LPPJ votes to stay the course with ongoing ‘Health Hub’ plans

By T. Scott Boatright

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury moved to continue forward with plans already in place to construct a “Health Hub” while also setting dates for 2023 LPPJ meetings during roll call voting during a special meeting held Tuesday night  in the LPPJ Room at the Lincoln Parish Courthouse.

A contract to move forward with plans to construct a “Health Hub,” which would include the Lincoln Parish Health Unit, the Health Hut and the H.E.L.P.  (Humanitarian Enterprises of Lincoln Parish) Agency was approved by the LPPJ earlier this year during its March meeting.

That contract approved having the Riley Company of Louisiana to provide surveying and engineering services in order to prepare the site for construction for a budget under $40,000. Plans for the “Health Hub” are being designed by Ruston architect Mike Walpole.

During Tuesday’s meeting Parish Administrator Doug Postel told jurors that the LPPJ had been approached by Allegiance Health Management, which owns Northern Louisiana Medical Center (NLMC), about possibly opening discussions for the LPPJ to make an offer on one of the MLNC buildings once Allegiance builds a new hospital north of Interstate 20, which the corporation has indicated it plans to do.

Postel said Allegiance officials told him the corporation plans to have a new hospital in operation in about four years.

That resulted in a lengthy discussion among jurors about the pros and cons of considering such a potential offer.

Juror Logan Hunt expressed a desire to enter into discussions with Allegiance about such a hypothetical  offer, saying that should  a potential deal for one of the newer buildings (the older, main NLMC building was constructed with asbestos, which is one of the reasons Allegiance wants to make a move) be significantly lower than the $9 million the LPPJ has in place for its planned “Health Hub,” then any leftover funding could be diverted to other key uses, including upgrading the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District.

But other jurors bristled at the notion of considering changing direction of the planned “Health Hub” at this point in time.

Health and Welfare Committee chair Annette Straughter was one of those jurors.

“Yes, to get the (NLMC outpatient) Surgical Center for $100,000 would be amazing if we could get that … but there’s no way we’re going to get that when  it’s worth probably 20 times that,” Straughter said. “I think we need to move forward with our plans. Our citizens deserve, not need, deserve,  to have an updated facility that can meet all of their needs.

“We really need to move forward with this. Nobody is saying no to accept the hospital. I am not saying no to accepting the surgical center. We are saying yes, let’s keep moving forward with our plans.”

A motion to continue forward with existing plans was approved 9-2 (juror Skip Russell left the meeting before the voting began) with Theresa Wyatt, Hazel Hunter, Richard Durrett, TJ Canfrord, Glenn Scriber, Joe Henderson, Milton Melton, Sharyon Mayfield and Straughter voting in favor of that motion with Hunt and Matt Pullen being the no votes.

Earlier in the meeting, another longer discussion occurred when voting on LPPJ meeting dates for 2023. LPPJ meetings have long been held on the second Tuesday of every month, but Postel said that some LPPJ staff members had expressed a desire to have the meeting dates in March and October of 2023 moved back a week because Lincoln Parish Schools will be out during the second week of those two months.

“The reason I’m bringing this up is because the majority of the Police Jury staff have school-age children,” Postel said. “For us to do without staff on a meeting week is complicated. We can do it, but it’s complicated. I contacted the school board, and they changed their meetings from the week that schools will be out, so this would not be something we’re doing on our own but something other agencies are doing as well.”

In the end, jurors voted 8-4 to continue holding its regular meetings at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month in 2023, with Wyatt, Hunter, Durrett, Russell, Henderson, Melton, Mayfield and Slaughter voting to keep things the same while Cranford, Hunt, Pullen and Scriber unsuccessfully voted in favor of allowing the proposed March and October changes.


Ruston’s hoopers take home pair of wins over Bossier

Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

By Kyle Roberts

It was a sweep for both varsity teams Tuesday night at home against Bossier in both the boys and the girls games; first, the girls took care of the Lady Bearkats by a final score of 63-12, while the boys won theirs in a closer contest 49-32.

“I’m really happy for the guys,” Ruston head coach Ryan Bond said. “I was a little worried because we didn’t play over the break, and we didn’t practice very much because I knew the guys needed their legs underneath them because we had previously played four games in five days. December is going to be tough with a lot of difficult opponents. For the way the guys have come back after the off days with a mental focus against a good Bossier team.”

