LOGO
  • ,

    High blood pressure redefined for first time in 14 years: 130 the new high

    High blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 – according to the first comprehensive new high blood pressure guidelines in more than a decade. The guidelines are being published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure.The guidelines were presented this week at the Association’s 2017 Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, Calif., the premier global cardiovascular science meeting for the exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

    Rather than 1 in 3 U.S. adults having high blood pressure (32 percent) with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46 percent) having high blood pressure, or hypertension. However, there will only be a small increase in the number of U.S. adults who will require antihypertensive medication, authors said. Additionally, more African-Americans, a population that faces a higher risk for high blood pressure than other demographics, will have high blood pressure under the new guidelines. Fifty-six percent of women will be affected compared to 59 percent of men, which reflects an increase from 42 percent for women and 46 percent for men. This now means African-American men have the highest rate of hypertension while, previously, black women did.

    These guidelines, the first update to offer comprehensive guidance to doctors on managing adults with high blood pressure since 2003, are designed to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.

    The new guidelines stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure. Blood pressure levels should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions, the authors said.

    High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, following smoking. It’s known as the “silent killer” because many times there are no obvious symptoms, and it significantly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.

    Paul K. Whelton, M.B., M.D., M.Sc., lead author of the guidelines published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, noted the dangers of blood pressure levels between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg.

    “You’ve already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure,” he said. “We want to be straight with people – if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it. It doesn’t mean you need medication, but it’s a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches.”

    Blood pressure categories in the new guidelines are:

    * Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
    * Elevated: Top number (systolic) between 120-129 and bottom number (diastolic) less than 80;
    * Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
    * Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
    * Hypertensive crisis: Top number over 180 and/or bottom number over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

    The new guidelines eliminate the category of prehypertension, which was used for blood pressures with a top number (systolic) between 120-139 mm Hg or a bottom number (diastolic) between 80-89 mm Hg. People with those readings now will be categorized as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89).

    Previous guidelines classified 140/90 mm Hg as Stage 1 hypertension. This level is classified as Stage 2 hypertension under the new guidelines.

    The impact of the new guidelines is expected to be greatest among younger people. The prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45 according to the report. For African-Americans, high blood pressure develops earlier in life and is usually more severe.

    Damage to blood vessels begins soon after blood pressure is elevated, said Whelton, who is the Show Chwan professor of global public health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and School of Medicine in New Orleans. “If you’re only going to focus on events, that ignores the process when it’s beginning. Risk is already going up as you get into your 40s.”

    The guidelines stress the importance of home blood pressure monitoring using validated devices and appropriate training of healthcare providers to reveal “white-coat hypertension,” which occurs when pressure is elevated in a medical setting but not in everyday life. Home readings can also identify “masked hypertension,” when pressure is normal in a medical setting but elevated at home, thus necessitating treatment with lifestyle and possibly medications.

    “People with white-coat hypertension do not seem to have the same elevation in risk as someone with true sustained high blood pressure,” Whelton said. “Masked hypertension is more sinister and very important to recognize because these people seem to have a similar risk as those with sustained high blood pressure.”

    Other changes in the new guidelines include:

    * Only prescribing medication for Stage I hypertension if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk (using the same risk calculator used in evaluating high cholesterol).

    * Recognizing that many people will need two or more types of medications to control their blood pressure, and that people may take their pills more consistently if multiple medications are combined into a single pill.

    * Socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress are now recognized as risk factors for high blood pressure. In some urban communities, socioeconomic status can affect access to basic living necessities, medication, healthcare providers and the ability to adopt lifestyle changes.

    The new guidelines were developed by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations. They were written by a panel of 21 scientists and health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies. The guidelines underwent a careful systematic review and approval process. Each recommendation is classified by the strength (class) of the recommendation followed by the level of evidence supporting the recommendation. Recommendations are classified I or II, with class III indicating no benefit or harm. The level of evidence signifies the quality of evidence. Levels A, B, and C-LD denote evidence gathered from scientific studies, while level C-EO contains evidence from expert opinion.

    The new guidelines are the successor to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC7), issued in 2003 and overseen by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). In 2013, the NHLBI asked the AHA and ACC to continue the management of guideline preparation for hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Policy experts discuss education in the new Jim Crow era

    After decades of desegregation efforts, federal civil rights laws, and other attempts to close the achievement gap, a high quality education remains an elusive goal for most Black children.

    In an effort to engage Black parents around reaching that elusive goal, educators and community stakeholders tackled leadership, educational equity and policy in urban schools, during a recent panel discussion.

    Led by moderator Linda Tillman, professor emeritus of education leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the panel discussed the challenges faced by African American teachers and leaders, as they work to educate Black children and young adults in urban communities.

    “We are here to revisit old discussions and bring fresh ideas,” Tillman said. “Jim Crow has affected Blacks in so many ways. Black education is a right [that’s] not solely based on White norms.”

    Panelist Terri Watson, a City College of New York (CCNY) educator and co-creator of the CCNY-based “Growing Our Own Doctor’s Project,” said that there’s not only a need for better education, but that there’s also a need for safer communities for Black students.

    “We have to focus on creating space where kids are informed and active, that’s important,” Watson said. “We have to let the kids know that the world is waiting for them, they’re up next and we have to change their mindset that the world views them as disposable.”

    Rodney Hopson, a professor and associate dean of education psychology at George Mason University, Sonya Douglass Horsford, an associate professor of education leadership at the Teachers College at Columbia University, and M. Christopher Brown II, the president of Kentucky State University also participated in the panel that took place during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference.

    Both Brown and Horsford, longtime friends, said the majority of public schools are now non-White. The proliferation of charter and alternative schools has also chipped away at the effectiveness of public schools.

    The federal government has played such a major role in shaping education policy and schools now mostly prepare African Americans for prison, not college, Brown said.

    “The school’s structure that’s used is that they teach our kids how to stand in a straight line, to raise their hands when they have to go to the bathroom…you do that in prison, so that’s the training they’re getting,” Brown said.

    He then quoted what he said was a prophetic statement made by W.E.B. Du Bois 57 years ago.

    “[African American] teachers will become rarer and in many cases will disappear,” Brown said quoting Du Bois, noting that the prediction has come to pass.

    Brown continued, quoting Du Bois: “[African American] children will be instructed in public schools and taught under unpleasant if not discouraging circumstances. Even more largely than today, they will fall out of school, cease to enter high school, and fewer and fewer will go to college.”

    Horsford, like the other panelists, said no one should be surprised, because, after all, resegregation has occurred and education is the “new civil rights in the new Jim Crow.”

    “We shouldn’t operate from the assumption that our schools are broken,” she said. “They are doing exactly what they were designed to do, which is to sift and sort children into different categories for economic reasons.”

    Horsford added that African Americans must tap the potential, possibilities and gifts of the young people who truly hold the answers to society’s pressing problems.

    Even educators have suffered and are poorly valued in a system guided by high-stakes testing and performance-based accountability, Horsford said.

    “We have to engage in parallel efforts…we need to reimagine schools and school systems that support everyone,” said Horsford. “We also have to make sure that, in the meantime, we are preparing students to not only survive, but also thrive in an era of extreme inequality.”

    By Stacy M. Brown
    NNPA Newswire Contributor

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Broome issues executive order to expand small business participation in city contracts

    East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome today issued an executive order to expand efforts to increase the enterprise participation of small businesses in City-Parish contracts. The order also ensures that such businesses — including those owned by minorities, women and veterans — are afforded fair opportunities and do not face unfair barriers when seeking and performing City-Parish contracts.

    “This executive order is much needed in our city and parish,” Mayor-President Broome said. “I have been consistently vocal and demonstrative about the need for equity in all areas of life in our community, and this includes business. Everyone should have equal opportunities to build and grow successful businesses in the place they call home. These businesses add to our economic development, and a diverse array of business owners creates a more welcoming, progressive city for both current and future residents.”

    The order, which takes effect immediately, outlines accountability, inclusion and outreach efforts, and policy administration and operation in City-Parish departments. Stakeholder engagement is also prescribed, instructing the chief administrative officer in the Office of the Mayor-President to create more opportunities for members of the contracting community and for City-Parish departments, the Metropolitan Council, and others to work collaboratively on recommendations for how the City-Parish can better develop, deliver, monitor and measure a more successful small business enterprise program.

    Read the order here: http://www.brgov.com/press/SWB%2017-02.pdf

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    City Hall rally urges Mayor, Council to keep their word on ‘grocery gap’ funding

    Together Baton Rouge will hold a rally on Monday, November 13th at 4:30pm at City Hall, 222 St. Louis Street, to urge the Mayor-President and Metropolitan Council to fulfill their commitment to fund an economic development program to attract grocery stores to “grocery gap” neighborhoods.

    As candidates during last year’s elections, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and a majority of the current Metropolitan Council committed to support city-parish funding for a fresh food financing initiative in the amount of $1.5 million.

    The proposed city-parish budget contains zero funding to implement the initiative.

    It is the fourth straight year that city officials have given verbal commitment to support the project, but not followed through with funding.

    In 2013, the central recommendations of the EBR Food Access Policy Commission was to start a fresh food financing initiative to bring access to healthy food to the parish’s 100,000 residents who live in low food-access areas.

    Together Baton Rouge is holding the rally to urge city officials to keep their word and finally get the project off the ground.

    “Budgets are statements of a community’s values and priorities,” said Edgar Cage, who helps lead Together Baton Rouge’s food access work.

    “We believe our officials are sincere in their support. But it’s time we start saying, not just with our words but with our budgets and with our actions, that we value and prioritize addressing food access and economic development in our most neglected neighborhoods.”

    To RSVP to attend the rally, click here.

    For full details on the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, click here.

    Facts on the Grocery Gap in East Baton Rouge Parish

    • Nearly 100,000 residents in East Baton Rouge Parish live in “grocery gap” neighborhoods –about 20% of the parish population.
    • The national average of residents food deserts is 7%
    • 32,753 of the EBR residents in Grocery Gap neighborhoods are children. 13,282 are seniors.
    • The Grocery Gap affects all 12 Metro Council District.
    • Lack of access to health foods is directly related to obesity and obesity-related illnesses
    • Lack of access to grocery stores increases the cost of food by 7 to 25%, typically in the neighborhoods least able to pay more.
    • New Orleans has had a fresh food financing initiative since 2011. It has funded 6 grocery store projects, creating 200 jobs and adding 179,000 sq. ft. of food retail.
    • Fresh food financing initiatives are public-private partnerships. Public funds typically leverage 8 to 10 times as much private sector funding.

    Together Baton Rouge would not receive any public funds under this initiative. The organization does not accept funds from government sources, period. The funding for a fresh food financing initiative would go as incentives to grocery stores and to a community development finance initiative to administer the program.

     

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Thomas uses code to connect readers with authors of color

    Kaya Thomas, was frustrated with the difficulty of finding books about and by people of color so she designed and wrote the code for the app.
    At age 18, she launched We Read Too, a mobile directory of multicultural books for young readers.

    “I want titles written by people of color to be easier to discover and all in one place, not blocked by a pay wall,” Thomas told Poets & Writers magazine. “I want (users) to see that there are authors who share their background and are creating work that reflects their culture in some way.”

    Now available through Google Play and Apple, the free directory has nearly 1,000 children and young adult titles. Each title has a detail page including the book cover, author, title, genre, and description with an option to share the books via email or social media. The books can be viewed with an option to purchase online.
    There are more than 15,000 users who have used the app to locate self-published and traditionally published authors of color. User can also recommend authors while discovering new titles. “I want all author of color to have their work highlighted in We Read Too regardless of how they got their work out there,” she said.

    Thomas plans to eventually include adult fiction titles in the directory. “We want to expand the directory to include as many titles as possible in those categories before expanding to adult literature.” Suggested books have to be written by an author of color and the main character in the book should be Black, Latinx, Asian, or Native. Every few weeks the suggestions are read through and added if they fit the criteria.

    Thomas graduated from Darmouth College with a degree in computer science. She started learning iOS development in 2014 while working as a mobile development intern for Time Inc. She later interned at Intuit and Apple working on iOS/OS technologies. She is an associate engineer at Slack Technologies, Inc. in California.

    ONLINE: WeReadToo.com

    Read more »
  • ,

    COMMENTARY: FBI’s behavior is classic deja vu

    It’s a classic case of déjà vu. The FBI’s counterterrorism division has identified a supposed new threat: “black identity extremists” (BIE). The FBI claims that BIE’s “perception of police brutality against African Americans has spurred retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement.”

    In a time when white supremacists march down city streets toting loaded weapons and shouting racist taunts, it comes as a great shock that the FBI would decide to target black identity groups protesting police brutality and their right to exist free of harm.

    Sadly, this news comes as no surprise from an administration that has flaunted its disregard for the civil rights and liberties of people of color and blamed the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on “many sides.” President Trump and his allies have exuded a lack of compassion and historical understanding that increasingly infects our government and our society.

    It’s up to us to stop the true sources of hate in this country online at action.naacp.org you can join our call to Congress to support the NO HATE Act of 2017, sign the pledge to vote for representatives who know where the true threat to safety and democracy lies; and donate the NAACP to help us defeat hate and advance justice.

    In solidarity,

    Derrick Johnson

    Interim President and CEO, NAACP

    Read more »
  • ,

    Participants saught for Occupational Therapy research on Lupus

    The Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of South Alabama’ students and faculty are conducting much-needed research on how lupus affects African American women’s ability to participate in the everyday activities they need and want to do.

    To do so, simply visit https://sites.google.com/southalabama.edu/lupus and click “Take Survey.” The survey is a short, 33-item questionnaire that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. Your results will remain anonymous and will contribute to the overall effort to help all who are diagnosed with lupus.

    ONLINE: www.louisianalupusfoundation.org

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Superintendent does not deserve all the blame

    Many I Have talked to are very dissatisfied with the performance of the current superintendent. We know that the next superintendent must be someone with a strong background and proven performance record in educating children (all children). Our current su- perintendent is well-versed in nance. Yes, this is what our board chose to lead our kids and schools over the past decade; a nance guy. This is perhaps where the notion that more money is the right answer to solve every educational problem comes into play. Maybe we should ask the districts in our country that spend less per pu- pil and yet outperform others. Or, we can ask those districts in places like New York that spend tens of thousands per pupil while performance still lacks. But, that’s another discussion for another time.

    In the superintendent’s defense, I do not think the current superintendent deserves all of the blame for district perfor- mance. For instance, currently Tangipahoa has an abundance of “magnet” schools. However, there exists absolutely no blueprint or school magnet plan illustrating to the public exactly how each magnet program should look and sound by full implementation. Nor, is there a timeline with performance benchmarks so that the indi- vidual responsible for imple- menting magnet programs District-wide can progress- monitor implementation. What kind of organization does not have these simple processes in place? Ours.

    What is the outcome of this? Well, for one, we have commu- nications magnet schools that have been in existence for over ve years without any real outlying educational experiences than those found in traditional schools. What is the blue print for the Medical Magnet at Amite? Is it just the state’s jumpstart CNA programs? Let’s get serious.
    We have kids dropping out of the high school’s IB program because they were not properly prepared for the Diploma Pro- gramme in K-8. There has been no success in securing the ac- tual Middle Years Programme despite attempts having been made since 2012 or earlier. There’s no wonder our kids are having trouble in high school; they are missing the o cial IB Middle Years. Let’s not even talk about the academic per- formance of the district’s mag- net schools. Basically, most of them are in decline.

    As for our high schools, a high school supervisor reportedly assigned e ective ratings to a high school administra- tor who was removed by the superintendent for basically being determined ine ective. How can such a discrepancy exist? Well, based on the lack of growth performance coupled with culture and climate issues that existed at this particular high school, the superinten- dent probably made the rightdecision. However, the individual who gave that particular school leader e ec- tive ratings should have also been repri- manded. The public must trust that indi- viduals are being held fairly accountable for how they perform with our children, and the ability to properly hold system leaders just as accountable as school lead- ers and teachers is a known weakness of the Tangipahoa Parish School System. This system has been known to place in- dividuals in district leadership roles who have not been proven to have been ef- fective leaders in schools based on, well, school performance. We must do better to win the public over.

    Lastly, Tangipahoa Parish Schools contain a reform measure known to help raise student achievement called the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). The program involves the hiring of mas- ter and mentor teachers in TAP schools as well as a district Master teacher who supports TAP schools. At one point, the system had as many as nine TAP schools. Now, it has only one. Again, who holds the individual responsible for supporting these TAP schools (District TAP executive TAP Master teacher), and why is this individual still serving in this role when the district only has one TAP school? Who pays for this? How did the one school in which this individual was responsible for perform this past year? It declined.

    In conclusion, yes, the superinten- dent is ultimately responsible for district overall performance. However, the in- dividual responsible for district magnet programs, high school performance, and the individual responsible for the TAP should all be held accountable for the performance (or lack thereof) in these particular schools and programs overall. In addition, the board should request a copy of how the superintendent and/ r designee evaluated each and compare these evaluations with actual school/pro- gram performance. We do expect that, in the future, this superintendent as well as future superintendents do a better job at securing the most e ective individuals for these kinds of positions so that our entire district can be led in a more posi- tive direction, academically.

    By Patricia Morris
    President Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP

    Read more »
  • ,,

    SU Homecoming Parade route finalized for Nov. 4

    The race for Houston and the 2017 SWAC Championship is nearing the finish line and this Saturday, SU Athletics needs the Jaguar Nation to “Standout Bold For Thee.”

    As Southern University football prepares to salute the 2017 Senior Class, the SU annual homecoming parade will commence a full day of festivities with a new route through the North Baton Rouge community, Saturday, Nov. 4.

    Parade participants will access Elm Grove Garden Drive from Blount road prior to the start of the parade, which is scheduled to begin at 7:45 a.m. in front of Ryan Elementary. The parade will travel south down Elm Grove Garden Drive before making a right on Fairchild Drive. When the parade route reaches Scenic Highway, it will turn right and veer towards Scotland Avenue and will end at Scotlandville High School.

    For a view of the 2017 homecoming parade route, click here.
    In addition to the parade that will roll through the Scotlandville community Saturday, the SU Office of Admissions and Recruitment is scheduled to host more than 3,000 prospective students for High School Day on the Baton Rouge campus.

    Lastly, head coach Dawson Odums and the Jaguars prepare to battle Prairie View A&M in a pivotal SWAC West matchup at 4 p.m. SUS President-Chancellor Dr. Ray L. Belton and SU Director of Athletics Roman Banks will host the first-ever VIP Endzone Party on the A.W. Mumford Stadium field. Tickets for the VIP Party are available for $35 and can be purchased at the SU Ticket office.
    Fans must have a game ticket in order to purchase tickets for VIP Party.
    For additional information, fans are encouraged to contact the SU Ticket Office at 225-771-3171.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Robinson speaks against Kolwe, number of failing schools

    HAMMOND–Tangipahoa Parish School Board member Betty Robinson is highly critical of the superintendent of Tangipahoa Parish Schools Mark Kolwe and she questions the number of failing schools.
    “I have three failing schools in my district,” Robinson said. “Hammond Junior High, Woodland Park, and Westside Elementary, all these school having failing grades. It not the educational system; it is the Superintendent Mark Kolwe is to blame. He is not an educator.”
    Robinson said, “Another problem we have in the school system is that our children are being taught by uncertified teachers.”
    “Everytime a failing school gets a principal who turns around a school, the superintendent will transfer that principal. (For example) Terran Perry was turning around Hammond Junior High, a failing school,” she said.
    “The tax payers can change the school system, and remove the superintendent by attending school board meeting in record numbers and challenge how their tax dollars are spent,” she said.
    According to Robinson, the school board has hired a public relations firm to produce information about a proposed tax that will appear on the November ballot.
    “I cannot support a tax. I don’t trust them with the money, and the community doesn’t trust the system. If the tax passes, the majority of the money will go to Ponchatoula High,” she said. “We must vote against the tax.”
    Robinson said her trouble with the school board started on November 3, 2015, when she was sworn in. “I did not received new members’ orientation until 2016–14 months later,” she said.
    In a letter to The Drum, Robinson wrote:

    Dear Editor:
    The recent report ranking our city as being among the worst cities to raise a child hit hard. The reason is that this is a direct reflection of our educational system. Citizens need board members to be open and honest with them about the state of education.
    Likewise, board members need a superintendent who is courageous enough to be honest and open about these matters with us. We cannot go on pretending like everything is great when national reports state otherwise as this makes us appear uncivilized. I understand politics, but the well being of children and families is far too important to play politics. We simply cannot afford to do so. Doing so has caused the outcome seen nationally.
    Our parish it’s cities and towns are a jewel. However, a better job must be done with our schools.
    The superintendent of over a decade owes local mayors, business leaders, civic leaders and especially families answers as to why our system is in this current condition. And please, do not continue to place blame on money.
    People are tired of this excuse and have stated that they will invest when they can trust that their dollars will be effectively spent on improving educational outcomes for all children. Would you believe that one of the highest ranking school districts in our country actually spends less than we do per pupil? Go figure.
    It is about effectively prioritizing and managing what you have, and our data points out that prioritizing funds starting with what is in the very best interests of children has definitely not been an area of strength for our system’s leadership.
    An entire decade has passed, and this is the outcome. We must do better in assisting our parish’s cities and towns by doing our part in securing leadership that we know can improve system wide academic outcomes so that we all can reap the benefits of having a district filled with high ranking schools.
    Betty C. Robinson
    School Board Member
    Tangipahoa Parish District G

    By Eddie Ponds
    The Drum Founding Publisher

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Faking normal over 50

    Today’s life expectancy rate for United States citizens stands at 76.5 and 81.2 years for men and women, respectively, according to recent data provided by the world’s leader of medical research, Imperial College London.

    But before we celebrate, it’s important to note that these levels are among the lowest of the world’s richest countries — a list of “lows” that includes places like Croatia and Mexico.

    Why? Because, among other factors, America lacks universal health insurance and has the highest child, maternal, homicide and body-mass index rates of any high-income country.

    What’s more, many Americans 50 years of age or more have discovered that living longer often requires them to work longer in order to keep up with their financial obligations and personal desires.

    ‘Faking Normal’ Over 50

    That’s what one Washington, D.C., resident Elizabeth White, a former chief operating officer for a midsize nonprofit organization, once-celebrated entrepreneur and MBA graduate of Harvard Business School, learned while struggling on the edge of a financial precipice for years, despite her outward appearances.

    White, now in her 60s, chronicles the pain she experienced as her flourishing career and upper-middle class lifestyle came to a grinding halt in her 2017 self-published book, Fifty-Five, Unemployed and Faking Normal. She says that while she “pretended” that things were going great, in truth she feared the future — and soon discovered that she had a lot of company.

    “There’s a lot of pressure to act like you’re doing well. That’s why I describe my personal reflections as an act of ‘faking normal,’” she said while speaking to media at the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco last July.

