New Sports Guidelines

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Thursday issued a 17-page set of guidelines for sports competitions this fall.  Of most interest locally is the start of football in a week.  The whole thing is in the file attached at the bottom of this article.

Highlight for football include maintaining social distancing on the sidelines among players.  Coaches are responsible for this.  Everyone on the sideline has to wear a mask, so do the spectators and others in attendance.  And LHSAA wants teams to limit the number of players on their roster to enhance social distancing.

And the ball has to be sanitized numerous times during the game.  So do the rest rooms and other stadium facilities.

Please read all the guidelines for yourself.  Then you will be informed on what LHSAA expects.

Burn Ban Lifted

The statewide burn ban issued by the State Fire Marshall following Hurricane Laura has been lifted.  Only two parishes, Cameron and Calcasieu, remain under a burn ban.

Locally, Fire Chief Shane Felts had exempted Red River Parish from the statewide ban because it was not necessary here.  Felts said that adequate fire protection and adequate water to fight fires was available in the parish, so the original ban did not apply.

The newest order from the State Fire Marshal specifically names Red River among parishes in which the prior order is lifted.

Line Stretched Around the Block

People lined up around the block as folks waited in line for the most recent food distribution from Will of God Ministries.  The food came from the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana and there was plenty to go around.

Vehicles lined up behind the Will of God Ministries building (the Old Grade School) starting before 9:00 am on Monday.  Church members and volunteers handed out meat, cheese and staples to each family that came.

There were pork loins, whole chickens, blocks of cheese, cereal and beans, rice, crackers, canned goods, drinks and whole milk.  Dr. Johnny Cox said, “It’s a good mix this time.  And we have plenty of it for everyone.”

Cox was thankful for volunteers from the community who joined members of his church in the effort.  There were boxes to pack, food to sort, and some people just hauled it from the storeroom to awaiting vehicles.  “We could not do it without the volunteers,” said Cox.  He asked anyone who wants to help with the next distribution to call the church at 932-3177.

Virtual Class Progress

Posted by Red River High on Wednesday:

Mr. Reyes and Coach Smelser took their Algebra 1 class virtual today. Most days students are working on prerecorded videos of their teachers, but today 50 plus students joined on to a live lesson. Parents and students be on the lookout in Google Classroom for more teachers hosting live classes.

Parents, progress reports where mailed home last Friday. If you did not receive one, please call the school to make sure we have an updated address on file. We will mail out another one this Friday. We still have a lot of virtual students not turning in assignments and we want you up to date on their progress.

Ramp Construction for a Comrade

Members of VFW Post and Auxiliary 7287 joined other VFW members from northwest Louisiana last Saturday in building a wheelchair ramp at the home of David and Ramel Fields.  David Fields is expected to return home from therapy in Houston early in October.  The project prepared his home to be accessible as he continues his recovery.

VFW District 12 posted, “We had a successful work party today at David & Ramel Fields. Many members from District 12 gave their support.

“With the help of members from Castor Methodist Ramp Ministry we completed the outside ramp and several inside doorway mini ramps. Interior door and window frames received a good start of scraping off old paint to prepare them for a fresh coat of paint.

“Proud to be part of such a caring group who rally to help one of our own in need.”  Coushatta Post Commander

Barry Mccoy and 7 others from the Coushatta Post and Auxiliary and other posts in District 12 put in a long hot day building the ramp and making other repairs.

Fields is the Readiness NCO for the Louisiana National Guard Unit in Shreveport.  He was transferred there recently from Coushatta where he served several years as Readiness NCO at the local armory.

There will be a 5-K to benefit the Fields family on October 10th.  See the flyer at the bottom of this article for more information.


Labor Day Disaster Relief Workday

By Melanie Latiolais Davis

Sixteen FBC members (8 adults, 8 youth/kids) traveled to Winnfield, LA on their Labor Day day off to help clean up yards and minister to the needs of the people there. We were able to help several families and the Disaster Relief location set up at FBC Winnfield. Everyone had a great time and not one complaint about the heat or hard work was heard.  We look forward to the next trip!

“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to You, God, and with You, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” Psalms 62:11-12

Those taking part in addition to Bro. Nathan  and Melanie Davis were Mary Jones Almond, Reagan  and McKinley Davis, Millie Jones, Hope, Jenna, Julia, Makayla and Mandi Mills, Tyler and Kara Mitchell, Ben Moseley, Julie Lea Page, and Abby Sims.

Two Weeks Left in Census Count

With just two weeks to go in the 2020 Census count, Louisiana has a bit of catching up to do if all citizens are to be counted.  Data from the Census shows the state has had 86.9% of household units enumerated (their name for it).

