BREAKING: Cedar Creek lawsuit settles before jury selection

An apparent settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Cedar Creek School filed by the parents of a former student.

A civil trial was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. this morning. Ad hoc Judge Jimmie C. Peters dismissed the jury pool as proceedings were getting underway as their services were not going to be needed.

In September 2021, Michael and Nicole Conroy and their minor son filed suit against the Ruston private school, eight of the son’s classmates and their families, and members of the school staff.The Conroy’s lawsuit claimed their son was severely bullied at Cedar Creek for eight months, including several instances of sexual battery with an object.

Little information on the case has been available since early 2022 when all court records were sealed due to the minors involved. The suit was seeking unspecified reasonable damages from the defendants.

Typical of such resolutions, it is unlikely terms of the settlement will be released.

Attorneys for the Conroys and Cedar Creek could not be reached this morning. A message seeking comment was left for current Cedar Creek head of school Cindy Hampton. Hampton was not principal when the alleged incidents occurred.

Peters presided over the civil case because all three local district judges recused themselves to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

This story will be updated when additional information is obtained.

Lawsuit against RPD, city continues

A lawsuit against the Ruston Police Department and the City of Ruston is continuing although a federal judge quashed several of the claims alleged in the case.

Ruston Police Sergeant Kayla Loyd filed the suit against the Ruston Police Department in December 2022, alleging the department discriminated against female employees, including herself.

U. S. District Judge Terry Doughty considered the city’s motion for summary judgment and issued his ruling last week. The motion was granted in part and denied in part. Doughty ruled the suit could move forward on Loyd’s accusation that the department denied her transfer to the position of criminal investigator on several occasions because she is female. 

Doughty quashed three of the four claims alleged by Loyd, including retaliation, a hostile work environment and disparate treatment from other employees. The retaliation claims were dismissed mostly on technical grounds. He also ruled Chief Steve Rogers and Deputy Chief Henry Wood could not be sued in their individual or official capacities.

Doughty determined Loyd’s alleged hostile work environment “was not frequent, severe, or humiliating enough to interfere with her work performance as a supervisor.”

The judge wrote in his ruling that Loyd met “her burden in proving a prima facie case of discrimination,” noting that during Chief Steve Rogers’s 15-year tenure he had never assigned a female officer to the criminal investigation unit although a number of males had been so assigned.

Last week two other female former officers told the news media of discrimination and workplace retaliation they allegedly endured while working at the Ruston Police Department.

A date for the trial was not immediately available.

Jury selection for Cedar Creek civil lawsuit begins today

Jury selection for the civil lawsuit involving the alleged bullying and sexual battery of a child by other students at Cedar Creek School in 2020 and 2021 is scheduled to begin today.

In September 2021, Michael and Nicole Conroy and their minor son filed suit against the Ruston private school, eight of the son’s classmates and their families, and members of the school staff.

The Conroy’s lawsuit claimed their son was severely bullied at Cedar Creek for eight months, including several instances of sexual battery with an object.

Prospective jurors were told to report at 9:00 a.m. this morning.

Little information on the case has been available since early 2022 when all court records were sealed. The suit is seeking unspecified reasonable damages from the defendants.

Ad hoc Judge Jimmie C. Peters is presiding over the civil case. All three local district judges recused themselves from the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Current head of school at Cedar Creek, Cindy Hampton, is the wife of Third District Judge Bruce Hampton. She was not principal at the time of the alleged incidents.

Peters has reportedly blocked off three weeks of his schedule for the trial.

Former Tech AD lands Rice job

Former Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland has been named the next Athletics Director at Rice University.

McClelland, who spent seven years in Ruston after being hired by Tech President Les Guice in 2013, has served the past two years as a Deputy Athletics Director at Vanderbilt after announcing his departure from Tech in October of 2020.

He is scheduled to begin his new job Aug. 14.

Rice President Reginald DesRoches announced McClelland’s new role in a message to the Rice campus on Sunday.

“I am incredibly grateful to President DesRoches, the search committee and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve as vice president and director of athletics at Rice University,” McClelland said in the Rice release. “My family and I are thrilled to join the Rice family and the Houston community.”

McClelland will take over for former athletic director Joe Karlgaard, who left Rice this month for a position in the private sector.

Pullin announces re-election campaign for District 7 of LPPJ

Matt Pullin will run for re-election on the Lincoln Parish Police Jury in District 7.

Qualified. Approachable. Business owner and family man. Ethically minded. Supports what the Ruston Community wants. These are just a few of the qualities that define Matt Pullin, who today announces his campaign for re-election as District 7 representative on the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

“There is still more work to be done for our community,” said Matt Pullin. “I am committed to serving the people of District 7 and ensuring their voices continue to be heard at the Parish level.”

Mr. Pullin graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Louisiana and Arkansas and is the Owner/Operations Manager of PCI Electric.  Mr. Pullin has been married for 15 years and has two sons aged 10 and 9. In his free time he is a competitive shooter, and enjoys hunting and spending time outdoors with his family.  As a successful business owner and dedicated family man, Matt Pullin understands the unique needs of his district and is passionate about preserving its character while fostering growth and progress. Throughout his tenure, Matt has consistently demonstrated his commitment to ethical governance, always putting the interests of the community first.

“I have seen firsthand the positive impact that engaged and responsive leadership can have on a community,” said Matt. “That is why I am seeking re-election – to continue being a strong advocate for District 7 and to champion the needs and aspirations of my fellow residents.”

He has been a proactive force in addressing the concerns and priorities of his constituents, actively listening and taking action to address their needs. Matt also recognizes the importance of collaboration and inclusivity, working alongside other elected officials to ensure the best outcomes for the Ruston Community and Lincoln Parish.

“I would appreciate your continued support,” Matt Pullin added. “Together, we can build on the progress we have made and shape a brighter future for District 7 and Lincoln Parish.”

Matt Pullin will continue to fight for his district and the parish’s needs, bringing his experience, values, and dedication to the table. 

Matt Pullin

LPPJ District 7


About Lincoln Parish Police Jury:
The Lincoln Parish Police Jury is responsible for the administration and management of all parish affairs, including public services, infrastructure, and policy-making. Comprised of elected representatives from each district, the Police Jury serves as the primary governing body for Lincoln Parish, working collectively to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all residents.

Gregory “Big Coach” Williams announces run for District 1 in LPPJ

Gregory “Big Coach” Williams, a 40-year resident of  Grambling, today announced his candidacy for the Lincoln Parish Police Jury District 1 seat.

A retired educator from the Lincoln Parish school system, where he served as a Principal, Assistant Principal, Athletic Director and Head Coach, Williams is well-known for his positive impact in the classroom and on north Louisiana athletic programs.

“I know from experience the critically important role the Police Jury plays in ensuring our quality of life in Lincoln Parish,” Williams said. “From road construction to sewage management to trash control, the Police Jury operates and maintains much of the essential infrastructure that contributes to a functioning and healthy Lincoln Parish.”

Williams also cited improved healthcare and greater transparency and accountability in Police Jury operations as top priorities.

