Downtown adds flavor to festival

By Judith Roberts, publisher

It’s one day to celebrate it all.

Peach Fest is this week, and Amy Stegall, Main Street director and community coordinator, said June 4 is going to be jam packed with fun, experience and, of course, peaches.

“Music and food will be in Railroad Park and on Park Avenue,” Stegall said. “This year there will be the Art Market in Sexton Lot and on East Park Avenue, snack vendors on East Park Ave and The Kids Alley in Esma’s Alley and on the east part of East Park Avenue.  Beta Sigma Phi will be selling peach ice cream at the historic fire station, where you’ll also find the winning entries from the NCLAC Peach Art Show.  There will be a Peach Parade at 9 a.m. hosted by Quota Club. The Peachy Sidewalk Sale will be happening all over downtown. There will be a Peach Hunt which is always a community favorite — the peach prize is hidden in a public space each year — but definitely not limited to downtown. There will be other peachy events that weekend like the Dixie Gem Pageant and the Rodeo that you can find on our website lapeachfest.com.”

Stegall said the event moved to one day to ensure all the community’s efforts went into getting everything just right for visitors and locals alike.

“I think people are beyond ready to get back to normal,” Stegall said. “Last year, we had the perfect storm.  With LA Tech being a regional host for baseball, a huge tournament at the Sports Complex and the first festival after COVID — we saw record numbers. We are hopeful that the trend continues. With lots of activities, art, food, and music—that is all free until 5 p.m., we think we’ll have a great turn out again.”

Stegall added that having the event in downtown allows people to walk to most peachy activities.

“Over the years the Peach Festival has included many different areas of the city,” she said. “I think that downtown was always a part of it, but focusing on this area of the city gives it a very special feel.  Downtown is the heartbeat of our city. It is the connection point for the universities, people and culture.  When we began coordinating the event, we wanted to recognize that aspect and bring us back to that place of community and culture. Also a key part of the event is the ability to walk to the festival, as well as local shops and restaurants. Showcasing our local places is icing on the cake.”

And the downtown businesses are ready, Stegall said.

“Almost all of our business are participating in one way or another,” she said. “We’ll have many of our merchants will be participating in the Peachy Sidewalk sale. This tradition has been going on for so long. People look forward to the deals downtown and it creates a festival atmosphere right on the sidewalk Thursday through Saturday where you’ll be sure and find some sort of treasure to take home. Also, our restaurants always participate in the Peach Restaurant Round Up, serving peach inspired drinks, eats and treats the week of the festival.”

As individuals move from various activities, Stegall added that to enjoy all the festivities, be prepared for the heat.

“It is hot,” she emphasized. “And we know to expect that. We want to remind those who may  be worried about the heat to come early or later, drink plenty of water, find some shade under the tent in Railroad Park or from the vendors tents. Also be sure and get come good cold ice cream and air-conditioning at the Historic Fire Station. Most of all—pace yourself. We’ll be there all day and night.”


Unlicensed driver flees officer

On Thursday, at about 3:00 p.m. Ruston Police Sergeant K. D. Loyd observed a Ford SUV with a taillight violation at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 33 and Kentucky Avenue.

Loyd attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver failed to pull over. The patrol car’s siren was turned on, but the Ford continued at a slow rate of speed west on Kentucky, turning on Cedar Creek Drive, then Post Oak Drive, and then English Turn. The driver was taken into custody after finally coming to a stop.

The Mississippi license plate on the vehicle was not registered to the SUV. A temporary Texas license tag also appeared to be fake. The driver did not have a driver’s license, proof of insurance, or vehicle registration. Antonio Aguas, 41, of Ruston, was arrested for flight from an officer, fictitious license plate, no driver’s license, no proof of insurance, and failure to register the vehicle.

Bail was set at $16,250.


Bulldogs head to Austin Regional

Louisiana Tech players react to seeing their name in the Austin Regional during Monday’s Selection Show gathering at the DAC. (photo by Tom Morris)

While other teams across the country were sweating it out Monday morning in anticipation of the NCAA Baseball Selection Show, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were able to relax.

Sure, they were excited.

