Body found in Bayou Pierre, officials working on identification

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Two LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries agents spotted a body floating in the water while they were patrolling on Bayou Pierre May 16 at 1:13 pm, one mile South of the Hwy. 174 bridge near the Natchitoches-Red River Parish line in the Jordan Ferry Community.

Deputies and Investigators from the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Sheriff’s Offices and the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Coroners Offices responded to the scene. The body was recovered and sent for autopsy to determine positive identification, and cause of death.

The NPSO is the lead investigating agency. They request the public call the Criminal Investigations Division with any information regarding missing persons in the area.

Investigators believe the body to be that of a female, however at this time it’s not believed to be the body of the missing woman Cynthia Osborn. Additional details and body markings will be released after the autopsy is completed. Officials did say that it appears the body has been in the water for quite some time.

UPDATE:

NPSO: PRELIMINARY AUTOPSY FINDINGS RELEASED ON BODY FOUND FLOATING IN BAYOU PIERRE NEAR JORDAN FERRY AREA

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office have received preliminary autopsy findings on a body found by LDWF Agents in Bayou Pierre on Wednesday afternoon near the Jordan Ferry area according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.

After an autopsy was performed by Forensic Pathologists at University Health -Shreveport it was determined that the body discovered is possibly a white female approximately 5’4” with what appears to be butterflies tattooed on both lower legs, flowers on front of left thigh with a star beneath it and a tattoo of some sort on underside of right forearm with an unknown word.

The victim wearing a tee-shirt with a tri-colored pineapple on front is possibly between the ages of 30-40 and deceased approximately 2-3 weeks. Anyone with a missing person matching these descriptions please contact the NPSO-CID Division at 318-357-7830 Detective Jonathan Byles or the main SO at 318-352-6432.

The investigaton is active and ongoing by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office with assistance from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and Red River Parish Coroner’s Office.

Seniors Receive Awards in Special Ceremony

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It was the first time graduates of Red River High School received their scholarships and other awards at a special ceremony. In prior years presentation of awards was part of commencement. The special awards ceremony was held Tuesday night.

Principal J.C. Dickey III told the gathering of parents, relatives and friends that the ceremony would be lengthy but “I want everyone to know everything the students had achieved.” He added, “The big picture goes way beyond a diploma. Red River High has done a great job of preparing students for whatever comes next.”

Every graduate present received some recognition. Many students were the recipient of multiple awards, certificates, certifications. Then there was the presentation of numerous scholarships. Here are some of the highlights.

There were awards in English, writing, social studies, music and band, Spanish, small engine repair, and Beta Club.

Band Director Yasmine Jason presented the Outstanding Musician awards to Steven Williams, James Putek, Bobby White, and Shantwaine Lewis. Jason announced that the four students had been accepted into the NSU School of Music. She said never before had four Red River students received music scholarships.

Bulldog Awards were given to Kaylee Antilley, Karla Ashworth, Skylar Blow, Dominique Burton, Mickael Lewis, Shantwaine Lewis, Jasper Miller, Christopher Moore, Pierre Mosely, Brian Price, James Putek, Jacob Session, Bobby White ad Steven Williams.

The Leadership Award went to Adriana Bradley. Mrs. RRHS is Tianna Rock and Mr. RRHS is Waylon Washington. Principal Dickey said that award reflected everything Rock and Washington had done in high school, their accomplishments and contributions over the past four years.

The Air Force Junior ROTC program presented graduates with certificates of completion of the program. Those were awarded to Kaylee Antilley, Karla Ashworth, Jaclyn Bone, Tyneisha Callihan, Shemarian Demery, Pierre Gant, Kyara Iverson, Mickael Lewis, Thomas McCoy, Kiarra Rock, Tianna Rock, Kami Sharpley, Joseah Warren, and Abudllah Yafai.

National Society of High School Scholars awards were presented to Kaylee Antilley, Adriana Bradley and Tianna Rock. Trailblazers were Tianna Rock and Kaylee Antilley. Awards for participants in Girls State went to Tianna Rock and Adriana Bradley.

The award for the student scoring highest on the ACT test went to Angel Baird.
The highest dollar amount awarded was a scholarship from the Louisiana National Guard. James Putek has already enlisted and he was awarded a full four-year scholarship worth $102,000.00.

RRHS Black History Scholarships were presented by Billie Sue Mosley and Phyllis Calhoun. They were given to Skylar Blow, Adriana Bradley, Dominique Burton, Demontae Calhoun, Lazaria Clark, Ladaja Demery, Shemarian Demery, Pierre Mosely, Randarius Murphy, Shacoby Perkins, Shakeem Perkins, Joesph Smith, SheReddrion Smith, Waylon Washington, Bobby White, and
Oksonna Williams.

