Taser used to safely apprehend suspect

A Ruston Police officer had to resort to discharging a Taser electronic control device to take a local woman who was threatening a man with a knife into custody.

About 9:30 Sunday morning, officers were dispatched to a White Street address regarding a woman attempting to enter the residence while armed with a knife. As officers arrived, Kenzlei Crowe, 18, of Ruston, was observed going into the residence.

As an officer was nearing the house, Crowe was heard to say, “Let me go; I will kill him.” When the officer entered the residence, a woman was observed restraining Kenzlei who was struggling to approach a man with a large knife in her right hand.

The officer deployed a Taser to immobilize Crowe, recover the knife, and take her into custody. 

The man Crowe was attempting to assault stated he had been dating her. 

As Crowe was being transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, she allegedly 

stated several times that she would kill the man when released from jail.


LA Tech’s Alford set to compete at Farmers Insurance Open

L to R: Ricky Fowler, Kamaiu Johnson, Ryan Alford and Sam Burns played nine holes Monday in preparation for the Farmers Insurance Open. It will be Alford’s first career PGA event.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Louisiana Tech assistant golf coach Ryan Alford will be spending the week in California … and hopefully the weekend as well.

The former Bulldog golfer is one of two players who received an exemption to play in the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open along with Kamaiu Johnson. The event will run Wednesday through Saturday at Torrey Pines Golf Course. It will be Alford’s first career start on the PGA Tour.

Alford will tee off at 9:50 a.m. on Hole No. 1 with Joshua Creel (US) and Mito Pereira (Chile).

“First PGA Tour start,” said Alford. “It’s a dream come true. It’s surreal right now. Tomorrow I will tee it up. My debut. Very excited. Grateful. Thankful for the opportunity.”

Alford played a practice round on Monday with Johnson, Sam Burns and Ricky Fowler.

“We played nine holes; just a little game,” said Alford. “It’s always good playing with my high school teammate and my childhood friend. Having the opportunity to play with (Sam) and having the confidence that I grew up with him and played a lot of golf with him. I’m just moving forward. It keeps the dream alive. I know I belong out here. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

The exemptions support Farmers® ongoing commitment to the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour and its work to grow diversity in golf. Helping to remove the financial burden associated with the game and providing playing opportunities are top priorities for both Farmers and the APGA.

The organizations are also focused on ensuring players have access to the tools and support they need, allowing them to better focus on their career path and development in the game.

“Both Ryan Alford and Kamaiu Johnson have their own stories of perseverance, and each has shown they can compete and win on the APGA Tour this season,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Farmers Insurance Open. “Ryan has enjoyed tremendous success with two victories on the APGA Tour this season and we felt Johnson deserved his chance to return and finish what he wasn’t able to start in January 2021. Not only are they great golfers on the course, but they also both give back and work to grow the sport in the communities where they learned the game.”  

Alford, 25, grew up learning the game with his father and through First Tee Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, La., eventually representing the chapter at the Pure Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee in 2011.

He was a standout player for the Bulldogs and on the APGA Tour. During the 2021 season, Alford had back-to-back victories at TPC Scottsdale and Valhalla Golf Club. He also finished runner-up in the final event of the APGA Farmers Insurance Fall Series at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles. Alford was a teammate of PGA TOUR standout Sam Burns at Calvary Baptist Academy where he was part of a string of five consecutive Louisiana state championship titles.

Alford talked about his mindset heading into Thursday’s first round.

“I’m trying to keep it simple,” said Alford. “One shot at a time. Stick to my routine. Stick to what got me here.”

Alford is the second Bulldog to play in a PGA event in the past 12 months after Sam Forgan competed in the British Open last year. He said representing his University is special.

“It’s great,” said Alford. “I’m sure you will hear more from Louisiana Tech golf in the very near future. But for me to be out here is a dream come true, and I am very thankful for it.”


TA Effort: Confessions of a ‘Jeopardy’ deadbeat

“And the answer is: What do you call a person who has no chance of correctly answering more than three questions, tops, on any single episode of Jeopardy!?”

“What is a Jeopardy! Deadbeat?”

“Correct! The judges would have also taken ‘What is Most any Normal Person?’”

No one is in jeopardy of me beating them on Jeopardy!, four decades old and the most-watched TV game show of all-time. The questions — or answers, if you prefer — are cast-iron tough. Harder than an acre of ash.

