US Hwy 167 South reopened; DOTD spokesperson addresses situation

One of the southbound lanes on Highway 167 was closed Saturday night and into Sunday while repairs were made. (Photo by Malcolm Butler)

By T. Scott Boatright

Both lanes of the U.S. Highway167 southbound overpass over Interstate 20 has reopened Sunday afternoon after a large chunk of concrete fell from the structure on Saturday.

No injuries were reported in that incident that caused the left southbound lane of the overpass to be temporarily closed.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) oversees maintenance of those overpasses crossing over I-20.

DOTD Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan said Monday that the agency completed a full-depth patch on Sunday.

“That was done using a method that involves repairing all sections of roadway (from the base to the driving surface), and reopened all previously closed lanes,” Buchanan said. “Bridge decks do wear out over time, as this bridge was built in 1960. 

“Most importantly, the bridge is safe for travel – it would be immediately closed if our bridge engineer and inspectors deemed the condition of the bridge to be unsafe. This particular bridge is not currently on the schedule for replacement, but that does not mean a project can’t or won’t be developed for it.”

Buchanan said that no plans for further repair/replacement of that overpass is on the DOTD’s current schedule but added that could change in the future should it be deemed necessary.

The DOTD does have replacement of the LA 544 (Cooktown Rd) overpass tentatively scheduled to go to bid for replacement in March 2024. 

“It’s important to note that letting dates can and do often fluctuate based on a variety of factors,” Buchanan said. “Roundabouts are included in that project to replace the signalized intersections at the interstate ramps.

“Additionally, DOTD inspects all public bridges (meaning both state and locally-owned structures) on a regular cycle. No bridge goes longer than two years without being inspected, the most frequent inspection cycle is six months. We monitor the conditions of all of our bridges, but still welcome anyone to reach out and report any concerns they may have so our staff can investigate.”

In March, Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker told the LPJ that he still has a chunk of concrete that fell off the Cooktown Road overpass shortly after he took office eight years ago and was told by DOTD officials at that time that planning to replace that overpass would take eight years.

City of Ruston Public Works Manager Andrew Halbrook told the LPJ in March that if the DOTD sends out the project for Cooktown Road overpass work bidding in November, then construction on a new overpass could potentially begin by the summer of 2024.

“I think plans for the project are set for around 1,200 calendar days from start to finish,” Halbrook said. “But that’s a ballpark figure. 

“There’s a lot of staging elements that have to be in place before anything substantial can be started and would become visible to nearby drivers. So we just have to be patient while remaining hopeful it will be started and completed as fast as possible.”

Burroughs, Walker boast benefits of Tech hosting 2024 C-USA Baseball Championships

JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park will host the 2024 C-USA Baseball Championships. (Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications)

By Malcolm Butler

For the second time in four years, J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park will host the Conference USA Baseball Championships.

The University broke the news late Tuesday afternoon that the Bulldogs will play host to seven other teams in what will be the new-look Conference USA with the five-day event set for May 22-26.

Head coach Lane Burroughs and the Bulldogs showed off the Love Shack in 2021 — the first year of the new facility — as Tech fought its way out of the losers bracket, including two dramatic wins over Southern Miss on elimination Saturday, to play Old Dominion in the championship game. Tech fell 8-7 to the Monarchs but would play host to the program’s first ever NCAA Regional the following week.

Burroughs said the opportunity to play host in 2024 is a huge plus for his program.

“No. 1 your fan base has the opportunity to come out and watch all of the games,” said Burroughs. “We are always going to be at the top or towards the top of the league in attendance with our fan base and our season ticket base. It will be well attended. Our city and our fans love baseball. 

“No. 2 it is an advantage if there are any types of weather delays. You have the ability to go to your own locker room and into your own facility. You don’t have to go sit on a bus or go back to the hotel. You are in the friendly confines of your own home.

“But first and foremost, it’s so great for our fans. We have a great fan base that loves Tech Athletics and loves Bulldog baseball. I know they will come out to support us like they did (in 2021).”

The five-day tournament is a true double elimination format over the first four days with Sunday’s championship game a winner-take all format.

“We are thrilled that the C-USA Baseball Championship is coming back to the city of Ruston and the Love Shack in 2024,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Eric A. Wood. “We have enjoyed collaborating with the city and local partners to provide a first-class experience when hosting conference tournaments and look forward to doing so again.”

C-USA will field nine baseball teams for the 2024 season – Dallas Baptist, FIU, Jacksonville State, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Sam Houston, and WKU — with the top eight in the regular season standings qualifying.

LA Tech also recently hosted the 2023 C-USA Softball Championship and is scheduled to host the 2023 C-USA Soccer Tournament this fall.

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said the University’s ability to land these events is just another opportunity for the city to showcase its hospitality.

