Tarbutton Road traffic flow being discussed in preparation for Buc-ee’s

Traffic flow in relation to Ruston Junior High School is one of the areas being discussed by the Lincoln Parish School Board, City of Ruston and DOTD.

By Malcolm Butler


All parties involved agree that traffic flow on Tarbutton Road will be one of the biggest challenges that will need to be addressed over the next two years in preparation for the construction and operation of Buc-ee’s.

With Ruston Junior High School located directly across from the land where Buc-ee’s and subsequent, unknown-at-this-time businesses will be built in the near future, traffic flow especially around the early morning and mid-afternoon hours must be addressed.

With a timeline for a January of 2025 opening of the travel center, the city of Ruston is already having conversations with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) according to Mayor Ronny Walker. They are trying to determine the necessary steps and the best solution for adding lanes, stop lights and stop signs that would alleviate traffic problems that would occur otherwise.

“We won’t know anything for sure until the traffic study is done, but we believe that they will have to add some additional lanes,” said Walker. “The traffic study is to help with what we need to do on exit ramps and lanes going into Buc-ee’s.”

According to Walker the traffic study will take months to complete, but that they are already working on some design elements.

“We just had a discussion with Buc-ee’s about that Tuesday,” said Walker. “They have over 50 stores. They know what works in other places.

“It usually takes anywhere from two to six months for the traffic study to be completed and that is being optimistic really.  So, we can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. We must be ready based on our discussions with DOTD over the next few weeks.

“We are moving forward with some design elements right now. Buc-ee’s has already given us what they would like to see happen, but the DOTD will have to sign off on anything that is done. They get the final say so as far as the roads go.”

Walker said that there is adequate space for additional lanes to be added, it’s just a matter of determining exactly what is needed.

“When you get off the interstate (going West), there are currently three lanes,” said Walker. “One turns left towards the bridge, one goes straight, and one turns right. I think they will have to put a stop sign to the service road to make people stop instead of just merging. And then I think they will have to have two lanes that turn right onto Tarbutton. Those same two lanes would turn into Buc-ee’s.

“On the flip side going east towards Monroe, it’s one lane now. I think it’s going to have to be two lanes, just like it is on Highway 33. It’s going to have to be very similar to that.”

The Lincoln Parish School District is also discussing solutions on their end to help with traffic flow in the morning and mid-afternoons, according to Superintendent Ricky Durrett.

“I think we have to figure some traffic flow things out, maybe adding some other entrances,” said Durrett.

Ruston Junior High School principal Keisha Douglas said she has heard a few people talking about what impact Buc-ee’s will have on RJHS during drop-off and pickup during the week.

“I’ve heard some traffic questions so far in regard to the school,” said Douglas. “But we have the car line on the south side of the school. The buses come in from Tarbutton, but our parents use the service road. They make the circle and get back onto the Tarbutton exit.

“I don’t foresee there being any issue (by the time Buc-ee’s opens). Mr. (Ricky) Durrett started this conversation with us two weeks ago at our principal’s meeting. I know it’s being discussed.”

Marina Bishop, whose daughter currently attends RJHS, said she is interested to see what will happen to alleviate people’s concerns.

“My main concerns are about traffic flow at Tarbutton and all of its configurations as well as how it will affect Tech Drive,” said Bishop.

Durrett said from the junior high standpoint, there is some talks about adding an additional entrance off the service road that would run behind the school (east side). However, currently, the land that would be needed for that isn’t owned by the school board.

However, Durrett said that discussions area in the works about those options and others.

“I think we do have to figure out some additional traffic flow, maybe using some other entrances,” said Durrett. “Look for an additional entrance to come off the service road. We may do something different with our bus flow too.”

With almost 24 months until Buc-ee’s is scheduled to open, there is adequate time for all parties to address the necessary changes that will need to occur.


Local teachers collaborate to create book

By Kelsey Horath

Ruston school teacher LeJoyce Adams never realized a student’s doodle art would lead to a road of inspiration in creating her own world of doodles and characters.

Adams is a second grade special education inclusion teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School and has been an educator for almost 20 years. Outside of the classroom, Adams enjoys putting her creativity into writing and children’s book. Adams has two published books and her most recent being “Doodlebug Jones, The Arteest Extraordinaire.”

“This title is derived from watching a student in class who would rather doodle than do classwork,” Adams said. 

In the book, readers can see a similar character, Doodlebug Jones who enjoys creating art and will sometimes create playful mischief for herself and others. 

“This book is about a very creative and spunky little girl (who is slightly mischievous)and loves art,” Adams said. “She finds out that they have a new art teacher at school, but she also gets the surprise of her life at the end of the book.”

Creating the world inside “Doodlebug Jones, The Arteest Extraordinaire” was a very tedious and sometimes stressful process; however, at the end of the day, Adams enjoyed every step of creating the small details.  

“Writing is one of my hobbies,” Adams said. “It is my therapy.

However, these small details were not created by Adams alone, but with the help of Anna Alexander. 

Alexander is a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary and Glen View Elementary, where she teaches art to K-2. Recently, she was awarded “Louisiana Elementary Art Educator of the Year” for 2022. When Alexander is not teaching, she enjoys performing at a local theater and finding art in all outlets. 

I’ve always done everything that I could to create artistically,” Alexander said. “My brain is just wired that way.”

Designing Doodlebug Jones and her world was a wonderful and exciting time for Alexander, where inspiration was far from lacking and the small, intricate details painted the biggest picture. 

“Being able to be creative in this way has been fun and surprisingly relaxing,” Alexander said. “I’ll put my earbuds in and listen to relaxing music and dive into creating Doodlebug Jones’ world.” 

Joining the creative process as an illustrator with Adams for “Doodlebug Jones, The Arteest Extraordinaire” brought together an even more extraordinaire team than Doodlebug Jones herself.

To experience all the colorful doodles and silly mischief Doodlebug Jones has to offer, stop by Rolling Hills Bookstore Thursday, Jan. 26, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for a book signing with Adams and Alexander. The bookstore is located at 1103 Farmerville Highway.