The Governor wants everyone counted.  Households across the state are receiving robo calls form Governor Edwards, asking them to get in the count if they have not been included so far.

Edwards said, “Louisianans have exactly two weeks to fill out the census. There are far too many people who haven’t been counted yet and everyone needs to participate. Visit my2020census.go , text ‘CountMe’ to 898-211 or call 844-330-2020 and get counted.”

Governmental officials at all levels locally and statewide have been pushing for a complete and accurate count.  Red River Parish with an estimated population of around 8,300 gets funds allocated from the federal and state government based upon population.  That is the reason officials are pushing for a complete count.  The census data will also be used to redraw district lines for U.S. Representative, state government bodies including legislative districts, and locally police jury districts.  These boundaries are redrawn every 10 years following the census data.

Record Fall Enrollment at NSU

Northwestern State University has reported a record enrollment this fall of 11,447, an increase of 547 students, or 5 percent, over last year’s total of 10,900.

Dr. Chris Maggio, who has served as president of Northwestern since 2017 during a period when the university reached the four highest enrollments in its 136-year history, said the current record registration “is remarkable and especially gratifying in the midst of the global pandemic.”

Maggio said this year’s enrollment increase “reflects both the extraordinary effectiveness of the faculty and staff in continuing to provide quality instruction and services during the health crisis and the resilience and perseverance of our students in overcoming monumental challenges.”

Northwestern’s all-time high student registration goes against numerous projections of substantial enrollment losses at colleges and universities nationwide. Higher education research and marketing firm Simpson Scarborough has predicted enrollment losses of up to 20 percent because of coronavirus-related issues.

Fitch Ratings, one of the nation’s three major statistical rating organizations along with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, projected enrollment declines of 5 percent to 20 percent.

Among the highlights of NSU’s record enrollment were increases in the number of graduate students and freshmen retention. Graduate School registration this fall is 1,150, an increase of 83 students or 7.8 percent over last year. The retention rate for full-time first-year students increased from 70 percent to 74 percent. For the fourth consecutive year, entering freshmen enrollment has been over 1,500 students. 

“I want to thank Director of Enrollment Services Jana Lucky and the enrollment management team for their work over the past several months,” said Maggio. “They did an excellent job of maintaining contact with prospective students despite the lack of in person visits and on campus recruiting events and showed them why Northwestern was the right choice for them.”

Northwestern transitioned quickly and smoothly to offering all classes online last March as the pandemic grew and conducted virtual commencement programs for students who completed academic requirements for graduation under that new format.

Beginning this fall, the university is providing in-person instruction, online classes and hybrid classes offering both in-person and virtual learning. Extensive procedures and protocols have also been established to help protect the health and safety of NSU students, faculty and staff and the community.

Maggio said, “These exceptional efforts to provide opportunities for students to continue progressing toward degrees in various modes of learning and in a safe and healthy environment have certainly been a major factor in the record enrollment this fall.”

The NSU president also noted that the university has worked diligently to assist students who have faced financial difficulties because of job losses, business closures and other economic issues that have negatively affected them and their families during the pandemic.

He stated, “Our Office of Financial Aid has provided assistance to numerous students to help them find ways to continue their education in these difficult times. Also, alumni and friends of the university have generously contributed to a COVID-19 relief fund at the NSU Foundation that has helped a number of our students. This financial support made the difference in many students being able to continue their education at the university.

Academic programs showing strong year-over-year growth included radiologic sciences, biology, veterinary technology, business administration, criminal justice, child development and family relations, elementary education, nursing, RN to BSN, psychology and social work.

Coushatta Man To Be Ordained

Coushatta resident Josh Loftin is joining the ministry.  He has been in school in the Dallas area for the past two years.  This week he posted an invitation to the community.

Hello family and friends, a very special day is coming up on October 11th! In Coushatta, Louisiana at my home church, Open Door Fellowship, I will be becoming an Ordained Minister!

This will be a very special day and an important one for my future ministry. Everyone is invited! The ceremony will be at 5:00 pm in the sanctuary.

Josh will be familiar to many Journal Sports listeners.  He has served as the voice of the Red River Bulldog football and girls and boys basketball broadcasts during the past three years.  The photo with this article is Josh preparing to bring listeners a Bulldog football game.

Fish Fry Next Friday

The monthly Fourth Friday Fish Fry is on at Clara Springs Camp next week.  The pre-order deadline is Tuesday September 22nd.

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Clara Springs is not able to offer dine-in at this time.  They invite you to bring the family and friends for a picnic on their beautiful campus.  Orders may be taken, if you wish.

See the flyer below for full details.