Where would they go? Who would they play? What seed would they be?

But bottom line: Lane Burroughs and Co. knew they were in by virtue of their 9-8 win over UTSA Sunday in the Conference USA championship game in Hattiesburg.

Tech’s name was called midway through the show as the Bulldogs popped up as the No. 2 seed in the Austin Regional. Tech will face No. 3 seed Dallas Baptist Friday at 6:30 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, home to the No. 9 national seed Texas Longhorns.

Texas will face Air Force in the first game Friday at 1 p.m.

One of the four teams will come out of the Austin Regional double-elimination format and advance to face the winner of the Greenville Regional hosted by East Carolina in a Super Regional.

Burroughs said he has a lot of respect for Dallas Baptist, a team that defeated the Bulldogs 7-4 on March 29 in Ruston. The match-up is a precursor to future Conference USA games as the Patriots will join the league as an affiliate baseball member in 2023.

“I think Coach (Dan) Heefner is one of the best coaches in the country,” said Burroughs, who addressed media following a selection show party held at the Davison Athletics Complex Monday. “I love the way he runs his program. They are very similar to us the way they run their program and talent wise.

“We already played them this year. They beat us; got the best of us. They are coming in our league next year. I guess we will have to play them twice with them being our closest opponent so we will become real familiar with them here in the near future.”

Dallas Baptist boasts a 34-22-1 record this year, including a 11-9-1 record in Missouri Valley Conference play. However, the Patriots boast the No. 1 strength of schedule in non-conference play this year. DBU defeated Southern Miss (3 times), Maryland (twice), TCU (twice), Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.

“I have tons and tons of respect for Coach Heefner and Dallas Baptist,” said Burroughs. “We are going to have to bring it. You can’t look ahead. It’s a good regional. They all are. It’s 64 teams that can really play. We are looking forward to going out and competing against DBU again.”

Senior shortstop Taylor Young said he believes his team is ready and is excited about heading to Austin.

“I love this team,” said Young. “It’s a special group. We are rough and gritty. We are super, super close. It’s special to go to back-to-back regionals. What Coach Burroughs has done with this program will continue for years to come. I couldn’t be more thankful for him. I can’t see what the rest of this year has in store for us.”

Despite Conference USA ranking as the fifth toughest baseball league in the country in 2022, only Tech and Southern Miss received bids. UTSA and Old Dominion who many people thought would be in the field of 64 were left out.

All-session tickets will go on sale Wednesday, June 1 at 10 a.m. CST at TexasSports.com/Tickets. If available, single-session tickets will go on sale Friday, June 3 at 10 a.m. CST.


Residents prepare for Peach Fest rodeo

By Taylor Woods

As June begins, Ruston locals prepare for the Peach Festival and its many events. Considering that, the Ruston Peach Rodeo will also make its appearance in the grand festivities. 

There are plenty of fun-filled activities for adults and children that are planned during the rodeo. 

Lots of bull and bronc riding for the thrill and a calf scramble for the children is on the schedule. There’s also barrel racing and roping involved as well.

As the Peach Rodeo nears, more people get excited to join in and have fun.

“I’ve been to the Peach Festival before but I’ve never heard of the Peach Rodeo,” said Monroe local Lorelei Worley. “I can see my family and me going.”

Worley expressed how she plans to add the Peach Rodeo to her list of events she’ll partake in this year’s Peach Festival. 

The rodeo will be held June 4-5 at the North Louisiana Exhibition Center, 165 Fairgrounds Road. There is an entry fee needed to participate in the activities. Adults can get in for $10 and children are $5.


Inexpensive summer activities abound in Lincoln Parish

By Jessi McIntosh

Summer is here, which means many people who live in Lincoln Parish will have an abundance of time to enjoy what this parish has to offer. Without breaking the bank, there are various ways to spend a day in Lincoln Parish.

Lincoln Parish is home to various different parks and the Rock Island Greenway. Lincoln Parish Park, located at 211 Parish Park Road, is filled with mountain bike trails, walking paths, covered pavilions, picnic tables, wildlife, a playground accessible to children of all abilities, a lake which connects to a sandy beach, campgrounds and an archery range.