Aggies, Panthers remain undefeated in district action

Parker Batterton scored 20 points to help Choudrant snap a 26-game losing streak against Simsboro Tuesday night. (photo by Stacey Harper)

By T. Scott Boatrightk


It was a long time coming, and looked somewhat unlikely early on.

But Choudrant overcame an early deficit and surged back in the second quarter to remain undefeated in District 2-B Tuesday night by taking a 66-49 win over Simsboro at the CHS Gym.

It was the Aggies’ first win over Simsboro in the last 26 meetings since a 40-37 Choudrant win on Feb. 3, 2012.

Simsboro coach Randy Carlisle’s Tigers roared out to a 19-9 advantage by the end of the opening stanza as the Aggies struggled to hit their shots.

But the Aggies outscored Simsboro 25-16 in the second quarter to cut the Tigers lead to 35-34 at intermission.

Choudrant then outscored Simsboro 19-9 in the third period to build a 53-43 advantage by the end of the third quarter before holding the Tigers to only five points in the final eight minutes to secure the win.

“I am so proud of everyone tonight,” Aggies coach said of his team’s win. “We always talk about being mature and disciplined. Tonight showed what having leadership means to a basketball team.

“What a night!”

Smith, in his 17th season at CHS and 14th as head coach, admitted it felt good to finally get the “beating Simsboro monkey” off the Aggies backs. 

“It feels great, but more so for these kids and the community that does such a wonderful job of supporting them,” Smith said. “Simsboro lost a ton of talent from last year’s state championship team, but they’re still a very good basketball team. Coach Carlisle of course does a great job just as he’s done everywhere else he’s been with all those wins he has.

“I think the average fan thought it would be an easy win because they lost so much talent, but the more we looked at them the more we saw that these guys are still pretty good. So it was a great experience, a great moment for this team and the community. The community was really fired up throughout the game. For me personally, seeing what it means to my players and the community makes it that much more significant.”

Smith said he didn’t bring up Simsboro’s 59-game winning streak heading into the contest until halftime.

“I thought not saying anything about it until then would kind of help drive home the point to finish the game strong,” Smith said. “That was good motivation. Not that they needed motivation. This team was prepared. They were ready. I think it’s something they’ve shown every game this season — that it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side, they’re ready to compete and try to get the victory.”

Parker Batterton led the Aggies with 20 points while Mike Jones added 14 and Lachlan Thompson chipped in with 12.

The Aggies, who have now won four straight games, stand at 22-6 overall and 2-0 in district play, will next play at Forest on Tuesday.

Simsboro was led by 25 points from Earnest Chapman while Trumarion Smith added nine and Kelop Wright chipped in with eight.

The Tigers, now 6-15 and 0-1, will next play at Kilbourne on Thursday,


Choudrant 47, Quitman 40 (BOYS)

The Aggies did it with defense Friday night to take a seven-point home win over Quitman.

Michael Jones poured in 18 points to lead the Aggies, who also received 13 points by Lachlan Thompson.

CHS led 14-10 after the first quarter and 25-20 at halftime before outscoring the Wolverines 8-4 in the final stanza to secure the win.


Choudrant 57, Weston 27 (BOYS)

The Aggies took control early against Weston on Thursday night, building a 16-6 advantage by the end of the first quarter at the CHS Gym.

Mike Jones led the way for Choudrant with 20 points while Parker Batteron hit for 18 in a game in which 10 Aggies put points on the scoreboard.


Lincoln Prep 52, OCS 37 (BOYS)

The Panthers remained undefeated in District 2-1A action as they went on the road to earn a win Tuesday night at Ouachita Christian.

Lincoln Prep led 14-10 at the end of the first stanza but pushed its lead to 30-17 by intermission.

Bralyn Mayfield led the way for Lincoln Prep with 25 points and 13 rebounds while adding five steals and two blocked shots.

The Panthers also got eight points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals from Brandon Heard while Amarjae Young added six points, three steals and two assists and Trey Spann chipped in with five points, four steals, four assists, four rebounds and a blocked shot.

Lincoln Prep, now 14-4 and 4-0 in district play, will next play at Cedar Creek on Friday.


Lincoln Prep 71, River Oaks 18 (BOYS)

The Panthers roared to an early lead en route to a big district win over River Oaks on Jan. 17 at the New Living Word Gym in Ruston.

Lincoln Prep built a 23-7 lead by the end of the first quarter and was on top 45-14 at the half.

Bralyn Mayfield topped the Panthers with 14 points while adding two assists and two steals.

Kobe Mack chipped in with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Panthers while Trey Spann added 10 points, five steals, two assists and one rebound.

The Panthers also got nine points, four assists and four steals from Brandon Heard, six points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals from Stephen Burks III, six points, four rebounds, four steals, an assist and a blocked shot from Verlanski Glosson, Jr. and six points, a steal and block from Amarjae Young.


Domestic incident leads to arrest

A Ruston woman was arrested Saturday after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend and then resisted officers attempting to take her into custody.

Ruston Police officers responded to any recorded domestic fight in progress at a East Line Avenue residence about 11 p.m. Saturday night. A man told officers his girlfriend, Latonya Y. Underwood, 39, and her son had attacked him. While officers attempted to talk with the man, Underwood exited the residence and verbally threatened him. An officer instructed Underwood to move away but she refused. When the officer attempted to guide Underwood away from the man, she pulled away. She was taken into custody and placed in a patrol car. 

While officers talked with the man, Underwood began kicking and hitting the patrol car window after having pulled a hand free of her handcuffs. When an officer opened the patrol car door, Underwood attempted to get out and attack the man. She was handcuffed again and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

Ruston Ambulance Service transported the man to Northern Louisiana Medical Center for treatment of severe lacerations to the arm and head injuries. He said Underwood caused the injuries by striking him with a glass picture frame.

Underwood was booked for domestic abuse battery, resisting an officer, and six warrants from Ruston City Court was failure to appear on charges of speeding, two counts of driving under suspension, no child restraint, hit and run, and DWI. Bail on the warrants totaled $19,000. The bail amount for the other offenses was not available. 

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. 

Creek’s Soto inks with Ragin’ Cajuns

Flanking Lillian Soto (second from left) as she signed to play for ULL were (from left to right) father T.J. Soto, mother Brittany Soto and brother Hunter Soto. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


Going from Cougar to Cajun felt like a home run move for Cedar Creek senior softball player Lillian Soto.