The boys took an early 20-9 lead after the first quarter, but Bossier quickly changed its defensive style to slow Ruston’s scoring down. At halftime, Ruston was still up 22-14. In the third quarter, Ruston started to pull away thanks in part to a half-court buzzer beater by sophomore Aidan Anding to put the Bearcats up 12 points 38-26. Ruston held on for a final score of 49-32.

“The guys just fought tonight,” Bond said. “They played heavy minutes, and they’re going to play heavy minutes until football is over, which will hopefully be December 10. They followed the game plan. I’m proud of the guys.”

On the girls’ side, the Lady Bearcats amassed an early lead and was able to get some significant playing time for some of the younger players on the squad.

“Tonight was good for a lot of our younger players to continue to gain some valuable experience and confidence,” Ruston head coach Meredith Graf said. “We’re looking forward to a tough week of competition at the showdown at the tournament in Lake Charles.”

Senior Braylan McNeal led the Bearcats with 19 points, while Anding finished with 14 points, with four made three-pointers. Sophomore Kiersynce McNeal finished with 11 points for the Lady Bearcats.

Wanted man arrested on warrants

A Downsville man was arrested last week after narcotics officers spotted him in front of a Ruston tavern.

Terrel V. Andrews, 31, was spotted by members of the Lincoln Parish Narcotics Enforcement Team (LPNET) about 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday night. The team held several warrants for Andrews for distribution of Schedule II controlled substances.

Andrews was taken into custody without incident in downtown Ruston. During the arrest, Andrews stated he had cocaine in his pants pocket.

Andrews was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, violation of the Controlled Substances Law-Drug Free Zone for being in proximity to a church, and the three LPNET warrants.

Bail was set at $168,500.

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. 

School of Communication celebrates scholarship winners

Louisiana Tech communications major Anna Graney of Colcord, Oklahoma, was recently chosen as the winner of the Kerry Garland Memorial Scholarship, one of two scholarships awarded this year by the Shreveport Journalism Foundation.

Tech graduate student and local freelance writer Alexis Newman earned the Orland Dodson Memorial Scholarship, the SJF’s other award, last year when she was a Tech senior in communications.

“Tech students continue to excel at winning these scholarships,” Dr. Judith Roberts, assistant professor in Tech’s School of Communication, Department of Communication and Media Studies, said. “I encourage students every year to apply for these, because I don’t think we’ve ever had a year when students applied and we didn’t win at least one.”

A separate plaque with the names of the scholarships’ recipients from Tech are displayed on the second floor of Robinson Hall.

The Garland Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of The Times of Shreveport print journalist and International Paper Company public relations practitioner Kerry Garland and was first awarded in 1987. A second scholarship was added in 1991 in memory of local radio, television and print journalist Orland Dodson.

Each scholarship began as $500 but, after two years, was increased to $1000. Then in 2021, it was increased again to $1500.

The scholarships are given annually to college juniors or seniors who are majoring in either journalism or public relations and either have a permanent residence or attend school within a 100-mile radius of downtown Shreveport.

Woman arrested after blocking highway

Ruston Police arrested a Dubach woman on Thanksgiving after she was found standing in the roadway blocking traffic.

Police received reports a woman was walking in the roadway on S. Farmerville St. and dodging traffic intentionally causing obstruction to motorists. Later, a witness saw similar behavior on E. Georgia Avenue (U.S. 80).

An officer found Martha Ann Jackson, 34, in the road. She was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for simple obstruction of a roadway.

Jackson was arrested by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for similar behavior in 2021.

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. 

Cardiac Cougars crash Crusaders

By Malcolm Butler

Just a little over a week ago, Connor Norris, Carter Hill and Brian Osborne were finishing the Cedar Creek football season with a second round playoff loss at No. 1 seed Vermilion Catholic.

On Tuesday night, those Cougars and their teammates were hooping it up on the hardwood.

And finding ways to making game-winning plays.

Norris’ 18-footer with 2.0 seconds to play lifted Cedar Creek to a 68-67 win over Claiborne Christian in a game that saw the Cougars lead only twice (9-8 in first quarter and 68-67 at the end).

The trio combined for 14 of Creek’s 23 points in the final stanza as the Cougars rallied from a 59-50 deficit in the fourth quarter.

