LPNET serves warrants to male on Tech campus 

Last week, LPNET agents, along with Louisiana Tech police officers, contacted Jacob Collinson, 20, in Tech’s College of Business building in reference to a distribution of warrants that LPNET had for Collinson as a result of a previous narcotics investigation.  

Collinson, of West Monroe, was advised of his Miranda Rights and searched. During the search, an agent found a foil pouch in his wallet. Collinson confirmed that tabs of LSD were inside the foil pouch. 

Collinson was escorted to his vehicle and allowed to secure his backpack in the car. Agents asked Collinson if there was anything in the vehicle, and he responded there was a “packer” with a small amount of marijuana in the center console. An LPNET agent removed a wooden container that contained a metal smoking device and suspected marijuana residue. 

The vehicle location and arrest both took place on the campus of Tech, which is a drug free zone. Collinson is believed to be a Louisiana Tech student. 

Collinson was arrested for the warrants of distribution of scheduled I Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) for MDMA, more commonly referred to as molly, and LSD; violation of a drug free zone; possession of paraphernalia, and possession of a scheduled I CDS with intent to distribute. 

Lincoln Parish Sheriff seeks fugitive

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department is requesting assistance in locating a wanted fugitive.

Marcus White, 24, is wanted for one count of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm and one count of Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property. 

Anyone with information regarding Marcus White’s whereabouts is asked to please contact LPSO at 318-251-5111 or Crimestoppers of Lincoln Parish. Crimestopper information can be provided by calling 318-255-1111, texting a tip to “TIP515 plus your message” to CRIMES (274637), or submitting the tip online at www.rustonlincolncrimestoppers.com.

Update on parish library programs

By Jim Wilkerson

The Lincoln Parish Library will resume several of its more popular programs in February.

Trailblazer Tuesdays, a program designed to educate community members in rural areas about land and outdoor topics, will take place the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Events Center.

“This program does anything from gardening to estate planning,” Library Interim Director Marcie Nelson said. “They also cover wildlife management – so they’ve done programs on bats, hogs, deer – pretty much anything for anybody who’s a landowner in a rural area.”

Trailblazer Tuesdays is not just for landowners, however.

“The topics are good topics even if you don’t own land,” said Nelson. “We’re doing soil matters and a gardening series. You don’t have to own property to have a garden. You can have a raised garden, or you can have a container garden. The grants are for landowners, but the program itself works for anybody as long as you’re interested in the topic.”

Also resuming are the reading challenges, but with some changes.

Nelson explained, “We were doing them monthly last year. We’re now stretching them out to six weeks to give kids more time. So, we’re running one from Feb. 1 to around March 15. Then we’ll take two weeks off and start a new one in April and May.”

With summer reading included, there will be about five reading challenges a year for the children’s department, each one with a different theme.

“We’re theming the reading challenge in February around Mardi Gras” Nelson said. “If you walk in the children’s department, we have a giant king cake up on the wall, and the kids will get to decorate it as they read their books for the challenge.”

Reading challenges also have drawing prizes that can be anything from a pencil to a notepad to stuffed animals. Children can start signing up for the February challenge immediately.

Adult reading challenges, headed by Assistant Director Jeremy Bloom, will continue in February as well. Every month is a five-book challenge, with a different theme and prize drawing.

Further, story-times are currently taking place every Tuesday at 10 a.m., though with some changes this year.

“Last year, the Take & Make crafts were the same crafts kids did during story time. So, we’ve changed that up recently to where it’s a different craft now, because our story-time crowd tends to be heavily pre-school age,” Nelson said. “So, by changing the Take & Make craft, we’re able to simplify the story-time craft and make it a little more open-ended for the older kids so that it’s not so hard for the younger ones. And then we can make the Take & Make craft a little more intricate if we need to so that it’s more interesting for our school-aged kids.”

Adults and teens also have craft programs that take place each month.

“Teens and adults sometimes do the same thing, and sometimes the teens will do something different depending on what the adults are doing,” Nelson said.

“They’re making traditional Chinese paper lanterns this month in honor of the Chinese New Year. Bloom ordered all the real deal supplies for it – the actual paper that they use and everything. So, it’s pretty interesting for anyone interested in culture.”

Lastly, a floral arrangement program is taking place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10.

Nelson explained, “It’s sort of a collaboration between our teen department and our adult department. We’ll have flowers on hand and little dollar store jars, and we’ll teach them how to do arrangements.