“I believe we need and deserve reliable health care systems, including ambulance services that are equitable and have fast response times, and that Police Jury actions need to be based on facts and made in an open and transparent manner,” Williams said. “Since the Police Jury is spending taxpayer dollars, they must be accountable to Parish taxpayers.”

Williams is a graduate of Newellton High School in Tensas Parish, and received a Bachelor of Science, Master of Physical Education, and Athletic Directorship degree from Alcorn State University. He also received a Master of Educational Leadership and Plus 30 certification from Louisiana Tech University.

Following his retirement from education, Williams has served as an Honorary Member of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for the last six years, as a supervisor at Lincoln Parish Park, as a counselor at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, and he is currently on the Planning and Zoning Committee for the City of Grambling. A member of New Living Word Ministry in Ruston, Williams mentors adults and students at the church, and oversees their marriage ministry program.

As a lifelong public servant, Williams is committed to listening to the residents of District 1, understanding their needs, and working tirelessly to meet those needs and enhance lives throughout the Parish.

“I have the time and the desire to work for the residents of District 1 in an open and transparent manner, and to explain to them how and why the Police Jury makes decisions that affect their lives on a daily basis,” he said.

Williams has been married to his wife Eva, also retired from the Lincoln Parish school system, for 45 years. They have two daughters, Dr. Danielle Williams, who serves on the Lincoln Parish School Board and is an Assistant Professor at Grambling State University, and Dr. Dionne Williams Cooper, who is an Assistant Professor and Assessment Coordinator at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Grandchild Cece Williams is a first-year student at Grambling State University.

“My life has been about serving and helping others,” Williams said, “and I humbly ask the residents of District 1 to elect me as your Police Jury representative.”

LPJ Co-Publisher wins broadcast award; Journal garners multiple LSWA awards

Lincoln Parish Journal co-publisher Kyle Roberts and the rest of the Bearcat broadcast team were awarded first place for Best Live Event Broadcast at the Louisiana Sports Writers Association awards Sunday for calling Ruston High’s win over West Monroe back in November.

“This is truly an honor and a team award,” Roberts said. “I want to thank Nick Brown, Carl Johnson and Mike Roberts for all being a huge part of this award, along with the entire Ruston High football team and school administration.

“I also want to thank both Z107.5 FM and the Bearcat Nation Network along with the many listeners and viewers for the opportunity to serve as the football voice for my beloved alma mater.”

A ten-minute audio clip from Ruston’s 35-17 win was submitted to the LSWA back in May to be reviewed by an independent group of judges along with multiple other broadcasts from the state.

The LPJ also took home multiple places and honorable mentions.

  • Malcolm Butler: Third Place, Class-II General Sports Feature
  • Malcolm Butler: Third Place, Class-II Pro-College Event
  • Kyle Roberts: Honorable Mention, Class-II Prep Event
  • T. Scott Boatright: Honorable Mention, Class-II Pro-College Event
  • Josh McDaniel: Honorable Mention, Open Class Prep-Amateur Photography

The Lincoln Parish Journal was only one of ten media outlets across the state to garner points in the Class-II newspaper sweepstakes. The other outlets were the Kinder Courier News, The Town Talk, The Ouachita Citizen, The Concordia Sentinel, The Daily Iberian, Houma Courier, Geaux Preps, Crowley Post Signal, and Oakdale Journal.

Subscribe for free for more award winning sports coverage by clicking HERE.

Woman arrested on disturbance call

An altercation at a Mondy Road residence last Wednesday led to the arrest of a Dallas, Texas woman.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a disturbance on Mondy Road Wednesday evening. A man told deputies he was attacked and punched in the head by Catherine G. Prochnow, 57.

Deputies reviewed cell phone video showing Prochnow jumping on the man’s back and punching him with a closed fist in the head. She then grabbed him around the neck.

Porch was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for simple battery. Bail was set at $1,000.

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. 


Bearcat Belles earn awards and honors at MA Dance Nation

Top row, (L to R)  Cierah Brooks, Annie Stevens, Ellen Ramsey, Preslea St. Andre, Anna Bowling, Sylvia Lackey, Mattie Stephens, Akira Hatcher.
Middle row (L to R) Olivia Hamby, Teagan LeBlanc, Caroline Simmons, Kate Pullin, Laina Parkman, Bethany Colvin
Front row (L to R) Josie Bishop, Millie Keen, Molli McCready, Paige Taunton, Mary Laura Hunt, Ella Quarles, Gabby Simmons, Kylie Foster

Ruston High School’s Bearcat Belles took home the Grand Championship Performance Award and the Spirit Award at the Marching Auxiliaries in Richardson, Texas, held July 20-22.

The Spirit Award was voted on by by the other teams present at the camp.

The Bearcat Belles sponsor is Kenedy Pierce.

Paige Taunton serves as captain, while Mary Laura Hunt and Kate Pullin are the co-captains.

The Belles roster is as follows:
Cierah Brooks
Annie Stevens
Ellen Ramsey
Preslea St. Andre
Anna Bowling
Sylvia Lackey
Mattie Stephens
Akira Hatcher
Olivia Hamby
Teagan LeBlanc
Caroline Simmons
Kate Pullin
Laina Parkman
Bethany Colvin
Josie Bishop
Millie Keen
Molli McCready
Paige Taunton
Mary Laura Hunt
Ella Quarles
Gabby Simmons
Kylie Foster

(Not pictured: Matti Grillot)

Auto theft investigation leads to 16 arrests, 18 suspects still wanted 

Baton Rouge – In January of 2022, detectives assigned to the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit began investigating disparities in numerous transactions at Public Tag Agencies (PTA) and Auto Title Companies (ATC) across the state. Over the course of the investigation, detectives identified 34 suspects who were found to have collectively transacted 180 vehicles using altered or fraudulent documents. The suspects used the altered or fraudulent documents to undervalue the vehicle’s actual cost to avoid taxes. Detectives also learned that some of these vehicles, previously reported stolen, were located in the civilian market with their identifiers altered or concealed. The total value of vehicles involved in this investigation is currently estimated at over $9.8 million. The total estimated amount of tax fraud is over $300,000. 

As detectives continued their investigation, it was learned that these individuals were working together as a criminal organization. Through their actions, the involved parties worked individually and collectively to commit acts of fraud and theft within the State of Louisiana for monetary gain. Louisiana State Police has obtained full extradition arrest warrants for 18 suspects still at large (See attached graphic for suspects still at large). The following 16 individuals have been arrested for the charges of Forgery, Filing False Public Records, and Felony Theft: 

  • 35-year-old Errean Centeno of Covington, LA 
  • 35-year-old Tashia Hubbard of Willis, TX 
  • 30-year-old Willie Tolbert of Cleveland, TX 
  • 46-year-old Kenneth Redding of Houston, TX 
  • 33-year-old Leigha Garner of Conroe, TX 
  • 31-year-old Alaric Cowart of Houston, TX 
  • 56-year-old Raynaldo Hernandez III of Houston, TX 
  • 34-year-old Samuel Thompson of Conroe, TX 
  • 20-year-old Angel Gamino of Houston, TX 
  • 40-year-old Maria Cantu of Houston, TX 
  • 26-year-old Shawn Carden of Humble, TX 
  • 31-year-old Amber Archer of Belleview, FL 
  • 39-year-old Tabatha McMullan of Houston, TX 
  • 27-year-old Joshua Gipson of Humble, TX 
  • 34-year-old Jacquez Evans of Corpus Christi, TX 
  • 25-year-old Jacob Hurtado of Humble, TX 

Investigations, especially at this scale, take time and a coordinated team effort. The Louisiana State Police would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance throughout this investigation; Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, Louisiana Department of Revenue, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Houston Police Department (TX), Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (TX), and numerous other local law enforcement agencies. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact the Louisiana State Police – Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit (Breaux Bridge Field Office) at (337) 332-8080 or via email at This investigation is still on-going and additional charges for all involved parties may be forthcoming. 

