Red River Students Participate in S.T.E.M.

From Anna Moore, instructor at RRHS

“Here’s some pictures of 23 of our freshmen going to NSU on Tuesday (April 9th) to go on a STEAM Tour.  They toured the arts department (including theater, graphic design, and culinary arts), the engineering department, and the biology department (which also featured a presentation on CIS). 

“These are some pictures of the group as a whole and then some of the more interesting interactions they had.  The two boys (Ja’Milleun Wilson and Zintayvious Smith) in the chairs participated in a theater demonstration by playing a game called “bus stop”. 

“Then you have students (Payal Patel, Precious Gray, Kayla Williams, Keauna Henderson, Chasity Douglas,& Makayla Morse) learning about the Robotics club and competitions on campus. 

“Then we have some of our students (Jeyden Young, Sierra Durr, & Nathan Tristan) playing the VI system using a program that lets them “see” inside the body. 

“Finally we have our students touring the culinary school’s kitchen and learning about yeast and bread making.  The other two are group pictures.  Other students on the trip included: Hayley Loe, Brett Danzy, Korie Williamson, Gracie Baker, Mikayla Tingle, Morris Mitchell, Bre’Once Smith, Jakayla Caldwell, Makayla Caldwell, Natiya Ross, & Dalavion Wells.”

Here is the release from NSU on the event:

Northwestern State University, in partnership with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOFSA), hosted the inaugural S.T.E.A.M. tour for about 150 ninth graders from four high schools in the region.  Students visited several departments on campus to learn academic and career opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“Throughout the day, they toured campus, met college students and faculty and saw first-hand how interdisciplinary tools and projects enhance education and prepare students for innovative work in the modern world,” said Steve Gruesbeck, who coordinated the event with Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology.

“They are hearing from two representatives from each discipline to show how these areas intersect,” Gruesbeck said.  “For instance, we’ve paired Computer Information Systems with biology where students can see how virtual technology is applicable to health science.” 

Faculty also presented demonstrations in fine arts, culinary arts and engineering technology to show how those fields complement each other and students were able to view NSU’s Mazda Rotary Art Car, an interdisciplinary experiential learning project.  The day also included the New Media Student Showcase and a performance by the Out On A Limb Improv Troupe.

LOSFA’s partnership in the S.T.E.A.M. tour was orchestrated through Louisiana GEAR UP (Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a federally funded national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools.  In partnership with 16 school districts, LA GEAR UP aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.  

NSU’s S.T.E.A.M. tour was a preview to upcoming separate, but related week-long camps this summer for students in LA GEAR UP parishes, including Red River and Sabine.  Camp Locomotion will be July 8-12 to study movement of humans and robots. Energy Camp July 15-19 will focus on light and sound energy.  Robotics Camp will be July 22-26 and Advanced Robotics will be July 29-Aug. 1.  On Fridays each camp will include an off-site educational and career-oriented field trip.

“Robots are a great STEAM tool because they combine so many principles at one time such as engineering, problem-solving and team work. In addition, robots play a significant role in advanced manufacturing and smart factories,” Sharab said. Students will also learn about safety, electrical and digital electronics and robot programming.

Freshman Class Fish Fry

That pleasant aroma rising from in front of Rivertown the other day was catfish frying.  And a few fries and hush puppies too.

On Monday April 15ththe freshman class at Riverdale Academy held a fish dinner sale at Rivertown Market. Fish cookers were Tyler Jones, Clement Jones, and Charlie King.

The fundraiser benefitted the Class of 2018-19.  They are freshmen this year, however they are already earning money for various projects including their trip when the students become seniors.

The workers on scene Monday said over 200 pre-orders filled.  In addition they filled orders for some folks who walked ups. 

Area Blood Drives Next Week

Two blood drives are scheduled in Red River Parish next week.  On Tuesday Lifeshare will be at the Council on Aging and on Friday at Riverdale Academy.

The blood drive at the Council on Aging will be held from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm April 23rd. It will be held at the COA building at 1924 Front Street.  Lifeshare posted an invitation to join the blood drive and sign up in advance on their Facebook page:

The community is invited to give the Gift of Life! Maybe someone you know is fighting cancer, a blood disorder, was in an accident, or needs surgery. Your blood donation may save the life of someone you’ll meet, someone you already know, your closest loved one, or even you.
CLICK on TICKETS to schedule your donation. This really helps us out to know you’re coming.
Donors must present a picture ID at the time of donation and have plenty to eat and drink plenty of water before donating. All blood donations benefit the Northwest Louisiana blood supply.

