first 11 games canceled or postponed due to weather, the Lady Techsters added a trifecta of contests this weekend.

Interim coach Bianca Duran and Co. will travel south to Baton Rouge where they will play a Saturday doubleheader against North Alabama (12/2 p.m.) and a Sunday single game against Southern (1 p.m.). All three games will be played at Jaguars Field on the campus of Southern. There will be no video, audio or live stats coverage of the games this weekend.

The Lady Techsters are scheduled to open Dr. Billy Bundrick Field next weekend when they host their home tournament that includes Baylor and Tarleton on March 5-7.

GOLF: Fresh off its victory at the LaTour Invitational hosted by Nicholls State two weeks ago, the Bulldog golf team will be a part of a star-studded cast of nationally-ranked programs this weekend at the LSU Invitational hosted at the University Club today through Sunday.

Tech is one of 15 teams in a field (13 Power 5 programs), including No. 6 Illinois, No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Georgia, No. 17 Auburn, No. 19 Vanderbilt, No. 22 Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina.

Sam Murphy, fresh off his first collegiate victory as a Bulldog, joins brother Mac as well as Will Patrick, James Swash, Lake Juban and Blake Blaser to from the Tech lineup for the weekend.

Fans can follow the action on live stats at

SOCCER: The Lady Techsters will open Conference USA action Sunday when they travel to El Paso to face UTEP at 12 p.m. CT at University Field. Coach Kevin Sherry’s team is 6-2 on the season and brings a four-game winning streak into the match including a 6-1 win over Spring Hill in its last game. The contest can be seen with a paid subscription to

TENNIS: Coach Amanda Stone and the Lady Techsters will face Arkansas State Saturday at 10 a.m. at Ridgepointe Country Club in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tech is 4-3 on the season and will open Conference USA action next weekend when the play WKU and Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro.

VOLLEYBALL: Louisiana Tech travels to Birmingham this weekend for a two-game Conference USA series against UAB at Bartow Arena. Saturday’s match is set for 11 a.m. and Sunday’s match is 1 p.m. Fans can follow the action through a paid subscription to

Photo: courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Grambling basketball on the road as more spring sports begin

Grambling’s basketball teams can’t get to Pine Bluff fast enough.

UAPB hosts a Southwestern Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday that appears to be just the ticket for Grambling to get some traction. The UAPB women are 2-16 overall, 2-11 in the SWAC and were on an 11-game skid entering a Thursday evening game against Texas Southern. The Golden Lions (3-18, 2-10) had lost 10 straight heading into last night’s contest vs. TSU.

The Lady Tigers cruised to a 67-53 win Jan. 30 at home while the Tigers got a 74-71 victory in the first meeting.

Saturday’s action tips with a women’s contest at 4 and the men’s matchup follows at 6:30 at H.O. Clemmons Arena. According to the UAPB Athletics website, no fans are allowed at home events.

The Grambling women (7-8, 6-5) have dropped three of their last four games, including Monday’s loss at league-leading Jackson State. Alexus Holt (13.6 points per game), Justice Coleman (11.1, along with a team-best 5.4 rebounding average) and Candice Parramore (10.6 ppg) are coach Freddie Murray’s three most productive players.

Coach Donte’ Jackson’s Tigers (9-10, 7-5) started a four-game winning streak by beating UAPB, but have lost their last two. The G-Men made a late run Monday but couldn’t top Jackson State, who is still perfect in SWAC action. Grambling is topped by Christon Coleman’s 12.6 average, the only one in double digits on a balanced roster. Five Tigers scored at least 10 in the earlier win over UAPB.

Grambling plays Monday night at Mississippi Valley, then wraps up the regular season at home hosting Alabama State (next Thursday) and Alabama A&M (next Saturday) before the SWAC Tournament in two weeks.

SOCCER: The Lady Tigers (0-1) make their home debut under new coach Craig Roberts and kick off the SWAC season this weekend with home matches today at 3 (Prairie View) and Sunday at 1 (Texas Southern) at the GSU Soccer Complex. Grambling was very competitive Tuesday night in a 2-0 loss at ULM, which scored the clinching goal in the 87th minute following a scoreless first half.

VOLLEYBALL: Home matches Sunday vs. Southern and Monday against Alcorn State in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center await the Lady Tigers. First serve is 6 o’clock both nights. Next Thursday, Grambling rides east to play at Louisiana Tech.

