Arrest made in fatal October crash

Louisiana State Police have arrested a Ruston man in connection with a fatal traffic crash that claimed the life of Dubach woman in October.

Levi McCullin, Jr., 62, of Ruston, was arrested on warrants last week charging him with vehicular homicide, no seatbelt, and driving left of center. Bail was set at $100,000.

Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop F investigated a crash just after 8:00 p.m. October 28 on McCullin Road just west of Louisiana Highway 563. 54-year-old Edith Anderson of Dubach was killed in the collision.

Authorities said a 1999 Ford F-250, driven by McCullin was traveling east on McCullin Road. At the same time, a 1998 Ford Explorer, driven by Anderson was traveling west on McCullin Road. McCullin crossed the centerline and struck Anderson. Impairment on McCullin’s part was suspected at the time. 

Anderson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was transported to Northern Louisiana Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. McCullin was also unrestrained, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.


Stops lead to warrant arrests

Several traffic stops by local enforcement over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend resulted in arrests for outstanding warrants.

About 9:30 Thanksgiving morning, the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department received a report of a reckless driver nearly striking a bridge. Deputy D. Johnston located the vehicle based on the description given by a concerned caller. The deputy found Johnny W. Key, 62, of Dubach, behind of the wheel of the truck at a Dubach service station. Key reportedly failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. At the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, Key refused to undergo a breath test. Throughout the process, Key threatened to assault the deputy.

Key was booked for DWI, open container, and two counts of public intimidation. Bail on those charges was set at $2,500. Key was also wanted on three bench warrants for failing to appear in Third District Court on charges of criminal trespass, disturbing the peace, and battery of a police officer. No bail has been set on the bench warrants and he remains in the detention center.

On Wednesday, Montez Millbrooks, 32, of Ruston was stopped by city officers who found he was wanted on five warrants for various traffic offenses. He was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center in lieu of $10,000 bail.

On Friday, Ruston Police Officer D. Hatcher was investigating a theft in the 500 block of South Trenton when he determined one of the individuals present was wanted on warrants. Jahse Allah, 22, of Monroe was arrested on warrants for failure to appear in Ruston City Court on charges of reckless operation of a vehicle and hit and run. Bail was set at $6,000.

Friday morning Louisiana State Trooper Kaleb Reeves stopped a motorist on U.S. 167 in Ruston for failure to wear a seat belt. The drivers refused to give his name and was arrested. On the way to the detention center, the driver identified himself as Jemario R. Brantley, 23, of Ruston. A records check revealed Brantley was wanted on a 2019 Ruston Police warrant for battery of a dating partner. He was also booked for resisting an officer by falsely identifying himself and written a citation for no seatbelt. He remained in custody as of Monday afternoon.


Anderson, Urban earn SWAC honors

Grambling State University sophomore defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson and junior kicker Garrett Urban were selected to the All-Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) postseasons football teams, the conference announced on Monday. 

Anderson was named to the first team, while Urban nabbed the placekicker and punter on the second team. 

“I’m so happy for those two G-Men for being selected to the all-conference teams,” Grambling State interim head coach Terrence Graves said. “They put in the work and now they are being rewarded for the fruits of their labor. Hats of them for earning these honors.” 

Anderson finished with 31 total tackles, including 21 solo stops as he was a defensive force for the Tigers. The College Park, Ga. native registered a team-high five sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss of 42 yards. In addition, the defensive lineman forced a team-high three fumbles, had two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. 

Urban, the Grambling State Most Valuable Player of the 48th Annual Bayou Classic, had a banner year for the Tigers on special teams.  

As a field-goal kicker, Urban missed just two kicks all season (at Southern Miss and vs. Alabama A&M) as he went 15-of-17 (88.2 percent), including 8-8 inside 30 yards. In addition, the Houston, Texas native led Grambling State in points with 63 and was 18-of-19 in extra point attempts. 

