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  • Taylor criticizes media coverage

    EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SCHOOL Superintendent Bernard Taylor said he believes more of the district’s success and less of its shortcom- ings should be seen in the media.

    “In this environment it seems so many other issues get attention than what our core business is (and that’s) educating children,” Taylor said on March 17 at a Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists meeting.

    Taylor said the media tend to focus on more sa- lacious stories instead of highlighting the schools’ striving to maintain aca- demic excellence.

    “Our students are making a tremendous amount of progress over a very short period of time, they are the most important factor. The media isn’t tell- ing the story of the district, but the story of the student and what they’ve accomplished.”

    According to ebrschools.org, some of the successes for the district include 42 percent of the schools having increased academic performance by one letter grade and 72 per- cent of schools having been deemed “academically ac- ceptable” by the state.

    Taylor said he understands that not all students are alike and that the dis-rict prides itself on the many options it provides to students being educated, such as magnet programs, Montessori and visual and performing arts programs. Taylor also wants parents of special needs students to know that the system is striving to make sure those students are accommodated.

    “One thing that we are going to highlight [is] the choices we offer to special- ed students. We educate students with severe physi- cal disabilities, autistic students, students with speech impediments, students with learning disabilities and students who have emotional disabilities that might impede their learn- ing, but there is no other entity in the community that does that in the totality [like this] school district does.”

    During the past six years EBRPSS has strived to improve and is mere points away from becoming a B rated school district. This year 12 EBR schools improved their state rank- ing to “academically ac- ceptable” and more than 50 percent of the schools in the district are graded “C” or higher.

    “I would dare to say we have seen more stories about fights than we have about an analysis of what the data is telling us.” Tay- lor said that biggest challenge EBRPSS is facing is getting people to under- stand that by working to- gether, the district will educate students successfully and that financially there are issues that will have to be addressed legislatively to ensure all students are afforded the best educational opportunities available to them.

    EBR recently made headlines in Baton Rouge when the state ordered a review of the records of recent public high school graduates. The review was ordered when it was found that an area student gradu- ated without meeting state requirements. An audit completed on March 14 found that were other stu- dents who received grades or credits that differed from those the school system reported to the state.

    According to the audit report, the school system has until April 4 to develop a corrective action plan to prevent such problems from recurring.

    Released March 17, the audit also examined whether some students listed as transferring else- where should be consid- ered dropouts. It also fur- ther explores the case of the initial student records that sparked the audit.

    “People make mis- takes, but at the end of the day there is nothing in the report that points to any level of malfeasance or staff altering the books. We’re talking about human error and unfortunately people make mistakes.” Taylor said he will meet with State Superintendent of Educa- tion John White to discuss the audit’s findings

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  • Wright Museum in jeopardy

    DETROIT’S CHARLES H. WRIGHT Museum, the largest mu- seum of African American history, faces an uncertain future following the city’s bankruptcy.

    Referred to as the most financially challenged cul- tural center in the city, the 49-year-old museum made national headlines when it was announced it would have to sell of its fine art to help reduce the city’s $18 billion debt owed to bond- holders and pensioners.

    Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager, pub- lished a plan proposing a $100 million fundraising deal and $350 million from the state that could possibly keep the museum from auc- tioning off a fraction of its collection. No other fund- raising plans for the Wright museum have yet to be seen, placing the predomi- nantly Black city’s commu- nity cultural centerpiece in financial jeopardy.

    According to blackamericaweb.com: the city of Detroit went from contributing more than $2 million annually to the museum’s budget of roughly $7 million to– post-recession–offering $900,000 to a current budget of $4.5 million.

    A majority of funding

    previously came from the city’s auto industry philanthropies, but provisions have been drastically lower from some, such as GM, and non-existent from others like former benefactor, Chrysler.

    In addition to a wave of salary cuts and even larger staff cuts, the museum has had to turn to non-traditional partnerships with external groups.

    Museum membership has dropped from 20,000 to 7,000 in recent years, a decline attributed to the lack of foundation money covering school children’s memberships.

    Founded in 1965 in the offices of civil rights activist and Black obstetrician Charles H. Wright, the museum is home to more than 20 thousand items ranging from letters of Malcolm X and Rosa Parks to several prototypes of inventions, like the stoplight and gas mask, created by African American scientists.

    Although impressive none of the museum’s items hold enough monetary value to help significantly reduce the city’s overwhelming debt.

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  • BE gives A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award

    AT THE FIRST BLACK ENTER- prise Entrepreneurs Con- ference held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in 1996, BE introduced the A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award – its highest honor for entre- preneurial excellence – by presenting the honor to ad- vertising industry visionary Thomas J. Burrell, founder and CEO of Burrell Communications Group.

    The reason: Burrell’s “reputation for sharing his knowledge and expertise [as well as the fact] that he is an inspirational leader of the African American community.” His stellar achievements were found to be in keeping with the tradition of the legendary business trailblazer in which the award is named.

    Burrell became known as the “Dean of Black Advertising” after gaining a track record for breaking barriers within the media industry. He started his advertising career as a copywriter for Chicago- based Wade Advertising and then Leo Burnett in the early 1960s.

    By 1967, he took a position in Foot Cone & Belding’s London Office, and when he returned to American shores a year later he quickly rose to become a copy supervisor at Needham Harper & Steers.

    In 1971, he decided to launch an agency with a partner, who would depart a few years later, and transformed it into an advertising powerhouse.

     

    BY DEREK T. DINGLE

    BLACK ENTERPRISE 

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    Comedian Howard Hall reacts to Obama’s Between Two Ferns interview

    OUR PRESIDENT BARACK Obama is by far in my opinion one of the smoothest, confident and smartest presidents we have had in this great country. (May I add he married Michelle Obama… Smart Move) He has a way of placing himself in certain situations where he can get the most impact for his agenda. Case in point… Funny or Die’s Exclusive “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis.

    watch it here

    In this interview Zach is known for his offend questions and his straight face insults to his guest but the President handled it in style. I know President Obama can only say certain things due to being the leader of the Free World but I, comedian Howard

    Hall, can be the voice of what he really wanted to say. This is how the interview would have went:

    Howard: Hi my name is Howard Hall and welcome to “Between Two

    Ferns” and my guest today is Bara.. President Barack Obama.

    President Obama: Mess my name up one more time and you will come up missing.HOWARD-HALL

    Howard: Ok… Did you send Ambassador Rodman to North Korea? I heard you were sending Hulk Hogan to Syria.

    President Obama: No but I will be sending

    AmbassadorJoe Biden in here to choke slam you back to your high school weight. Which is 7 pounds less than what you are now by the way.

    Howard: How does it feel to be the last African

    American President? President Obama: How

    does it feel to talk to the last black person you’re going to see on this earth?

    Howard: Ok…That is all I have before I end up on the wrong end of Government Conspiracy.

    Then President Obama kicks over the two ferns and salutes the camera.

    End of Interview

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  • Evans named “Detective of the Year”

    Detective Dwight Evans has been named “Detective of the year by the St.Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office. In 2013, he was as
    signed 186 cases with a solve rate of 36 percent. This far exceeds the national average of 19 percent by nearly
    double.
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  • Lil ‘Boosie shares plans for new releases

    NEW ORLEANS–ONE THING can be certain about when Baton Rouge rapper Tor- rence “Lil Boosie” Hatch was incarcerated: he never got complacent.

    In fact, Hatch wrote 1,018 songs, a movie script and a book during his four and a half years incarcerat- ed for drug charges. Hatch put all rumors to rest at his “Boosie Speaks” press conference held Monday, March 10, at the W Hotel inNew Orleans.

    “They said I had more release dates than Jordans,” he joked with the crowd. Hatch told media about how the first thing he did upon his release was go pick up his seven children to spend some time with them. He’s also been sur- rounding himself by other family and friends—and making headlines for doing some major shopping.

    “It improved me,” Hatch said about  his time incarcerated. “I went through some stuff while I was in prison.”

    Hatch, whose larger physical stature hinted that he’s in better shape, said the time in prison also made him stronger and wiser.

    A lot of things have changed since Hatch went to prison, including the appearance of social site Instagram. He said part of how it works still surprises him, and he plans to go on it soon “straight flexin,’” as rapper Trinidad James rhymes.

    The hip-hop indus- try was there in full effect to support Hatch. Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy called Monday “a big day for hip- hop.”

    Jeezy has been a big supporter of Hatch for a while now. He talked about being inspired by what all he overcame.

    Baton Rouge artist Jacob Zumo created portrait of the rapper during the conference

    Baton Rouge artist Jacob Zumo creates portrait of the rapper during the press conference.

    “I never heard him sound like the system broke him,” Jeezy said.

    Legendary Texas rap- per and Hatch’s mentor Bun B echoed those senti- ments and said that a lot of people did not want to see a young black man make it.

    “Boosie is home,” he said to an excited crowd.

    With Hatch’s growing fan base and buzz surrounding his release from prison, Bun B said it won’t take long for his career to reach the next level.

    “All Boosie has to do right now is be Boosie. We don’t want him to come home and sound like this person,” Bun B said after the press conference.

    “He doesn’t need to do a song featuring that person. He doesn’t need beats by so and so. He doesn’t need a video directed by anybody,” he added. “All Boosie has to do is be Boosie.”

    Hatch’s friend and musical partner Lil Webbie had the crowd laughing as he went up and sat on stage with moderator Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club and told people how God told him Hatch would be get- ting out of prison soon.

    “I said, ‘I talked to God, bruh. You coming home, bruh,” he said.

    Hatch’s attorneys said he’s in complete compliance with his release stipulations and might be on probation for four more years.

    And don’t worry Lil Boosie fans, he should be cleared to travel and per- form by the end of March. He already has shows ap- pearing on Ticketmaster, including an April 13 date in Birmingham. He is also scheduled to perform in Lafayette April 19 at the Cajundome, according to the arena’s website.

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  • Who to watch: Rev. Thomas N. Bessix

     

    Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identified the people to watch in the new year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.

    Senior Pastor, New Gideon Baptist Church Executive Director, PICO Louisiana

    Age: 40

    Hometown: Maringouin, La

    Moves made in 2013: 2013 was a very busy year. In the ValleyPark community, we cleared three vacant lots, painted and planted
    fresh plants around the community entrance sign on Bawell, built entry ramps for two senior citizens and cleared trash from the street. We also started a free after-schoolstudy hall and a free summer enrichment program that offered a breakfast, lunch and a snack. We fed more than 500 people. Our men’s ministry is mentoring five teenagers.In 2013, PICO Louisiana worked across the state to bring awareness to Governor Jindal’s unfair tax plan of which he chose not to pursue because of PICO’s applied pressure, as well as other groups like ours.

    What to expect in 2014: For New Gideon and the Valley Park community, we are offering more assistance to seniors, doubling the number of families we reach during community fellowships, and expanding our tutoring and summer enrichment programs. With PICO, we are raising a statewide campaign focusing on mass- incarceration and sentencing reform in 2014.*

    Personal Resolution for 2014: Striving for excellence. Business/Company Resolution for 2014: Don’t lose focus on the mission.
    Life/business motto: Striving for excellence.
    What are you listening to? I have Maze featuring Frankie Beverly Live in New Orleans and Ty Tribbett in my CD changer now.
    What are you reading? The Bible and The New Jim Crow Law by Michelle Alexander.

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  • Summit seeks to increase male success in college

    NEW ORLEANS–DILLARD University is exploring ways Louisiana colleges can increase enrollment and re- tention rates among Black men on their campuses.

    The New Orleans’ HBCU initiated this pro- cess by hosting an event called “Louisiana Summit on Black Male Student Suc- cess in Higher Education.” The goal of the summit was to introduce methods of de- veloping programs and ini- tiatives to ensure a healthy matriculation of Black men through college while in- creasing their presence.

    “More has been written about Black men since 1997 than any other race or sex group in higher education, but yet the outcomes re- main unchanged, ”said Dr. Shawn R. Harper, Execu- tive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at Uni- versity of Pennsylvania.

    Harper, who served as the Keynote speaker, said that individuals who share research using negative headlines and statistics are creating initiatives based on what he refers to as “bad math”.

    “I often argue in my work that those who really want to improve success for Black male undergrad- uate students have much to learn from Black male un- dergraduate students who are successful, but that is often not the first part of strategy,” Harper said.

    Harper acknowledged the success of the Urban Prep School, a Chicago all- Black-boys high school. Ur- ban Prep has made head- line news for the past four consecutive years due to its 100 percent graduation rate and four-year college acceptance.

    “Why not go to a place where 100 percent of the seniors, who are guys, got admitted to college and try

    to figure out what in the world [they are doing] phil- osophically, organization- ally, politically, financially and intrinsically – and what they have done there will be the instructive for the rest us who are concerned with improving rates of success among Black male students” Harper said.

    Harper noted that sometimes when institu- tions want to implement programs they over look the basic steps when it comes to planning. He said the downfall of well-inten- tioned initiatives could sim- ply be the fact that no plan has been written down.

    “There have also been missing standards. No standards by which to design, implement and as- sess and these initiatives”, Harper said.

    Former University of Toledo professor Tyrone Bledsoe, PhD agreed with Harper’s appeal. Bledsoe is the founder of the Student African American Brother- hood (SAAB), a mentoring organization that focuses on ways to increase college readiness and retention among Black men through- out the country by holding administrators responsible for their students’ success.

    “I want everyone to stand, look at the person next to you and see if you can find something wrong with them,” Bledsoe in- structed the summit audi- ence. “I want you to look at that person and see if they are at risk – isn’t that what we do with Black males?”

    Bledsoe continued by explaining that he used the exercise to describe the way that initiatives approach Black men with the “I can fix you” attitude, instead of assets to our communities.

    SAAB works by imple- menting its mentor style program in middle school through college levels by working with school dis- tricts and university ad- ministrators. Bledsoe said the organization operates this way so there is always a level of accountability at the administration level.

    According to Bledsoe, the issue of Black men be- ing successful in higher education has now become an international issue and he is working with orga- nizations in Germany and London to introduce his mentoring initiative.

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  • NAACP critical of superientendent

    AMITE—BLACK LEADERS SAID they are highly critical of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board and the large amount of wasted taxpayer money going into the par- ish schools.

    Community leader and elected official Iram Gordon of Kentwood expressed her feelings in a recent boardmeeting regarding the lack of support for the schools in Kentwood.

    Former Kentwood High principal Ann Smith, who represents the area as a board member, disagreed with Gordon. Smith garnered the support of school board member Brett Duncan, who stated that she led efforts to have a new $15 million O.W Dillion Elementary School Built and allotted for millions of dollars in renovations for kentwood high.

    Pat Morris, who is president of theGreater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP, fielded questions to the Tangipahoa Parish School Board on the state of its schools. She said that individuals who question what’s happening with the schools have listed many times when their calls to the administration have gone unanswered and unreturned.

    “We are going to bring heavy, heavy pressure on our superintendent, assistant superintendent and chief academic of- ficer,” Morris said. “We renew our cam- paigner for a trained educator as super- intendent. We emphasize it is not a race thing – it is about quality education.

    Our current superintendent cannot provide leadership as an educator – he is not one – this should now be obvious. His leadership is putting the parish deeper in the hole in the desegregation case and the failure of schools to meet state standards cannot be ignored.”

    Neighboring parish St. Tammany has “A” rated schools; while Tangipahoa Par- ish is saturated with “D” and “F” rated schools.

    The Recovery School District is close

    in proximity and is taking over schools and turning them over to private charter school corporations from outside the state, removing control from the local school board and from local parents. RSD is not only giving the schools to these out of state private corporations, it is also giving these private corporations control of the prop- erty paid for with local tax dollars.

    The Greater Tangipahoa NAACP chapter said it feels that the statements presented are legitimate concerns that de- serve response.

    “This is not about personal agendas, nor vendettas,” Morris continued. “It is about the future of every child in this school system. We can do better. We must do better.”

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  • Justin Garner: Rising to International fame

    TOURING WITH TREY SONGZ AND outselling Beyoncé are just two accomplishments that are pushing pop singer Justin Garner to the forefront of the music industry. His ability to wrap so many genres inside his R&B and pop melodies even have people around world taking notice.

    In 2011 Garner released his sophomore album I am, and in February a re-mastered version with new songs debuted on Japan’s iTunes R&B charts at #19. In just mere hours it had surpassed Beyonce’s self-tilted album for the #1 spot.

    “I got on iTunes and looked for myself in Japan and found a big banner saying Justin Garner that was right next to a Beyoncé ad. I was number one and she was number 12,” Garner said.

    While his music has been released in the United States, Garner said he believes that a big reason that it has received so much attention in Japan is that the Japanese approach new artists differently than Americans. Justin Japan itunes

    “Overseas in Japan they love great singers and vocals. There, it’s more about the searching for music from abroad, but in America it’s more about the politics and marketing side.”

    In an age where social media networks have become the standard way to communicate, Garner has

    used the popularity of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to ensure that his music gets to his fans, which he refers to as the “JG Army”.

    Garner said touring and social media have been great ways to gain exposure, but as an independent artist, without the support of a label, the biggest asset to his arsenal of marketing strategies has been his education. He has a marketing degree from Southern University that he uses as one of the biggest tools in the promotion of his music.

    “Music is great but you have to have some level of marketing behind you to help you get music out. You can be the best singer, but you have to have the knowledge and know- how, and I feel that that degree gave me that.”

    Garner refers to Michael Jackson and Usher as his inspirations, but said he developed his passion for music growing up in church. Yet while he acknowledges those things, he said he has been told that his talent comes from his father, Ernest “Oldie” Garner, who died when he was two. Earnest was a member of the Plaquemine-based band The Rockin’ Imperials who also saw international success.

    Garner said he is going to continue his career and the trail started by his father as he prepares to release his newest E.P., 7. Inspired by a recent trip to

    California, 7 is a project containing seven tracks recorded in seven days. It will be released at the beginning of April.

    justin garner two  copy“So many great things happened on that [California] trip and I came back on such an emotional high. I was inspired to write these seven songs”.

    He is planning a summer tour in the United States and Japan to promote 7 and celebrate the success of I Am. But before then, Garner said he is also setting aside time to give back to Louisiana and will be working with the Baton Rouge Chapter of the American Red Cross.

    “The people at the Red Cross are just like us, except instead of getting up to go to work, they’re getting up to volunteer to be

    there for their community.”
    Last year Garner helped the organization start the “Give Back Campaign” where portions of the proceeds from a concert hosted by Garner were donated the American Red Cross. He will be doing the

    concert again this year.
    With all of his recent success

    and the success expected to come Garner, he said he has a goal that goes deeper than just to entertain the masses.

    “I enjoy seeing someone else’s expression to music, more than the spotlight, giving someone peace of mind for a just a few minutes is what I enjoy.”

    In the future, Garner said he would like to be signed to major record label. His ideal music contract would be with a label supportive enough to invest in a singer who writes, co-produces and has independently released material. So far he has yet to be offered that non-controlling type of contract, but he’s hopeful. Until then, he plans to continue pursuing his independent career and making himself undeniable.

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  • Today is only the beginning

    A commentary by  Dr. Joyce Turner Keller

    I awake this morning to find that my past is not yet my past.

