Forestry team prepares for nationals

From left to right, Landon Wade, Raymond Granger, Kassidy Kelley, Dylan Trevillion, and Caleb Granger. Carter Gay is not pictured.

By April C. Honaker

Next month, the 2021 winners of Louisiana’s Forestry Career Development Event (CDE) will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., home of the National FFA Organization, to compete in a national Forestry CDE. The winning team hails from Ruston High School and includes Caleb Granger, Raymond Granger, Kassidy Kelley and Dylan Trevillion. 

At the national competition October 22-26, Carter Gay will replace Caleb Granger who graduated from Ruston High in May 2021 and is now studying engineering at Louisiana Tech. To compete at the national level, Ruston High’s forestry team won preliminary competitions at the district, area and state level to qualify. 

Landon Wade, who is now teaching in Choudrant, coached Ruston’s team to success last year. 

Replacing Wade, Antonio Wilson said the team has continued to prepare since their wins last year. According to Wilson, the state FFA association has set up contests to keep the team refreshed in their knowledge and to ensure they do well. 

Regarding the team’s success and national opportunity, Wilson said, “It’s a pretty big deal for Ruston High and Louisiana as a whole. For them to do well helps out the entire state and the school.” 

As its name suggests, the Forestry CDE is designed to help students develop skills relevant to careers in forestry or natural resources. Students learn about diagnosing forest problems, managing forests and applying silviculture. 

Wilson said that in preparation for the state competition the students learned to identify 46 species of trees and 40 forestry equipment items, as well as how to determine the value of a tree, how to use a compass, and how to estimate distance by pacing. 

At the national level, everything changes. The team must expand their knowledge and be prepared to participate on an individual and team level. Prior to traveling to Indianapolis, each member of the team will take a written test. The scores on the test will impact their standing in the competition. 

In Indianapolis, they will have other opportunities to demonstrate their skills and competencies and will also participate in a group activity in which they use their knowledge and skills to solve an industry problem.

According to Wilson, the team is looking forward to this opportunity, and it would not be possible for them to travel to Indianapolis if it were not for a sponsorship from Tractor Supply of Ruston. Wilson said the team is extremely grateful for the sponsorship and continues to seek additional sponsorships to ease the financial burden of the trip. Those interested in supporting the forestry team, are encouraged to contact Ruston High School at 318-255-0807. 

Ruston ends non-district slate against Neville

Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston High returns home tonight to take on the Neville Tigers is a storied rivalry that is around a century old.

Both teams enter the contest with 3-1 records; Ruston lost its season opening contest in overtime against Warren Easton, while Neville dropped a week two contest against Ruston’s fellow District 2-5A member Ouachita.

“The last couple of years it’s come down to the wire,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “They won on a Hail Mary last season, but the year before came down to a Hail Mary on our end. You can really take the records and rankings out of it. As long as this game has been played, it’s a really tough ballgame nine times out of ten. I think our kids understand that. It’s been interesting to see how the kids are going to come back after a big win and regroup.”

Ruston is coming off a 35-20 victory on the road last week against Lafayette Christian Academy. After trailing 14-7 at halftime, Ruston recovered back-to-back onside kicks which both led to touchdowns.

Senior tailback Dyson Fields also had a superb game with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

“It’s been interesting to see how the kids have come back after big wins,” Baugh said. “That’s something that will matter in the playoffs. When you have a big win, you have to get past it and regroup to get ready for the next week. Neville is a very good football team. It’s not going to be any different from any other year; it’s just different guys with different numbers. At the end of the day, we know they’ll be ready to come over here and play, and hopefully our guys are prepared well enough to match that.”

Ruston and Neville will kickoff at 7 p.m. Fans can listen to the Jerrod Baugh show at 6:30 p.m. on Z107.5 FM and streamed live on

Disorderly man arrested twice in two weeks

A New Orleans man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly exposed himself and threatened others at a residence on Nathan Loop Road.

Lincoln Parish deputies responded to the residence about 6:00 p.m. Wednesday in response to a complaint about an unwanted person.

The complaining party told deputies Jamine Morman, 28, had threatened to kill her and “leave her on the ground.” She said Morman used profane language and exposed himself on three separate occasions. 

When deputies attempted to arrest Morman, he resisted by pulling away. A TASER had to be displayed to encourage him to enter a patrol car.

Morman was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for obscenity, disturbing the peace, and resisting an officer.

Ten days earlier, Morman was arrested by Grambling Police after officers responded to Rogers Chevron Mini Mart regarding a shoplifting in progress. In that incident, Morman was booked for theft and resisting an officer.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Two charged with guns and drugs

Two men were arrested Wednesday after drugs and firearms were found in their vehicle.

Lincoln Parish Deputy J. McHenry stopped a Toyota pickup truck Wednesday afternoon after the driver was observed not wearing a seat belt. The driver, Bradley W. Foust, 40, of Bernice, was determined to be an unlicensed driver.

A search of the pickup revealed a bag of suspected methamphetamine and two glass pipes with suspected meth residue. Two firearms were found, a pistol and a rifle, both within reach of the driver and the passenger, Nicholas W. Childers, 41, of Hot Springs, Ark.

After his arrest, Childers told Deputy McHenry he had more drugs inside his shoe. He said Bradley asked him to hold it for him as the stop was being made. Childers said he did not know what was inside the paper. McHenry retrieved and opened the paper and found more suspected methamphetamine and cocaine.