There is every reason to watch Jeopardy! and one big reason not to. What I hear most is, “It makes me feel stupid.” Legit response. Makes me feel more stupid. I passed feeling stupid a long time ago.

But … to those using that excuse, we offer this:

Consider an attitude adjustment. I know going in I’m not the most mature apple on the tree, so when I watch, it’s with low expectations. Extremely low. Barrel-bottom low. Again, me and millions of other stupid people have made it the most popular game show ever.

That anyone can ever actually win a match, even one, is what makes the current goings-on all that more confounding. The show’s reigning champ isn’t just beating people, she’s destroying them. Sherman through Georgia. She’s the game show equivalent of football’s 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

A historic champ is Amy Schneider, a 41-year-old engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., who after Monday’s just-another-day-at-the-office rout had won 39 consecutive matches and moved into second place all-time and all by her lonesome.

She’d also pocketed $1,319,800. Hello.

She’s still way behind all-time champ Ken Jennings and his 74 straight wins. If she were chasing Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak, she’d be around 30. Lot of pitchers left to face.

That said, Schneider’s got game. Monday alone, she answered questions from the categories of, among others, Government Agencies, Bodies of Water, The Crusades, Rhythm & Blues, Roman Life & Culture — quite the varied array.

As usual, she won by $10,000 — and that was after losing $25,000 in Final Jeopardy. LOST 25 large and still won by 10.

Some of Monday’s answers/questions, with the correct response in parentheses. Good luck:

“Moses’ mom put him in an ark made of this plant?” Me: “Reeds!” (Bulrush.) Dang! I KNEW I had that one …

“The mission of BLM, short for this, is ‘to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands.’” Me: “What is the Big Land Machine?” (Bureau of Land Management)

“Croatia’s border rivers, the Sava & Drava, are both tributaries of this one.” Me: “Uh ….” (The Gulf of Sidra)

“Pope Eugenius III launched the Second Crusade in 1145 with ‘Quantum Praedecessores,’ one of these documents named for its seal.” Me: “No WAY there was a whole other Crusade after the first one. No livin’ WAY!” (The Papal Bull.)

My guess would have been The Mama Bull. So close…

The show airs 4:30 weekdays on ABC. Sometimes I’ll record it and, if I’ve had a good day, I’ll watch maybe 10 minutes, just to be humbled, just to remind myself that while a contestant is winning on Jeopardy! each weekday, I barely know the difference between the Gulf of Sidra and the Gulf gas station down on the corner.

Always felt I had a fightin’-man’s chance back in the day with Match Game. The Price is Right. Even Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. But Jeopardy! is a different animal. It’s always the windshield; I’m always the bug.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


Fleeing suspect caught

A Dubach man was arrested Monday after he fled deputies who were attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

When Lincoln Parish deputies went to a May Road residence Monday to serve a warrant, Louis J. Johnson, 26, fled out the back door. Johnson was wearing a black backpack at the time. He was ordered to stop but continued to flee.

A search was conducted, and a black backpack was found in the woods where Johnson was last seen. The pack contained two large plastic bags of suspected synthetic marijuana and four opened water bottles containing colored liquids mixed with suspected codeine.

Deputies apprehended Johnson nearby. He was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for resisting an officer, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance.


Louisiana Tech ASCE team wins Road-Eo competition

Louisiana Tech University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers Transportation Leadership Council (ASCE TLC) won first place in the 2021 Asphalt Road-Eo competition held in December.

Civil Engineering juniors Robert Dixon, Charity Durr, Mason Macaluso and Noah Savoie conducted a virtual forensic analysis using data from the rutted pavement on highways in Texas. The team presented their findings to a panel of judges who gave the Louisiana Tech team the top ranking.

Louisiana Tech classes and extracurricular activities prepared the team for the event.

“I was excited to participate in this competition because it was an opportunity to sharpen my leadership, connect with industry professionals, and learn more about my future industry. My team had to come together and research a field completely new to us because none of us had taken the Highways II course, which deals with asphalt failure, yet,” Durr, the ASCE TLC chair, said. “Our TLC chapter won the second competition back in 2019, however, because that was pre-pandemic and in person and this was a virtual competition, it was completely different than this competition. Louisiana Tech has equipped me with the persistence needed to tackle a problem completely unfamiliar to me like this one was. Louisiana Tech has also shown me that there are so many opportunities around for the taking, I just had to have enough confidence in myself to take them.”