“Our assistant director has a background in forestry, as well as our marketing specialist, Kacey Richard,” she continued. “So, they’re going to teach that class, and teens and adults can go ahead and sign up for that.”

LA Tech weekend hoops roundup

Lady Techsters 72, North Texas 60 

Denton, Texas – The Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team responded in a big way on the road in Denton, Texas Saturday night taking down the North Texas Mean Green 72-60 inside The Super Pit.

Fueled by four Lady Techsters in double figures including a career-high 17 points from sophomore point guard Salma Bates (5-8 FG, 6-6 FT), Louisiana Tech (11-8, 3-5 C-USA) kept pace in a very entertaining back-and-forth game with North Texas (8-9, 2-5 C-USA) for three quarters and eventually pulled away over the final six minutes of the contest.

“I’m incredibly proud of the grit and toughness this team showed today on the road,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We had really good balance offensively and huge contributions from the bench. Amaya and Robyn stepped up big time for us especially in the second quarter when Keiunna and Anna Larr were in foul trouble.

“Salma was so solid today and was aggressive when we needed her to be. We were connected defensively and communicated very well. The job we did on the boards against a talented North Texas group today was critical to being able to secure the road win. We have to learn and grow from this experience like we have in the previous weeks and keep building.”

The Lady Techsters got an early spark off the bench from freshman Amaya Brannon who scored seven of her nine points in the first six minutes to give the Tech a 12-6 lead.

North Texas made their first response of the night putting together a 12-1 run over the next six minutes to take the lead 18-17 with 8:35 to play in the half.

The two teams spent the rest of the half exchanging blows and trading buckets as Bates closed the second quarter nailing three at the buzzer making it a one-point game (34-33) at the break.

The Techsters again closed a quarter strong with a 5-0 run in the final minute of the third thanks from a three from Keiunna Walker and another last second bucket off a designed play for Anna Larr Roberson. Tech led 53-49 going into the final ten minutes.

The two teams remained locked until the final six minutes when Walker took control and played the role of closer scoring nine of her game-high 19 in the final minutes of the fourth. Bates then add some insurance hitting all four of her three-throws down the stretch to end any hopes of a North Texas comeback.

In their best shooting night of conference play, the Techsters finished 26-59 (.509) including 5-11 from three and hit nine of their 11 free-throws.

The Techsters defense also responded tonight holding North Texas to 10 points and 12 rebounds under their season averages.

Sophomore Robyn Lee added 12 points joining Walker, Bates, and Roberson in double figures.

Tech will host Florida Atlantic Thursday at 6:30 p.m.


North Texas 63, Bulldogs 62

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech fell in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday afternoon as North Texas hit a game-winning three in the final seconds to come away with a 63-62 decision inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

“It was a game of runs,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol. “They had a run early, then we had a run.  We started the second half out well, but then the game changes, gets into a grind like we knew it would. 

LA Tech (16-5, 7-2 C-USA) exploded early in the second half, going on a 15-0 run that featured three straight three-pointers – one by Exavian Christon and two by Keaston Willis – to go up 48-31.

North Texas (15-4, 8-1 C-USA) battled back though, countering with a 10-0 run and eventually getting its deficit down to two at 62-60 with 1:40 to go.

Facing one of the best defenses in the country, the Bulldogs went ice cold from the field, making only one field goal in the final 10 minutes of the game.  They were converting from the free throw line though, making 22 of their 26 attempts.

It appeared as though Kenneth Lofton, Jr., who had another sensational game with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block – was going to go back to the foul line as he had two shot attempts missed in the paint on a double team.

No foul was called and the Mean Green called a timeout with 20 seconds to play (and 18 ticks on the shot clock). 

Tylor Perry, who was just 1-of-7 from the field going into the final possession, missed his seventh shot – a three from the corner.  However, Thomas Bell pulled down the offensive rebound and kicked it back out to Perry who did not miss his eighth, making a three to go up one with about five seconds left.

Amorie Archibald had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt was off the mark.

“Like games we have had with North Texas, it came down to the stretch and they made one more play than we did,” said Konkol. “This is life in the West Division in Conference USA.  This is a tough one today for us.  We are going to have to find a way to grow from it.” 

The Bulldogs will travel to Boca Raton to face Florida Atlantic Thursday.

Photo: Kyle Kavanaugh



Open wide, here comes the castor oil

By Wesley Harris

If you watch old cartoons or movies, you may have seen references to castor oil. The scene usually involves a grandmother pushing a huge spoonful of the liquid down a sick or injured person’s throat, causing odd facial contortions from the concoction’s awful taste. For many sick children even up into the 20th century, castor oil proved the point that the cure is often worse than the disease.

