The Natchitoches Parish Library will be close Dec. 24-27 and Dec. 31- Jan. 1st.

Truck crashes into charter bus: A bus carrying the Many High School band to New Orleans was in a wreck Friday morning. Louisiana State Police, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and Natchitoches EMS Paramedics responded to a two-vehicle injury crash on La. Hwy. 6 West near Hagewood Friday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. The driver of the 2010 Ford F-150 that hit the bus was transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Neither the driver nor the 56 passengers on the 2007 MCI charter bus traveling from Many to the LHSAA State Football Championship in New Orleans were uninjured. Deputies say the passengers on the charter bus were transported to a safe area until another charter bus could arrive.

Police Chief gives holiday shopping tips: Christmas is just around the corner and during this time of the year there are steps that can help ensure a safe holiday season. Police Chief Micky Dove offers these helpful holiday shopping tips:
•Do not leave purchased items visible in the car. Leave them in the trunk.
•While shopping during the evening hours, park in areas of the parking lot that have adequate lighting. Consider shopping with someone rather than going alone.
•Keep the amount of cash you have at a minimum or separate into pockets or locations on or about your person. This way all of it is not lost if your purse or wallet is misplaced or stolen.
•Keep track of credit/debit cards and keep receipts to compare to your monthly statement.
•Use your hand and/or body to obscure or shield the keypad while you enter PIN or Card Numbers into card machines.
•Always report suspicious people or activity to the police department.
Following these simple safety tips can reduce shopper’s vulnerability and minimize the possibility of being victimized.
“As your Chief of Police my sincerest hope is that you and your entire family have a safe and blessed holiday season,” said Dove.
To report a suspicious person or suspicious activity call (318) 352-8101 or in case of emergency dial 911.

Top Notch Fitness and members of the Rock Island Baptist Church are sponsoring a Christmas toy drive for children up to 11 years old in the community. Developmental and learning toys can be donated to promote a positive environment. Included batteries with any toy that requires them. Only non-violent toys will be accepted. To donate call (469)803-7496 or email topnotchsportsperformance@yahoo.com

Pianist to teach lessons at L.P. Vaughn: Dr. Samuel Stokes, Natchitoches pianist and composer, will teach private piano lessons and a keyboard class at the L.P. Vaughn Elementary Middle School “School of Fine Arts” beginning Jan. 15 for 12 weeks. Stokes teaches piano and voice in the talent music program for the Natchitoches Parish Schools, where his original children’s musical, “Beau the Amazing Blue Mouse”, was premiered by the Northwestern State University Middle Lab School in April.  Stokes is the music composition instructor for NSU, where his new work “Caer Cadarn” is in rehearsal by the NSU Horn Choir for a performance at the Southeast regional meeting of the International Horn Society.  Registration for Stokes classes and 10 others is Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-5 p.m. at the music room (139) of L.P. Vaughn School.  Other group classes will include art, guitar, and drama.  Private lessons will include piano, trumpet, trombone, violin, flute, clarinet and drums.  A recent addition, if there is interest is public speaking. Cost for the school is $240 for Natchitoches Parish School District schools, with the exception of L.P. Vaughn students who will receive a 90 percent scholarship.  L.P. Vaughn student enrollment will be limited to the first 50+ students who enroll. Classes are scheduled for two hours after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. No registration will be held over the Christmas school break.  L.P. Vaughn School music teacher Danny Von Kanelis the coordinator of the School of Fine Arts. Sandy Irchirl is the middle school principal and Cynthia Cole is the elementary principal. The School of Fine Arts has been approved by the Natchitoches Parish School Board. The school is for 3rd-12th grade students in Natchitoches Parish schools.