COLUMN: Best job I ever had

With zero fishing going on due to the hot weather we have been experiencing, today we’ll look at my working career. After walking away from my athletic career in the late ‘80’s, it was time to get a real job. It was time to put my college degree (Industrial Engineering Technology) to good use. One reason I chose this as my major was due to the number of IET graduates the oil and gas companies were hiring out of Northwestern State in the mid ‘80’s. This was my original plan, but the oil and gas industry tanked, and they no longer were seeking graduates with this degree. 

Now one thing I’ve learned over the years from the many different jobs I’ve held was that each job helped prepare me in some way for other positions I’ve held. These included car salesman, supervisory role at CONAGRA Poultry, and high school and college coaching. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than coaching did. Working with kids at the high school and collegiate level was truly rewarding and enjoyable. But the hours you put in on the college level are insane and was not a good fit for me personally or my family. I was not willing to make those family sacrifices that college coaches make. 

Then in 1990, I decided to apply for an engineering job at a textile company, Holloway Sportswear, based out of Ohio but with factories in Louisiana. Best job I ever had! It was a company that made athletic outerwear and high school letter jackets. Holloway was the Mercedes of the athletic apparel world; they made the best. If you ever earned a letter jacket in high school, there’s a good chance it was made by Holloway who was the original letter jacket company. 

After two years with the company, I was promoted to Louisiana Director of Manufacturing overseeing six factories across the state. The job was demanding, but the people were incredible.  

Then around 1998, President Bill Clinton signed what was called the NAFTA agreement with Mexico. This was the beginning of the end for Holloway and all textile companies in Louisiana and across the country. It was at this point that my boss and I made several trips to Mexico to set up sewing factories. Then one by one we slowly pulled styles out of Louisiana and sent them to Mexico for production. This was the hardest thing I ever went though as an employee. It was my job at this point to tell all Louisiana employees they no longer had a job. 

Many a day after making these announcements, I shed a few tears on the drive home knowing that I had just made life a lot tougher for so many women, many of whom were single moms. Many had no other skills than sewing. Some women were making as much as $14.00 an hour due to their ability to sew. This was good money back in the ‘90’s and there were no other jobs offered in these small communities that paid those kinds of wages. 

All the employees were offered the opportunity to go back to school and learn a new trade. But many were in the age bracket of 40 and above and had no desire to go back to school. Many of these ladies had never done anything else their entire life but work in textiles. 

It was sad to see the impact this had on the people I cared so much about. People with a strong work ethic and dedication to go to work every day. People who took great pride in making Holloway Sportswear the best company it could be were now being sent home… for good. Some locations that had been in operation since the mid 1970’s were now being shut down. 

The old saying, “Nothing lasts forever,” comes to mind when I think about my Holloway days. Again, this was the best job I ever had that came to an end in 2004. Even during those stressful days when I questioned was it worth it, the people were the reason I stayed. One thing about Louisiana people, they take great pride in doing a good job and are very loyal and dedicated to whatever job they’re doing. 

After walking away in 2004, Holloway was sold and is now under the umbrella of Augusta Sportswear in Georgia. The Holloway standard is still alive and well today as they have retained their name and reputation as the best.  

Next week we’ll get back to more fishing topics as we prepare to head into the hottest month of the year…. August. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and protective clothing. 

Weekly 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

Monday, July 31
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
11:30 a.m.: Lunch on Us (Presbyterian Church, 212 North Bonner Street., Ruston) — everyone welcome
2-4 p.m.: NCLAC Summer art workshops for students going into 4th and 5th grades
6 p.m.: Toastmasters International meeting (Louisiana Center for the Blind, 101 South Trenton Street)

Tuesday, August 1
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
2-4 p.m.: NCLAC Summer art workshops for students going into 4th and 5th grades
6-9 p.m.: Creative Meetups (Creative Exchange, Ruston)
6 p.m.: Lincoln Parish School Board meeting

Wednesday, August 2
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
7-8 a.m.: Veterans Coffee Club (PJ’s Coffee)
8 a.m. to noon: Human Resources Boot Camp (Squire Creek)
11:30 a.m.: Lunch on Us (Presbyterian Church, 212 North Bonner Street., Ruston) — everyone welcome
2-4 p.m.: NCLAC Summer art workshops for students going into 4th and 5th grades

Thursday, August 3
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
2-4 p.m.: NCLAC Summer art workshops for students going into 4th and 5th grades

Friday, August 4
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
2-4 p.m.: NCLAC Summer art workshops for students going into 4th and 5th grades

Saturday, August 5
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market

Sunday, August 6
Residence halls open on Grambling State campus
DYB World Series (Ruston Sports Complex)

Tech Fall Fan Fest set for Aug. 12

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Bulldog and Lady Techster fans will have an opportunity to interact with the 2023 Louisiana Tech football, soccer, and volleyball teams on Saturday, Aug. 12 as part of the annual Fall Fan Fest inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

The free event is slated from 1-3 p.m. with student-athletes and coaches from all three programs being in attendance to sign autographs and take pictures.

There will be plenty of entertainment for youngsters as a photo booth, inflatable bounce houses, and various games will be part of the festivities. Official LA Tech merchandise through the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore will be on sale while members of the LA Tech spirit squads will join Champ and Tech XXII for the event. Concessions will also be available.

Season tickets for football and soccer will be on sale at the event along with the opportunity for parents to register their boys and girls for the Champ’s Kids Club. The Champ’s Kids Club membership is $75 for the year and includes admission to every home regular season sporting event for 2023-24.

Fans will also have a chance to purchase Blue Louisiana Tech University’s: Legend of the Bulldog and get their book signed by 2001 LA Tech Alumn Karen Sanders Bean. Blue is a Children’s book that tells the story of Louisiana Tech’s Legendary Bulldog and how he came to be the school mascot. From his humble beginnings of a stray pup to his legacy of as a campus hero.

Before the meet-and-greet even begins, fans will have an opportunity to watch the Bulldog football team compete in an open scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. Later in the day, fans can head to Robert Mack Caruthers Field to watch the Lady Techsters host an exhibition match against Central Arkansas with kickoff set for at 5 p.m. (free admission).