Once employed to treat for just about every ailment known to man, the multi-purpose vegetable oil has been used for thousands of years. Castor seeds have been found inside ancient Egyptian tombs and mentioned in writings by ancient Greek historians. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, sometimes called the palma Christi or palm of Christ.

These seeds, known as castor beans, contain a toxic enzyme called ricin. However, the heating process castor oil undergoes deactivates it, allowing the oil to be used safely.

Castor oil has numerous medicinal, industrial, and pharmaceutical uses. The seeds of the plant contain approximately 60% vegetable oil. It is commonly used as an additive in foods, medications, and beauty products, as well as an industrial lubricant and biodiesel fuel component. In ancient Egypt, castor oil was burned as fuel in lamps, used as a natural remedy to treat ailments like eye irritation, and given to pregnant women to stimulate labor. Today, castor oil remains a popular treatment for common conditions like constipation and skin ailments.

Castor oil is one of the most widely used plant extracts in the world. The largest exporters of castor oil include Brazil, China, and India, but the plants are not a stranger to America. 

During the Civil War, castor beans were cultivated in large amounts in north Louisiana.

In his 1864 inaugural address, Louisiana’s new governor, Henry Watkins Allen, lamented the lack of medicines for citizens and soldiers alike. He encouraged the state legislature to fund a bureau to manufacture drugs, including establishing a laboratory to prepare indigenous medicines. Dr. Bartholomew Egan of Mt. Lebanon in Bienville Parish was appointed to lead the operation.

Egan purchased the land and buildings of Mt. Lebanon Female College, employed staff, and set up operations to produce the most needed medicines available from indigenous ingredients—turpentine, alcohol, castor oil, and opium.

Constipation and diarrhea were chronic problems among soldiers and civilians. The common cure for constipation was castor oil. When the war started, castor beans were selling at a dollar per bushel, but the conflict increased the prices. A year into the war, castor oil had risen from its ordinary price of $2 per gallon to over $10. While castor grows easily in the South, little was in production in the Confederacy at the time war broke out.

A Claiborne Parish physician, William C. Hedrick, wrote Egan to inform him a local farmer, 42-year-old John W. Willis was manufacturing excellent castor oil. Originally from Virginia, Willis and his father 68-year-old Joshua had operated a castor oil factory in Georgia and currently had 15 acres of castor beans under cultivation on their Forest Grove farm northeast of Homer.

Willis provided samples to Egan which earned him a place on the lab staff in November. By January 1865, the Willis operation had sent 33 gallons of castor oil to the Mt. Lebanon lab. 

Within a few months, the war wound down and the lab closed. Despite its abbreviated   operation, Governor Allen considered the venture a success. The state had medicines “amply sufficient for many months to come,” he told the legislature. “Every citizen of Louisiana can now be abundantly supplied with medicines of all kinds.”

Born during the final days of the war, John’s son, James Clinton Willis, may have been influenced by his father and grandfather’s efforts to improve the health of Louisianans. James became a prominent Shreveport physician and the namesake of one half of the Willis-Knighton Health System in northwest Louisiana. His partner, Joseph Knighton, also grew up Claiborne Parish and partnered for a time in Homer before moving their practices to Shreveport.

Remember budget when planning for wedding photography 

This is Part Two in a two-part series about wedding photography choices. To read Part One, click here

Matthew Cassity, owner of Matthew Cassity Photography, said while couples need to consider local or out-of-town photographers as well as ask about their equipment, couples should also prepare their budget for the cost of a good photographer.  

References and reviews are also very important to consider, but tread carefully in that area — a wedding can bring out the best and worst in people, and there might be a lot of context lost in negative reviews,” Cassity stated. “There are many other things to look for in a good wedding photographer, but ultimately if they treat you and your time respectfully (and) professionally, and their portfolio meets your expectations, then all that’s left to consider is money.” 

Cassity said photography will likely be one of the biggest wedding expenses and to prepare for 25-30% of the wedding budget to go to photography. 

“You should get what you pay for with an excellent photographer,” he said. “An excellent photographer will have put in the hours to hone their craft, and high-quality cameras and accessories aren’t cheap.” 

Additionally, Cassity said depending on the size of the wedding, the photographer may need a second photographer and/or a videographer. 