Parish raises over 5,000 pounds for food drive: Schools in Natchitoches parish collected 5,869 pounds of food that was distributed to food pantries across Natchitoches Parish during the KALB Christmas Cheer Food Drive. Some 63,144 pounds of non-perishable food items were collected from Avoyelles, Natchitoches and Rapides parish schools, according to Jayne Wright-Velez, executive director of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. Sponsored by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and KALB-TV, local schools participated in the drive to help collect food for the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.  NSU Elementary Lab School collected549 pounds, Provencal Elementary/Jr. High School collected 1,160 pounds and Natchitoches Central High School collected 1,512 pounds to make the honor roll in Natchitoches Parish for the most donations.  Rapides Parish’s leading contributors were Alexandria Senior High School collecting 6,250 pounds, Pineville Jr. High School collecting 3,992 pounds and Phoenix Magnet Elementary School, collecting 11,801 pounds. Tunica Biloxi Indians will distribute $5,000 to these schools for their efforts to help the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. “We would also like to thank the Avoyelles, Natchitoches and Rapides Sheriff’s departments, the City of Natchitoches, and the more than 300 volunteers who helped sort the food collected during the week of the Christmas Cheer Food Drive,” said Wright-Velez.

There were 1,093 NCHS students without a tardy during the third quarter of school: Out of those, 15 names were pulled for a pizza party held during homeroom Tuesday, Nov. 18. Mikenzie Maley, Lasherial Ficklin, Ethan Magness, Julia Settle, Niyyah Bakeer, Christian Owens, Ahlandriea Carter, Phelan Sowell, Demetrius Blackman, Justin Green, Sayla Baker, Destin Setliff, Brandon Freeman, Natalle Sers and Brandon Soileau.
 
NCHS JROTC cadets win awards:
 
http://matchbin-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/public/sites/1127/assets/4O6P_NCHS_JROTC.jpgThe Natchitoches Central High School JROTC Chief Battalion participated in the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade. They were awarded the “Best Marching Unit” trophy. From left are Cadet Captain Bryanna Paige; Cadet Major Victoria Thompson; Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Zykelia Thompson; Cadet Major Courtney South and Cadet 1st Lieutenant Alyssa Milner.
 
http://matchbin-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/public/sites/1127/assets/JP7J_NCHS_JROTC_Cadet.jpgThe NCHS JROTC Chief Battalion “Cadet of the Quarter” selects the top three cadets. The cadets are questioned based on current events, military customs and courtesies, how to wear the JROTC uniform properly, and their leadership skills. Points are awarded for each category. This month’s winner is Cadet Private Aimsley Unbehagen.
 
SWEPCO will trim trees: AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) is spending more than $17 million on tree trimming in its Valley District through 2015 to improve reliability and service.  The SWEPCO vegetation plan for its eight-parish Valley District was approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) in May and additional trimming began in July. Contract tree crews worked in Campti, Colfax, Derry, Gahagan, Hicks, Hornbeck, Kingston, Leesville and Logansport. SWEPCO will spend up to $7.5 million in 2014, and up to $10 million in 2015, primarily in the company’s Valley District, which includes the Natchitoches, Mansfield and Hornbeck areas. SWEPCO serves 228,000 customers in 11 parishes in Louisiana. SWEPCO acquired Valley Electric Membership Cooperative (VEMCO) and its 30,000 customers in October 2010. Commission staff and SWEPCO developed the vegetation plan with savings from the expiration of a Valley power supply agreement. “This means no increase in rates from the increased tree trimming,” adds Campbell.

NSU announces commencement dates:  Northwestern State University will hold its Fall Commencement Exercises Friday, Dec. 19 in Prather Coliseum. More than 620 students who completed degrees in the summer and fall semesters will receive diplomas at the ceremony, which will be streamed at nsula.edu.  Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts, Letters, Graduate Studies and Research and the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development and the Louisiana Scholars’ College will receive diplomas at 10 a.m. Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health and undergraduate students from the College of Science, Technology and Business will graduate at 3 p.m. Incoming Northwestern State President Dr. James Henderson will be the commencement speaker. Those wanting to get the best available seating should plan to arrive at least an hour prior to the ceremony. Seating on the arena floor is available for those who are mobility impaired. Prather Coliseum is located at 350 S. Jefferson St. at the corner of S. Jefferson St. and Caspari St. on the Northwestern State campus.