    Looking back over my life, it has become abundantly clear that some of the people we love and let go of, never really go away.   It is so strange that you spend so much time trying to do the right thing, to be a good giving person, attempting to make a difference in the live of others, only to find that you cannot trust the word of someone you loved and lived with for years.  When you move on and the other person doesn’t, is it fair for them come back years later and try to hurt you, discredit you, destroy your reputation?  The question is ringing loudly in my ear, why is this person so angry at me, when it was his choice to move on and I accepted his decision.  It is always good to have relationships without strings attached, which is what I thought we had.  This person lifted me up when I was down, stood by me when I was alone, embraced me when other pushed me aside, believed in me when others gave up on me, saw my worth when others dismissed my existences.   I am strong, restored, and stable because of him, and grateful to him.  I have chosen to not live in the past, but use my life journey as a roadmap to a better future.  It wounds me to know that many years of my life has become a tug of war of emotions.  A time when darkness was all I saw, based on the struggles I faced on a road back to wellness.  I have come to the conclusion that he is not my problem, and his emotions are his own, his choice was his, and my freedom and future is mine.

    Today is only the beginning of the bright future I have chosen; the decision I have made is to be whole and complete.  Today, I will continue to be the best I can be and not take responsibility for the actions of someone from my past!  Today my past is my past, and the beginning of a time to move forward without reservations and regrets!

    It is important to know that some people will never be happy unless they can make you unhappy!

     

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    Remainsof 55 bodies found

    THE REMAINS OF 55 BODIES were found in makeshift graveyard at a former Florida reform school.

    University of South Florida announced that an excavation of a makeshift graveyard near a now- closed reform school in the Florida Panhandle yielded almost twice the number bodies official records said were there.

    “Locating 55 burials is a significant finding which opens up a whole new set of questions for our team,” said USF professor Erin Kimmerle, head of the research project.

    The Dozier School for Boys was closed by the state in 2011, but a university was commissioned to look into deaths after the Florida Department of LawnEnforcement announced the presence of 31 official grave sites in 2010.

    Located in the Panhandle city of Marianna; former inmates claim the school became infamous for accounts of brutality.

    The team of more than 50 searchers from nine agencies dug up the graves to check out local legends and family tales of boys, mostly black, who died or disappeared without explanation.

    “The only way to truly establish the facts about the deaths and burials at the school is to follow scientific processes,” Kimmerle said.

    Excavation began last September with several artifacts from gravesites sent to the University of North Texas Science Center for DNA testing.

    Members of 11 families who lost boys at Dozier have been located by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for DNA sampling. Researchers hope to find 42 more families for possible matching.

    Research will continue in areas adjacent to the graveyard, dubbed “boot hill” by school officials and inmates a century ago.

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  • Comedic Trail Keeper: Tiffany Dickerson

    THROUGHOUT FEBRUARY, THE NATION PAYS HOMAGE to the great legends of Black history and reflects on the hardships these pioneers endured in order to blaze a trail through the thorny and violent jungle of American racism. There are lessons on Black pioneers in politics, science, medicine, entertainment, and sports. For the trails that they individually blazed, America has become a different society and many Blacks hold to a responsibility to extend the trail forward. In opera, there was Marian Anderson. In dance, there was Alvin Ailey and Katherine Dunham. And in comedy, there was Redd Foxx and Jackie “Moms” Mabley. Five exceptionally gifted Louisianans are keeping the trails blazed by these pioneers. In New Orleans, there’s OperaCréole founder Givonna Joseph and in Monroe, comedian Robert Powell III. In Baton Rouge, there’s businessman Cleve Dunn Jr.,  stand-up comedienne Tiffany Dickerson, and choreographer Winter McCray. They are our modern day keepers of the trail. Here are their stories.

    Comedy Trailblazer: Jackie “Moms” Mabley 

    Comedy Trail: keeper Tiffany Dickerson 

    At the age of 14, Loretta Aiken left home for a career in show business, where she would sing and entertain before joining the Chitlin’ Circuit. As Jackie ‘Moms” Mabley, Aiken become the “funniest woman in the world” during the early 1900s, making audiences laugh through her raunchy, yet warm stand up routines. At the height of her career, Moms had produced more than 20 albums of comedy and earned $10,000 performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

    She was known to use her humor to tackle edgy topics like racism and lesbianism. As the fi rst Black comedienne, Mabley became “Moms” to future stand-up performers including Redd Foxx. As her popularity grew, she began performing in Carnegie Hall and on mainstream TV where a young Tiffany Dickerson would sneak to watch her.Dickerson is one of about a dozen female comediennes in Louisiana, including Anjelah Johnson, Carissa Mabry, and Jinny Henson.

    “Moms is legendary,” she said. “Whoopie (Goldberg) is about the only person comparable. I look to pioneers who were doing comedy when it wasn’t the norm.” And the industry is still male-dominated.

    “There still just isn’t enough of us,” said Dickerson who is a local communications professional and national motivational speaker. She has wholly embraced her comedic side and began an aggressive stand-up career as the “Mic Chick”.  “It’s been a whirlwind with the comedy,” she said.

    Dickerson performs original stand-up and improv that combines lip-syncing, jokes, and acting. “I like to interact with the audience…I do a lot of other work, so I’m not just doing stand-up. It’s a combination and a true performance,” she said.

    For her, stand-up comedy is about presenting real life and “having the guts to be able to share it…We are never out of shortage of topics to talk about but it’s about stepping out… My intent is to make the audience laugh at the end of the night.”

    Like Moms, Dickerson said, “everything in life I have experienced—whether the happy or the painful things—have truly prepared me for the stage.”

    A self-defined introvert, Dickerson said she wrestles with the professional image and the parts of her that is also extrovert. “When I am preparing, I, focused and tucked away. When I’m out on stage, I’m at 110! I’m turned up!” she said. “My material incorporates little nuggets of knowledge in the performance.”

    She said she lives a very purpose-driven life and when she hears someone say “I haven’t laughed this hard in so long, then it make me feels like everything I’m doing is worthwhile.”

    “I want to be a legacy for when my kids refl ect back, I want them to know that every day I was trying to bring laughter and happiness to people.” For that, comedian Tiffany Dickerson is keeper of Moms Mabley trail.


    Dickerson will host her” I’m about to Pop” comedy show this Friday, March 28th. Find out more information here.

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  • Can X-box help girls lose weight?

      Pennington Biomedical Research Center  is currently looking for up to 20 teenage girls to help determine whether dance video games can actually be a successful form of exercise for teenagers.

     Participating girls will come to Pennington Biomedical Research Center after school 3 times per week and play games like “Just Dance” and “Dance Central” as a group on the Kinect for Xbox gaming system.  Dance sessions will be overseen by Pennington fitness trainers, and girls will have the opportunity to learn about aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    To participate, girls must be 14-18 years old, overweight, and free of any medical conditions that prohibit physical activity.  Girls can receive up to $300 in compensation for participating.

    To learn more about the requirements click here

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  • When the deck is stacked against you

    LIFE IS A JOURNEY, DEATH A destination! I choose to enjoy every moment of my journey, my life. It does not matter the state that in which I find myself.

    Today, like every day, I am so very blessed. It makes more sense to me to look at how abundant is my bounty, rather
    than how bare the cupboard.

    After having two surgeries in seven days, getting a horrible infection, unbelievable sweating, vomiting, and a frightening hair weave experience, it was time to find a sense of calm.

    After being told cancer was found in my right breast, no matter how large or small, the word cancer is all you hear. I responded by saying, “this is the one thing I told God I did not want, cancer!” Suddenly I am reminded that He never said it would not happen.

    At that moment I know God has given me another opportunity to testify to His power of healing, grace and mercy, another part of my journey, my purpose. Looking back at how many times the deck has been stacked against me I reflect on how the

    hand was played that was dealt to me. I fought my way back one step, one hour, one day, one prayer at time.

    This time I look in the mirror and I see the weave standing like tall grass in an un- kept yard. I call a beautician to work her magic, no luck, I buy products to do my own hair, no luck, I cannot do it myself

    because of the surgeries. Deciding to be pro-active against “cancer,” I thought it best to get rid of every woman’s fear, what her hair look like. I look at myself and see a beautiful, tall, strong, prayerful and determined woman, Me.

    Thank God for hair clippers and a razor. I shave my head, put on my pearl earrings and necklace, breathing sigh of relief. My hair does not define me, at least not today, it is in the trash can. Now I can truly focus on what really matters, my healing, resting, and taking the best care of myself that I can. People, some of you may think this a drastic move, but it is what is best for me. This is my storm and I will weather it the way God, my doctors and I think best. I know not the end of the story, but I do know that I am prayed up and prepared to continue this journey called life.

    It is important that we walk in wisdom, to sur- round yourself with posi- tive people with positive thinking. I have been well trained to handle the trials, struggles, losses, and dis- appointments of this jour- ney. It is an honor to know that the best and prepared are always put in the game first, called on to make the winning shot, chosen for special teams to represent

    their country, school, orga- nization, political party, or church.

    I am excited to know that I am a soldier in the Army of God, chosen to be on His special team, al- ways put on the front line, because I know He will not put more on me than I can bear. I am a proud soldier that will wear every diag- nosis or scar as a badge of honor. For it is an bless- ing to be not only called but chosen. Take care my friends, and play well the hand you are dealt, when the deck appears to be stacked against you!

    by Joyce Turner Keller

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  • Fighting injustice at Southern University

     

    I LIKE TO SEE COLLEGE STUDENTS protesting injustice. So it was encouraging to hear about Southern University student sup in arms after the shenanigans surrounding the effective firing of Chancellor James Llorens.

    When students are en- gaged it shows they care. I don’t, however, want to be guilty of throwing cold water on student fire. But it seems the protests hap- pened in the wrong locale and toward the wrong lead- ers.

    Sit-ins on campuses are nice – good theater. But if you want to know who is really hurting Southern University, it’s Gov. Bobby Jindal.

    At the end of the day South- ern University is facing insolven- cy – reinstating Llorens for an- other year won’t change that in the least.

    One of Gov. Jindal’s floor leaders in the House, Rep. Steve Carter from Ba- ton Rouge, expressed fake frustration in The Advocate: “We have to find a governor that prioritizes higher edu- cation. The governor is the key . We have an opportunity as a group to make sure the candidates who run for governor list higher eduction as a top priority.”

    Carter has been like a rose tattoo on Gov. Jindal’s posterior. But he wants everyone to forget his solidarity with the Jindal regime. This shows that things are starting to heat up in legislative districts, and some representatives are dreaming of voters with short memories when it comes to the devastating cuts to higher education.

    Let me be clear: The vast majority of Louisi- ana Republicans in and out of politics would be happy to see Southern University and all other HBCU’s closed. This sentiment is embodied in Gov. Bobby Jindal, the public face of the GOP in Louisiana.

    I’m no fan of System President Ronald Mason or James Llorens. As longtime Southern professor Sudhir Trivedi wrote recently: “He [Llorens] has been the most incompetent chancellor we have ever had. This is evident from the probation imposed upon us by SACS in December 2012 and the censure imposed upon us by AAUP in June 2013.”

    The big problem for Southern University is at the State Capitol. That’s where the nonvio- lent action needs to take place. That’s where the real problems can be solved.

    The sit-ins need to be at Jindal’s office, 4th floor, Louisiana State Capitol. He’s never there, but he’ll get the message from his lackeys – the rest of the state and nation will too. Keep stand- ing up by sitting down, but make sure you are a few miles south of Scott’s Bluff when you pro- test.

    Dayne Sherman resides in Ponchatoula. He is the author of “Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel”.

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  • Singer receives Proclamation before recording live album

    State Representative Regina Barrow presented Gospel singer Jerris Cade with a Resolution and Proclamation making March 21 a day of Rebirth for Baton Rouge.

    Not only has today been claimed one for new beginnings, but Rebirth is also the title of Cade’s second album.

    “I hope people take away from this album that no matter what life has thrown your way, your course is still set for you to win.  God can give you a rebirthing experience (fresh start) if you just call on his name,” said Cade

    To celebrate the official day of Rebirth in the capital city Cade   will be recording the album live, this evening, at United Christian Faith Ministry.

    “I want capture a gumbo pot of people from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, beliefs all in one room declaring a rebirth through God on their behalf”, said Cade.

    Cade’s live recording  Rebirth is free and open to the public, will be hosted by Lady D, and feature a performance from Sunday’s Best finalist Martha Buries.  Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

    For more information and to reserve seats click here.

     

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  • Remains of 55 bodies found

    THE REMAINS OF 55 BODIES were found in makeshift graveyard at a former Florida reform school.

    University of South Florida announced that an excavation of a makeshift graveyard near a now- closed reform school in the Florida Panhandle yielded almost twice the number bodies official records said were there.

    “Locating 55 burials is a significant finding which opens up a whole new set of questions for our team,” said USF professor Erin Kimmerle, head of the research project.

    The Dozier School for Boys was closed by the state in 2011, but a university was commissioned to look into deaths after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the presence of 31 official gravesites in 2010.

    Located in the Panhandle city of Marianna; former inmates claim the school became infamous for accounts of brutality.

    The team of more than 50 searchers from nine agencies dug up the graves to check out local legends and family tales of boys, mostly black, who died or disappeared without explanation.

    “The only way to truly establish the facts about the deaths and burials at the school is to follow scientific processes,” Kimmerle said.

    Excavation began last September with several artifacts from gravesites sent to the University of North Texas Science Center for DNA testing.

    Members of 11 families who lost boys at Dozier have been located by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for DNA sampling. Researchers hope to find 42 more families for possible matching.

    Research will continue in areas adjacent to the graveyard, dubbed “boot hill” by school officials and inmates a century ago.

    Read more »
  • Louisiana Jumpstart and EBRPS to host “Financial Smarts”

    Financial $marts for High School Students & Families event is free and open to all high school students and their families on Saturday, March 22.

    Louisiana Jump Start Coalition and EBR School System have partnered to bring pertinent financial information to families with high school students, regardless of their school affiliation or parish of residence.

    “We are trying to start a productive dialogue between parents and their high school students about what to expect during the transition families face when their youth start their journey to financial independence and the challenges of life after high school,” says Jump Start COO, Debbie Lapeyrouse.

    LELA is offering a $500 scholarship drawing for a graduating senior and the workshop is a series of fun, interactive and informative sessions designed to address concerns of students and families.  Topics include “Getting Real About Money: Making Ends Meet’, “The Inside Story On Financial Aid” and “Financial Face-Off: Meeting In The Middle”.

    Financial $marts for High School Students & Families from 9:30AM to 12:00 at the EBR Parish School Board’s Instructional Resource Center (IRC) located at 1022 S. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

    To learn more and to register for this free event, visit LAJumpstart.org or call 225-931-6296.

     

     

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  • St. George could affect city budget

    A RECENT REPORT BY THE Better Together Campaign discovered that the proposed city of St. George would have a large economic impact on East Baton Rouge’s City- Parish budget.

    The Better Together Campaign is a grassroots effort of citizens who believe the best way to solve our problems is not by separating.

    The report found that if incorporated, the city would have twice the population of Baker, Zachary and Central

    combined and greatly impact the parish’s city- parish budget.

    If incorporated, sales tax revenue would be diverted from the East Baton Rouge – City Parish to St. George. The tax would come from places such as Perkins Rowe, L’Auberge Casino and the Siegen Lane Market Place.

    The East Baton Rouge- City Parish budget is an estimated $282 million and the incorporation of St. George could take away $85 million from the city-parish budget. The s incorporation of the proposed city would create a 20% deficit for EBR. The city of Detroit suffered a 12.5% deficit before it went bankrupt.

    Proponents for St. George claim the deficit would only be $14 million annually instead of $53 million.

    The only way to close the gap would be tax increases and service. According to the research, a large bulk of the service cuts would be made to police and fire departments.

    The Better Together Campaign began with residents who live in the proposed breakaway area of southeast Baton Rouge, but now includes residents across the city-parish, who are opposed to the proposal to incorporate the southeast part of our city- parish as a separate city.

     

    By Cameron James

    The Drum City News Manager

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  • Bogalusa’s Caitlyn Price lands ‘Wild ‘n Out’ tv show

     BOGALOUSA- THE TALENTS of a young comedic actress from Bogalusa were recently on display during The CeCe Show, Wild ’n Out Edition at Bogalusa High School.

    Four-year-old Caitlyn Christian Amari Price, bet- ter known to her fans as CeCe, has been performing since she was three. Her mother, Daphne Watson said she got started with comedic videos, including improv and celebrity impersonations, more than a year and a half ago. Watson said she does most of the writing and CeCe acts the skits out. The comedic actress has gained notice through social media. One of her Instagram posts recently caught the attention of Spanky Haynes, star of Nick Cannon’s MTV show “Wild ’n Out.”

    Haynes signed CeCe to an artist development deal with his company, 5 Foot Giant Productions, and im- mediately began prepro- duction on “The New CeCe Show.” The live sketch comedy show starring CeCe and Haynes is set to debut online this spring.

    Watson said her daugh- ter has also appeared in commercials for different companies. Diamond Gladney, CEO of the Gladney Man- agement Group, sid she sees CeCe as the next big thing in entertainment.

    A pre-K student at Denhamtown Elementary, CeCe has an older sister, Cameron, 7, and a broth- er, 11-year-old Jalen. She enjoys playing with her friends and singing and dancing to Beyonce, and she likes the color pink and making people laugh.

    Since CeCe’s comedy career began, the family has traveled to various events in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and other places.

     

    BY LACY PARKER

    THE DAILY NEWS 

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  • Money Cometh: To the Body of Christ

    This book is a building block for individuals going through financial struggles. Author Leroy Thompson focuses on ‘calling out’ your harvest. Money Cometh: To the Body of Christ seeks to help the reader speak his/her fi nancial breakthrough into existence.

    It guides the reader to demand receipt of increases in his/ her ministries and family finances. This title provides the lesson of faith and proclamation – in order for you to see a miracle take place in your business, you must have faith and proclaim your financial increase.

    ONLINE:pastorran.blog.com

     

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  • Southeastern seeking new head womens basketball coach

    HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will immediately begin a national search for a new head women’s basketball coach, university Director of Athletics Jay Artigues announced.

    Lori Davis Jones has resigned after completing her 12th season at the helm of the program. Eric Dumas, who has been a part of Jones’ staff throughout her time at Southeastern, will serve as interim head coach during the search process.

    “We are very appreciative of the contributions Lori has made to our university and wish her well in the future,” Artigues said. “We will immediately begin a national search for a new head coach and we’re anxious to continue to grow our women’s basketball program.”

    During her tenure, Jones finished with an on-court career record of 145-200. She led the Lady Lions to six Southland Conference Tournament appearances and 17 of her players earned All-Southland Conference honors. The Lady Lions finished the 2013-14 season with an 8-22 overall record and a 7-11 record in Southland Conference play, falling short of qualifying for the league’s postseason tournament for the second consecutive season.

    By Kemmler Chapple

    Action 17 News

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  • Southeast Community Health Systems to host “Big Baby Shower” health fair

    Southeast Community Health Systems will host “The Big Baby Shower” on Saturday, March 28 from 1p.m.-4p.m.

    The event is free and open to the public.  Attendees  can take advantage of a  variety of activities aimed at preparing them for parenthood  ranging from car seat safety classes to free blood pressure screenings.