“Bottom line with money, don’t go cheap or cut corners when it comes to your wedding photography — like I said earlier, these will likely be some of your most important and cherished photos in your life,” Cassity said. “I would budget as much as you can for wedding photography.” 

Cassity said while most other items with a wedding last a day, photos last a lifetime. 

 “Cakes and flowers last for one night — there are exceptions to that statement, I know,” he said. “You only wear your dress or tux once — of course, you want to look your best though. Wedding favors are rarely held on to by guests depending on the gift. It’s hard to put a number or percentage on a budget, it all depends on how important these lifelong images are to you.” 

LA Tech weekend roundup

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications


NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Needing a comeback after dropping the doubles point, the Louisiana Tech tennis team was only able to split the six singles courts, falling by a final score of 4-3 to Stephen F. Austin on Saturday afternoon at the Schlief Tennis Complex.

“Today was a hard day,” said Tech coach Amanda Stone. “I have to give credit to SFA.  They came out ready for us.  I think we can take this as an important lesson.  To be the team we want to be, we have to show up every match on every line and we just did not do that today. 

“Our team is pretty young and we have seen in this early season the level we can win at when we come to play and what can happen if we do not come out sharp.  This can be a good wakeup call for us as we head into home matches this next month.  We will be in these close matches again and next time, every player will know what they need to do to be successful.”

SFA (1-1) struck first in the match after picking up doubles wins on courts one and three, but Ilana Tetruashvili was quickly able to tie things up for LA Tech (2-2) with an overpowering 6-0, 6-0 win at the No. 5 spot versus Zala Ule.

The match went back and forth with the Ladyjacks winning a straight-sets match on court two, but Najah Dawson disposing of Ana Kouchnareva by a score of 6-2, 6-1 on court four.

SFA took the lead back with a victory at the No. 3 position, meaning the Lady Techsters needed to pull out both matches on court one and six.  Both went into a third and deciding net.  Alexia Romero pulled out a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win at No. 6, but SFA took the fourth point at the top position. 


Arlington, Texas – The No. 7 Louisiana Tech women’s bowling team started and finished the weekend strong to earn fifth place at the Prairie View A&M Invitational in Arlington, Texas. 

LA Tech completed the weekend 8-5 competing against the nation’s top teams. The field included nine other top 20 ranked NCAA programs and six inside the top 10. 

“We knew this event this would be a test for us,” said Tech head coach Matt Nantais. “Overall, we had a great weekend. To go 8-5 and finish fifth in this field is an accomplishment. We had some struggles on Saturday and didn’t bowl our best but we had people step up and showed that we have some depth to our team. 

“Baileigh Snow and Tara Spridco stepped up and gave us a boost during the day. Traditionally we’ve struggled winning on Sunday and to finish the day strong with a winning record shows we have a lot of grit and fight to us. I’m very proud of our team.” 

The Techsters got off to a blistering start Friday in their five Baker matches posting a 4-1 record including wins over No. 13 Tulane (1,009-873), No. 4 North Carolina A&T (1,119-1,082), No. 8 Youngstown State (1,104-1,033), and No. 3 ranked Nebraska (1,049-990) while falling to No. 15 Fairleigh Dickinson (998-1,040) to finish the day in the tournament’s top spot with a total pin fall of 5,269.

Tech opened Saturday’s traditional match slate falling to No. 19 Sacred Heart (914-1025) before rebounding against No. 2 McKendree (940-924). Top ranked Sam Houston then outlasted LA Tech (1,045-1,078), but the Techsters rebounded yet again to take down host Prairie View A&M (961-868). 

Tech finished their Saturday 2-3 after dropping the final match against No. 6 Arkansas State (973-826). 

In a final qualifying match Sunday morning Tech fell to No. 5 Vanderbilt (1,056-1,108) to find themselves sitting at sixth in the overall team standings just 31 pins out of the championship bracket with a total pinfall of 11,011.

That set up a rematch against Fairleigh Dickinson in a best-of-seven Baker match. After falling down 2-1 in the first three games (174-214, 230-189, 177-179), Tech rebounded to win the next two (244-126, 199-191) to take the 3-2 lead. 

After FDU tied the series with a game six win (192-233) forcing a decisive seventh game, Tech was able to avenge Friday’s loss with a 185-163 clinching victory. 

Tech then advanced to face-off against North Carolina A&T with a top five finish on the line. After dropping the first game (201-244), Tech rallied off four straight wins (204-173, 179-170, 222-183, 226-196) to take home the Invitational’s fifth-place finish winning the series 4-1. 