First year Creek head coach Lance Waldron said trying to acclimate the Cougars football players into the rotation was a challenge in the first game with the entire roster in tact>

“That was difficult,” said Waldron. “I’ve never been in that position before. I think it was difficult for the players too. They are expected to step on the floor and perform and sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. They are still in football form. They missed some easy shots that we should have made, but all the guys worked through it and we found a way to win.”

Trailing by nine with five minutes to play, Creek began chipping away at the deficit. An offensive rebound and putback by Hill with 2:38 to play closed the gap to 63-58. Norris then drained a three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 64-63. After two free throws by Claiborne Christian, Osborne buried a three-pointer to tie the score at 66-66 with 28 seconds to play.

Following Hill’s fifth foul of the game with 17 seconds to play sent Claiborne Christian’s Kaleb Gregory to the line, Waldron called a timeout to talk about the final possession.

“We had just hit a couple of three-pointers to get back into the game,” said Waldron. “I told the guys we don’t need a three in this situation. Let’s work the ball around and get a good shot, but don’t settle for a three. They executed it to a T. Connor pulled up and hit the jump shot. I couldn’t be more proud of how they handled the possession.”

Gregory, who ended with a game-high 35 points, missed the first free throw but hit the second to give the Crusaders a 67-66 lead, setting the stage for the final heroics.

With the clock running down, Norris took a pass on the left wing, drove middle, pulled up and sank the 18-footer to give the Cougars their first lead since it was 9-8 in the first quarter.

“I’ve been telling the guys to rip and drive,” said Norris. “Coach said we don’t need a three in this situation. So I ripped through and pulled up for a little jump shot.”

The Cougars trailed 33-26 at halftime and by as many as 11 points in the third quarter. However, they began getting the ball in the middle against Claiborne Christians 1-3-1 zone and had some success.

“That was something Jack Thigpen showed me several years ago,” said Waldron. “When you attack a 1-3-1 zone, just put a guy in the middle and a player on each wing. Then two guards up front. It’s a simple set, and we just let the guys play out of it. They really stepped up and played well.”

While the Cougars were starting to have more success on the offensive end, they were struggling to slow down the Crusaders on the defensive end.

“(Gregory) tore us to shreds,” said Waldron. “We tried a lot of things and none of it worked. But as the season goes on we will have more options to slow down someone like that. We just aren’t there yet. It’s going to come though during the season.

“They are well coached. They have some talented players. We had more size but we struggled against them tonight.”

Davis Walsworth led Creek with 14 points followed by Hill with 13 points and Norris with 10.

Teddy Allen: What will you read in 2023? 

Journal Services’ Teddy Allen

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right. 

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one. 

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.  

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never. 

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile. 

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg. 

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years. 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making of The Godfather and was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.  

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing. 

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention. 

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich. 

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Does by Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already. 

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice. 

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on! 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 

Creek falls late to Claiborne Christian

Ava Hartwell scored six points in Cedar Creek’s 53-49 loss to Claiborne Christian Tuesday (photo by Darrell James).

By Malcolm Butler

After almost sleep walking through the first two quarters, Cedar Creek turned up the defensive intensity in the second half before falling late in a 53-49 loss at Claiborne Christian Tuesday night.

The Lady Cougars were a step slow in the first two quarters and found themselves trailing by as many as 11 and by a 25-17 halftime score thanks to a three-pointer by Allie Furr in the closing seconds of the second quarter.

The biggest issue for the Cougars in the first half was the inability to pull down defensive rebounds as the Lady Crusaders cashed in on numerous second chance opportunities.

“I thought in the first half, we didn’t do a good job of anything really,” said Creek head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg. “We were getting out-efforted; out-hustled; out-toughed. But in the second half we challenged them.”

The challenge worked. The Lady Cougars awoke.

Utilizing a full-court press, Creek forced turnover after turnover after turnover. Trailing 35-24, Cedar Creek used a 12-2 run to close out the third quarter to cut the deficit to 37-36. Furr scored seven of her game-high 24 points in the stanza as the Lady Cougars outscored the Crusaders 19-12.

“That third quarter we did a good job of out-playing them,” said Vandenlangenberg. ‘We did that through the entire second half until the last minute and a half. We scrapped in the second half. We fought. We showed toughness. It was a fun half to watch. I can watch and coach that all day long.”