    White admits that the townhouse she purchased years ago now has a rental rate that she couldn’t begin to afford today. Nor can she afford to pay the fee for private parking.

    Meanwhile, and in terms of how she reached her unexpected financial crisis, White says that after making her mark as one of only a handful of black women employed by the World Bank, she took a huge piece of her retirement savings to fund her own business. Her enterprise promoted African-inspired products — a venture that had tremendous potential but which eventually failed.

    “We were doing well, but I could see that we were not going to be able to grow the business into a national chain as we were already struggling with volume,” she said. “One day I just closed my stores.”

    From $200K a Year to $0

    For a while, White survived on receiving consistent consulting work. Then, as the 2008 economic crash occurred, she went from close to $200,000 a year to zero.

    “The jobs of the past weren’t there anymore,” she said. “And I found it harder to get hired than I did years earlier — probably due to age discrimination. It didn’t matter how great I may have looked. I learned that early; being in one’s 50s was no longer considered ‘young’ in the workplace. I realized I was in trouble.”

    Recent data from several social research organizations indicate that from ages 45 to 55, wages decline by nine percent or more — then dropping by an additional nine percent for those between 55 and 64. And most experts say age discrimination starts at around 35 with women bearing the brunt much sooner and more intensely than men.

    “Maybe it was too many bottled waters and too many visits to Starbucks,” White says with a laugh. “I was embarrassed to admit to my friends what was going on in my life. But it was those same friends who helped me make it. I realized I had to come to terms with my new reality and deal with life on new terms.”

    In her book, White provides over 100 online resources and offers ways to deal with the emotions she faced after landing in financial ruin.

    “We’re in the midst of a massive paradigm shift,” she states in the book’s conclusion. “Much of what we know has been turned on its head. We’re going to make mistakes. Learn from them. Forgive yourself. Focus on what is working. Throw the rest away.”

    By New America Media

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Centenary College Choir prepares for fall tour

    The Centenary College Choir takes its 2017-2018 program, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” on the road in early November for six performances in south Louisiana. The group will visit and sing at both churches and high schools during the three-day tour.

    The Choir debuted the full season program at its annual “Rhapsody in View” performance at Shreveport’s Riverview Theater during Centenary’s Homecoming weekend on October 21 and 22.

    The tour opens with a concert at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge at 7pm on Thursday, November 2. On Friday, November 3, the Choir will visit several Baton Rouge-area high schools in the morning and afternoon, giving prospective students a chance to hear the Choir and interact with current members. That evening, the Choir travels to Hammond-Ponchatoula-Well United Methodist Church for a 7pm concert. On Saturday, November 4, the group moves to Lafayette for a 6pm. appearance at St. Anthony Catholic Church. The tour wraps up on Sunday, November 5 as the Choir sings for morning services at Asbury United Methodist Church in Lafayette and then gives a final concert at First United Methodist Church in DeRidder at 6pm.

    Established in 1941, the Choir is the oldest and largest ensemble at Centenary College and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016. The group sings a diverse repertoire of music from classical to casual, making an international tour every other year. Nicknamed “America’s Singing Ambassadors” by the press, the Choir has toured throughout the world, representing Centenary College to audiences in 32 countries on six continents.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Edwards launches criminal justice reform video series ahead of Nov. 1 implementation

    As part of his campaign to educate the public on the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative legislation going into effect on Nov. 1 of this year, Gov. John Bel Edwards has released three videos featuring community leaders who were active in passing the historic legislation. They elaborate on the necessity of criminal justice reform in Louisiana,  the reduced cost to taxpayers and the increased safety that will result from this reform for communities across the state.

    “We know from experience a broken justice system leads to more crime, more families torn apart and higher costs for hardworking taxpayers each year,” Gov. Edwards said. “Stakeholders from both sides of the aisle put their differences aside and found common ground to build comprehensive, bipartisan criminal justice reform. We made a decision to build a system that works better for everyone in Louisiana by looking at data-driven evidence, not anecdotes and misleading fear tactics.”

    The first video features Speaker Pro Temp Walt Leger (D-New Orleans), a former prosecutor and author of HB 489, one of the ten bills included in the criminal justice reinvestment package of legislation. Click here to watch Rep. Leger’s video.

    The second video released highlights the Rev. Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum and member of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Taskforce. Click here to watch Rev. Mills’ video.

    The third video includes Natalie LaBorde from the Department of Corrections, the state agency charged with overseeing implementation of the reforms. Click here to watch LaBorde’s video.

    A new video highlighting the importance of the criminal justice reform legislation will be released each day leading up to the Nov. 1 implementation date.

    Click here to learn more about criminal justice reform.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Ignatious Carmouche is ‘The Voice’ winner

    OPELOUSAS–Ignatious Carmouche is “The Voice on Snapchat” winner of Season 12.

    Carmouche, who is from Houston and now lives in Opelousas, made it through the first round of blind auditions and secured a spot on Team Jennifer by singing “Latch.”

    In January, Carmouche submitted a video of himself singing “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell. Never in a million years did he think he’d make it, but out of 20,000 submissions he ended up winning with Team Adam. By winning, he was granted a chance to audition at the Season 13 Blind Auditions and ended up making it on Team Jennifer.

    Carmouchegrew up in a very religious household, which is why he grew up singing in church. Being a shy kid, he would sing with his back toward the congregation, but as he got older his confidence grew.

    He eventually started playing the piano, alto-saxophone and finally took singing seriously. Late last year, he got his ministry license and co-founded his own music ministry.
    Carmouche said he is ready to show the world the power of his voice outside of the church by being on “The Voice.”

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Rotary plans 4th Annual Global Community Day for Nov. 5

    The Baton Rouge Capital City Rotary Club and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana invite the community to join them for a Global Community Day Celebration, 11 am, Sunday, Nov. 5 at the BREC Community Park at 14024 Highland Rd. Everybody is invited, especially the children, to explore cultural exhibits from around the globe, identify international flags and try ethnic foods. Visitors will get a free World Visitor Pass to travel from country to country to learn about different cultures and get the passes stamped. Members of Baton Rouge’s international community, dressed in colorful clothes, will perform traditional ethnic dances from around the world. The event is free and open to the public.

    Countries invited include Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Honduras, India, Italy, Ireland, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Swaziland, Turkey, Palestine, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Israel, Uganda, Israel, Burundi, Greece, Republic of Chad and Ukraine. Interested persons may contact us for participation.

    Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon W. Broome has proclaimed Nov. 5 as “Global Community Day.” The Henry Turner Jr. and Flavor band and other entertainment make this event too exciting to miss.

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the International Stage Sponsor. Other sponsors are BREC, EBR Mayor-President’s office, WAFB TV, Entergy, Gerry Lane Chevrolet and Gerry Lane Buick-GMC, Louisiana Lottery, Visit Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Chapter of The Links Inc. Capital City Rotary Foundation Inc., and Francis Nezianya’s Subway.

    Rotary International began as an idea more than 100 years ago. Today, Rotary flourishes worldwide with 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

    Submitted By: Baton Rouge Rotary

    Read more »
  • Super Science Saturday

    Super Science Saturday (SSS) is a free Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education event for students in kindergarten to 12th grade, parents, and anyone interested in seeing science in action. SSS is sponsored by LSU Chemistry, the Baton Rouge local section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and LSU Athletics.

    SSS is held each Fall, usually around National Chemistry Week. This year there will be 20 stations with hands-on demonstrations and activities to engage students and adults alike. Each K-12 student that attends is given a Passport at the check-in area that has blocks for each of the activity stations. When the student visits the station and participates in the activities the Passport is stamped. After visiting all the activity stations located around the concourse level of the PMAC they will receive some small gifts at the check-out area. Many regional K-12 teachers give students with a fully-stamped Passport some bonus points for attending and learning some science – so students should hang on to their Passports if that is the case.

    Organizers said, “We typically have 1,000 to 1,100 K-12 students and 1,200 parents attend the event. Over 150 volunteers help with SSS, from staffing the activity booths, to blowing up 800+ balloons to give to the K-12 students that attend the event.”

    The activity stations this year will be staffed by Albemarle, BASF, Dow, ExxonMobil, the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, LSU College of Science Departments and organizations, LSU Engineering Diversity Ambassadors, LSU Food Science, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Solutions Through Science, Iota Sigma Pi, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of the Lake University Chemistry Department.

    The event is free, but SSS will collect non-perishable food items (and/or monetary donations) for the Baton Rouge Food Bank.
    The organizer of the event is Prof. George Stanley (LSU Chemistry, phone: 225-578-3471, E-mail: gstanley@lsu.edu). Please contact him for more information or questions about Super Science Saturday. Information is also posted on the LSU Chemistry website (chemistry.lsu.edu).

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    BRCC Foundation presents: Chancellor’s Evening with Ailey II

    Baton Rouge Community College and the BRCC Foundation will host Ailey II at 6:30pm on Nov. 5 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion, located on BRCC’s Mid City campus, 201 Community College Drive. Proceeds from the event will provide financial assistance for students, including scholarships; as well as professional development opportunities and programmatic grant awards for faculty.

    “It is an absolute honor to share such an enriching arts event with the Baton Rouge community as an extension of our commitment to serve the Capital Region, and provide an opportunity for patrons to support Louisiana’s future workforce and the advancement of BRCC’s students,” said BRCC Chancellor Larissa Littleton-Steib.

    Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the Ailey II company embodies its namesake’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Under the direction of Sylvia Waters from 1974 to 2012, Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. Current artistic director, Troy Powell, brings a fresh dimension to the company and contributes to its legacy of unmatched critical praise, honors, awards and proclamations.

    Ailey II continues to receive numerous honors and awards in recognition of its community outreach programs, which include going to local elementary, middle and high schools in the cities in which it performs. As part of its visit to Baton Rouge, Ailey II will also visit McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School for Visual and Performing Arts.

     

    dancer
    “We are delighted to host Ailey II and provide a great experience that all can enjoy, and an experience that brings beauty, light, and hope to our community,” said BRCC Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation Philip L. Smith, Jr.Tickets for the Chancellor’s Evening with Ailey II and gala are available at www.brccf.org.

    The BRCC Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit corporation created for the purpose of securing philanthropic support to advance, promote, and benefit the mission of Baton Rouge Community College, its faculty and students.

    For more information, contact BRCC Director of Community Relations Gerri Hobdy at (225) 216-8401.Tickets for the Chancellor’s Evening with Ailey II and gala are available at www.brccf.org.

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Personal Health History Workshop opens for registration through Oct 13

    Deadline to pre-register is October 13

    The Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus’ Family and Human Development Unit will host a Personal Health History Workshop, Tuesday, Oct. 31, at the SU Ag Center, 181 B.A. Little Dr., from 9am to 2:30pm.

    The free workshop will show individuals how to create a personal health history journal that can be used to keep track of not only their health history, but also the health history of their family’s including illnesses, medications, treatments and any past medical procedures. This information is often asked for by medical professionals when being admitted to the emergency room or seeing a doctor for the first time.

    Topics covered during the workshop will include:

    • Knowing Your Family Medical History
    • How to Get The Most from Your Doctor’s Visit
    • What’s a Power of Attorney
    • What’s a Living Will
    • Eating Healthy at Every Age
    • Harmful Effects of Tobacco
    • USDA Rural Housing Repair Program

    The event is free, but pre-registration is required.  To request a registration form or to pre-register, email milissia_jbaptiste@suagcenter.comdelores_johnson@suagcenter.com or call 225-771-2583, 225-771-3704.

    Read more »
  • Charles Lloyd Jr. to perform for the Music Club’s Southern Charm Program Oct. 10

    Charles Lloyd Jr., director of the Southern University Concert Choir, will be the guest artist for the Music Club of Baton Rouge’s monthly recital on Oct. 10 at the Woman’s Clubhouse, 259 T.J. Jemison Blvd. The free “Southern Charm” program begins at 10:30am with coffee at 9:45am. Appearing with Lloyd will be Jaqueline Paige-Green and Richard Hobson. Lloyd is a recording artist, arranger, accompanist, composer, coach and an expert in the field of the spiritual art song. Two of his works were performed by Kathleen Battle and Jesse Norman on the 1990 “Spirituals in Concert” conducted by James Levine and recorded by Deutsche Gramophone.

    With more than 150 compositions to his credit, Lloyd is a major figure in the field of vocal music. His output has run the gamut from hymns to operas, cantatas to art songs, though he’s most readily identified with spirituals, which constitute more than half his work as a composer.

    According to Robert Faires of the Austin Chronicle,  Lloyd has not only made arrangements that preserve the traditional sound of this rich music but also adapted them for choirs and created contemporary versions that draw on the art song tradition. His achievements have made his music sought out by the likes of Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman.

    For more information, call (225) 978-9430.

    Read more »
  • ,

    SU homecoming parade, party postponed while game moves to 1pm due to weather

     Southern University officials announced changes to Saturday’s homecoming football start time due to weather forecasts involving Tropical Storm Nate.

    Kickoff for Saturday’s football game against Alabama A&M has been moved up to 1 p.m. at A.W. Mumford Stadium. As a result, the annual homecoming parade and the homecoming day party have been postponed until further notice.

    “Our policy is to error on the side of caution for situations that involve the safety and well-being of our students, fans and alumni,” said Southern University athletics director Roman Banks. “With the weather projections surrounding Tropical Storm Nate, we felt it was in the best interest of the Southern University community to move the start time up to allow everyone safe passage home.”

    Southern University Athletics has also postponed Sunday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference home soccer match against Alcorn State and home SWAC volleyball contest against Grambling State. 

    Both games will be postponed until a possible makeup date can be determined by the conference office.

    Read more »
  • Pink After 5 returns for 11th year of breast cancer awareness

    The Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus, consisting of the Southern University Ag Center and the Southern University College of Agriculture, has partnered with the Missy Radio Organization, Southern University Alumni Federation, Southern University Student Organizations and the Outstanding Mature Girlz Organization to host the 11th Annual Pink Party with a Purpose…“Pink After 5!”

    The breast cancer awareness event will be held on October 19, 2017, on Southern University’s Baton Rouge campus. Onsite registration will be held from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the SU Ag Center. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be donated to Pink Party Recipient, Marcia Myles, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
    The Pink Bike Ride will begin at the Southern University Ag Center, ending at the Southern University Alumni Federation House with live music, healthy eating, and fun. Tickets range from $0 – $25.

    The entire family will have an opportunity to join a cause that raises awareness to millions around the U.S. during the month of October. Pink Bike Riders can pre-register, get tickets, or make a donation at https://goo.gl/Bc2Xaw.

    The Pink Party with a Purpose began in 2006, when local radio personalities Missy and Sashika joined forces to raise awareness to young women about breast cancer after Missy’s hairstylist, Jacinta Freeman, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28. Freeman had to abruptly stop working to undergo a mastectomy and chemotherapy, which caused her to lose a portion of her primary source of income.

    As a result both Missy and Sashika put on their creative wigs and gave birth to, “The Pink Party with a Purpose.” For the past ten years, ten ladies have received an outpouring of love from the community during their time of need.

    The Missy Radio Organization is a ten year champion in bringing awareness to breast cancer in young women. The organization consist of a network of individuals and other organizations dedicated to facilitating communications and education to improve communities in Louisiana. The organization aims to facilitate community expression; provide access to interactive media for the purpose of sharing news, music, culture, and
    information; and the production of unique and diverse programming that challenges the cultural and intellectual assumption of its core audience with a respect for all peoples and a concern for those under-represented by other media.

    Submitted by Southern University Ag Center

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Baton Rouge to celebrate a musical, community champion during Henry Turner Jr. Day Oct 28.

    A few months ago, a middle-aged Black man with his gray beard lending a distinguished air to his casual summer attire walked into the deli section of a popular South Baton Rouge grocery store. The server recognized him and said how much she had enjoyed his music at a recent outdoor festival. She then commented that she had also seen him on TV trying to “stop folks from smoking,” adding jovially as he left the counter, “You got it going on, Mr. Henry, keep it up!”

    For Henry Turner Jr., musician, performer, producer, entrepreneur, community activist, this unaccustomed neighborhood recognition was especially gratifying. But as the Henry Turner Jr. Day Music Festival on October 28 approaches, sincere humility radiates from a face as familiar to movers and shakers in downtown Baton Rouge as to longtime fans who have followed Turner’s musical career since the ’70s when he was a founding member of the popular R&B cover group, Crystal Band.

    Henry Turner Jr. Day was initially proclaimed in 2015 by then Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden and was endorsed this year by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “This celebration is not just about me,” Turner said. “It’s a conscious effort by the political sector to recognize a music entrepreneur with a strong community spirit – and all the grassroots musicians who have been true ambassadors for our culture.”HTJr Day Proclamation

    Turner’s true fans and new enthusiasts generated by Turner’s social media presence, have embraced Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor– the signature Louisiana Reggae/Soul/Funk/Blues group he formed some 30 years ago– with almost cult-like fervor in anticipation of this month’s festival in Downtown Baton Rouge.

    Over the past three decades, Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor has undergone changes in personnel, genres and format, but remained true to its roots. Turner drives an audience-friendly repertoire with his guitar mastery and earthy baritone –  from blues to funky uptempo numbers; from cool jazz to soulful ballads

    With more than 16 singles and eight CDs under its belt, Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor consistently delivers a crowd-pleasing show, whether at Turner’s intimate Listening Room,  open-air venues, or at one of the Ultimate Louisiana Parties he takes across the country to popularize his state’s rich culture.

    Henry Turner reggae IIIAs a multiracial dashiki-clad band, Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor found an early home at Tabby’s Blues Box on North Blvd., the internationally known music Mecca presided over by one of Turner’s mentors, the legendary Tabby Thomas. In fact, his Listening Room on North St., opened in 2014, was modeled after Tabby’s concept of showcasing local, regional, and national talent.  On Thursday nights, diverse audiences including worldwide tourists come to enjoy the Listening Room All-Stars and home-cooked soul food.

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor was introduced to the road when they brought their Louisiana Reggae-Soul sound to the Annual Bob Marley Festival, but stopped touring in June 2015 when veteran drummer Ronnie Houston died. Turner returned home determined to bring a fresh new approach to the local music scene.

     

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor

    “It’s been quite a journey,” Turner said during a recent interview. Growing up on North 36th Street with his parents and older sister Irene, his love of music emerged early on. “When I chose the guitar, my dad got me lessons encouraging me not to neglect the business side, since he and my mom were both business owners.”  And well respected in the community for their tradition of helping others, Turner said.

    “When people see me today as a music entrepreneur and someone who truly cares about people, that’s the legacy of Henry and Mattie Turner,” he said. “That’s what motivates me to mentor young musicians, to join the Smoke-Free initiative, and to support organizations such as Families Helping Families.”

    As the founder of Hit City Digital Records, he releases and distributes his and other artists’ music globally while operating a recording studio. He said his parents would be proud that he has combined his artistry with the art of marketing

    These days, Turner is selling his enthusiasm for the new Baton Rouge with the “Baton Rouge Theme Song” which has been released as a single. “I just wanted to give my city the gift of a theme song that would celebrate what it means to all of us.” And on Henry Turner Jr. Day, you can be sure it will do just that.
    By Hedi Butler
    Special to The Drum

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Capitol High School Class of 1957 celebrates with reunion

    The Capitol High School Class of 1957 celebrated their 60th year class reunion on Saturday, September 16, 2017, at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant. On Sunday, September 17, 2017, and the classmates fellowshipped at Living Faith Cathedral at the 10:15am worship service. Classmates travelled from California, Colorado, and Arkansas.

    The Class of Capitol High School/Class of 1957 meets every other month during the Christmas season they join the Class of 1958 for a festive and enjoyable occasion.  Former teacher and instructor Mrs. Elmer Davis, who is 97,  attended the 60th Celebration at Drusilla Restaurant. Committee members for the celebration were Beverly A. Vincent, chair and class president, Joseph Stampley, co-chair and vice-president, Glorius M. Wright, Gloria J. Hall, and Cordelia Antoine.

    Mrs. Elmer Davis, Teacher of the 1957 Class at Capitol Junior High School, and Beverly A. Vincent

    Mrs. Elmer Davis, Teacher of the 1957 Class at Capitol Junior High School, and Beverly A. Vincent

    Pictured on the front row (l to r) are: Beverly A. Vincent, Annette D. Foreman, Eloise B. Ricard, Rita C. Johnson, Leatrice G. Jackson, Bettie S. Dixon, Theda R. Burden, Cordelia Antoine, Bernadine Moore, Glorious M. Wright, Geraldine J. Guyse, Kathryn F. Simous, and Gloria J. Hall. At the back are Rose L. Preston, Samuel Preston, Marvin Foster, Norma F. Reed, Thomas Washington, Russell Morris, Joseph Stampley, and Roosevelt T. Brown who serves as chairman of the yearly Christmas event.

    Submitted By Katrina M. Spottsville

    Read more »
  • ,

    Black Lives Matter Movement cannot be sued, U.S. Judge rules

    A Louisiana police officer cannot sue Black Lives Matter because it is a social movement.

    (Reuters) — A Louisiana police officer cannot sue Black Lives Matter because it is a social movement, a U.S. judge ruled on Sept. 28, finding the campaign could not be held responsible for injuries he got at a protest.

    The unidentified officer sued Black Lives Matter and an activist involved in a July 2016 protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the officer was struck by a rock.

    The Black Lives Matter movement began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media in 2012 after Black high school student Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter.

    It grew into a nationwide movement in response to the use of excessive force by police, particularly against Black men.

    “‘Black Lives Matter,’ as a social movement, cannot be sued, however, in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT rights movement or the Tea Party movement,” Chief Judge Brian Jackson of a U.S District Court in Baton Rouge wrote in a 24-page ruling.

    While the movement itself lacked the capacity to be sued, an associated entity could be held liable, Jackson said. But the judge found the officer had not made a sufficient case against such a group or an individual involved and dismissed the lawsuit.

    Billy Gibbens, an attorney for DeRay Mckesson, the activist named in the lawsuit, said his client “does not condone violence of any kind, and we are very sorry that the officer was injured.”

    “The court was absolutely correct to find that DeRay is not responsible for the criminal conduct of an unidentified person,” Gibbens said in an email to Reuters.

    Attorneys for the officer, Black Lives Matter and the activist named in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    It was not clear how the ruling might affect a related lawsuit filed by an officer who was wounded during protests last year in Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
  • New contractors licensing law enforcement begins Oct. 1

    Notice to all Builders, Remodelers,and Subcontractors
    According to the Louisiana Association of Home Builders, an addendum to the Contractors Licensing Law and Rules and Regulations were promulgated on January 20, 2016 to require a specialty license for six sub classifications.
    They include:
     1. Residential Pile Driving
     2. Residential foundations
     3. Residential Framing
     4. Residential Roofing
     5. Residential masonry/stucco
     6. Residential swimming pools
    A grace period was given by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors before enforcement began. That grace period has now expired.   As approved by the LHBA BOD on May 11th, enforcement will begin on October 1, 2017. Any corporation, partnership, or individual who, for a price, commission, fee, wage or other compensation undertakes or offers to undertake or superintend the following work as it relates to the construction of any building or structure that is not more than 3 floors in height, to be used by another as a residence, where the value of the work exceeds $7,500, including labor and materials, is required to obtain a specialty classification for that work..
    Labor Only:
    In lieu of obtaining a specialty classification, a subcontractor who provides labor only and does not supply materials may obtain a subcontract-labor-only specialty classification for work performed under the direct supervision of a licensed residential building contractor.
    Please share this information within your Local Associations and inform your subs in these fields to apply for their specialty license immediately.

