Schools Get Education Funding

The state Department of Education has published a list of school improvement grants that are being made across Louisiana.  Red River Parish is the recipient of several of those grants.  We asked Karen Squires to sort out the funds coming to Red River. Here is her analysis:

Red River Parish Schools have been awarded Competitive grants totaling $54,727.00 for the 2019-2020 School year.  The awarding of these grants reflects the dedication to improvement that this district has adopted in the past 4 years. 

The comprehensive Intervention Required grant funding is a total of $170,677.00.  These funds, formerly known as School Redesign funds, are competitively awarded to schools that have a school grade below a “C”.  We applied for these funds for the Elementary and Jr. High schools.  These funds are for implementing new Tier 1 Curriculum in ELA and Math and for teacher professional development.  A new K-2 Reading program was implemented in the 2018-2019 school year and teachers went through a week-long training with supported follow-up from the publishers. We also implemented ZEARN math and supported teachers through the use of Louisiana ELA Guidebook professional development. 

In the 2019-2020 school year, we will use the grant funding to provide additional support to K-2 teachers through a new digital platform for the Reading Program, provide additional math training for Elementary and Jr. High teachers, and we will provide comprehensive training to Special Education teachers in the implementation of ELA and Math supports for struggling students. We will also have 4 teachers trained in Math Content Leader (specialized math training) during the 2019-2020 year.   Our focus is on giving all teachers the tools necessary to provide meaningful and challenging lessons for all students on a daily basis.  Through these lessons students will work to achieve mastery of the standards for Louisiana.

Red River was also awarded $150,642.00 for SRCL funding for grades 6-8.  This money will be largely used to advance the professional development for all ELA teachers. Teachers will be enrolled in the state recognized ELA Content Leader training.  This training will be part of the district’s professional development calendar and will provide not only extensive training in the teaching of Reading, writing, and diverse learner needs but it will also provide an avenue for leadership advancement for teachers who wish to become district leaders.  A second area of focus is to continue to provide the digital platform for ELA Guidebook and print materials for Jr. High students.  

The third grant awarded is for $121,150.00 that provides monies for Teacher Incentives and talent pipeline lead.  These funds offer teachers the opportunities to become mentor teachers and stipends for extraordinary results on state test mastery levels. 

A final reward is for $12,258.00 which will allow the district to focus training on Special Education teachers.  These funds will provide much-needed professional development for teachers in this highly specialized area.  ELA and Math training will be conducted for teachers throughout the year.

Red River Parish School Board is excited by the opportunities that are afforded through the funds awarded to the district.  We know that through comprehensive curriculum change and professional development for teachers, the results will be significant for all students in this school system.  Our goal is always to provide excellent education: every child, every day, whatever it takes. 

Third Red River Crusade Kicks Off May 5th

The Red River Crusade offers something for everyone, so they say, “Bring the whole family”. This is the third annual crusade and it will be held at the fairgrounds May 5ththrough 11th.

Each evening there will be a free hamburger supper starting at 5:00 pm.  The service begins each evening at 6:00.

The Evangelist is Sam Moore. He will be preaching on the theme “Everyone is only one heartbeat away from eternity.”  Worship each night with music of weRcalled.

Services will be held nightly Sunday through Saturday, May 5ththrough 11that the Red River Fairgrounds.  The atmosphere is casual.  Come hear great music and relevant messages.

Join the journey at Red River Crusade.

State Capitol Trip Sign-up

The Red River Parish 4-H office is taking registrations for the upcoming 4-H Day at the Capitol.  They posted, “Let us know if you want to go. Free shirt with registration before April 30th.”

4-H Day at the Capitol us just around the corner.  This annual event at the Louisiana State Capitol allows 4-H’ers of all ages to engage in the legislative process and promote the impact the 4-H program have to legislators and community stakeholders.

So join us Wednesday, May 29 on the Capitol Steps for the 2019 4-H Day at the Capitol. To register, contact the Red River Parish 4-H Agent Jacque Fontenot at 318-932-4342.

Riverdale Academy Sports Accomplishments

Thanks to Stacy Greer for her posts on Riverdale’s accomplishments in golf and track.  From the Riverdale Facebook page, “Congratulations to the Riverdale Academy golf team! They placed 2nd in the River Oaks tournament on Wednesday, April 24th!