The parish park opens daily from sunrise to sunset with a $3 admission per person. The beach will be open for swimming on Memorial Day but activities such as fishing and canoeing can be done year-round. Also, this park’s mountain bike trails are also known widley for being rated one of the best trails in America.

Garland Gregory Hideaway Park is open daily during daylight hours on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. This park is free of charge and has a walking trail, pavilions, an 18-hole frisbee golf course, and a seven-acre lake. There is also a low ropes course which is used primarily for team building activities or personal development.

Cook Park, located at 2800 Kavanaugh Road, is free to the public and open day-to-day from sunrise to sunset. Cook Park offers 28 acres of wooded and open areas including playgrounds, gazebos, pavilions, and a walking trail with exercise equipment that leads to the Rock Island Greenway.

Additionally, Rock Island Greenway is a linear open area that encourages activities and active transportation by bike and pedestrian paths. This greenway used to be a railroad and is now a running, walking, and bicycle path that will eventually run as long as six miles across the city connecting neighborhoods, institutions and businesses. Rock Island Greenway is open daily until sunset and is also free to the public.

In another venue, Mitcham Farms and Peach Orchard on 1007 Woods Road has been in the Ruston community for over 70 years and is Louisiana’s largest peach orchard. In the summer months the orchard offers fresh peaches along with peach products and treats.

Wednesdays through Saturdays the North Louisiana Military Museum is open, housing over 10,000 arms and artifacts, a display dedicated to Women in the Military, and uniforms from all branches of service. This museum is free to enjoy and open to the public.

Lastly, of course, June 4 is the 72nd annual Peach Festival. This event is free for everyone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. there will be a $10 entry fee for the evening concerts. 


A compliment a day …?

 

We need to be passing out more compliments.

I’m not talking about dishing out insincere flattery or heaping on praise to the point that you could push someone toward a pride problem. I’m talking about everyday, run-of-the-mill compliments.

You like someone’s cool shoes? Say so. You love someone’s sense of humor? Let them know. You enjoyed and benefited from your minister’s sermon? Tell him about it.

A compliment could literally change someone’s life. A compliment changed mine.

Thirty-three years ago, a sweet elderly woman turned around from the church bench in front of where my friend and I were sitting.

“You two need to go to the Sweet Adelines,” she said. She had noticed that we both sang alto and both managed to do so in at least a halfway decent fashion. I had never heard of the a cappella singing group, but let me tell you: I’ll be thankful to that woman to my dying day.

I tracked down information about the Piney Hills Harmony Chorus, Ruston’s chapter of Sweet Adelines International, and after that first rehearsal, I never looked back. I’ve been ringing chords with my singing sisters for more than three decades, and my chorus membership is one of the joys of my life.

Maybe that’s why I turned around one time on the chorus risers and said to the bass singer behind me, “You have such a beautiful voice, so melodious and rich.” Later, she told me that no one – no one in her entire life – had ever told her anything like that. It bolstered her confidence so much that she later auditioned to join The Rich-Tones, the Sweet Adeline chorus in Richardson, Texas, a five-time international champion. Of course, my friend passed the tryout and now has multiple international medals to prove it.

What if I hadn’t turned around? Or what if the woman on the bench in front of me hadn’t turned around?

I guess not only is this a hint that we need to pass out compliments. It’s also a hint that we need to pay attention. And to listen.

I’ve recently read online articles that say Christians should hardly give compliments at all. As noted above, there’s that fear of pride being bolstered. One article, which hurts my heart to recall, said that one of the author’s college professors caught himself while praising the student’s paper and muttered something about the dangers of pride and quoted Proverbs 26:28, “A flattering mouth works ruin.”

But that’s flattery, defined as “excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one’s own interests.” That’s not talking about a sincere compliment given with genuine appreciation of something or someone.

Examples of godly people praising each other actually abound in the Bible. Paul, for example, told the Philippians he thanked God for them every time they crossed his mind. In many of his letters, Paul lauds specific church congregations for possessing righteous traits.