The fourth quarter began with a steal and layup by Furr that gave the Lady Cougars a 38-37 lead, its first since it was 4-2 early in the first quarter. Creek pushed the lead out to 47-43 with 3:45 remaining in the game before being outscored 10-2 over the final minutes.

“I don’t know if fatigue came in to play coming off of Thanksgiving,” said Vandenlangenberg. “I don’t know. We just ran out of gas.”

Despite the loss, Vandenlangenberg was happy with the fight he saw from his team after falling behind early.

“So we lost the game,” he said. “Big picture is if we can learn to be tough from the beginning and play with effort … if we can do that we can be a very good team.”

Ava Hartwell added six points for the Lady Cougars while Ellie Dickerson added five points. Lizzie Mcadams, Lillian Soto, and Leah Sutherland each scored four points.

LA Tech student-athletes boast impressive fall quarter

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech student-athletes started off the 2022-23 academic year with a bang as they put together the second-best term grade point average on record.

It was the best term GPA on record for the fall quarter while six programs – baseball (3.58), golf (3.48), women’s basketball (3.35), men’s track and field (3.05), women’s track and field (3.32), and softball (3.58) – enjoyed their highest fall GPA dating back to 2015.

Six student-athletes – Lake Juban of golf, Gerard Sapena of men’s track and field, Ilana Tetruashvili of tennis and BeeJay Williamson, Calvin Rhines, and DJ Jackson of football – earned their college degree.

A total of 247 Bulldogs and Lady Techsters achieved a term grade point average of 3.00 and above (second largest total on record for AD Honor Roll). A total of 72 made the Dean’s List (3.5-3.85 GPA) while 67 achieved a perfect 4.00 GPA for the fall quarter.

The following is a list of all the student-athletes who earned a 4.00 GPA for the fall quarter:

Baylor Cobb, Grant Comeaux, Jonathan Fincher, Joseph Hector, Philip Matulia, Slade Netterville, Ryan Porche, Sullivan Stringer

Hunter Battles, Thomas Henson, Payne Johnson, Will Patrick, Joel Thomas Stephens

Sara Howell, Lindsay Manning, Emily Rettig, Tara Spridco

Jude Ardoin, Griffin Armstrong, Caleb Billiot, Abraham Delfin, Smoke Harris, Landry Lyddy, Joshua Mote, Patrick Rea, Jack Turner, Noah White

KB Briley, Katelin Cooper, Olivia Ellingson, Allie Floyd, Emma Hutchinson, Mary Martinez, Lauren Menzina, Ella Rose Wright

Madita Ehrig, Maci Geltmeier, Avery Kyle, Rebecca Lancaster, Caitlin Le Roux, Jordan Porter, Lena Radler, Josie Studer

Tiffani Nash, Lara Unkovich

Jaena Bell, Morgan Smith

Anja Bukvic, Gabbie Green, Silvia Nativi

John Barham, William Estes, Tim Rummelhagen, Henry Terral, Wilson Yates

Daloria Boone, Lindsey Doucet, Pleasant Harris, Macy McLean, Nariah Parks, Alison Looney, Rebecca Quebedeaux

Dec. 10 congressional general election information shared 

The Registrar of Voters has announced important dates regarding the Saturday, Dec. 10 congressional general election. 

The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Nov. 19. 

Early voting is Nov. 26 through Dec. 3 (excluding Sunday, Nov. 27) from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

The Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters’ office is located at 100 W. Texas Ave., Room 10. For more information, call 318-251-5110. 

Board & Bottle fundraiser set for 4Paws

Board & Bottle will be hosting a fundraiser Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Railway Coffee’s downtown location with proceeds going to support 4Paws Rescue.

Patrons will be able to enjoy charcuterie and wine, a recipe demo by Pampered Chief, door prizes, and a raffle.

An original painting by local artist Jan Thibault will be auctioned off, as well.

Tickets are $40 and are available at Railway, 4Paws, or by calling 318.224.3235.

Remembering Patricia Ann Tinsley Posey

Patricia Ann Tinsley Posey

     Patricia Ann Tinsley Posey, age 71, was born June 30, 1951, to Marlin and Dorothy Byrd.  She passed from this life on November 24, 2022, at her home, following a lengthy illness. 

