Lincoln Parish Schools to receive upgrades for 2022-2023 school year

By Jim Wilkerson

The School Board has approved various upgrades for the 2022-2023 school year.

Electrical upgrades will be made at Ruston Elementary, Choudrant High School, and Cypress Springs. The disconnect at Ruston Elementary will be replaced with a newer one, costing the Board an estimated $6,000.

At Choudrant High School and Cypress Springs, the old Federal Pacific breaker boxes will be replaced with newer ones from either Square D or Cutler Hammer. Cypress Springs will cost around $36,000, and Choudrant High School will be around $18,000.

Also, new water heaters are being ordered for various schools.

“Some hot water heaters were installed in the 80s,” Ricky Edmiston said. “We’ve been lucky not to have leaks or a lot of maintenance.”

The School Board is moving from 600,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) to about 250,000 with the new water heaters. “This is going to mean tremendous savings for us if we put these new Rheem Triton hot water heaters in,” said Edmiston.

Further, the School Board is bidding for new lockers to be installed in the Simsboro High School locker rooms. These lockers will be approximately 78 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches deep, costing anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000.

Finally, a wide area network (WAN) will be added to the Ruston High School baseball complex, and internal connections will be installed at Choudrant High School and Ruston High School.

At Choudrant, the internal connection will be inserted between the main building and the auditorium. Ruston’s will be installed between the press box and the field house at the football stadium.

Debbie Pender explained that approximately 85 percent of funding for these installments will come from E-rate funding – a federal program administered by the Universal Services Administrative Company under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission.

Edmiston has already notified the School Board that more upgrades will be requested for next year. Because of the high costs for some of the projects, the upgrades have been split up between two years.

COVID-19 testing locations in Lincoln Parish available

By Sara Howell-Floyd

As the weather begins to get colder and more people tend to get sick, it may lead to residents of Lincoln Parish to worry about if it is COVID-19, although residents can be put at ease by getting tested.

Various COVID-19 testing locations are available for residents to go to if they are feeling under the weather here in Lincoln Parish. 

Both the Walgreens locations in Ruston are currently offering COVID-19 testing in their pharmacies. They are currently testing those who schedule appointments and not accepting walk-ins. 

To make an appointment to get COVID-19 testing at a Walgreens location, individuals should go to or individuals can also use the Walgreens app to schedule a time. 

Walgreens also has the option to buy at-home testing kits if individuals need. At the time of publication, the Walgreens located at 108 W. California Ave. was out of stock. The Walgreens located at 1401 N. Trenton St. did have test kits available for purchase. 

Another testing location is the Ropp Center at Louisiana Tech. They currently offer COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Testing is open to anyone in the community, not just Louisiana Tech students, faculty and staff. Lincoln parish residents have taken advantage of this opportunity. 

“There has been a rise in people coming to get tested, especially with college students coming back from Christmas break,” said Trystyan Pierre, a Louisiana National Guardsman. 

The Ropp Center is also a good option for those who may not want to wait all day to be tested. 

“We never really have a wait time,” Pierre said. “It is more of a steady flow of people coming to get tested throughout the day.”   

SouthStar Urgent Care Ruston, located at 117 N. Service Road, is another option for Lincoln Parish residents to get tested. They do have COVID tests, but they are in high demand. 

An employee with SouthStar Urgent Care shared that she recommends for residents to come early in the morning to avoid a long wait time. While she said that the wait times vary from day to day, patients can expect up to a six hour wait to get tested if they are in high demand. 

SouthStar Urgent Care also have other locations including ones in Farmerville, Minden and Monroe if residents are unable to find testing locations in the parish. 

Coastal Urgent Care of Ruston, located at 1009 S. Service Road, and the QuickCARE of Ruston, located at 1809 Northpoint Lane Suite 102, also have COVID testing available for Lincoln Parish residents. These offices also appear to have a longer than usual wait time, so it is best to get there early for testing.

Techsters down Roadrunners at TAC

Courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletic Strategic Communications

The Lady Techsters used defense and a balanced scoring attack to dominate UTSA, 79-64, Monday afternoon inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

Tech improves to 9-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play while UTSA falls to 4-12 on the season and 1-4 in C-USA.

