Ruston celebrates completion of Phase IV of Rock Island Greenway

The City of Ruston celebrated the completion of Phase IV of the Rock Island Greenway on June 29! This could not have been possible without the support from Dr. Guice, Louisiana Tech University, Michael Domingue, FHWA Administrator for the Recreational Trails Program here in Louisiana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the Lincoln Health Foundation.


Ruston Police Department asks for public’s help identifying a suspect

The Ruston Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect. On June 22 this unidentified male used stolen cards while at the Walmart Supercenter in Ruston.

Ruston Police investigators are asking that anyone who may know this male or with information on this case should call the department at 318-255-4141 or Crime Stoppers at 318-255-1111. A tip may also be submitted online at www.rustonlincolncrimestoppers.com or text “TIPS15” to Crimes (274637) to send a text message.

Tipsters remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a car reward if information leads to arrest or indictment.


The R.W. Norton Art Gallery

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery
4747 Creswell St. Shreveport
318-865-4201
http://www.rwnaf.org/

Free and open to all ages

This installment of Kevin Hits the Road will take us to Shreveport’s R. W. Norton Art Gallery. The gallery’s extensive gardens, children’s programs, and varied art collections make it an ideal destination for anyone in the area looking for a day trip only an hour or so drive from Lincoln Parish.

The gallery’s art collection is incredibly eclectic, ranging from modern art to items from Ancient Rome and Egypt. The first thing a visitor sees upon walking in the door is a life size acrylic sculpture of the iconic Marilyn Monroe photograph of her holding her dress down over a grate. The next room holds Western themed sculptures and paintings by Remington, Russell and others. Then there is a Roman Army discharge set in bronze that is well over 1,000 years old. There are 16th century Belgian tapestries depicting Hannibal Crossing the Alps once owned by a French King, as well as collections of photography and WWI & WWII posters. There are over 400 paintings by 100 artists in the gallery’s collection. The gallery also houses an extensive collection of rare firearms. The variety is simply amazing.

The R.W. Norton Gallery is also quite family friendly. There are educational programs for children as well as professional development opportunities for teachers.

There is more to the Norton Gallery besides a world-class museum. The Gallery is set in 40 beautifully landscaped acres of gently rolling terrain with over 15,000 plants. The walking path takes visitors past streams, waterfalls, trees and a wide variety of flowers. The botanical gardens are a superb way to cap off a visit to the museum or could be worth a trip by itself.

The R.W. Norton Gallery is one of our state’s hidden gems. From art lovers of all ages to gardeners, the Norton offers something for everyone. It is worth a visit!


Oscar at Sea

By Brad Dison

In May of 1941, several months before the United States officially entered World War II, Nazi Germany’s battleship Bismarck and a heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen scoured the Atlantic Ocean on a raiding mission to thwart Allied shipping between the United States and Great Britain. On May 24, the two ships entered into battle with two Royal Navy ships, the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Hood, nicknamed “the Mighty Hood,” in what is now referred to as the Battle of Denmark Strait.

The battle has been memorialized in books, songs, films, and other media including Johnny Horton’s 1960 hit song “Sink the Bismarck.” In the song, Johnny Horton sang that “The Bismarck was the fastest ship that ever sailed the sea, on her deck were guns as big as steers and shells as big as trees,” followed by the war cry “We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us.”

Within the first ten minutes of the battle, one of the Bismarck’s “shells as big as trees” struck the Hood near one of its ammunition magazines. Within seconds, the Hood exploded with a violent shudder and sank. In less than thirteen minutes after the Hood fired its first shot, as Johnny Horton sang, “The Mighty Hood went down.” Only three of the Hood’s 1,418 sailors survived the sinking.

News of the Hood’s fate was devastating to British moral, but they soon rallied. The Royal Navy was determined to sink the Bismarck. It became their prime target. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered all ships in the region to search for the Bismarck. Continue reading

Burroughs, Wells highlight Bulldogs on All-Louisiana baseball team

In a state where LSU baseball has dominated the diamond landscape collegiately since the mid-1980s, there was a shuffle at the top of the ladder this spring.

As a result, Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs was named the 2021 All-Louisiana Team Baseball Coach of the Year, as announced by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Tuesday..

