Getting Ready for High Water

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There is water everywhere in the parish and we are under a River Flood Warning. The National Weather Service says the Red River will rise to near 31.0 feet flood stage by Wednesday evening. Then the river should fall below flood stage early Thursday afternoon.

The Journal checked with Police Jury President Shawn Beard Tuesday morning and he said that no emergency declarations had been issued. As a precaution monitor the weather service and Facebook pages of the sheriff and parish homeland security.

Last week steps were taking to prevent the Red River from flooding the town of Coushatta. That information came from the Natchitoches Sheriff’s Office:
On Friday afternoon February 23, shortly after 5:00pm, Sheriff Victor Jones deployed members of the NPSO Dive Team to Red River Parish to assist the Red River Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, Red River Parish Fire Protection District and a local contractor in installing a metal cap over a culvert at an undisclosed location to prevent possible backwater flooding from Red River in the Town of Coushatta.
Divers said the operation was successful and this same procedure has been used in the past to prevent flooding.
Members of the NPSO Dive Team are from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Natchitoches City Fire Department, Natchitoches Parish Fire Districts# 5, #6, #7, and #9.

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Rebels Are State Champs

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There are two gleaming new trophies for Riverdale Academy’s trophy case. On Saturday the Rebels and Lady Rebels won their Class A championships. The Class A tournament was played at Delta Academy in Marks, Mississippi.

The afternoon game featured the Lady Rebels vs. Claiborne Academy. Riverdale started hot but Claiborne pulled within one at the end of the first period. At the half Claiborne had a one-point lead. Riverdale was up by one at the end of the third. And that is the way this tough fought match went, back and forth all game.

The Lady Rebels were down in the final minute. They trailed by two when Gracie Almond was fouled with 3.2 seconds remaining. She made the first. Then Almond stepped to the line and nailed the second for a tie game as time ran out.

In overtime a recharged Lady Rebel team took the court and took charge. It seemed as if Claiborne could not keep up. And the Lady Rebels won the championship 46 to 42.

The boy’s final was played at 7:15 Saturday night. The Riverdale Rebels faced the Union Christian Academy Lions from Farmerville. Payton Thornton put the first points on the board on a three point shot from the deep right attacking corner. The Rebels never looked back.

Riverdale lead at the end of the first quarter 14-10. At the half the score was 20-16. The Rebels lead stretched to 6 at the end of the third 30-24. At the end of the game, Riverdale won the state championship on a score of 44 to 41.

Both teams had three players selected to the All Tournament Team. For the Lady Rebels the selections were Madelynne Greer, Madison Alexander and Gracie Almond. Rebels selected to the All Tournament Team were Kamden Messick, Jackson Riggs and Ty Jones.



It Is The Small Things

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What goes into the making of a champion? Here are a couple of my observations from the Riverdale Academy championship game last Saturday. They apply to any endeavor if you think about it.

First I want to thank Delta Academy Headmaster Barry Finnie for doing a superior job of play-by-play for the tournament games. He is a former coach of the Delta basketball team and knows the game inside and out. Thanks Barry for a great call.

I noticed prior to the Rebels game with UCA a couple of little things that set the stage for their performance. The boys arrived wearing nice shirts and ties. And Coach Steve Weir and his assistant coaches were dressed for business. UCA showed up in a variety of t-shirts and shorts of different colors. Their coach wore slacks and an open collar shirt.

The Rebels were loose during warm-ups, always smiling and kidding as boys do. The facial expression of some of the UCA stars was different, not serious about the game, but they looked as if they would win because they were Union Christian.

The beauty of the sport came up while Parker Almond was in the game in the second half. The Rebels needed a boost at that moment in the contest. Almond made a fall-away three point shot and the ball hit the net as he hit the floor. Almond jumped up and so did the Riverdale fans shouting their appreciation. It added to the Rebel momentum just at the right time.

Another example was important foul shots taken by Ty Jones. He is an eighth grader who plays with maturity beyond his years. It was a tough situation late in the game. UCA fouled Jones who went to the line. On the radio broadcast Barry Finnie remarked that Jones had ice water in his veins. Nothing upset him. He calmly made both free throws while a storm was raging on the court.

One of the small things that made a huge difference was team and individual discipline. Riverdale was all business. They played the game as they had been coached. In the first half the UCA bench drew a technical foul because three players jumped up and screamed at the referee for a call they did not agree with. That cost UCA two points.

When the game got tight in the second half, the UCA coach did the same thing. He also kicked over a chair and was up in the ref’s face. Another technical foul and another two points for Riverdale. The crowd behind UCA took their hint from the bench, yelling and loudly disagreeing with every call.

There were calls that Coach Weir did not agree with, however he handled them differently. He made his dissatisfaction known to the officials in a manner that he got his point across. And Weir’s example kept order on the bench. The large following of Riverdale fans reacted positively with huge cheers whenever the team scored. There was little dissention with the officiating.

This reporter’s observation is that the little things of team discipline, attitude, dress, and personal demeanor went a long way to helping Riverdale win the state championship. I am sure the UCA fans are convinced that the refs were against them from the start and poor refereeing cost them the game. But consider if you are angry and upset, can you give your best performance? After it was all over, the final score had UCA down by three, 44 to 41. They gave up four unnecessary points to the two technical fouls that were a direct result of poor discipline and a less than stellar example set by the UCA coach.

It is an old lesson but a true one that discipline leads to character. And great character will carry you when everything else seems to be going against you. Congratulations to Riverdale for earning the state championship for both boys and girls. But the groundwork for those outstanding performances was set during numerous hours of hard, grinding work.

