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.”

Winter storm helps Grambling football get back on pace

The Grambling football team is in the middle of (hopefully) its final week of preseason practice, preparing for the lengthiest year in the Tigers’ illustrious history.

The G-Men could tee it up 20 times in 2021. It begins with the six-game 2020-make good spring schedule, then perhaps a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game. After a three-month break from competition comes 11 games in the fall, hopefully another SWAC title contest, a win there leading to a Celebration Bowl appearance.

The postponement of Saturday’s opener in Dallas was disappointing, but also a blessing in disguise for coach Broderick Fobbs and his staff. Because the Tigers lost a week of practice due to the winter storm, they hadn’t gone through much of the typical script for the final week of preseason – honing in on situations such as third down and short yardage, green zone (inside the 40), red zone (inside the 20), and end of game scenarios.

Since this week became a practice week, Grambling is getting that preparation done, allowing next week’s focus to be solely on the game plan for their 2021 debut Saturday, March 6, at noon in Eddie G. Robinson Stadium against Jackson State.

While he’s bringing the Tigers along on pace for the spring season opener, Fobbs most assuredly has eyes on the long haul.

“We’re going to have our players on a pitch count this spring,” he said. “This is new territory. We get the opportunity to play games we didn’t play last fall. We also have to prepare as we normally would for a full season on a conventional calendar this fall.

“It’s a tough predicament, but as long as you are proceeding with the commitment to everyone’s safety and health, you want to play. This is a grind like no other.”

The good news for Grambling? Fobbs likes what he’s seen from his Tigers during workouts last fall, and recently, preseason drills. He can count on quality depth at a time when that could be more vital than ever.

“I feel real, real good about our talent, especially when we get to the fall. This may be one of the more talented teams we’ve had, throughout the roster. We may not have the clear standout or two as we have had at times, but we have a lot of really good players, good depth,” he said.

While watching his players hone their skills, Fobbs and his staff, and support staff including trainers and academic advisors, are monitoring the most important, intangible factor.

“The mental health of your players and everyone involved in the program is a big issue. We’ve all been locked in for so long due to Covid, unable to play, unable to function in our daily lives as we always have previously. The disruption is unsettling. There are those who have lost family members because of Covid. Those are the biggest concerns that we have, their mental and emotional stability.”

As for what will happen between the goalposts on March 6, the Tigers’ coach is supremely confident about two things.

“You’ll see an exciting brand of football, and an excited football team eager to play against somebody else.”

Fobbs’ formula for success this spring has been driven home during the past month of practice and in those workouts last fall. In lieu of games, the Tigers experienced a lot of walk-throughs and teaching in the fall semester.

“I believe more than ever, winning will revolve around limiting mistakes, because we haven’t played in so long,” he said. “You want to keep the yellow flag from hitting the ground. You want to keep the football from hitting the ground. We are focusing on fundamentals beginning with snap counts and being onside, eliminating the rusty-type errors.

“The teams that are closest-nit and make the least mistakes will win.”

Photo courtesy Carlton Hamlin

Rush Limbaugh: The Lion That Roared

Royal Alexander/Opinion

By simply but powerfully extolling the virtues of traditional American values, he built a vast conservative movement still growing at the time of his death

Despite what his critics have claimed in the wake of his passing, the legacy of Rush Limbaugh is really not complicated at all.

Over 32 years, he reached millions of Americans daily and, by merely reminding his vast audience of the unique nature of America’s miraculous founding, he created a solid, permanent, conservative movement in this country. They trusted him to be their constant, their anchor in an increasingly putrid cultural cesspool. He, in turn, empowered them with the truth and they never left him because he never left them.

Some of his detractors this week have referred to Rush’s legacy as “controversial” or “divisive” or that his rhetoric was “harsh.” Only to the Left, which was not nearly as offended by his manner as it was by his message.