The Bulldog Football team kicks off year two of the Sonny Cumbie era on Aug. 26 when they host FIU for an 8 p.m. CUSA showdown at Joe Aillet Stadium.

The Lady Techster soccer team officially kicks off the new athletic season on Aug. 17 with a road matchup at Colorado College. The Lady Techsters’ first home matchup will be on Aug. 24 against ULM at 7 p.m.

The Lady Techster Volleyball hosts an exhibition match against Northwestern State on Aug. 20 before opening the year at the Arkansas State Invitational in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Aug 25 when they will face North Alabama and Arkansas State. Their first home match comes on Sept. 7 versus Little Rock as part of the LA Tech Invitational.

LSHOF 2023 Class honors those who helped pave their way

(Front row L to R) Lori Lyons, Paul Mainieri, Walter Imahara, Bruce Brown, M.L. Woodruff. (Back row L to R) Alana Beard, Matt Forte, Wendell Davis, Eli Manning, Walter Davis, Ron Washington and Paul Byrd – the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

NATCHITOCHES – Twelve people does not a village make, but plenty of villages made the 12 inductees in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

Family members. Teammates. Friends. An unrequited crush.

They all proved to be driving forces behind a dozen athletes, coaches and journalists who enjoyed their moment in the state’s sporting limelight during Saturday night’s induction ceremony inside the Natchitoches Events Center.

“I don’t believe anyone is self-made,” said Alana Beard, a four-time state champion at Southwood High School who went on to a Wade Trophy-winning college career at Duke and became a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. “Ron (Washington) spoke about it earlier. Wendell (Davis) spoke about it earlier. It’s about the people who made a difference for you along the way.”

As much as Saturday’s ceremony was a conclusion to a three-day period where the 10 competitive ballot inductees and the two Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism Award winners were honored for their accomplishments, it was a chance for them to offer “thank yous” to those who helped them reach this point.

Take Beard, whose family helped foster a love for basketball in the left-hander who helped build Southwood’s state championship machine under coach Steve McDowell.

“We’d find a park on the weekends as a family and go play one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three,” Beard said. “I quickly realized when I was beating my brothers, his friends, my uncles, that I was pretty good. They can admit that now.”

Like many in Saturday’s induction class, Beard found great success both inside and outside of Louisiana.

Beard’s talent left an impression on Duke where her three-time ACC Player of the Year career helped lead the Blue Devils to a pair of Final Fours and their most successful era of women’s basketball.

“Alana’s legacy is one of excellence,” said Gail Goestenkors, who coached Beard at Duke. “It’s one of the lifting up of Duke women’s basketball and the excellence on the court, in the classroom, in the community and the giving back. It’s a legacy of joy, of passion. It’s a love of the game, a love of people and the determination to be great.”

As usual, greatness was synonymous with another class of Louisiana’s great athletes as well as those who told their stories.

Like Beard, one of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism winners, Bruce Brown, took inspiration from his parents to forge a five-decade career at The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette.

“You have to go back to the gifts that are given to you,” Brown said. “My father had a great love of athletics. He was a four-sport standout in Champaign, Illinois. My mother was very big into the English language. I got my love of language from them. Once you start, you need a partner in crime. My first wife, Barbara, provided that for me. I didn’t know how to do a baseball scorebook before dating her. She rounded me into form.”

Brown didn’t need anyone to round him into form when it came to deadline pressure.

“I was amazed at how much he can do in such a short time,” said Dan McDonald, a DSA winner who worked with Brown at The Advertiser after a Hall of Famer career as a sports information director at then-Southwestern Louisiana. “There was nobody around who could turn around a gamer, a sidebar and a notebook and have it all out an hour after the final whistle or final horn.”

Brown’s lengthy career brought him a connection with another inductee, 86-year-old weightlifting champion Walter Imahara.

Imahara, a national champion at then-Southwestern Louisiana Institute, helped lead the then-Bulldogs to a team championship, setting an example for his teammates.

“It’s you against gravity – you against a bar,” said Joseph Murry, Imahara’s teammate at then-SLI. “When you watched him lift, you knew it was special. He showed the younger guys there was a professional side to our sport. He fought through everything he went through because he was a good American.”

The son of Japanese-Americans who spent more than three years in a World War II internment camp, Imahara relied on the lessons imparted by his parents to build a decorated career that included 26 national championships in the master’s weightlifting division.

Despite that early part of his childhood, Imahara and his family never held a grudge. 

“I was four years old on Dec. 7, 1941,” Imahara said of the day the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor, igniting the United States’ involvement in World War II. “We knew what happened. My parents took it in stride. They lost their 60-acre farm, their livelihood, their dignity, their country. They were born in America and told the government, but it didn’t matter.

“We believed in America. Four boys, we joined the military. Two became officers.  Forty-five years later, we got an apology. That’s all we wanted – an apology.”

Lori Lyons, the second DSA honoree, probably deserved an apology from the journalism establishment in the 1980s.

Starting her career as an agate clerk, Lyons worked her way up the organizational ladder to become a two-time state Prep Writer of the Year, cementing her accomplishments in a path that began, somewhat kiddingly, when an unreturned crush led her to another bit of passion.

“I had a crush on the high school quarterback when I got to Terrebonne (High School),” Lyons said. “He didn’t know I was alive. His friends said talk to him about football, because that’s all he talks about. So I bought a book – the Great American Sports Book – so I could learn about football. I never did talk to the guy, but I learned about sports.”

Lyons used that knowledge and her personality to carve a niche and become “the Times-Picayune Lady” at numerous sporting events throughout the River Parishes.

“Lori was getting the access not because she was a woman but because she was one heck of a reporter,” said LSWA President Raymond Partsch III. “She did it with class and humor. If you can make people laugh, they will open up. Lori knew that. You don’t get the access she did – you don’t write the stories she wrote – if you’re not just good at your job but great at your job.”

Lyons heard the term “trailblazer” throughout the three days in Natchitoches, but she took her time on stage Saturday to shine a light on a colleague who helped guide her.

“Robin Fambrough is the trailblazer,” Lyons said of the Baton Rouge Advocate legend. “She led with a chainsaw, and I came in with a machete and cleaned it up. I followed her path, and she led me the right way. She did it first. I did it second.”

While Lyons “did it second,” Eli Manning made history as the third member of the first family of Louisiana football to reach the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

A two-time Super Bowl MVP who holds or shares 45 school records at Ole Miss, Manning joined his father, Archie (inducted in 1988), and his older brother, Peyton (inducted in 2019), in the state’s sports shrine.

Eli never missed a game at any level because of injury – a fact for which his two older brothers may be due some credit.

“Both of them take full credit for that because of the mental and physical torture they put me through,” said Eli, flashing the Manning family charm. “Coop picked on Peyton, and he felt he should pass that down to me. He’d pin me down and put his knees on my arms and start hitting my chest, telling me to name the 28 NFL teams. I basically got smart and learned all the teams by conference and by division, so then he’d start with the SEC, the Big Ten, the Pac 10.