    Contact the Louisiana State Licensing Board of Contractors for more info call (225) 765-2301 or visit www.lslbc.louisiana.gov. For instructions on how to apply, click here www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/contractors/forms/

    Read more »
  • ,

    SU fall enrollment sees jumps in key areas

    SU fall enrollment sees jumps in key areas

    Student population is expanding at Southern University Baton Rouge. In particular, for the first time in several years, the University experienced significant growth in important sectors this fall. Online enrollment increased 70 percent from last fall; new first-time students had an increase of 13 percent; cross-enrolled saw an increase of 609 percent; and transfer students jumped five percent.

    “What is encouraging about these numbers is the increase in the first-time freshmen at the University,” comments Ray Belton, president-chancellor of the Southern University System. “The SUBR campus has suffered from declining enrollment for multiple years, so this response gives indication that we are on the right path.”

    The increase in online enrollment is associated with marketing strategies including targeted digital campaigns the University activated last semester. The focus was to highlight newly released programs and concentrate on a new demographic: working professionals.

    “It gives me great joy to see our System flourish,” said Luria Young, interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “While working collectively, we achieved a goal that we can continue to build upon.”

    Dianna Depron, SUBR executive director of admissions and recruitment, attributes the increase in transfer and cross-enrolled students to trending recruitment tactics, such as social media and digital campaigns, email marketing, and aggressive recruiting.

    In addition to the growing enrollment on its flagship campus, the SU System is enjoying encouraging numbers from the SU Law Center (SULC) and Southern University New Orleans (SUNO).

    According to Lisa Mims-Devezin, SUNO chancellor, the campus overall enrollment increased nearly five percent with first-time freshmen student enrollment expanding by 47 percent.

    “We took the initiative to do more community outreach, engagement, marketing, and recruitment,” said Mims-Devezin.

    SULC Chancellor John Pierre reported that despite the trends of national law schools, enrollment at the SU Law Center is up slightly this fall.

    “We’re very happy with the composition of the class and the numbers,” said Pierre.

    The SU System saw a moderate increase in overall student enrollment.

    “We will continue to invest and to shape strategies that will prove to fulfill our enrollment aims,” said Belton. “There is a great anticipation that we will continue to move the needle forward.”

    Read more »
  • ,

    Youth sought for TIGER Kids health study

    The TIGER Kids research study is looking at ways to improve the overall health of future generations. The study will evaluate ways to: increase kids’ physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior (help kids move more and sit less), encourage healthy eating, and assess other factors that may influence school performance, body image, stress and mood.

    Researchers are using state-of-the-art technology, including activity trackers and global positioning systems to monitor physical activity, advanced imaging (MRI and DXA) to measure body fat, and mobile phone messages sent through an app to help identify what motivates kids to make healthy choices.

    ONLINE: www.pbrc.edu/tigerkids

    Read more »
  • ,

    Recommended books for young readers

    Here’s a short list of recommended books for young readers to middle grade readers, selected by The Drum staff.

    • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
    • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    • The Great One by Barbara W Green
    • Trust by Jodi Baker
    • Booked by Kwame Alexander
    • Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan
    • Ninth Ward by Jewel Parker Rhodes
    • Clubhouse Mysteries (series) by Sharon Draper
    • Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney
    • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty By G. Neri
    • Children of Panther Burn by Roosevelt Wright Jr.
    • President of the Whole Sixth Grade by Sherri Winston
    Read more »
  • ,

    A conversation with Grambling State University’s athletic director Paul Bryant

    As the Chicago Football Classic is steadfastly approaching its 20thAnniversary weekend, co-founder and producer Everett Rand along with business partner Larry Huggins have made the Chicago media rounds with the participating school Athletic Directors. HBCU football teams Clark Atlanta University Panthers and Grambling State University Tigers are facing off on Saturday, September 30 at Soldier Field for the only collegiate football classic in the North. The Chicago Football Classic expects a strong turnout of not only both school’s alumni but the support of graduates overall.

    Grambling State University is considered one of the more prominent football programs in the country with a long tradition of championship wins, as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The university’s athletic director Paul Bryant is excited about being a part of this year’s Chicago Football Classic and working with businessmen and organizers Larry Huggins, Tim Rand and Everett Rand on making sure HBCU schools are highlighted on a national platform.

    Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender Sr. Staff Writer sat down with Bryant and discussed the program’s direction, recruitment and continuing the school’s tradition of producing quality students both athletically and academically. Read it on The Defender. 

    Read more »
  • ,

    Hamilton, Young, Butler appointed to rehab council

    Virginia Gay Young, of New Orleans, Tarj L. Hamilton, of Baton Rouge, and Glyn F. Butler, of Baker, were appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Young is a project development manager with Lighthouse Louisiana. Hamilton is a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Clear2Close Realty, LLC. Young and Hamilton will serve as individuals with a disability on the council. . Butler is a client advocate with the Advocacy Center and will serve as a representative of the Client Assistance Program on the council. The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council’s duties include reviewing, analyzing, and advising the Louisiana Rehabilitation Services within the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Ascension parish pushes to reject school tax exemptions

    Ascension Parish teachers, community leaders call press conference to urge school board to reject “blank check” on corporate school tax exemptions

    PRAIRIEVILLE–On Monday, September 18th, at 6:30pm, teachers, faith and community leaders are holding a press conference to urge the Ascension Parish School board to reject a proposal being put before it to offer a blank check to industry on exemptions from school taxes.

    The resolution will be considered by the Ascension Parish School Board’s finance committee on Tuesday, September 19th, 5pm.

    The resolution is being brought to the school board by Ascension Economic Development Corporation. It would have the school board grant a 100% property tax exemption to subsidize a non-disclosed project by a corporation already operating in the parish, the identity of which AEDC officials are refusing to disclose.

    “It is shocking that a school board would consider something so carte blanche and irresponsible,” said a statement by local educators, congregations and community leaders in Ascension Parish. “We’re calling on the school board to reject the proposal out of hand and start subjecting these corporate exemptions to serious scrutiny.”

    Standard practice for local tax exemptions across the country is that local taxing bodies create a set of policy criteria before approving exemptions, so that there are clear standards by which exemptions can be judged. The Ascension Economic Development Corporation originally intended to pursue that path several, but back-tracked to their current demand for 100% exemptions on non-disclosed projects.

    Industrial tax exemptions will be decided by local school boards for the first time this year, instead of by the state Board of Commerce and Industry, due to an Executive Order signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in 2016.

    In 2017, industrial tax exemptions are costing Ascension Parish schools $79.1 million in lost revenue.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Brandon to serve on state ethics board

    Bishop L Lawrence Brandon, of Shreveport, was elected by the Louisiana House of Representatives to serve on the Louisiana Board of Ethics with 10 other members. Brandon will serve a five-year term with a two-term limit. He is responsible for administering and enforcing Louisiana’s conflict of interest legislations, campaign finance registration and reporting requirements, lobbyist registration, and disclosure laws in order to achieve compliance by officials and others. He has relinquisched postons on local and regional boards that may have caused a conflict of interest.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Three amendments on Oct. ballot; five candidates vie for city court seat

    The Oct. 14 election is shaping up to be full of candidates for state treasurer and city court judge as well as constitutional amendemnts for voters to decide statewide.

    Five candidates have qualified for the state treasurer’s seat. They are: former Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis, a Republican from Baton Rouge; Derrick Edwards, a Democrat from Harvey; Joseph D. Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula; Sen. Neil Riser, a Republican from Columbia; and former Rep. John Schroder, a Republican from Covington
    However, in Baton Rouge, lawyers Whitney Higginbotham Greene, Chris Hester, Carson Marcantel, Johnell Matthews, Janice Miller, and Judy Moore Vendetto are vying for the City Court Division E seat vacated by retired Judge Suzan Ponder. Greene, Hester, Marcantel, and Vendetto are Republicans. Matthews and Miller are Democrats.

    Greene, the daughter of state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Toni Higginbotham and sister of 19th Judicial District Judge Beau Higginbotham. Hester is the son of former 19th Judicial District Judge Bob Hester. Greene is an assistant state attorney general and Hester is a prosecutor in the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office. Both are currently on leave for the duration of the campaign. Division E is a subdistrict in south Baton Rouge.
    There are three constitutional amendments voters will consider. One would ban property tax assessments from being applied to construction work materials.

    The second constitutional amendment creates a property tax exemption for the home of a wife or husband who lost their spouse in the line of public service. The third would dedicate the cash generated from any prospective increase in gas taxes to a special construction fund, said Jeremy Alford with LAPolitics Weekly.

    “These proposals represent the most concrete ways lawmakers and voters can put ideas into the law. As such, they deserve your attention and, your votes,” he said.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Group prepares for Womanhood101

    The CEO Mind Foundation will host “Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed Program,” Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Eden Park Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd., 9am -noon.

    The program will teach 10- to 14-year-old girls how to build self-awareness, social and emotional competencies, how to cultivate self-respect and personal responsibility, and how to make informed choices.

    Speakers include Siedda Hebert, Paula Hutchinson, Imanni Sheppard, and Miss Black East Baton Rouge 2017 Makeva Armant.

    They will  discuss self-esteem, positive connections, self-love, and entrepreneurship. Although the event is free, registration is required. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

    ONLINE:theceomind.org.

    By Nadja Curtis
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,

    SU Ag Center provides recommendation to the board for medical marijuana vendor

    Southern University’s medical marijuana evaluation committee provided the Board of Supervisors with information on the top three vendors who have submitted applications to become the University’s medical marijuana cultivator.

    The committee recommended Med Louisiana, Advanced Bio Medical, and Southern Roots Therapeutics to the board for approval to enter into contract negotiations during a special board meeting on Sept. 8.

    Upon hearing the recommendations of the committee, the board decided to postpone their selection of a sole vendor to contract with to give them additional time to review the applications.

    The board is set to vote on the selection of a cultivator during their regularly scheduled board meeting on Sept. 22.

    Seven vendors submitted applications to become the medical marijuana cultivator of Southern. The vendors are Advanced Bio Medical, Aqua Pharm, Citiva Louisiana, Columbia Care, Med Louisiana, Southern Roots Therapeutics and United States Hamp Corporation (USHC).

    Senate Bill 271 (Act 96) by Senator Fred Mills gave the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the LSU Agricultural Center the right of first refusal to be licensed, either separately or jointly, as the production facility for medical marijuana in the state of Louisiana.

    Additional information about Southern University’s Medical Marijuana Program is available at, http://www.suagcenter.com/PageDisplay.asp?p1=12549

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Report: Louisiana one of worst for Black women

    A new report from the nonpartisan Institute for Women’s Policy Research reveals troubling data about the economic and social challenges Black women face in Louisiana.

    The report studied factors like political participation, employment, income, and family structure. It finds Black women concentrated in lower-paying jobs (even relative to their academic achievement), being paid less than white women and men in similar occupations, and having more limited access to health insurance, often while acting as their family’s primary breadwinner.

    “Black women continue to experience structural barriers to progress that have roots in the nation’s legacy of racial and gender discrimination and exploitation. A shifting political landscape has put Black women even more at risk for disenfranchisement and marginalization,” the report states.

    The state-by-state analysis reveals Black women in Louisiana as experiencing some of the nation’s most difficult circumstances. The report cites Louisiana as the most perilous place to be a Black woman. Among its key findings:

    Black women in Louisiana (and Mississippi) make less money than anywhere else in the country. In 2014, their median annual earnings were just $25,000. The median income for women nationwide was $38,000. Only 28.3 percent of Black women in Louisiana worked in managerial or professional occupations.

    In 2014, one in three Black women in Louisiana (31.3 percent) lived below the poverty line.

    In Louisiana, fewer Black women were covered by health insurance than in any other state (72.3 percent of the population had insurance). (This report was compiled using data from 2014, before Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid coverage related to the Affordable Care Act — it’s possible this statistic has been affected, for the better, by that expansion.)

    According to Gambit magazine, “the needs of Black women as a population need to be championed by lawmakers — even though Black women in Louisiana also have the nation’s largest political representation gap relative to their proportion of the population, with no women of color (or women at all, actually) serving at the national level.”

    The report was compiled with the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance An executive summary of the report, including conclusions and recommendations, is online at www.domesticworkers.org.

    Read more »
  • Baton Rouge launches web map to monitor heavy rainfall

    The City of Baton Rouge is launching a Web mapping application that allows city officials to monitor U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stream gauge data every hour during weather events. With multi-colored dots that represent each stream gauge, responders can see how high water levels are in that area at a given time. This allows city officials to direct response resources to where they are most needed.

    Baton Rouge announced the launch of this platform via a Facebook post. The map, which is live now, was built in collaboration with the city’s Department of Information Services’ GIS Division.   

    Read more by Zack Quaintance Staff Writer with

  • Government Tech
  • at http://www.govtech.com/civic/Whats-New-In-Civic-Tech-Amazon-Seeks-Proposals-For-Where-To-Build-Its-Second-North-American-HQ.html#.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Farmer and Agriculture Stakeholder Forum planned for Sept. 13

    The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute will host the Farmers and Agriculture Stakeholders Forum, Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 1:30pm in SARDI’s office, 1209 Diesi St, in Opelousas.

    Farmers, agricultural stakeholders, elected officials and community stakeholders are invited to participate in the forum. Participants will be provided with information on programs and services offered by the federal government; as well as helpful resources for farmers and agricultural workers who have been impacted by the 2016 floods and Hurricane Harvey.

    A representative from the USDA and the offices of the three Congressmen elected to represent St. Landry Parish – Congressman Ralph Abraham, Congressman Clay Higgins and Congressman Mike Johnson – will be in attendance to present information and address questions.

    St. Landry Parish’s Congressmen serve on the following agriculture-related committees:

    Congressman Abraham
    House Committee on Agriculture
    Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
    Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry
    Research and Technology

    Congressman Higgins
    Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    Subcommittee on Environment

    Congressman Johnson
    House Committee on Natural Resources
    Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
    Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans.

    Interested participants are asked to pre-register by Monday, September 11th to SARDI@suagcenter.com or by calling Krystle J. Washington at 337- 943-2410.

    Research has shown that every major crop grown in the state, is grown in St. Landry Parish; and, for decades the parish has been a leading agricultural parish in the state. A pillar of the mission at SARDI is to provide local farmers/ agriculture stakeholders with the information, tools, and resources they may need to go to the next level.

    SARDI is a satellite campus of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center located in Opelousas, La. in St. Landry Parish.

    The Southern University Ag Center and the SU College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Kaweeda Green Adams selected NY superintendent

    Shreveport native Kaweeda Green Adams has been selected superintendent of the City School District of Albany, NY, a district with 9,700 students. She is a graduate of Caddo parish public schools and is pursuing a doctorate in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoneics. She served in Nevada’s school district for 28 years with one position as school associate superintendent. In Albany, she will lead the district which has struggled to close the achievement gap and has been cited in recent years for disparities in suspension rates.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Former Louisiana hotel owner, billionaire to headline International Black Business Week in Chicago

    CHICAGO—While African Americans continue to be the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the United States, they are also failing at greater rates, according to a report released by the Kaufman Foundation. But organizers of the International Black Business Week Expo & Conference said those rates can change with innovation, global relationships, and a focus on legacy.
    Held October 4-6 at Malcolm X College Conference Center, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.- Chicago, IL, the International Black Business Week Expo & Conference will convene entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and change agents from across the globe to explore critical topics that will propel businesses forward and position small and mid-sized brands for success in state, national, and international markets.

    Covering everything from digital marketing to innovative business funding solutions, asset protection, generational wealth creation strategies, and more, International Black Business Week Expo & Conference will kick-off with a keynote by African-American Billionaire Businessman Michael V. Roberts who once owned a hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana.

    Known as the “Actionaire,” Roberts acquired his $1 billion wealth through real estate investments in hotel properties, shopping centers, telecommunications, and television.

    21366740_10100101843358713_6574805945588486178_o“As entrepreneurs we far too often struggle with finding and accessing tools, valid strategies, and resources that will help grow our businesses. Some of us just don’t know where to look. For those people, IBBW is a solution. We’re putting the people in the room that you need to connect with to take your business to the next level. We’re also intentionally putting the resources in the room. Any question you have, any gaps that exist in your business, any humps you need to get over, IBBW is a center of solutions. If you have a product or service that can be marketed beyond the local marketplace, into the national or international marketplace, we have experts to help you do that as well,” said IBBW founder Traneisha Jones. “There are countless opportunities in other countries that we can leverage to our benefit right here in Chicago. Let’s go global! Get here, so we can get you there!”

    The conference will also feature an exhibition with B2B resources, a signature Personal Branding Lounge and Hustle Lab for those needing innovative solutions for raising capital to start or grow their business, and presentations by a host of business leaders and experts including Professor Devin Robinson of the Beauty Supply Institute, Jamal Miller of Married & Young and Attorney Ernest Fenton of Law Offices of Ernest B. Fenton.

    Register at www.intlblackbusinessweek.com.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Visitation changes at Tangipahoa Parish Jail

    angipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards is announcing a change in visitation days for inmates in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Effective Saturday August 19, visitation for jail inmates will be Saturdays and Sundays, 9am – 4pm, with 30-minutes visitation per offender.

    All persons coming to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail to visit a an inmate must have and present a valid government issued photo driver license or photo identification card. Visitation for inmates is a privilege of the inmate, and it may be suspended or revoked for disciplinary or security reasons without any prior advance notification given. All visitors are considered guests and will be expected to abide by all policies and operational procedures when visiting jail inmates. Contact the Tangipahoa Parish Jail at 985-748-3387.

    Read more »
  • Phone lines set up to help Texas families locate Harvey survivors in Louisiana’s shelters

    The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has set up a phone bank for Texas families trying to locate loved ones evacuated after Hurricane Harvey to state-run shelters here in Louisiana.

    The numbers to call are (225) 615-0086 and (225) 615-0258.

    For privacy and safety reasons, DCFS cannot confirm the identities of people staying in its shelters. However, people can call the reunification lines and provide the name, address and date of birth, if known, of the person they are trying to locate, as well as the caller’s own name and contact information. DCFS will then determine whether the person is in a state shelter and, if so, pass along the caller’s message.

    Both state shelters – the Alexandria mega-shelter and the Jewella shelter in Shreveport – have cellphones and charging stations available for Harvey survivors to use for calling family and friends.

    Survivors who would like to let their family members and friends know they are safe and well are also encouraged to register at www.safeandwell.org, a website set up by the American Red Cross. People searching for loved ones in the disaster area can use the same website to try to locate missing friends or family members in the affected area.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Liberty Tax Service Offers Tuition-Free Tax School, Sept 12

     Liberty Tax Service at 4911 S Sherwood Forest Blvd and 1402 N Burnside in Gonzales will offer a 10-week, tuition-free* Tax School for aspiring tax preparers, do-it-yourself filers, and those who want a better understanding of income taxes, beginning September 12, 2017.

    Tax School combines classroom discussion with hands-on learning. It offers practice in preparing income tax returns and covers a variety of topics, including: filing status, exemptions, tax credits, and more. Students learn about the tax code and gain a new, marketable skill. Those who successfully compete the course can apply for positions with Liberty Tax Service.

    Registration is open now for the Liberty Tax School that runs September 12, 2017. Small fee for books and supplies. Enrollment in, or completion of, the Liberty Tax Course is neither an offer nor a guarantee of employment, except as may be required by the state. Additional qualifications may be required. Enrollment restrictions apply. State restrictions may apply and additional training may be required. Valid at participating locations only. Void where prohibited. Liberty is an equal opportunity employer.

    For more information, call Liberty Tax Service at (225) 778-5892 or visit the Baton Rouge office at 4911 S Sherwood Forest Blvd.

     

     

    Read more »
  • Moore offers prayers for Hurricane Harvey

    Pastor Darlene A. Moore, of St Peter-Trinity-Asbury United Methodist Church, submitted this prayer for the people of Texas and Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey:

    Most loving God, today we pray for all persons who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. God please be present with each individual and family who are displaced, distressed, and devastated. We pray as Christian people world wide for protection, provision, shelter, safety, and comfort through their loss and distress. We pray for the heroes, sheroes and ordinary people who are putting their lives on the line to aide as well as assist those impacted by this Hurricane Harvey with rescue, medical aide, shelter, clothing, gas, bedding, water and more. We pray for the Clergy and mental health staff to have stamina to strengthen those who need strength. We ask O God, for you to allow the village to come together and offer hope and help. God also dispatch your angels of goodness and guardianship to help the vulnerable and disabled. Lastly, o way making God, help us to trust you to make a way to help everyone impacted to have a quick recovery and remember they are not alone. In Jesus name Amen.

    By Darlene A. Moore
    St Peter-Trinity-Asbury United Methodist Church
    Jeanerette, Louisiana

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Youth experience nation’s capital during 4-H Citizenship program

    High school students from Southern University Laboratory School and Park Ridge Academic Magnet School learned about political processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high-school youth held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

    The six youth, Coby Pittman, Jaymya Joubert, and A’miya Thomas  Michael Boudreaux III, Tyliya Pitts, and Michael Wicker, along with Tiffany Franklin, Ph.D.,  4-H CWF coordinator at the Southern University Land-Grant Campus, and Tara Hollins, CWF chaperone, participated in the program from July 10 -14.

    While in DC, the students were given the opportunity to tour the United States Congress, where they met Representative Cedric Richmond, from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, and had a personal night tour of the Capital with Representative Garret Graves from Louisiana’s 6th District.

    “I enjoyed the CWF color workshops most because I connected with others from different states and we were able to work together,” said Pitts. “I will impact my community, using what I learned from CWF, by connecting with my people and creating a program that could help them with their problems. Being involved in the CWF program meant a lot to me and I would love to return.”

    For more than 50 years, the National 4-H Conference Center has invited thousands of young people from across the country to travel to Washington, DC and participate in civic workshops, committees and field trips before returning home to make positive changes in their own communities. CWF not only strengthens young people’s understanding of the government’s civic process, but it also boosts their leadership skills, communication skills and overall confidence.

    During CWF, youth get a behind-the-scenes look at the nation’s capital while meeting with members of Congress to learn more about how their government works. At the end of the program, youth draft step-by-step action plans to address important issues in their communities. Youth have developed a plan that will provide a hands-on, engaging seminar with community youth, while discussing the negative effects of underage drinking and smoking.