Even Jesus handed out compliments. “No one has arisen greater,” he said of John the Baptizer. When Mary of Bethany washed Christ’s feet with her hair after pouring out expensive ointment, He commended her: “For she has done a beautiful thing.” To the persistent Canaanite woman who pleaded with Christ to heal her demon-possessed daughter, the Lord offered this accolade: “O, woman, great is your faith.”

Of course, it’s right and proper to acknowledge that God has blessed us with whatever we possess that someone might deem to compliment. That’s part of the not-having-pride thing. But we shouldn’t be scared of sincere compliments – being either given or received.

Christians are the light of the world. Surely Jesus said this in a spiritual sense. I think, however, we can also put that illumination idea on another level. A compliment can brighten someone’s day. Or change their life.

Surely that’s a good thing.

——————————————————————————————————– 

Sallie Rose Hollis lives in Ruston and retired from Louisiana Tech as an associate professor of journalism and the assistant director of the News Bureau. She can be contacted at sallierose@mail.com.


GSU hires new chief and assistant chief of UP

Rodney L. Demery, Chief of GSU Police Department

Courtesy of GSU University Communications

Grambling State University (GSU) is ramping up campus security with the hiring of a new Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of University Police.

Rodney L. Demery, an American author, television show host and retired Shreveport Police Department homicide detective, will take over as Chief for the Grambling State University Police Department (GSUPD).

Longtime Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Department deputy and Southern University of New Orleans police department lieutenant Albert Ernest will become GSU’s new Assistant Chief of Police.

The duo will officially begin work at GSU on June 6.

As GSU’s police chief, Demery will be charged with leading the university’s police department to provide a safe and secure higher education environment, working closely with campus and community partners, as well as university leaders including President Richard J. Gallot, Jr. and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Penya M. Moses, to develop and enhance ongoing crime prevention, safety, security, and community engagement strategies.

“Demery has a strong commitment to community service and engagement. His wide platform in enhancing policing strategies around community needs that engage diverse perspectives on issues of public safety will prove beneficial to our faculty, staff, and students,” Gallot said.

An accomplished law enforcement leader for more than 30 years, Demery started his command experience serving our country in the United States Navy in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. As a war veteran, Demery furthered his command experience as Chief of Police with the City of Beaver Falls Police Department in Pennsylvania.

Demery is also a well-known crime and police department commentator appearing on numerous local, national, and international shows including TV, radio, and podcasts.

He has worked collaboratively with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, Louisiana State Police, multiple police and sheriff departments, several task forces and has a global law enforcement reputation. “[Rodney] Demery believes that he is well-suited to promote officer training and foster resources that will better enable GSUPD to proactively and responsively protect the university’s community,” Moses said. “His military training combined with his personal tragedies will bridge the gap to move GSUPD forward with a greater level of service and commitment.”

Demery’s law enforcement career includes emergency operations, extensive undercover work, as well as investigations in the following areas: sex crimes, burglary, armed robbery, and narcotics. He is S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) certified, a firearms expert, a certified expert of handling officer-involved shootings, a former Navy Master-at-arms, a former military policeman, an experienced certified hostage negotiator and is corrections certified.

Demery’s diverse career includes being a special homicide investigator for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office in homicide and conviction integrity.

He also has administrative oversight experience leading a cold case team in Atlanta that involved the closure of decades old sexual assault and homicide cases. Demery’s special events operations experience includes executive protection and security services for NBA basketball A-list players.

He hosted for an unprecedented three seasons “Investigation Discovery, Murder Chose Me,” a television series highlighting his successful law enforcement career.

Demery recently completed filming a second television show where he is host and investigator for a documentary of ancient murder mysteries in the U.S. and throughout Europe. He is also a published author and has had two books become bestsellers on Amazon Kindle.

“I am honored to serve Grambling State University in this important role,” Demery said. “I look forward to partnering across the University and with our law enforcement partners to continue enhancing the safety of our University.”

Demery holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Louisiana State University and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. His mother was murdered when he was a child and his brother is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

“My entire life story has prepared me to be the Chief of Police for GSUPD,” Demery said. “Some things you can learn in college, and some things you have to actually experience. And for me, I believe overcoming tragedy was preparation for my career. I experienced pain, so I can definitely empathize with people.  I know police officers and what they need to be effective on the job. I’m a parent and I know what’s expected when you send your child off to college. I know exactly what they’re feeling.”


Tech student prepares for airline internship in Dallas

By Elizabeth Mercer

Lauren Dowden, a junior at Louisiana Tech University, has recently accepted an internship for the summer with Southwest Airlines.

Dowden received this internship by applying through LinkedIn. The interview process consisted of two separate interviews. The first one was with just a recruiter and the second one was a Microsoft Teams call with six people total. She was able to talk to all the people in charge of the different supply chain departments. 

The internship she has accepted is called Supply Chain Management Tech Ops. Dowden will be working at Southwest’s headquarters at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. She will reside there for 12 weeks while working 40 hours per week. Sometimes she will work from the facility while other times she will work remotely. 

“I love how I’m getting to experience a new role in supply chain,” Dowden said. “I had a job as a purchasing analyst, but now I get to do even more.” 

Her main task will be working with the supply chain departments to help make tactical decisions about how to support internal and external stakeholders to identify cost saving opportunities, source high quality products and services, help maintain schedules with certain programs and help develop good strategies to make a better supply chain. 

Some of Dowden’s responsibilities include working with multiple groups to gather information to guide decisions that will better Southwest Airlines, compare and analyze bids from proposals, build and refine department process flows, coordinate completion of certain projects, and much more.

Dowden will be working a lot with the inventory management and tooling team. This team is over all of the store and line locations, inventory, tools auditing, quality discrepancy, research and adjustments on parts, shelf life, and movement of capital assets. It makes sure that everything is up to date and that all the policies, systems, and procedures are working properly. 

“I think I am most excited about trying something new and going somewhere new,” Dowden said. “I love Dallas and being able to visit, but now I get to live there all summer.”


Summer fashion trends sweep into parish

By Jessi McIntosh

Summer is here. For most, this means dreaded spring cleaning with the transition from sweaters and pants to tank tops and shorts. During this change figuring out which clothes follow the trends of a new year can be tricky.

Louisiana Tech fashion merchandising students Tobie Bimle and Hannah Donaldson can help make this transition as easy as possible with their insights on fashion trends coming this summer.

Bimle is a senior from Ruston, but in the summer of her junior and senior year of high school, she attended classes at a fashion college in New York City which grew her passion in fashion.

“I had the opportunity to intern at the Reeves and Company showroom at the Dallas Market Center,” Bimle said. “Since this summer I have worked all apparel markets with Reeves, and I hope to join their team full time after I graduate in November.

“At market, I show retailers the newest collections and I help buyers buy merchandise for their stores. I also get the opportunity to work directly with designers from brands like Queen Of Sparkles and Sedge.”

Donaldson is a senior from Bossier City who has had an eye for fashion since she was a little girl and by being a student in fashion merchandising, her love has grown.

“I enjoy sewing and making unique garments for myself and my friends,” Donaldson said. “I intern at Boutique Barr and I’m getting ready to start a new internship at WRLDINVSN. I also love styling my own outfits and outfits for my family and friends for special occasions or short vacations.”

Leading into new summer trends, Bimle and Donaldson said the main colors making a statement are lime green and pink. Other than those two main staple colors, bright colors such as orange and yellow are also highly anticipated. Primary staple pieces in the summer for women include mini skirts and maxi dresses. For men, a staple will be light and airy button ups.

There are trends that are resurfacing for the summertime such as chokers, funky and bright patterns, and headbands.

“Fashion is a constant cycle,” Donaldson said. “Decades and particular styles will always repeat themselves and certain things will resurface. A big thing to realize about the fashion industry is that there are fads and trends. Fads are when trends become popular quickly, but die down quickly. Regular trends tend to be more noteworthy and more likely to resurface.”

There are simple ways to be trendy this summer, she added, such as wearing jean or bright colored shorts along with short sleeved button ups. Mini skirts, bright colors, chunky sandals, bright jewelry and crop tops are in, along with fun sunglasses and ’70s inspired styles that can be worn by either gender.