     She was a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.  Patricia is survived by her husband, David Posey; her son Billy Tinsley and wife Jamie, stepson Chad Posey; grandchildren, Jimmy Dale Tinsley, Lauren Collins; 2 great grandchildren; siblings, Steve Byrd, Kimberly Byrd, Deborah Williams and numerous nieces and nephews.

     Online condolences may be extended to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com

Remembering David Eugene Jackson

David Eugene Jackson

Visitation for Mr. David Eugene Jackson, age 50 of Dubach, LA will be held at 5:00-7:00 PM, Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Ruston, LA.

David was born July 7, 1972 to Teresa and Clifton Jackson in Homer, LA, and he took his last breath November 28, 2022 in Ruston at Northern Louisiana Medical Center. He lived in Dubach with his mother Teresa Flowers. David loved watching the New Orleans Saints football games. When the games were on, his room was to be quiet with no distractions.

He enjoyed collecting every item he could find that had the Saints logo on it. David made sure that the remote to his TV was right beside him at all times throughout the day. He loved when his nieces Brooke and Samantha Slaton would take him to town to shop or to even simply get groceries. David always enjoyed getting out of the house.

He experienced struggles and challenges that affected his day-to-day life. David had his bad days, but, on his good days, he would make numerous jokes and would want everyone around him to watch any video he found on his tablet that he thought was funny. He is preceded in death by his grandmother Juanita Maryland.

David left behind his mother Teresa Flowers; father Cliffton Jackson; sister Shelly and husband John Slaton; brothers Lynn Jackson and Kevin Jackson; aunts: Kathie Menshew, Nancy Wilson and Sandra Elee; cousin Cynthia Cannady; nephews: Dalton Slaton, Jensen Slaton, Ayden Slaton, John Holloway and Leland Holloway; nieces: Brooke Slaton, Samantha Slaton, Ali Slaton and Athena Devours; and a host of friends and family. The loss of him in our family has deeply affected everyone, though, we know, he is now at peace running around and maybe, just maybe, getting to play that game of football that he admired so much.

Remembering Shirley Ann Nicholson Cupid

Shirley Ann Nicholson Cupid

Visitation for Shirley Ann Nicholson Cupid, age 85, of Ruston, Louisiana, will be held on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, from 1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. at Kilpatrick’s Funeral Home in Ruston.  A Private Family Graveside Service will be held at Douglas Cemetery with Bro. Paul Watts officiating.

Ann was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, on December 4, 1936, to Lamar Caskey Nicholson and Bertha Harmon Nicholson. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on November 28, 2022, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 19, 2022. Her family honored her wishes to remain at her home until the Lord called her home.

Ann was a devoted, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She devoted her life to serving God and was a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church. “Miss Ann”, as so many knew her, was retired from the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home.  It was there that she left her lasting mark on this earth.  She held many a child through their most difficult times. She instilled love and compassion through the many childcare workers she supervised. No matter the circumstances, every child that passed through her care during that time knew they were cared for and loved and that their life was worth something. While serving at the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, Ann made several life-long friendships. Denise Barlow and Kathy Modest will always be cherished for their heartfelt love for our mother over the years.

Ann was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her husband of 67 years, David Lamar Cupid of Ruston, Louisiana; Son, Terry Cupid and wife Terri; Daughter, Dixie Cupid and Richard Howell; two loving granddaughters, Jenny Brandt and husband Chris, and Kiley Cupid; and four great-grandchildren, Dalton Tate, Alexus Tate, Jordan Tate, and Beau Brandt.  She is also survived by her brother, Bobby Nicholson and wife Lemmie.

Since her diagnosis, Ann has had a beautiful spirit through it all. She only wanted her family to remain happy and love one another after her passing. God provided her with caring hands and dedicated nurses and caregivers. The family wishes to express gratitude to Ascend Hospice Caregivers Mandy Waggoner, Paul Carter, and LaTesha Powell. The family would also like to thank those who showed their love by care for Ann over the past several years, including Bill, Barbara, and Billy Moss; Donna Bradshaw Cooper; Bro. Paul Watts and the countless members of Emmanuel Baptist Church, as well as life-long friends James and Janice Sawyer. We will cherish the love and compassion they showed through difficult hours and forever be grateful.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Emmanuel Baptist Church or the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home.

Online condolences may be extended to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com

Toys for Tots seeks applicants, donations 

Toys for Tots, a 75-year National charitable Program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides year-round joy, comfort, and hope to less fortunate children across the nation through the gift of a new toy or book. Currently, Toys for Tots is seeking donations and applicants to receive the gifts. 