“Participating in this competition was amazing,” Dixon added. “I honestly decided to join the team last second, but I am glad I did. The competition gave our team the opportunity to use problem-solving and research skills that we’ve been developing since we got to Tech. It was a learning experience, and I was fortunate to be a part of the team.”

Noah Savoie pointed out that his love for research and concrete design developed through his experiences building working concrete canoes for the Tech student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and in Tech’s Civil Engineering program courses.

“I was excited to get involved in Asphalt Road-Eo because of the interest in concrete design I got as a member of the ASCE Concrete Canoe team, as well as my goal to experience more aspects of ASCE. The potential prize money was also an incentive! My experiences at Louisiana Tech have greatly developed my data analysis and research skills, which proved to be instrumental in winning the competition,” Savoie said.

“I was excited to participate in the competition because I wanted to get more involved with ASCE and put knowledge from our classes to use,” Macaluso added. “My education at Tech helped me through this process by preparing me for problem solving as was required in the competition.”

Louisiana Tech’s Transportation Leadership Council is a subgroup of the ASCE student chapter and is sponsored by the Southern Plains Transportation Center (SPTC). Faculty advisors like professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Technology Dr. Nazimuddin “Wasi” Wasiuddin, encourage students in the TLC to prepare for their careers by participating in activities that include Transportation Month lectures, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Adopt-A-Road Program, and TLC Forums in SPTC universities.

“This is the second time that the Louisiana Tech team has won the competition, which has only been held four times,” Wasiuddin said. “I’m proud of our ASCE TLC students for their outstanding performance! They prepared extremely hard for these competitions.”

The Texas Asphalt Pavement Association and the University of Texas at Austin hosted the event.


LA Tech Softball sets Alumni Weekend

Photo by Matthew Cassity Photography courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

RUSTON – All former Louisiana Tech softball players, managers and coaches are invited back for Alumni Weekend set for April 1-3 at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

The Lady Techsters will host UTSA in a three-game series with game times set for 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to welcome back as many former softball alums as possible for this weekend,” said Tech head coach Josh Taylor. “Not only will it give our new staff a chance to meet and begin building relationships with them, but it will provide our current players a chance to directly interact with them as well.

“It should be a special weekend, and we are going to do everything possible to make sure our alums feel connected to their program.”

A number of events are scheduled for Saturday, April 2. Prior to the first pitch of the game against UTSA, members of the 2020 Senior Class (Jenny Chapman, Marilyn Rizzato, and Addison Roark) will be honored. The University was unable to honor them on the field in 2020 due to the season being cut short by Covid-19.

Following the contest on Saturday, all former Lady Techster softball players, managers and coaches who are in attendance will be recognized on the field.

An open tour of the new facility – including locker room, team meeting room, players’ lounge, coaches’ offices, sports medicine and the indoor hitting facility with the Origin Bank Soccer and Softball Complex – will be given to all alums following the on-field recognition.

Following the tour, an Alumni Cookout (RSVPs are required) will be held as parents of current Lady Techsters players have volunteered their time to cook food for the former players and alums.

The day will be capped by “Hitting Under the Lights,” an opportunity for all former players to take some swings at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

All former alums will receive up to two free tickets for the weekend while additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate ($10) for the entire weekend. 

To RSVP for the weekend, all former players, managers and coaches should email malcolm@latech.edu and include contact cell.


Granddaddy’s Farm…A childhood memory

By Wesley Harris

I take a highway to work past the old homeplace where my father grew up. Memories of visits to my granddaddy and grandma spur a longing for the house and barn and animals and family of my youth. 

It was a real country house. Small, simple. Clapboard painted white, a front porch its one and only amenity.

It possessed running water of a sort—at a spring in the woods behind the house. More conveniently, I could pull up a bucket of water from the well or scoop a glassful from a rain barrel. The barrels sat along the edge of the house to catch rain dripping off the tin roof. Grandma said drink from the well and leave the rain barrels for washing clothes and bathing. It was a long time before I realized we sat in the dark around the fireplace because there was no electricity. 

Since the two-seater outhouse lacked lights or heat, I did not linger. It was a little scary to sit in the dark, foul outhouse on a wooden seat and despite the known horrors below, I couldn’t help but peer down the hole.