BASEBALL: Packing the travel bags is the plan for the G-Men. The Tigers open the season with a four-game series beginning today at Memphis, and do not appear at home until March 17.

The Tigers will be nearby Tuesday evening, visiting ULM in a 6 p.m. game. The SWAC season begins next weekend at Southern.

SOFTBALL: The Lady Tigers (0-2) head east on I-20 to participate in the River City Classic in Vicksburg Saturday and Sunday.

Photo: TayTapes870/

Notice of Death – February 25, 2021

Susan Reppond
June 19, 1952 – February 24, 2021
Visitation:  First Baptist Church of Marion, Friday, February 26, 2021, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Service: First Baptist Church of Marion, Saturday, February 27, 2021, 10:00 am
Cemetery: Liberty Hill Taylor, Saturday, February 27, 2021

Charles Butch Mayfield
September 19, 1946 – February 22, 2021
Service:  Hasley Cemetery, Saturday, February 27, 2021, 2:00 pm
Cemetery: Hasley Cemetery, Saturday, February 27, 2021, 2:00 pm

Mr. Derrick Hayward Richards
December 8, 1073 – February 21, 2021
Visitation: Sunday 02/28/2021, 3:00pm to 5:00pm, 1511 W. California Avenue
Service: Monday 03/01/2021, 11:00am, 1511 W. California Avenue
Cemetery: Monday 03/01/2021, George Washington Carver Memorial Park
Martin Luther King Drive Ruston, LA

Marie Christy
November 21, 1936 – February 16, 2021
Visitation:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe,  Friday, February 26, 2021, 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe,  Friday, February 26, 2021, 11:00 am
Cemetery:  Mt. Olive Cemetery,  Friday, February 26, 2021

Mr. Leon Hargrove
March 22, 1955 – February 20, 2021
Visitation:  1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston, LA, Thursday 03/04/2021 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Service:  George Washington Carver Memorial Park Martin Luther King Drive
Ruston, LA, Friday 03/05/2021 12:00pm

A message from Sheriff Stephen Williams

On Saturday, February 13th, at approximately 5PM, the temperature in Lincoln Parish dropped to 32 degrees. For the next 141 hours, temperatures would not rise above that mark. As the temperatures continued to drop, the call volumes began to rise. Over the next 8 days, the men and women of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to over 500 additional calls for service caused by the winter storm. Deputies logged hundreds of miles transporting front line workers to and from work.

When the sick and elderly needed medication, our deputies volunteered to deliver them. When motorists were stranded on Interstate 20 for days at a time, our deputies began delivering water and MRE’s. Deputies assigned to LPDC responded to work with overnight bags and remained on location for the duration of their tour- leaving their families behind. Not once did I hear a single complaint. What I saw was a family of deputies working together to serve the community they love. There are no words to express my gratitude for their dedication to Lincoln Parish.

To all of those who delivered food and refreshments to our office- Brister’s Smokehouse, Ponchatoulas, Southern Classic Chicken, In-N-Out Donuts, Log Cabin Grill & Market, Renee Hunt, Ann Marie Faile, Representative Chris Tuner, we simply can not thank you enough. Your unwavering support for this office is greatly appreciated.

To all of those who worked side by side with us –Lincoln Parish Fire Department, Lincoln Parish Police Jury, Lincoln Parish Office of Homeland Security, Ruston Police and Fire, Louisiana State Police, wrecker companies, utility companies, and all neighboring agencies, thank you for your tireless efforts during this historical event.

Over the last 8 months, the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office has faced many obstacles from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hurricane Laura, and now this unprecedented winter storm. Through it all, I continue to witness this group of extraordinary men and women go above and beyond for their fellow man. Thank you again for your service to our great parish!

Stephen Williams
Lincoln Parish

Creek, Lincoln Prep girls earn home quarterfinal games, RHS nipped; boys playoffs starting

Cedar Creek and Lincoln Prep are a step away from Hammond, with home games in the state quarterfinals upcoming after Tuesday night victories in the LHSAA girls basketball playoffs.

Ruston’s remarkable season almost continued, but homestanding Hahnville scored the last four points in the final minute to score a comeback 42-38 decision. The Lady Bearcats (22-8) led for three quarters in a defensive slugfest, but in the waning seconds, the Lady Tigers made two stops including a critical steal in the backcourt to prevail in the Class 5A second-rounder.

After dispatching visiting Vermilion Catholic 61-23 Tuesday night, the third-seeded Cedar Creek girls (19-3) will face No. 6 St. John on Thursday evening at 6 in the Brickhouse. St. John rolled over Catholic-Pointe Coupee 58-22 Tuesday night in the Division IV opening round.