Some of the other scholarships awarded include the Louisiana Sheriff’s scholarship presented to Caty Mahfouz. Alternate on that scholarship was Wilmer Gene Williams. The Louisiana State Troopers Association scholarship was presented to Kaylee Antilley. The American Legion presented two scholarships to Tianna Rock and James Putek. The Cox Development Foundation scholarships went to Lazaria Clark and Pierre Mosely. The State Representative Kenny Cox scholarship was presented to Adriana Bradley. Upward Bond DeSoto presented a $1,000 scholarship to Tianna Rock. Another $1,000 scholarship went to Kiarra Rock.

Two universities presented scholarships. Louisiana State University Shreveport presented a 4-year, $8,000 scholarship to Cody Edwards. LSUS also presented a 4-year, $12,000 scholarship to Angel Baird.

Northwestern State University presented a number of opportunity scholarships. A total of three scholarships were presented to Kaylee Antilley. Three scholarships were also presented to Lazaria Clark. And two scholarships were presented to Tianna Rock.

To conclude the awards program, Principal J.C. Dickey presented each graduate with his or her Certificates of Commitment. Some students committed to a particular course of study at a college or university while others committed to go to a trade or technical school or go directly into the workforce.

In closing, Dickey said, “It was long, but I wanted you as a community to understand what our kids have gone through in high school.” He thanked the crowd for attending and supporting this years graduating class.

Commencement will be next Tuesday, May 22nd at 6:00 pm. It will be held on the football field, weather permitting.

Do You Know the Owner?

RRPJ-horse-18May16The Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) and Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission are seeking the public’s help in locating the owner of a malnourished horse.
On May 11, 2018 RRPSO deputies were dispatched to a residence on Bruce St. just south of Coushatta. The call was in reference to a stray horse that appeared to be in poor physical condition.
After observing its condition, deputies contacted a local agent with the Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission. The agent subsequently took possession of the animal and arranged for its transportation to the Red River Livestock barn in Armistead for temporary care and housing.
The horse appears to be a 2-year-old crossbred, bay colored stud with a white patch on its forehead (see photo).
Anyone with information concerning the identity of the owner is asked to contact the RRPSO at 318-932-4221 or the Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission locally at 318-949-3225.

Detour Around Bridge Repair

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The state transportation department says beginning May 29th you will have to detour around repairs to a bridge on LA 515. They waited until Riverdale Academy was out for the summer before the work would be done.

Here is the news release from the transportation department:

Road or Lane Status
ROAD CLOSURE: LA 515 bridge over Coushatta Bayou in Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that beginning on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 8:00 a.m., the LA 515 bridge over Coushatta Bayou, near East Point in Red River Parish, will be closed for approximately thirteen (13) days for piling repair.

This bridge is located approximately 1.1 miles north of US 71 and approximately 5.0 miles south of LA 514.

Alternate Route: Total road closure. ALL vehicles must detour using LA 514 and US 71.

Restrictions/Permits: N/A

This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.

Jump Rope For Heart

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Tuesday was a fun day at Red River Elementary School. The children marched out to the parking lot for their annual Jump Rope For Heart event to benefit the American Heart Association.

The Journal talked with Melana Culbertson, the coordinator of this year’s event. She told us they have done this event every spring since the elementary school was built. She said she did it at Martin school before RRES was opened.

Culbertson said, “It is an all day event. The children have a great time and their sponsors contribute to the American Heart Association. The younger children jumped in the morning before lunch with the older children jumping in the afternoon.”

ETC… for May 18th

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Mark your calendar. The murder mystery and dinner theatre put on by the Coushatta VFW Auxiliary is May 25th. A Murder On The Grill will be staged at St. Joseph Church In Mansfield at 6:00 pm. Contact Angelia McCoy at 318-465-8279 or Ramel Fields at 318-461-9049 for tickets.

Graduation was held at Riverdale Academy last night. The Journal will have the story in next Wednesday’s edition. Red River High graduation is Tuesday night at 6:00 pm. It will be held at Pat Strother Memorial Stadium. The end of classes is approaching. May 23rd is the last day for students.

Congratulations to Jarrett Bailey and Morgan Auzenne Bowman of Coushatta. They were recently inducted into the Order of the Engineer by the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. Bailey and Bowman were among 98 students inducted. The Order of the Engineer is a national organization that is open to engineering seniors and graduates from colleges with ABET accredited curricula, registered professional engineers and special engineers throughout the United States.

Late Thursday afternoon The Journal received word that a closed roadway is being reopened.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that LA 787 near the junction of LA 155 in Red River Parish has been REOPENED.