Season tickets for Louisiana Tech softball are on sale as the Lady Techsters are slated to play 23 home games at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

First year head coach Josh Taylor and Co. will host a two-day home tournament the second weekend of the season while hosting four 3-game Conference USA series against UAB, Southern Miss, UTSA and FIU.

Tech will host home-and-home mid-week series against ULM, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin and will also host Nicholls State (3 games) and Southeastern.

A number of price points exist for season tickets. Chairbacks (most popular) are $100 while bleacher seats are $75 and berm seating are $50.

Season ticket holders from last year will have the opportunity to purchase their same seats or select other seats that aren’t already purchased by an existing season ticket holder.

The Lady Techsters return 16 letter-winners from last year while welcoming six newcomers to the mix for this season. Tech’s 2022 roster includes a number of local products, including KB Briley (Sterlington), Katelin Cooper (Cedar Creek), Caroline Easom (Airline), Kara Goff (Ruston), Jordyn Manning (Ouachita), and Lauren Menzina (Cedar Creek).

To purchase season tickets, fans can call 318-257-3631 or go to LATechSports.com/tickets


Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie and his coaching staff will provide an in-depth look at the Bulldogs 2022 signing class during a signing day event on Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Davison Athletics Complex.

The event is sponsored by Origin Bank.

Tech signed 11 recruits in the early period in December and will sign additional student-athletes prior to the event on Feb. 2 during the late signing period.

This event is a great opportunity for Bulldog fans to get a chance to meet the new coaching staff and find out detailed information on the newest Bulldog signees.

In addition to the presentations of the Bulldogs signees – including video – by Coach Cumbie and his staff, Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Eric Wood will address the crowd.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a cocktail hour including a cash bar followed by a buffet dinner and the programming starting at 6:30 p.m.

Individual tickets are $45 per person ($40 for LTAC and T-Club members). Tables of eight which include dining with co-OC Jake Brown, co-OC Scott Parr or DC Scott Power are available for $1,500 (7 tickets). Regular tables of eight (7 tickets) are also available for $500 as a member of the Tech coaching staff will be seated at every table.

Tables of eight (7 tickets) sitting with Tech President Les Guice or Director of Athletics Eric Wood are available upon request for $2,500.

To purchase tickets, tables or to find out more event information, go to www.latechalumni.org/SigningDay. Fans can also contact Director of LTAC Taylor Cross at tcross@latechalumni.org or at 318-295-4919 for more information.

Weekly events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list, please email us at lpjnewsla@gmail.com

Tuesday, Feb. 1
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace (Louisiana Tech, College of Business)
5:15 p.m.: Domestic violence survivors support group (Contact Erika McFarland at 318-513-9373 for location)
6 p.m.: Lincoln Parish School Board meeting 
7 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Wednesday, Feb. 2
2 p.m.: Louisiana Tech Women’s Tennis vs. ULM
7 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Thursday, Feb. 3
6:30 p.m.: Lady Techster Basketball vs. Florida Atlantic (Thomas Assembly Center)
7 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Friday, Feb. 4
7 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Saturday, Feb. 5
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
11 a.m.: Louisiana Tech Women’s Tennis vs. Tarleton State
2 p.m.: Lady Techster Basketball vs. FIU (Thomas Assembly Center)
3 p.m.: Grambling Women’s Basketball vs. Alabama State
5:30 p.m.: Grambling Men’s Basketball vs. Alabama State
7 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Sunday, Feb. 6
11 a.m.: Louisiana Tech Women’s Tennis vs. McNeese State
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: SGA Recycling Drive (LTAC Parking Lot)
2 p.m.: Tech School of Performing Arts presents “Church and State” (Stone Theatre)

Unrestrained West Monroe woman killed in Ouachita Parish crash

Ouachita Parish – On Friday, January 28, 2022, just before 7:00 a.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop F began investigating a two-vehicle fatality crash on LA Hwy 840-1 at the intersection of Smith Street.  This crash claimed the life of 45-year-old Kelly Lewis, who was unrestrained.

The initial investigation revealed a 2015 Chevrolet Cruz, driven by 30-year-old Brandon Link, of West Monroe, was traveling west on LA Hwy 840-1.  At the same time, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, driven by Lewis was traveling east on LA Hwy 840-1.  For reasons still under investigation, Link’s vehicle crossed the center line and struck the front of Lewis’ vehicle inside the eastbound lane. 

