Former NSU hoops coach McConathy considering state Senate run

When he left Northwestern State In March as the winningest college basketball coach in state history, Bossier City native Mike McConathy wasn’t sure what the future held.

Three months later, he’s considering scratching an old itch. McConathy, who counts Louisiana Political Hall of Famer and longtime influential state legislator Billy Montgomery of Haughton among his primary mentors, is considering running for the state Senate in a redesigned district spanning parts of 10 parishes in northwest Louisiana.

With the anticipated revamp of Senate District 31, incumbent Sen. Louie Bernard of Natchitoches announced last week he will not seek a second term. Bernard previously served 24 years as Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court and after over 40 years of public service, the still energetic 71-year-old said he’s going to serve out his term until 2023 and enjoy family life.

McConathy grew up with a first-hand perspective on public service. His father, John McConathy, was the Bossier Parish Superintendent of Schools for 20 years and later was a key collaborator in the development of the modern Bossier Parish Community College campus between U.S. 80 and I-20 in Bossier City.

Among his accolades, the former NSU coach is enshrined in the university’s Hall of Distinguished Educators for his service as a faculty member at Northwestern, and in 2012 he earned an elite Pillar of Education award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for leading the Demons’ program into continuing educational outreach in area schools. His program was noted for its wide-ranging community service endeavors, and its academic performance – a remarkable 90 percent of his players earned degrees at NSU.

“This is something that has been on the back of my mind for quite some time, because I’ve known people who have served and are serving in Baton Rouge who have made a tremendously positive impact for the people they represented, and for the entire state, for that matter,” said McConathy.

“When Louie made his announcement, I had quite a few friends suggest I ought to consider this. I’m now in the process of visiting with people who have a real understanding of political life and public service,” he said, “along with many dear friends and most of all, my family members, so I can make the best possible decision for all concerned.”

The new District 31 has roughly 70 percent of its population located in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine parishes, with portions of Webster, Bienville, DeSoto, Red River, Rapides and Winn included. That fits the geographic footprint which was the base of McConathy’s recruiting area and team rosters from 1999-2022 at NSU and for 16 years previously at Bossier Parish Community College.

“Some people might wonder how my career in coaching would translate to serving in Baton Rouge in a legislative body, in the political arena. In coaching, to succeed you have to nurture relationships with a variety of people from high school and college students, to colleagues and opponents, throughout a campus community and a fan base with avid alumni of all ages and backgrounds. You have to listen, you have to be responsive, you have to collaborate, and at the same time, you cannot compromise your values and your integrity.

“We all know politics can be a tough business to navigate, now more than ever. Heck, I’ve spent over 40 years trying to find middle ground with the referees,” he laughed. “As long as we understand each other, we can find paths to the best possible outcomes.”

McConathy said if he runs, he would do so as an independent, not affiliated with a political party. The only announced candidate so far is Shreveport Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who has served in the state House since 2010 but is term limited there.

Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State


Walk-In Clinic or ER?

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center – Inspiring Excellence Everyday

NRMC Walk-In Clinic is located at 740 Keyser Avenue, just down and across the street from the main hospital campus. The Clinic offers immediate diagnosis and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. For more serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, please go to NRMC’s Emergency Department at the hospital’s main campus.

The following is a quick guide to help you determine where you should go for medical care based on your health needs:

Walk-In Clinic
Allergies
Coughs/Congestion
Minor Burns
Stomachache
Eye Infection
Minor Injury
Sprains
Indigestion
Sore Throat

Emergency Department
Severe Allergy Reaction
Chest Pain or Discomfort
Severe Burns
Loss of Consciousness
Severe Abdominal Pain
Sudden Vision Impairments
Head Injury
Trauma with Broken Bones or Bleeding
Drug Overdose
Severe Dehydration

NRMC Walk-In Clinic is open seven days a week from 8:00am to 8:00pm with onsite laboratory and x-ray services. The Walk-in Clinic provides care at a lower cost than the full-service Emergency Department, and patient visits are much quicker with a shorter waiting period. Due to the complexity of Emergency Department cases, the team triages cases to ensure critically ill or injured patients are seen immediately. A patient with a minor illness or injury generally will wait longer in the ED for care. So please use the Walk-in Clinic for minor illnesses and injuries, because it is specifically designed to help patients get in and out quickly and provides the care level these patients need. Emergency care is available 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week and is backed by the full services of the hospital.

When to Call 9-1-1

If you think you have a life-threatening injury or illness including a heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance or go to the nearest ER. NRMC’s Emergency Services provide paramedics and ambulance coverage for the parish.

Insurance

Both the Clinic and Emergency Department accept Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance, and self-pay.

For more information, please visit NRMChospital.org.