“He’d always say, ‘If you tell mom or dad what I did, I’ll make it worse next time.’ That was always my thought with the trainers. If I told them what happened, the defense would make it worse the next time. I wasn’t allowed to be hurt.”

Instead, Eli took that out on opposing defenses, leading the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl titles while forming his own identity in the shadow of his father, a Saints legend, and older brother, who rewrote the NFL passing record book.

“After the Super Bowl, Eli’s on the podium, and in a lot of ways, you think of how much pressure that took of this young man,” said Manning’s former teammate Michael Strahan. “He had a name that is synonymous with this league. After that, he was no longer Archie’s son. He was no longer Peyton’s younger brother. He was his own man. He was Eli Manning.”

Much like Eli Manning, Paul Mainieri made his mark in the family business – college baseball coaching.

There was little doubt Mainieri was going to follow in the footsteps of his father, Demie, an American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach at Miami-Dade North Community College. It wasn’t until Maineri showed up at the University of New Orleans that he found confirmation he had chosen the correct route.

“I was very fortunate to grow up the son of a legendary junior college coach,” said Mainieri, who won 641 games and the 2009 national championship as LSU’s head coach. “As a older athlete – high school, college – you hope you run across someone in your life who can mentor you in baseball and in life lessons. I needed someone to mentor me, and by the grace of God, I met a man by the name of Ron Maestri at the University of New Orleans. That was the greatest experience a prospective coach could have.”

Backed by his father, Maestri and, later in his career, Tommy Lasorda – three great Italian-Americans in Mainieri’s words – the heady ballplayer turned out to have a knack for coaching.

Building programs at Air Force and Notre Dame put him on the radar of LSU coach-turned-athletic director Skip Bertman, who brought Mainieri to Baton Rouge after a stellar run as Notre Dame’s coach that included a berth in the 2002 College World Series.

“His dad and I were good friends,” Bertman said. “I knew he would be a second-generation coach, and he was already coaching successfully. The more and more I researched and found out, I thought, ‘This is our guy.’ Paul kept the tradition of LSU going.”

While Bertman sold Mainieri on being the guy to keep that tradition going, it was Bertman’s sales pitch to a right-handed pitcher from Louisville, Kentucky, that played a role in LSU landing its first CWS title in 1991.

It also was a life-altering moment for the pitcher, who became a school-record 17-game winner before pitching 14 years in Major League Baseball.

“My life took off when I got here,” Paul Byrd said. “I got here because Skip gave me the greatest speech on why I should be here. He told me he needed me. There was no one else on the recruiting trip. He said, ‘My program’s going to fall apart if you don’t come here.’ It wasn’t true, but the guy was good.”

Byrd turned out to be pretty good as well.

Never one to light up a radar gun, Byrd won 31 games at LSU and struck out 319 hitters before becoming an All-Star and a standout playoff performer in the big leagues.

“He was without a doubt one of the smarter young men I’ve ever coached,” Bertman said. “On the mound, he’d always come up with a way to get it done. He’s the winningest pitcher in LSU history with 17 wins in one season. He’s a superstar.”

While at LSU, Byrd found a profession, his wife and a calling.

“Skip had a team chaplain, Wayne Waddell, who drove six hours to be with us tonight,” Byrd said. “He taught me that I was more than a baseball player. This couldn’t be my life. It was just something I did. I threw a ball past a guy with a stick. I fought against that, but I learned in the grand scheme of things, he was right. There’s more to life.”

Approximately 10 miles from the LSU campus – and a couple of decades after Byrd’s epiphany – Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff was collecting state baseball titles the way Byrd picked up wins at LSU.

Woodruff led Parkview to 11 state titles in a 23-year span, compiling a remarkable 22-0 record in state semifinal and championship games. Still, there had to be more, right?

“I was called into the ministry at 54 years of age,” Woodruff said. “I was on the floor of my office crying out to God, ‘What else is there to do besides winning all these championships?’ I felt his spirit to be called into a sports ministry.”

Woodruff won 603 games at a 79 percent clip in 30 years of high school baseball coaching, but he left an impact on countless young men long before venturing into his second career as a sports minister.

“Game days were the days we had fun,” said Alex Byo, who played for Woodruff at Parkview. “The preparation was always the most strenuous time for us. We showed up for the games and it was easy. Coach is much more than the 11 state championships and his winning percentage. He’s a man of integrity and character. He taught us the game of life through baseball.”

While Byo and his teammates looked to impress their coach, Matt Forte left a similar impact on an opposing coach during his days at Slidell High School.

Forte terrorized Fontainebleau High School when Slidell faced them three times in one season.

“Matt had about 800 yards total offense in those three games,” said Larry Favre, then Fontainebleau’s coach. “I always told Matt when it was time to be recruited, ‘Just put those Fontainebleau tapes in, and you’ll get your scholarship.’”

Soon after, college defenses felt the same way Favre did.

Forte’s senior season at Tulane featured 2,127 rushing yards and led to a second-round selection by Chicago in the NFL Draft. Forte racked up more than 14,000 all-purpose yards and was a two-time Pro Bowler for the Bears.

In addition to injuries, Forte’s Tulane career was deeply impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Instead of sulking, Forte turned that adversity into fuel for his fire.

“You look at it for what it was,” he said. “It was a tough time for a lot of people who were affected. There were a lot of challenges in front of us. It allowed me to grow in character and not complain when things don’t go your way. Most of the time things aren’t going to go your way. You have to buckle down and be up for the challenge.

“It taught me at 19 years old to take advantage of the situation that’s in front of you. It may be adverse, but you can make a positive out of it.”

The son of a former Tulane defensive lineman, Forte had another challenge when he arrived in Chicago – the weather. Forte handled it thanks in part to the example set by his mother.

“My parents made it to every game of my rookie year,” Forte said. “There was one in December against the Green Bay Packers where it was zero at kickoff, and it got down to negative-10 during the game. My mom is super tough – that’s where I get my toughness from. She stayed outside the whole time while my dad went back and forth in and out of the family room.”

Though Walter and Wendell Davis share a last name and an alma mater (LSU), they are not related. Their stories, however, share similarities.

A native of Leonville (population 869), Walter Davis took his small hometown on a global journey.

A two-time Olympian in the horizontal jumps, Davis was a six-time All-American at LSU before embarking on a jet-setting pro career that took home around the world. As evident by the Cajun accent he carries to this day, Davis did not change no matter where he competed.

“It comes from my parents,” he said. “They always taught me to act like you’ve been somewhere before. I don’t get too high. I don’t get too low. I stay even keeled.”

That attitude and personality matches with the one he showed at Beau Chene High School where Kenneth Winfrey had to fight to get Davis away from basketball and into track and field where his raw jumping ability was evident.

“Walter came to Beau Chene as a basketball player and we had to work on his technique, but he could jump,” Winfrey said. “I think it’s wonderful for a country boy to go to the Olympics. He’s twice an indoor world champion. He’s an outdoor champion. He’s met the President, and he’s still humble.

“He’s never changed. He’s still gonna smile. He’s still signing autographs and shaking hands, but he won’t tell you anything about himself.”

