Simsboro School District millage passes

Simsboro High School will benefit from $10 million of renovations after a millage was passed Saturday night.

By Malcolm Butler and Kyle Roberts

While the Ruston School District millage was being soundly defeated Saturday, the Simsboro School District millage passed by a narrow vote of 155-139 (53 percent to 47 percent).

Only 12 percent (294 out of 2,531 according to the Secretary of State website) voted on the bond.

The vote was to renew an already existing 5.95 millage (set to expire Dec. 31, 2023) with an additional increase of 5.55 percent. The 11.5 percent millage over 20 years will generate $10 million that will be used solely for capital improvements to the high school and elementary school.

“I think this will bring some really good improvements for the ag program,” said Lincoln Parish School Board Superintendent Ricky Durrett. “Some new classrooms, new science labs, some things at the baseball field, lights in the gym … I think it’s just overall good thing for the school and the community. The facilities needed to be updated to keep it a viable option for families and kids to attend.”

The Lincoln Parish Journal was unable to reach Simsboro High School principal Lacey Holcomb for comment.

Durrett said the tentative timeline for the start of the projects would be by the end of this calendar year and would take two years to complete all the projects. 

Below is a breakdown of the $10 million which are preliminary costs and inclusive of fees for professional services.

Simsboro School ($10,000,000)

$5,737,800 — New addition of classrooms, Ag-Science shop, restrooms

$2,885,400 — Gym renovations and lobby additions

$489,300 — Parking, driveways, drainage, dirt work, landscaping

$682,500 — Replace lighting on baseball and softball fields

$105,000 — New pre-K playground

$100,000 — Replace auditorium seating

Ruston School District bond fails to pass in landslide vote

By Malcolm Butler and Kyle Roberts

After a much contested bond proposal was sent to a public vote, the voters of the Ruston School District loudly cast a NO vote at the ballot box Saturday.

At least those that took the time to vote.

When the dust settled, a bond that would have generated $65 million over the next 20 years and that would have led to a consolidation of the four elementary schools within the parish was soundly defeated by a vote of 1,856 to 814 (70 percent to 30 percent).

Only 14 percent of a total of 18,761 eligible voters turned out at the polls. Of that percentage, early voting accounted for 46 percent of that total.

Lincoln Parish School Board Superintendent Ricky Durrett said that he isn’t 100 percent sure what would be next, but that he feels that for the time being its best to move forward as is.

“I am not sure what the next step is right now,” said Durrett. “We wanted to let everybody have a say. I think right now we will leave it like it is and continue with the way we have the schools presently.”

Members of the Coalition Against School Closures have been adamant that the plan would be detrimental to the black community.

“We are here for one purpose and one purpose only, hoping that the school board will reconsider consolidating our four elementary schools into two enhanced schools on the north side of Interstate 20,” said Co-Chair of the CASC Terence Flucas during the April school board meeting. “We believe that closing two schools on the south side of I-20 will be a detriment to our community. We understand that this Board took a vote back in the month of February to consolidate four elementary schools, but in the best interest of this school system we believe that this is a decision that should have been made with input from the community.”

Dr. Liz White, Co-Chair of the Coalition Against School Closures, said late tonight she was happy with the results.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. White. “I think the people — and when I say the people I mean those who took an interest and voted — got involved in what was going on. They used their voice which is the ballot to vote. I am really happy that they did that. I just pray and hope that this will be an indication of what we will do in the future. This is what democracy is all about. If we don’t vote, then we are saying we don’t matter.”

The topic of consolidating the schools was first publicly addressed by the Lincoln Parish School Board in the February meeting. Some critics claimed that not enough time was given and enough clarity provided for the public to fully understand the details of the millages and the long-term affects of consolidating the elementary schools.

If the April 29 vote had passed, it would mean an existing 17.5 millage would be extended thus generating $65 million, the majority of that earmarked to restructure existing elementary schools within the parish.

The plan would have combined Hillcrest Elementary and Glen View Elementary back into K-5 schools and would have repurposed the two Ruston elementary schools on the south side of the city – Ruston Elementary and Cypress Springs. Both buildings would have been utilized for other purposes, including plans to move the LPSB central office to Cypress Springs.

“I think it was the right time to do it,” said Durrett. “I think we put a lot of time and effort in trying to figure out the options. I don’t think we did a good enough job of getting the clear message out there exactly what we were doing and how we got to that point. We will just stay with what we got. There may be a time, but people just don’t want to do anything right now. I still think we have good school system; good kids, good parents and good teachers working. We will continue to do that under the current system we have.”

Another portion of the $65 million was earmarked for construction of a multi-purpose covered facility at Ruston High School as well as upgrades to the Ruston High School baseball field. The multi-purpose covered facility at Ruston High School would have been used by soccer, football, band, cheerleaders, baseball and softball.

“We really needed a bond issue to be able to do (those projects),” said Durrett. “Those will be put off until maybe we can go back to the voters, whether it be in another year or three or four down the road. We just don’t have the money to do it out of the general fund. That will have to be put on hold for now.”

Lady Aggies counting on Antley’s experience in Sulphur

Pictured is Choudrant softball coach Wayne Antley guiding his team through a Wednesday practice at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field on the LA Tech campus. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


Experience matters when a high school team plays in a state softball tournament.

The Choudrant Lady Aggies have one B title championship under their belts – the 2010 Class B state title they won by defeating Avoyelles Charter 5-4.

But second-year Lady Aggies head coach Wayne Antley will be guiding a team into the state tournament for the 10th time in his career today as the ninth-seeded Lady Aggies take on fourth-seeded Converse at noon today at the North Frasch Softball Complex in Sulphur.

And Antley hopes his past experiences as a longtime head coach at the old Downsville High School can help his Lady Aggies march to the Division V Nonselect School championship game on Saturday.

“We won state in 1991 and ‘95,” Antley said of his years coaching at Downsville. “And we went to state when my daughter was a junior, which would have been in 2008. That’s the last time I went (to the state tournament).”

Antley said the game of girls high school softball has changed since those days.

“Back in 1991 and ‘95, pitching was it,” Antley said. “If you had a good pitcher, you could go to state. Those teams at Downsville had good pitchers and could hit. And that was the game in those days – hitting and pitching. 