As a punter, Urban registered 79 kicks for 2,844 yards, including 20 inside the 20 and four of over 50-plus yards. His career bests included 12 punts at Houston and 11 against Southern Miss. He averaged 36.0 yards per punt. Urban kicked off 46 times for Grambling State this season, averaging 53.5 yards a kickoff. 

Alabama A&M’s Aqeel Glass was tabbed the All-SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, while Florida A&M’s Isaiah Land earned the defensive player of the year honor. James Houston, of Jackson State, garnered the newcomer of the year award and teammate Shedeur Sanders picked up the freshman of the year honor. Jackson State’s Deion Sanders was selected the SWAC’s Coach of the Year. 


Shotgun wedding in reverse

By Wesley Harris

The traditional shotgun wedding, replete with gun-toting relatives, is a common premise of comedies set in hillbilly country. Any big-city fellers who wander into such areas had best be discreet about interacting with local womenfolk, lest they find themselves forced—at the point of a gun—to stay a lot longer than they had intended.

But what if the shotgun-wielding relatives show up after the wedding? And the news of the family brouhaha is transmitted to newspapers halfway around the globe?

Sarah Wafer was born into a large and well-known family with extensive land holdings in southeast Claiborne Parish. At 16, she was attending school in Terryville, also known as Quay, then in Claiborne but later annexed as part of Lincoln Parish. Lincoln’s Wafer Creek and Wafer Road are named after the family

In the fall of 1855, a Dr. Clement and 16-year-old Sarah, “an orphan heiress of a wealthy Louisiana planter,” eloped from Claiborne Parish. The couple journeyed to Arkansas “with utmost dispatch” where a quick marriage ceremony was performed.

The account of what happened next was detailed in Homer’s Claiborne Advocate.

On the return trip to Claiborne Parish, Dr. and Mrs. Clement were met by the bride’s brother, James T. Wafer, who forcibly took possession of his sister. Mabry Wafer, Sarah’s father, had died two years earlier, so James had become Sarah’s guardian. Dr. Clement was removed from his seat beside his tearful bride. After some discussion, the groom was allowed to accompany his wife to Wafer’s home.

After a short time, Wafer permitted the couple to leave. The newlyweds went to the doctor’s house in Arcadia. There they resided “in the comfortable enjoyment of about one half of their honeymoon” when Sarah was summoned to the bedside of a sick sister at her brother’s residence.

Apparently, the summons was a ruse to separate Sarah from Clement. While at James’s home, Sarah was presented with a letter written by her brother-in-law, the sister’s husband. The letter accused Dr. Clement of “having basely imposed upon and deceived her and that he was a coward for allowing himself to be chastised by her brother. Even worse, the letter said Clement was “old, ugly, and no physician,” that Sarah did not love him and never did, and that she could never consent again to live with him.

Sarah signed the letter.

The Wafers loaded Sarah in a wagon and carried her to the home of another sister, Mary, who lived with her husband John Wyatt Simmons on the Red River in Bossier Parish.

Dr. Clement followed in pursuit with 15 to 18 armed Arcadia friends. Reaching the Red River home, they demanded Sarah Clement. To avert bloodshed, Sarah consented to go with Clement but only on the condition she be taken to her uncle, Claiborne Parish resident Reverend James T. Wafer. The parties agreed Sarah would remain unmolested at Rev. Wafer’s for two days. Then she would announce her decision on returning to Arcadia with Clement.

Skeptical the agreement would hold, brother James Wafer raised a group of armed men to accompany him to his uncle’s to retrieve his sister. The house was heavily guarded, however, and the sound of the cocking of several shotguns by Clement and his friends caused the party to retreat.

James swore out a complaint. Claiborne Deputy Sheriff Gentry Warren summoned a posse of about 20 armed men to accompany him in the middle of the night to Rev. Wafer’s house in the Arizona community to arrest Dr. Clement and his party for “forcible abduction and imprisonment of the fair heroine.”

Warren and the posse narrowly escaped meeting gunfire when they approached the house. Had they not quickly announced themselves as the law, a bloody fight would have ensued. Instead, Clement and his friends submitted to arrest. 