Much like his non-relative, Wendell Davis let his numbers do the talking – and they speak loudly especially through the prism of time.

Long before spread offenses and the Air Raid made college football a pass-happy game, Davis was establishing pass-catching numbers that would fall right in line with today’s stars.

“He’s really the forefather of receivers in this conference,” said Davis’ LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson, himself a Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer. “He was the first guy to put up those numbers. His routes were so good. He created separation and was easy to throw to because he was always open. I’m happy the kids and people in the state get to relive his career. It’s well deserved.”

Davis was named the 1987 SEC Player of the Year and worked daily with Hodson to create the chemistry that led to that award, but it was in Shreveport where his athletic talents were groomed even before he was turning heads at Fair Park High School.

“I’m a neighborhood kid,” Davis said. “We played football, baseball. We shared equipment. We found equipment. We shared that. Team was very important to us. That’s how I learned to play sports.”

While Davis found his skills among his neighborhood friends, it took Ron Washington leaving his downtown New Orleans neighborhood to find enough players to help him hone the talent that has led to a 53-year (and counting) professional baseball career.

“We would show up to play a game and only five or six guys would be there,” he said. “I left from downtown and went Uptown. I went to Gilbert Park. They said I was a traitor. I didn’t care. I was tired of showing up and forfeiting. I knew if I went Uptown, we would play every day. They helped me get exposure and here I am.”

Called an example for New Orleans youth, Washington credited his infield coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chico Fernandez, for helping him hone not only his fielding skills but his teaching skill-set.

That attention to detail and success working with infielders led Washington to become the manager of the Texas Rangers following the 2006 season. Four years later, the Rangers won the first of two straight American League pennants.

“He’s as positive a guy that you’ve ever seen,” Maestri said. “I would have loved to have had the opportunity to play for a guy like that. He has as much enthusiasm working with a 7- or 8-year-old as he does working with (Atlanta Braves prospect) Vaughn Grissom. They look forward to it. They know it will make a difference in what they’ll do in the big leagues.”

The ever-positive Washington finally broke through and won that elusive World Series title as Atlanta’s third base coach in 2021. For much of the weekend, Washington’s exquisite World Series ring was as ubiquitous as his ever-present smile – and for good reason.

“This represents 52 years of grinding,” Washington said. “Fifty-two years of not ever giving up. Fifty-two years of dedication, commitment, attitude, passion and more than anything else, belief.”

Oh, and people that never left his side.

“I realized I made a difference in a lot of people’s lives and there have been a lot of people along the way who made a difference in Ron Washington’s life,” he said. “I’m blessed and just happy to be alive.”


Remembering David Lamar Cupid

David Lamar Cupid

A visitation for David Lamar Cupid, age 87, will be Monday, July 31, 2023, from 9:30 A.M. until 10:30 A.M.  at Kilpatrick Funeral Home Chapel in Ruston, LA.  A Graveside service will follow at 11:00 A.M.  at Douglas Cemetery under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston, LA. Officiating the service will be Bro. Paul Watts.

David Lamar Cupid was born on March 1, 1936, to Estelle Jones and Denon Cupit in St. Joseph, LA.  He passed away on July 28, 2023, in Ruston.

David was a devoted husband and caretaker for his wife, Shirley Ann Cupid, until her passing in November 2022.  He was the oldest of 10 children.  He was raised by his grandparents Knox and Mae Jones of Wisner, LA.

David worked in the field of construction from a young age.  When he was not building roads, he could often be found performing maintenance on “Pa Nick’s” farm tractors and readying them for the spring harvesting season.  David was known as an operator of every piece of heavy equipment known to man.  He retired from T.L. James and Company though he continued to work in construction over the years up until the age of 80.  If it were up to him, he would have never stopped working (playing) with dirt.  David also served as a reserve deputy for the Lincoln Parish Sherriff’s Department.  David was a licensed gunsmith and could often be found working away in his shop.  He met and formed long-term friendships over the years through this work.  He was also known to take wood scraps and build many things over the years at his wife’s and granddaughters’ requests.  He will always be remembered as a hardworking, loving, and giving man.

David was an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church until Ann’s health declined.  He enjoyed visits with Pastor Paul Watts and Bro.  Randy Ray of Ascend Hospice.  Deacon F.J. and his wife, Marsha Armond, were so kind to visit him regularly.  David and F.J. enjoyed reminiscing for hours about working together at T.L. James and Company.

David was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife of 67 years, Ann, and two half-siblings, Jerry Peavy and Carl Wayne Peavy.  Left to cherish his memory are his son, Terry Cupid, and wife, Terri; his daughter, Dixie Cupid, and Richard Howell; two loving granddaughters, Jenny Brandt and husband Chris, and Kiley Cupid; four great-grandchildren, Dalton Tate, Alexus Tate, Jordan Tate, and Beau Brandt. David also loved and cared for his furry companion, CJ. He is survived by his brothers Donnie Peavy, Robert Peavy, Claude Wayne Cupit, and Jimmie Gipson, and sisters Barbara Peavy Strother, Sissy Cupit Craft, and Phoebe Cupit Clemons.  He is also survived by his brother-in-law Bobby Nicholson and wife, Lemmie, and sisters-in-law, Carolyn Peavy and Kathy Peavy.

The family would like to thank Ascend Hospice caregiver LaTesha Powell, nurse, Annette Branco and Mandy Waggoner, Administrator, who attended to his declining health.  The family would also like to thank Dr. George Smith for the many years he provided care and comfort to David’s medical needs.  Special thanks to those precious friends Bill, Barbara, and Billy Moss, who provided a ride to wherever he needed to go after he could no longer drive.  Thank you to James, Janis Sawyer, Bruce, and Kathy Modest for visiting and checking on David.  He found the most joy while visiting with family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1200 Farmerville Hwy, Ruston, LA 71270.



Notice of death — July 30, 2023

David Lamar Cupid 
March 1, 1936 – July 28, 2023 
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Monday, July 31, 2023, 9:30 am – 10:30 am 
Service: Douglas Cemetery, Monday, July 31, 2023, 11:00 am 
Cemetery: Douglas Cemetery, Monday, July 31, 2023  

Charles White Carnahan 
April 10, 1946 – July 27, 2023 
Memorial: Episcopal Church of the Redeemer- Ruston, LA, Monday, July 31, 2023, 1:00 pm 

Mattie L. Reed Johnson 
Monday 07/25/1932 — Tuesday 07/25/2023  
Family Gathering: Friday 08/04/2023 2:00pm to 3:00pm at King’s Funeral Home 
Visitation: Friday 08/04/2023 3:00pm to 5:00pm at King’s Funeral Home 
Wake: Friday 08/04/2023 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Zion Traveler Baptist Church, 1201 Martin Luther King Drive, Ruston 
Celebration of Life: Saturday 08/05/2023 11:00am, Zion Traveler Baptist Church, 1201 Martin Luther King Drive, Ruston 
Interment: Saturday 08/05/2023 Following Service, George Washington Carver Memorial Park, Martin Luther King Drive, Ruston  

Jeffrey Edge 
May 2, 1951 – July 23, 2023 
Graveside Service: Saturday, August 5, 2023, 10:00 AM, Riverside Cemetery, 3901 S Grand St, Monroe 

Beth Backus  
January 22, 1930 – July 24, 2023  
Celebration of Life Saturday, August 5, 2023, 10:00 AM, Cook Baptist Church   

Kimberly Dawn Trapp 
Passed July 25, 2023 

Lincoln Parish School Board to implement bus stops for students in Ruston

By Kyle Roberts

Since taking the job as transportation supervisor for the Lincoln Parish School Board, Doc Hoefler has had two priorities: bus rider safety and shortening the time of students on the bus, both to and from school everyday.