Katie Batterton, whose sons are students at Choudrant High School, played softball for Antley when she attended Downsville High School in the early to mid 1990s.

“Wayne Antley was my coach throughout high school and in 1995 our team won the state championship,” Batterton said.  “I knew from the moment I heard he was the new head coach at Choudrant along with Stacey Tassin that they would be in the finals one day.”

Batterton said it’s Antley’s people skills that has helped make him such a successful coach.

“I think his success comes from knowing the game well and most importantly knowing the players well,” Batterton said. “He knows what his players are capable of, and he places them in positions and gives them plays to accomplish it. He was very laid back and always dealt with the girl drama well. He had a quiet strength that we were able to draw from.

“He always believed in me even when I may not have believed in myself. He was a great coach to play for because he never made me feel inadequate or not good enough. He put value in working as a team and brought the best out in all of us. I loved playing for him. He will forever be one of my favorite people and a person who had a big impact on my life.”

CHS senior Mattie Johnson played for the Lady Aggies in eighth grade under head coach Joy Thomas. Then William Bandy took over the team for three years before Antley took over the Choudrant softball program.

“It’s the confidence he has in our ability to play, we feed on that,” Johnson said of what Antley taking over the program has meant to the Lady Aggies. “He can be hard on us, but he also lets us have fun with it. He knows we know what we’re doing, and that confidence helps us show off our abilities.”

“It’s exciting because we haven’t gone to state in so long. Hopefully Coach Antley can guide us to the state championship game on Saturday,

Fellow Lady Aggies senior Elyssa Guillotte said the winning difference for the Lady Aggies has come with Antley’s coaching demeanor.

“He’s made a big difference,” Guillotte said. “He knows how to have fun with us, but he also knows how to be hard on us in a way that’s not demeaning to our character. It’s constructive criticism instead of just tearing us down.”

Antley, who got his coaching start at Montgomery High School coaching boys basketball and baseball before moving to Marion and starting the softball program there, says his coaching demeanor has changed over time.

“Everybody tells me I have mellowed,” Antley admitted. “My daughter tells me that all the time. She’ll see a play and will tell me later, ‘Dad, if one of us had done that you would have gone off. I guess I’m old enough that I don’t want to hurt their feelings anymore. 

“I coached boys for four years after my daughter graduated in ‘08. I was tough on them still. But then when I went back to girls I just kind of slacked off – not as mean as I used to be.”

Antley hopes his past state tournament experiences at Pelican Park in Carencro, in Alexandria and in Sulphur will pay off for his Lady Aggies.

“At least I know what to expect,” Antley said. “I hope that last game we played against Holden and the environment and atmosphere we had during that one will help us in Sulphur. The players know what it’s like to win a big game now, but they’re not really going to know what it’s going to be like down there until they walk out onto that field in Sulphur (today).”

Antley also served a short coaching stint at Simsboro before realizing that a short try at retirement just wasn’t the right thing for him at this point, leading him to take over the Lady Aggies program two years ago.

“After sitting out I realized that I missed the girls, and the competition,” said Antley, the older brother of newly retired Aggies baseball coach Tony Antley and cousin of current CHS baseball coach Joel Antley. “I love the competition. It was like I was lost for a while without the competition. I compete at anything and everything. If we go fishing, I compete. 

“And this bunch of girls we have on this team this year, they’re very competitive. Very competitive. They get after it.”

He also admitted that competition is the force behind the Antley coaching bloodline.

“My daughter has coached at Downsville, and at Beekman (Charter) some,” Antley said. “It’s a family thing I guess. We all enjoy it. Being around these teenagers and athletics keeps you young. You see so many people retire but don’t really enjoy it much.”

Antley had his Lady Aggies practicing on artificial turf this week to prepare for today’s semifinals game.

“We practiced at Ruston’s field at the Sports Complex the past couple of days,” He said. “Then we practiced at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday  just to get a touch of some different turf.”

Antley said he’s confident his team will play well at the state tournament.

His players feel the same.

“We’re feeling really confident,” Gullotte said. “We really want this win. We want it for us. We want it for our fans and supporters, and we want it for Coach Antley, too.”


Top-seeded Aggies survive and advance

Choudrant’s Colton Smith watches his sacrifice score the game’s only run during Thursday’s 1-0 playoff win over the Panthers at Tony Antley Field. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

In an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, it was Choudrant’s dual pitchers that were the difference for the Aggies Thursday night.

Choudrant’s Bryce McGuire and Landon Hennen combined for a three-hit shutout to get past Doyline pitcher Noah Spears, who allowed only three hits himself as the Aggies pulled off the 1-0 win over the Panthers in second-round action of the Division V Nonselect School baseball playoffs on Tony Antley Field.

The Aggies’ lone run came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Kaden Bradshaw led off with a single before stealing second base and moving to third on a Doyline fielding error.

Choudrant’s Colton Smith then slapped a sacrifice blooper in between Doyline’s first and second basemen, giving Bradshaw just enough time to score from third for the lone run of the game.

McGuire started on the mound for the Aggies and had given up only a single to the game’s leadoff batter and two more singles to open the top of the fourth inning before striking out the final three batters he faced.

After scoring the run in the bottom of the fourth, Choudrant coach Joel Antley swapped out McGuire and Hennen with Hennen moving to the mound and McGuire taking over at shortstop.

Hennen struck out the first three batters he faced and finished with seven Ks after adding two strikeouts in both the top of the sixth and seventh innings.

McGuire struck out five Panthers before his move to shortstop.

“Ultimately, if we can swap them and they can be effective coming in, I like for it to be before (the opposing team) gets around to their third time through the lineup, just because that’s when you can really start zoning in on a pitcher,” Antley said of his decision to have McGuire and Hennen swap positions.

“Landon and Bryce are hand-in-hand out there, so I’m not afraid to go out there and make the switch. Even though Bryce was pitching fantastically, we moved to let Landon come in and finish it off because he gives a totally different look. Even though they’re both right-handers, they don’t throw anything alike.”

Antley felt good about getting past Doyline and Spears, who Antley said was even better than expected and finished with four strikeouts against the Aggies.

“We knew he was going to be good coming in,” Antley said about Spears. “He’s just a sophomore, so I’ve got to hope he goes somewhere else the next two years, because he’s only going to get better. He’s really good and stays on that outside corner until you show him you can hit it. Then he’s got a little putter that he throws that looks just like a fastball. 