Along with their skipper, third baseman Hunter Wells was named the LSWA’s Hitter of the Year to headline a list of six Diamond Dogs to earn All-Louisiana honors. Wells, centerfielder Parker Bates, second baseman Taylor Young and starting pitcher Jonathan Fincher all earned first-team honors after standout seasons. All four Bulldogs have also already notched All-America accolades after helping lead the Bulldogs to a 42-20 record in 2021.

Outfielder Steele Netterville and utility man Manny Garcia earned second team All-Louisiana honors to join the quartet of first-team honorees.

Burroughs, who signed a contract extension through the 2025-26 season earlier this month, led the Bulldogs to their sixth 40-win season in program history in 2021. The Bulldogs not only competed in their first C-USA Championship game this past season, but they also hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in program history.

Under Burroughs, LA Tech recorded an 11-4 record against in-state opponents in 2021, recording sweeps over Southern, McNeese State, Tulane and ULM. Burroughs also guided LA Tech to its first division title since 1992 by winning the Conference USA’s Western Division title on the final day of the C-USA season.

Wells, who earned his fourth All-America honor on Monday, ranks second in the nation with 101 hits and sixth in the country with 70 runs scored. The Katy, Texas native led Conference USA with a .385 batting average and 169 total bases, which is a new LA Tech program record for total bases in a single season.

Bates, a third team ABCA/Rawlings All-American, led the C-USA in on-base percentage (.471) while also leading the Bulldogs in RBI (62), triples (four) and HBPs (14). The Tyler, Texas native led the C-USA with a .406 batting average and a .523 on-base percentage in conference play.

Young, the Division I ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner at second base, sported an incredible .993 fielding percentage at second base in 2021. The defensive standout did not commit an error until his 55th game of the season. He also ranks first in the nation with 83 runs scored with just a few games left to play in the college baseball season.

Fincher, a first team All-Conference USA honoree and Dick Howser Award Semifinalist, led the Bulldog pitching staff in strikeouts (85), innings pitched (100.1) and the lowest opposing batting average against him (.219). The Shreveport native posted two complete-game shutouts in 2021, including a one-hit shutout at Tulane where he allowed just two baserunners in a Friday night start.

Netterville, another Shreveporter who was a Conference USA All-Tournament Team honoree, ranked second on the Bulldog roster with 12 home runs despite missing 10 games due to injury. He also ranked third on the team with 57 RBI and fourth on the team with 14 doubles and 45 runs scored.

Garcia, a first team All-Conference USA honoree at the utility spot, stepped up for the Bulldogs in clutch moments throughout 2021.

TOP INDIVIDUAL AWARDS – 2021 All-Louisiana Collegiate Baseball Team

Hitter of the Year – Hunter Wells, Louisiana Tech
Pitcher of the Year – Landon Marceaux, LSU
Freshman of the Year – Dylan Crews, LSU
Newcomer of the Year – Drake Osborn, UL-Lafayette
Coach of the Year – Lane Burroughs, Louisiana Tech

PHOTO:  Coach Lane Burroughs photo by Emerald McIntyre


Grambling State to host Brown Girls Do Gymnastics Conference with The Doug Williams Center

Grambling- On July 23-25, 2021, Brown Girls Do Gymnastics’ 5th Annual Conference will be hosted on Grambling State University’s campus in collaboration with The Doug Williams Center and Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Conference aims to increase exposure and access to gymnastics among women and girls of color, provide mentorship from high-level gymnasts, and offer resources and information for the parents of these young gymnasts. Registration is open now for ages 6 and up to learn advanced gymnastics and acrobatic techniques.

Blazing a Trail for Gymnasts of Color
Just months after the untimely death of the first Black woman to win the U.S.A. Gymnastics national championship, Dianne Durham, Brown Girls Do Gymnastics (BGDG) leads a grassroots initiative to introduce competitive gymnastics to Historically Black Colleges & Universities’ (HBCU) athletic programming. Durham set the world stage for Black American gymnasts, paving a path for stars like Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, and Simone Biles. Following their success, there has been a rise in national participation of young Black women and girls. According to the NCAA Demographics Database, 9% of Division I women gymnasts in 2019 were Black, a significant leap from 4.5% in 2008.