“It’s incredible that Conference USA chose to come back to Ruston that quickly,” said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker. “Obviously, the incredible facility that Louisiana Tech has is a huge draw. It’s great for our city as (the event) will bring the fan bases from seven other schools to our city and those fans will get to experience what Ruston is all about with our restaurants, hotels and hospitality. We look forward to it and we appreciate the great partnership between the City of Ruston and Louisiana Tech.”

All about impact for new Choudrant Assistant Principal Underwood

Geoffrey Underwood (right) is pictured with his son Roger during their trip with a group of Choudrant High School students last week to Washington D.C. (Courtesy photo)

By T. Scott Boatright

Coaching carousels have always been a big part of high school athletics.

And sometimes they cross over with administrative carousels, too.

That was the case for former Choudrant High School girls basketball coach Geoffrey Underwood, who recently stepped down from that position to accept a promotion to become assistant principal at CHS.

As a longtime hoops coach for the Lady Aggies, Underwood always managed to produce a competitive squad, guiding the prep careers of outstanding players like Olivia Hennen and current South Arkansas Community College standout Kylee Portilloz along with daughters Grace Underwood Smith and Emma Underwood.

Underwood, who recently became a grandfather while still raising his youngest son Roger, a CHS student, said being able to have more time with his family played a role in his decision, but that his thinking process involved more than only that.

“Getting to spend more time at home with fewer late nights definitely was part of my thinking,’ Underwood said. “That definitely played a factor in it. But as an assistant principal, I’ll be able to affect the lives of more kids, and that’s what it’s really all about for me.

“I mean, let’s face it, I’ll still be going to a lot of Choudrant High athletics events. But I won’t be locked into girls basketball only. And I loved working with the Lady Aggies basketball program over the years. But now I can hopefully make an impact on more students than ever.”

Underwood said it didn’t take much consideration when new CHS Principal Chris Jones moved up from his role as assistant principal and asked Underwood if he would step into that role he had held.

“When Mr. Jones and the administration offered me the opportunity, I just jumped all over it,” Underwood said. “I’m just glad that they considered me.”

Jones, who served as assistant principal under the now-retired Tony Antley for eight years, said the fact he had held the role made him know how important it is and how much he needed the right person – “the right fit” – to take it on.

“I needed to find somebody that was familiar with the community, because Choudrant is definitely a community school,” Jones said. “So I wanted to find someone who knew the community and was familiar with our kids and the ins and outs that goes along with all of that.

“Geoffrey’s always done a good job as a (social studies) teacher in the classroom. He’s taken care of business. He did a great job on the basketball court as a coach – his kids are always disciplined.”

Jones added that the decision truly came down to one major factor.

“I needed someone I could trust and I knew I could trust Geoffrey,” Jones said. “He’s a level-headed guy and I feel like he’s going to do a great job as assistant principal and I’m excited for him. It’s a big opportunity.”

Underwood spent last week on a trip to Washington D.C. with a group of Choudrant, which Jones said shows a lot about his decision in asking the new assistant principal to step into that role.

“He had a group of sophomore through seniors up there,” Jones said. “He’s took care of them – he’s had my son up there with him. It all went well which proves he can fill some pretty big shoes.”

But the fact that Underwood took on that task of handling a group of Choudrant students on their first cross-country trip for the first time in years because of the COVID pandemic shows exactly who he is, Jones said.

“Geoffrey’s all about creating equity and opportunity for kids,” Jones said. “And I think he’s going to have a bigger stage as assistant principal to do that, so I think he’s the right choice and will do a great job in his new role.

“We had taken trips to D.C. and New York in the past, but when COVID hit that it kind of shut all of that down. And Geoffrey wanted to start that back. He’s all about creating opportunities for kids. He invests in kids. That’s just who he is and he’s going to do great for us as assistant principal.”


Ruston woman claims peach prize

Hayley Shamburger of Ruston located the Louisiana Peach Festival prize.


The annual peach prize hunt ended on its second day when a Ruston woman located it Tuesday morning.

Hayley Shamburger of Ruston located the Louisiana Peach Festival prize behind a historical marker in front of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau on North Trenton Street.

The clues from Days 1 and 2 described the location as “a place we hold dear” and to “look north.”

The sign marks the location of the Louisiana Chautauqua, an annual summer cultural and educational event held in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Chautauqua was first the equivalent of continuing education for teachers but also provided cultural activities for the public.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau, Toma Lodge, and The Bridge now occupy the former Chautauqua grounds which included a large hotel, an auditorium, and rental cabins. The selection of the historical marker as the place to hide the prize was a nod to Lincoln Parish’s sesquicentennial.