    “CWF is a great opportunity for young people to come together, talk about the problems they see in their communities, and identify solutions to make their communities stronger,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “The experiences these young people gain during CWF gives them the tools and confidence to grow and thrive as leaders.”

     

    Caption for photo titled ‘With Rep. Garret Graves’: Baton Rouge and Baker high school students, front row from left, Tyliya Pitts, Jaymya Joubert, A’miya Thomas, Louisiana State Representative Garret Graves, Michael Wicker and Coby Pittman. Standing on the second row are, from left, Michael Boudreaux III,  Tiffany Franklin, Ph.D., 4-H Citizen Washington Focus (CWF) Coordinator at the Southern University Land-Grant Campus, and Tara Hollins, CWF chaperone. The students visited the Nation’s Capital from July 10-14 to participant in the 4-H CWF program. (Photo courtesy of the SU Land-Grant Campus.)

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Join Job Club Networking Group

    The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is sponsoring a 12-week job search and networking group for adult job seekers in professional careers. Job searching can be a lonely and discouraging activity, and this group will provide you with a safe space to meet and network with like-minded professionals who are challenged by the same job hunting process. Attendees will share job search experiences, network tips and encouragement, and they’ll learn the latest job search techniques and so much more. The Job Club will meet from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Friday starting September 29 through December 15 at the Main Library at Goodwood. It’s FREE and open to those in professional careers who are seeking employment. Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak will lead the meetings, and topics discussed will differ each week. Registration is required for this group. To register, call the Career Center at (225) 231-3733 or send an e-mail to Anne Nowak at anowak@ebrpl.com.

     

    Read more »
  • EVENTS: September community events

    ONGOING EVENTS

    West Baton Rouge NAACP, every 2nd Tuesday, Hall’s & Sons Funeral Home, 1160 Louisiana Avenue, Port Allen, 6pm.

    Victims of Domestic Violence,  meeting with the Iris Center hosts its Coordinated Community Response Team,  last Tuesday of each month, West Baton Rouge Parish Library, 1pm. (225) 332-2509.

    East Baton Rouge School Board,  each third Thursday, 650 N. Foster. 5pm . www.ebrschools.com

    Tangipahoa Parish School Board,  each first Tuesday,  Central Office Board Room 59656 Puleston Road, Amite, 6pm

    Recovery Support at Addis has meetings for men and women seeking freedom from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, over eating, or other addictions. Women meet Sundays at 4pm. Contact Ellie (225) 776-1652. Men meet Sundays at 7pm Contact James (225) 218-5630. Both groups meet at First Baptist Church in Addis, 6781 LA Hwy 1, Addis

    Ponchatoula City Council meets every second Monday, 6pm, Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 W. Hickory St.

    Sickle Cell Anemia Support Group. 2nd Wednesdays. Main Library at Goodwood . noon.

     

    SEPTEMBER EVENTS

    9: Friendship Facelift: A Vision Board Party for Women! Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., 3pm. Bring your best friends with you and listen to soft, relaxing music while creating a vision board with magazine clippings to illustrate your dreams, goals and aspirations. All supplies will be provided.

    10: Recovery Month Community Discussion. Main Library at Goodwood. 3pm. Discussion on mental health and substance use disorders. This annual observance is sponsored each September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Allison M. Smith, associate director of the Louisiana Center Addressing Substance Use in Collegiate Communities, will moderate the discussion.

    13 -16: Baton Rouge Slam!: An Obituary for Summer 2016, LSU, Coates Hall, Room 137, HopKins Black Box, 7:30pm, and Sept. 17, 2:30pm. Last summer: Racial tensions, protests, and natural disasters flooded the Red Stick. One year later, we stage local poet interviews and remix Eclectic Truth slam poems, inviting the community to reflect on a capital divided. Reserve seats: https://goo.gl/LUXdUq. Donations.

    15: Dear Friend. Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, 427 Laurel St, Baton Rouge, 7pm. A performance of letters representing the different communities and diverse perspectives that form our collective American story. Most of the letters are contemporary, written during the past few years, and a few are older and speak to different moments in our nation’s history.

    20: Human Trafficking Awareness Symposium. Baton Rouge Community College, Magnolia Theatre, 9am-noon. Presented by the Governor’s Office of Community Programs. Register: dana.hunter@la.gov

    23: Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed. Eden Park Branch Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd, 9am-noon.  Purpose is to unite girls (age 10– 14) to empower one another, activate awareness, and grow in power. The Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed program provides a safe place to learn and build greatness. Hosted by THE CEO MIND Foundation

    22: State Capitol March Against Police Brutality and Police Use of Excessive Force. Louisiana State Capitol. 4pm – 7pm. Hosted by Progressive Louisianan and the State Conference of the NAACP. Info by text: (337) 240-6336.

    30: Dependable Strengths: How to Find and Grow the Best within You. Main Library at Goodwood, 9am – 4pm. Certified facilitator Mike Cragin will teach ways to discover your strengths and offer help with making a plan to develop them. Registration is required. Career Center, (225) 231- 3733, www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    A Different Kind of Saint

    Former cornerback puts 300 families into homes, opens the only Black-owned grocery store in Baton Rouge

    Spend five minutes with Tyrone Legette and you’ll instantly hear his passion to rejuvenate broken communities in Louisiana. The former NFL Player played many games in the Mercedes Benz Superdome but the touchdowns he is scoring today are worth much more than points on a scoreboard.

    Legette, a native of Colombia, South Carolina, embraced Louisiana as home as a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints in 1995. After his NFL career ended he decided to remain in the area. “I saw a need here and I wanted to help provide solutions,” said Leggett.

    “Sixty-four percent of the residents were renters and most of the jobs were service jobs. Without a realistic path, many of these hardworking people would never be able to own homes. They deserved to own their homes,” he said.

    “The opportunity to own your own home is the best part of the American Dream. It should be available to all people.”
    He began Legette Construction with a plan to build affordable homes for low income families but also help them qualify for the homes. “We have helped people who have never owned a home get the opportunity to buy homes for the first time,” he explained. Through the Community Reinvestment Act, he was able to share his ideas. Those ideas eventually attracted a partnership with Whitney Bank. With funds available through the Federal Government and the support of Whitney Bank, he became the liaison to bridge all entities together.

    Legette Construction’s homes are now occupied in Harvey (Westbank), the Lower 9th Ward, the Bywater District, Uptown New Orleans, and in Baton Rouge. The company has been a link to bringing other minority construction companies into the fold by contracting them to share the work opportunities. Legette is responsible for building hundreds of new homes and helping more than 300 families qualify to buy them.Tyrone-Legette

    “Mr. Legette is not just building homes. His commitment is much deeper than that. Working for him, I have learned his greater passion is rebuilding Black families,” said Joyce Burges, Legette Construction administrative assistant. “He gets it. The consequences of poverty and the stronghold of financial debt. He is on a mission to help people turn their lives around,” she said.

    Burges, a former city councilwoman in Baker, La., said Legette ’s ideas were so illustrated that she could see his vision to restore the community plain and clear. Rather than seek another council term, she vowed to work with Legette to rebuild her town. “He not only had the resources but he had a plan. A clear plan that would hire people, rejuvenate areas which were deteriorating, but he also had the tenacity to fight the kind of opposition that would surely come his way,” she said.

    Maybe that’s the reason he stepped out on faith and opened the only Black-owned grocery store in Baton Rouge, in an area that’s predominately Black and always overlooked in comparison to other thriving areas of the city. North Baton Rouge, which consists of Baker, Scotlandville, and Glen Oaks communities saw its landmark Winn-Dixie close two years ago. A tragedy that would require residents to drive an even further distance to buy groceries. “It wasn’t fair that these residents should continue feeling ostracized from the economic growth that other parts of the city have become used to,” said Legette . “So, I made up in my mind that I would do something about it.”

    He entertained the idea of several grocery chains but the Sav-A-Lot Corporation seemed to make the most sense. “It was the best fit for this community. Not only have we created jobs in the store but we continue to motivate our workers to think bigger than Save-A-Lot. This store should be a stepping stone. It should not be the final step.”

    Tyrone Leggett. Photo by BlackBoot News.

    Tyrone Leggett. Photo by BlackBoot News.


    The store is a way for residents to get affordable groceries while providing jobs to help produce stable work opportunities in an area that had become used to seeing businesses come and go. “We are here for the long haul. Our vision doesn’t stop with just this one location,” he said. “We plan to open two more stores.”

    When residents heard their new grocery store was Black-owned, it made them even more proud to shop there. One customer cried when the store opened, telling Legette , “I’ve never seen someone who looks like you doing the things you do.” Like other customers, she drives from other parts of the city just to shop in a Black-owned supermarket.

    Football helped shape Legette as a businessman. “There would be 80,000 people in the Superdome but you don’t really see any of them. You hear them, but you don’t really see them,” he explained. “You have to have tunnel vision to get the job done. You have to ignore everything around you and focus on what’s right in front of you. As a visionary, I have learned that same concept has to be applied to business.”
    img_1496942273154-400x300@2x
    He insists his mission has nothing to do with building homes and opening stores. “Those are great business endeavors but it really is more than that for me,” he said. “I am committed to rebuilding families by helping them consolidate debt. If you’re saving $200 per month by paying a mortgage instead of rent and saving another $100 a month or more by buying more affordable foods for your family it frees up money which can either be invested into entrepreneurship or into quality family activity.”

    “Debt breaks up marriages, families, and self esteem. We can rebuild the family by taking the elephant out of the room.”

    Legette has plans to build a quality senior living facility in the near future. While most people would worry about a location to break ground for such a needed facility, Legette won’t have that problem. He not only owns the Sav-A-Lot grocery store, he also owns the entire shopping plaza.

    This Save-A-Lot is not just the only Black-owned franchise in the city.  Legette owns the only franchise of the Save-A-Lot company in the entire state. All the other locations are owned by the corporation. In the ‘90s, Legette played on a football team as a Saint. For the people in South Louisiana, he has actually become one.

    ONLINE:www.blackboot.us/legett-grocery-br

    By Ro Wright
    Courtesy of BlackBoot News

    Photos by BlackBoot News

    Read more »
  • ,

    Bail bonds changes begin in Rapides parish

    A major change has gone into effect for bail bonds at the Rapides Parish jail, ordered by criminal judges Tom Yeager and Mary Doggett. The present formula used for setting bonds at the courthouse has been terminated. This was done as a way to update the way bonds are set and to avoid people easily bonding out due to low pre-set bonds.

    Effective Sept.1, all bonds on felony charges will be set by an assigned judge. There are two exceptions. First, any bond for a felony possession of CDS II, CDS III, CDS IV, and CDS V may be released on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond. Second, any bond for a felony possession of CDS I will be set by an assigned judge. For misdemeanor charges, charges are set at $500 and may be released on a personal recognizance bond with two exceptions. First, any domestic violence charge will be set by an assigned judge. Second, for DWI 1st offense and DWI 2nd offense, bond is set at $500.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump launches law firm with national scope

    TALLAHASSEE—With the aim of more effective activism to promote individual and social justice in America, renowned civil rights advocate and attorney Ben Crump  this week launched a new law firm with a nationwide network of top lawyers. Well known for his work representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Corey Jones, Tamir Rice and others, Crump said the new firm will have the scale to seek justice for individuals across the nation and broadly extend his advocacy for social justice causes.

    Ben Crump Law PLLC, will focus on civil rights, employment law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases, as well as mass torts and class actions.

    “We are at a pivotal time in American history, when the hunger for social justice is spurring a renewal in our civil rights movement,” Crump said. “Tapping into a nationwide team of talent gives us the scale to help individuals across the country and the ability to bring class actions and mass tort cases that can spur the progress toward real change.”

    Offices will be in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Tallahassee. Ben Crump Law has established an affiliation with the Morgan & Morgan law firm to create linkages with some of the top lawyers in the country, allowing the firm to handle cases anywhere in the country as part of the Ben Crump Law network.

    People of color are disproportionately affected by environmental racism, discriminatory practices and lack of access to quality schools and the internet — causes that all may be addressed by uniting the interests of many plaintiffs, Crump said.

    “Crump speaks truth to power and gives hope to the hopeless,” said John Morgan, founder of Morgan & Morgan. “He is today’s seminal civil rights lawyer. The go-to guy. A modern-day Johnny Cochran.”

    Crump will host TVOne’s “Evidence of Innocence,” which is based on wrongfully convicted citizens who have been exonerated by clear and convincing evidence. He is also will lead the investigation on A&E’s upcoming documentary series “Who Killed Tupac?” and can be seen on the new film “Marshall,” set to release October 13.

    A distinguished civil rights advocate, Crump has been honored with the Henry Latimer Diversity Award, The Florida Association of Fundraising Professionals, Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, National Newspaper Publishers Association Newsmaker of the Year, and The Root 100 Top Black Influencers. Crump also has served as president of the National Bar Association. He has been recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans and has received the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award, the American Association for Justice Johnny Cochran Award, the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award.

    Visit Ben Crump Law online at www.bencrump.com.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    UPDATE: LSU open, public schools close in Baton Rouge, other parishes due to Harvey

    Using social media, area school districts are announcing closures due to pending rain and flood caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, beginning Tuesday, Aug. 29.

    LSU, LSU Lab School and Childcare Center are all open on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Classes and university activities will continue as scheduled.

    However public schools are announcing closures. They are:

    East Baton Rouge Parish School System and West Baton Rouge Parish Schools are closed until Thursday, Aug. 31. See https://scontent-dft4-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/fr/cp0/e15/q65/21105741_1950746248513774_2431335983439999166_n.jpg?efg=eyJpIjoidCJ9&oh=2a49a939a084554a6a016cbf4fd7cbd6&oe=5A2AD8E9

    Point Coupee schools and the Iberville Parish School District have confirmed that all of its schools will be closed Wednesday due to Tropical Storm Harvey.

    Ascension Public Schools System is dismissing classes early Tuesday due to weather impacts from Tropical Storm Harvey.

    High schools and middle schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m., and primary schools will dismiss at 1:30 p.m.

    Earlier this morning, Ascension Parish moved from a flood watch to a flood warning, and according to emergency officials, the potential for flood impacts to roads may worsen as the day progresses. The schools system says it is timing the early releases with an anticipated break in the weather.

    All after-school activities are cancelled for today, and a decision regarding school for Wednesday, Aug. 30, will be made Tuesday evening.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Edwards makes more appointments to boards, commissions

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his appointments to several Louisiana boards and commissions

    Louisiana Military Advisory Council
    The Louisiana Military Advisory Council serves to provide a forum for issues concerning the installations and units of the armed forces located in Louisiana and the military and retired military personnel and their families who reside in Louisiana.

    Joel R. Whitehead, of Madisonville, was appointed to the Louisiana Military Advisory Council. Whitehead is the President and CEO of J. Whitehead & Associates, Inc., and is a retired Rear Admiral Upper Half of the United States Coast Guard.

     

    Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges
    The Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges serves as the management board for Louisiana’s public 2-year institutions. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of the State’s citizens through education programs offered through its colleges.

    Tari T. Bradford, of Shreveport, was appointed to the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges. Bradford is the Executive Assistant for Governmental Affairs for the City of Shreveport and will serve as a representative of the 4th Congressional District.

     

    Parish Boards of Election Supervisors
    The purpose of the board in each parish is to oversee and supervise all elections within the parish to ensure the safety and accuracy of the democratic process. The Board of Election Supervisors oversees the preparation and conducting of each election in the parish. Each parish’s board is composed of the parish’s registrar of voters, the parish’s clerk of court, the chairman of the parish executive committee of each recognized political party, and one member appointed by the governor.

    Jesse L. Toney Jr., of St. Francisville, was appointed to the West Feliciana Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Toney is retired and is a veteran of the Louisiana National Guard.

    Joanna C. Leopold, of Belle Chasse, was appointed to the Plaquemines Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Leopold is retired.

     

    Louisiana Fire Prevention Board of Review
    The Fire Prevention Board of Review was established to evaluate alternatives to fire prevention or protection laws and regulations established by the fire marshal when a request of review is properly submitted. The Fire Prevention Board of Review does not have the power to waive fire prevention and protection requirements but determines whether the suggested alternative provides equivalent or better protection within the context of the intent of the law.

    Jay Charles Smith, of Pearl River, was reappointed to the Louisiana Fire Prevention Board of Review. Smith is a registered engineer and Vice President of Crescent Technology, Inc. He will serve as a registered engineer on the board.

    Bruce E. Cutrer, of Amite, was reappointed to the Louisiana Fire Prevention Board of Review. Cutrer is the Fire Chief of Tangipahoa Parish Fire District Number 1. He will serve as a chief of a fire department on the board.

    Jeffrey K. Smith, of Hammond, was reappointed to the Louisiana Fire Prevention Board of Review. Smith is a registered architect and a principal of Holly & Smith Architects. He will serve as a registered architect on the board.

     

    Louisiana Board for Hearing Aid Dealers
    The Louisiana Board for Hearing Aid Dealers is responsible for protecting the public welfare by overseeing those persons rendering or offering to render services for the sale, maintenance, and repair of any type of hearing aid device and for examining and licensing hearing aid dealers in the state.

    Bryan K. Stinson, of Gretna, was appointed to the Louisiana Board for Hearing Aid Dealers. Stinson is a hearing aid specialist with Advanced Hearing Aid Center, Inc. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Society of Hearing Aid Specialists and will serve as a representative of Hearing Aid Dealer District I.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners
    The Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners prescribes minimum curricula and standards for practical nurses, examines and licenses qualified applicants, accredits practical nurse schools and courses, and conducts hearings upon charges calling for discipline of a licensee.

    Myron L. “Myra” Collins, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners. Collins is a licensed practical nurse and the Director of Business Development at CareSouth Medical and Dental.

     

    Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council
    The Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council is responsible for monitoring and reporting to the governor and the legislature on the implementation and administration of laws pertaining to the administration of workers’ compensation claims and making specific recommendations thereon.

    Michael D. Morris, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council. Morris is an attorney and the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Home Builders’ Association. He will serve as a representative of self-insured industries in Louisiana, as required by statute.

     

    Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority
    The Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority is a public corporation and is authorized to perform in its corporate capacity all acts necessary and proper for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, maintaining, and operating Louisiana Regional Airport.

    Rydell J. Malancon Sr., of St. James, was appointed to the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority. Malancon is an equipment officer with St. James Government and a former NFL player. As required by statute, he was nominated by a legislator representing Ascension or St. James Parish and will serve as an at-large member.

    Kevin F. Landry, of Gonzales, was appointed to the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority. Landry is the Aviation Manager of Dow Chemical. As required by statute, he was nominated by a legislator representing Ascension or St. James Parish and will serve as an at-large member.

     

    Medicaid Pharmaceutical & Therapeutics Committee
    The Medicaid Pharmaceutical & Therapeutics Committee is responsible for developing and maintaining a preferred drug list (PDL) in conjunction with a prior approval process relating to the Medicaid drug program.

    Mohammad Suleman, M.D. of Kenner, was reappointed to the Medicaid Pharmaceutical & Therapeutics Committee. Suleman is a licensed physician in private practice. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana State Medical Society.

     

    Red River Waterway Commission
    The Red River Waterway Commission was created for the purpose of establishing, operating, and maintaining the Red River Waterway, a navigable waterway system, extending from the vicinity of the confluence of Red River with Old River and the Atchafalaya River northwestward in the Red River Valley to the state boundary.

    Randell A. Fletcher, of Colfax, was reappointed to the Red River Waterway Commission. Fletcher is retired and previously served as the Grant Parish Assessor. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Grant Parish Police Jury.

    Michael B. Simpson, of Coushatta, was reappointed to the Red River Waterway Commission. Simpson is a self-employed farmer. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Red River Valley Association and will serve as a representative of Red River Parish.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Dentistry
    The mission of the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry is to protect the public by regulating the professions of dentistry and dental hygiene in Louisiana in accordance with the Dental Practice Act.

    Glenn E. Appleton, D.D.S., of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry. Appleton is a dentist and the owner of Appleton Family Dentistry. He is a veteran of the United States Navy Dental Corps. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the 8th Dental Board District.

     

    Drug Policy Board
    The Drug Policy Board is responsible for identifying, examining, selecting, or developing, and recommending or implementing drug control policies to more effectively combat illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The board evaluates how anti-drug monies are used in implementing related programs. It also identifies and evaluates the effectiveness of public awareness and drug prevention programs.

    A. Kenison Roy, M.D., of Metairie, was reappointed to the Drug Policy Board. Roy is a physician and the owner/medical director of Addiction Recovery Resources, Inc. He will serve as a representative of a private organization involved in substance abuse prevention.

     

    Louisiana Geographic Information Systems Council
    The Louisiana Geographic Information Systems Council (LGISC) was created by the state Legislature to eliminate duplication of effort and unnecessary redundancy in data collections and systems and to provide for integration of geographically-related data bases to facilitate the policy and planning purposes of the state of Louisiana.

    Lynn E. Dupont, of New Orleans, was reappointed to the Louisiana Geographic Information Systems Council. Dupont is the Principal Planner/GIS Coordinator of the Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Association of Planning & Development Districts.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Massage Therapy
    The Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy is responsible for the licensure, registration, investigation, and regulation of persons practicing as massage therapists within the state. The board may establish continuing education requirements for massage therapists.

    Robin R. Alexander, of Shreveport, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Massage Therapy. Alexander is a licensed massage therapist and an instructor at Blue Cliff College.

     

    Atchafalaya Basin Levee District
    The Atchafalaya Basin Levee District provides levee maintenance for the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Iberia, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin, and West Baton Rouge.

    Spencer T. Harvey, of Donaldsonville, was appointed to the Atchafalaya Basin Levee District. Harvey is the Public Works Director for the City of Donaldsonville and will serve as a representative of Ascension Parish. As required by statute, he was nominated by a legislator representing Ascension Parish.

     

    Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission
    The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission administers the international tourism promotion program which offers the incentive of sales tax refunds to foreign visitors on purchases made at participating merchants in an effort to induce increased shopping and tourism within the state.

    Caitlin L. Cain, of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission. Cain is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Trade Center New Orleans.

     

    Advisory Committee on Polysomnography
    The Advisory Committee on Polysomnography assists the Board of Medical Examiners in providing the minimum standards for polysomnography; approving the licensure examination; licensing of applicants; conducting administrative hearings on the denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew a license; and the adoption of rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for the purpose of administering the Polysomnography Practice Act.

    Christine Soileau, of Lafayette, was reappointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Soileau is a licensed polysomnographic technologist and the Administrative Director of Our Lady of Lourdes Sleep Disorders Clinic. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Academy of Sleep Medicine and will serve as a licensed polysomnographic technologist on the committee.

    Wade S. Young, of Gonzales, was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Young is a licensed polysomnographic technologist with Premier Sleep Medicine Center. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Academy of Sleep Medicine and will serve as a licensed polysomnographic technologist on the committee.