“But he didn’t just pile up a bunch of strikeouts. They played really good defensively. They made the one error in left field but it didn’t cost them anything. I knew it was going to be a tight ballgame if he pitched well and I knew they would go with him the whole way if they needed to. When he’s on the mound, they’re really good. I know they’re a 19 seed, but he plays basketball, too. So if he would have been in the groove early, they would have probably won every game he pitched.”

Antley said he hopes facing a pitcher that talented that early in the playoffs will only help his team.

“I’d rather face somebody like him early as opposed to somebody up there only throwing 70 miles per hour,” Antley said. “It’s an intro to what I think we’re going to see as we move down the line.

“We know every (playoff) game is going to be a battle and that you may have to win a 1-0 game. I can’t say I really like that pressure, but it’s good for them to see they can survive that.”

Antley also hopes that playing a tight game early in the playoffs will also help his team.

“There’s still that pressure in the playoffs knowing that if you mess up and lose, you’re home watching the rest of the way,” Antley said. “Even though this team has two (consecutive) championships under their belts, they’re still nervous once a game starts. 

“But they’re really good at talking to each other about what they’ve seen and keeping their composure. It makes a difference when you’ve got good leaders.”

Antley also hopes the big crowd from Doyline that showed up to add to the game’s atmosphere will also help.

“It makes a big difference when you’ve got your fans here, and it will be even bigger next week,” Antley saud, “Knowing they can block those things out and not let it affect them is good. While we didn’t knock the baseball around everywhere, I don’t think it was nerves. I don’t think the atmosphere bothered them. And it’s always great to have the fans out here.”

But he also has some concern over this year’s new playoff game that will have his Aggies likely wait until next Friday to play a quarterfinals game against the winner of tonight’s game between ninth-seeded Bell City and eighth-seeded Hicks.

“It’s tough,” Antley said. “When you get down to it, these are still 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kids that are not playing baseball for five, six or up to nine days in our case when they’re used to playing practically every day for two months.And then bang, you don’t have that competition for nine days. It’s tough to keep focused. But everybody’s got to do the same thing, so we’ll just do it.”


Ruston High and Jr. High testing disrupted during widespread internet outage

By Kyle Roberts

One of the effects of yesterday’s city-wide has been the need to push out LEAP testing for Ruston High and Ruston Junior High students.

City officials said Thursday that the hope is that all city fiber is restored by Monday morning.

“We were on our third day of testing this week,” Ruston High School principal Dan Gressett said. “We are finishing up Algebra I and Geometry; what we will do is move the rest to (this morning). If we still don’t have internet, we will push to probably Tuesday (May 2) of next week. 

“We do not have any other testing going on at Ruston High outside of AP next week; we’ve dealt with this kind of thing before, so we have a good plan in place.”

Lincoln Parish Superintendent Ricky Durrett confirmed that there will be no disruption to any other schools in the parish aside from Ruston’s junior high and high school.

“Outside of those two schools, we will continue testing as normal,” Durrett said.

Gressett discovered the outage Thursday morning when arriving at school and talked with the testing coordinator, who reported the outage to him. The internet being down also affects the phone system, which means that incoming calls are being directed to the school board office during the meantime.

There is, however, no disruption to a normal school day.

“We’re having a school day,” Gressett confirmed. “We’ll be just fine.”

Ruston High and other parish schools faced similar circumstances in 2019 during testing when an EF-3 tornado tore through the city overnight and caused outages for multiple days in a row.

Letter to the Editor: Mother of 4 LP elementary school children supports school proposal

by Katie McCormick

As some of you know, there is an election this weekend regarding a millage renewal that would be used to fuse the elementary schools in Ruston. It is important to know that the millage is not an increase on what we are already paying: no taxes will change.

Approximately 10 years ago, our four city elementary schools had to reconfigure to comply with a desegregation order, which is why our schools are currently split into K-2 and 3-5. This was a change that had to be made rather quickly, and, at the time, was the best plan in order to comply.

The new proposal would keep the current school zones the same, but grades K-5 would be on one campus instead of two for each zone. While this may seem like a logical proposal to some, it has become quite the controversial topic. Before I share my thoughts on this proposal, I would like to share why it’s important to me.

I have 4 kids currently attending 4 Ruston city schools. Caroline is at LPECC, Harlow is in 1st grade at Glen View, Keller is in 4th grade at Cypress Springs, and Hayes is in 6th grade at IA Lewis. When I tell you we love our schools, we LOVE our schools. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love them. I’m quite certain I get on people’s nerves because of how much I love them.

Our schools have wonderful administrators and teachers and staff who are truly passionate about not only education, but the impact a positive school experience can have on a child’s life. The opportunities they have because of the size of their schools are so valuable. And I love the kids we go to school with. I truly feel like it’s a beautiful real life lesson in seeing that people from all different backgrounds and cultures and with all different abilities and opinions can come together to be something great. I love our schools and what they have been for my kids.

With every year that passes, my passion for the public school system grows and shifts. I used to want the schools to be great because my kids were in them. But today, I want the public schools to be great for every other child who attends them. Education is where it all begins. And while some kids start out with advantages, others start out with the odds stacked against them. School is what sets kids up to be successful. School is the foundation for everything.

And while no school is perfect, I believe we as a community should support our schools and listen to the experts when they tell us how to make the educational experience better for everyone. The stronger our school system is, the stronger our town is. The better equipped our school system is to meet the needs of the kids who need the most, the more every child will thrive.

I feel this plan for school fusion has so many positives. The other elementary schools in Lincoln Parish have at least grades K-5 combined, if not more. Going to one school for K-5 grades allows kids and their families to feel like a school is their home and develop a deeper pride. Having one school instead of two allows parents to be more involved and form closer relationships with staff. Children would greatly benefit from fewer transitions, especially kids who struggle with change. This will specifically be hugely beneficial for all SPED children as transitions are exponentially harder for them. Children would spend less time on buses when they are dropping off and picking up from one location versus two. It is easier to keep two buildings safe and secure versus four.