AG announces settlement with Sirius XM:  (BATON ROUGE)—Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, along with the attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia, announced today that Sirius XM Radio Inc. of New York has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the states and to provide restitution to eligible consumers to resolve claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices. Consumers who have not previously filed a dispute form or claim with their attorney general for the practices covered by this settlement have until May 3, 2015 to file a claim that can be considered for restitution. “Consumers deserve transparency in their billing and a clear description of the services being provided,” Attorney General Caldwell said. “This settlement holds Sirius XM accountable for its misleading practices and unfair billing.” The attorneys general allege that Sirius XM engaged in misleading, unfair, and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws.
Led by Ohio, the states’ investigation focused on consumer reports involving: difficulty canceling contracts; cancellation requests that were not honored; misrepresentations that the consumer’s Sirius XM service would be canceled and not renewed; contracts that were automatically renewed without consumers’ notice or consent; unauthorized fees; higher, unanticipated rates after a low introductory rate; and Sirius XM failing to provide timely refunds.
Under the terms of the settlement, an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Sirius XM will make significant changes to its business practices. Specifically, Sirius XM agrees to:
•Clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms and conditions at the point of sale, such as billing frequency, term length, automatic renewal date, and cancellation policy.
• Make no misrepresentations about the available plans in advertisements.
•Provide advance notice via mail or email about upcoming automatic renewals for plans lasting longer than six months.
• Revise the cancellation procedures to make it easier for consumers to cancel.
• Prohibit incentive compensation for customer service representatives based solely on “saves,” or retaining current customers who attempt to cancel.

The City of Natchitoches Recreation Dept. presents an after school tutoring program at the John Below Center in Breda Town. The program is free to anyone between the ages of 5-12. The program days and times are Monday-Friday from 3-7 p.m. For more information, call Regina Layton at 318-357-3891.
 
 MLK teaches HiSet prep:The MLK Center in Natchitoches offers HiSet Preparation classes. Earlier this year the HiSet replaced the GED Test required to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The change is statewide. The classes are free and open to the public. The class is designed primarily for students with the state recommended ninth grade or above reading level. Students are required to take a reading assesment after enrollment. Classes will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. Students should be 19 years or older. New classes and enrollment will start every eight weeks. The next session will run January through February. For information call 357-3891.
 
First United Methodist Church Natchitoches will offer financial peace university courses Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. For reservations call 318-357-8296. For more information visit www.FUMCLA.org
 

Items for deployed military troops can be dropped of at any of the four Bank of Montgomery Branches. The project continues year-round with boxes to be prepared for Halloween and Christmas. The Shreveport Chapter of Operation Support Our Troops (OSOT) needs help with their on-going collection of items that can include instant hot chocolate mix/coffee/tea, tuna in foil packs, instant oatmeal/grits, Ramen noodle and instant cup-a-soup in any flavor except pork, chocolate candy, especially Hershey’s Kisses, white tube socks, artwork made by school children and notes or letters.

NPSOs’ Arrest report for Monday, December 15, 2014.  Arrested were: 

  1. Edwin Eugene Jones, Sr. – WM (43) – 240 Marquette, Clarence, LA – Theft
  2. Charles Garsee – WM (64) – 819 Koonce Street, Natchitoches, LA – Aggravated Rape
  3. Remica Chantelle Sweet – BF (30) – 100 Lakeview Drive, Natchitoches, LA – Contempt of Court
  4. Jutrivan Smith – BM (21) – 299 Edwina Dive, Natchitoches, LA – Criminal Damage to Property
  5. Darren Dewayne Coatney – BM (21) – 438 East 65th, Shreveport, LA  - Theft of a Motor Vehicle
  6. Quantez Dewayne Barrett – BM (27) – 703 Brahma Drive, Natchitoches, LA – Contempt of Court