School Board Upholds “No Walk” Policy

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Monday night the Red River Parish School Board stuck to it’s policy of prohibiting high school seniors who have not met all of the requirements for graduation from walking with their classmates during commencement exercises. A motion to make an exception died for lack of a second.

Latoyia Hicks appeared before the board to ask that her daughter be allowed to “march with her classmates.” Her appeal to the school board, Hicks stated that her daughter had failed an End of Course Test although she had made good grades in biology and history. Hicks said of her daughter, “She is not a good test taker. The situation is not fair because she has done all other accomplishments. She has never had behavior problems.” Hicks added, “It is a big disappointment (for her) that she cannot walk at graduation.”

An Aunt of the student, Evelyn Hunt told the board, “She is not trying to get her diploma. She knows she cannot get that because of grades. I am merely here to ask that she be able to march with her classmate. That is a great feeling.” And Hunt said, “My niece does deserve to march by being successful in the classroom, not on the written test (the EOC).

Board member Valerie Cox made a passionate plea that the exception is granted in this case, Cox saying, “Why penalize students when they are making excellent grades in their courses. There are so many factors that we cannot weigh them all. My heart goes out to you.”

Cox claimed that a couple of years ago she had been told, “students were allowed to march as long as they agree to come back and take the test.” Superintendent Alison Hughes said she could not recall students in the past being allowed to march if they had not completed all of the requirements. Director of Student Learning, Karen Squires echoed the Superintendent and added, “Not all seniors have been successful and those were not allowed to march.”

Board member Kasandria White remarked, “Just last year a young man did not get an opportunity to march. We have had a number of students in the past who were not allowed to march.” Board member Cleve Miller said, “It is very difficult to do something like this. When the board put a policy in place, my effort is to try to enforce the policy. If we change tonight, we cannot do one thing this year and something else the next year. Always try to enforce the policy in place.

Cox called for the board to “vote on it now. Don’t take it under advisement. There will not be another board meeting before graduation.” Cox moved for the student to be allowed to march at graduation. She predicted the outcome when she said, “It dies for lack of a second. The motion dies for lack of a second.”

Board member White said, “It is important for the public to see that we enforce our policy. The EOC was not made by Red River Parish, but it is required.”

At the end of the discussion, Cox’s motion died for lack of a second. The result is that Latoyia Hicks’ daughter will not march at graduation because she had not completed all of the requirements for graduation.

It should be noted that this discussion could have been conducted by the board in executive session, meaning the public would not have been present for the deliberations. Hicks requested the open session and when questioned repeated that she desired the matter be taken up in an open meeting.

As the board concluded this item, member Valerie Cox left the meeting. She did not stay for another personnel matter that was discussed in executive session and she did not return for the conclusion of the public meeting. Cox left the Administration Building and was talking outside with the proponents of letting the student walk at graduation. Cox appeared visibly upset by the outcome. When asked if she would return to the meeting, Cox said, “I can’t go back in there. I am leaving now.”

Fourth Time is the Charm

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The Fourth Annual Classic Car and Truck Show was the most successful one ever. The Chamber of Commerce staged the show last weekend at Grand Bayou Resort.

Chamber President Karen Squires was all smiles as she concluded the show with presentation of awards Saturday afternoon. Squires thanked sponsors, volunteers and participants for making the show a success. The day was hot but there was no rain, therefore the show had a good turnout.

Here are the category winners:
Pre-War – 1929 Model A Ford entered by Basi Maroney
Post-War – 1947 Ford entered by Ronald Webb
Classic Truck – First place – 1956 Chevy Pickup entered by Reggie Collier.
Classic Truck – Second Place – 1979 Dodge Pickup entered by Russell Stevens
Classic Car – First place – 1955 Chevy Nomad entered by Randy Pearson
Classic Car – Second place -1968 Chevy Chevelle entered by Danny Weldon
Hot Rod – First place – 1930 Ford Model A entered by Ronnie Warren
Hot Rod – Second place – 1937 Chevy Coupe entered by Ray McCormic
Rat Rod – First place – 1938 Ford Pickup entered by Craig Jenkins
Mustang – First place – 2007 entered by Matt Jenkins
Mustang – Second place – 1993 Entered by Lester Evans
Early Mustang – First Place – 1966 entered by Kenny Mayeaux
Early Mustang – Second place – 1967 entered by Jerry Mayeaux
Modified Car – First place – 1963 Chevy II entered by Charles Caruth
Modified Truck – First place – 1986 Chevy entered by William Brown
Modified Truck – Second place – 1956 Ford entered by Tony Hudgins