    Expecting parents will also have the opportunity to win baby beds, strollers, car seats, play pens and many other giveaways.

    Southeast Community Health Systems is located at 6351 Main Street, Zachary LA 70791.

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  • Anala Beevers, 5, certified genius

    NEW ORLEANS native Anala Beevers possesses an IQ over 145 at just five years old. Her natural genius helped her learn the alphabet at just four months old.

    When she was born I’d say the ABC’s to her and she would mouth along with me,” said Anala’s mother Sabrina Beevers. ” Then by 10 months old she could identify and point to each letter when I’d say it  before she could even talk.”

    By 18 months Anala was reciting numbers in both Spanish and English. By her fifth birthday – which she celebrated this month—she could recite the name of every North American state on the map, plus every capital. Recent YouTube clips show Anala also naming the capitals of countries worldwide.

    “We finally had to look at her and ask ‘Is this normal for a baby to do?’” said her father Landon Beevers.

    When the Beevers finally put Anala together with other kids, the couple could really tell their daughter was strikingly different. So this year Anala Beevers skipped pre-K and was enrolled directly into Kindergarten at the Marrero Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish.

    “They do have advanced study classes there,” Landon said. “Her current school is not challenging enough for her; their resources are limited. We don’t know what we’ll do next for her, school-wise. At home though, we are doing everything we can to maximize her potential. Anything she wants to explore we put it out there for her.”

    Though he has joked that his daughter needs a reality show, Landon said he’s turned down “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America” to keep his little one’s life as simple as possible.

    Anala has nonetheless been written about extensively. In 2013, Landon told People magazine that his daughter’s smarts make her harder to deal with. Anala has publicly claimed she’s smarter than her parents (they publicly agreed) and even corrects their grammar.

    “She’s more aware, her mind works faster, and she doesn’t just take things at face value,” Landon said. “She’s always gonna look deeper into it, which means she does challenge us a lot. We talk to her and respond to her like she’s an adult, and we get in a debate with her and then realize we’re debating [with] a four-year-old! But the thing is, her arguments are valid juvenile but intelligent”

    “Like the other day,” her mother recalled, “she asked why blue soap makes white bubbles—things that never crossed our minds.”

    Beevers was recently invited to become one of 2,800 MENSA members under the age of 18 (the current youngest being two- years-old).

    The exclusive high-IQ club accepts only those who score at the 98th percentile on an IQ test – whereas young Anala Beevers placed in the 99th percentile range, putting her intelligence in the top one percent of all humanity.

    Her parents said Anala always has a new pursuit. The little genius is studying every book she can about volcanoes and astronomy; she can name planets and dinosaurs.

    “Though most recently now she’s on an artistic tip,” her father said. “She’s doing a lot of creative things right now. But it’s never just one thing. She’s a multi-tasker. Her mind never stops.”

    BY MICHAEL PATRICK

    WELCH LOUISIANA WEEKLY

     

    This article was originally published in the February 24, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper. 

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  • Louisiana ranks 10th ‘miserable’

    A RECENT SURVEY HAS RANKED Louisiana as the 10th most miserable state in the country.

    The rankings came from Gallup-Healthways’ recent well-being index. The index measures the emotional and physical health of Americans across the country.

    More than 176,000 people from all 50 states were interviewed last year.

    Some of the statics that determined Louisiana’s

    ranking were: 21% of residents said they did not have easy access to medicine and clean water and only 61.4% of residents felt safe walking home at night (one of the lowest in the country.

    West Virginia took the distinction for being the most miserable state in the union.

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  • Students, teachers required to pray in Alabama schools

    THE ALABAMA HOUSE OF Rep- resentatives approved a bill requiring teachers and students at all of the state’s public schools to spend ev- ery morning in Christian prayer.

    Alabama’s Chamber of EducationCommittee passed thepolicy Feb. 20. It requires teachers to be- gin each day by reading the

    same opening prayers –ver- batim – recited before ses- sions of the U.S. Congress. Teachers would be allowed to devote up to 15 minutes a day to the prayer.

    Gallup, a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm, ranked Alabama the second most religious state last year.

    Alabama State Rep.Steve Hurst introduced the legislation. The bill is already legal,but a majority of Alabama residents don’t know it is.

    Only two Republicans on the panel actually voted yes on the bill. Two Republicans and one. Democrat insisted that they said no, and three legislators weren’t even present for the vote.

    A bill that would allow students to initiate prayer in school and express their religious views in schoolwork was also voted through.

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  • Calif. considers driving laws, enforcement for marijuana use

    AS SUPPORT FOR MARIJUANA legalization expands throughout the country, California, the first state to legalize the drug, is working to de- termine how its use can be regulated among drivers.

    Research done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has determined af- ter using marijuana, peo- ple generally have more

    trouble staying in lanes, they struggle to do multiple tasks at once and have seri- ous problems maintaining concentration on long, mo- notonous drives.

    Los Angeles is now at the forefront of law enforce- ment’s responses regulating the amount of marijuana

    that drivers have in their system before hitting the road. The city has also received a federal grant to try out a new roadside drug test: oral swabs.

    This new test can be performed at the time of a traffic stop. It seeks to provide the officer with an immediate result as to whether drugs are present in the driver’s system by testing his or her saliva.

    Evidence found by the Insurance In- stitute for Highway Safety shows that al- cohol has a stronger effect than marijuana on crash risk but that there is simply a larg- er body of research on the strong association between blood-alcohol concentrations and crash risk.

    Washington and Colorado are among the few states that have established a legal limit on the amount of marijuana in a driver’s blood.

    For alcohol, po- lice around the coun- try carry hand-held Breathalyzers. Law enforcement’s abil- ity to test drivers for marijuana is not quite as easy because most marijuana testing must be performed in a lab.

    According to a study at the Univer- sity of California, Los Angeles, it’s tough to interpret exactly what those tests mean for driving ability.

    Those who are in favor of marijuana legalization say they agree that people should know their limits and should not drive while impaired, but they’re concerned that police officers will substitute this new technology and a legal limit with their own judgment.

    The Drum Staff Report

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  • Saving my sister-in-law: Baton Rouge women share more than just last name

     

    March 13 is World Kidney Day – ironically, it is also the day that Baton Rouge native Shawanga Hall is traveling home from Los Angeles after becoming a kidney donor to her sister-in-law, Keisha Hall.

    Shawanga and Keisha traveled to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in February, and on March 4, the transplant had been completed.

    Keisha had received three previous transplants in past years – one from her mother, her sister and one from her brother, Howard, Shawanga’s husband – all three failed.

    When it had become apparent that Keisha was in need of a life-saving transplant again, Shawanga said there was no hesitation on her part to volunteer. It’s because becoming a donor is something that she’s said she’s known she would do since she was eight-years-old.

    “The decision was never a struggle – I never thought about it twice,” Shawanga said. “It was always something I knew I would do – I just didn’t know who it would be or when it would take place. The fact that it was my husband’s best friend assured me that I landed in the perfect place at the perfect time.”

    Shawanga said that once she had decided to become Keisha’s donor, she was at peace.

    The Halls’ donor process began in 2013 when Shawanga tested to see if she was a match. At that time, blood work revealed that she was a very close match for Keisha. Unfortunately Keisha’s blood count became low and she received a transfusion that somewhat altered her chances of receiving a successful transplant from Shawanga.

    Plasmapheresis would have to happen to bring the two closer to their near perfect match again. Plasmapheresis is a similar treatment to dialysis, as it is a cleansing method, but instead of cleansing the blood, this procedure removes antibodies.

    When someone is found to be a donor match, blood work continues to happen up until the day before the transplant to constantly be sure the donor is still a match. The day before the transplant was to initially happen, Keisha’s blood count was a 354 – it needs to be a 301 for a successful transplant. The surgery was delayed, but only for a few weeks.

    Shawanga said that doctors expect she is the last donor Keisha will ever need because the organ is not genetically linked, like the three previous attempts.

    “My thoughts after the transplant were that I finally completed part of my purpose and I was filled with so much joy and completeness,” she said. “In knowing that not only did I give [Keisha] a piece of me, which is connected to her best friend – my husband, but I also extended her life.”

    World Kidney Day aims to raise the importance of kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

    In recognition of World Kidney Day, Shawanga had this message:

    “I would just like to thank God for me. I’m always thanking Him for everyone and everything else, but I think its ok to thank Him for me this time. I thank Him for allowing me to be able to help give life to someone else. What everyone doesn’t know is that I’ve always been a donor and it has been on my [driver’s] license ever since I was 18 years of age. I always knew I would give, I just didn’t know who it would be and when the time would be that God would have me to do it. When I say God has perfect timing – He does! He strategically placed me with my soul mate so I could be a blessing to his sister. This is truly why I believe in always praying for God’s will to be done, because when it is, there’s a peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst. I truly love my life. Happy World Kidney Day to my [recipient] Keisha Hall and all other donors and recipients!”

    By: Leslie D. Rose
    Assistant Managing Editor 

    Read more »
  • State Rep. Edward “Ted” James to host town hall

    As Louisiana’s 2014 Legislative Session begins State Rep. Edward “Ted” James , District 101 will host events to keep the community informed.

    Rep. James will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, March 13th at the Green Well Springs Library from 6p.m. to 8p.m.

    He plans to use the town hall as a platform to inform the community  on issues being discussed during the 2014 session ranging from the Recovery School District to the effects of legalizing medical marijuana.

    Rep. James will also host “District 101″ day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 25th.

    The Greenwell Springs Library is located at 11300 Springs Road.

    Read more »
  • African Children’s choir sings in Hammond

    THE AFRICAN CHILDREN’S CHOIR ALONG with Hammond Westside Montessori Magnet School hosted a free concert in Hammond on Feb. 13.

    The choir is made up of African children between the ages of seven to ten, many of who have lost a parent through the atrocities of famine, disease and war.

    Children from across the continent of Africa participate in the group, leading by example, in that future generations of African children believe in their potential and becoming strong leaders for a better future in their homeland.

    For two decades, the African Children’s Choir has appeared in thousands of concerts across the world, including performances at the Pentagon, United Nations, the Royal Albert Hall in London and most recently at the Commonwealth Observance Day with Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.

     

    Action 17 News

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  • Independence Elementary receives grant from Lowes

     Independence Elementary was named the recipient of Lowes Home Improvement of the “Grow and Learn” grant. The $3,200 grant will fund supplies for the schools flower and vegetable garden that will be started this spring. Pictured  are
    principal Lisa Raiford, admin. asst. Melanie Johnston, teacher Nicole Coxen, Niyah Starks, Destiny Lauricella, Setora Braxton, Braydon Shannon, Robert West, Mercedes Bailey, Anthony MacNeil, Ro’Keria Navarre, Alex Guevara, and Damaris Castillo

    Action 17 News

    Read more »
  • Shirley Chisholm stamp released

    THE U.S.POSTAL SERVICE honored political pioneer Shirley Chisholm with a stamp as part of its Black Heritage Series headed by former Chisholm intern and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D) of California.

    Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and served on New York’s 12th congressional district from 1969 to 1983. Chisholm rose to popularity, among women and people of color, during the feminism and civil rights eras using the campaign slogan “Unbossed and Unbought”. In 1972 she became the first major party Black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. She died at in 2005 at the age of 80.

    Drum Staff Report

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  • Local poets to represent Louisiana at international slam

     

    IT’S THE ONLY TIME AND PLACE WHERE 72 WOMEN CHAMPIONS MEET, and compete face-to-face. While it sounds like a season of E! Network’s, “Total Divas,” the fists on this stage are metaphorical—it’s the Women of the World Poetry Slam.

    This year’s competition is in Austin, Texas, beginning March 19. Each slam venue is allowed to send one woman representative to WOWPS, but not just anyone. The representative for each venue is the slam champion, proving to be the best female poet in her venue and subsequently in this case, in her city.

    Louisiana is sending three representatives: Leslie D. “Leslie D!” Rose, from Baton Rouge’s Eclectic Truth; Dena “The Wordsmith” Slaughter, from Lafayette Poetry Community; and Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, from Slam New Orleans.

    Rose started participating in spoken word, non- competitively in 2002, six years before Poetry Slam, Inc. launched WOWPS. She did her first reading at the Hard Rock Café in New Orleans, at a weekly open mic event called Up Close and Personal.

    “I didn’t have a problem standing in front of a crowd and telling a story, but to get up there and read my poems was different,” she said. “I was really corny. All of my poems were about love and silly things.”

    While Rose continued to participate in the readings, she did—what she considers to be—her first spoken word performance while competing in the Miss Omega Psi Phi pageant in 2004.

    “It was my first time not having a paper,” she said. “It was my first time actually engaging the crowd, I was moving around the stage, eye contact, vocal inflections, because I was in a pageant against girls who were dancing and singing.”

    While Rose didn’t place in the pageant, her poem struck a chord with many in the audience, who told her how much they loved it. She became a regular at Up Close

    and Personal, while pursuing her journalism degree at Xavier University of Louisiana.

    A year after moving to Baton Rouge, in 2006, she started attending Eclectic Truth at the suggestion of—her now husband—Donney Rose and, now International World Poetry Slam Champion, Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore.

    After two weeks at Eclectic Truth, Rose decided to compete in the slam. The first and second place poets from the slam each week would compete in the grand slam at the end of the month, for a cash prize.

    “My first open slam, I won,” she said. “I was serious about it. I wrote my poems that week, memorized them that week, and was ready to go. I was entirely too sassy, but that’s what won my slams back then.”

    Once WOWPS started in 2008, the women poets at Eclectic Truth were excited to compete and decide who would represent

    Dina Singleton

    Dina Singleton

    Baton Rouge in the competition.

    “We wanted to get all of the women to compete,” she said. “It was our all-female thing, it was almost like a sorority, we had slumber parties to prepare so we had a good time with it, but I never wanted to go, so I would always half-ass it.”

    While Rose had competed in team competitions, she knew an individual competition would be much different. And so, each year, Baton Rouge sent a representative to WOWPS, Rose going just once, as an audience member.

    “I, along with many other women that hadn’t been to the competition before felt like it was the Special Olympics,” she said. “Why do we need our own

    competition? But when I went, I realized how necessary it was for this community. It’s like going to this all women’s empowerment conference.”

    After such a positive experience, Leslie promised herself that if WOWPS ever came close to Louisiana, she was going to try and compete. But it was in Denver, Co. and then Minneapolis, Minn.

    Out of the 72 poets competing, only 12 make it to final stage, where there are cuts each round, until the best female poet in the world is named. In 2009, Baton Rouge’s representative, Taaj Freeman tied for 10th place. She is the only Baton Rouge poet to make the WOWPS final stage thus far.

    After having a bad experience with poetry competition in general, Rose decided she was done with slam.

    “I got really burned out and wasn’t interested in slam anymore,” she said. “So, I sat down. Then, I find out WOWPS is in Austin, and I thought, ‘Do I want to do this? Do I want to write some poems?’”

    Despite not having written any new poems in a year, she sat down to write all new poems to compete with and take to WOWPS. After winning the Baton Rouge slam by one-tenth of a point, Rose is taking her work to Austin.

    “I had made up in my mind, nobody is coming for me, I’m going, I want to go, and nobody’s taking it away from me,” she said. “And when I get there, I’m not going to come in 72nd place, forget that.”

    Right now, Rose is hoping her fundraiser picks up so she can actually pay for the trip to Austin. She is also working with Skidmore for performance tips.

    The poems she’s taking to WOWPS—ranging in

    Mwende

    Mwende

    subject matter from a family suicide attempt to body image issues—are part of a manuscript she is creating, as part of her desire to empower other women.

    “I want to see how other women feel about these poems,” she said. “I would love to have a trophy, but the title doesn’t mean as much as it sounds like. It says you have an audience, and that’s semi-validating.”

    Rose will be competing against 71 other women, including Slaughter, the Lafayette representative.

    Slaughter will be attending WOWPS for the first time, and she said she’s very excited about it.

    “I can’t wait,” she said. “I’m looking forward to hearing the other poets, but I’m most nervous about meeting the required time limits.”

    Competitors must perform a one-minute, two-minute, three-minute and a four-minute poem in preliminary bouts. If the poet advances to finals, three more three- minute poems are required.

    “I consider it a success any time someone can relate to something I’ve said and use it as inspiration and encouragement,” Slaughter said.

    Slaughter and Rose will join another WOWPS newbie, Katwiwa. Born in Kenya, Katwiwa calls New Orleans home. She attended her first spoken word show in middle school, called Project 2050.

    “I had never heard poetry that was so relevant to my life and experiences,” she said. “I was so used to poetry being an ‘art for art’s sake’ based on what I had been taught and the poetry I encountered in school.”

    Katwiwa joined the group the following year and has

    been writing poetry ever since. She did however, take a break from performing spoken word after high school, when she moved to New Orleans to work and go to school. She still wrote, but didn’t find herself back on the scene until last spring.

    “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a supportive collective of poets in the city known as the Who Dat Poets, who have encouraged me and been an integral part of my seeing immediate success in the local scene.”

    She was named the Who Dat Poet Rookie of the Year in 2013, and was also named the New Orleans Performing Artist of 2013 by RAW Artists.

    “Of course, one of the things I considered a real mark of success was making it onto the 2014 edition of Team Slam New Orleans and being the top female

    finisher which is what is allowing me to go to WOWPS,” she said.

    Katwiwa said she is looking forward to connecting with other poets, hearing their poetry and being fully immersed in the poetic environment.

    “Since I’m still in college and my school doesn’t have a college slam team, I don’t get a lot of time outside of my time with Team Slam New Orleans to just be in a poetic atmosphere, and even then, I know when I leave our meetings I still have to go and study for a midterm or something,” she said. “When I’m at WOWPS though, I will be 100 percent in the poetry moment and I’m really looking forward to that.”

    Katwiwa, or “FreeQuency,” as she is known on the mic, is recognized most for her ability to connect with the audience during each performance. She writes from a place of inspiration, often using poetry as a way to communicate her message—including a tribute to the late Trayvon Martin. But while her performance has earned her praise, it’s also something she’s concerned about, as WOWPS approaches.

    “My biggest fear at WOWPS is that I won’t perform at the level I want to, but I think that’s a problem I can solve by practicing and building my performance confidence in the weeks leading up to WOWPS,” she said. “I’m not going to worry about it; I’m just going to put in the proper time this competition requires.

    By Holly A. Phillips

    The  Drum Contributing Writer

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  • ,

    Lil Boosie is back: Rap industry, fans, media convene for rapper’s first public appearance

    image

    NEW ORLEANS– One thing can be certain about when Baton Rouge rapper Torrence “Lil Boosie” Hatch was incarcerated: he never got complacent.

    In fact Hatch -released from prison Wednesday- wrote 1,018 songs, a movie script and a book during his four and a half years incarcerated for drug charges. Hatch put all rumors to rest at his “Boosie Speaks” press conference held Monday, March 10, at the W Hotel in New Orleans.

    “They said I had more release dates than Jordans,” he joked with the crowd. Hatch told media about how the first thing he did upon his release was go pick up his seven children to spend some time with them. He’s also been surrounding himself by other family and friends- and making headlines for doing some major shopping.

    “It improved me,” Hatch said about his time incarcerated. “I went through some stuff while I was in prison.”

    Hatch, whose larger physical stature hinted that he’s in better shape, said the time in prison also made him stronger and wiser.