To apply for Toys for Tots, visit the website at https://ruston-la.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/request-toys.aspx. Applications will end Nov. 30.  

According to Kimberley Proctor, local campaign coordinator, the impact that the toys, books, and other gifts collected and distributed is extraordinary. The gifts that are collected by Marines and volunteers during the holiday season, and those that are distributed beyond Christmastime, offer disadvantaged children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime.  

For over seven decades, the program has evolved and grown exponentially having delivered hope and the magic of Christmas to over 281 million children.  Last year the local Toys for Tots was able to serve nearly 600 children.   

Toy donations will be accepted through Dec. 7, and drop off boxes are located at Kim Dupree State Farm, PT Nutrition, Bayou Title, LOTS Physical Therapy, Courtesy Dodge of Ruston, New Living Word Ministries, and NALA Grace and Co. 

For more information visit https://ruston-la.toysfortots.org or contact Proctor at ruston.la@toysfortots.org

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.   

Ruston man booked for drugs, outstanding warrants

Ruston Police arrested a local man Sunday night after suspected ecstasy tablets were found during a traffic stop.

An officer stopped a Chevrolet Impala on West California Avenue for traveling 49 mph in a 35 mph zone about 8 p.m. Sunday. The driver provided the vehicle registration and stated that was all he had and that the vehicle did not belong to him. He requested a citation and be allowed to leave. 

Upon questioning, the driver provided the name Damian Turner, who was also listed as the registered owner. He was again asked if the vehicle belonged to him, and he seemed nervous and said no. He then provided a date of birth that did not match a driver’s license check of the name he provided.

The officer saw several cigar packages and unrolled loose tobacco inside the vehicle, often an indication of marijuana use. When asked when he last smoked in the vehicle, he admitted having some pills in the center console he had purchased on the street. A search of the vehicle yielded six suspected ecstasy tablets.

The driver was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center under the name Damien Turner. Further investigation by the detention center staff revealed his real name was Rodney J. Turner and the false name given was that of a family member. 

Warrants were found charging Rodney Turner with failure to appear in Ruston City Court for having for driving under suspension and operating an off road vehicle on the roadway and four warrants from Third Judicial Court for failure to appear on driving under suspension, flight from an officer, reckless operation, and no motorcycle helmet.

Turner was additionally charged with resisting an officer by providing a false name and date of birth. Bail was set at $30,500.

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. 

Drug prompt Thanksgiving Day arrests

Lincoln Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested two people on multiple drug-related charges on Thanksgiving while investigating a hit-and-run crash.

Deputies went to a Eubanks Road residence Thanksgiving morning to attempt to locate an individual who had left the scene of an accident being investigated by Louisiana State Police.

Danny W. Jordan, 35, opened the door to a storage shed and then closed it quickly when he saw law enforcement outside. Deputies announced their presence and directed Jordan to come outside, and he complied.

When asked about other occupants or weapons in the shed, Jordan said Charlotte Heard Ramsey, 23, as well as weapons, were inside. Jordan allegedly gave deputies permission to enter the building to remove Ramsey and check for weapons.

Items of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in plain view inside, including syringes in the chair Ramsey was sleeping in. A Mac-11-style semi-automatic handgun was also retrieved.

Jordan and Ramsey were arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled substances.

Bail for each individual was set at $22,500.

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. 

Teacher Feature: Kelly Hodge shines bright like her students at AEP

By April Clark Honaker

Kelly Hodge is in the middle of her first year teaching second grade at A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, but Hodge is not new to teaching. After earning her Bachelor of Science from Louisiana Tech University in elementary education Grades 1-5 and special education Grades 1-12, Hodge added certification in Pre-K to K as well. 

Hodge has experience teaching a variety of ages in a variety of settings, including three years teaching kindergarten at Glen View Elementary. Hodge remained at Glen View until her son was born. The following spring, she said, “I was itching to get back in the classroom.” 

At that time, some friends encouraged her to apply for an open position teaching first grade at A.E. Phillips. After five years teaching first grade there, Hodge was recently named a Teacher of the Year by Lincoln Parish Schools and is now teaching second grade for the first time. 