A records check showed Childers was a convicted felon and not allowed to possess firearms.

The stop was made near Calvary Baptist Church in Vienna, a drug free zone under Louisiana’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Law.

Foust and Childers were booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of drug free zone, and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled substance. 

Foust was additionally booked for no driver’s license and no seatbelt. Childers was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Bail had not been set at press time.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Dusty McGehee: National Championship trophies are in Lincoln Parish

Pictured below in the story are Trey and Tucker Underwood of Lincoln Parish.


As you may know, last week Anders and I competed in the Crappie Masters National Championship on Grenada Lake in North Mississippi. I told you I hoped we would bring the trophies back for the Adult/Youth Division, but we fell a little short. However, they still made there way back into our parish… but a little more on that later.

I drove over on Sunday and began pre-fishing. Practice fishing is not my favorite thing to do. In fact. I almost despise it but it’s a necessary component to be successful. There is something about being on the boat alone, trying to find fish on a massive lake, that just is not very enjoyable to me. I’d much prefer catching fish in a boat with my family members or friends. I guess you could say I get a bit lonely out there talking to myself for hours.

I fished alone each day from Sunday-Wednesday. I found some big fish, and even managed to catch my 5th biggest crappie of my life, 2.60 pounds. Although I found some big fish, I never found an area that had a concentration of winning tournament fish. At this point, I was basically throwing a dart at the lake map to determine where to try for our last practice day.

Wednesday, we had to be off the water at noon so after practice was done, I went and registered for the tournament and headed south to pick up my partner. We met in Jackson, and finally I had someone to talk to! He was excited about the tournament and very optimistic that we were going to find the fish.

Thursday was our last practice day. We headed out and threw the kitchen sink at the lake. We came back to the rental house and I was scratching my head. What to do, what to do? Only game plan I had was to just go fishing.

Friday, we wake up to cool temperatures with a brisk wind… now there is another kink thrown in; I had not practiced in the wind, nor had I looked at the forecast to prepare for it. I dump the boat and Anders is freezing at the dock in his shorts and t-shirt. Thankfully, some good Samaritan who was also in the tournament literally gave him the shirt off his back. I didn’t know the guy and wish I’d gotten his name, but THANK YOU… you saved the day!

We go out and try to find a spot out of the wind and boom, boom we quickly put 2 fish in the boat. 20 minutes later and BAM, Anders catches the biggest crappie of his life, 2.07 pounds. We celebrate; he is ecstatic. We catch one more fish in this area and it goes dry on us.

Where to go next? Once again, I have no idea. I drive about 7 miles and find a spot close to the bank and out of the wind. We dropped down and POW; my partner breaks his personal best record he just set a couple of hours ago. It’s a 2.11. 5 fish in the boat; we just need 2 more for a limit. We grind out that spot for a few hours and get our limit of 7 fish. We are over the moon that we caught 7, but we still had work to do. We had 2 fish in the livewell that are small.

With one hour remaining, the wind had died enough to go to one of my spots I found in practice. Luckily, we were able to catch a few more and cull out the small fish. To the weigh in we go!

We go on stage and weigh in 11.23 lbs. Not a great weight for Grenada but with those conditions we were happy to have them. As the 180 teams got finished weighing in, we are leading adult/youth division and sitting in 46th place. Not too bad for a rough day on the water. The nearest adult/youth team was half a pound behind us, but there was one major “problem.” It was the other Lincoln Parish team of Trey and Tucker Underwood (Tucker is Anders’ schoolmate). I’ve competed against Trey on Grenada in the past, and I know how good he is on that lake. The weather was set to be perfect for Saturday so I knew they would find the big fish.

Saturday was gorgeous, but our fish didn’t cooperate. We had the bites but just couldn’t stay hooked up with them. As the day was getting late, and after the fourth consecutive BIG fish that we missed, I was on the verge of a hissy fit. The pressure was getting to me; I was beyond frustrated with the fish. It was so obvious my partner took notice.

Then, I get exactly what I needed at that moment… Anders says “Dad, I didn’t come here to win the tournament. I came here because I like exploring new places; I wanted to see how big Grenada fish are, and because I wanted to spend time with YOU.” Wow. I’m glad I had sunglasses on so he couldn’t see the wet stuff that was in my eyes. It took a 10-year-old boy to bring me back down to earth; it was all clear. This is why he is my fishing partner. I actually wanted the same thing but got caught up in “tournament mode.”

Long story short, we caught our 7 fish but did not have the weight to win our division. As I figured, Trey and Tucker got on the big fish and won the division. The winning adult/youth duo had a final weight of 24.99 pounds and finished 30th overall in the tournament. Stay tuned for the feature on Team Underwood. Congratulations on the win guys. I’m glad the trophies came back to Lincoln Parish!


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, Ridge, and Mae. If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at

Louisiana Tech faculty prepared to offer inclusive STEM teaching training

A pair of Louisiana Tech faculty with a passion for diversity and equality have been trained as facilitators for the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project and want to pass what they’ve learned on to other faculty, staff, and doctoral students.

Dr. Laura Bostick, associate research professor and STEM education accessibility specialist in Tech’s Science and Technology Education (STEM) Center , and Dr. Lisa Flanders-Dick, professional in residence at the University’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership, were part of the largest cohort to date as 22 institutional teams, including Tech, were added to the Community of Facilitators in training this summer.