Soto made her first step in that move Wednesday as she signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her softball career on the collegiate level with the Ragin’ Cajuns of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

“On my visit, I loved the Cajuns’ staff – they were amazing,” Soto said. “The atmosphere they brought and the facility in general is just really nice.”

Location also spiced up Soto’s desire to head to ULL.

“I didn’t want to go too far from home so that was a happy medium for me,” said Soto, who was also recruited by a number of other DI schools including Western Michigan and Georgia State. “I think that was kind of a big deciding factor. I had a couple other options, but they were a lot farther than I wanted to go. That was not part of the plan.”

Cedar Creek head softball coach Julie Riser said the Ragin’ Cajuns are getting a good one.

“She has played for me since sixth grade,” Riser said. “She started as a seventh grader on our championship team. I knew when I saw her take her turn in the (batting) cage as a sixth-grader she was going to be special. I told my assistants that she was going to play varsity the next year.

“It’s been a long road, I know. She had an ACL injury, and we all know that gets tough mentally and physically rehabbing all that. But that’s been her journey, and I’m super proud of her. She played travel ball all throughout and worked really hard individually, too, with her dad (LA Tech letterman TJ Soto, who was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2000). They put in a lot of time and hard work.”

Soto and her father both thanked the community for its support.

“Moving back down here when we did and getting the support we’ve gotten from the community and this family of friends throughout this journey,” said TJ Soto. “With the injury and the time we spent, we greatly appreciate all of y’all for what you’ve done for us as a family and the support you’ve given her throughout the athletic career she’s had from softball to basketball and through the injury process.”

As a junior at Cedar Creek last spring, the Lady Cougars’ infielder batted .385 with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs. 

Soto followed that up with a .414 batting average and 1.034 slugging percentage in fall travel ball while producing 12 RBIs over 29 at-bats for Baton Rouge-based D1Vision 18U Nationals.

She earned second-team all-district honors during the Lady Cougars 2018 state championship run and second-team all-district honors in 2019 when Cedar Creek reached the quarterfinals. She garnered academic all-district in 2021 on a state quarterfinals finisher following the COVID season of 2020, and she was first-team and academic all-district while earning Creek’s Defensive Player Award as a junior.

Soto said she wasn’t 100 percent sure if she would red-shirt her first year or not.

“They want to see how I do in the fall,” said Soto, who said she plans to major in something to do with nursing. “Depending on what happens then will play a big part in their decision of whether I play in the spring or if they red-shirt me my first year.”




Building the wedding community

By Spencer Drake

After the 2022 Wedding Expo turned out to be impactful for the community, Emily and Jim Wilkerson decided to bring it to Ruston again. With new vendors and a great host site, the 2023 Wedding Expo hopes of bringing the wedding community in the area closer together.

The Wedding Expo will be held in the Norton Building in downtown Ruston and will host multiple vendors, all bringing a unique service to help complete the special day for many of the couples that attend. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

“The goal is to provide many different  local vendors with many different services. Not only do we get to help the local vendors by getting their name exposed, but the vendors get to help local couples have the best day they could possibly imagine,” said Emily Wilkerson. 

The Expo is also an opportunity for couples to meet other couples and create a sense of community. Couples can bounce ideas off of each other, gather opinions or simply make new friends in the same stage of life. The vendors can also be apart of this community as they are right there in person with the couples. This creates a chance for the couples and the vendors to get to know each other on a much more personable level.

“Having the vendors in person there with the couples makes all the difference in the world because it makes the interaction between the two that much more personable,” Emily Wilkerson said. 

GSU’s Walton elected to SACSCOC Board of Trustees

Dr. Connie R. Walton

Dr. Connie R. Walton, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Grambling State University (GSU) has been elected to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

“I am elated about Dr. Walton’s election to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “She is unrelenting in her pursuit and support of academic excellence at Grambling State. I am confident that she will make an indelible mark on the organization.”

SACSCOC serves as the recognized regional accrediting body for those institutions of higher education that award degrees in the 11 Southern states. SACSCOC’s main purpose is the improvement of educational quality throughout the region and assurance to the public that its institutions meet established membership-approved standards.

“I am honored that President Gallot recognizes the years of dedicated service that I have provided to higher education and recommended me for this opportunity,” said Walton. “I am humbled by the fact that my peers elected me to serve as a member of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, Class of 2025. I am looking forward to representing 800 institutions and being involved in important accreditation decisions.”

As a trustee, Walton will be among the 77-member delegation whose duties include determining Commission policy, reviewing, and making decisions regarding the accreditation of institutions, and conducting the initial review for any proposed dues changes or any modifications to the standards of the Commission. Each Board member is assigned to serve on one of its standing committees, known as the Committees on Compliance and Reports (C&R). It is the responsibility of the C&R Committees to evaluate a variety of institutional reports and formulate recommendations regarding the institutions’ accreditation status with SACSCOC.

The Chinatown revelation

By Brad Dison

John Joseph was born in Neptune City, New Jersey on April 22, 1937.  He was raised by his parents, Ethel May and John, and sisters June and Lorraine.  June was 18 years his senior, and Lorraine was 15 years his senior.  June aspired to become a famous entertainer.  In the 1930s, June Nilson, as she was known professionally, began her dancing career under the tutelage of dancing teacher Eddie King.  She danced in several performances and was featured in the opening of a club called the Pic and Pat club in New York City.  She also appeared in several off-Broadway productions.  On New Year’s Eve in 1935, she was featured as a specialty tap dancer in Earl Carrol’s Palm Island club in Miami, Florida.  Earl Carrol was a controversial figure because his showgirls were usually scantily clad.  He was known as “the troubadour of the nude.”  At some point, June returned to the family home.  In 1941, when John was four years old, June moved again to Miami, Florida to work for Earl Carrol.  Her aspirations eventually led her to Hollywood, California. 