With an abundance of tall flowers and oversized shrubs, the yard encouraged jungle adventures. No need to fantasize about dangerous animals. Bees and wasps and dragonflies and nameless insects buzzed and hummed around the flowers. And my head. The thought of painful stings terrified me as much as being attacked by the arrogant rooster patrolling the yard. 

Chickens—red, white, yellow, and speckled—ran loose everywhere. When a chicken flew down out of a tree, I ran like a rabbit evading a hungry hawk. The chickens fought one another, squawking and stirring up dust. I stayed away from them.

The feed store gave Granddaddy a calendar each year. The current calendar and last year’s and the year before adorned the bedroom wall. Each month pictured a different breed of chicken. I studied the calendars and examined the yard chickens to find those matching the pictures. Granddaddy had many chickens, but he did not have all the chickens on the calendars. 

I enjoyed gathering eggs even though the chickens made me nervous. I ventured from tree to bush to wooden box looking for eggs to place in my tin bucket. Just like Easter except all the eggs were brown or white. If a hen sat on her nest guarding her eggs, I left her alone. 

Flowers covered the yard, a colorful display of God’s creation, substituting for the lack of grass picked clean by the chickens. Zinnias, daylilies, daffodils, chrysanthemums, and giant towering sunflowers. Some bloomed in the spring and some in the summer. I liked the four-o’clocks because they worked like a timepiece, opening and closing at different times of the day. It was easy to collect the four-o’clock seeds and replant them at home. 

A huge pear tree commanded one corner of the front yard. Daddy parked our car under the tree so my brother and I could climb up and reach the pears. Even when plenty of pears littered the ground, it was more fun to pick our own off the tree. My brothers and I always ate too many.

Tin lard buckets containing pepper plants stood everywhere. Grandma made pepper sauce to flavor peas and turnip greens and everything else she and Granddaddy ate. Food came from the garden, not a store. I used my share of pepper sauce, too, and acquired a taste for a spicy condiment on most everything I eat. 

The garden was always fun. Rows and rows of corn plants stretched tall toward the sky. Daddy said some of it was sweet corn for eating and some was called field corn. The field corn was for Nell the horse and the cows.

“Wanna go bust a melon?” Dad would ask and off to the garden we trekked. The watermelons covered much of the garden because of their long trailing vines. Dad and I tried growing watermelons in our little garden at home, but they never turned out as good as Granddaddy’s. Dad said the soil was different and our garden was too shady. 

We ate watermelon in the garden. Dad thumped melon after melon with his finger until he found the right one. I thumped them too, but I could not tell one from another. 

Sometimes I spotted jagged holes in the watermelons, right down to the middle, with red juice oozing out. Dad said crows had been eating them.

After Dad found the best watermelon, he snapped it off the vine, lifted it off the ground, and dropped it to break it open. No knives, no spoons, just use your hands to scoop out the red stuff. The heart of the melon, right in the middle, was the best. If we ate all the middle and wanted some more, we broke open another one because there plenty of melons and the heart is the best. When we finished, we left the remainder on the ground, hoping the lazy crows ate the leftovers rather than ruin another on the vine.

Granddaddy almost never went to the garden with us. I guess he spent enough time there as it was. While we explored, he rested in one of his three favorite places. In the winter, he used a rocking chair by the bedroom fireplace. In good weather, he was on the porch in another rocking chair. On lazy summer days, he reclined on a feather bed in the screened-in breezeway running down the middle of the house. 

Throughout my childhood, I thought Granddaddy’s horse was named Nail. What a strange name for a horse, I thought. I had never known anyone named Nell so only the word ‘nail’ was familiar. Nell pulled the plow in Granddaddy’s garden. Dad plowed sometimes while I watched. I could tell it was hard work. For Dad, I mean. He had to keep the plow headed straight and be careful not to plow up the plants. Nell knew when to turn and start down the next row. Now and then Dad bent over and picked up a rock, inspected it a moment, and tossed it out of the garden. He said he found many arrowheads when he plowed as a boy. I followed behind him looking for arrowheads in the freshly turned earth. I never found any, but he gave me some he had found many years earlier.

I wish I had spent more time at the little spring bubbling up at the bottom of a woody hill behind the garden. It was a quiet cool place, even in summer. You could not see the garden, or the pasture, or the barn, or the house from the spring. The water was cold and sweet and more fun to drink than water from the well or the barrel. A little dam had been built around the spring to create a pool. The water rushed out of the ground and spilled over the rocks, running out of sight into the woods. 