The third time was the charm for the Lincoln Prep girls, who won 57-42 at Homer. The 12th-seeded Lady Panthers were swept in the regular season district series by the fifth-seeded Lady Pels, by 14 and 9 points, but rose up when it mattered most in the Class A regional round.

Lincoln Prep’s reward is playing at home in the quarterfinals Thursday against fourth-seeded North Central, who pasted visiting Plain Dealing 51-34 Tuesday night.

Also Tuesday, powerful Anacoco dispatched visiting Choudrant from the Class B postseason 63-38 down in Vernon Parish. Monday evening, Castor defended its homecourt, eliminating Simsboro’s girls 60-35 in a first-round matchup.

Ruston opened a 9-6 first quarter edge, then staked a 23-19 halftime advantage. Hahnville closed within 30-28 entering the final eight minutes, then snagged a 35-32 lead, but the Lady Bearcats fought back to a 38-all tie that stood for more than two minutes down the stretch. Inside the final 60 seconds, Hahnville’s fullcourt press and free throw accuracy made the difference.

“I am incredibly proud of the way we competed tonight and the heart we showed,” said third-year coach Meredith Graf. “Every single person came in ready and played their hardest. We left it all out on the floor and there’s nothing more you can ask as a coach.”

Jaliyah McWain led Ruston with 12 points, while Emerald Parker scored eight and Mariah Hintze scored seven.

The Lady Bearcats, who won a district championship for the first time in over a decade, return all five starters in 2021-22 and lose only two seniors.

“We learned and grew a great deal this season,” said Graf. “I know the experience gained individually and as a team will pay great dividends for us next year. I am proud to be a part of this historic program and to be a part of these young ladies’ lives.”

Cedar Creek exploded in the middle two quarters, outscoring Vermilion Catholic 34-8 sandwiched around halftime. A 17-6 second-quarter surge created a comfortable 29-13 lead at the break, then the Lady Cougars applied the knockout with a 17-2 third quarter outburst.

Sarah Adams and Elli Dickerson each scored 15 while Riley Spradlin added 13 for the winners, who can make a second straight state semifinal appearance with a Thursday night triumph.

BOYS PLAYOFFS: The LHSAA’s brackets released Monday afternoon send three parish teams on the road for opening round outings, while second-seeded Simsboro has a bye and No. 14 Choudrant gets a home game Friday at 6 against Converse.

Ruston’s Bearcats, seeded 19th, go to No. 14 East St. John in the 5A bracket.

Also seeded 19th, Lincoln Prep visits 14th-seeded East Iberville in Class A, with the survivor drawing third-seeded White Castle next week.

The Cedar Creek boys have the toughest draw, heading to New Orleans for a 6 p.m. Friday battle with Division IV’s No. 1 team, Crescent City.

Photo – Cedar Creek sign (LPJ photo); Ruston High by RHS

The Unsinkable Stoker

By Brad Dison

At the turn of the twentieth century, traveling by commercial steamships, commonly called ocean liners, was all the rage. The finest luxuries were reserved exclusively for first class passengers such as the most exquisite dining saloons, elaborate state rooms, libraries, smoking rooms, gymnasiums, and exclusive access to the main deck, called the promenade deck. Second class passengers enjoyed more modest experiences with sparsely decorated smaller state rooms, smoking rooms, libraries, and dining facilities. Third class passengers were housed in cabins that contained little more than a bed, were fed adequate meals, and had access to few, if any, amenities.

Deep in the bowels of these mammoth vessels, well below the third-class areas, were the ships’ engine rooms and boiler rooms. These rooms were extremely hot and dirty. Workers in the boiler rooms usually worked shirtless due to the heat and were collectively called “the black gang” because they were usually covered with black coal soot. Black gangs consisted of stokers, firemen, trimmers, and a “peggy,” the firemen’s steward who brought food and refreshments to the group.

John Priest was a professional seaman from the port city of Southampton, England. He worked as a black gang stoker on several British steam ships. He and the other stokers had the back-breaking task of shoveling coal into the boiler’s firebox. John had worked on the sea since his youth, and planned to have a long seafaring career.