Perhaps, his sister’s ambitions rubbed off on John.  In 1954, John, then 17 years old, moved in with June in Hollywood.  John found a job as an office boy in MGM Studios’ animated cartoon department.  While at work one day, a producer noticed something special in John.  It may have been the way he carried himself, the way he said a certain sentence or phrase, or the way he smiled.  At the producer’s recommendation, John began taking acting classes.  In 1956, John received his first acting credit for his performance in one episode of a television series called Matinee Theatre.  In 1958, he performed in the film The Cry Baby Killer.  John’s career as an entertainer had been slow in the late 1950s.  In 1960, however, John’s career “took off.”  In that year alone, John appeared in four films and two television series.  Unlike June, whose Hollywood career never came to fruition, John’s career flourished for the next five decades.    

It was through his acting career that John learned a secret.  John was scheduled to be interviewed about one of his upcoming films by a writer from Time magazine.  As part of the preparation process for the interview, researchers from the magazine began exploring John’s background.  It was then that they uncovered John’s family’s secret.  Rather than revealing this during the interview, a representative from the magazine revealed the secret to John in a telephone call.  John sat in stunned silence while the magazine representative revealed that June and Lorraine were not his sisters, and John and Ethel May were not his parents.  The evidence provided made the claims undeniable.  John’s family had kept a secret from him his entire life.  John and Ethel May died without ever revealing that they were not his parents, as John had always been told, but his grandparents.  Lorraine, whom John thought was his sister, was actually his aunt.  John’s mother was June.  According to the researcher, John’s father was Don Furcillo-Rose.  June had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, which would have reflected badly on the whole family in that era.  After careful consideration, the family agreed to keep John’s true parentage a secret.  They hoped it would remain a secret forever.

John needed to confirm this for himself.  John and Ethel May were long dead, and June died in 1963.  The only person left alive who could verify or deny the claims of the Time magazine researcher was Lorraine.  He called and spoke with Lorraine’s husband whom he affectionately called Short.  “A guy calls me on the phone, and says that my father is still alive, and that Ethel May wasn’t really my mother, that June was my mother.”  Shorty was in disbelief and handed the phone to Lorraine.  John repeated the information.  After a moment of silence, Lorraine confirmed that the story was true although she was unaware of the identity of his real father.

John described the discovery as being “a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn’t what I’d call traumatizing.  After all, by the time I found out who my mother was, I was pretty well psychologically formed.”  He added, “I was very impressed by their ability to keep the secret, if nothing else.”  John jokingly referred to June as his “sister-mother.”

John is considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of all time.  He has won 3 Oscars and a host of other awards for films such as Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  The film for which he was being interviewed when he learned his family’s secret was called Chinatown.  You and I know John Joseph Nicholson as Jack Nicholson.


1.      Asbury Park Press, January 2, 1936, P. 15.

2.     Trey Taylor, “Jack Nicholson Grew Up Believing His Mom Was His Sister,” August 6, 2020.  https://www.instyle.com/celebrity/jack-nicholson-mom-sister.

3.     Swapnil Dhruv Bose, “When Jack Nicholson discovered that his sister was actually his mother,” April 6, 2022. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/jack-nicholson-sister-was-his-mother/.

4.     Aaron Homer, “How Jack Nicholson Discovered His Sister Was His Mother,” July 18, 2022.  https://www.grunge.com/621340/how-jack-nicholson-discovered-his-sister-was-his-mother/

McLeroy, Booster Club present Baugh with commemorative gift

Photo Credit: Kyle Roberts

A special season requires a special commemoration.

That’s exactly what legendary artist Reggie McLeroy presented to Ruston head football coach Jerrod Baugh to cap off the banquet as a gift by McLeroy and commissioned by the 2022 Bearcat Booster Club.

“I was completely taken aback that Reggie and the senior players did that for me,” Baugh said. “It will serve as a great and perfect memory of what this team has accomplished for this program, school, and community. I just feel really blessed that I was able to be a part of it.”

Titled Ruston Football “Rising to a Higher Level”, the picture captures McLeroy’s signature pencil drawing style with images that include Baugh addressing the team, the Superdome, and a football with the overall record of the 2022 season.

“This was really an incredible season,” McLeroy said. “Coach Baugh, his staff, and the players really took the football team to a higher level. We have that higher standard now, and we have to go back and continue to work hard. When I thought about this drawing, I knew I had taken a couple of pictures of him talking to the team that gave me inspiration.

“And the helmet raised up signifies that we are rising to that higher level. It’s going up like we are.”

McLeroy’s pictures will be presold as a run of 300 limited edition prints that will include an edition number along with his signature. The price will be $68 (including tax). A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ruston Bearcat football team.

Sales will begin soon. Stay tuned to the Lincoln Parish Journal for more information on how to purchase a copy of the print.

Adding to the force 

By Spencer Drake

Law enforcement is not for the faint of heart. The process of becoming a Ruston Police Officer is one that challenges an individual both physically and mentally. Recently, four individuals joined the Ruston Police. Logan Vines, William Graham, Samuel Fincher and A’Kella Jones are all excited to make an impact and serve the community.

“Graduating the police academy was not the easiest but I did it, and while being there I learned a lot,” Graham said. “The most rewarding part of it all is that I can now serve my community in a different way.”

Jones said becoming part of the police force was a desire held since childhood.

“I honestly have been trying to figure this question out for myself since I graduated, being that it was my dream job as a child after meeting my D.A.R.E. teachers in the 4th grade,” Jones said. “It has been surreal to say the least, but very rewarding. I hit the streets the morning after graduation and there hasn’t been a moment I haven’t enjoyed yet.”

The Police Academy is grueling both physically and mentally. Perseverance is one of the essential characteristics needed to push through the various trials and tests required to graduate from the academy. 

“The tests we took during academy, they help prepare you for the real world situations,” Vines said. “My patience and finding my will power were pushed during these tests.”

These four graduates now must start on the job training (OJT) and learn more of what it means to be a Ruston Police officer and find which avenue in the force best suits them. OJT is important for these graduates because it provides much more information for them to understand and helps them get more hands-on training specifically for the Ruston Force. 

“First is (OJT) On the Job Training, there is still a lot for me to learn and become proficient in, but luckily, I have plenty of great officers to help me get there,” said Fincher. “It’s thrilling to see all of the opportunities that I will have in the future for training, whether it’s becoming a K9 handler or crime scene investigation. With all the different paths laid out in front of me for the future, I think I’m still waiting to see which one is going to call out for me.”