Red River’s Road to the Championships



The playoff train paused briefly in Coushatta Tuesday night then roared out of the station. It will be back on Friday. After a slow start in the Red River – East Feliciana game, the score went back and forth. Red River would be up one, then down two, then up again for three full quarters of play.

East Feliciana lead 14 to 11 at the end of the first quarter. By the half, Red River climbed to a one point lead 28-27. The score was East Feliciana 48 and Red River 47 after three quarters. Then the Bulldog Train gathered a head of steam and never looked back.

Final score was Red River Bulldogs 68 and the East Feliciana Tigers 55.

What’s next? Coach Keith Johnson said another game being played Tuesday night would determine the next opponent. Johnson said, “The next playoff game will be played Friday night and it will probably be played at Red River.”

A short time after the game the LHSAA brackets were updated. Lakeside High from Sibley defeated Amite 60 to 55. Lakeside advances and the brackets confirm the game will be at Red River Friday, March 2nd.

On Tuesday, Red River Parish Superintendent Alison Hughes made the announcement that everyone is invited to make the trip to Alexandria for the Lady Bulldogs playoff game on Thursday against North Caddo.

Hughes said, “We are very excited to announce that our Red River High School Lady Bulldogs basketball team has made it to the Top 28. Their semifinal game will be Thursday, March 1 at 3:00 at the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria Louisiana against North Caddo. Due to this early game time, we will be dismissing school on Thursday, March 1 at 12:00 noon.

“We will also be taking spectator busses for students and the community. These buses will be leaving Red River High School at 12:30. Any parent or member of the community who wishes to ride a spectator bus needs to sign up to secure a seat at the Red River Parish School Board office by 4:00 Wednesday afternoon.

“Students of Red River High School must sign up to ride at Red River High. Students of Red River Elementary and Red River Junior High are welcome to ride the spectator bus but must be accompanied by an adult. Adults accompanying these students must also sign up at the Red River Parish Central Office. There is no charge for riding the bus, but spectators will be responsible for game tickets and food.

Martin Graduate to be Honored by NSU

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A graduate of Martin High School is among six graduates to be inducted into Northwestern State University’s alumni hall of distinction, the Long Purple Line. The 2018 inductees include Dr. Philip Cole of Shreveport.

Cole graduated from Martin High School in Red River Parish then earned a bachelor’s from Northwestern in chemistry and biology. He went own to earn his M.D. from LSU Medical School in New Orleans. Cole received a master’s of health care management from the Harvard School of Public Health. He did his internship in general surgery residency and a colon and rectal surgical fellowship at LSU Health Science Center. Cole has 36 years of private and academic surgical practice. He is professor of surgery and public health and general surgery program director for LSUHSC and previously served as chief medical officer for Christus Health in Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Cole has served as president, vice president and secretary of the Louisiana chapter of the American College of Surgery.

In his career, Cole has published more than 40 national and international presentations of academic papers and book chapters. He serves as a deacon and member of the board of directors at Broadmoor Baptist Church. Cole was a member of the board of directors for LSU Health Science Center Foundation and chairman of the Investment Committee, the board of directors of Christus Health, Louisiana and the Juvenile Justice Committee for Caddo Parish. He is a Harvard University admissions committee interviewer and is on the LSU Medical School Admissions Committee. Cole has made more than 30 international medical mission trips.

Cole and the other honorees will be honored at a luncheon on March 23 at noon in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. Tickets are $20. For more information, call (318) 357-4415 or e-mail


ETC… for February 28th



The Journal received this notice from the school board last Thursday afternoon:

“Recent rains in our Parish have made some roads difficult to navigate for school buses. We are aware of these issues and are preparing for our afternoon bus routes. School will dismiss at the regular time but please expect delays in the afternoon bus routes as we make sure we are using the safest possible routes to deliver your child home.”

We also received a recorded message from Hughes making this same announcement. In fact I got the recording on several phones and the message came to several emails.

Now you’re saying that’s spam or unwanted repetition. But the school board has the system set up to notify you in the event something happens involving your children. Not only is the board “over-communicating” but it also says that they are caring about child safety and keeping parents and others informed. And if you are tired of getting multiple calls and notices, you can opt out if you wish.

Here is a note from the Red River Elementary PAW Parents. Yearbooks are on sale. They must be ordered online. The correct school ID number is 15981. The deadline to purchase 5th grade ads is Wednesday. Your child can have a special page designed by you. Get your money in today. Remember you can only order online. No extra copies will be purchased by the school. school# 15981.

Christy Suggs posted: “5th grade parents: buy your child an ad in the yearbook. Embarrass them with those baby pics, congratulations on b-ball, football, cheer, etc. Share your love. “

The parish office of homeland security passes along this scam alert:
Several reports have been received about scam phone calls seeking donations for the “American Police Officers Alliance.” This scam is not new but has just recently been reported in Louisiana.

Phone calls showing 337-573-1261 and 985-273-6238 from a gentleman named “John,” are requesting a donation of $25, $50, or $100 for the “American Police Officers Alliance.” “John” avoids answering his questions directly, but recited the group’s “mission statement,” which is to help our police officers and departments. A call back to the numbers either has a message stating the number is not accepting calls or is answered by a party that is unaware his number has been spoofed.

“American Police Officers Alliance” is not registered with the IRS as a 527C nonprofit organization, and it has never donated anything to a political cause or group. Charity Navigator, a popular website that verifies the legitimacy of charities and nonprofit organizations, does not have a listing for the “American Police Officers Alliance” on its website.
Source: Louisiana State Analytical & Fusion Exchange