    A lot of things have changed since Hatch went to prison, including the appearance of social site Instagram. He said part of how it works still surprises him, and he plans to go on it soon “straight flexin,’” as rapper Trinidad James rhymes.

    The hip-hop industry was there in full effect to support Hatch. Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy called Monday “a big day for hip-hop.”

    Jeezy has been a big supporter of Hatch for a while now. He talked about being inspired by what all he overcame.

    “I never heard him sound like the system broke him,” Jeezy said.

    Legendary Texas rapper and Hatch’s mentor Bun B echoed those sentiments and said that a lot of people did not want to see a young black man make it.

    “Boosie is home,” he said to an excited crowd.

    With Hatch’s growing fan base and buzz surrounding his release from prison, Bun B said it won’t take long for his career to reach the next level.

    “All Boosie has to do right now is be Boosie. We don’t want him to come home and sound like this person,” Bun B said after the press conference.

    “He doesn’t need to do a song featuring that person. He doesn’t need beats by so and so. He doesn’t need a video directed by anybody,” he added. “All Boosie has to do is be Boosie.”

    Hatch’s friend and musical partner Lil Webbie had the crowd laughing as he went up and sat on stage with moderator Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club and told people how God told him Hatch would be getting out of prison soon.

    “I said, ‘I talked to God bruh. You coming home bruh,” he said.

    Hatch’s attorneys said he’s in complete compliance with his release stipulations and might be on probation for four more years.

    And don’t worry Lil Boosie fans, he should be cleared to travel and perform by the end of March. He already has shows appearing on Ticketmaster, including an April 13 date in Birmingham. He is also scheduled to perform in Lafayette April 19 at the Cajundome, according to the arena’s website.

    By Anastasia Semien
    The Drum Newspaper Contributing Reporter
    @AnastasiaSemien

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  • SU Founders’ Day, March 10, celebrates 134 years

    Southern University Baton Rouge will observe its annual Founders’ Day March 10, 2014, to commemorate 134 years of providing educational opportunities to students from across the globe. The theme for the 2012 commemoration is “Celebrating Southern University 134 Years:  100 Years on Scott’s Bluff.”

    The University was founded in New Orleans in 1880 and relocated to Baton Rouge in 1914.

    Events include:

    Campus / Community Prayer Breakfast
    Royal Cotillion Ballroom
    Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
    8 a.m.

    SU Laboratory School Pilgrimage
    Clark Gravesite
    10 a.m.

    Founders’ Day Convocation
    F.G. Clark Activity Center
    Guest Speaker: Leon R. Tarver II, SU System president emeritus
    11 a.m.

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  • Who to watch in 2014: LaTangela Sherman

    Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identified the people to watch in the New Year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.

     

    Full Name: LaTangela Fay Sherman

    Age: 31

    Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Professional title: Singer/Songwriter; On-Air talent and Production Director of Cumulus Media and Talk Show Host of The LaTangela Show, CEO 430Status

    Moves made in 2013/Accomplishments: Completed Mixed Emotions – Album dedicated to L.O.V.E. available on iTunes, rhapsody and cdbaby

    Recruited families within the community to join the movement with “Walking Through With Family And Friends” on behalf of  the American Heart and Stroke Association in efforts to lower the number  of strokes amongst our peers.

    Personal Resolution for 2014: To be better today than I was yesterday.
    Business/Company Resolution for 2014: To keep stepping until we step into our dreams. Nothing is too much as long as it used to acquire positive knowledge.

    Life/business motto: To remember the 3 R’ of life… 1. Respect for God 2. Respect for self 3. Respect for others.

    What are you listening to? Noel Gourdin’s The River is on repeat at the moment….

    What are you reading? The final proof of A-Z, Lord let it define Me by LaTangela Sherman due to hit shelves Spring 2014, shameless plug. lol

     

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  • New Orleans aims to be most literate city by 2018

    Grammy award winning bandleader and New Orleans native Irvin Mayfield is working with city leaders to make New Orleans the most literate city by 2018.

    Last year New Orleans was ranked the 25th most literate city among 75 U.S. cities according to a study conducted by Central Connecticut State University.

    Actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his work on  “The Wire” and “Treme”, kicked off the program in January by trying to break the Guinness world record for the largest read aloud event where he read “The Bourbon Street Band is Back” to an estimated 500 children.

    Turn the Page is a campaign to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by 2018. The campaign will focus on raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to literacy.

    The Turn the Page program will connect 11 library systems including

    The New Orleans Public Library and 10 other regional parish libraries, including Tangipahoa, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist, Terrebonne, Jefferson, Ascension, Livingston and St. Bernard.

    The campaign will operate by raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to early childhood, school success, digital literacy and adult literacy available at the libraries

    Mayfield, co-chairman of   Turn the Page and Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, said As a young musician,it was the public library that allowed him access to his passion, music, through their collection of records and cassettes

    Turn the Page  blitzed the city with 30 literacy-encouraging events in 30 days, such as the “Super Bowl of Reading,” through which people vote for their favorite author to be featured at area libraries, individual computer classes to help people get online, and a pajama story time for kids.

     

    Mayfield said that a future with higher literacy rates could mean a better quality of life for all, as everyone would be able to make informed decisions and lead more productive lives, bettering society for workforce development.

     

    The group plans to schedule more  “30 in 30” events with similar events throughout year .

     

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  • Study reveals Mardi Gras beads contain toxic chemical

    A new study has revealed that many Mardi Gras beads contain hazardous chemicals.

    In the study, conducted by HealthyStuff.org (a project of the Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor, MI-based non-profit) and local non-profit VerdiGras, 48 bead necklaces were purchased from three wholesale retailers in New Orleans. More than 80 percent of these beads contained at least one or more toxic chemicals including arsenic, hazardous flame retardants, cadmium and lead. The study is a follow-up to one conducted in 2013 that yielded similar results.

    Seventy-one percent of the beads contained levels of lead exceeding standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) for children’s products. Almost 80 percent of the beads contained high levels of bromine, suggesting the use of halogenated flame retardants. Over 90 percent of the beads contained at least one harmful chemical. One of the flame retardants found in the beads (decaBDE) is restricted in four states.

    “It’s disturbing to see products as enticing to children as Mardi Gras and holiday beads containing such high amounts of lead,” said Howard W. Mielke, PhD, a professor at Tulane University School of Medicine who worked on the study. “The only way to reduce a child’s exposure to lead and other toxicants is through prevention, yet children love these beads and often put them in their mouths.”

    The law that theoretically should limit these materials from being put into consumer products is 1976’s Toxic Substance Control Act, which grants authority to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate new and existing commercial chemicals that may pose a risk to public or environmental health, as well as regulate the distribution and use of these chemicals. However, it’s a piece of legislation many experts feel fails the American public.

    “Unfortunately, a gaping hole in our regulatory system makes it perfectly legal for these products to be sold,” said Jeff Gearhart, principle researcher on the study and research director of the Ecology Center.

    Gearhart said that the TSCA allows toxic materials to be used in the casing of many electronic products. When electronics are disposed of, they’re often sent to China, where they’re recycled and put into other items, including Mardi Gras beads. While these chemicals are dangerous in any product, they’re particularly dangerous in Mardi Gras beads because young children often handle them and put them in their mouths. These chemicals are superfluous and serve no engineering purpose in the beads.

    “The products shouldn’t have been on the marketplace in the first place,” Gearhart said. “It’s a ridiculous cycle.”

    But it’s not just New Orleanians who should be concerned. The implications of the study affect people across the globe.

    “This report raises significant concerns for community celebrations around the country, not just in New Orleans,” said Holly Groh, M.D. and one of the founders of VerdiGras. “It also raises concerns for the Chinese workers who melt down the plastic that goes into these products.”

    Even though the ultimate goal of the researchers is to get voters to demand that the government institute meaningful policy reform, there are short-term things locals can do in the meantime. Krewes can demand that suppliers provide assurances that beads are not made from recycled toxic products. HealthyStuff’s suggestions to parade goers include the following: wash your hands after using beads, wear gloves if you’re regularly handling them, never burn beads, do not store them in sunlight, and do not allow children to put beads in their mouths.

    The EPA did not have a comment in time for press.

    This article originally published in the March 3, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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  • Grooming Spa offers skin care tips for men

    By Mr. Carter’s Grooming Lounge and Spa

    Proper care and daily maintenance of your skin is one of the best gifts you can give yourself, as well as the best way to prepare your skin for a shave. Like every other routine, daily skin care becomes second nature once you’ve figured out your skin type and how and when to take care of it. In the last few years men have started to take notice of their skin, and the importance of taking care of it on a daily basis. You can find something for all skin types: oily, dry, normal, sensitive, aging, and problem. Although there are different skin types, we recommend the same facial routine for each. The key is to select products containing essential oils that are beneficial for your skin type. Just remember C-S-M-: Cleanse, Scrub, and Moisture.

    1.CLEANSE

    The purpose of cleansing is to strip your skin of all toxins, perspiration, oils, and impurities. First moisten the face and throat. Work a small amount of cleanser into a lather, then gently massage over face and throat. Rinse and pat dry. Cleanse your skin twice a day: Morning and night.

    2.SCRUB

    A scrub or exfoliant is a deep –pore cleanser and is ideal for all skin types. Work a small amount of exfoliating cream in circular motions on the face and throat, next using your Dermtouch facial brush gently move the brush using small circular motions. Rinse and pat dry. Use it once or twice a week recommended to do this step before routine shave.

    3.MOISTURIZE

    Moisturizing restores the skin’s lost moisture and re-balances the condition pf the skin, leaving it smooth and firm. Stay away from products that contain mineral oils, petrolatum, which can clog pores and cause pimples and blackheads. The best time to moisturize is right after cleansing in the morning and night.

    All professional products and tools used , on all skin types, daily  can be found at Mr. Carter’s Grooming Lounge and Spa. It is locally owned and operated by Ms. Demetria Glover and Mr. Brandon Simmons. Mr. Carters was recognized last year by Bonner Brothers International as the top barbershop in the South Region.

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  • ,

    Dunn verdict exposes value we place on makes

     by Marc Morial , president and CEO of the National Urban League

     

    ANOTHER MOTHER’S anguish. Another unarmed Black teenager in Florida shot dead for no good reason.

    Another indefensible instance of Stand Your ground rearing its ugly head.  Eight months after the stunning acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, justice again has been compromised in the fatal shooting of 17-year- old Jordan Davis.

    On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn, a 47-year- old white man, fi red ten rounds into a parked SUV after arguing over loud rap music coming from the vehicle with Jordan and three other unarmed African American teenagers inside.  Jordan Davis was killed at the scene.  Like George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn claimed self-defense and used Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law to bolster his justification of the killing, as his lawyer stated in his closing argument, “His honor will further tell you that if Michael Dunn was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” Dunn claims Jordan Davis brandished a gun so Dunn shot first.  But there is one big problem with his story. Jordan Davis had no gun and neither did anyone else in the SUV.

    On Saturday night, a jury found Dunn guilty of four counts, including three for the attempted murders of Jordan’s three friends.  But they deadlocked on the fifth count  first-degree murder in the killing of Jordan. Dunn may spend the rest of his life in prison for the four lesser counts. But the failure to convict him of murdering Jordan Davis raises critical questions about the devaluing of the lives of young Black males in America and confirms the need for a repeal of Florida’s repugnant Stand Your Ground law which sanctions the use of deadly force by anyone who merely thinks – or claims – they are in danger from a perceived assailant.

    Regardless of whether Dunn or Zimmerman chose to fully exercise Stand Your Ground provisions in their defense, this law was very clearly at the center of both cases.  It is even clearer that the “shoot fi rst” laws across the country are contributing to needless bloodshed and are ripe for unequal application based on race.

    A recent Urban Institute analysis found that in Stand Your Ground states, “When the shooter is white and the victim is Black, the justifiable homicidstates with “Stand Your Ground” laws, the justifi able homicide rate is 34 percent. When the situation is reversed and the shooter is Black and the victim is white, shootings are ruled to be justifiable in only slightly more than 3 percent of cases.”  Last September, the National Urban League, in collaboration with the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition and VoteVets, issued a report showing that in the 22 states with “Stand Your Ground” laws, the justifi able homicide rate has risen by an averagehas risen by an average of 53 percent in the fi ve years following their passage.   In Florida, justifi able homicides have increased by 200 percent since the law took effect in 2005.

    These statistics and their underlying racial disparities, tell us that expansive self-defense laws such as Stand Your Ground are doing more harm than good, and when coupled with implicit racial bias and unfounded preconceptions, young Black males are especially at risk.  Dunn’s own bigoted words in letters from jail clearly show his disregard for their lives, as he wrote: “The jail is full of Blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.” and “The fear isthat we may get a predominantly Black jury and therefore, unlikely to get a favorable verdict. Sad, but that’s where this country is still at. The good news is that the surrounding counties are predominantly white and republican and supporters of gun rights!”  This view and those like it are why we must commit today to action against the devaluing of our young Black lives.

    Even as the Michael Dunn trial was getting underway, we learned that Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, had planned to capitalize on the death of a young Black male by participating in a “celebrity” boxing match – when his only claim to fame is killing an unarmed Black teenager – and getting off. Such a blatant disregard for the value of a Black male’s life should be a wake-up call to all Americans.  We must intensify our fi ght against Stand Your Ground laws – and the underlying mentality – that justify the killing of young Black men whose only “offense” is being Black .

     

     

     

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  • Singletary’s book help readers to keep financial resolutions

    The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your path to Financial Peace and Freedom

    This 242-page book, written by nationally syndicated financial columnist Michelle Singletary, introduces the idea of financial fasting. It encourages the reader to break the bad habit of carelessly spending through a 21-day fast.

    Singletary writes ways to help the reader put away all credit cards shopping to a halt. And it doesn’t just address individuals who live paycheck-to- paycheck; it also targets people with high incomes and bad spending habits.

    Financial Fast can be used as a lifeguard to help decrease debt by teaching the reader to limit spending to necessity and minimize desired purchases.

     

     
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  • Rep wants marijuana legalized

     

    NO VOTE WAS TAKEN NOR bills up for debate when Louisiana legislators met to consider the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical use.

    The meeting of the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice was intended as informational only. It was organized at the request of State Representative Dalton Honore to discuss how feasible legalizing medicinal marijuana could be for Louisiana.

    During the nearly four-hour long meeting, officials, law enforcement and the public passionately portrayed their sides of the debate on legalizing the drug.

    Honore, who is also a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, is in favor of a study that would consider the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

    Medical marijuana is available in 18 states. Louisiana legislators passed a law in 1991 that makes it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana, but it’s against the law for patients to fill it.

    In a recent public policy poll, more than half of the people who live in Louisiana said they would support changing laws to regulate and tax the drug.

    According to NOLA.com out of the 1,372 Louisianans incarcerated on marijuana possession charges, more than 78 percent are Black with an average sentence is 8.4 years.

    State lawmakers are set to discuss reducing penalties for simple marijuana possession on March 10 during 2014 legislative session.

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  • National Study finds Black Women Must exercise ‘harder’ for weight loss

    WHEN IT COMES TO BATTLING THE bulge, a new study has discovered that Black women need to work harder to lose weight than white women–and local fi tness experts agree.

    Last month, The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recently published the study’s findings in the “International Journal of Obesity”. The study concludes that Black women need to eat even fewer calories and exercise more in order to achieve weight loss results similar to their white peers.

    “[Black women] do have to work harder because our physical and genetic makeup is more complex which forces us us to workout almost three times as hard,” said Adraine Conrad, a Baton Rouge- based certified master fitness instructor who works with a diverse female clientele.

    According to the report, 39 Black and 66 white women participated in a six-month weight loss program of calorie restriction and increased physical activity. All women were severely obese.

    Physical activity levels were measured using multisensory activity monitors. Researchers examined examining body weight changes, energy expenditure, physical activity, and energy intake.

    The Black women lost about seven pounds fewer than the white participants despite adhering closely to the calorie restriction and activity requirements. Researchers said metabolic factors were contributing to the disparity.

    The study concluded that Black women had lower resting metabolic rates and expended less energy daily than the others. According to the researchers, Black women must further reduce the number of calories they eat or use up more of them during exercise in order to lose the same number of pounds in the same amount of time as a white woman of the same weight.

    Conrad agrees and said these results should be motivation for Black women, particularly, to add variety to their workouts.

    “The genetic makeup of a Black woman is very complex and there are some forms of low impact exercise, such as Yoga, that can not only help build a strong physique, but also reduce hypertension and high blood pressure,” she said.

    Conrad said working harder doesn’t consist of just putting in extra reps at the gym, but also in monitoring calorie intake and avoiding “fad” diets.

     

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  • CATS to Make passenger friendly changes

    LAST YEAR THE CAPITAL AREA Transit System (CATS) serviced nearly 2.5 million people in the Greater Baton Rouge area.  During  2014 the transportation agency said they are working to provide and have already made some of the following changes:

    Added three new mechanics in the maintenance workforce to ensure all vehicles in top condition.

    • Launch an app called RouteMatch that will provide customers with voice announcements and automatic updates on all routes and CATS fleet in April.
    • Replace 12 existing buses.
    • Purchase ten eight-passenger; two- wheelchair vans to support its Para transit business.
    • Work with LSU, Cortana Mall and Mall of Louisiana to develop transfer location plans.
    • Hire an additional 31 employees by the end of February.

     

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  • Ponchatoula native sparks male involvement in BR elem. school

    HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE AS THE MALE  faculty of Claiborne Elementary shared breakfast, fellowship, insight and encouragement with concerned men of all walks of life.

    There were fathers, uncles, brothers and mentors at this standing room only breakfast event. So many in attendance that the facility’s multi-purpose center’s extension had to be opened to accommodate the overwhelming amount of men, who responded to the clarion call given by Claiborne Elementary principal, Stephanie Tate and dean of students Robert Wells Jr.

    Carrying with them a diversity of professions, passions and pasts, all of these men shared one thing in common – genuine concern for the well-being of Claiborne’s students- their children.

    The event “Donuts with Dad” is a grassroots effort to bridge the gap existing between students and the necessary male supportive presence needed in schools.

    This event initiated meaningful dialogue between faculty and fathers who formerly have been underrepresented at parent-teacher conferences, in parent- teacher organizations and in classrooms to monitor student progress in a holistic way.

    The exceptional turnout was largely due to the unyielding dedication and hard work of faculty members James Stampley and Freddie Ward. The two men communicated directly with fathers to ensure their attendance.claiborne students

    This grassroots effort is the beginning of a purposeful relationship between Claiborne and its fathers, which will focus on providing opportunities for men to assist their children in reaching their academic goals.

    “Donuts with Dad” is also the launching pad for more events, which will bring the positivist of male mentorship into the halls of Claiborne to enrich the lives of students.

    The next activity, “Dinner with Dads” will occur later this month. It is an effort to continue the purposeful partnership between Claiborne Elementary faculty, students, families and community at large.

    Claiborne Elementary is a school that continues to rise above difficult circumstances and challenges to focus on bringing together the proverbial village that supports and contributes to the raising of each student who enters its doors.

    The Claiborne community believes that “we are better together” and can accomplish more as a unified body of one, with one vision, one voice and one objective where all stakeholders are important and needed.