However, to the great Silent Majority in this country, he was positively and powerfully enlightening. Using simple but compelling word pictures, he articulated daily what traditional American values really are. His substantial but succinctly stated commentary created the opportunity for millions of Americans to listen, learn, and ultimately come to the conclusion that “I’m a conservative.” It’s hypocritical to hear the Left describe Rush as having “dog-whistled” various “dark” messages to conservatives. All the while, of course, the harsh daily mocking of conservatives from the tabloid media on the Left is never condemned.

What is some of this “negative” commentary Rush offered? That it is Ok to love America, to believe that America, while not perfect, is truly exceptional and truly the “last best hope of man on earth”; that it is perfectly acceptable and logical to put “America First”; that it’s perfectly acceptable and legitimate to be unapologetically pro-family, pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment.

He made clear that it’s not only acceptable but completely accurate to believe that our free market economy has lifted millions out of poverty and is the envy of the world; to believe that a strong national defense, lower taxes, less regulation, limited government and religious freedom are, demonstrably, the best national policy; that it’s Ok to expect legal immigrants to learn our language and assimilate into our culture and to expect illegal aliens to be kept out of our country; to recognize that much of our public education system has failed abysmally and that our children are not being educated at all but, rather, indoctrinated in Marxist thought.

He was one of the first to notice and then call out the Cancel Culture that, fueled by the unfettered power of a social media sector that enormously benefits from (and abuses) federal law—as well as the national tabloid media, had arisen like a virus to stamp out conservative speech. He was also one of the first to note the treacherous effect on our constitutional republic of a massive, permanent, liberal federal bureaucracy we now know as the “Deep State.”

Rush Limbaugh was truly a lion who roared and his voice and message will continue to ring out long after his death by providing a political and historical roadmap in our quest to preserve America’s liberty and greatness.

Be an Inspiration

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr./Opinion

As a consequence of my mother’s military service, I was fortunate to spend some of my early childhood growing up in Germany. Due to the Europeans’ widespread use of the rail system, we frequently traveled by train. Suffice it to say, I soon developed an affinity for that particular mode of transportation. During the Summer of 2016, I was fortunate to share the experience with my children when we drove to Marshall, Texas and caught the Amtrak Texas Eagle to Dallas.

Aside from the gentleman who entered the train carrying what can only be described as a case for chainsaw, we had a fabulous time. And, the roundtrip fare was less than the cost of fuel, had we driven. The train was equipped with a viewing cabin, which afforded panoramic views of the East Texas countryside. We enjoyed each other’s company, and the difference in travel time proved to be negligible.

The train deposited us at Union Station, which left only a short walk to the Hyatt Regency. During our weekend in Dallas, we walked everywhere we wanted to go. Among our destinations was Dealey Plaza and the museum that is located on the 6th floor of what was formerly the Texas School Book Depository.

Although I am a fan of the former President, I didn’t deceive myself into thinking that my young children would want to spend a great deal of time being inundated with information relative to JFK. However, quite to my surprise, the kids were in no rush to leave the museum, the “grassy knoll”, or the plaza area. Like most of us, they were taken in by the aura of a leader, who, despite his very human flaws, nevertheless inspired.

As we rode the Texas Eagle back to Marshall, my wife and I began to debrief on the weekend’s trip. As we shared our thoughts, a particular one resonated in my mind: How vitally important it is to have leaders who inspire. To that point, I recently came across the following JFK quote: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.” What an amazing concept! Certainly, many leaders have referenced an appreciation for Kennedy. And many cite him as one who inspired their actions. Yet, he was a relatively young man when he left his mark on history.

Much like JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young man when he went to Birmingham to address the injustices that pervaded the city. In fact, he was only thirty-four. As it regards Birmingham, this past February, my wife and I took a group of high school students to visit the city. While in Birmingham, we visited sites such as the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed on September 15, 1963. As a consequence of the bombing, four young girls lost their lives. Ironically, our tour guide advised us that the Sunday School lesson that morning was titled “A Love That Forgives”.