“I was pleased with our energy and our start on both ends of the floor today,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We got some good stops, our guards rebounded and we got some turnovers that allowed for us to get out in transition early.

“We had 23 points from the bench and that was huge for us. We took good care of the basketball and we made a lot of open shots. It was great to get this win at home. It gives us a big boost of confidence that we need to carry on the road with us this weekend at UAB.”

Freshman Kate Thompson got the Techsters started, connecting on her first three-point attempt of the season. UTSA would then take a 5-2 lead just 1:58 into the game but from there Tech would use a 21-3 run over the next six-minutes to take a 24-8 lead.

During that span, five different Lady Techsters contributed at least two points. Junior Keiunna Walker converted a pair of three-points plays, moving her into 41st on the all-time scoring list in Lady Techster history, passing Takeisha Lewis with 1,052 points.

LA Tech’s defense started strong once again only allowing one field goal over a seven-minute stretch while also forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter. Tech connected on all nine of their free throws in the quarter and hit 3-of-4 from deep to take a 26-12 lead after one quarter of play.

Freshman Silvia Native pushed the Techsters lead out to 19 at 31-12 on a three from the deep corner with 9:06 remaining in the half. A quick 7-0 run by the Roadrunners cut the deficit down to 12 and was later cut to nine at 37-28 on a jumper by Charlene Mass. The Lady Techsters responded with an 8-0 burst of their own, as freshman Amaya Brannon buried a three and converted an and-one to give Tech a 45-30 lead at the break.

Tech began the second half with a 9-2 run over the first 3:33 to push the lead out to 22 at 54-32 as freshman Kate Thompson scored four points and sophomore Anna Larr Roberson added five of her own. After a back and forth final four minutes the Lady Techsters held a 62-39 advantage going into the final quarter.

In the fourth, Tech’s lead swelled to as much as 31 at 72-41 with 6:12 remaining on a Walker jumper that capped a 10-2 run. From there, Tech used the final minutes of the game to get the rest of the bench some conference experience as every Techster logged at least two minutes of action on the way to a 79-64 win over UTSA.

Eight Lady Techsters scored during the mid-day game, including three in double figures to pour in their third highest scoring total of the season. Tech’s bench contributed in a big way, adding 23 points including, nine from Brannon, eight from sophomore Lotte Sant and six from freshman Robyn Lee.

Tech’s defense once again proved to be a force generating 14 steals, blocking five shots, and 24 total turnovers leading to 26 Lady Techster points, including 22 in the first half, in the win.

LA Tech improves to 15-5 in the all-time series against UTSA and improves to 6-2 in games played in Ruston.

The Lady Techsters return to the court on Saturday, January 22 when they travel to Birmingham, Alabama to face UAB at 2 p.m. inside the Bartow Arena.

Kindness matters at The Art House

By Hunter Jones

Beneath spacious trees and by following a beloved trail of stones, seashells and shiny rocks lies a place where kids can be kids — and grown ups can be kids, too. This place is The Art House.

Renee Hunt is a well-known local artist in Ruston and was a Montessori teacher/director for 25 years at The Montessori School of Ruston while teaching at The Art House, but the last four years, she has worked fully an art teacher at The Art House.

Hunt has just two passions in life, teaching and art, which she combined into teaching art at The Art House where she currently teaches art classes, after school art classes and art classes for homeschooled children. In 2007, she started this project in the sunroom of her 100-year-old house. 

“Several years later the need for expansion was evident,” Hunt said. “We turned the backyard into a whimsical, fairy-like environment and built a cottage-style studio for children.” 

The Art House still continues to grow and expand to this day with a plethora of students to teach.

The Art House is a place to create joy without any pressure or stress for students as soon as you walk through its gates and “,…feel that you’ve taken a step back in time to a place where children, young and old alike, create ’til their heart is content,” Hunt said.  

Hunt teaches her students with a variety of mediums. She shows them how to use acrylic paint, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, sculpture, clay, glass fusion, and printmaking along with how to sculpt with wood, wire, clay and found objects. 

Parents comment that it is a place for their children to ‘do their thing,’” Hunt said. 

Her passion for teaching is evident as she promotes her students’ creativity by giving them choices within each project to scope out their own artistic style. 