     

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  • Ga. agrees to continue Confederate flag license plate.

    ATLANTA—THE STATE OF GEORGIA’S recent approval of a specialized license plate has civil rights leaders throughout the state up in arms.

    The state has agreed to sell an updated Sons of Confederate Veteran’s license plate displaying a larger Confederate flag. Supporters of the new license said the flag honors the state’s Confederate heritage and is not a celebration of racial injustice.

    A spokesman for the Georgia Division of the SCV, said people have a right to observe their heritage, and the state would be discriminating if it rejected the group’s application.

    However, representatives of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference disagree.

    “We don’t have license plates saying ‘Black Power’ and the state should have stepped in to stop the design of the Confederate flag from becoming available to Georgia drivers,” said Maynard Eaton, spokesman for the SCLC. “To display this is reprehensible.”

    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he was not aware of the plate which the department of motor vehicles said is an update to an existing license already bearing the controversial flag.

    The SCV will receive $10 from each $80 plate sold.

    According to the SCV Georgia Division website, funds from the sale of the license will be used “to promote Southern Heritage through educational activities and preservation efforts around the state.”

     

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  • Trail Blazers and Trail Keepers: Dance Noir and Winter Dance Company

    THROUGHOUT FEBRUARY, THE NATION PAYS HOMAGE to the great legends of Black history and reflects on the hardships these pioneers endured in order to blaze a trail through the thorny and violent jungle of American racism. There are lessons on Black pioneers in politics, science, medicine, entertainment, and sports. For the trails that they individually blazed, America has become a different society and many Blacks hold to a responsibility to extend the trail forward. In opera, there was Marian Anderson. In dance, there was Alvin Ailey and Katherine Dunham. And in comedy, there was Redd Foxx and Jackie “Moms” Mabley. Five exceptionally gifted Louisianans are keeping the trails blazed by these pioneers. In New Orleans, there’s OperaCréole founder Givonna Joseph and in Monroe, comedian Robert Powell III. In Baton Rouge, there’s businessman Cleve Dunn Jr.,  stand-up comedienne Tiffany Dickerson, and choreographer Winter McCray. They are our modern day keepers of the trail. Here are their stories.

    Dance Trailblazer Alvin Ailey and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre 

    Dance Trail:keeper Cleve Dunn Jr. and Danse Noir

    Alvin Ailey is known internationally for ushering Black performers into concert dance and forever changing America’s perception of dance. History books record that Ailey’s experiences in Southern Baptist churches and juke joints instilled in him a fi erce sense of Black pride that would later become the signature of his most prominent work. Ailey and his dance company performed worldwide with valor that he was dubbed the “Cultural Ambassador to the World”.  He took his passion for dance, sense of pride, and insight for management into establishing the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and later establishing a nonprofi t foundation and performing arts school as gateways to continue Black performing arts.

    With much of the same insight and pride, Baton Rouge businessman Cleve Dunn Jr., 37, saw an opportunity to stabilize a fledgling dance program in the city by establishing Danse Noir Studios. “There were some dance companies and organizations in place but we wanted to provide a stable fi xture in the community to express the culture of dance. We wanted to provide an environment where children of color can show their creativity. I know that Alvin Ailey was passionate about that.”

    Dunn said the idea for the studio followed the paths of the exceptional talents of local dance program founders including Avery Wilson of MOKA Dance, Conya Pinkie Windsor with Excel Dance Company, and Richard Covington with Belfair Dance Team. Today, Danse Noir Studio is the largest Black dance studio in Baton Rouge with more than 150 student dancers annually and six, highly trained teachers who are professional performers. Danse Noir Studios offers ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop classes to young dancers age 3 – 18, and for the last three years the studio has maintained in-school dance programs in four West Baton Rouge parish schools. “We are exposing art to students all over the metropolitan area,” he said.

    Much like the vision of Ailey, Dunn has amassed a team of young dance instructors—from New York, Baker, Alabama, and Baton Rouge—who possess years of training and work with students on technique, presence, and delivery using original choreography, great appeal, and focus, he said. The students and instructors close out every year with a Spring recital at LSU displaying their work using varied dance styles and musical selections across different genres.

    This allows Danse Noir Studios to establish a professional culture for collegiate performers who want to perfect their craft and take their skills outside of Louisiana. “We have created an environment for artists like Alvin Ailey to thrive, grow, and expand. We have been able to help and place our instructors with career opportunities to earn dollars through the performing arts. This was something very unheard of seven to ten years ago,” he said.

    “Now, there are other Black-owned dance studios in Baton Rouge market place that our community can give exposure to and can support,” said Dunn. “Some (of the owners and instructors) have come through our doors as instructors to learn the craft, not of dance, but the craft of creating and sustaining a business.” Through Dunn’s vision, Danse Noir has been part of a creating a growing culture of Black artistic expression in the city.

    Dunn said he believes Ailey and other performers like Sammy Davis Jr and Debbie Allen would be proud that “now throughout the country  there are art institutes, theatre studios, and dance studios that are owned and operated by Blacks and are expanding exposure to the arts to our community.”

    For that, Danse Noir is a modern day Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

    Dance Trailblazer: Katherine Dunham Comapany 

    Dance Trail: Winter Dance Company 

    Katherine Dunham started dancing in her late teens but moved on to the University of Chicago to study social anthropology where her mentors stressed the survival of African culture. While in college, she taught youth dance classes and gave recitals. In 1931, she started Ballet Negre , a student dance company. At the age of 28, she started the Negro Dance Group where she became known for being the fi rst to give modern dance a “lexicon of African and Caribbean styles of movement–a fl exible torso and spine, articulated pelvis and isolation of the limbs, a polyrhythmic strategy of moving” which she integrated with techniques of ballet and modern dance, according to the Ruth Beckford, author 0f Katherine Dunham: A Biography.

    Dunham choreographed more than 90 individual dances and produced five reviews; four of which played on Broadway and tour worldwide. As an ac- tivist in the 1940s, Dunham fought segregation in theaters, hotels, and restaurants by aggressively filing lawsuits. She even refused a lucrative studio contract when the producer said she would have to replace darker-skinned com- pany members. Dunham’s studies of dance and worldwide performance paved the way for modern day choreographers like Baton Rouge’s Winter McCray.

    A certi- fied dance instructor with Dance & Gym USA, McCray has brought jazz, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, and liturgical dance to the students of Winter Dance Company. McCray, 29, said God has given her “a gift and a ministry of dance and I live to pass it on to others.  Many of my students have talents beyond their years and someday (this company) may be looked upon as a stepping stone that helped pave the way for their career choices and their dreams.”  In 2007, while an undergraduate student studying psychology at Southern University A&M College , McCray established Anointed 2 Dance while continuing to host free dance workshops and perform at local community-based events.

    “I want my students to understand that the sky really is the limit to what they can have and where they can go in life.  The color of their skin, where they live, and what they have been through- -and even been told–should never hinder them from being their very best self.  To my audience, I want them to appreciate just how far we have come, where we are today and if we expose our children to the arts, they will embrace it and run with it.”

    Acknowledging the challenges of owning a dance studio, McCray said, she and other owners in the area share a collective purpose. “We are few, but we are headed in the right direction. Today we are well on our way to balancing the performing arts scale.”

    McCray said she embraces every student with love, teaching them the art and technique of dance, and “ultimately, inspiring them to develop a deeper appreciation for the art.”  For that Winter Dance Company is a modern-day Katherine Dunham Company.

     

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  • Trail blazers and trail keepers: Givonna Joseph

    THROUGHOUT FEBRUARY, THE NATION PAYS HOMAGE to the great legends of Black history and reflects on the hardships these pioneers endured in order to blaze a trail through the thorny and violent jungle of American racism. There are lessons on Black pioneers in politics, science, medicine, entertainment, and sports. For the trails that they individually blazed, America has become a different society and many Blacks hold to a responsibility to extend the trail forward. In opera, there was Marian Anderson. In dance, there was Alvin Ailey and Katherine Dunham. And in comedy, there was Redd Foxx and Jackie “Moms” Mabley. Five exceptionally gifted Louisianans are keeping the trails blazed by these pioneers. In New Orleans, there’s OperaCréole founder Givonna Joseph and in Monroe, comedian Robert Powell III. In Baton Rouge, there’s businessman Cleve Dunn Jr.,  stand-up comedienne Tiffany Dickerson, and choreographer Winter McCray. They are our modern day keepers of the trail. Here are their stories.

    OPERA: Trailblazer Marian Anderson

    Trail keeper Givonna Joseph

    Within OperaCréole, Givonna Joseph has organized area professional artists, educators, and international soloists with roots in New Orleans, “America’s First City of Opera”. Members of the ensemble have recently been featured in solo roles in New Orleans Opera’s production of “Madama Butterfl y,” “Samson et Dalila,” “Il Trovatore,” “Salome,” and “Porgy and Bess”. They were recently artists in residence at Illinois State University. Many are also members of the New Orleans Opera Chorus. Joseph and daughter Aria Mason, a mezzo-soprano, and OperaCréole partner are featured in the documentary “Le Grand Tour” airing in France.  She has meticulously gathered “wonderful and talented people,” including pianist Wilfred Delphin who she said is “simply amazing as an international artist and person. And our singers have worked hard to learn music that no one has ever heard”

    OperaCréole’s production of the lost opera “Thelma” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor earned a Classical Arts Awards nomination for best community opera production. But, Joseph said her greatest joy is seeing the pride on the faces of the audience as they hear the music of “19th century New Orleans free composers of color, and learn of the role they played in the culture of the First City Of Opera.” Preservation of the Créole language was a part of this that came about as we were programming repertoire, but the biggest piece is making sure that people were aware that these composers wrote their vocal music in French, and studied with great French musicians and composers here in New Orleans as well as in France, Joseph said. “The annals of history should record these people by their love for the arts, education, and business savvy during a time when they lived in a caste system that limited their freedom,” she said.

    Joseph’s wisdom of opera and Black culture is noticeable as she describes soprano Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield. “Before Marian Anderson, (Greenfi eld who was) born a slave, shocked the world when she stood in front of Queen Victoria to sing the popular arias and oratorio of the day. She was the first concert diva to change the world just by standing in excellence.” Marian Anderson was the first to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. Because of the concert on the Lincoln Memorial, Anderson was one of the 20th century’s greatest opera singers. She was the “personification of excellence that changes the world by changing perceptions,” she said. Joseph’s first voice teacher, Charles Paddock insisted that she go to the Loyola music library to listen to recordings of Anderson. “But when I saw her, the grace and beauty and artistry that she exuded communicated that she had a complete understanding of her purpose. That is what I hope my legacy will be: that I understood my purpose!”

    “It is important that all of the stories in Black history be told. Not only for African Americans to reference, but so that everyone will know the full scope of our contributions to the art form, especially in 19th century New Orleans.” For that, Givonna Joseph is the modern day Marian Anderson and keeper of the trail.

     

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  • Imprint Counseling Services opens in Hammond

    Imprint Counseling Services LLC, located at 204 E. Charles Street, in Hammond, celebrated their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting with the Hammond Chamber of Commerce . Imprint provides counseling and mental health services to the greater Hammond community. Jolyn Patton Schexnydre is the owner.

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  • Virtual charter school begins recruiting for 2014-2015 school year

     Louisiana Connections Academy will host free parent information sessions to answer parent and student requests for information about their virtual school program at the beginning of March.

    Wednesday, March 5 at Forest Community Park an Enrollment Kick-off Party will serve as the first information session in Baton Rouge.

    LACA staff will be on hand to answer questions and get parents started in the enrollment process.

    The information sessions will review the school’s curriculum, programs and provide opportunities to ask questions of teachers and currently enrolled families.

    Another meeting for interested parents has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 26 6:30pm at the Best Western Richmond Suites Hotel-Baton Rouge 5668 Hilton Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

    Louisiana Connections Academy is an online charter school; providing high-quality, free public virtual charter schooling for grades K through 12. Louisiana Connections Academy offers personalized education for students, offered by Louisiana certified teachers, with the freedom and flexibility of an online education that meets the state’s standards.

    The school is headquartered in Baton Rouge at 8281 Goodwood Blvd., Ste J, (225) 372-8389.

    Student field trips, graduation ceremonies, parent-to-parent events and school information sessions are regularly scheduled and promoted at the school website.

    The charter school is authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to accept students from any parish in the state.

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  • Al Sharpton to speak on HIV in Baton Rouge

    The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will kick off its  “AIDS is a Civil Rights issue” tour, headlined by Al Sharpton, on Friday, February 28th at Greater King David Baptist Church. Al Sharpton believes AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue because historically the south did not have equal access to resources such as healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the highest concentration of new HIV/AIDS cases are found in the south among the black population and the disease’s progression, in Baton Rouge, is the highest in the region. Sharpton and the group want to raise awareness about the epidemic’s effect on the Black population. The tour’s goal is to encourage organizations and community leaders to take action in preventing new cases of STD’s and HIV infection. The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6pm and Greater King David Baptist Church is located at 222 Blount Avenue.

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  • Southern University Board of Supervisors vote “no” on Llorens’ contract extension

    After almost three hours in executive session the Southern University Board of Supervisors voted “no” on the extension of Chancellor James Llorens’ contract

    The board voted 8-9 to not accept the one-year extension for Llorens.

    Voting yes to extend Llorens contract were members: Tony Clayton, Ann Smith, Murphy Bell, Darren Mire, Myron Lawson, Calvin Braxton Sr., and student member Simone Bray.

    Board members Eamon Kelly, Raymond Fondel, Mike Small, Chairwoman Bridget Dinvaut, Rev. Joe Gant, Walter Dumas and Willie Hendricks voted no, which effectively ended Llorens’ tenure as chancellor at Southern.

    Motivations for board members’ decisions are still unclear.

    Jerry Jones

    Alumni Jerry Jones listens as supporters of Llorens address the board of supervisors. ” I took vacation time from work to make sure I could come and let the board know the mistake they would be making if they don’t extend Llorens’ contract,” said Jones

    The contract proposed called for an additional year for Llorens, stipulating the following obligations be met: Increase enrollment, balance the university’s budget, meet the performance terms in the 2010 LA GRAD ACT, and resolve any issues with the NCAA and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accrediting agency.

    System President Ronald Mason said he would contact the personnel committee to begin a national search for the most qualified person to replace Llorens.

    After the meeting, Chairwoman Dinvaut declined to comment, and said  her fellow board members were ordered to do the same.

    Llorens’ last day as chancellor will be June 30th when his contract expires.

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  • Win lunch at Le Bon Temp Restaurant

    Have lunch on us at Le Bon Temp Restaurant on Perkins Road. Baton Rouge Native  Chef Blake Abadie’s restaurant has received rave reviews  for its friendly staff, signature cocktails,  and  encompassing all Louisiana cooking styles, not just the Cajun and Creole influences.

    lbt3

    Complete the readers survey in this Monday’s issue of The Drum Newspaper for a chance to have lunch on us. Like and share the  post  on Facebook to increase your chances.

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  • Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory

    Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory, by Linda Barnickel, won the A. M. Pate Jr. Award in Civil War History this month. “Milliken’s Bend,” published by LSU Press in April 2013, is a compelling and comprehensive account of the battle of Milliken’s Bend, La., at which a Union force composed predominantly of former slaves met their Confederate adversaries in one of the bloodiest engagements of the war. Though the fight received some widespread attention initially, it soon drifted into obscurity. Barnickel’s exhaustive research has uncovered the story of this long-forgotten battle, whose controversial aftermath led to a Congressional investigation and the suspension of prisoner exchanges between North and South. Barnickel’s book illuminates not only the immense complexity of the events that transpired in northeastern Louisiana during the Vicksburg Campaign but also the implications of Milliken’s Bend upon the war as a whole. The battle contributed to Southerners’ increasing fears of slave insurrection and heightened their anxieties about emancipation. In the North, it helped foster a commitment to allow free Blacks and former slaves to take part in the war to end slavery. And for Blacks, both free and enslaved, Milliken’s Bend symbolized their never-ending struggle for freedom.

    ONLINE: lindabarnickel.com

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  • Resolved to be a better parent? Try these books

    Here are four great read to help strengthen, encourage, and inspire and help parents or guardians with their New Year’s resolutions to be a better parent. These authors break down parental issues and challenges using spiritual, educational, and scientific guidelines to help caregivers become better parents. Three of these authors are Louisiana- natives whose books will empower any parent.

    Kamali Academy’s AfriKan Centered Grammar Book

    Geared toward teaching and educating children on grammar basics, New Orleans native Samori Camara, Ph.D.’s,Kamali Academy’s Afrikan Centered Grammar Book presents grammar rules from subject-verb agreement to proper nouns and correct sentence structure for parents to advance their children’s learning.

    Resolved to be a better parent? Try these books
    The book is described as “Afrikan-centered” because it teaches Afrikanvalues throughout the writing exercises. Camara is a professor of history at Dillard University and also the founder at KamaliAcademy.

    Kamali Academy’s Afrikan Centered Grammar Book is a great curriculum for parents who homeschool elementary and middle school children. Camara provides online history classes on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and Afrikan Literature.

    The Parent Anointing

    Baton Rouge counselor Barbara Green’s The Parent Anointing is now on its second printing. The book delivers impactful Bible- based principles  to help parents become spiritually empowered, whether they have or have not given birth.

    Green pulls from her decades of experience as a certied counsellor, marriage therapist, and evangelist to bring insight and purpose to God’s “calling” of parenting.

     

    buythebook sandra semien

    It’s All in His Hands

    It’s All in His Hands ,by Shreveport native, Sandra Semien is a memoir of her life as a mother and champion of an intellectually disabled son (before suchlabels were given). The registered nurse is now also a parent advocate teaching and inspiring mothers who are raising children with learning disabilities and struggling with education programs and schools. To her readers, Semien writes: “I was delighted when God shared with me and now with you that,” ‘Even though you may not think of having the perfect child I thought of you as the perfect parent to love them to perfection’.”

     

    BuyTheBook Raising Black Boys

     

    Raising Black Boys

    Jawanza Kunjufu of Chicago has pulled together information on the Black male community and how Black boys are treated in the homes and throughout society. By showing his true passion towards reconstructing the mentalities and future of men, Kunjufu presents statistics and facts on the declining percentage of Black male success rates and how parents can redirect the trend.

    Raising Black Boys has the goal of helping parents eliminate some of the early problems that Black male youth are faced by showing the impact of specific goals, words spoken, and trends on rearing Black boys.

    .

     

    By Crystal Brown
    The Drum Contributing Writer 

     

     

     

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  • Who to watch in 2014: Judge Trudy M. White

    Judge, 19th Judicial District Court

    Age: Over 40

    Hometown: Baton Rouge

    Moves made in 2013/Accomplishments:Elected “Chief Judge” by colleagues,Graduating 2013 Louisiana Judicial Leadership Class, and recieving numerous awards and recognitions for judicial outreach activities.

    What to expect in 2014: Expect to see more judicial youth outreach programs in the community.

    Personal Resolution:I will continue to motivate children about the value of education through mentoring activities and leading by example. I will strive to ensure that everyone has access to justice, due process and equal protection under the law at our court.

    Business/Company Resolution for 2014: The Court will be fair and impartial in the application of the law without regard to race, color, creed, politics or economic status.