The old homeplace belongs to another family now. The only landmarks I recognize as I pass are two towering oaks that once shaded the front yard and daffodils that pop out every spring. The house was torn down in the early 70s, and Dad salvaged wood to build a barn for my 4-H livestock projects. The door to the only closet in the house was added to the barn. Now the door serves as a rustic coffee table in my den, reminding me of that simple old house, loving grandparents, and childhood memories.


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Notice of death — Jan. 25, 2022

Rebecca (Becky) Wood Whalen 
Date of Death: January 7, 2022 
Interment: 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, Kilpatrick Memorial Garden, 1270 LA Highway 544, Ruston 
Graveside service: 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, Kilpatrick Memorial Garden, 1270 LA Highway 544, Ruston 
Louisiana Memorial Celebration: 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 6, at Calvary Baptist Church Chapel, 5011 Jackson Street, Alexandria 

Jerry Dee Nugent 
September 28, 1949 – January 22, 2022 
Visitation: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville 
Memorial Service: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville 


Eviction order leads to arrest

A Ruston man was arrested last Thursday after he resisted efforts by the Ruston City Marshal’s Office to evict him from a residence pursuant to a judge’s order.

A Ruston deputy marshal, accompanied by Ruston Police officers, went to 500 South Barnett Springs Street with the judge’s order to evict Zecharian E. Moore, 28, from an apartment. Moore refused to get out of bed and leave the premises. When officers attempted to remove him, Moore allegedly became combative with officers who had to wrestle with him to apply handcuffs. 

During the tussle, Moore he said was God and that he was going to get stronger and that he could kill the officers, but he would only hurt them this time.

Moore was transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and booked for resisting an officer, violating a judge’s order, threatening a public officer, and remaining after being forbidden.

Bail was set at $15,500.


Ruston’s Garrett named state girls XC Runner of the Year

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston High School’s Lily Garrett has shown she’s one of the best distance runners in the state.

Now the junior is being recognized as one of the top prep athletes in the nation after being named the 2021-22 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

That award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Garrett as Louisiana’s best high school girls cross country runner.

“I’m so honored. It really hasn’t processed yet,” Garrett said Monday of receiving the award. “I guess it will hit me at some point.”

Earning the award means Garrett is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in February

Garrett is the first Gatorade Louisiana Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Ruston High School and follows in the footsteps of Dyllon Nimmers, who was named the 2020-21 Gatorade Louisiana Boys Cross Country Player of the Year last year before moving on to LSU.

Garrett recorded a time of 18:08.30 in the 3-mile LHSAA 5A State Championships this past season to win an individual title while leading the Bearcats to a runner-up finish as a team. 

She also won the 5A Region 1 meet with a personal-best time of 17:27.31 — the state’s fastest girls time in 2021 — which ranks as the seventh-fastest girls three-mile time in state history. 

Garrett was back to burning her name into the record books last week as she set a meet record at the LSU Indoor Qualifiers with a time of 11:03.48, breaking the record of 11:03.85 set by Carmen Carlos of Mobile Parks in 2010.

“She ran 11.03 in the 3,200-meter run on Saturday. That’s the fifth fastest indoors time ever ran by a Louisiana girl,” said RHS head Cross Country coach Dustin Cochran. “So she’s starting to get to that level. Look at Dyllon Nimmers last year. It took him until his senior year to get to that level. But now, she’s starting to show as a junior that she can be a national-class kid if she keeps building on it. 

“To earn the Gatorade Louisiana Runner of the Year Award as a junior gives her the opportunity to be really well known and gives her validation for all the hard work she’s put in as well as the realization that she got rewarded for it. So where does she want to go from here? I think it also shows younger girls around here that they might be able to do it, too, with the same kind of hard work and effort.”

Garrett, who has been invited to the New Balance Nationals meet in New York in March, led last week’s meet from start to finish. 

“I knew I wanted to go out strong like Coach Cochran and I had been talking,” Garrett said. “So I got out and just ran fast. I really didn’t know how fast I was going to go or that I was going to break any kind of record. But I was very happy with my time.”

A 2021 all-state selection, Garrett was unbeaten at the three-mile distance last fall and her winning time at the state meet marked the sixth-fastest high school time in course history at Northwestern State in Natchitoches. 