She said the difference in maturity between first and second grade is significant. The second graders can read and write for longer periods. This year, about half of Hodge’s students were also in her first-grade class last year. “It’s been really sweet to have some of those same students,” she said, “but also add some new ones into the mix.” 

Hodge said the biggest difference in teaching at A.E. Phillips compared to Glen View is the opportunity to watch her students grow over the years. “That’s something very special and sweet about teaching at A.E. Phillips.” Her first class there is now in sixth grade.

“I just love my students,” Hodge said, “and I hope they know how much I love them.”

Teaching is something Hodge believes she was destined to do, and she loves hearing them explain their answers and their thought processes. At times, she uses peer teaching and said, “I love hearing them teach each other, have their own conversations, and really dive deep into their own thought processes.” 

At the same time, Hodge believes true learning happens best when a child’s relationship with their teacher is strong. Hodge takes care to balance playfulness and seriousness and make students feel at home. “My kids know when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to get down to business,” she said. 

Hodge also tells her students that their peers are their “school brothers and sisters.” She tells them, “This is our family, and we take care of each other.” 

Hodge’s favorite part of teaching is interactive read alouds. “I love to have the kids right at my feet with a really interesting book they can’t get enough of,” she said. She also loves the learning that these sessions spark.

Hodge is passionate about teaching her students but also about supporting new teachers. Louisiana Tech’s education students are now required to complete a yearlong clinical residency. To serve as a mentor for residents, teachers must earn a mentor certification through the Louisiana Department of Education. 

Hodge earned this certification in 2020 and said, “The residency program has been a big asset to my classroom.” The residents come to Hodge with their education coursework and practicum classes completed. With the residents, Hodge said, “Students are really kinda getting a double dip with instruction.”   

Hodge plans and co-teaches with her residents. “They bring new and fresh ideas that they’re learning to me,” she said. According to Hodge, it’s nice to have the extra support. Anything that adds value to her students is worth it for Hodge whose passion for her students is second to none. “My students are my most favorite thing,” she said.

Christon, Smith lead Tigers to victory

Courtesy of GSU Athletic Communications

The Grambling State University men’s basketball team used a big run midway through the first half as the Tigers wrapped up play at the 210 San Antonio Shootout on Monday afternoon with a 73-49 victory over Dartmouth at the Convocation Center.

The Tigers (4-3) surrendered the first six points of the game, but used a 21-4 run and didn’t look back as Grambling State took two games at the 210 San Antonio Shootout.

Cameron Christon and Jourdan Smith paced the Grambling State offense with 15 points apiece. Christon added seven defensive rebounds, two assists and two steals. Smith recorded three boards and one assist. Shawndarius Cowart tallied 12 points, two steals and one board, while Carte’are Gordon registered a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with one assist and one steal.

Ryan Cornish was the lone Big Green in double figures, scoring 13 points, on 5-of-9 shooting, along with four rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.

Dartmouth (2-4) raced out to a 6-0 lead after a Cam Krystkowiak free throw, but Grambling State responded with a furious 21-4 run over the next 10 minutes, capped by a Christon layup and Tra’Michael Moton 3-pointer as the Tigers led, 21-10 with an 8:40 remaining in the first half.

GSU stretched the lead to 31-14 after buckets by Smith and Cowart with just under four minutes to play in the half.

The Big Green closed the half strong, cutting the deficit to 34-20, at the break.

Grambling State got five straight points by Christon to open the second half as the Tigers built a 39-22 advantage with just 18 minutes to play.

Buckets by Christon and Gordon gave GSU a 45-25 lead with 12:39 remaining, but Dartmouth got baskets by Ryan Cornish and Izaiah Robinson as the Big Green cut the margin to 45-31 with 11:38 left.

The Tigers pushed the advantage to 49-34 after free throws by Quintin Murrell, along with layups by Cowart and Gordon, with 7:22 remaining.

Dartmouth never got any closer than 15 points during the final five minutes as the Tigers cruised to their second win in three games.

Leaves and the platypus and love 

Autumn flaunted its colors big time during a trip I took to Shreveport on Saturday. Patches of yellow here. Clusters of red there. Tufts of orange intermingled. Even through the raindrops the hues reverberated. 

It doesn’t take much to get my mind to wandering – and wondering. That day was no different. 

I pondered: How long did it take God to decide what colors the trees should brandish in the fall? Did He contemplate this particular color palette for a while? Did He ever consider blue as a possibility? Or because He’s all-knowing, all-powerful and exists outside of time, did He just decide everything at once? 