As the sport continues to produce Olympic qualifiers of color, there is a growing need to provide platforms for these athletes to pursue their craft while continuing their education in the safety of inclusive spaces like HBCUs. Because there are no HBCUs currently offering gymnastics programs, those who wish to pursue competitive gymnastics at the college level do not have the option to attend an HBCU. Grambling State University is answering this call by hosting this event and looking to the future. Continue reading

Opportunity: ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL – NCHS

POSITION: ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL

SITE LOCATION: NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

SALARY: Starting salary: According to parish school salary schedule.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must be certified or eligible at the time of the application according to Louisiana State Department of Education requirements and must have 5 years of teaching experience.

WHERE TO APPLY:
Linda G. Page, Director of Personnel
Natchitoches Parish School Board
310 Royal Street, P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
(318) 352-2358

DEADLINE: Thursday, July 8, 2021, 4:00 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcripts from institutions awarding degrees, a copy of Louisiana Teacher’s Certificate with principal/education leadership endorsement, three (3) letters of reference, (one being from your immediate supervisor).


FREE Summer ACT Prep Workshop

Lincoln Parish is offering a FREE summer session workshop for students wanting to prepare for the ACT. Students will receive instruction and practice for the four sections of the ACT: English, math, reading, and science.

The workshop is available to students entering 10th-12th grade who are enrolled at Choudrant High School, Ruston High School, and Simsboro High School. The AM Session runs from 8:00-11:15, and the PM session runs from 12:00-3:15. Students would need transportation to Ruston High School for the workshop.

To register, email Emily Howell, ELA Facilitator for Lincoln Parish Schools, at ehowell@lincolnschools.org.


From Ruston to Royal St. George’s: Tech’s Forgan qualifies for The Open

When Sam Forgan was 16 years old, he attended his first Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in the small town of Hoylake at the northwest corner of the Wirral Peninsula.

That 2006 event saw Tiger Woods claim the title just months after his father had passed away.

It was an experience burned in Forgan’s memory.

“There were 50,000 people following him around,” said Forgan, who lettered for Louisiana Tech from 2009 through 2013. “It was the first time I had been to a professional event, and I thought it just won’t get any better than this.

“On the 18th, we couldn’t get a spot so we were quite close to the walk way. Tiger walked past and he is sobbing. He is absolutely sobbing. It was the first major he won after his father died. He was inconsolable.

“When I think of Open Championships, I think of that week. I got a feel for it that week. How big an event it was. But also how good you have to be if you want to win that event. I think I can make it every year. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think I could.”

On Tuesday, Forgan sank a 10-foot par putt on the final hole to tie for second at Prince’s in an Open qualifier and earn a spot in the 149th Open set for July 11-18 at Royal St. George’s.

Forgan, whose wife Morgan – who he met at Louisiana Tech – is expecting the couple’s first child this year, will fulfill a lifelong dream.

“For me growing up in the UK, I think the (British) Open is the major,” said Forgan, who grew up in Stowmarket, England. “It’s the golf tournament. It’s the only major in our time zone. It’s courses we relate to. I think there is something that makes it a little more special for some reason.

“I wouldn’t classify myself as an overly patriotic person, but playing in the (British) Open Championship … it would be something that when you look back at your career and know you have achieved something. You would know you played against the best. It would be huge. I would love to play and I would love to do well.”

Forgan, who turned 31 in May, opened the qualifier with a 72 on Monday before shooting a two-under-par 70 yesterday. He joined Deyen Lawson (70-71-141) and Connor Worsdall (67-75=142) in the top three, thus earning the opportunity of a lifetime.

Forgan played his collegiate career in Ruston for coach Jeff Parks and the Bulldogs. He was a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree who competed in 36 career tournaments at Louisiana Tech.

He showed his abilities early in his Tech career, recording a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Squire Creek Invitational his rookie season.

PHOTO:  courtesy LA Tech Athletics

Notice of Death – June 29, 2021

Malcolm Joe McGrew
March 11, 1930 – June 28, 2021
Visitation:  Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, Friday, July 2, 2021, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Service:  Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Saturday, July 3, 2021, 10:00 am
Cemetery:  Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, Saturday, July 3, 2021

Eugene Simms Sr.
April 22, 1929 – June 27, 2021
Service:  10:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at Riverview Cemetery in Monroe


Latest REAL Report highlights impact of Tech students on local economy

The Center for Economic Research, housed in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business, recently published the sixth installment of the Regional Economic Analysis of Louisiana (REAL) Report.