The entire party arrived at Homer about 9:00 a.m. the next morning—the posse riding in carrying their shotguns intermingled with the prisoners and Clement and Sarah seated side by side in a buggy.

In the commotion of sixty riders on the street, one of the posse members accidentally discharged his shotgun. The charge passed through the window of J. M. Thomason’s office, inflicting a nasty but survivable wound on the Homer attorney.

James Wafer signed an affidavit for a writ of habeas corpus, which was issued by District Court Judge Harmon A. Drew. The writ commanded Clement to produce Sarah and show cause why he deprived her of her rights and liberties. Clement did not answer the writ immediately and was also arrested for contempt of court. The next day, Drew held the habeas corpus and contempt hearings and dismissed both.

Two days later, those arrested for the alleged abduction and imprisonment of Mrs. Clement appeared before the justice of the peace. Clement was tried first. One of the witnesses was Mary Wafer Simmons, Sarah’s older sister. Mary testified Sarah had been engaged to her brother-in-law, Sidney Simmons, before her elopement with Dr. Clement. Mary said Sarah had received a letter purporting to be from Sidney in which he chastised her for her dalliances and was finished with her. Based on the letter, Sarah hastened into an elopement with Clement, who she did not love, and after the marriage, learned to hate. 

The letter was a forgery.

The case against Clement was dismissed and the prosecution declined to pursue Clement’s “accomplices.” 

While the trials were underway, Sarah was “spirited away to parts unknown.” The Claiborne Advocate reported, “the general opinion is that she has been transported to Arkansas, where she is protected or guarded by forty double barreled shotguns and a howitzer!” 

Adding insult to injury for the parties involved, the article from the Advocate was published across the country, including papers in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, New York, North Carolina, and even in England and Scotland.

The saga does not end there, but the newspapers are silent on the rest of Sarah Wafer’s life. Family genealogy records are confusing, but census records and other government documents seem to sort out her fate.

Mary died soon after the trial and Sarah married the widower, her brother-in-law John Wyatt Simmons. Sarah and John Simmons moved to Texas where they farmed and ranched in Rains County near other members of the Wafer clan. They raised numerous children, including one named Mabry after her father. 

While Sarah’s love life got off to a rocky start, she finally found a relationship that worked, experiencing a marriage of at least 40 years. Sarah died in 1905 and John followed in 1917.


Lofton earns C-USA weekly award

Kenneth Lofton, Jr.’s dominance on the hardwood earned the Louisiana Tech forward the Conference USA Player of the Week award in an announcement made by the league office on Monday.

Junior averaged 27.5 points in the two games against ULM and NC State, shooting 69 percent from the field (20-of-29) and 71 percent from the foul line (15-of-21).  He also averaged 14.5 rebounds and totaled seven assists.

In the 96-74 blowout win over the Warhawks, the Port Arthur, Texas native set new season-highs with 19 points and 12 rebounds in recording another double-double.

The forward turned around on Saturday and eclipsed those marks by far with a career effort at ACC opponent NC State, registering a career-high 36 points (went 14-of-19 from the field), a career-high 17 rebounds and matching his career-high with four assists.

In doing so, Junior became the first player in Division I this season to register a 35-point, 15-rebound game and the first Bulldog to do so in at least 30 years.  His 36 points was also the second most scored by a Bulldog over the last 20 years. 

He currently leads LA Tech in scoring (18.2) and rebounding (11.3) and ranks top 10 in the country in double-doubles, free throw attempts, rebounds per game and offensive rebounds per game. 

This is the first C-USA Player of the Week honor for Junior who earned C-USA Freshman of the Week honors nine times last season.

LA Tech returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at home versus Texas Southern.  Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

 


RCT to hold auditions for ‘Matilda Jr.’ 

Ruston Community Theatre is looking for young actors and actresses to fill spots for its spring junior musical, “Matilda, Jr.” 

Based on Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” the cast, which includes 21 characters as well as a large ensemble, is open to individuals between the ages of 8 and 18. 

Those interested in auditioning should prepare 16 bars of a song to sing and expect to complete a cold reading during the audition. 