In April, 1915, on the eve of World War I, the British Admiralty converted the two-year-old RMS Alcantara, a royal mail ship, into an armed merchant cruiser. Workers fitted 6-inch guns, antiaircraft guns, and added depth charges to the ship. For almost a year, with John as part of the ship’s black gang, the Alcantara searched for German ships and submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean. On February 29, 1916, the Alcantara intercepted the Greif, a German merchant raider ship disguised as a Norwegian ship. The crew of the Alcantara signaled the Greif to stop for inspection. The Greif slowed to a near stop, but as the Alcantara reached a distance of about 2,000 yards away, the crew of the Greif increased its speed and opened fire. The Alcantara returned fire. For nearly two hours, the ships exchanged volleys, and both received extensive, fatal damages. The Alcantara capsized and sank, followed by the Greif later that same day. 68 men from the Alcantara died along with 230 men from the Greif. John was injured by shrapnel from a torpedo, but he survived.

The British Admiralty requisitioned the passenger ship HMHS Britannic as a hospital ship. Rooms on the upper deck which had been designed for pleasure were transformed into rooms for the wounded. The first-class dining and reception rooms were transformed into operating rooms. On the morning of November 21, 1916, Britannic was transporting wounded soldiers from the Greek island of Lemnos back to England through the Kea Channel when an explosion rocked the ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Britannic, exactly a month earlier, a German submarine, the U-73, had planted mines in the Kea Channel. All efforts to save the Britannic failed. Within 65 minutes after striking the mine, Britannic disappeared into the water. Britannic holds the record for being the largest ship lost in World War I and is the world’s largest sunken passenger ship. Once again, John survived.

The British Admiralty converted the RMS Asturius, a royal mail ship, into a hospital ship. John joined the black gang of the Asturius. On the night of March 20, 1917, John’s ship was steaming toward Southampton with all of its navigational lights on. Large illuminated red crosses distinguished John’s ship as a hospital ship. The Asturius had just disembarked approximately 1,000 wounded soldiers at Avonmouth and was headed for Southampton, England. At around midnight, German U-boat UC-66 torpedoed John’s ship. The crew aimed the damaged ship toward the shore and ran it aground. Nearly two dozen people died and many more were injured but again, John survived.

John was next assigned to the SS Donegal. Built in 1904, the Donegal served as a passenger ferry for an English railway company until World War I. The British Admiralty converted this ship into an ambulance ship to ferry wounded soldiers from France back to England. On April 17, 1917, the Donegal was ferrying 610 lightly wounded soldiers across the English Channel. Ambulance ships had been required to be clearly marked and lit to make them easier to identify. However, the British Navy disregarded these requirements after the Germany Navy began targeting these marked ships. The Donegal was not marked as an ambulance ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Donegal, a German submarine, the UC-21, was lurking beneath the water. The German submarine fired torpedoes at the Donegal. Explosions shook the ship. Within a matter of minutes, the Donegal sank. The blasts from the torpedoes and subsequent sinking claimed the lives of 29 wounded British soldiers and 12 members of the crew. John survived, albeit with a serious head injury.

John’s reputation preceded him. Rumors of John’s survival record spread throughout black gangs in England. Rumors also spread that many of John’s black gang coworkers did not survive the sinkings. Many believed that it was bad luck to work on the same ship as the unsinkable stoker. Each time John arrived at a new ship to take his place among its black gang, the other workers refused to work. John, in body, may have been unsinkable, but his career was not. Unable to find a black gang that would work with him, John had no choice but to find employment on dry land. His days at sea had ended.

John Priest, the unsinkable stoker, holds the distinction of being the only person to survive the sinkings of five ships which included the HMHS Asturias, RMS Alcantara, SS Donegal, HMHS Britannic, and another ship. The first ship’s sinking which John Priest miraculously survived, albeit with frost-bitten toes and an injured leg, happened on the morning of April 15, 1912. That ship, arguably the most famous ship in history, was called the RMS Titanic.

1. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), April 17, 1912, p.2.
2. The Guardian (London, England), March 28, 1917, p.5.
3. The Times (London, England), April 23, 1917, p.10.

Tech softball file – Tristin Court – Photo by Darrell James

Tough Tuesday for Tech baseball, softball squads

It was a tough night on the diamond for the Louisiana Tech teams as both the Bulldog baseball and Lady Techster softball squads dropped games against in-state opponents on the road.

BASEBALL: The Louisiana Tech baseball team got a solid pitching performance from a foursome of arms, but the Bulldogs fell 2-0 to UL-Lafayette at Russo Park last night.