I’ve seen concerns about property value being affected, however multiple realtors have confirmed property value is affected by the school you are zoned for, not the proximity to your home. The existing buildings would still serve important purposes and not be left vacant. Cypress Springs is the proposed new location for the School Board Central Office. The Boys and Girls Club has requested use of Ruston Elementary, and I see that bringing so much value to so many. Their organization does wonderful work and allowing them to use RES would allow them to expand the services they provide. The current school buildings in Ruston are aging and will continue to require significant costs for upkeep. It makes financial sense to invest in fewer school buildings going forward to save money in years to come.

I’ve seen people make the argument about protecting our buildings or people protecting their neighborhoods. I think the priority should actually be the kids and their educational experience. Amazing things are happening in Ruston city schools, from preK all the way to 12th grade. I see it myself in my kids’ schools and I hear about it from friends who teach at RJHS and RHS. If you are wanting more information, I encourage you to speak to someone who works in Ruston city schools or someone who currently has children in the Ruston city schools. We all have different opinions of course, but I think the perspectives that are most helpful are from those actually involved in the schools.

I will be voting yes, and I look forward to supporting LPSB in doing their best to continue moving our educational system forward.

Former Ruston attorney named Wildlife & Fisheries head

Rob Shadoin

By Wes Harris

Robert E. “Rob” Shadoin, former Ruston attorney and state representative, has been named head of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Secretary Jack Montoucet resigned April 14 amid an alleged bribery scandal under federal investigation.

Gov. John Bel Edwards accepted Montoucet’s resignation without comment and named  Shadoin, a LDWF deputy secretary, as the agency’s new head.

In his first meeting with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, Shadoin said, “It is with great honor and a sense of duty that I take on this role. I look forward to working with each of you in the future and to serving this Commission and the Department…”

Shadoin represented Lincoln and Union Parishes as a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2012 to 2018. An ally of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, Shadoin left the state legislature in 2018 to become the deputy counsel for the LDWF. He became LDWF deputy secretary in 2020.

Shadoin earned his B.S. from Louisiana Tech University in 1975 and his J.D. from Louisiana State in 1978. Prior to his election to the state legislature, his professional experience included working as an attorney. He served as Ruston City Attorney from 1991-1994 and from 1994-2006, he was a member of the Lincoln Parish School Board.

LDWF is the state agency responsible for management of the state’s renewable natural resources including all wildlife and all aquatic life.

Tech earns 2023-24 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings

Louisiana Tech University has once again been recognized as a leader in graduate education according to the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Graduate Schools rankings released today.

Several programs within the College of Business and College of Engineering and Science placed on the Best Graduate Schools list.

  • 95 – Best Business Schools (Full-time MBA)
  • 157 – Best Engineering Graduate Schools

“The continued upward trajectory of our MBA program signals the strength of our College. I am proud of the work our faculty contribute daily in teaching and research to reach these new heights,” said Chris Martin, Dean of the College of Business. “Not only are we continuing to move up in the U.S. News rankings, but we also continue to see fantastic success among our students. For the second consecutive year, 100 percent of our MBA and Master of Accountancy graduates placed in a successful career, further indication that our market-responsive curriculum is preparing innovative and ethical leaders for success in today’s rapidly changing business environment.”

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing, including specialties in each area. The Best Graduate Schools rankings in these areas are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students.

“Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science professors are dedicated to our students’ successes,” said College of Engineering and Science Dean Dr. Hisham Hegab. “They work hard to develop graduate-level courses and mentor our students so they graduate with research experience tailored to their career goals. I’m pleased that U.S. News & World Report has recognized their hard work through these rankings.”

This year, data for the rankings in all six disciplines came from statistical surveys of 2,214 programs and from reputation surveys sent to approximately 6,300 academics and 12,690 professionals, conducted in fall 2022 and early 2023.

The following specialty programs within the College of Engineering and Science also received accolades.

  • 118 – Best Engineering Specialties Programs: Computer
  • 121 – Best Engineering Specialties Programs: Biomedical
  • 140 – Best Engineering Specialties Programs: Civil
  • 151 – Best Engineering Specialties Programs: Mechanical
  • 173 – Best Science Doctoral Programs: Mathematics
  • 185 – Best Science Doctoral Programs: Computer Science

“It is great that we keep maintaining a top 200 level in most of our graduate programmatic areas, which is a testament to our current faculty, staff, and students,” added Dr. Collin Wick, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering and Science. “I am excited over the potential for future growth as I am seeing many new efforts by our faculty, staff, and students to improve the experience and impact of graduate studies in Engineering and Science.”

For a complete list of ranking and methodologies,

Motorist booked on traffic, resisting charges

Grambling Police arrested a Ruston man early Tuesday morning after he allegedly resisted officers on a traffic stop.

An officer saw a car operated by Devonta S. Lowery, 21, of Ruston about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Lowery allegedly made a turn without using a turn signal. When the vehicle was stopped, the officer smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the car.

When asked for his driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, Lowry refused several times and stated, “I know my rights.” Lowery was asked to step out of the vehicle to identify himself and he refused to comply, stating, “I ain’t did —-, so you ain’t got no right to ——- pull me over.”

Lowery was non-compliant when officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle. He ignored commands and attempted to pull away several times in a violent manner. After a short struggle, officers were able to secure him in handcuffs.

Lowery was booked at the Lincoln parish detention center for resisting an officer, obstruction of justice, no driver’s license, and no turn signal.

Bail was set at $1,500. 

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.


Ponderings by Doug

I’m a good Christian about 72% of the time. My goal is to improve and be a good Christian 100% of the time, but I’m not there. The truth is, in this life I will never arrive at that 100%. I am flawed and sinful.

Part of my dilemma is that I drive a car. If I could give up driving, I think I would be a good Christian 80% of the time. I’m still praying for the dufus who pulled out in front of me the other day. I slammed on the brakes which threw my bakery assignment on the floor of the car upside down. I was returning from securing bakery products for my wife. Do you know what happens to baked goods that are thrown to the floor of the car and inverted in a sudden stop? I was frosted about the messed up frosting. Dufus!

Maybe I was being too generous with my percentage of being a good Christian. There are times that I feel unqualified for this Christian life. I want to do better so Jesus will love me more. I am that guy who cleaned the house before the housekeeper came. I mow part of the yard the yard people are going to mow. I want to fix myself for Jesus. I want to be good God material. I want Jesus to look down and see me behaving as His child all the time, not 72% of the time. That way Jesus will love me more, right?