The parish was created from parts of surrounding parishes 150 years ago in 1873. The success of the Chautauqua is credited with playing an integral role in the creation of Louisiana Tech in Ruston.

Seven Choudrant High graduates earn Summa Cum Laude honor

by Emma Stone

Seven Choudrant High School students graduated with a Summa Cum Laude honor. These students include Cameron Grice, Abigail Johnston, Naomi Logan, Bryce McGuire, Richard “Ian” Starks, Lachlan Thompson and James “Owen” Watson as part of the Class of 2023.

These students graduated with a University Pathway diploma while keeping a 4.0 GPA or higher. They took at least 10 honors, AP or dual enrollment classes. To be considered for the honor, the students must have all As for final course grades in all classes.

Owen Watson was awarded Student of the Year and took mostly AP classes during his time. One year he doubled on math and history to take calculus, a course that is not usually offered at Choudrant.

“It was worth putting in the effort to maintain those good grades,” said Watson. “Now, my college is paid for.”

Watson will be attending the United States Military Academy in West Point on June 26.

Lachlan Thompson reminisces on the group chat that students had to ask each other questions and get help on homework.

“It’s really cool having other people’s back like that,” said Thompson. “I would not have gotten the honor without the help from friends and other classmates.”

Thompson will be attending Louisiana Tech University in the fall to major in Biology with a focus on Pre-Med.

Naomi Logan remembers taking one AP course and three honors courses her freshman year stating that she took advantage of her dual enrollment classes.

“It seemed the most logical to focus on classes that would benefit me in the future,” said Logan. “I have been known to let others take advantage of me and put myself down, but achieving something like this has helped me realize that I’m more than that.”

Logan will be attending Louisiana Tech University in the fall to major in Nursing in hopes to be a trauma nurse.

“I am extremely proud of myself, and I couldn’t thank those who helped me get here enough,” said Logan.

Congratulations to Choudrant High School’s Class of 2023, and the hard work they have put in to walk across the stage.

Alleged shoplifter also wanted on warrants

Ruston Police responded to the Walmart Supercenter regarding a report of shoplifters
about 10:00 p.m. Thursday. Walmart employees said the suspects fled the store.

Shannon Nicole Garner, 28, was located by officers and detained. She was identified by
Walmart employees as one of the suspects.

A records check showed Garner was wanted on warrants for failure to appear in court
and for simple burglary and felony theft. She was booked at the Lincoln Parish

Detention Center for theft by shoplifting and the warrants.

Bail was set at $43,000.


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

Celebrating Better Speech and Hearing Month

Personal column by Abigail Fertal

May is almost over, but we are still celebrating Better Speech & Hearing Month! If you know a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, this is the month to celebrate all they do for our community. Better Speech & Hearing month is focused on helping the community prevent & treat a variety of communication disorders. This year’s theme is “Building a Strong Foundation.” How do we build a strong foundation of communication for our children?  

First, connection leads to communication. Daily routines offer low-pressure opportunities to connect and communicate with your child. Whether it be walking through the grocery store, driving to work, or changing a toddler’s diaper, make daily routines a time to bond through shared experiences. Describe the objects and places your child is interested in and narrate the activities that you do daily. Be responsive to your child’s attempts to communicate. Children build connections between daily routines and the words their caregivers use. 

Second, read often with your children. Books offer opportunities for children to hear diverse and new vocabulary that they may not be exposed to otherwise. They also offer opportunities for connection and fun! Don’t be concerned when small children become impatient with longer passages; focus on following their lead. This may mean skipping pages or talking about the pictures. 

Last, always speak to a certified speech-language pathologist about concerns with your child’s comprehension or expression. An SLP can identify if your child is meeting their developmental milestones or if they need early speech & language intervention. An SLP can help answer questions about your child’s vocabulary, social skills, speech, and even feeding skills. 


COLUMN: End of The Cereal Sagas

Two of the past three weeks, we’ve traded love notes about one of the Major Food Groups.
Been a good run, our time with cereal.
And it doesn’t have to end — not in real life. Not as long as the amber waves of grain are a thing.
But it does have to end here. Time to move on to other Foods, other Friends, other Things.
As an exclamation point, we’ll do something I used to do semi-regularly but we haven’t done yet in the SBJ. Today, a few of you take the wheel and share some Very Personal Stories. Had to leave out so many, including a favorite from a friend who loves cereal so much, he uses many of his favorites in his various passwords. Thank you to all who took the time to bear their Cereal Souls.
From Donnie Golfgame: There was a time in my life I was torn between Quisp, which I’m proud you mentioned, and Quake – which was like a sister cereal to Quisp, although instead of a sister there was a picture on the box of a miner with a light on his hardhat. As George Herbert Walker Bush would say, Quisp was a “kinder, gentler” form of Cap’n Crunch, which we all know is like having a mouthful of thumbtacks in your mouth. Quake, however, was Cap’n Crunch’s evil uncle as far as texture. Eat a bowl of Quake and you weren’t eating — couldn’t eat — anything else that day. Gum carnage.