Lewis, who was not wearing her seat belt, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash.  She was pronounced deceased at the scene.  

Link, who was also unrestrained, was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.  Link’s passenger, who was wearing their seat belt, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis.  The crash remains under investigation.

This is the first fatality crash Troop F has investigated in 2022.

Notice of death — Jan. 30, 2022

Michael Calloway 
December 2, 1952 – Jan. 27, 2022 
Funeral service: 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 31, at 11 a.m. at St. David Baptist Church, 136 St. David Church Rd., Vienna 
Interment: Monday, Jan. 31, at St. David Cemetery in Vienna 

Betty Moss 
Dec. 12, 1948 – Jan. 27, 2022 
Family gathering: 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston 
Funeral service: 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston 
Interment: Saturday, Feb. 5, at Grambling Memorial Garden, Highway 80 West, Grambling 

Eleanor Lowery Martin 
Jan. 4, 1949 – Jan. 27, 2022 
Public viewing: 3-5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston 
Funeral service: 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston 
Interment: Saturday, Feb. 5 at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Bowden Rd., Clay 

Michigan man stopped in stolen car after chase

A police pursuit originating in Ouachita Parish was stopped in Ruston Wednesday after Lincoln Parish deputies deployed spike strips to disable a fleeing stolen vehicle.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department was notified of a stolen vehicle being pursued from the West Monroe area on Interstate 20. Deputy J. Marshall was waiting at the 91 mile marker when he observed a vehicle traveling westbound at a high rate of speed. Marshall pursued the vehicle with lights and siren, but it continued to flee at speeds reaching 120 miles per hour. 

Deputies positioned at the 85 mile marker in Ruston deployed spike strips to stop the vehicle. Once the vehicle was disabled, the driver fled into the median on foot where he was apprehended.

The driver possessed no identification and refused to provide any information on his identity. At the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) check revealed the man was Michael Anthony Turkin, 36, of Algonac, Michigan.

Some time after Turkin was placed in a cell, Detention Center personnel noticed the surveillance camera in the cell had been obscured with tissue paper. Turkin was directed to remove the paper and refused. He also refused to take a position so deputies could enter the cell to remove the paper. Pepper spray was deployed so that deputies could enter the cell.

Turkin was booked for illegal possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting an officer by flight, resisting an officer by false information, and tampering with surveillance equipment. He is also being held for the West Monroe Police Department for aggravated flight from an officer.

Bail had not been set as of Thursday afternoon.

Rivalries between friends make parish special

Mike Krzyzewski, who has coached the Duke University men’s basketball team to five NCAA championships and 12 Final Fours, once said “Great rivalries don’t have to be built on hatred. They’re built on respect — a respect for excellence.”

That was unmistakably displayed in Lincoln Parish Monday evening as the Ruston High School Lady Bearcats played host to the Cedar Creek Lady Cougars in a showdown between two of the hottest prep teams in Louisiana right now.

 It was a great game — a fun one — in which the Class 5A Lady Bearcats slowly but surely overpowered the 1A Lady Cougars. But the win didn’t come easily. Cedar Creek’s Sarah Adams scored on a lay-up 24 seconds into the contest to build an early 2-0 lead.

Ruston didn’t take its first lead of the game until there was only 2:15 left in the first quarter when Alexis Foster sank a 3-pointer through nothing but net.

The Lady Bearcats led only 9-2 at the end of the opening stanza before getting hot to open the second quarter with three consecutive 3-pointers from Mariah Hintze.

But it didn’t matter by then. The fuse had already been lit and the crowd had already ignited and exploded into excitement.

Truth be told, the excitement started long before the opening tip. A line of fans hundreds of people long stood outside the RHS Main Gym only minutes before the game started, waiting patiently to finally reach the box office and get tickets to enter the facility.

And what they got was a show of monumental proportions. Yes, the Lady Bearcats ended up roaring to a 56-30 win over the Lady Cougars. But the crowd’s intensity remained from start to finish, and then even afterwards.

Watching the student bodies from both schools next to each, cheering on their teams (and sometimes their opponents, too) was as much fun and exciting as watching the game itself. And as Krzyzewski said, rivalries don’t have to involve hatred. And this rivalry game certainly didn’t. It was simply filled with amazing moments both on the court and off.

There’s a reason Lady Techsters basketball coach Brooke Stoher was on hand to watch the contest. Cedar Creek’s Adams proved that while she might play for a small school, she can more than hang with the big girls and scored 27 of her team’s total 30 points in the process. Adams can take it to the basket or stop and pop from anywhere on the court, short or long, which is why she’s earned the attention of college coaches like Stoher. 