Then on Friday, Lifeshare will be at Riverdale Academy to take blood donations.  Contact Stacy Greer at Riverdale to sign up or to get more information on the event.  Their flyer is below.

Riverdale Color Run For Fun

The annual Color Run held by Riverdale Academy is coming up in less than a month.  Are you getting in shape for the 5-K event?

The Riverdale Color Run 2019 will be held Saturday, May 11th. Riverdale posted on their Facebook, “Join us for a fun and colorful 5k event. Inform the workers at the gate that you are there for the Color run and meet at the pavilion to park. Race will start promptly at 12:00 P.M.”

Join the fun.  The fee includes entry to the race, finisher medal and a color party color packet for after the race. Wear a white t-shirt and enjoy the fun.

Riding Events at Cowboy Church

Spring riding activities are underway at Red River Cowboy Church at Lake End.  The next Playday is scheduled for May.  The Playday for April 14thwas cancelled by inclement weather.

Their Arena Events Facebook page has posted information about Ranch Sorting.  The first event in that program will be on Saturday, April 27th.  Books will open at 9:00 am and riding starts at 10:00 am for events in that series.

Participants who ride in the required number of events will be eligible for awards.  Buckles will be presented to first place finishers in draw, open and mixed.

Cowboy Church is also host to the 5D Jackpot Barrels and Buckle series.  It kicked off this week and there are six events in the series. Participants have to take part in four events to be eligible for prizes.  There are age groups for riders from birth up through adult.  The next event is April 30th.  Check Facebook for details and registration information.

Track Update from Red River

Posted by JC Dickey:

Congrats to Red River High Track Team competing in District 3-2A meet April 16th. Red River Boys finished 2nd in meet and both teams are sending a good group to regionals at NSU on Wednesday, April 24th. Results for Red River is as follows. 

Boys swept all relays and sprints today. 

4x200m 1st Eric Grant, KJ Bradley, Johntraver Hymes, Quil Mosley
1600m 3rd Devin McDonald
100m 1st Johntraver Hymes
800m 2nd Julius Brisker
4x100m 1st CJ Kieth, Ladarius Trotter, Quil Mosley, Patrick Perkins
400m 1st Eric Grant 3rd Gakerreon McDonald 
300m 2nd Jaylen McDonald 
200m 1st Eric Grant 4th Brandon Harris 
3200m 4th Jayden Young
4x400m Eric Grant, Julius Brisker, Gakerreon McDonald, Brandon Harris 
Long Jump 3rd CJ Kieth 4th Malik Gay
Shot Put 3rd Johnathan Brisker
Discus 4th Marcus Brewer 
High Jump 2nd Zintayvious Smith 
Javelin 2nd Cameron Kieth 
Triple Jump 1st CJ Kieth 3rd KJ Bradley 


4x200m 2nd Crystal Jackson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason, Nakia Latson
4x100m 4th Crystal Jackson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason, Nakia Latson
400m 2nd Teanna Eason
4x400m 1st Haley Loe, Brianna Latson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason
Shot Put 1st Quin Taylor
Discus 4th Aalyiah Bradley

Editor’s Note:  The Red River Track Team has been without a home practice facility for most of the spring. Earlier Principal Dickey remarked at their accomplishments while finding anywhere they could practice.  The track is blocked this spring by rebuilding the football field.  After that is complete the track will receive an update, including a new running surface. And all that will be ready for track season 2020.

It’s Soapbox Time

Are we really afraid of our shadow?  It is time to say something that is probably politically incorrect.  At least it may ruffle a few feathers.  Or it may make some people think.

What’s up with running and hiding in the corner every time there is a forecast that bad weather is coming? In south Louisiana yesterday they closed schools in several parishes because bad weather is forecast. 

Then Thursday morning The Journal found this on the Commissioner of Administration’s website:  “STATE OFFICES CLOSING THURS, APRIL 18.

“Due to tomorrow’s possibility of extreme weather, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is announcing that all state offices will close Thursday, April 18, 2019.

“All agency heads are responsible for determining those essential personnel who should remain on duty or those who should report to alternate work sites if necessary. State officials continue to monitor conditions throughout the state, and this announcement may be updated.”

Shutdown the whole state?

Last winter in our area (and many others) schools were closed because there might be a possibility of sleet or snow.  Lots of other “better safe than sorry” scenarios were acted out.

Sometimes the weather was severe, but many more times it was not.  If you listen to TV weather casts a storm is going to get us any minute.  They even call themselves “storm chasers” and “storm trackers” with “thunder trucks” and so forth.  Are they seeking to inform or seeking to attract an audience?