    John K. Schwab, M.D., of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Schwab is a physician and the Medical Director of the Louisiana Sleep Foundation, LLC. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana State Medical Society and will serve as a physician who is a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine on the committee.

    Joshua D. Johnson, of West Monroe, was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Johnson is a licensed polysomnographic technologist and Clinical Coordinator of Neurology at Glenwood Regional Medical Center. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Academy of Sleep Medicine and will serve as a licensed polysomnographic technologist on the committee.

     

    Louisiana Medical Advisory Board
    The Louisiana Medical Advisory Board assists the Office of Motor Vehicles in determining if a driver has any visual ability or physical condition, impairment, or disability which may impair his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

    James D. Sandefur, O.D., of Oakdale, was reappointed to the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board. Sandefur is an optometrist and the Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana. He will serve as an optometrist on the board.

    Reinhold Munker, M.D., of Shreveport, was appointed to the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board. Munker is a physician and Professor of Medicine for Tulane University. He will serve as an internist on the board.

    Gary J. Avallone, O.D., of West Monroe, was appointed to the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board. Avallone is an optometrist with Vision Center. He will serve as an optometrist on the board.

     

    Louisiana Shrimp Task Force
    The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force studies and monitors the shrimp industry and makes recommendations to the state regarding same.

    Steven Sode, of Buras, was appointed to the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force. Sode is a commercial fisherman and will serve as such on the task force.

     

    Clinical Laboratory Personnel Committee
    The Clinical Laboratory Personnel Committee serves to make recommendations to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners regarding rules and regulations for the appropriate training and competency of clinical laboratory personnel who are engaged in the practice of clinical laboratory science in a clinical laboratory operated by a physician licensed by the board exclusively in connection with the diagnosis and treatment of his own patients.

    Cheryl R. Caskey, of Shreveport, was reappointed to the Clinical Laboratory Personnel Committee. Caskey is a licensed clinical laboratory scientist-generalist and a compliance officer with Pathology Resource Network. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the Clinical Laboratory Personnel Association and will serve as a clinical laboratory scientist-generalist who has been employed in a supervisory or administrative capacity on the committee.

    Lawrence A. “Larry” Broussard, Ph.D., of Prairieville, was appointed to the Clinical Laboratory Personnel Committee. Broussard is a licensed clinical laboratory scientist-specialist and the President of Larry Broussard Toxicology and Clinical Laboratory Consultant. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and will serve as a clinical laboratory scientist-specialist on the committee.

    George H. Roberts, Ed.D., of West Monroe, was reappointed to the Clinical Laboratory Personnel Committee. Roberts is a licensed clinical laboratory scientist-generalist and adjunct Anatomy and Physiology Instructor with Louisiana Delta Community College. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and will serve as a clinical laboratory scientist-generalist who has been actively engaged in clinical laboratory science education.

     

    Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council
    The primary function of the council is to review and adopt the state uniform construction code, provide training and education of code officials, and accept all requests for amendments of the code, except the Louisiana State Plumbing Code. Specifically, the council establishes the requirements and process for the certification and continuing education of code enforcement officers, code enforcement inspectors, third party providers and building officials and determines whether amendments to the state uniform construction code are justified.

    Heather A. Stefan, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council. Stefan is the Director of Baton Rouge Area Electrical JATC.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors
    The Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors regulates embalmer/funeral directors, funeral directors, funeral establishments, crematories, and retort operators. It also handles consumer complaints. In addition, the board prescribes requirements for funeral homes and crematories engaged in the care and disposition of dead human remains.

    S.J. “Bubba” Brasseaux, of Lake Charles, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. Brasseaux is a licensed funeral director and embalmer and the Director of Support for Carriage Services. He will serve as a representative of District C on the Board.

    South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission
    The South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission operates Port Manchac in Tangipahoa Parish. The Commission’s operations include transportation, storage, shipping of products, and leasing of warehouses and docks.

    William F. Joubert, of Hammond, was reappointed to the South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission. Joubert is the Director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Louisiana University. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Senator representing District 11.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
    The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists is responsible for licensure and regulation of psychologists within the state.

    Leah J. Crouch, Psy.D., of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Crouch is a clinical psychologist and the owner of River Bends Psychology. As required by statute, she was chosen from a list of names submitted by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

     

    Louisiana Rehabilitation Council
    The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council’s duties include reviewing, analyzing, and advising the Louisiana Rehabilitation Services within the Louisiana Workforce Commission regarding the performance of its responsibilities relating to eligibility, extent, scope, and effectiveness of services provided. The Council also reviews functions performed by state agencies that affect or that potentially affect the ability of individuals with disabilities in achieving employment.

    Virginia Gay Young, of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Young is a Project Development Manager with Lighthouse Louisiana. She will serve as an individual with a disability on the council.

    Tarj L. Hamilton, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Hamilton is a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Clear2Close Realty, LLC. She will serve as an individual with a disability on the council.

    Glyn F. Butler, of Baker, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Butler is a Client Advocate with the Advocacy Center and will serve as a representative of the Client Assistance Program on the council.

     

    Capital Area Human Services District
    The Capital Area Human Services District directs the operation and management of community-based programs and services relative to public health, mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services for the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.

    Amy P. Betts, of St. Francisville, was reappointed to the Capital Area Human Services District. Betts is the Chief Executive Officer of Bettlam Global Solutions and a former Supervisor of Special Education for the West Feliciana Parish School system. As required by statute, she was nominated by the West Feliciana Parish Council.

     

    Advisory Committee on Polysomnography
    The Advisory Committee on Polysomnography assists the Board of Medical Examiners in providing the minimum standards for polysomnography; approving the licensure examination; licensing of applicants; conducting administrative hearings on the denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew a license; and the adoption of rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for the purpose of administering the Polysomnography Practice Act.

    Judson A. Willard, of Roxie, Mississippi, was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Willard is the Baton Rouge/Mississippi Territory Manager for ResMed. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Academy of Sleep Medicine and will serve as a non-licensed member who is active in field of sleep medicine.

    Melissa A. Boutte, of Lafayette, was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Polysomnography. Boutte is a licensed polysomnographic technologist and the Director of the LeBean Sleep Center. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Academy of Sleep Medicine and will serve as a licensed polysomnographic technologist on the committee.

     

    Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board
    The Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board serves to defend the public health, safety and welfare by protecting the people of the State of Louisiana against unnecessary deaths and morbidity due to trauma and time-sensitive illness.

    Karen O. Wyble, of Arnaudville, was appointed to the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board. Wyble is the Chief Executive Officer of St. Martin Hospital. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Rural Hospital Coalition to serve as a representative of hospitals with fewer than sixty beds.

     

    Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board
    The Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board provides funds for non-profit and public agencies throughout the state for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

    Franchesca L. Hamilton-Acker, of Lafayette, was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board. Hamilton-Acker is the Senior Attorney of Acadiana Legal Service Corporation. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana State Bar Association.

     

    Louisiana Emergency Response Commission
    The Louisiana Emergency Response Commission (LERC) coordinates and supervises implementation of the federal hazardous materials Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act within Louisiana. The LERC develops, coordinates, and leads the state emergency management program, enabling effective preparation for, response to, and recovery from emergencies and disasters in order to save lives, reduce human suffering, and minimize property loss.

    Kenneth “Scott” Bowman, of Zachary, was appointed to the Louisiana Emergency Response Commission. Bowman is a sergeant with and the Explosives Unit Commander of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

     

    Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane, and Conservation District
    The Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane, and Conservation District serves to understand the dynamics of flood protection and tidal surge needs specific to Iberia Parish in order to implement a plan for such protection in conjunction with neighboring parishes. The board also determines and identifies funding sources to implement said plan.

    James Stein, of New Iberia, was reappointed to the Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane, and Conservation District. Stein is the owner of Iberia Aggregates. He was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the Iberia Parish Council, as required by statute.

    Patrick Broussard, of New Iberia, was reappointed to the Iberia Parish, Levee, Hurricane, and Conservation District. Broussard is the owner of Broussard Manufacturing Consulting. He was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the Iberia Parish Council, as required by statute.

     

    Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps
    The Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps serves to advise and assist the Lead Agency in the performance of its responsibilities, particularly in regard to: (a) identification of the sources of fiscal and other support for early intervention services; (b) assignment of financial responsibility to the appropriate agency; and (c) promotion of interagency agreements. The Council also advises and assists the Lead Agency in the preparation of applications, the transition of infants and toddlers to preschool or other appropriate services at age three, and the preparation and submission of an annual report to the Governor and to appropriate federal authorities on the Status of EarlySteps.

    Charles M. “Mike” Billings, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps. Billings is a Program Specialist with Transportation Security Administration. He will serve as a parent of a child with a disability on the council.

    Michelle S. Roberie, of Kenner, was appointed to the Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps. Roberie is a caregiver and will serve as a parent of a child with a disability on the council.

    Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority
    The Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority is a public corporation and is authorized to perform in its corporate capacity all acts necessary and proper for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, maintaining, and operating Louisiana Regional Airport.

    Jeffrey L. Gaudin, of Gonzales, was appointed to the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority. Gaudin is the owner of JGSG Holding Company. As required by statute, he was nominated by a legislator representing Ascension Parish and will serve as representative of Ascension Parish.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Trump Approves Louisiana Emergency Declaration

    President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Tropical Storm Harvey beginning on August 27, 2017, and continuing.

    This action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.  This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency has inflicted on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vermillion.

    Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named William J. Doran III as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

    Read more »
  • ,

    September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Library  is joining with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a FREE Library card. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school, and they can turn to the Library for materials, programs and knowledgeable Library staff to support academic achievement.

    This year, crime fighting DC Super Heroes, the Teen Titans, are teaming up with the ALA to encourage everyone to get this all-access pass to FREE use of online databases and training resources, print books and magazines, e-books and online magazines, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs and BluRay, streaming movies, online homework help, genealogy research, workforce development, Arduino kits, children’s storytimes, meeting rooms, free computer classes, programs and events on all kinds of subjects and so much more! For more information about Library Card Sign-Up Month, signing up for a free East Baton Rouge Parish Library card or for general information about the Library, call (225) 231-3710, pick up a copy of our monthly newsletter The Source or visit the Library’s website at www.ebrpl.com.

    Read more »
  • Three simple steps to achieve financial goals

    Americans have mixed emotions around financial planning, a new study suggests. But setting specific goals can help you achieve the financial outcomes you want. Forty-eight percent of individuals with specific financial goals say they expect to be in a much better place in the next four years, versus only 12 percent of those without goals.

    The study, “2017 Financial Focus: Goals and Reflections of Today’s Consumer,” conducted by Lincoln Financial Group, found that while Americans have a desire to retire comfortably and support loved ones, there is a fear factor involved in actually saving for these financial needs. Staying grounded and focused is a good first step, say experts.

    “Those individuals who are progressing with their goals are first and foremost working to ensure they have a solid foundation to build upon,” said Dick Mucci, president of group benefits at Lincoln Financial Group. “While it might not be exciting, putting extra money toward things like debt, savings or insurance coverage certainly pays off in the long run, particularly if something unexpected happens.”

    The study also looked at progress in achieving New Year’s Resolutions — and 72 percent of Americans are doing pretty well. Those who say they are progressing with their 2017 resolutions in some way are those who are most likely to leverage financial products, such as retirement plans, life insurance and investment accounts. This group also tends to make reducing debt a priority and avoids sacrificing savings when money is tight — instead they sacrifice the extras, such as vacations.

    Here are some effective goal-setting strategies to help you plan for your financial future.

    Be specific. When you make vague goals, it can be difficult to measure progress. When goal-setting, get as specific as possible, both with the goals themselves and the steps you will take to succeed.

    Prioritize your goals. Once you set a goal, make it the last thing you compromise in your budget, whether that is paying down debt, saving for a rainy day or retirement planning. Money tight this month? Skip a luxury item that’s not working toward your goals.

    Take a breath. Thinking about your financial situation and potential circumstances that could arise can be emotional. But taking practical steps to improve your situation can offer peace of mind as you face the future. “Putting the right financial plans and protections in place can help alleviate some financial fears,” said Mucci. “An employer-sponsored retirement plan is a great place to build savings, and insurance coverages offered through the workplace can help protect against the financial challenges that could come with an unexpected injury or illness.”

    More financial planning tips and information can be found at LincolnFinancial.com.

    By setting attainable goals that you can realistically meet, you can get a handle on your finances and better plan for the future.


    By StatePoint

    PHOTO SOURCE: (c) ave_mario – Fotolia.com

    Read more »
  • ,

    Don Bradford Bible College hosts orientation night, Sept. 5

    The Don Bradford Bible College will host an orientation night Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7pm, at the Charity Christian Center, 871 O’Neal Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70816. The school is designed to develop leaders in today’s church, strengthen the ministry, and deepen one’s knowledge in the Word of God, said Linda Bradford, DTh., pastor. The Don Bradford Bible College is accredited with AICCS.

    For more information, call Charity Christian Center (225) 272-8252.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Ponchatoula streets will rock during Art & Wine Stroll 2017

    Bigger, better and bustin’ out all over downtown best describes this year’s Art & Wine Stroll sponsored by Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce.

    Saturday, September 16, will see something new added to Art & Wine from 5-8 p.m. and that is music galore from 6-8 p.m. Eighteen sets of performers will be singing and playing in fourteen locations in an easy-walking five-block area on both sides of the railroad tracks. In a recent interview with Kim Howes Zabbia and T. J. Barends, coordinators of the musical portion of the evening, it was easy to catch the excitement this addition will bring. Barends owns Bare Sounds Studio, 276 East Pine Street, and is known for his quality recording as well as his own expertise in both playing and teaching music. He said the event will be mostly acoustic and easy-listening.

    The public can vote on its favorite musician giving the winner two hours studio time recording and being featured on next year’s poster. Attendees will be given a booklet with details of the evening and contact info will be on posters near each musician’s stand. Musicians booked by Barends are from the area although they perform across a large region and their style of music is varied and plentiful due to their versatility, greater than can be listed.

    • “Invisible Cowboy”- Classic Rock
    • “Alex & Lexie Theriot” – Classic Rock and 80s and 90s
    • “PTown Ramblers” – Folk and Country
    • “Graham Guillory” – Classical
    • “John-Mark Gray” – Rock and Roll
    • “Lacy Blackledge” – Rock and Roll
    • “Ballot’s” – Folk and Pop
    • “Lake Ragan” – Pop, Rhythm and Blues
    • “TJ Barends” – Folk/Rock
    • “Avery Meyers” – Pop
    • “Benjamin Thomas” – Rhythm and Blues
    • “Lance Younger” – Rock and Roll,
    • “Britton Newton” – Rock
    • “Lindsay Cardinale” – Pop and Country
    • “Lil’Bit Meaux Band” – Swamp Pop
    • “Britney Jenkins” – Pop and Country
    • “Cody Ellis Band” – Modern Country\
    • “Sylas Faust” – Country.

    Zabbia said thanks to the generosity of the following sponsors, each performer will be paid an honorarium directly from them: Especially for You, JaniKing Gulf Coast, Benton Thames State Farm, The Art Station, Bare Sounds Studio, LaCaretta’s Restaurant, ITL Accounting, Louisiana Purchase Brewery, Paw Paw’s Country Buffet, Legnd Internet Market, Ponchatoula Therapy, Roussel’s Specialty Shop, Margaret Bailey, Gwen and Robert Barsley, Andrew Edwards, Roux and Brew Seafood and Steak, Middendorf’s, Moss and Berry, Xpressions, Mad Maidens Bar, and Stray Cats Sports Bar.

    Art and Wine Stroll Committee Chair Jenel Secrease and Co-Chair Kathleen Elstrott report applications from Visual Artists are still coming in for that part of the evening. Watch for upcoming news about the Visual Art portion and for more info, visit the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or www.ponchatoulachamber.com which includes an Artist application form.

    The public will be able to vote for their favorite visual artist, giving the winner $100 in art supplies from The Art Station and a featured spot on next year’s poster. A wine glass will be supplied along with an arm band for a $20 fee for the entire evening and will be available for purchase from the Chamber the night of the event in front of Ole Hardhide’s alligator cage, at Ponchatoula Therapy and at A Touch of Country. (Purchasers will be carded.)

    The event is free for those not partaking in wine samples and children’s art will be on display bringing everything together for a delightful family outing.

    By Kathryn Martin
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,

    AppsILike.net encourages, helps create mobile apps

    Savvier Health, LLC has been granted a license to offer the same easy to-use subscription-based app creation platform that has been used by tens of thousands of people around the world to successfully publish hundreds of thousands of apps. Their system uses a simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get format to allow subscribers to easily exchange standard text and pictures with their own in hundreds of ready-to-publish app templates. With this system, even the average high school student can churn out multiple apps each month and make money for college in his spare time.

    Now, anyone who can use a home computer has the potential to copy and paste and write his way into a piece of the explosive international app market that has made more than a few millionaires. Neither coding experience nor a large investment in time or resources is needed to become a part of the app revolution anymore. It’s no secret that people of color, specifically Blacks and Hispanics, are grossly underrepresented in apps on the market, as well as among the ranks of app creators, but that tide is about to turn.

    With AppsILike.net subscribers simply choose from hundreds of templates, change the text and pictures, and then click a button to submit their work to their technical support team, who then ‘builds’ the app and submits it to the AppStore under the subscriber’s AppStore developer account, or provides the code (APK) that subscribers can upload to their GooglePlay or Amazon/Kindle developer accounts. With literally millions of stock photos available online for purchase, the possibilities for creating new apps is endless.

    While not everyone is computer savvy, AppsILike.net provides numerous step-by-step tutorials to help even the most skeptical subscribers create stunning apps with little effort. Free technical support via email is also available.

    While there will be a slight learning curve for many, a person with no app creation experience whatsoever could create a basic app in a Saturday afternoon utilizing their easy methods and A-Z tutorials, and soon be able to create a basic app in less than an hour.

    There are different types of apps, as well as different complexities of apps. For instance, an app for a local beauty shop may only contain a page full of photos of beautiful hairstyles, a page for employees’ contact information, and pages for business hours, specials, and prices. This is a quick and easy app to create. On the other hand, a more complicated app to customize, such as a music app or some game apps, will take more time.

    With more than 200 templates, over 100 features available thru www.AppsILike.net, as well as millions of online stock photos available for purchase, the potential to create, earn and uplift is unlimited.

    By BlackNews.com

    Read more »
  • ,

    Batiste, a former FBI agent, to lead Xavier police force

    Jacques Battiste has been named the new chief of police at Xavier University of Louisiana, according to Joseph Byrd, vice president for student services.

    Battiste, a 1988 Xavier graduate, returns to his alma mater from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he accumulated more than 22 years of experience as a Supervisory Special Agent. During his tenure at the FBI, Battiste worked internationally to conduct investigations on terrorism suspects, responded to critical incidents such as the 1996 Centennial Park bombings in Atlanta, Georgia, and USS Cole attack, and served as lead agent on several national security special events in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

    Battiste brings wide-ranging experience. He served as a program manager in the FBI Counterterrorism Division Africa Fusion Cell, and oversaw intelligence analysts developing strategies to defeat terrorism in North and West Africa. He is a trained bomb technician, deploying to high-risk locations around the world to dismantle hazardous devices and Weapons of Mass Destruction, and has also served on the SWAT team. Read more at the Xavier Herald.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Southern University to honor eight football legends Sept 1

    Southern University Athletics will honor eight of the most highly decorated football players in the program’s history during the inaugural SU Football Kick-off Extravaganza on Friday, September 1 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

    The fundraising event will salute eight former SU football players who enjoyed extensive NFL careers, which garnered several All-Pro awards, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl appearances, Super Bowl wins, and Hall of Fame inductions.

    Aeneas Williams, Rufus Porter, Mel Blount, Ken Ellis, Harold Carmichael, Rich “Tombstone” Jackson, Isaiah “Butch” Robertson, and Frank Pitts will be recognized as Southern Football Legends and celebrated for their achievements on the Gridiron and as ambassador of Southern University.

    https://foundation.sus.edu/football-extravaganza/The event will serve as a precursor to a special on-field pregame ceremony during the Jaguars opening game against South Carolina State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in A.W. Mumford Stadium on Sunday, September 3rd.

    Kickoff for the nationally televised season opener is slated for 1:35 p.m. on ESPN2.

    Blues recording artist Willie Clayton and Zydeco musician Keith Frank will headline a concert that will follow the ceremony honoring the former Southern University football legends.

    VIP tables, which include reserved seating with catered Louisiana cuisine and specialty drinks, are available for purchase. General admission tickets for the kick off extravaganza are $25 and are available now online at https://foundation.sus.edu/football-extravaganza/ or at the SU ticket office. Contact 225-771-3171.

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Rock N Rowe concert heads to Perkins Rowe Town Square, Sept 14

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor, known for their upbeat dance tunes and romantic ballads with lyrical twists perform for the “Rock N Rowe” Concert Series on Thursday, September 14, 6pm – 9pm,  at Perkins Rowe Town Square, 10202 Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge.

    The jam-packed performance also features some of Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room All-Stars that include blues rapper Lee Tyme, southern soul singer Uncle Chess, gospel/jazz singer Wyanda Paul and singer/songwriter Larry “LZ” Dillon.

    The band is Henry Turner Jr. on guitar, background vocalists Jenessa Nelson and Miss Molly, Patrick Joffrion on bass, Larry Bradford on percussion, Dinki Mire on keys with Joe Monk on drums and Andrew Bernard on saxophone.

    Some of the fan’s favorite songs include “Ugly Man,” I Might Just Let You Go” and an homage to his hometown, “The Baton Rouge Theme Song.” Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor are well known for developing a syncopated style of music that includes blues, soul, reggae and funk rhythms.

    ONLINE: http://www.henryturnerjr.COM

    Read more »
  • Morris named to Louisiana Housing Corporation

    Andreanecia M. Morris, of New Orleans, was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana Housing Corporation. Morris is the executive director of HousingNOLA. She will serve as the representative of the 2nd Congressional District. The Louisiana Housing Corporation assures that every Louisiana resident is granted an opportunity to obtain safe, affordable, and energy efficient housing.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    COMMENTARY: We owe our children the best education possible

    I am a native Washingtonian. I still live on the same street that my parents brought me home to 50 plus years ago. I am a product of D.C. public schools. I began my education prior to integration. I was taught by, in my opinion, the best-prepared teachers in the city. I remember that most of my teachers had masters’ or doctorate degrees and they taught in the field in which they earned their degree. They were highly qualified, dedicated, and allowed no child to be left behind. The principal knew every student by name. She knew our strengths and weaknesses. She made sure that her teachers addressed the individual challenges of each student. I left public school well prepared to face the world.