A cohesive body of research examining multiple aspects of Louisiana standards of living, the Spring 2021 issue explores the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with specific focuses on economic forecasts for the state, employment losses and gains, and foreclosure rates. The report also examines the economic impact of Louisiana Tech newest residence facilities as well as the impact of one Tech student on the local economy.

Team members contributing to this issue include Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Patrick Scott, who serves as Center director, senior finance major Bailey Catoire, junior economics major Patrick Miller, junior economics major Colyn Sevario, and junior finance major Joshua Whitlow.

According to the report, one Louisiana Tech student has an estimated economic output multiplier of approximately 2.84. This indicates that for every dollar spent, $2.84 is generated and recirculated into the local economy. Tech’s on-campus student population induces $1.9 million in sales tax annually, with one Louisiana Tech student producing $5,400 in sales tax revenue for the state and approximately $7,170 in state taxes of all types.

“As Louisiana Tech continues to grow enrollment, the strategic importance of the University to Ruston and Lincoln Parish is difficult to understate,” Scott said. “It is the largest employer in the parish and every student that attends Tech sends out numerous capillary waves throughout the local economy.”

One of those waves currently impacting the local economy is the construction of Louisiana Tech’s newest phase of student housing, Richardson and Cottingham Halls. The construction project, itself, is assumed to indirectly support 90 jobs and induce 130 more. It also brings Louisiana $1.6 million in tax dollars. Overall, there is twice as much of an economic impact for every dollar spent on this project.

To read the full Spring 2021 REAL Report, including state unemployment rates, wage growth, and foreclosure rates, visit business.latech.edu/realreport.

The REAL Report is a quarterly publication designed to provide insight into recent economic developments in Louisiana. It is produced by the Center for Economic Research, in collaboration with faculty and students in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business, for the state of Louisiana and our region of the South.


USFWS honors Maness for conservation work


Louisiana Tech’s Dr. Terri Maness, Associate Professor and Environmental Science Program Coordinator, received a 2019-2020 US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director’s Conservation Partner Award for her work with the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network (GoMAMN) team. GoMAMN is group of conservation professionals who came together after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill with the aim of coordinating efforts to develop and implement a Gulf-wide avian monitoring program.

The award ceremony was held virtually June 16.

“I feel strongly that one of the most important things I do as Regional Director is to honor the hard work and accomplishments of our employees and trusted partners,” said Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, Director of the South Atlantic-Gulf and Mississippi Basin Regions. “Conservation partner awards acknowledge significant contributions and willingness to work with the Service toward the conservation of natural resources in the Southeast. Together, our conservation efforts multiply far beyond what any one of us can do alone.”

Maness and GoMAMN were nominated for the award by USFWS Gulf of Mexico Migratory Bird Coordinator Jeffrey Gleason because the team “provides key information and real-time results to efforts to restore the Gulf and conserve and protect at-risk species,” he said.

The group recently published the book Strategic Bird Monitoring Guidelines for the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which is intended to advise stakeholders on how bird populations respond to conservation actions and underlying ecological processes. Maness co-authored a chapter in the guidelines concerning avian health and serves as chair of the Avian Health Working Group and co-chair of the Seabird Working Group.

“It was an honor to be nominated and extremely gratifying to have our work recognized with this award,” Maness said. “We published the guidelines to help coordinate bird-habitat conservation efforts so that we move forward using best practices. Birds in the Gulf region are at high risk of acute and chronic exposure to pollutants and stressors such as hurricanes and climate change. Monitoring the health of birds helps us understand the effects of these threats and how birds respond to restoration and management actions. Birds are also excellent indicators of the health of the environment, which can inform us about potential threats to human health and community resilience to disturbances in the region.”

Maness and her students are currently investigating the accumulation of heavy metals in the tissues of wintering waterfowl, landbird responses to restoration of Shortleaf Pine Woodlands, and the interaction between stressors and the immune system of seabirds. Maness also works with the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture’s Environmental Outcome Monitoring Working Group to help evaluate environmental outcomes of management actions.