Three parish teams in Top 10 in this week’s GeauxPreps Boys Basketball Power Ratings

Choudrant coach Ryan Smith has the Aggies in the top 10 of the power rankings. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

Here are the latest Power Ratings from Geaux Preps for high school boys basketball. These are used to determine playoff seeding at the end of the regular season, including where Ruston (Non-Select Division I), Cedar Creek (Select Division IV), Lincoln Preparatory (Select Division IV), Choudrant (Non-Select Division V) and Simsboro (Non-Select Division V) are ranked.


Keep Louisiana Beautiful receives national award

BATON ROUGE, La. – Keep America Beautiful (KAB) recognized Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) as one of nine 2022 Innovation Award recipients for Love the Boot Week – Louisiana’s largest annual statewide litter clean up and beautification effort held in conjunction with Earth Week. The award recognizes innovation in partnerships and programs to further the KAB mission and one or more of its focus areas: end littering, improve recycling, and beautify communities. This award celebrates new approaches to facilitate growth within an organization.

In its first year, 2022, Love the Boot Week led to 8,476 volunteers dedicating over 40,000 hours to the removal of 293 tons of litter at 280 events spanning 54 parishes. This would not have been possible without the support of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, local and state leaders, sponsors, KLB partners and Affiliates, and thousands of volunteers from across Louisiana.

“Last year was such a huge success. We appreciate this national recognition, but there is still so much work that needs to be done to clean up Louisiana. I want to see all of us build on that success and make this year even better,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Litter around our state affects everyone. It is going to take all of us, doing just a little bit, to make a big difference. So make sure you and your organization join us in April for Love the Boot Week 2023.”

“Love the Boot Week’s success demonstrates Louisiana’s readiness to turn over a new leaf and clean up our Sportsman’s Paradise,” said Susan Russell, Executive Director of KLB. “We are grateful to our state leadership for prioritizing this issue, and we thank Keep America Beautiful for recognizing our efforts with this award.”

“Keep America Beautiful is proud to award our National Innovation Award to Keep Louisiana Beautiful for their creative approach to Love the Boot Week,” said KAB President and CEO, Jennifer Lawson. “You are the leaders of our work to clean, green, and beautify communities across America and the heart of our movement. Each awardee represents hours of service and commitment, willingness to try new things and invest time, talent, and resources to do the work that translates into stronger and more vibrant communities. Your leadership is ours to follow and we are grateful.”

This year’s Love the Boot Week is April 17-23, 2023, and registration will open at LoveTheBoot.org on Monday, January 23. The first 250 organizations (businesses, governmental entities, churches, schools, etc.) to register an event will receive cleanup kits with gloves, trash bags, and shirts. The first 100 individuals or families to register an event will receive day passes for Louisiana State Parks (one per household).

See this week’s power ratings girls playoffs loom near

(Photo by Reggie McLeroy)

Here are the latest Power Ratings from Geaux Preps for high school girls basketball. These are used to determine playoff seeding at the end of the regular season, including where Ruston (Non-Select Division I), Cedar Creek (Select Division IV), Lincoln Preparatory (Select Division IV), Choudrant (Non-Select Division V) and Simsboro (Non-Select Division V) are ranked.


Techsters look for win No. 600 in Ruston

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech returns home for four of their next five games, beginning with UAB tonight at 6 p.m. on Karl Malone Court inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

The storied Lady Techster program will be looking to record the 600th win in Ruston (Memorial Gym and Thomas Assembly Center) in program history. Tech recorded 84 wins at old Memorial Gym and has 515 wins at the TAC.

The game can be seen on CUSA.tv. Kyle Roberts will provide the call of the game on 97.7 FM and the LA Tech Athletics App with the pregame show starting at 5:30 p.m.

Louisiana Tech (11-8, 4-5) dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling to Western Kentucky and No. 23 Middle Tennessee on the road last week. At WKU, Tech erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to four but could not get over the hump. Two days later, Tech held a one-point lead over the now-ranked Blue Raiders but surrendered a 31-point fourth quarter. 

After three straight on the road, Tech returns home for four of their next five inside the TAC, beginning with a two-game set this week against UAB and UTSA. 

Tech recently faced UAB in Birmingham four games ago, taking out the Blazers 61-55 behind Keiunna Walker’s season-high 26 points. Tech’s defense held the then No. 1 offense in Conference USA (77 PPG) to 22 points under their average on a season-low 28 percent shooting.

LA Tech is seeking the program’s 600th all-time win at home, including games played in Memorial Gymnasium and the Thomas Assembly Center.

UAB (10-8, 2-7) got off to a great start to the season with an 8-1 non-conference slate, with their only loss coming at the hands of LSU in the Bahamas after winning their first five contests of 22-23 but have struggled to close out games in the conference slate. 

The Blazers have been very competitive in their conference losses, dropping five of their seven by six points or less. UAB has picked up wins over Florida Atlantic (75-47) and took down North Texas in their last outing on the road (76-74). 

Freshman standout Denim DeShields – daughter of former MLB player Delino DeShields — has earned three C-USA Freshman of the Week honors this season.

Saturday’s match-up will be the 18th overall meeting between LA Tech and UAB on the hardwood with Tech leading 12-5.

The series history has favored the road teams, with UAB taking five of seven in Ruston and Tech taking seven of eight in Birmingham, including four games ago with Tech winning 61-55 on the road.

LA Tech has won seven straight, breaking their home-win drought last season in the C-USA West Division title-clinching game. Tech would sweep a three-game set last season on a neutral floor in the C-USA Quarterfinals, one game removed from the division clincher.

Dogs, Blazers set for national TV audience

Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletics

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech reaches the halfway point of the 20-game Conference USA schedule on Thursday as they play its 10th league game in Birmingham, Alabama against UAB.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at Bartow Arean. The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM and through the LA Tech Athletics App with Malcolm Butler provide the call of the action. It can also be seen on CBS Sports Network.

LA Tech (11-9, 4-5) is coming off one of its worst offensive performances of the season, falling at home to Middle Tennessee by a final score of 68-51. The loss put the Bulldogs in a four-way tie for fifth in the conference standings.