Notice of Death – June 2, 2022

WINN:
Chloe Boullion
November 8, 1939 – June 1, 2022O
Service: Monday, June 6 at 11 am at Bethlehem Cemetery

NATCHITOCHES:
Michael “Mickey” Walker, Jr.
January 16, 1946 – June 1, 2022
Service: Saturday, June 4 at 11 am at United Baptist Cemetery, formerly L.C. Weaver Memorial Cemetery in Campti

Leroy Irchirl, Sr.
September 6, 1953 – May 29, 2022
Service: Saturday, June 4 at 11am at First Baptist Church Amulet Street

Gloria Marie Moore
Visitation: Friday, June 3 from 6-8 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel.
Service: Assemble at the funeral home Saturday, June 4 at 9:30 am to form a procession to St. Paul Baptist Church in the Bermuda community for an 11 am service

Dr. Susan Dollar
Service: Saturday, June 4 at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church

Randy Sanderson
August 10, 1954 – May 29, 2022
Service: Friday, June 3 at 12 pm at Central Baptist Church in Robeline

SABINE:
Larry Wayne Rivers
January 22, 1950 – May 31, 2022
Service: Tuesday, June 7 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Rowena Jo Evans
February 21, 1936 – May 28, 2022
Service: Wednesday, June 8 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

RED RIVER:
Sandra Sharlene Bockstanz
June 8, 1966 – May 29, 2022
Service: Friday, June 3 at 10 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Margaret Bierden Downs
July 24, 1928 – May 28, 2022
Service: Saturday, June 4 at 12 pm at Beulah Cemetery, located at 2279 Hwy 487 in Marthaville


Journal offering three $3,000 scholarships at NSU for undecided 2022-23 students

Students who aren’t sure where they’ll go to college this fall are encouraged to apply for the Journal Services NSU Scholarships, which will award three new Northwestern State University students up to $3,000 in the next school year.

Applications are being accepted beginning today through midnight June 8. A link to a simple online application form is available at the bottom of this story.

The scholarships are designed to assist Class of 2022 high school students who haven’t settled on a college choice, as well as students currently enrolled at other higher-education institutions who are considering transferring to NSU in Natchitoches.

They are being provided by Journal Services, LLC, the business that serves local and area residents by providing the framework for the Winn Parish Journal. Journal Services, LLC, is based in Natchitoches and supports 12 journals covering north central and northwest Louisiana.

“We know there are students who haven’t decided yet where they’ll go to college this fall. We know that in many cases, money is a key factor in making college accessible,” said Bill Vance, general manager of Journal Services, LLC. “We are providing three game-changing scholarships bringing eager students to NSU to take advantage of the excellent academic programs here, and to live in a community where there are plenty of opportunities to find part-time jobs and to have a great student experience.”

A successful applicant from Winn Parish will join 206 other local students who attend Northwestern. Among the university’s 81,000 alumni, 738 currently live in Winn Parish.

Applicants are asked to provide their high school GPA (and college GPA if applicable), and also, report their ACT score along with listing honors, extracurricular activities and other relevant information on the form. That information will provide a basis for selecting the three winners.

The scholarship awards are for $1,500 cash per semester in the 2022-23 academic year. To renew the scholarship for the Spring 2023 semester, winners must post at least a 2.7 Fall semester GPA at NSU.

Scholarship winners must live in Natchitoches Parish during the upcoming school year. They are also required to have in-person, face-to-face instruction for 75 percent of their classes in 2022-23.

Students who have already accepted financial aid awards from Northwestern are not eligible to apply.

APPLICATION:  To Apply – Click Here


Podcast: Louie Bernard Talks About Re-Drawing the Senate and House of Representative Maps

Senator Louie Bernard joins Billy West Live to discuss the recent Legislative Session regarding re-drawing the Senate and House of Representative Maps

Senator Bernard updates the public regarding his new Senatorial District and the process of how the lines for not only his district was redrawn but also how Natchitoches Parish was divided into 3 separate House of Representative Districts


Podcast: DA John Belton Joins Billy West Re: Ronald Green Investigation

District Attorney John Belton from the Third Judicial District Court joins Billy West Live re: Ronald Green Investigation

DA John Belton has released a timeline of events regarding the investigation of the death of Ronald Green. Belton updates the public about his decision to defer at this time to the US Attorney’s office and the Federal Government, as they continue to review the actual death of Mr. Green and the subsequent investigation of the Louisiana State Police and their actions and conduct.


Demons hire North Carolina State product Kevin Bostian for AD post

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Northwestern State’s two-month search for its new athletics director landed 43-year-old North Carolina State graduate Kevin Bostian, a highly-accomplished fundraiser with senior-level administrative experience at several prominent Division I athletics programs, the Demons announced Tuesday afternoon.

Bostian will be introduced Thursday morning in Natchitoches at 11 a.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom on the NSU campus, in an event open to the public. He will take over for longtime Demons’ AD Greg Burke effective Monday, Feb. 7.