Auditions will be held from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7-8 at the Dixie Theatre.  

The show will be performed March 3-6, 2022. 

“Matilda Jr.” will be directed by Tami Alexander, and it is sponsored by RE/MAX Results Realty and The Lockwood Group. 

This musical is not included in the season ticket prices, and tickets will go on sale two weeks before the performance starts. Season ticket holders can reserve seats a week before the public sales begin. 

For more information visit rctruston.org or call 318-595-0872. 


Tigers fall to Norfolk State

Three Grambling State University men’s basketball players scored in double figures as the Tigers closed out play on Monday in the Boost Mobile Chris Paul HBCU Challenge with a 70-63 loss to Norfolk State at the Footprint Center.

Grambling State (2-5) tied the game four times in an effort to come out victorious, but it wasn’t enough as the Spartans held the Tigers to just one field goal during the final three minutes.

AJ Taylor registered a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead Grambling State. Danya Kingsby added another 12 points, three rebounds and one assist, while Tra’Michael Moton finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Grambling State shot 32.3 percent (20-of-62) from the floor and 75 percent (18-of-24) from the free-throw line.

AJ Taylor registered 16 points, 14 rebounds and one blocked shot while Danya Kingsby added 12 points, three boards, two steals and one assist. Tra’Michael Moton recorded 12 points, five rebounds four assists and a pair of steals.

The Tigers finished with 26 points in the paint, 13 points off 15 Norfolk State turnovers, 10 fastbreak points, 10 second-chance points and six bench points


History major finds home at Louisiana Tech 

By Leslee Bennett 

“There’s always a struggle being a minority because it is hard to fit in in certain groups, but I feel no different as a student here at Tech.” 

Louisiana Tech University is home for Gabriel Freeman, a sophomore history major who has found his place through his commitment to making the university a better place for all students. 

Freeman was born in Oregon and is originally from the west coast, but he considers Louisiana his home. Benton is his hometown. 

“I’ve lived in many states, but Louisiana is where I’d say I’m from,” he said. 

He is involved in organizations all over campus. He is a sophomore senator in the Student Government Association (SGA), Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother as well as chaplain and social chairman, member of Peer Leadership Council, member of the BCM student leadership team, a student recruiter, a cadet in the AFROTC, and a mentor in the Bridge to Bulldogs program. 

“I believe that God gave me a purpose to serve,” Freeman said. “I’ve always had a hard-working spirit and wanted to help as many people as possible. Tech gave me opportunities. I took them and continue to get more involved to this day. I am a firm believer in what you put in, you will get back.” 

Freeman is one of the few Mexican-Americans on Tech’s campus.

“There’s always a struggle being a minority because it is hard to fit in in certain groups, but I feel no different as a student here at Tech,” Freeman said. “I feel just as equal and given the same opportunities as everyone else.” 

Tech was always Freeman’s No. 1 choice for college. He fell in love with the campus while attending a JROTC drill competition. 

In his junior year of high school, Freeman decided that he wanted to become an officer in the Air Force. He could have attended the Air Force Academy, but he wanted the full college experience. 

“I have no regrets at all for coming here and consider Louisiana Tech my second home,” Freeman said. 

Along with wanting to become an officer in the Air Force, Freeman’s overall dream job is to become the first Mexican-American President of the United States. 

“Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be president,” Freeman said. “I think it’s the coolest job ever, but I know it would be the hardest. I want to be president because I want to serve the people. I want the world to be a better place and always want to improve the lives of our Americans. I hate seeing us as Americans suffer through hardships, so I want to do things to fix that. I want to be here for the people, by the people.” 

Freeman’s election as the first Mexican American president would be a major game changer for America and the advancements of racial equality as we know it. With the track that he is on right now, there is no doubt that Gabriel Freeman is a force to be reckoned with. 

Tech has become a place for Freeman to be the best version of himself. With all the relationships he has created and his involvement on campus, he serves as an example for those those younger than him. He hopes they can be inspired to chase their own dreams one day. 