Team members are Gary Giddens,  Austin Giddens, Ryder Huddleston, Ty Jones, Kaylee Merry, Mason Murray, Reagan Huddleston, and Caden Long.”

Another post said, “Congratulations to Bailee King, she is the MAIS South A runner-up! She will advance to the overall meet next Friday, May 3rdat the Jackson Academy in Mississippi. King competed in discus.

Bulldog Track Team Wins District Championship

On Wednesday, the Red River track team went to the regional competition held at the NSU Walter Ledet Track Complex.  They came back with the regional crown.  And the Bulldogs are on their way to state.

“Congratulations to Red River High Track Team,” posted Principal JC Dickey. He added, “The boys won the 2A Regional Meet 68.3 to Many 68 points. It goes to show you in track every event and every point matters. Here is a list of Regional Winners and State Qualifiers who will compete next Friday at LSU. Thanks Coach Bonner for pics and great job coaches. Proud of this group way to compete Bulldogs. Let’s win state.” 

1st in Shot Put Quin Taylor
3rd in 400m Teanna Eason 

Triple Jump 1st CJ Kieth, 2nd KJ Bradley
100m 1st Johntraver Hymes
2nd 4x100m Ladarius Trotter, Quil Mosley, Patrick Perkins, and Johntraver Hymes
2nd 400m Gakerreon McDonald 
2nd 4x400m Eric Grant, BJ Harris, Julius Brisker, and Gakerreon McDonald
2nd 800m Julius Brisker.

Athletes headed to state competition next Friday are Quin Taylor in Shot Put, CJ Keith in Triple Jump, and Johntraver Hymes in 100 m.

ETC… for Friday, April 26th

A reminder, there is a Lifeshare blood drive at Riverdale Academy today (April 26th). The blood drive will be from 8:00 until 11:00 am.

Today is fish day! Lunch at the Council on Aging will be fried catfish and all the trimmings.  Lunch served 11:00 am until 1:00 pm.  Seniors 60+ pay only $4.00.  The regular fish day fell on Good Friday and the Depot Diner was closed.  So they moved the fish lunch to today.

The Autism Walk is tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  It will be held at House of Refuge Ministries on Springville Road.

Many students and alumni from Red River attended La. Tech.  Here is the news release concerning the storm Tonya Oaks Smith in Tech’s Information Office put out on Thursday morning:  “Louisiana Tech University is closed today, April 25, as the result of a tornado.  The storm traveled through the Ruston campus on Wednesday night, April 24. No students on campus were injured, but a significant amount of damage occurred. Power lines and trees are down in some areas on and near campus.  In some areas, traveling is hazardous.  If you do not live on campus, please do not come to campus. Essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisor about reporting to work.”

Riverdale Academy has published a list of upcoming events as school wraps up for the year.  Some dates to note include:

May 1 – Flag ceremony at the flag pole

May 2 – Academic/Athletic Banquet at Davis Springs Church 6:00 pm.

May 3 – Seniors last day

May 8 – Pre-K Graduation in Auditorium 9:00 am

May 9 – Graduation in the Gym 6:00 pm

May 10 – Junior Ring Ceremony

May 14 – Kindergarten Graduation 7:00 pm

May 17 – Awards 1stthrough 8thgrades 8:15 am.  Field Day follows awards ceremony

May 20-14 – Finals

The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will perform its final concert of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10.  The program will include “On Top of the World” by Brian Balmages, the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” featuring Owens, the first movement of C. Saint-Saens’ “Piano Concerto No. 2” featuring Wang, the third movement of “Piano Concerto No. 1” by Tchaikovsky featuring Barralaga and “Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber” by Paul Hindemith.

The Journal hasn’t said it in a while, so we need to repeat our sincere thanks to the many folks in our area that keep us informed of things going on at their church, work, or club.  And thank you for all the pictures.  If you haven’t let the Journal know what good things you and your friends are doing, take lots of pictures (hold phone camera sideways) and send the details to  Give us a heads up on events coming up so that we can come cover them.

He Is Not Here!

The angel sitting on the stone in the Gospel of Matthew told the women, “He is not here.”  The message was repeated in churches throughout Red River and the US last Sunday morning.

Very early in the morning folks gathered on the pier at Grand Bayou before sunrise to await the new day.  A little later in the morning others gathered at Abbie Lane Retreat on Highway 71 for a similar message.