    Through the years, I have witnessed many changes in both education and community. I have watched my neighborhood demographic change from middle class Black families, to a neighborhood where drug use, unemployment, and the lack of marketable skills has resulted in random acts of violence. Today, my neighborhood is nearly unrecognizable due to gentrification. However, my immediate concern is not growing property taxes or well-intentioned, but ill-informed redevelopment projects. My immediate concern is for the children in my neighborhood, right now; the children struggling to succeed in a rapidly changing environment and an ineffective education system; children who are taught by teachers, who do not relate to their personal struggles and lack the skill set to respond to their individualized needs.

    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) addressed many of my concerns in education. The NNPA continues to echo the message that giving parents a voice in how the school system operates is vital to closing the achievement gap. It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers. Unfortunately, high-poverty schools are disproportionally staffed by unprepared, substitute, and out-of-field teachers. Although there are numerous causes for this phenomenon, the fact remains that, ill-prepared teachers undermine student achievement.

    According to an article by Emma Garcia published by the Economic Policy Institute, about eight in 10 poor Black students attend high poverty schools. Garcia found that 81 percent of poor, Black children attend high poverty schools compared to 53.5 percent of their poor White peers. It is also noted that attending a high-poverty school lowers math and reading achievement for students in all racial and ethnic groups. These discrepancies in access to adequate education expand into discrepancies in economic prospects and social mobility.

    ESSA requires states and districts to ensure that low-income students and students of color are not disproportionally taught by ineffective, inexperienced, and out-of-field teachers. ESSA requires state and school district report cards to include the percentage of inexperienced teachers, principals, and other school leaders; teachers with emergency or provisional credentials; and out-of-field teachers. Reporting this data provides states with the comparative data necessary to examine the root causes of inequities. Title II of ESSA provides program grants to states and districts that can be used for teacher preparation, recruitment, support, and continued learning. ESSA changes the distribution formula for funds by requiring that any increase in funding is prioritized to states with high rates of students living in poverty. ESSA has ended the requirement of states to set up teacher evaluation systems based significantly on students’ test scores. Growing evidence suggests that using student test scores to determine teacher effectiveness is misguided and does not improve instructional practices. ESSA includes a Teacher and School Leader Innovation Program that will provide grants to districts that want to try out performance pay and other teacher quality improvement measures.

    At some point, we must stop treating our children like widgets. They won’t all fit into a round hole; some of them are square pegs. They all have gifts and talents, but it is difficult to realize potential with a rotating door of teachers and school leaders. The cuts in the federal education budget have targeted teacher training and professional development. We owe our children the best education possible. They are our future.

    Together, we can fulfill the promise of ESSA and ensure that every student succeeds.

    By Lynette Monroe
    NNPA columnist

    Lynette Monroe is a master’s student at Howard University. Her research area is public policy and national development.
    ONLINE: nnpa.org/essa

    Read more »
  • ,

    Edwards appoint several to councils, commissions

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his appointments to several Louisiana boards and commissions. Appointed are:

    Bruce Parker, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Homelessness, while Nicole E. Sweazy, of Baton Rouge, was appointed chair of council. Parker is the Director of the Office of Community Programs within the Office of the Governor and will serve as an at-large member on the council. Sweazy is the Housing Authority Executive Director for the Louisiana Housing Corporation and serves as the designee of the Executive Director of the Louisiana Housing Corporation on the council. The Governor’s Council on Homelessness serves to advise the Governor on issues of concern to Louisiana citizens concerning homelessness; review and update Louisiana’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness; monitor implementation of Louisiana’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness; serve as a resource for information about access to available services for the homeless population, including housing and transportation options for the homeless; consult and coordinate all activities with the Federal Interagency Council for the Homeless, HUD, and all other federal agencies that provide assistance to the homeless; ensure the services for all homeless persons of the State of Louisiana are appropriately planned and coordinated, thereby reducing duplication among programs and activities by state agencies and other providers; recommend improvements to the service delivery system for the homeless; and conduct other activities as may be appropriate and necessary.

    Robert E. “Bob” Barsley, D.D.S., of Ponchatoula, was appointed to the Task Force on Coordination of Medicaid Fraud Detection and Prevention Initiatives. Barsley is a dentist and professor with Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry. He will serve as an advisory member who represents the dental field on the board. The Task Force on Coordination of Medicaid Fraud Detection and Prevention Initiatives is an interagency task force established to coordinate existing Medicaid fraud detection and prevention efforts and to recommend means for enhancing the efficacy of those efforts.

    Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., of Gretna, was appointed to the LaSTEM Council. Mackie holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and is the President and CEO of the Channel Zero Group. He formerly served on the faculty at Tulane University where he researched heat transfer, fluid dynamics, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Mackie is also the founder of STEM NOLA, an organization which serves to expose, inspire, and engage members in New Orleans and the surrounding communities about opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.The Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Advisory Council (LaSTEM) was established to coordinate and oversee the creation, delivery, and promotion of STEM education program; to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; to ensure the alignment of education, economic development, industry, and workforce needs; and to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.

    Gerard D. Rinchuso, of Shreveport, was appointed to the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council. Rinchuso is a master plumber and the President of Rinchuso’s Plumbing. The primary function of the council is to review and adopt the state uniform construction code, provide training and education of code officials, and accept all requests for amendments of the code, except the Louisiana State Plumbing Code. Specifically, the council establishes the requirements and process for the certification and continuing education of code enforcement officers, code enforcement inspectors, third party providers and building officials and determines whether amendments to the state uniform construction code are justified.

    Mark S. Leeper, Ph.D., of Shreveport, was appointed to the State Board of Election Supervisors. Leeper is an assistant professor of political science at Centenary College of Louisiana. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As required by statute, Leeper was nominated by the President of Centenary College. The State Board of Election Supervisors conducts hearings for complaints under the administrative complaint procedure for federal elections and for the removal of registrars of voters, reviews election laws and procedures, and reports annually to the legislature.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church senior ushers celebrate 80th anniversary

    The Senior Usher board of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church celebrated their 80th Anniversary on Sunday, July 23, 2017, with a powerful message delivered by the associate pastor Tiffanie Postell. The theme “A Journey of Eighty Years of Ushering Ministry As Servants of God.”

    Usher Edith Cox presided for this special celebration. The morning prayer was offered by Esau Wright and the Occasion/Tribute to deceased members (A Rose Garden of Love) was given by usher Geraldine Simms. President Barbara Daigre and Usher Wanda Henderson shared certificates with all Senior Ushers. They also recognized and presented trophies to Ushers with the longest years of service.

    Esau Wright – 43 years of service
    Audrey Palmer – 42 years of service
    Willie Johnson – 41 years of service

    An 80th Anniversary Bible book mark as a keepsake for Senior Ushers was a donation from the Historians. The 80th Anniversary Celebration ended with a wonderful Fellowship Fish Fry held at Camphor’s Outreach Center. The Senior Usher Board of Camphor Memorial Methodist Church was organized in 1937, under the pastorate of Reverend George Zilton. Charter Members were: Oliver Chambers, Bertha Lands, Carrie Alexander, Juanita Grant, Bernice Robertson, John Jefferson, Tula Allen, Kelly Greene, Della R. Thomas and Willie Rowley. Bertha Lands served as the first president, followed by Oliver Chambers, Carrie Alexander, Alphonse Thomas, Lou Audrey Mathews and Mae Francis Wade.

    Barbara Daigre was elected president in 1998 under the pastorate of Reverend Roger Lathan and Pastor Darlene Moore. She continues to serve under the present leadership of Pastor Clifton C. Conrad, Sr. and Associate Pastor Tiffanie Postal.

    The first president and charter members mission and vision was to build a strong foundation for ushering ministry at Camphor. Records have been kept as far back as 1973 of minutes, programs, pictures, certificates, etc. which were compiled by the late reporter/secretary Usher Leveria L. Watson. Prior to 1973 other historical information/records were destroyed by a church fire. They are now being contained by present Historians Geraldine Simms and Mary Emerson.

    Through the years, the Senior Usher Board Legacy membership have provided services to Camphor and the Scotlandville community through special needs of the church, community outreach needs, volunteer donations, special events of the church, monetary donations, recognition gifts and offering and fulfilling other services as servants of God.
    2017 Senior Ushers of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church: Barbara Daigre, Luella Johnson, Edith Cox, Audrey Palmer, Robbyn Matthews, Willie Johnson, Geraldine Simms, Mary Emerson, Alton Bates, Alton Bates II, Alex Coleman Jr., Renard Compton, Luttrell Cox, Herman Daigre Sr., Larry Palmer, Jackie Hamilton, John Hammond, Wander Henderson, Diane Henry, Gwendolyn Herson, Henry Knox Jr., Mattie Robinson, Josh McDaniels Jr., Gail McKay, Sandra Sterling, Lurlean W. Woods, Esau Wright, Michelle Johnson, Ceasar Wilson and Jennifer Patterson.

    Camphor is proud and blessed to have two other active ushering groups: The Young Adult Ushers and the Junior Ushers who are aspiring to become Senior Ushers.

    The Ushers have dedicated themselves to God’s work, focusing on evangelism, preparation for worship services and promoting growth and development through Christianity. A Journey of Eighty Years of Ushering Ministry as Servants of God.

    Submitted by P. Johnson

    First row: (L-R) Alton Bates, Alton Bates II, Larry Palmer, Esau Wright, Herman Daigre Sr., Barbara Daigre, Luella Johnson, Gwendolyn Herson, Edith Cox, Audrey Palmer, Jackie Hamilton, Geraldine Simms, Lurlean Wade, Mary Emerson, Diane Henry, and Wanda Henderson. Back Row: (L-R) Luttrell Cox, Alex Coleman Jr., Ceasar Wilson, Renard Compton and Robbyn Mathews. Picture by Ernise Singleton

    Read more »
  • SU provides an outing for children of incarcerated parents

    The Southern University Ag Center’s 4-H Living Interactive Family Education (LIFE) Mentoring Program and Changing How I Live Life (CHILL) group participated in a tour of the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, La. on July 18, 2017.
    A total of 28 participants – 18 youth along with 10 mentors, volunteers, SU Ag Center staff and caregivers – from East Baton Rouge and St. Landry Parishes attended the tour.
    The youth were extremely excited and amazed to see and learn about so many exotic animals from all over the world. As an added bonus, the youth were able to feed the animals.
    Many youth and caregivers stated they had never visited the Global Wildlife Center and were happy the 4-H LIFE team put the tour together. Read more.
    Read more »
  • CAUGHT YOU: Making Rounds

    Businessman W.T. Winfield of WTAA Engineers in Baton Rouge spent the past week visiting with longstanding friends in the public servant sector, including council members LaMont Cole, Donna Collins Lewis, Tara Wicker, and Chauna Banks.  “Since I do not have an opportunity to get out too often it was really great to get caught up on what is going on or coming up in our beloved city,” Winfield said.
    Unknown Unknown-2
    Read more »
  • Advocates needed for persons with developmental disabilities

    The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council is currently recruiting parent or guardian applicants from Region II and individuals with developmental disabilities from any region of the state to fill two anticipated vacancies. Region II includes Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes.
    The deadline for applications in order to be considered for these positions is September 7, 2017. 
     
    Applicants must be one of the following:
    • An individual with a developmental disability;
    • A parent or guardian of a child with a developmental disability; or
    • The immediate relative or guardian of an adult with an intellectual developmental disability who cannot advocate for themselves.
    Are you or someone you know interested in improving the system of supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families?  Do you support the self-determination, independence, productivity and full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life?  If so, please consider submitting an application for membership on the La. Developmental Disabilities Council.
    Council members are appointed by the Governor and serve four-year terms. Whenever there is a vacancy, a membership committee of the Council reviews all the applications received throughout the year and makes recommendations for appointment.  Names are then submitted to the Governor for his consideration.  The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 includes criteria for all states to follow in selecting their DD Council’s membership (including the definition of a developmental disability) and the Louisiana Council takes care to ensure our membership is in compliance with our federal law.
    Interested persons should complete the application for membership prior to the deadline.  More information about the Council can be found on our website.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Broome provides status report on BRAVE grant

    As promised last week, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome provided a status report on the BRAVE grant and recent contracts issued. She said:

    The report released today by my office details developments pertaining to the BRAVE program since its inception. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the program and documents the problems incurred in 2016 that led to the program being sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In addition, this report presents the efforts of this administration to correct those problems. The objectives of BRAVE were and will remain important. My administration will continue to address those issues that have a significant impact on the Baton Rouge community. We will also continue to be committed to transparency, and continue to move forward and work towards creating a better future for the citizens of Baton Rouge.

    The four-page report :o llows

    STATUS REPORT ON THE
    BATON ROUGE AREA VIOLENCE ELIMINATION (BRAVE) PROJECT
    FEDERAL AWARD NO. 2012-PB-FX-K001

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    The Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Program, or B.R.A.V.E., is a partnership between the City of Baton Rouge and the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office to address violent crime in the 70802 and 70805 zip codes in Baton Rouge. B.R.A.V.E. is funded through a U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program (USDOJ-OJJDP) grant, Federal grant number 2012-PB-FX-K001, that began on October 1, 2012. In addition to the Mayor’s Office and District Attorney, the B.R.A.V.E. program also coordinated with the Baton Rouge Police Department, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, Louisiana State University’s Office of Social Service Research and Development, local service providers, faith-based representatives and community leaders.

    BRAVE was originally funded by USDOJ-OJJDP in the amount $1,499,993. Subsequent supplemental awards in the amounts of $1,458,231 and $70,000 increased the total funding of the BRAVE project to $3,028,224 by 2015.

    Early in the administration of Mayor-President Broome the Mayor’s Office (OM) was informed that the BRAVE grant was being suspended due to reporting and compliance deficiencies occurring in 2016 during the administration of Mayor-President Holden. The OM attempted to address the deficiencies with the USDOJ-OJJDP and requested a reauthorization and extension of the grant. This request was denied. The OM subsequently sought to spend the remaining grant funds in fulfillment of original grant aims that were never pursued or fulfilled. On July 26 the OM suspended the program pending further review after concerns were expressed by members of the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Metropolitan Council regarding BRAVE grant recipients and the status of Louisiana State University’s (LSU) request for additional funding. Mayor-President Broome requested the completion of this report to review past performance and present status.

    PROGRAM OVERVIEW and GRANT HISTORY
    The B.R.A.V.E. project description in the original grant application is as follows:
    The Baton Rogue Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program will address the displacement of violent juvenile crime occurring in the 70805 and 70802 zip codes, to a successful implementation of a Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) locally called the BRAVE program. The program will reduce and eliminate violent crime being committed by a small number of juvenile offenders. The program will be implemented under the guidance of the Mayor and the District Attorney to target violent youth offenders, ages 12-17, and their associates. BRAVE seeks to (1) change the community norms toward gang and group violence; (2) provide alternatives to criminal offending by the targeted group; and (3) alter the perception of youth regarding risks and sanctions associated with violent offending. These will be accomplished through engagement and educational opportunities to increase the social cohesion of the community and development of an authentic police-community relationship; through the coordination of local service and educational providers who will offer help to youth and implementation of a focused deterrence strategy to community based policing.
    From October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2016, the Holden Administration engaged the following local entities for services under the B.R.A.V.E. grant:

    • Capital Area Human Services was contracted to provide abuse and health treatment to its program participants, provide police mentoring, and collect performance measures. ($187,500/380,916)
    • Healing Place Services was contracted to provide case management, educational career, and job assistance to participants in the program. ($201,870/222,721.74)
    • LSU was contracted to evaluate activities based on the grant goals and objectives, and analyze data related to BRAVE. ($558,692/645,145.37)
    • The Louisiana Sports Network was contracted to provide sports mentoring to referred program participants, provide program evaluation and collect performance measures. ($42,000)
    • Hope Ministries was contracted to provide job assessment to participants in the program and provide career and family mentoring to program participants. ($75,000)
    • Fealy and Sumner Policing Solutions were contracted to be technical advisors to aid BRAVE in advice, training, and performance evaluation of their strategies. ($5,000)
    • Family Youth Service Center was contracted ($330,342)
    • Tonja Myles was contracted to formulate, coordinate, and execute plans to safely arrest juvenile offenders that violated their conditions of supervision as appointed by the Juvenile Court Judge. In addition, she collaborates with law enforcement and the judicial system to monitor juvenile offenders and advocate for BRAVE in the public sphere. ($195,000)
    • Garrison & Associates were contracted to uphold the goals of BRAVE through engagement and educational activities intended to increase informal social control and police effectiveness. ($1,050.00)
    • EBR Truancy was contracted to provide case management and other social services to BRAVE participants. ($330,342)
    • Printing tech was contracted to provide push cards for the City of BR Mayor’s Office. ($110.50)
    • TJM Promotions were contracted to provide wristbands for high school students. ($310.00)

    Conservative Total: $ 1927216.5
    Since the summer of 2017, there have been a number of smaller vendors issued contracts under $10,000, for skills training in the field of cosmetology, mentorship, arts, and sports networks, amongst other community services. Some of these companies were vendors previously for the city, many years prior to Mayor Broome taking office.

    STATUS REPORT AT TRANSITION OF MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION
    On February 14 2017 the Department of Justice notified the Office of the Mayor-President that the BRAVE grant funds were frozen due to an overdue progress report, which was due January 30, 2017. That delayed report followed earlier reports that were submitted in June 2016 and December 2016 that requested data on performance measures that were not being collected by the LSU Office of Social Research and, therefore, were not reported. Those measures related to youth served and the statistics involving youth and crime in the area. The June 30, 2017 report contained the data requested.

    On March 1 2017 the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer and the Federal and State Grants Coordinator, conducted a telephone conference call with DOJ to discuss the requirements for lifting the freeze on the remaining funds which totaled $1.6 million. A request for an extension was also discussed.

    The OM was informed that the grant would likely not be extended because of poor programmatic performance, lack of enough youth and adults being served, two extension requests having already been approved and funding still had not been spent, and other findings from a previous audit. (Attachment “B”) The SPM also specifically mentioned the need for transportation services as she was aware that transportation services for clients was a huge challenge to program success.

    Additionally, the OM and the SPM discussed using the remaining grant funds for various interventions that did not appear to have been met in the BRAVE Project Narrative goals/outcomes or could improve performance outcomes. For example, call-ins, more programs that engage youth across the parish and within the targeted zip codes, as well as reporting requirements and the lack of reports submitted in the past. The OM suggested spending these funds in community programming related to the arts, sports, and other activities. The OM was informed that expenditures would be acceptable as long as they aligned with the grant. When the OM asked the SPM how the remaining $1.6 million could be spent when there were currently only eight (8) BRAVE clients, the SPM explained that the funds could be used to serve BRAVE clients, their families and affiliates of BRAVE clients, and any resident in the t zip codes. The OM inquired about turning away youth or adults who attend BRAVE programs and request assistance but do not live in the targeted zip codes. The SPM explained that as long as 50% of the participants were from the targeted zip code, the OM could host activities parish-wide.

    The new FSGC hired under Mayor-President Broome worked diligently between the months of March, April, and May 2017 to collect data and access OJJDP systems. The OM undertook the completion of the extension request, attended BRAVE Core meetings, processed invoices for independent contractors, and held individual conferences with BRAVE clients and their families.

    On May 5, 2017, the current OM submitted the revised overdue semi-annual report successfully into the GMS. The OM also submitted a draft contract of the Courier Transportation Service.

    On May 5, 2017 the OM received a response from the SPM thanking us for submitting the overdue report and asked specifically what was being done about the need for transportation services for BRAVE. (Attachment “C”) The SPM indicated that she recalled the OM working on a proposal for transportation services and wanted a status update. She was referring to the OM’s previous commitment on the March 1, 2017 conference call that transportation services will be provided to grant participants.

    On May 8, 2017, the OM was notified that the progress report had been approved, the request for Release Funds GAN for 2012-PB-FX-K001 (BRAVE Funding) was approved, and the hold on $1.7 million in BRAVE funding had been lifted. (Attachment “D”)

    In response to the SPM’s reference to unmet BRAVE goals, it was observed that one of the enumerated goals identified by the BRAVE Project Narrative stated:
    Goal 2: Provide Alternatives To Violent Criminal Offending To Targeted Youth.
    Output Measure 2a(1) – Approximately Twenty (20) community service providers will be organized to plan services for youth opting out.
    Output Measure 2a(2) – Twenty-seven (27) clergy, churches, and faith- based institutions will be organized to communicate the message to youth that there is help for those who want to leave their violent lifestyle.
    Output Measure 2b(1) – Approximately 25 youth annually will receive street outreach, case management and relevant transportation for services. Services will also include assessment, counseling, access to intensive additive and mental health intervention, mentoring, educational, job/career prep assessment and planning, parental support groups and referral to area youth recreation and development programs.
    Output Measure 2b(3) – Twenty-five (25) youth participants will receive membership to the Louisiana Youth Sports Network to go along with additional scholarships that are donated for 70805 targeted youth. This agency uses sports to attract youth into character development situations, education on good citizenship values and practice in using conflict resolution strategies. [This budget line item was never utilized.]
    Objective 2a: To coordinate BRAVE community providers to address the needs of 20- 40 targeted youth annually (25 average) who opt out of violent behavior and accept offers for help from community and law enforcement. Strategies included:

    • Coordinating existing agencies and providers to address needs of youth who choose a non- violent lifestyle.
    • Establishing an array of evidence- based services and activities to attract youth and provide the intervention they need.
    • Market ‘process” for opting out to clergy, providers, residents so they can provide information to violent youth.
    • To develop and offer multiple services aimed at the crimogenic needs of 20-40 youth.
    • Strategies included:
      • Provide entry level case management and assessment of needs.
      • Access to intensive addiction and mental health intervention, mentoring, counseling, parental support and any services as needed.
      • Create a focused approach on job/ career assessment and planning, educational assistance, placement in one of vo-tech training programs.
      • Promote nonviolent behavior/ character development through use of sports and recreation.

    The OM began to strategize about ways to reach the targeted goals enumerated in the grant narrative and identify the means to meet those goals.

    REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING BY LSU
    In February 15, 2017 email, the former FSGC sent an email to the City-Parish Grants Review Committee (GRC) requesting the need to delete the amendment to the LSU agreement for BRAVE from the GRC agenda. This amendment requested $125,000 in new money out of the grant for LSU to conduct research and evaluation of BRAVE project activities. The former FSGC also alerted the Mayor Pro-tem.

    The OM requested from LSU a more detailed explanation for the use of the requested $125,000, as well as, a synopsis of any BRAVE expenditures and outstanding invoices. LSU acknowledged that the additional funds would be used for continued evaluation, crime data tracking services, and performance reporting. The OM responded to LSU that there was only $36,000 remaining in the budget earmarked for LSU to provide those services, and $645,000 of a total of $681,000 had been expended.