I noticed when my kids were little that Sugar Crisp had suddenly become Honey Crisp and then later on it was just Crisp on the box. Same thing with Sugar Pops, which became Corn Pops and I think today it might just be Pops. Sugar has gotten a bad rap.
My Top 10, starting at the top:
1. Cap’n Crunch
2. Raisin Bran
3. 40 Percent Bran Flakes, (which now are just Bran Flakes; I always wondered why they didn’t call themselves 60-Percent-Of-Whatever-Else-Was-In-The-Box Flakes).
4. Rice Krispies; (are they just Krispies now? Is rice wrong?)
5. Fruit Loops
6. Corn Flakes, (or is it just Flakes?)
7. Sugar Pops
8. Honey Comb
9. Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries
10. Quaker Oats Oatmeal; (when I was a kid, there was a glass dish inside the oats).
From Duke of Don: There’s nothing more numerous than different people’s sense of humorous, right? I sent your Cereal Piece to a nephew in England. He responded, “Sadly nearly every cereal mentioned is not known to me; here we have our own which are the same as yours only under a different name. My breakfasts are not usually cereal-based but are instead …
1: Muesli (our own make barley flakes, rolled oats, porridge oats, oat bran, every kind of nut crushed up, mixed seeds, and raw cacao pieces plus milk); keeps you going through the day.
2: Croissants with lashings of extra butter, (Sundays only).
3: Porridge
4: Bacon Sandwich
5: Cold meats and cheese when in Europe
6: Crumpets
7: Toast
8: Lashings of coffee
9: Weetabix with warm milk but not very often
10: Corn flakes but only with a gun pointed at my head
From JayVee, Team Captain: First, a resounding NO to Trix, or any cereal with colors, and also to Grape Nuts (who in the world thinks this is really human food?! And why ruin the good name “Grape” by associating it with this product?)
1. Raisin Bran Crunch
2. Frosted Mini Wheats
3 and 4. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios (tie game)
5. Frosted Flakes
6. Sugar Crisp (as in — add music — “Can’t get enough of them Sugar Crisp.” It’s a different name now — heaven forbid we actually put “sugar” in a name anymore. Gotta eat ’em fast; if soggy it’s a different ballgame.
7. Sugar pops, (ditto previous comment).
8. Raisin Bran
From The Skynman: My go-to is Honey Nut Cheerios. I have ditched the rest. I can do both ways. With milk or without. A handful of HNC for a quick snack is a pick-me-up. And on long trips there is a box in the seat next to me to munch on while I drive and listen to my book on tape.
From Train: If a team of cereal played ball, here’s my batting order:
1. Fruity Pebbles
2. Frosted Flakes
3. Honey Nut Cheerios
4. Lucky Charms
5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
6. Cocoa Puffs
7. Cap’n Crunch
8. Raisin Bran
9. Count Chocula
Naturally, a bowl would coach first, a spoon third, and milk would be the manager.

Contact Teddy at

Man arrested in vehicular homicide over Memorial Day Weekend

On Monday, May 29, 2023, shortly after 9:00 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop F began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on I-20 westbound just west of the Millhaven Exit. This crash claimed the life of 36-year-old Alisha Adcock of Metairie.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2006 GMC Yukon, driven by 52-year-old Leon Patrick Jr., was traveling west on I-20 in the outside lane. At the same time, a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle, driven by Adcock, was also traveling west in the outside lane of I-20. For reasons still under investigation, the GMC struck the rear end of the Suzuki. As a result of being struck, Adcock, who was not wearing a DOT approved helmet, was ejected from the Suzuki and became trapped under the GMC.

As a result of this crash, Adcock suffered fatal injuries. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ouachita Parish Coroner’s Office. Patrick Jr., who was unrestrained and not injured, was taken into custody at the crash scene after displaying signs of impairment. He was transported to the Ouachita Correctional Center, where he voluntarily submitted a breath sample, which indicated a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. He was booked into OCC for Vehicular Homicide and Careless Operation. A routine toxicology sample was collected from Adcock and will be submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes. Impairment and lack of seat belt usage are the primary causes of crashes across the state. Louisiana State Police urge motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills, and decrease reaction times. Alcohol can begin to impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle after just one drink. Please choose not to drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, and always buckle up.

Mechanic hopes to inspire, teach through her own learning and experiences

By Keturah Smith

Growing up around boys, a Simsboro resident is one of the 5.4% of mechanics in the U.S. who are female, according to Zippia.