LA Tech is set to play four of its next five league games away from home. So far, they are 1-3 in conference road games with the lone victory coming in an 88-82 overtime win at Rice. Their three road losses to UTEP, Charlotte, and North Texas in conference play have been by a combined nine points.

After coming away with a victory in Ruston over LA Tech, UAB (13-7, 4-5) dropped its next two games to Middle Tennessee and North Texas. The Blazers lost in overtime, 74-73, to the Blue Raiders on the road followed by a 63-52 home loss to the Mean Green.

After winning its first three conference games, UAB has lost five of its last six games. They have been without the reigning C-USA Player of the Year, Jordan Walker, for the last three due to a foot injury. Walker ranked second in the country in scoring at 23.8 points per game.

UAB leads the all-time series over LA Tech, 12-9, having won four straight. The Bulldogs were in position to snap their losing streak to the Blazers earlier this month, but UAB closed the game out on a 19-4 run to win it, 81-74.

LA Tech is looking to win for just the third time against UAB in Birmingham. The Bulldogs are 2-8 versus the Blazers in Bartow Arena, with the two wins coming in 2014 and 2020.

Notice of death — Jan. 25, 2023

Jessie Coggins, III
April 5, 1958 – January 25, 2023
Services pending

Beryle Anderson Stepp
June 17, 1931 – January 21, 2023
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Thursday, January 26, 2023, 1:00 pm
Service: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Thursday, January 26, 2023, 2:00 pm

June Grant
June 13, 1925 – January 23, 2023
Graveside Service: Thursday, January 26, 2023, 2:00 PM, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 2500 West California Ave., Ruston

Richard Brower
February 21, 1948 – January 22, 2023
Services pending at this time


Hall elected interim parish administrator; questions of communication in process still arise

By T. Scott Boatright

After a short discussion in the Lincoln Parish Police Jury Meeting Room during a special-called meeting at the Lincoln Parish Courthouse Tuesday night, the LPPJ voted to name Courtney Hall as Interim Parish Administrator, two weeks after moving to not reappoint Doug Postel to the parish administrator.

Hall, the former parish administrator from 2009 until his retirement in the summer of 2020, will receive a salary of $75 per hour only on days the LPPJ office is open and not exceeding 40 hours per week even if duties call for Hall’s work to exceed that 40 hours per week.

That works out to around $144,000 annually and does not include any benefits. 

Hall will be paid through an employment agency for a fee that LPPJ President Richard Durrett said is still being negotiated. Durrett said those standard fees are usually 45-55% of the employee’s salary but that the negotiations should bring the fees lower than that percentage. 

“They will take care of social security and all of the other employee deductions,” Durrett said during a personnel committee meeting before the full Jury meeting.. “In my opinion, this will be in the 30-35% range.”

Those added fees bring expenses to the Jury for Hall to fill the position to around $187,000 annually.

“I’ll be real candid,” LPPJ Personnel Committee member Logan Hunt said. “This is the first I’ve heard about this. Nothing was communicated prior to this meeting. I’m caught off guard by that $187,000 a year. I do very much respect Courtney’s leadership and have the utmost respect for the job he did in this office, without a doubt. I don’t want anybody to question that. But that just caught me kind of flat-footed.”

Personnel committee chair Joe Henderson then said Postel’s salary had been $103,708 annually.

“That’s kind of what I had in my mind, was something around $100,000 because that was what was budgeted,” Hunt said.

Hunt then asked if Hall was expected to finish out the year in the role, and Henderson answered by saying that at this time, there is no set time limit for Hall to hold the position.

Then Hunt asked Hall when he was approached by LPPJ members about taking on the interim role.

“To the best of my recollection, I came up (to the LPPJ Meeting Room) after the meeting held at the (Library Events Center) earlier this month,” Hall said. 

Hunt then asked Hall how long he planned on serving in the position.

“As long as you need me,” Hall said. “I can be here for a month. I can be here longer. I’m really flexible with that.” 

Ruston resident Bill Smith then asked if the plan was to keep Hall in place through next fall’s elections during which all 12 Jury seats will be considered by voters and let that new Jury select a permanent administrator. Henderson said “I don’t know if we anticipate getting a new administrator during that Jury time, but I don’t know that. I don’t anticipate that we will.”

Smith then said he was “just thinking that since you are so close to possibly seeing a new Jury and a new administrator … that the new Jury would be the ones that hire a new (permanent) administrator. Nothing against you all, but I just thought a new administrator elected by that Jury would be a good thing for everybody.”

Hunt then asked who negotiated the $75 per hour salary for Hunt.

“(Juror) Milton (Melton) and I did,” Durrett responded. 

Hunt then said, “Not trying to get too far into this, but as far as negotiations, is that it?”

Hall responded by saying, “That’s what it’s going to take for me to come up there. You’re getting 35 years experience. I’m not getting benefits. Just by comparison, if you think that’s out of line, if you look at comparable-sized parishes — St. Bernard, St. Charles and Washington — St. Charles is $171 (thousand), one is $197 (thousand) and one is $217 (thousand).”

Hall then added that he had no problem with Jurors doing an evaluation to possibly reconsider at any time.

The Personnel Committee then voted unanimously to recommend Hall’s hiring.

After that vote, Hunt commended the group for its transparency throughout the discussion, and followed with the question of asking why the personnel committee did not have the opportunity to formally meet to discuss any perceived issues regarding the previous administrator, Mr. Postel.

“Let me say this, as a committee we did not,” Henderson said. “Mr. Postel called each of us, and we had individual meetings with him to discuss different things. … We talked about some things man-to-man, and I didn’t want to call a public meeting to discuss those items.”

Hunt then asked, “Moving forward, whether about Mr. Hall or anyone, should we make it a policy to discuss any personnel issues in the personnel committee?”

Henderson responded by saying, “As you know, there are some things you can’t discuss publicly about personnel, but I can say that if we have to meet about character or something we can go into executive session.”

Hunt said he would appreciate that and have more transparency in the process.