    What are you listening to? Generally, I listen to classic soul and jazz. I really like the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Periodically I listen to rap music to know what our children listen to.

    What are you reading? To be Popular or Smart by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. It is a book about peer pressure and how the peer group can be used to reinforce academic achievement in African-American young men.

     

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  • Students want to teach community “How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes”

    This is not a play. This is not a lecture. This is not an interactive workshop, a theatre piece or a public conversation. Sojourn Theatre’s “How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes” is all of these things. The performances will take place at the HopKins Black Box, 137 Coates Hall at LSU. Performances are Friday, Feb. 21, at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.

    Bryan McCann, assistant professor of communication studies at LSU, explained, “The performance will bring activists, experts and other members of the Baton Rouge and LSU communities together to discuss strategies to combat poverty in our community.” 

    “How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes” is a performance project co-produced with LSU students and faculty from the Department of Communication Studies. It challenges audiences with the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America? Audiences will listen, explore, and choose how to spend money generated from the performance’s box office donations. The performance is an experiment in dialogue, collective decision-making, and the potential for art to make the world a better place.

    A number of local organizations will play an active role during the performance. Organizations like the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, or BRYC, and Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited, or LSYOU, will work with performers and audience members to grapple with issues that the Baton Rouge community is currently facing.

    Suzan Gaston, director of LSYOU, an organization that provides the tools and support for at-risk high school students to succeed, said that creating a forum space will benefit the organizations involved, as well as the greater Baton Rouge community. 

    For more information or to reserve a spot, contact LSU’s Department of Communication Studies at 225-578-4172.

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  • Fired N.O. teachers win in appeal

    THE Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that an estimated7,000 teachers and school employees were wrongfully terminated post Hurricane Katrina.

    Teachers filed suit against the Orleans Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Education after they lost their jobs post-Katrina and then were not given the first notice new job opportunities that arose once schools began reopening.

    As a result, all tenured employees who were fired after Katrina will be paid two years’ salary by the Orleans Parish School Board. Teachers who meet certain criteria will
    also be paid an additional year’s salary by the state of Louisiana.

    The ruling, passed down by judges James McKay III, Edwin Lombard, Paul Bonin, Daniel Dysart,and Roland Belsome, said it was fair for the School Board to reduce the workforce post-Katrina. However, the teachers had a constitutionally protected right to be recalled to work as soon as opportunities arose for them to do so. The School Board was legally required to create a “recall list” of teachers who were available to return
    and failed to do this. This list should have been used to rehire teachers and staff to fill any openings over the next two years.

    The ruling applies to all employees who had tenure on August 29, 2005. That list includes principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, offi ceadministrators, secretaries,
    social workers, and other support staff.

    Both the school board and the state can ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the ruling.

    ONLINE: lasc.org

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  • LSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21

     The signature program for LSU’s MLK Celebration is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Commemorative Celebration, which has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, in the LSU Student Union Royal Cotillion Ballroom. The MLK and BHM Commemorative Celebration is free and open to the public.

    The Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. Committee and the Black History Month Committee will host professor, author, Civil and Women’s Rights activist, and social commentator Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw as the keynote speaker for the celebration. Crenshaw is executive director of the African American Policy Forum and professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School. 

    Crenshaw has lectured nationally and internationally on race matters and on “intersectionality,” a concept she coined to capture the multidimensional dynamics of discrimination. Her work was cited in the drafting of the South African Constitution. Crenshaw has lectured throughout the world, addressing audiences in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. 

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  • NAACP critical of Tangipahoa failing schools

    AMITE—Black leaders are highly critical of Tangipahoa Parish School Board in the direction in which the long running law suit against the board and the large amount
    of tax payer money is being wasted.
    Community leader and elective offi cial Iram Gordon of Kentwood expressed her feeling to the school board in a recent board meeting for the lack of support for the schools in Kentwood. Former Kentwood High principal Ann Smith who represents that area as a board member disagreed with Gordon

    Smith said,” I appreciate the board and Mr. Kolwe for what there are doing for the
    entire parish. The north end has not been left out.”

    School Board member Brett Duncan agreed with Smith, stating she led the effort to have a new $15 million O.W. Dillon Elementary School built, and millions of dollars for Kentwood High.

    Pat Morris President of Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP (GTPBNAACP) field questions Tangipahoa Parish School Board on the state of schools in Tangipahoa Parish, because those who question what happening say are many times, calls go unanswered and not returned from many at schools and in the administration, she said.

    We are going to bring heavy, heavy pressure on our Superintendent,Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer.We renew our campaigner for a trained educator as superintendent.We emphasize it is not a race thing, it is about quality education. Our current superintendent cannot provide leadership as an educator. He is not one.This
    should now be obvious. His leadership is putting the Parish deeper in the hole in the desegregation case and the failure of schools to meet State standards cannot be ignored

    It is obvious, he does not have a plan and he doesn’t have the slightest clue as to what to do. St. Tammany has “A” rated schools, while Tangipahoa Parish is saturated with “D” and “F” rated schools. The (RSD) Recovery School District is right around the corner. They are taking over schools and turning them over to private charter school
    corporations from outside the state, removing control from the local school board and from local parents.

    RSD is not only giving the schools to these out of state private corporations, it is also giving these private corporations control of the property paid for with local tax dollars. The Parish cannot afford to keep the current superintendent in charge and had better get its local education house in order before it is too late. I promised those asking the questions, I would relay them tonight. Again, it is not personal, but it is about the business of education for all of our children that is at stake now:

    • Why are our school leaders saying that the Magnet Programs are working, when the majority of their student populations, namely Black students, are failing miserably according to standardized tests, which is the only reliable tool that parents have to
    hold schools accountable?

    • Is Mark Kolwe gong to treat Catherine Leblanc and Maureen Terese the same way he treated Marquita Jackson when considering the drastic declines performance?

    • Would we say that the “schools are great, and are working” if they were majority white and were failing (White kids in overwhelming numbers scoring below-profi cient on
    standardized tests?

    • Do not kids need to score a certain mark on the “standardized” ACT Exam to beeligible to attend a university in good standing?

    • Do not we want Black kids to be able to score well on standardized exams so that they can go to college?

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Board, the GTPB NAACP feels that these are legitimate questions that deserve answers, and should no longer be ignored. This is not about personal agendas, nor vendettas. It is about the future of every child in this school system. We can do better. We MUST do better.

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  • Who to watch in 2014: Joyce Burges

    Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identified  the people to watch in the new year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.

    Joyce  C. Burges,55      

    Baker City Council President

    Hometown: Baker, Louisiana

    Life Motto: “Treat people the way you

    would like them to treat you.”

    Business Motto: “The customer is alwaysright”  and “Execute, Execute, Execute”

    2013 Accomplishments: Served with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. I had a chance to showcase my book, “Would Someone Please Teach me How to TeachMy Child.” My husband and I were recognized by the Exodus Mandate and Frontline Ministries and presented with the Robert DreyfusAward, an award given annually to people who exemplify high services to humanity in this country.

    Personal  Resolution for 2014:  To continue to pursue excellent health including a 4-day exercise plan, a regiment of eating 80% raw foods, and drinking 72-80 ounces of water every day. I feel amazing and have more energy.

    What to expect in 2014: Efforts to set up K-4 and K-5 learning centers for our children in Baker; fundraising projects to honor young adults for their hard work in school with the Academics List of Excellence in Education Book Scholarship Fund; create a Food Bank for families, form positive partnership with area cities; discussions that lead to the formation of a Youth Center.

    Business resolution for 2014: To continue to honor God by serving my family and the citizens of District 3, children, churches, etc.  in a way that makes all of them proud to know me.  Everything in my life that’s valuable I want to share with others.  I am so thrilled to know that God has chosen me to do His work….serving people and loving them unconditionally.

    What are you reading: Who was Rosa Parks by Yona Zeldis Mc-Donough and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff McKinny

    What are you listening to: Marian Anderson’s Deep River; TheCommodores’ “Zoom”; and The Measure of a Man (audiobook) by Sidney Poitier.

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014: John G. Daniel

    John G. Daniel , 56

    Executive director Boys Hope Girls Hope Baton Rouge and President/founder JGDProductions and Daniel Karate Group

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

    2013 Accomplishments: Executive Director, Boys Hope Girls Hope, JohnG.Daniel Productions–Opening A Black History Time Capsule with Tony Brown, Unity Day/Daniel Karate Group Events e.g.Unity Day Exxon Mobil YMCA 2013, The Advocate Video, “John Daniel, A Sensei,Teaching with A Purpose”

    What to expect in 2014: Residential girls service, Boys Hope GirlsHope, one-hour documentary on the elements of life success; UnityDay; and Daniel Karate Group expansion to Los Angeles and Philadelphia Personal Resolution for 2014: Keep moving forward!

    Business resolution for 2014: Reach out to more youth and families

    Life/business motto: Struggle, Perseverance, Character and Hope What are you listening to? Marvin Gaye’s ”What’s Going On”, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”, and McFadden & Whitehead

    What are you reading?  The Book of Five RingsGo Rin No Sho, by Miyamoto Musashi

     

     

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014: Michael McClanahan

    President,  NAACP Baton Rouge Branch

    Hometown: Zwolle

    2013 Accomplishments: Became president of the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP, took the fight for equality and inclusion for all and especially Blacks to the streets. We marched and file a suit against Turner Industries; supported a suit against City Court; and openly spoke out against discrimination at the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

    What to expect in 2014: NAACP taking an active role in the educational system and the direction it is headed; taking an active role in the breaking up of the City and annexation of other parts; ensuring the consent decree of the BR police department are fully implemented and shine a spot light on evil and wickedness in and around the Greater Baton Rouge area and hold those accountable who choose to practice and uphold it.

    Personal resolution for 2014: live healthier; do more evangelizing

    Life motto: “If I can help someone as I pass this way through word, thought or deed then my living won’t be in vain.”–Dorothy Clay

    What are you listening to? Richard Smallwood

    Read more »
  • Mistrial declared on murder charge in Jordan Davis case

    Jurors found Michael Dunn guilty of attempted murder and one other charge , but declared a mistrial on the most-serious charge, first-degree murder, in the fatal shooting of 17 year-old Jordan Davis.

    Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis in 2012 after an argument over loud music coming from the SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store.

    12 jurors found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car after 4 days of deliberations on Saturday February 15th.

    Jurors heard testimony that Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, who has a concealed weapons permit, fired 10 shots, hitting the vehicle nine times. Davis was the only person hit.

    Michael Dunn was convicted of attempted murder for shooting a into a car full of teenagers, but jurors were unable to agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. A mistrial was declared on first-degree murder charge.

    Each attempted second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while the fourth charge he was convicted on carries a maximum of 15. A sentencing date will be set in the future.

    Race relation overtones and its connection to gun and self-defense laws have made it comparable to George Zimmerman’s case, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.

    Davis’ 19th birthday would have been Today. Prosecutors may attempt retry a Dunn the on first-degree murder charges.

     

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014: David Gray

     Age: 25

    State policy fellow and policy analyst at the Louisiana Budget Project

    Hometown: New Orleans

    2013Accomplishments: Coordinated the Louisiana Coalition for Responsible Lending, which is a group of citizens, faith-based organizations, non-profi ts and banks that are dedicated to protecting families from predatory payday loans;. produced fact-based research that helped defeat a bill from Gov. Bobby Jindal that would have raised taxes on low and middle-class families; and appointed to the East Baton Rouge Parish Food Access Policy Commission by Mayor-President Kip Holden.

    What to expect in 2014: Launch of a statewide network of community advocates dedicated to protecting the economic interest of the millennial generation and creation of loan products that offer families’ short-term credit at responsible interest rates and fees. Personal Resolution for 2014: Carve out time each day to grow mentally, physically and spiritually.

    Business resolution for 2014: Continue to provide sound research and analysis of state fiscal issues to promote economic prosperity, a rising standard of living, and the opportunity for all citizens to reach their highest potential.

    Life motto: “Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” — my late grandmother, Isabella Gasper.

    What are you listening to? A mix of Israel & New Breed, Gregory Porter, Maxwell, J. Cole, Trombone Shorty, Maze & Frankie Beverley, Luther Vandross, Drake, The Fugees, Nina Simone, and Wale.

     What are you reading? The BibleLife Entrepreneurs by Gergen and Vanourek, and 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup;  Something Like the Truth blog by Bob Mann, Louisiana Voice blog by Tim Aswell

     

    Read more »
  • Who to Watch in 2014: Dr. Rani Whitfield

    Dr. Rani Whitfield,44

    Board Certified Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine

    Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA

    2013 Accomplishments: Received YMCA Legions Award; discussed the Affordable Care Act on several MSNBC TV, including The Ed Show, Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation; Disrupt with Karen Finney, and Melissa Harris Perry show; featured in the documentary “Soul Food Junkies” by Byron Hurt; served as medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics-Communities Are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) Clinic in New Orleans where more than 900 individuals without access to affordable, quality healthcare treated by volunteers; released “Get On Tha Bus”, a music project and collaboration with artist Love-N-Pain; featured guest on LPB’s The State We’re In with a  monthly segment “Prescription for Health” that addresses health issues and health disparities.

    What to expect in 2014: Shhhh, it’s a secret, but let’s just say it could be a very good year.

    Personal resolution for 2014: 2014 will be bigger and better both personally and professionally. However, I don’t place a lot of stock in New Year’s resolutions. I set goals and work towards them. I choose to live by making decisions every single day. I do not wait for the year to end in order to make them.

    Business resolution for 2014: Better communication and delegating of task .With all the changes in medicine lately, it’s fast and furious—organized chaos. In 2014, I  need to make sure everyone is on the same page. We’ll do this by ensuring everyone in the practice feels motivated towards the same business goals, participates in setting goals, and takes accountability for their department.

    Life motto: “All things are possible to him who believes!”

    What are you listening to: Ian Von’s “Love, Beats, and Guitars”; Dee-1’s “Psalms of David II”; Odissee’s “Tangible Dream”; Taurus RiBoard Certified Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine

     

     

    Read more »
  • Nearly half Black men arrested by age 23

    Nearly 50 percent of Black men and 40 percent of white men are arrested at least once on non-traffic-related crimes by the time they turn 23, according to a new study published in the January 2104 issue of the journal “Crime & Delinquency”.

    The peer-reviewed estimates didn’t rely on arrest records but instead on an annual federal Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of about 7,000 young people who answered questions each year from 1997 to 2008 on a range of issues — including if they had ever been taken into custody for something other than a traffic offense.

    Self-reported crimes ranged from underage drinking to violent assaults.

    The authors found that by age 18, 30 percent of Black men, 26 percent of Hispanic men and 22 percent of white men have been arrested.

    By 23, those numbers climb to 49 percent for Black men, 44 percent for Hispanic men and 38 percent for white men.

    Among women, 20 percent of Blacks, 18 percent of whites and 16 percent of Hispanics were arrested at least once by age 23.

    Read more »
  • Southern Board will meet Feb. 24 to discuss Llorens’ contract

    Southern University Board of Supervisors has  confirmed a date for the special board meeting at Southern to discuss Chancellor James Llorens’ contract.

    The board will meet on Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the administration building.

    Student Government Association President , and board member,  Simone Bray  requested the meeting following a student  sit-in at President Ronald Mason’s office on Tuesday February, 12th

    The  board voted last Friday to not renew Lloren’s contract.

    When news spread on campus of the board’s decision  the students immediately began campaigning to keep their chancellor.

    During the past week students showed support for Llorens by setting up a Facebook page and holding a meeting that drew hundreds to voice their concerns.

    In anticipation of the meeting the SGA  has handed out more than 100 T-shirts in support of the chancellor on Thursday, Feb. 13.

    They plan to wear them to Southern’s basketball game Monday night and to the special meeting.

     

    Read more »
  • Police seek community help finding missing teens,16, and infant

     

    Tangipahoa  Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards  is asking for your assistance in locating three runaway teens.

    Briannica Foster, 16, and her infant son Jordan Foster, 9 months were last seen on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. Briannica Foster ran away from her Tangipahoa home and took Jordon with her. Kiana Robertson, 16, of Independence, and Aquaila Singleton, 16, of Independence, have both been missing since December 2013. Robertson and Singleton are believed to be together in the Baton Rouge area. Singleton is also known as Bird and Aquaila Mosley. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of these teens or the infant is asked to please contact sheriff’s office at (985) 902-2014 .missing teen mom and son

     

     

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014: Keith Richard

    Age:42

    Occupation: Lead Pastor at Elevate Church

    Hometown: Baton Rouge

    2013 Accomplishments: Received MLK Leadership Award

    What to expect in 2014: Strategizing for the opening of a homeless shelter and resource center

    Personal resolution for 2014: To be a better vessel to be used for the glory of God

    Business resolution for 2014: No clichés or catch phrases…Just Action.

    Life motto: Loving God deeply, makes loving people easy What are you listening to? Jazz

    What are you reading? Apostolic Fathers by Apostle Burnell Williams

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014: Erin R. Wheeler, PH.D

    Age:28

    Occupation:Owner and chief higher education consultant for E_Source Learning Solutions, LLC

    Hometown: Amite, LA

    2013 Accomplishments: Delivering higher education presentations at national conferences across the country.

    What to expect in 2014: Broader impact of E_Source Learning Solutions on the educational success of students in the tri-parish area.

    Personal Resolution for 2014: To dream big and ignore the limits.

    Business resolution for 2014: Collaborate with other emerging businesses to help them reach their goals. Do for others what you want to happen for yourself.

    Life: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others strength; mastering yourself is true power.” –Lao Tzu

    What are you listening to? Electric Lady by Janelle Monae

    What are you reading? Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

    Read more »
  • Remembering the life, legacy of Amiri Baraka

    Prolific poet, playwright, essayist, and critic Amiri Baraka, one of the literary giants of the 20th century was called home.

    As we offer condolences to his wife, children and family, we remember the 79 year-old Baraka not only for his bold, inventive and iconoclastic literary voice, but also as a courageous social justice activist.  His ideas and work had a powerful impact on both the Black Arts and Civil Rights movements beginning in the 1960s.

    Baraka was best known for his eclectic writings on race and class.  He extended many of the themes and ideals of the 1960s Black Power movement into the realm of art, which he saw as a potent weapon of change; and like many good revolutionary artists, he sometimes went out of his way to offend the status quo.  He has been variously described as a beatnik, a Black nationalist and a Marxist.  But he was first and foremost a writer and social commentator of uncommon skill and insight.

    His 1963 masterpiece, “Blues People,” which explored the historical roots and sociological significance of the blues and jazz, has become a classic that is still taught in college classrooms today.  Almost every Black and progressive writer and thinker of the 20th century shared a kinship, friendship or feud with Baraka.  But, undergirding everything he wrote and stood for was his desire to lift up the downtrodden and disenfranchised, especially in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

    As a testament to his broad influence, more than 3,000 people attended his funeral last Saturday at Newark Symphony Hall.  The actor Danny Glover officiated and noted Baraka’s influence on his career.  Cornel West called Baraka “a literary genius.” Sonia Sanchez read a poem for him written by Maya Angelou. Speaking at the wake the night before, Jesse Jackson honored Baraka as “a creative activist and change agent who never stopped fighting or working for the formula to create social justice.”