    The City and LSU came to an agreement that the request for an additional $125,000 would be contingent upon approval of the grant extension request. In a March 6, 2017 email the new FSGC (hired under Mayor-President Broome) made a request to LSU for copies of all BRAVE annual reports, and any updates on the successes and challenges of the BRAVE Program. The OM sent an email to the BRAVE Core team requesting all outstanding invoices be sent to the OM for processing, and to ensure an accurate picture of the budget, with any recommendations to improve the program.

    At the request of the OM, a meeting was held with the BRAVE Core team to discuss successes and challenges of the Brave program, and outstanding invoices and budget matters.

    REQUEST FOR NO-COST EXTENSION
    The OM alerted LSU and the District Attorney that the City would be submitting another extension request, despite the chances of the extension not being approved. The OM hosted a meeting with representatives from the BRAVE Core team to exchange ideas in developing the extension request. Suggestions were made related to transportation, increased programming around the implementation of programs that had not been addressed including alternatives to criminal activity such as the arts and sports, the need to increase the number of case managers, street workers and surveillance, and the requirements for program evaluation and research.

    In April 2017 the Office of the Mayor President officially requested an extension of the grant through August 31 2018. That request was denied on June 8 2017 and the following reasons were cited by the DOJ for the denial:

    1. $257,370 was listed as allocated to personnel, however, the Program Coordinator was funded by the City.
    2. A grantee reported $5460 for Project BRAVE Director and City financial management training in Washington, DC. However, it appeared that only one training had been completed online.
    3. $380,916 was listed for a contract with Capital Area Human Services District for mental health and substance abuse treatment for 150 youth and 600 case conference meetings, yet only 64 youth were served and it is unclear how many, if any, case conference meetings were held.
    4. $408,000 is listed for a contract with Family Youth Service Center for case management, transportation and community outreach, yet that grantee had not provided documentation of how many youths received those serves and what kind of services were being funded by the grant.

    MOVING FORWARD
    The OM sent the SPM an email accepting the denial and indicating that the BRAVE program would continue its efforts and provision of services until the end of the grant period. The email confirmed that the OM would implement community programs, services and interventions throughout the summer, including transportation services until September 17th. The OM also reaffirmed the conversation via telephone with the SPM that since we could not spend $1.6 million in three to four months, the OM would award contracts under the $17,500 threshold in a good faith effort to serve the community until the end of the grant.

    Realizing the abbreviated time frame in which to work, the OM undertook to review the outstanding goals and output measures which had not been accomplished, and began to hold meetings with community stakeholders and potential service providers.

    The FSGC requested OJJDP clarify in writing federal procurement requirements for contracts $5000 and above because the OM anticipated spending dollars on smaller contracts for services because of the limited time before the grant would end, and to allow for a more expedited process for getting services to the community. The OM specifically mentioned the transportation service as an example, within the email. The OM was informed that all contracts below $150,000 should follow city procurement procedures. Contracts over $150,000 would be required to follow federal procurement procedures. Those procedures were provided for review.
    At the request of the OM, the Parish Attorney provided a template for a Professional Services Agreement. The Parish Attorney explained that the OM would be responsible for drafting the professional service agreements, which would be reviewed by the Parish Attorney.

    The OM asked the Chair of the Grants Review Committee (GRC) to explain the grants review process because the OM anticipated utilizing mini contracts to meet the outstanding goals of BRAVE during the last ninety days of the grant period.

    The OM alerted the GRC that the OM would be submitting professional service agreements below $17,500 to the GRC for review in its commitment to the SPM. This maximum amount of the contracts were set so that the contracts could be expedited. Council approval would create a significant time delay and jeopardize the opportunity to provide the services in the time remaining on the grant.

    The services and compensation, excluding the canceled contract for Arthur Reed, were as follows:

    • Todd Sterling of Alpha Media and Public Relations was contracted to provide audio/visual seminars for trauma training. In addition, public relations tools were to be developed. ($9,950)
    • Joseph Hines was contracted to provide a four-week summer program to improves youth’s capacity for leadership, business, and entrepreneurship through self-discovery in the arts. Health, wellness, and art exposure were also to be provided. ($9,600)
    • Walter McLaughlin was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program that targeted mentorship, event production, talent development, and community outreach. ($9,800)
    • Donney Rose was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)
    • Desiree Bewley was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)
    • Chancelier Skidmore was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)
    • Christopher Patrick Turner was contracted to provide a four-week summer program to improves youth’s capacity for leadership, business, and entrepreneurship through self-discovery in the arts. Health, wellness, and art exposure were also to be provided. ($9,600)
    • New Hope Outreach Ministries was contracted to assess, evaluate and counsel those suffering [addiction], abuse, and related mental health issues. Job readiness, retention, parenting skills, and case management were also in their realm of duties. ($17,000)
    • Pink Blossom Alliance was contracted to perform community outreach events in an effort to expose young women to professional women in their community, exposing them to careers in STEM , social services, criminal justice, etc. ($9,900)
    • Isaiah Marshall was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)
    • Zuri Sanchez was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)
    • Runner’s Courier Services was contracted to provide transportation services to BRAVE program participants to court appearances, medical, and social service appointments. ($17,500)
    • Willie Payne was contracted to provide employment and skills training in the field of cosmetology, barbering, and hair styling to BRAVE participants. ($9,900)
    • Elm Grove Church was contracted to provide a summer youth academy focused on youth violence reduction and prevention. They agreed to utilize the curriculum designed and provided by the City-Parish. ($16,000)
    • Joseph Bean was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)

    Total: $160,550

    The GRC was informed that the OM would bring a minimal number of contracts through the review process for approval, and that specifically the OM no longer needed the larger funding for the courier service since the request for a no-cost extension had been denied. It was decided to execute an agreement reflecting the need for transportation services for a shorter period of time.
    The OM requested a proposal from Runner’s Courier Service. This firm has done business with the City of Baton Rouge, and would be an immediate solution to the transportation problem acknowledged both by the BRAVE Core team and the SPM.

    From mid-June until the present, it has been the sole intent of the OM to fulfil the goals of the BRAVE project narrative, and salvage the use of remaining funds to the greatest extent possible in the limited time remaining in the grant period. All of the Professional Service Agreements entered into by the OM align with the goals and strategies identified in the approved BRAVE program narrative.
    All contracts were encumbered by the Finance Department of the City, and signed by the Purchasing Department.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Licensing law changes for Louisiana contractors

    According to the Louisiana Home Builders Association, HB 675, now Act 231 of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session makes several changes to the Contractors’ Licensing Law. Act 231 will go into effect Tuesday, August 1st 2017.

    Licensed residential contractors shall provide in writing:
    1. Name
    2. Contracting license number
    3. Classification
    4. Current insurance certificates evidencing the amount of liability
    insurance maintained and proof of workers’ compensation coverage

    Registered home improvement contractors shall provide in writing:
    1. Name
    2. Registration number
    3. Current insurance certificates evidencing the amount of liability
    insurance maintained and proof of workers’ compensation coverage

    This information shall be provided to the party with whom the contractor has
    contracted to perform contracting services, regardless of whether such information is requested by the contracting party for whom the work is to be performed.

    Also, licensed residential contractors and registered home improvement contractors shall produce to the permitting authority evidence of a license or registration in good standing prior to the issuance of any permit required by law. Click here to read the act in its entirety

    Read more »
  • ,

    Families believe inequality growing in schools, ESSA plans could worsen laws

    Black families overwhelmingly believe that their schools are underfunded, and that racial inequality is growing, according to a poll conducted by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Anzalone Liszt Grove Research firm.

    The Leadership Conference Education Fund, which is the education and research arm of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, developed the poll to “explore how Black and Latino parents and families view the American education system’s success in educating their children,” according to a press release about the survey.

    The poll revealed that 90 percent of Black parents and families believe schools in Black communities are underfunded compared to White communities.

    The poll also showed that almost 75 percent of Black parents and families believe that the education Black students receive is worse than what White students.

    A report about the poll said that, “Among Black parents and family members whose child’s teachers are mostly White, only 42 percent believe that schools are trying their best to educate Black students, 16 points below the share of those whose children have mostly Black teachers.”

    Liz King, the senior policy analyst and the director of education policy for The Leadership Conference Education Fund, said that there has been a lot of research that’s come out lately that suggests an implicit bias that educators, who are mostly White, have towards Black and Latino children.

    The press release stated the findings come at a critically important time for public education in the United States as states are currently developing education plans as part of their obligations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

    “These plans are states’ opportunities to make a clear declaration about their belief in the education of all children and a commitment to ensuring children get the education they deserve,” the press release stated.

    Republicans in the United States Congress continue to chip away at ESSA, making it harder for states to clearly define those commitments.

    In March, Republicans voted to rollback accountability measures established by the Obama Administration, Education Week reported.

    “The Obama-era accountability rules, finalized late last year, set ground rules for how schools must be rated for school-improvement purposes, specified the requirements of (and flexibility for) states dealing with high testing opt-out rates in individual schools, and outlined how states would have to handle the ‘school quality’ indicator in accountability systems,” according to the Education Week blog post.

    Opponents of the Republican-led rules change said, “that the move was unnecessary, would create confusion in states about whether and to what extent their ESSA accountability plans comply with the law, and could endanger crucial protections for disadvantaged students.”

    In the report, researchers with the Leadership Conference Education Fund said that the findings of the “New Education Majority” poll, should be a clarion call for advocates and policy makers who must come to terms with the fact that a successful education policy must be responsive to the needs of Black, Latino and Asian children, who make up a majority of public school students in America.

    Researchers recommended opening the decision-making processes around educational policies to Black and Latino families, especially decisions regarding priorities and funding; integrating implicit bias and cultural responsiveness training into teacher preparation and professional development; preparing, hiring, supporting and retaining strong Black and Latino teachers; designing accountability systems that focus on high academic achievement, especially for Black and Latino children; and supporting and improving any school where Black or Latino children are not being effectively educated.

    Given the context of ESSA implementation, King said that the federal government, states, school districts and schools have a great opportunity to put policies into place that are responsive to the needs and values of the new majority of public school children.

    “We need to ensure that every single school is organized around excellence for every single child,” said King. “Parents in this poll spoke to the value of a state’s rating of a school’s success in educating children well, a central piece of ESSA’s accountability requirements, as well as the need to ensure that educators have the [resources] and preparation to support every child’s success and to overcome historic barriers to opportunity.”

    The “New Education Majority” national poll conducted by The Leadership Conference Education Fund suggests that Black families believe that racial inequality is growing.

    By Bria Nicole Stone
    NNPA Newswire Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Mackie appointed to LaSTEM Council

    Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., of Gretna, was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the LaSTEM Council. Mackie holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and is the President and CEO of the Channel Zero Group. He formerly served on the faculty at Tulane University where he researched heat transfer, fluid dynamics, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Mackie is also the founder of STEM NOLA, an organization which serves to expose, inspire, and engage members in New Orleans and the surrounding communities about opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    The Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Advisory Council (LaSTEM) was established to coordinate and oversee the creation, delivery, and promotion of STEM education program; to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; to ensure the alignment of education, economic development, industry, and workforce needs; and to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.

    ONLINE: http://www.channelzro.com

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Baton Rouge Speaks Event Inspires Community

    Capitol Elementary School’s gymnasium provided a bright and inviting atmosphere for Baton Rouge Speaks: A Conversation about Jobs, Health, and Social Justice in Our Community. The word ‘Harambee’ plastered on the wall reminded attendees of the Kenyan principle to “pull together”. Nearly 100 people attended the event which, for me, evoked the spirit of Louisiana-born civil rights leader Kwame Ture who once said, “The knowledge I have now is not the knowledge I had then.” Ture would also say, that “unity is the greatest power of a community”.

    On June 29, organizers of Baton Rouge Speaks echoed the same message, shared valuable community resources, and honored four men who have been proven to be outstanding community leaders and mentors to young men.

    BR Speaks Dunn CollinsThe honorees were Daryl Hurst, of Elite Sports; Kirwin Sims, of Sims and Sons; Christopher Johnson, of the Baton Rouge Rising Stars Boxing Team; and Marvin Augustus Sr. of Augustus Properties LLC.

    Hurst, of Elite Sports, mentors and builds up children through team sports and other activities. Elite Sports offers programmatic mainstays like tutoring, camps, college campus tours, and community service projects that highlight the importance of giving back. Elite Sports is an umbrella organization that partners with professional athletes who have a Baton Rouge connection such as basketball players Garrett Temple and Terrel Martin. The year-old organization, has sponsored 150 kids in their football camp with another 150 on the wait list. Hurst said his greatest joy is to be a positive role model and see the kids, whose life he impacted, go on to college and beyond to be great leaders”.

    Sims is owner of Sims and Son, BDS Motors, and Big Boys Car Wash. Sims has been doing construction for more than 16 years, completing small construction work, foreman work, paving, and debris cleanup. He was recognized for taking chances on at-risk youth, showing them how to work hard and provide for themselves. He says, “We all get together and look out for each other. If you need a service, come see me at work. If your son needs a job and he doesn’t mind working in the heat, I don’t mind giving it to you.” For fun, Sims leads an ATV riding group called Mud Mafia along with Jeremy Smith, owner of The Spot Barbershop.

    Johnson was honored for his dedication to leading youth through the Baton Rouge Rising Stars Boxing Team. As a trainer, he has discovered and developed the natural skills within young boxers turning fledgling competitors into professionals. He has lead the boxing team for five years, competing in several state tournaments, and a National tournament. Johnson said, “The youth is where it is!” His joy for helping young athletes is genuinely felt. One of his star boxers said, “Johnson is a ‘man’s man’.He is one of those guys that, if you have it in you, he will get the best of you.”

    Augustus was acknowledged for providing jobs to members within the community from his real estate and heating/cooling businesses. For his dedication, Augustus Properties LLC and Marvin’s Heating and Air Enterprise LLC are flourishing, He says he isn’t a “boss”. “He leads a team and everyone is important”. After being imprisoned in his youth, he was stuck working temporary jobs with grueling labor. His wife found an opening for a maintenance job that put him on the path to a lifelong career. He used those skills to open his own business, which has seen 17 successful years. “There is no such thing as poverty. You do well and increase productivity, your pay comes up as well,” he said. He is an active member of Living Faith Christian Center. He has been married for 31 years and has fathered three children. Augustus said, “He is proud of the reputation that he has built for himself and his businesses”.

    Speakers at the event; such as personal trainer and wellness coach Gary Ausbon, told the audience that health comes from the inside out. There are small changes that can be made to start feeling and looking better. “Pay me now or pay me later,” he said, explaining that it is important to be mindful of health on the front end means the rest will take care of itself later. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” he said, encouraging everyone to put information to action and get past the starting line.
    Web Baton Rouge Speaks Dr. whitfield
    Dr. Rani Whitfield reiterated that diet is everything. Many foods are genetically modified, containing steroids and compounds that do more harm than good. His rule of thumb, “If it has more than five ingredients, it probably isn’t good for you.” Whitfield also described the difference between a community and a hood. A community is one where its residents own businesses and establishments; where everyone is responsible for the mental, spiritual and financial wellness of the collective.

    The Reverend Reginald Pitcher brought that message home. He spoke on issues within the Black community, stressing that whatever problems we have, we are the solution. He touched on “home training”, the education system, community policing, and more. We have idle power that needs to be awakened, gone stale in the time since we were fighting for basic civil rights. A dose of real talk and old school examples from this seasoned activist and leader was met with affirming “Mmhmm”s and “Amen”s from the audience. Pitcher urges those who are scared to sit down, and for those who are sitting down to stop complaining; “Can’t nobody save us for us, but us”. He ended on a positive note, that a change in our environment takes nothing but creativity to build and shape it.

    Terry Simmons of T. Simmons and Company built and shaped his own change. T. Simmons is a brand development, talent optimization, and new business development firm in Baton Rouge that works with novice and large-scale clients. Part of his motivation stems from seeing the need to build a competitive workforce throughout Louisiana. He said, “Developing our potential is top priority especially since this state keeps most of its workers”. He schooled the audience on the importance of hard skills, soft skills, industries in demand, and how your social media page isn’t just for fun. He encouraged each of us to be competitive and share resources on how to get a leg up.

    The Baton Rouge Speaks Event was a sight to behold. The positive energy reverberated in every guest as they walked out of the Capitol Elementary School’s doors and returned to their own neighborhood more knowledgeable and empowered. It was great to see the collaboration of community leaders, agencies, and residents gathered to discuss the critical issues that have not be addressed within our communities.

    Representatives from the Louisiana Urban League, Metromorphosis’ Urban Congress, Baton Rouge AIDS Society, Employ BR, The CEO Mind Foundation, Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network, and United Healthcare shared resources. Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis and State Representative Edmond Jordan were also present. Catering was provided by Boil & Roux Southern Kitchen.

    By Carmen Green
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • Jones picked for SU cheer squad

    Jumyria Jones, of Port Allen, is the first athlete on the West Side to be accepted on the Southern University Co-Ed Cheer Team. Jones has been a cheerleader since sixth grade and is a recent graduate of Port Allen High School. She cheered at PAHS all four years and was co-captain her senior year. She was also named Miss Black West Baton Rouge Parish last summer. Jones plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice and attend law school.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Celebrity Chef Ryan Rondeno launched new line of Spice Rubs

    Celebrity Chef Ryan Rondeno specializes in French Creole Cuisine and has leaned on his Louisiana upbringing as the foundation for his signature Spice Rub. The ‘Ryan Rondeno Spice Collection’ is a mixture of spices that’s perfect for various cooking techniques. As the spring and summer approaches, grilling is a popular cooking technique that’s well used. It can be used to enhance the flavor of chicken, fish, meats and even veggies. The delicious spices not only add the perfect kick to all your favorite dishes, but are also gluten and preservative free.

    The Metairie, Louisiana born chef’s inspiration was to create a collection of rubs that will turn every day recipes into a fine-dining experience. Chef Ryan Rondeno plans to empower people with great spices and recipes to help them prepare meals that the entire family will enjoy. On his website, RondenoCulinaryDesigns.com, he shares some easy recipes to create with the ‘Spice It Up Rub It Down’ ebook. His ‘Ryan Rondeno Spice Collection’ is also now available for purchase via the web site.

    ONLINE: www.RondenoCulinaryDesigns.com

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Louisiana groups release statements on GOP’s repeal failure

    After the Senate rejected Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, several Louisiana organizations released statements showing their pleasure. Here are their words:

    From the Louisiana Center for Health Equity  president Alma C. Stewart:
    The Louisiana Center for Health Equity is pleased that millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief. After several failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it remains the law of the land. Today, 51 Members of Congress stood up for the American people protecting them from losing their healthcare coverage. It is disappointing that neither Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy nor Senator John Kennedy was among them. We are thankful for our many supporters who made their voices heard over and over. As we celebrate a victory today, we acknowledge that there remains work to be done to ensure that everyone has access to affordable quality healthcare. We urge Congress to allow this work go forward in a bipartisan manner.

    Read more »

  • Washington become Guaranty Bank’s branch manager

    Julian Washington has been appointed branch manager of the Guaranty Bank & Trust Company Port Allen Branch. He currently resides in Baton Rouge and is looking forward to working with the people and businesses of the community. His goal is to provide quality service as a branch manager. Washington has nine years of banking experience. He has five years in branch management and consumer lending. A native of Thibodaux, Washington earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He is an active member of Bethany Church, South Campus in Baton Rouge. He has served as a West Baton Rouge Chamber ambassador, mentor with the Big Buddy Program and volunteer with Junior Achievement of Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
  • Edwards appoints Boyce new DAL director

     Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his appointment of Emalie Boyce to the role of director of the Division of Administrative Law (DAL). She will fill the position recently vacated by the founding director, Ann Wise. Boyce currently serves as deputy executive counsel to Gov. Edwards and has over ten years of legal experience in the public sector.

    “Emalie has been an invaluable member of our team and provided counsel on many issues from the start of this administration. In her role as my deputy executive counsel, Emalie has helped us remain transparent and accountable to the public. I could not be more confident about the leadership she will bring to the Division of Administrative Law,” said Gov. Edwards. “The agency will do great things under her charge, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

    The DAL is Louisiana’s centralized state administrative hearings panel, providing fair, prompt, and orderly adjudications conducted by independent, impartial, and professional administrative law judges.

    “I am appreciative of the opportunity to serve the people of Louisiana in this new capacity and am grateful for the confidence Gov. Edwards placed in me during my time working in his administration,” said Emalie Boyce. “I am excited to join the wonderful team in place at the DAL and continue my work fostering a more transparent and accountable state of Louisiana.”

    Prior to her role as deputy executive counsel to the governor, Emalie Boyce served as deputy director of the Civil Division in the Office of the Attorney General. Her duties included oversight of opinions, training public officials, managing transparency processes, and advising boards, commissions and officers of the state of Louisiana. She has been married for fifteen years and has two children. She has also served many community organizations, including the LSU Museum of Art Advisory Board and the Board of Directors for Hospice of Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    COMMENTARY: Trump telling police ‘Don’t be too nice’ is unsettling at least

    Donald Trump, showed up on Long Island recently spewing his propensity for violence and promoting his disdain for former President Barack Obama to the Suffolk County Police department. Turns out the audience was comprised of officers in a police department that has been scrutinized for racial profiling and whose former chief was recently sentenced to prison for beating a man.

    Trump has a burning desire to discredit Barack Obama and a commitment to destroying his pristine image and presidential legacy by whatever means at his disposal.

    Under Obama, the Justice Department opened investigations into more than two dozen police departments, and worked out formal reform agreements known as consent decrees with 14 of them including the Suffolk County Police Department. These agreements were reached in the wake of several nationwide high-profile fatal shootings of Black men by police.

    Upon being appointed Attorney General, probably upon orders from Trump, Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure that these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.

    In his address to the Long Island crowd, Trump suggested police shouldn’t worry about roughing up suspects. This was Trump’s subtle attempt to erase the effects of Obama’s policing reform agreements.

    In reference to M13, a violent gang of young men mostly of Salvadorian decent, Trump suggested that police should ignore arrest guidelines and not be “nice” to the suspects. The president spoke dismissively of arresting officers who protect suspects’ heads while putting them in police cars.

    Trump: “I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting the head. You know? The way you put the hand over the head, like ‘Don’t hit their head’ and they’ve just killed somebody, ‘Don’t hit their head.’ “I said, ‘You can take the hand away,’ OK?”  Officers in the audience responded to Trump’s remarks with thunderous applause.

    Such a reaction is, at the very least, unsettling given the allegations of discrimination against the department. The Suffolk County Police Department was investigated for discriminatory policing against Latinos, including an indifference toward immigrant residents that discouraged reporting crimes and cooperation with law enforcement, failing to thoroughly investigate hate crimes, and enforcing immigration policies in a way that encouraged racial profiling. A reform agreement reached between the DOJ and Suffolk County in 2013 required the department to institute a range of reforms. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions sent a disturbing message to these officers and they relished the news.

    The Long Island gang known as Mara Salvatrucha or MS 13 is known to have about 10,000 members and it’s one of the most dangerous and violent gangs in operation today. They are operational in over 40 cities around the United States. This is one of hundreds of dangerous street gangs operating in North and South America.