Some believe that you need to keep the rules to curry divine favor. Problem is I find these people always adding rules to the being-a-good-Christian-by-following-the-rules rule book.

Here is something for you to ponder. Until we admit we are a mess Jesus won’t have anything to do with us. Once we admit how unlovely we are, how broken we are, or how messed up and lost we are Jesus shows up unexpectedly.

According to the New Testament, Jesus is attracted to the unattractive. He came for lost ones not found ones. Jesus chose the losers over the winners. He picked the broken over the whole and the messy instead of the unmessy. He picked the blind, the crippled, the lepers, the demon possessed, the poor, the sick and the sinner and He called them friends.

Eugene Peterson said, “When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn’t go off and leave us—he enters into our trouble and saves us.”

As a 72 percenter, His grace is my only hope.

Man arrested after alleged domestic incident

Ruston Police arrested a man Tuesday after he allegedly beat a woman and took her car.

Officers responded to a complaint of a woman in distress near the EZ Mart on South Vienna St. about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. The woman was found at the corner of South Trenton St. and West Vaughn Ave. 

The frantic woman said her boyfriend, Kelvin W Griffin, 40, of Ruston, had pulled her hair and beaten her with a closed fist when she attempted to get her car keys from him. The woman had disheveled hair and a small bleeding scratch on the right side of her face. She said she cut Griffin with a small knife to get away from him and out of the car.

Police found the car and Griffin nearby. Griffin had blood on his clothing and was bleeding from a laceration on his hand. Griffin denied an altercation occurred or having the woman’s car key which was found in his back pocket.

Griffin said he struck his hand on the car door when exiting causing the wound. After he was placed under arrest, Griffin said the woman “struck him with the knife and he was the one going to jail.”

Griffin was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for domestic abuse battery. Bail had not been set at press time, but a hold had been placed on Griffin by the Louisiana Department of Corrections—Probation & Parole.

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.

Letlow discusses democracy with Girl Scouts

By Garrett Hall

Louisiana’s 5th District U.S.. Congresswoman Julia Letlow joined the Ruston Girl Scouts to kick off the first of two spring meetings.

During the course of these two meetings, the Girl Scouts will learn about democracy and why it is important. Letlow was invited to show how government works and also to share the importance of having ladies in leadership in our region and our country.

Letlow interacted with the Girl Scouts during her time with them, the girls asked Letlow questions. She also shared her story on what led her to Washington, D.C.  The Girl Scouts sat in a circle with Letlow learning about her family, her job and her role representing the 5th District. 

The scouts and their families really enjoyed visiting and learning from Letlow, according to scout leader, Ashley Turner.

“The goal of Girl Scouts is to raise girls of courage, confidence and character,” Turner said. “Getting to meet Julia, our girls saw a woman in national leadership who exemplifies all of those qualities.”

Letlow said it was a joy to visit Troop 11 in Ruston.

“The Girl Scouts is an amazing organization that does incredible work across our country and Louisiana’s 5th District,” Letlow said. “I hope my story can show girls and young women that there is a path for them in government if they so choose.”

The Girl Scouts did not let Letlow leave empty handed. They presented her with a badge and some Raspberry Rally Girl Scout cookies to try.

Girl Scout Adaline Vincent added, “I can be a leader, too!”

The next Girl Scouts meeting will be May 15 with Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker.

Weekend events

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

Friday, April 28
Compassion Journey event (Trinity United Methodist Church; 38-251-0750)
6 p.m.: Lady Techsters softball v. Charlotte
6 p.m.: Grambling baseball v. Prairie View A&M

Saturday, April 29
Compassion Journey event (Trinity United Methodist Church; 318-251-0750)
7:30 a.m.: Weekend of the Cross 5k (Trinity United Methodist Church)
8:30 a.m.: Piney Hills Classic MTB Festival (Lincoln Parish Park)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
2 p.m.: 4Paws Canine Carnival (4Paws Dog Park, 290 Rodeo Rd., Ruston)
2 p.m.: Lady Techsters softball v. Charlotte
2 p.m.: Ruston High School Senior Art Show (Creative Exchange, Ruston)
3 p.m.: Grambling baseball v. Prairie View A&M

Sunday, April 30
Compassion Journey event (Trinity United Methodist Church; 318-251-0750)
1 p.m.: Grambling baseball v. Prairie View A&M
1 p.m.: Lady Techsters softball v. Charlotte

McGuire, Bennett top District 2-B honors

Bryce McGuire (left) and Holly Bennett (right) swept the MVP honors on the all-District 2B teams. (Photos by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

Lincoln Parish schools had shining seasons on District 2-B honors, and teams from Choudrant and Simsboro dominated their all-district top campaigns as a result.

Choudrant swept District 2-B diamond honors with Aggies pitcher/shortstop Bryce McGuire  being named the district Most Valuable Player in baseball while Lady Aggies pitcher Holly Bennett was named the district softball Most Valuable player.

McGuire, who has signed to play collegiately at Southern Arkansas Community College, batted .626 in district games while turning in a .700 on base percentage and an .800 fielding percentage in district play after committing only one error in 2-B play.

Bennett also excelled in all phases of the game this season, turning in an 1.22 ERA in District 2-B games while batting .571 with a .750 on base percentage..

Six other Aggies earned first-team honors on the All-District 2-B baseball team, with pitcher/utility player Landon Hennen, the lone parish player invited to the Louisiana Association of Baseball Coaches All-Star baseball game, leading the way after batting .421 in district player while adding a.450 on base percentage and 1.000 fielding percentage.

Choudrant senior catcher Gavin Murphey, earned first-team All-District 2-B accolades after batting .571 in district games with a .650 on base percentage and a .968 fielding percentage, as did Aggies outfielder Kaden Bradshaw, who batted .264 in district play while adding a .632 on base percentage and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

CHS first baseman TJ Smith also earned All-District 2-B first team honors after batting .571 while adding a .571 on base percentage and a 1.000 fielding percentage, while Aggies third baseman/pitcher Eli Calender is also a first-team all-district selection after batting .316 with a .600 on base percentage and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Outfielder Michael Jones is the seventh Aggie to earn All-District 2-B first team accolades after coming off the basketball court  to bat .636 in district play while adding a .650 on base percentage and a fielding percentage.