“It’s home, and the children are my people,” Hunt said. “It is a safe place for the students to create their heart’s desires.”

Hunt also explained how her students are treated with love and respect, and within this, they treat their fellow classmates the same amount of kindness.

Hunt said she is very proud about allowing her students to get a feel for life as an artist with projects like decorating for the Community Christmas, providing artwork for a traveling art show featuring their renditions of art from “Seussical the Musical,” having her students begin the Community Weave Project and the Blue Dog Project.

“I’m so proud to have my four children learning under Renee’s direction,” Jenn Kilpatrick said. “It meets different needs in each of their unique brains. The Art House Brings joy to children, to parents, to our community.” 

Kilpatrick spoke fondly of her appreciation for all The Art House does for the community of Ruston especially in the state of the world.

“It’s important during a world-wide pandemic or on a Tuesday afternoon,” Kilpatrick said. “Even if you are not drawn to art or connect to it, you will breathe it in and be moved by it the moment you step into The Art House.”

The Art House and Hunt can be found on Facebook, Instagram and at for more info. 

“Kindness matters at The Art House,” Hunt said. 

Knox named Outstanding Firefighter of the Year

On behalf of the Ruston Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce has announced that Assistant Chief Jimmy Knox with the Choudrant Volunteer Fire Department is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Firefighter of the Year Award.           

Jimmy R. Knox was born in Hodge, LA, but his family moved to Ruston where he began attending school at Ruston Elementary from first grade through third. The family moved to Lisbon, LA where his father, Raymond Knox worked as a highly respected electrician in the community. In 1964, Jimmy’s father died as the result of an accident and shortly after the family moved back to Ruston. Jimmy continued his education at Ruston High School. He followed in his father’s footsteps as an accomplished electrician and has always exhibited a strong work ethic. Jimmy was employed with Holstead Heating & Air and Davison’s for many years before establishing his own business, Jimmy Knox Electric, LLC in 2005.  

Jimmy has supported the Village of Choudrant Volunteer Fire Department for the past nineteen years as a volunteer firefighter, responding to residential, car, industrial and grass/woods fires, rescue, emergency medical and hazardous materials incidents. He says, “Giving back and paying it forward is what it is all about.” Jimmy serves as the Assistant Chief for the Choudrant fire department, which is staffed with over twenty-five volunteers and maintains a Class 4 Fire Insurance Rating. In June of 2018, Jimmy also took on the task of Director of Public Works for the Village of Choudrant, overseeing all the daily services of maintenance for the community. Jimmy says “I like the small town atmosphere and the people are great.”

Jimmy and his wife Nancy have been married for 14 years, making their home in Ruston. Together, they have six children and 8 grandchildren. With keeping it in the family, Jimmy and Nancy’s son Jordan Gray received the KOA Firefighter of the Year Award in 2016, also as a volunteer. 

This award will be presented at the Chamber’s 102nd Annual Banquet, title sponsored by Northern Louisiana Medical Center Jan. 25 at the Ruston Civic Center. Tickets for Chamber members are $50/individual or $400/table of 8; for non-members $55/individual or $440/table. Reservations can be made at The banquet is also sponsored by Origin Bank and Hunt, Guillot & Associates.

Diversity, equity, inclusion virtual forum set for Feb. 1 

Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business will host Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The virtual forum includes six sessions featuring diversity, equity, and inclusion thought-leaders from top global corporations. This free event is open to the public, and registration is required for each session. Attendees can register at 

“We strive to create a rich learning environment that appreciates and accepts differing perspectives, a mindset that is critical in today’s global workplace,” said Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business. “Last year, we expanded our conference format to include DEI experts from Fortune 500 companies across the U.S., and over 1,000 students, alumni, faculty, and community members joined us to take a deeper dive into these topics. We look forward to another successful forum that will provide a platform for awareness around issues of diversity and inclusion in the business world.” 

2022 marks the fourth year that the College of Business has partnered with Grambling State University to give students the opportunity to have important conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion in the context of business. 