The Car Show sponsors put up trophies for their favorite entries. The winners are:
4-B Garage – 1980 Chevy entered by Mike Martin
4-B Garage – 1984 Chevy entered by Cedric Henderson
American Bank – 1956 Mercury entered by James Patton
Bank of Coushatta – 1965 Mustang entered by Will Bamburg
Bank of Coushatta – 1966 Mustang entered by Sonny Lavespeare
Bank of Coushatta – 1967 Chevy Malibu entered by David Hana
Christus Coushatta – 1953 Chevy entered by Mark Elchelburger
Christus Coushatta – 1964 Chevy El Camino entered by Bubba Walters
Christus Coushatta – 1987 Chevy entered by Will Bierden
Nichols Department Store – 1966 Shelby entered by Dennis Bryant

Honors for Best Interior went to a 1936 Ford Coupe entered by Harold Jordan.
The Best Paint award went to a 1956 Ford entered by Tony Hudgins
The Chamber’s award was presented to Craig Fondren for his 1963 Chevy Impala
The Best Overall Vehicle was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air entered by Joe Masterson.

Scholars and Athletes Honored

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Riverdale Academy held their Awards Banquet on Thursday May 10th at Davis Springs Methodist Church. Outstanding Athletes and Scholars were celebrated during the evening. Many of the students excel in more than one area of academics or one or more sports. Some excel in both.

Some of the academic areas of excellence highlighted included students achieving a 4.0 GPA. Those scoring a 20+ on their ACT were presented awards. Academic recognition included members of Beta Club, Student Council and Literary Rally participants and qualifiers for state.

Honor Roll students, those with a 4.0 are Adam Bryant, Georgia Dowden, Brennan Edie, Madelynne Greer, Jake LeGrande, Heidi Murray, Matthew Seales and Nicole Williams. The top three students receiving AR Awards were:
Third Place – Heidi Murray
Second Place – Witt Almond
First Place – Matthew Seales

Coaches of the many sports offered by Riverdale called their players to the stage and presented their awards. It was noted that the 2017-18 Rebel football team had a perfect record in district and went two rounds deep in the playoffs. Both the girls and boys basketball teams won their State A tournaments to claim the title of State Champs.

Riverdale’s progress in other sports such as baseball, softball, track, and golf were noted and celebrated. This was the first year for Riverdale to have a Tennis team. Brandon Gay was given the award as Founder and Captain of the Tennis team.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the AJ Sigler Award. Principal Jamie Lawrence told the gathering, “This is the most prestigious award we present. AJ Sigler was the first Principal of Riverdale Academy. He believed successful academics and successful athletics were the basis on which Riverdale Academy was founded.”

Lawrence announced the winners of the Sigler Award. She said, “The award for the most outstanding girl goes to someone we remember for her dependability in both athletics and academics. Her parents, grandparents and brother are here as I present this award to Madelynne Greer.”

Of the male winner, Lawrence said, “He is both athletic and he is funny. Welcome his parents and brother and sister as I present the award to Kamden Messick.”

There were other special presentations to coaches with state championship team pictures presented to the boys and girls team coaches. Then members of both teams and their coaches filled the stage holding their State Champion banners for team pictures.

Red River Athletic Banquet

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Parish sports teams were celebrated at athletic banquets during the past week. On Friday, Red River High School held its Athletic Banquet in the school gym. It was an evening of celebrating victories on the field and court and inspiration from a proven winning coach.

The featured speaker was Mike McConathy, NSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach. McConathy’s message was “Do it to the best of your ability. Decide what you are going to do and why.” And McConathy added, “Be passionate about the game. Be disciplined to be the best person you can be on the court and in the classroom.”

At one point Coach McConathy asked the athletes if they were selfless? He said, “Give of yourself for the good of the team. Are you competing to help the guy next to you be the best that he can be?”

Referring to the success of Red River’s athletic teams this season, McConathy said, “I applaud you for being where you are. And I applaud you for continuing to strive to be the best.”

Each team was presented to the gathering. Their coaches pointed out team highlights and accomplishments. Those include Football, Boys Basketball and Girls Basketball all making it to the semi-finals in their playoff quests. It was pointed out that this had not been accomplished in recent memory. In addition, four Red River athletes have signed athletic scholarships so far this year.

School Superintendent Alison Hughes announced Waylon Washington and Sierra Ochoa as the Athletes of the Year. She announced the academic scholar athletes are Adrianna Bradley and Kaylee Antilley. Assistant Football Coach of the year is Ronnie Bagley. And the Red River High School Coach of the Year is Missy Antilley. Antilley lead the girl’s basketball team to the state semifinals game.

Coach Antilley made the closing remarks at the banquet. Her message to parents was “thank you for letting us coach your kids.” And Antilley told the players “thank you for working so hard all year for this.”