LPJ returns to five-day publishing cycle

Starting this weekend, the Lincoln Parish Journal will return to publishing just five days a week (Monday through Friday).

With the end of football season, the LPJ will publish exclusively on weekdays with breaking news still being provided on Saturday and/or Sunday as needed.

We want to encourage our readers to continue to send us feedback: the good, the bad and the ugly. We want story ideas, suggestions of how we can serve Lincoln Parish better, and anything that our readers feel will help us as we continue to become the No. 1 source of news and sports in our area.

We want to thank your readers for helping us grow by more than 250 percent over the past three months and we look forward to continuing to grow as we head into 2022.


Getting engaged: Consider the place

When it comes to the story of how someone got engaged, the same rules of journalism apply to the asking of the question: always include time, date, and place. And around Christmas time, the options for time and place are abundant.  

For example, what about popping the question in a downtown carriage ride? A romantic evening could turn into a decision for a lifetime under Ruston’s twinkling Christmas lights as the carriage takes a couple through the city streets. 

Or, for the more festive partygoers, another idea would be to ask for someone’s hand in marriage at Ruston’s Christmas parade, which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. Imagine friends and family – and a whole lot of new friends who would be excited as well – celebrating in the moment of engagement together at a traditional city event. 

Another idea is to start one’s life journey together at one of the many musical events this Christmas season, such as with Trinity United Methodist Church, which is hosting Carols and Cocoa at 7 p.m. Dec. 14.  

For those who never miss a game, Grambling State and Louisiana Tech have a plethora of home games this season. It’s never a loss to get engaged watching your favorite team play – and to watch your basketball team win is just that much better. 

Some, though, prefer privacy in this magical moment, and there are several places in the parish to make that memory extra special. Ruston’s lit-up Christmas tree in Railroad Park, Lincoln Parish Park during the Light up the Pines event this week, walking around one’s own neighborhood lit up with Christmas lights – the place chosen will always remain special. 


Notice of death — Nov. 29, 2021

Bobbie Sue Hogan Lann 
August 1, 1939 – November 28, 2021 
Visitation: Temple Baptist Church Sanctuary, Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 10:00 am – 11:00 am 
Service: Temple Baptist Church Sanctuary, Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 11:00 am 
Cemetery: Greenwood Cemetery, Wednesday, December 1, 2021 

 


NCLAC to host weekend holiday arts market

For a unique, locally crafted gift for this holiday season, this weekend’s art market may be the answer.

The North Central Louisiana Arts Council is hosting a Holiday Arts Market from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Norton Building in downtown Ruston.

Area artists will be selected to display and sell their works of original, handmade items at an affordable price. A variety of artist vendors will be available selling unique items such as precious stone jewelry, wooden turned bowls, hand-crafted books, artisan soaps and essential oils, leather goods, recycled textile wearables, calligraphy stationary, ceramics, paintings, photography and more.

Local musicians will also be performing during the Holiday Arts Market. For example, Louisiana Tech’s choral department will perform a holiday-themed choral arrangement at 1:30 p.m., followed by Grammy-nominated blues artist Buddy Flett, accompanied by local percussionist Bill Deese, who will both take the stage at 2 p.m. Another well-known artist, The Hardrick Rivers Revue, will perform at 3 p.m.

NCLAC is a nonprofit organization that promotes and fosters arts opportunities in Lincoln, Claiborne, Bienville, Jackson and Union parishes. 


Middleton concerned about new district, scheduling challenges

Just a few weeks ago, Cedar Creek High School coach Matt Middleton felt pretty good about the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) reclassification proposal.

The original proposal had the Ruston-based single A school moving west to District 1-1A which would include Arcadia, Glenbrook, Haynesville, Homer, Lincoln Prep, Magnolia School of Excellence and Plain Dealing.

The eight-team district would make scheduling much easier with seven built-in district games as well as travel even a little bit more friendly.

That was then. This is now.

Middleton told the Lincoln Parish Journal on Sunday that the newest LHSAA proposal now has the Creek in a five-team District 2-1A scenario that includes Ouachita Christian, St. Frederick, River Oaks and Lincoln Prep.