The schedule includes: 

8:30 a.m.: Leading the Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion Panel 

  • Alexis Kerr (Vice President, Mahogany Brand, Hallmark Cards)
  • Kim Jenkins (Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging, Paypal)
  • Dr. Todd Jenkins (Global DEI Director, Microsoft/ CBRE)
  • Steven Johnson (Global Director for Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, Lowe’s Companies)
  • Brad Baumoel (Global Head of LGBT+ Affairs, JP Morgan Chase)

10 a.m.: Welcome to our Table, Leadership Lessons from Executive Women Panel  

  • Tamberlin Golden (Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, General Motors)
  • Angela Thompkins (Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Consumers Energy)
  • Clarinda Barnett-Harrison (Head of Equity and Inclusion, Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Businesses)
  • Janet Wong, ’81 (Independent Board Director and Strategic Advisor)
  • Lottie Holland (Director, Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement, Stellantis)

11:30 a.m.: Inclusion Infusion: Advance Your Career with The Power of Cultural Intelligence 

  • Devoreaux Walton (Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager, IBM)

1 p.m.: Inclusion and Employee Engagement 

  • Stephen Metoyer, ’91 (Chief Inclusion Officer, Deloitte Tax LLP)

2:30 p.m.: Authenticity, Allyship and Advancement 

  • Karen Perham-Lippman (Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Lumen Technologies)

4 p.m.: Right Brain and Left Brain: A Holistic Approach to Advancing Workplace DE&I 

  • Scott Nycum (Chief Diversity Officer, GDIT)

Talent acquisition teams from several of the corporations will be available following each session to network with Louisiana Tech and Grambling College of Business students. The day will end with a post-conference case challenge for students led by Crystal King, ’82, Dow Chemical’s senior lead site manufacturing director. 

Williams earns grant for ‘Readying for Risk’ project

To help companies around the world create their own safety documentation, Dr. Joseph Williams, an assistant professor of technical communication and rhetoric in Louisiana Tech’s College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded a Career Advancement Research Grant.

The $1,200 grant will help Williams complete his research project which will become a book, Readying for Risk: Analyzing + Creating Effective Company Safety Initiatives, and is funded by SIGDOC, the Special Interest Group on Design of Communication.

“SIGDOC is a major international organization in Technical Communication as well as Engineering,” Williams said. “The grant will not only help me procure much-needed materials for my book project, but it will also help me move forward with research goals associated with its creation.”

Williams is one of only two Career Advancement Research Grant winners for the calendar year.

“The SIGDOC Executive Committee was impressed with Dr. Williams’ project’s potential to bring previously inaccessible safety documents to light in a way that will extend in new ways how we might approach risk and safety communications,” said executive committee member Dan Richards. “We feel confident that this project will do great work for our field and we are delighted to fund it, be it in a relatively modest way.”

“Readying for Risk details safety practices that a global petroleum entity employs in order to protect its workforce on and off the job, thereby showing how risk communication and intercultural communication intersect and play vital roles together in the output of effective technical communication,” Williams said. “Additionally, this project serves as an example of risk and intercultural communication various audiences may use as a blueprint for their own safety initiative needs.”

Interdisciplinary in nature, the book can help companies around the world in creating their own safety documentation, or Risk Communication, to protect their employees.

“While my initial examples address the petroleum industry,” Williams said, “there will be a section about ‘Going Green’ and other fields such as electrical, construction, hospitals, and even daycare.”

Williams will use the SIGDOC funding to buy books and materials for his book project, along with software associated with generating graphics for the creation of meaningful safety initiatives. Additionally, he intends to travel to refineries and other industry-related sites along the Gulf of Mexico in order to obtain contrasting examples of petroleum safety initiatives.

He’s not the only one who’ll benefit from the grant.

“I love to share my research with my students in Tech Comm, Risk Communication, Research Methods, and Ethics in TCR in order to assist them with forming their own research agendas – in and out of the classroom,” Williams said.

Louisiana Tech hosts exhibit honoring Dr. MLK Jr.

By Madison Remrey

The University of Louisiana System has partnered with the owner of an exhibit, Carrying on the Dream, to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honor Black History Month.

Louisiana Tech is the first stop of multiple locations as it travels through the region.

Carrying on the Dream features things such as infographics, the hearse that carried MLK Jr. and counter stools that came from sit-ins. From Louisiana Tech, it will travel to Northwestern State University, Nicholls State University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

Preparations to host this exhibit have included taking careful consideration towards various logistics such as finding security for during the day and night and making sure there was a space that would fit and protect a 1960s hearse.