The Simsboro Tigers had two players earn first-team All-District 2-B honors — pitcher/second baseman Hayden Rabo, who posted a 6-2 record on the mound in district play while batting .652, and Chris Harrell, who went 4-2 as a pitcher while hitting .500 at the plate.

Simsboro also had a pair of players earn all-district honorable mention in infielder Hunter Stevens, who batting .427 in district play, and catcher Chris Stevens, who hit at a .419 clip in league contests.

On the All-District 2-B Softball Team, three Lady Aggies joined Bennett in earning first-team accolades — catcher Zoey Smith, who batting .580 with a .750 on base percentage, second baseman Bailey Weaver, who batted .500 with a .690 on base percentage, and pitcher/first baseman Addison Worley, who hit .471 with a .580 on base percentage.

Simsboro put three players on the 2-B All-District softball first team, led by pitcher/infielder Carlei Wheeler, who batted .500 with a .636 on base percentage and .923 fielding percentage while turning in a 4.714 earned run average. 

Lady Tigers’ infielder/outfielder  Lauryn Garrison and infielder Jacoya Lewis both also earned first team All-District 2-B accolades.

Garrison batted .615 on the season with a .615 on base percentage and a .667 fielding percentage while Lewis batted .300 with a .417 on base percentage and a .833 fielding percentage.

Three Lady Aggies earned All-District 2-B honorable mention — shortstop Elissa Guillotte, who batted .389 in district play with a .412 on base percentage, centerfielder Emma Bell, who batted .427 with a .485 fielding percentage, and third baseman Mattie Johnson, who batted .389 with a .415 on base percentage.

A pair of Lady Tigers earned All-District 2-B honorable mention — infielder Kaylea Murphy, who batted .273 with a .273 on base percentage and .944 fielding percentage, and outfielder Kayla Elton, who batted .333 with a .429 on base percentage.

RHS’ Nelson earns spot at state tournament

Ruston coach Chris Rathburn with senior Landry Nelson, who shot a personal best 84 and earned a spot in the upcoming state tournament. (Courtesy photo)

By Malcolm Butler

Ruston High’s Landry Nelson saved her best round for a big moment.

The senior shot a personal tournament low 84 during Tuesday’s regional golf tournament at Frenchmen’s Bend to finish eighth and claim a spot in the upcoming state tournament at Les Vieux Chenes in Lafayette.

Nelson said she entered the regional event in a good mindset, thanks to some tunes and a heightened mental approach.

“Before the tournament, my teammate Marlee Davis and I listened to our favorite song in the car together, which is something that we’ve done before every tournament. It has always helped me go into the tournaments in a good mood,” said Nelson, who destroyed her previous tournament low of 96. “I approached the tournament with a new level of confidence I didn’t have all season. I thought about how it could be my last tournament, and that helped me stay calm. To keep my mind at bay, throughout the entire tournament I was singing random songs in my head.”

Ruston coach Chris Rathburn said the journey to the state tournament for Landry began years ago and culminated with her most impressive performance to date.
“Landry is the epitome of perseverance,” said Rathburn. “She started taking lessons the summer before her freshman year with me, with the goal to play on the high school team, even though she had not played much golf before. Her freshman year, she lost in a playoff against one of our seniors for the final spot of the starting girls to compete at regionals for us. Her sophomore year she made it to the starting 3, but didn’t play well at regionals.
“Her junior year she played pretty well at regionals, but just not quite good enough to make it to state. And now finally her senior year, she sets a 12-shot personal record to make it to state as an individual and almost led the team to state. I couldn’t be prouder of her and the team.”
Thanks to impressive rounds by Kate Boersma (91) and Marlee Davis (95), Ruston ended the day tied for fourth place with Haughton, forcing the two teams into a playoff to see who would earn the final team spot in the state meet. The playoff went to a second hole where the Haughton competitor bested Nelson by a stroke.
Nelson said although she is excited to make state as an individual, her ultimate goal was to help her entire team make it.
“I’m super excited that I qualified as an individual for state,” said Nelson. “I’m also excited to compete against some of the best girls in the state. I’m disappointed that I lost in the playoff for qualifying as a team, but I know that the girls on the team now have the potential to make it to state in the next couple of years.”
The state tournament is set for Monday and Tuesday.

Remembering Linda Moyers

Linda Moyers

Linda Moyers, age 79, of Ruston, passed away peacefully on April 26, 2023.  Funeral Services are scheduled for Monday, May 1, 2023, at 11:00 A.M., Grace United Methodist Church, officiated by Rev. Nick Wagner and Rev. Kevin Smith under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston.  Visitation will be held Monday, May 1, 2023, from 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. at Grace United Methodist Church prior to the service.

Linda was born on June 3, 1943, to Mary and Ralph King of Bainbridge, GA.  She attended Bainbridge High School, graduating in 1961, and attended the University of Georgia Extension in Marietta, GA.  On May 6, 1967, she married Pat Marion Moyers.  They were married for 43 years.  Linda worked for T. L. James Company, Incorporated, for 28 years.

Linda’s life revolved around her faith and her family.  She was a member of the Grace Methodist Church in Ruston, LA. for 43 years, where she enjoyed serving on the Pastor Parish Committee and the Prayer Chain.  Linda was firm in her faith, which was evident in her love, words, and actions.  Because of this, she will live on through those whose lives she has touched. 

Linda was preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Mary King; her husband, Pat; her sisters, Hazel Paul, Virginia Davis, and Nina Faye Napier; and her brother Joseph King.

Linda is survived by her daughter, Christie Edwards and husband Thomas; granddaughters, Meredith and Amelia; her sisters, Judy Fallecker, and Sandra Mack; and her brothers, Ralph King, David King and wife Darlene, and Thomas King and wife Millie.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations made to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, in Shreveport, LA, at

The pallbearers will be Glen Woodard, Neil Kirkland, Raymond Roberts, Clyde Loyd, and Mika Bourgeois.

Remembering Diedra Dawn Miller

Diedra Dawn Miller

Diedra Dawn Miller, born on February 2, 1966, entered into her eternal reward on April 24, 2023 at her home in West Monroe, Louisiana.  She was 57 years old.  Diedra’s visitation will be held on Monday, May 1, 2023 from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 121 Jackson Street, Monroe, Louisiana.  Her funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on the same date at the Church with Rev. Thomas Kennedy presiding.  Interment will follow at St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery. 

Above all else, Diedra loved Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and practiced her Catholic faith with great devotion.  Her fidelity to God’s grace had its greatest impact on her precious family, whose faith she helped to cultivate.  Indeed, she fulfilled her vocation as a wife and mother with excellence, raising her children to love and trust the Lord wholeheartedly and to serve Him.  Diedra also had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayed the Rosary daily.  She would often advise her children to “Do the next thing” when faced with the difficulties of life.  In many ways, this echoed Mary’s exhortation to “Do whatever He tells you”, as the Gospel of John recalls, before her Divine Son turned the water into wine.  Like Mary, Diedra spent her life directing her children, and countless others, toward Christ. 

Diedra graduated from St. Frederick High School in 1984, and attended Northeast Louisiana University where she received a degree in Occupational Therapy.  She had the heart of an artist, and a passion for making jewelry, as attested by the countless Rosaries she made for her family and friends.  Diedra also loved to paint, and was an avid reader.  She had a great attention to detail, and a unique ability to have meaningful conversations with people from all walks of life about any given topic. 

Of course, Diedra’s great passion in this world was her family, with whom she shared a special bond.  She enjoyed a long and happy marriage to her beloved husband, Jerome Andrew Miller, who was the love of her life.  She was fortunate to live close to her parents, brother, children and grandchildren, and routinely shared her home with them for meals and get-togethers.  She loved her family deeply, and treasured her time with them. 

Diedra is survived by her beloved husband, Jerome Andrew Miller; her children, Victoria Marie Close and her husband, James Ray Close; Elizabeth Marie Neilson and her husband, Luke Everett Neilson; Joseph Anthony Miller and his fiancée, Nicole Marie Jones; Therese Marie Katherine Miller; and, Father Thomas Kennedy.  Further, she is survived by her two grandchildren, Quentin Joseph Bernard Neilson and Stephen Patrick Becket Neilson.  Further still, she is survived by her parents, Robert Lewis Fava, Sr. and Jimmie Lou Gaines Fava; her brother, Robert Lewis Fava, Jr., in addition to many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters-in-law, and numerous friends.

“The One who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’.  Then He said, ‘write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me, ‘They are accomplished.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.’”  – Revelation 21:5-6

“My hope was never mistaken.” – St. Therese of Lisieux


Remembering Sedric Wayne Kennedy

Sedric Wayne Kennedy

Sedric Wayne “Joe” Kennedy passed away on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Ruston, Louisiana. He was 83 years old. Joe was born on September 10, 1939 in Dodson, Louisiana to Elijah and Lois Smith Kennedy.

Joe was a kind and gentle man, known for never raising his voice. He was a logger by trade and enjoyed his career working in the woods. He was also a family man, enjoying time with his loved one’s any time he had the chance. He was affectionally known as pappy by his grandchildren and Snookie by his siblings and cousins.  He was also a praying man, and a long-time member of the Hodge United Pentecostal Church.

Joe is survived by his wife, Texie Korn Kennedy, two sons, Mike Kennedy (Kristie) of Arcadia, Louisiana and Sam Kennedy (Mary), of Dunlap, Tennessee, three daughters, Linda Mcnutt, of Quitman, Louisiana, Danee Lewis (Christopher), of Choudrant, Louisiana, and Anita Hartis (Brent) of Danville, Louisiana, two brothers James Kennedy (Jill) and Ronnie Kennedy (Melody) and three sisters, Shirley Williams (Bruce), Barbara Hawthorne (Floyd), and Sally Kennedy, 34 grandchildren, 44 great grand-children, and 1 great-great grandchild, a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and his church family.

Joe was proceeded in death by his parents, first wife Gertrude “Peggy” Chelette Kennedy, two sons, Timothy Kennedy and Randy Knighten, daughter in law, Lynn Burns Kennedy, two grandsons, Timothy Kennedy Jr. and Thomas Kennedy, two granddaughters, Shirley Kennedy and Amanda Kennedy, one brother John (Sambo) Kennedy.

Friends may visit with the family Friday, April 28, 2023 from 10 AM-12PM, with funeral services following. Visitation and funeral will be held at Hodge United Pentecostal Church, with Brother Jeff Stroud officiating. Burial will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery under the direction of Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home.

Serving as Pallbearers will be grandsons Richie Maxwell, Dylan Atteberry, Michael Kennedy Jr, Thomas Kennedy, Austyn Choate, Cody McCaskill. Honorary pallbearers, Mike Kennedy and Sam Kennedy.


Notice of death — April 27, 2023

Mary Katherine Freeman 
October 1, 1959 – April 24, 2023 
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Friday, April 28, 2023, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
Service: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Friday, April 28, 2023, 3:00 pm 
Cemetery: Sibley Cemetery Choudrant, Friday, April 28, 2023 

John Wesley McKeever, Jr  
Thursday 02/11/1943 — Saturday 04/15/2023 Age: 80  
Viewing: Monday 05/01/2023 9:00am to 12:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Celebration of Life: Monday 05/01/2023 12:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Interment: Monday 05/01/2023 Following Service, Asberry Cemetery, Chatham  

Sheila Anne Stevenson Reed    
Wednesday 09/07/1960 — Tuesday 04/18/2023     
Family Gathering: Friday 04/28/2023 2:00pm at King’s Funeral Home    
Visitation: Friday 04/28/2023 3:00pm to 7:00pm at King’s Funeral Home    
Service: Friday 04/28/2023 6:30pm at King’s Funeral Home    
Celebration of Life: Saturday 04/29/2023 11:00am, Mount Zion Baptist Church, 2586 Highway 150, Grambling    
Interment: Saturday 04/29/2023 Following Service, Grambling Memorial Garden, Highway 80 West, Grambling 

Eloise Carver 
March 5, 1923 – April 25, 2023 
Visitation: Friday, April 28, 2023, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 
Graveside Service: Saturday, April 29, 2023, 11:00 AM, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 2500 West California Ave, Ruston 

BREAKING: City fiber down following last night’s storm

By Malcolm Butler

Approximately 600 residents on the northwest side of Ruston around the La Mesa area lost power last night when a “giant” pine tree uprooted and hit electrical lines on Ashland Street at 9:30 p.m. between Hillside and Madera.

According to Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker, all the electricity has been restored as of early morning hours, but the entire city fiber grid is down due to a string of events directly related to the fallen tree.

Walker did stipulate that many of the homes that lost electricity during the night are currently being back-fed in order to provide electricity in advance of the poles and lines being replaced. Residents should not notice a difference during this tentative fix.

However, the city fiber is a bigger issue as it feeds almost all businesses, Lincoln Parish schools and city buildings. It is 100 percent independent of resident fiber options, such as options such as Optimum and AT&T.

“Due to that bad weather, we lost at least 10 poles from what I am going to call Bittersweet to West Alabama,” said Walker. “Between the interstate moving south to West Alabama that is kind of a swamp area and we lost right at a mile of 192 pairs of fiber which is our main trunk line in our city.

“This fiber is huge. It’s about softball size (in diameter) so it held when the tree fell on it. The fiber actually held the tree up. But then when it was cut, it had a whiplash effect and that broke poles all the way to almost West Alabama.”

According to City of Ruston officials, they believe the lines which cross Interstate 20 from the south end of Ashland Street by the west-bound service road to the bottom of the hill on the east-bound service road just south of I-20 developed slack and an 18-wheeler-type truck clipped them.

“All evidence indicates that the tree fell on Ashland and a cross arm broke, allowing slack in the aerial crossing across the interstate,” said Public Works Director John Freeman. “Then a freightliner hit it and took it out. So, there was some slack that allowed it to drop ever so slightly, enough for it where something – we surmise an 18-wheeler – hit it and snapped poles. We found it laying in the interstate.”

The whiplash of this then caused a domino effect of poles snapping and lines completely falling to the ground.

“What happens when you get that kind of weight or some kind of whiplash on it, the cross beams that hold all the wires, those break,” said Walker. “When those break, everything goes out. The biggest problem we have right now is that main fiber that runs across I-20 has been broken in several places therefore we are having to replace it.”

The entire process of replacing the fiber is not a quick one.

“If you can imagine 192 pairs of fiber and you are having to go in and fuse these back together,” said Walker. “Most of our city businesses unless they have a hot spot or a work around are without internet service. This is major.”

Walker said that if everything goes as planned, officials hope all city fiber is repaired and operational by Monday morning.

“We have additional equipment coming in,” said Walker. “We are totally rebuilding a mile of the highest as far as height and voltage (69,000 volts) that we have in our city. We are having to replace every bit of it. I would hope we have full fiber back up in the city by Monday morning.”

Selena Cuffe to serve as GSU commencement speaker

Selena Cuffe, the Chief Growth Officer for $700M, 7,000-person international services firm, Blackstone Consulting, Inc. (BCI) and RJB Properties, Inc. (RJB), will be the keynote speaker for Grambling State University’s (GSU) Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony set for 10 a.m. on May 12 at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. 

GSU officials expect to confer diplomas to graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Professional Studies, and Graduate Studies. 

Most recently, Cuffe, in her role as President of SodexoMagic, a $600M service provider of quality-of-life services to corporations, governments, K-12 schools, hospitals, and universities, established a 100% diverse executive leadership team, supporting 6,000 employees.  

Cuffe has a successful track record of diversifying and growing organizations.  

She served as co-founder, President & CEO of Heritage Link Brands, globally recognized for dismantling economic barriers and opening commercial markets for Black South African wine producers into Brazil, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, and the United States.  

Cuffe currently serves on the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association (audit committee) and Harvard Business School Women Students Alumnae Board (NomGov chair). She also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank 12th District Economic Advisory Council, Stanford University Bing Overseas Advisory Council, and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors. 

Educationally, Cuffe earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with minors in Spanish & Portuguese from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Business Administration, graduating with honors from the Harvard Business School.  

She is a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., certified mediator, foster children advocate, and lover of food and diverse cultures.  

Cuffe is married with three children and makes her home in View Park-Windsor Hills, California. 

Learn more about the event at

Multiple arrests follow Farmerville drug investigation

Earlier this year, the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office began investigating the sale of illegal narcotics from a Farmerville residence. The operation has culminated in eight arrests, including three juveniles.

The four-month long investigation led to warrants being issued for Robert Lee Washington, 51, Farmerville, and Helaina Renee Washington, 46, also of Farmerville, for their involvement in the distribution of illegal narcotics from their home on Smith Street in Farmerville.

On Saturday, investigators from UPSO narcotics unit joined deputies from other units to serve the warrants. A search warrant was executed at the Smith Street residence and suspected methamphetamine and marijuana were located along with various drug paraphernalia and a handgun.

During the execution of the warrants, three male juveniles were located inside the residence. They were issued summons for their involvement. Ronald Paul Reed, Jr, 35, and Maraco Shread Jones, 37, both of Farmerville, were located inside the residence and were also arrested for their involvement. Reed provided false information about his identity during the booking process and was additionally charged with resisting an officer.

According to UPDO, the investigation revealed Bryan Shedrick Boyette, 54, Farmerville, was heavily involved in narcotics distribution from the location along with the two Washingtons. Boyette was already in custody at the Union Parish Detention Center on unrelated charges. He was arrested for his previous involvement in this case.

The following arrests were made as a result of this investigation:

Robert Lee Washington, 51, Farmerville:
Distribution of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Schedule I Drugs (Marijuana)
Possession of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Firearm in the presence of CDS
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Bail: $102,000.00

Helaina Renee Washington, 46, Farmerville:
Distribution of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Schedule I Drugs (Marijuana)
Possession of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Firearm in the presence of Controlled Substances
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 
Bail: $102,000.00

Ronald Paul Reed, Jr, 35, Farmerville:
Possession of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Resisting an Officer by Providing False Information
Bail: $11,500.00

Maraco Shread Jones, 37, Farmerville :
Possession of Schedule II Drugs (Meth)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Bail: $11,000.00

Bryan Shedrick Boyette, 54, Farmerville
Distribution of Schedule II Drugs (Meth) – 2 counts
Bail: $80,000.00

Juvenile Male:
Possession of Schedule I Drugs (Marijuana)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
(Released to guardian)

Juvenile Male:
Possession of Schedule I Drugs (Marijuana)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
(Released to guardian)

Juvenile Male:
Possession of Schedule I Drugs (Marijuana)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
(Released to guardian)

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.