The purpose of the project is to develop among educators a shared capacity for engaging in dialogues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as to create a local support network for facilitators. The primary sponsor for the project is the National Science Foundation, the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Now Bostick and Flanders-Dick want to share their training. The next six-week Inclusive STEM Teaching Project online course will be Oct. 3 – Nov. 22 and will include optional weekly learning community group meetings on Tech’s campus. All faculty, staff, and doctoral candidates are welcome; there is no cost. To learn more, complete this short Inclusive STEM Teaching Project form.

Both educators have a special passion for ensuring diversity and inclusivity. Bostick left her career of 17 years as a biomedical engineer at Johnson Space Center and entered the education field so she could help her daughter, who was born blind, navigate her way through the educational system and get the services she needed. Flanders-Dick’s first memory related to the importance of equity and inclusion was when she became friends with an elementary classmate who was deaf; she learned basic sign language, and her friend taught her the alphabet.

“Diversity not only directly impacts equity and inclusion, but also provides an unimaginable number of avenues to directly connect with people in the community and with students,” Flanders-Dick said. “Being open to learning from others concerning their diversity expands my knowledge and makes me a better person. I am committed to deepening my knowledge and sharing with others opportunities for equity, inclusion, and diversity.”

Through their shared interest in making STEM education more inclusive, the two pursued the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project and learned through their training that facilitators guide a learning community at a university to provide a “live” collaborative training component. The learning community allows time for discussion, reflection, and a deeper understanding of concept application. 

“One thing from the training that stuck out in my mind was the idea of a ‘brave space,’” Bostick said. “Most of us are familiar with the term ‘safe space,’ which Merriam-Webster defines as ‘a place (such as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.’ The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project uses the term ‘brave space’ in reference to the course and learning communities, because the hope is that we’ll push ourselves to face and discuss things that might feel uncomfortable at first, while still being respectful of fellow learners.”

“During the training, I appreciated the amount of active learning and collaboration being modeled throughout to encourage the incorporation of these strategies in our own learning community,” Flanders-Dick said. “I also learned various techniques for facilitating tough conversations.”

The program is designed to help STEM faculty cultivate inclusive learning environments for all their students and to develop themselves as reflective, inclusive practitioners.

Ponderings by Doug

I wish to discuss plastic wrapping. If you or your loved one works in the plastic wrapping industry, I apologize to you now.

I hate plastic wrap. 

A couple of weeks ago I bought an inexpensive set of kitchen knives. It was an unpleasant task to free the knives from their plastic captivity. I discovered at least three layers of wrap around the knives. There are no instructions and no warnings on the plastic surrounding the knives. The plastic was there. It was impervious to scissors. I got out my tin snips and finally made a cut in the plastic surrounding the knives. That’s how I discovered the multiple layers of plastic.

Who thinks this stuff up?

We need to be saved from the plastics industry. Did you know that a plastic package cut is 10,000 times worse than a paper cut? I am sure there is some scientific study somewhere that supports my thesis. Once you get the plastic packaging opened then you must worry about cutting yourself while attempting to extricate your purchase from the plastic enclosure. I was more worried about the plastic surrounding the knives than from the danger of grabbing a knife blade to pull it out of the plastic tomb. The writer of Ecclesiastes is hollering, “Vanity, it is all vanity.” I think that Hebrew word can also be translated “madness.”

I will not discuss the impossible to open lids on the Tide Pods carton. I have long since discovered that child proof lids on medicine bottles means that I will not be able to open the lid until my normal headache has become a major migraine headache.

If you wrap it in plastic, you make it safe. With plastic it can’t be open, freed, unwrapped or used. The only ones benefiting from this plastic madness is the plastics industry.

It is too bad that our lives can’t be wrapped in plastic to save us from all the stuff that happens to us. There are real hurts and pains. We suffer from anxieties and heart breaks. Terrible rotten things happen to the best people while terrible rotten people seem to enjoy the best things. Life does not come with any form of protection from the dangers of living. Because we are alive and vulnerable, we will know heartache, but we also experience the rich joy in living. Sorry gang, you really can’t have one without the other.

The other night after I finally freed the knives from the shrink wrap, I walked onto the back porch and watched the fireflies. I moved from frustration to doxology.

I thought about how God protects us. We are gathered and protected under His wings. It is a beautiful metaphor reminding us of the freedom we have to explore the beauty of His creation and the protection that is there for us when we can’t handle things alone. 

The great news is that God’s wings are not wrapped in plastic!

Marrero business owner arrested for insurance fraud

Jefferson Parish – In June 2021, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit New Orleans Field Office (LSP-IFAT-NFO) began an investigation into a Marrero business providing fraudulent insurance policies.  Troopers received information from the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) that representatives from A&R Insurance in Marrero were continuing to write insurance policies that did not exist, despite being served with a Cease and Desist Order from LDI. 

As part of the investigation, Troopers worked with multiple victims to identify employees of A&R Insurance who facilitated the issuance of the fraudulent policies. The investigation led Troopers to obtain a search warrant for the business.