    Donald Trump seems to revel in violent and dissident environments.

    During the presidential primaries of 2016, he encouraged violence among his supporters against protesters at his rallies. He encouraged a crowd of supporters to “knock the hell” out of anyone who looked like they might throw anything at him, and promised to pay the legal fees for anyone who took him up on his suggestion. All succeeding rallies were accompanied by some sort of Trump inspired violence. When confronted with the possibility to make good on the promise to pay the legal fees of a man who admitted to punching a protester at a Trump rally in North Carolina, Trump said “No, I didn’t say that, I never said I was going to pay for fees.”

    In a recent attempt to discredit Obama, he asked a group of teenage boys attending their annual Boy Scout Jamboree, “Did Barack Obama ever attend a Boy Scout Jamboree?” He answered his own question with a no but Obama did attend the Jamboree in 2010 via video. He had no interest in other presidents who had or had not attended the Jamboree, he either researched the issue or had someone do it for him and he knew Obama had not attended in person. However he got his expected results when he popped the question, boos and cheers.

    Scouts learn the importance of being “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” How few of those adjectives apply to Donald Trump. A man who can’t control himself to act in a manner befitting the setting, is a man without the steadiness of character to run a nation. A grown man who is so insecure as to seek affirmation in a group of teenagers is not a man with the maturity to lead a nation. A man who is so self-absorbed as to make every utterance about himself and his needs is not a man with the vision to elevate a nation.

    Trump’s remarks has been repudiated by the Suffolk County Police. The Department said they will not tolerate such behavior from their officers. The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously. As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.

    The failure of “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare is a direct result of Trump’s obsession with discrediting Barack Obama.

    His 30 million supporters was not aware that the Affordable Care Act, which they loved and subscribed to, and Obamacare was one and the same. The pushback on “Trumpcare” came directly from them.

    When will the US congress wake up and rid themselves and the American people of this  narcissist, arrogant, manipulative, vindictive, delusional, overbearing, ill-informed, deceitful, inarticulate, and pessimistic aberration to America’s image and reputation?.

    By Walter Smith
    Publisher, Philadelphia Observer

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Baton Rouge youth dominate, claim World Championship

    Baton Rouge youth poetry slam team, the Forward Arts All Stars, are now world poetry slam champions after having won the 2017 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in San Francisco.

    The team of teens, ages 16-19, emerged victorious after two days of competition consisting of 60 youth teams from around the world. A poetry slam is a spoken word competition in which poets are scored by five randomly-selected judges on a scale of 0-10 based on the written and performative quality of their work. Baton Rouge edged out teams from Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia at the BNV finals.

    This victory comes on the one year anniversary of the death of former All Star slam team member, Kaiya Smith, who competed last year when the team ranked fifth at the 2016 BNV. Smith passed away one week after the 2016 festival. The 2017 team opened their final stage performance with a tribute to Smith, followed by witty and funny poems that showed range and creativity.

    This is the 11th year Baton Rouge has sent a team to BNV, and its first final stage appearance. The winning team members are Imani Sundiata, Chazzi Hayes, Jazmyne Smith, Kalvin Morris, Olivia Williams and Imani McCullam. They were coached by Forward Arts program director, Desireé Dallagiacomo.
    Unknown-2
    Forward Arts fosters personal and social transformation by providing arts instruction, literary education and youth development in southeastern Louisiana. This year’s 20th anniversary festival took place July 19-22 and hosted more than 600 teenage poets from around the world at events held across the Bay Area.

    The Drum asked the Forward Arts All Stars about their experience:
    “Brave New Voices was a fantastic experience. I got the opportunity to speak my mind and be supported every step of the way, not only when I was on stage but when I was in town halls and workshops also. It’s always great to be surrounded by artists and people who have similar interests, but at Brave New Voices the other poets are actually interested in your work. It’s not about the competition, it’s about sharing stories. The highlight of Brave New Voices was having other teams tell us how much our poems meant to them personally. Brave New Voices was a beautiful experience.”
    Jazmyne Smith, 19
    Unknown
    “Going to Brave New Voices was the most invaluable experience of my life so far. I had always been exposed to a number of things thanks to my parents, but BNV brought so many different cultures I had only seen on television screens together. We were all so different but we were also under the same sun, the one that burns over quirky teen artists. You don’t meet many people like that in Baton Rouge simply because being an artist isn’t really encouraged here or incentivized for youth. It meant a lot to me to meet people who were so brave and willing to share their stories on a world showcase. A distinctive moment was when someone asked where I was from. I told them I was from Baton Rouge, and they asked if that was a city in New Orleans. I felt a little shame, but in the end, winning and putting our small city on the map was the greatest reward. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.”
    Olivia Williams, 16

    Going to Brave New Voices is an experience that I will never forget! Meeting hundreds of beautiful and inspiring poets and people who respect the art of poetry is something that I have never experienced and I thank BNV for that. Being there with my team bettered me as a poet and as a person; alongside of bringing back a bunch of inside jokes and wild, but hilarious memories. The support and love that we had from everyone at home and from poets at BNV made me forget that it was even a competition and I truly respected that. I loved knowing that my truth made someone feel good about themselves and I also loved being moved by other poets’ truth. The best part about being at BNV was connecting closer with my teammates and connecting with other poets across the world who made me see the ultimate power behind words and how words can truly bring people together.”
    Imani McCullam, 16

    “BNV was so magical. It was the one place I could be myself and not have to worry about the backlash… I didn’t have to worry if I was being weird or anything because I have found that everyone is and poets just happen to be extra weird. There was so much love and support coming from competing team. I have found that BNV is the only competition where you support the people you are competing against. There are no words in which can explain the extraordinary time I have and no words to explain how grateful I am to Forward Arts for giving me this opportunity.”

    Imani Sundiata, 18

    “By attending Brave New Voices, I stepped into a world filled with love and support I did not know existed. Being around other youth who care so much about growing as poets and performers inspired me to grow as an artist. Engaging in dialogues with other poets and hearing how my team and I have inspired them is so humbling and makes me want to continue to improve my craft to be worthy of their respect and present them with my best art and best self. The community and family I’ve found due to Brave New Voices is something I will always cherish. The support and love I experienced at the festival is something I will always value and work hard to preserve.”

    Kalvin Morris, 17

    Chazzi Hayes

    Chazzi Hayes

    “Brave New Voices was like coming home for me. Meeting so many poets from all over that had so much in common with me was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. You could feel the love and acceptance in every room you entered as well as when you went on stage to perform. A great part of Brave New Voices was knowing that our voices were being heard by both our peers and the adults there. It felt like we were all coming together to listen, learn, and make change. At final stage it didn’t even feel like we were there to compete it just felt like a gigantic open mic where everyone could share their truths. The best part was when the last poem was said on final stage and all the poets went backstage and hugged each other and told each other which poems they really liked.”
    Chazzi Hayes, 17

    Read more »
  • ,

    VC to launch tech programs September 13

    Virginia College in Baton Rouge has launched two new programs: an Electrical Technician diploma program and a Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) technician program. The programs will both launch Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at the campus located at 9501 Cortana Place.

    The Electrical Technician diploma program can be completed in as little as 48 weeks and/or 12 modules. The program equips students to work with electrical systems, including power, communications, lighting and control systems in environments such as hospitals, retail businesses, commercial buildings and more.

    The new HVACR diploma is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely install, troubleshoot and repair equipment used in the home and light commercial industry. This program also includes preparation for the following certification examinations: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification, Industry Competency Exams (ICE) and North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Cravins tells youth ‘You can have an impact today’

    Former State Senator Donald Cravins, Jr. addressed more than 300 high school student leaders attending Louisiana Youth Seminar, July 19, on Louisiana State University’s campus.

    “You’re here now. You can have an impact today. You are Louisiana’s today and Louisiana’s future,” said Cravins, a former LYS Program Director and current LYS Advisory Committee Member.

    Cravins was the guest speaker before the time-honored LYS presentation of “Louisiana: A Dream State,” which pays tribute to the unique citizens, cultures and traditions of Louisiana.

    “It’s about making this state a better place. I hope that you allow this program to do for you what it has done for me. We have an obligation to leave our state a better place than we found it,” said Cravins.

    Cravins previously served as chief of staff to former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a LYS alumna.He is the National Urban League’s senior vice president for policy and executive director of the Washington Bureau. He also serves as a captain in the District of Columbia Army National Guard Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Seven applicants seek to cultivate Southern’s medical marijuana

     Seven vendors have submitted applications to potential become the medical marijuana cultivator for the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

    The vendors are:

    • Advanced Bio Medical
    • Aqua Pharm,
    • Citiva Louisiana
    • Columbia Care
    • Med Louisiana
    • Southern Roots
    • United States Hamp Corporation (USHC)

    The Southern University Ag Center is currently in the process of reviewing the applications. The tentative completion date for the review of all applications submitted to the Center’s evaluation committee is July 31, 2017.

    For additional information about Southern University’s Medical Marijuana Program visit,https://goo.gl/w71WME.

    Read more »
  • Teen arrested for responding, sharing nude photo

    BOSSIER CITY–A 17-year-old student athlete at Parkway High School in south Bossier City, is facing child pornography charges after his 16-year-old classmate sent him naked footage of herself.

    Reportedly, the 16-year-old white, female sent the Black, male student a nude video first and he responded by sending her one of him. When her parents found out, they reported it to the police.

    Louisiana law states  anyone under the age of 17 found to be sexting any person of any age can be charged with a misdemeanor. Even if acting consensually, teens can be charged with with child pornography.

    The boy has since been arrested and is facing child porn charges, but the girl has not been arrested or charged. Although his name has been released to the media, her name has not.  (The Drum policy is to not print juvenile names in these cases)

    He has been released on a $15,000 bond, but still has to face the charges in a court. His family said they expect to pay at least $4,000 in legal fees for his case. A youcaring.com page has been established to help the family.

    Read more »
  • Baker High School Symphonic Band wins championship

    The Baker High School Symphonic Band will be performing at the Festival at Carnegie Hall: National Band and Orchestra Festival in New York City on March 31, 2018.  The Baker High Concert Band won multiple awards at the National 2016 Spring Music Festival competition in Orlando, Florida, including the High School Grand Champion Award for Instrumental Music. Baker also received a Superior Rating, 1st place in the High School Class A Concert Band category, and Overall Instrumental Grand Champions. Derrick Walker is the band director.  He earned a bachelor of arts in music from Southern University in Baton Rouge and a high school diploma from Meridian High School in Mississippi.

    Derrick Walker, Band Director

    Derrick Walker, Band Director

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church celebrates 100 years

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church One-Hundred Years Centennial Celebration was held on Sunday, June 25, at the 10:55am worship service. The theme was “God’s Grace and Witnessing for Jesus Christ.  Founding dates 1917-2017.  

    The centennial message was given by Pastor Stephen Emmanuel Handy, of McKendree United Methodist Church located in Nashville, Tennessee.  He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana with a bachelors degree in business administration.  He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in divinity from Vanderbilt University and is currently working on his doctorate in divinity from Wesley Seminary.  In 2009, Stephen was appointed by the Bishop to become the first African-American Pastor at McKendree United Methodist Church.  His father, Bishop W.T. Handy, served on the United Methodist Ministry for many years and was former minster of the St. Mark United Methodist Church located in Baton Rouge.  

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church Centennial Celebration, January-June 2017 Schedule of Events
    Activities and Fellowship, “A Moment of Camphor History”, Black History Sunday, Ecumenical Service, Gospelfest, Writing Essay Contest, Church Outside the Wall, “When Camphor was in Vogue”, Centennial Banquet, Centennial Concert, Prayer Breakfast, Old Fashioned Basket Family Picnic, and the Centennial Celebration Praise and Worship Services. A reception was held after the worship services in the Moses T. Jackson Fellowship Hall.

    The twelve founders and former ministers were recognized.  The Centennial Celebration was very well attended.  Rev. Clifton Conrad Sr., Senior Pastor, Rev. Tiffanie Postell, Associate Pastor, Rev. Ken Irby, Baton Rouge District Superintendent and Rev. Cynthia Harvey,  Bishop, Louisiana Annual Conference.  Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 8742 Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

    By Mada McDonald Clark
    Contributing Writer

    Photographed above are: Julia B. Moore, Claude Tellis DTh., Mada McDonald Clark, Mary Emerson, Rev. Stephen Emmanuel Handy, Associate Pastor Tiffanie C. Postell, Pastor Clifton C. Conrad Sr., Press L. Robinson, Sr. EdD, Marilyn Ray-Jones DTH, Wesley J. Belton, Blanche P. Smith, and Mary T. Charles. Photo by: Tina Bernard. Submitted by: Katrina Spottsville

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Louisiana has one of the highest rates of child gun deaths

    In March, 10-year-old Justin Simms and six-year-old Jumyrin Smith were discovered dead alongside their mother Monique Smith in New Orleans after a quadruple shooting rocked their Gentilly neighborhood. A third child, 12-year-old daughter A’Miya, was left in critical condition.

    In August 2016, five-year-old Melvin Brady was accidentally shot and killed in Marrero, marking the third time a child had died in metro New Orleans in such an incident that year, according to reports.

    And in 2015, Lake Charles resident Casey Mercer made headlines when he was arrested after his three-year-old daughter Alexis found a loaded gun he had left on the couch. She died after she shot the firearm straight through her eyelid, reports said.

    Unfortunately, such tragedies are hardly rare in Louisiana. A study published in June by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the Pelican State had the second-highest rate of child firearm mortality in the country.

    During a five-year period from 2010 to 2014, there were an average of 4.2 children up to the age of 17 killed by gun deaths in the state for every 100,000 kids, the study found.

    The study didn’t examine data specifically in the metro New Orleans area. But data collected by NOLA.com in a murder timeline for 2017 shows that so far this year, seven children up to the age of 17 had been killed in the city, out of a total of 92 murders so far.

    That means about one in every five murdered this year has been a child, and that doesn’t even count other accidental shootings involving children.

    Throughout the nation, an average of 1,297 children die annually from injuries caused by firearms, making guns the second-leading cause of death for children in America, the study found. They were the second leading cause of injury-related death for people under the age of 17, surpassed only by motor vehicle injury deaths.

    Another 5,790 children on average seek emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year in the United States, the report found. About 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional.

    The authors of the report urged better preventative measures through policy, local law enforcement and institutions such as schools.

    “Firearm injuries are an important public health problem, contributing substantially to premature death and disability of children,” the authors wrote. “Understanding their nature and impact is a first step toward prevention.”

    Before the study came out, firearm-related deaths had already been determined to be the third-leading cause of death overall among American children aged one to 17 years and the second-leading cause of injury-related death.

    The new comprehensive analysis of firearm-related deaths and injuries among American children delved further into that statistic, examining trends over time and state-level patterns.

    The report also found trends regarding the ages of the victims.

    Firearm homicides of younger children often occurred in instances where there were multiple victims, the study found, and involved an intimate partner or family conflict, whereas older kids were found to be dying because of crime and violence.

    Firearm suicides were often precipitated by situational and relationship problems, according to the research.

    Unintentional shooting deaths usually happened because the child was playing with a gun, and that was true for older and younger children, the report found.

    Boys accounted for a whopping 82 percent of all child firearm deaths, the report found. The annual rate of firearm death for boys from 2012 to 2014 was 4.5 times higher than the annual rate for girls.

    African-American children were found to have the highest rates of firearm mortality overall, with more than four per 100,000 becoming a victim.

    The disparity came from differences between racial and ethnic groups in firearm homicide, the report found. From 2012 to 2014, the annual firearm homicide rate for African-American children was nearly twice as high as the rate for American-Indian children, four times higher than the rate for Hispanic children and about 10 times higher than the rate for white children and Asian-American children.

    Unintentional firearm deaths usually happened because children were playing with guns, the report found. That was the case with 60 percent of firearm-related deaths among younger children and 49 percent among older kids.

    Older children more often died because they were showing a gun to others and/or mistakenly thought the gun was unloaded or the safety was engaged, the authors found.

    A gun was mistaken for a toy in 16 percent of younger children’s deaths. The majority of both younger and older children were fatally injured in a home.

    Authors said if there was a common takeaway from all these incidents it was this: violence, especially seen against and by children, is interconnected from incident to incident.

    “Firearm violence does not stand in isolation when developing preventive interventions,” the authors wrote.

    By Della Hasselle
    Louisiana Weekly reporter
    New America Media

    Read more »
  • Grande, Wilkerson named to NBA’s top 40

    Southern University Law Center Alumni Ashlei Gradney and Lacresha Wilkerson have been named 2017 National Bar Association’s Top 40 Under 40. Gradney is an attorney at Kastl Law, P.C. in Dallas. Her practice areas include business, criminal, family, personal injury, wills-trusts-probate, elder law, and juvenile law. Wilkerson is an assistant attorney general with the Louisiana Department of Justice.

    Read more »
  • ,

    ‘Voices from the Bayou’ pulls powerful, emotional writing from BRCC students

    When Baton Rouge Community College professor Clarence Nero and his teaching colleagues walked into their classrooms for the first time after the tumultuous summer of 2016—a summer that in Baton Rouge had seen the murders of Alton Sterling and innocent police officers as well as historic flood—they had no idea what to expect from students.

    This wasn’t any ordinary semester at Baton Rouge Community College. Many enrolled students had lost their homes due to flooding; most were still reeling from the shootings and the subsequent protests and riots that rocked the capital city. There were students who had been traumatized in ways that defied simple explanations.

    Not only did Nero understand that they were in pain—he had lived with and through the same hellish nightmare that summer—he was determined to let them give expression to their experiences and reactions. Having seen this type of racial tension fuel students’ creativity in the film “Freedom Writers,” based on actual classroom experiences of Erin Gruwell, Nero showed the movie to students in his English classes.voices from the bayou

    The result was an instant connection: the diverse women and men in Nero’s classes identified with the students in Gruwell’s class who had shared stories of frustration and pain growing up in racially hostile, violent communities in South Central Los Angeles.

    Before long, students were sharing their own stories, too, writing narratives and engaging in intense conversations in the classroom around race in south Louisiana. The idea caught on around the college; other professors similarly challenged their students, and the school’s Creative Writing Club members joined in the effort. Students who had begun the semester in varying states of distress were writing powerful and unforgettable accounts of their shared experiences coming of age in the South.

    Voices from the Bayou was born: a collection of heartwarming and heartbreaking narratives told by college students who bravely put it all on the line during a time when our country is most divided, after a contentious presidential election. Their courageous stories of dealing with racism, the police, and the flood in Baton Rouge will leave an indelible impression, reminding readers that our young people are ever watching and their voices must be heard and studied for peace and humanity’s survival.

    The BRCC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit, has generously aided in the publication of this collection of student narratives. All proceeds from sales of this book will go towards the foundation; in turn, the foundation will help the students who participated in this project continue their education, will assist BRCC faculty with professional development, will facilitate student programming at the college and at literary events for high school students, and will provide scholarship funding for future BRCC students.

    ONLINE: MYBRCC.edu/foundation

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    EBRP Schools’ Michelle Clayton moves to online K-12 charter

    University View Academy Superintendent Lonnie Luce announced the appointment of Michelle Clayton, former deputy superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish School System, as the new associate superintendent of innovation and interim K-8 principal for the online K-12 charter school.

    Clayton graduated of LSU and earned a Ph.D. from Southern University and A&M College. The former teacher also served as executive director of academics for the Zachary Community School District.

    Luce said Clayton is now part of his dream team of educators to lead University View Academy into being a K-12 charter school in which every student in every parish of the state has the opportunity to gain a quality public education from day one to graduation, and earn two years towards a college degree by graduation time if they so desire.

    She will direct implementation of the school’s new curriculum as K-8 Principal and assist the Superintendent with comprehensive data analysis and planning so that the staff and students unite to achieve greater academic performance in all subjects.

    Mandy LaCrete

    Mandy LaCrete

    Recently, the school added Mandy LaCerte from Baton Rouge Community College as its director of early college and workforce development to manage the school’s growing two-year associate’s degree program. LaCrete was also a founding board member of Apex Collegiate Academy in North Baton Rouge. Shana Corers was named interim high school principal.University View Academy starts the 2017-2018 school year as an independently managed statewide charter school, after being affiliated with Connections Education of Baltimore for six years.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Connect2Black launches in New Orleans

    Launching next month from New Orleans is another tool to help consumers buy from local, Black-owned businesses.

    Connect2Black is a mobile app that includes a Black business directory, city travel aide, and resource guide for and about Black-owned businesses.

    The app has a multiplex user-friendly platform for all mobile devices. It connects “conscientious Black people with other like-minded people doing positive progressive things within Black commerce, culture, and community. Yet, it is available for all ethnic and cultural groups to use for their pleasure and resource,” developers said.

    “Our principle focus is on the bold act of recognizing and understanding the responsibility that we must encourage our family and community to buy Black. Thus, the frequent use of this app as a way of life can help strengthen the sustainability of Black wealth.”

    The app is designed to help users connect to Black-owned enterprises, entertainment venues, barbers or beauty salons, shopping strip malls, church revivals, festivals, or Pleasure Club parades using Geo-Mapping features.

    Connect2Black also serves as a personal concierge and tour guide to help establish a well-planned itinerary.  Special features include:

    • Licensed tour guides, natives ambassador of Black culture, sharing untold stories;
    • C2B Ride Sharing–Black owned taxi, limo, tour buses;
    • Pop-Up notifications of side street parades and major citywide events occurring in real time;
    • Black Press News Stand
    • Handy person work force and job posting; and
    • Black History trivia.

    ONLINE:connect2black.com

    Read more »
  • ,

    Tangipahoa’s African American heritage center brings second year of flight camp

    HAMMOND – -The Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum in Hammond completed the second science, technology, engineering, and math summer camp where area youth learned robotics from engineers, pilots, and scientists.

    Dozens of area youth participated in the center’s annual Flight Training Summer Camp program, held throughout the month of June.

    “Technology is one the leading factor in creating tomorrow’s workforce,” said Delmas A. Dunn Sr., museum director. “We strive to inspire young people to be scientist and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs with engineers, like electrical engineer Kristie Landrew, who work for General Electric for 13 years, retired mechanical engineer Lee West, pilot James Johnson, and Lt. Colonel Erin Williams, who retired from the US Army.”

    The students were introduced to radio control model airplanes, helicopters, model rockets, electronic components, and circuit designs. They also built a robotic arm.

    “The camp was a success and we are making plans for next summer,” said Dunn.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Sims to lead Medical City Fort Worth

    Jyric Sims has been named chief executive officer for Medical City Fort Worth after a national search. The Baton Rouge native has more than 17 years of health care experience and began his career as a certified nursing assistant before being promoted to leadership and business development roles, including director of operations at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was also senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Tulane Health System in New Orleans. Sims earned a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University.

    Read more »
Back to Top
Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com