But it wasn’t only Adams showcasing almost freakish ability at times.

Maybe the most amazing play of the night came on a missed shot by Ruston Kiona McAllister. The 6-0 senior made a move driving toward the basketball and then did her best Michael Jordan impression, seemingly walking on air around a Cedar Creek defender before landing on her feet standing by herself under the goal.

With a look of shock she tried a quick lay-up with a little too much force as it bounced off the backboard back toward the court. But that didn’t stop fans from teams erupting with cheers, laughter and applause while the players from both teams giggled with excitement over what they had just seen.

It was simply that kind of game — a game Lincoln Parish needed. The kind of game we’ve seen before, but not nearly enough. A game where parents of players could be found hugging and reminiscing with opposing players afterwards.

Remember the Grambling State at LA Tech football game played in September of 2019 as fans from both schools packed Joe Aillet Stadium despite the blistering and truly dangerous heat they had to endure? That game had much the same type of excitement and camaraderie shown by the Ruston High and Cedar Creek teams and fans Monday night. That LA Tech-GSU football game was recorded as a 20-14 for the Bulldogs. But the real winners were the fans in attendance.

Over the years we’ve been fortunate here in Lincoln Parish to watch the Ruston and Simsboro boys basketball teams face off in a showdown between a big school and small school powerhouse, with the big winners being the fans watching the action.

We see it yearly in the Lincoln Parish rivalry between Simsboro and Choudrant, especially in boys basketball. The Tigers and Aggies still have District 1-B showdowns coming up in Simsboro on Friday and in Choudrant on Feb. 8. And with Simsboro ranked No 1 in the state and Choudrant No. 7 according to the latest GeauxPreps.com power ratings, those games will be worthy of Krzyzewski’s quote.

Our local rivalries are built on respect — a respect for excellence, indeed.

Firearm on GSU campus leads to arrest

Grambling State University police arrested a male earlier this week for having a firearm on campus. 

GSU Police were contacted by housing personnel in response to a loud music complaint and smoking inside a room in Bowen Hall. When GSU officer Cpl. Boldes arrived, the Resident Assistant was questioning three individuals sitting in the open area. The RA informed Boldes that when she attempted to enter the room, someone pushed the door shut and she could hear multiple people running through the four-room apartment. 

As Boldes entered the room, a smell of suspected marijuana and marijuana pieces inside the trash can were noticed. Boldes asked the three individuals whether there were any more people inside the room, and they stated yes. There was a male hiding near the shower in one of the bathrooms, two females sitting on the bed in one bedroom, and one male and one female hiding in a closet. As Boldes cleared the room to ensure no one else was inside, Boldes noticed a small fanny pack on the ground inside the closet with a hard object inside – a loaded Springfield handgun with a weapon light attachment, along with a magazine and four rounds. 

Boldes immediately placed the two individuals who were hiding in the closet in handcuffs, but neither claimed ownership of the handgun. After questioning one of the room’s occupants, Boldes found out that Collin James Smith, one of the individuals in the closet, had the fanny pack before the RA made entry in the room. The female who was in the closet with Smith said she saw him drop the fanny pack in the closet while they were hiding. 

Smith was transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and booked on charges of having a firearm on school property.  

Dusty McGehee: Jackson’s comeback buck

Jackson’s Comeback Buck

We’ve all had moments or situations where we wanted to quit, but as the old saying goes “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.”  Jackson Ewing proved this in the Tensas swamp a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve known Jackson all his life, but first really got to know him a few years ago when he was 7.  His father, Adam, had taken up a new interest in deer hunting and wanted to involve his son in the sport.  Adam has always been a die-hard duck hunter, but lack of ducks in our area caused him to take up a different game to chase.

Adam approached me in the fall of 2019 and asked for some advice on how to get Jackson to shoot a deer rifle.  Just like any kid, Jackson was apprehensive of the recoil and noise of a rifle, but I had an easy solution.  I told Adam to bring him to our range and I’d let Anders shoot a couple of times to ease his anxiety.  Plus, I knew Jackson was competitive so he wouldn’t want a school mate & friend to outdo him.

The barrel was still smoking from Anders’ first shot when Jackson yelled “Ok dad! I’m ready to shoot!”  Anders and Jackson turned it into a competition and sent multiple rounds down the range.  At the end of the “shoot off” we declared a tie when they both hit bullseyes.  Jackson was now ready to hit the woods.