    Born Everett LeRoi Jones, the writer changed his name to Amiri Baraka in 1968 to refl ect his embrace of Islam and the philosophy of Malcolm X.  He attended Rutgers, Howard and Co- lumbia, served in the Air Force and began his literary career in the 1950s in the Beat poet scene of New York’s Greenwich Village.  His one-act play, “Dutchman,” won the Obie Award as the best off-Broadway production of 1964.  In 1965, he co-founded the Black Arts Movement in Harlem, infusing the Black Power movement with powerful artistic voices.  His numerous awards and honors include his selection as the Poet Laureate of New Jersey in 2002 and his 1995 induction into the exclusive American Academy of Arts and Letters.

    Controversy was a mainstay of Amiri Baraka’s career.  Ishmael Reed, another provocative poet and contemporary of Baraka recently noted, “

    Amiri Baraka was controversial because his was a perspective that was considered out of fashion during this post race ghost dance, the attitude that says that because we have a Black president, racism is no longer an issue, when the acrimonious near psychotic reaction to [Barack Obama’s] election only shows the depth of it.”   Amiri Baraka always challenged us to face such uncom- fortable truths – and we are better because of it.

    Amiri Baraka passed away on Tuesday, January 9th.

     

     

    Read more »
  • Grants available to small, minority businesses

    HUNDREDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY- owned businesses each year receive such grant funding from various government agencies and non-profit organizations. Such funds do not have to be repaid, but must be used to either start a new business or enhance an existing one. Others can be used for innovation research. Here are the top small and minority business grant programs available:

    #1 – The FedEx Small Business

    Grant Contest is a nationwide com- petition that will award $50,000 in total to six deserving U.S-based entrepreneurs and business owners. Learn more at www.business- grants.org/opportunities/fedex_ small_business_grant_contest. html.

    #2 – The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE)

    Growth Grants Program allowsbusiness owners to apply for a grant useful for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used their grant for computers, farm equipment, to hire part-time help, marketing materials and more. Learn more at www. businessgrants.org/opportunities/ national_association_self_em- ployed_nase_business_grants. html.

    #3 – The Dare to Dream Grant

    This program encourages students to move through the business cre- ation process by offering business development seminars and up to $10,000 in funding. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/oppor- tunities/dare_to_dream_grant_ program.html.

    #4 – The Miller Lite Tap the Future Business Plan Competition (formally known as the MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneur Series)

    An annual competition for minority business owners sponsored by MillerCoors. Designed to economically empower minority businesses, the program continues to invest in entrepreneurial dreams to em- power urban communities. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/ opportunities/miller_lite_tap_ the_future_millercoors_urban_ entrepreneur_series.html.

    #5 – The Small Business Ad-ministration (SBA)

    The organization administers several competitive business grant programs, ensuring that the nation’s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/ opportunities/sbir_small_business_research_innovation_ grants.html.

    #6 – The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

    MDBA organizes various angel investors with the primary objective of supporting minority businesses with mezzanine and second round fi nancing. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/minority_business_development_agency_mbda_business_grants. html.

    #7 – The Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG)

    The program provides grants to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The funds can be used for land acquisition, construction, renovation, technical assistance, project planning, and more. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/rural_business_enterprise_grants_ rbeg_program.html.

    #8 – The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program

    The program awards grants and business resources to moms to further the development of original product ideas and startup businesses. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/huggies_mom_inspired_grant_ program.html.

    #9 – The DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

    The program is intended to ensure non- discrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts in the Department’s highway, transit, airport, and highway safety financial assistance programs. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/ dot_disadvantaged_business_en- terprise_program.html.

    #10 – The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

    The Program provides grant funding to small businesses to engage in biomedical or behavioral research/ development that leads to a potential for commercialization. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/sbir_small_business_re-search_innovation_grants.html.

    To find more information and grants click here 

    Read more »
  • Who to watch in 2014

    Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identified  the people to watch in the new year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.

     

    Joyce  C. Burges,55      

    frame_burges

    Baker City Council President

    Hometown: Baker, Louisiana

    Life Motto: “Treat people the way you

    would like them to treat you.”

    Business Motto: “The customer is alwaysright”  and “Execute, Execute, Execute”

    2013 Accomplishments: Served with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. I had a chance to showcase my book, “Would Someone Please Teach me How to TeachMy Child.” My husband and I were recognized by the Exodus Mandate and Frontline Ministries and presented with the Robert DreyfusAward, an award given annually to people who exemplify high services to humanity in this country.

    Personal  Resolution for 2014:  To continue to pursue excellent health including a 4-day exercise plan, a regiment of eating 80% raw foods, and drinking 72-80 ounces of water every day. I feel amazing and have more energy.

    What to expect in 2014: Efforts to set up K-4 and K-5 learning centers for our children in Baker; fundraising projects to honor young adults for their hard work in school with the Academics List of Excellence in Education Book Scholarship Fund; create a Food Bank for families, form positive partnership with area cities; discussions that lead to the formation of a Youth Center.

    Business resolution for 2014: To continue to honor God by serving my family and the citizens of District 3, children, churches, etc.  in a way that makes all of them proud to know me.  Everything in my life that’s valuable I want to share with others.  I am so thrilled to know that God has chosen me to do His work….serving people and loving them unconditionally.

    What are you reading: Who was Rosa Parks by Yona Zeldis Mc-Donough and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff McKinny

    What are you listening to: Marian Anderson’s Deep River; TheCommodores’ “Zoom”; and The Measure of a Man (audiobook) by Sidney Poitier.

     

     

    ltr-tony-brownJohn G. Daniel , 56

    Executive director Boys Hope Girls Hope Baton Rouge and President/founder JGDProductions and Daniel Karate Group

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

    2013 Accomplishments: Executive Director, Boys Hope Girls Hope, JohnG.Daniel Productions–Opening A Black History Time Capsule with Tony Brown, Unity Day/Daniel Karate Group Events e.g.Unity Day Exxon Mobil YMCA 2013, The Advocate Video, “John Daniel, A Sensei,Teaching with A Purpose”

    What to expect in 2014: Residential girls service, Boys Hope GirlsHope, one-hour documentary on the elements of life success; UnityDay; and Daniel Karate Group expansion to Los Angeles and Philadelphia Personal Resolution for 2014: Keep moving forward!

    Business resolution for 2014: Reach out to more youth and families

    Life/business motto: Struggle, Perseverance, Character and Hope What are you listening to? Marvin Gaye’s ”What’s Going On”, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”, and McFadden & Whitehead

    What are you reading?  The Book of Five Rings/ Go Rin No Sho, by Miyamoto Musashi

     

    Cierra Fogan , 16    

    Ms. Banks, 10th grade student at Madison

    Prep Academy

    Hometown : Baton Rouge

    Personal Motto: “Dream big. Go far”

    2013 Accomplishment: Passed EOC test

    and Deans List 3.0 honor roll and selected

    represent my community as Ms. Banks

    Resolution: Finish this year with 3.5GPA

    What are you reading: Something like 

    Hope, by Shawn goodman

    What are you listening to: K. Michelle’s

    “Can’t Raise a Man”

     

    8 McClanahanMichael McClanahan, 49

    President,  NAACP Baton Rouge Branch

    Hometown: Zwolle

    2013 Accomplishments: Became president of the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP, took the fight for equality and inclusion for all and especially Blacks to the streets. We marched and file a suit against Turner Industries; supported a suit against City Court; and openly spoke out against discrimination at the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

    What to expect in 2014: NAACP taking an active role in the educational system and the direction it is headed; taking an active role in the breaking up of the City and annexation of other parts; ensuring the consent decree of the BR police department are fully implemented and shine a spot light on evil and wickedness in and around the Greater Baton Rouge area and hold those accountable who choose to practice and uphold it.

    Personal resolution for 2014: live healthier; do more evangelizing

    Life motto: “If I can help someone as I pass this way through word, thought or deed then my living won’t be in vain.”–Dorothy Clay

    What are you listening to? Richard Smallwood

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    David Gray, 25

    State policy fellow and policy analyst at the Louisiana Budget Project

    Hometown: New Orleans

    2013Accomplishments: Coordinated the Louisiana Coalition for Responsible Lending, which is a group of citizens, faith-based organizations, non-profi ts and banks that are dedicated to protecting families from predatory payday loans;. produced fact-based research that helped defeat a bill from Gov. Bobby Jindal that would have raised taxes on low and middle-class families; and appointed to the East Baton Rouge Parish Food Access Policy Commission by Mayor-President Kip Holden.

    What to expect in 2014: Launch of a statewide network of community advocates dedicated to protecting the economic interest of the millennial generation and creation of loan products that offer families’ short-term credit at responsible interest rates and fees. Personal Resolution for 2014: Carve out time each day to grow mentally, physically and spiritually.

    Business resolution for 2014: Continue to provide sound research and analysis of state fiscal issues to promote economic prosperity, a rising standard of living, and the opportunity for all citizens to reach their highest potential.

    Life motto: “Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” — my late grandmother, Isabella Gasper.

    What are you listening to? A mix of Israel & New Breed, Gregory Porter, Maxwell, J. Cole, Trombone Shorty, Maze & Frankie Beverley, Luther Vandross, Drake, The Fugees, Nina Simone, and Wale.

     What are you reading? The Bible, Life Entrepreneurs by Gergen and Vanourek, and 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup;  Something Like the Truth blog by Bob Mann, Louisiana Voice blog by Tim Aswell

    wheelerERIN R. WHEELER, PH.D., 28

    Owner and chief higher education consultant for E_Source Learning Solutions, LLC

    Hometown: Amite, LA

    2013 Accomplishments: Delivering higher education presentations at national conferences across the country.

    What to expect in 2014: Broader impact of E_Source Learning Solutions on the educational success of students in the tri-parish area.

    Personal Resolution for 2014: To dream big and ignore the limits.

    Business resolution for 2014: Collaborate with other emerging businesses to help them reach their goals. Do for others what you want to happen for yourself.

    Life: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others strength; mastering yourself is true power.” –Lao Tzu

    What are you listening to? Electric Lady by Janelle Monae

    What are you reading? Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

    8 Richard

    Keith Richard, 42

    Lead Pastor at Elevate Church

    Hometown: Baton Rouge

    2013 Accomplishments: Received MLK Leadership Award

    What to expect in 2014: Strategizing for the opening of a homeless shelter and resource center

    Personal resolution for 2014: To be a better vessel to be used for the glory of God

    Business resolution for 2014: No clichés or catch phrases…Just Action.

    Life motto: Loving God deeply, makes loving people easy What are you listening to? Jazz

    What are you reading? Apostolic Fathers by Apostle Burnell Williams

    Tonya G. Robertson, 42

    Executive director , Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc.

    Hometown: Baton Rouge

    2013 Accomplishments:  Dr Martin Luther King, Jr Leadership Awards Inaugural Coretta Scott King Heroine Award; Started new foundation, Fifty Shades of Pink, in honor of my late sister and other breast cancer victims and survivors;  led YLA’s  new fundraising event “Men are Cooking” and assembled more than 40 men cooks who prepared their signature dishes with wine, revelry, and relevance.

    What to expect in 2014: My greater is coming!

    Personal Resolution for 2014: I’m on a journey to my best self..I lost 31 pounds in the last three months of 2013 and as I get healthier physically, I’m seeking the same standard of excellence in all other areas of my life! I have come to truly appreciate the sacred value of life well lived and the secret for me is balance and fortitude..finding time for all the people and things that matter and staying with a goal or commitment until I see it through! There is a standard and for me it is EXCELLENCE!

    Business resolution for 2014: To refocus, re-energize, reposition, and rededicate myself and The Academy for next level success as we strive to serve more effi ciently and profoundly the young people whose lives we touch and whose hands we hold. Our mission work to prepare young African American males for lives of success and substance is being expanded to include others, but not at their expense..the challenge and resolve as we move forward is to find a more excellent way to do all that we’re being called to do.

    Life motto:“Faith without works is dead” …so I work and I do it  with passion, purpose and a spirit of integrity and excellence

    What are you listening to: Prince, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce’, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, upbeat and uptempo gospel ..Donald Lawrence, Yolanda Adams, and Kirk Franklin.

    What are you readingHoly Bible, “Toxic Charity” by Robert D. Lupton, The Advocate newspaper, Baton Rouge Business Report, and online publications for foundations and grants

    8 Whitfield

     

    Dr. Rani Whitfield,44

    Board Certified Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine

    Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA

    2013 Accomplishments: Received YMCA Legions Award; discussed the Affordable Care Act on several MSNBC TV, including The Ed Show, Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation; Disrupt with Karen Finney, and Melissa Harris Perry show; featured in the documentary “Soul Food Junkies” by Byron Hurt; served as medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics-Communities Are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) Clinic in New Orleans where more than 900 individuals without access to affordable, quality healthcare treated by volunteers; released “Get On Tha Bus”, a music project and collaboration with artist Love-N-Pain; featured guest on LPB’s The State We’re In with a  monthly segment “Prescription for Health” that addresses health issues and health disparities.

    What to expect in 2014: Shhhh, it’s a secret, but let’s just say it could be a very good year.

    Personal resolution for 2014: 2014 will be bigger and better both personally and professionally. However, I don’t place a lot of stock in New Year’s resolutions. I set goals and work towards them. I choose to live by making decisions every single day. I do not wait for the year to end in order to make them.

    Business resolution for 2014: Better communication and delegating of task .With all the changes in medicine lately, it’s fast and furious—organized chaos. In 2014, I  need to make sure everyone is on the same page. We’ll do this by ensuring everyone in the practice feels motivated towards the same business goals, participates in setting goals, and takes accountability for their department.

    Life motto: “All things are possible to him who believes!”

    What are you listening to: Ian Von’s “Love, Beats, and Guitars”; Dee-1’s “Psalms of David II”; Odissee’s “Tangible Dream”; Taurus RiBoard Certified Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine

     

     

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  • Southern students Rally and Sit-in to keep Chancellor

    Southern University’s Royal Cotillion Ballroom was packed with students, public officials, faculty and staff who stood united to express their support for their chancellor, James Llorens, Monday, February 10th

    February 7th, Southern University’s System President Ronald Mason recommended that Chancellor James Llorens’ contract would be extended for one year under the circumstances that the system would work closely with the chancellor in revamping campus leadership. Llorens, who disapproved the terms was voted out by Southern’s board of Supervisors 9-6, not to renew his contract that expires June 30.

    The Southern University student body, outraged with the news, flooded social media sites demanding answers. Student Government Association President and board member Simone Bray organized a rally to clarify any concerns the public may have in regards of the Board’s decision.

    The rally granted the public to hear from board members, faculty, staff, Chancellor Llorens and System President Ronald Mason and to ask questions.

    Chancellor James Llorens address the crowd at the rally concering his tenure ending June 30th.- photo by Briana Brownlee

    Chancellor Llorens was welcomed by a standing ovation from the crowd. “I am overwhelmed with the support I see here tonight.” Said Chancellor Llorens. “This University is going to survive, this University will be here, no institution relies solely on one individual’s shoulders”. In an attempt to ease the tension from the crowd, geared towards President Mason, Chancellor Llorens expressed how he gets along with the president and respects his right to present his recommendation.

    Public officials, Board members, and faculty took turns expressing their support for Chancellor Llorens. Each speaker noted how impressive the student body’s attendance was and urged them to continue the fight by voicing their opinions of the board members.

    “I like the President Mason, but I love Chancellor Llorens” said Representative and Southern Alumnus Ted James, whose comment aroused a roar of cheers from the crowd. James ended his speech by outing Governor Bobby Jindal’s telephone number and challenging students to flood his phone lines and voice their dissatisfaction of the board me members he appointed.

    President Mason was questioned if he was adopting the Louisiana State University’s model, where the president is more active in decisions on campus. Mason denied the allegations, stating that he prefers to run The Southern University System opposite of The Louisiana State University System.

    Southern’s seems as if it is on an upward path with enrollment increasing and majority of the athletics dominating the SWAC.

    “Why now?” Quesstioned former Student Government Association President Willoe McCorkle. “In 1814 we moved here on the bluff of the Mississippi River, now 100 years later we have to deal with this?” McCorkle went on to ask why the members who voted against Llorens were not present.

    The crowd continued to grill Mason with questions such as changing the language and length of the contract to keep Chancellpr Llorens at Southern. Mason simply stated he has no authority to change the contract and his job is not to make popular decisions but to do what he believes is best for the institution.

    Following the rally held Monday nearly 40 students staged a sit-in outside of System President Ron Mason’s office in an effort to keep Llorens their campus chancellor on Tuesday , Febuary 12th. 

    In spite of Mason telling students , at the rally, that his job to make a recommendation and that his role is done; the students still staged the sit-in outside his office until with the goal of Mason inviting them into his office to discuss on Llorens future with the university.

    Bray , also a board member, requested a special meeting of the board of supervisors to re-open the discussion of Llorens’ contract.

    Four other members joined Bray, which met the minimum requirements to hold a special board meeting. Chairwoman Bridget Dinvautannounced , at the sit-in, that a special meeting will take place once she determines a suitable time and date for board members to meet.

    Board member Calvin Braxton said , at the student rally , he would recommend that the board approve a new three-year contract for Llorens. 

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  • Author brings literary work to stage

    Danielle Alysse Martin is  already an author ,entrepreneur and musician who can now add playwright to the impressive list of titles she has amassed.

    Martin’s first literary work was  The Soles of My Shoes was released late  last year.

    The collection of inspirational poems , which is divided into four sections: Learning To Walk, Running For My Life, If The Shoe Fits, and Struttin’ My Stuff, inspired Martin to create a series of monologues based her book.

    Martin said her passion and  desire to assist women  in their walk with Christ led her to found the Press Play Theatre Company and blog, Pretty Girls Praise.

    The Soles of My Shoes was written by Martin to inspire women from all “walks” of life and she hopes that bringing her words to the stage will to the same.

    I am Not my Shoes will be performed  Sunday ,February 21st at 7p.m at The Red Shoes Theater located at 2303 Government st.

    To purchase or a copy of The Soles of my Shoes  tickets click here

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  • Grambling State University’s Band featured in ESPN Magazine

     

    ESPN, the world leader in sports and sports and sports entertainment, needed a band that would complete ESPN The Magazine’s music issue the editors reached out the Grambling State University’s marching band to make the issue complete. One week before December graduation, ESPN requested ten band members to travel to New Orleans  for a  photo shoot at Tipitina’s. ESPN provided band members and two faculty with a tour bus for the trip. The issue hits the stands this month.

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  • ExxonMobil to pay $2 million

    ExxonMobil Ordered to must pay $2.329 million in a settlement.

    ExxonMobil must pay $2.329 million in a settlement, announced by the state’s Dept. of Environ-mental Quality last August and finalized early this month, to address violations from 2008 into 2013 at its greater Baton Rouge facilities.

    The settlement was DEQ’s biggest with any company last year. But critics question whether the agreement was large enough or even appropriate. Exxon was cited with many infractions at its refinery and resinfinishing and chemical plants in East Baton Rouge Parish and its tank-farm facility in West Baton Rouge.

    Early this month, DEQ said the settlement was approved following a public review period late last year and was signed by state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell in December.In addition to paying a civil penalty of $300,000 to DEQ, Exxon under the agreement must spend no less than $1 million on Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures or SPCC projects at its Baton Rouge complex and will fund beneficial environmental projects or BEPs totaling $1.029 million.