Originally a football coach for the Ruston Bearcats, Hoefler has been in his role since the summer of 2022, committing himself to knowing nearly every road that the parish bus drivers are traveling every day in efforts to take care of the students of Lincoln Parish on a wider scale.

“I do miss the coaching aspect of building relationships,” Hoefler said. “But now, I get to take care of students in a much larger footprint than before. I want to take care of students the same way I was taken care of when I was in school here.”

Now, after partnering with a group of industrial engineering students and staff from Louisiana Tech and help from the Lincoln Parish Geographic Information System, Hoefler will be able to achieve both of those goals for the 2023 school year as students zoned for schools inside the Ruston city limits will soon utilize bus stops rather than buses making individual stops at every home.

A message from the school board is planned to go out early next week with more information for parents and guardians of children attending schools that are located in the Ruston city limits.

“This has been a goal of mine since day one from (LPSB superintendent) Ricky Durrett and (assistant superintendent) John Young,” Hoefler said at the July school board meeting. “Finding a way to shorten the time of kids on the school bus.

“We have wanted to do that for a long time.”

All of this began with a conversation with Hoefler’s wife Brooke, also an educator in Lincoln Parish, which then led to Dr. Jason Howell, an industrial engineering lecturer at Tech. Howell and a team of Tech students then took up the challenge to see if the College of Engineering could help.

“Industrial engineers love looking at processes and making them better, more efficient, and optimizing things,” Howell said. “We were given the task of reducing ride time for the students. They felt like they had some routes that were going longer than they wanted them to be. Once we started looking into it, we realized the routes themselves were efficient, but that didn’t solve the problem for less time on the bus.

“And we pretty quickly realized that these bus stops were going to be the thing that made a difference.”

Howell’s crew consisted of Wesley Brady, Hayden Scaff, Kosi Anadi and Ricardo Auerbach. They were given firm parameters, primarily around the safety of the kids, ensuring that dangerous street crossings were eliminated before the plan could begin formulation. 

As an extra measure of safety, students will not be required to walk more than .2 miles to get to a location (roughly the size of two blocks). Times shown on the clickable maps mean that the bus will be there within five minutes prior or after.

“We started seeing that buses were going down roads and stopping individually at each house,” Howell said. “We’ve got streets in neighborhoods where the bus is making a stop a four to six houses on that street. Now we make that one stop, and it’s a short walk for the kids. They are not crossing the street, but it takes us from four stops to just one, for example.

“We think this is a good solution for them. It reduces mainly the time those kids spend on the bus, gets them home a little early, and hopefully, this makes that experience better for them.”

The overall work of the group was so impressive that after the students won an award in the technical paper competition at the 2023 Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers conference in New Orleans.

“We were really proud of them,” Howell said of the student group.

Along with the engineering crew, Jackson Matthews with Lincoln Parish’s GIS office was also brought on to serve as the expert on the roads and crossings for the parish.

“Primarily, in the past, we’ve kept a database of the school bus routes and provided a map application that displays the routes for the drivers and school board employees,” Matthews said. “We use software called ESRI, which stands for Environmental Systems Research Institute, and they have the chief marketshare of all GIS software on the ground.

“This allowed us to create a website where parents can type in the home address, and it’ll automatically zoom to that address, and it’ll tell you what bus you should be on and approximately what time the bus will be there.”

Also of note, due to sparse population in some of the more rural regions of Lincoln Parish, some students will still be picked up individually at home as opposed to bus stops.

The bus stops will also not be utilized for students zoned for Simsboro, Choudrant, or Dubach public schools.

One of the biggest issues Hoefler recognizes is the need for a complete update of demographic information into the system of students that are planning to ride the bus. Bus drivers in the parish are working with old and out-dated information, so Hoefler is encouraging parents to access the new website in order to add updated information about kids that need to be on the school buses.

“Having updated information will be a big priority to make sure everything is running the way it is supposed to,” Hoefler concluded.

Creating memories stressed during DYB World Series opening ceremonies

Tech head coach Lane Burroughs addressed a packed house last night during the opening ceremony’s for this week’s Dixie Youth Baseball World Series.

By Malcolm Butler

As Thursday night’s opening ceremonies for the 2023 Dixie Youth Baseball World Series came to an end, Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs stressed the importance of lifetime memories to a jam-packed crowd at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Players, coaches, families and friends filled almost every seat at The Love Shack and heard a heartfelt message from the Bulldog skipper.

“This week is about making memories,” said Burroughs. “You don’t realize it now, but you are making memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

Burroughs would know.

The 50-year-old coach made those same types of memories 36 years ago when he led his Mississippi-based team to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Burroughs said he is still in constant contact with many of his former little league teammates.

“We are on a group text and we are constantly communicating,” Burroughs told the crowd. “It’s special. Heck we had a team song back then. I won’t tell you what it was because it wasn’t cool. But even today when it comes on the radio, one of us will screen shot it and send it to the group. These are the guys I played little league with 36 years ago.”

Teams from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are slated to compete in the AAA bracket this weekend. Play actually began yesterday morning prior to the opening ceremonies.

Three Louisiana-based teams are competing this week, including one from Springhill and two from Union Parish. Players and coaches from every team were introduced as a group at the start of Thursday night’s ceremony before moving into the stands of the facility to listen to a host of speakers who welcomed everyone to Ruston.

“We love to have all of you athletes here along with your parents and grandparents and friends,” said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker. “Ruston believes that we are a town where faith, family and friends still mean something. We have everyone experiences our hospitality this week. We feel we have a special community that will welcome you with open arms.”

New training tower major asset for RFD

By T. Scott Boatright

Preparation is the key to good fire protection.

And now the Ruston Fire Department can prepare better than ever before thanks to an anonymous donation of $50,000.

Because of that donation the RFD now has an “Open-Air” design fire department steel training tower that allows both instructors and those being trained to have a clear view of instruction (and trainee mistakes) during training exercises. Unlike enclosed fire department training towers, the new tower located at the RFD Central Fire Station offers unlimited views to what is happening inside the drill tower.

“Someone anonymously paid for not all of it, but the bulk of it,” said RFD Chief Chris Womack. “And that was a true blessing. It’s helping make us an even better fire department.”

Previously, RFD firefighters had to do all of their training at the Lincoln Parish Fire Training Facility located near the Lincoln Parish Exposition Center north of Ruston. 