I’ve also wondered other somewhat similar things about God. Although not everything is revealed to us and I accept that, it’s my belief that it doesn’t hurt to ask a few questions. Hopefully, none of what I’ve wondered and none of what I’m expressing here is irreverent.  

Some questions that I – and others – contemplate are age-old and very serious, such as why God created Satan and why suffering exists in the world. And what about Hitler? Was he insane or just the absolute epitome of evil?  

Of course, some things we won’t totally understand until we enter those pearly gates. Still, I like to contemplate.  

I mean, if I’m pondering about the color of trees, then what about the abundance of forms that are found in nature overall? Was there ever another plan for the platypus?  

And bioluminescence – how were those specific animals picked to showcase this tantalizing characteristic? I’m just glad that all of them don’t live underwater and that we can revel in the fireflies’ summertime magic. 

Plus, while we’re on the subject of animals, why did God create mosquitoes? There must have been a reason, but I had never been able to think of one – until today. After a quick web search I discovered the article “10 Benefits of Mosquitoes: How Are They Helpful to Humans?” So I guess I can scratch that question off my list. 

But what about dust? One time years ago, I decided that when I got to heaven I would ask God about both mosquitoes and dust (think the irritating gray layer that gathers on every single thing you own unless you actively fight it). Then I realized that we were created from the dust of the earth, so in that regard, it takes on a totally new significance. 

And while we’re talking about humans, what about all those UFOs? Is there anybody else in the universe besides us, and if so, what’s their story and their relationship to God? 

But in truth, I suspect that when I and others get to heaven, we won’t be thinking about any of these questions for a long, long time (yes, I know time doesn’t exist in heaven, but I don’t know any other way to say it). 

After we cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet, after we unceasingly praise God’s name via eternity’s version of “replay” (how could we not do that?), after we find our loved ones, after we meet Abraham and Moses and Paul and Peter, after we sing the new song and hopefully some of the old ones as well, after we marvel at the unimaginable beauty of our eternal home …. 

Maybe then … maybe then we’ll think to ask questions. But I’ll wager that for the first 10,000 years, those queries won’t be about trees or lightning bugs or even sunsets, although what a thrill it would be to get a science lesson from the Creator. 

I think my first question might be: Can you explain the love it took to create us when you knew we would mess everything up and you would have to offer your Son to make things right again?  

And … why me, Lord, when I am so unworthy? Then after the answer … the praising resumes.  


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. 

Tech Tennis releases spring slate

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Coming off a stellar fall slate, Louisiana Tech head coach Amanda Stone announced the 2023 spring schedule that features 12 home matches at the LA Tech Tennis Complex.

“We are excited for the spring after the momentum we built during the fall season,” said Stone. “We have added several quality opponents to our competitive schedule. We want to keep pushing and testing ourselves. This team has accomplished a lot recently, but there is still a lot ahead of us and I am excited to see our players rise to the challenge.”

LA Tech will have 19 days of competition, including five doubleheaders. For the sixth straight year, the Lady Techsters will open up the spring slate in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Hurricane Invite. The round robin will include host school Tulsa along with Omaha and Wyoming.

Six straight home matches follow, starting with the home opener on Jan. 21 against Stephen F. Austin. LA Tech will then host Missouri State and Dillard on Jan. 28, UL-Lafayette and Southern Arkansas on Feb. 5, and AAC foe Houston on Feb. 11.

The Lady Techsters will stay on the road for the next month, first heading back to Tulsa to face Wichita State and Oral Roberts on Feb. 19 and 20, respectively.

LA Tech then goes to the state of Florida for three matches against South Florida, Toledo, and Stetson, before finishing up the long road swing with return matchups at Tarleton State on March 11 and at ULM on March 15.

The team will then have another string of home matches against Northwestern State, Incarnate Word, Tyler Junior College and LSU-Alexandria before turning over the calendar into April where they will travel to face C-USA foe UAB on April 1 and West Alabama on April 2.

The regular season comes to a close in Ruston on April 8 in a doubleheader versus league opponent UTEP and Grambling State.

The Conference USA Tournament returns to the Waranch Tennis Complex on the campus of North Texas in starting on April 20. This will be the third time in the last seven years the event will take place in Denton, Texas.