Bro. Benjie Colvin was the speaker at Grand Bayou. He said, “All four gospels say the same story ‘Jesus is alive’.”  Colvin expanded on the theme that everything happened just as Jesus said it would.  He said, “We’re here because of hope.  He did what he said he would and after we come and see He has risen, the next job is to go and tell.  Where would we be if the women at the tomb had not gone and told the disciples?”

A few minutes later over a hundred gathered at Abbie Lane Retreat in south Red River Parish.  They began in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden, then made their way to Cavalry Hill with the three crosses, and on to the Empty Tomb. 

There were songs and inspirational messages at each stop. Pastor Olan McLauren from Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church spoke at Gethsemane.  Bro. James Hester at Calvary.  And Roland Smith of the Church on the Hill in Campti was the speaker at the Empty Tomb.

Bro. Smith asked again the angel’s question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  He said, “The empty tomb symbolizes life.  I praise him for the garden and the cross, but the empty tomb is live.”  He noted, “You can go to Mohammed’s tomb and he’s still in there.  Same for Buddha.  They’re still dead!”  And he concluded with the point that “we have the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead in us this morning!”

The Journal found several pictures from other services on Easter Sunday.  Liberty Baptist Church described their service as “Beautiful.”  Abundant Life Worship Center Coushatta posted, “So many wonderful families celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on this Easter Sunday.”

Open Door Fellowship gathered Sunday morning.  They posted, “We celebrate the fact that Christ is risen! Our service will start at 10:00 Am. It will be a great day of worship, celebration and observances of both baptism and communion.”

Easter Egg Hunts Thrill Children

Children of all ages, with parents, grands, uncles and aunts, flocked to Easter Egg Hunts just before Easter.  The Journal checked in with hunts at First Baptist and First Methodist-Wesley Chapel churches.

We found kids from infants to high school scrambling for eggs hidden in plain sight.  There were eggs scattered around the playground at First Baptist and in the big side yard.  They hid them in the sanctuary at Frist Methodist for the littlest hunters.

The Easter Bunny met the children at the Methodist church.  A big overstuffed almost life-sized bunny greeted the kids coming into the Baptist church yard.  Some lucky child took that big bunny home as the grand prize of the afternoon.

This year First Baptist conducted a “Freeze Hunt” for the kids.  At “go” the kids rushed under the tape blocking off the yard, basket in hand, and started gathering up as many eggs as they could.  That was while the music was playing.  When it stopped, they had to “freeze” in place until the music resumed.  Reminds you of musical chairs, but with an unlimited supply of chairs.

The weather was nice, and a bright sunshine completed a perfect day for an egg hunt.  It was a great day for arts and crafts and a big inflatable slide too!  And lots of eggs filled with candy, some dollar coins, and lots of surprises.

Ladies, Your Day is April 26th

Dovie Beard notified The Journal that Martin Baptist Church is having a ladies event on Friday, April 26th.  She said, “We are trying to get the word out to all of the ladies in the parish. “

Their flyer states that the featured guest speaker will be Linda McCoy, with the musical talents of Lauren Hillman, Loretta Harris, and Sandy Gilbert. A meal will be served at 5:00 pm. A love offering will be accepted.

Ladies are invited to join the “for an evening of praise and worship filled with fun, food and fellowship.”

Beard said, “If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at, or call or text to 318-294-2391.”

This is the second ladies event held at Martin Baptist Church.  The first was held in October 2017.

Hall Summit Man Jailed in Traffic Death

Hall Summit resident Dillon Bazar was arrested and booked into the Bienville Parish jail following a fatal traffic accident on Friday evening.  State Police investigated the crash.

Just after 9:30 p.m. last Friday night, Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a two vehicle head on crash on LA 4 at Watson Road that claimed the life of a Castor woman.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2014 Ford pick-up truck, driven by 23-year-old Dillon Floyd Bazar of Hall Summit, Louisiana, was eastbound on LA 4.  Bazar crossed the centerline and hit a westbound 2001 Pontiac passenger car driven by 47-year-old Karen Jackson Caldwell of Castor, Louisiana.

Due to injuries sustained in the crash, Caldwell was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bienville Parish Coroner’s office.  Bazar suffered minor injuries.  He was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DWI, careless operation and open container.  Toxicology samples were taken and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that avoiding all distractions, obeying the posted speed limit, avoiding fatigued driving, and not driving while impaired can often mean the difference between life and death.

In 2019, Troop G has investigated seven fatal crashes resulting in seven deaths.