Bostian has spent the last two years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as the executive associate athletic director for development. He previously worked at NC State’s athletic department as a major gifts officer, after revenue generation and management positions at Georgia Southern, Tennessee Tech, East Tennessee State and South Alabama.

Bostian becomes just the third NSU AD since 1983, succeeding Burke, who is taking a position as a university fundraiser after 25 1/2 years in charge of the NSU Athletics. Tynes Hildebrand was AD from 1983-96.

A 2000 magna cum laude graduate of North Carolina State in business management, Bostian earned his master’s of business administration and master’s of sports administration from Ohio University in 2002. He and his wife, Megan, have three young daughters, Ayla, Zoe and Piper.

“We are elated that Kevin will be joining the university as athletic director,” Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “He has impressive credentials and extensive experience in college athletics that will assist him in re-energizing NSU’s intercollegiate sports program and guiding it to new levels of success.

“He has a steadfast commitment to student-athletes and their accomplishments on and off the field, and Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff, and other stakeholders will appreciate his genuineness, enthusiasm, and spirit of collaboration. Kevin and his family will be a valuable addition to the university and community.”

The hire culminated a two-month national search spearheaded by Kyle Bowlsby, founder of Bowlsby Sports Advisors, the search firm that coordinated the process. An alumni-based advisory committee helped hone the candidate pool down to roughly 12 semifinalists and three finalists, who were interviewed on campus Monday and Tuesday morning.

“Northwestern State University has hired an exceptional person in Kevin Bostian,” said Bowlsby, the 34-year-old son of Bob Bowlsby, one of college athletics’ most powerful leaders as commissioner of the Big XII Conference. “He is a transformational leader who will maximize the student-athlete experience and position the athletic department for long-term success. Kevin rose quickly on our list of potential candidates as someone who is passionate and driven to make his mark on the intercollegiate athletics landscape.”

Bostian, who interviewed on campus Monday and returned home to North Carolina, emerged as a clear choice for Jones. The hiring was announced less than three hours following the final candidate’s interview concluded before lunch Tuesday.

Based on a press release from Northwestern State Athletics

Photo/Graphic: by Northwestern State Athletics


Troopers remind everyone to keep safety in mind for Halloween

As Halloween approaches, Louisiana state troopers want everyone to make sure safety is a top priority.  As children in costumes walk and ride through neighborhoods across the parish, parents and guardians should be aware of possible hazards and dangerous situations.  

To ensure that trick-or-treating is a safe and memorable event for everyone, Louisiana State Police recommends by following these common safety tips: 

  • Ensure that your child remains as visible as possible by carrying a flashlight or glow stick, and/or wearing reflective clothing or costumes to alert drivers of the child’s location. 
  • Remember that masks can restrict vision and breathing, restricting sight of oncoming vehicles.  Face painting is a safer option. 
  • Avoid potential tripping hazards, such as costumes that drag on the ground.
  • Accompany children so they do not enter homes or vehicles without permission. 
  • Plan your trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. 
  • Remember to walk on sidewalks when available. If walking on the street is necessary, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. 
  • Children should also know their address, phone number, and how to dial 911for emergencies. Young children should have this information attached somewhere on their costumes in the event they get separated or lost.  
  • Parents are urged to inspect all candy for safety after returning home. 

Motorists should also use caution and drive slowly through residential areas and intersections leading to neighborhoods. Trick-or-treaters may run across the street without looking for vehicles or their vision could be obscured by masks.  Also, Troopers ask that you drive with your headlights on, even during daylight and dusk hours, so that other vehicles and pedestrians can see you from farther distances. 

Under current State Law, it is illegal for a registered sex offender to participate in Halloween trick-or-treat activities.  Parents can find accurate information regarding the presence of sex offenders and predators in their neighborhoods by visiting the Louisiana Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry online at: http://www.lsp.org/socpr/default.html.  If you become aware of a sex offender who is attending costume parties or giving out candy where children are present, notify your local law enforcement immediately. 

Halloween has also been a deadly night due to impaired drivers.  Adults that take part in Halloween parties and trick-or-treating while consuming alcoholic beverages are strongly encouraged to have a plan for a safe ride home. Your plan can include utilizing a ridesharing service, taxi or having a designated driver.  Troopers ask that sober party-goers also help out by keeping impaired friends from getting behind the wheel. 


Practice What You Preach

As you are probably aware, October is National Pastor Appreciation Month. Being raised as a pastor’s child it was very difficult to appreciate the pastor when he was a resident of my own home. Seeing your pastor once a week leaves room for the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Living with a preacher was a whole different story. It’s a good story but it’s a different story.

Many people do not get to see the behind the scenes work that pastors do and the amount of studying and preparation that goes into a Sunday message or just merely opening the doors for a church service. The pastor is the first one to church in the mornings and the last to leave. Their children and spouses have a front row seat to all of these festivities. Tending to the flock is a full time job and sometimes it takes the pastor’s wife and children to work as a team to ensure that everything is taken care of.

Pastors are known for inviting random people over for Sunday lunch in a moments notice. Their family must be prepared for this. They are known for leaving in the middle of meals because someone is in need. Their family must be prepared for this. They are known to travel across the country to perform a wedding or a funeral. Their family must be prepared for this. Sometimes they even have the tough jobs of delivering bad news to unsuspecting people or their own church family.

No one is prepared for this.

One of the heaviest burdens to bear as a pastor is that they must perform all of these duties without showing the slightest bit of wavering faith. After all, they are our spiritual heroes and always have the right words to share. If the pastor has a bad day or not feeling his best, the whole flock will be able to tell it.

It reminds me of a turbulent flight. If the flight attendants are worried then the passengers are equally worried. Same thing with a church, if the pastor loses his faith then the flock will follow.

Sometimes what preachers don’t talk about is the need to be tended to as well. Please don’t confuse this as a paid advertisement from local preachers. But in some respects it could be read as a reminder that pastors need prayer and encouragement as well. Pastors constantly pour from their cup and often need it filled again. Pastor-fatigue is a real thing and it is easily cured with support and constant prayer from the church family.

It’s an incredibly easy task to sit on a pew and judge every word, every movement, every mispronunciation of a word or missed scripture when you aren’t the one standing behind the pulpit after having prepared all week for the perfect message to deliver to the flock.

I am probably preaching to the choir but I sincerely pray you spent October appreciating your pastor and all of their hard work. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. If you feel so inclined, I am sure they would appreciate your prayers all year long and not just confine it to the fall season of the year.


“And I will you give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Jeremiah 3:15

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers”
Ephesians 4:11


The Colorful World of Baits

By Steve Graf

When it comes to soft plastic lures, one thing anglers will say is that “color does not matter.” But I’m going to give my perspective on why it does. For years both novice and professional bass fishermen have made a case for why the color of your bait doesn’t matter. They say it’s more about the presentation than it is the color of the bait itself. This may be true in some isolated cases, but if that’s true, then why do manufacturers make soft plastic worms in so many colors? Is it to catch fish or is it to catch anglers?

Today’s anglers are overwhelmed with color selection by many of the top name brands like Strike King, V&M, Gary Yamamoto, Zoom, and Reaction Innovation, just to name a few. Each of these manufacturers produce some of the best soft plastics ever made. But colors in the bass fishing world are not your standard red, blue or greens. They have very creative names like red bug, tequila sunrise, green pumpkin, watermelon and my personal favorite, black emerald. Bait companies are even more creative than the original box of 64 crayons when it comes to color options. You may remember this from your childhood days when Crayola crayons had names like Brick Red, Burnt Orange, Chestnut, and even Bittersweet. But today’s box of crayons might include Inchworm, Granny Smith Apple, Caribbean Green, Tropical Rainforest, or my personal favorite Permanent Geranium Lake. Who comes up with these names? How is a child or an angler today, suppose to understand or learn the different color pallets of this magnitude?

Well, bass fishermen new to the industry are in the same boat. How is an angler supposed to know the difference between crab apple or plum? Well crab apple, also known as red bug by some companies, are red worms with green flake. But back in the day when soft plastic baits were first invented by Nick Crème of Crème Lures, crab apple was the original red worm with green flake. By the way, it was at the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show in 1951 that Nick Crème introduced and sold over 9600 packs of soft plastic worms which jumpstarted the soft plastic industry. Today the king of soft plastics is a company by the name of Zoom, which started manufacturing soft plastic baits in 1977.

As you can see, the color pallets of the bass fishing world all depend on what company is producing the baits. But does color really matter when it comes to catching bass? I say yes, because I’ve seen days where you can throw red bugs and then switch to green pumpkin and start catching fish. Just like this past August, I was pre-fishing for a tournament on Sam Rayburn and was throwing one of my favorite V&M baits called a Baby Swamp Hog in watermelon/red with basically zero bites in the first three hours. I switched to Gleason Candy and it was like someone turned on a light switch. Making this change in color allowed me to finish in 2nd place in that event. I’m also of the opinion that if color doesn’t matter, then why do they make so many color options for anglers to choose from? Now I will admit that some colors are designed to catch anglers rather than fish, but in general, the array of color choices allows an angler to experiment and try something that maybe the bass have not seen.

So, the next time you’re in your favorite tackle store, make sure you know what color soft plastic you’re looking for. Know the difference between watermelon/red and green pumpkin with red flakes. If you’re not sure, ask someone to help you. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!