Red River Schools Get Nearly $215,000 in Education Grants

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This was a good week for the Red River Parish School Board. They were awarded $214,757.00 in federal grants to help our schools. The Journal reported over the past year that the board was making application for the grants. This week they were awarded.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted on Wednesday to allocate Red River Parish $120,514.00 for a program to implement initiatives to improve the reading and writing skills of struggling students. The money comes from the Struggling Readers Comprehensive Literacy program. It is a three-year, $55,500.000.00 federal grant to the state. The money Red River was awarded comes from the first year allocation.

The other award was recently approved by the Louisiana Department of Education and is part of grants to 19 school systems in the state. The education department said they are for a renewed approach to school turnaround in the area of the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal program. The grant of $94,243.00 to Red River Parish schools was part of an $8,000,000.00 funding package approved by the BESE board at it’s meeting this week.


Can’t Go to The Game? Listen Live

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Both Red River and Riverdale Academy basketball teams are having a great year. And you can be court-side even if you cannot attend the games. Listen on Journal Sports and hear the games as they are played.

Friday night both schools are playing. Red River has boys and girls district games against Lakeview. The game will be played at Lakeview. Riverdale will be at home Friday hosting district games against Central School.

Saturday Riverdale Academy is at home. They host Northeast Baptist School from West Monroe. Riverdale was victorious when the teams met earlier in the season. Saturday’s games begin with JV playing at 2:00 and varsity games to follow.

Tuesday evening, January 30th Riverdale will be at home playing Tensas Academy. They went to Tensas earlier in the season. Those are district games. Also Tuesday Red River will be at home for games against Calvary Baptist. Varsity games begin at 6:00 pm.

Get your sports live instead of the next week. Journal Sports provides live coverage of both Riverdale Academy and Red River High basketball games. Jared Smelser provides the play-by-play for Riverdale games and John Brewer will bring you the Red River games. A link and game notification will be posted on Facebook/RedRiverParishJournal before each contest.   You can also go to and choose your game – Red River Basketball or Riverdale Basketball.


Real ID Deadline Extended

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If you have not updated your driver’s license, the deadline for converted to a “Real ID” has been extended. The new deadline is in October.

In a news release, The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles reported:
Real ID credentials have been issued since October 3, 2016, and they are awaiting official confirmation from DHS that we are in full compliance. Louisiana has been in continuous contact with DHS, who has confirmed that the determination of compliance has been forwarded to the Secretary for official approval.

Although Louisiana is awaiting approval, DHS is in recognition of the coming enforcement deadline therefore has used there delegate authority to immediately grant an extension which will be valid through October 10, 2018. This means Louisiana citizens will still be allowed to use a non-expired Louisiana driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel even if it has not been marked with a Real ID symbol.


ETC… for Jan 26th



A reminder that the Food for Seniors distribution of food boxes will take place on Monday, January 29th from 8: 30 to 11:00 am. Look at The Journal’s January 19th issue for details on re-certifying or signing up for the COA’s Food for Seniors Program.

Northwestern State was tops among the Louisiana institutions and third overall with 101 student-athletes qualifying for the Fall 2017 Southland Conference Commission’s Honor Roll recognizing outstanding academic achievement. The Fall Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognizes student-athletes in the sports of men’s cross-country, women’s cross country, football, soccer and volleyball who maintain at least a 3.00 grade point average in the semester of their sport.

The full audit of the Red River Parish School Board is now available on the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s web page. Go to if you would like to review the latest audit of the board. See The Journal’s January 12th edition for details.

A busy day for Red River firefighters Tuesday of this week. Chief Shane Felts says there were 3 calls. One was to a brush fire on Social Springs road around the gravel pit. Also Louisiana Forestry was doing a control burn on St. Mary Church Road, which resulted in lots of smoke around neighboring homes.

Firefighters and EMS were called to a two-vehicle wreck on US 71 south between Conoco and the Country Market. State Police report no injuries in that accident. It did back up traffic for a while until the damaged vehicles could be cleared.


Railroad Repairs to Disrupt Traffic Through Monday

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The state Department of Transportation has announced road closings in Red River Parish for repair work by the Union Pacific Railroad. The UP has been replacing the crossties and is making repairs to grade crossings along Highway 1 for the past two weeks. Repairs to the major crossings in the parish will be made over the next week.

Tomorrow, Jan 25th repairs will be made to the crossing on US 371 at Armistead. Friday Jan 26th the crossing on Highway 177 going to Evelyn will be made. The crossing on US 84 headed to Mansfield will be repaired on Saturday. And next Monday the UP will repair the crossing in the curve on Highway 1 at Armistead.

Here are the details from DOTD concerning each crossing effected:

CLOSURE: Union Pacific RR crossing on US 371 in Red River Parish:

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that on Thursday, January 25, 2018, the at-grade Union Pacific railroad crossing on US 371 in Red River Parish will be closed for repairs.

This closure is scheduled to last from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be performed weather permitting.

Alternate Route: Total road closure. ALL traffic will be detoured to LA 1 to LA 177

ROAD CLOSURE: Union Pacific RR crossing on LA 177 in Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that on Friday, January 26, 2018, the at-grade Union Pacific railroad crossing on LA 177 in Red River Parish will be closed for repairs.

This closure is scheduled to last from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be performed weather permitting.

Alternate Route: Total road closure. ALL traffic will be detoured to LA 1 to US 371.

ROAD CLOSURE: Union Pacific RR crossing on US 84 in Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that on Saturday, January 27, 2018, the at-grade Union Pacific railroad crossing on US 84 in Red River Parish will be closed for repairs.