Devonia Love-Vaughn, dean of inclusion initiative and student success, said that the exhibit is significant because it serves as a reminder of MLK Jr.’s life and recognizes his contributions. 

“He stood on hard issues,” Love-Vaughn said. “He had difficult conversations with people all of the time. And through the work that I’m doing at this institution, I encourage people to have those difficult conversations as much as possible.”

The exhibit, held inside of the Student Center, on Louisiana Tech’s campus, is open to the public today through Tuesday, Jan. 18. Visitors can stop by from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Masks must be worn and physical distancing is encouraged. 

Mississippi man returned to face charges

A Mississippi man is back in Lincoln Parish to face charges stemming from a shooting on Interstate 20 last year. 

Javis Dixon, 26, of Vicksburg was transferred from the Claiborne Parish Detention Center Wednesday afternoon and booked on numerous charges alleging he shot at an 18-wheeler truck on I-20 on May 28, 2021.

Once the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office received the report that the driver of a gray Dodge Charger with Mississippi plates had reportedly shot an 18-wheeler truck which was westbound on I-20 in Lincoln Parish, neighboring agencies were notified.

Bienville Parish Sheriff’s deputies located the vehicle traveling westbound at mile marker 69 and conducted a stop. A search of Dixon’s vehicle revealed marijuana, scales, drug paraphernalia, a box of .38 ammunition and a .38 revolver. In addition, $2,300 was found in the vehicle and another $1,141 located on Dixon’s person.

Dixon was initially booked into the Bienville Parish jail in lieu of $165,000 bail. His charges in Bienville included illegal carrying a weapon, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of felony domestic abuse battery.

Arrest warrants were also obtained in Lincoln Parish investigators for attempted first degree murder, aggravated criminal damage to property, aggravated obstruction of a highway, and illegal use of weapons. Dixon’s bail on those charges totals $550,000.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

At some point, Dixon was housed in the Claiborne Parish Detention Center where he was picked last week by a Lincoln Parish deputy.

High school hoops roundup

By T. Scott Boatright

Bearcats 49, Ouachita 48

MONROE — Four Bearcats totaled at least eight points to help lead the Ruston High School Bearcats to a 49-48 win in a defensive showdown Friday night at Ouachita Parish High School.

Neither team built any larger than an eight-point advantage in a contest that the Lions led 24-22 at the half.

Jackson Pilgreen and Aiden Anding scored nine points each to lead Ruston while Dillon Wilson and Braylan McNeal both added eight points in the Bearcats’ winning effort.

Pilgreen led the Bearcats on the boards with eight rebounds while adding a blocked shot.

Ruston (15-3, 2-0 in District 2-5A) will next play host to West Monroe on Tuesday evening.

Lady Bearcats 57, Ouachita Parish 36

MONROE — In a tight game that Ouachita Parish High School led in the early going, the Ruston High School Lady Bearcats used a six-point run in the closing minutes of the opening stanza and never looked back Friday night at the OPHS Gym.

Ruston led 26-16 at halftime and then outscored the Lady Lions 12-4 in the third quarter to build a comfortable lead heading into the final stanza.

The Lady Bearcats did most of their damage inside, outscoring Ouachita 34-18 in the paint.

Kemiah Spencer led Ruston with 15 points while adding three rebounds and four steals.

Ruston had two other players score in double figures as Emerald Parker and Alexis Foster hit for 10 points each.

Parker added nine rebounds to lead RHS on the boards while Foster chipped in with five rebounds.

The Lady Bearcats (15-5, 2-0 in District 2-5A) will next host West Monroe on Tuesday.

Sicily Island 43, Cedar Creek 35 (Boys)

SICILY ISLAND — Playing significantly short-handed and without coach Robert Mitcham due to multiple injuries and illness protocols, the Cedar Creek boys basketball team simply didn’t have enough firepower Friday night to win on the road against the Tigers.

Realizing Cedar Creek wasn’t finding the basket, the Tigers backed into a 2-3 zone, forcing the Cougars to try and shoot from the perimeter. 

The Cougars missed 17 3-point shots, gave up 18 offensive rebounds and committed 28 turnovers in the loss.