The church bombing was one of three such bombings that had occurred within an 11-day span and came on the heels of a Federal Court order that mandated the integration of Alabama’s public school system. In this light, it is seen that the bombings were instituted as push back against the progress that was being made due to the Civil Rights Movement, which was being spearheaded by the young Dr. King. Again, despite their youth, both JFK and MLK were able to achieve great things because they inspired others to be more than themselves.

Although they provide monumental examples of inspiration from the standpoint of iconic, national heroes, trust that the influence of local, hometown heroes cannot be overstated. Due to the fact that we encounter our local heroes and heroines on a regular basis, their influence has the potential to be even more pervasive and lasting. In short, we can actually touch them.

We should also be aware of the fact that we can each live a life worthy of emulation. We can live the type of life that serves as an inspiration to others. Even our chance encounters can leave a lasting impression. That impression can be a good one, or it can be an unpleasant one. We CAN be difference makers should we choose to do so.

In closing, I’d like to reference another JFK quote. During his 1961 address to the National Industrial Conference Board, President Kennedy stated, “For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great…not for what it is, though of this we are greatly proud…but, for what it someday can, and, through the effort of us all, someday will be.” Soaring rhetoric meant to inspire and capture a soaring ideal.

Bulldogs, Lady Techsters use snow week as a positive

Up until last week, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Lady Techsters basketball teams had just one game total canceled between the two programs.

That includes playing seven straight weeks of non-stop conference basketball without any changes.

Stopping that non-canceled streak was not the coronavirus … it was snow and ice. Talk about adding strange to what was already a strange season trying to navigate a global pandemic.

Both head coaches Eric Konkol and Brooke Stoehr spoke with the local media in their weekly press conference on Tuesday and expressed how they tried to use the “snow week” as a positive.

“I give our team a lot of credit,” said Konkol. “We tried as best as we could to find practice times and get players together. On Friday morning, we ended up making the call not to play the games at Middle Tennessee because we could not get there. We have always taken the mantra of control what you can control. We ended up spending time on things that we need to get better at. We used it as a positive and an opportunity to get better.”

“After being in a routine, it presented a different situation for us,” said Stoehr. “I am proud of our team for continuing to stay focused. We just tried to work on us and continue to prepare for Middle Tennessee up until Friday morning when it got canceled. We corrected some things from the previous week and continued to work on some areas that need improving. We are looking at it as a positive.”

Both programs were looking to continue the momentum they built in sweeping UAB over a week ago.

In doing so, the Bulldogs improved to 17-6 overall and 10-4 in league play, putting them in a tie for second in the West Division.

The ‘Dogs, winners of nine of their last 11, will play their final regular season games this weekend when they host the Rice Owls on Friday and Saturday.

“Rice is very different with the way they play offense,” said Konkol. “They spread the floor so much with their three-point shooting. They have good actions that are tough to guard based on their personnel. We have to defend them well on the three-point line. Defensively, they have mixed things up. A very good Rice team coming in here to the Thomas Assembly Center on Friday and Saturday.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Techsters improved their overall record to 13-7 and an 8-6 league mark, placing them fourth in the West. They will travel to Houston to face the defending C-USA regular season champion Owls on Friday and Saturday.

“They are very solid defensively,” said Stoehr. “You have to be so good offensively in order to generate points and easy baskets because you are not going to get that many opportunities. The way they control the ball on offense, they are methodical in what they do and they know exactly what they are trying to get out of each possession. It is going to be a tough test.”

Photo of Lady Techster head coach Brooke Stoehr and staff – photo credit Darrell James

Top Five – Things about the College of Engineering and Science

Sam Parker

Sam Parker is a Louisiana Tech freshman mechanical engineer major from Gilbert. He enjoys all things both Ruston and Tech, but he especially appreciates the program he calls “home.” Here are Parker’s Top 5 Favorite Things about the College of Engineering and Science.