On August 10, 2022, LSP-IFAT-NFO was assisted by LDI and United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to execute the search warrant at A&R Insurance, which was now operating under the name of Garcia-Downs Multiservices.  During the search, Troopers identified 32-year-old Erik Sandoval-Flores of New Orleans as the business manager and located numerous documents supporting the fraudulent activities and his involvement.

As a result of the investigation, Sandoval-Flores was arrested for 19 counts of Forgery of Certificate Insurance. In addition, Agents from New Orleans HSI placed a detainer on Sandoval-Flores pertaining to immigration violations. 

This investigation is ongoing and the LSP-IFAT-NFO is continuing to investigate additional crimes involving the related businesses and insurance fraud violations. Louisiana State Police is asking anyone who was a victim of this crime or has information pertaining to this investigation to contact LSP-IFAT-NFO. Citizens can report suspected fraud to the LSP-IFAT via:

“An unlicensed individual and agency soliciting, selling and servicing bogus insurance policies to Louisiana drivers is deplorable,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “Those 250 drivers believe they have legitimate insurance and need to take action immediately to rectify the situation.”

The Louisiana Department of Insurance works to improve competition in the state’s insurance market while assisting individuals and businesses with the information and resources they need to be informed consumers of insurance. As a regulator, the LDI enforces the laws that provide a fair and stable marketplace and makes certain that insurers comply with the laws in place to protect policyholders. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting

Enter Week 4 of NFL Pick’em Contest Today! Win cash and prizes

Three winners already in the books! Enter your submission this week and have a chance to win $150 of cash and prizes.

Participation is very simple. Just click on this link below. No entry fee. It’s FREE to play. One entry per contestant.


Joe Peel. Zoe Collum. Barry Morales.

All winners of $150 of cash and prizes through the first three weeks of the Karl Malone Toyota NFL Pickem presented by 511 and Black Rifle Coffee.

How would you like to join Joe in the winners circle?

It’s easy. Each week pick the 10 NFL games that we list and have a chance to win cash and gift cards. The week 4 prizes are $100 and a $50 gift card to Dawghouse.

One lucky (or smart) pick’em guru will walk away with $150 worth of cash and prizes. The weekly deadline is Saturday at 10 a.m. (prior to Sunday’s NFL games). 

Anyone is eligible to participate (only one entry per contestant). Each week the winner will be the participant with the best record out of 10 selected NFL games (ties will be broken by two separate tiebreakers consisting of guessing the total points scored in two of our weekly contests).

There is no entry fee, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Lincoln Parish Journal. 

It takes 20-30 seconds to sign up and not much longer than that to make your picks.

All contest decisions by LPJ management are final. Weekly winners will be notified Monday and are will be requested to take a photo that will run in the following week’s LPJ.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail.

Weekly Winners

Week 1: Barry Morales

Week 2: Zoe Collum

Week 3: Joe Peel

State tradition bearers celebrated during Folklife Month

BATON ROUGE, La. – October 2022 marks Louisiana’s eighth annual Folklife Month, a celebration of the state’s living traditions and the individuals who sustain them. Selected by local folklorists and other culture workers, six tradition bearers will be honored during events throughout the month. The recipients share a record of continuing and exceptional accomplishment in perpetuating the state’s traditional cultures.

Folklife Month showcases diverse persons and groups from across the state, and often from overlooked cultural communities. The month-long program also increases appreciation for the vital role folklorists play in sustaining Louisiana’s folkways.

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser emphasized the importance of the initiative saying, “Folklife Month is a time for us to celebrate our traditions and honor our culture. Each of our traditions trace back to our ancestors, and without that, we would not have the identity we have today.”

The following tradition bearers are the 2022 Folklife Month honorees:

  • Mary Alice Vanderwaters, Singer/Songwriter; Rapides Parish
  • Chef Andrew Miller, Banana Foster Bread Pudding; New Orleans
  • Alton Armstrong, Mardi Gras Costumes; Lafayette
  • Lonnie “Butch” Cooksey, Jr., Musician/Producer/Promoter; Independence
  • Nelson Harris, Drumming; Houma
  • Rhonda Remedies Gauthier, Mestiza foodways, gardening, sewing, healing, and midwifery; Natchitoches

A project of the Louisiana Folklife Commission in collaboration with the Louisiana Folklore Society and numerous community partners, Louisiana Folklife Month is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit

Folklife Month Events honoring Tradition Bearers

Honoring Rhonda Remedies Gauthier – Mestiza Foodways, Gardening, Sewing, Healing, and Midwifery (Natchitoches)
Saturday, October 8, 2022
2 p.m.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum
800 Front Street
Natchitoches, LA

Folklife Ambassador: 
Dr. Shane Rasmussen, Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and Professor of English, Northwestern State University

An Adeasonos and member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, Louisiana, and president of Ho Minti Society, Inc., Rhonda Gauthier grew up outside of Zwolle. As a young girl she began learning traditional arts from the women in her immediate and extended family, including crochet, embroidery, hand sewing, quilting, cooking, baking, and animal tending. Her grandmother taught her midwifery, the use of natural herbs to treat common ailments, and herb gardening. After earning a BA in anthropology and history from Northwestern State University, she pursued a successful career in historical interpretation and cultural preservation at various sites across northwestern Louisiana. After her retirement, she has continued to volunteer. In 2005, she produced the film Maize to Masa, which documents the Choctaw-Apache process of nixtamalization, a traditional maize preparation process in which dried kernels are cooked and steeped in an alkaline solution, usually water and food-grade lime, to make hominy. The Choctaw-Apache community still uses this process to make tamale dough.