Cedar Creek 73, Sicily Island 20 (Girls)

SICILY ISLAND – Sarah Adams poured in 24 points while adding six assists to lead Cedar Creek’s girls hoopsters to a 53-point road win over the Lady Tigers.

The victory pushed Cedar Creek to 17-0 on the season.

Millie Venters and Ava Hartwell added 10 points each for the Lady Cougars while Allie Furr chipped with eight points and Lizzie McAdams finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.

Cedar Creek will next play host to Delta Charter on Tuesday.

Lincoln Prep 76, River Oaks 60 (BOYS)

Koby Mack and Bralyn Mayfield both double-doubled to lead Lincoln Preparatory School to a home win over River Oaks on Thursday evening.

The Panthers led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter before outscoring the Mustangs 25-14 in the second stanza to build a 42-26 lead at the half.

Mack led Lincoln Prep with 18 points while adding 10 rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

Mayfield topped the Panthers on the glass with 11 boards while adding 12 points, four assists, two blocked shots and a steal.

Dmitry Payne also scored 12 points for Lincoln Prep, including a pair of big slam dunks,  while also totaling six assists and six steals.

Ja’Kyren Montgomery added eight points and two rebounds for the Panthers while Stephen Burks III also scored 8 points while chipping in with six rebounds, three steals and two assists. 

Two other Panthers provided crucial all-around efforts as Brandon Heard totaled seven points, seven rebounds and three steals while Emanuel Bryant added six points, three rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Lincoln Prep 57, Ringgold 42 (Boys)

The Panthers got off to a slow start before ignited in the second half to roar away with the win in their District 1-1A season opener at Ringgold on Friday night.

Ringgold led 14-8 at the end of the first stanza and 27-21 at halftime before the Panthers outscored the Redskins 36-15 the rest of the way to race away with the win.

Dmitry Payne led the Panthers with 15 points while adding six rebounds, two steals and two assists while Emanuel Bryant double-doubled, totaling 14 points, 13 rebounds, two steals, a blocked shot and an assist.

Kobe Mack and Bralyn Mayfield added seven points each for Lincoln Prep, with Mack adding two rebounds and a steal and Mayfield chipping in with 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and a blocked shot.

Ta’Rell Simmons hit for six points while adding one steal for the Panthers (16-6), who will next play Glenbrook on Tuesday night.

Simsboro 73, Arcadia 44 (Boys)

ARCADIA — The Simsboro High School boys basketball team moved to 18-1 on the season as the Tigers roared to a 29-point win at Arcadia.

Simsboro took control early, leading 46-19 at the half.

Chilaydrien Newton led the way for SHS with 27 points while Nick Maryland added 15 points, Jordan Crawford chipped in with 12 points and Shamarian Brantley hit for 10.

Lee Abney was the defensive standout for the Tigers, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking six shots attempted by the Hornets.

Next up for the Tigers will be a home game against Jonesboro-Hodge on Tuesday.

Choudrant 70, Claiborne Christian 49 (Boys)

WEST MONROE — The Aggies broke open a tight game in the second quarter Tuesday night as Choudrant cruised past Claiborne Christian at the CCS Gym.

Choudrant led 28-20 at the end of the first quarter before igniting in the second stanza to lead 47-27 at halftime.

Four Aggies scored in double figures with Trey Harris and Lachlan Thompson pouring in 15 points as the game’s top scorers.

Chris Williams chipped in with 12 points for Choudrant while Mike Jones added 10.

Choudrant also got eight points from Amarion Simonton and six from Parker Batterson.

The Aggies game scheduled to be played at Epps on Friday night was postponed due to illness protocols that closed both schools late last week.

Choudrant is next slated to play host to D’Arbonne Woods on Tuesday.

Findley to receive Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

On behalf of the Ruston Kiwanis, the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce has announced that Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Captain Ronald Findley will receive the 2021 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.           