And his biggest concern: scheduling.

“That’s only five teams, which mean’s its only four district games,” said Middleton. “I only have the first three (non-district games) scheduled. So that means I have to go find three games. We were expecting a big district (8 teams) where I had the entire schedule done.

“The tough part is most of all these other classifications had their established and there was no change so they were able to go out and get games. There isn’t a lot of (scheduling opportunities) out there to try to go get. We have to be creative in how we do that. And its going to be a big challenge to try to finish our schedule up.”

Although the early November proposal was just that … a proposal. Most people thought it would happen. So what did happen to make it change?

“They originally kicked us west,” said Middleton. “And that would have put an eight-team district over here. But the powers that be – the Haynesville’s and the OCS’s – had a different proposal and it looks as if their proposal that they wanted is going to end up working out.

“It won’t be official until the first week of December, but this is the last draft. It looks as if this is going to be it.”

Middleton tentatively has three non-district games scheduled next year and then the four District 2-1A games against OCS, St. Frederick, Lincoln Prep and River Oaks. That means he needs to work diligently – and probably pretty creatively – to find three more while keeping power rankings in mind.

“It’s going to be really tough,” said Middleton. “Especially since we are late and almost everybody else is done. We all know that scheduling is everything in the Division IV playoffs. It’s all about power points. At the end of the day its about wins, but you have to make sure you get some power points. So if you play some tough competition and you don’t (get points) that hurts you too. It’s a tough deal.”

The Cougars are coming off a successful season that saw them post a 6-4 record with close regular season losses to St. Frederick (7-6), Jonesboro-Hodge (28-26) and OCS (33-22) before falling again to the top-seeded Eagles in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.


GSU launches program to help community prevent Type 2 diabetes

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults have prediabetes – and without taking action, many people with prediabetes can develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. In partnership with Well-Ahead Louisiana, Grambling State University is launching a program to help students, faculty, and residents with prediabetes in northeast Louisiana prevent type 2 diabetes by offering virtual lifestyle change classes. The program, Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life. (CYL2) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program. It teaches people how to incorporate healthy habits into daily life, cutting their risk for type 2 diabetes by more than half. The program also helps to reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other chronic conditions. 

“People can feel overwhelmed when they are diagnosed with prediabetes, but developing type 2 diabetes is preventable,” said Larry Proctor, Ph.D., CYL2 Coordinator at Grambling State University. “CYL2 provides participants with a support system, tools, and knowledge so they can feel empowered to make lifestyle changes that will help them lose weight and improve their overall health.” 

Grambling State University conducts online orientations where people interested in the classes can learn more about the program and ask questions. An orientation will be held on Thursday, December 9, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. To register for the free meeting on Zoom, visit bit.ly/CYL2GRAM-Dec9. 

Student and adult class cohorts will begin in January 2022. People interested in participating in the classes must call 318-274-2294 or email cyl2@gram.edu to determine eligibility and register. The classes will meet online for one year. In the first four months of the program, classes will meet 16 times. In the final eight months of the program, classes will meet 12 more times to help participants maintain healthy lifestyle changes. CYL2 is covered by many insurance companies, including Medicare for those 65 and older. A limited number of scholarships are available for those without insurance coverage for the program. 

CYL2 provides participants in the program with a trained lifestyle coach who teaches them how to make positive daily changes they can stick with. You will also have the support of others making positive lifestyle changes as well. The classes cover: 

  • Shopping and cooking for health 
  • Managing chronic stress 
  • Understanding how emotions can trigger eating 
  • Practicing self-care 
  • Achieving weight goals during midlife 
  • Staying motivated 
  • Making good food choices away from home 
  • Knowing what to do when weight loss stalls 

With such serious consequences, preventing type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern. The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed by making healthier lifestyle decisions. 
Having prediabetes increases your risk for severe health conditions like: 

  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 
  • Blindness 
  • Kidney failure 
  • Loss of toes, feet, or legs