Just Talkin’

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Richard Watson stopped by the Times office to tell JT that he is taking a sabbatical this year from decorating his home yard on St. Claire with Christmas lights. In past years, Richard’s home has been a must-see on the holiday lights driving tour. But the retired educator says it’s time for a break. Richard was lamenting about dragging out the lights and finding a few strands that had half the lights burned out. He carted them out to the curb for the trash man, but after sleeping on it, retrieved them from the curb for one more attempt. He even gave the lighted net for shrubs a try and decided it just wasn’t worth the trouble. Too bad that Richard won’t get paid for this sabbatical. Some things are just worth more than the money. But Richard assures JT that he will remain active in the ROMEOs, a local lunch bunch of retired, older men, eating out. Now that can be a rowdy bunch. And his Friday evening dinner club is called Motley Crew, aptly named by Dot Roberson’s daughter, Donna Gail.

While JT is a good many years older than Richard, he too has given up activities such as mowing the grass and washing the car. JT would rather turn on the Keurig than wait for the coffee pot to drip. It’s a great day when his prescription drug company gives him an exception and agrees to include his arthritis medication!

Merci Beaucoup Gift Shop, who says of the business, “It’s all good!” While international visitors are frequent in Natchitoches, Rose Cox says it is still interesting to meet folks from other countries. In one week, Rose had visitors from Hungary, Germany and France. Those from Hungary were Americans whose spouses work there and those from France were visiting Louisiana to see their daughter who works in New Orleans. From all reports, it appears the first weekend of the Christmas Festival was a huge success. Good crowds, good fun, lots of people in downtown restaurants, just wished they would have closed off a section of Front Street Saturday evening.

JT hears there was even a pretty good crowd on hand Thursday for the ribbon cutting officially opening the newly renovated downtown riverbank. Reportedly the mayor said there is more to come in the development of the riverbank. One comment that struck JT as odd was that in thanking the Shreveport television stations for coming down Mayor Lee Posey said Natchitoches felt it was part of Shreveport. Not too sure local merchants feel that way…since we want our shoppers to stay at home.

JT hears a report is supposed to be released in early December on a tremendous amount of fraud in the state’s Medicare program. You know, the one our Governor has been expanding by leaps and bounds. Not sure how far back the review of the program goes, but JT heard there might be as many as 200,000 fraudulent claims filed in the program.

JT got bits and pieces of conflicting data relative to the Natchitoches Central High School sidelines incident several weeks ago when the Chiefs played West Monroe. Rumor has it there might be lawsuits forthcoming. As our story on page one related, one coach was suspended for a couple days for his aggressiveness toward a player on the sidelines. However, that same coach reportedly had to work a school function while his suspension was in place.

JT also heard later that another coach at NCHS was fired over the incident. There have been rumors too, that the investigation was less than thorough and one witness may have already recanted their statement. Sure sounds like a mess to JT. It will be interesting to see how this thing unfolds.