This closure is scheduled to last from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be performed weather permitting.

Alternate Route: Total road closure. ALL traffic will be detoured to LA 509 to I-49.

ROAD CLOSURE: Union Pacific RR crossing on LA 1 in Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that on Monday, January 29, 2018, the at-grade Union Pacific railroad crossing on LA 1 in Red River Parish will be closed for repairs.

This closure is scheduled to last from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be performed weather permitting.

Alternate Route: Total road closure. ALL traffic will be detoured to LA 174 to I-49.


Flu Outbreak Highest Since 2008-09 Outbreak

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The occurrence of the flu in Red River Parish is as severe as in other parts of the state and nation. However an official of the Department of Public Health says it is not any less either.

Dr. Martha White is Regional Medical Director of 9 northwest Louisiana parishes, including Red River. She told The Journal, “About 11 percent of Doctors and Hospital Visits are due to the flu. It has not been that high since the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2008-09.”

“Louisiana is on track to have 600 to 700 deaths by the end of the flu season,” said Dr. White. “We’re not there yet, that is just a projection.” She added, “Many of the deaths that occur are the result of a complication in the form of pneumonia or other disease.”

About the current flu vaccine, Dr. White said, “The flu shot is 30 to 60 percent effective. Getting the shot will decrease the length of the illness and lessens the severity of the attack. A person who received the flu vaccine is less likely to get a secondary infection.”

Note: Red River Parish is in La region 7. The state health department report our region is as hard hit as any region in the state. The graphs published with this article show the rates of flu outbreak throughout the US. The Journal did not find a chart displaying only Louisiana data, however information reviewed leads to the conclusion that a similar rate of cases is occurring in this state.

Recently The Journal reported that the Red River Parish Health Unit has flu vaccine available for qualified recipients. Check with your physician or pharmacy concerning flu vaccine availability.


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Library Board to Demolish Old Houses

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The Library Board of Control voted this week to move forward with demolition of two old houses located on property recently purchased. One house is behind the library on Alonzo Street. The other is beside the library on East Carroll Street.

The board voted to get costs of demolition and also get cost estimates on building a wrought iron fence around the library’s property. Discussion at the board’s meeting centered on the desire of board members to build a fence similar to the one erected by First Baptist Church on lots nearby.

It was decided to offer the fire department the two houses for training purposes. Almost a year ago the fire department burned the old Thomas house on Baptist church property across Alonzo Street from the library.

Librarian Trey Lewis conducted a tour of the two houses for board members following their meeting. Lewis pointed out that the houses had been gutted with cabinets, bathroom fixtures, water heaters, ceiling lights, and other items removed.

Once costs for the demolition and fence are obtained they will be presented to the library board at a future meeting.


More Changes Coming to Education

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For the last few years there have been many changes to the education landscape in the state. And more are on the way. An official of the state education department presented the latest update at this month’s board meeting.

Dana Tally is a Network Leader with the Louisiana Department of Education. She works with the local board on curriculum and testing standards. At the meeting Tally told the board, “There have been a lot of changes in the last few years. The department has implemented new standards and created new assessments. And there are new curriculum resources available.”

Tally said, “The final step is a change in how we measure districts and schools.” She referred to the old accountability system that considered a school an “A” school if a majority of students scored BASIC on the LEAP tests. Tally told the board, “We are redefining an ‘A’ school. It is now a school I which the majority of students score MASTERY on LEAP. This means that the students are ready to go on to the next level.”

The changes assign less points to Basic and Mastery and more points to Advanced. Tally said, “The emphasis in now on how many students are growing. Progress indexes will now show where schools are plus what letter grade they get for growth.”

“Expect a decline in scores of local schools because of the changes the state education department has made to the formula.” Tally reassured the board that standards are now consistent and assessments are stable. She added “OK now let’s see what growth we have now that we are measuring apples to apples.”


A Scam of a Scam

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Every once in a while a person has to ask themselves “Who would fall for this?” Unfortunately the answer is “Lots of people!” It has come to The Journal’s attention that a new scam being floated by email pretends that it will reward you as the victim of a scam!

The body of the message goes like this:
“Attention E-mail Address Owner,

“Sequel to the meeting held today with Federal Bureau of Investigation, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam victims and your name and email address was found in the scam victims list.

“However, we have concluded to effect your payment through Western Union Money Transfer, $5,000 daily until the total sum of your compensation fund is transferred to you.”

Keep reading your email and you will find the return address is Plot 1261 in the Republic of Benin. Could the address be a cemetery plot? Google Benin and you’ll find it to be a west African nation that is the birthplace of vodun religion. That’s voodoo!

It gets even better. The contact person is Sir Innocent Johnson, Director of Western Union Money Transfer Head office Benin Republic.

Quite creative. A scan that declares you are a scam victim and you have money coming! $5,000 a day! Wow, I’ll be rich!



Meet the newest member of the Louisiana Tech family: Tech XXII

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Saturday, Louisiana Tech University introduced the newest member of its family: Tech XXII. The son of Tech XXI, Tech XXII is 14 months old and weighs 36 pounds, a healthy, sweet, friendly, energetic English Bulldog.

“We have a long history of having distinguished live mascots to represent Louisiana Tech,” said President Les Guice. “Tech XXII will continue that legacy and represent the best qualities of our current students and alumni. His presence at games and University events will enrich our experiences and create lasting memories.”

Tech XXII closely resembles his father and will share the spotlight with Champ, the University’s costumed mascot. He will live with a local family with strong ties to Louisiana Tech.