Just one night after surrendering 16 runs in a loss at LSU, the Bulldog pitching staff bounced back behind a solid start by Jarrett Whorff, who worked 5.1 innings while allowing just one unearned run on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

Whorff was relieved in the sixth inning as Nick Ellis, Cade Hodges and Landon Tomkins combined to work the final 2.2 innings allowing one run on three hits and one walk with a pair of strikeouts.

“I felt like we competed hard, but Spencer Arrighetti was just overpowering tonight,” said Bulldog head coach Lane Burroughs. “There are a lot of positives to take from this, and I l thought Whorff obviously was outstanding. He gave us a great start, and Nick Ellis made his first appearance and faced two lefties and got them both out. Now we know what he can do. You have to prove it at this level, and he’s been doing that for us.”

Arrighetti allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine over 6.1 innings of action on the bump for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The Bulldogs managed few scoring opportunities with the best coming in the ninth inning. Parker Bates and Steele Netterville registered back-to-back one-out singles to put the tying runs on base, but Brandon Talley retired the next two batters to close the game.

“Arrighetti was good, and sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the opponent,” said Burroughs. “He controlled the game.”

Tech (1-2) will open the home portion of its schedule Friday in the first of a three-game series against Southern at the newly-reconstructed J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Louisiana Tech Athletic officials announced Monday that the Bulldogs’ series against Southern will still be played in Ruston, but fans will not be allowed.

The decision comes on the heels of the week-long winter storm that forced construction to stop, thus delaying completion of the game-day amenities and other areas of the stadium that are needed to safely host fans for now.

Only teams, officials and essential game-day working personnel will be allowed into the stadium this weekend.

SOFTBALL: Playing for the first time in 11 days and only the third time all season, the Lady Techsters couldn’t make an early lead last and fell 8-5 to ULM at Geo-Surfaces Field in Monroe.

Tech (1-2) plated three runs in the top of the first inning thanks to three walks, a hit by pitch, a passed ball and an infield single as the Lady Techsters capitalized against ULM starter Murphy Williams. Madie Green drew a bases loaded walk and Tristin Court drove in a run with an infield single as Tech grabbed the early advantage.

However, junior Hannah Koenig struggled in the home half of the first, allowing five runs on three hits and three walks before giving way to freshman Lauren Menzina. The Cedar Creek product made her collegiate debut for Tech, allowing just one run on five hits and four walks over 3.0 innings of action in the circle.

After ULM extended its lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Tech responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. Caroline Easom drove home Bailey Wright with an RBI single up the middle and after Zoe Hicks doubled to put runners on second and third, Easom scored on a passed ball to close the gap to 6-5.

ULM plated two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and Warhawks reliever Adrianna Chavarria closed the game.

Tech will have eight days between games, with a trip to Southeastern Louisiana next Wednesday next up. The much awaited home opener is next weekend.

Photo: by Darrell James

State Fire Marshal Warns of Heat Lamp Dangers After Horses Die in Barn Fire

One of Three Animal Warming-Related Fires Throughout Winter Storm

BATON ROUGE- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) is calling on Louisiana residents to reconsider the use of heat lamps to warm pets in cold, outdoor conditions following several similar fires this week, including the latest in north Louisiana that claimed the lives of seven horses.

“Heat lamps seem like a simple solution, but in reality, they’re a fire hazard similar to a space heater that are unfortunately left unattended frequently,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “These lamps being placed close to bedding and left on for extended periods of time are not only dangerous for the animals you’re trying to warm, but if a fire starts, you’re jeopardizing your property and your family’s lives too.”

Around 8:30 p.m. on February 20, the South Bossier Fire Department responded to a report of a barn fire located in the 1900 block of Highway 154 in Elm Grove. Firefighters discovered that seven horses had died in the fire. Three of the horses belonged to the property owner, but four were being boarded there.

After an assessment of the scene, including witness statements, deputies determined the fire began as a result of an overheated heat lamp that was left on in the barn to keep the horses warm.

Two other fire investigations this week involved heat lamps warming cats and dogs outdoors that overheated creating fires. In one case in the Houma area, the dog being warmed died in the resulting fire. In the other case, in Livingston Parish, three people suffered minor injuries trying to escape the fire.

“The best plan of action for protecting pets from frigid temperatures is to bring them inside,” said Browning, “For livestock and larger animals, there are various ways to provide warmth with extra bedding and blankets. We encourage everyone to use this opportunity to reevaluate their preparedness for extreme cold weather and alter your warming game plan now.”