“I’ll say right now, if we have a meeting about our administration, our treasurer, or personnel, the Personnel Committee needs to be part of it,” Hunt said. “I thought that was understood. I think moving forward, go ahead and count me in as saying, ‘Yes, I think we need to meet as a committee about anything involving personnel.’ ”

Henderson then asked if Hunt understood why that didn’t happen in this case, and Hunt said, “Somewhat, but not fully.”

During the 6:30 p.m. full Jury meeting (Juror Annette Straughter was absent), the LPPJ unanimously approved the Personnel Committee’s recommendation to name Hall as interim parish administrator.

The LPPJ also approved to pay Assistant Parish Administrator Kevin Klepzig $861.60 on top of his regular pay for duties served as interim parish administrator during the 10 days between Postel’s dismissal and Hall’s hiring.

In other business, the LPPJ confirmed a previous engagement of Nelson, Zenter, Sartor and Snellings LLC  to represent Suit 3:22-CV-05312-TAD-KDM; Franequa Jones v. Commission Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

Gunfire on campus leads to two arrests

Two Grambling State University students were arrested Thursday after police investigated a report of gunfire on campus following a fight involving several parties.

GSU police officers responded to the Adams Hall parking lot late Thursday regarding gunshots. Two spent .40 shell casings were found in the parking lot and a witness identified Maleak Palmer, 21, of Baker, La., as the shooter.

Palmer was arrested and a housing staff member was asked to lock his dorm room to prevent anyone from entering. However, the staffer did not possess a key. A black backpack was seen lying on Palmer’s bed. A roommate, Patrick Wayne Marshall, 20, of Shreveport, followed officers out to the parking lot expressing displeasure at the arrest. Once Palmer was secured in a police vehicle, an officer returned to the room to find Marshall had returned and locked himself in the room. When the officer was able to obtain a key and enter, the backpack was gone.

The backpack was found under another bed in the room and police determined only Marshall could have hidden it. Marshall was arrested for interfering with an investigation and obstruction of justice.

During questioning, Palmer revealed he was a party to the fight at McCall Dining Hall. The shots were reportedly fired after that fight. Palmer told investigators the handgun in his room was given to him by his brother for protection while at GSU. He admitted he knew firearms were illegal on campus.

Palmer was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for disturbing the peace in connection with the initial fight and aggravated assault by firearm and possession of a firearm in a firearm-free school zone for the later shooting. 

Bail amounts for Palmer and Marshall were not available 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. 

Woman arrested for drugs, warrants

Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman on numerous warrants and drug possession after she was stopped for speeding Friday morning.

Alyssa F. Carter, 25, of Keithville, was stopped on Interstate 20 about 7:30 a.m. for speeding 87 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. A records check showed Carter was wanted by Ruston Police on warrants for simple criminal damage to property and two counts of simple battery. Third Judicial District Court also held a warrant for Carter for failure to appear on a possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge.

When Carter was removed from the vehicle and arrested, the deputy smelled the odor of suspected marijuana coming from the car. A search located two bags of suspected MDMA (ecstasy) tablets, one containing 10 pills and one containing approximately 20 pills.

Carter was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for speeding, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute, and the four warrants.

Carter’s bail amount was unavailable 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. 

Cougars use three-point barrage in league win

Davis Walsworth scored 24 points in Creek’s win over River Oaks. (Photo by Darrell James)

By Malcolm Butler

It was raining three’s Tuesday night at the Brickhouse.

Davis Walsworth connected on five three-pointers and Connor Norris added four as Cedar Creek (9-11, 2-2) hit a total of 10 trifectas in its 73-54 victory over River Oaks in District 2-1A action.

Walsworth scored a game-high 24 points and Norris added a season-high 16 points as four Cougars netted double figures in the victory.

“Those two really shot it well from outside,” said head coach Lance Waldron. “Connor and Davis combined for nine three-pointers … and I think they were trying to get a few more in the fourth quarter.”

Both teams came out hot offensively.

Norris hit a pair of three-pointers during a two-minute span to help Creek take a 13-10 lead midway through the opening quarter. Connor Johnson added a three-pointer with just 20 seconds to play in the opening quarter to give the Cougars a 22-14 lead.

“(Hitting three-pointers) opens everything up,” said Waldron. “We missed a lot of good drives that we had where we should have finished (around the bucket). But those drives were open because we were hitting the three’s. They started coming out (to guard us) more and thus that opened up the driving lanes.”

River Oaks (3-19, 0-4) continued to hang around in the second quarter, trailing just 29-23 with three minutes to play before halftime. However, Walsworth scored eight points in a 60 second span to push the Cougars lead to 14. Creek led 39-25 at the break.

One game after being dominated on the glass in a road loss at St. Frederick last Friday night, Waldron was pleased with how his team responded in that area.

“We worked a little bit on being tougher in practice on the boards,” said Waldron. “We will continue to work on it. I thought we did a better job of being tough on the glass tonight. I feel like we are making progress with it.”

The Creek lead was cut down to 41-32 early in the third quarter when Norris responded with a pair of three-pointers over the next four minutes and Walsworth ended the quarter with a three-pointer as Creek took a 56-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

“When we came out the second half they made a little run and then Davis and Connor hit some big threes and that really propelled us forward,” said Waldron. “Hitting those threes does so much for you as far as momentum. When you can get them to fall, it really helps especially when you miss some easy shots around the basket. They fell for us tonight.”

River Oaks never made a run over the final eight minutes as the Cougars picked up a big district win. Waldron talked about his team’s execution defensively during the postgame interview as well.

“I thought our defensive game plan worked to perfection,” said Waldron. “We really did a good job of executing it. We did exactly what we wanted to do against them defensively.”

In addition to Norris and Walsworth’s big nights, Brian Osborne and Carter Hill each added 10 points.

The Cougars host Lincoln Prep Friday.


Lady Cougars overcome slow start in district win

Allie Furr scored 22 points in the Lady Cougars district win over River Oaks. (Photo by Darrell James)

By Malcolm Butler

Cedar Creek head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg used multiple timeouts in the first quarter of Tuesday night’s District 2-1A contest against River Oaks.

He was trying to wake up his Lady Cougars.

After sleep-walking through the opening eight minutes, the Lady Cougars eventually built a 10-point halftime lead and then dominated the second half in a 65-26 victory at the Brickhouse.