Garrett, who has maintained a 3.22 GPA in the classroom, said she won’t let winning the Gatorade award as a junior put any added pressure on her.

“I try not to think about it as pressure,” she said. “I’m just trying to see how fast I can get and trying to stay focused and keep going. This is only the beginning.”

Opposing coaches have also taken notice of Garrett’s abilities.

“Lily Garrett is a running force to be reckoned with,” said Zachary High School head coach Julie Fink. “She was definitely the breakout runner in the girls realm this past season. It’s exciting to see a young woman race with such confidence and a willingness to push her limits. Her bold running inspires others and makes both her and her fellow competitors better.” 

Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Garrett has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of her choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Garrett is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization she chose is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.


Drug charges result from stalking complaint

A victim’s complaint that an ex-boyfriend was stalking her led to the arrest of a 20-year-old Ruston man last Friday.

The victim had reported to Ruston Police on Thursday that Jacoby Dyer had followed her to and from Grambling on multiple occasions and had battered her.

Dyer had allegedly sent threatening text messages to the victim as well has a photo of the exterior of the victim’s residence. 

Friday evening RPD Officer H. Laborde spotted Dyer at 409 West Alabama Avenue. Officers observed suspected marijuana on the passenger side of Dyer’s car. A search of the car revealed a large bag of marijuana, scales commonly associated with the distribution of controlled substances, and a small plastic bag of suspected synthetic marijuana. 

Dyer was arrested for stalking, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute, and possession of a synthetic Schedule I controlled substance. 

At the time of the arrest, RPD anticipated adding an additional charge of battery of a dating partner.


Police Jury, School Board pass new redistricting plan

By William Midkiff

On the evening of Jan. 24, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury and the Lincoln Parish School Board held a joint meeting to consider adopting an ordinance which lays out a redistricting plan called the Lincoln PJ-SB Plan 2022.

This plan details the redrawing of Lincoln Parish Police Jury district lines. The new district lines proposed in the plan have been drawn using population data from the 2020 federal decennial census.

Using the 2020 census data, the new ideal district size is 4,033 people. According to Dannie Garrett, who explained all of the demographics information at the meeting, all of the new district populations meet the legal apportionment requirements.

“It’s got everybody within that plus or minus 5% that you’re required to be in,” Garrett said.

Under the proposed lines, the most populous district is now District 3, with a total population of 4,181 people. This is a 3.67% deviation from the ideal size.

District 9 is now the least populous, with a total population of 3,849 people. This is a -4.56% deviation from the ideal size.

The new plan was drawn to be as least intrusive as possible, a goal which Garrett believes was met.

“The members were very sensitive about making dramatic changes if they didn’t need to be made, to have as little voter disruption as possible,” Garrett said. “Now, there is no way to redraw a plan without voter disruption. There are going to be some people who are not in the district they’ve always been in.”

Lincoln Parish resident Bill Smith had several concerns to voice over the period of the meeting. Smith did not agree with many of the new district lines and hoped that his comments would be expanded upon.

“I have two big concerns with District 11, District 10, District 3, and District 9. And I would be glad if you decided to go into a public hearing about that so that it can be discussed,” Smith said.

Smith later questioned the authority of the jurors in the redistricting process.

“I resent you saying that those people around that table know more about these lines, and what should be and shouldn’t be, than anybody,” Smith said. “And I don’t see how you can fix your mouth to say that they know more about it than people out here in the audience.”

Despite Smith’s comments, the lines were not debated further at the meeting, and both of the redistricting plans were passed.

The first item, an ordinance to adopt the redistricting plan for the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, was passed unanimously by the police jurors.

The second item, a resolution to adopt the same redistricting plan for the Lincoln Parish School Board, was passed by 11 of the 11 school board members present.

Since the items were passed without further debate, Smith made a comment on how he plans to further voice his concerns.

“I had several questions and comments and disagreements, and nobody chose to discuss it,” Smith said. “So I guess we’ll just go to the Justice Department, and I’ll have my discussion with them.”

Garrett ended the meeting with a cheerful comment about how even though this reapportionment work is being done all over the state, Lincoln Parish got it done first.


Lady Cats down Lady Cougars in city showdown


By T. Scott Boatright

Cedar Creek senior standout Sarah Adams burst out of the gates and hit the Lady Cougars’ first basket only 24 seconds into Monday night’s girls hoop showdown against Ruston at the RHS Main Gym.