Jackson’s first deer season was almost too good to be true.  He got a buck on his first hunt and had never been more excited in his life.  Shortly after, he killed a nice 8 point and then on the last weekend of the season, he killed a big 8 point.

The 2020 season comes around and it was the opposite of his first year of hunting.  The pair deer hunted with no luck.  They went to the duck blind on multiple occasions and had nothing to show for their efforts.  Jackson’s interest in hunting began to wane. 

In September of 2021, I was picking up Anders from football practice and Jackson walked out of the locker room.  I asked him if he was ready for deer season and he responded, “I’m done with hunting.”  I was caught off guard and looked at Adam with confusion but told him “He’ll be back.”

It didn’t take much convincing and as soon as the 2021 deer season began, Jackson was back in the saddle.  Unfortunately, the weather was awful the first few weekends of the season and deer sightings were almost nonexistent.  They hunted hard and finally got an opportunity at another nice 8 point.  Adam admitted he made Jackson rush the shot… and he missed.  Once again, Jackson’s confidence and interest in hunting began to wane.

Adam knew he had to do something to give Jackson a pick me up.  The next hunt, Adam told Jackson he could shoot the first deer that came out.  This was EXACTLY what Jackson wanted to hear.  The first big doe that came into range hit the dirt with the crack of Jackson’s rifle.  He was on cloud 9, just as if it was the biggest trophy in the world.  JACK WAS BACK!

Adam received 2 cellular trail cameras for Christmas from his mother-in-law and the plan was set.  His brother-in-law Cole had a tract of land that is a magnet to deer in the late season.  They saw a major cold front incoming around the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Adam had the day off.  He and Cole put out some feed in six areas and placed trail cameras on each one.  Before they even got home, their phones were blowing up with pictures.  They quickly identified 3 bucks that would be their targets for the upcoming weekend.

Adam gets to the property on Thursday, puts out more feed and climbs in his ground blind.  He didn’t see much that evening or the following morning.  He was a bit confused as to why the deer were not coming into the site, like they had all week.  He knew he was doing something wrong and after lots of thought, determined the wind direction was totally wrong.  Let’s give him a pass here, remember Adam is relatively new to deer hunting.

Adam relocates his blind for the Friday evening hunt and it immediately pays dividends.  At 4:10PM, a doe comes out to his rice bran and the buck Adam had his eye on was right behind her.  Adam takes aim and takes down his 8 point.  Cole was hunting close by, so Adam remained in the blind so he would not spook any deer.  10 minutes before dark, the larger 8-point that he had picked out for Jackson came into point blank range.  After admiring the buck, Adam slipped out after dark and retrieved his deer.

Jackson gets to camp late Friday night and is bursting with anticipation.  Jackson opted to skip the Saturday morning hunt for 2 reasons: the buck was a regular in the evenings and they did not want to spook him walking in…. and he wanted to play with his cousins.  After a fun filled morning, it was time to get to business.

Adam and Jackson head to the ground blind around 3PM.  The weather was arctic cold with a high in the mid-30s.  A young 8 point came out early and Jackson begged his dad to shoot it.  “If he asked once, he asked 100 times,” said Adam.  He told him to be patient and held him off.  As daylight faded and the temperature dropped, deer began filing out in front of them.  With 15 minutes remaining of legal shooting light, Jackson’s buck appears.

He puts the rifle on the shooting stick and gets steady.  Right before he planned to pull the trigger, 2 does get in front of his buck.  Jackson stays on the deer for what seems like an eternity, waiting on his opportunity.  5 minutes pass and he is as cool as a cucumber.  The buck finally clears the does and Jackson squeezes the trigger.

The buck kicks and makes a death run for the woods then crashes in a ravine 15 yards away.  Immediately, a celebration ensues in the blind.  They get out and hit the blood trail and within sight of the shot, they see a massive rack sticking up out of the water.  Emotions were high with a proud dad and his ecstatic 9-year-old son.

In a short 3 years, Jackson has experienced the roller coaster of hunting.  The highs are amazing, but the lows can be tough.  He learned a valuable lesson in not only hunting, but in life, too.  Adversity is inevitable but it only makes you stronger.  When asked if Jackson would consider quitting again, the response was a quick “Heck no, he is HOOKED.”

Congratulations Jackson and thanks for teaching your dad how to deer hunt.


Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders (9), Ridge (7) and Mae (5). If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.