The win extended Creek’s winning streak to nine games.

“I told them at halftime that what this taught me is if we play with our hands down and we are not active on defense, then we are an average team,” said Vandenlangenberg. “When we are playing together as five — not just one or two being active but all five — then we are a really good team.

“We’ve been on a good run. I guess it’s shame on me for thinking we were going to be perfect the entire time. Here is the good thing, we did wake up and we did what we had to do to get the win. It’s a district win.”

Creek (17-4, 4-0) turned the ball over time after time in the opening eight minutes, thus the Lady Cougars held a mere 10-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“I thought we had girls playing hard, but we needed all five playing hard at the same time,” said Vandenlangenberg. “We just didn’t seem to be cohesive as a team in the first half.”

Creek began to pick things up in the second quarter, extending its advantage to 26-16 at the half. Allie Furr scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the opening two quarters, hitting four field goals and 8-of-11 free throws before the half. Lizzie McAdams added two of her four three-pointers in the second quarter.

After River Oaks (10-11, 2-2) scored the first two buckets of the third quarter to close the deficit to 26-20, the Lady Cougars put it into another gear, outscoring the Mustangs 39-6 the rest of the game.

“I thought in the second half we got some energy off the bench from some girls,” said Vandenlangenberrg. “I thought Leah (Sutherland) and Mallory (Smith) provided a spark for us. Elli (Dickerson) picked her game up.

“Lizzie (McAdams) hit those four three’s which was good to see. And then Allie does her thing every night. She is our leader; hour engine that makes us go. She made some really nice assists tonight; some nice no look passes.”

Creek instituted a full-court press for the majority of the second half. And although the Lady Cougars didn’t force as many turnovers as they usually do with the press, it seemed to help them get going on both ends of the court.

“We gave up some lanes to the basket in the first half,” said Vandenlangenberg. “That’s something we haven’t been allowing this year. But they forced the issue and they called our bluff. They said are you really going to get down and play defense? In the first half we were bluffing. We were in our defensive spot but we didn’t mean it. In the second half we turned it up.

“We couldn’t turn them over with our press as much as we would have liked. We just couldn’t get our hands on the ball. But I didn’t think we were as active as we can be. I think it was a night where we were just glad to get out of her with a win.”

Olivia Underwood hit a three-pointer and then McAdams followed with a trifecta to push the Creek lead to 38-22 with 3:36 to play in the third quarter. A Smith jumper following an offensive rebound made it 41-25 with 2:00 to play in the stanza. Another McAdams three-pointer rounded out the scoring in the period as Creek led 48-25 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final period, Creek held River Oaks to a single point while continuing their scoring. Sutherland hit a three-pointer at the 4:00 mark to make the lead 61-26 and then Ainsley Riley stepped in front of a pass and raced the length of the floor for a layup to make it 63-26.

Baylee Mabou finished the scoring for Creek on a layup off a nice assist by Caroline James with a minute to play.

Furr led Creek with 22 points, 9 steals, 8 assists and 6 rebounds while McAdams added 12 points and nine boards. Dickerson added 10 points and Sutherland scored eight.

Creek hosts Lincoln Prep Friday.


COLUMN:  Out with the ‘in’ crowd 

“Sir, I’m sorry, but we don’t have you in our computer.”  

Can you hear worse news? 

You can — “Sorry, we’re out of bacon” — but it’s a short list.  

Such was the case this week when my friend Shine Broussard called a government entity about something governmental. 

“We don’t have you In our computer,” he was told. Cold words to hear in person, colder over the telephone. 

“Now I’m out here with the gnashing teeth bunch, out here where the sun doesn’t shine,” Shine told me. “No program. No starting lineups. No jersey numbers. ‘Not in our computer.’ I’m on an island with the lepers.”  

If you’re ‘not in our computer,’ you are a non-person, is what you are. These days, you have to be in the computer. In a lot of computers, actually. You might be in your dentist’s computer, which is good when a molar won’t behave, but being in your dentist’s computer won’t help you a lick if a kidney wants to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Then you’d better be in your urologist’s computer. Now. Today.  

There was a time when you didn’t need to be “in our computer.” There was a time when people knew your voice on the telephone, or trusted to some extent that you were who you said you were. Those days vaporized with vaudeville.  

Then you had to be “in our files.” A lot of trees died for those files. If you wanted a Social Security check or a driver’s license renewal or a copy of your transcript, you had to be in the files.  

Now the files are “in our computer.” You are in our files and in our system if you are in our computer. And if our computer says you aren’t in there, well, you can’t argue with our computer. Forget that a computer is only as smart as its programmer, as energetic as its power source and as efficient as the person who typed you “in” to start with. 

It’s the computer, bud. Don’t argue with it. You might as well try to win a spat with Aunt Ethel about how to cook greens or shell peas or do the jitterbug or read your Bible. Good luck with that!  

So if you’re not In The Computer, you’re out of the loop. In a fix. Up a creek. Down the river. Out of luck. In a jam. Between a rock and a hard place. Out of the picture. Off the radar. 

“Sir, I’m sorry, but we don’t have you in our computer.” (That’s just one frantic, lonely step removed from the hazy “I’m sorry, but our system’s down” No-Man’s Land. If the system’s down, you might as well call in the general and tinkle on the fire because the game, my dear friend, is over.) 

I can imagine the computer people talking on their break. “Some poor guy called and wasn’t in the computer. I mean, come on! Idiot…Haha. Hahahahaha….!” 

Makes you jealous of people who are “in.” Things are easier for the in’s among us. But how did they get in, anyway? Being “not in” makes you feel like those people Hunter S. Thompson wrote about in the Gonzo Papers, people who chase something they’ll never so much as sniff. Missing. Back-ordered. No teng .Vaya con dios. Seeya! 

But do you really want to pay the price for ins-manship? First-born child? Life savings? Moe Bandy record collection? What do I have to give up? And here’s a question: What if you get in and you can’t get OUT? There’s you a pickle. 

Such are modern times. All the more reason to hope that when I meet St. Peter, I’m in the computer and the system’s not down. 

(Originally ran August of 2010, when all the computers seemed hot and angry … ) 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu