Police Jury considers taxing local hospitals to draw in federal money

By Jim Wilkerson

In this week’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting, two attorneys – Nicole Frey and Greg Frost – presented a proposal that could potentially benefit both the Northern Louisiana Medical Center and the Parish. The concept essentially was this:

The Police Jury can levy an occupancy license tax on the hospital up to 6 percent of the hospital’s net income. The Parish gets to keep up to 5 percent of the tax, and the rest of the 95 percent goes to the State of Louisiana to fund the state’s portion of the Medicaid program. The state taxes collected will then result in an increase in the matching funds the federal government gives to the State of Louisiana. The increase in federal funds can then be used to pay for the hospital’s Medicaid expenses, which the State government is currently having trouble paying. Ultimately, the Parish, the State, and the hospital benefit from the program, while the federal government pays – according to the attorneys.

“It’s a simple mechanism to pull down federal money to our hospitals,” said Frey. “Most of [the money] goes back to the hospital in the form of enhanced funding from the State.”

To give a little background, Frey and Frost are two attorneys in the Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson law firm. Both represent the Northern Louisiana Medical Center and want what is best for the hospital. In other words, the attorneys are not government authorities who simply want to impose a tax on the hospital. They want the hospital – their client – to profit.

According to Frey and Frost, Act 330 of the 2020 Louisiana Legislature gives certain local governments the authority to tax nongovernmental hospitals up to 6 percent of the hospitals’ net income. What happens after the taxes are collected and reported is that the federal government essentially pays for Medicaid expenses by matching the extra funds received by the State. The Parish gets to keep the 5 percent it collects, and the hospital benefits by having its Medicaid expenses paid for.

The purpose behind all this is that the Medicaid program is performing poorly and is not sufficiently reimbursing hospitals for treatment of patients. This will fix some of that problem, Frey and Frost suggested.

“The hospital recovers the cost of the tax through Medicaid, in which the federal government pays a larger percentage,” Frey summarized.

Before the Police Jury can have an official say on the matter, an advertisement laying out the details of the tax must be published in a local newspaper thirty days prior to passage. After the publication, the Police Jury can convene to vote on whether to implement the tax.  

Of course, this raised some questions among several members of the Police Jury. The first question related to Ruston Regional Specialty Hospital and how that hospital will fit into the tax. Frey and Frost responded that, at the moment, Ruston Regional will neither hurt nor benefit from the tax. Police Juror Annette Straughter urged the attorneys and other Jurors to look into including Ruston Regional in the plan before submitting the advertisement.

Police Juror T.J. Cranford also had concerns about moving forward too quickly with a tax program that involves multiple levels of government. He and others recommended that the Police Jury be given enough time to study the tax before deciding anything. 

Library Board of Control discusses strategy after vote for millage renewal postponed

By Jim Wilkerson

The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control met on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to discuss the postponement of the library millage renewal vote. Previously, the election was supposed to be held on Oct. 9, but Governor John Bel Edwards moved it back to Nov. 13 in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The general feeling in the room was positive, but all the board members understood they have their work cut out for them. “We can’t stop now,” Board Chair Augusta Clark encouraged the other members. “I actually see [the delay] as a benefit.”

In discussing the postponement of the election, the board took time to brainstorm future campaign strategies and to lay out their concerns about misinformation.

The first issue brought up was how to sufficiently inform the public of the change in date. Flyers and signs have been circulating throughout Lincoln Parish with the old date of the election still on them. To correct this, the board is considering ordering stickers with the new date to put on the old signs. 200 new signs are also being ordered with the Nov. 13 date on it, and those should be arriving shortly.

In addition, the board discussed possibly going onto a local news channel to get the word out. Vice Chair Amy Miller was concerned about the potential costs of going on television, since some news stations charge for an appearance if those channels do not consider what is being aired newsworthy.

Regardless of whether the library gets airtime, Clark and the other members feel confident that Ruston citizens are much more aware of the vote than they previously were in December. “This time, the word is out,” Clark said.

The conversation then transitioned to board members, and citizens present, voicing their concerns toward local residents they feel are uninformed – some of whom they found on the FaceBook page, Ruston Rants. Police Jury Ex-Officio Richard Durrett commented, “People jump to conclusions and don’t get the facts. We have to educate the public.”  

Clark then said, concerning the budget, “I’m hearing so much about a million-dollar budget that the library has. Let’s think about how, if at all possible, to counter this.” Parish Administrator Doug Postel, who was present at the meeting, responded that the board has to make it clear that the library operates on a $1.9M budget each year. Right now, the library has approximately $1M, which will only last until next June. If the library millage renewal fails to pass, the library will go under in 2022. “There’s no magic bag we can dip in to continue operations,” Postel ended.

Concerned citizen, Dr. Deborah Holliman, also stood up to speak to those who are against the millage renewal. “I pay $9 for [library] services per month,” Holliman said, regarding the annual property tax she pays toward the library. “People, when you say taxes, just freak out…We are an educated community, and surely we can all afford $9 or less a month,” she added.

Board Trustee Charles Penuell expressed similar frustration: “They don’t trust the government; they don’t trust the board. It’s a tough thing to get around.”

To end, Postel recommended that the board message Ruston Rants and Ruston Raves to set up a time when a board member can answer any questions people may have to ask about the library.

Over the next few months, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury will be working closely with the Sheriff Department and Tax Assessor’s office to ensure the election goes smoothly. Postel informed the library board that he has been in close communication with Louisiana officials and that the Police Jury will be meeting the Monday following the election to canvass the vote. Everything should run smoothly for the vote for the millage renewal, Postel assured the board.

“Now all we have to do is get it passed,” Durrett said. 

Hometown Hero: Anna Claire Thomas

Although she grew up 30 miles east in Monroe playing softball at Neville High School, Anna Claire Thomas’ roots run deep in Ruston and throughout the Louisiana Tech University community.

Dad (Bob) played baseball for the Bulldogs back in the 1970s. Brothers (Drew and Patrick) played baseball for the Bulldogs during their collegiate time. Mom (Donna) is the chair of the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Tech as well as the faculty chair for the Athletics Council.

And Anna Claire earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Tech in 2012 before spending the next seven years working in the athletic communications office at her alma mater.

She is considered one of the most well-respected professionals in the athletics communication’s world, spending the past two years at the Assistant Athletics Director at UTEP where she ran the entire Miners media relations area.

“Anna Claire has been on a meteoric rise within this profession since she started working here almost 10 years ago,” said Louisiana Tech Senior Associate AD Malcolm Butler. “When I tell you she is one of the most sought after young professionals in this business, well take my word for it. I have received so many phone calls from both Power 5 and Group of 5 schools about her over the last three years. She has made a name for herself within this industry, and I am proud that she started it right here in Ruston.”

Name a sport, and AC – as she is affectionately known by – has worked it. Football, check. Baseball, check. Basketball. Softball. And go on and on and on.

“Not only did I have the opportunity to learn from great leaders during my time at Louisiana Tech, but I was also able to work with a lot of different sports,” said Anna Claire. “I think that has set me up well for success in the various roles I’ve been able to serve in since leaving Ruston.

“I had the chance to serve some sort of role in just about every sport at LA Tech in my seven years there, which translated well to being able to serve more in a leadership and teaching role at UTEP and beyond. The chance to work for my alma mater right out of college was one that not everyone gets and I was grateful for the opportunity to cover student-athletes and programs that I grew up watching.”

Before departing Tech in the summer of 2019, Anna Claire served as the primary contact for the Bulldog football team becoming the youngest female FBS football contact in the country. She served in the same role in El Paso for the past two years.

“There are definitely moments that you have to plan for a little bit more as a female than as a male in this business, but I don’t necessarily look at it as a gender divide as much as maybe I did when I first started,” she said. “There has been a ton of growth when it comes to females serving in high-level roles since I started in athletics, which is great to see, but there is definitely room to grow in that area.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great leaders and mentors in my career that didn’t necessarily see gender as an issue, so I’ve never really thought of it as an issue. I try to be the best in whatever role I’m in without factoring in gender.”

And now for the next step in her career. Just this week, she moved to Starkville, Mississippi, where she will serve as the primary contact for the reigning national champion Mississippi State baseball program.

“This is an opportunity that has been in the back of my mind for a long time – the chance to get back to my roots and work for a baseball program with such a storied history as Mississippi State,” said Anna Claire. “I was fortunate enough that everything came together and worked out the way it did.

“The timing just lined up perfectly for what I wanted to do next in my career. I grew up around the game of baseball and always wanted to return to the game eventually in some way, so I really jumped at the opportunity as soon as it presented itself.”

It won’t be the first time she has worked baseball. Anna Claire was the primary contact for Louisiana Tech during the Greg Goff era in Ruston, including in 2016 when the Bulldogs made the NCAA Tournament and played in a regional in … coincidentally enough … Starkville.

Now she will be working for the Bulldogs once again, just in a different state and different league.

Photo: Tom Morris

Piney Hills Classic racing this weekend, accepting racers

By Alexis Newman

Mountain biking enthusiasts and nature lovers have the perfect opportunity to come together this weekend at Lincoln Parish Park for the 29th annual Piney Hills Classic bike race.

The race will be held on Sept. 18 and 19, and it is open to both participants and spectators. The juniors and beginner category racers will ride on Saturday starting at 4 p.m., ending the day with the award ceremony, a musical performance by a classical guitarist, and refreshments provided by a local food truck vendor. Sunday morning, the upper-level racers will compete, and awards will be announced soon after the last rider has finished.

The Piney Hills Classic started in 1993 as the first mountain biking race in Louisiana. At its peak, it drew in around 650 racers, according to the founder of the race James Ramsaur. Although the numbers have dropped over the years, the director of the race Rolando Roman said that the race continues to attract racers from multiple states including Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Although it is a mountain biking race, it doesn’t take any knowledge of the sport to appreciate the talent of the racers while also supporting the Lincoln Parish Park. Locals are encouraged to attend and be a part of the long-standing tradition.

“It’s a great opportunity, even if you’re not competitive, to support this local event, and I would encourage the citizens of the community, if you don’t have anything to do with mountain biking, to come out and watch,” said Ramsaur. “These guys are great athletes, and it’s amazing what they can do on a bicycle in the woods.”

Bikers of all skill levels are invited to compete. Regarding the difficulty of the course, Roman said that while the trail’s natural terrain presents challenges, it should be able to be completed by anyone who has experience riding a bike on a trail.

“If you’re a local, you have a jewel in Lincoln Parish Park,” Roman said. “Go out there, go out this week, and experience it, explore it, and depending on how you feel, you should go ahead and sign up.”

Registration for joining the race is open online through the Piney Hills Classic website until Saturday at 5 p.m. The community is welcome to attend to cheer on the racers and to enjoy the music and food being provided.

Friday Night Lights: Meet RHS’ Emma Fernandes

Emma Fernandes

Parents:  Joel and Sarah Fernandes

Siblings: Jojo Fernandes and Matthew Perkins

School: Ruston High School

Grade: 12th 

Spirit Squad: Bearcat Belles

Honors: Captain of Bearcat Belles, National Honors Society (NHS), Younglife Campaigner

Favorite Subject in School: Anatomy and Physiology 

Favorite Show on Netflix? Gilmore Girls 

What is on your play list? John Mayer

Instagram or Tik Tok? and Why? Instagram— it brings a smile to my face to catch a glimpse into the lives of others

Favorite Line of Clothing? Prana has served me well this past summer. Their clothes have been perfect for this season of traveling and time outdoors

Favorite meal? Anything cooked and on a plate, I’m not picky!

What do you love about your school?  I can always count on Ruston High for giving me the best Bearcat Friday’s. Hearing the drum line march down the halls in the morning led by Mrs. Ratcliff chanting into a megaphone makes for the BEST way to finish out the week!! 

How long have you been dancing and what is it about it that you enjoy? I have been dancing since I was three years old at Missy Crain and later LG.  Dance gives me the opportunity to meet girls of all kinds who share this one common interest. Performing, practicing and sweating with these girls had lead to friendship like no other

What is your favorite high school dance moment? Performing at pep rally is an all-time favorite. There’s nothing like dancing to loud music in front of an excited student body

What are your plans after high school? Being that I have Celiac Disease— an autoimmune disorder— I have visited many dietitians in my life. This lifestyle I’ve made for myself has inspired me to one day become a Registered Dietitian!! 

What three people from history would you like to sit down and eat dinner with and why? The only person I would like to sit and eat dinner with would be my friend, Jesus. I chose to believe that He is my Father, my Savior and my Creator. What a precious conversion to have!

Photo: Courtesy

Ruston hosts Airline for 2021 Homecoming

Ruston High’s homecoming will be even more meaningful for the Bearcats this year.

After playing an entire year at Grambling State University in Eddie G. Robinson Stadium, Ruston (1-1) will finally return to James Field at Garrett Stadium Friday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. against the Airline Vikings (0-2). Not to mention the 1990 National Champion Bearcat Football team will be honored, as well.

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh understands the gravity of the circumstances for his program and the community at large to finally be back at their home field.

“Our people and our kids really missing playing at home,” Baugh said. “We are looking forward to that opportunity this week. It’s homecoming night, so hopefully we’ll have a big crowd to come watch the Bearcats play. We’re looking forward to seeing (the national championship team) come back and be honored at halftime.”

Airline comes to Ruston winless on the season, while the Bearcats put up terrific win in the 2021 Battle on the Border in Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La., over the Oxford Chargers by a final score of 28-14.

“We expected a physical game,” Baugh said. “We had a good game plan our coaches put together. Our kids were very sore after the ball game. The games that we play throughout the year schedule-wise are always teams like this, and our kids know what to do day by to prepare to play teams like these. The kids really enjoyed the experience there.”

Ruston’s non-district slate will continue next week at home, as well, against the Carencro Bears out of Lafayette, La.

Ruston vs. Airline can be heard on KXKZ 107.5 FM. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the coach’s pregame show starting at 6 p.m.

Make sure to get your news at 6:55 a.m. Sunday through Friday by subscribing to our FREE digital newspaper by clicking HERE. All of the LPJ articles are free and always will be free!


Q&A with Amy Stegall

School is back in session, and the universities are full of students, and downtown Ruston is booming with activities. Amy Stegall, Main Street Director and Community Coordinator, has lots of plans this fall in this week’s Q&A.

What kind of fall activities are we looking at in downtown Ruston? 
Fall is one of my favorite seasons in Downtown Ruston.  Fall means Loyal Blue Weekend events—kicking off home-game weekends on Friday night in Downtown Ruston has become a tradition.  From live music, food, interactive art experiences and pep-rallies, you won’t find a better place to get in the Bulldog spirit!  Don’t forget the shuttle to the game begins two hours before game time and runs until one hour post game.  This free service and Loyal Blue Weekend events are brought to you by Experience Ruston, Downtown Ruston and the City of Ruston.  Football is a big part of our fall event schedule, but you also want to mark your calendar for Pumpkins in the Park, The Witches Ride, Artoberfest and Wine Walk! 

How is Tech and downtown becoming closer this season? 
We are so excited to welcome Tech students back this fall.  We loved being at the “Taste of Ruston” event sponsored by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.  This gave us the opportunity to personally invite Tech students to attend our fall events and much more about our downtown.  Students make Ruston such a vibrant place to live.  The most exciting thing is seeing them enjoying our downtown.  There are so many other ways we are interacting with students.  Inviting them to give insight on our social media through communications classes, providing internship opportunities for students, and more and more students are working in our stores and restaurants downtown are just a few of the ways we are becoming closer to Tech. 

Why is it important that Ruston have a dynamic downtown? 
Downtown is the heartbeat of Ruston.  No one wants to visit a place where the stores are closed and things aren’t happening.  We have seen first hand just how much our Main Street approach has benefited out downtown.  With only a few vacant spaces in the landscape, downtown is booming. 

What makes you excited to go into work each day? 
I love the opportunity to plan what’s next for downtown.  Working with amazing community partners who have share the vision to make Ruston the very best city it can be, is my favorite part of this job.  Well, actually seeing some of our ideas come to fruition is really the best part! 

What do you think makes downtown Ruston special? 
Easiest question—the people.   We live and work among some of the most amazing people in the world.  I love that you can shop in stores where people not only know your name, but they also look for styles you would wear when they go to market.  Our people truly care about one another and it is what makes the biggest difference between Ruston and other places.   Don’t worry — if you’re new they’ll love you, too! 

What do you hope downtown Ruston looks like in five years? 
In five years I would love to see a seamless transition between downtown and the rest of the city.  Making it a walkable, beautiful and quality place to have lunch, dinner, find your favorite outfit, get a haircut or close on your house is our goal.  We are hopeful we will be the kind of place that Main Street USA recognizes as one of the Great American Main Streets—and we are working hard every day to make sure it happens!

Duck returned to park

Don’t get your feather’s in a ruffle. The duck is back.

Officials confirmed for the LPJ the duck that was taken from a city park in Grambling was returned, unharmed.

On Wednesday the Grambling Police Department sent out an APB on a missing duck with a photo of the bird-napper committing the “fowl” on Tuesday evening.

Chief Tommy Clark Jr. said the web-footed friend was returned overnight. And although the perpetrator hasn’t been found, Chief Clark said if the bird-snatcher was caught they could still be charged with theft.

Anyone with any information on the matter should contact the Grambling Police.

LA Tech hosts SMU Saturday at the Joe

Who: SMU (2-0) at Louisiana Tech (1-1)

Where: Joe Aillet Stadium (Ruston, La.)

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KDBS 1410 AM (Alexandria), KDBS 94.7 FM (Alexandria), WUBR 910 AM (Baton Rouge), KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield), KZBL 100.7 FM (Natchitoches), KOKA 980 AM (Shreveport), KOKA 93.3 FM (Shreveport), KNCB 1320 AM (Vivian), KNCB 104.1 FM (Vivian), KVCL 92.1 FM (Winnfield)

Radio Talent: Malcolm Butler (PxP), Teddy Allen (Color) and Luke McCown (sideline) w/ pregame at 1 p.m.

Holtz. Dykes.

Two names that have been very familiar to the game of college football for decades.

Lou Holtz and Spike Dykes made quite the names for themselves during their coaching careers and their legacy is carried on now by sons Skip Holtz and Sonny Dykes.

On Saturday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium, Skip’s Bulldogs and Sonny’s Mustangs will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

And the two head coaches on opposite sidelines won’t be strangers.

“I’ve known coach Dykes for a long time,” said Skip Holtz. “Obviously with both of our fathers being (in coaching) for a long time and being in the old Southwest Conference which no longer exists today but was very powerful back then. It was the SEC back then. They were both head coaches there.

“I’ve known (Sonny) for a long time. I’ve spent a lot of time with him during some off-seasons. We went out and visited Texas Tech when I was at South Carolina and we spent three days with him and Kate (Dykes) out there in Lubbock. I have a lot of respect for him.”

In fact back in 2012 when Dykes had made the decision to take the head coaching job at Cal after leading Louisiana Tech the previous three years, Holtz reached out to him about his time in Ruston.

“I talked to him a long time on the phone about this job when he had left here,” said Skip. “The memories he had here and the feelings here and how much he loved Ruston and the community and the quality of people that are here in town.

“I think he does a great job. I think he is a really good football coach, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to stand across the sideline from him. You have these relationships and these spiderwebs that we weave in coaching, but at the same point in time, when you put the ball on the tee we all want to win.”

All SMU has done this year is win. The Mustangs have victories over Abilene Christian (56-9) and North Texas (35-12) in the opening two weekends of college football. The Bulldogs are coming off a 45-42 win over Southeastern Saturday.

However, the last time the two teams met, only one team walked away happy. Tech defeated SMU 51-10 in the 2017 DXL Frisco Bowl, just weeks after Dykes had taken over the SMU program.

“I’m sure they have replayed it,” said Holtz. “It was four years ago and everybody has fifth- and sixth-year seniors. I’m sure they have talked about the game. They have played the tape. I’m sure that it’s probably something that’s going to be there, but what happened in 2017 doesn’t have anything to do with today.

“In all fairness to Coach Dykes he got there and he didn’t even know his players names. He didn’t get to call a play. He didn’t know the offense or the defense. He had GA’s that were calling the offense because everyone had left to go to Arkansas. I’m sure they will use it as motivation, but our team has some motivation today too.”

Tech leads the all-time series against SMU 4-1.

Photo: Darrell James

Ponderings by Doug

There is an eleventh commandment. Every spouse has a secret commandment and they are all different. It might take a while to discover your significant other’s eleventh commandment. You will discover its presence when you trespass against it, not before.

For some spouses the eleventh commandment is, “Thou shalt properly place or replace the toilet seat lid.” “If you put it up, return it to its proper place. If you put it down, return it to the full upright and locked position.”

Speaking of the porcelain throne room, a commandment might be “Thou shalt place the holy paper in the over the roll position and flee from those using the under the roll position.”

“Thou shalt not leave trash in the vehicle. Nor shall you change the radio station from its previous setting or volume.”

“Thou shalt not touch the TV remote.”

“Thou shalt not plant things in the way that lacks symmetry and beauty.” A corollary involves not having two green vegetables at a meal.

“Thou shalt make the bed, pick up thine socks and place all unclean clothing in the sacred bin.”

“Thou shalt walk the dog and clean up after them if it is not your lawn!”

“Thou shalt not use the clothes dryer or the dishwasher as storage vessels.”

“Thou shalt secure all jar lids firmly and without cross threading.”

We have arrived at my spouse’s eleventh commandment. I have lid issues. I never get away with sneaking a snack if the snack was once in a jar. Innumerable times I have heard the sound of something hitting the kitchen floor followed by a loud expression of chagrin from my spouse. She then calls my full name with my title. You are in deep kimchi when that happens. The list of broken jars includes but is not limited to: pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, spaghetti sauce, jelly, salsa, dry roasted peanuts and peanut butter.

There is something about my hand eye coordination that doesn’t allow me to smoothly replace a jar lid. I do cross threading very well. For some reason, my spouse continues to grab jars by the lids and once the jar is over the ceramic tile floor, it lets loose from my cross threaded closing attempt.

I also confess that I don’t do those “slidey” things on sandwich bags very well. If the product comes in something that is “re-sealable” you can bet that when I have finished opening it, it will remain opened. Even those hefty bags where the sliding lock thingy changes color when properly closed don’t help me.

I used the same theological argument with my mother about making the bed. “Mom there is no sense making the bed, since I’m going to get in it in a few hours.” I don’t need to properly close the stuff in the refrigerator, because it is refrigerated. If you grab a lid knowing that I have lid challenges, then dropping the jar is on you not me. Mom didn’t buy the bed argument, ditto for my spouse and the lid theorem.

We all have an eleventh commandment. Things we are never to do. Things that when others do them send us into a state of irked-ness. We keep score of the number of times people violate our eleventh commandment. Our failing is that most folks haven’t received the memo from us and don’t know about our special secret eleventh commandment.

Secret rules and commandments, quirks and idiosyncrasies’ make us human. They also drive us crazy in dealing with other humans.

This is why Jesus boiled it all down to two commandments.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Glen View celebrates Grandparents Day

Glen View Elementary School celebrated its grandparents this week with a parade with loved ones, students and faculty.

“At Glen View the parents and grandparents of our students are greatly appreciated and we enjoy having them involved in the education of their students,” said Jordan Blachier, assistant principal at Glen View.

Kindergarten grandparents participated in the parade at 9 a.m., then first grade parents at 10 a.m. and second grade parents at 11 a.m.

“Due to COVID restrictions, our grandparents were not able to come into the school. Instead, they participated in a parade,” Blachier said. “We were so excited and proud of the turnout. We had several hundred vehicles participate throughout the three parades. Many of the grandparents decorated their cars. Some played music and some honked their horns. It was great to see how many grandparents came out. They were excited to see their students and our students were even more excited to see them. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in our Grandparents Day Parade and for making it a huge success.”

G-Men head to Houston to tangle with FBS Cougars

Who: Grambling State (1-1) at Houston (1-1)

Where: TEDCU Stadium (Houston, Texas)

When: 6 p.m. Saturday


Radio: 96.3 FM (Ruston), 103.1 FM (Monroe)

Radio Talent: Santoria Black (PxP), Ossie Clark (Color), Nick Harrison (Sideline), T Lay Collins (Sideline)


By T. Scott Boatright

Grambling State University finds itself facing a test for a second straight week as the Tigers hit the road to play at the University of Houston at 6 p.m Saturday at TEDCU Stadium.

The Tigers (1-1) fell 37-0 at Southern Miss last weekend, a game that USM led only 10-0 at intermission before pulling away in the second half.

Houston also comes into this weekend’s game at 1-1 after falling 38-21 at home to Texas Tech in the Cougars’ season opener before cooking up a win at Rice last weekend..

After seeing his Tigers total only nine first downs and a mere 141 yards of total offense in the loss to USM, GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs is looking for more offense, even against a tough Houston defense that held Rice to one score last week in a 44-7 win.

“We played well in the first half but we made some timely mistakes with penalties,” Fobbs said. “We came out and competed hard against a good Southern Miss team. Now we’ll go back and look at the film, make the adjustments we need to make and prepare for a very good Houston football team.”

Houston and GSU have faced off twice before with the Cougars winning both, including a 47-0 victory in 2014 that remains the largest win in TDECU Stadium history. It was also their first win at the facility.

The Cougars won the first matchup between the schools by the score of 44-22 in 2006.

Grambling State played two quarterbacks at USM — Elijah Walker and Aldon Clark. Walker started the game and went 8-of-13 passing for 30 yards while Clark went 8-of-19 passing for 60 yards with one interception.

Fobbs will also be looking for a stronger run game from an offense that has averaged 96.0 rushing yards per game early on.

Walker leads the Tigers with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Darqueze Brutton (5-7, 185) has added 61 yards on 18 carries and Arcadia product CJ Russell has chipped in with 53 yards on 20 attempts.

Grambling’s Kobe Ross leads the team in receptions with four for 22 yards while Ruston High School graduate Donald “Red” Johnson and Greg White have added three catches for 26 yards each.

“There’s not a question of our kids playing hard; we just need to play better,” Fobbs said. “On offense, we didn’t match anything to put on the board. In games of that magnitude, in order to apply pressure that are FBS teams, you’ve got to score points and you’ve got to put the pressure back on them. We just neglected to do that.”

Defensively, the G-Men are giving up an average of 334.5 total yards of offense per game while being held to 165.5 offensive yards per game themselves.

 Kenan Fontenot, a defensive back, is Grambling’s top tackler with 10 takedowns while four other Tigers have nine each. Lewis and Blake Thomas each have recorded a sack for the G-Men.   

 “I feel really good about our kids, our players. I thought our defense played lights out for two-and-half quarters. They just wore us down once we got late to the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. We’re a work in progress and we’re excited about playing this week against another big opponent.”

Photo: GSU Athletics

Domestic call leads to multiple charges

A 30-year-old Ruston man was arrested on numerous charges early Thursday morning after police responded to a disturbance call.

At about 3:30 a.m., the Ruston Police Department dispatched officers to a disturbance on Duque Drive. Officer Brandt Barton noticed the resident appeared very upset and her hand was bleeding. The woman said she was okay, but when the officer asked if she was alone, she said yes but began crying. Barton conducted a protective sweep of the home for suspects and discovered Darrius J. Livingston hiding in a bedroom closet.

Officers determined the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department held four bench warrants for Livingston for failure to make court appearances on previous similar incidents. An active protective order against Livingston in relation to the victim was also found. 

Livingston was arrested for the four warrants—two counts of violation of a protective order and two counts of battery of a dating partner—as well as violation of the protective order for being at the victim’s home. 

During a search upon arrest, Officer Barton found a small plastic bag of suspected methamphetamine in Livingston’s pants pocket and baggie of suspected marijuana and another of suspected meth in Livingston’s shoe. 

In addition to the four warrants and the additional protective order violation, Livingston was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for possession of a Schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and possession of a Schedule I drug (marijuana).

Bail has been set at $162,500.

Weekend events

Weekend events 

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list, please email us at lpjnewsla@gmail.com

Friday, Sept. 17
11 a.m.: Inside the C-Suite with Matt Herlevis, Tech’s COB, Room 126
12-1 p.m.: Tech Business Bark-B-Que with students, faculty, staff and alumni; Tech COB lawn 
6 p.m.: Little Rock at Louisiana Tech VB (Thomas Assembly Center)
6 p.m.: Loyal Blue Friday, Railroad Park 
7 p.m.: Cedar Creek Football at Delhi (Delhi, La.)
7 p.m.: Glenbrook at Lincoln Prep Football (Grambling, La.)
7 p.m.: Airline at Ruston High Football (James Field at Garrett Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 18
8:30 a.m.: Louisiana Tech XC Mook 4 Invitational (Tech Farm)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
10 a.m.: UNO at Louisiana Tech VB (Thomas Assembly Center)
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Ruston Skate Park Jam, 257 W. Georgia Ave.
1 p.m.: 29th annual Piney Hills Classic, Lincoln Parish Park 
2:30 p.m.: SMU at Louisiana Tech Football (Joe Aillet Stadium)

Sunday, Sept. 19
7 a.m.: 29th annual Piney Hills Classic, Lincoln Parish Park
1 p.m.: Charlotte at Louisiana Tech Soccer (Robert Mack Caruthers Field)