Unfortunately, it ended up being more than a quarter later before Adams and the Lady Cougars scored their next points as the Ruston High School Lady Bearcats put a 56-30 victory into the scorebook.

But the real winners were the packed house of fans who showed up to cheer on their teams — and sometimes even both teams at once.

“For me, the biggest thing was to get that playoff environment experience — there’s no bigger crowd in Ruston that’s going to be brought than Cedar Creek — was huge,” Graf said. “The fans on both sides were awesome. Everybody was super respectful but competitive at the same time and brought a lot of energy to the game. It’s just something you cannot duplicate in a practice or any other way other than experiencing it.

“I know (Cedar Creek Coach Gene Vandenlangenberg) and I wanted that third round, or home playoff game whenever that is, kind of atmosphere where you know you’ve got to handle your business. You’ve got to learn to fight through the ups and downs of the crowd and execute and stay the course. That’s what I was really thankful to get out of this game.” 

Vandenlangenberg agreed with Graf’s feelings about the game.

“It was exactly what I was hoping we’d get — a playoff atmosphere,” Vandenlangenberg said. “I wanted to get our girls a little nervous and anxious and see how they handle it. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we can take a lot of things out of this game. Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs and tonight, playing a very good team, will hopefully help make us a better team down the road.

“We stepped out of our comfort zone a little bit tonight and challenged our team by playing a really good, well-balanced Ruston team. They’re a very good defensive team. They’re long, they’re athletic, and they just play defense really well. We had a great atmosphere, and I’m so proud of our girls going out there and giving it everything they had.”

While the Lady Bearcats won big, both teams struggled to hit their shots early, with Ruston not scoring until Alexis Foster nailed a 3-point shot with 2:15 remaining in the opening stanza.

Ruston led only 9-2 at the end of the first quarter, but the Lady Bearcats came out blazing to start the second period thanks to a red-hot Mariah Hintze, who nailed three consecutive 3-pointers to push the RHS advantage to 18-2 with 6:15 left in the first half.

“Mariah Hintze caught fire,” Graf said. “I’ll give her credit. She is a heckuva shooter, but I thought she looked ready and focused to shoot and I thought she did a really good job on the defensive end. She brought an intensity that really got us going.”

Cedar Creek wouldn’t score again until Adams hit a jumper at the 5:32 mark of the second quarter and by halftime the Lady Bearcats had stretched its advantage to 28-8.

“We got good looks, but maybe we were rushing our shots a little bit,” Vandenlangenberg said. “Because the speed and the physicality of this game is something we hadn’t seen. Sometimes facing that you think you have to shoot it faster — you’ve got to rush your shots. Maybe we missed some because of that. I don’t know. We have OCS next Tuesday and I think tonight’s game has definitely helped prepare us for that.’

In the second half, Ruston slowly but surely  wore down the Lady Cougars, not allowing Cedar Creek any closer than 21 points (39-18) in the final quarter.

“I give Cedar Creek tremendous props,’ Graf said. “Coach Van is a heckuva coach. He’s got them right where they’re supposed to be. They execute, they play hard and never take a play off. They’ve got some really salty kids that play together — they’re really good.”

Hintze led RHS with 13 points while Jaliyah McWain and Zaccheya McNeal added 11 points each for the Lady Bearcats.

Adams led Cedar Creek by scoring 27 of the Lady Cougars’ 30 points on the night.

“I will be the first to say that Sarah Adams is a ball player,” Graf said. “She has all of the intangibles. She has all the skill sets. She showed tonight she can play with the big girls. Everything about her is what you want in a player as a coach and I have a great respect for her and how she competed and carried herself. It’s good to see local kids represent Ruston like that no matter what school they play for.”

In the end, Graf said her biggest takeaway was to see Ruston’s love for girls basketball.

“I enjoyed seeing so much of Ruston in one place supporting girls basketball — two high quality teams — like they did. That was special. That’s something we don’t get to see all the time. I just thought everybody handled themselves with class. I loved seeing the gym the way it was and that atmosphere. For Ruston as a town, there was really something special for me to see and experience.”

Cedar Creek, now 18-1, will next play host to St. Frederick tonight, while Ruston (19-6) will try to remain undefeated in District 2-5A in a game at Alexandria Senior High on Friday.

Photo: Darrell James (dgjames.photoshelter.com)