Ronald Findley was born in Bernice in 1970 where he grew up and attended schools at Bernice Elementary and Bernice High School graduating in 1988. Ronald enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1990 and served twenty-three years as a Tanker and a Drill Sergeant, retiring in 2013 as a Master Sergeant. During his service to the country, Ronald served two tours of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom and the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

In 2013, following his military service, Ronald worked with the Louisiana State Office of Probation and Parole, and received his Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification. Ronald began his law enforcement career with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2014 serving as a patrol deputy. He was quickly promoted to Sergeant and then Lieutenant supervising the daily operations of a Patrol Team. Ronald holds multiple law enforcement certifications, but one that is closest to his heart is that of an instructor for the Below 100 program. This training program is designed to influence law enforcement culture by providing innovative training and awareness to identify the leading causes and current trends that can help prevent line of duty deaths. He passionately teaches this course to deputies on an annual basis. Captain Findley is also the team leader for the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Team, working very closely with the Special Response Team to de-escalate extremely high risk and violent situations.

In 2020, Sheriff Stephen Williams promoted Findley to Captain and assigned him to the Civil Division where he currently serves. This division of the Sheriff’s Office oversees the daily operations including courthouse building security, ensuring safety and order during criminal and civil court sessions, civil paper services and the probation division. Sheriff Williams says “Captain Findley is a man of great character and faith, with a work ethic that is unmatched”.  

Ronald is married to Michellian Findley, who works with the Lincoln Parish School Board as a fifth grade math teacher at Cypress Springs Elementary. They have three children: Ronderio, Ronisha, and Ronald Samuel and attend Zion Travelers Baptist Church. Ronald loves spending time with his family, hunting, fishing and football.

Five Bearcats earn all-state honors

RUSTON, La. — The Ruston High Bearcat football squad tallied a few more postseason honors this past week to the All-Louisiana Sports Writers Association 5A team with two on offense and one on defense, as well as two seniors being named honorable mention.

District 2-5A Offensive MVP junior Dyson Fields was named as a running back, while senior Micah Scheer earned the honor as an offensive lineman. Sophomore Jadon Mayfield earned a spot on the team as a linebacker.

“I’m very proud for those guys making all state,” Ruston High head football coach Jerrod Baugh said. “They were a very big part of our team’s success this year. It’s a testament to the respect our football program has around the state.”

Seniors Devian Wilson and Jayden Woods also made honorable mention for their 2021 performances.

Ruston earned a Top 10 ranking this past season by winning eight straight games and finishing as Co-District 2-5A champions. The Bearcats finished their season with a loss in the quarterfinals at Destrehan.

Business leader spotlight: Candace Bowen

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce announced its the Top Five Young Leaders to Watch, which included Candace Bowen, Bayou Title, Inc.; LaToya Houston, Quality Care at Home, LLC; Sarah McKinnie, Origin Bank; Oliver Neal, Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc.; and Phillip Smart, City of Ruston. 

Over the next few days, the Lincoln Parish Journal will feature these individuals and their contributions to our parish. 

Candace Bowen with Bayou Title said she was having a rough morning when Judy Copeland, outgoing Chamber president called with the recognition announcement.

“She said, ‘I bet I can make you smile,’ and she absolutely did,” Bowen said. “I told her that she made my whole week.”

Bowen said she puts 100 percent into everything she does with her work.

“My work is personal to me; my work product and the people I serve are all important to me,” she said. “My hope is that everyone who walks through Bayou’s doors feels welcomed and important. I like giving to people. This award is important because I feel like this is my business community passing along that spirit of hospitality in full circle back to me.”

Bowen, a Louisiana Tech and Mississippi College School of Law graduate, said people who want to make a difference in the community need to take risks.

“I will say that hard work is always a given,” she said. “You cannot be afraid of taking some risks, working longer hours, or missing a vacation. But, by the same token, you don’t have to climb the mountain every single day. Taking a breather to relax and write down your visions of what you want your future business to look like are important too.”

Bowen has been married to her husband, Nathan, for 12 years and they have two children: Beaux Lauren and Fox Mack. She said part of the reason she and Nathan have made their home here is because of the atmosphere.

“Lincoln Parish is a place where your business can be in direct competition with another business and yet you can call on your competitor for advice,” Bowen said. “Where else in the world can you do that? This place is special. Ray Madden is living proof of the preciousness of this community. Bayou Title is technically his competition and yet he always takes time for my calls and my questions. Being a business competitor in Lincoln Parish isn’t a threat, it’s a blessing, and that makes Lincoln Parish stand out.”