  • Hands-on learning: I enjoy solving problems with hands-on contact and in-person visuals. Being in this program allows me to do this while still being given new challenges to overcome.-
  • Never being bored: Boredom is something I despise running into because I enjoy being challenged and moving at all times. Engineering allows me to constantly move and always have something to participate in.-
  • Creativity: While engineering brings me new challenges daily, it also gives me a space to be creative and use my imagination. Having the opportunity to bring certain ideas and pictures to life is a wonderful feeling.
    Diverse students and staff: The opportunity engineering has given me to meet so many new people with different opinions, backgrounds, and cultures has been an amazing plus, considering I love socializing and meeting new people.
  • Opportunities: The opportunities for engineering students and professionals are endless. You are able to travel, work on creative job sites, have flexible hours for home life, and enjoy countless other perks. My goal is to work as an Imagineer at Disney World one day, to use my creativity to bring laughs and smiles to families. This program and College are my first stepping stones toward that dream.

    Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the chance to learn a little more about our Louisiana Tech University Family: students, staff, alumni, faculty, and friends. We’ll call it Tech Top 5. Go to for more Top 5s. #TogetherApart

Jackson State too much for GSU hoops teams; softball, soccer debut

Being the visiting teams in the first HBCU basketball games carried live by NBA TV Monday gave Grambling great exposure on a national, and even global, platform.

Unfortunately, neither squad could overcome their league-unbeaten opposition at Jackson State.

The Tigers battled down to the final seconds but fell 63-59. The Lady Tigers were overwhelmed by their Jackson State counterparts 82-68.

Both squads are on the road this weekend, playing Saturday at UAPB and Monday night at Mississippi Valley.

The NBA TV coverage included a live interview with Grambling legend Doug Williams between games and provided plenty of branding punch for GSU Athletics and the university.

But on the court, Jackson State had the most dynamic players in each contest. Preseason SWAC Player of the Year Tristan Jarrett poured in 26 points in the men’s game, while powerful post player Ameshya Williams piled up 20 points and 14 rebounds in the women’s contest.

Jackson State (12-4, 11-0) led the ladies contest throughout, going up 40-31 at halftime and not allowing Grambling closer than eight points afterward in the first meeting this season between the rivals. Grambling (7-8, 6-5) got 19 points by Alexus Holt, 16 from Ariel Williams and 11 by Candace Parramore.

The Tigers couldn’t get the upper hand in the men’s matchup, either, but mounted challenges.

Trailing by as much as 11 in the first half, Grambling (9-10, 7-5) closed within 27-21 at halftime. Jackson State (7-5, 7-0) opened a 50-36 lead with eight minutes left but Grambling went on a 12-1 run, capped by a dunk from Cameron Christon with 4:03 left, getting GSU within 51-48.

Jackson State responded with two straight 3-pointers from Jarrett to pad its advantage. Grambling kept battling and drew within 60-57 on a layup by Terreon Randolph with 10 seconds left, but never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. After a JSU free throw, Trevell Cunningham scored with three ticks remaining to draw the visitors within 61-59, but Jackson State successfully inbounded and got two free throws to ice it.

The outcome gave the hosts a season sweep, but it was a tougher win than their 75-61 victory in Grambling last month.

Prince Moss led the G-Men with 18 points while Criston scored 15 and snatched nine rebounds.

SOFTBALL: The much-delayed season began Tuesday in Natchitoches but not well. Northwestern State, considered a contender in the Southland Conference this spring, swept the Lady Tigers 10-0 and 9-1.

A sign of things to come: Grambling squandered a one-out triple by Morgan Adams in the second inning of the first game, and missed a good chance to break out on top. India Wells had two of the Lady Tigers’ four hits in that contest, but the visitors managed just one hit in the nightcap.

The River City Classic in Vicksburg Saturday and Sunday is next for Grambling.

SOCCER: The Lady Tigers made their season debut under new coach Craig Roberts at ULM Tuesday and put up a good fight, but were topped 2-0. The Warhawks ended a scoreless second half 10 minutes into play, then salted it away in the 87th minute.

Upcoming: SWAC home matches Friday at 3 (Prairie View) and Sunday at 1 (Texas Southern).

Picture – courtesy TayTapes870/