And officials at all levels are afraid that someone would file a lawsuit if something happened.  After all their constituents would rather take time off than work any day.  They are already looking for an excuse not to work or get out of something they are responsible for.  For example see the recent story in The Journal concerning the severe problem the school system is having with employees who take excessive days off.

And it is becoming a regular habit to duck and cover when anything bad might happen.  You could be struck by a car crossing the street, so I guess we all need to stay on our own side!

Realistically we need to be safe and we need to keep school kids and others safe.  But we also need to stop falling for the exaggerated weather predictions.  It is time to sort out what is real from what is meant to “sell newspapers”.

Whether your reaction to this article is “yeah, spot on!” or “you don’t want the kids to be safe?” at least it made you think.  If you have a different opinion spell out your thoughts and send it to The Journal.  Responsible replies (meaning you include your name and phone number) will be included in a future issue.   Send it to

ETC… for Friday April 19th

The Red River is on the rise.  The Waterway Commission has posted that all the boat launches it operates have been closed.

Both First Methodist and First Baptist churches have Easter egg hunts planned for today (Friday). Take the kiddies to First Methodist this morning and to First Baptist this afternoon for a fun time.

Northwestern State University will be closed on Friday, April 19 for Good Friday.  Administrative offices will re-open and classes will resume on Monday, April 22.

Schools in the parish are closed this week. Classes resume at Red River and Riverdale on Tuesday morning.

Open Door Fellowship has a special Easter celebration planned at 10:00 am Sunday titled “Empty Tomb.” Communion and Baptism is included in this special service.

If you are following the 4-H State Shooting, today is shooting in Shotgun category at the Shreveport Gun Club.  Shooting starts at 8:00 am for trap, skeet and sporting clays.

Liberty Baptist Church posted their Easter schedule on Facebook.  They will have a sunrise service at 6:30 followed by breakfast. Sunday school is at 9:45 and morning worship service at 11:00 Sunday.

The Journal received word that utilities serving the parish are prepared for severe weather outbreaks.  Cleco offers customers the following preparation tips:

  • Prepare a storm kit – gather supplies you might need for an outage, including flashlight, batteries, canned food, manual can opener, bottled water, medication and a first aid kit.
  • Clear patio furniture and other objects that could move in high winds and cause damage or injury.
  • Charge cell phones, tablets and laptops.

Coushatta Man Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Just after noon today, Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a two vehicle crash involving a motorcycle on US 80 at Hillcrest Cemetery that claimed one life and seriously injured another.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2000 Toyota passenger car, driven by 89-year-old Marvin Curry of Haughton, Louisiana, was eastbound on US 80.  For reasons still under investigation, Curry rear-ended an eastbound Honda motorcycle, driven by 51-year-old Ricky D. Robinson of Coushatta, Louisiana. 

Robinson and his female passenger were transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport where he died from injuries sustained in the crash.  The passenger remains in critical condition.  Both were wearing DOT approved helmets at the time of the crash.  Curry was not injured.

Alcohol is not a suspected factor in this crash.  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 six fatal crashes resulting in six deaths.

How High’s the Water Mama?

Local reports of 4 inches, 6 inches or more of rainfall were reported in the parish over this past weekend.  A lot of water came down in a short time.  As you can see from the photos, it rose quickly and the ground is still very wet.

There is more on the way!  The National Weather Service warns more rain is expected starting today (April 17th).  “Another round of severe weather and heavy rain is expected across the Lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday with the approaching frontal system. Until then, rain, mountain snow, and some thunderstorms can be expected across the West.”

The most severe storms skirted Red River Parish to our west.  We got a very heavy rain starting late in the day on Friday.  These photos were taken on Saturday.  By church time on Sunday the skies had cleared. 

In Coushatta water pooled at Old Folks Café and along the Cutoff Road.  There was flooding on East Carroll and Front streets and other areas in town.  Water ran over the Red Oak Road from a swollen creek about 7/10 mile south of the old Sunbeam plant.

Water got up around the mailboxes outside the post office.  Ditches and creeks were full or almost full along the Ashland road.  The road was partially covered just getting into Martin.  Then north of Martin water flowed over the highway in a couple of places.

Several streets in Hall Summit were under and there was high water downtown.  It got into yards just east of Crossroads and the playground was under at Riverdale Academy.

To make matters worse, power was out in Coushatta for a couple of hours beginning late Saturday afternoon.  And that caused confusion for motorists when the traffic signals failed.