Honoring Alton Armstrong – Mardi Gras Costumes (Lafayette)
Saturday, October 15, 2022
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, Atelier Stage
500 Girard Park Drive
Lafayette, LA

Folklife Ambassadors:   
John Sharp, Assistant Director for Research at Center for Louisiana Studies, Univ. of Louisiana-Lafayette

Herman Fuselier, Executive Director, St Landry Parish Tourist Commission

 Alton “Lil’ Tiger” Armstrong, originally from the McComb-Veazey neighborhood in Lafayette, has been participating in the Creole Mardi Gras box hat and screen mask tradition since 1969. Lafayette’s oldest Creole Mardi Gras masking and performance tradition features vibrantly colored costumes, usually with a painted wire mask and square mortarboard-style hat made of cardboard, featuring strands of crepe paper streamers as part of the decoration. These incredible costumes often feature shiny satin fabric, colorful feathers, intricate beadwork or embroidery, and noise-making elements such as bells or clappers. Each costume takes hundreds of hours, as well as hundreds of dollars, to complete and is typically only worn for one year before being retired or repurposed for a new costume. Armstrong is one of the few remaining participants in this tradition, which he is attempting to pass along to new generations, including his grandsons. “I’d love to see twenty guys in a group, parading the neighborhood like they used to, all in box hats and screen masks,” Armstrong says.

Honoring Lonnie “Butch” Cooksey, Jr. – Musician, Producer, Promoter (Independence) 
Sunday, October 16, 2022
11 a.m.
Faith Apostolic Church
26660 James Capel Road N
Holden, LA

Folklife Ambassador: 
Jim Hogg, CEO, Jim Hogg Group, LLC

From the age of eight, Lonnie “Butch” Cooksey Jr. played guitar in his family gospel and bluegrass band, The Cooksey Family. His mother’s vocation as a Pentecostal preacher opened doors for them to sing in churches and travel for many years. Even though Cooksey has played and recorded with many artists, like Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, and Mac Wiseman, he chose to remain with his family band instead of joining a traveling band. Throughout his 63-year career, he has become both an inspiration and a sustaining resource to young people learning this traditional musical form and the instruments it uses: banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and dobro. Cooksey, in addition to winning many awards for upright bass performance, is also a successful sound technician, supporting performances at bluegrass festivals, churches, and other venues in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and surrounding areas.

Honoring Mary Alice Vanderwaters – Singer/Songwriter (Rapides Parish)
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Troubadours Songwriter Night
Fighting Hand Brewing Company
1600 Military Hwy.
Pineville, LA

Folklife Ambassador: 
Dr. Tommy Ike Hailey, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology, Northwestern State University

Mary Alice Vanderwaters is a singer and songwriter born and raised in Pineville, Louisiana.  At age 7, she begged her brother Max to let her play his guitar; he didn’t take her seriously until she made her own guitar out of a piece of board and some rubber bands. Upon seeing the makeshift guitar, he recognized her determination and taught her to play a song. Years later, Mary Alice wrote the song “Board and the Rubberband Song” as a tribute to Max. Mary Alice joined her first bluegrass band as a teenager and began writing songs after becoming a fan of Dolly Parton and learning to play her songs. She continues to hone her songwriting as a long-time member of the Nashville Songwriting Association and performs today at songwriting rounds, churches, and festivals.

Honoring Nelson Harris – Drumming (Houma)
Sunday, October 23, 2022
3 p.m.
Rougarou Festival Main Stage
132 Library Drive
Houma, LA

Folklife Ambassador:
Jonathan Foret, South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center

When he was in his twenties, Nelson Harris came across Melvin Williams drumming in a park, who invited Harris to try his hand at drumming on congas. From that point on, Williams became his teacher. Since then, Harris has become well known in Terrebonne Parish for playing bongo and conga drums in both traditional and African styles. He recalls playing on cowhide heads before synthetic heads were readily available. Because of the force needed to play on cowhide, his hands would often crack and bleed after a session of playing. When asked how drumming makes him feel, Harris said, “When I’m playing drums, I can actually hear it coming off the walls. I can hear it coming off the floors. I can hear the ringing in it. I can play so many different ways, that a lot of times, I try to capture that in one sound, and it’ll lose me, so I chase it.” Now 72, Harris has turned his passion for drumming into a way to give back to his community, volunteering to play at charitable events and spending many hours sharing his love of music through educational workshops for children.

Honoring Chef Andres Miller – Bananas Foster Bread Pudding (New Orleans)
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
3 p.m.
Dillard University – Georges Auditorium
2601 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans, LA

Folklife Ambassador:
Mona Lisa Saloy, Conrad Hilton Endowed Chair, Professor of English, Dillard University, Poet Laureate

Born in New Orleans and raised in “The Cutoff ” section of Algiers, Andrew “Chef Drew” Miller learned how to create food with lots of love from the best chef he knew: his late mother, Eleanor B. Miller. Acting on his passion for cooking, Chef Drew studied the art of cuisine at Sclafani’s Cooking School and soon began working in the field, holding positions as an offshore chef preparing meals for offshore crew members and on-site staff and a sous-chef for the Hilton Garden Inn hotel. In 2000, Chef Drew started Miller Thyme Catering. When he wanted to add something sweet to the menu, he thought of bread pudding. After experimenting with the recipe and adding his own flair, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding was born. It quickly became a signature menu item and one of his most sought-after dishes; Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy was so impressed with it (and its effect on diners) that she honored Miller and his dish with a poem.

For pictures and expanded biographies of each tradition bearer, please visit the Folklife Month webpage.

Tech basketball season tickets on sale

Season tickets are on sale for LA Tech hoops.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech Athletics announced Thursday that season tickets for men’s and women’s basketball are on sale in anticipation for the 2022-23 seasons. 

Renewal deadline to guarantee seat locations for existing season ticket holders is Oct. 24. In order to renew season tickets, fans visit or call the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631. 

The Bulldogs and Lady Techsters, who both advanced to the Conference USA Championship game last season, begin their seasons with a doubleheader on Monday, Nov. 7 with the Techsters taking on Central Baptist College followed by the Bulldogs hosting Mississippi College inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court. 

Both program’s 2022-23 home slates will feature 15 contests inside the TAC, including five non-conference matchups before moving in to Conference USA play. Notably, the reigning C-USA West Division Championship Lady Techsters will welcome SEC East member Vanderbilt to Ruston, Dec. 8. For the full 2022-23 Schedules click here: Bulldogs | Lady Techsters

Once again, fans will be offered a variety of options when ordering their 2022-23 season tickets, including the ability to take advantage of combination packages that will include both men’s and women’s tickets. For a total of 30 home games, Tech fans can buy their season seats beginning at $150. 

General admission for men’s tickets will begin at $100 while women’s tickets start at $60. Faculty, staff, and group discounts are available as well as Young Alumni packages for the 200 Level, 100 Level, and Lower Bowl seats.

Louisiana Tech Athletic Club (LTAC) benefits for basketball include opportunity to purchase courtside seats, priority parking, away game and postseason ticket priority, hospitality suite access, young alumni discounts, and more. For more information and full benefits chart you can visit or email with any questions. 

Fans can also take advantage of the Champ’s Kids Club which will give kids 8th grade and younger admission to all home sporting events for just $75. The Kids Club season pass is valid from July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. 

The Bulldogs, under the direction of new head coach Talvin Hester, return ten letterwinners from the 2021-22 campaign, including juniors Cobe WilliamsKeaston Willis, and Isaiah Crawford, while adding four newcomers to the roster.  The team finished last season 24-10, marking the ninth time in the last 10 seasons with 20+ wins.

The Techsters finished last season 21-12 and rode a strong 11-3 finish to the West Division title while also making a postseason appearance in the WNIT.

Head coach Brooke Stoehr enters her seventh season at the helm, and also welcomes back ten letterwinners, including All-Conference performers in Keiunna Walker and Anna Larr Roberson. The Techsters will add two transfers to the mix with three incoming freshmen. 

Weekend events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of non-for-profit upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list or advertise your for-profit events, please email us at

Friday, September 30
2022 Peach Tennis Tournament (Ruston Sports Complex)
4:30 p.m.: GSU women’s soccer v. TSU (GSU Soccer Complex)
7 p.m.: Ruston High School v. Neville
7 p.m.: Cedar Creek v. Tensas
7 p.m.: GSU presents “Wait Until Dark” (Floyd L. Sandals Theatre, GSU)

Saturday, Oct. 1
2022 Peach Tennis Tournament (Ruston Sports Complex)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
5:30-9 p.m.: Downtown Pumpkins in the Park (Railroad Park)

Sunday, Oct. 2
2022 Peach Tennis Tournament (Ruston Sports Complex)
1 p.m.: La Tech soccer v. FIU (Robert Mack Caruthers Field, 1450 W. Alabama Ave.)
1 p.m.: GSU soccer v. PVAMU (GSU Soccer Complex)
5:30 p.m.: GSU volleyball v. PVAMU (Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center)

Notice of death — Sept. 29, 2022

Ruby Watts Coleman 
Thursday 03/15/1917  —  Friday 09/23/2022     
Friends & Family Gathering: Saturday 10/01/2022 9:00am to 10:00am Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Beyond The Wall Ceremony, New Rocky Valley Baptist Church, 2155 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Grambling 
Viewing: Saturday 10/01/2022 10:00am to 11:00am at King’s Funeral Home 
Location: (At Funeral Home: 1511 W. California Avenue; Ruston, LA 71270) 
Funeral Service: Saturday 10/01/2022 11:00am, New Rocky Valley Baptist Church, 2155 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Grambling 
Interment: Saturday 10/01/2022 Following Service, Grambling Memorial Garden, Highway 80 West, Grambling 

Elder Marla D. Williams 
Tuesday 12/23/1969 — Monday 09/26/2022     
Visitation: Saturday 10/01/2022, 4:00pm to 6:00pm, at King’s Funeral Home 
Celebration of Life: Sunday 10/02/2022, 1:00pm, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 585 Mt. Pleasant Road, West Monroe 
She Shall Rest In: Sunday 10/02/2022 Following Service at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, 585 Mt. Pleasant Road, West Monroe 

DART plans October activities

October is the time of flaming autumn colors, and leaves of russet, gold, and red.  It is the season of relief, as summer stupor is blown away by cool fall breezes.  It brings sweaters and scarves, football and pumpkins, Halloween and fall festivals.

Yet October is also designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Throughout the month, the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team will hold fundraisers, awareness events and candlelight vigils.  Hundreds of supporters, partners and friends will come alongside this organization to join them in their work to help keep families safe in our community.

The month will begin with a DQ Blizzard Day for DART on Oct. 5. All day long, one dollar will be donated to DART for any Blizzard sold at the Cooktown Rd DQ. 

On Oct, 6, two major events will take place.  The first will be the 19th Radiothon for DART. This event, the biggest fundraiser of the year, has been held at Super 1 Foods since 2002.  It is broadcast live on Q94.1 FM, and runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Over 30 community partners will be interviewed throughout the day and will talk about why they believe that DART’s services are needed in the Lincoln Parish community.

Radiothon donations may be made online at, by calling in a pledge to 318-513-9373, by sending a gift to DART at P.O. Box 1223, Ruston, 71273, or by dropping by Super 1. DART’s goal this year is $75,000.  Part of this will be to replace the $29,000 in budget cuts DART has experienced this year. The rest will be used to cover items and needs not allowed by existing grants, such as maintenance to the security system, help for those who leave the shelter to set up new housekeeping free of their abuser, and to retain valuable and experienced staff members who work faithfully in difficult circumstances.

Also on Oct. 6, a jambalaya fundraiser will be held at Karl Malone Toyota on the North Service Road from 11-2.  Tickets are $10, and all proceeds go to DART.  Full and half pans may be ordered ahead of time by calling 318-255-1387.  Any advance order of over 10 plates, including a half or full pan, is eligible for free delivery.

On Oct. 27, the Lincoln Parish Candlelight Vigil will be held at 6 p.m. at The Bridge Community Church downtown campus, located at 500 W. Georgia Ave.  This hour-long service will honor lives lost to domestic violence in the community.

Finally, on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m., the 8th Annual Walk a Mile event will be held by the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega Beta Psi. This sorority’s national philanthropy is domestic violence, and the Louisiana Tech chapter is incredibly active with DART.  Walkers will gather at the Argent Pavilion behind the Thomas Assembly Center. What started as a simple walk with men wearing high heels has graduated to men wearing heels, bedazzled flip flops and nail polish – but also joined by women wearing men’s shoes, dogs sporting tutus, and family members dressing up in all manner of costumery.  It is a fun, easy, family-friendly event to raise money and awareness for DART.  For more information, call Philanthropy Chair Kylie Pepper at 903-452-8022.

Whether it is ice cream or radio interviews, candlelight vigils or silhouettes of lives lost, or a cheerful and enthusiastic walk for DART, October has something for everyone.  Each event will help save lives, will support those who bravely leave to start anew, will shed light on a dark subject, and will help DART to continue its work to help keep families safe. 

Special Teams tandem seeing success for Bearcats

Bearcat seniors, left to right: RJ Brown, Dylar Richmond, and Will Fendley

By Kyle Roberts

It seems a real shame that you don’t often hear about special teams players unless something goes wrong.

Good news: this is not that type of article.

After senior kicker Brady Beason graduated following last season, both Ruston High seniors RJ Brown and Will Fendley entered into competition for starting at kicker and punter this past summer. 

And a big part of what makes this pair so special is the way they approached that competition: they take an encouraging, yet challenging approach and are each other’s biggest fan.

“As a kicker, you have to have a short term memory,” Fendley said who is now the primary field goal kicker and punter. “Anytime I’ve missed something in practice, RJ is right there to tell me to pick my head back up, and I do that same for him. You’ll see RJ and me together on the sidelines warming up and we’ll kind of mess around with each other a bit and it gets the team going.”

For Brown, the feeling is certainly mutual.

“Will and I are like best friends,” Brown said, as he handles all kickoffs. “All the guys on special teams; we’re very close. When one succeeds, all succeed.”

That type of team atmosphere is something special teams coordinator Bryan Beck is fostering for the Bearcats.

“The really good thing about those guys is that they really pull for each other,” Beck said. “They definitely bring a lot to the table as far as what we want to do as a special teams unit. We were just trying to find out what both of them could do for us, and we could not quite put our finger on who would be our field goal guy or punter over the spring or summer. But now in the season, we know what we’ve got.”

Kicking coach Colt Dunbar has worked with both young men all summer long and now into the fall.

“They’ve both come a long way,” Dunbar said of the duo. “During the summer, they really started to separate themselves into what they would be doing. Both guys are excited to get out there, and they push each other.”

Bearcat head coach Jerrod Baugh echoed the same sentiment as both coaches; the pair bring their own talent into their respective positions and have been given the freedom to flourish on special teams.

“I think it’s been a growing process for the two of them,” Baugh said. “We knew they were talented in different areas, and also, in some of the same areas. We had to filter that out on where we wanted to land in who would handle punt duty, who would handle extra points and kick offs. Those kids have been very supportive of each other. It hasn’t been one of those things where there’s been vindictive things going on. They’ve been very positive with each other, and we see that in practice and games also.”

Ruston High has certainly benefited in the last two weeks with both Brown and Fendley elevating their respective games and getting comfortable in their roles. Fendley knocked through a 24-yard field goal as time expired to beat Cabot High School out of Arkansas, while the next week Brown converted back-to-back onside kicks to start the third quarter, which led to two straight touchdown drives.

To first set the scene with the Cabot finale, Ruston’s defense had mostly held serve against a talented Panther offense for the night, including a pick-six by junior linebacker Jadon Mayfield to end the first half. After the Bearcat offense came alive to tie the score in the fourth quarter, a solid run attack put the ball in range for Fendley with four seconds left. Off the right hash mark, Fendley drilled the 24-yarder to the euphoria of everyone on the home or student side of the stadium. Fendley this season is perfect in both field goals and extra points.

“Coach tells us every time we go out on the field to shut our brains off,” Fendley said. “We’ve done this a thousand times in practice. It’s nothing new; I just need to go out there and kick the ball. Going out there (against Cabot), that was my approach.”

The next week, and ironically following another linebacker pick-six in the second quarter, this time by sophomore Zheric Hill, the Bearcats trailed by a touchdown after halftime. Brown lined up to kick off, and instead kicked a nearly flawless ten-yarder onside that he recovered himself.

“For RJ on kickoffs, we ask him to kick it deep, we ask him to sky kick to areas of the field that no one is covering, and we believe in him on onside kicks,” Beck said. “He’s handled that really well. In the Lafayette Christian game, we knew we needed a shot in the arm to start the second half. We were watching how (LCA) lined up for the kickoff. RJ hit the ball right off the defender’s facemask and recovered his own kick.”

Brown, too, was elated to fall on that football after his onside kick.

“My brother has always wanted me to recover my own onside kick,” Brown said, followed by a laugh. “He was praying for that to happen for the ball to find my hand. I was super pumped.”

An interesting part of the lead up to that story happened previously during the week: Brown reportedly came home for a couple of days after practice banged up and bruised after working on full speed onside kicks.

“RJ’s got some strawberries all over his legs and arms from when we do that in practice,” Beck added. “He works hard everyday and it shows.”

For Brown and the coaches, one onside was not enough. On the ensuing kickoff, Brown kicked another onside to the other side of the field, which again, was recovered by Bearcat junior Semaj Jones. 

“I was a little nervous as anybody would be,” Brown said. “We practice onside kicks everyday, so it was a situation we had prepared for, and Coach Beck gave me a little time to think about my steps, but overall I had to shut down my mind and just play football.”

Both onside kicks led to touchdowns and sparked a third quarter onslaught of Ruston points and propelled the Bearcats to a victory over another top opponent in the state.

“We had joked on the sidelines that if they lined up like that a second time that we would do it again,” Beck said. “Our guys were ready for that, and it was just a matter of executing. RJ put two really good kicks on the ball to give us a chance to recover. It was really a turning point in the ballgame.”

While Brown’s and Fendley’s efforts are what go officially on the stat sheets, there are many other important contributors, namely senior long snapper Dylar Richmond and senior holder Matt Garrett. Both Brown and Fendley raved about how much they appreciate all of the guys on special teams and that, without all of them, it would be a tough ask for success in the kicking game.

“There’s so many guys that are working so hard on special teams,” Brown added, trying to name and show love to as many teammates as he could. “Guys like (senior) Jordan McWain, (junior) Nate Johnson, (senior) Ray Owens, and (senior) Jamious Blackmon. I just want to give credit to those guys, as they’re the ones that go down the field and make those plays. Without the confidence in those guys, it wouldn’t happen. I see them working their tails off in practice. I just want to give credit to the whole special teams unit.”

Vehicle damage, arrest result from domestic argument

A Ruston man was arrested Tuesday after police responded to a call regarding damage to property.

The alleged victim told Ruston Police officers her boyfriend Latevion Q. Dunn, 27, had a verbal altercation at their Gill Street residence about why the door was locked when he returned home. The victim said she informed Dunn she always locked the door when she is home alone. She said Dunn continued arguing with her for no known reason. Dunn told her to leave his residence and she stated she was not leaving until she received the keys to her vehicle. The victim said at that time Dunn picked up a brick and threw it through the rear window of her vehicle and then slashed two tires with a knife. 

While the heated argument was occurring, Dunn allegedly pushed her to the ground where she suffered minor injuries to her elbow.

Dunn told officers they argued over the car keys. He stated he did not give the victim the keys because he drives the vehicle to work. He said the victim was the one who slashed the two tires, damaging her own vehicle, to have him arrested for the damages.

When asked about the injury to the victim’s elbow, Dunn stated he did not know how that happened. He said he did not cause any physical harm. 

Dunn was arrested for domestic abuse battery and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

Bail had not been set at press time.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Suspected shoplifter also charged on bench warrants

Wigs were the item of choice for an alleged shoplifter arrested by Ruston Police Monday evening.

Officers were called to Hair City at 401 South Vienna about 5:40 p.m. Monday regarding a theft complaint. The store owner said a man took wigs and left the store. The owner pointed out the suspect’s cousin who was still in the building.

The cousin identified the suspect as Jaqualon L. Dunaway, 24, of Ruston. He was contacted by phone and returned to the store with the merchandise.

A records check indicated Dunaway was wanted on two bench warrants for failure to appear in Ruston City Court on charges of bank fraud and illegal transmission of monetary funds.

Dunaway was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for misdemeanor theft by shoplifting and the two failure to appear warrants. The merchandise was returned to the store owner.

Bail was set at $20,000.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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