    In terms of funding, the top four BEPs approved under the settlement are $400,000 for a Groundwater Reduction Project to trim the company’s groundwater usage; a $250,000 donation to DEQ to improve its Early Warning Organic Chemical Detection system; a $100,000 donation to the East Baton Rouge Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness/ Local Emergency Planning Committee to implement the ExxonMobil North Baton Rouge Emergency Preparedness Initiative; and a $100,000 donation to Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge for weather proofing and air tightening of homes, especially those next to ExxonMobil facilities.

    In the settlement, Exxon also agreed to a $50,000 donation to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for groundwater-conservation awareness in East Baton Rouge Parish; a $50,000 donation to DEQ to fund the agency’s Expanded Age Distribution and Vehicle Population Data Project on emissions in Louisiana; a $29,000 donation to the Louisiana Foundation for Excellence in Science, Technology and Education, or LaFESTE, for the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition; a $25,000 donation to Baton Rouge Green Association Inc.’s Neighbor Woods project near the refi nery; and $25,000 payment to install a meteorological station at the company’s Baton Rouge refinery complex.

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  • Stuffing teen’s body deemed ok

    VALDOSTA, GA.—STATE regulators concluded that a Valdosta,  Georgia funeral home broke no laws when it used newspapers to stuff the dead body of 17 year-old Kendrick Johnson.

    Johnson  was found dead last year inside a rolled up gym mat at his school. His family filed a complaint with the Georgia Board of Funeral Service last year after newspaper was found in the place of his missing organs when the body was exhumed for a second autopsy.

    Johnson’s parents, who are fighting to have their son’s death declared a homicide after authorities concluded it was a freak accident, said they were outraged and found the funeral home’s use of newspapers to be disrespectful.

    Attorneys for the Johnson family released a letter from the board saying it found Harrington Funeral Home broke no state law. However, the board also noted that using newspaper to fill a body cavity is not considered a “best practice”.and that other materials are “more acceptable than newspaper,”

    The Valdosta Daily Times reported. It’s still unclear what happened to Johnson’s internal organs after the GBI autopsy. The GBI has said it returned the organs to the body before sending it to the funeral home. But the funeral home has said the organs were missing when the body arrived.

    An attorney for Harrington Funeral Home, said its owners were “certainly happy” with regulators’ finding that it did nothing illegal.

    A $10,000 check offered to anyone with credible information in the death of Kendrick Johnson was returned last tuesday after a  a 90 expiration date. Students at Lowndes High School discovered Johnson’s body Jan. 11, 2013, inside a rolled up gym mat propped against the wall beside the bleachers. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner concluded he died from positional asphyxia, meaning his body was stuck upside down and he was unable to breathe.

    Sheriff’s investigators concluded Johnson got trapped in the mat while reaching for a gym shoe that had fallen inside.

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  • ,

    Lt. Gov. Dardenne brings party to the Grammys

    The Life & Times Of…The Hot 8 Brass Band is up for a Grammy in the best regional root music album category, competing with Richard’s Le Fou and Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience’s Dockside Sessions. Simien also was scheduled to perform but his Los Angeles arrival was delayed by weather. Other Louisiana artists nominated this year are Allen Toussaint, Hunter Hayes, Terence Blanchard, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Bobby Rush and PJ Morton. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne gave an audio-visual presentation tracing Louisiana’s history of musical luminaries and in uences. Louisiana has sent a nominee to the Grammy Awards every year since 1960 and at least nine annually since 2000, he said afterward.

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  • EBR School System announces plan to make up lost days

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has approved changes to the school calendar that will make up the four days lost because of the weather earlier this year.

    Students will loose a day of Mardi Gras Break when they attend school Wednesday, March 5th. Students will also be required to attend school Friday, March 14, 2014.

     

    February 10 through March 18 an additional 30 minutes will be added on for students and February 10 through April 28 for staff along with the required make up days.

     

    School Board Officials said no additional days would be added to the school year. 

     

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  • Dunkin Donuts to open in North Baton Rouge

    Dunkin Donuts will open their newest location at 8121 Florida Blvd, in North Baton Rouge, Feb. 12, with a grand opening celebration.

    The restaurant will be open 7 days a week from 5a.m. to 10p.m. and feature free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen television, and a full service drive thru. To celebrate the grand opening, Dunkin Donuts will offer patrons 99cent regular and iced coffee along with door prizes.

    The restaurant will employ 35 residents and  is located at  the former location of Enterprise car rental at the corner of Wooddale Blvd and Florida Blvd.
    image

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  • Red Stick Ready.com available for severe weather updates

    In times of severe weather Mayor President  Melvin “Kip” Holden is encouraging  East Baton Rouge Parish citizens to visit Red Stick Ready for information on the effects it could have on the parish.

    Created by Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden and the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency the website provides information on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergency situations.

    The site presents parish-wide road conditions, crime reports, and disaster assistance information. Red Stick Ready’s Facebook page provides hourly updates.

    Baton Rouge is one of only two cities in Louisiana to be certified as a “Storm Ready Community” by the National Weather Service.

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  • Resolved to be a better parent? Try these books

    HERE ARE FOUR GREAT READS TO HELP strengthen, encourage, and inspire and help parents or guardians with their New Year’s resolutions to be a better parent. These authors break down parental issues and challenges using spiritual, educational, and scientific guidelines to help caregivers become better parents. Three of these authors are Louisiana- natives whose books will empower any parent.

    Kamali Academy’s AfriKan Centered Grammar Book

    Geared toward teaching and educating children on grammar basics, New Orleans native Samori Camara, Ph.D.’s, Kamali Academy’s Afrikan Centered Grammar Book presents grammar rules from subject-verb agreement to proper nouns and correct sentence structure for parents to advance their children’s learning.
    The book is described as “Afrikan-centered” because it teaches Afrikanvalues throughout the writing exercises. Camara is a professor of history at Dillard University and also the founder at KamaliAcademy.

    Kamali Academy’s Afrikan Centered Grammar Book is a great curriculum for parents who homeschool elementary and middle school children. Camara provides online history classes on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and Afrikan Literature.

    The Parent Anointing

    Baton Rouge counselor Barbara Green’s The Parent Anointing is now on its second printing. The book delivers impactful Bible- based principles  to help parents become spiritually empowered, whether they have or have not given birth.

    Green pulls from her decades of experience as a certied counsellor, marriage therapist, and evangelist to bring insight and purpose to God’s “calling” of parenting.

     

    buythebook sandra semien

    It’s All in His Hands

    It’s All in His Hands ,by Shreveport native, Sandra Semien is a memoir of her life as a mother and champion of an intellectually disabled son (before such labels were given). The registered nurse is now also a parent advocate teaching and inspiring mothers who are raising children with learning disabilities and struggling with education programs and schools. To her readers, Semien writes: “I was delighted when God shared with me and now with you that,” ‘Even though you may not think of having the perfect child I thought of you as the perfect parent to love them to perfection’.”

     

    BuyTheBook Raising Black Boys

     

    Raising Black Boys

    Jawanza Kunjufu of Chicago has pulled together information on the Black male community and how Black boys are treated in the homes and throughout society. By showing his true passion towards reconstructing the mentalities and future of men, Kunjufu presents statistics and facts on the declining percentage of Black male success rates and how parents can redirect the trend.

    Raising Black Boys has the goal of helping parents eliminate some of the early problems that Black male youth are faced by showing the impact of specific goals, words spoken, and trends on rearing Black boys.

    .

     

     By Crystal Brown
    The Drum Contributing Writer

     

     

     

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  • Southern University Chancellor ousted by Board of Supervisors

    The Southern University Board of Supervisors  voted  today not to renew the contract of James Llorens, Southern University Baton Rouge Chancellor, which expires June 30, 2014.

    “The Board thanks Dr. Llorens for his service and wishes him well. We will soon make decisions on the leadership direction for our main campus and continue the efforts of making Southern University great,” said SU Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Bridget A. Dinvaut.

    Llorens was named chancellor of Southern University Baton Rouge in May 2011, the largest of the five-campus Southern University System, the only historically black university system in the U.S.

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  • Annual Roots Camp starts Saturday, Feb. 8

    No preselected speakers, no “expert” panels, and no inspiring power-points will set the scene for the Fourth Annual Roots Camp.

    Instead, participants and community activists in attendance will set the course of the two-day “unconference,” Feb. 8 – 9, at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Hall, 5888 Airline Highway, 9am-4pm, daily.

    “Each year we learn more about our state, our issues, and possible solutions to the many diverse problems that Louisiana has and how to find the possible solutions.” said Dawn Collins,Roots Camp coordinator

    Referred to as an “unconference” because like a typical conference people gather from various parts of the state to share information , but it is not done in the conventional format done in the typical fashion , i.e. pre selected speakers ,expert panels, preselected actives, of the conventional conference.

    At the beginning of the each day participants submit their session topics to the staff and the agenda, for the day, is built around the submissions.

    Topics can range from Bayou Corne to racial equality to education; anything can be a possible topic as long as it has the goal of creating a more equitable Louisiana.

    After topics are selected those who submitted them present their information in a session. Topics can be presented in any way , the only things discouraged at the “unconference” are power-points and panel discussions.

    The goal of the sessions, no matter the topic, is to encourage the people who attend to find solutions to problems they feel are plaguing Louisiana.

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  • Understanding Your Calling by Ginger London

    Under Standing Your Calling is Baton Rouge minister Ginger London’s study manual that teaches Christians how to easily discern and understand the call of God on their lives through discovering, developing and delivering their greatest potential in ministry service. London shares with readers how to break through the self-imposed barriers that keeps them either running from the call or stuck at a certain point. They will learn how to increase their God confidence, set goals to fulfill their calling and how to reach the masses with their message.

     

    London is the host of The Ginger London Ministries Show on Blog Talk Radio and publisher of the monthly “Heart to Heart” Newsletter, which provides articles to help in spiritual growth, relationships, and work success. Under Standing Your Calling and other inspirational materials, written by London, can be found at gingerlondon.com.

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  • McComb, Miss. native gets marker on Freedom Trail

    JACKSON, MISS.  – ON MONDAY, Jan. 20, the Mississippi Freedom Trail honored C.C. Bryant with a marker on the  Trail. This will be the 15th marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail.

    It is very appropriate to recognize one of Mississippi’s own heroes of the Civil Rights Movement with a marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail,” said Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Divi-sion, which oversees the trail program. “C. C. Bryant was an instrumental part of building a more just and peaceful society for Mississippians and certainly deserves this honor.”

    Bryant was born January 15, 1917, in Tylertown. Miss. He was the fourth of 11 children born to Monroe and Anna Bryant. He married Emogene Gooden in 1941, and they had three children. Bryant is best known for his contributions to the Civil Rights and Voter Registration Movement, both in Mississippi and across the nation.

    In 1954, he was elected president of the Pike County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, followed by his election as vice president of Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP under the leadership of Aaron E. Henry and Field Secretary Medgar Evers.

    In 1965, he testified before the Civil Rights Commission to eliminate discriminatory voting practices. His testimony, along with that of other civil rights leaders, helped pave the way for the passing and signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Bryant continued his legacy of social justice by maintaining an extensive civil rights archive collection. He served on various boards and committees at the local, state and national levels.

    During his lifetime, Bryant received numerous awards and honors, including the Medgar Evers Medallion and the Aaron Henry Award. In 2005, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation honored him by naming the Institute Award for Community Organiz-ing for him.Bryant passed away in December 2007.

    The Mississippi Freedom Trail is a cultural initiative designed to commemorate the state’s Civil Rights heritage. The trail offers a virtual tour of the state and those sites that played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement. Led by a task force of scholars, historians and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division helped to coordinate the taskforce’s work of selecting 25 initial sites for the trail from nearly 300 submissions from communities around the state.

    The first four markers were funded with donations from Tougaloo College. MDA and local private and public contributions. Sub- sequent markers are being funded through community funds and the 2010 Civil Rights Historic Sites Grant Program passed by the Mississippi Legislature (HB 1701) and administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

     

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  • Jindal Administration asks judge to rescind desegregation order

    GOV. BOBBY JINDAL’S  ADministration is asking a federal judge end a desegregation order that bans the state from giving public funds—including school vouchers— to all-white private schools.

    The 1976 landmark Brumfield vs. Dodd decision was rendered after the United States found evidence that Louisiana officials were using taxpayer dollars to encourage white flght after being ordered to integrate public schools.

    The desegregation order still applies to about half of the state’s school systems. Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled in November that the Justice Department had the right to monitor the state’s school voucher program to ensure it does not promote segregation. The Jindal administration wants to end the desegregation order, saying the state has complied with the law for several decades.

    Jindal’s lawyers are also asking Lemelle to reconsider his November decision that allows the Justice Department to monitor the state’s school voucher program to ensure it does not promote segregation.

     

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  • Your 2014 money solution starts now

    IT’S THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAr and time for you to think about money. You have been told for years how to handle your money. You’ve been told:

    “Live within your means”

    “Pay yourself first”

    “Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul”

    “Save for a rainy day”

    “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”

    “Pinch your pennies”

    “Start on your golden parachute”

    The reality is that you must live every day. For most of you, you owe, you owe, you owe, and your credit needs work. For some, your money is tight. You are living “right,” and you just need guidance to the financial light.

    The New Year money solution you seek is known as personal budgeting, and it begins now with some great New Year money tips.

    1. Visit your local credit union or bank and open a Holiday Savings account. Set up for a small amount to be taken out of your account each pay period for 2014 holidays. Use the amount you spent this year and divide by the number of pay periods to determine the amount to save.

    2. Use a portion of your tax returns to get a secured credit card from your local credit union to improve your credit.

    3. If you are a homeowner, visit your local HUD Certified Counseling agency for a mortgage checkup to determine if you qualify for lower rates

    4. Open a vacation account along with your Holiday Savings account. Determine where you want to go and when and

    start saving towards the travel.

    5. Use a portion of your tax returns to pay off a pay day loan to break the cycle.

    6. Use a portion of your tax returns to catch up your child support payments. Decide to pay Peter and Paul on time to avoid late fees.

    7. Live within your means. Try to move to cash only transactions. The less you put on your credit card the closer you get to living within your means.

    8. Pay yourself fi rst. Paying off debt and not making more debt is a modified version of paying yourself fi rst.

    9. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul. Make every effort to pay off your payday loan and identify a less costly product for quick cash. Check with your local credit union.

    10. Save for a rainy day. Every day is a rainy day for some. Do your best to create an emergency fund.

    11. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You don’t need the biggest television and the most current cell phone.

    12. Pinch penny. Roll the loose change that you find around the house and make it a point to deposit them each month.

    13. Start on your golden parachute. Some people believe that life starts at 65. Meet with someone this year to learn the truth about retirement.


    This commentary was provided by Ed Gaston. He  is vice president of community development for Wealth Watchers Inc. in Jacksonville, Fl.  For More information click here.

     

     

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  • Yes, Chas, parents and students deserve better

    Linda Johnson

    former BESE represenative

    VERY RECENTLY THERE HAVE been articles about alleged cheating in East Baton Rouge schools.  The television headlines said wide spread cheating in EBR.

    The president of BESE said studentsand parents deserve more.

    Well I agree,so I called the elected BESE representative for the majority of the schools in EBR and she had no knowlodge to credit she immediately began a series of e-mail correspondence to understand what was happening.

    It is amazing that the email thread indicates that the alleged wide spread cheating was not under investigation, however the LDoE is looking into the fact that EBR self reported  a student who graduated without meeting the graduation requirements and also what processes had been put in place so that this would not happen again.

    Now I know there are those of you who are reading this and of course cannot possibly believe me because you are so conditioned to believe ” the  white’s man ice is colder”.

    My question is how do you make wide spread comments prior to getting the facts? What is the real motive?   How does a conversation become one whereby a local reporter says he has the documents and then there are no documents.

    Let me see if there are some reasons.  Well it seems to be well known that the state would like to have more of the schools in EBR.

    EBR surprised all when the school performance scores came out and the schools they thought would fall to the state managed to improve.

    The next question are persons on BESE and the stateinvolved in the break- away city? The president testified at House Education that he could support the break-a-way school district.  Well the timing on the alleged cheating seems poised to help that situation especially when one looks at the state of the city message given by the mayor.

    I don’t know why this happened but I do know this it is time to stop fatten- ing frogs for snakes.  Most of us know that phrase “fat- tening frogs” but if you don’t let me explain.

    Some of you reading this will run to get the real facts from the very persons who started the rumor, well you are fattening frogs, some of you reading this will also be glad to kill the messenger, I suggest  you kill the message.

    If you choose to kill the messenger then of course you are fattening frogs.  And then there are you reading this who will agree but will never speak out or support are fattening frogs.

    The next time you read or have the media provide you with information that does not seem real, well get the facts, get the documents, ask to see the information, talk with your elected BESE member, ask community leaders to help you understand, involve the religious community because sometimes these are moral issues as this one is, then use that great gift the Almighty gave each of us, our own brains and the ability to think for our-selves.

     

     

     

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  • ,

    Southeastern Football team ranked top 10 by FCS

    After setting a single season school record for victories, winning its first conference championship since 1961 and making its first-ever trip to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA FOOTBALL TEAM finished sixth in both of the final FCS national polls. Southeastern was picked No. 6 by the voters in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches’ polls. The ranking represented the season high for the Lions in both listings.

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  • School voucher apps accepted

    LOUISIANA FAMILIES CAN NOW begin to enroll in the voucher program for the 2014-15 school year.

    The Louisiana Scholarship Program empowers low-income families with the same opportunity as more affluent parents already have – the financial resources to send their child to the school of their choice.

    The application period is open until February 28. Parents can enroll at the vochure school or online at www.doe.louisiana.gov.

    Last year, more than 12,000 students across the state applied for the scholarships. According to  the state Department of Education, 136 schools are participating in the voucher program this year.

    Private and parochial schools have one year to make a difference.

     

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  • Study: Higher blood pressure in Black men from single-parent homes

    WASHINGTON DC—BLACK MEN raised in single-parents households often have higher blood pressure than those raised by both parents, accord-ing to an American Heart Association study.

    Taking a cross-sectional sample of 515 Black males in a Howard University family study, the fi ndings report that “Black men who lived with both parents compared with the reference group of men who never lived with both parents during their lifetime had lower systolic Blood Pressure.

    The benefi ts also improved depending on how long the males lived with both parents: This protective effect was more pronounced among men who lived with both parents for 1 to 12 years of their lives; they had BP, pulse pres- sure mean arterial pressure and a 46% decreased odds of developing hypertension.

    Using the findings, the study concluded “these results provide preliminary evidence that childhood family structure exerts a long-term influence on BP among Black men.”

    Men in single-parent households  are more likely to live in poverty, which could explain the results.

    The study is another in the tangled history of Blacks and blood pressure. According to WebMD, Blacks develop high blood pres- sure at younger ages than other groups in the United States. They are also more likely to develop complications from elevated blood pressure, including stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.

    Though genetic factors play a role in high blood pressure, researchers have attributed environ- mental factors as well. Black people in the United States are more likely to be overweight than Blacks in other countries.

    This is largely considered to be an effect of racial discrimination in hiring practices and systemic economic inequality.

     

     
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