Anita Cedotal has worked on cars at the age of 19,  when she officially became a mechanic after watching her dad while  growing up.

“My family didn’t have a lot of money so I watched my dad repair his car over the weekend for the upcoming work week.,” Cedotal said.

Being inspired from her father, this led Cedotal to attend mechanic school.

“I enjoyed taking car parts off, finding the problem and rebuilding  them, it was instant gratification while learning,” Cedotal said.

Furthermore, with rebuilding, this was the easiest part of her job because it gave Cedotal a thrill when it came to a challenge.

Though rebuilding was a breeze, Cedotal said she struggled in the industry coming up because she was a woman — until a  man in Jackson, Mississippi, gave her a chance.

“I was actually able to prove myself; I was able to do it,” Cedotal said. “From there I had a job in a day.”

Furthermore, for Cedotal, some things for her were basic knowledge, but with technology advancing over the years, more things became computerized.

“With working on a computer, I took a step back because I had to relearn some things again,” Cedotal said, “but it didn’t defeat me at all.”

Cedoteal said she enjoyed the phase of learning these visuals because it didn’t take away from her using tools. Instead, it enhanced her knowledge and put Cedotal more steps ahead of the game, as she now works at Walpole Tire and service.

Additionally, Cedotal is working on a pamphlet in the future for women and individuals who are unsure of how to perform basic mechanic work.

“A woman should be able to change a tire if she’s stuck on the side of the road,” Cedotal said.

As the industry continues to change, Cedotal said she hopes more women learn how to work on their vehicles, whether learning material online or through her own future pamphlet.

“It’ll be amazing to see more women doing some mechanical work on their own cars,” Cedotal said, “Women we are very powerful.”

RRWC presents donation to North La Military Museum

Ruston Republican Women’s Club Treasurer Aubrey Wood and Vice President Kathy Trammell present a check to Ernie Stevens for the North Louisiana Military Museum.

The Ruston Republican Women’s Club presented a check to Ernie Stevens for the North Louisiana Military Museum following their monthly meeting Monday.

“We have such a great asset at the Museum to learn and remember all those who have served and are serving our country so we can live in a free country,” said Ruston Republican Women’s Club member Pam Jones. 

The North Louisiana Military Museum is located at 201 Memorial Drive in Ruston. Admission is free.

The museum honors those who have served our country and includes displays such as three Congressional Medal of Honors representing three branches of service, uniforms from all branches of service as well as American Red Cross uniforms and insignia, as well as helicopters, tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, and a Civil War cannon.

To learn more about the museum, go to

Two arrested for domestic violence

Police arrested a Grambling couple Sunday morning after they were both involved in an alleged domestic battery on each other.

Grambling Police responded to a 911 call on Greene Lane at about 4:20 a.m. Sunday morning. Willie D. Watson, 36, told officers a verbal altercation with his girlfriend Brictney L. Robinson, 33, turned physical. Watson said the altercation started when he returned home around 1:00 a.m. with Robinson’s vehicle. He said the physical altercation started in the bathroom and ended up in the living room when Robinson retrieved a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him.

Officers saw a deep laceration on Watson’s left wrist and two deep lacerations on his lower back. Ruston Ambulance Service was called to the scene to provide medical assistance. Watson was transported to the Northern Louisiana Medical Center by ambulance where he was treated and released.

Robinson told officers the incident started over Watson taking her vehicle without her permission and returning home late at night. Robinson said they began pushing each other in the bathroom and then she started hitting him with her closed fist. Robinson said Watson never struck her with his closed fist but scratched her face and pulled out her hair. She admitted retrieving a knife and stabbing Watson several times.

Officers found several scratches on Robinson’s face.

Both were arrested and Watson was booked for battery of a dating partner and Robinson was charged with aggravated second degree battery.

Bail was not set immediately because Louisiana law requires a Gwen’s Law hearing to determine bail in domestic violence situations.

The law requiring a mandatory bail hearing was created by the Louisiana Legislature in 2017 and named to honor Gwen Salley, a Louisiana woman who was murdered by her estranged husband.


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. 

Ruston, Cedar Creek, Choudrant represented on LABC all-Region baseball team

Pictured is Choudrant High School’s Bryce McGuire, the LBCA Region 2 Pitcher of the Year. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

Lincoln Parish produced more than a one-third of the 29 players from across north Louisiana named to the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association All-Region 2 Prep  Baseball Team announced over the holiday weekend.

Eleven Lincoln Parish players were named to the squad – five from Ruston, four from Choudrant and two from Cedar Creek.

Choudrant senior Bryce McGuire, who recently signed to continue his hardball career collegiately at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, was named the LABC Region 2 Pitcher of the Year after leading the Aggies to their third straight state championship game before falling 4-3 in extra innings to Anacoco.

Three other Lincoln Parish players were named LBCA All-Region 2 pitchers – Choudrant’s Landon Hennen Ruston senior Nick Robinson,  who struck out 43 batters and posted an ERA of 1.92 in 58.1 innings of work on the mound this past season and plans attend Grambling State as a preferred walk-on, and Cedar Creek senior Brady Wade.

Both catchers on the LBCA All-Region 2 team hail from Lincoln Parish in seniors RJ Brown of Ruston and Gavin Murphy of Choudrant. 

Brown recently signed as a preferred football walk-on at Louisiana Tech, but said the Bulldogs have also discussed him potentially joining the Diamond Dogs baseball team while Murphy will begin his college baseball career at South Ark CC.

Lincoln Parish players named as infielders on the LABC All-Region 2 team are Ruston senior JR Tollett, who has signed to play collegiately for Louisiana-Lafayette, and Cedar Creek junior Ladd Thompson.

Two of the 2023 All-Region 2 outfielders hail from Lincoln Parish – Choudrant senior Kaden Bradshaw and Ruston sophomore Jake Simmons.

Ruston senior Justin Szymanski, who recently signed to play collegiately at South Arkansas CC, was named one of two designated hitters on the 2023 LBCA All-Region 2 team,

Natchitoches Central senior Alexander Dupuy was named the LBCA Region 2 Hitter of the Year.

Another name familiar to many people in Lincoln Parish – Natchitoches Central sophomore Brock Laird, son of former Ruston High School quarterback and head football coach Brad Laird  – was also named to the LABC All-Region 2 team as an infielder.

Tech soccer adds goalkeeper

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech Soccer added depth to their goalkeeping room with the addition of Laerke Holst Monday afternoon, announced by head coach Steve Voltz.

“We are excited about the qualities Lærke brings to us on and off the field,” said Voltz. “In our conversations, she immediately embraced the challenges in front of her and made it clear she’d also be a great addition to our locker room.”

Holst, a Denmark native, signed with Sam Houston in 2021 before redshirting her freshman season in Huntsville. She then missed the 2022 season due to injury.

She brings international experience from her time playing in Denmark’s 1st Division Senior League with Romalt IF and was named the club’s newcomer of the year after the season. 

In 2017-18, she played for Vejle Boldklub in the Senior Elite Division Qualification League and spent time with Vejle College of Sport, where she made a national championship appearance. She also spent time on Denmark’s Top Youth League U18 team, Viborg.

“I am super thrilled and thankful for this incredible opportunity to become a part of this team,” said Holst. “I cannot wait to join up with the team and start this growth and success journey together.”

Holst joins Tal Faingezicht as another late signee to the team that adds more depth to an already highly touted five-member high school class from the fall of 2022. 

Two Lady Techsters named to Academic All-District Team

The Louisiana Tech women’s bowling team lands two on the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team on Tuesday afternoon.

Lindsay Manning has been LA Tech’s leadoff bowling throughout the 2022-23 season while being named to the Southland All-Conference third team and the National Tenpin Coaches Association All-American honorable mention team.

Manning earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and just graduated with a master’s degree in counseling and guidance-human services with a 4.0-grade point average. Manning isn’t a first-timer in being honored for her hard work in the classroom. She’s been placed on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2019-2022 along with being a C-USA Academic Medalist from 2019-2022 and Southland Bowling League’s Academic Honor Roll from 2020-22.

Alongside Manning, Allie Leiendecker was also named to the Academic All-District Team. Leiendecker served as anchor bowling for the Lady Techsters in the 2022-23 season. She was named to the Southland All-Conference first team while also being on the National Tenpin Coaches Association All-American second team.

Leiendecker is currently pursuing a degree in child development while also working towards an MBA in the concurrent program with a 3.67-grade point average. From 2020-22, Leiendecker was named to the Southland Bowling League’s Academic Honor Roll along with the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll 2020-22

The 2023 Academic All-District® Women’s At-Large Teams, selected by College Sports Communicators, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in the athletic realm and the classroom. The CSC Academic All-America® program separately recognizes honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, and NAIA.

Lincoln Prep valedictorian Ford overcomes obstacles 

Pictured is Lincoln Preparatory School Executive Director Gordan Ford (left) and his son, 2023 valedictorian Edward Ford. (Courtesy photo)

By T. Scott Boatright


All of Lincoln Parish’s 2023 high school graduates faced unprecedented challenges during their prep years because of the COVID pandemic.

But maybe the one who endured the most at making the best out of the circumstances he faced is Lincoln Preparatory School 2023 valedictorian Edward Ford.

Having to endure the COVID pandemic was only part of the trials that Ford, who graduated with a 4.47 grade point average and around 72 semester hours of college credits and an Associate of General Studies degree from Southern University of Shreveport, had to overcome.

Ford also had to endure a high school career that saw him attending classes at multiple sites. The school, which formed after a decades-long desegregation order forced the closure of the old Grambling Laboratory School in 2017, had originally held classes in that building before a court order forced the school to move off the grounds of Grambling State University in 2020.

That led to the school having to conduct classes at various locations, including the old Fred’s, New Living Word Church, Trinity Methodist, Grace Methodist and Calvary Baptist while the newly-opened Lincoln Prep campus was being built.

“The opportunity was there – even with us not having our school built until this year and then COVID happening, classes never stopped,” said Ford, whose father is Lincoln Prep Executive Director Gordan Ford. “So I had to take advantage of that opportunity, even going through three different school buildings and then COVID, I still just kept working hard despite that.

“Because my dad was principal, I saw everything happening in the background. I’ve seen progress, and I’ve seen a lot of change in the school. There was a lot going on. Some of it was stressful, and very impactful because there were a lot of different things – different obstacles – happening all at once.”

That didn’t deter Ford, who was a member of the Panther Marching and Concerts bands, where he served as trombone section leader and drum major; Panther Robotics Team, Taekwondo Team, and the Lincoln Prep Track Team and Field Team, for which he was recognized as an LHSAA Academic All-State Athlete. 

And he did finally get to attend his last month’s worth of classes at the new Lincoln Prep campus.

“It’s pretty cool seeing the new school,” Ford said. “Because my dad was principal, I got to see it all happen step by step from the ground up. And even though it was only for the last month or so, it was a long month just because getting to attend classes in that new building was wonderful. 

“I’m just glad that I got to spend that little bit of time in it before I had to go.”

A fond memory from high-school Ford will carry forward (and could help in the future as an orthopedic surgeon) was helping to begin the Robotics team at Lincoln Prep.

“When I got there we didn’t have a Robotics team so we started one,” Ford said. “It’s still developing a team because it’s all so new. We did what we could and did good, but the team still needs time to progress and into the program a little more. But it was fun.”

Both of Ford’s parents (his mother is Dr. Janice Ford) attended Grambling State and while he said he did consider other colleges, becoming a part of the “G” and the World Famed Marching Tiger Band was always his destiny.

“I considered some other places, but the thing is, I really wanted to be part of the Grambling band,” Ford said. “My sister was in the GSU band a couple of years ago and told me about it and I think it will be fun and a good experience for me.”

Ford plans to follow in his mother’s footsteps (she’s an Internal Medicine Specialist) and  major in biology at Grambling State before hopefully moving on to medical school and becoming an orthopedic surgeon. 

“I’ll admit the first thought was the good pay,” Ford said of that decision. “But I also like puzzles – I’m kind of meticulous with that kind of thing – and I think that fits what an orthopedic surgeon does.

“And most importantly, it will make me feel I’m doing something of value. I want to do something I love and work at doing something where I’m needed, and that all fits with me wanting to become an orthopedic surgeon.”

But before starting college in the fall, Ford said he plans to take it easy and have some fun the next couple of months.

“I’m supposed to go to Austin (Texas) pretty soon and maybe a trip out of the country, too,” Ford said. “I just want to take it easy and have a little fun before jumping into college in the fall.”

Arrests made in shooting

Two men have been arrested in connection with a shooting in Farmerville last week.

On May 21, just after midnight, Union Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Betty Street in Farmerville to assist the Farmerville Police Department in the investigation of a shooting with multiple victims. Deputies learned two people were struck by gunfire and required medical attention.

Deputies and FPD officers, along with investigators from UPSO learned Jylon Amir Fields, 20, of Marion, engaged in an argument on Betty Street. As the argument intensified, Fields produced a rifle and began shooting at the victim. Eyewitnesses on the scene said Fields was chasing after the victim while shooting. After that person fell to the ground, witnesses said Fields continued to recklessly shoot the rifle in multiple directions.             

Several bullets struck a nearby residence where the occupants were in bed. Investigators discovered bullets lodged in the nightstand and box springs of the bedroom near the residents. Another bullet penetrated the bedroom window of the residence, striking a bathroom mirror.

Witnesses identified a second shooter, Braylin Tyrell Thomas, 19, of Farmerville. The investigation revealed Thomas produced a firearm and shot Fields during the incident. Thomas denied shooting anyone, but gunshot residue test of his hand was positive.  

Two gunshot victims were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals and released. The person investigators believe was Fields’ intended target was not shot.

Fields was arrested for two counts of attempted second degree murder and aggravated criminal damage to property. His bail was set by a Third District Court judge at $850,000.

Thomas was arrested for one count of attempted second degree murder. Bail was set at $250,000.

This investigation is continuing, and more arrests are expected.


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. 

St. Jude Dream Home tours begin; tickets still available

An artist’s rendering of the 2023 Monroe St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

By Sallie Rose Hollis

Construction is complete on the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Monroe, and the general public will be able to tour the home for free during open house hours, starting June 3.

Members of Ruston’s Zeta Rho chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha service group will function as the main tour guides. Ruston radio station KXKZ Z107 is one of the local sponsors.

The new home, located in Frenchman’s Bend and constructed by BRACO Construction, has an estimated value of $400,000. It contains 2,600 square feet, with four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

After previewing the structure at 204 Maison Drive to see its custom features, guests can reserve a $100 ticket for a chance to win the home. Proceeds from ticket sales help ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food so they can focus on helping their child live.

Launched in Shreveport in 1991, the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway is one of the largest fundraisers for hospital. The program has raised more than $600 million through hundreds of giveaways across the country. This is the 21st giveaway in the Monroe market.

Starting June 3 and continuing until the drawing for the winner of the home, free open house hours are scheduled every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and every Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Weekday hours are planned June 19-21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The drawing for the giveaway is set for June 22.

In addition to BRACO Construction and KXKZ Z107, additional sponsors this year include KTVE/KARD, Dream Day Foundation, 3B Outdoor, Sleepy Hollow and Bayou Life Magazine as well as national sponsors Brizo, Shaw Floors, Trane, Bosch and Kichler.

For more information, call 1-800-726-9874 or visit

Disturbance results in arrest


A Ruston man was arrested Thursday afternoon after he allegedly assaulted another man and damaged his vehicle.

Justin Davis, 32, was arrested after Ruston Police officers responded to a Brewster Avenue residence.

The victim told officers Davis became so upset, he began striking him. Officers saw several scratches on the victim’s arm. As an officer was interviewing the victim, Davis aggressively screamed and yelled at the victim in the front yard. Davis was told several times to be quiet but became so irate he was placed under arrest.

Davis refused to be handcuffed, and a Taser was displayed to gain his compliance. As other officers arrived, Davis pulled away aggressively and had to be restrained.

The victim also said Davis grabbed his keys and scratched his vehicle during the altercation.

Davis was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for domestic abuse battery, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace, and resisting an officer.


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

Pick words carefully when helping someone through a divorce

By Brandon Ramsey


Divorce is such an ugly word!  And for an individual who is currently experiencing it or has had to endure it in the past, it can be completely overwhelming.  Unfortunately, we as a society do very little to dull the pain.  In fact in many cases we make going through this tragedy unbearable.  We use statements like, “You’ll be ok.  You don’t need him/her.  You’re free now.” 

Now mind you, we do not voice these statements with intention of mortally wounding our friend.  We truly believe that this is what they need to hear.  The truth is that to someone going through a divorce, these statements can seem like daggers piercing one’s soul.

We need to understand that the psychological effects of someone going through a divorce are almost identical to someone losing a loved one to death.  It gives a whole new meaning to the old statement, “You’re dead to me,” doesn’t it?  If you take the time to think about the reality of divorce, it bears great similarities to death. 

When you take someone that you truly care for (even though you may not always like their actions, you love the person you initially fell in love with) and tear them out of your life, it leaves a large hole.  Our first reaction is to try to help someone move on and leave these horrible feelings behind, but it takes time to deal with such a loss.  If it is not dealt with correctly or if it is even dealt with it at all, it will continue to be a problem for years to come.

I had a client come in to see me because she was dealing with a divorce.  It had completely floored her.  She was having a hard time even functioning.  About half way through the session she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Should I go out and date?  My friends said I should, to get him out of my system.”  This young lady had not been divorced three weeks, could not get out of the bed in the morning, and her “friends” were convinced that she should move into dating.  She was not ready for that, not to mention that moving back into the dating scene is one of the most stressful things you can do.

There is an old Hebrew custom called “sitting shivah.”  When someone lost a loved one, you would go to their house and just sit with them.  Just be present.  If they needed to cry you cried.  If they needed to yell you yelled.  If they needed to sit you just sat.  So maybe we should go retro, take a tip from our ancestors and just help our friends deal with their loss the way they need to.  They need friends supporting them, not pushing them.

Arrest made for indecent behavior with juvenile


Police arrested a Ruston man Thursday after he allegedly engaged in indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Ruston Police responded to a Grant Avenue residence Thursday night regarding a reported disturbance. A juvenile told police a man who had been staying at their residence for two or three weeks had been sending him inappropriate messages through Instagram. The juvenile said the messages were sexual in nature.

The alleged suspect, Delquez Jones, 22, left the residence before officers arrived but later returned. Officers took him into custody and booked him at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for indecent behavior with a juvenile and arrest warrants for theft.


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.