“We are partners (with the Lincoln Parish Fire Department) in the training facility off of Expo Road,” Womack said. “There’s a three story steel tower there that has a burn room. But for us to go out there and train ends up limiting our coverage for any emergencies that pop up in the city. 

“So we only use it at specific times of the year for crew training. But now that we have this tower here at the Central Station, it gives us the ability to do training any time of day without affecting our ability to quickly respond to any calls we get.”

While similar, Womack said there is a difference between the training facility tower and the new RFD tower.

“The difference is that we can’t do any kind of burn with this tower here,” Womack said. “This is strictly a tower for training for using stairs, ladders, ropes and any other such activities.”

But having the new tower doesn’t mean the RFD won’t use the Lincoln Parish Fire Training facility any longer.

“That is still our official training center as far as PIAL is concerned, because it meets the requirement of having a burn room on it,” Womack said. “We have to do 18 hours of training per year at the official training site to meet our PIAL requirements. 

“Our goal is to do that minimum of 18 hours of training per year over there, but most of the rest of our stuff will probably be done here (at the Central Fire Station).

PIAL stands for the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana, which issues fire protection ratings. All fire districts are graded on a scale of 1 to 10 by PIAL, with 10 representing no fire protection and 1 representing the best level of protection. The PIAL considers multiple factors when determining a district’s grading, including training. Improved fire ratings may lead to reduced fire insurance premiums for property owners in the associated area.

“The first and main benefit of the new tower is location,” Womack said. “But if over the years we’re able to expand our concrete foundation the tower is on, the tower can be moved. So that’s beneficial, too.

“It’s got multiple platforms. Our firefighters have already done repelling and rope rescue training since we’ve had it. We can do ladders from any side. You name it, and we can pretty much do it with that tower.”

Womack said the proximity of the  tower — located on the property of the Central Fire Station — will mean more training opportunities for firefighters while being able to respond quickly should an emergency call come in.

“Having it here makes it safer for the whole city,” Womack said. “I learned a tough lesson a while back, between 2005-10. We had taken a majority of the crew out to the training center off of Expo Road. We were about five miles outside (north) of city limits and of course we had a fire next to fuel pumps on the south side of town. 

“That made it evident very quickly that we just could not take a whole crew out there to train. We had to break it into pieces, which doesn’t make for good team training when during an actual call you need the whole team working together as one. So like I said, this new fire is a blessing for both the RFD and everyone living and working in Ruston.”

Cumbie pleased with Bachmeier’s continued development within Bulldog system

Hank Bachmeier (right) drops back while Tech coach Sonny Cumbie looks on during Thursday’s first official team workout. (photo by Hunter Corneliusen)

by Malcolm Butler

Louisiana Tech used a 17-period, two-hour workout Thursday morning to open official fall workout as head coach Sonny Cumbie and Co. pushed through hot, humid temperatures on the practice fields at the Jim Mize Track and Field Complex.

Following the session, much of the questions from local media surrounded the development of transfer quarterback Hank Bachmeier in the Louisiana Tech offensive system.

Backmeier, who played his first four years on the blue turf at Boise State, donned the red No. 19 practice jersey and looked comfortable running the Tech offense, especially on practice day No. 1.

“I think now (Hank) is working on rhythm, consistency, drops, the progressions throughout the offense,” said Cumbie. “I think he is also fine tuning his relationship throwing the football with the receivers. I think he picked up exactly where he left off in the spring if not better. And that’s the point of why we do what we do in the summer … so when we start fall camp we are better. And he was.

“There were a few reads that you would have liked to have seen done differently, but otherwise, he threw the ball really well. He put the ball in position for guys to make plays. I think he handled the first day well.”

Bachmeier was asked what his personal goals were for Thursday’s session.

“Just do your job on every single play,” said Bachmeier. “Get the signal, communicate it to the O-line … what is your progression. Overall, just the pre-snap operation. Make sure that is good. Do my job post-snap.

“It’s nice to come back out again. Build camaraderie with the guys. I have relationships now with the guys. Keep working on the chemistry with the routes and the plays. It’s the first time we’ve gone 11 on 11 in a long time. It was nice to get back to it.”

Bachmeier appeared to have a nice touch on the deep ball while also firing strikes on shorter routes throughout the team periods.

Not only does the graduate transfer seem to be developing a chemistry with his teammates, but he and Cumbie seem to be a mutually respective rapport.

“(Coach Cumbie) is extremely passionate,” said Bachmeier when asked about the second year Bulldog head coach. “Take football away from the equation, he is one of the best human beings in this business that I have been around which you don’t really see often in a head coach. How low ego he is and how great of a human being he is. I haven’t seen that personally in a long time.

“For him to be that type of person is huge. And then as far as football, he is extremely passionate, extremely passionate. Pretty firey. I love it. He is a former quarterback. He has been through what I have been through. It’s an honor to play (for him).”

Tech opens its season Aug. 26 when the Bulldogs host FIU in a Week Zero match-up at Joe Aillet Stadium.

The Bulldogs will conduct practice No. 2 Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Woman resists deputies with warrants

A Choudrant woman is accused of resisting arrest when sheriff’s deputies tried to take her into custody Tuesday.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Sommer Ann Hattaway, 31, Tuesday evening on warrants charging her with unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and failure to register as a sex offender. 

Deputies allege when they went to a Campbell Road residence to arrest Hattaway, she was given multiple opportunities to submit and be handcuffed. Instead, she fought their attempts to handcuff her. According to Hattaway’s booking sheet, deputies had to use force to place Hattaway on the ground to secure her in handcuffs.

Hattaway was taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center where she was booked on the two warrants and for resisting an officer. 

Bail on the two warrants totaled $30,000. The bail amount on the resisting charge was not available Wednesday afternoon.

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. 


Gary “Wayne” Baldwin  announces candidacy for Lincoln Parish Police Jury District 10

Gary “Wayne” Baldwin will run for the District 10 seat in the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

“To my friends, neighbors, families, and registered voters of Lincoln Parish District 10, I am honored to announce my candidacy to be your representative on our Lincoln Parish Police Jury. Most of you already know me and for those that don’t let’s meet so you will understand my motivation for running. Unlike our current juror, I promise to be accessible and transparent. If you have any questions or concerns, I assure you that you will get an answer from me. I refuse to take, nor will I ever give a ‘No Comment’. You deserve a right to know.

It’s time for a change in District 10. 

Please make sure you are registered to vote in District 10 for the Lincoln parish Police jury. I can help you with that process. Together we can make a change and take positive steps for not only our district but for all of Lincoln Parish.” ·

Born/Raised his family here in Ruston. ·Morning Star Baptist Church, Deacon ·New Land Male Chorus member ·Volunteer-Food Bank of Northwest La. ·Transparent and active

Quotes: “It’s time for change, it’s time for transparency”

“Why did we recently get a sewer rate increase without any input from our district? I will listen to all our people and communicate with them. Lincoln Parish deserves better.”

 “How our current juror justified voting AGAINST the best ambulance option defies logic. His no vote compromised many in our district.”

Gary “Wayne” Baldwin