This year may be pushing some people out of their comfort zone with bright colors and bold patterns but Lincoln Parish residents can bright this summer and step out of that zone. 


Student inspired to honor friend’s memory through design

By Breanne Pittman 

Local boutique owner Mallory Patterson used tragedy as inspiration to create a stylish way to give back to the Ruston community.

After the loss of her best friend unexpectedly in December 2020, Patterson knew she wanted to use her brand, Mallory Patterson Designs, to honor her friend. 

“I wanted to do something to honor him and I knew it had to be Tech-related,” Patterson said. “After lots of brainstorming and praying, the sweaters came to life.”

To give back to the Ruston community, a portion of all sales from these sweaters go towards the Gantt Graham Endowment Scholarship at Louisiana Tech University. 

“A portion of all sales go directly to his scholarship/memorial that is set up through the University Foundation,” Patterson said. 

Since these sweaters were released, many locals, current students and alumni have supported Patterson. These sweaters have been worn to football games, baseball games, and even in senior portraits.

The sweaters were designed in Louisiana Tech colors with various Tech designs.

“My inspiration comes from the things I love: my family, Ruston and the people here,” Patterson said. 


Notice of death — May 30, 2022

Ida Mae Taylor
Feb. 22, 1922 – May 25, 2022
Visitation: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2586 Hwy. 150, Grambling
Funeral service: 1 p.m., Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2586 Hwy. 150, Grambling
Burial: Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Grambling Memorial Garden, Hwy. 80 West

Mary Sue Smith
October 16, 1926 – May 27, 2022
Funeral service: 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at Dubach United Methodist Church, Dubach, La.

Glen Bagwell
April 26, 1966 – May 30, 2022
Visitation: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.., Friday, June 3, 2022, at Culbertson Baptist Church, 3286 LA-151, Farmerville, La.
Funeral service: 10 a.m., Friday, June 3, 2022, at Culbertson Baptist Church, 3286 LA-151, Farmerville, La.
Burial: Friday, June 3, 2022, at Culbertson Cemetery


Cardiac Dogs claim C-USA title in dramatic fashion

It’s something about Louisiana Tech and the flair for the dramatic in the Conference USA Championship.

These dogs love a good dog pile.

In 2021 in Ruston, the Diamond Dogs used a pair of come-from-behind, walk-off wins over Southern Miss to advance to the title game where they fell to Old Dominion 7-5 in extra inning at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Tech fans will never forget that day.

Nor yesterday.

Steele Netterville’s two-out, RBI single up the first base line scored pinch runner Riggs Easterling and gave Louisiana Tech its first conference tournament title since 1987 at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg Sunday afternoon.

“I’m still in shock,” said Tech head coach Lane Burroughs postgame. “Things happen so fast the way we do it. It’s not like we get a big lead and are winning the game. It just happened so quick. It means everything.

“We have been sweating going to an (NCAA) regional for about a month and we were in it all along … we just had to win this tournament. I am more proud of that … that we are going to be playing next week. It means everything. It’s all about these guys right here.”

After a pair of impressive wins over Charlotte and Old Dominion moved Tech into the winner’s bracket on Saturday, Burroughs and Co. fell 9-6 in 13 innings against the same Monarch’s team during an early afternoon game – setting up a must win Saturday night.

Walker Burchfield provided the game-winning, walk-off 2-run single with one out in the bottom of the night to send Tech to an 8-7 win and a dog-pile of red jersey proportions and a spot in Sunday’s C-USA Championship game against UTSA.

And once again, Tech set the stage for more drama.

In a back-and-forth game between two high-quality team, the Bulldogs took a 7-6 lead into the top of the ninth inning. Only three outs away from the program’s first conference tournament title since 1987.

Too easy, right? Right.

Ryan Flores drove the first pitch of the top of the ninth inning against Tech reliever Kyle Crigger deep over the right field wall to tie the game at 7-7, setting up the bottom of the ninth.

Logan McLeod led off with an infield single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Wade Elliott. Taylor Young was intentionally walked and then pinch runner Riggs Easterling and Young moved up a base with a wild pitch.

With the game-winning run standing only 90 feet away with one out, UTSA pitcher Braylon Owens struck out Phil Matulia for the second out of the inning. Extra innings was just one out away.

Netterville, who doubled down the third base line to plate two runs and tie the game at 5-5 in the sixth, stepped to the plate. With a two-strike count, the fifth-year senior drove a fast ball on the outside of the plate down the first base line and into right field, sending Easterling home and the once again red-clad Bulldogs into a mass of humanity – this time in centerfield and this time as the Conference USA champions.

“We have to make it hard,” said Bulldog head coach Lane Burroughs in his postgame.

Tech (41-19) earned the automatic bid from Conference USA and will find out its seed and location today at 11 a.m. when the NCAA Selection Show unveils all 64 teams.

Bulldog fans are invited to attend the Selection Show Party in the Club Level of the Davison Athletics Complex. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.


Ruston ready for kids at Peach Fest

By Judith Roberts, publisher

Funnel cakes, peach ice cream, parades — and that’s just the beginning.

The Louisiana Peach Fest is taking place this Saturday, and Tori Davis, marketing director with Experience Ruston, said this family-friendly event has many activities for kids to participate.

“Some new things we’ll be adding this year are an expanded kids’ area and dedicated kids’ stage in Esma’s Alley, free admission until 5 p.m., more food and arts vendors, and a special edition ringer T-shirt that can be purchased at the festival,” Davis said.

The free admission until 5 p.m. is a newer part of the Peach Fest, one Davis said is to help increase the number of families at the event.

“From what we’ve heard, the locals especially like the free admission until 5 p.m., the additional of free kids activities, the central location of everything being located right near Railroad Park, and of course the nighttime music in the park,” she said.

The music this year, as each year, is varied and local.

“We find musicians through a combination of seeking them out and taking referrals and submissions for those who are interested in playing the festival,” Davis said. “When setting the lineup, our entertainment committee makes sure we have a good variety of genres represented. This year we have everything from country to jazz to gospel. In keeping with our goal of refocusing the festival on local talent, we only have Louisiana born and based musicians featured in our lineup.”

Davis added that the festival is a draw for locals and visitors, who enjoy the peaches and peachy items, the arts market and the experience of walking downtown.

“The parish easily sees 1,000-plus visitors at the festival,” she said. “Last year we had more than 16,000 festival goers, but it’s difficult to quantify the exact number that were out-of-town visitors. However, we can look to our lodging numbers for some indication of visitation. Lodging tax was up 78.15% for June 2021 compared to June 2020 and up 19% compared to June 2019.”

Davis said she hopes parish residents enjoy the festival and showing off the city.

“I’m really excited about the expanded arts market and the music lineup this year,” she said. “I just love the shift we made last year in putting an emphasis on local artists and musicians – it really gave it a more authentic Ruston feel to me and I’m excited to see that again for 2022.”


Monroe man killed in Ouachita Parish crash

A 77-year-old Monroe man was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Ouachita Parish Thursday afternoon.

Louisiana State Police Troop F reported troopers responded to the crash on La.  Highway 617 (Thomas Road) south of La. Highway 838 near West Monroe. The crash claimed the life of Prince L. Sparks of Monroe.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2015 Nissan Sentra, driven by Sparks, entered the roadway from a private driveway and failed to yield to a southbound 2013 Ford F-250. As a result, the Ford collided with the Nissan.

Sparks, who was restrained, was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ouachita Parish Coroner. The driver of the Ford, who also was restrained, did not sustain any injuries. Impairment is not suspected to be a factor; however, routine toxicology samples were submitted for analysis.Although the exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, State Police remind the public that inattentive and distracted driving is dangerous and is a leading cause of crashes in our state. It is important for motorists to pay attention to what is going on outside of the vehicle they are driving and to get plenty of rest to remain alert.

In 2022, Troop F has investigated 11 fatal crashes, which have resulted in 13 fatalities.

In 2022, Troop F has investigated 11 fatal crashes, which have resulted in 13 fatalities.